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Embassytown Hardcover – May 17 2011

3.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Hardcover, May 17 2011
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; 1st Edition edition (May 17 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345524497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345524492
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.9 x 24.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #384,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

PRAISE FOR CHINA MIÉVILLE

Embassytown

“I cannot emphasize enough how terrific this novel is. It's definitely one of the best books I've read in the past year, perfectly balanced between escapism and otherworldly philosophizing.” --Io9.com

“Embassytown is a fully achieved work of art…Works on every level, providing compulsive narrative, splendid intellectual rigour and risk, moral sophistication, fine verbal fireworks and sideshows, and even the old-fashioned satisfaction of watching a protagonist become more of a person than she gave promise of being.”
--Ursula K Le Guin

“A breakneck tale of suspense…disturbing and beautiful by turns. And yes—China Mieville’s new novel is one of his best...I cannot emphasize enough how terrific this novel is.”
--io9

 “The Kafkaesque writer journeys to the distant edges of the universe in his latest sci-fi thriller.”
--Entertainment Weekly

“Utterly astonishing…A major intellectual achievement.”
--Kirkus Reviews

“Brilliant storytelling…The result is a world masterfully wrecked and rebuilt.”
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)


Kraken

 
“The stakes [are] driven high and almost anything can happen. The reader is primed for a memorable payoff, and Miéville more than delivers.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
The City & The City
 
“If Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler’s love child were raised by Franz Kafka, the writing that emerged might resemble . . . The City & The City.”—Los Angeles Times
 

Perdido Street Station
 
“Compulsively readable . . . impossible to expunge from memory.”—The Washington Post Book World
 
The Scar
 
“A fantastic setting for an unforgettable tale . . . memorable because of Miéville’s vivid language [and] rich imagination.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
 

Iron Council
 
“A masterwork . . . a story that pops with creativity.”—Wired
 
Un Lun Dun
 
“Endlessly inventive . . . [a] hybrid of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and The Phantom Tollbooth.”—Salon

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
One of the best novels of 2011, "Embassytown", is a marvelous, often engrossing, exploration of language and personal relationships well told by one of the United Kingdom's finest writers, China Mieville. That it is science fiction shouldn't deter its potential readers, especially since Mieville has crafted a literary masterpiece which demonstrates why science fiction may be the most important literary genre of our time, simply for its willingness to ask difficult questions about the human condition which mainstream literature often seems incapable of addressing. On the remote world of Arreika, the Terre, humans, have established an outpost, Embassytown, as a center for trading and cultural exchange with the enigmatic Arreikei, whose language is so difficult that it can be understood only by Ambassadors, a special breed of Terre, pairs of men and women who are genetically modified to converse in the Arreikei tongue; a language that draws heavily upon simile and one for which the act of lying is unknown to its speakers. That is until one day, the arrival of a new Ambassador results in unforeseen consequences threatening to shatter the uneasy coexistence of the Terre and the Arreikei. Mieville offers a most subtle portrait of the narrator, Avice, an Embassytown native who has recently returned after spending years serving as a crew member aboard Terre starships, traversing across the vast gulf of interstellar space via the medium known as immer. She, herself, became a simile to the Arrikei in her youth, and it is through her perceptive eyes that we witness the revolutionary changes in the relationships between themselves and the Terre.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Well, this one was a chore, no question about it. Had I not been reading this during my trip through the Southern Balkans and had access to my collection, I would never have finished reading this novel. It's been a while since I've been this underwhelmed by the work of a quality author.

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.
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By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER on Feb. 22 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Avice Benner Cho grew up in Embassytown on the planet Ariekei, located on the outer reaches of the well-travelled paths between stars. She left, visiting other worlds to escape her unremarkable home life. She returns wiser and takes up a life of parties, gossip and pointed cleverness. It is no coincidence that she has returned to a time of change.

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.
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