The City & the City book discussion + dinner

Hosted by Western MA Sci-Fi Meetup

Public group

This is a past event

6 people went

Location image of event venue


For our March science fiction book discussion we'll be reading The City & the City by China Miéville and we'll meet to talk about it on Thursday March 24.

2016 reading list is up - CLICK HERE ( for a list of what we'll be reading for the book group through 2016!

'New Weird' author China Mieville's novel The City & the City (2009) mashes together weird fiction with crime procedural. It won the Hugo and Arthur C. Clarke awards and was nominated for the Nebula and John W. Campbell awards.

Synopsis: ( city is Beszel, a rundown metropolis on the eastern edge of Europe. The other city is Ul Qoma, a modern Eastern European boomtown, despite being a bit of an international pariah. What the two cities share, and what they don't, is the deliciously evocative conundrum at the heart of China Mieville's The City & The City.

Mieville is well known as a modern fantasist (and urbanist), but from book to book he's tried on different genres, and here he's fully hard-boiled, stripping down to a seen-it-all detective's voice that's wonderfully appropriate for this story of seen and unseen. His detective is Inspector Tyador Borlu, a cop in Beszel whose investigation of the murder of a young foreign woman takes him back and forth across the highly policed border to Ul Qoma to uncover a crime that threatens the delicate balance between the cities and, perhaps more so, Borlu's own dissolving sense of identity.

In his tale of two cities, Mieville creates a world both fantastic and unsettlingly familiar, whose mysteries don't end with the solution of a murder. --Tom Nissley (Amazon Best of the Month, June 2009)

Praise for The City & the City: (“If Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler's love child were raised by Franz Kafka, the writing that emerged might resemble China Mieville's new novel, The City & the City." —Los Angeles Times

“An outstanding take on police procedurals…. Through this exaggerated metaphor of segregation, Miéville skillfully examines the illusions people embrace to preserve their preferred social realities.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Evoking such writers as Franz Kafka and Mikhail Bulgakov, Mr. Miéville asks readers to make conceptual leaps and not to simply take flights of fancy.”—Wall Street Journal

“This spectacularly, intricately paranoid yarn is worth the effort.” — Kirkus, starred review

Author bio: ( Miéville lives and works in London. He is a three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award (Perdido Street Station, Iron Council, and The City & the City) and has also won the British Fantasy Award twice (Perdido Street Station and The Scar).

The City & The City, an existential thriller, was published in 2009 to dazzling critical acclaim and drew comparison with the works of Kafka and Orwell (The Times) and Phillip K. Dick (The Guardian). The City & The City recently won the British Science Fiction Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and tied with Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl for the 2010 Hugo Award. It was also shortlisted for the Nebula.

Miéville explained his unusual first name in a 2003 interview:
"My parents were hippies, and the story is that they went through a dictionary looking for a beautiful word to name me. They nearly called me Banyan, but flipped a few pages on and reached 'China,' thankfully. The other reason they liked it is that 'china' is Cockney rhyming slang for 'mate.' People say 'my old china,' meaning 'my old mate,' because 'china plate' rhymes with 'mate.'


*There is a limit of 12 attendees for this event, to make sure everyone has a chance to participate in the discussion and because the room can't comfortably accommodate more than that. Please RSVP before it fills up! And if you have RSVPd but something has come up, please update your RSVP so someone else will have a chance.

I'll consider adding a 2nd meeting on another day if there is enough interest/are enough people on the waitlist.*

If you have suggestions for future discussion group selections you can send me suggestions by contacting me here (

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