Book Review: A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine (Four Stars)

Book Review: A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1) by Arkady Martine (Four Stars)

“You should be flattered; someone wants you dead artistically, Ambassador.”

A fresh take on the politics and morals of interstellar civilization. Told from the point of view of a new ambassador from a platform-based independent civilization with a population in the tens of thousands, on the fringes of a galaxy-spanning mega-empire whose capitol planet population numbers in the billions.

Yskandr was more political than she was. More political and more dead. The inheritor of an imago-line was supposed to learn from her predecessor’s mistakes.

The plot is about who the ambassador meets and learns to trust (or not) as she sorts through an incipient civil war of which her little archipelago of stations may be both a trigger and an afterthought. She gets hurt often; eating, drinking and sleeping seem optional—to her distress.

“Just once, I’d like you to imagine I might do something because it’s what a person does.” “Mahit, most people don’t—” “Get ambushed by strangers with terrifying weapons in their own apartments while evading their only political ally in order to have a secret meeting on a foreign planet? No.”

For all the futurism, all the technology except the coveted imago is oddly twenty-first century. Of course, this is not hard SF but at least a nod to something new would seem appropriate.

Poetry is for the desperate, and for people who have grown old enough to have something to say.

Solid conclusion, leaving lots of hooks to follow-on installments.

I am a spear in the hands of the sun.