You say you're thinking about coming to Verse Chapter Verse on May 28th because you're excited to see that hot young Tomten band, but you don't know much about this China Miéville person I'll be interviewing? No problem. All you have to do is read this Guardian interview and you'll be up to speed on Miéville.The article is a straightforward explanation of how he quickly became one of the most important sci-fi writers of our time, and it tackles the issues of genre head-on, suggesting that he's one of the most important writers in the business, period. Here's the money shot:

[Miéville's newest novel] Embassytown is a sincere homage to its SF forebears. Miéville insists that "I would never disavow my generic tradition. Occasionally people say, 'but you're not really science fiction, you're escaping the genre'. Not really! I know it's meant nicely, but I would much rather operate as a conduit than an outlier." For Miéville, as for fans and critics in the SF field, genre is where the pulse of literature — the ideas, the excitement — is to be found. "The project of realism, the very name, shows it to be not merely hubristic, it's absurd, it's preposterous. Which bit? Which bit are you being realistic about?" Increasingly, Miéville is a locus of critical hopes, and Ursula K Le Guin is quietly confident: "When he wins the Booker, the whole silly hierarchy will collapse, and literature will be much the better for it."

I'm reading Embassytown right now, and it's a mind-blowing exploration of language framed in a story about diplomacy with an alien culture. I'm only halfway through, but so far, it's my favorite of Miéville's books. You should buy your tickets for Verse Chapter Verse now; with the buzz this book is picking up, I'm willing to bet we'll be sold out at the door.