It’s here! China Miéville’s eagerly anticipated science fiction novel Embassytown is out today! While you probably already know that he’s a fantastic writer (between us, I think Embassytown is the best thing he’s ever written), how much do you really know about China Miéville? Find out with these ten facts you may not know about our favorite big, bald, brilliant writer of weird fiction:
1. That’s Dr. Miéville. China Miéville holds a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics. That, along with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and his receipt of a Frank Knox Fellowship from a little school called Harvard University makes Miéville one of the most educated SF and fantasy geeks you’ll ever meet.
2. Vote Miéville. China Miéville ran for a seat in the British House of Commons in 2001. Although unsuccessful at the time, who knows? Maybe one day we’ll see Miéville on the campaign trail again.
3. Roll for Initiative, Reader. Miéville grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons, and elements of his fantasy world Bas-Lag were officially adapted for the game in a 2007 issue of Dragon magazine. Roleplaying games continue to be a big influence on the author, and just last year, Miéville contributed a piece to a supplement for Paizo’s Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. How would you like to have China Miéville as your Dungeon Master?
4. I don’t see any monsters here! Despite his popular success as a fiction writer, Miéville continues his academic career, with published pieces in journals devoted to international law and politics. Maybe “Multilateralism as Terror: International Law, Haiti and Imperialism” isn’t on your “to read” list, but you can be sure it is on some academic’s.
5. Don’t mess with Miéville. He’s a big, muscular guy. There’s even a blog devoted to fictionalized fights between Miéville and other authors: Could They Beat Up-China Miéville? (In real life China is a very nice fellow, thankfully.)
6. An Elephant Never Forgets…and Neither Does China. In an interview with The Guardian, Miéville revealed that he first had the idea for Embassytown a few years ago…when he was ELEVEN.
7. He Reads Everything. Miéville once told a journalist that one of his hobbies is picking up trade magazines on topics he knows nothing about, like model trains and tropical fish keeping.
8. He Has an Open Relationship…With Monsters. “Water monsters were always my big thing – the giant octopus in It Came From Beneath The Sea, The Creature From The Black Lagoon. But I was never a one monster man, I had an open monstrous relationship. The more odd the monster, the more up my street.”- China Miéville on his favorite monsters, quoted from the Scotland on Sunday newspaper.
9. China Miéville is really popular…With Mosquitoes. In an interview with SF Chronicles contributor Jayaprakash Satyamurthy, Mieville spoke at length about how much he loathes the little bloodsuckers, stating “I pathologically, utterly, profoundly, viciously, excessively hate them. I am violently reactive to them – their bites last for more than a week on me, and are agony. They are drawn to me like something you wouldn’t believe. Everywhere I go where there are mosquitoes, I end up feeling like I’m a kind of Mosquito prophecy – for generations they’ve been telling each other that one day I will come, and then I arrive, and the little bastards flock to make their bloodthirsty obeisance.” Miéville profound mosquito hatred inspired him to create the Anopheli, the mosquito people in his book The Scar.
10. China Who? China Miéville recently stated that he would love to write an episode of Dr. Who. Think the Tardis would stand out in the streets of New Crobuzon?