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Marilee J. Layman

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07:08 pm: The Guild of Xenolinguists by Sheila Finch
I read her book Reading the Bones first and this is the collection of the lingster stories. Most of them are from the late 80s to the late 90s, but two are from 2007 -- one published in F&SF that gives the founding of the guild and one otherwise unpublished. I really like these stories. They don't all have happy endings, but the idea of how to talk to aliens with the social and cultural differences all around are fascinating. It turns out that the last story in this book is the novella Reading the Bones and I suspect that means I'll give the book Reading the Bones away. I didn't think expanding it made it a better story.

This book has a foreward by Ian Watson and an afterword by the author herself. The afterword was more interesting. She has mentions of Watson and Suzette Haden Elgin in the stories as "proto-linguists" but otherwise stays well in the future. Three of the stories are linked to a particular waterworld, but otherwise, they're not related other than the linguists and the Guild.

I highly recommend this book.



Date:August 31st, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC)


I finished it yesterday. Very enjoyable, but doesn't make me want to study linguistics. I agree that the novella wouldn't gain by expansion, and since my library doesn't have the novel I'm spared the temptation.

Mary Anne in Kentucky
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Date:August 31st, 2008 09:40 pm (UTC)

Re: thanks

I'm glad you enjoyed it! I suspect Earthly linguistics are a lot easier.
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