Damien Walter presents 21 of the best British sci-fi (sic) writers of 2014 you probably haven't heard of.
Stefan Grabiński is often called "the Polish Poe" or "the Polish Lovecraft," which are both useful for short-hand, but don't quite capture Grabiński's style. As suggested by China Miéville in the Guardian, "where Poe's horror is agonised, a kind of extended shriek, Grabinski's is cerebral, investigative. His protagonists are tortured and aghast, but not because they suffer at the caprice of Lovecraftian blind idiot gods: Grabinski's universe is strange and its principles are perhaps not those we expect, but they are principles - rules - and it is in their exploration that the mystery lies." If you haven't heard of Grabiński, it is probably because only a few of his works have recently been translated to English. The primary translator is Miroslaw Lipinski, who runs a site dedicated to Grabiński. You can read Lipinksi's translation of Strabismus (PDF linked inside), and The Wandering Train online. [more inside]
So we reckon that Dr Miéville (yep, ‘Dr’ – look it up) can take care of himself alright. But just to make sure, we’ve decided to put it to a rigorously unscientific and entirely fictional test. Just what would happen if China Miéville was set upon by detractors, un-well wishers and other assailants? This is the place where you can (almost) find out.
China Miéville talks about Marxism and Halloween in a 39 minute audio recording from the Socialism 2013 conference organized by the International Socialist Organization. Miéville, Marxism, and the Fantastic previously (and many more)
Is Science Fiction promoting pseuodoscience? Is it not really better than fantasy? Is it exhausted and dying, per Paul Kincaid (part 1, part 2), a sort of genre-writing version of completing a list of The Nine Billion Names of God? Does physics-bothering unrepentant space case Alistair Reynolds have a compass pointing the way forwards?
We are so steeped in the tradition of railways as a single line cutting through the wilderness. But [...] there is a tradition you can tap into that completely inverts what has become the cliché, and focuses instead on branching lines, on sidings, on reversibility and on the breaching of timetables—and you end up with a notion of rails that can be an ineffable symbol of potentiality. I liked the idea of trying to honour that alternative tradition.
But that's all post-facto to the basic gag—and it is a gag—of someone shouting "there she blows!" and it's a mole, not a whale.BoingBoing interviews China Mieville on his new book, Railsea. [more inside]
28 pages from DC's upcoming "New 52: 2nd Wave" Stretching the definition of "leaked" to the screaming limit, Buzzfeed shares photographs it was invited to take of 28 pages from DC's upcoming "New 52: 2nd Wave" - the six series being brought in to replace its six cancelled comic books. [more inside]
(Monsters) do so best when they believe in themselves. Author and academic China Miéville discusses prose style, weird fiction and the pratfalls of imbuing monsters with "meaning." [more inside]
"Everyone knows there’s a catastrophe unfolding, that few can afford to live in their own city. It was not always so." - China Miéville on Apocalyptic London
Out Of This World: Science Fiction But Not As You Know It is an exhibition at the British Library exploring the origins of Science Fiction, running until September. China Mieville takes a look at the exhibition for the BBC. (Out Of This World postcards - images from the exhibition) [more inside]
Coverhithe : While you wait for his next book, the Guardian has a new short story from China Mieville.
‘Capitalists are a superstitious cowardly lot,’ Louise says. ‘This f*cker put our town out with the trash, threw us on the scrap heap. Well, the scrap heap’s got up, and it’s coming for him.’ China Miéville’s rejected pitch for a superhero for our times.
The Island by Peter Watts (previously), winner of this years Hugo Award for Best Novelette. An audio version is available over at StarShipSofa (previously), itself a Hugo recipient.
DC Comics has scraped an upcoming Swamp Thing series by acclaimed writer China Miéville (previously), apparently so that Swamp Thing and other Vertigo characters such as Black Orchid and Shade The Changing Man can be reintegrated into the DC Universe. Vertigo started out as a darker, edgier imprint of comics, largely modeled on Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing, that absorbed many of DCs supernatural characters and largely took them out of DC's more superhero orientated universe, something that this would reverse. There is no word on whether John Constantine, star of Vertigos longest running comic Hellblazer would be affected.>
China Miéville has won his third Arthur C Clarke award for his crime/weird fiction novel The City and The City - making him the first person to win the prize three times. Somewhat emotional video of him accepting the prize, where he thanks one special crime reader in particular, his mum, who passed away before it's publication. 10 Questions about China Miéville. An A-Z of China Miéville - 1, 2. An extract from his next novel, Kraken. A Bas Lag Wiki. A discussion of the best genre crossovers. An out of season Christmas tale.
"He surely had an indispensable role in the morphing of suburbia into disturbia in the cultural imagination, the real conception underlying the pretend-naïveté about the Sheppertons of the city and the mind--not only in the simple and tediously scandalous fact of his living there but in the power of his depicted suburbs too." China Mieville reviews J. G. Ballard's posthumous collection of short fiction.
Lovecraft 101: Get To Know The Master of Scifi-Horror. For more detailed insights into each of Lovecraft's tales in publication order you might want to follow the H.P.Lovecraft Literary Podcast. For another story-by-story guide to Lovecraft you might want to check out Kenneth Hite's Tour De Lovecraft (also available in expanded form as a book). China Mieville on Lovecraft and racism and a lecture at Treadwells by Archaeologist James Holloway which delves deep into Lovecraft and identity. The making of the Call of Cthulhu RPG. The making of Cthulhu (Hipsters! Ego! Madness!). Happy Halloween with H.P. Lovecraft!
Collapse IV, "Concept Horror." The fourth issue of Urbanomic's "journal of philosophical research and development," Collapse, focuses on the relationship between modern philosophy and horror fiction and features essays by and about authors such as Thomas Ligotti, China Miéville and Michael Houellebecq and of course H.P. Lovecraft. Having sold out its print edition, Urbanomic has made the issue available for download as a 200 + page PDF. Some disturbing images (and ideas) within the download.
Weird Tales: The Strange Life of HP Lovecraft is a 45-minute BBC radio documentary: "Geoff Ward examines the strange life and terrifying world of the man hailed as America's greatest horror writer since Poe. During his life, Lovecraft's work was confined to lurid pulp magazines and he died in penury in 1937. Today, however, his writings are considered modern classics and published in prestigious editions. How did such a weird, wild and ungodly writer get canonised? Among the writers considering his legacy are Neil Gaiman, ST Joshi, Kelly Link, Peter Straub and China Mieville." ST Joshi, a biographer of Lovecraft, has an essay up on The Scriptorium. Wikisource has an extensive collection of his writings, including not only his most famous novels and short stories, but also essays, letters, poetry and legal documents. He is buried in the city of his birth, Providence, Rhode Island, where he does eternal lie, even though someone made an unsuccessful attempt to exhume him in 1997.