on Aug. 29, 2018 :
This is a multi-dimensional and ambitious work. Set in the 30th century, it features several species of non-human intelligent life forms, including giant termites. Even more, the author has invented languages for these life forms, and uses them liberally throughout.
These may be limiting characteristics, but The Termite Queen is eminently readable, with clear, coherent prose and careful pacing. The scenes within the termite fortress, involving only termite characters, are written rather like scenes from a play, and indeed the sub-plot involving these creatures resembles a Shakespearean drama. The primary termite characters are distinct and memorable, although their intricate names took a bit of getting used to.
Kaitrin Oliva, the linguistic anthropologist, is a sympathetic character. Her part of the story involves both her academic interests and the development of a significant personal relationship. Important background details of the future society in which the story is set are artfully conveyed in a way that enhances the reading experience.
Volume One is an absorbing read because of the clever combination of familiar human story elements with boldly original ones. I have to admit I was hesitant to read this book (even though I've read and enjoyed several others by this author) because it involves termites. Big bugs. How could a book featuring big bugs be anything but off-putting? I'm happy to say it's not so, and I'm glad I decided to read The Termite Queen.
(reviewed 57 days after purchase)
Chris The Story Reading Ape
on June 20, 2014 :
About 1000 years from now, Earth and it's inhabitants have survived several apocalyptic events, climate change, religious and political wars and even a 'Dark Ages' type period, resulting in a future where politics, religion and people's mindsets/priorities are quite different from ours in many respects.
Space exploration was revived, resulting in a first contact, which eventually introduced Humans to three other diverse types of intelligent beings who allowed Humanity to join their Confederation and accompany them on their exploration of other worlds.
A new world is discovered. Unfortunately, the intelligence of one of its creature races was not discovered until after the death of one of them and the abduction and death of another. The reason was simple, unlike the Confederations four races, these creatures did not speak vocally, nor were they telepathic, they communicated in a completely different way.
As well as creating a believable future Earth and four non-human extra-terrestrial
races, the author cleverly explains how to surmise a language from a previously unknown form of non-verbal communication.
Although the story involves all five races, the emphasis is on the discovery of intelligence, the building/understanding of a new language and the return journey to the newly discovered world (including a romance between two scientists who are polar opposites in every respect).
This book enticingly paves the way for the next book in what promises to be a fascinating series
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on April 20, 2012 :
In the Termite Queen, author Lorinda Taylor takes the reader 1000 years into the future where planet Earth is radically changed by wars, pollution, revolutions, political upheavals, dark ages, and technology. Despite all, human society remains resilent and progressive. Humans remain human, with all their foibles and insecurities, striving for knowledge and understanding, having an abiding need for love.
In this future world, interstellar travel has brought humans in touch with intelligent life forms from other earth-like planets. Xenobiology, the study of extra-terrestrial life, has become a major branch of science. An expedtion has brought home a specimen of a giant termite-like organism from a distant planet. Our heroine, assistant professor of linguistics, Kaitrin, studies the creature and based on its recordings, believes it to possess consciousness and symbolic language.
In a whirlwind of activity, she grapples with breaking the language code of the termites. Meanwhile preparations are made for a return trip to the termite planet and a stormy affair develops between Kaitrin and expedition leader, Griffin. As the humans mount their return expedition, the termite planet is wracked with its own religio-political intrigues..... The inquisitive mind will find this an irresistible and intoxicating tale.
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)