They write literature. Embassytown is a fully achieved work of art. Only the trash forms of science fiction are undemanding and predictable; the good stuff, like all good fiction, is not for lazy minds. Nothing in her behaviour offers conventional signals of femininity or unfemininity, an indication that gender may be differently constructed when humanity finds itself dealing with genuine Others. There are men right now who have never learned how to talk to women. How will we talk to somebody really different — aliens?
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Plot[ edit ] Embassytown takes place mostly in the city of the title, on the planet Arieka. Embassytown exists on the very edge of the "Manchmal" from the German for "sometimes" , which is suspected to be the third iteration of the known universe, and which, given its distance from everything else, is only accessible by sailing through the "Immer" from the German for "always" , a permanent universe with differing concepts of time and space.
Avice Benner Cho, an "Immerser" a traveller on the Immer , has returned to her childhood home from her adventures in the " Out ". On the planet of Arieka humans and "exots" a term for exotic extraterrestrials co-exist with the indigenous, enigmatic Ariekei—otherwise known as the Hosts.
Few people can speak the language of the Hosts referred to only as "Language" , as it requires the orator to speak two words at once; those humans Terre who can are genetically-engineered twins known as Ambassadors, bred solely for this purpose. The Ambassadors speak with two mouths and one mind and as such can be understood by the Ariekei who do not recognise any other form of communication allowing for trade in their valuable biotechnology.
Ariekei compete at Festivals of Lies to see who can most closely approximate speaking an untruth, an act both thrilling and highly taboo. The relationship between humans and Ariekei has proceeded in relative tranquillity for many years kilohours.
The situation deteriorates, and Avice is drawn into a search for a solution, having a special relationship with the Hosts as a human simile. With assistance from sympathetic Ambassadors, she trains a small group of Hosts to be able to use metaphors and eventually utter lies.
Characters[ edit ] The names in Embassytown which are presented in fractional notation are supposed to be spoken simultaneously, by two mouths.
Becomes known as the "God Drug". Hasser murders it during a Festival of Lies. Spanish Dancer — an Ariekei with markings reminiscent of a Spanish dancer. Development[ edit ] The Ariekei have two speaking orifices and utter their language through both simultaneously; for them, language, thought and reality are inseparable, hence they cannot understand the speech of individual humans, tell lies or speculate.
Embassytown by China Miéville – review