Sci-Fi Slang

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Sci-Fi Slang

Postby BionicDance on Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:00 pm

I didn't wanna have to make this post. But I'm at my wit's end on this one.

I need some good sci-fi slang, like you get in shows like Red Dwarf or Farscape.
You know the kind I mean: smeg, frell, tralk, yotz, hezmana, dren, etc...

Most are basically euphemisms for the kinna language that would get you an 'R' rating in the movies or which could only be allowed on premium TV channels; I'd give more specific examples, but I don't know what the policies are regarding swearing on this forum. (I would imagine they're okay in the context of, "I need this for my comic. I swear!" but I'm not gonna chance it just now...)

In any event, I need some for my own comic. It's set in a kind of old-school, retro, pulp sci-fi kinna world; kinna like Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers meets Star Wars with more than a little Jetsons thrown in. Maybe a smidge or two of Star Trek and some old school Battlestar Galactica as well.
There has been one moment in the writing where the characters were surprised by something jumping out at them; one of them shouted, "GREAT MOONS OF NEPTUNE!" which is cheesy as all get-out (but that's kinna the point); the next time something comes up like that, though, I'd like them to be able to shout my universe's equivalent of, "HOLY @#$%!!!!"

...and I need suggestions. I've even gone so far as to get a random word generator, plug in the syllables from some of the more popular expletives, and hit "GO"; what it came up with was these:

Totch
Preeg
Shath
Tozz
Fotch
Frazz
Dedge

...and they're pretty much complete poop.

Please help? *bambi eyes*
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby Perdire on Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:48 pm

Did you ever watch firefly? In addition to 'Gorram' they did a whole host of things with colloquialisms. There's a list here.
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby BionicDance on Fri Jun 26, 2009 6:51 am

Most of the slang I remember from Firefly was just standard English words that were either used in some slightly different way (like "shiny") or were mushed up a bit ("gorram" was clearly "goddam" said funky)...I actually specifically didn't list Firefly for that very reason; I'm trying to come up with entirely new words, syllables which nobody has ever heard before.
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby Bobadventures on Mon Jun 29, 2009 10:27 am

You could try to come up with swear words that reflect your characters and their world somehow. For instance, in my comic, The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, my race of insectoid aliens say "frass!" which, if anyone bothers to look it up in the dictionary, means "insect excrement." I also plan to have my race of dragons start saying "fewmets!" which is an old medieval word for "dragon droppings" (I have no idea why medieval man had a word for this, but he did). So, you might just leaf through a dictionary and try to come up with something from there.

In other words, the cuss words can actually mean something. Superman, back in the Bronze Age, used to say "Great Rao!" from time to time, Rao being the Kryptonian word for God. Marvel Comics's outer space characters occasionally say, "By the Black Nebula!", the Black Nebula being an established setting, the home of the evil alien Dire Wraiths. One of my favorites is from the old Transformers TV show, when one of the robots says, "Aw, hexagonal nuts!" For a grimmer example, in Brave New World, Huxley showed how the concept of family had degenerated in that words like "mother" and "father" had become scatological.

I think it was Larry Niven who had "tanj!", an acronym for "There Ain't No Justice." Elfquest has "dung!" A silly cuss word I like is from the old Mike Baron/Steve Rude comic book Nexus, where instead of "yo mama!", his aliens say "YoYo Ma!" (Yoyo Ma is the name of a famous real world cellist).

And after all, if you're going for a slightly campy feel, there's absolutely nothing wrong with "Great Galaxies!" and such. Even Asimov's characters say "Space!"

If you're just asking for random words, well...

zart vatch krat brap fodge jarf fap kaff prap joop booj woop kfak k'fak datch daj jad vap wap prap plap naff kot oob blaf fap yurk krut krudge udge mulk looj pung uck yung ang aff fpaa taa oog

Howzat?
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby BionicDance on Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:03 am

Bobadventures wrote:You could try to come up with swear words that reflect your characters and their world somehow. For instance, in my comic, The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, my race of insectoid aliens say "frass!" which, if anyone bothers to look it up in the dictionary, means "insect excrement." I also plan to have my race of dragons start saying "fewmets!" which is an old medieval word for "dragon droppings" (I have no idea why medieval man had a word for this, but he did). So, you might just leaf through a dictionary and try to come up with something from there.


Interesting...I hadn't thought of that.
Well http://thesaurus.reference.com/ will be my friend for a while, huh? :)

I think it was Larry Niven who had "tanj!", an acronym for "There Ain't No Justice."


Sounds like something Heinlein would have had, actually...though I might just be thinking of "Tanstaafl". :)

Elfquest has "dung!"


Heh, EflQuest. You know, my last my is 'Fahr'...just sayin'. :)
EQ also had "puckernuts", which I find myself saying from time to time.

And after all, if you're going for a slightly campy feel, there's absolutely nothing wrong with "Great Galaxies!" and such.


Ah, but I'm NOT going for a slightly campy feel...I'm actually going for an EXTREMELY campy feel! :)
Let me put it this way, here'z a panel from Page 31:

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...I'm just sayin'. :)

If you're just asking for random words, well...

zart vatch krat brap fodge jarf fap kaff prap joop booj woop kfak k'fak datch daj jad vap wap prap plap naff kot oob blaf fap yurk krut krudge udge mulk looj pung uck yung ang aff fpaa taa oog

Howzat?


I swear to Poseidon I've heard "naff" used in real-world slang, either British or Australian...

Anyway, those are definitely the kinds of words I'm looking for, yeah, though I'd like to avoid unnecessary apostrophes; that trope has gotten WAY old in sci-fi these days. Just sayin'. :)
I kinna like 'jarf' and 'yurk'...I'll have to play around with these; thanks! :)
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby [geoduck] on Tue Jul 14, 2009 9:29 am

I use "zark" in my strip, which is a steal from/homage to Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.
"gooey-duck". A clam. Not a snail.
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby BionicDance on Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:38 am

"Zark" is good; definitely in the style I'm looking for. Very retro, pulp sci-fi. :)

I've started using "dreg" as a "shit" equivalent (apologies for the profanity, but it's on-topic, so...), and "strack" as just a general expletive.

Like, "Oh, strackin' hell; this program is complete dreg!" It kinda works, I guess.
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby RobertBr on Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:44 am

BionicDance wrote:Most of the slang I remember from Firefly was just standard English words that were either used in some slightly different way (like "shiny") or were mushed up a bit ("gorram" was clearly "goddam" said funky)...I actually specifically didn't list Firefly for that very reason; I'm trying to come up with entirely new words, syllables which nobody has ever heard before.


That will be partly why it doesn't work. People don't invent words out of random syllables, they use other words or make variations on them. Which is why your use of 'dreg' works, because it shares a meaning with the expletive it has replaced and so make sense to the reader.

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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby BionicDance on Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:54 am

But there are plenty of sci-fi swear words--mostly from Farscape--which clearly don't have derivative origin.

Dren
Tralk
Hezmana
Felgercarb
Fahrbot
Mivonks
Yotz
Frelnik

...etc. And these really worked on their respective shows. So...
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby Jin-roh on Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:38 pm

Here' some stuff that I always thought Star Trek/Wars sailors would say:

"That girl's colder than a Klingon Queen's nipple."
"That junker's farked up. Her crew will be swimming in the deep [floating in space] once she jumps again."
"I can't believe he went down on that alien port harpy."


Also firefly had several I always liked:

"waved (sent signal)"
"shiny (good, great)"
"[Chinese explicative]"
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby Menelaos on Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:43 pm

I am a novice SciFi writer (over 400 pages, all original material and good dialogue) and I have often thought about using slang to replace curses. Generally, using slang for fictional idea or object is a good touch, but using slang curses takes all the bite out of the sting. Frak is an exception, TANJ, on the other hand, is a perfectly good reason why it should never, EVER be used to replace curses. I read an article about this somewhere.... Although if you use it as frequently as they use frak on BSG, it could be effective. For the most part, don't replace curses. Although if your characters are aliens, then it would make sense that they would have their own set of curses.
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby BionicDance on Tue Oct 27, 2009 6:59 pm

Well, they've been using 'dreg' a lot. That's a perfectly serviceable alterna-curse, in my never-humble opinion.
It mostly means 'crap'. But I could really use, well, a 'fuck' equivalent.

Generally, using slang for fictional idea or object is a good touch, but using slang curses takes all the bite out of the sting.


Boy, do I ever disagree. I really like a lot of the sci-fi curses out there, and they work just as well as far as I'm concerned. Maybe it's just different tastes, but...this is what I want for my universe.
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby Menelaos on Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:17 pm

BionicDance wrote:
Generally, using slang for fictional idea or object is a good touch, but using slang curses takes all the bite out of the sting.


Boy, do I ever disagree. I really like a lot of the sci-fi curses out there, and they work just as well as far as I'm concerned. Maybe it's just different tastes, but...this is what I want for my universe.


You'd have to do it well, is the thing. Use it frequently, for one, but don't make it something like TANJ. Frak has a lot of different conjugations and variants (What the Frak, Frakking cylons, motherfrakker) but TANJ, which means There Ain't No Justice, can't be conjugated very easily and is awkward to read and to understand in context. Like if I were to say "TANJ you!" it really doesn't make a lot of sense, but "Frak my life" makes perfect sense. More over, TANJ only has one meaning, while Frak has multiple applications. "TANJ!" is about the only use that makes sense, "Get TANJed" or "TANJ off" don't make any sense. Frak has multiple uses: "Frak!" "I Fraked a cylon!" "Motherfrakker" "Get the Frak off my Battlestar!" "We've got contacts on Frakking DRADIS."
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby BionicDance on Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:09 pm

Well, I'm open to suggestions. I've used 'dreg' about five or six times in 86 pages, and once I had a character say, "crapstorm", which is a truly repellant (and hilarious) mental image...

But none of these are really the kind of sci-fi slang I'm looking for. I mean, my sci-fi universe definitely has its roots in 50s-style pulp; I need to find something that gives off a vibe that sounds like it would come outta an old school Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers kinna character.
Something like, "Yeah? Same to you, quark-face!" or something... My traitor brain goes totally blank when I deliberately try to think these things up, but sometimes they come to me at some moment when I'm doing something else, maybe in the shower or walking to the dojo or something.

Any suggestions for pulp slang would be really helpful.
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby Jin-roh on Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:52 am

Why not just use some slang from 50s pulp sci-fi? I mean, it is not as if most people would recognize it now anyway. If you want to pay homage, pay homage.

Also, I am sure the original Battle Star Galactica has lots of slang in it somewhere, if you stomach that disco sci-fi
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby BionicDance on Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:29 am

Jin-roh wrote:Also, I am sure the original Battle Star Galactica has lots of slang in it somewhere, if you stomach that disco sci-fi


Well, heck, I've got THAT on DVD! :)
But aside from 'frak', which IS in there all I can remember is 'felgercarp' or 'feldercarb' or whatever it was (seemed to change from episode to episode).

To be perfectly hoenst, the sci-fi slang I remember best is from Farscape and Shadowrun; Nigel Findley's Shadowrun novels had the best sci-fi slang ever. :)
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby Jameslong on Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:29 pm

Shazbot!
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Re: Sci-Fi Slang

Postby Darkdetective on Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:09 pm

zark shark bark hark mark puz cuz buz Grunk! Shai zik shnork funnyweirdwords!
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