Got an ology
30 April 2010
Possibly the book I’ve most enjoyed reading since I started this blog, The City and the City by China Miéville, has won the Arthur C Clarke Award for Britain’s best science fiction novel of the year.
So it should have done, because as soon as I’d finished I wanted to read it all over again, except that to a large extent you never can.
Sociology is pretty near the mark. I think I read it as political-science fiction, too: the dynamics of ethno-nationalist groups in contested territory, writ large, with a semi-Central European, semi-ex-Ottoman veneer. I felt I knew the cities even before I’d really read about them.
But is political science a science? You can’t put a political system in a lab and create repeatable experiments with it until it tells you what you want, or just what you don’t expect. At least, you shouldn’t. Although it might explain why we get some of the decision-makers we do.