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.

    Silence In Debris: Towards an Apophatic Marxism

    by China Miéville.

    Once there had been the subterranean language with the underground forces. If speech at all then it was the spaces between words, and the echoes the words left, or what might be really meant under the surface.
    Ann Quin, ‘The Unmapped Country’

    The problem with Marxism is Marxists. Having
    discovered this world system, they are persuaded
    they have acquired a hammer-lock on infallibility.
    Jim Higgins, More Years for the Locust

    A week has rarely been so long a time in politics: these are not just terrible but terribly strange times. Events deemed impossible by erudite observers, including on the left, refuse to cease to occur. Any model presuming the possibility of political certainty is a liability. The breakdown of old algorithms occasions epistemological crisis: hence liberalism’s panicked lachrymosity, the outrage of denied entitlement, conspiracism and self-righteousness. For the radical Left, the best response to the times is to replace protest-too-much business-as-usual with the perspicacity of failure. Where we can fill gaps in our understanding, we must; but perhaps we should start with the suspicion that we can’t. Political humility demands not new certainties for old, but a new, less certain way.

    More

    ‘One thinge that ouerthroweth all that were graunted before’: On Being Presidential

    by China Miéville

    The stricken punditocracy agrees that Donald Trump is missing a crucial quality, a je ne sais quoi necessary for his office. He may be president, but he is not presidential. The liberal world is in mourning for this dispositional quiddity, presidentialness.

    According to one recent poll, 70 per cent of Americans surveyed held that Trump has – particularly in his genuinely startling use of social media, his deliberately offensive provocations – acted ‘unpresidentially’. Plucking examples from vast reserves, the LA Times decries Trump’s ‘self-indulgent and unpresidential demeanor’; the Village Voice his ‘unpresidential’ ‘antics’; the Atlantic ‘the unpresidential things Trump says’. And the angst is global. The Irish Times lists ‘[a]ll the unpresidential things Trump has done since he got elected’; according to The Guardian, asserting a taken-for-granted antipode, Trump is ‘tyrannical not presidential’; indeed for the Toronto Star, ‘Donald Trump defines the meaning of “unpresidential”’.

    It’s common on the Left to point out what has apparently not counted as unpresidential: slave-owning; massacre; imperial butchery. What is there for which to hanker?

    More

    Notes on Walls

    by China Miéville.

    A wall is always going to be beautiful. In the future, it will be ‘impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful’, in the words of the President, however tawdry and inadequate to its own stated purpose it actually is when built, if ever built at all.

    More

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

    SAPE_frankoak_11

    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.

    More

    On Social Sadism

     Watching_you

    by China Miéville.

    The Sadocratic Impulse 

    Two women sit leaning against a wall, wrapped in dirty clothes. Their hair is raddled, their faces filthy. One holds a bottle, the other a cardboard sign on which is scrawled a slogan both plaintive and defiant. But their smiles are arch, and the schmutz on their faces is as artlessly precise as a child’s clown makeup – easy on, easy off.

    Halloween. This is a fancy-dress party, and the women have come as the destitute.

    More

    London’s Overthrow – a New Introduction

    sign

    by China Miéville.

    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.

    More


    The Dusty Hat

    FICTION

    by China Miéville

    article-2286909-18621F9F000005DC-196_634x414

    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.

    More

    The Limits of Utopia

    by China Miéville

    tumblr_nmgu5bLPBv1s1vn29o2_1280

    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.

    More

    Silence In Debris: Towards an Apophatic Marxism

    by China Miéville.

    Once there had been the subterranean language with the underground forces. If speech at all then it was the spaces between words, and the echoes the words left, or what might be really meant under the surface.
    Ann Quin, ‘The Unmapped Country’

    The problem with Marxism is Marxists. Having
    discovered this world system, they are persuaded
    they have acquired a hammer-lock on infallibility.
    Jim Higgins, More Years for the Locust

    A week has rarely been so long a time in politics: these are not just terrible but terribly strange times. Events deemed impossible by erudite observers, including on the left, refuse to cease to occur. Any model presuming the possibility of political certainty is a liability. The breakdown of old algorithms occasions epistemological crisis: hence liberalism’s panicked lachrymosity, the outrage of denied entitlement, conspiracism and self-righteousness. For the radical Left, the best response to the times is to replace protest-too-much business-as-usual with the perspicacity of failure. Where we can fill gaps in our understanding, we must; but perhaps we should start with the suspicion that we can’t. Political humility demands not new certainties for old, but a new, less certain way.

    More

    ‘One thinge that ouerthroweth all that were graunted before’: On Being Presidential

    by China Miéville

    The stricken punditocracy agrees that Donald Trump is missing a crucial quality, a je ne sais quoi necessary for his office. He may be president, but he is not presidential. The liberal world is in mourning for this dispositional quiddity, presidentialness.

    According to one recent poll, 70 per cent of Americans surveyed held that Trump has – particularly in his genuinely startling use of social media, his deliberately offensive provocations – acted ‘unpresidentially’. Plucking examples from vast reserves, the LA Times decries Trump’s ‘self-indulgent and unpresidential demeanor’; the Village Voice his ‘unpresidential’ ‘antics’; the Atlantic ‘the unpresidential things Trump says’. And the angst is global. The Irish Times lists ‘[a]ll the unpresidential things Trump has done since he got elected’; according to The Guardian, asserting a taken-for-granted antipode, Trump is ‘tyrannical not presidential’; indeed for the Toronto Star, ‘Donald Trump defines the meaning of “unpresidential”’.

    It’s common on the Left to point out what has apparently not counted as unpresidential: slave-owning; massacre; imperial butchery. What is there for which to hanker?

    More

    Notes on Walls

    by China Miéville.

    A wall is always going to be beautiful. In the future, it will be ‘impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful’, in the words of the President, however tawdry and inadequate to its own stated purpose it actually is when built, if ever built at all.

    More

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

    SAPE_frankoak_11

    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.

    More

    On Social Sadism

     Watching_you

    by China Miéville.

    The Sadocratic Impulse 

    Two women sit leaning against a wall, wrapped in dirty clothes. Their hair is raddled, their faces filthy. One holds a bottle, the other a cardboard sign on which is scrawled a slogan both plaintive and defiant. But their smiles are arch, and the schmutz on their faces is as artlessly precise as a child’s clown makeup – easy on, easy off.

    Halloween. This is a fancy-dress party, and the women have come as the destitute.

    More

    London’s Overthrow – a New Introduction

    sign

    by China Miéville.

    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.

    More


    The Dusty Hat

    FICTION

    by China Miéville

    article-2286909-18621F9F000005DC-196_634x414

    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.

    More

    The Limits of Utopia

    by China Miéville

    tumblr_nmgu5bLPBv1s1vn29o2_1280

    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.

    More