Introduction to China Miéville – Railsea (2012), Kraken (2010)

China Miéville is a writer whose books I’ve noticed only recently. Author of Between Equal Rights: A Marxist Theory of International Law (true story!), on photos he tends to show off his earrings and his musculature. I was discouraged by both, for different reasons 😉 But one Audible credit has to be spent each month, and one month I’ve chosen his Railsea, favourably mentioned on some podcast I’ve listened to not so long before.

Well, I’m not the one to judge Miéville’s manly charms, and I don’t agree with him on politics, but I’ll happily acknowledge him as a damn good writer. One book could be a lucky shot, but Kraken was also tasty.

He represents the New Weird, an interesting and fresh (even if not so new any more, it started in the late 1990s) literary movement that takes inspiration from the Weird Fiction of early and mid XX cent., the likes of Lovecraft and Peake. Definitely not mainstream fantasy, new weird is, in my limited experience, an aesthetic that leads to unorthodox works in many subgenres, most often urban fantasy, horror or steampunk. In a way, I see it as an analogue of what grimdark did to epic fantasy. It plays with clichés, takes reader out of their comfort zones, and kills a larger percentage of protagonists that used to be the norm.

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