China Miéville

Image of China Miéville
China Miéville

16 Quotations from China Miéville

avatar n. 2011 C. Miéville Embassytown xii. 218 ‘What’s going on?’ I said. I demanded to know what she made of our catastrophe. I asked, and her avatar-face simply froze, flickered, and came back, and she continued her meaningless tasks and directionless wit. [...] ‘It’s either a fuckup of some kind or she’s doing it deliberately,’ a harried Embassy ’waregener told me later, when I described it to her. You think? I was about to respond, but she clarified: it might be an autom equivalent of a child singing I can’t hear you, with fingers in its ears.
cityship n. 2011 C. Miéville Embassytown 32 My first commission was with the Wasp of Kolkata. It was quasi-autonomous, a cityship, immersing under the flag of itself, subcontracted by Dagostin for this run.
Clarke belt n. 2015 C. Miéville Rope Is World in Three Moments of Explosion Freedom Tower, the first space elevator humanity ever started, that had descended splendidly and slowly over years, to Isabela Island in the Galápagos, opened. It was redundant, of course. The technology at its center of gravity, its farthest end and first part built, the base station in the Clarke Belt, was antique compared to that at the Earth, the last, when the extruded tower finally reached it. The shaft ascended in skyhook archaeology.
doppel n. 2011 C. Miéville Embassytown 66 On Arieka, for lifetimes, the last two megahours, our representatives hadn’t been twins but doppels, cloned. It was the only viable way. They were bred in twos in the Ambassador-farm, tweaked to accentuate certain psychological qualities. Blood twins had long been outlawed.
empath n. 2011 C. Miéville Embassytown 62 There are no telepaths in this universe, I think, but there are empathies, with languages so silent that they may as well be sharing thoughts. The Hosts are not like that. They’re empaths of another kind. ... Their language is organised noise, like all of ours are, but for them each word is a funnel. Where to us each word means something, to the Hosts, each is an opening. A door, through which the thought of that referent, the thought itself that reached for that word, can be seen.
inhuman adj. 2011 C. Miéville Embassytown xi. 206 There was no thinking or strategy from the Hosts in those first days. I who was so used to glossing all their strangeness with special pleading—it’s some Ariekene thing, we wouldn’t understand— was aghast to become convinced that they were not indulging any inhuman strategy, but mindless addict need.
interworld adj. 2011 C. Miéville Embassytown 88 Interworld trade might come only every few thousand hours, but it was backed by and built on exhaustive, careful negotiation. With the arrival of each immership, terms agreed between Staff and Hosts (with the imprimatur of Bremen’s representative) were communicated, the vessel would leave with those details and Ariekene goods and tech, returning on its next round with whatever we had promised the Ariekei in return. They were patient.
kilohour n. 2011 C. Miéville Embassytown 19 ‘Years?’ one of my first officers shouted at me. ‘I don’t give two shits about whatever your pisspot home’s sidereal shenanigans are, I want to know how old you are.’ Answer in hours. Answer in subjective hours: no officer cares if you’ve slowed any compared to your pisspot home. No one cares which of the countless year-lengths you grew up with. So, when I was about 170 kilohours old I left Embassytown. I returned when I was 266Kh, married, with savings, having learnt a few things.
New Weird n. 2003 C. Miéville in Third Alternative (Summer) (essay title) Long Live the New Weird.
porthole n. 2011 C. Miéville Embassytown 35 I didn’t see the Ariekene Pharos that first time out, but thousands of hours later. To be precise I’ve never seen it, of course, nor could I; that would require light and reflection and other physics that are meaningless there. But I’ve seen representations, rendered by ships’ windows. The ’ware in those portholes depicts the immer and everything in it in terms useful to crew.
pseudopod n. 2011 C. Miéville Embassytown 72 The first time I saw exots of species I’d not grown up with was in a rowdy town on a tiny world we called Sebzi. I was introduced to a group of hive-things. I’ve no idea what they were, or from where their race originated. I’ve seen none of their kind since. One came forward on a pseudopod, leaned its hourglass body toward me and from a tiny snag-toothed ventricle said, in perfect Anglo-Ubiq, ‘Ms. Cho. It’s a pleasure.’
sentience n. 1 2011 C. Miéville Embassytown 66 A limited empathy might be taught and drugged and tech-linked in between two people, but that wouldn’t have been enough. The Ambassadors were created and bought up to be one, with unified minds. They had the same genes but much more: it was the minds those carefully nurtured genes made that the Hosts could hear. If you raised them right, taught them to think of themselves right, wired them with links, then they could speak Language, with close enough to one sentience that the Ariekei could understand it.
sentient n. 2011 C. Miéville Embassytown xxiv. 344 Each word of Language meant just what it meant. Polysemy or ambiguity were impossible and with them most tropes that made other languages languages at all. [...] The code they’d created was quite unlike the precise mapping they’d grown up knowing. But it was Language that was the anomaly: this new crude thing of flailing fingers and murderous stamping was closer by far to what we spoke, was at last cousin-tongue to those of sentients across the immer.
SF/F/H n. 2003 C. Miéville New Weird in Locus Dec. 8/1 There’s been some talk and argument about the New Weird, a moment—or is that a movement?—in SF/F/H.
spaceward adv. 2009 C. Miéville Rope is the World in Three Moments of an Explosion (2015) 112 Two were decoupled from their base-stations in audacious terrorist acts, a little carefully placed thermite that saw the vertical thread-cities suddenly and awfully yanked centripetal up from the Earth, trailing cables and spilling elevators and people, receding spaceward into dreadful orbit at speeds vastly too great for things so big.
tri-D n. 2011 C. Miéville Embassytown 88 Scile spent hours, many hours, listening to recordings of Ariekei speaking, watching trids and flats of encounters between them and the Ambassadors.