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A Mosaic in Mutation: The Divergent and Transgressive Grotesquerie of China Miéville



This paper seeks to explore China Miéville's use of the grotesque in his New Weird novum. Through Miéville's literature, we shall study the grotesque as a tool of affective mutability and difference. Without being subservient to fairy-quest logics, his work rejects the rigid structural compressions and challenges the traditional narratology of the fantastic. Miéville's materialist radicalization of the grotesque, present throughout his divergent worldbuilding, enables him to create a polymorphic teratology of molecular becoming. We intend to theorize the transmutability of heterotopic geographies as possibility spaces of co-existential indeterminacy; they produce events that agitate our onto-epistemological understanding of the monstrous. Miéville's fractalization of the monster proper is potentialized with a heterogeneous expressivity that refrains from constructing rigid and totalizing benchmarks, thereby posing a non-conformist challenge to genre-conforming models in fantasy. Estranging from his precursors, especially those who trailed the Lovecraftian vein, Miéville addresses the overuse of stock archetypes and the demarcation problem that made the monster unintelligible and immobile, and experiments with the shifting potential of genres and subgenres without getting subjected to classifiable categorizations. With a special focus on his King Rat (1998) and Kraken (2010), our objective is to address this elastic breathability in Miéville's transgressive and creative grotesquerie, to interpret the grotesque as a heuristic tool of extreme potentialities, and to conceptualize his abcanny as a revitalizing agency of dissension intrinsic to his literature with which he effectuates a teratocultural shift and confronts the stagnancy perpetuated by his ancestors of the fantastic.

Parallel abstracts



Noys, Benjamin, and Timothy S. Murphy. “Introduction: Old and New Weird.” Genre, vol. 49, no. 2, July 2016, pp. 117-34. Duke UP, https://doi.org/10.1215/00166928-3512285.
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Wight, Linda, and Nicole Gadd. “Sublime and Grotesque: The Aesthetic Development of Weird Fiction in the Work of H. P. Lovecraft and China Miéville.” Abusões, vol. 4, no. 1, 2017, pp. 291-321. Abusões, https://doi.org/ 10.12957/abusoes.2017.27428.
McCormack, Derek P. “Molecular Affects in Human Geographies.” Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, vol. 39, no. 2, Feb. 2007, pp. 359-77. Sage Journals, https://doi.org/10.1068/a3889.
Miéville, China. “Weird Fiction.” The Routledge Companion to Science Fiction, edited by Mark Bould et al., Routledge, 2009, pp. 510-15.