Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban

(discussed November 19, 1997)

This book was "sponsored" by John Gallman and Michael Sullivan, who urged us to read it for more than a year now. The major stumbling block was the language; Riddley Walker is told in the first person by a boy of limited literacy, writing in a far-future version of English. Most SFDG members liked the book, though Raja Thiagarajan complained that the language posed unnecessary difficulties. To help make his point, Raja did a partial "English translation" of the "Eusa Story," one of the central myths in the book. Michael's response can be found below.

Michael found some interesting links about the Legend of St. Eustace, which was the inspiration for the novel.

Raja argues that "You Can Do A Lot With standard English".

Michael wrote some eloquent "Notes on Riddley Walker," which partly rebut Raja's argument.