The Word Exchange

The Word Exchange

A Novel

Book - 2014
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In the not so distant future, the forecasted "death of print" has become a reality. Bookstores, libraries, newspapers and magazines are a thing of the past, as we spend our time glued to handheld devices called Memes that not only keep us in constant communication, but have become so intuitive as to hail us cabs before we leave our offices, order take out at the first growl of a hungry stomach, and even create and sell language itself in a marketplace called The Word Exchange. Anana Johnson works with her father Doug at the North American Dictionary of the English Language (NADEL), where Doug is hard at work on the final edition that will ever be printed. Doug is a staunchly anti-Meme, anti-tech intellectual who fondly remembers the days when people used email (everything now is text or video-conference) to communicate--or even actually spoke to one antoher for that matter. One evening, Doug disappears from the NADEL offices leaving a single writen clue: ALICE. It's a code word he and Anana devised to signal if one of them ever fell into harm's way. And thus begins Anana's journey down the proverbial rabbit hole. . . Joined by Bart, her bookish NADEL colleague (who is secretly in love with her), Anana's search for Doug will take her into dark basement incinerator rooms, underground passages of the Mercantile Library, secret meetings of the anonymous "Diachronic Society," the boardrooms of the evil online retailing site Synchronic, and ultimately to the hallowed halls of the Oxford English Dictionary--the spiritual home of the written word. As Ana pieces togehter what is going on, and Bart gets sicker and sicker with the strange "Word flu" that has spread worldwide causing people to speak in gibberish, Alena Graedon crafts a fresh, cautionary tale that is at once a technological thriller, and a throughtful meditation on the price of technology and the unforeseen, though very real, dangers of the digital age.
Publisher: Toronto : Bond Street Books, c2014
ISBN: 9780385680134
Branch Call Number: SF GRA
Characteristics: 370 p. ;,25 cm

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capitalcity
Sep 12, 2017

Gizmos, gadgets, dependence, addiction. Bluetooth, iPhones, Internet of Things. Global corporate digital enticing inducements. Debit cards, credit cards, smartphone pay, fintech. The net closes ... Defense: resuscitate mental acuity. For example, use cash for daily financial transactions. Swiping, inserting, or tapping a piece of plastic to effect payment reflects the abilities of a two-year old. Counting out currency and verifying the change requires awareness of the process at hand. A simple but ability maintaining exercise. Inconvenient? A refrain joyfully heard by liberty suppressing, elitist economists and banksters alike, whose aim is to outlaw cash and the freedom it allows. The Word Exchange worth a read for thought catalysis.

cmlibrary_myork Jan 12, 2016

The Word Exchange has a premise that any logophile will find immediately intriguing: what if, in the near future, language becomes a commodity that can be bought and sold? What if, at the same time, language becomes the means of transferring a strange new disease? Graedon creates a world that is both futuristic and astonishingly real: driverless cars, intuitive smart phones, and other technologies abound. Ana, our narrator, works as an assistant to her father, the editor of the NADEL (North American Dictionary of the English Language). Soon after the book begins, Ana must investigate her father’s strange disappearance, and to make things more complicated, she starts to notice bizarre changes in the language of those around her. A complex novel that balances suspense with language theory, this is a dystopian novel for grown-ups. Highly recommended!

m
maidmmm
Oct 18, 2015

Great view on the potential for technology to surpass and replace human thought. It's an interesting take on what might happen as we become more and more dependent on our smartphones to remind us of how to live our lives. Just the idea of definitions being replaced based on highest bid through online dictionaries makes you really ask yourself how probable this could be in the future. The author does a good job of putting forth an interesting concept, but I honestly had difficulty understanding her description of how programming code can manifest itself into DNA modification. Some of the visualization is confusing, but still a good read if you can get past the lack of minute details to help clarify her conceptualization. I was still enraptured with the story and found it hard to walk away without finishing it, so I would recommend.

YPRL_MANDM Jun 16, 2014

Love books but don't usually read science fiction? Me too! This book is perfect for the word-loving reader. It is philosophical about the importance of language and communication in society and speculates on where our obsession with our Internet-connected devices will take us. I highly recommend this gripping read.

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