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Embassytown Discussion > SECTION 5: Part 6: New Kings

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Nataliya | 378 comments The issues that Miéville addresses in this very short part of the book are, in my opinion, significant enough to warrant their own discussion section. These issues, in addition to being present in our own world, are what was the driving force that through circumstances unforeseen brought the destruction of the world as the Ariekei and the Embassytowners have known it.

Therefore, without much further ado, welcome to the reading of Part 6: New Kings (Kindle 65%- 71, pages 227- 248 out of 345.)

Part Six is essentially the story of politics behind the idea of creating Ambassador EzRa, the story of what became "A world-destroying mistake. Not a stupid one: only the very worst luck."

This is the story, seen countless times in our world full of colonial powers past and present, of a colonial power trying to maintain its grip on its colony.
"All Embassytown had had was its monopoly on Language, and with EzRa, Bremen had tried to break that."
EzRa was basically a scout, a weapon engineered by the colonial power Bremen to bring their remote colony under Bremeni full and undisputed control by making them rely on the Ambassadors from the outside, from Bremen, for their survival. Bremeni officials did not count on EzRa becoming a drug to the Ariekei - the Embassytown Ambassadors and Staff did, but did not foresee the ultimate impact it would have on their little corner of the world.

The true reasons behind Bremeni actions are shown as well - Embassytown was supposed to become a way station in the immer (the immer that we did not think much about after Avice's opening chapters as it was not that relevant to the rest of the events in the story! Nice move, CM!), and Bremen would need very tight control over this potential economic resource.

This is not in any way different from the actions the past and present colonial powers have undertaken countless times throughout history to maintain their grip on the colonies and to get whatever resources they can flowing their way, colonies be damned.

The decision is made to replicate EzRa as EzCal now - because the god-drug needs to be supplied to the hopelessly addicted Ariekei. An undertone of tragedy surfaces here - it's Cal who will inevitably become Ez's partner, the Turn to Ez's cut.
"What do we know about Ez and Ra? They weren’t doppels. But maybe what they did share was important. Hate. We’re not training a new Ambassador, we’re distilling a drug. We have to replicate every ingredient we know about. We need the Turn to hate the Cut. A voice tearing itself apart."

" 'My question is, do you think Cal knows he’ll do it, yet?'
Probably, I thought. He must know what his duty would be: to become symbiont with the man who had destroyed his history, future and brother."
Having established a way to ensure short-term survival, the ruling elite of Embassytown proceeds to decide on how to continue working with the Ariekei since they need them for survival - like air and food. And, of course, the only way they see so far is to continue being the pushers of the god-drug. A despicable way to survive, isn't it?
"We would have to reestablish ways of communicating our needs to the Ariekei, and working out what we offered. Somewhere in that city now trying to rouse itself there must be those Hosts with which we had established understandings, which might now be able to take some kind of control again, with which we could deal. It wouldn’t be a healthy polity. A few in control of their addiction would rule over those not, compradors at our behest: a narcocracy of language. We’d have to be careful pushers of our product."
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Other points:

- Avice revisits the motives for the murder of the Ariekei 'liar' Surl-tesh-echer, the murder in which we know CalVin and Scile were the co-conspirators with the Ariekei not approving of the liars' ambitions. And she easily sees now that the reasons for this murder were nothing like Scile's striving for maintaining the fascinating and unprecedented linguistic purity of the Language:
"“Because I think I have in fact a pretty solid fucking idea why— if you don’t know what’s happening to Language how do you know what’ll happen to Ambassadors, huh?"
And, once again, we get to see Avice's new connection with her birthplace, so different from her previous mention of being an escapee from a small town:
"I’d never understood the injunction not to regret anything, couldn’t see how that wasn’t cowardice, but not only did I not regret the out, but nor, suddenly, did I the return. Nor even Scile."



message 2: by Cecily (last edited Mar 18, 2013 01:08PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cecily | 301 comments I commend Ian's review (http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...) as being especially strong on the political aspects of the book, something I didn't fully appreciate in comparison to the language aspects.

I saw plenty of parallels between Bremen's approach and that of the British in the Opium Wars, but I didn't really delve into it to the extent he does - and indeed that Nataliya's notes above do.


Nataliya | 378 comments Cecily wrote: "I saw plenty of parallels between Bremen's approach and that of the British in the Opium Wars, but I didn't really delve into it to the extent he does - and indeed that Nataliya's notes above do."

I remember on my first reading of this book focusing much more on the aspects related to the Language storyline, and on the second reading the political aspects began to stand out more. I guess you can never escape politics, as Avice does realize.


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