Title: Babel-17
Author: Samuel R Delany
Genre: SF
Ranking: Excellent
LibraryThing: Title:Babel-17 WorkId 49765
Type: Owned
Read: 1999-11-10

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.

This book is beautiful.

Let me burble for a bit.

It's got actual poetry in it. It's got linguistics! (Insert dance of glee) And a neato plot which thinks about thought. And there's characters. And futuristic weirdnesses. And a background that stays where it's put, scintillating in casual asides, instead of bludgeoned over your head with a ten-ton pile of dead tree.

I knew from the first paragraph that this was going to be enjoyable to read, what with the metaphor about the rusting sky. And then a General, talk of Invaders and embargoes, a poet, a code, love at first sight, and silent pain.

Looking back, perhaps the plot wasn't so neato, but it was a helluva ride. The idea was neato. And the canvas was painted with colour and energy, without being so psychedelic as to be incoherent. And the characters were sympathetic, which doesn't always happen with books that have neat ideas (the author is often so taken with the idea, that there's no room for the characters).

Reprinted under the "SF Masterworks" label, it is well deserving of that title.

Read it now.

Sid & Nancy Scale: colourful green ideas wake furiously.