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Suzette Haden Elgin (1936–2015)

Author of Native Tongue

62+ Works 4,927 Members 73 Reviews 15 Favorited

About the Author

Suzette Haden Elgin was born Patricia Anne Wilkins on November 18, 1936 in Missouri. She received a PhD in linguistics from the University of California at San Diego in 1973. She taught there from 1972 to 1980, when she retired to focus on her writing full time. Her books include The Communipaths, show more Furthest, At the Seventh Level, Yonder Comes the Other End of Time, Twelve Fair Kingdoms, The Grand Jubilee, A First Dictionary and Grammar of Láadan, Peacetalk 101, and Native Tongue Trilogy. She founded the Science Fiction Poetry Association in 1978. The organization's Elgin Award, for best poetry book and chapbook of the year, is named in her honor. She wrote The Science Fiction Poetry Handbook. She was also widely published as a linguist. Her works include the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense series. She died on January 27, 2015 at the age of 78. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Disambiguation Notice:

Other sites show birthplace as Jefferson City, Missouri, USA.

Image credit: George Elgin


Works by Suzette Haden Elgin

Native Tongue (1984) 1,133 copies, 30 reviews
The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense (1980) 684 copies, 8 reviews
The Judas Rose (1987) 403 copies, 7 reviews
Earthsong (1993) 265 copies, 3 reviews
The Ozark Trilogy (1981) 162 copies, 3 reviews
Yonder Comes the Other End of Time (1986) 161 copies, 1 review
Twelve Fair Kingdoms (1981) 160 copies, 1 review
The Grand Jubilee (1981) 124 copies
Star-Anchored, Star-Angered (1979) 122 copies
And Then There'll Be Fireworks (1981) 120 copies, 1 review
Communipath Worlds (1980) 108 copies
At the Seventh Level (1972) 80 copies, 1 review
Furthest (1971) 69 copies, 1 review
The Grandmother Principles (1998) 46 copies, 1 review
The Communipaths (1970) 17 copies, 1 review
Peacetalk 101 (2003) 16 copies
The Science Fiction Poetry Handbook (2005) 5 copies, 1 review
Pouring Down Words (1975) 4 copies
Hush My Mouth (1986) 3 copies
Drussa Silver (1979) 3 copies

Associated Works

Masterpieces of Fantasy and Wonder (1989) — Contributor — 332 copies, 2 reviews
The 1987 Annual World's Best SF (1987) — Contributor — 241 copies, 3 reviews
Space Opera (1996) — Contributor — 237 copies, 3 reviews
The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories (2010) — Contributor — 205 copies, 6 reviews
World's Best Science Fiction: 1970 (1970) — Contributor — 162 copies, 2 reviews
Perpetual Light (1982) — Contributor — 101 copies
A Treasury of American Horror Stories (1985) — Contributor — 96 copies, 2 reviews
Isaac Asimov's Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction, Volume 2: The Science Fictional Olympics (1984) — Contributor, some editions — 89 copies, 1 review
Glorifying Terrorism, Manufacturing Contempt: An Anthology (2006) — Contributor — 69 copies, 3 reviews
The Year's Best Fantasy Stories: 9 (1983) — Contributor — 50 copies, 2 reviews
80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin (2010) — Contributor — 37 copies, 1 review
Women of Vision : Essays by Women Writing Science Fiction (1988) — Contributor, some editions — 33 copies, 1 review
Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and Tomorrow ... (1974) — Contributor — 30 copies, 1 review
The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase (2005) — Afterword; Contributor — 28 copies


Common Knowledge



Found: Sci-fi book about translators in Name that Book (September 2021)


Der zweite Teil hat mich leider so gar nicht mitgenommen. Viele Leute, viele Orte, teils ohne erkennbaren Zusammenhang... :(
Katzenkindliest | 6 other reviews | Apr 23, 2024 |
Minu jaoks mitmel moel väga raputav raamat, ja just eriti pärast Kuangi "Babeli" lugemist, kuna temaatika on sama, aga hoopis teise nurga alt. Keele väest, maagiast ja sellest, kuidas keel loob maailma, milles me elame.
sashery | 29 other reviews | Jan 29, 2024 |
Oh, goodness, where to start? There are so many problems with this book.

Firstly, it's so boring. I was recommended this because I like the movie Arrival and linguistics. But honestly, this book doesn't say a whole lot about linguistics, or even aliens.

It was definitely too long, and it strangely had 3 different main plots going on that never successfully came together. The ending was abrupt and unsatisfying.

It's super feminist, which was the author's point. She definitely preferred to hit readers over the head with her personal moral convictions at the expense of the actual story. I was confused about why she chose to make her world a "men are powerful jerks, women are disempowered but strong rebels" scenario. Especially with the way her world was set up (women can't vote, they can't go places without their male escort, etc.), a historical novel (or one set in the Muslim world) honestly could have communicated all that. I think it would have been vastly more interesting to read about a society in which women were the power-hungry abusers and men the victims.

There is a ton of profanity, which I found very strange for a linguist author - you'd think a linguist would enjoy using words more creatively. And, profanity is offensive in general.

On that same note, this book is very anti-religion - and specifically, anti-Christian. The author makes the "evil" men the ones who are "Christian" (though I use that term loosely, because the author doesn't understand the difference between nominal and devout Christians, apparently).

The author made sure to work in the fact that the "smart, brave women" had secret abortions.

There are several sexual references, though no explicit content.
… (more)
RachelRachelRachel | 29 other reviews | Nov 21, 2023 |
This is my all-time go-to feminist sc-fi read
tornadox | 29 other reviews | Feb 14, 2023 |



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