The tattoo wakes: sentient ink, taxonomies and writing the new weird in China Miéville’s Kraken: an anatomy

Authors: Cox, K.

Editors: Watson, K.

Publisher: Manchester University Press


China Miéville is an innovative writer and critic of fantasy fiction, who emerged as part of the British sf/f renaissance, at the end of the 1990s. His consideration of the new weird as a politically-engaged form of fantasy is a direct challenge to theories of science fiction, building on Darko Suvin’s hierarchy of sf (1979, 1983), that prioritises the value and potential of science fiction over fantasy (see C. Seo-Young Chu 2010; Vint 2015).i Miéville’s apotheosis of the new weird is achieved in his novel Kraken: An anatomy (2010), through content and its form (Miéville 2009).ii In Kraken, by recombining the twin foundations of modern detective and weird fiction,iii Miéville ‘was deliberately writing something big and monstery’ (Miéville qtd. Socialist worker 2010: n.p.). Through marking and remarking - metaphors of ink, tattooing and detection - writing the new weird is aligned to the process of tattooing. I argue this remarking process exposes the depth of the weird beyond the narrative of the modern and new weird Miéville theorises. Whilst Miéville’s critical readings locate the genre in modernity, the reader can, in following his character Billy Harrow’s detectiveiv and interpretative lead, reveal the historical depths of the weird obscured by Miéville’s curatorship.

Source: Manual