Over at BLDBLOG, Geoff Manaugh interviews China Mieville about the role of architecture and urban space in science fiction and fantasy. I’d quote a bit but there’s so many great ideas being discussed, I’d end up pasting in the whole thing.
More than any other writer that comes to mind, Mieville makes his fantastical urban settings feel like real spaces, not just the cardboard set decorations you find in a lot of urban fantasy and sci-fi.Just from the descriptions in Perdido Street Station, New Crobuzon feels like a real place, even though it’s filled with cactus people and beetle-headed women and flesh robots and dream eating moths. And that’s just one book. His magical London in Krakan makes Harry Potter’s London look like the aforementioned cardboard set decoration. It has alleys and puddles and shadows and light and grime and life, not just a facsimile of doors and windows and bricks given funny names.
Reading Mieville’s work has really opened my eyes to the potential for architecture to play as big a role as any character in a story. Definitely osmethign worth thinking more about.