Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Guild of Xenolinguists

The Guild of Xenolinguists is a collection of short stories by Sheila Finch. The stories tell the tales of the lingsters, members of the Guild of Xenolinguists, who study to become translators and recorders of alien languages. Through a quirk of biology humans are one of the few species with the flexibility to communicate with almost any species in the galaxy. The lingsters train by learning multiple languages along with the use of mind-altering drugs and AI assistance via a computer link implanted directly into the brain. The Guild trains their people to be translators and mediators and thus they have become the foremost linguists in known space.
Fortunately, the study of xenolinguistics is not the focus of the stories but merely the background for the plot. Each story stars a lingster who gets involved in the challenges and differences in human/alien relations. The Guild has taught its people that they are never to judge or get involved in the affairs of alien races, however, events often go beyond the scope of a lingster’s training and they must try to find the best choice they can. There are the inevitable stories of humans versus the benign aliens, but there are also those dealing with the very real dangers of exploration. Also interesting are a foreword and afterword discussing how the study of linguistics might be applied to alien life.
The publisher of The Guild of Xenolinguists was Golden Gryphon Press. It’s a small press and there were only about 2000 copies of Guild printed so getting a hold of one might be a challenge, however, it’s definitely worth it if you’ve ever been interested in the possibility of communication with alien races.
Final Rating: 8.5/10.

No comments: