Reviews of Author of the Acacia Seeds, the (1974)
Review by spiphany (2004-04-09)
This story is primarily an exploration of the nature of communication.
It begins with a tentative translation of a message left by an ant on dried seed hulls, examining the ethnocentric nature of language (whether the word ‘up’ for example, has the same emotional associations for an ant as for a human) and the ambiguity of verb forms in a society which has no concept of self.
The second piece looks at Emperor penguins and a language which is primarily kinetic rather than verbal. It discusses the difficulties of translating such a language, how it is nearly impossible to duplicate the choral and visual aspects, and how it is nearly impossible to separate language and art.
The last piece is about whether plants, who do not communicate, can have language. Whether art must be communicative, whether language must be active.