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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A struggle at the start, but worth the effort
I almost gave up reading this book, as I was really struggling with the maths/science discusssions going on between characters at the start - I like to know what my books are talking about ! However, I persevered, and it was worth the effort. There is one point in this book where two characters are talking to each other, and one of them says 'I' when he means 'you'...
Published on 8 May 2000

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An introduction to psycho-linguistics for sf fans
I really wanted to give this 3.5 stars, but went to lower end because of personal preference. The story is good, and definitely different from most other SF (although I m sure I have read similar books in the past). It espouses the importance of understanding and communication when in a war. If I had not recently come across the field of psycho-linguistics (yes it...
Published 19 months ago by EvilEdna


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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Babel-17 a worthy classic, 5 Jun 2003
By 
G. Morgan "laughablefellow" (N.Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Babel-17 by Samuel R.Delany is a masterpiece. I suppose that is why it earns it's worthy place in the Science Fiction Masterworks series. The book should however carry a warning, this kind of text should not really be tackeld by lower reading levels or people who's ideal Science Fiction is Star Wars, it is a lot heavier than that. There is some complex Bolognium in there and some interesting ideas about writing and language in general.
Written in the 60s it has lost none of it's splendour, written in such a way that none of the technology has become out-dated, the story follows the chief persona Rydra Wong, a master of language and she must discover how some unknown, possibly alien, force is causing variouse 'accidents' accross the galaxy, but to understand the aliens (or whatever) she must first understand their language, the complex and seemingly immposible to translate BABEL-17.
The story has several interesting characters and ideas from the Customs officer who discovers a whole new world on his doorstep, to the idea of ghosts and plastic surgery which adds horns to a person's head or the character Butcher who plays a vital role later on. All these faxctors pull together to make this a truly wonderful book, I was unable to put it down, and that may cost me dearly when my GCSE results come out. A great book in any genre, in Science Fiction it is called a classic.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best SF ever written, 7 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This novel by Samuel Delany is probably the best SF novel I have ever read - at least it rates in my top three. The inclusion in the SF Masterworks series is very well deserved.
Delany writes in a wonderful english very concise and eloquent - it is a pleasure to read. The description of the implications of Babel-17 on the mind of the scientist is a fascinating one, and the universe he creates might not be extremely original, but it is very vivid and trustworthy.
This book should be in every SF collection and also in every book collection among other great litterature of the world.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect product, perfect service, 14 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Babel-17 (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
i am collecting these books, but am very picky about it being this particular edition - i want all the covers to match.

the info provided in the description was accurate, and the delivery was prompt.

i am very happy.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short does NOT mean bad, 9 Feb 2011
By 
R. Harkness (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Babel-17 (S.F. MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
It focuses alot on langauge and how we use it but with a fantastic mix of sci-fi. Sci-fi being good sciency stuff all about spaceships and planets etc. LOVE it.
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8 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Started so promisingly, 6 May 2001
By A Customer
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Half an hour after starting this I thought I was going to be in for a real treat. Unkown 'Invaders' with their newly identified code, linguistic discussion and a heroine to die for. I guess it's easy to criticise an old book for lacking in imagination but the rest of the book was a dire mess of the Dirty Dozen in Space. How can you have an alien race you know so little about and still know little things like how many alliances they have made in the Galaxy?
Some of the ideas were good, I particularly liked the 'discorporates', but the remaining characters were pretty grim. That whole episode with Butcher and the 'I, me thing' was wasted on me. What was the point?
Again, I know this was one of the first 'space operas' but I guess it shows how much things have improved with 'Consider Phlebas' and the like.
I'm pleased I read it but I'll soon forget I had.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not necessarily entertaining, unless you like acid influenced mid 60's prose., 9 Aug 2011
By 
Mr. G. Earley (Wimbledon) - See all my reviews
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I cant say I 'enjoyed' reading Empire Star/Babel-17 but I did find it interesting. Delaney used words and language somewhat like Asimov used his engineering knowledge to paint a universe that is populated with almost magical characters, ghost pilots and man/animal hybrids, which is highly uneven and at times difficult to read and follow.

Delaney wrote this at the tender age of 23 and the clunky plotting of the book shows his mid-50's influences for all to see. While the book does have a plot its really secondary to Delaney flexing his creative writing muscles.

To be fair to the book buying public this should really be classified in both the Science Fiction and Creative Writing sections.

Interesting but not necessarily entertaining, unless you like acid influenced mid 60's prose.

UPDATE ONE YEAR LATER
AVOID. God I hated this book so much but as everyone else in my book club hated it as well I felt forced to defend it. This was probably the last time I did that for any book. Knowing Delaney teaches creative writing made everyone waffle on about the use of language was very good when in fact the whole book was utter crap from beginning to end. I deeply regret putting this on the bookclub reading list. It does not deserve to be in print and I suspect if Delaney had not been Hip, Black and Gay nobody would have published this, ever. AVOID. PLEASE AVOID IT!
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Babel-17 (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Babel-17 (S.F. MASTERWORKS) by Samuel R. Delany (Paperback - 29 Mar 2010)
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