Sean Meriwether's Reviews > Babel-17

Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany
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What sets Babel-17 apart from others in this genre is that it is a poetic exploration of language—how it shapes our thoughts, our actions, and our relationships—but is disguised as a sci-fi novel. The central character, Rydra Wong, is an accomplished poet whose work is adored across the five known galaxies, who is telepathic, a polyglot, and has a strong sense of self. The novel tangentially explores sexuality, body transformation, and interpersonal relationships. Although central to the plot the war with the Invaders who have created a language that can be weaponized feels like background. Similar to the dream-like Dhalgren, which is beautifully written but drifts slowly, the reader must constantly feel their way through this novel; it is not spoon-fed and many details are left out requiring you to fill in the gaps. Perhaps a second read may be required.
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Reading Progress

December 20, 2019 – Started Reading
December 20, 2019 – Shelved
January 3, 2020 – Finished Reading

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