Embassytown by China Miéville
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book very well could be the start of a new epoch. Or at least, I think it should be.
Why? Because it's not just Miéville's grand far-future SF at play here, full of some of the most subtle and freakishly amazing and STRANGE aliens who are very much defined by their language, but because this novel works on several levels perfectly at the same time.
Am I impressed? Hell yes, I'm impressed.
"Before the humans came, we didn't speak so much of certain things. We were grown into Language. After history we made city and machines and gave them names. We didn't speak so much of certain things. Language spoke us. The words that wanted to be city and machines had us speak them so they could be."
Take this literally. These aliens couldn't even conceive of us because their language is the Truth of them. This is the inability to see the ships on the horizon, taken all the way. Lies are impossible, too. Metaphors, doubly so. So when a horrible mistake happens with the new dual/one embassador that manages to actually use the Language to tell a lie, the lie becomes the ultimate drug to the aliens.
Enter the collapse of an entire ultra-advanced alien species, with us as the ultimate satanic villains.
If you think this is cool as shit, just read the book. It becomes a lot more. And worse happens.
The novel works on all levels. Just imagine Cherryh ramped up to Miéville craziness, wickedly subtle and strange peoples and aliens, and let the good times roll in heartbreak, horror, and the terror of having to live with all of your damn stupid mistakes.
Yeah, I'm talking about you, Humanity. Jerk.
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