China Miéville is perhaps the most interesting and influential writer to emerge in science fiction, fantasy and horror (genres that he brings together under the title ‘weird fiction’) over the last fifteen years. His breakout book, Perdido Street Station blended fantasy, horror and science fictional elements, in its depiction of a corrupt and fantastical city, part London and part Buenos Aires, under threat from escaped ‘slakemoths.’ Its sequels, The Scar and Iron Council revisited this city and the world surrounding it. His recent book The City and the City, which brings together noir detective fiction and a very particular kind of fantasy, won the World Fantasy Award. The New York Times ran a good profile of Miéville a few weeks ago.
|By: Henry Farrell Saturday January 2, 2010 2:00 pm|
The Left at War tells the story of some arguments around the Iraq war that only partly intersected with the fights that were raging in the blogosphere at the same time. The book is less interested in arguments between warbloggers and progressives, or between the center and the left of the Democratic party, than in the battles among left intellectuals like Noam Chomsky, Michael Walzer and, indeed, Michael Bérubé himself. Bérubé’s thesis is straightforward. Much of the opposition to the war, from writers like Chomsky and Alexander Cockburn sucked. And it sucked because these people adhered to a simplistic narrative in which the US was always evil, and intervention abroad was always imperialism under a thin facade of respect for human rights. What Bérubé calls the “Manichean Left” actually made it more difficult to mobilize against the Iraq war, because it provided pro-war writers with an excuse to brand all opponents on the war as crazy.