Extreme Visions – A Conversation with China Miéville

How science fiction inspires the future of our cities Pt. 4

Buildings as large as cities, entire city blocks growing like plants, or personal flying devices and high-speed mass transit systems inspired by science fiction scenarios – as part of our science fiction explorations we have shown you glimpses of how designers, architects, and engineers approach our urban future in creative ways. At the same time, the sheer utopian vision of science fiction can also become overwhelming; it can be truly radical and uncompromising, sometimes beyond the scope of our wildest dreams. So, let’s explore some of the genre’s more extreme ideas and futuristic flights of fancy.

China Miéville counts among the most successful contemporary authors of fantastic fiction in the UK – and many of his striking stories deal with the very essence of our cities. In his novels, the urban environment constitutes more than a mere backdrop to the action: It becomes an acting agent itself. “It is not conscious,” Miéville argues, “but I suppose that is because I am a city creature. I find cities endlessly fecund and inspiring. Living in a city like London, you don’t just get on with your life in a place that happens to be called London. It is a specific thing: living in London. The city intrudes into your life and this, in turn, translates into fiction as a manifestation of character – it is how we experience it.”

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