Talking to aliens is not my bag. I could never write a science fiction novel because I would fall at the first hurdle. How the heck do you communicate?
I mean, I’ve tried. Two thousand words in and I was tearing my hair out trying to pick my way through that multi-dimensional minefield. (The alien was an interstellar traveller who had landed mistakenly in the upper reaches of the Thames in Oxfordshire. He was also a giant octopus.)
The sad thing is that I love science fiction. Adore the television series. See the movies several times. Read lots and lots of it. Recommend it with enthusiasm, including to people who recoil from the very idea.
Well, it’s on the cusp of science fiction and fantasy, I suppose. The author is best known for her epic fantasy series set in the Universe of the Nine Worlds, full of strangeness and moral challenges.
But the Generalissimo is a heck of whirl. Constructed like a fairy tale, plotted like true mystery, it has great world building, a fabulous brave and sassy narrator who makes me laugh, and a real lump-in-the-throat ending.
But in the universe of the Generalissimo everyone speaks the same language, even though they sometimes use electronic devices to disguise their voices. Nobody is actually talking to aliens.
Incoherent English? Yes, another bee in the Pedantique-Ryter bonnet.
Radio 4 Today programme in the dock for incoherent speech
In a short interval between my summer educational tours, I happened to be listening to what the pundits maintain is the UK’s “must-listen” political programme — BBC Radio 4’s Today. I heard an interviewer ask a question that was incoherent.
To save that interviewer’s blushes, I shall not repeat the actual words used. The question was roughly along these lines:
“As a supporter of the Rational Incoherence Party, I’m sure our listeners will want to know whether you would support policy X.”
Question: who is the supporter of the RIP? [Note: As far as I know, no political party admits to that name. Perhaps one of them should?] Continue reading →