Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"...the people dealing with these new technologies will still be derived from the human stock we're familiar with today."
- Charles Stross

Babel-17  
  An alien weapon in the form of a language.  

Babel-17 is a story that still reads well today; writers like Steven Pinker (among many others) write about language acquisition and the brain.

"Babel-17 as a language contains a pre-set programme for the Butcher to become a criminal and saboteur. If you turn somebody with no memory loose in a foreign country with only the word for tools and machine parts, don't be surprised if he ends up a mechanic. By manipulating his vocabulary properly you could just as easily make him a sailor or an artist. Also, Babel-17 is such and exact analytical language, it almost assures you technical mastery of any situation you look at. And the lack of an "I" blinds you to the fact that though it's a highly useful way of looking at things its [not] the only way."

"But you mean that this language could even turn you against the alliance?"

"Well," said Rydra "to start off with, the word for Alliance in Babel-17 translates literally into English as: one who has invaded. You take it from there. It has all sorts of little diabolisms programmed into it. While thinking in Babel-17 is becomes perfectly logical to try and destroy your own ship and then blot out the fact with self-hypnosis - It 'programmes' a self-contained schizoid personality into the mind of whoever learns it..."

From Babel-17, by Samuel R. Delany.
Published by Ace Books in 1966
Additional resources -

This unique perspective by Samuel R. Delany won the nebula award for best novel.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Babel-17
  More Ideas and Technology by Samuel R. Delany
  Tech news articles related to Babel-17
  Tech news articles related to works by Samuel R. Delany

Articles related to Culture
Is It Better To Be Short?
The Coming Hell Of ChatGPT Salesbots
Holly+ Processes Your Singing In Holly Herndon's Voice
Megachurches Catch Up To Heinlein

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

MIT Robot Eel Made Up Of Voxel Segments
'It was about five feet long, a silver flexiprene-covered body like a fat snake...'

Synthetic Voices Demanded Of New Actors
'The tape-recorded synthetic voice spoke with its usual dispassionate calm'

'Courier Commons' By Tomorrow Lab, From Karl Schroeder (and Bruce Sterling?)
'The pokkecon rang again. *The coffee’s for him?* Tsuyoshi said.'

Terrifying Robotic Apple Harvester
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant.'

Mechanical Horse Sculpture Gallops In Place
'Rod placed the brain inside the panel... the horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

'Make Sunsets' Tweaks Climate By Atmospheric Alteration
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'

Hotels Turn To Robots As Human Workers Regroup
'Chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.