Marilee J. Layman (mjlayman) wrote,
Marilee J. Layman

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Reading the Bones by Sheila Finch

I'd mentioned that I wanted to read her lingster stories and James pointed me at this novella-become-novel and the collection of stories. As I've said way too many times, sometimes novellas should stay that way.

This is a story from the Guild of Xenolinguists. Earth is out finding planets and many other aliens and there's a need for a non-government group of translators and language-workers. It's not as much fun as it sounds, since you have drugs to take and an AI connector device in your brain, but when you actually find the answer, it's wonderful.

In this book, a disgraced lingster, Danyo, is hired as a personal translator by the Deputy Commissioner of Krishna. This planet has been settled in one city by primarily Indian folk and they seem to deal well with one group of indigenous folk, the Freh, and not so well with a group they call the Mules. Danyo spends a lot of his time in the market with the DepCom's wife and teen daughter, translating so they can buy items. Fancy frilly items, that don't work well with the climate. Then, suddenly, the Earthfolk are attacked by the Freh and only Danyo, the teen, and her baby sister survive. They head toward the spaceship station (the ship is offbase) and in the process find where the older Freh women are -- they're called the Mothers and are in caves in the mountain, trying to make a written language because the Mules are actually part of their race, but it's been forgotten. Danyo has a chance to use his lingster skills. This is where the novella ends.

The second part, new, has the teen at the Guild in Switzerland, but since she's so old, they don't really want her. She is offered a job with a new alien species that has been killing Earthfolk, and it involves going back to Krishna, where she doesn't want to go.

The second part seemed to be written to explain what had happened, and the background of the first story, but I really liked the first part better alone. I highly recommend the first half of this book. You never know, you might like the second half, too, if you haven't read the first half alone before.
Tags: books

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