Slang Thang

I’m currently reading a post-apocalyptical adventure about a young woman racing to save the wasteland from a long forgotten super computer/general from the war that destroyed the earth. The story is interesting. The blurb calls it a fusion of Mad Max and Neuromancer.

The setting feels like Mad Max, but I’ll have to take the reviewer’s word on Neuromancer (it’s on my short list of books to read).

What stands out to me is the language, the slang, the verbage that the author uses in her book. Every sci-fi author needs to project how language will evolve over the gap between the present and whatever time period the book is set in. Hence we get the ‘droogs’ of A Clockwork Orange, ‘shiny’ from Firefly, and ‘on the float’ from The Expanse.

I’ve touched on slang in a few earlier posts, but in the reading of Blue Lotus a new thought has come to me.

The author is Australian.

How does this affect the slang used? It already affects everyday vocabulary. Projections as to how people would speak have to take another path, right? The interesting thing is the Sparks uses the vernacular in her narrative, not just in her dialogue. As I read I’m left to wonder how much is invented slang from this futuristic wasteland and how much is derivative of Australian slang?

The good news? Sparks keeps you wondering.

I’m not about to do deep research on Australian slang and then delve into the growth it must pass through to evolve into the language of the Sand Road. As a reader, I’m just happy the story flows in a way that the slang enhances and doesn’t leave me searching for a glossary.

It is interesting how the human brain works. Read the first page of A Clockwork Orange and you’ll be left scratching your head. But, by page ten something in the brain starts translating and it begins to make sense.

All this to say, the language of sci-fi is so much deeper than stats, numbers, and beep-boops. Some people forget that language is a constantly growing creature. From an English speaking perspective, look at the language spoken in the 1700’s. Do you think you would understand Ben Franklin and he you? Go deeper. How hard is it to understand Shakespeare? There is a reason you can buy the translation at the bookstore. Deeper still? How about the English of the Magna Carta. It’s a completely different language and that was only 800 years ago.

What language will they speak 2000 years in the future? For that matter, what will they speak in 100 years?

Food for thought.

* * *

Sidebar – Genesis has been discounted recently on Amazon. I’m not sure why, but feel free to take advantage of the sale. Or, with Christmas coming up, feel free to contact me here on the website if you are interested in a signed copy. I’ll have to charge more than Amazon to cover the shipping, but it could make for a fun present for your favorite sci-fi aficionado.

In the meantime, keep on reading, keep on brining those turkeys, and keep on flying the Black.

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