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The Interpreter

3.0 of 5 stars 3.00  ·  rating details  ·  57 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Published (first published 1960)
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I've read a few Brian Aldiss books before, and I've always thought I liked his stuff. This was some decades ago. I realise now that I don't like all his writing.

The Interpreter is a short novel, about 125 pages long. It's a self-conscious 'galactic empire' SF story, examining the difficulties of governing a far-flung empire, the corruption and inefficiencies imposed by distance. In a sense it's a bit like Earth empires in the age of sail trying to control their colonies. The technological SF is
An early effort from Aldiss, this book is a fun read, pursuing the classic sci fi theme of colonialism. Much of Aldiss' work is in this vein, probably informed by his years in the UK military.
In this one, a human is the interpreter between the mighty Nul conquerors and the subject humans. The Nul have engaged in a Roman style empire overreach; the humans are engaged in an underground rebellion. The biggest problem I have is the ending seems muddy. One human has the idea to wait out the Nul and
Jun 09, 2009 Simon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: sf
Earth is a mere colony in a vast and sprawling galactic empire of an alien race. So vast and sprawling that takes years to traverse and control of individual planets devolves to governers, many of whom are corrupt and exploit the indiginous populations for all they are worth. The governer of earth is just such a creature but he is forced to pretend otherwise when an anti-corruption charge is investigated by a commisioner from their home planet. Can Gary Towler, the human interpreter for the alie ...more

Interesting book which describes a world in which humankind has become an inferior client species to a powerful alien race. Aldiss was very interested in Africa, and you get a distinct feeling that he is really talking about how Africans view Westerners. There is a memorable scene in which the (human) hero gets trapped in a high-tech alien porno theatre, and is forced to experience the performance in full 3-D with smell and touch. Nice way of making that point...
Peter Dunn
I bought this for its wonderful cover - not the one used by its Goodreads entry sadly, and its authour is sort of in my B team of favorite science fiction writers.
It was an agreeable romp and its plot did indeed feel like a much better, more thoughtful, richer, version of Hubbard's awful Battlefield Earth (and its publication precedes Battlefield Earth by 22 years...)
I thought this was lousy until I came to the afterword, where Aldiss talks about seeing India while it was under occupation. Then I hated the smarmy sonuvabitch for being so sympathetic to the earthmen under "nul" "rule" while setting the entire novel in England and committing the classic sin of forgetting that the rest of the world existed. Bastard.
I'm embarrassed to say that this book sat on my shelf for about nine years before I got around to reading it. It reminded me a lot of the Tripod Trilogy but with more thought put into it and less Young Adult.
Jonathan Oliver
Not quite up there with Hot House or Report on Probablity A, but a decent enough SF political thriller
Old style SF - still OK read
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Pseudonyms: Jael Cracken, Peter Pica, John Runciman, C.C. Shackleton, Arch Mendicant, & "Doc" Peristyle.

Brian Wilson Aldiss is one of the most important voices in science fiction writing today. He wrote his first novel while working as a bookseller in Oxford. Shortly afterwards he wrote his first work of science fiction and soon gained international recognition. Adored for his innovative liter
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