Lets Check the Review of Arkady Martine

One of the most dazzling new places in Science Fiction, Arkady Martines, the city, capital of The Teixcalaan Empire, is a dizzying combination of the Byzantine Empire and Mesoamerican civilizations covering an entire planet. Martin’s first Novel, a Memory Called Empire, takes inexperienced diplomat Mahit Dzmare to the center of the city without the benefit of an Imago line-the memories and experiences of his predecessor are accessible via a brain implant. Now that he completely misses the advice of Yskandr Aghavn, who has secretly expired, Mahit must investigate his passed away and plead for the independence of his small mining station.

We talked to Martine about traveling faster than light, the joys of creating a complex naming system and the memories of a historical character that you want to implant in your brain.


His antecedents as a historian and apprentice urban planner really seem to go through a treatise called Empire, in particular his beautiful complex representation of the city. What were your inspirations?
The city – the Jewel of the world, the heart of Teixalaan – is an ecumenical metropolis, a global city: to the West, a planet entirely urbanized by its oceans and its natural reserves. For me, urban planets are the epitome of the Coruscant of the star of the space opera Debates, for example, but so are many others. I like the visual of the idea. All this architecture, a planet that would shine like a jewel, illuminated with glass, metal and lights. But cities are not only visual. These are real, complex and chaotic places, and a planet-sized city would be so complex that it would be almost impossible. . .

This is, of course, where the algorithm-controlled subway system and other urban management and artificial intelligence algorithms that I created for the Jewel of the World come into play. And because I study history and work in urban planning, when I started thinking about these algorithms, I knew that they would be sooner, on the panopticon control, on the visibility of the citizens of Teixcalaan for the police and government forces. . . and either make non-citizens invisible, or opt for persecution. Because algorithms tend to do this because algorithms are written by humans.


The other deep Inspiration for the city comes from the fact that I am a New Yorker, in this too repulsive feeling of being a New Yorker who thinks that there are no other real places in the world, if you ask me honestly. (Yes, yes, I know.) But I also really like my city personally. And I also studied the capital of Byzantium, Constantinople, and I was very aware of the similarity of the concept of the city as the center of the universe for Constantinople and New Yorkers, so I wanted to play with an element of how my characters relate to their environment.

How did you come up with the Teixcalaanli naming system?
The Teixcalaan numerical naming system is a direct reference to the naming practices of the Mixtecs of Oaxaca, who, like many Mesoamerican peoples, were named after the day of the 260-day cycle of the year of their birth: a cycle of 13 numbers and 20 characters (animals, plants and natural phenomena). For Teixcalaanli names, I have a very complete document entitled “How to create a Teixcalaanli name correctly”, but the simplest Version is as follows.

Each Teixcalaanli personal name has a numerical part and a name part. Both sides have symbolic meanings. The numerical part of the name is an integer (that is, there are no negative numbers, no decimals or fractions, and irrational numbers like pi or e are just for jokes). The number range is almost always between one and 100, with smaller house numbers. (Numbers greater than 100 are a bit like calling your child “lunar unit” or “apple”.”Except that “apple” is a normal Teixcalaanli name and “lunar unit” is just a little weird. . .)


The nominal part of a Teixcalaanli name is always a plant, an inanimate object or a concept (in order of truth). No animals and no self-propelled inanimate things – that is, “boat” is an acceptable name, but not a “self-driving car”. (Honestly, as well as “boat” and “self-propelled” are names that Teixcalaanlitzlim would laugh at.) Many plant names are flowers and trees, including some unusual ones, such as “cyclamen”; Object names usually refer to the natural world (“agate”), astronomical objects or phenomena (“solar flare”) or ordinary objects, often those that can be preserved and manipulated. The tools are strongly represented, such as “adze” or “Lathe”.”Rightly, the object names refer to architecture — “Five Portico” is just a little strange as a name. (Something like “two cobblestones” would be strange, but no stranger than a child named “Winston.”)

This is obviously more information than you wanted to know. I dove deep into the world built on this piece because it was so much fun.

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