The Languages of Pao Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Languages of Pao

This book primarily deals with the idea that language can influence the thoughts and actions of the people who speak it. The main character lives on a pastoral world with a very weak language, and basically all the main spacefaring races can push them around. Political intrigue sends the heir to the throne into exile on to a science/tech world with a very technical language. He studies there for years under a tutor who is the same man who rescued him during the political upheaval at home.
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He eventually returns home to reclaime his throne, aided by his tutor. However, his tutor, being a science type, has an experiment in mind. He has created new languages and wants to use them on select regions of the planet. One is a very aggresive language to create a warrior caste. The next is a language which views everything in terms of value and transaction used to create a merchant/manufacturer caste. The third is a technical language similar to the one used on the science world mentioned earlier used to create a science class.

The main character thought this was a good idea because it would allow the people of Pao (the name of the planet) to become competitive in all those realms so they won't be getting pushed around anymore. The main character had, in fact, been getting worried about that even before his exile. It should be mentioned that his tutor had one main demand in return for putting this system into place: thousands of Paonese women for him to have children with. It eventually turns out that his tutor has more up his sleeve with the "experiment" than it first appeared, and numerous machinations and plans prepared for the now powerful Pao.
The review of this Book prepared by Isaac Brown

Chapter Analysis of The Languages of Pao

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 10%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 50% Tone of book    -   cynical or dry-wit FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Cultural problems, alien culture    -   Yes Culture clash-    -   one culture tries to impose its culture on another group Intense exploration of society's culture?    -   Yes

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Alien Profession/status:    -   Prince/Nobleman/King Age:    -   20's-30's


A substantial portion of this book takes place on a non-Earth planetary body:    -   inhabited by friendly aliens    -   neutral aliens    -   empty, or nearly empty world    -   big overbuilt futuristic city    -   very controlled society Planet outside solar system?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   some scientific explanation Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only How much dialogue?    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Jack Vance Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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