Friday, March 02, 2007

Going to China

So this week I found out (I think through the Stranger Blog) that China Mieville was going to be at the University Bookstore reading from his new novel, Un Lun Dun. I really have live China's novels and wanted to hear him read. I mentioned it to the Monkey King, who had previously done a lot of work with Mr. Mieville on a huge recent issue of DRAGON magazine (still available in your finer stores) on the world China presented in Perdido Street Station and other novels.

So we met down there. It was an excellent turnout (to be read: they had to set more chairs to handle the crowd). China read for about ten minutes, and in those ten minutes, convinced me to buy the book. The book (a young adult novel) has that hidden London vibe of Gaiman's Neverwhere, but in addition some beautiful passages, as well as pictures of meat-eating giraffes and trashcan-shaped Binjas (British pun).

China himself looked and sounded good, though seemed a bit worn from the tour. But there is nothing like a British accent for a reading. He was patient with all of the questions, though preferred to be talking about the new stuff as opposed to the earlier books. His favorite volume of his earlier trilogy was also mine, he recommended books on Pirates and garbage, he explained his writing process (binge and purge), and generally gave the viewpoints into writing that the outside world demands but does not fully understand. The question I wanted to ask was "do you feel that Revolution can only be sustained in a moment of time", but when I got his autograph, all I could do was congratulate him on his monsters.

Afterwards Wolf and I retired to the Big Time Pub on University Avenue, where we were accidentally joined by most of the Paizo publishing staff, who were also at the reading. Paizo publishes Dragon and Dungeon Magazines, so they know Monkey King, but of the group I only knew Erik, and then remember him as a young pup at WotC (yes, my age is catching up with me). The "new kids" were Jason, Wes, James, and Erik's young lady Danika, and I remembered that the last time I was at the Big Time, former Dragon Editor Dave Gross was telling me his Shakespear conspiracy theories. Ah, the passage of the generations. Still, we had a fine old time talking about Milwaukee, the viaduct, old games, older gamers, and new projects.

And a fine time was had by all.

More later