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Sintesi dell'editore

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.

Altri titoli dello stesso

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  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sophia Tavarez
  • 29/05/2018

Looove it the story but...

The story is amazing and unlike nothing I've ever heard. My only complaint is that the narrator's voice is so deep that it's sometimes hard to understand. Sometimes it sounds like a low rumble or growl. I did find myself having to go back every now and again, but overall Mr. Rudnicki did well.

2 su 2 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

  • Generale
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Joe Kraus
  • 12/03/2017

Great Concept, Not Quite the Narrative Tech

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

He has a beautiful voice, but his register is so low that it's sometimes hard to hear.

Any additional comments?

Reading this book is a little like going back and playing one of those early home video games, something like the first generation of Castle Wolfenstein. There’s something to it, something you know you sensed when you played the game way back when, but you can also clearly see how the technology limited the final effect.

This one has a fabulous premise: the “bad guys” develop a language that corrupts its speakers. It functions less like a human language and more like Fortran or Basic – languages that direct a machine to do a thing without giving it the vocabulary to comprehend itself. Without that sense of self – without the concept of “I” – it isn’t possible to resist the codes one’s programmed to do. In the world of the novel, it turns its speakers into sleeper double-agents, people who aren’t aware of their own duplicity.

I can give that kind of a summary largely because of what I learn in the final pages of the novel, when one of the characters – having been reprogrammed of deprogrammed – explains the phenomenon to everyone else. Otherwise, this is a hard-to-follow story. We get a lot of quick cuts, a lot of characters introduced by pronouns rather than given names, and a lot of action committed by characters under the control of other wills.

Much of the story moves forward through dialogue, often a clunky narrative technology but especially so here. How, I ask, can we contemplate the power of language when we are so trapped in conversation. There are “technologies” that might work better – stream-of-consciousness, multiple narrators, deliberate fragmentation – but Delaney tends to stay with a conventional approach here. He does push against it a little – we get some attempts at weird-angle limited omniscient third person and he opens each chapter with long, allusive quotes from Marilyn Hacker’s poetry – but, ultimately, he doesn’t seem to have the tools to get his fabulous question across.

I don’t think he’s alone. I’m cooler on his contemporary Philip K. Dick than most, and there was a lot of other high concept, overly pedantic sci-fi in those era. It was common for sci-fi to come across as cold, peopled with characters who seem props for ideas rather than characters in their own right. In some ways, the original Star Trek had the same problems: big ideas without quite the special effects to pull them off. It took Star Wars (on screen) and Dune (in print) to begin to develop that technology, and now we have Guardians of the Galaxy (on screen) and Neal Stephenson (in print, when he’s on his game).

There’s certainly something here, and I also acknowledge I read this too quickly to get everything from it. I suspect I’d have been in awe of it if I stumbled onto it as a 13-year-old in 1978. I don’t mean to say I’d have gotten all the bio-linguistic points it raised, merely that I think I’d have sense it even then as pushing toward something it couldn’t quite yet say.

I have the chance to hear Delaney a few weeks from now, and I’m keeping an open mind. I’m blaming him here for a limited technology, but it’s just as possible I’m not bringing all the reading tools to this that I should.

3 su 4 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

  • Generale
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Tom
  • 19/01/2016

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.

5 su 9 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

  • Generale
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Britta
  • 12/03/2019

Babel 17

Reader's voice is very deep, which sometimes made the words difficult to understand, especially when driving. Story line felt like it jumped around a bit and was difficult to follow.
Story intrigued me enough to listen to the end of the story.

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dr Todd
  • 15/09/2018

Great Performance of a Brilliant Novel from SRD

Samuel R. Delaney is a brilliant writer who manages the most unique premises found in Sci-Fi. His genius comes in how he manages to make the Truths in his stories so relevant to the Past, Present and Future while also providing new angles on new 'inventions' to enhance the presentations in a manner one could easily term 'clairvoyant'.

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    3 out of 5 stars
  • 4thace
  • 20/08/2018

A vehicle for clever ideas about the mind

I thought it was strangely compelling, frustrating in some places, and worth admiration in many other places. The characters are novel, mostly not cardboard stereotypes. I found myself wanting to know a little bit more about them, but by the end I found that not all the answers where neatly provided. For instance, How the main character ever got to become a starship captain who is also a famous poet wake me clear to me. This book left me thinking after I finished reading it about how it was part adventure yarn, part social satire, and part philosophical tract, making me wonder whether Delany was somehow inspired by Verne and Voltaire when he dreamed this up.
The story is all about language, and yet the language he uses is more or less standard English, sometimes twisted into unusual forms. Since it was written something like 60 years ago, of course there are some anachronisms that peep out at the reader but they do not really distract from the entire effect. There are also long conversations to people just sitting in a room parking, not the fashion in the way stories are told nowadays. This includes the whole denouement which passes beyond my suspension of disbelief.

  • Generale
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
  • joey
  • 04/06/2017

Defected recording

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Good book, would recommend to read but, not to listen. There recording is defected and narrator's voice is layered and unintelligible about half way throuh.

What about Stefan Rudnicki’s performance did you like?

Very good performance. The editors of this need to fix the defect in the recording.

Any additional comments?

Don't order this, as the defect makes the entire listening experience frustrating.

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
  • T
  • 09/03/2017

A Sci-fi delight perfect for any Star Trek lover

Dense with original, provocative ideas, Babel-17 is wonderful (and, in seeing the sixties' view of the future, humorous ) at every turn. I'm happy to have experienced it! Go, Rydera!

  • Generale
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
  • sanug
  • 07/02/2016

Wonderful performance

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.

1 su 2 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

  • Generale
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    5 out of 5 stars
  • J.S.
  • 27/12/2018

Important book, terrible narration

This audio book ensures that I will never again listen to a novel with characters as an audio file unless the narrators are proven to be exceptional. The narrator delivered the lines of the central brilliant woman protagonist in a simpering whimper offensive to the politics of both book and its feminist queer author. Shame on the makers of audio books for continuing to deliver predominantly male titles with predominantly clueless, boring male narrators. Back to the drawing board.

0 su 1 utenti hanno ritenuto utile questa recensione

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  • Generale
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lachlan
  • 26/06/2017

Many good but half-baked ideas

I struggled with this one. There is so much potential here, and you can tell the author is extremely keen to weave together a good story, but it falls short in its development of ideas and machanisms.

  • Generale
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Lettura
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Storia
    2 out of 5 stars
  • carl
  • 25/05/2016

Not my cup of tea but interesting concept

Like what I said in the title, just interesting enough for me not too return it, but it barely kept my attention