One of My Issues with Most SF Novels
Tuesday, August 23, 2005

So upon the recommendation of another browncoat, I grabbed a book from the library that Bruce Boxleitner wrote called _Frontier Earth_. Yeah, it's a bit of an SF Western mix. Definitely not like Firefly at all.

The one thing I definitely have issue with are writers who create alien species and then have them either named in really bizarre ways or have them talk without bothering to really translate it (even by inference) for the readers.

There comes a point where no matter how many consonants you run together or however you in'terr'upt the word with apostrophes, it just becomes less believeable to the reader. I need a buy in...and being able to read and pronounce a major character in a book or to understand what he's saying is a major buy in. I can't understand this guy and Boxlietner really doesn't build the suspense the way he could. But I'm gonna finish the book because I'm told it does pick up a bit after the first 100 pages.

Am I the only one who feels this way or have I been spoiled by not having aliens in Firefly?


Thursday, October 13, 2005 2:51 AM


Actually, Klingon IS a real language, created by a linguist, with a logical set of rules. Many major works of Earth literature have been or are being translated into Klingon, including Hamlet and the Bible.

I think with fandon becoming as ... well, intense as it has become in recent years, people in the entertainment industry are putting in the time to get the cultures and languages of alien species at least mostly consistent -- like Earth is "mostly harmless," according to the Hitchhiker's Guide. *grins*


"Some people juggle geese!"

Friday, September 16, 2005 4:00 AM


Really? I thought the Klingon language was made up by people who knew a lot about linguistics, too. Heh. Shows you how much of a Trekkie I am. :P

Thursday, September 15, 2005 6:00 AM


Tolkien is at least halfway believeable. He had a big basis in linguistics, but Star Trek and stuff was just all over the place!

Thursday, September 15, 2005 5:27 AM


Gosh, I'm so late to the party. I feel totally out of it, replying to you after a couple of weeks, but I found this interesting.

I've been reading books and articles on writing lately, since I'm getting more and more into writing. The point you bring up of bizarre alien names and made-up words is something I've come across a few times. It's something you see in both Sci-fi and fantasy novels. In the books and articles I've read, the advice is generally 'don't do it'. Or if you must do it, do it sparingly.

I think that Tolkien and Star Trek are responsible for the trend, since both of them have alien creatures and made-up languages. But one thing that most people don't consider is that Tolkien (and I suspect the people who made up the Klingon language) was a linguist and knew what he was doing when he created the elven tongue. A lot of people don't have that kind of skill or knowledge and end up doing a really half-assed job of it. The odd word here or there can add interest, but if it's used too much can get irritating. And, I don't know why this is, but alien names usually seem to have an excess of apostrophes and the letters x and z. They look like they were created by one of those name generating programs used by gamers. (Although I have to admit I've used those programs too, but *carefully*).

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 2:09 AM


Hey, hey, wait! I didn't say I hated the book. I am liking it. I just can't stand when an author uses a device and then leaves it a total mystery or has no clear logic for it! :( Don't sulk!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 6:08 PM


*meep* Sorry you were disappointed with it! *sulks*

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 3:30 PM


Actually I meant Stargate SG-1, I like all those species better then the Wraith. Sorry for the mix up.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 3:29 PM


some aliens can be fun. I personally really like the whole story line in Stargate Atlantis. But Firefly is great in the sense that its just peoepl. And I do understand what you are talking about, its very justified lol. :)


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