China Miéville: The Work of Mourning
This thesis begins from an attempt to place recent changes in science fiction and fantasy criticism in context within contemporary debates and schisms within Left politics. It examines the ways in which China Miéville’s fiction reflects on and intervenes in these debates on questions of modernity, community, and collectivity. Through readings of The City & the City, The Last Days of New Paris, and This Census-Taker, I seek to examine the ways in which Miéville’s fiction, through an acknowledgement of the impossibility of escaping historically and culturally situated perspectives and through an awareness of the dangers of the appeal to community, arrives at the position of foregrounding contingency, heterogeneity, and ambiguity. Drawing particularly on Derrida’s image of the ghost in Spectres of Marx and its exploration and elaboration in the work of Simon Critchley, I argue that Miéville’s writing, especially in his most recentnovellas, is representative of, and participative in, politics as a work of mourning.