Swearing, obscenities and so on in my fantasy and science fiction

Swearing, obscenities and so on in my fantasy and science fiction

Is it just me, or does everyone think that the use of the word ‘frak’ in science fiction and fantasy is just plain lame? I know that it annoyed the crap out of me in Battlestar Galactica. I figure that if you mean ‘fuck’ then just say it.

Having said that, why use it at all?

To be honest, I rarely use the so-called F-word in real life. My swearing vocabulary consists of ‘bloody’ and ‘shit’ and even these are not over-used. I’m not even particularly proud of the fact that I swear at all. So why make my characters swear?

I guess its because in real life people do swear. In doing so it tells you something about that person and also can add a shock (if well done).

I remember once working with a man who used the work ‘fucking’ as an adjective for every noun he ever uttered. It was not that he was an angry individual (though his fuse was not particularly long), but he was a completely egocentric individual who wanted other people to take him seriously. His use of the word emphasised this and if I were to have a character with this nature I would be tempted to write his speech like this.

I also remember working with a woman who had no respect for others and was very private about the work her team produced. We were all instructed not to release information to anyone but her, even if the person requesting the information was very senior. We did as we were told. When someone once phoned her about this she simply answered the phone with a loud ‘Fuck off’. She was an unpleasant individual to work with. So I actually borrowed this for my novel as a way of getting my readers to come to know the character.

Am I concerned about offending my readers?

Yes, but I also need to be true to the story that I am writing. One of my favourite authors is Tom Clancy and he lets his characters swear. If he can do it then so can I. I do apologise, however, if you do not like it.

Greg

 

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