Saturday, November 28, 2015

Review of The Alien Embassy

I just finished reading "The Alien Embassy" by Ian Watson and I am curious to see what other people think of it. I don't remember why I picked it up - probably found a favorable review somewhere - but when I started reading it, the first thing that captivated me was the rich, poetic language, somewhat reminiscent of Samuel R. Delany. The story itself is also quite inventive - using tantra techniques for starlight? I especially like how the author used the themes of ancient mystiques (especially the Tibetan Book of the Dead) and spirituality to present the theme of human evolution and star flight in a setting I had not yet encountered in sci-fi writing. Add to that a very evocative writing style and you get some very vivid imagery. The only thing I didn't like was the ending - it just doesn't feel right to me. It is a good and indeed realistic conclusion to the story, but that's exactly what I don't like about it - it's too down-to-earth. But it does leave open the possibility for a sequel. Is there actually one?
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