Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Complete Interview 2013 - Bruce Sterling

"Ted Striphas: Like many science fiction writers (or, like many of the best science fiction writers), you've introduced several neologisms into the English language—words and phrases like "buckyjunk," "major consensus narrative," "spime," and a host of others. Beyond the fact that neologisms can make for lively writing, why push the limits of language this way? I know that can sound like "pushing" language, but from my point of view, social change reveals gaps in language. For instance, the idea of an "Internet of Things" leaves, to my eye, an obvious verbal hole for a "thing" that's created specifically to exist within an "internet of things." What kind of "thing" is that "thing?" "Spime" is not a great word, but it's there if anybody needs it. If there's an issue that needs discussion, but there's no way to discuss it without some clumsy workaround, then why not just make up a word for it? Thousands of slang terms are invented in many dialects of English every day. The English language isn't going to buckle and collapse because I made up the term "buckyjunk," which prophesies the pollution problems involved in making items from semi-indestructible "buckminsterfullerene." Some people think I made up other colorful terms such as "blobject" and "junkspace," but I didn't, I was quite happy just to find these neologisms and do my part to spread them around. Where is my downside? I'm a science fiction writer, I'm not going to get arrested for using new words." 4.5 out of 5