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Embassytown Hardcover – May 17, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; First Edition edition (May 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345524497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345524492
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #247,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

PRAISE FOR CHINA MIÉVILLE

Embassytown

“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.com

“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

“A breakneck tale of suspense…disturbing and beautiful by turns. And yes—China Mieville’s new novel is one of his best...I cannot emphasize enough how terrific this novel is.”
--io9

 “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)


Kraken

 
“The stakes [are] driven high and almost anything can happen. The reader is primed for a memorable payoff, and Miéville more than delivers.”—San Francisco Chronicle
 
The City & The City
 
“If Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler’s love child were raised by Franz Kafka, the writing that emerged might resemble . . . The City & The City.”—Los Angeles Times
 

Perdido Street Station
 
“Compulsively readable . . . impossible to expunge from memory.”—The Washington Post Book World
 
The Scar
 
“A fantastic setting for an unforgettable tale . . . memorable because of Miéville’s vivid language [and] rich imagination.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
 

Iron Council
 
“A masterwork . . . a story that pops with creativity.”—Wired
 
Un Lun Dun
 
“Endlessly inventive . . . [a] hybrid of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and The Phantom Tollbooth.”—Salon

About the Author

China Miéville is the author of several books, including Perdido Street Station, The City & The City, and Kraken. His works have won the Hugo, the British Science Fiction Award (twice), the Arthur C. Clarke Award (three times) and the World Fantasy Award. He lives and works in London.

More About the Author

China Miéville is the author of King Rat; Perdido Street Station, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award; The Scar, winner of the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Award; Iron Council, winner of the Locus Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award; Looking for Jake, a collection of short stories; and Un Lun Dun, his New York Times bestselling book for younger readers. He lives and works in London.

Customer Reviews

While a rather bleak, hard-core science fiction novel, the crux of "Embassytown" is the beauty and power of language.
R. C. Bowman
That said, the main story arc is a bit plodding, I did not feel invested in the main character and the "political" side story was poorly developed.
joseph weiss
I read embassytown last because, well, I haven't really enjoyed China's books very much in the past and have set several aside part way thru.
KindlePad

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

212 of 230 people found the following review helpful By R. C. Bowman on April 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm not actually a China Mieville fan. The entire "New Weird" genre just sort of confuses me, and I'm rarely impressed (to be fair, he's a fantastic writer). "Un Lun Dun" and "Kraken", particularly, didn't really leave favorable impressions. Still, I did love "King Rat" and "Perdido Street Station", and his other books were enjoyable. Also, it's stupid to not read anything else by a prolific author simply because two books weren't your thing. Add to that the fact that "Embassytown" is, at least superficially, hard-core science fiction...well, it was enough for me to take the plunge.

"Embassytown" is told through the eyes of Immerser Avice Benner Cho. She first chronicles her childhood on the planet Ariekei, giving us glimpses of Mieville's multi-layered world: most children don't grow up with their birth parents. They live in communal homes with multiple parents (much like counselors.) Humans share their world with "exots"--aliens (exoterres). But this isn't some two-dimensional Star Wars or silly Futurama-type melting pot. Exots are screened. With one important exception, exots can only settle on Ariekei if their sociologic and, to an extent, genetic makeup (they must have language, move comfortably in a human-run world, have similar thought processes, et cetera) is similar enough to allow integration with humans.

Humans do not own Ariekei, however. We are settlers, only living on the planet because beings known only as Hosts permit us to.

The Hosts protect themselves. While benevolent, especially toward children, they have a part of the planet only they can enter; humans can't breathe in their area. They circumvent the human similarity, as well (it's their planet, after all.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Brendan Moody TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
China Miéville's fertile imagination has always explored the interstices of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, but this, his eighth novel, is more strongly tilted toward science fiction than its predecessors. On a planet dominated by aliens whose unique language demands a uniquely specialized form of communication, the isolated human community of Embassytown lives a life of benign neglect, having only occasional contact with the society of which it's a nominal colony and the natives on whom its livelihood depends. When that harmony is shattered by an impossible arrival and an unexpected discovery, Avice Benner Cho, positioned by fate at the nexus of several conflicting agendas, finds herself caught up in the tragic, violent birth of a new order.

Miéville uses theoretical questions about the nature of language as a jumping-off point, but doesn't explore them in any rigorous way; this is not so much a novel of ideas as of images. As ever, the author excels at portraying an urban existence that's alien and yet based in universal aspects of city life. Embassytown is first seen through a child's eyes, as flashbacks detail Avice's early years, the games and myths that spring up in the lives of children surrounded by strangers, whether those strangers belong to a different ethnic group or a different species. No awkward exposition blunts the mystery of Avice's city, and readers not familiar with the immersive quality of novels like this one may find themselves lost. But before too much time passes, Miéville weaves seemingly-disparate threads together into a deeply satisfying moment of revelation. At that point, the novel truly takes off.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Lynnda Ell VINE VOICE on April 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I read science fiction to be entertained and to stretch my understanding of ideas I might never otherwise consider. Embassytown gave me a huge dose of both. China Mieville wrote a stimulating, entertaining story of the importance of language. He did that by introducing an alien culture totally out of sync with the way in which human beings communicate - even though both species communicate through sound.

The protagonist, Avice, grew up in the one human town - Embassytown - on the alien's planet. The town was an outpost of a human-dominated world and not a large place to live. Mieville does a good job of grounding the reader in the culture of the synergy between humans and aliens by allowing Avice to tell certain important parts of her childhood.

The story begins in a time of rapid and traumatic change that threatens to destroy the aliens' world and Embassytown. The snowballing events pressure breakthroughs that offer changes as devastating as the ones at the beginning of the story.

I had two problems with the advanced proofs that I received for review. (The book is due to be released in May.) First, about 50-to-75 pages near the center of the book slowed down to the point of slogging through mud. (Mieville spends too many pages getting through the times when any action is taking place out of Avice's sight.) Second, one of the subplots that seemed to be important several times in the book - Avice's relationship with Ehrsul - ended strangely, even for sci-fi. Those are the only reasons that I rated the book with four stars instead of five.

With all truly well written science fiction stories, the first reading is for orientation to a new world and to make the paradigm shifts necessary to understanding the plot.
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