China Mieville’s Five Movements to Watch Out For; Are There Only *Five*?

Because I am a smart-arse, this might be my favorite of China Mieville’s guest posts this week, although the next one contains some mighty awesome ideas.

In a nutshell, China writes that “It’s been a while since we’ve had some red-hot literary-movement action…I thought we could save a bit of time by naming a few movements in advance, then writing books to fit. That way we could start arguing about them without having to wait through those tiresome publication schedules.”

He then sets out five such movements:

Zombiefail ’09-ism
LitFic Praetorians

He’s even got guidelines for discussion, like for Zombiefail:

What to say: ‘It’s a cultural tragedy, this commodified camp of the Death Drive.’

What not to say: ‘Moar Brainzz!’

But I think there are probably more. Are there more? I know the Romantic Underground has come and gone. We all know the fate of the New Weird–although it looks like it’s about to be shoehorned into the Noooooirdddd–and the Mundanes are still glowering out there somewhere…but what else? C’mon folks. Put on your prediction hats. We can dispense with a ton of other nascent movements in about ten seconds flat and get on with our lives.

Seriously, though–go read the piece. It’s a classic.


  1. says

    Zombiefail. Yep, zombies jumped the shark. They went from the dizzying yuppie heights of 80’s vampires to the boring ubiquity of 00’s vampires in like five minutes. Are sharks the new zombies? Cause they’re fast and dangerous and eat you. Only difference is – shark bites you and you don’t turn into a shark. And they can’t walk on land. Can someone go and write the definitive infectious land-shark novel?

    Am I the only person who is writing anthropomorphized spookpunk at the moment? Think Harlot’s Ghost, but with animals. Brian Jaques meets James Ellroy. Beatrix Potter meets The Punisher.

    Retrofuturism – science fiction, but set in the past and using the tropes of the time. I’m working on an 80’s sci fi story at the moment. Since we’re all living in a science fiction world now, scifi now needs to be as backwards-looking as fantasy. Obviously, this means fantasy is now forwards-looking. The martians came, but they were elves. Damn.

    Bollypunk: scifi where every chapter ends with a big dance number. The books won’t be too popular because half the text will be musical score. But the movies will be great!

    Militant surrealist deniers: “My story is a perfect representation of real life” “But it has a talking car that walks on chicken legs and plays tuba for the Rolling Stones!” “Yes! Exactly like really happened! What? You’re gonna just take all those mainstream media lies at face value? Do that, you’ll be the first to be eaten by the infectious land sharks. Read my story for the real truth or I KILL YOU!”

  2. says

    Let’s see…perhaps we’ll see the (re)emergence of these movements:

    Shatnerpunk – After ninjas, pirates, and zombies, the next pop culture entity has to be Shat-Man, no?

    Nerd Wave – Oh wait, Cory Doctorow and Friends have that covered already.

    Dalai Llama Fic – Well, if it’s good enough for the Beastie Boys, it’s good enough for SF, right?

    Geekfail – Because it has to, right?

    And my brain’s still busted. I’ll stop for now.

  3. says

    Post-Dying Earth (aka Dead Earth) – Dying Earth’s all come-on and no follow-through: today’s readers want to know what happens when the credits have already rolled on the sun and everyone’s left the theatre. Stark 600 page descriptions of a planet utterly devoid of life are the order of the day. In part a reaction to the Post-Elegaists who the Dead Earthers see as rank sugarcoaters.

    Stonepunk – Never mind what the Victorians would have done had time and technology taken a different turn, let’s go really far back. Think ‘The Flintstones’ (a formative influence) meets ‘Neuromancer’. Expect many bad puns on the blogs about “grit”. Eventually Stonepunk surpasses being a literary movement and moves into Lifestyle territory and a whole subculture develops advocating the wearing of animal skins and customising your PC to be powered via a log treadmill upon which you set a “sabretoothed tiger” or rather your pet tabbycat. The yesterday’s tomorrow to end all yesterday’s tomorrows!

  4. hellbound heart says

    … we need to pigeonhole things so badly to fit into some kinda of schema………oh dear….

    peace and love……

  5. says

    After a brief moment in the sun, and then subsequent years of derision, I predict that in about 10 years time Noirdpunk will arise. It will be influenced by the original Noird authors (or which there will be either none or a hundred depending on who you talk to), and generally focus on alternate timelines in which the original Noird fiction did not languish in the dark, but was instead recognized as the apex of aesthetic accomplisment.