Embassytown Paperback – Jan 31 2012
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“A fully achieved work of art.”—Ursula K. Le Guin
“The most engrossing book I’ve read this year, and the latest evidence that brilliant, challenging, rewarding writing of the highest order is just as likely to be found in the section labeled Science Fiction as the one marked Literature.”—Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Original, sophisticated, bristling with subversive ideas, and filled with unforgettably alien images . . . an amazing, sometimes brutal rhapsody on the uses of language.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Richly conceived . . . Embassytown has the feel of a word-puzzle, and much of the pleasure of figuring out the logic of the world and the story comes from gradually catching the full resonance of its invented and imported words.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Miéville’s swing-for-the-fences gusto thrills. This is Big Idea Sci-Fi at its most propulsively readable.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Miéville [is] one of today’s most exciting fabulist writers.”—Los Angeles Times
About the Author
China Miéville is the author of several books, including Perdido Street Station, The City & The City, and Kraken. His works have won the Hugo, the British Science Fiction Award (twice), the Arthur C. Clarke Award (three times) and the World Fantasy Award. He lives and works in London.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Oddly enough, at first I was thoroughly captivated by the premise of the book. The first portion of Embassytown had me enthralled and I felt that this one could potentially make me miss out a couple of nights of drinking and mingling with fellow travelers. But the middle part slowed down to an atrocious crawl, boring me out of my mind. It got to be so bad at one point that I considered quitting. Only the fact that this was written by China Miéville kept me plodding on.
Here's the blurb:
Embassytown: a city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe.
Avice is an immerser, a traveller on the immer, the sea of space and time below the everyday, now returned to her birth planet. Here on Arieka, humans are not the only intelligent life, and Avice has a rare bond with the natives, the enigmatic Hosts - who cannot lie.
Only a tiny cadre of unique human Ambassadors can speak Language, and connect the two communities. But an unimaginable new arrival has come to Embassytown. And when this Ambassador speaks, everything changes.
Catastrophe looms. Avice knows the only hope is for her to speak directly to the alien Hosts.
And that is impossible.
As I mentioned, I found the whole premise based on language to be fascinating at first. Miéville does an awesome job when it comes to setting the mood.Read more ›
The Hosts who inhabit Ariekei are tauntingly alien. It isn't just their appearance. Each has two speaking mouths which create Language by talking simultaneously. Language--you can hear the capitalization--has its own oddities. Hosts cannot speak lies and cannot understand Language unless it is spoken by a sentient being. This means no voice recorders, no speech synthesizers, no radios--and presumably no parrots or talking children's toys. Human Ambassadors and selected and trained in pairs, and then linked together with implant tech into a single ambassador that can speak the two-voice Language of the Hosts.
Hosts who want to speak a new simile must first cause it to happen in the physical world. They can then refer to this event as they speak Language. Humans who participate in such events find they have become a part of Language, often with unusual obligations to those who speak it. After a mysterious childhood experience, Avice becomes the simile "The Girl Who was Hurt in Darkness and Ate What was Given to Her." The author uses this cultural backdrop to explore the nature of Language. Tension is created when some Hosts begin changing Language to make lying possible. And we discover what happens when the two halves of an Ambassador speak Language that is subtly out of sync.
This highly imaginative book examines language, identify and what it can mean to be understood.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Wow! I've never enjoyed science fiction. This was different; brilliantly written with great imaginative prose. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Chad D Thompson
based on an idea with great potential, some of the possibilities of which are explored in the novel...but not necessarily the ones i found most interesting. Read morePublished 10 months ago by em
Avice Brenner Cho is a member of the small human population that lives on a remote planet which is home to the Ariekei. Read morePublished on June 6 2012 by Heather Pearson
I disliked this book immensely. I went into it with a shady understanding that it was literary sci-fi, and I guess that is still a good way to describe it, although maybe we should... Read morePublished on Dec 26 2011 by Tucorides
Yawn. I have been wanting to read a book by China Meiville for a while now so I finally got down to it with Embassytown and find myself very disappointed. Read morePublished on Nov. 15 2011 by Louie
Part story, part fantasy, part treatise on the power of language, I found this book both intriguing and kind of dull. Read morePublished on Oct. 12 2011 by Len
Pros: truly alien aliens, unique alien language, full immersion in alien world with little to no explanation
Cons: because the books is told from the POV of an... Read more