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There’s a big default notion that “spare,” or “precise” prose is somehow better. I spend a lot of time arguing for literalism of fantastic, rather than its reduction to allegory.
I keep insisting to them that while such prose is completely legitimate, it’s in no way intrinsically more accurate, more relevant, or better than lush prose. Metaphor is inevitable but it escapes our intent, so we should relax about it.
Vander Meer: What do you think most surprises your students studying weird tales?
Miéville: I think for a lot of people who don’t read pulp growing up, there’s a real surprise that the particular kind of Pulp Modernism of a certain kind of lush purple prose isn’t necessarily a failure or a mistake, but is part of the fabric of the story and what makes it weird. Or your monsters are only legitimate to the extent that they ‘really mean’ something else.
I’m teaching a course in Weird Fiction at the University of Warwick, so this has come up a lot.
Obviously it’s kind of impossible to come to anything like a final answer, so I approach this in a Beckettian way–try to define/understand it, fail, try again, fail again, fail better…I think the whole “sense of cosmic awe” thing that we hear a lot about in the Weird tradition is to do with the sense of the numinous, whether in a horrific iteration (or, more occasionally, a kind of joyous one), as being completely embedded in the everyday, rather than an intrusion.In February of this year, I talked to Miéville about Weird fiction and many other topics via instant messenger.Vander Meer: First off, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed for Weird Tale’s 85th anniversary issue.Of course we all have our favourite iterations of Weird, and for me it dovetails a lot with a love of teratology, so I also hugely love when the Weird is expressed by radical monster-making, the strangeness of strange creatures, but some of my favourite Weird Tales contain no monsters at all. Miéville: I don’t think I can distinguish [between] the two.I think for me the best Weird fiction is an expression of that awe, which permeates the whole thing, but because you can’t structure a story as a continual shout of ecstasy (at least not and expect many readers to stick with you) it sort of pretends to be an epiphany.We are free dating website, with most dating members from UK & US looking for speed dating.