Three Moments of an Explosion

  • by China Miéville
  • Narrated by Nicholas Guy Smith, Bruce Mann, Hillary Huber, MacLeod Andrews
  • 14 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The fiction of multiple award-winning author China Miéville is powered by intelligence and imagination. Like George Saunders, Karen Russell, and David Mitchell, he pulls from a variety of genres with equal facility, employing the fantastic not to escape from reality but instead to interrogate it in provocative, unexpected ways.
London awakes one morning to find itself besieged by a sky full of floating icebergs. Destroyed oil rigs, mysteriously reborn, clamber from the sea and onto the land, driven by an obscure but violent purpose. An anatomy student cuts open a cadaver to discover impossibly intricate designs carved into a corpse's bones - designs clearly present from birth, bearing mute testimony to...what?
Of such concepts and unforgettable images are made the 28 stories in this collection - many published here for the first time. By turns speculative, satirical, and heart-wrenching, fresh in form and language, and featuring a cast of damaged yet hopeful seekers who come face to face with the deep weirdness of the world - and at times the deeper weirdness of themselves - Three Moments of an Explosion is a fitting showcase for one of literature's most original voices.


Audible Editor Reviews

"Miéville moves effortlessly among realism, fantasy, and surrealism in this dark, sometimes horrific short story collection.... His characters...are invariably well drawn and compelling." (Publishers Weekly starred review)


What the Critics Say

"Horror, noir, fantasy, politics, and poetry swirl into combinations as satisfying intellectually as they are emotionally.... Bradbury meets Borges, with Lovecraft gibbering tumultuously just out of hearing." (Kirkus Reviews starred review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Reading Miéville is both Delicious AND Disturbing

Maybe even 4.5 stars. I really liked this collection. Some of the stories I loved. Adored even. Some were too light. Some extremely dense. But none were uninteresting.

Many SF/horror/noir writers get funky by bending the plot. Miéville does it by bending his words. He alters reality by converting language, both known and familiar, into something alien and the strange. Those thin threads he weaves between the normal and the exotic are done often (not always) with a slight of hand with language; a flick of his prose tongue. He is also getting better and better at the polished, palitable otherworldiness of his worlds. There is a glaze in his stories that makes reading Miéville both delicious AND disturbing at the same time.

Part of Miéville's genius [and NO, I don't use genius lightly] is his ability to find the strange in our world and escalate it. Use it as a mental catalyst to unlock some deeper key. Space elevators? He will take that to the next level. Marxist materialism? Just wait to read what he does with the Ash Heap of History. Scrimshaw? Therapy? Card tricks? Enhanced Interrogation? He will outsmart your expectations with each one. He will extract the magic from old bones or a discarded rag. He will find the horror in the shadows that haven't been cast yet.

Anyway, here is the list of his stories:

"Three Moments of an Explosion"
"The Condition of New Death"
"The Dowager of Bees"
"In the Slopes"
"The Crawl"
"Watching God"
"The 9th Technique"
"The Rope Is the World"
"The Buzzard’s Egg"
"Dreaded Outcome"
"After the Festival"
"The Dusty Hat"
"The B[]stard Prompt"
"A Second Slice Manifesto"
"The Junket"
"Four Final Orpheuses"
"The Rabbet"
"Listen the Birds"
"A Mount"
"The Design"

Some of these stories, individually, at length. Some stories just hang there defying gravity in my mind. Other stories sit hard in my stomach, neither digesting or moving, just sitting and waiting for the right moment to hatch.
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- Darwin8u

Short stories from China in audio can be tough

I'm a huge China fan and have read most of his books. I should have realized that some of his later stuff tends to be a bit more complicated (looking at you Embassytown), requiring a reread here and there; playing with syntax and structure.

I found his short stories to be truly amazing but I would recommend reading this book and not listening to it. Only the longer stories tend to work out here because you have time to settle in and think on them.

There a lot of short stories crammed here, some only paragraphs. By the time one would end, and it would take a second to realize it was over, another would begin; without the chance to comprehend the events that just unfolded.

He also has a few movie "trailers" in here, the vocalists read every time marker ("second 5-7") which breaks up the intended effect, if you were reading it you might notice the times but just read the text next to it. Because of this, the trailers are a miss.

Great book, but short stories from China doesn't make for a great audio experience (often times wishing for the book to reread or scan back pages).

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- toy robots

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-04-2015
  • Publisher: Random House Audio