Thursday, April 24, 2008

Essential concepts

John C. Wright offers an invaluable lexicon of science fictional terms for the uninitiated. My personal favorite:

Rishathra is sexual congress, without the benefit of marriage, between two mutually sterile intelligent hominids, usually for the purpose of solemnizing a treaty or somesuch. So if your girlfriend has left you for a Neanderthal or a Slan, this is the word for it.

Ah,The Ringworld Throne. How on Earth did the Ringworld series go from “thrilling adventure and mind-blowing concepts” to “nonstop interspecies ape sex?” I still wonder what got into the usually reliable Niven when he wrote that one. (I almost wrote that as “I’d really like to know what…,” but then it occurred to me I really, really don’t.)

He also provides what is simultaneously the most succinct and the most accurate summary of the Star Trek film franchise I have ever heard, with his reference to, “[O]ne of those lame STAR TREK movies that was not WRATH OF KHAN.” Well-said. Talking whale-alien spaceship, my ass. Okay, Undiscovered Country was pretty good.

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