SF to English Dictionary

This is also a reprint of an article from 2008:

In a previous post, I used some nonstandard terms specific to the genre subculture known as Slandom.

“as thick as a padawan in kemmer trying Rishathra on a Deltan nerf-herder.”

For those of you muggles who cannot grok our Slan L33tspeak, I will provide a translation.

A padawan is the squire of a jedi-knight. You would think that such a person would be called a “jedi-squire” instead of something that sounds like a padded bra, but there it is.

The word comes from one of those STAR WARS movies not written by Leigh Brackett, from the prequels we fans refer to as “the Dark Times.”

Kemmer is the seasonal rut of the non-sexual hermaphrodites of Gethen (the planet Winter) when they become briefly male or female for reproduction. The race was artificially created by the Hainish as a sociological experiment.

The word comes from LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS by Ursula K.LeGuin.

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. It is not legal in Virginia, but the Supreme Court of Massachusetts has declared it to be a constitutional right, pending the discovery of extraterrestrial mutually sterile humanoid sub-races. Technically speaking, John Carter, warlord of Mars, finest swordsman of two worlds, did not engage in Rishathra in his nuptial bed with Deja Thoris, because she laid an egg.

The word comes from one of the more oo-la-la sequels to RINGWORLD by Larry Niven. Sciffy fanboys get our jollies from contemplating the sociological ramifications of space travel and technical revolution on sexual relations, or by ogling at pics of Princess Leia in that metal slavegirl bikini.

Deltan: an intelligent homonid from the planet Delta IV. They are a highly sexual species to whom copulation is as casual as a handshake. Along with Star, the space empress from Robert Heinlein’s GLORY ROAD, the Deltans scoff at earth humans for being a sexually immature species. Deltans have to take an oath of celibacy before they can shake hands with a sexually immature species like us. Deltans are bald. Famous Deltans include Persis Khambatta, Sinead O’Connor, Yul Brenner, and sometimes Natalie Portman.

The word comes from Gene Roddenberry when he was in heat, making one of those lame STAR TREK movies that was not WRATH OF KHAN. Or, as we fans like to call its, the WRATH OF KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN.

Nerf-herder: pop-punk band from Santa Barbara formed in 1994 by Parry Gripp, Charlie Dennis and Steve Sherlock. They also herd large swarms of soft children’s toys made of a flexible Styrofoam substance. Not much is known of this pop-punk band, aside from the fact that  Princess Leia would rather kiss one of them than a wookie. Or something like that. It is not known whether or not not the band members have ever engaged in Rishathra with a Deltan.

The word comes from Princess Leia, but not when she is wearing a metallic gold bikini slavegirl outfit. Princess Leia is the freely elected absolute monarch of planet Aldaraan, daughter of Darth Vader and the freely elected princess senator Natalie Portman of planet Naboo, a bald Deltan (q.v. above). Since the secret identity of Darth Vader is Anakin Whinewalker, jedi-squire and ex-slave, he is not of royal blood, and ergo she cannot possibly be a princess unless she hires a crooked space-herald to falsify her space-pedigree. She is, however, a granddaughter of the Holy Spirit, since her grandma, Schmi, like Hera, can just produce kids by parthenogenesis.  But only when the Midochlorians are in kemmer. Shmi, or Shmee, or whatever the frell her name was, had a kid named Anakin, who built a protocol droid out of spare parts. Because every slave-boy owned by a flying Arab living in a pawn shop needs a robotic protocol master-of-ceremonies in case he has tea with the princess dressed as her own handmaiden who falls in love with him even though he is maybe nine, so the sprat needs a robot to tell him which fork to use when serving soup. Or whatever. If the members of the punk-pop band Nerf-herder are able to explain away the plot holes in the STAR WARS prequels, then they are better men than I am. I just wanted to see jedi-knights kick ass and parry blaster bolts while doing esper wire-fu, and not to have my childhood dreams shattered by a cynical attempt to sell more McDonald’s Action Figures.

Droid: a droid is a robot. Not to be confused with android, which means an artificial person. Just to be clear on this point: the Vision is an android, whereas Machine-Man is a robot. Robotman, on the other hand, is a cyborg. Cyborg is also a cyborg, not to be confused with Deathlok, who is also a cyborg, but more badass. Wonder Man is not a cyborg, but an energy being shaped like a man, whereas Adam Warlock is an artificially created human, therefore an android, but he is not a warlock. Doctor Strange is, however, a warlock, but no longer a doctor, due to a crippling accident. Doctor Druid is not a doctor, but he is a druid, a member of a pagan nature religion, not to be confused with droid. As far as can be determined, there are no droid druids. Superman is a space alien, whereas Brainiac is a space alien robot. In his Fortress of Solitude, Superman often makes robot duplicates of himself, so these are robots of a space alien. Doctor Doom also makes robot duplicates of himself, which are manlike in shape, and therefore can be called andriods, but not droids. Syndrome made a battlerobot called an Omnidriod, but it was shaped like a rollerball with tentacles. There were no robots, droids, androids, or space aliens in Rollerball, but it starred James Cahn, and I think it is an underrated movie. James Cahn is not to be confused with Khan, or, as we fans like to call him KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN.

The Dark Times: this phrase refers to the reaction of bitter fanboys to prequels of our favorite space opera flick, when we just wanted to see jedi-knights kick ass and parry blaster bolts while doing esper wire-fu, and not to have our childhood dreams shattered by a cynical attempt to sell more McDonald’s Action Figures. Anyone who hates Jar-jar Binks or winces at the word Midochlorians understands.

UPDATE: please see an illustrated diagram of the definition of Droid here.