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"A perfect fusion of SF, thriller, and mystery—smart speculative fiction at its very best."
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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Long-listed for the 2023 Grindstone Literary International Novel Prize

Named one of the best novels of 2023 (Kirkus Reviews) 

the  Babel  Apocalypse

SONGS OF THE SAGE, BOOK 1

 A genre-blending dystopian, sci-fi mystery-thriller that will make you think about language in a whole new way.

Author signed edition available exclusively from The Broken Book Binding 

 They who control language control everything.

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Publication/on sale date: 2nd May 2023

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-7399962-2-2
eBook (ePub) ISBN: 978-1-7399962-3-9
Audiobook ISBN: 978-1-7399962-6-0


Full cover sleeve

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.

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Reviews
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reviews  and  press  coverage

Kirkus Reviews: The Babel Apocalypse earns a prestigous Kirkus star, for books of exceptional merit

 

"A perfect fusion of SF, thriller, and mystery—smart speculative fiction at its very best." 

"The novel is powered by a multitude of narrative elements: deeply considered and meticulously described worldbuilding, an impressively complex storyline with numerous bombshell plot twists, emotionally compelling characters, and weighty themes concerning the power of language and the danger of humankind’s becoming overly dependent on technology. When the intriguingly complex elevated to another level; the pace becomes breakneck and the action nonstop, leading up to a stand-up-and-applaud conclusion that not only satisfies, but sets the stage for the next installment."

 

[Read the full review online at Kirkus: here]  [PDF version here]

Reedsy Discovery review

"Must read"🏆

"I was hooked by the perfect blend of Sci-Fi, mystery, and thriller, and the author's unique method of crashing a near-future Earth society."

"With a perfect blend of Sci-Fi, mystery, and thriller, I recommend THE BABEL APOCALYPSE to readers who enjoy speculative fiction or dystopian tales with a touch of romance."

[Read the full review online here]  [PDF version here]

Reedsy Recommended read: "A creative take on our high-tech future"

"The Babel Apocalypse by Vyvyan Evans is a thrilling sci-fi mystery set in a high-tech future where language is no longer learned but streamed to neural implants. Powerful corporations control the technology, and when a cyberattack causes a global language outage, detective Emyr Morgan is tasked with finding the one responsible. What he discovers leads him to question everything he’s ever known. The worldbuilding and lead characters are all excellent, and reviewer Karen Sidall calls it “one of the most creative” sci-fi novels she’s read recently. We recommend it to readers of cyber-punk and dystopian fiction, especially those with a passion for linguistics!"  (Reedsy Discovery, ISSUE #214 – APRIL 21, 2023)

SFbook Reviews:  

“[The Babel Apocalypse] is what I call a high concept book. What would the world be like if we could all understand one another and then suddenly could not?”

“…a science fiction version of a Dan Brown book mixed with James Bond.”

“…a high concept science fiction novel with good action and melodramatic characters.” [PDF version here]

Babel Magazine:

"The Babel Apocalypse...explores the sheer transience and fragility of human language as well
as evoking the philosophical question of what it means to be human."

"...a thought-provoking and thrilling tale that explores the nuances of language in a compelling
way, making it a great read for any keen linguist or language enthusiast."  [PDF version here]

Literary Ashland:

"Part of a new series of by linguist Vyvyan Evans: what will happen if (when?!) most of the world’s people are “chipped” with tech that streams Unilanguage technology controlled by corporations. And what will happen when there is an outage. A great addition to the corpus of linguistic sci-fi."

Thick and Thin Reviews:

"The Babel Apocalypse is an incredibly thought-provoking and engaging read. Evans' writing is sharp and insightful, and the plot is filled with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat." [PDF version here]

CountryMamasWithKids: "The best sci-fi-book"

"I don't really read too many sci-fi books that I like, let alone love and this was an amazing book. The writing was well written and very engaging as a reader. I loved the character of Emyr as the MC. He is such an interesting character, always on his own and alone. I also liked when Ebba meets Emyr for the first time. The way that Ebba talks and interacts with people is so interesting. "On the list he goes", I loved that line. That ending is amazing and very fitting for Emyr and for Ebba." [PDF version here]

The Real World According to Sam:

"The Babel Apocalypse is a cyberpunk-esque story that involves the weaponization of language against the world's population, power struggles, and the targeted use of information."

"I really liked the linguistic components and discussion of linguistics. I also like the way they were utilized in this book's broader world. The worldbuilding was really interesting and I'd definitely like to see more of it. The book has an ending that just threw me for a loop. I feel like there has to be more to tell and I want to read it if there is. I liked the characters and I liked the depths of their personal struggles and demons." [PDF version here]

The Momma Spot:

"Utterly Un-Put-Downable!! Wow, I loved this book....I loved the characters and the plot was so unique and fun. I can't wait for this series to continue!!" [PDF version here]

Long and Short Reviews:

"This book had me turning pages as fast as I could read and had so many twists and turns, I was never sure what was going to happen next. It’s the first book in the Songs of the Saga series, and I’m looking forward to reading the upcoming books. Be aware, The Babel Apocalypse ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, but don’t let that stand in your way. This book is very much worth it! 5 stars"  [PDF version here]

Cheryl's Book Nook:

"I look forward to what Mr. Evans comes out with next. The characters in this book may speak different languages but they all say to not miss this book!" [PDF version here]

Sharon Rimmelzwaan bookstagram blog:

"A very cleverly written book that blends sc-fi, mystery, and thriller together successfully. The character of Ebba Black is fabulous! The last native speaker of the dead languages in the automated world and a linguist professor. Helps Emyr Morgan in the race to discover who is behind the outage. 


I was addicted from the first paragraph and didn't stop reading until the last page. I couldn't pull myself away from this book. The twists were perfectly placed, and there was enough action to fill two books, never mind one! It also left me thinking about language and important it is to the human race.


I know I'm now looking forward to the next book so much!"  [PDF version here]

JL Reads to Perpetuity:

"Literature is my first love followed closely by Philology (study of the history of language) so to find a book that combines my love for sci-fi and language is a match made in heaven." [PDF version here]

 

Medium:

"Vyvyan Evans...has woven a cyberpunk tale in the tradition of Neal Stephenson...This is a very, very well-written book...I enjoyed this book. If you are into cyberpunk dystopias, this is a well written take on the topic." [PDF version here]

Purple Shadow Hunter:

"A phenomenal unique exhibition of sci-fi, thriller and mystery rolled into a elaborate story about language as a commodity and a world where global corporations control it. The book was fast paced,invigorating and thought provoking read with an extensive world building, complex characters and an unforgettable story." [PDF file here

Dreaming in Pages:

"This is a fast-paced, high-stakes mix of cyberpunk, sci-fi, and dystopian filled with fantastic characters. The storyline is compelling and interesting and kept me turning the pages. I loved that the story centered around linguistics, it’s a truly fascinating thing to learn about and the very idea of language being a sort of lost skill is something that will stick with me long after finishing the book. I’m really looking forward to the sequel to see what the future holds for this super immersive world and these characters." [PDF version here]

Becker Binges Books:

"I don’t read a lot of science fiction, but this book had me HOOKED from the beginning. Just imagine being born and automatically having an implant put into your brain that controls language. You literally can speak any language you want right off from the start. The kicker? You have to pay for a “subscription”. More languages, different accents? More money you have to pay! But what happens if there’s a cyberattack and those subscriptions don’t work anymore?! You’re considered a feral and have no way of communicating. INSANE! This book was just crazy! I’m so mad I have to wait til next May for the second book because the ending?!" [PDF version here]

Book Dragon's TBR:

"Utterly Un-Put-Downable!! Wow, I loved this book. First off, the title - a play on the Tower of Babel, which is Biblical and I couldn't think of a better way to describe this book! So in the future, people don't learn languages - they are implanted and streamed. So when a streaming service is hacked, people become feral - not being able to communicate or run their voice activated devices. This was a page turner from the very first page. I loved the characters and the plot was so unique and fun. I can't wait for this series to continue!! Also, I love that the author has a PhD is linguistics - how awesome is that!?!" [PDF version here]

 

Liberty Lane Creative:

"The perfect blend of sci-fi and mystery, The Babel Apocalypse follows the narrator, Emyr, and dives deep into a future world that will leave you thinking." [PDF file here]

Liliyana Shadowlyn:

"The premise of this book immediately intrigued me – it’s a terrifying prospect, our main means of communication no longer being learned but simply dropped into our brains by neural implants…as long as you can afford it. If you really stop to think about it, language drives our lives – spoken, written, signed. I have to applaud Evans for doing an excellent job pulling off such a unique premise. None of the plot felt forced, and the characters had plenty of depth. I loved Emyr from the start, he’s hard not to like, and his character journey from cover to cover is something you don’t want to miss. Ebba I was on the fence about at first, but she’s very well-written, and if nothing else you can’t help but admire her. I will warn you – this book has more twists than a corkscrew, and just when you think what’s going to happen next you’re surprised. I cannot wait to see what’s in store for us next from this author!" [PDF version here]

Bunny's Reviews:

"This book is gripping and a true page-turner the deeper in you go. The author writes of a world that is controlled by either the government or powerful corporations. The author paints a vivid picture of the dangers that swirl all around. Brace yourself for moments that will literally have your jaw on the floor, and shivers going up your spine. Because this could be a potential future for the world. 

 

Lovers of science fiction, and cyberpunk, with a nice swirl of dystopian - grab this book! It will surprise you, it will grip you and it will keep you coming back for more! Remember! This book is part of a SERIES so there will be more to come! I can't wait! 

 

5 out of 5 stars" [PDF file here]

TinkerBell's Library:

"The writing was clever and captivating, it is evident the author is very educated and was passionate in the topics discovered. there is also a mystery/psychological element of this book which I enjoyed. I feel like this would make a great movie!" [PDF file here]

Kit n Kabookle

"This may be one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. As someone who makes a living out of words and communicating stories, the idea of big tech-regulated language is at once fascinating and terrifying. The implications of identity and culture this book explores are chilling...The ending left me reeling. 

I highly recommend this, especially to science fiction, thriller, and dystopia fans. So much to unpack in here—this is the kind of book that you need to read to feel the full impact."  [PDF version here]

The Faerie Review:

"The premise of this book immediately intrigued me – it’s a terrifying prospect, our main means of communication no longer being learned but simply dropped into our brains by neural implants…as long as you can afford it. If you really stop to think about it, language drives our lives – spoken, written, signed. I have to applaud Evans for doing an excellent job pulling off such a unique premise....I will warn you – this book has more twists than a corkscrew, and just when you think what’s going to happen next you’re surprised. I cannot wait to see what’s in store for us next from this author!"  [PDF version here]

The Book Countess:

"I read some books that I think to myself, “Yeah, this should be a movie” because it’s so well-written, vivid, and well-crafted that it almost plays out that way in my head as I read. From the moment Emyr witnessed the explosion that plunged them into chaos, I was hooked...This is a really clever, elevated science fiction novel....Superb stuff for those who like science fiction and dystopia."

The Future Fire Reviews:

"...the conclusion pulled the rug out from under me..the book gripped me over the course of the plot’s development, and I was fully engaged to the point where the seemingly hopeless end made me wonder about—hope for—possible sequels."  [PDF version here]

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Book  Club Materials (
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Author articles, discussion questions, author interviews...

Are Artificially-Enhanced Minds the Future of Communication?  Psychology Today, February 20, 2023

The Science behind The Babel Apocalypse, Language Creates, March 14, 2023

Will Brain-Computer Interfaces make knowledge streamable? Coverage of the ethical implcations of language streaming based on The Babel Apocalypse, in HowStuffWorks. 14 March 2023 [PDF version]

"Evans depicts a future in which most people no longer learn language, but instead use neural implants to stream their vocabulary and grammar from the cloud — that is, until a massive cyberattack causes a catastrophic global language outage."

Will Neural Implants Remove the Need to Learn Languages?   23 March 2023 [PDF version]

The Language and the Mind blog insightfully examines the feasibility of the predictions made in The Babel Apocalypse.

An interview with Vyvyan Evans, author of The Babel Apocalypse, Literary Ashland, 30 March 2023 [PDF version]

"VE: I very much hope that The Babel Apocalypse is received as a warning, rather than as a roadmap. When we lose language, we all lose."

The future of language: Neural implants (Guest Post by Vyvyan Evans at Westveil Publishing), 1 May 2023:

"The Babel Apocalypse describes a near-future in which language is no longer learned, it’s streamed to neural implants in our heads from Wi-Fi in space. The premise is based on the current research trajectory of neural implants..."  [Read more online here]  [Download PDF here]

"If you knew an apocalypse was imminent, how would you prepare?" (Guest Post by Vyvyan Evans at All the Ups and Downs) 2 May 2023:

"The Babel Apocalypse is set in the near future, the early twenty-second century, when language is no longer learned but streamed from internet in space direct to neural implants (“language chips”) implanted in citizens brains, at birth, governed by lang-laws. So what could possibly go wrong?"  [Read more online here]  [Download PDF here]

Q&A with the Author Vyvyan Evans (at Literary Gold) 3 May 2023:

"The novel imagines a situation in which a cyberterrorist attack on language streaming servers in low Earth orbit leads to just such a global language outage. Such an event, with its low probability, would be one for which humans would be completely unprepared. In The Babel Apocalypse, entire populations of people, literally at a stroke, lose the ability to use language, becoming feral. And hence, the consequences for civilization become catastrophic."  [Read more online here]  [Download PDF here]

Personal interview with author Vyvyan Evans (at Rogue's Angels) 4 May 2023:

"The Babel Apocalypse asks the ‘what if’ question: What if language were no longer learned but streamed to neural implants in people’s brains from internet in space. Just like we stream music, movies and TV today, it struck me that in the future, why not language too."  [Read more online here]  [Download PDF here] 

A Word with Author Vyvyan Evans (at Elaine P. Cantrell's blogspot) 8 May 2023:

"I first new I wanted to be an author at the age of nine—when I won a children’s poetry competition in a local newspaper celebrating the UNESCO International Year of the Child. I had always devoured books as a child, from the Roald Dahl books C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series, weaving enchanting tales of talking animals reached through a surprisingly large wardrobe."  [Read more online here]  [Download PDF here]

Preview of the rest of the Songs of the Sage series, by Vyvyan Evans (at Andi's Book Reviews) 9 May 2023:

"The Babel Apocalypse is book #1 in the Songs of the Sage series, set in the early twenty-second century. The book’s prologue introduces one of the protagonists, Professor Ebba Black, the last native speaker of language in the automated world, who lives in a time when language is no longer learned but streamed directly to language chips, implanted in people’s brains at birth."  [Read more  online here]  [Download PDF here]

Background to Unilanguage: They who control language control everything (Author guest at Reader's Roost) 10 May 2023:

"The Babel Apocalypse imagines a future in which there are just 250 surviving languages (compared to around 7,000 today)."  [Read more online here]  [Download PDF here]

 

Light-hearted Interview with Vyvyan Evans (at The Key of Love) 11 May 2023:

"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."  [Read more online here]  [Download PDF here]

Book-related questions, writing-life questions and fun questions with author Vyvyan Evans (at Lisa Haselton blog) 12 May 2023:

Q: "What inspired you to write this book?"
A: "I in 2015, many of the world’s leading scientists, warned, in an Open Letter and accompanying report, against the new dangers of AI. This Open Letter was issued in response to new breakthroughs in AI that, without adequate control, might pose short and long-term existential threats to humans."  [Read more online here]  [Download PDF here]

Interview on my writing life and influence, with author Vyvyan Evans (at Joanne Guidoccio blogspot) 15 May 2023:

Q: "Which authors have inspired you?"

A: "Given I am a trained linguist, there are two books, by two quite different authors that have inspired me. Both these books ingeniously explored the impact of language on how we think and experience (illustrated through the conceit of a protagonist learning an entirely new, and alien, language)."  [Read more online here]  [Download PDF here]

The context against which The Babel Apocalypse is set is the World’s Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR: Guest Post By Vyvyan Evans (at Sybrina's Book Blog) 16 May 2023:

[Read more online here]  [Download PDF here]

"Does your profession make it easier, or harder, when you're developing a book?" Guest blog post by author Vyvyan Evans (at Lynn's Romance Enthusiasm) 17 May 2023:

"My background is in linguistics and cognitive science—I have a PhD in linguists and have spent a career working as a university professor of linguistics. I think that whatever the genre of writing, there are specific challenges, as well as some broad similarities." [Read more online here]  Download PDF here]

What if we streamed language? Guest Post By Vyvyan Evans (at Beyond Romance: Musings and meditations from author Lisabet Sarai) 19 May 2023:

"Q. Tell my readers about the genesis of your premise for The Babel Apocalypse. Where did the idea come from? How did you develop it?"

VE: "The Babel Apocalypse imagines a future in which we stream language directly to neural implants in our heads. Today, we stream anything from movies, to books, to music, to our ‘smart’ devices, and consume that content. Smart devices use streaming signals—data encoded in IP data packets—encoded and distributed via wi-fi internet."  [Read more online here]  [Download PDF here]

What Inspired Me to Write My Book?  Guest blog post by Vyvyan Evans 20 May 2023:

"The Babel Apocalypse was conceived as a warning, given the advent of smart AI and neuro-prosthetic technology, that, in the near future might render language learning obsolete—language is the hallmark of what it means to be human. Hence, when we lose language, we all lose."  [Read more online here]   [Download PDF here]

Overview of the novel, guest post by Vyvyan Evans (Indie Authors Blog) 23 May 2023:

"My new novel is a sci-fi mystery set in a high-tech future where language is no longer learned but streamed to neural implants."  [Read more online here]  [Download PDF here]

Interview with Vyvyan Evans on his writing process (It's Raining Books) 24 May 2023:

Q. "Why do you write in your genre? What draws you to it?

A. "I write in science fiction, the literary genre of ideas. Science fiction has a long and illustrious habit of predicting the future. In 1940, with his first in the Robot series of stories, Isaac Asimov predicted some of the ethical issues that would arise as artificial intelligence comes to have a more pervasive influence in our daily lives."  [Read more online here]  [Download PDF here]

Chatting with author Vyvyan Evans (Dawn's Reading Nook) 25 May 2023:

Q. "Tell us about your latest book, who is the main character(s) and what can we expect when we pick it up? "

VE: "‘The Babel Apocalypse’ is set in the near future when language is no longer learned, but streamed to neural implants in people’s head, controlled by powerful bug tech corporations."  [Read more online here]  [Download PDF here]

Straight Chatting from the Library: Vyvyan Evans 26 May 2023:

READ THE INTERVIEW online here

Book club
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