3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Of its time, but still entertaining.,
This review is from: Babel Seventeen (Babel-17) (S.F.Masterworks S.) (Paperback)
Rydra Wong, the poet of a generation, has a superhuman knack for languages that makes her the Alliance's master-cryptographer. Inevitably, hers is the only mind capable of assimilating Babel-17, a coded transmission intercepted by military intelligence. This intrigue is the foundation of an imaginative and engaging space quest, where the usual ensemble of space-pirates romp about the galaxy to unravel the mysteries of the forc--I mean, the code, that will restore peace to a disunited universe. Inevitably, in a sci-fi universe heaving with possibilities, learning an alien language carries both benefits and risks...
This is an imaginative book that runs a now-familiar course with great momentum. Delaney avoids describing the nature of the few aliens that do turn up on the horizons, thus avoiding the audience's disappointment when, once again, dwarves in rubber masks shuffle awkwardly onto the stage. The freaks of this galaxy are a pantheon of modified or ghostly humans, who are all quite colourful enough to compensate for the absence of little green men. Plus, being Delany, there's progressive portrayals of sexuality, a strong female lead and some exploration of role-play and identity, which made this space opera seem fresh at the time, but have become more familiar in the meantime.
Imaginative stuff for the pre-Star-Wars era.