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STORY OF YOUR LIFE. The storyline.

Story of your life is a science-fiction story. The narrator, Dr Louise, is a linguist. She tells the readers how she was drafted by the army to work as a translator between the human race and some aliens which have suddenly appeared. As she tells this story, there is a subplot: this is her daughter story’s, which jumps around. This part, I mean, the one about the daughter, is told in the second person and it only consists of anecdotes that Dr Louise remembers because they have some kind of relation with her work with the aliens. Story of your life begins many years ago, when Luise and Gary, a physicist, decided to have a baby. We’ll know later that their daughter died in a climbing accident when she was 25. It all started when Louise received a request for a meeting and was offered a job as a translator, but not a common one: ships had appeared in orbit and it was the army’s responsibility to establish contact with them and find out why they were in the Earth, as well as learn as much as possible from them. Colonel Weber gave her permision to talk to the aliens (that are called heptapods), so she did. The team was integrated by other linguists and physicists, but Louise and Gary worked together. In their tent, they had a looking glass to see the heptapods as they interacted with them. At the beginning, they couldn’t understand anything, but then they started decoding the main basis of the heptapods’ language. After making a great effort for years, they got to understand most of their way of thinking and dealing with sciences. They learnt that there were two different variants of language: heptapod A is the spoken language, which has nothing to do with heptapod B, the writing system, which is very complex because a single semagram can’t be excluded without changing the entire meaning of a sentence.  At first, the humans weren’t be able to understand why to use two different systems while one would be enough, but later on the narrator will get closer to they way he heptapods experience reality.

For example, in physics, there is a big difference between the aliens and us: they experience all events in the world at once, but humans experience events in order, and look for relationships as cause and effect. That’s why elementary mathematics were meaningless for the heptapods, and complex principles like Fermat’s were elementary to them. One day they make a deal and set a day to make an exchange. The heptapods give the humans a series of images composed of semagrams and equations. They were given some information about cave paintings. At the end, colonel Weber asked Louise to schedule the time for the next exchange, but the Heptapods suddenly decided to leave, and so they did. Finally, they desappeared as they had come some years before, leaving the transparent glasses and no clues of what had brought them here, or what made them leave so unexpectedly. This years changed the narrator’s life: she met the man who would be the father of her daughter, though we know that they finally divorce, and she discovered a new way of facing reality.

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