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Omnilingual (version 2)

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By: (1904-1964)

This short story was first written and published in the year 1957, as part of a collection of short science fiction stories in the collection Astounding Science Fiction. Piper's story is unusual in focusing on the problem of archaeology on an alien culture. How is is possible to decipher writings of an alien race that died out 50,000 years ago? What could we possibly have in common with them? There can be no 'Rosetta Stone' with a shared language so is it impossible? That is the struggle of the protagonist and against all odds she does indeed find a way for our two cultures to meet. An excellent story well written.

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Transcriber's Note:

This etext was produced from "Astounding Science Fiction," February, 1957. Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that the U.S. copyright on this publication was renewed.



To translate writings, you need a key to the code and if the last writer of Martian died forty thousand years before the first writer of Earth was born ... how could the Martian be translated...?


Illustrated by Freas


Martha Dane paused, looking up at the purple tinged copper sky. The wind had shifted since noon, while she had been inside, and the dust storm that was sweeping the high deserts to the east was now blowing out over Syrtis. The sun, magnified by the haze, was a gorgeous magenta ball, as large as the sun of Terra, at which she could look directly. Tonight, some of that dust would come sifting down from the upper atmosphere to add another film to what had been burying the city for the last fifty thousand years... Continue reading book >>

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