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Thread: China Mieville's Embassytown
September 24th, 2011, 03:20 PM #31
The man is obsessed with language, so this does not surprise me. Would you all say that it's as symbolic as Iron Council or is it anchored in the more concrete?
September 24th, 2011, 04:17 PM #32
Haven't read Iron Council, so I don't know
September 24th, 2011, 04:21 PM #33
September 24th, 2011, 05:43 PM #34
Originally Posted by Werthead
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October 17th, 2011, 06:57 PM #35
I was really enjoying Embassytown at the start. But I found that once I had conquered the intellectual challenge of piecing together the world Miéville created I lost some interest in the book. The problem for me, I think, is that Avice is a passive participant in the plot; she observes events without really influencing them. Given the cataclysmic nature of these events, this isn’t surprising and I think it would be unrealistic to portray one person as drastically influencing such a huge cultural change, but the lack of any agency on the part of the protagonist has really sucked some of the tension out of the novel for me at this point. I haven't finished the book yet and the last hundred pages might be as brilliant and as engaging as the first hundred or so, but at the moment I find myself reaching for something like Leviathan Wakes and leaving the bookmark in this one relatively static.
Last edited by Luke_B; October 17th, 2011 at 07:00 PM.
October 18th, 2011, 04:26 AM #36
Mieville did this in Kraken too. One of the problems of being a brilliant world-builder is that sometimes the world takes over from the plot...
November 2nd, 2011, 02:00 AM #37
I've finished Embassytown and it's brilliant. I have now problem with Avice being observer most of the book - she is not exactly the main protagonist. Main protagonist is the language (with small letter, not Language) itself.
Russian SF patriarchs Strugatskie brothers once said that most of SF is about adventures of the body and very few is about adventures of the mind. Embassytown is an adventure of the mind.
November 4th, 2011, 05:14 PM #38
I posted when I finished this in the monthly reading thread. I actually ended up liking this once I had finished, even though I did find the middle 100 pages a bit of a slog. The story picks up again towards the end. Conversely, I felt very "meh" about Leviathan Wakes when I finished it, which I also mentioned in my earlier post. They are very different books, but out of the two I certainly enjoyed China's more in the end.
October 9th, 2012, 12:48 PM #39
Deleted this message sorry.
Last edited by NeonKnight; October 9th, 2012 at 12:54 PM. Reason: Deleted
October 9th, 2012, 12:49 PM #40
Something about China Mieville, it is hard to put my finger on it, but he is really something special. Just finished off Embassytown, and once again I am just super impressed with his supreme talent and gifts.
His world building ideas are always so wildly inventive, and his dazzling use of vocabulary makes a read with him a challenge but the payoff is well worth a little extra effort. In Embassytown, his depiction of the strange aliens "The Host" is so utterly weird, they become perhaps as strange as true aliens must really be, almost beyond human comprehension. As if that is not enough, Mieville weaves disparate themes like addiction and the true meaning of language into a tale that succeeds like the best entertainers always do: by leaving the audience with the compulsion for more of this stuff.
As always it seems, Mieville loves to feature an urban setting, like New Crobuzon in Perdido Street Station, the Armada in The Scar, and London in The Kraken, he excels when his characters inhabit the chaotic maze-like dirty streets within these bizarre new worlds.
I also found his conception of "immersion" a novel way of interstellar travel. to be very creative and as he put in the interview linked earlier, a throwback to a time when traveling by sailing ship was a very dangerous and superstitious way of transportation. He mentions he might want to explore this universe in the future, which is a very fine thing by me.
Looks like Railsea, a unique China take on Herman Melville and Moby Dick, is another must read.
Last edited by NeonKnight; October 9th, 2012 at 12:53 PM.