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Babel 17 (1966)

par Samuel R. Delany

Autres auteurs: Voir la section autres auteur(e)s.

MembresCritiquesPopularitéÉvaluation moyenneMentions
2,216685,447 (3.72)136
Winner of the Nebula Award: In a war-riven world, saving humanity will require . . . a poet?   At twenty-six, Rydra Wong is the most popular poet in the five settled galaxies. Almost telepathically perceptive, she has written poems that capture the mood of mankind after two decades of savage war. Since the invasion, Earth has endured famine, plague, and cannibalism--but its greatest catastrophe will be Babel-17.   Sabotage threatens to undermine the war effort, and the military calls in Rydra. Random attacks lay waste to warships, weapons factories, and munitions dumps, and all are tied together by strings of sound, broadcast over the radio before and after each accident. In that gibberish Rydra recognizes a coherent message, with all of the beauty, persuasive power, and order that only language possesses. To save humanity, she will master this strange tongue. But the more she learns, the more she is tempted to join the other side . . .   This ebook features an illustrated biography of Samuel R. Delany including rare images from his early career.  … (plus d'informations)
  1. 40
    Légationville par China Miéville (kevinashley)
    kevinashley: Both these books take the relationship between language and thought as central themes. They explore it in different ways but with a similar thoroughness; both really explore just how 'other' alien can be.
  2. 30
    Les langages de Pao par Jack Vance (burschik)
    burschik: If you are interested in the linguistics, that is.
  3. 10
    Le Gambit du renard par Yoon Ha Lee (amanda4242)
  4. 00
    L'Algébriste par Iain M. Banks (LamontCranston)
  5. 00
    La mécanique du Centaure par M. John Harrison (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: The same ephemeral beat prose. And of course Space Opera, updated. Strange mystery, assemble a crew of lively characters, go explore it.
  6. 11
    L'anneau-monde par Larry Niven (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Space Opera, updated. Strange mystery, assemble a crew of lively characters, go explore it. Sound familiar?
  7. 11
    Jusqu'au cœur du Soleil par David Brin (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: Space Opera, updated. Strange mystery, assemble a crew of lively characters, go explore it. Sound familiar?
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» Voir aussi les 136 mentions

Anglais (64)  Italien (2)  Allemand (1)  Espagnol (1)  Toutes les langues (68)
Affichage de 1-5 de 68 (suivant | tout afficher)
Delany, Samuel R. Babel-17. 1966. Orion, 2010.
I last read Delany’s Babel-17 sometime in the late 1960s, probably in its first Ace paperback edition. I was impressed at the time with its somewhat poetic style and its innovative use of linguistic themes in a space opera. The only things I had read to rival it were Dune (Frank Herbert 1965) with its power words and strange navigators and The World of Null-A (A. E. van Vogt, 1948) that delved into general semantics. Rereading Babel-17 now, I am less impressed by the linguistic theory, but I am still enchanted with its youthful ebullience and more appreciative of the audacious originality of its characters and its society. It is a world in which poetry and language in general shape minds and have power we never suspected. The novel provides hints of the gender bending themes and racial diversity that would mark Delany’s later novels. Stylistically, Delany gets away with things that in lesser writers would be insupportable. What, for example, are “hyperstasis currents” and “the spacelli Snap”? We aren’t told, but they just seem to fit. The ending of the novel seems rushed, but it leaves one with an intended mental whiplash. Much new science fiction today seems extremely pedestrian by comparison. Five stars, with flaws, but five stars for sure. ( )
  Tom-e | Jul 20, 2021 |
Language shapes thought which shapes identity. That concept is the basis for this unique, beautifully-written, and entertaining science fiction adventure.

Rydra Wong is a renowned poet with an uncanny ability to perceive the thoughts of others and express them in powerful verse. Her ability also makes her an excellent translator and cryptographer, which is why a general comes to her for help translating "Babel-17" -- a complex code the enemy in a long interstellar war has been using to coordinate acts of sabotage. Rydra quickly realizes that Babel-17 is more than a code, and she sets off on a mission to find its source and the next sabotage targets.

Surprisingly, this poet has starship captain's papers, and her first act is to put together a crew, which introduces the reader to a strikingly original vision of interstellar travel. Pilots are surgically enhanced humans who 'wrestle' with the interstellar tides to guide the ship; a polyamorous trio with the designations Eye, Ear, and Nose act as sensors; and discorporates (ie: the dead) are part of crews.

Throughout the adventure, Delany uses Rydra's unique perceptions of language, especially of Babel-17, to shape the narrative. The reader needs to be nimble to follow along with the shifts of language and accompanying shifts of *being* which propel the plot.

"The Arrival" also uses the central importance of linguistic structure as the basis for a science fiction story. "Babel-17" does it better.

( )
  jsabrina | Jul 13, 2021 |
For me, I think this is a read and not a listen to book. This book was a co winner of the Nebula Award in 1966 for the best Sci-Fi book. It’s co winner was Flowers for Algernon. I can see what Babel-17 isn’t as talked about as Algbernon. It’s harder to follow and understand. At first Babel-17 is an unbreakable code that is a worry to the government. But then we find out it’s not a code but a language. One lady not only can decipher it, she lives it. She has to code switch between languages. This language is deadly. It also causes jumps in the story, and other strange things. The parts that I can remember were really interesting. Especially when they start talking about an alien race in part 3 that does not have the word or idea of “I”. Everything is “we” and “They” . This book is part space travel, war ships, and even a bit Hunger games. There are elements that will remind readers of Altered Carbon, (especially when they are looking for dead workers in the morgue, to help run the ship (they are given a type of second life since there are some jobs on a spaceship that can only be done by someone dead)). Confused yet? Yeah, so was I. There were many parts I listened to more than once. Overall I did enjoy this book, but I won't remember it next week. For me this is a book I need to read, because it is going to take a bit of studying to grasp the full picture. ( )
  LibrarianRyan | Jun 30, 2021 |
The idea is really interesting, but I found the story just too abstract and hard to follow. ( )
  grandpahobo | May 16, 2021 |
Read as part of 'Babel 17/Empire Star' trade p/b omnibus ( )
  fmc712 | Feb 18, 2021 |
Affichage de 1-5 de 68 (suivant | tout afficher)
If Babel 17 were published now as a new book, I think it would strike us an great work that was doing wonderful things and expanding the boundaries of science fiction. I think we’d nominate it for awards and talk a lot about it. It’s almost as old as I am, and I really think it would still be an exciting significant book if it were new now.
ajouté par paradoxosalpha | modifierTor.com, Jo Walton (Jun 23, 2009)
 

» Ajouter d'autres auteur(e)s (13 possibles)

Nom de l'auteur(e)RôleType d'auteurŒuvre ?Statut
Samuel R. Delanyauteur(e) principal(e)toutes les éditionscalculé
Montanari, GianniTraducteurauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Moore, ChrisArtiste de la couvertureauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
Podwil, JeromeArtiste de la couvertureauteur secondairequelques éditionsconfirmé
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A language, however, has its own internal logic, its own grammar, its own way of putting thoughts together with words that span various spectra of meaning. There is no key you can plug in to unlock the exact meaning. At best you can get a close approximation.
If there's no word for it, how do you think about it? And, if there isn't the proper form, you don't have the how even if you have the words.
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Winner of the Nebula Award: In a war-riven world, saving humanity will require . . . a poet?   At twenty-six, Rydra Wong is the most popular poet in the five settled galaxies. Almost telepathically perceptive, she has written poems that capture the mood of mankind after two decades of savage war. Since the invasion, Earth has endured famine, plague, and cannibalism--but its greatest catastrophe will be Babel-17.   Sabotage threatens to undermine the war effort, and the military calls in Rydra. Random attacks lay waste to warships, weapons factories, and munitions dumps, and all are tied together by strings of sound, broadcast over the radio before and after each accident. In that gibberish Rydra recognizes a coherent message, with all of the beauty, persuasive power, and order that only language possesses. To save humanity, she will master this strange tongue. But the more she learns, the more she is tempted to join the other side . . .   This ebook features an illustrated biography of Samuel R. Delany including rare images from his early career.  

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