I Read: Lexicon by Max Barry
This was chosen as a holdover between my finishing Part 2 (Shift) of the Silo series and the release of Part 3 (Dust). It was merely supposed to be filler “good enough” to keep me entertained, and turned out to be actually good enough for me to delay reading Dust even after it had been auto-delivered to my Kindle.
The main conceit of this book is the power of language, the individual words themselves. While neurolinguistics is a thing that actually exists – Lexicon takes it one step further and creates a world wherein it is possible for words themselves to cause reactions in the brain. Only a certain subset of the population trained as “Poets” has full control over this power, however anyone, even Poets themselves, may be “compromised” by the right combination of words.
Anyone but Wil. Of course there’s one dude who is immune to the power of words. Of course. And of course he’s in high demand by the Poets themselves and other factions working against the Poets. Of course. This is rather predictable.
The rest of the story is much less predictable. While there are no major plot twists, per se, the set up is not your canned thriller. It’s very well done spec-fic that stays true to the world it creates. It feels real enough that I’m almost tempted to recommend this book to some friends of mine who are actual linguists, but I fear that since the “science” in the book is y’know, completely made up, that they wouldn’t read it so much as lob it at my head.
I do recommend this book for reading. However, if you are seeking a book to lob at my head, I’d really prefer you pick something shorter. And preferably paperback.