Shipping News’ Jason Noble Is Inspired By: China Miéville

One constant over the past 17 years of MAGNET has been the music of Jason Noble. First with the post-hardcore Rodan, then the classically inclined Rachel’s, the post-rock Shipping News and the theatrically concerned Young Scamels, Noble has always been involved with projects that interested and challenged us. Noble has two new releases: a live Shipping News album, One Less Heartless To Fear (Karate Body/Noise Pollution), and the debut LP from the Young Scamels, Tempest (File 13). Unfortunately, creating music is hardly the main concern for Noble these days. The 39-year-old Louisville, Ky., native was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, 15 months ago and is currently battling the disease with the determination, positive energy and modesty he has always displayed in his two-decade musical career. MAGNET is proud to have Noble guest editing our website all week. Read our Q&A with him.

“The Spider That Eats Your Dreams”
Noble: China Miéville is a young British author who creates a bracing new type of anarchic fiction. His work mixes political ideas, horrifying tentacle-things, archaic technology and lots and lots (and lots) of grotesque and wonderful ideas. There’s a redness of tooth and claw that recalls Cormac McCarthy, Terry Gilliam, Godzilla, Giovanni Piranesi’s creepy architecture, the film City Of Lost Children, Alan Moore or anything that includes the best monsters you could ever imagine. While he’s considered a fantasy novelist, it’s really difficult to really say what genre to place his work. Steam punk? Dark fiction? Hard science? Adventure yarn? There’s a fairly strong noir/detective impulse as well. So with his marvelous “New Crobuzon” trilogy—set in a richly imagined and achingly complex world that Miéville created—he’s received serious fan attention and accolades. His work is such a jolt of raw creativity it’s both captivating and a little overwhelming. Perdido Street Station (2000) is the first in that series, and if you start there (and love it) you will be uncontrollably drawn to finish the other two books. It’s important to note that these stories focus on a painful—often fatal—personal struggle of languages and ideologies, and not only for human characters. This fantasy type is not bloodless or without hard consequences. Miéville has quite a lot of other work, set in all kinds of “almost real” landscapes, including shadow-filled cop procedural The City & The City (2009) and his current book Kraken (which has a fantastic premise and a very central giant squid). To travel with Miéville is to go willingly into a dense and raggedy universe of words, but it’s truly satisfying. My pal Todd and I have become fairly obsessed with his work, and it’s really exciting to see a new talent emerge with such vibrancy and purpose. To quote Jon Hawpe (of Louisville bookseller Carmichael’s), “You never know what’s going to be next with China Miéville. Each page you will face something new, like a spider that eats your dreams.”

RIYL: JG Ballard, pretending there’s a shark in your bathtub under the bubbles, dressing in a full Cylon outfit on days other than Halloween, know what a Velociraptor is, William Gibson, Bad Brains, the drawings of William Stout and anything else that is just plain awesome.

Video after the jump.