As the applause slowly died out China Miéville, Iain M. Banks and Alastair Reynolds walked off the stage and into the wings, glad to be out of the glare of overly bright spotlights.

“I think that went well,” said Alastair Reynolds expositorially, “for a symposium on British science-fiction… “But did it feel a little bit contrived to anyone else?”

“Ahem.” Iain M. Banks cleared his throat theatrically, which was apropos, given the surroundings. The others looked around to see him holding a small silver orb. “Apologies gentlemen, but this won’t hurt for long.” The orb flashed like white phosphorus, a concussive blast flinging Alastair Reynolds like a ragdoll and knocking China Miéville to the floor. Dizzied and nauseous he got to his feet, looking round to check on Alastair Reynolds, who was hanging unconscious from an uncomfortably metallic lighting rig.

“Hmm…” Iain M. Banks seemed put out to find one of his rivals not yet incapacitated. China Miéville lurched unsteadily toward him, intending to disarm him at the very least, when he heard a family brogue behind him.

“I see you’ve met my associate, Iain M. Banks.”

China Miéville turned, stunned more completely by the presence of a identically brown-suited and rakishly unkempt Scottish writer in the form of Iain Banks than he had been by Iain M. Banks’ futuristic flash grenade.

“Writing is hard,” was the only explanation Iain Banks offered as Iain M. Banks pinned China Miéville’s arms behind his back.

Iain Banks stepped forward, fist raised in preparation for delivering a sound thrashing. His shock lessened by the imminent threat of the aforementioned Dunfermline thrashing, China Miéville dropped to one knee, rolling his shoulder so as to throw Iain M. Banks over, tossing him bodily into his less genre-courting double. Where their bodies met the air was rent with a terrible tearing sound, the force of it pushing them apart. The rip opened wider and wider by the second, and began to draw all the air in the room into itself.

“What have you done?” Iain Banks was screaming, repeatedly, over the howl of air rushing into the hole in reality.

China Miéville stayed low to the floor as Iain and Iain M. Banks were pulled inexorably towards the anomaly, and within moments Iain Banks was gone.

“There will be repercussions…” Iain M. Banks threat was almost lost as he too disappeared into the void which, sated, closed behind him.

In his accent the word “repercussions” sounded strangely comical.

WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE

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Chuck Norris has learnt of a new website, one which purports to feature the toughest man in the world as its titular protagonist.  ‘Well’, he thinks, ‘we’ll see about that’.  At home in Chuck Norris Heights, he opens his generously stocked gun cabinet and peruses his armoury, selecting his characteristic pair of Uzis.  But something just doesn’t feel right.  ‘No!’ He realises; ‘I don’t need guns to take down this pretender; my fists alone are arsenal enough’.

Before he takes on China Miéville unarmed, he must ready himself.  He begins by meditating to prepare his mind; a process that largely consists of sitting cross-legged in his living room – surrounded by Chuck Norris memorabilia – and repeatedly chanting his own name in a drawn-out baritone.  After twelve hours of this, his eyes snap open.  His mind is ready.

Next he must make sure that he looks the part.  Applying industrial cement-strength beard wax to his comb, he begins the long process of grooming his facial hair.  A thousand strokes of the comb through the left-side of his beard; a thousand through the right, and a thousand more to secure in place the hair that sprouts from his chin.  Selecting his favourite sleeveless denim shirt from his wardrobe of exclusively sleeveless denim shirts, he dresses himself and leaves his home for the gym, to begin the next phase of combat preparation.

Arriving at the gym, Chuck Norris begins to prime his body.  He starts with the treadmill, but he is Chuck Norris, and no treadmill is fast enough for him! So he turns around and runs backwards on the fastest speed setting and the steepest incline.  Several hours later, the tread has worn away to nothing, and Chuck hops off, not a drop of sweat has formed on his brow.  Next: weights.  But he is Chuck Norris, and no weights are heavy enough to challenge him.  So he lifts the entire building onto his shoulders, and after performing one thousand squats, gently sets the gym down; still, not a hint of exhaustion shows.  Now: cycling.  And as his powerful legs work the pedals, Chuck Norris becomes the first man to perform a wheelie on an exercise bike; simultaneously generating enough electricity to power the entire city.  Finally: some light stretches.

His mind is focused, his beard is groomed, his body pumped; China Miéville cannot escape, for all roads lead to Chuck Norris.  This is it; he is ready – the titanic conflict is about to begin, and much like Chuck Norris’ first day at school: there will be no survivors.

He heads towards China Miéville’s house, ready to take care of this young upstart for good.  But as Chuck Norris rounds the final corner, China is ready for him and smashes Chuck in the face with a two-by-four, knocking him unconscious. China Miéville steps over Chuck Norris’ prostrate body, and continues about his day.

WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE

CHINA MIÉVILLE vs. BANKSY

Posted: May 26, 2011 by Thom Dicomidis in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

 

The footsteps at his back came in short bursts, his inexpert stalker allowing him to get ahead then hurriedly rushing to close the distance between them. Tired and irritated China Miéville rounded the corner and stopped, pressing his back against the wall, and listened for the patter of conspicuous feet. As the stalker, dressed head-to-toe in black and hooded, rounded the corner China Miéville grabbed him roughly by the throat and squeezed a tacit but unmistakable threat.

“Wait!” The hooded figure gasped through incipient strangulation, “I’m not the Hooded Bastard! I’m renowned graffiti artist and wall-botherer Banksy.”

The name had barely left his lips as China Miéville’s fist shot up in a punch, staggering Banksy.

“My work has an important social message.”

The response was a brutal kick which sent Banksy stumbling into the wall. The ball-bearings in his cans of spray-paint rattled as he sat heavily.

China Miéville unhooked his earrings and tossed them at Banksy. In flight the cybernetic worms awoke, they landed on Banksy’s chest with their teeth bared. His eyes went wide as they burrowed into his chest and dug into his circulatory system, then slack as the worms neatly lobotomised him. Stepping forward, China Miéville held out a small case to collect his pets as they struggled out through Banksy’s tear ducts.

The police were never able to trace the anonymous message that told them where to find the inert artist.

WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE

A truck is driving off-road, through dense forest.  It drives for hours, into woods where thick variegated shrubbery, vines and branches twist and converge – blocking out all but the sharpest splinters of sunlight.  It drives into the wilderness of the wilderness where no man has before set foot, and where silver trout, carp and perch swim unafraid in the crystal brooks.

The truck stops in a clearing and three masked men alight.  Minutes later a fourth figure disembarks; it’s Republican nut-job and human rights atavist Sarah Palin.  She walks around the truck and opens the back doors, ordering her men to haul out the person who’s been held captive within.  A figure is pulled from the vehicle and pushed into the clearing where he waits, hand-cuffed and hooded, to meet his fate.  Sarah Palin approaches this man, un-cuffs him and removes the black sack of a hood which has covered his head the entire journey.  The man is revealed as none-other than weird-fiction troubadour China Miéville.

Sarah Palin looks him up and down, her eyes lingering on China’s chest for slightly longer than is appropriate.

“Yes, he will do” she says, “he looks very fit,” she leans to China’s left ear and whispers “athletically and aesthetically.”  Stepping back Sarah Palin gestures with her arm the forest that surrounds them, “you’re free to go” she says, and turns away as if disinterested. China Miéville shrugs and moves off; walking into the endless woods, he is soon lost to sight.

After several hours have passed, Sarah Palin and her men still surround the truck.  She looks at her watch and signals, “That should be long enough. Let’s go: the hunt is on.”  Camouflaged and armed with long rifles, the team sets off on foot, tracking China Miéville through the forest.

But sixteen hours later they are exhausted and baffled: China has eluded them throughout the night, and dawn has brought no further traces of him.  They are sitting in a grassy opening, discussing their plan of action, when one of Palin’s goons suddenly stands and points.  Something has disturbed the shrubbery on the edge of the clearing.  The branches and leaves are shaking with an unnatural rustle which becomes more and more violent until… fifty, no!- a hundred rabbits spill out of the woods, charging towards the small group.

To their left another noise is heard, and they turn to see a colony of beavers tearing towards them.  More sounds, and a gang of elk emerges; wolves and quails, deer and boar: the air filled with birds of every kind imaginable.  And at the centre of this stampede is China Miéville, riding atop a bear that bolts towards the terrified hunters. 

One of Sarah Palin’s men runs for his life; another lets off two shots, but is soon swamped by rampaging wildlife; the third man is trampled by the hooves of a dozen hurrying herbivores.  Only Sarah Palin now remains, and as China Miéville points from atop his bear, the stampeding animals converge and lift her into the air, carrying the former governess off into the dark woods, where her screams gradually fade away, and where an ancient justice still reigns…

WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE

CHINA MIÉVILLE vs. JAMES FRANCO

Posted: May 24, 2011 by Thom Dicomidis in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

 

“Mr Franco is really excited to meet you Mr. Miéville, he’s a huge fan of your books, and the chance to work with you on a screenplay…” As James Franco’s gushing assistant trailed off, China Miéville maintained a tactful silence. He was taking this meeting at the desperate behest of his agent, a man for whom the size of the pot from which his fifteen percent was taken was a constant preoccupation. But his agent was late, and China Miéville was left to fend for himself amidst the steady stream of vaguely obsequious tinseltown inanities as he followed the labyrinthine path of the assistant.

Fortunately, by the time they reached the meeting room China Miéville’s agent was there, exchanging mutually aggrandising platitudes with the youthful looking actor like a practised professional.

“Hey guy. Pleasure to meet you.” China Miéville bristled imperceptibly at the colloquialism as they shook hands. “It’s always good to meet another writer, am I right?”

“Right writer, right?” Chipped in the assistant needlessly.

China Miéville, more perplexed than actually bored, felt his attention drift as they talked about adapting his work for the screen.

A few minutes later, no more than fifteen anyway, he suddenly came back to the conversation as his agent groaned thickly and slumped back in his chair. James Franco was on his feet, knuckles already reddening from the punch he had thrown.

                “Want to tell me you’ve got reservations about letting someone else handle the screenplay solo, do you?!” He was screaming at the agent’s dazed body. Lacking the reaction he needed he turned his attention to China Miéville.

                “Got a problem limey?”

Taking the silence as a slur, James Franco grabbed the front of China Miéville’s t-shirt and leant in to scream directly into his face

“I. AM. A. GODDAMNED. WRITER.”

As he reared back, preparing to land a head butt, China Miéville craned his neck so that James Franco’s nose met his, Miéville’s forehead with some force. James Franco staggered back, eyes watering and nose bleeding. He collapsed to the floor and wept in wracking sobs. As his assistant hurried to dab at the blood with a silk handkerchief China Miéville lifted his agent and carried him out to his car.

WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE

China Miéville is visiting the new ‘animatronics’ exhibit at Madame Tussauds in London.  The new display features mechanised puppets and waxworks, all moving and walking and talking, each with their own true-to-life idiosyncrasies. Kenneth Branagh is soliloquizing, Thierry Henry is head-butting the other marionettes, Lady Gaga is rolling about on the floor and Mel Gibson is being kicked in the head by small children as he attempts to recite anti-Semitic epithets.

China is sizing-up an uncanny Ken Jeong when he hears a commotion from the other side of the exhibit.  A woman screams; people start to run, and through a gap in the crowds China spies the source of the panic: Herman Melville has broken free of his display stand and is violently attacking the hysterical tourists.  In a baffling act of literary misunderstanding and historical malapropism, the staff of Madame Tussauds have dressed Herman Melville as a 19th Century whaler, complete with harpoons and grappling hooks.    

As Herman’s rampage continues, a Patrick Stuart is decapitated; so too a Tracey Emin.  He throws a harpoon and skewers Al Gore, pinning him to a wall and in the same movement whips a grappling hook to eviscerate Daniel Day Lewis – spilling mechanical intestines and waxwork entrails everywhere.

Several mannequins attempt to fight back, but all are cut-down by the tempest of rage that is animatronic Herman Melville.   He cleaves Jack Black in two, slaughters a writhing Kylie Minogue and pounds the head of John Voight into a disgusting waxy pulp.  Well… even more so.

China Miéville realises that he has to stop this frenzy before Herman reaches the crowds outside.  He calls out: “Melville!”
“Miéville!” replies the puppet, and launches a harpoon at the resilient novelist.  But China is too fast, and catches the harpoon, throwing it back at his assailant, impaling him through the chest.

Yet Herman Melville is unperturbed, and launches more and more harpoons at China; all of which China intercepts and casts back, making a harpoon pin-cushion of the curiously misdressed dummy.

Unable to withstand China Miéville’s counter attacks any longer, Herman Melville collapses to the floor and begins a disturbing fit of mechanical spasms.  China approaches, and lifting the final un-flung harpoon, stabs downwards, severing Herman’s head and ending the violent death throes of this anachronistic doppelgänger.

As China turns and leaves the museum, all is silent among the ruins of the exhibit.

WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE

Walking along the promenade, eating his chips, China Miéville’s attention was drawn by a sudden yelp of pain. He turned instinctively, seeing a Cliff Richard Impersonator on the ground, being savagely attacked by a crescent of half a dozen Elvis Presley Impersonators. Bristling at the abuse of Britain’s most inexplicable celebrity (by proxy) he called out and stepped forward. Like one beast with six heads, a coiffured hydra, their eyes locked onto China Miéville, and they attacked.

As they swarmed over him he felt the crush of those Elvis Presley Impersonators who focussed on the latter part of The King’s career squeezing the breath out of him. Struggling futilely his leg kicked through, knocking a stack of Thai Elvis Presley Impersonator’s recordings off the edge of the pier. Shrieking, said impersonator jumped over the barrier and tumbled down into the sea.

Some of the weight lessened, China Miéville tried to get to his feet amidst the gallimaufry of his attackers. With one on each arm he could not fling them bodily into the sea, but managed to struggle as far as their stall. Homemade recordings, internet-made photo t-shirts, signed photos, a cornucopia of Elvis Presley Impersonator Memorabilia, awful kitsch taken to its ugliest extreme.

Kicking wildly he first shook then staggered the table, finally sending it spilling down into the cold sea. One by one, realising that the merchandise they’d invested their civil service salaries in was going to sink and disappear, they released China Miéville and dived in after it. Soon to be swept away, weighed down by wet suede, sequins and the inherent tragedy of their lives.

WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE