Embassytown by China Miéville
Book Blurb: “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.”
Favourite Quote: “Sometimes translation stops you understanding.” China Miéville
Embasseytown is an unusual sci-fi about a group of humans struggling to communicate with an alien species. A town on the edge of the universe, Ariekei hosts that speak a double language and a strong female lead it has all the elements of sci-fi that I love. However I almost stopped reading several times through the first 3rd of the book. Fragments made sense but overall my brain hurt. But then it started to come together. And I marvelled at the concepts Miéville presents around language.
To anyone starting reading this one – persevere through as the second half of the book blows your mind open with intriguing concepts, politics, weird aliens and abstract ideas.
I loved the aliens in this one. They were almost beyond description and understanding. Masterful weird fiction. This book made me think about language, how we use it, how it changes through our use and the impact it has on us. It left a powerful impression long after I had finished the book.
This story is a wonderful piece of art : which focuses on the sheer beauty of language and its power to shape the world.
345 pages Published May 17th 2011 by Del Rey