The City & The City‘s China Mieville will be guest blogging on Omnivoracious, the Amazon book blog, this week. In between, I’ll be posting on a variety of loosely related topics, including Alfred Kubin, The Other City by Michal Ajvaz and Magic Prague. Check out the blog all week, as there will be new content of a surreal/fantastical nature every day.
Introductory post, including part of my Weird Tales interview with China:
Mieville: Our monsters are about themselves, and they can get on with being about all sorts of other stuff too, but if we want them to be primarily that, and don’t enjoy their monstrousness, they’re dead and nothing.
VanderMeer: Right–nobody likes a monster piÃ±ata.
China on five reasons Tolkien rocks (perhaps unexpected, but it’s good!):
Dude. That totally was cool. I mean, say what you like about him, Tolk gives good monster. Shelob, Smaug, the Balrog…in their astounding names, the fearful verve of their descriptions, their various undomesticated malevolence, these creatures are utterly embedded in our world-view. No one can write giant spiders except through Shelob: all dragons are sidekicks now. And so on…But the thing about the Watcher in the Water is WTF? Here the technique of under-describing, withholding, comes startlingly to the fore, that other great technique for communicating balefulness. We know almost nothing about the many-limbed thing in the water outside Moria. Some think it’s a giant squid: me, I say not, given that it lives in fresh water, has too many tentacles, and that those tentacles have fingers. Which squids don’t have. But we know three things. It is tentacular; it is badass; and it is weird. And that uncertainty is what makes it rock.