Words, Invented & Real

A great little post I found over at Whatever by John Scalzi (and its original source @ xkcd - thank you Tom) regarding word length of a book as being conversely proportional to is unreadability. The comments are illuminating too, MBT even gets a mention from a Seattle-based bookseller friend of mine in comment #51. Have a read if you will and come on back...

In reading the aforementioned blog and its associated comments, I too had the guilts for insisting on such circumlocutions as pediteer instead of "infantry" or leonguile instead of "cheetah" etc etc etc... though I tell myself I have good reason to alter these: sometimes the existing word/s are too our-world specific in their etymology or too modern-sounding to be appropriate in the H-c. I do not know the origin of every word but those I do I change - language is key when making otherworldliness, the dilemma is knowing when to reinvent, how much to reinvent and when to just go with the real stuff... I certainly won't be re-doing the parts for a flintlock, for example, they are perfectly acceptable as they are, cheers.

I recall someone railing at me once for daring to have a type of fly called a wurtembottle - "why can't he just call it a fly!" she said - to which I reply:
a/ know just how many species and therefore different names for flies there are in the real world; without even reaching for a textbook let us just try to name a few: house fly, blow fly, bluebottle, vinegar fly, horse fly, bot fly...
b/ why the heck not!

I tell you, the thoughtlessly contrary fun-crushers get a tad tiring; like Ayn Rand says, those who can't create, destroy.