Literalized Metaphors in China Mieville’s Bas-Lag Novels
Thorstad, Kai Jerome
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In this paper, I will be discussing hybridity, Othering, and agency in China Miéville’s fantasy novels set in the world of Bas-Lag. I will be expanding upon Joan Gordon’s concept of “literalized metaphors” which suggests that fantasy fiction is able to comment on metaphorical concepts by literalizing those concepts into physical representations. Miéville’s novels offer commentary on the nature of the postcolonial concept of hybridity through the physical realities of the nonhuman xenians and the criminal Remade. I argue that, through these literalized metaphors, the Bas-Lag novels suggest that hybridity leads to Othering, but it also leads to greater agency than would otherwise be possible.