On China Miéville and Pushing Boundaries

“It’s a risky novel and it is not always successful. But those risks are important and should be encouraged, because even when failing, they lead to future promises of success.”
~ Eddy Rathke in his Goodreads review of China Miéville’s 2012 novel, Embassytown.

I like what Eddy wrote here and I think this is true in/of a lot of China Miéville‘s work. Miéville is really interested in pushing the boundaries of what’s been historically accepted as possible. It definitely takes a sense of fearlessness to say: “Fuck it, I’m trying this regardless of what anyone else thinks!”

. . . and it really seems to work for Miéville, more often than not.

As an aside (though more or less tangentially-related) remark: Miéville’s vocabulary almost never ceases to amaze me. Not only that, the way he incorporates the vocabulary — stylistically — never pulls the reader out of the narrative (N.B. this is at least true for me), but rather it has a way of working with the story, rhythmically. It’s ostensibly an evolution of Twain’s “lighting/ lightning bug” analogy — the words Miéville chooses are not just impressive, they’re absolutely the right choice for the given sentence. (I think a good example of another SF/F series I’ve enjoyed, but the words often miss their mark is David Anthony Durham’s Acacia trilogy.)

Worth a mention: Perdido Street Station is just impressing the hell out of me right now! I can’t wait to see what the whole “New Crobuzon” series has in store!!

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