China Miéville Talks at KU

On September 24, 2009, China Miéville, a British author of what has been called the New Weird, was the 2009 Richard W. Gunn Memorial Lecturer, and he also gave a reading of his novel-in-progress to a large audience in the Oread Bookstore on September 23. His talk is on "Cognition as Ideology: A Dialectic of SF Theory."

China Miéville's novel Perdido Street Station launched a genre that combined urban fantasy with the rigorous background and treatment customarily associated with science fiction. The British author of two other novels in the Perdido Street Station universe, The Scar and Iron Council, also published King Rat, Un Dun Lun, and the recent The City & the City. Miéville also is an academic, with a B.A. from Cambridge and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. He has been a candidate for the British House of Commons and has published a book on Marxism and international law, as well as co-editing (with Mark Bould) Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction (Early Classics of Science Fiction). His fiction has been nominated for numerous awards and won the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award twice and the Locus Magazine award. Miéville edited a special issue on Marxism and fantasy for Historical Materialism and a forthcoming special issue on Marxism and science fiction.

The Gunn Lecture, endowed by Dr. Richard W. Gunn, brother of James Gunn, emeritus professor of English and director of the J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction, has featured several science-fiction scholars. Although it has also sponsored speakers on Shakespeare and Ralph Ellison, it has brought a distinguished group of science-fiction experts to the campus beginning with scholar Fredric Jameson, William A. Lane Professor at Duke University, and continuing with Bill Brown, Edgar Carson Waller Professor at the University of Chicago. Michael Chabon, a prize-winning speculative-fiction and mainstream author and editor, also presented at KU in 2008.

This is an excerpt of the talk and runs four minutes:



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