I’m a lifelong science fiction fan. My first exposure was the full set of L. Frank Baum’s stories set mostly in the land of Oz. Don’t think that’s science fiction? Then you never read the books. The cast of characters included robots, talking toys, mysterious aircraft and mutant monkeys. And let’s not forget the farm girl with a teleporter in her shoes.
From there it was on to Isaac Asimov’s classics: I Robot, followed quickly by Caves of Steel and the original Foundation trilogy. (My heart goes out to the scriptwriters for the Apple TV series Foundation. Asimov could tell wonderful stories but he wasn’t much into writing dialog.)
After that, I dove headfirst into the deep end. Heinlein, Clark, Bradbury, Bester, Butler, Delaney, Dick, Ellison, Tolkien, Simak, Niven and Pournelle, Cherry, McCaffrey, Le Guin, Verne, and Wells; the Science Fiction Book Club, Astounding Stories and Dangerous Visions. I devoured it all.
Speaking the Language of Science Fiction
Like any true science fiction fan, I also picked up the technobabble. Technobabble is strings of words that sounded sciencey enough to be plausible–as long as you don’t examine them too closely. For example, what exactly is a stargate? The term connotes the sense of interstellar travel beautifully. More technobabble: transporter, tricorder, lightsaber, death star, grok, unobtanium and tribbles. All made-up terms that convey an idea even the uninitiated understand. (Weirdly, my grammar checker recognized them all and corrected two misspellings.)
Writing this blog led me to wander through my library, dusting off the favorites and picking out the words I most loved. As a salute to the science fiction authors peering over my shoulder, I created my very own technobabble generator. Pick one word from each column and you’re on your way to speaking technobabble.