Archive for December 21st, 2008

Over the course of four manuscripts, I discovered that my natural genre is science fiction romance–sort of space-going international thrillers with a happy-ending romance thrown in. Hey, romance is consistently more than half of mass market paperbacks sold; I’m not completely stupid.

So here’s the weird thing: I’ve entered contests, I’ve sent out manuscripts for cold reads, I’m in a critique group, and the single aspect of my writing that is most comment-worthy is the swear words. Yup, people (other than my two critique partners) are absolutely fascinated by how humans are going to swear centuries hence.

Frankly, I’ve never seen it as being much different from the ways we swear now. Most swearing centers around bodily functions, which aren’t going to change much anytime evolutionarily soon. Defecation, urination, fornication–they’ll all be around and so will their particular flavors of swear words.

Plus, I’ve studied the history of English; I know it changes quickly. In six hundred years, humans will barely be able to read what I’m writing right now. Any story I write set centuries in the future, whether off-world or on Earth, has to be written in translation. So the swear words should be translated back to something we can understand too, right?  Well, most of my readers/judges/commenters don’t seem to think so.

They wanted “more futuristic” cussing. I’m going to pause for a moment, because I’m still having just a small amount of difficulty wrapping my brain around that concept. Boggle. Unboggle. Sigh.

Finally, in desperation, I created a new swear word for my work in progress (to take the place of the f-bomb ubiquitous in military conversational English).  I have a space-going society with interplanetary governments and interplanetary trade. As a result, one of the worst things I could think of–especially for someone between planets–is a rip in a pressure suit or hull while in vacuum. Thus, my new word is “rip” (ripped, ripping, rip me, go rip yourself, motherripper, etc.).

When I sent out the first chapter to the recent On the Far Side contest (RWA Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter’s annual contest for unpublished writers), I was complimented on my swearing.

My three judges/commenters didn’t like the female protagonist, they were worried about “Vulcan” trademark infringement (obviously missing that Star Trek ripped it off from Roman mythology), only one person caught the question I really wanted answered (did it start in the right place/right POV), but they loved the cussing. Loved it. Loved. It.


I’ve decided I’m going to start using it in the hopes the word will catch on and actually become a major swear word in the future.

So what do you think; how will we swear in The Future?


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New Posts

Just an administrative note. I have imported all of the posts from my local Speculative Fiction group’s blog – Boise Spec Fic. So if you venture in time back to before we started Genre Bender, you will see posts from that blog. There are a few gems back there, do take a look.

Admin – Ken McConnll

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