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Sirk TV Book Review: A MEMORY CALLED EMPIRE (Preview Excerpt) [Tor]

In an unusual progression, teasing this kind of book is interesting possibility. Like perhaps “The Martian” as a way to refine the story, this is not a bad perception though the aspect of formatting in the manuscript is definitely off. That said, “A Memory Called Empire” [Arkady Martine/Tor] has the beginnings of an interesting story that brings to mind both the political elements of the “Star Wars” prequels and some of the inner working technology of “Minority Report”. The narrative follows a new ambassador coming down to the city center of the universe which is ruled by a specific kind of society where rules and speech are dictated with certain word use and prose, perhaps as a push to a higher form of consciousness. The lead character Mahit recently has been placed as ambassador for her government after the loss of the one before her. What makes this interesting is that a back up of his consciousness is implanted in her brain through a brain stem “imago” which blends their knowledge. A scandal in terms of what happened before he is found dead builds both inside and outside her head. When she and her local liaison begin to investigate, connections start to unravel. Despite a shaky first few chapters, the story engages she cause of the relationship between the liaison and the new ambassador. However, the essence of world beyond a texture of colors and structures hasn’t quite been fully formed yet but an interesting start.


By Tim Wassberg

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