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2014 Story 38

From Lightspeed Magazine's February issue (#45), edited by John Joseph Adams

38. LOVE IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE by Eugene Mirabelli   I'm math-phobic. Horrible experiences with math teachers in grade and middle school hardened my wiring, and any time math enters a story with any detail part of my brain shoots back to those days and the anxiety of not having memorized my multiplication tables. So there were portions of this story that I just couldn't process, the descriptions of various mathematical theories. I understand what the author is shooting for: a discussion of language vs. mathematics, nuance versus rigidity, emotion versus fact. I just didn't understand the math half of those targets. What I did understand was the concept of how language changes, and how languages disappear, as personified by the Tinglit college student Sally Raven and the language professor Sakurado, last carrier of his lost Pacific island's song-like language. Parts of this story (not having to do with math) were heart-breaking, parts were pure soap-opera farce. Thankfully, the parts I connected with outweighed the math and soap-opera parts and I found myself emotionally invested in the relationship of Sally and Sakurado.

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