Greetings from the Gryphon:---Reminds me that I have some ordering to do!
THE GUILD OF XENOLINGUISTS, by Sheila Finch, is now available!
In essentially all science fiction, the problems of actually talking to and
understanding a new alien race is usually glossed over, by resorting to the “universal
translator” or by totally ignoring any difference in language. Our own human history
shows that understanding a new human race is fraught with pitfalls; how much more
problematic would be meeting and greeting, let alone trading complex thoughts such as
peace and war with, a totally different species? Would this in itself be a story well worth
telling? Sheila Finch has addressed this issue, in a series of stories that range from the
first contact with an advanced alien species on Earth to the development of a galaxy-
wide Guild of Xenolinguists that handles all cross-culture communication, and indeed
helps ascertain if a species is sentient or not. Novices are trained for years, and then
sent out to learn the alien languages and program the translation computers, so those
that follow may communicate with relative ease. Of course, with a totally new culture, and
culture being a large part of language, interacting with the alien species is far from
routine, or even safe. Moral questions also arise; although supposedly neutral in all
matters politic, lingsters may find themselves involved in local politics, and forced to
make decisions that are not based on their language skills. For example, in Finch’s
Nebula Award-winning story, “Reading the Bones,” the hapless, alcoholic linguist, whose
duties had mainly been translating during his employers’ shopping trips, faces a native
upheaval, a trek with two young children across a largely unknown jungle, and the
opportunity to see a written language born. Alien parasites, alien viruses, a mysterious
star-faring race that seems randomly violent, large tyrant moles, dolphin instructors and
surrogate mothers, all this and more face the prepared and not-so-prepared linguists in
these eleven stories.
English-major heroes in outer space—a nice change of pace after Potter.
THE GUILD OF XENOLINGUISTS by Sheila Finch
Cover art by Bob Eggleton
ISBN 978-1-930846-48-7 / $24.95 (Trade hardcover)
After quite a while resting on my more or less laurels (past listings) it's time to get a move on and put up some more listings. My goal is five books every day from now on. This should be achievable, but not according to my past performance.
These books get listed in three places: on Amazon, Biblio, and Half. Books without ISBNs (older books) generally will not be listed on half. My prices might vary between these three places. Amazon and Half tell me competing prices, so I peg mine on them. Thus, if the lowest price for Deadly Percheron is $98 on Amazon, I might peg mine at $95. If it weren't my only copy maybe I'd be more reasonable. In fact, I think my Biblio listing is more reasonable.
Going forward (and possibly backward), links to titles of books will send you to the main Amazon listing. My listing will be somewhere amidst the other maybe 237 listings. This is where my photo of the book can be seen, which will probably be a better one than the one Amazon features. Half doesn't let me attach my own photo—at least I don't think it does. Photos are also at biblio. Lots of older listings still don't have photos. Nor updated prices.
I've been lousy at selling direct via email. Sorry about that, if you've tried me. Listing through the major portals keeps me honest—also prompt and reliable.
Monday, July 23, 2007
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