1. How did you choose your genre? What made you write this book?
VE: My background is in linguistics and cognitive science, having worked as a university professor for many years. Being an expert in language I wanted to explore emerging technologies that, in the near future, will enable us to stream language direct to neural implants in our heads. Science fiction provides a natural genre to explore scientific ideas that have not yet come to pass but are at the very least plausible. Hence, I chose science fiction.
The novel, The Babel Apocalypse was conceived as a warning. Today humanity is on the brink of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, sometimes abbreviated to 4IR. This is where, through automation and internet connectivity, our lives will be transformed by AI.
The rise of AI leads to the prospect of smart automation taking over many tasks that humans once performed, leading to the possibility of ‘smart’ neuro-prosthetics (aka microcomputers for brains) being implanted in human heads. Such a step would enable a “transhuman” to also become connected to our internet-of-things landscape. Such a development raises the prospect of language learning becoming obsolete. Which leads to further consequences: what happens when big tech corporations control language?
2. Writers write what they know, and must observe the world. Are you a first born, middle or last child and how does this shape your view of the world?
VE: I am the first born. This made me curious, bold and a confident observer.
3. Where is your favorite place to write?
VE: An indie coffeeshop where contemporary jazz is played by my favorite groups.
4. How do you feel about killing your darlings, and what do you do with the remains?
VE: None of my darlings have yet been killed…but sometimes I’m tempted.
5. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?
VE: Douglas Adams: “What was the reason for selecting the number 42 as the meaning of life, the universe and everything?”
6. Inquiring minds want to know…tell readers something about you that no one knows.
VE: I used to be a serious juggler. Five ball juggling is nothing.
7. You are stranded on a deserted island with only a back pack for company. What three items are in your survival pack?
VE: A single volume complete works of Shakespeare, a shaving razor (for keeping up appearances), and my reading glasses.
8. If you could have one superpower in your existence, what would it be?
VE: To travel through time.
9. Favorite snack?
VE: Bounty chocolate bars—I love all the coconut.
10. Indy 500 – Do you know how to get where you’re going or do you drive the speed limit?
VE: I know how to get where I’m going: pushing to the limit and beyond is the only way to achieve.
THE BABEL APOCALYPSE
by Vyvyan Evans
GENRE: Science Fiction
Language is no longer learned, but streamed to neural implants regulated by lang-laws. Those who can’t afford language streaming services are feral, living on the fringes of society. Big tech corporations control language, the world’s most valuable commodity.
But when a massive cyberattack causes a global language outage, catastrophe looms.
Europol detective Emyr Morgan is assigned to the case. His prime suspect is Professor Ebba Black, the last native speaker of language in the automated world, and leader of the Babel cyberterrorist organization. But Emyr soon learns that in a world of corporate power, where those who control language control everything, all is not as it seems.
As he and Ebba collide, Emyr faces an existential dilemma between loyalty and betrayal, when everything he once believed in is called into question. To prevent the imminent collapse of civilization and a global war between the great federations, he must figure out friend from foe—his life depends on it. And with the odds stacked against him, he must find a way to stop the Babel Apocalypse.
It wasn’t her cold beauty that marked out Ebba Black as unique—her chilling looks, as she called them—although her looks invariably made an impression on all who met her. Rather, it was the fact that she was the last nate in the automated world. That made her famous. Undoubtedly she was celebrated for other things too—Ebba Black the Babelist, the heiress, the conspiracy theorist, the charismatic professor. Maybe even the oddity. After all, Ebba was the last speaker of languages that would die with her. With Elias’s passing five years prior, she had no one left to speak them with. And Ebba Black would not marry. Commitment of that sort wasn’t her thing, and she would certainly never have children. You could say she wasn’t the maternal type.
Ebba knew she was unique in other, ineffable ways, too. For one, she listed things to herself, silently, in her head. Reasons to know me. Reasons not to know me. Reasons to hate me, to admire me. But not reasons to love me. Never that. That was forbidden. Ebba never allowed anyone to get that close.
Sometimes Ebba even indulged in one of her trademark waspish grins. To no one in particular, while she mentally scrolled through one list: reasons to kill. The list with the names. Her list of lists. The grin was the only outward sign she was performing a mental stock-take. It wasn’t good to be on that particular list. Ebba Black was neither the forgiving nor the tolerant type.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Dr. Vyvyan Evans is a native of Chester, England. He holds a PhD in linguistics from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C., and is a Professor of Linguistics. He has published numerous acclaimed popular science and technical books on language and linguistics. His popular science essays and articles have appeared in numerous venues including ‘The Guardian’, ‘Psychology Today’, ‘New York Post’, ‘New Scientist’, ‘Newsweek’ and ‘The New Republic’. His award-winning writing focuses, in one way or another, on the nature of language and mind, the impact of technology on language, and the future of communication. His science fiction work explores the status of language and digital communication technology as potential weapons of mass destruction.
Book website (including ‘Buy’ links): www.songs-of-the-sage.com
Author website: https://www.vyvevans.net/
Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@vyvevans
The Babel Apocalypse earned a starred review in Kirkus: “A perfect fusion of SF, thriller, and mystery—smart speculative fiction at its very best.”
The full review is here: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/vyvyan-evans/the-babel-apocalypse-songs-of-the-sage/