China Miéville

China Miéville is a founding editor of Salvage. He is the author of various works of fiction and non-fiction, including The City & the City and London’s Overthrow. His latest book is Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories. He is currently collaborating with Robert Knox on the forthcoming Against International Law.

    From Choice to Polarity: Politics of, and, and in Art

    by China Miéville


    In a rough landscape in central Africa, men are at work. They carry fire, haul industrial parts, wheeze under protective masks. They’re sweating and exhausted. When at last evening comes, they clock off and shower for a long time under cobbled-together plumbing. Then they rummage in battered wardrobes, bring out extraordinary clothes, and transform.

    Crocodile shoes; canary jackets; Savile Row shirts. Twirling canes, they set out through the dust to strike a pose. To perform. A strut-off in a late-night bar.


    London’s Overthrow – a New Introduction


    2012’s essay London’s Overthrow, a diagnostic snapshot of the city between riots and Olympics, has had various incarnations - in a magazine, online, in print. And now it is available in French from Pocket, along with a new introduction for French readers. With our thanks to the publishers for their permission, here we reproduce that introduction in English.

    This is a peculiar political moment, feeling by abrupt turn deadened and static, increasingly apocalyptic, and unexpectedly, wrenchingly generative of Sehnsucht, all in lurching rhythmless rhythm. It's an indication of this unpredictability that scant weeks after they were written, the concluding tenor of the reflections that follow already feels too bleak. We’re a very long way from inaugurating a moment of political buoyancy or boisterousness, but it is a cautious, embattled joy to feel - as we do, as will be made more clear from Salvage’s new Perspectives document, shortly to be published in issue 2 and online - as if the carapace of neoliberalism is, even for a moment, even a crack less hermetic and sealed now than when what follows was written.

    The introduction below may prove to be wrong, a museum-piece, out of date. We do not expect, but fervently hope, that this is so.


    The Dusty Hat


    by China Miéville


    I have to talk to you about the man we saw, the man in the dusty hat. I know you remember.

    Stop for a moment. I know you have a thousand questions, starting with Where have I been? What I want to start with is the man in the hat.

    I was late to the conference. I’d had to stay in to watch a builder squint at the cracks in my outside wall and across my kitchen ceiling, cracks that had been there for a long time, ever since I moved in, but that started to spread about a year ago and were making me increasingly uneasy. And then the journey across the city was slow as a bastard so I arrived after the start and tried to creep quietly in to the lecture hall but everyone stared at me while I made my way to the seat you’d saved for me. I muttered something apologetic about subsidence. You mocked me sotto voce for being a bourgeois homeowner. I told you to hush and tried to pay attention.


    The Limits of Utopia

    by China Miéville


    Dystopias infect official reports.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) demands a shift in our emissions by a third to avoid utter disaster. KPMG, in the leaden chattiness of corporate powerpoint-ese, sees the same horizon. NASA part-funds a report warning that systemic civilizational collapse ‘is difficult to avoid.’

    We may quibble with the models, but not that the end of everything is right out there, for everyone to discuss.