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  1. #1

    Question Can't remember author of short story!!!

    Years ago I read a short story by a well-known science fiction author. Problem is I can't remember the author or the title.

    The story is about a man who has a talent for learning languages, and who is selling his knowledge of languages on the black market to pay off his wife's gambling debts. (Parts of the brain containing certain information can be identified and surgically removed and implanted in another person's brain saves having to study for years!) However, he also has a passion for literature, and believes that the great masterpieces should be read in their original language. So he is hiding out in the desert, frantically trying to finish War and Peace in the original Russian, before he is caught by the black marketeers and has his knowledge of Russian forcibly removed.

    Does anyone know the title and the author?

  2. #2
    Joshua A.C. Newman Joshua A.C. New's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Western Massachusetts
    I look forward to the answer! It's a funny idea!

  3. #3
    I thought you were going to say "and the wife, unknowingly, sold her knowledge of English, knowing her husband was conversant in so many other languages." That would have been an amusing take on the comb/hair story.

  4. #4
    We Read for Light Window Bar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Southern Oregon, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by ArtNJ View Post
    the comb/hair story.
    The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry. An absolute classic.

    Unfortunately, I don't know the name of the sci-fi story about selling the knowledge of languages. It sounds wonderful.

    Last edited by Window Bar; October 27th, 2011 at 08:37 PM.

  5. #5

    Found it! Finally!

    It's called The Linguist and it's by Stephen Robinett aka Tak Hallus. [First published in Galaxy under the pen name Tak Hallus, collected in The Year's Best Science Fiction No. 9, (1976, ed. Harry Harrison, Brian Aldiss) and in the single author collection Projections (ISBN 0-441-68305-3 for the Ace edition, 0-89437-055-3 for the Baronet] Thank you James Nicoll.

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