There's a lot of things that make me ill-disposed toward him. For starters, this is what Miéville had to say about Tolkien:
Tolkien is the wen on the arse of fantasy literature. His oeuvre is massive and contagious - you can't ignore it, so don't even try. The best you can do is consciously try to lance the boil. And there's a lot to dislike - his cod-Wagnerian pomposity, his boys-own-adventure glorying in war, his small-minded and reactionary love for hierarchical status-quos, his belief in absolute morality that blurs moral and political complexity. Tolkien's clichés - elves 'n' dwarfs 'n' magic rings - have spread like viruses. He wrote that the function of fantasy was 'consolation', thereby making it an article of policy that a fantasy writer should mollycoddle the reader.
In short, Miéville repeats the tired old Marxist critique of Tolkien, which I've always felt is largely based on not bothering to read him. I would submit that anyone who thinks Tolkien's works can be described as "boys-own-adventure glorying in war" cannot actually have read the Lord of the Rings, let alone the Silmarillion, or certainly not with any other purpose that to find things to vilify in them.
That Miéville should regurgitate a Marxist critique that was inaccurate and fairly pathetic even when it was invented is hardly surprising, as the man describes himself, hilariously, as a Trotskyist. He's even stood for the House of Commons on that platform, and unsurprisingly, has failed.
For all these reasons, I've always suspected there might be something wrong with the man, and a surprising confluence of things has absolutely confirmed my opinion. As it happens, I've posted about seasteading a couple of times on this blag. There's a fairly good article on the topic at wired.com, in case you're unfamiliar with the movement. In brief, it means founding libertarian communities on the high seas, to escape the laws of states á la Sealand.
Mind you, I'm of two minds about seasteading; while I personally like the idea, I'm not at all sure that this is the kind of thing the libertarians of the world should be directing their energies toward. So I'm not approaching this as a die-hard partisan.
What provoked this post was the fact that China Miéville, too, has written about seasteading. He authored an article called Floating Utopias: Freedom and Unfreedom of the Seas, in a sensible and unpartisan-sounding book called Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of Neoliberalism. The article can be found here. Here's a quote in which Mr. Miéville summarizes both libertarianism and seasteading:
Libertarianism, by contrast, is a theory of those who find it hard to avoid their taxes, who are too small, incompetent or insufficiently connected to win Iraq-reconstruction contracts, or otherwise chow at the state trough. In its maundering about a mythical ideal-type capitalism, libertarianism betrays its fear of actually existing capitalism, at which it cannot quite succeed. It is a philosophy of capitalist inadequacy.
Libertarianism’s nemesis, “the state,” is no less abstract. This is particularly so for libertarianism’s seasteading wing, for whom the political entity “the state” is bizarrely geographically literalized. Their intent is to slip the surly bonds of earth not up but sideways, beyond littoral borders. It is a lunatic syllogism: “I dislike the state: The state is made of land: Therefore I dislike the land.” Water is a solvent, dissolving “political” (state) power, leaving only “economics” behind.
I should point out that Miéville actually has a Ph.D. in international relations, and his doctoral dissertation was on the subject of international law. So by any rights, he should know perfectly well what the legal basis for seasteading is. He just chooses to ignore this and write the ham-fisted strawman attack of the second quoted paragraph. Instead of a considered legal position based on international law, and in the case of Sealand actually upheld by precedent, Miéville gives us "a lunatic syllogism".
I'm sorry, but if the man thinks this is fair treatment, I can't take anything he writes seriously. The kind of bile he's spewing in this article is just too childish to be taken seriously. Either his Ph.D. is a complete joke, or he could have presented seasteading in an intelligent, critical light, but just chose not to. If what he's written there is a fair representation of libertarianism and seasteading, then I guess Obama really is setting up death panels.
To reinforce this image, all I need to do is repost the picture Wikipedia has of him.
I believe I've found the left-wing Andy Remic. I understand his prose is better, but really, I'm past caring by now. I've never met the man, but based on everything I've read so far, he's a class-A idiot.
The real question, however, is not whether to read his books or not. I'm not going to. The real question is this: how much would you like to see a political debate between him and Andy Remic?