In our last episode of the season Ralph, Liz and Josh struggle to communicate over Samuel R. Delany’s Babel-17.
Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany
Elizabeth Lovegrove, Josh Fox and Ralph Lovegrove
Synopsis 00:45 // Jo Walton’s review 04:30 // Themes 05:10 // The Dead on tape 08:00 // Translation and Memory 12:40 // Hyperspace 14:25 // Non-binary life partners 15:45 // Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis 24:00 // Sleeper agents 28:35 // Gaming by hypnosis 30:25 // Faceless invaders 34:15 // RPG bit — Josh 37:55 // Liz (Grunting, Dialect RPGs) 39:00 // Ralph 44:40 // Last bits 52:20
Since we mentioned several titles in this episode, here’s our mini bibliography.
- Embassytown by China Meiville (language and first contact)
- The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (language, possessive pronouns)
- Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin (language, dystopia, feminism)
- Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan (Transhumanism)
- Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis (Transhumanism, post-cyberpunk)
- The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson (post-cyberpunk, “phyles” or tribal units)
- Valor Confederation series by Tanya Huff (Military SF and alien contact)
- Dune by Frank Herbert (folding space)
The Babel-17 wiki page lists other works that were influenced by this book including Stephenson’s Snow Crash and Ted Chiang’s Story Of Your Life (made into the film Arrival).
Finally, here’s Jo Walton’s review of Babel-17.
Five Conversational Hypnosis Tools For MCs by Pete Kautz.
Grunting is a free RPG by Jen Spencer.
Dialect is a game about how language dies. It’s post-Kickstarter (but I guess you can pre-order it).
We mentioned Night Witches (yes, AGAIN).
Ralph has started his Dramasystem/OSR mashup anyway (yeah, DEAL WITH IT JOSH). It’s called StormHack. Mini SRD here.
“Is That You Or Are You You?” from Reappear by Chris Zabriskie
“But Enough About Me, Bill Paxton” from Direct To Video by Chris Zabriskie