Reviews > Published on August 5th, 2015

Bookshots: ‘Three Moments of an Explosion’ By China Mieville

Bookshots: Pumping new life into the corpse of the book review


Three Moments of an Explosion

Who wrote it?

What’s most striking about the collection is the sheer range of Mieville’s storytelling skill.

Best-selling, award-winning weird fiction pioneer, China Mieville

Plot in a Box:

It’s a HUGE short story collection, so the plots are varied and many.

Invent a new title for this book:

The War Torn Chrysalis

Read this if you liked:

Anything by William Gibson and Jeff VanderMeer

Meet the book’s lead:

Please see ‘Plot in a Box’.

Said lead would be portrayed in a movie by:

Please see ‘Plot in a Box’ and ‘Meet the book’s lead’.

Setting: would you want to live there?

Most of the stories take places in the UK, so I guess so.

What was your favorite sentence?

A man staggers in a book-lined library. A zombie clings to him with all its limbs, biting his chest. It stares at him. The stitches go through both their flesh and clothes.”

(From the story, “The Crawl”)

The Verdict:

There are certain writers who I think are far better short story writers than they are novelists. For example, I’m not huge fan of Neil Gaiman’s novels, but for me his short stories are like crack. The same thing goes for Stephen King in recent years—outside of 11/23/63 that is—and Joyce Carol Oates and Dan Chaon and Bonnie Jo Campbell and Nick Mamatas… Hell, I could probably go and on, but I won’t. My point is, some storytellers are natural born short story writers, and China Mieville just happens to be one of those natural born short story writers.

Don’t get me wrong, Perdido Street Station and The City & The City, those are my jam, but Mieville’s first short story collection, Looking For Jake, knocked my socks off, and so did his massive new collection, Three Moments of an Explosion.

What’s most striking about the collection is the sheer range of Mieville’s storytelling skill. There are brilliant pieces of flash SF such as the title story, "Three Moments Of An Explosion", bizarre experimental pieces such as the zombie movie trailer script, "The Crawl" and "The Condition Of New Death", and more traditional SF such as "In The Slopes". Now I’m not going to say Three Moments of an Explosion is an instant classic in SF/F, I’m not going to compare it to The Illustrated Man or The Imago Sequence, because like any career spanning collection, there are a few clunkers in here. But for the most part, Three Moments Of An Explosion is a dense, highly enjoyable short story collection and an excellent introduction to potential new readers of China Mieville.

About the author

Keith Rawson is a little-known pulp writer whose short fiction, poetry, essays, reviews, and interviews have been widely published both online and in print. He is the author of the short story collection The Chaos We Know (SnubNose Press)and Co-Editor of the anthology Crime Factory: The First Shift. He lives in Southern Arizona with his wife and daughter.

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