R. F. Kuang’s Babel – A Virtual Discussion


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Join the Beam Me Up Book Club on June 7th at 7pm Eastern Time for a virtual discussion of the acclaimed novel Babel by R.F. Kuang. This critically praised work blends fantasy, philosophy, and complex moral quandaries into an engrossing tale.

Babel takes place in an alternate version of the early 19th century where the mastery of an ancient language gives one the power to control the fundamentals of reality. At its heart is a profound exploration of colonialism, racism, privilege, and the moral dilemmas surrounding the pursuit of knowledge at all costs. The novel grapples with the moral ambiguity of gaining power through subjugation and the cyclical nature of oppression. It delves into power dynamics and who dictates historical truth, as well as the effect of childhood trauma on the psyche. Ultimately, Babel pushes readers to consider the ethical boundaries of language acquisition.

Themes we may explore:

  • The power of language and translation
  • Colonialism, imperialism, and cultural clashes
  • Identity, assimilation, and being caught between worlds
  • Mythology and the magic of words
  • Sibling bonds and family dynamics

R.F. Kuang is a Marshall Scholar, Chinese-English translator, and the Astounding Award-winning author of the Poppy War trilogy. After studying philosophy, she completed degrees in Chinese studies and modern Chinese literature. Her academic background brings a scholar’s insight into weighty themes like those explored in Babel.

The novel is Kuang’s second published work, following her acclaimed debut The Poppy War series of fantasy novels. Her fiction works often blend Chinese history and mythology with nuanced commentary on power dynamics, morality, and the long-lasting impacts of violence and oppression.

We hope you can join us on June 7th for a lively conversation about this compelling and layered novel from R.F. Kuang! Click here to request logon information.

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