What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

POSSIBLY SOLVED > Spaceship era Science Fiction Worried about spies. Things mysteriously going wrong on the spaceships. Spoiler ahead.

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message 1: by AB (new)

AB Craine | 16 comments I read this in the '70's or '80's
I believe the author was Macdonald, McDowell, or some "McD" or "MacD" name (could be wrong, though)

The story occurs when the babies are adults. They are an important part of the spaceship culture of the story. They are strong and dependable

The story centers around a crises that is tearing the world apart. Spies and such.

SPOILER: turns out these children/now-adults grew up with no first person in their vocabulary (no I, me, etc), therefore, they have no sense of self. They've been contacted by alien bad-guys who use their lack of self to infiltrate the world and prepare humanity for conquest.

message 2: by Rainbowheart (new)

Rainbowheart | 21141 comments Sounds a tiny bit like Childhood's End.

message 3: by AB (new)

AB Craine | 16 comments Afraid not.
Thanks for the suggestion. It got me thinking more about the story:

The alien part is the spoiler at the end of the book.

The bulk of the story is about various spaceships and their goings-on. Each of these ships has one of the "special people" (the adults, who as children were part of the isolation experiment). These people were capable, depended on, an important part of the ship.

The intrigue the fed through the story was that something bad would happen to these ships. I think, at first, these special people were the ones that could fix it.

It was at the end that you find out that it was these "special people" that were causing the malfunctions because they were under the influence of the alien-bad-guys

message 4: by AB (new)

AB Craine | 16 comments My memory classifies this book as a "Classic, Golden Age, Space Genre", which might make it a 50's book. It had a lot of Spy-type action, which might have placed it in the 60's or 70's

message 5: by AB (new)

AB Craine | 16 comments This is has an undertone similar to Cold War Spy novels because equipment is mysteriously damaged. No one knows (until the end) who/what is causing it.

message 6: by Ayshe (new)

Ayshe | 4327 comments Babel-17 has been suggested on AbeBooks.com BookSleuth.

message 7: by AB (new)

AB Craine | 16 comments The title doesn't look familiar, but the description does. I'm waiting to receive it from my library through the "out-of-town" library link. Crossing my fingers.

message 8: by Ann aka Iftcan (new)

Ann aka Iftcan (iftcan) | 6966 comments Mod
I have to agree with Ayshe about this being Babel-17. I read a lot of sci-fi and have for decades and this is the only story I can think of where there is no sense of "person" and no use of the words "I, ME." But if there is another one, I'm all for reading it just to see if it's as interesting as this one was.

message 9: by AB (new)

AB Craine | 16 comments Babel-17 is very probably the book I was thinking of. I still have an image of babies on an island being watched and fed with no human contact and aliens coming down and teaching them a language. But, after ?? years since I read this that could have been my imagination. This was like reading a new book with familiar overtones. It's complexity explains why I didn't remember it and why it has haunted me all these years.

message 10: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 40677 comments Mod
AB, should we shelve this and call it Solved then? Or are you still waiting to get the book in your hands?

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