“Something’s changing. Which may or may not be a good thing,” I said finally.
”I admit defeat. I’ve been trying to present these events with a structure. I simply don’t know how everything happened. Perhaps because I didn’t pay proper attention, perhaps because it wasn’t a narrative, but for whatever reasons, it doesn’t want to be what I want to make it.”
”We thought of Ariekei in terms of stuff from an antique world— we looked at our Hosts and saw insect-horse-coral-fan things. Those were chimeras of our own baggage. There they were, the Hosts, humming polyphonically in reveries that were utterly their own.”
”They spoke me every day, Scile told me afterward. That was what they said to CalVin. I do not know, one Host said to CalVin, about me, how I did without her, how I thought what I needed to think.”
Before the humans came we didn’t speak so much of certain things. Before the humans came we didn’t speak so much. Before the humans came we didn’t speak.’ ” He glanced at me. “ ‘ We didn’t walk on our wings. We didn’t walk. We didn’t swallow earth. We didn’t swallow.’
“A simile,” he said, “is true because you say so. It’s a persuasion: this is like that. That’s not enough for it anymore. Similes aren’t enough.” He stared. “It wants to make you a kind of lie. To change everything. “Simile spells an argument out: it’s ongoing, explicit, truth-making. You don’t need … logos, they used to call it. Judgement. You don’t need to … to link incommensurables. Unlike if you claim: ‘This is that.’ When it patently is not. That’s what we do. That’s what we call ‘reason,’ that exchange, metaphor. That lying. The world becomes a lie. That’s what Surl Tesh-echer wants. To bring in a lie.” He spoke very calmly. “It wants to usher in evil.”
”He wants to protect the Ariekei. From changing language.”
“There’s nothing like this anywhere,” Valdik said. “No other language anywhere in the universe. Where what’s said is truth. Can you imagine what it would be to lose that?”
”He worked as apparatchik, but I wondered if he really was a prophet.”
Arced over Embassytown was the Embassy itself, edging up to those plains. At something over a hundred metres it was the tallest building we had. A fat pillar, studded with horizontal boughs and landing pads, to and from which, even so late, bioluminescent corvids moved. Like something melted, the Embassy spread out at its base and became part of the streets that surrounded it. Staff neighbourhoods were half-covered, as much the innards of the Embassy itself as alleyways.
A -> B, B -> C, C -> D; to A = D
A -> B; therefore A = B
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