Perdido Street Station and the oppressed of the fantasy worlds

Am reading what must by now be “fantasy classic” Perdido Street Station and I just want to mention what a great relief it is to read a story that isn’t about kings, queens, emperors, el presidentes* or any other type of monarch or strongman. Is it that China Miéville is a Marxist? Perhaps in the socialist utopia, you don’t have to write about 15-year-old princes and princesses anymore.

* Fantasy has a distinct lack of dictators, though, doesn’t it? Or rather, there are a lot of dictators, but they all have some sort of magic jewel or sword that allows them to unleash terrible violence and prove their worth to rule over everybody else, so they’re not evil dictators somehow. And usually that magic macguffin can only be used by members of a certain family–basically monarchy propped up forever by extreme genetic power. Like Hapsburg Spain with psychic nuclear bombs. That actually sounds like hell on earth, I wonder why the “anointed leader” fantasy is still so popular?

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One Comment

  1. Well, Steven Brust wears his socialism on his sleeve, and his fantasy series still has an Empress (but it’s not about said Empress), but I guess he’s just a lot less forward with his politics in his work than Mieville is.

    I actually would like to see a real royalty and associated aristocracy in a fantasy book. As in the kind that’s incredibly inbred and spread so far around the continent that every king is some other kings twice removed cousin or something, and half of the problems in the world is caused by their petty drama bullshit.

    That’d be much more interesting than the half-assed mob families the houses in A Song of Ice and Fire are.

    Reply

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