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Embassytown by China Miéville

Embassytown (2011)

by China Miéville

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,4461763,791 (3.89)300
  1. 40
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (ansate)
  2. 62
    The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (BeckyJG)
  3. 41
    Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (electronicmemory)
  4. 30
    Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany (kevinashley)
    kevinashley: Both these books take the relationship between language and thought as central themes. They explore it in different ways but with a similar thoroughness; both really explore just how 'other' alien can be.
  5. 30
    Anathem by Neal Stephenson (bertilak, g33kgrrl)
    bertilak: Miéville has written a philosophical science fiction novel that rocks and is not bloated: Stephenson please take note.
  6. 30
    Foreigner by C. J. Cherryh (PhoenixFalls, electronicmemory)
    PhoenixFalls: Cherryh excels in writing really alien aliens and always focuses on the nuances of languages.
  7. 31
    The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (santhony)
    santhony: Science fiction as seen through the prism of anthropology and sociology.
  8. 64
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (BeckyJG)
  9. 20
    Blindsight by Peter Watts (electronicmemory)
  10. 10
    The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (KatyBee)
  11. 11
    The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (sparemethecensor)
  12. 00
    The Dosadi Experiment by Frank Herbert (santhony)
    santhony: Philosophical Science Fiction

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» See also 300 mentions

English (178)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (180)
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
I think that China Mieville just isn't for me. I DNF'ed [b:Perdido Street Station|68494|Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag, #1)|China Miéville|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1393537963s/68494.jpg|3221410] a few years ago for being a too grossly gritty and cruel, which is saying something, since I love the Game of Thrones books. At least I finished this one. The creativity of the world building kept me going, but the story itself didn't. Maybe I couldn't grasp all that he was trying to convey about language and meaning, but it felt to me like a lot of semiotic smoke without fire. Given how many award nominations it got, this may be due to my lack of brain power though. At the beginning I was afraid that this would be an intergalactic adventure story starring a female Han Solo, but fortunately it wasn't - it's actually a novel of political intrigue, which is much more interesting to me. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
Fun, and serious linguistics geekery masquerading (pretty well) as science fiction. I liked it a lot. ( )
  RekhainBC | Feb 15, 2019 |
Avice Benner Cho lives in Embassytown, an outpost on a distant planet surrounded by the city, the home of the Hosts/Ariekei. As a child she is chosen the Hosts to be a living simile. When she grows up she becomes an immerser, a spaceship pilot, and then returns to Embassytown with her linguist husband. She plays a key role in the catastrophic events that follow the appointment of EzRa, a new, impossible, Ambassador.

As the narrator, Avice makes few concessions to the fact that her readers have no idea what she's talking about much of the time, and getting one's bearings in this strange new world. Finding out about this world, the Hosts, and Language in the first half of the book is far more interesting than the actual events of the story, ingenious though its resolution is. But this is a book which is going to stay with me and ferment in my brain for a while. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Nov 24, 2018 |

Only [a:Octavia E. Butler|29535|Octavia E. Butler|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1242244143p2/29535.jpg] writes aliens or alien worlds this well.

My favorite passage in the story: We have to establish our credentials as an explorocracy; so to survive and rule ourselves, we have to explore.

I listened to this as an audiobook narrated by Susa Duerden and the audiobook format and production added invaluable enhancements to the telling of this story. [a:Susan Duerden|3132865|Susan Duerden|http://www.goodreads.com/images/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66.jpg] is superb. ( )
  nkmunn | Nov 17, 2018 |
Embassytown is on a backwater planet, utterly devoid of strategic significance except for the strange aliens that call the place home. Their language is so obscure that only humans who have been genetically altered and trained for a lifetime can converse in it.

Avice has returned to Embassytown after spending her life traveling in deep space. Her arrival coincides with the unraveling of the tenuous relations between the alien Hosts and the Terran settlers. Now Avice must use all her wits to stop all out war from tearing her hometown apart. ( )
  Juva | Sep 11, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
Readers who want to delve no further than turning the pages will come away satisfied with "Embassytown," because Mieville's fertile imagination has created a fascinating alien species to go along with plenty of familiar human drama.
It is a miracle of a novel, one where Big Ideas cohabitate with Monsters, and neither is lessened by what academic propriety insists must be capital letters.
Miéville has a muscular intellect, successfully building a science fictional world around semiotics. For some readers, that will be enough.
I don’t hold this will to abstraction against him. Genre writers, and for that matter writers of the well-wrought middlebrow novel, mostly tell the usual stories in the usual way: narrative and character are advanced through conventional action. Miéville is up to something else.
In this sense, Embassytown plays out as a novel of metropolitan-colonial conflict, holding out the hope that language might not serve only as a tool of oppression, but be reclaimed as the instrument that makes resistance possible.

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miéville, Chinaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Drechsler, ArndtCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoven, ArnoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Uchida, MasayukiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"The word must communicate something (other than itself)."
Walter Benjamin, "On Language as such and on the Language of Man"
To Jesse
First words
The children of the embassy all saw the boat land.
"I don't want to be a simile anymore," I said. "I want to be a metaphor."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
On a distant planet in the far future, humans and an alien race coexist in a nonviolent but nonetheless uncomfortable arrangement. In general, they don't hurt one another, but they're not necessarily happy to share the city together. It is a marriage of convenience, arranged for economic reasons. But when a new group of humans arrives on the planet, one current citizen—a young woman—begins to realize that things are about to change for the worse.
Haiku summary
The Hosts - who are they?
Avise the simile, all
Ends in social change.

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist on a distant planet populated by the Ariekei, sentient beings famed for their unique language, returns to Embassytown after many years of deep space exploration to find she has become a living simile in the Ariekei language even though she cannot speak it, and she is torn by competing loyalties when hostilities erupt between humans and aliens.… (more)

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