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Embassytown by China Mieville

Embassytown (original 2011; edition 2011)

by China Mieville

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,1701622,994 (3.87)287
Authors:China Mieville
Info:Del Rey (2011), Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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Embassytown by China Miéville (2011)

  1. 40
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: A Novel by David Mitchell (ansate)
  2. 62
    The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (BeckyJG)
  3. 40
    Foreigner by C. J. Cherryh (PhoenixFalls, electronicmemory)
    PhoenixFalls: Cherryh excels in writing really alien aliens and always focuses on the nuances of languages.
  4. 30
    Anathem by Neal Stephenson (bertilak)
    bertilak: Miéville has written a philosophical science fiction novel that rocks and is not bloated: Stephenson please take note.
  5. 64
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (BeckyJG)
  6. 20
    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.
  7. 10
    Blindsight by Peter Watts (electronicmemory)
  8. 10
    The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (KatyBee)
  9. 11
    Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (electronicmemory)
  10. 00
    The Dosadi Experiment by Frank Herbert (santhony)
    santhony: Philosophical Science Fiction
  11. 11
    The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (santhony)
    santhony: Science fiction as seen through the prism of anthropology and sociology.

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» See also 287 mentions

English (164)  German (1)  All (165)
Showing 1-5 of 164 (next | show all)
Wow, this was trippy. It's kind of hard to follow at the beginning (a lot of future vocabulary), but if you stick with it, I think it pays off. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Apr 2, 2017 |
Good but not great. Doesn't have the drive and drama of the Perdido Street Station. It also doesn't have some of the flaws of the New Crobuzon stuff (over-reliance on the word puissant, for example). ( )
  sinceyouasked | Mar 17, 2017 |
Mieville's novel is one of those prime examples of how genre fiction can be Literature proper. The worldbuilding here is phenomenal, making us think about the very nature of language and communication in ways that fiction has rarely tackled. You can tell the Mieville has a philosophy background. That said, his characters veer towards flat. Avice, our protagonist, has all of her significant relationships with men grounded in the event, eventual or immediate, of them going to bed together. With more charater depth, we'd have a classic on our hands, alas ... ( )
  poetontheone | Feb 26, 2017 |
There was a lot of bizarre, chaotic and intriguing world building in this book, but too little plot. It was all too strange for me. "I don't want to be a simile anymore, I want to be a metaphor." This book is all about languages and those without language. I listened to the audiobook, which introduced a whole new type of weird. One of the languages is spoken by having two people speak different words simultaneously. Having these words (nonsense syllables to me) spoken in stereo in my headphones was a unique listening experience. I'll read more by this author, but this book is not going to be a favorite. ( )
  fhudnell | Dec 7, 2016 |
Embassytown is a story set on the Embasy of a world where the inhabitant special communicate only in Language and can't understand langauge. In order to speak to them, identical sets of twins are bred and trained from an early age to speak Langauge. Everything is fine until a new ambassador arrives from the out.

This is a difficult and interesting book. There are a lot of different ideas going on in here about langauge and what it is and how we use it. Some of it, I admit, went over my head. But there's a lot in here to make you think. I found the start a little chunky, there's a lot of new dialogue and ideas but a lot of them become clearer as you read through and by the half way point I was completely imersed in the world. Brilliant world building. Well worth a read. ( )
  TPauSilver | Aug 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 164 (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

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miéville, Chinaprimary authorall 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)

(summary from another edition)

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