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Embassytown (2011)

by China Miéville

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,9422003,575 (3.88)1 / 318
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)
  1. 72
    The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (BeckyJG)
  2. 41
    Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (electronicmemory)
  3. 41
    The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (santhony)
    santhony: Science fiction as seen through the prism of anthropology and sociology.
  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. 64
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (BeckyJG)
  8. 31
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (ansate)
  9. 20
    Blindsight by Peter Watts (electronicmemory)
  10. 10
    The Dosadi Experiment by Frank Herbert (santhony)
    santhony: Philosophical Science Fiction
  11. 10
    The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber (KatyBee)
  12. 11
    The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (sparemethecensor)

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» See also 318 mentions

English (198)  German (1)  French (1)  All languages (200)
Showing 1-5 of 198 (next | show all)
This book makes me wish that I still worked in a book store or belonged to a book group because I would really like to discuss it with others.
It is thought provoking, difficult, controversial, and complex. I could only read @ a chapter at a sitting because the writing required processing time. The book is all about language and its importance and about perception. Do not read this if you are looking for an easy fun read. Read it if you want to stretch yourself. I'm going to percolate on it and reread in the future. I give it 4 stars because of originality and because it is really well written. ( )
  101ReasonsWhy | Jul 12, 2021 |
Started reading this with my wife, but we were both getting lost. Picked it up again by myself and though it was a little slow going for a while, I loved it by the end. To me this is what "real" sci-fi is about, worlds/aliens that have completely different ways of doing things. Not just green guys with laser guns who act like humans.

I'm a huge Mieville fan, but sometimes his stuff is just too far out there for me. He almost always seems to be breaking new ground and whenever an author does that he's taking a risk that it just won't work for readers. ( )
  ragwaine | May 19, 2021 |
I just can't get comfortable with Mieville's writing because I am so often unsure of what he's saying. He has a wonderful gift for seeing complex societies, that's for sure, but I can't hold it all well enough to enjoy it. ( )
1 vote nhlsecord | Feb 2, 2021 |
A total masterpiece. It takes a little while to wrap your head around what Miéville is structuring here, but he's a perfect guide throughout - always telling you just enough to keep you going, but never pulling back entirely to give you everything. This is a thing that a lot of science fiction novelists struggle with, and it's probably why this is my favorite science fiction novel in a long, long time. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
One of the most thought provoking books since Anathem. ( )
  frfeni | Jan 31, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 198 (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 (8 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
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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.

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Average: (3.88)
1 19
1.5 2
2 51
2.5 16
3 150
3.5 69
4 327
4.5 67
5 224

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