Excited about this collaboration between Keanu Reeves and–of all people–China Miéville as covered in Wired. The books sounds great (though I refrained from reading anything past the spoiler warning), but I was most interested in the little glimpses into Miéville’s life and process.

Some highlights include this startlingly insightful theory about what defines “nerd culture.”

And, though 51, he still plays with toys. At one point I awkwardly gestured at this, and he told me, “I have a theory. One of the things that tends to distinguish nerds and their interests is, broadly speaking, that they have fidelity to their loves in a way that other people don’t. I don’t mean other people are unfaithful in a flibbertigibbety way, but! The stuff I was into when I was 4 is still the stuff I’m into. From as early as I can remember, it was sea monsters. Aliens …”

Further, I think Miéville perfectly summed up my own personal tastes in fiction over the last few years. What he’s interested in writing about is a direct analog to what I’ve found myself interested in reading (which includes Miéville1 but also, in my opinion, other contemporary authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Ray Nayler).

He doesn’t write science fiction because he’s a communist or because he wants to bring about the revolution. Instead, he thinks of himself as pursuing “difference” within and across his books: “Alterity. That’s where my heart beats.”

This “alterity” is something that, since reading this article, I realized I’ve been seeking and finding in my favorite literature going back years. When I think of my favorite novels from McCarthy, DeLillo, and Faulkner, this “alterity” and the ways that affects the characters and plot is at the forefront of what I most enjoyed.

  1. While I’ve read only This Census Taker, I loved it so much that I feel no hesitation about placing Miéville among my favorite living authors. Perdido Street Station arrived today and I am excited to start it soon. ↩︎