Discussion Board

Topic: Primordium

From: Caleb Henry
Location: United States
Date: 01/20/2012

Hello Mr. Bear,

I just want to say that I am really enjoying The Forerunner Saga. Before picking it up, I actually preferred leaving the forerunners as a big mystery, but my expectations were blown out of the water with Cryptum, and I just finished Primordial as well!

My one request however, is that the name Christ not be used in a vulgar fashion, as it is with the modern humans who are "interrogating" Spark.

Thanks a ton for reading this, and I'm looking forward to the final book!

Re: Primordium

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/20/2012

Thanks, Caleb! I truly appreciate the feeling, but do not always control my characters and their language. It is odd, however, that in present standards for broadcast language, and in long-standing editing in fiction, blasphemy is tolerated while sexual slang is not. But 'twas ever the case. Nobody seems to object now to the term "bloody," but that was once about as bad as it could get.

Re: Primordium

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 01/21/2012

I'm reminded of Heston's "Damn you all to hell" line in Planet of the Apes. There was serious concern in 1968 on the part of the producers. Heston defended the line, saying "He's not swearing, he's literally calling upon his maker to damn them!"

Naturally, what a fictional character says is illustrative of the charcter, not the author or how he believes his readers should behave. Seeing language mistreated can remind us to respect it more, yes? The crucifixion itself was pretty vulgar, but it seems to have increased many people's faith, not led them astray....

Re: Primordium

From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Camano Island
Date: 01/24/2012

Actually, Greg, in the UK "Bloody" is still considered blasphemous by many of the older folks, even though you will hear people use the word in many BBC broadcasts. So while less people squawk about it these days, I think it is only because they have given up.

For a parallel, go to the Alderwood Mall, and surreptitiously sidle up to a group of kids. Be appropriately shocked by their language, which in most cases would have made a sailor blush back in the forties. Then, think about how you might get them to be a little more polite. :)

Re: Primordium

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/30/2012

It's hard to know when a sailor is blushing--they get a lot of sun! Back before the 1960s, writers and movie/TV scripters had to rely on euphemisms, except for Hemingway, who got away with a couple of good ones in the 1940s. The last refuge of this sort of euphemism is TV, though I swear I once heard "fuckwit" used by Lenny Briscoe on LAW AND ORDER. Unbleeped!

Re: Primordium

From: Caleb Henry
Location: United States
Date: 01/30/2012

@ Bill: that's really interesting! It is true [especially in a universe as big as halo] that the statements characters make can be more the character than the solo author of the work, but that character is merely the compilation of multiple "authors," or "influencers" with only one holding the pen. Therefore it is not fair to pass off the behavior of a fictional character like it was uncontrollable.
Seeing language mistreated can make us respect it more yes, but that misses the whole picture. There are zillions of examples of poor language. I personally would rather be influenced by better examples, which are hard to find. I really love halo, which is not that bad with their diction; something for which I am truly grateful. Still it would bring me greater peace of mind to not see Christ misused.

@ Kelly: I did not know that was still considered blasphemous in the UK, albeit that term is not really used much in the States, so it is considerably less controversial here. Nonetheless I agree with your point. Thanks.

@ Greg Thanks again for getting back to me, and being in touch with your fan base. I understand that some things are beyond your control, but I hope that you will consider keeping this one word from being used in a derogatory manner. I'm sure that as the "primary author" you have a good deal of clout over the work done with the Forerunner trilogy.

Re: Primordium

From: Greg
Location: Texas, United States
Date: 01/31/2012

I believe that's a really unfair request. As no censorship should ever be placed on an author, or anyone, for that matter. I applaud his freedom to treat these characters like actual individuals.

Re: Primordium

From: Greg Bear
Date: 01/31/2012

I also appreciate the devotion behind the sentiment. I suspect we are forgiven, but we should ever bear in mind the possible offense.

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