Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn't an accident--or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died.
But no one will admit that his death wasn't an accident--or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court. Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan's unceasing expansion--all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret--one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life--or rescue it from annihilation.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Teixcalaan 1. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about A Memory Called Empire , please sign up. Does the book have any romance? Kai Yes, but it is primarily a fish-out-of-water story, so if you want a focus on romance, you probably won't find that here. If you're avoiding romance, …more Yes, but it is primarily a fish-out-of-water story, so if you want a focus on romance, you probably won't find that here. If you're avoiding romance, you won't be hit with too much of it, although this is politics and relationships permeate everything.
Not Cool! Geoff It's available now! And it's awesome! See all 6 questions about A Memory Called Empire…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books—in exchange for an honest review. Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in Teixcalaan only to find out that the previous ambassador from the same mining station as hers has died. At the same time, she also has to save the place where she came from—Lsel—from the Teixcalaan expansion.
A Memory Called Empire at its core is a murder mystery story. The main difference between the two is that while I disliked The Traitor Baru Cormorant , I highly enjoyed reading this one due to a superb prose that clicked with me. However, I was gladly proven wrong. The second half of the book did more than redeem what I initially thought was lacking in the book—fascinating characters.
The unlikely relationships that Mahit formed with these two characters were utterly delightful to read and I loved reading every moment of it. Eventually, the novel ended up becoming an exhilarating ride due to the gradual increase in tension and most of all, my growing investment in the characters and their fates.
Plus, Martine was brilliantly able to make weird character names work. However, A Memory Called Empire amazed my vision and imagination with its super detailed world-building, and its seamless integration into every aspect of the book. Most of the novel was told in the past tense, but there were a few times where the narrative shifts to present tense and Martine nailed this transition wonderfully.
Not only did the changes in tenses feel natural, it was also necessary to enhance the frantic scenes portrayed. The prose was so vivid, engaging, and easy to follow despite a myriad of terminologies and unique names to remember. The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication. You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions View all 16 comments. May 17, carol. Shelves: multi-culti , mystery , sci-fi , awards , my-library-hardcover , female-lead.
With reservations. What do you mean, what do I mean? There's something about it--as good, as inclusive, as remarkable as it is--that just fails to miss me. It's probably the genre. At any rate, this is probably what Alastair Reynolds was going for in The Prefect, only this was so much more tightly plotted, with better characterization. Perhaps my reservations are due to lingering disaffection, because Martine does exactly what I expected from Reynolds: she takes a very personal mystery--the death With reservations.
Perhaps my reservations are due to lingering disaffection, because Martine does exactly what I expected from Reynolds: she takes a very personal mystery--the death of a predecessor--and links it to empire-shaping events. Martine does beautifully at giving the sense of two different cultures, the behemoth of the Empire, and the small space-station, Lsel, that Mahit represents. Characterization is also done well, with both main and side characters proving very interesting, naturally developing as Mahit gets to know them and as external events force different interactions.
World-building is complex, but not-overly obsessed with extraneous details cough, cough, you know who I mean. Writing is phenomenal. My hesitation would be the ending view spoiler [ of course, I wanted a more clear HAE hide spoiler ] , somewhat troublesome ethics, view spoiler [Mahit giving the broken imagio away hide spoiler ] and the technology view spoiler [the imagio seemed a bit ansible, and why didn't the Empire already have it?
That alone deserves a lot of credit, but to integrate an intriguing female lead, cultural conflict, a mystery, political machinations, and even a touch of romance is incredible. Very impressive, and I'll be looking forward to the next. Will I add it to the library? We'll see. View all 49 comments. It has a slow at the start with the pace and world building then gets better as you go.
Emphasis is own political intrigue in the Empire rather than action and thrills. View all 4 comments. Mar 26, Gary rated it it was amazing. This same conflict between personal desire and professional duty may have gotten her predecessor Yskandr Aghavn killed. Martine is a Byzantinist, and her Teixcalaan society is as relentlessly sophisticated as her discipline implies. The Teixcalaanlitzlim are a people in love with the idea of itself, where individual identity ties to a variety of cultural meanings and referents and even simple acts of communication come with layers of contextual baggage.
The story, however, has a straightforward goal for its hero to achieve, muddied as it is by reactionary obstructions and elusive secrets. Mahit and her long-outdated, malfunctioning imago must find out how and why Yskandr was killed before forces inside and out overtake Teixcalaan and Lsel. Except for a few structured divergences, the tight third-person POV almost exclusively follows Mahit Dzmare from her arrival at the Teixcalaanli capital city-planet through the end. Those divergences—a prologue, epilogue, three interludes, and multiple historical excerpts and quotes heading each chapter—refer the reader to the broader political and historical circumstances at play.
A Memory Called Empire does an exceptional job of balancing precise, consequential storytelling with layered world-building. Explicating a culture as multifaceted as Teixcalaan has the potential to overwhelm readers with exegetic digressions and overstuffed lexicons but Martine keeps the exposition plot-centered without painting her presumably copious notes and research all over the page. The novel is also rife with the kinds of amenities that inspire fannish devotion, such as the delightful and precious Teixcalaanli naming system. What really makes the novel work, though, are the fundamentals: Dzmare and her confidants Three Seagrass and Twelve Azealia make for excellent company, and the suspenseful, well-paced mystery plot keeps the pages turning with escalating tension and perfectly measured revelations.
View all 9 comments. I was expecting rich culture, a complex plotline, and fascinating characters. And that feels like a colossal opportunity wasted. Incidentally, [2. Incidentally, I felt the exact same about Foreigner by C. Cherryh — cool concept so many good ideas to play with , interesting characters who lacked depth , and sluggish plots where not much happens, but we discussed a shitload.
It was a major struggle to finish. And for whatever reason, the eventual revelation felt over simplified for such a seemingly sophisticated society. Part of that declining interest had to do with the main character. I personally craved more action and world-building seeing it, not hearing about it , so I was left wanting, but I can see the intellectual appeal this novel might bring to some.
I also seem to be in the minority among some reviewers I really respect, so there's that. View all 12 comments. Feb 19, Elizabeth Bear rated it it was amazing. An exceptional first novel recommended for fans of Cherryh, Leckie, Banks, and Asimov. View all 5 comments. It's set in a space empire in which straight isn't the default, most of the cast is queer, and the worldbuilding is complex but never confusing - everything I've ever wanted. And yet it's so much more. I knew this would be an intense read for me right from the dedication, because this book is dedicated to anyone who has ever fallen in love with a culture that was devouring their own.
Maybe devouring isn't the right word, but how do you call it when a country often tries compare itself to America according to American standards, not realizing that it's a game it will always lose? Or how do you call the constant attempts at emulation because "American culture" is mistaken by some as "modernity", or even only the fact that the YA section in a bookstore is mostly translated American books?
When your neighbor is more powerful than you are, it gets to decide what is modern, what is moral, and even what's good literature, but it really shouldn't be that way. And this book gets it. This book also gets that the misguided "patriots" who try to restore the "purity" of the culture and avoid cross-culture "contamination" are dangerous This book gets why someone might love another country's literature so much that they speak another language better than their own, that they think and dream in it.
This book gets what it means to never lose the lingering feeling that you're reading stories that never quite fit you, because they were never meant for you in the first place - you are, at best, an afterthought. I do realize that I'm talking about a book written in English, published in America.
But for once, and this might be the first time, I haven't felt like a book was explicitly not written for me. I could understand Mahit, which means that some parts of this were hard to read.
But let's talk about the rest of the book too, not only about Mahit's experience with navigating two cultures. A Memory Called Empire has some of the best worldbuilding I've seen lately. Don't get intimidated by words like Teixcalaanlitzlim or ezuazuacat - the court, the intrigue and the surprising plot twists are worth it.
I thought it was worth it just for the pretty descriptions, but not everyone shares my priorities. I loved Mahit Dzmare. She's the new ambassador in Teixcalaan, and she gets thrown in a place where she has no allies, after her predecessor got murdered. She's smart and manages to do so much from almost nothing - if you want to read about a complex female character who doesn't use a weapon in the whole book but changes the outcome of an empire's messy succession problem anyway, try this.
And her slow-burn romance with cultural liaison Three Seagrass? I love both of them so much, and Seagrass as a character kept surprising me.
The side characters were interesting to read as well - Nineteen Adze was Also, view spoiler [the whole Nine Direction-Yskandr-Nineteern Adze polyamorous triangle was one of my favorite things in here and I'm in so much pain seeing how it ended. I would read a book just about that. But the most interesting sci-fi technology is without a doubt the imago-machine. In Mahit's culture, the memories of the dead are installed on compatible people, and Mahit has an out-of-date version of the previous ambassador in her head.
I loved how this book talked about personhood, memory and identity because of the imago, and how the concept of "me" had different meanings in those situations. A Memory Called Empire is a book that pays a lot of attention to language, how cultures shape it, and how they shape literature in return. It's really interesting to read, and the level of lit-related detail - paired with the excerpts you get at the beginning of every chapter - made these fictional cultures feel more real.
Those details were also part of this book's odd sense of humor plagiarism jokes! Inappropriate citations! Even more inappropriate double entendres! The only thing I didn't like was the binarism. This book is set in a world where homophobia doesn't exist and polyamory is normal , but An otherwise-queer-accepting society being binarist wouldn't be flawed worldbuilding in itself, were there any reason for it to be that way.
Was it intentional? If so, why? I feel like I'm nitpicking but I would have wanted to know more about this. View all 6 comments. Jun 08, Bradley rated it really liked it Shelves: space-opera , sci-fi , shelf. This was something of a slow starter for me. I enjoyed the empire that ran on poetry aspect quite a bit.
The standard book of poetical encryptions, the multilayered pride, and subversions built right into the language. However, I've read a ton of murder-mysteries built into SF worlds so the core of the tale was something of a no-brainer and followed all the conventions. Welcome a stranger, an ambassador for a tiny space-station ensconced in a huge, huge empire, have her replace her murdered coun This was something of a slow starter for me.
Welcome a stranger, an ambassador for a tiny space-station ensconced in a huge, huge empire, have her replace her murdered counterpart. Really kinda usual, so the joy has to be in the worldbuilding, and for the most part, all the joy is there That's when all the really cool bits fly at us, with the Imago memory device, the collapsing politics, the roar of war, and how our little fish out of water ties into a huge conspiracy.
That's fine. In fact, it's more than fine. I really enjoyed the core and the end of this book. Easy consumption and I consumed it easily. Some of the best kind of SF IMHO is interesting tech delved deeply, how it affects societies, politics, individual relationships, and an individual's sense of self. This one does all of this quite nicely. I'm super disappointed to be giving this only three stars no three stars isn't bad- I'd just much rather give it four or five. I'm beginning to question whether it's me or the books. I guess I'll start at the beginning.
One of the first pages said something along the lines of: "This is for all those who have ever fallen in love with a culture that was not their own. Mahit our MC has spent her whole life training to be an ambassador from her h I'm super disappointed to be giving this only three stars no three stars isn't bad- I'd just much rather give it four or five.
Mahit our MC has spent her whole life training to be an ambassador from her home mining outpost Lsel to the Teixcalaani Empire. She loves everything about Teixcalaan, their language, their artwork, their holovision programs, their politics and their way of speaking. So when her opportunity to become ambassador finally comes, she's over the moon with excitement. The only problem is- the previous ambassador is dead, and no one from Teixcalaan will talk about it.
The plot is sort of a murder mystery. I say sort of because the truth of the matter is that Yskander's death doesn't feel like it really has anything to do with the overall outcome. The other pieces of the plot were going to happen regardless if he had died or not.. The more I'm thinking about it, the more the plot sort of falls apart as a whole I mean- I guess he needed to die so Mahit could become ambassador but that's about it. There are plot threads that are incomplete. I don't want to call them cliffhangers because I didn't feel like enough tension was built into those parts for me to feel like I'm eagerly waiting the next installment to find out what happened.
Only a Memory - Wikipedia
To be honest- it just feels like a stand alone with threads that went nowhere or Mahit concluded were not necessary to discover. The characters were fun. I loved the banter between Three Seagrass and Twelve Azalea. There was a tiny, tiny bit of romance in the book. I almost wished it had more of a focus because I could have totally shipped that pair. Minor romance related spoiler: view spoiler [The ending sort of killed that for me though? It seemed like Three Seagrass and Mahit were just going to go their separate ways which I thought was super sad.
She was presented as a very powerful female character, and I think her story line is probably the most interesting and complex in the book. The tech and the world building were pretty cool. I liked the idea of the Sunlit like police being a part of the city and running on algorithms. It was very reminiscent of Leckie's Imperial Raadch series in that way.
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I loved the beautiful scenery and imagery that was presented- gardens full of fountains and flowers, statues, and birds fluttering around. There is another interesting piece concerning the language of Teixcalaan. Some words had double meanings which made the interpretation of the language very interesting.
There's also a big focus on poetry and drama and sagas told throughout the ages. Poets are very celebrated in this culture. In the end- there is a lot to like about A Memory Called Empire, I just wish the plot structure had been tighter. I wish it had engaged me more, allowing me to solve the mystery and political intrigue along with Mahit. When I read this I was asking myself- what was the point? Why was this book written? And the answer circles back around to that first line. This is a novel about how one can love their own culture almost as much or more than they love their own and view spoiler [how love of that culture can sometimes make you appreciate your own that much more.
I think I would give it a try. I'm hoping with the debut out of the way, and with me understanding the politics a little better, I would enjoy book two more. It would definitely help if the plot was tightened up a bit. May 20, Nick T. Borrelli rated it really liked it.
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Over the past thousand years or so the Teixcalaanli Empire has been gradually swallowing up smaller planets and outposts to add to its vastly growing domain, often with no care with regard to the free people now being forced to bend the knee. You see, The Empire considers itself to be the height of superior intellect, artistic achievement, ethics, and overall culture.
So when the small independent mining station Lsel is contacted by The Empire to supply another ambassador because the current one Over the past thousand years or so the Teixcalaanli Empire has been gradually swallowing up smaller planets and outposts to add to its vastly growing domain, often with no care with regard to the free people now being forced to bend the knee.
So when the small independent mining station Lsel is contacted by The Empire to supply another ambassador because the current one is missing, it raises a few eyebrows to say the least. As more details arise, the current ambassador is no longer missing, but in fact dead. The circumstances of his death are as yet unknown and newly-appointed ambassador Mahit Dzamare finds herself thrust directly into the heart of a mystery that some would kill to keep a secret.
She is not alone though, for she is accompanied by a special technology called an imago, a recording of someone else's thoughts and memories that can be fused with another. Yskander's memories can help Mahit only up to a certain point however, as he had not made a debriefing trip back to Lsel for a number of years, creating a gigantic hole in his memory recording between the time of his last reporting and his untimely death. Upon her arrival to the capital city of The Empire, Mahit quickly discovers that it is much different than her humble little mining station and is also acutely aware that the officials greeting her treat her with a significant degree of condescension.
Officials with interesting and involved names like Three Seagrass and Twelve Azalea. Mahit knows that she must navigate the startlingly different customs and culture of The Empire while also carrying out the directive placed upon her by the council of Lsel, to prevent The Empire from annexing Lsel at all costs and also to uncover what really happened to the previous ambassador. Along the way she must try to piece together the missing portion of time in Yskander's memory, for it could very well reveal whether he did die of natural causes as The Empire maintains, or something more sinister occured that lead to his death.
There are definite hints of Peter F. Hamilton's Great North Road, as the heart of the story is a noir-style potential murder mystery. But this is also an excellent space opera book as well that calls to mind the best of Alastair Reynolds and C. Another thing that struck me as quite exceptional about this book was the world-building and neat technology applied by Arkady Martine. The concept of an imago that contains the memories of one person and can be implanted into another, while not wholly original in itself, was done with enough variation as to make it feel unique. It is also an effective device to utilize in this particular storyline because this imago belongs to the subject of a possible murder investigation.
The character of Mahit is one that really intrigued me as well. She has a vulnerability about her simply due to the natural fact that she finds herself a stranger in a strange land sorry, had to go there Heinlein fans. But she is also an intensely strong character who doesn't take kindly to being treated as a lesser individual by The Empire's higher-ups, most of whom are male.
And believe me she lets them know that she sees herself as their equal and not someone to be trifled with in any way. She definitely challenges the norms of those in The Empire who have been conditioned to think and behave in a certain way. If you love SF noir books or space opera books involving alien cultures, then you should pick this book up and give it a read. It's just the type of book that will capture your imagination while also treating you to a fun and entertaining story in the process. Arkady Martine is an author to watch and I am looking forward to reading a lot more from her.
When we learn, neurons communicate through molecular transmissions which hop across synapses producing a memory circuit. Known as long-term potentiation LTP , the more often a learning task is repeated, the more often transmission continues and the stronger a memory circuit becomes.
It is this unique ability of neurons to create and strengthen synaptic connections by repeated activation that leads to Hebbian learning. Understanding the brain requires investigation through different approaches and from a variety of specialities. The field of cognitive neuroscience initially developed through a small number of pioneers. Their experimental designs and observations led to the foundation for how we understand learning and memory today. Under his supervision, neuropsychologist Brenda Milner studied a patient with impaired memory following a lobectomy.
Further studies with neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield enabled Milner to expand her study of memory and learning in patients following brain surgery. She noticed that the patient could still learn new tasks but could not transfer them to long-term memory.
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In this way, the hippocampus was identified as the site required for the transfer of short-term memory to long-term memory where Hebbian learning takes place. In , at the age of 95, Milner won the Norwegian Kavli Prize in neuroscience for her discovery of the importance of the hippocampus to memory. O'Keefe also received the Nobel Prize in medicine. Major advances in non-human organisms teach us about memory mechanisms that can be applied to humans.
Kandel produced conclusive evidence that memory was a consequence of the repeated signalling to a neuron responding to a learning task that would trigger the production of ribonucleic acid RNA. The end result was new protein expression leading to increases in synaptic connections. The next leap forward occurred at McGill when molecular biologist Nahum Sonenberg uncovered a key mechanism that regulates memory formation in the hippocampus, namely, the protein synthesis initiation factor.
The work of Sonenberg shook the world of scientists working on how protein synthesis was controlled. One of the most prominent in the field, molecular biologist Peter Walter was contacted by Sonenberg. Together, they identified a chemical compound they named ISRIB that would affect the same protein synthesis initiation factor whose importance was discovered by Sonenberg.
The results were spectacular, with an amazing improvement of memory in mice after administration of ISRIB. Walter has now extended this to include memory restoration in mice recovering from brain trauma. The World Health Organization estimates 10 million patients per year are diagnosed with dementia alone with a total global number estimated at 50 million.
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