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In the field of fantastic fiction, the question of world-building is not uncontroversial. But I grew up with ‘Dungeons and Dragons,’ so that whole world-building thing is very close to my heart.

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If you’re brave enough to try, you might be able to catch a train from UnLondon to Parisn’t, or No York, or Helsunki, or Lost Angeles, or Sans Francisco, or Hong Gone, or Romeless.

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Loads of children read books about dinosaurs, underwater monsters, dragons, witches, aliens, and robots. Essentially, the people who read SF, fantasy and horror haven’t grown out of enjoying the strange and weird.

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I always felt sorry for the sidekick as a kid. They never got their due and it left a very bad taste in the mouth – they are defined by a subordinate relationship to someone else. I always felt like a bit of sidekick when I was a kid and it didn’t feel fair.

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I’ll never be a minimalist. The fact that the prose is more tightly controlled doesn’t for a minute mean that it’s minimalist. I very much like arcane words and baroque sentence structure.

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Geeks run the world. Condoleezza Rice is a geek, Bill Gates is clearly a geek, many of the big filmmakers and writers are geeks, lots of military people are geeks. Anyone who has heard Donald Rumsfeld talk about military hardware knows they are in the presence of a geek.

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PEOPLE HAVE WANTED TO narrate since first we banged rocks together & wondered about fire. There’ll be tellings as long as there are any of us here, until the stars disappear one by one like turned-out lights.

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It had not been a long journey, but the memory of it filled her like an infection. She had felt tethered by time to the city behind her, so that the minutes stretched out taut as she moved away, and slowed the farther she got, dragging out her little voyage.

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When I write my novels, I’m not writing them to make political points. I’m writing them because I passionately love monsters and the weird and horror stories and strange situations and surrealism, and what I want to do is communicate that. But, because I come at this with a political perspective, the world that I’m creating is embedded with many of the concerns that I have. But I never let them get in the way of the monsters.

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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.

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In the deepest places, where physical norms collapse under the crushing water, bodies still fall softly through the dark, days after their vessels have capsized. They decay on their long journey down. Nothing will hit the black sand at the bottom of the world but algae-covered bones.

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When I’m writing a book, generally I start with the mood and setting, along with a couple of specific images—things that have come into my head, totally abstracted from any narrative, that I’ve fixated on. After that, I construct a world, or an area, into which that general setting, that atmosphere, and the specific images I’ve focused on can fit.

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You can’t see the future, there’s no such thing. It’s all bets. You’ll never get the same answer from two seers. But that doesn’t mean either of them’s wrong.

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Old stories would tell how Weavers would kill each other over aesthetic disagreements, such as whether it was prettier to destroy an army of a thousand men or to leave it be, or whether a particular dandelion should or should not be plucked. For a Weaver, to think was to think aesthetically. To act – to Weave – was to bring about more pleasing patterns. They did not eat physical food: they seemed to subsist on the appreciation of beauty.

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What I always try to do in all my books is to make the stories such that if you don’t agree with me politically or you’re not interested in the thematics, the story will still keep you turning the pages.