Babel-17, winner of the Nebula Award for best novel of the year, is a fascinating tale of a famous poet bent on deciphering a secret language that is the key to the enemy's deadly force, a task that requires she travel with a splendidly improbable crew to the site of the next attack.
©2015 Samuel R. Delaney (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc., and Skyboat Media, Inc.
"A bit dated"
The story is focused heavily on ideas from linguistics, in particular the Sapir Worf hypothesis. While that may have been cutting edge in the 1960s, it is pretty outdated now. While words certainly can be used to frame arguments and manipulate people, that ability is not all that tightly bound up with the language itself.
"Contrived and poorly executed"
The story is based on an interesting concept. The execution, however, is poor, with many literary flaws. The characters spend too much time explaining things in dialog, to the point where the dialog is not natural, and the listener feels like information is being spoon-fed to them. Many of the details are too contrived. The main character is a linguist, a spacecraft captain, and also happens to be psychic? The other characters are barely fleshed out at all, they are "explained" rather than allowing the listener to discover them. Two stars for the concept, and the performance is fine, but overall, not very well written.
Samuel Delany wrote a masterpiece. Lots of things to make you think about language and meaning. Good work on how creating a future society, and what it would look like, and how folks would get along with one another. Normalized being in a threesome sexually.
Performance of both male and female parts was extraordinarily well done.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.