Omnivoracious Interview with Mieville

Are you sick of Mieville yet? Don’t be. In this one he talks about The City & The City with Amazon books editor Tom Nissley. Excerpt (it’s also on video):

Amazon: That brings up a good question. What’s your relationship with your readers? In the fantasy tradition there is a very strong reader-writer relationship. As someone who moves genres very activity and self consciously, do your readers follow you from genre to genre?

Miéville: It’s a good question. I don’t really know, simply. When I wrote the YA book Un Lun Dun, lots of the fantasy readers stayed with me and I hope I got some new readers. I would never distinguish myself from the fantastic tradition, so even a book like this which is the least overtly fantastic book I’ve written, still to me is completely steeped in the tradition I come from, although, it is–unlike the other books–a book that I would be happy to give someone who finds it very difficult to read straight SF or fantasy. (Not necessarily snobbishly, it’s just that some people can’t deal with the overtly fantastic. Fair enough.) Whereas I would put this book in front of anyone and say, “You might like it.”

I have seen some reviewers from within the fantasy tradition sort of taking me to task for feeling that this book is not fantastic enough. That having it be set in the real world, or very, very, very nearly in the real world, hamstrings it, and that it is too quotidian. Now, obviously, I have to treat any of these–these are legitimate opinions, and I sort of respectfully listen to them and stuff. Now equally, I disagree. For me, this would have been a much less interesting book had it been set on an asteroid in space or in a magic kingdom. But I think it’s quite important not to get defensive when readers–I mean, obviously if you feel you’re being massively misrepresented or libeled or whatever, that’s a different matter. But if people are saying this book is really rubbish, and here’s why, then of course you’re going to be crestfallen. You want people to like your book.