China Miéville

The Struggle for Intergalactic Socialism

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The desire to meet "higher lifeforms" is just another expression of enthusiasm for socialism from above - way above.

The space race is back, and Britain is ready to take its rightful place among the stars. Half a century after the government cancelled "Blue Streak", its ludicrously named rocket programme, the British National Space Centre - like NASA with more tea and less money - has announced a series of workshops to re-examine the possibility of putting a Briton in Outer Space. Science minister Malcolm Wicks has described space missions as "the great adventure of the millennium".

The Lies that aren't Meant to Deceive Us

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What should we make of ruling class stories that are so outrageous that no one could really fall for them?

On 9 June 2006 seven civilians were blown up on a Gaza beach. The footage of the sole survivor, 10 year old Huda Ghalia, screaming amid the ruins of her family was so unbearable that Israel even muttered some apology. But only for a moment. Almost immediately, defence minister Amir Peretz announced a "propaganda offensive" to prove that Israeli shells were not to blame.

Double Standards and Decapitation

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The self-styled "defenders of the West" should look a little closer to home before decrying Islam.

Last September Subhaan Younis, a young Glaswegian, was discussing the Iraq war with Charlotte McCay in the shop of the city's Moathouse hotel. He asked if he could show her something that would give her nightmares. When she responded, "Aye, right," Younis held out his video phone and played her a clip he had downloaded of a hostage in Iraq being beheaded.

Part Man, Part Machine, All Occupier

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In Jerusalem, a terminally wounded Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon returns as a cyborg with memories of massacres haunting him.

In Hadassah Hospital, where Ariel Sharon lies vastly, traditional prognostic categories won't do. Words like 'stable' and 'critical', presumably deemed inadequate to his Ozymandian stature, are mere adjuncts to hysterically precise descriptions of the rotund butcher's every mindless spasm and fart.

The Rights and Wrongs of Free Speech

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I wanted to respond to the discussion of Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti's play Behzti.

I completely agree that this debate cannot be divorced from the context of racism, and that the anger of many in the Sikh community over Behzti is not like the attempts by Christians to block the showing of Jerry Springer: The Opera. Appeals to some abstract 'freedom of speech' will not do. It is the duty of the left to respond to the situation sensitively, conscious of the powerlessness and alienation that racism can engender, and which underlies many of these protests.

'Tis the Season

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Christmas will not be privatised', writes award winning author China Miéville in this exclusive short story.

Call me childish, but I love all the nonsense - the snow, the trees, the tinsel, the turkey. I love presents. I love carols and cheesy songs. I just love Christmas™.

That's why I was so excited. And not just for me, but for Annie. Aylsa, her mum, said she didn't see the big deal and why was I a sentimentalist, but I knew Annie couldn't wait. She might have been 14, but when it came to this I was sure she was still a little girl, dreaming of stockings by the chimney. Whenever it's my turn to take Annie - me and Aylsa have alternated since the divorce - I do my best on the 25th.

Bunny Business

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Review of 'Donnie Darko', director Richard Kelly

This is not the first film about a murderous giant rabbit, but it is by a long way the best.

On one level, cult triumph 'Donnie Darko' is an old story. Donnie (magnificently played by Jake Gyllenhaal) is the troubled outsider at high school, with a dysfunctional family and a genius IQ. And he has a monstrous giant rabbit-thing giving him orders. It is a measure of 26 year old, first-time writer/director Richard Kelly's prowess that the fact this rabbit goes by the amiable name 'Frank' does nothing to diminish the chill of its presence.

Tolkien - Middle Earth Meets Middle England

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Fantasy writer China Miéville looks at the ideas and work of JRR Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings.

In 1954 and 1955 a professor of English at Oxford University published a long, rambling fairy story in three hardbacks. And nothing much happened. This was the 1905 of fantastic literature - a dress rehearsal for the revolution. That revolution came in earnest ten years later, when the book, The Lord of the Rings, was published in the US in cheap, pirate paperbacks, along with rapid response authorised versions. And they sold. A generation of students, hippies and potheads found hidden meanings in legends of power, wisdom, magic and secret knowledge.

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