Literature / The Languages of Pao

The Languages of Pao is a Science Fiction novel by Jack Vance.A central theme of the book is the way in which language shapes thought and behavior.

This work contains examples of:

  • Artificial Gravity: Palafox has an "anti-gravity mesh" implanted on his feet.
  • Bio-Augmentation: Palafox has multiple mechanical enhancements in his body, as do most Dominies of Breakness.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Palafox has finally been killed and Beran Panasper manages to form a ruling regime, although its future is uncertain.
  • Cynical Mentor: Palafox acts like this towards Beran at first, though later he freely admits that he does it all for his own benefit.
  • Death Ray: Palafox can project one from one of its fingers.
  • Dirty Old Man: Palafox, who wants to have all women in Pao to himself.
  • Easily Conquered World: The Brumbos of Batmarsh manage to conquer Pao (population 15 billion) with an army of ten thousand.
  • Language Equals Thought: Palafox designs languages and forces people to learn them in order to create castes of specialized workers.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Palafox, like all Breakness Dominies, unless they haven't been paying attention to their lessons.
  • Planet of Hats: Pao's inhabitants are physically homogeneous. They all follow the same fuzzily defined religious cult. There are no revolutionaries or political dissidents.
  • Praetorian Guard: The modified human Mamarone who guard the Panarch.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The traders of Mercantil.