Sunday, September 2, 2007

"Omnilingual" by H. Beam Piper (1957)

"Omnilingual", a short story written in 1957 by
H. Beam Piper, is about an archeological expedition on Mars led by linguist Martha Dane. The expedition combs the ruins of a Martian civilization and deciphers its extinct language. It’s a clever story that involves silicone books and a Rosetta Stone.

"Omnilingual" first appeared in the Vol. 58, No. 6, February 1957, issue of Astounding Science Fiction magazine and, as the Internet Speculative Fiction Database indicates, has been reprinted in many science fiction anthologies. Copies of the original 1957 magazine currently sell for about $4.00 to $14.00 on AbeBooks.

As a work in the public domain, the full text of "Omnilingual", including the illustrations, is available at Project Gutenberg. Also, an audio version is available through Librivox.

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