TUESDAY

He got his Ph.D. at the London School of Economics, he draws comics, he’s a confirmed socialist, he plays drum ‘n’ bass, and his name is China. In short, if you don’t trust any revolution you can’t dance to, China Mieville will become your DJ and tribal scribe. Mieville is (cue vomit) not yet 31, and in the years since 1972 he’s become the Great Brit Hope of the fiction of possibility, a literary tradition whose elements of science fiction and fantasy keep it out of the critical mainstream even as the public sops up every crumb. Folding in cockney rhyming slang, socialist ideology, and a deep knowledge of the considerable secrets harbored among the sewers and tunnels of hidden London, his novels King Rat and Perdido Street Station scooped up armfuls of awards and made the earringed young eccentric one of the most celebrated writers in the cruelly marginalized world of genre fiction. Now he’s back with the monumental (800 tiny-margined pages) The Scar, an epic of seafaring, piracy, island imprisonment, and biological mutation that may catapult Mieville into Stateside stardom. We son’t even have to get over our elf thing. Mieville, see, has no truck with the mainstream traditions of fantasy—medievalism, stock evil and stock good, the literary abandonment of psychological and moral responsibility that is “destiny.” His novels are fast-paced, humanistic, complex, and ambiguous, beautifully written and possessed of a depth of understanding about the threads of soul that bind all creatures. Back away from the Tolkien, people, this is not your grandfather’s science-fiction/fantasy novelist. Mieville will be here at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, at Borders, 5871 Crossroads Center Way, Baileys Crossroads. Free. (703) 998-0404. (Arion Berger)

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