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Friday, May 06, 2011

Top 7 Repeated Science Fiction Phrases or Words That Have Become Annoying

Remember when it used to be relevant to say "repeated like a broken record" or something like that?  Yeah, neither do I.  But people sure sound like one these days, what with Twitter making it easier and easier to repost every "nifty" thing you've ever seen alongside blogs and picture sites used for the same purpose.  Some of those "nifty" things have become plain annoying, shoved into the rest of us like smelly hand-me-down socks made by a dead aunt or Santa.

Maybe I'm being a little harsh, but I've seen the following seven phrases/words peddled around more times than I care to count, and I'm just about sick of them:

7.  "May the fourth be with you."
It's only funny if a child says it.  But children aren't the ones saying it on Twitter.  And it's not cute.  It's not even clever.  It's the kind of thing you laugh at when your kid says it, just like the time they told you that silly knock-knock joke about oranges and apples that you've heard a thousand times before.
I get it, though.  The fourth of May is Star Wars Day, but let's at least pretend that real clever people run the SF/F world.  Hell, you could even say your child said it so you can get away with posting it twelve times on your Twitter account...
6.  "All this has happened before. All this will happen again."
It's an old saying picked up by Ron Moore for his re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica.  And for a while, it was a creepy way of saying fate was about to screw everyone over in the show.  But then people started using it to refer to their day-to-day lives, and mundane things like getting cheap American coffee from a parasitic coffee company...until, finally, people just started saying it for no reason at all, sucking all the life out of a phrase and killing its immense mythology.  Good job, newbs.
5.  "Reality is for those who can't handle Science-Fiction."
No, it's not.  Reality is for people who write or read science fiction, because without a sense of reality or an understanding of how the now functions, one can't actually write science fiction.  Sure, you can come up with some kind of bastardized SF/F hybrid, but you'll never approach the greatness of true geniuses in the field (if we're going with the pretentious version of things).  Still, it's a nice try at saying something approaching smart.
4.  "Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories."
You know what politicians should read?  The frakking U.S. Constitution (or other relevant document if they're not American politicians).  You know what else they should read?  Facts.  I don't think science fiction is high on the list of things politicians should be familiar with.  Don't get me wrong; I love SF and think everyone should read it, but our politicians don't suck because they don't read my favorite genre.  They suck because they're idiots.
3.  "When I die, I'm leaving my body to science fiction."
I thought this was a cute phrase for the first few days.  But then everyone and their ancient relatives (the crusty ones with bad manners) started posting it on their Twitter accounts, usually with an exclamation point to drive home their pathetic attempt at a geeky badge of honor.  Listen up, folks.  You don't get your geek badge by being annoying.  That's not how it works.  First, you have to sell your soul to a Batherian bloodmonk.  Second, you have to kill your first dragon while in a spaceship made of solid diamonds.  And third, you have to name the primary cast members of at least three different SF/F movie or TV properties.  I don't make the rules.  That's just the way it is...
2.  "Science fiction is dead/dying."
You know why science fiction is "dying?"  Because every other week some asshole says it's dying and people start to think it is.  It's called propaganda, and if I didn't know better, I'd think people who say SF is dying are part of a group of literary elites trying to kill SF from the inside.  I wouldn't put it past them.  They're a vicious bunch...
1.  Anything with "punk" attached to it.
The "punk" in Cyberpunk used to mean something.  It really did.  Now people shove it onto every term they want in order to sound hip.  The problem?  You end up pissing on all those who legitimately engaged with the "punk" dynamic.  I don't care much for pissing on literary geniuses like William Gibson or Bruce Sterling or Jeff Noon or Richard Calder, or even folks who pioneered the Steampunk genre way back before it was Steampunk.  But the whole "punk" thing has gotten out of hand.  How about we attach "ism" to subgenres instead?  Steamism, Dieselism, Undergarmentism... See?  That sounds better...
That's my list.  What annoying science fiction phrases or words have annoyed you recently or in the past?

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  1. This just tells me that I don't follow the wrong people on Twitter.

    7. Saw this once on Facebook, posted by a Star Wars geek of the highest caliber. That's all.

    6. Never watched the show, have no interest. Thankfully, those fans I know haven't gone this far.

    5. Never heard this before, but I am going to put it right up there on the same level as those people who say a book isn't fantasy because there isn't enough magic. (I restricted myself from being too harsh in this one.)

    4. How about we force them to read the constitution and make them read a Stanek novel for each lie they are caught telling? The phrase is stupid, yes, but we can make it a punishment.

    3. I must be asleep when people start saying this sort of thing. You know, I say go for it. Subterranean Press can release some Lovecraft/Ligotti special editions bound in human skin. Not strictly SF, but meh.

    2. Come on, we all know that science fiction isn't dead. Someone jacked it into a server somewhere and it keeps on hopping bodies. SF's body might be lying on the pavement getting a chalk outline, but that just means he's already jumped into a new Pasty White Dude sleeve and is off trying to find a way to bring holographic porn to the masses.

    1. I propose that any books listed under a "punk" category must include mohawks and chain wallets somewhere in the cover art. Or, just include a small Mr. T with a bling wallet on the spine. That last bit has nothing to do with punk, but it would give me something to laugh at as I pass these books up.

  2. Amen to #2, brother. I'm now going to change my name and open an anonymous IP to avoid the wrath of the literary elite who have secretly taken over (most of) the SF publishing houses....

  3. James: 7. Was that geek under the age of 12?

    6. But you really should. BSG is fantastic!

    5. Yeah, that's another dumb thing people say.

    4. That would be torture, sir. Don't you know that "reading a Stanek novel" is in the Geneva Convention as one of the most awful things you can do to someone?

    3. Yes, you can donate your body, just stop telling everyone about it or saying it like it's cool. Unless you're actually doing it, they're just empty words...

    2. I like that. :)

    1. Amen.

    Crotchety: Haha! They have assassins everywhere, though...All clones of Margaret Atwood...