Gorram and Frack

Mark A. Mandel mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU
Mon Jan 17 01:55:37 UTC 2005

Oh, for Pete's sake! This thread has been going for several days now, and
only now do I remember that I was on a panel at Worldcon last fall(World
Science Fiction Convention; http://www.noreascon.org/index.html) on this
very topic, invented expletives in sf.

Unfortunately I was very tired at the time -- why? -- and I barely remember
anything of that panel. -- Aha; after looking up the program on the web,
here's the reason:
Sunday 11:00 p Exeter:
Open Filk
[from which I probably got to bed about 3:00 AM or later.]


Monday 10:00 a H311:
Profanity for fantasy and SF -- what makes made-up profanity either work or
fail? Panelists can bring in examples of both and share their own techniques
for creating profanity that has the same emotional weight that real
profanity does.
Hilari L. Bell (m), Susan Casper, Larry Ganem, Mark Mandel, Vera Nazarian,
Shara R. Zoll

However, a few thoughts off the top of my head:

smeg, from the very funny sf TV show Red Dwarf. Evidently from "smegma".
Used as various parts of speech.

tanj, From Ringworld and other works in the same future history series, by
Larry Niven. Explicitly an acronym for "there ain't no justice". His
substitute for "damn":
  - "Tanj!"
  - "Tanjit!" (I think)
  - "... that tanj computer..."

godsrotted, from C.J. Cherryh's Chanur series. One of my own favorites. Also
gods-be-feathered, rag-eared, motherless. These last three refer to,
respectively, an obscure theological controversy, a person's alleged
inability to defend herself or himself (the point of view characters are
cat-people), and lack of position in a matrilineal society. Cherryh puts a
lot of work and knowledge into her linguistic inventions, more than almost
any other sf author I can think of (main exceptions: Janet Kagan, Suzette
Haden Elgin, and of course, though not sf, Tolkien; well, I have a list, but
that's another topic).

-- Mark A. Mandel, The Filker With No Nickname
      Now on the Filker's Bardic Webring!
      [This text prepared with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.]

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