Oct 152011

What are the books that get you through it?

Seven years ago, in September or October of 2004, I first heard the name of China Miéville. One of my best friends was reading The Scar, and he couldn’t get enough of the book. He couldn’t stop talking about it. He kept talking about the ReMade, and how they functioned in the world of Bas Lag.

I read up on it a little, and during the course of an online conversation, I sent him an instant message under the name of Bellis Coldwine. He thought that was great! Conversation about the book continued on and off. He kept telling me that I had to get it.

Late on October 15th or very early on the 16th, I found out he was dead. He committed suicide.

One of the first things I did when I regained some semblance of function was that I went out and bought a copy of The Scar. I carried it everywhere with me. I still have that paperback copy.

His family asked me to go through his books. When I did, I found his Miéville collection, which included Perdido Street Station, The Scar, and Iron Council. His Miéville collection is mine now, and I have added to it.

I learned to love the books. I have taught King Rat in my short story and novel survey classes; I have held The Scar as a talisman; I believe The City & The City is one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read.

Books are more than the words on the paper or the words on the screen. Sometimes, they’re nothing less than a life raft.

Seven years, Eric. I know how much of a kick you’d get out of the fact that I’m writing for a gaming site now. I know you’d be proud.

I’m back, y’all. Miss me?

About Ashley Crump

Ashley and her minders, two very strict black cats, make their home on the bayou. One fine day, Ashley finally realized she did not want to write the Great American Novel -- she wanted to understand how writing worked. She set about doing this, and you are seeing her results. It's a long-term project. Enjoy! [The cats do her proofreading...]

  One Response to “Miéville and me: the books that got me through it”

  1. Miéville is a fantastic writer and, as a former gamer, he often includes nods to the hobby in the Bas-Lag series. I have only read his short stories outside of the Bas-Lag works but the City & the City is on my list (as are his other books).

    Not sure if I could use any of the Bas-Lag as a talisman though, they are mostly depressing but highly inspirational for world building.

    And glad to have you back!

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