China Miéville lives and works in London. He is three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award (Perdido Street Station, Iron Council and The City & The City) and has also won the British Fantasy Award twice (Perdido Street Station and The Scar)

Short Story Collections

Looking for Jake
(PanMacmillan, 2011)

reviewed by David Hebblethwaite

Interview with China Miéville

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

China Miéville: The first was written in 1997, the last in about 2004, but of course they were written in bits and pieces and snips of time, so it's impossible to answer rigorously. I write shorts very occasionally, and in little bursts of time, so I can't be sure, if you clumped them together, how long each one had taken. Probably for the most part something between one and two weeks, though obviously longer on a novella like The Tain.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

CM: In the most nebulous sense, that I hoped they'd be collected together when done, but I wasn't thinking of them as a totality - just wanting to put whatever shorts I could together. I love short story collections, always have, and loved the idea of having one.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

CM: For someone like me who doesn't write that many, it was easy: include everything, leave out nothing.

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

CM: Whatever the writer and/or reader wants it to.

TSR: Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?

CM: Myself, stripped of the memory of the story. A dull answer, I know, but it's the truth.

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?

CM: Many, many things, but on the whole I think writers should butt out when people read their books, so I'd bite my lip and restrain myself.

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

CM: A very strange and very lovely privilege.

TSR: What are you working on now?

CM: I'm going to be a pain and duck the question, as I'm very superstitious about talking about work in progress. I will say I'm hoping to do a lot more short stories over the next couple of years. I have plans.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

CM: David Constantine, Under the Dam , Ghassan Kanafani, Men in the Sun , AN Munby, Alabaster Hand and other Ghost Stories
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