by Tomcat & Thom

Jackbooted feet stamp in unison quick-march as the “Could They Beat-Up China Miéville?” security team, a dozen strong and lethally trained, head for an alert triggered in the lobby. The Omega Protocol has been enacted: China Miéville is in the building. As they burst through, filing in in pairs through five doors to surround the intruder, they draw their batons and scream for China Miéville to lie on the floor with his hands behind his head. He smiles his dissent.

Up in their office, Tomcat and Thom watch the impending disaster on the building’s CCTV. They see the smile and recognise it, a trace of China Evil’s dark humour on China Miéville’s lips. When it arrives the violence is sudden and brutal, coldly efficient. The security team have been trained to fight as a unit, a score of fists and feet working in aggressive unison, and they swarm China Miéville seemingly gaining the upper-hand by force of numbers, but they are no match for the rage of a righteous man. One by one he cuts them down, bruised and unconscious, battered into submission as they try and fail to stop him. There were ten, are now seven, four, three, now one. He grabs the baton from one of his fallen colleagues and charges China Miéville, but Thom and Tomcat can see he is resigned to his inevitable thrashing.

Their building breached, their elite and extremely pricey security force incapacitated, they can only watch as China Miéville goes through into the security office, turning to stare down the lens of the camera therein before driving an appropriated baton through the heart of the CCTV and IT systems control console, reducing the feed to a moment of static before an ominously dead screen.

In the top-floor penthouse office, Tomcat is pacing back and forth; “He’s coming” he says “he’ll be here any minute”. Thom stands still, calmer, his eyes on the lifeless security monitors. “We’ve done this to ourselves” continues Tomcat “if we hadn’t thrown so many assailants at China Miéville, then he wouldn’t be the battle-hardened maelstrom of vengeance he is today. We’re the authors of our own demise”.  Gunshots and screams echo up through the building. “He’s on the floor below us!” And then: silence.

The two bloggers exchange fearful glances before a loud crash breaks the hush; China has kicked in the doorway to the office and stands in the aperture; panting, angry.

Tomcat charges into China Miéville and grapples with the towering novelist. They turn and spin, fighting in a violent mock ballet through the large office, knocking over chairs, tables, monitors and cabinets as they scramble and scrap. But soon China gets the upper-hand, and with a cogent push, he casts Tomcat to the ground.

Tomcat lies prostrate and dizzied; but wiping the back of his hand against a small cut on his lower lip, he begins to laugh. He shows the smear of blood to China; “is this the best you can do?” he snarls, “I guess we overestimated you. You will never defeat me!” In response, China merely raises an eyebrow, as if to say ‘I already have’. Tomcat’s sneer vanishes, and a mask of creeping horror begins to spread over his face. Small lumps are worming under Tomcat’s skin, travelling up his cheeks; “no, NO! You couldn’t have” he screams. He begins to jerk in violent spasms of panic, his hands clawing at his face – but all to no avail. During their scuffle, China Miéville implanted his cybernetic worm-like earrings into Tomcat, and now they’re working their way under his skin, up inside his skull. With an eruption of blood and fragments of bone, the worms explode through Tomcat’s eye sockets and he collapses to the floor, wriggling, blind, in anguish.

As Tomcat writhes and twitches towards agonising death, Thom grabs his closed laptop and steps forward, swinging it at China Miéville’s head. The author doesn’t flinch, moving into the arc of the blow and driving his fist through the laptop, which splits in two, and on into Thom’s nose. He rears back, spluttering through the explosion of blood and pain, and stumbles over a chair. Falling now, Thom cannot see past the agony and collides with the plate glass window, shattering it. He screams as he falls, and Tomcat has finally stopped moving.

China Mieville turns to leave, only to pause as a huge screen on the wall sparks into life. A huge numeral five flashes ominously and an automated voice chimes in.

“Life signs lost. Automatic detonation in five, four,” China Miéville looks at the door; it’s too far, even if only this floor’s rigged to blow. “Three, Two…” Turning, he runs toward the broken window and throws himself out. “One.” His coat whips around him in the wake of the explosion, and despite the danger of the fall he smiles…

This is the end of “Could They Beat-Up China Miéville?”.

WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE

CHINA MIÉVILLE vs. CHINA mi-EVIL-le

Posted: June 11, 2011 by Thom Dicomidis in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

As China Miéville gave chase through the fetid alleys he could tell that the figure he was pursuing was slowing deliberately and so, as he rounded the last corner it had taken, China Miéville ducked and rolled, avoiding the outthrust fist that had been set to use his own momentum to knock him out. He skidded back to his feet and pivoted, ready to rejoin the fight. His adversary turned slowly, and smiled at China Miéville’s disbelief as a face not unlike his own reflection, seen through a glass, darkly, looked backed.

Pressing his advantage, not-quite China Miéville charged, and China Miéville-proper was spurred into a frenzied defence. They moved in harmony, almost perfect parity, as kick and thrust met block and reversal, which were themselves parried or deflected. It began as a fluid motion, almost balletic choreographed combat, but the shock of seeing a face so like his own had slowed China Miéville slightly and soon his enemy gained the upper hand, knocking him violently to the ground.

“No, I didn’t come through the rift.” He answered China Miéville’s unspoken question. “That’s a plot hole of my making. I’ve been here all along, pulling the strings.” He stamped down on China Miéville’s chest to punctuate his point and stop him from getting up. “Haven’t you wondered why you became so aggressive China? Forgive my familiarity…” He smiled at the very idea. “Quantum overlap of sympathetic psychic fields. You’re becoming like me, China EVIL! “The sound of pre-recorded thunder roared in the background and China Evil looked down at China Miéville quizzically. “Too much?”

Enraged, China Miéville grabbed China Evil’s ankle and twisted, upending his foe. He didn’t get up, instead pressing his advantage by rolling onto China Evil and trying to drive his head into the ground. Their hands scrabbled for advantage, the fight now more brutal and more artless than any China Miéville had had, and soon his position let him get his hands around China Evil’s throat. Gasping through his compressed windpipe China Evil began to smile, rasping out a laugh and China Miéville realised that his fury, though justified, was not his own. He released his dark double to much spluttering and coughing, and stood, turning to walk away.

“You’ll have to kill me, you know. The rift? It won’t close until I die.” China Evil called out, his voice rough and sore. China Miéville carried on walking.  China Evil roared with pathetic, thwarted rage and drew a gun. His first shot ricocheted off the wall beside China Miéville’s head, who ducked low and grabbed a bin lid to shield himself. As he turned China Evil had fired again, and the bullet sparked off China Miéville’s metal, struck the wall, and returned to sender, through his scarred eye and into his brain. As China Miéville regarded his dead double in horror China Evil’s phone began to ring. HE looked at the phone, ‘COULD THEY BEAT-UP CHINA MIÉVILLE?’ flashing on its screen, and answered the call.

“The rift’s closed.” A voice on the other end of the line said. “You killed him, I take it?” There was a long pause. “Hello?”

China Miéville had already dropped the phone into the squalor of the alley. He knew where he had to go.

 WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE

It begins with laughter.  Shrieks that pierce the city twilight and emanate from an indefinite source.  China Miéville spins on his toes, his eyes scan the surrounding buildings as he searches for the origin of the mad cackle.  To his left – no! –his right, the lunatic hysteria echoes and refracts around the uniformly tall, uniformly functional, uniformly bland office blocks.  The sky clouds over and rain begins to fall, as if nature itself is setting the scene for a climactic struggle, sympathetically aware of the dramatic tableau necessitated by the oncoming conflict.

Darkness doesn’t descend from the sky; rather, it seems to rise from the streets, and with a brilliant flash of lightning that arcs calligraphically across the heavens, China sees why: he is suddenly surrounded.  A ring of men encircles him, each identically cloaked and hooded, as uniform as the architecture that compasses this urban arena.  China Miéville can feel the presence of his nemesis.  One of these men is genuine, one of them is: The Hooded Bastard.

Another blaze of lightning: and in its dazzling incandescence the hooded figures seem unnaturally to shift forwards, closing in on China Miéville.  A moment’s pause and the onslaught begins.  Several hoods break formation and charge at Mr. Miéville in a variety of overly dramatic and largely unnecessary flips and spins.  China kicks one in the stomach, dispatches two more with his fists and catching a fourth assailant by the arm, throws him to the ground.  But there’s no let-up, and a second wave of hooded aggressors attack.  China holds his own, and amid a cascading flurry of hoods and cloaks, he fights on; battle-hardened after a baffling month of increasingly surreal conflicts.

China deflects and strikes, parries and counters; disposing of tens and tens of hooded goons.  And still they come.  China’s vision is obscured by the sweeping waveforms of black cloaks; his actions are not his own; his experience takes over and China becomes a spectator to the fracas, his body a violent disconnect from his mind.  China enters a zen-state of hypnotic calm as time seems to slow and his arms and legs work of their own volition; kicking hoods, breaking limbs, deflecting attacks and striking with mechanical accuracy.

An age seems to pass, and then China Miéville finds himself to be the only figure standing, panting in the rain: the ground a disordered strew of prostrate and supine hooded doppelgangers.  China bends down and pulls back the hood of the nearest figure to reveal… nothing.  Just cloaks and rags; the hoods are all empty. 

But then: clapping.  China stands and spins to face the applauding figure of his nemesis; the real Hooded Bastard.

“And yet it moves” crows China’s foe “very well, I will take care of you myself.”  And with this, The Hooded Bastard charges towards China, a wild banshee howl screeching from the darkness of his hood.

China Miéville is tired of these games, and he grabs The Hooded Bastard mid-run and delivers a stern blow to his abdomen.  The Hooded Bastard collapses to his knees, wheezing, and China grips him by the throat.

With a sudden and violent jerk, China yanks back his nemesis’ hood to finally reveal his identity.  The Hooded Bastard is: Paolo Bacigalupi, the man forced to share the 2010 Hugo Award for best novel with China Miéville. 

“Yes, it’s me” he gasps, “but there’s something you should know” and looking China in the eyes, he begins to laugh “it doesn’t end here… there’s somebody else… somebody who forced me to do these things.  All this time I’ve been working for… for –” but before he can utter the name, Paolo slumps forward: dead.  A long, slender throwing knife protrudes from the back of his head.

China looks up and catches a glimpse of a figure: a dark, muscular silhouette runs down an alley, and away…

WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE

CHINA MIÉVILLE vs. THE FUTURE

Posted: June 9, 2011 by Thom Dicomidis in Uncategorized
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Outside the sky had turned black and crackled with the threat of lightning and China Miéville pulled up the hood of his coat against the oncoming storm. As he walked down the street, largely abandoned to the lateness of the hour and the aforementioned threat of inclemency, the wind became more disturbed, whipping around a locus of increasing size in the centre of the road. China Miéville, now almost inured to the daily intrusion of the bizarre and the bafflingly violent, looked around for something he could wield convincingly, settling on pulling a loose bar of cast iron off a nearby railing

The movement of air around the disturbance became more frenzied as the hum and tick of electricity and clockwork operating at extremes began to sound. China Miéville hefted his iron bar like a club as an iridescent flash of pale blue light forced him to look away. Once the light had faded he looked to the road, only to see a figure clambering out of a ruin of machinery that had, before its apparently violent arrival, mixed the arcane and the futuristic in a highly ramshackle manner. It’s occupant, a man in a dapper, if dated, suit ran towards him, limping painfully.

“Mister Miéville! Mister Miéville!” He did not seem to seek or wait for confirmation. “My name is Herbert Wells, and I need… Oh.” H.G. Wells groaned in a just-realised pain, and touched a hand to his back. It came away dark with blood. “Oh dear…They stole from me, Mr. Miéville, and now I fear they have followed me… I needed to find the man who could use this…” From the pocket of his waistcoat he withdrew a small cube, inlaid with crystals. He forced it into China Miéville’s palm, where it began to shine with an impossible internal lustre. H.G. Wells smiled and sat heavily, nearly spent. The sounds and disturbances that had marked his arrival began to start again. “You need to collapse the waveform…” Specks of blood came with his words. “You need to… need to… destroy the future…” H.G. Wells closed his eyes.

As he turned towards the new disturbances that seemed to be building all over the street China Miéville could see the faces of the Morlocks in ghostly premonition, half-there already. The crystals in the cube began to sing, and in the wreck of Wells’ machine the fiercest of them began to materialise, his brute club readied for slaughter. Unthinking, China Miéville threw, the crystal cube hitting its mark in the not-yet chest of the lead Morlock. A burst of the promised lightning exploded from the sky in crimson majesty and struck the cube in the air. As the Morlock howled, a net of electricity threaded from the cube and snaked through every nascent disturbance. The shockwave that threw China Miéville back, that shattered every window on the street, felt oddly triumphalist along with its finality.

WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE

CHINA MIÉVILLE vs. FOX NEWS

Posted: June 8, 2011 by Tomcat in Uncategorized
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In the lobby of the Fox News network building two security guards lie prostrate on the floor, their necks bent at impossible angles.  On a desk behind them grainy surveillance monitors feedback images of the building: elevators, boardrooms, studios, corridors – all silent.  A moment’s thought will make obvious that (unexpectedly for Fox News) something just isn’t…right.  This cartoon bastion of American media Conservatism is a 24-hour propaganda machine; things shouldn’t be so still, so calm, so empty.

Beyond the lobby, more security guards have been dispatched: some lie face-down on the carpet, other guards are bent over the railings of a staircase, unconscious.  One officer hangs from a light fitting by his ankles, bloodied and contorted like some gross, post-beating human piñata.

The lights of a first-floor office flicker on and off, on and off; and in their arrhythmic staccato spasms a figure is exposed: Glenn Beck sits at his desk – dead.  Streams of blood run from the hollows of his eyes in a faux-cascade of tears, a grotesque mime of emotion; something has eaten through his eyes and burrowed into his skull.  Tonight’s episode of The Glenn Beck Program: cancelled.

The bodies of more guards are strewn across the second-floor, the walls peppered with bullet-holes from vain attempts to stop their assailant’s rampage.  Amidst the detritus of smashed furniture and the mincemeat of TV scripts lies Sean Hannity; face against the floor, arse up in the air, trousers round his ankles, lifeless eyes staring into nothingness: he’s been sodomised by a plastic doll of his most hated liberal conspirator: Barak Obama.  The Sean Hannity Show: axed.

A similar scene holds court on the third-floor.  An elevator door opens and closes, opens and closes, repeatedly jamming on the still and supine body of a security guard who lays half-in, half-out of the lift.  Across the ruined hallway is the office of self-styled orthodox Conservative nut-job and unwitting Howard Beale impersonator Bill O’Reilly, but the only sound that emerges is a revenant moan of wind from a broken window: somebody has been thrown from the building.  The O’Reilly Factor: terminated.

So it is throughout Fox News.  Anne Coulter: annihilated.  Neil Cavuto: extirpated.  Mick Huckabee: levelled.  Shepard Smith has given up the ghost.  The only human voice comes from the top floor: a throaty, pleading, desperate murmur: it’s Rupert Murdoch, begging for clemency.  He pleads, lies, denounces his business practices, swears fealty to the Socialist Workers Party – but all to no avail.  A piercing, metallic screech rings throughout the building, accompanied by a brief but high-pitched scream; gurgling, a bang; then silence.

The only figure to leave Fox News this night is a shaven-headed, broad-shouldered, skulltopus-tattooed apparition: silently walking away, he is soon lost to the pallid light.

WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE

CHINA MIÉVILLE vs. PRINCE CHARLES

Posted: June 7, 2011 by Thom Dicomidis in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Unfortunately, as can be the case where class pedigree is held to be of higher concern than the perils of consanguinity, Prince Charles was in the family way. Said euphemism had of course, amongst the family Windsor at least, been altered by royal decree to indicate not a pregnancy but rather that one had gone raving batshit insane.

Mounted on a horse requisitioned from the royal guard and wearing a suit of armour that had belonged to some ancestor or other, Prince Charles rode up and down The King’s Road, its regal name pricking a further spur to his madness. Galloping hither and thither in a pattern as nonsensical as the very existence of his outdated station he would, seemingly at random, fixate on one of his mother’s subjects and scream “Abolitionist!” with an almost insensate fury. As his accusation rang out he drove his horse onward, lance raised to gore the offending passerby.

And so it went, until The King’s Road was littered with the less nimble of the accused abolitionists and the rest had scattered, leaving Prince Charles to charge quixotically at parked cars, shop fronts and bus stops. As his maddened eyes flitted from potential insurrectionist to possible anarchist, Prince Charles petted his blooded horse. At some distance an engine’s roar barked out over the slow clop of horse’s hooves. Prince Charles turned to regard his new challenger, China Miéville, who raised his lance in an ironic salute and donned a black motorcycle helmet. The joust was set.

A carrier bag fluttered between the two competitors, an ersatz flag calling them to arms. They charged, with China Miéville covering the ground more quickly but Prince Charles having the advantages of both height and some recent, if grim, practice. In the instant before their lances crossed China Miéville angled his weapon steeply, trying to catch Prince Charles under the chin and avoid harming a largely blameless horse. The reverberation of his lance shattering shook down his arm and caused China Miéville to spin out, being thrown from the bike. As he rose, painfully but uninjured he readied himself to return to combat, but Prince Charles was vanquished, with only his steed seeming to grieve over his prone and battered form…

 

WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE

CHINA MIÉVILLE vs. BILL GATES

Posted: June 6, 2011 by Tomcat in Uncategorized
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Ever since China Miéville defeated Donald Trump in vicious one-on-one combat, Bill Gates has been watching him.  Initially, Gates mistook China for other bald-headed techno-geek Steve Jobs, but now he knows his mistake, and has done his research.  There is no end to his knowledge of China Miéville; he’s even read that strange one he wrote for kids a couple of years ago.

Now Bill sits deep in the bowels of Gates-manor, surrounded by hundreds of monitors.  Each of these screens is looping in infinite play-back, displaying all of China’s recent encounters.  On one screen China repeatedly defeats Lady Gaga, on another he disposes of Lev Grossman – one screen flickers as China continually dispatches Cthulhu and one displays his victory over Robert Pattinson.  The largest monitor, in the centre of all others, shows China’s current location.  Bill leans forwards, squeezing his Steve Jobs-shaped stress ball, and suddenly jumps from his chair.  China is alone, looking for inspiration in a massive disused factory – this is Bill Gates’ chance to strike.

As China Miéville wanders the abandoned factory floor, he becomes suddenly aware of a helicopter engine – it’s heading towards the building – it hovers above the roof!  Almost before China can react, the glass above him shatters and a figure descends on a rope, landing a few meters in front of the bemused novelist.  Pulling off a blacked-out cycle helmet, the figure reveals himself – Bill Gates!

“Give me the earrings Miéville! – I’ve seen what they can do” demands Bill in his characteristic nasal whine “I want that technology – I NEED it to defeat Steve Jobs.”  He advances towards China, a buzzing cattle-prod in his hand.

China smiles and obliges – he removes his earrings and after a pretence of submission, suddenly throws them directly at Bill Gates.  Mid-air, the cybernetic worms come to life, wiggling, red-eyed and determined, ready to burrow into the flesh of their target.

But with unexpected speed, Bill Gates presses a small switch built-into the sleeve of his suit.  The cybernetic worms shut down and drop to the floor at Gates’ feet, motionless, the red-eyes fading.  He picks them up and with a sardonic smile thanks China for his acquiescence.

Bill signals upwards and the rope attached to his back-pack retracts, lifting him up into the air and towards the waiting helicopter.  China Miéville runs and at the last instant grabs hold of Gates’ ankle.  The two men are carried over the city, hanging from the rope attached to the helicopter.  China climbs up Bill Gates, but he doesn’t stop there – he climbs up the rope and into the cock-pit.  Knocking the pilot unconscious, China takes the controls and turns the vehicle around. 

“NO, STOP!” screams Gates as he dangles from the rope – China doesn’t respond.  He pilots the helicopter and descends, lowering Bill Gates to the ground.  Bill struggles with the wire, but China doesn’t press the release.  Instead he dips the nose of the helicopter, and accelerates towards his assailant – the spinning rotor blades angled towards Bill Gates!  Bill tries to run, but he’s still attached the vehicle.  Covering his face in a pointless effort to protect himself, he screams as the spinning blades make contact.

In the aftermath, China alights from the helicopter and locates his earrings amidst the far-spread mess of what used to be Bill Gates.  Wiping them clean, he re-attaches them, and walks away.

WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE