Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

May 25, 2009

Made up languages/words in books

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 11:06 PM

Just finished reading ‘Vorpal Blade’ by John Ringo & Travis S Taylor and found it to be a great book except for one small thing. The author decided to replace commonly used words with nonsensical words. Actually he just replaced two words and the words he replaced were ‘shit’ (replaced with maulk) and fuck (replaced with grapp).

Its ok when an author uses new words or makes up a word for something if it makes sense but in this case there was no reason to replace the words ’cause the book is based in the near future on earth so just replacing the words just makes the book harder to read. To give you an example below is a paragraph from the book:

“You can start going through the pile that’s portside aft is what you can do!” the gunnery sergeant snapped. “That’s all your maulk. I’m going to send a runner up to Hedge to tell him his stuff is starboard side aft and that’s about all the sorting we’re doing. When we’re done loading the maulk that ain’t grapped up, y’all can fight it out to get the rest stored!”

This book is the second book in the series and this is the first time he has done this stuff. If he had done this in the first book I don’t know if I would have read the second book. It got to the point that I was thinking about doing a search & replace in the book and then reading it.

Some authors do this replacing really well, e.g. Mercedes Lackey. In one of her books she replaced bullshit with horse-manure but she only used it two or three times in the book rather than the few hundred times in this book.

What do you think?

– Suramya


  1. Thanks, good article.

    Comment by FredJouldd — May 29, 2009 @ 3:43 AM

  2. totally agree – it’s a distraction. much like Terry Pratchett’s use of footnotes & asterisks.

    Comment by Jesse — August 17, 2010 @ 8:04 PM

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