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What Else Are You Reading? > Nebula Nominee - "Embassytown" Discussion

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message 1: by Nick (last edited Mar 02, 2012 10:13AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nick (whyzen) | 1295 comments Found a earlier thread on this book.

I know a few people mentioned they started this book in the nebula nominee thread.

Thought I'd start up a thread for those reading the book now.

I'm about 40 pages in so far and I agree with a lot of the other posts from the previous thread in that you have to read carefully due to the point of view. I found myself re-reading parts to make sure I understood the intent of the sentences. It was a bit of a challenge to pick the world's made up words along side Miéville's expansive vocabulary and interpret their meaning. It was sometimes interesting to see which were made up words and which weren't(thank goodness for the kindle's built in dictionary!). There was one word - Saft - the kindle dictionary didn't have but Wikipedia said was a Germanic name for juice.

Found this video online of Miéville discussing the book. Warning: he discusses several plot points from the first 40 pages of the book and maybe a few beyond that.

Dharmakirti | 942 comments Embassytown was one of the best books I read last year. It took me about 50 pages to get into it and figure things out, but that is not unusual for something written by this author.
I think the Hosts are among the best aliens I have encountered in fiction. And I loved the idea of the Immer and Immerser - Immer being "subspace" and Immerser being those who travel through the immer.

message 3: by Kate (new) - added it

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 778 comments I've stalled around the 50 page mark. I hope to push past this eventually, but I'm feeling like this is going to be an uphill struggle.

Dharmakirti | 942 comments Kate wrote: "I've stalled around the 50 page mark. I hope to push past this eventually, but I'm feeling like this is going to be an uphill struggle."

From page 50 on, the hill should be less steep. There will still be some struggles, this author does like to challenge readers.

Lepton | 176 comments The book is pretty remarkable until the two different time periods converge. Mieville can't seem to refrain from building up powerful, mysterious entities and/or hierarchies and then knocking them down into banalities and grotesqueries. This tendency makes investing in the central mysteries of his works that I have read (The City & the City and Embassytown) pretty useless and disappointing at the end of things.

Mieville is obviously a writer of considerable intellect but I feel that when it comes to the methods and means that he chooses to resolve the action and the central story in his novels, those choices are inherently disappointing and to my mind kind of banal.

Nick (whyzen) | 1295 comments Its taken a while to get its feet (started picking up around page 100 for me) but its getting much more interesting. I'm about half way through and (view spoiler) This is definitely a very interesting novel so far.

Nick (whyzen) | 1295 comments Nick wrote: "Its taken a while to get its feet (started picking up around page 100 for me) but its getting much more interesting. I'm about half way through and [spoilers removed] This is definitely a very in..."

As soon as I say this, not 5 pages later the books goes off in a wildly different direction.

message 8: by Tamahome (last edited Mar 05, 2012 06:55PM) (new)

Tamahome | 6263 comments I've heard it's hard.

Nick (whyzen) | 1295 comments Just finished this book. Its a very different novel and I think I'm not yet done forming my interpretation of it. There is a lot to think over and I'm trying to divine the meaning the author is trying to express and feeling I need to devote a bit more time to the analysis of the story.
(view spoiler)

Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2859 comments I had to keep coming back to this, but really enjoyed it. I find I agree with Lepon's point about broad issues unraveling into banalities, because it kept 'almost' feeling like it would have the depth of an Ursula Le Guin novel but then I'd be taken through a description of bloody limbs or another night with some Ambassador. Avice also lacks much interest as a character; she seems so cold and uninvested. Why did she bother to stay?

That said, I still enjoyed it, and there were still intriguing ideas here. Humans as parts of speech? Loved that. And so far, it exhibits far more maturity in concept and writing than the other nominees,.

aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) I have not been so excited by a science fiction book this year as I was by this one. It's going on my Favorites bookshelf. In my opinion, it is a genius work, a classic. Absolutely brilliant.

Yamil (yamilyamilyamil) I'm kinda struggling with this book. I agree with Nick. China's vocabulary and the made up words make the book a bit trickier. I'm mainly just bored with Avice.

message 13: by kvon (new) - rated it 5 stars

kvon | 562 comments After reading these reviews I was hoping for more odd language than I actually found. I thought the world-building was reminiscent of classic sf; the metaphors with the Language and the effects on the aliens and the clones was very new wave. One of the better sf books I've read this past year.

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