China Tom Miéville (born 6 September 1972 in Norwich, England) is an award-winning English fantasy fiction writer and academic. He is fond of describing his fiction as "weird fiction" (after early twentieth century pulp and horror writers such as H. P. Lovecraft), and belongs to a loose group of writers sometimes called New Weird. He is also active in left-wing politics as a member of the Socialist Workers Party. He has stood for the Regent's Park and Kensington North for the Socialist Alliance in the 2001 General election, and published his PhD thesis as a book on Marxism and international law. He teaches creative writing at Warwick University.
Miéville has indicated that he plans to write a novel in every genre, and to this end has 'constructed an oeuvre' that is indebted to genre styles ranging from classic American Western (in Iron Council) to sea-quest (in The Scar) to detective noir (in The City & the City). Yet Miéville's various works all describe worlds or scenarios that are fantastical or supernatural and thus his work is generally categorized as fantasy: Miéville has listed M. John Harrison, Michael de Larrabeiti, Michael Moorcock, Thomas Disch, Charles Williams, Tim Powers, and J.G. Ballard as literary "heroes"; he has also frequently discussed as influences H. P. Lovecraft, Mervyn Peake, and Gene Wolfe. He has said that he would like his novels "to read for [his imagined city] New Crobuzon as Iain Sinclair does for London." Miéville played a great deal of Dungeons & Dragons and similar roleplaying games in his youth, and includes a specific nod to characters interested "only in gold and experience" in Perdido Street Station as well as a general tendency to systematization of magic and technology which he traces to this influence. In fact, in the February 2007 issue of Dragon Magazine, the world presented in his books was interpreted into Dungeons & Dragons rules. In 2010, Miéville made his first foray into writing for RPGs with a contribution to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game supplement Guide to the River Kingdoms.
Miéville has explicitly attempted to move fantasy away from J. R. R. Tolkien's influence, which he has criticized as stultifying and reactionary (he once described Tolkien as "the wen on the arse of fantasy literature"). This project is perhaps indebted to Michael de Larrabeiti's Borrible Trilogy, which Miéville has cited as one of his biggest influences and for which Miéville wrote an introduction for the trilogy's 2002 reissue. The introduction was eventually left out of the book, but is now available on de Larrabeiti's website. Miéville's position on the genre is also indebted to Moorcock, whose essay "Epic Pooh" Miéville has cited as the source upon which he is "riffing" or even simply "cheerleading" in his critique of Tolkien-imitative fantasy.