China Miéville doesn't follow trends, he sets them. Relentlessly pushing his own boundaries as a writer - and in the process expanding the boundaries of the entire field - with Embassytown, Miéville has crafted an extraordinary novel that is not only a moving personal drama but a gripping adventure of alien contact and war.
In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak.
Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. She cannot speak the Ariekei tongue, but she is an indelible part of it, having long ago been made a figure of speech, a living simile in their language.
When distant political machinations deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties - to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak yet speaks through her.
I have a confession to make. I am in love with China Miéville's brain. I think his writing is brilliant, unique, and thought-provoking to the millionth degree. He treats the English language as his tool, his toy, and his landscape, and Embassytown is a perfect example of how much he can accomplish in one book. (Reviewed by Beverly Melven).
The New York Times - Carlo Rotella
Like all of Miéville's additions to the literary atlas, [Embassytown] seems at once wildly imagined from scratch and phantasmagorically drawn from life.
Fantasy Book Critic
Overall, Embassytown is a superb literary achievement of the author set in an imaginative universe with fascinating aliens, though the [science fictional] content is relatively predictable in the second part of the novel.
I want to read this, and I don't even read sf.
A major intellectual achievement that, despite all difficulties, persuades and enthralls.
Miéville's brilliant storytelling shines most when Avice works through problems and solutions that develop from the Hosts' unique and convoluted linguistic evolution... The result is a world masterfully wrecked and rebuilt.
The Book Depository (UK)
Fans of the eloquent and endlessly imaginative China Miéville have been blessed by his recent annual output... [Embassytown] mashes together incongruent elements of fiction to create something beautiful, bleak and terrifying.
China Miéville (pronounced mee-AY-vill) has taken the science fiction world by storm in his relatively short tenure as a published author. He is the winner of three Arthur C. Clarke awards, two British Fantasy Awards, four Locus Awards, a Hugo Award, and a World Fantasy Award - not to mention he's received numerous nominations for every major science fiction and fantasy award possible, including the Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild awards. His first novel, King Rat, was published in 1998. That's a lot of attention in 12 years.
Though reviewers often speak of how he 'transcends the genre,' Miéville sees no shame in writing within the bounds of traditional science fiction. In a July 2010 interview in the New York Times, he stated that, "I'm not trying to distance myself from the genre I came out of." He loves science fiction for "that sense of the world blown apart, that sense of a crack in reality, that visionary sense, that ecstatic sense." Among many others, he cites H. P. Lovecraft, Frida Kahlo, Charlotte Brontë, comic books,...
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