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Monsters You Pay to See

Sam Thompson: China Miéville, 16 June 2011

Embassytown 
by China Miéville.
Macmillan, 490 pp., £17.99, April 2011, 978 0 230 75076 0
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... these elements will be familiar, almost liturgical, to anyone versed in science fiction, but for China Miéville the tradition’s tropes are the keyboard, not the performance. Embassytown is a tiny, isolated human settlement, on a remote planet at the fringe of a spacefaring empire, that goes for years between relief missions and survives on the ...

Thought-Quenching

Thomas Jones: Q and China Miéville, 7 January 1999

Deadmeat 
by Q..
Sceptre, 256 pp., £6.99, May 1997, 0 340 68558 1
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King Rat 
by China Miéville.
Macmillan, 333 pp., £9.99, November 1998, 0 333 73881 0
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... from me to you.’ The idiom of the record sleeve is one option open to writers of club fiction: China Miéville concludes his acknowledgments in King Rat with ‘awe and gratitude especially to A Guy Called Gerald for the sublime Gloc: old, now, but still the most terrifying slab of guerrilla bass ever committed to vinyl. Rewind.’ In the central club ...

What’s Left?

Sheila Fitzpatrick: The Russian Revolution, 29 March 2017

October: The Story of the Russian Revolution 
by China Miéville.
Verso, 358 pp., £18.99, May 2017, 978 1 78478 280 1
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The Russian Revolution 1905-1921 
by Mark D. Steinberg.
Oxford, 388 pp., £19.99, February 2017, 978 0 19 922762 4
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Russia in Revolution: An Empire in Crisis, 1890 to 1928 
by S.A. Smith.
Oxford, 455 pp., £25, January 2017, 978 0 19 873482 6
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The Russian Revolution: A New History 
by Sean McMeekin.
Basic, 496 pp., $30, May 2017, 978 0 465 03990 6
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Historically Inevitable? Turning Points of the Russian Revolution 
by Tony Brenton.
Profile, 364 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 1 78125 021 1
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... of the revolution, the number of Communist states in the world is down to a handful, with China’s status ambiguous and only North Korea still clinging to the old verities. Nothing fails like failure, and for historians approaching the revolution’s centenary the disappearance of the Soviet Union casts a pall. In the rash of new books on the ...

Utopia in Texas

Glen Newey: Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’, 19 January 2017

Utopia 
by Thomas More, edited by George M. Logan, translated by Robert M. Adams.
Cambridge, 141 pp., £9.99, August 2016, 978 1 107 56873 0
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Utopia 
by Thomas More, translated by Gilbert Burnet.
Verso, 216 pp., £8.99, November 2016, 978 1 78478 760 8
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... a translation from 1684 by the Scottish Anglican divine Gilbert Burnet with an introduction by China Miéville and a series of concluding essays by Ursula Le Guin. Miéville decks More in punk garb while arguing, plausibly, that capitalism by its nature rules out effective curbs on anthropogenic environmental ...

Even what doesn’t happen is epic

Nick Richardson: Chinese SF, 8 February 2018

The Three-Body Problem 
by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu.
Head of Zeus, 416 pp., £8.99, January 2016, 978 1 78497 157 1
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The Dark Forest 
by Cixin Liu, translated by Joel Martinsen.
Head of Zeus, 512 pp., £8.99, July 2016, 978 1 78497 161 8
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Death’s End 
by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu.
Head of Zeus, 724 pp., £8.99, May 2017, 978 1 78497 165 6
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The Wandering Earth 
by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu.
Head of Zeus, 447 pp., £8.99, October 2017, 978 1 78497 851 8
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Invisible Planets 
edited and translated by Ken Liu.
Head of Zeus, 383 pp., £8.99, September 2017, 978 1 78669 278 8
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... Science fiction​ isn’t new to China, as Cixin Liu explains in Invisible Planets, an introduction to Chinese sci-fi by some of its most prominent authors, but good science fiction is. The first Chinese sci-fi tales appeared at the turn of the 20th century, written by intellectuals fascinated by Western technology ...

Eaten by Owls

Michael Wood: Mervyn Peake, 26 January 2012

Peake’s Progress: Selected Writings and Drawings of Mervyn Peake 
edited by Maeve Gilmore.
British Library, 576 pp., £25, June 2011, 978 0 7123 5834 7
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The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy 
by Mervyn Peake.
Vintage, 943 pp., £25, June 2011, 978 0 09 952854 8
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Titus Awakes 
by Maeve Gilmore and Mervyn Peake.
Vintage, 288 pp., £7.99, June 2011, 978 0 09 955276 5
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Complete Nonsense 
by Mervyn Peake.
Fyfield, 242 pp., £14.95, July 2011, 978 1 84777 087 5
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A Book of Nonsense 
by Mervyn Peake.
Peter Owen, 87 pp., £9.99, June 2011, 978 0 7206 1361 2
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... the son of a medical missionary, was born just over a hundred years ago in Kiang-Hsi Province, China. The family moved back to England when he was 12. He attended the Royal Academy and served in the British army in the first years of the Second World War. He suffered from severe mental illness periodically from that time on, spending various spells in a ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock, 30 November 2000

King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... by smooth-cheeked, bare-headed acolytes – Tony White, Stewart Home, Steve Aylett, Steve Beard, China Miéville. What you are getting is a frame from Moorcock’s comic strip, The Metatemporal Detective, showing a traditional ‘hell’s kitchen’ where ‘Old Man Smith’, the piratical ruler of the underworld, lounges on a raised chair to receive ...

The Last London

Iain Sinclair, 30 March 2017

... And to a long line of conspiracies cooked by future London authors. ‘Shoot down that damned Chinaman, Petrie! Shoot! Shoot!’ That is the despairing cry of Rohmer’s English hero, Nayland Smith.With so many local libraries improved into ‘ideas stores’ and so many uneconomic books dumped in bundles on the pavement, I have become a keen reader of ...

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