Dr Daniel Hourigan
University of Southern Queensland
The speculative novels of China Mieville are constantly marked by the theme of disintegration. Whether the State, an industry, or a family, or other monstrous things, the theme of disintegration flares to prominent exposure time and again. Nonetheless, such figurative disintegration is unevenly deployed in Mieville’s novels. Often it is the post-apocalyptic trace of industrious Progress, a tain as in the Bas-Lag trilogy Perdido Street Station (2000), The Scar (2002), and Iron Council (2004). At other times, disintegration is the ominous sign of exile and decline, a lure to the horizon as in This Census-Taker (2016) and the Stevenson-esque adventure Railsea (2012). And yet, at other times, Mieville develops disintegration as a motif for an opening, a cleaving away rather than to something or from afar as in The City & The City (2009) and Embassytown (2011). And still these deployments remain unable to sit still with the disintegrating figures of Kraken (2010), Un Lun Dun (2007), The Last Days of New Paris (2016), and his debut novel King Rat (1998) heralding a new figuration, perhaps even a new thesis, of disturbing (dis)integration. This paper reads Mieville’s deployment of disintegration in the figurative language of his novels alongside his published views of law and economy.
Dr Daniel Hourigan researches the intersections and symptoms of law, philosophy, and popular culture. He lectures in English Literature at the University of Southern Queensland, where he is also the Director of Graduate Programs for the School of Humanities & Communication. He is a deputy editor for the Edinburgh Critical Studies in Law, Literature, and the Humanities book series with EUP, and sits on the advisory board for the Law and Visual Jurisprudence book series soon to appear with Springer. Daniel is the current Secretary of the Law, Literature, and the Humanities Association of Australasia.