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Embassytown by China Mieville
Cover Artist: David Stevenson
Review by Charity J. Sands
Del Rey Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345524492
Date: 17 May 2011 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Blog / Show Article /

Mieville's latest book presents a compelling world where ideas about how different languages work can start a war and destroy a culture. The characters and political details are sometimes flat/sometimes real, but it is the musings about how language and thought intersect that are the heart of this novel. While Mieville manages to make the abstract urgent in this world, readers who enjoy systems of ideas will enjoy this novel most while those seeking concrete details about a new alien race will be disappointed.

From official release/information:

Product Description: 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.

(Source: Del Rey)

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