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Embassytown (2011)

de China Miéville

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses / Mencions
3,0372053,685 (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.… (més)
Afegit fa poc perejmw, alexandria2021, Arena800, alynnelorenz, sriddell, zetetic23, biblioteca privada, brian.thom
  1. 72
    The Sparrow de Mary Doria Russell (BeckyJG)
  2. 41
    Ancillary Justice de Ann Leckie (electronicmemory)
  3. 41
    La mà esquerra de la foscor de Ursula K. Le Guin (santhony)
    santhony: Science fiction as seen through the prism of anthropology and sociology.
  4. 30
    Babel-17 de 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
    Foreigner de C. J. Cherryh (PhoenixFalls, electronicmemory)
    PhoenixFalls: Cherryh excels in writing really alien aliens and always focuses on the nuances of languages.
  6. 30
    Anathem de Neal Stephenson (bertilak, g33kgrrl)
    bertilak: Miéville has written a philosophical science fiction novel that rocks and is not bloated: Stephenson please take note.
  7. 20
    Blindsight de Peter Watts (electronicmemory)
  8. 20
    The Book of Strange New Things de Michel Faber (KatyBee)
  9. 31
    The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet de David Mitchell (ansate)
  10. 64
    Hyperion de Dan Simmons (BeckyJG)
  11. 21
    The Dispossessed de Ursula K. Le Guin (sparemethecensor)
  12. 10
    The Dosadi Experiment de Frank Herbert (santhony)
    santhony: Philosophical Science Fiction
S'està carregant…

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» Mira també 318 mencions

Anglès (203)  Alemany (1)  Francès (1)  Totes les llengües (205)
Es mostren 1-5 de 205 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Great world building!

So hard to describe this book. It's about human's interacting with completely alien species, colonization and its associated good and bad effects, another entry in the "power corrupts" cannon. But mostly (and surprisingly) it's about language. How our language and thoughts are completely entwined. If you don't have a word for a concept, maybe your culture doesn't have that concept?

It was a great book to read during corona virus times. On one level a full-on sci-fi escape. On the other hand it's a fable of just how quickly "normal" can go away, replaced by a fully new normal.

( )
  sriddell | Aug 6, 2022 |
i was tired of reading 2 non-fictions, so i picked this up as a "break book".

i've read the author before, Perdido Street Station, which some people RAVE RAVE about. i thought it wasn't that good.

but, Miéville is 'sposed to be the shiznit, so i've picked up another.

about 30 pp. in. i guess the remarkable thing is that i have a fairly firm grasp of what exactly is going on. i think that might be a pretty frequent issue with this author.

but somewhat cool so far.

75 pp. in, mmm...not awful, maybe even not bad, but there is just something about the writing that is difficult for me to embrace. but, i'm taking it slowly and not trying to rush through. still reading.

165 pp. in, i'm not giving unequivocal praise at this point, but i think this is at the very least an interesting work. as for some sort of summary, for some reason those are generally hard for me. let's just say, as a rule, the Hosts are unable to lie. but one of them, surl/tesh-echer, is gaining the ability to do so with greater ease. the main character, Avice, her husband Scile sees this as a REALLY BAD change. he enlists some from a group known as "the similes" to take up the flag of i guess what you would call a "cause", the cause being that really bad things would proceed from the Hosts starting to lie. one of the similes, Valdik, becomes the public face. at what is known as the Festival of Lies, Valdik makes a spectacle, then, in the confusion, Hasser, another of the similes, murders surl/tesh-echer.

that's what i dislike about providing book summaries, it is difficult for me to provide sufficient context. and the summary above suffers from the same issue. needless to say, there is a ton of information i did not provide. but that is a super-high-level overview of what has just happened in the book.

this book is proceeding very slowly. if i was reading it in a hurry, i would probably dislike or even hate it. but i'm not, and i don't. et voilà

300 pp. in & then started skimming. this guy's writing isn't appealing to me. i can see that there is a lot of imagination in the story & i sometimes got glimpses into that. but, as a rule, i find the style to be somewhat, je ne sais qua...unfriendly, cold, not affable. also, there would be sentences i would re-read several times & honestly feel like it was simply badly written, not clearly communicating what i think the author intended. but, honestly, i have a general expectation that something i am reading will be clearly written & it won't be a tedious process for me to piece it together. that is probably a more appropriate mindset for reading non-fiction. i accept that part of reading novels is the fact that each author may have a very individualized style (Faulkner, i'm looking at you).

i had a potential insight while reading this book. it struck me that perhaps the author is very intensely writing to satisfy himself, not necessarily writing for an external audience. if that is the case, that's cool by me, he should write to satisfy himself. but with all things internally/cognitively based, something that makes a lot of sense to you may be more difficult for me to discern.

as for the story itself, hmmm. i'm not going to try to pick up a blow-by-blow where i left off with the last one. so, at a high level, this book is about a few things: language, communication, power, resistance to societal decline, addiction. basically Bremen sent EzRa to Embassytown to start a dissolution of the Hosts hold on power, presumably because Embassytown was at the very edge of the Immer and Bremen wanted control of the territory. the whole EzRa scenario led to an almost complete breakdown of Arieken society, all most of them wanted was to be satisfied oratees. But there was resistance within their group and also from humans (exots). then, there was the whole Cal situation, where the Ariekes were still addicted to Language, but Cal was able to control them (with EzRa, there wasn't actually much communication, just satisfying an addiction). Then, the Absurd group that disabled their fanwings so they wouldn't be able to hear or be under the sway of Language. Then they figured out how to communicate with each other in other manners (by figuring out the idea of "that" and "not that"? something like that). Then, Avice worked with surl/tesh-echer's group to help them develop their skill at lying and (i was skimming at this point) they became familiar with metaphor and that it is technically some form of lying (out on a limb here). Then, this group somehow averted a disaster with an incoming Horde of the Absurd, that was coming apparently to rain down a massive wave of destruction. they were looking to basically wipe out the existing group of Language addicted Ariekes, making way for a new generation that was not addicted. oh yeah, and Scile didn't die. he went to the Absurd.

anyway, something like that. i can see how some readers would think this is a good, even great, book. i didn't find it such, and eventually was just ready to be through, rather than actually enjoying it.

stepping back a little bit, i don't think Mieville is a writer that i will ever enjoy. not a biggie, it happens. i thought Perdido Street Station was more of a slog than this one (i think it was substantially longer though, so that may account for the feeling). i think he is very definitely doing his own thing, has his own aesthetic, and i respect that. it just turns out i don't find it entertaining/rewarding/worthwhile to read. i think this kind of story requires a very high level of intelligence (i may or may not be there), along with an analytical detachment (sometimes there), and maybe a nerdiness for nerdiness sake (at least from my point of view). like reveling in the nerdiness of it all. this writing style is called New Weird, i think. it's kind of like being involved with people i have known in my life, and being in longer conversations with them. i'll almost always follow someone down a conversational path, even with earnestness, toward "discovering something". what i have found is that i have a certain point at which the path is no longer interesting to me. i'm sure this is not unusual, there are different levels of interest obviously. i think Mieville's books are like these kinds of conversation to me, i'll pick up the book with genuine interest, will read earnestly, and will hit that "wall" hard at some point. i think there are definitely readers of his that don't find that wall with his books. and that's awesome. that, in part, is maybe what makes novels (maybe even the act of reading itself) cool, the subjectiveness of it. maybe someday i'll find "my Mieville".

hope you enjoy it & the author's writing more than i have. ( )
  stevenpkent | May 16, 2022 |
Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash meets Ted Chiang's Story of Your Life.

I loved a lot of Mieville's worldbuilding details, and the alienness of the aliens. The central question about linguistic relativity is always a fruitful one for science fiction. It was also nice to listen to the audiobook version, since the story focuses so much on a spoken language (or Language, rather) that uses two simultaneous voices-- being able to listen to the narrator's doubled voice for those moments definitely added to the experience.

I do have some gripes with Embassytown, however. Avice's special status as an immerser never really seemed to tie into much in the story, (though the payoff of her status as a simile was extremely well-executed), and it felt like Ehrsul was dropped from the plot as well. Avice was quite a passive protagonist for the first 80% of the book or so, though that's not the end of the world necessarily. And some of the practicalities of Language didn't quite add up (how did the Ariekei set up and ask for the similes before they had been created, for example?)

My biggest problem with the story, however, was what felt like a dismissal of the pre-human-contact Ariekei, the alien unknowableness of Language. The God Drug is, of course, obviously bad-- Ez/Ra are a purposeful instrument of colonial power even before they become an accidental one of genocide. But when Avice creates the solution to the God Drug, I felt like the book was strangely congratulatory.

The scene where Avice finally gets through to Spanish Dancer was a good one, and well-written. But since Avice is positioned directly in contrast to Scile's obviously dangerous and misled fanaticism, that has a side effect of precluding any nuanced exploration of the way in which the transformativeness of Avice's actions are also destructive-- she is destroying Language, something she has never spoken and can therefore never fully understand. Yes, it is necessary for the Ariekei to learn to lie, that's what saves them from bloody war and mass extinction. But Avice is still the final step in a colonial process that has fundamentally unmade the world of the Ariekei.

Yes, Spanish Dancer's speech at the end of the book is beautiful, and it portrays the Ariekei as totally in favor of language over Language now that they know the difference. But it makes me wonder why Mieville wrote it that way. As written, of course Avice is the hero and Scile the villain. But I think it would have been a better story if that was a little less clear.
( )
  misslevel | Dec 22, 2021 |
This was a challenging read. Mieville is such a master of language that he can play with it so well and use in such unexpected ways. There is still some terms and concepts he created that I still cannot wrap my mind around. If you want something that will challenge the way you see language, this an excellent book. ( )
  LeBleuUn | Nov 14, 2021 |
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 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 205 (següent | mostra-les totes)
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.
afegit per RBeffa | editaContra Costa Times, Clay Kallam (Sep 28, 2011)
 
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.
afegit per PhoenixFalls | editaThe Guardian, James Purdon (May 20, 2011)
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (8 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Miéville, Chinaautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Drechsler, ArndtAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hoven, ArnoTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Uchida, MasayukiTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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"The word must communicate something (other than itself)."
Walter Benjamin, "On Language as such and on the Language of Man"
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"I don't want to be a simile anymore," I said. "I want to be a metaphor."
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(Clica-hi per mostrar-ho. Compte: pot anticipar-te quin és el desenllaç de l'obra.)
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Wikipedia en anglès (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.

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