Extrapolation

Building Worlds: Dialectical Materialism as Method in China Miéville's Bas-Lag

Extrapolation (2009), 50, (2), 212–223.

Abstract

This essay examines the method China Miéville uses to create his fictional world Bas-Lag. Following Carl Freedman's arguments about the Marxist poetics that serve as the theoretical base for Miéville's fiction, Miéville's method corresponds directly to the method outlined by Marx in The Grundrisse. This method involves the concentration of many abstract determinations in order to create a concrete world. The results of this concentrative method yield a vast generic and stylistic monstrosity, in this case Bas-Lag. Therefore, I will argue the form of world creation is generic overdetermination—understood as the accumulation, interaction, and mutual subversion of the voices, styles, genres, and discourses that present that world—and that this form corresponds to the era of late, global capital

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Bakhtin, Mikhail. "The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays" Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach. Edited by Michael McKeon. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 2000. 321–53. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach 321 53 Google Scholar

Benjamin, Walter. "Theses on the Philosophy of History" Illuminations.1968. 253–64. Theses on the Philosophy of History Illuminations 253 64 Google Scholar

Bould, Mark. "The British Science Fiction Boom." Science Fiction Studies 29.87 (2002): 353–499. The British Science Fiction Boom Science Fiction Studies 29.87 353 499 Google Scholar

Cook, David (ed). Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master Guide. 2nd ed. New York: Random House, 1995. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master Guide Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel. "The Political Technology of Individuals" Power: Essential Work of Foucault. Edited by Paul Rainbow. New York: The New Press, 2000. 401–17. Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel. Society Must Be Defended. New York: Picador, 2003. Society Must Be Defended Google Scholar

Freedman, Carl. "To the Perdido Street Station: the Representation of Revolution in China Miéville's Iron Council." Extrapolation 46.2 (2005): 235–49. To the Perdido Street Station: the Representation of Revolution in China Miéville's Iron Council Extrapolation 46.2 235 49 Google Scholar

Freedman, Carl. "Speculative Fiction and International Law: The Marxism of China Miéville." Socialism and Democracy. 20.3 (2006): 25–39. Speculative Fiction and International Law: The Marxism of China Miéville Socialism and Democracy 20.3 25 39 Google Scholar

Gordon, Joan. "Reveling in Genre: An Interview With China Miéville." Science Fiction Studies. 30.3 (2003): 355–73. Google Scholar

Jameson, Frederic. "In the Mirror of Alternate Modernities." Introduction to Karatani Kojin, Origins of Modern Japanese Literature. London: Durham Press, 1993. xiii. Google Scholar

Jameson, Frederic. Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions. New York: Verso, 2005. Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions Google Scholar

Le Guin, Ursula K. The Left Hand of Darkness. New York: Ace Books, 2000. The Left Hand of Darkness Google Scholar

Marx, Karl. "The Grundrisse." The Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd Edition. Edited by Robert Tucker. New York: Norton, 1978. 221–93 Google Scholar

Marx, Karl. "Capital, Volume One." The Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd Edition. Edited by Robert Tucker. New York: Norton, 1978. 294–438 Google Scholar

Marx, Karl. "The Communist Manifesto." The Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd Edition. Edited by Robert Tucker. New York: Norton, 1978. 469–500 Google Scholar

Miéville, China. Perdido Street Station. New York: Del Rey, 2000. Perdido Street Station Google Scholar

Miéville, China. The Scar. New York: Del Rey, 2002. The Scar Google Scholar

Miéville, China. Iron Council. New York: Del Rey, 2004. Iron Council Google Scholar

Miéville, China. "Marxism and Fantasy: An Introduction" Fantastic Literature: A Critical Reader. Edited by David Sandner. London: Praeger, 2004. 334–42. Marxism and Fantasy: An Introduction Fantastic Literature: A Critical Reader 334 42 Google Scholar

Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books, 1994. Orientalism Google Scholar

Tolkien, J.R.R. "On Fairy Stories." Essays Presented to Charles Williams. London: Oxford University Press, 1947. Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Cooper, Rich Paul