That is: author appearance, a report by proxy.
China Miéville wasn't appearing at a bookstore near me, but he was appearing at one (very many miles away from where I live) that my sister frequents (well, has been to), so I told her to go, and for some inexplicable reason she listened to me (she hasn't read any Miéville) and even braved pouring rain to go hear him read from Un Lun Dun and ask on my behalf my now trademark question (although I'm sure nobody but me knows it, about it being my trademark I mean), "So, whatcha readin'?" (although I'm fairly certain my sister ad libbed it), it being at once casual, unpretentious, and sincere and having the potential for if not great insight then at least some pleasant alternatively warm-up or wind-down discussion.
He read chapter 5, and his reading was strong, sensible, and entertaining enough that 1) my sister was actually sucked into buying a copy of the book, even after I'd told her she shouldn't bother cuz it's not very good — (I don't really mean that, China. It's good, I liked it; I just didn't love it, it's like you were holding back, it could've been so much better. Be political! Be scary! The kids can take it!) — which has now been personally inscribed to my daughter, "for when she's ready to turn the iron wheel," and 2) she (my sister) is inspired to finally get 'round to reading something he's written, Perdido Street Station having sat unread on her shelf for a few years already.
He fielded questions for about an hour from a fairly geeky-looking (so says my sister) audience, a lesser turnout than for other DC-area readings my sister has attended, and would not be goaded into trashing either Tolkien (his views are on the record) or Star Trek. While he mocked the accuracy of Amazon and Wikipedia regarding future publications and speculated on the life cycle of rumour, he did not unequivocally deny that he was at work on a novel called Kraken.
Also, apparently Miéville has a sexy laugh.
What China Miéville is currently reading:
The Ideology of the Aesthetic, by Terry Eagleton
Suttree, by Cormac McCarthy
Fire Sale, by Sara Paretsky
Any errors regarding what transpired at China Miéville's reading yesterday evening are likely my own, as my multitasking has on occasion proven to be deficient (and I was trying to load the dishwasher while listening on the phone) and sometimes I infer and extrapolate in accordance with my own subconscious desires and assumptions and am later unable to distinguish this from actual fact; or quite possibly my sister's, in either sloppy note-taking or her inability to read her own writing; or China Miéville's deliberate misinformation.