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

"SF looks towards an imaginary future, while fantasy, by and large, looks towards an imaginary past."
- Frederik Pohl

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..."

Technovelgy 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
Ulm Sleep Pods For The Homeless
Prophetic Offers Lucid Dreaming Halo With Morpheus-1 AI
Navajo Say Human Cremains On The Moon Is 'Desecration'
Drones Participate In Buddhist Rites

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

Ulm Sleep Pods For The Homeless
'The lid lifted and she crawled inside...'

Prophetic Offers Lucid Dreaming Halo With Morpheus-1 AI
''Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer...'

More Like A Tumblebug Than A Motorcycle
'It is about the size and shape of a kitchen stool, gyro-stabilized on a single wheel...'

Tesla Camera-Only Vision Predicted In 1930's SF
'By its means, the machine can see.'

First Ever Proof Of Water On Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Aptera Solar EV More Stylish Than Heinlein Steel Tortoise
'When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.'

Gigantic Space Sunshade Would Fight Global Warming
'...the light of the sun had been polarized by two crossed fields so that no radiation could pass.'

Untethered Spacewalk's 50th Anniversary
'But that space walk of mine wasn't so very amazing.'

ESA Designs Huge Inflatable Moonbase
'It was like being inside a balloon; indeed, that was exactly where he was.'

AlphaGarden Robot Cares For Gardens Better Than Humans
'...a simple clock-set servok with pipe and hose arms.'

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.