Sunday, June 19, 2011


I wanted to generate what the aliens, Ariekei, in Embassytown by China Mieville look like before I looked up the better job other artists have probably done.  It's almost instantly one of my favorite books, everyone.  I don't think I have any better examples of Literary Sci Fi.  I can compare it to Babel-17 or Anathem but better.

Anyway, the Ariekei are described with mixed analogies to earth creatures, enough that you get an idea of something very alien-looking.  Their technology is all biological and they speak a non-representational language with two harmonizing mouths, the "cut" (above, on the neck) and the "turn" (at chest level).  They walk on four "spider"-like legs ending in "hooves", with spines and dark hair.  They have two coral-like "wings", the giftwing (manipulation, from under the turn mouth) and the fanwing (hearing, behind cutmouth and eye antlers).  Wings and eye-antlers all retract or furl and emerge like those of sea creatures or stop-motion plants.  Mature hosts are accompanied by battery creatures (zelles) and older ones grow edible sacs.

Ariekei embassytown hosts