On a future Earth where economic survival depends on communication and trade with alien species, linguistics has taken on a power and meaning unknown to us today. In this world thirteen families of brilliant, genetically bred linguists, trained from birth in nonhuman language, hold the key to Earth's economic survival because only they can provide translations during alien trade summits.
Yet this is also a world where the 25th Amendment, which denies women equal rights, has plunged civilization into a repressive dark age. Women are once again considered property – useful only for procreation and menial chores. Only the women of the Linguist Lines, whose talents are considered too valuable to waste, have ever been allowed to do anything beyond basic domestic work.
But when aliens suddenly abandon Earth, taking their technology with them, and plunging the Earth into economic disaster, can the women of the Linguist Lines, who have long planned for the liberation of their sex, now seize the power to save their world?
Suzette Haden Elgin is an American science fiction author. She founded the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and is considered an important figure in the field of science fiction constructed languages. Elgin is also a linguist; she publishes non-fiction, of which the best-known is the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense series.
Suzette Haden Elgin. Wikipedia.