Your Weekend Creature Comforts: The Babel Fish

Happy weekend my monster loving followers. Where are you headed this weekend for your break from the mindless workweek? Abroad? Into another world through a book? To another galaxy with your favorite movies? To another and better time with some addicting TV show? Or maybe you really are travelling to another state or country for a break and a real vacation. Depending on where you take yourself, you might be faced with a language barrier. Sometimes you might even face this challenge at work with whatever clientele you deal with. But one of my favorite tiny creatures can be the solution to all these problems: The Babel Fish.


There are so many phenomenal creature creations that I find myself dying to meet, witness, or befriend. But this is one of the most useful little animals that I wish time and time again were real. Of course, I haven’t given up hope that they aren’t.

The Babel Fish as I know it was created by Douglas Adams, the infamous author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In this riveting and hilarious novel (which if you have not read you should drop what you are doing now and go get a copy) the main human character ends up on a spaceship shortly before earth is blown to smithereens, but naturally the aliens on said ship speak some unknown, incoherent language not recognizable by the English. As much as movies, tv shows, and books try to make 99% of your characters speak the same language regardless of their planet or time of origin, in reality that is probably far-fetched. Since only somewhere between 8-27% of the world speaks English, asking multiple alien races to be fluent in the language is not likely to be common.


The Babel Fish is the ultimate solution to all of these language related problems. Quoted specifically from the novel: The Babel fish is small, yellow, leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the universe. It feeds on brain wave energy, absorbing all unconscious frequencies and then excreting telepathically a matrix formed from the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain, the practical upshot of which is that if you stick one in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language: the speech you hear decodes the brain wave matrix.”


What does this mean? You have an instant translator living in your ear! That’s right, no time lag even like when you see those UN folks with their translator ear pieces at various United Nation summits. Nope, instant understanding of all languages and forms of communications. Would that not be amazing? So freaking utilitarian! And I want one!

My only hesitation is the insertion of said creature, described by Adams as inserting this wiggly slimy fish in to your ear so it can advance in to your brain. Despite the unending benefits your receive from having a Babel Fish, all I can picture of the insertion process is this:


Brain wiggling entry aside, I am going to keep hoping that these little fishies are real so that I can some day be entrusted with the ability to converse readily with any species, from this galaxy or the next, with ease. And I thank Douglas Adams for his insanely creative imagination for designing this animal, even if it leads to some unexpected consequences. You’ll just have to read the book to catch those results.

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Posted on September 21, 2013, in Creature Comforts, Geekology and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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