Monday, 7 December 2015

Coming Attractions | This Census-Taker by China Miéville

We all have our bad habits. Happily, I have far fewer as we approach the close of 2015 than I did in years previous, but there's at least one I haven't been able to give the boot to: my tendency to hoard books I have every reason to believe will be brilliant.

I'm still sitting, for instance, on a number of new-to-me novels by Guy Gavriel Kay and Catherynne M. Valente—a pair of my foremost favourite authors. But the knowledge that I'm entirely likely to love the likes of Palimpsest and The Lions of Al-Rassan has led to me saving them for a rainy day; a long-delayed rainy day during which I'll be able to luxuriate in these reading experiences rather than have to rush headlong towards their respective ends.

I can now add to that list Three Moments of an Explosion by China Miéville, another of the writers I'm not afraid to place on a pedestal. Admittedly I've already read a fair few of the short stories said collection brings together, but I'm hoarding the assemblage itself—not least because I wasn't sure when to expect Miéville to put out anything else.

I'm sure enough now, needless to say. A new novella, name of This Census-Taker, is coming out in January in the United States, and in the UK a full frustrating month later. I'll be buying the limited edition Subterranean Press are in the process of putting together, however, in large part because of Vincent Chong's typically terrific cover art:

Here's a bit about the book, too:
A boy ran down a hill path screaming. 
This running, screaming boy has witnessed something terrible, something so awful that he cannot even properly articulate it. All he can do is run. His story is investigated, but no evidence is found to support it, and so in the end, he is sent back. Back up that hill path to the site of his terror, to live with the parent who caused it.  
The boy tries to escape. He flees to a gang of local children but they can't help him. The town refuses to see his danger. He is alone.  
Then a stranger arrives. A stranger who claims his job is to ask questions, seek truth. Who can, perhaps, offer safety. Or whose offer may be something altogether different, something safety is no part of.  
In This Census-Taker, multiple award-winning writer China Miéville offers a story made of secrets and subtle reveals, of tragedy and bravery, of mysteries that shift when they appear to be known. It is a stunning work, full of strangeness and power.
Since I seem to have squirreled away plenty of Miéville already, I'll be reading This Census-Taker just as soon as humanly. You should too, to be sure.

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