NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
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—but which speaks through her, whether she likes it or not.
Praise for Embassytown
“A breakneck tale of suspense . . . disturbing and beautiful by turns. 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
“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
“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)
Mi ville (Kraken) adds to the sparse canon of linguistic SF with this deeply detailed story of the ways an alien language might affect not only thought patterns but ways of life. Avice Benner Cho returns to her backwater colony home of Embassytown so her linguist husband, Scile, can study the almost empathic, in-the-present language of the planet's natives, the Hosts. When a Host learns to lie, the resulting massive cultural earthquake in Host society is compounded by two new Ambassadors whose voices have a profound physiological effect on the Hosts. Mi ville's brilliant storytelling shines most when Avice works through problems and solutions that develop from the Hosts' unique and convoluted linguistic evolution, and many of the most intriguing characters are the Hosts themselves. The result is a world masterfully wrecked and rebuilt.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Embassyville by China
A fantastic story with its own language. In fact the book is about language.
The opposite of an easy-breezy beach read with no real substance. Meaty on many different levels. New ideas; great story. The ONLY book I've ever read that's also - bonus - included fancy words I'd previously not known. Thank you, Mr. Mieville! Fantastic book.
100 Words or Less
This novel’s core is understanding language, alien and otherwise; so it’s ironic that the primary fault rests in a vocabulary maze:
“Not many of us scored particularly highly in these latter, in the various flairs prized elsewhere, in the out.”
Ooooookay. At times, sentences were so twisted they needed translation.
Yet, be patient. Much like Shakespeare, you may not know what’s what, but the emotional thrust is felt. Continuing forward, settling down into the wordly rhythm, it makes sense. In its way, it’s beautiful. The characters, the worlds, the plot, the Language … it’s real. And in sci-fi, that’s special.