Dec 17, 2019

Advent Calendar: 16th Wormhole

The 16th wormhole hosts a book of schemes and cabals, and Sarah is wholly intrigued...

Arkady Martine
A Memory called Empire

Sarah says: A young woman from a tiny independent mining station on the fringes of a vast empire is sent to the capital of that empire as the new ambassador, after her predecessor has gone MIA. She is armed with a thorough education in that empire’s language, a deep admiration for it’s cultural achievements, a diplomatic mission, and a year-old copy of the former ambassador’s consciousness built into her head that is, unfortunately, not quite working as it should. Arriving in the capital, she quickly learns that the ambassador before her has been murdered, that she, not being a citizen of the empire, is considered little more than a well-trained barbarian, that the empire is riven by internal conflict and that the independence of her home station is at risk.

“A Memory called Empire”, which was also just released in German as “Im Herzen des Imperiums” by Heyne, is a great, fast-paced, exciting, and entertaining novel about what it means to how to hold one’s own in the face of a much greater power, how to navigate in a society that doesn’t value anything other than itself and is craving constant expansion, and how to interact with a second person in your head that keeps going on and off in the most inconvenient moments. It’s fun, but not silly, deep and complex, but not exhaustingly so, linguistically and culturally informed, but not didactic; all in all, a fully achieved blend of space opera, cyberpunk, and court drama.

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