Babel-17 (S.F. MASTERWORKS): Samuel R. Delany

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Babel-17 (S.F. MASTERWORKS): Samuel R. Delany

Babel-17 (S.F. MASTERWORKS): Samuel R. Delany

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There are some interesting ideas in the narrative around language and the way that the structure of language profoundly influence the way we see and interact with the world but I found myself constantly distracted by elements of the story and its execution that didn’t gel for me. Treachery overtakes them all once again when more hidden messages activate a super soldier weapon that wreaks havoc at a huge dinner party. an amazing new-wave SF space opera about a starship captain, linguist, poet, and telepath named Rydra Wong who is desperately trying to solve the mystery of what Babel-17 is and how it is being used by the Invaders against the alliance.

This is the story of her and her crew as they travel through the galaxy investigating the sabotage and coming to an understanding about the saboteurs language that may help them solve the problem affecting the whole of humanity and its allies. Some people have delved deeply into the linguistic nuances of this book and I have to admire both their knowledge and insight, to me though it was just a well written book, with the interesting linguistic focus. The character of Rydra Wong is well developed, she is complex and believable, though I don't find her particularly appealing. I am a trilingual person who has quite a few monolingual family members, and I can't even tell you how many times in frustrated fascination I have contemplated the peculiarities of languages, the plays on words that are often impossible to translate, the confusing idioms, and the frustrating lack of certain concepts in one language as compared to another.This book has more than just linguistic appeal, however, - it details the futuristic society with genetic engineering, changed concepts of love, star ships, stellar battles, futuristic technology (of course, now riddled with unavoidable anachronisms, but fascinating nevertheless), discorporate members of the society - all this told through Delany's vivid haunting imagery, told in the language that shifts between crisp and poetic, fluidly transitioning between scenes and concepts, illustrated by modernistic and surreal poems at the beginning of each section. It is arguably a fantastic intellectual experiment, but the literary enjoyments are few and far between. He walked forward, took her hand, the words Good evening, Miss Wong, tumbling on his tongue till he swallowed them unspoken. The b-side is a novella referenced within the main narative, which Delaney apparently wrote in 10 days to fund a trip to Europe, a fast, witty fable about a boy chosen to deliver a message he does not know. Rydra explains the difficulty of communicating with alien species that lack concepts we take for granted (like home) while, in turn, having words so attuned to describing concepts we might take entire books to relate.

He has the conscious minds of dead people serving as ship’s crew, decades before the transhumanists regularly began writing about upload civilizations. You gave me ten pages of double-spaced typewritten garble with the code name Babel-17 and asked me what it meant. Given the short length of the book the other characters are at least adequately developed, but again I did not feel any emotional investment in them. Rydra sets about teaching him these concepts, and so language becomes the instrument that not only changes Butcher’s awareness but also makes it possible for him and Rydra to get close and communicate feelings. I remember," Jo said, putting down the ocarina, "when Charona was trying to explain it to me, she asked me what was the most important thing there was.

For the opening section of the novel (which is divided into five clear acts) I was absolutely enthralled by Delany’s story. Babel-17 is probably Delany's most read novel (most -known- would be Dhalgren, quite a different thing), and is certainly one his very best.

To counter this, Rydra translates each message to another language, Basque, one that she can capture and remember. Na Ficção Científica, a hipótese (também conhecida como relativismo lingu� It’s one of the most defining aspects of our humanity—and as anyone from a marginalized identity group is aware, language and vocabulary can be important in asserting one’s agency too.

Explanatory dialogue can be given in a natural way, and a larger emotional idea is conveyed as well. For the first time, Babel-17 is published as the author intended with the short novel Empire Star , the tale of Comet Jo, a simple-minded teen thrust into a complex galaxy when he’s entrusted to carry a vital message to a distant world.

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