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The Great Silence

Ted Chiang
Allora
Calzadilla

The Great Silence was a special project by Puerto Rico-based artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla in collaboration with science fiction author Ted Chiang. It was a three-channel video art installation presented for the first time in 2014 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, focusing on the world's largest single aperture radio telescope, located in Esperanza (Hope), Puerto Rico, which transmits and captures radio waves to and from the farthest edges of the universe. The site of the Arecibo Observatory is also home to the last remaining wild population of critically endangered Puerto Rican Parrots, Amazona vittata, who make their habitat in the surrounding Rio Abajo forest. The video's subtitled script explores translation as a device to trace and ponder the irreducible gaps between living, nonliving, human, animal, technological, and cosmic actors. In the spirit of a fable, the subtitled story presents the bird's observations on humans' search for life outside this planet, while using the concept of vocal learning – something that both parrots and humans, and few other species have in common – as a source of reflection upon acousmatic voices, ventriloquisms, and the vibrations that form the basis of speech and the universe itself.

"Ted Chiang's very short story, 'The Great Silence' adds another set of questions to the Fermi Paradox speculations. Why, he asks, are we so interested in finding intelligence in the stars and so deaf to the many species who manifest it here on earth? And also: why have we demanded that, as proof of intelligence, non-human animals communicate to us in human language, and then dismissed those creatures that actually do so?" - Karen Joy Fowler

This short story originally appeared in eflux journal, May 8, 2015, and was reprinted in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May-June 2016. It can also be found in the anthology The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2016, edited by Karen Joy Fowler and John Jospeh Adams. The story is included in the collection Exhalation: Stories (2019).

Read the full story for free at Electric Literature or eflux. View the video on YouTube.

The Silence of the Girls

Pat Barker

The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, who continue to wage bloody war over a stolen woman--Helen. In the Greek camp, another woman watches and waits for the war's outcome: Briseis. She was queen of one of Troy's neighboring kingdoms, until Achilles, Greece's greatest warrior, sacked her city and murdered her husband and brothers. Briseis becomes Achilles's concubine, a prize of battle, and must adjust quickly in order to survive a radically different life, as one of the many conquered women who serve the Greek army.

When Agamemnon, the brutal political leader of the Greek forces, demands Briseis for himself, she finds herself caught between the two most powerful of the Greeks. Achilles refuses to fight in protest, and the Greeks begin to lose ground to their Trojan opponents. Keenly observant and cooly unflinching about the daily horrors of war, Briseis finds herself in an unprecedented position to observe the two men driving the Greek forces in what will become their final confrontation, deciding the fate, not only of Briseis's people, but also of the ancient world at large.

Briseis is just one among thousands of women living behind the scenes in this war--the slaves and prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead--all of them erased by history. With breathtaking historical detail and luminous prose, Pat Barker brings the teeming world of the Greek camp to vivid life. She offers nuanced, complex portraits of characters and stories familiar from mythology, which, seen from Briseis's perspective, are rife with newfound revelations. Barker's latest builds on her decades-long study of war and its impact on individual lives--and it is nothing short of magnificent.

The Complete John Silence Stories

Algernon Blackwood

Contents:

  • v - Introduction (The Complete John Silence Stories) - essay by S. T. Joshi
  • 1 - A Psychical Invasion - [John Silence] - (1908) - novella
  • 44 - Ancient Sorceries - [John Silence] - (1908) - novelette
  • 84 - The Nemesis of Fire - [John Silence] - (1908) - novella
  • 144 - Secret Worship - [John Silence] - (1908) - novelette
  • 172 - The Camp of the Dog - [John Silence] - (1908) - novella
  • 230 - A Victim of Higher Space - [John Silence] - (1914) - novelette

The Silence

Don DeLillo

It is Super Bowl Sunday in the year 2022. Five people, dinner, an apartment on the east side of Manhattan. The retired physics professor and her husband and her former student waiting for the couple who will join them from what becomes a dramatic flight from Paris. The conversation ranges from a survey telescope in North-central Chile to a favorite brand of bourbon to Einstein's 1912 Manuscript on the Special Theory of Relativity.

Then something happens and the digital connections that have transformed our lives are severed.

The Rest is Silence

Charles L. Grant

Nebula Award nominated novelette. It originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, September 1974. The story can also be found in the anthology Nebula Award Stories Ten (1975), edited by James Gunn. It is included in the collection A Glow of Candles and Other Stories (1981).

The Silence of the Asonu

Ursula K. Le Guin

This short story originally appeared in Orion (1998). It has been reprinted in Lightspeed, December 2010. The story can also be found in the anthology Lightspeed: Year One (2011), edited by John Joseph Adams and the collections Changing Planes (2003), Outer Space, Inner Lands (2012) and The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin (2016).

Read the full story for free at Lightspeed.

The Silence

Tim Lebbon

In the darkness of a underground cave system, blind creatures hunt by sound. Then there is light, there are voices, and they feed... Swarming from their prison, the creatures thrive and destroy. To scream, even to whisper, is to summon death. As the hordes lay waste to Europe, a girl watches to see if they will cross the sea. Deaf for many years, she knows how to live in silence; now, it is her family's only chance of survival. To leave their home, to shun others, to find a remote haven where they can sit out the plague. But will it ever end? And what kind of world will be left?

The Shape of Silence

Stephen Leigh

First contact was never supposed to be like this. A sudden rift appears in near-earth space, causing electronic components to permanently fail and cause total chaos. As Earth's fragile technological society disintegrates, no one can answer the obvious question - what is the rift, and who or what has created it.

A new generation comes to age attempting to answer these questions, and Taria Spears, an anthropologist, is selected as part of the crew on the exploratory ship Lightbringer. Lightbringer's mission is to investigate the worm-hole like Rift and, if possible, to pass through it to find out what lies on the other side, and to seek some answers.

But what if all they find is an alien culture where sound, not sight is the primary sense?

The Silences of Home

Caitlin Sweet

It is a time of bounty in the Queensrealm, thanks to Queen Galha, whose wisdom and power are legendary. Her scribes record the glorious events of her reign, but beneath these words lie others -- shameful, heartbreaking, and true -- that threaten to destroy the realm.

This magnificent prequel to A Telling of Stars is a saga of epic sweep, deeply realized characters, and page-turning suspense. The Silences of Home explores the gulf between official and unwritten accounts of history, and the ways in which individuals, knowingly or not, shape the events of their time -- events that pass into myth... or silence.

The Long Loud Silence

Wilson Tucker

The Wrong Side of the River

Corporal Russell Gary -- operator -- angle man -- black-marketeer, juniot grade -- liberator of anything loose -- veteran of Salerno and Normandy -- a man who knew how to live by his wits and a gun.

Celebrating tne years in khaki Gary went on a monumental binge...

While he slept it off, the United States east of the Mississippi was laid waste by atomic bombs and plague germs. the few who survived were imune to the plague but carriers of the toxin. No one from the contaminated are crossed the Mississippe and lived more than a few seconds. the Army guarded every bridge, every inc of shore line. If you happened to be East fo the river when the bombs fell, you stayed there ntil you died. There was no other choice, no other future.

When Corporal Gary woke up he was on the wrong side of the river, the bombed and comtaminated side...

Sob in the Silence

Gene Wolfe

This short story originally appeared in the collection Strange Birds (2006). It can also be found in the anthologies The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume One (2007), edited by Jonathan Strahan, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Twentieth Annual Collection (2007), edited by Ellen Datlow, Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link, and The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 18 (2007), edited by Stephen Jones.

The Silence of the Lambs

Hannibal Lecter: Book 2

Thomas Harris

As part of the search for a serial murderer nicknames "Buffalo Bill," FBI trainee Clarice Starling is given an assignment. She must visit a man confined to a high-security facility for the criminally insane and interview him.

That man, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is a former psychiatrist with unusual tastes and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understanding of the killer and of Clarice herself form the core of The Silence of the Lambs--an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction.

The Silence of Medair

Medair: Book 1

Andrea K. Höst

Medair an Rynstar returned too late to drive back the Ibisian invasion. Centuries too late.

When friend and enemy have become the same thing, what use are the weapons Medair planned to use to protect her Empire? There is no magic, no artefact, no enchanted trinket which can undo the past.

But no matter how Medair wishes to hide from the consequences of her failure, there are those who will not allow her the luxury of denying the present. Her war is already lost, but she carries weapons which could change the course of new battles.

With the skirmishes of war beginning, and hunters in near pursuit, it is her conscience Medair cannot escape. Whose side should she be on? What is she really running from?

The Silence

Nell West & Michael Flint: Book 3

Sarah Rayne

Antiques dealer Nell West is valuing the contents of her late husband Brad's childhood home, Stilter House. Set on the remote Derbyshire Peaks, there was once a much older property there, in which the notorious Isobel Acton committed a vicious crime. Warned against visiting the house by an elderly aunt of Brad's, Nell hears mysterious piano music soon after her arrival. It becomes clear that the music is tangled with Isobel Acton's macabre fate more than a hundred years earlier. A fate whose consequences still menace the present.

Out of the Silence

Ron Miller Science Fiction Classics: Book 59

Erle Cox

A country farmer uncovers remnants of an advanced civilization that contain a woman, asleep in suspended animation for two thousand years.

Upon awakening, the woman, Earani, teleports herself into the office of the Australian Prime Minister and reveals her plans to take over the world -- through mind control!

Does the beautiful Earani mean to save humanity or destroy it?

Song in the Silence

Song in the Silence: Book 1

Elizabeth Kerner

Lanen Kaelar has dreamed of dragons all her life. But not just dreaming, for Lanen believes in dragons.

Her family mocks her that dragons are just a silly myth. A legend. But Lanen knows better. And she means to prove it. One day she sets out on a dangerous voyage to the remote West to find the land of the True Dragons.

What she discovers is a land of real dragons more beautiful—and surprising—than any dream she could have imagined.

The Lesser Kindred

Song in the Silence: Book 2

Elizabeth Kerner

The stunning sequel to Elizabeth Kerner's Song in the Silence, The Lesser Kindred continues the story of Lanen Kaelar, a young woman who embarked on a search for the great dragons of legend and discovered not only the reality of the myth but her own true love. The course of happiness is not an easy one, however, and Lanen must make some hard choices. Her decisions could spell the salvation of an entire race--but at the cost of all she holds dear.

Redeeming the Lost

Song in the Silence: Book 3

Elizabeth Kerner

The prophecies are coming true and the ancient race of the Kantri-or true dragons-have come back to the world of Men. It was through the actions of Young Lanen Kaelar that the Kantri were reminded of the larger world. It was bravery (and a mad belief in the old tales) that caused the young woman to start a perilous journey to find the great dragons of legend. In doing so, she found not only the reality of the myth but her own true love. He was the great Dragon King, an immensely powerful creature out of time who ultimately chose life over death, a puny mortal form rather than the power of a kingship to be with this most extraordinary woman. As he is Dragon in Man's form, the being known as Varien has risked much to stay by Lanen's side.

Their haven destroyed, the Kantri have chosen instead of seeking a new home to return to the land of their greatest defeat and to the fear of the people who rejected their aid so long ago. They bring ancient power and knowledge and the Kantri have come to see what the "littlings" have made of their world.

And much of what they find distresses them. For humans have squandered much of their heritage, the small dragons that were left behind are little more than cattle...and there are those who do remember the ancient ways...and have allied themselves with the race of demons who long to destroy all the world. The Kantri are disturbed and look to Varien and Lanen help them redeem what has been lost so long ago and make the world right again.

But Lanen is captured by the human demon-master Berys, who seeks to corrupt the ancient prophecy. He will try to use Lanen's new-found powers to gain control of the very fabric of the universe and in doing so, secure the demon forces of the otherworld and rule forever.

It is up to her true love Varien and one of the most unlikely alliances ever seen to rescue Lanen. And if Varien fails, not only will Lanen's life and the fates of his beloved Kantri hang in the balance. For the stage is now set for a confrontation between the forces of light and darkness...and if the good fail, not only will the Kantri fail but the human world will be doomed as well...

Duncton Tales

The Book of Silence: Book 1

William Horwood

THE JOURNEY STARTS HERE, AND NOW

A million readers have revelled in William Horwood's now classic trilogy The Duncton Chronicles which tells how Moledom's Stone followers struggled to find peace and truth for all moledom.

But now Moledom's greatest tale can be told--from which all began and to which all is leading.

If you have never read a Duncton story before, start here and now.

If you already are a Stone follower then prepare for the greatest pilgrimage of your life to find the Silence of the Stone.

Duncton Rising

The Book of Silence: Book 2

William Horwood

THE QUEST FOR THE BOOK OF SILENCE CONTINUES HERE, AND NOW

William Horwood's bestselling Duncton Tales saw Privet, female scholar and scribemole, leave Duncton Wood in search of the fabled Book of Silence.

Now she and her friends must cross Moledom to dread Caradoc in their search for the lost Book, and face the sinister Thripp, leader of the evil Newborns.

Prepare for the greatest pilgrimage of your life as Privet risks sacrificing all to succeed in her quest.

Duncton Stone

The Book of Silence: Book 3

William Horwood

THE SEARCH FOR THE BOOK OF SILENCE CONCLUDES HERE

William Horwood's classic second Duncton trilogy now finds its triumphant and rousing completion.

But before scribemole Privet and the Stone followers she inspires can discover the truth of the lost and last Book of Silence, they must dare to give up everything they have, and more...

...yet even then it may be that Privet will need your help as well, if she is finally to reach Duncton's fabled Stone.

The Green Man's Silence

The Green Man: Book 3

Juliet E. McKenna

Daniel Mackmain has always been a loner. As a dryad's son, he can see the supernatural alongside everyday reality, and that's not something he can easily share. Perhaps visiting East Anglia to stay with Finele Wicken and her family will be different. They have their own ties to the uncanny.

But something is amiss in the depths of the Fens. Creatures Dan has never encountered outside folk tales are growing uneasy, even hostile. He soon learns they have good reason. Can he help them before they retaliate and disaster strikes the unsuspecting locals? Can the Green Man help Dan in a landscape dominated by water for centuries, where the oaks were cut down aeons ago?

The Book of Silence

The Lords of Dus: Book 4

Lawrence Watt-Evans

Garth had given the mighty Sword of Bheleu into the Forgotten King's keeping. Now he needed it back, and the King demanded that Garth bring him the Book of Silence in exchange--but Garth feared that the King would use the Book to bring about an Age of Death.

Forsaken Skies

The Silence: Book 1

D. Nolan Clark

Commander Lanoe is one of the Navy's greatest heroes, but the civil war left him with nothing but painful memories. When a planetary governor is murdered, it falls to Lanoe to hunt down the killer and bring them to justice.

Yet his pursuit will lead him towards the greatest threat mankind has ever faced.

An unknown armada has emerged from the depths of space, targeting an isolated colony planet. As the colonists plead for help, the politicians and bureaucrats look away. But Lanoe has never run from a fight - and he will not abandon thousands of innocents to their fate.

Forgotten Worlds

The Silence: Book 2

D. Nolan Clark

Aleister Lanoe has won a stunning victory against the alien armada that threatened Niraya, but it's not enough to satisfy his desire for vengeance. He won't rest until he's located the armada's homeworld and reduced it to ashes.

Yet his personal vendetta will have to wait. Lanoe now faces a desperate race against time, and the merciless Centrocor corporation, if he's to secure the Earth's future--and discover the truth he seeks.

The battle is over. But the war has only just begun.

Forbidden Suns

The Silence: Book 3

D. Nolan Clark

In the cold of space, the fire of revenge still burns.

Aleister Lanoe has been on a mission since before he can remember. Honing his skills as a fighter pilot and commander through three centuries of constant warfare, he has never met a foe he cannot best.

But now he faces a mission which may be his last: take vengeance on the alien race who has coldly and systematically erased all the sentient life in its path.

In all his years at war, the stakes have never been higher...

Into the Silence

Torchwood: Book 10

Sarah Pinborough

The body in the church hall is very definitely dead. It has been sliced open with surgical precision, its organs exposed, and its vocal cords are gone. It is as if they were never there or they've been dissolved...

With the Welsh Amateur Operatic Contest getting under way, music is filling the churches and concert halls of Cardiff. The competition has attracted the finest Welsh talent to the city, but it has also drawn something else - there are stories of a metallic creature hiding in the shadows. Torchwood are on its tail, but it's moving too fast for them to track it down.

This new threat requires a new tactic - so Ianto Jones is joining a male voice choir...