China Miéville Biography
Sun Sign: Virgo
Also Known As: China Tom Miéville, China Mieville
Born Country: England
Born in: Norwich, United Kingdom
Famous as: Author
mother: Claudia Lightfoot
Partner: Emma Bircham
Notable Alumni: Clare College, University Of Cambridge, London School Of Economics And Political Science
education: London School of Economics and Political Science, Clare College, University of Cambridge, London School of Economics and Political Science, Oakham School
China Miéville is one of the foremost writers of urban fantasy genre in the present times. His works of fiction be it novels, novellas or short stories consistently buck the literary trends, all the while providing new and well-endowed invented worlds through a rich narrative. But his biggest strengths perhaps lay in a non-conformity to his own standards, as he is constantly seen pushing the envelope of his potential as well as that of known genres through each successive publication. Never willing to settle, his novels often intertwine elements from science fiction, gothic, horror and urban fantasy. What distinguishes him from his contemporaries is his innate ability to use the potential of a make-believe world to engage the reader in political and social discourse of our realities. Sporting a strong, muscular and brooding physique in his photos, the man himself, however, is humorous, geeky, soft-spoken and adorably self-deprecating. Being a left-wing grass roots activist and member of socialist political parties, he has multiple non-fiction works including books, essays, and critical literature to his name, many of which reflect his staunch Marxist perspective on politics.
- China Tom Miéville was born on 6th September 1972 in Norwich, UK. However, he has lived in London since early childhood.
- Since his father left the family soon after his birth, his mother, Claudia raised him and his sister, Jemima all on her own. She was a teacher, translator and writer.
- After spending a year in Egypt and Zimbabwe, he enrolled into Clare College, Cambridge to study English initially, but changed over to social anthropology. He completed his BA in social anthropology in 1994.
- He got his Master’s degree in international relations and later gained his PhD in the same stream from London School of Economics in 2001.
- China Miéville’s debut novel was ‘King Rat’, a dark fantasy quest set in London’s club land which follows the adventures of Saul, a half-rat, half-human protagonist. Published by Macmillan in 1998, the novel is heavily influenced by his understanding of a multicultural London, Pied Piper folklore and his love for drum’n’bass.
- Between 2000 and 2004, he published the Bas-Lag series, named after its fantasy world, characterised by Victorian era technology and magic, teeming with various types of intelligent life-forms. The first book, ‘Perdido Street Station’, revolves around a railway station in the heart of New Crobuzon, a city-state. The second installation, ‘The Scar’ is a maritime adventure across Bas-Lag’s Swollen ocean and ‘Iron Council’, his final set, is a politically charged western unravelling across the desert in the fantasy world.
- That period also saw him contest the 2001 UK general election as a candidate for the Socialist Alliance; one that he lost by a landslide. A year later, his fantasy, sci-fi novella, ‘The Tain’ chronicled the journey of Sholl in an imaginary London city ravaged by beings out of this planet. It was followed by ‘Looking for Jake’ in 2005, a collection of horror, science-fiction and fantasy short stories.
- ‘Un Lun Dun’ was his first attempt at writing for the young adult genre. First published in 2007, the story was ahead of its time, in which the protagonist’s triumph in her quest went against the prophesy described in the book.
- From 2009 to 2012, he produced four stand-alone novels. These include ‘The City & The City’ (2009)— a crime novel set in two cities occupying the same physical space; ‘Kraken’ (2010)— a dark comedy on messianic cults and the apocalypse; ‘Embassytown’ (2011), where linguistics in a sci-fi alien world take centre-stage and ‘Railsea’ (2012)— a modern take on the classic ‘Moby Dick’.
- He wrote for DC Comic’s ‘Dial H’ series between 2012 and 2013. A reboot of the original ‘Dial H for Hero’, the central element in the series is an old phone booth that affords different superpowers to Nelson Jent and his advisor, Roxie Hodder for a limited period, each time they dial 4-3-7-6.
- A member of UK’s Socialist Worker’s Party (SWP), China Miéville became quite vocal against the party leadership on their handling of a rape allegation against one of the party members. He ultimately resigned from SWP in March 2013. In August that year, he along with eight other signatories declared the formation of the ‘Left Unity’ party in the Guardian newspaper.
- By 2015-2016, he had moved away from novels given the time constraint. In 2015, his short story collection, ‘Three Moments of an Explosion’ came out, and a year later he released two fiction novellas, namely ‘This Census Taker’ and ‘The Last Days of New Paris’.
- His 2017 non-fiction work, ‘October’ gives a dramatic account of the Russian Revolution. He is working on a similar theme with ‘A Spectre Haunting Europe’, slated to be released sometime in 2020.
- The Bas-Lag trilogy put him at the top of the list of authors who could mesh science fiction and fantasy with pulp and horror. In effect, the ‘New Weird’ genre was created just for his trilogy.
- His existential murder mystery, ‘City in the City’ was so well received by literary critics that he began drawing comparisons to 20th century bigwigs like Philip K. Dick and Franz Kafka.
- China Miéville’s mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer, and later leukaemia; an unfortunate side-effect to the chemotherapy for the former ailment. She passed away in 2007, aged 58, leaving him utterly devastated. Since she loved detective fiction, his book ‘City in the City’ was in part his gift to her.
- Miéville lives with his partner, social activist, writer and editor Emma Bircham, in London. She was one of the co-authors for Miéville’s short story ‘The Ball Room’. Trivia
- His teenage experience of playing ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ and other similar role-playing games has greatly influenced his writing, case in point being the systemization of magical powers of his books’ many characters and monsters.
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