[Ads-l] AM/FM

Daphne Preston-Kendal dpk at NONCEWORD.ORG
Wed Aug 9 14:56:26 UTC 2023

Semi-popular term(s) in the online urbanist/environmental/public transport activist community.
AM is ‘actual machines’ (proven technologies such as buses, trams, underground intracity rail, high-speed intercity rail, etc.)
FM is ‘fucking magic’ (technologies which seem very cool and which get a lot of attention, but which are impractical: pretty much any proposed form of transportation involving the word ‘pod’; using space rockets for international travel; that sort of thing)

I first learned the terms a few years ago in a 2019 video by engineering educator Justin Roczniak. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dn6ZVpJLxs>
The terms appear at about 2:00 and are discussed again later. He claims these terms are originally from the science fiction community, making this potentially doubly interesting for the F-Word and the HDSF ;-)

There seems to be part of a scanned book on the screen when the concept is first mentioned, but it isn’t cited. Google points me to the ‘Turkey City Lexicon – A Primer for SF Workshops’, dated 2009. <https://www.sfwa.org/2009/06/18/turkey-city-lexicon-a-primer-for-sf-workshops/> This claims to be the second edition. I wasn’t immediately able to locate a first edition or find a printed book in which this glossary was reprinted. In any case, the definition text claims it’s originally an engineering term, perhaps one that science fiction fans adopted for their own use.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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