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  1. #16
    Erotic SFF Author Anjasa's Avatar
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    Hopefully you'll be comforted to know that most people read 1 star reviews to see why they were rated so lowly, and the type of people that would like your novel aren't likely to not purchase it based on 'Bad Language'.

    I'm not bothered by natural language - that is when bad language serves a purpose or adds something to the story. In this case, it definitely would seem to serve a purpose, so I wouldn't mind that one star rating at all. It wouldn't turn me from your book.

  2. #17
    Autistic Madman D.R. Stevenson's Avatar
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    If the aliens were working with the governments you would might also see them have langauge lessons on PBS or even have their own caabl channel. They show video clips of their homeworld, cuisine, music, and wildlifr sort of what you would see on the travel or discovery channels.

  3. #18
    Autistic Madman D.R. Stevenson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anjasa View Post
    Hopefully you'll be comforted to know that most people read 1 star reviews to see why they were rated so lowly, and the type of people that would like your novel aren't likely to not purchase it based on 'Bad Language'.

    I'm not bothered by natural language - that is when bad language serves a purpose or adds something to the story. In this case, it definitely would seem to serve a purpose, so I wouldn't mind that one star rating at all. It wouldn't turn me from your book.
    I have to agree with you. One uptight kook would not be able to keep me from a good read.

  4. #19
    pragmatist
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    Anjasa:
    Thank you, it is comforting. I thought this would most likely be the case but it is comforting to read the responses to the question on here for sure. I had a look at her other 1 star reviews, most of them were 1 or 2 words. I thought her selection of "did not read" books was quite interesting since she listed her reading interest as "cozy mysteries"!

    Still, "there's nothing as strange as folk" as they say.

    D.R. stevenson:
    Alien game shows, another interesting one, you could have '4 arm wrestling', 'name that chirp', 'top hover'. I doubt we would be able to stomach alien cooking shows, can you imagine the ingredients, gathered from all around the Galaxy. 'Tonite, oozing around your plate, purple swamp surprise'. Please, spare us the surprise!

    If some aliens turned up for a chat it would be impossible for us to keep them against their will for study or anything else, we wouldn't stand a chance against them in any conflict.

    With regard them them recieving radio or TV signals, I think they probably would be able to figure out what was being said eventually, language experts are very good at finding patterns in speech.

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by pragmatist View Post
    I wouldn't be at all surprised if any visiting alien species had a good knowledge of all of the Earths languages and the languages of any other planet of interest they visit.

    I think any visiting alien species has probably been visiting us for quite some time.

    It may not be possible for them to form 'words' as such, they may sound like dolphins for example, so I suspect they would have translation devices and just program them with a new language as required.

    If they are carrying out a scientific survey of the Earth they are bound to have a language expert as part of their team.

    If an alien species has the capability to travel to Earth, they have the ability to study our language and reproduce it. If their own anatomy precludes them from speaking they can pick up a smartphone.

    The question is whether the aliens would actually try to communicate with humans. They might not if:
    1) Alien laws prohibit them from contacting humans. ("Prime Directive")

    2) "Normal" aliens refuse to or don't want to contact humans. The only ones that encounter humans are injured, mentally impaired, children, a slave-caste, or otherwise not fully functional. ("E.T.", "District 9")

    3) Aliens are intentionally pretending that they don't understand us.

    4) Alien consciousness thinks on a totally different level from humans and they cannot communicate their logic to us without altering our humanity. ("Lovecraftian cosmic horror")

    5) Aliens are talking to humans all the time but they don't let us know about it. ("MiB" and all other alien-conspiracies)
    Last edited by Piousflea; March 21st, 2012 at 08:37 PM.

  6. #21
    pragmatist
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    Piousflea:

    The question is; What would an advanced extraterrestrial species have to gain by communicating with us, whats in it for them?

    At our present stage of development very little I suspect.

    With regard your points:

    1) See above.

    2) I think this is unlikely, mentally impaired, injured, immature aliens, slaves or the dysfunctional are unlikely to form part of a starship crew, I know this happens in fiction but I don't think this is really likely. Space on a starship would be at a premium, they wouldn't want any baggage.

    3) They don't need to pretend anything, all they need to do is what they're probably doing now, having a quiet look around and documenting what they see.

    4) I think this is unlikely, they are probably just smart critters. As soon as "other consciousness" is brought into the UFO/alien arena I immediately think BS. Either they're there or they're not.

    5) I really don't think aliens are talking to people all the time, it may happen from time time to time, but not on a regular basis. Most of the well known conspiracy theories fall apart at the seams at the slightest scrutiny. Most of this alien visitation stuff that's put forward as truth is nothing short of laughable.

    Just my humble opinion.

  7. #22
    lorcutus.tolere Gumboot's Avatar
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    I'm in agreement with those saying "don't worry" or even "this could work in your favour".

    Frankly, I wouldn't even pause to consider what people might think of anything in your book. As others have pointed out, no matter what you do someone will take offense, and some of those people will make their offense known loud and clear.

    Frankly I think those sort of people do us a favour, because quite often the stuff they find so horrid is stuff normal people actually quite enjoy. If someone reviewed a book "1 star, the protagonists weren't heroes at all, but filthy-mouthed and even filthier-minded scumbag baby-killing soldiers" I'd probably be quite interested in reading it.

    In my opinion the only negative reviews you need ever concern yourself with are those that deal with the technical quality of your writing or your story structure. Criticisms about content are meaningless because everyone likes different content.

    Presumably if you put X in your book, it's because you like X being in books, and are writing it for people like yourself who also like X. People who don't like X are not part of your target demographic so their opinion doesn't really matter, but if they're going to announce to the world "this book has X" take their free advertising and thank them for it.

  8. #23
    For some, even a single appearance of an F-bomb can make them close the book and throw it away. Reviews are very subjective like that.

    I'll echo the language warning somewhere obvious to help people, but make it short and sweet: "Some strong language is present in this book." I wouldn't use the PG/PG-13/R ratings scheme on it, though. Those apply to movies, and there are very strict rules governing their classification. Just do your plain-language advisory so there's no confusion.

  9. #24
    www.shevdon.com shevdon's Avatar
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    I too have had 1* reviews from people who have objected to my use of swear words: "I did not enjoy the use of harsh foul language (f bomb several times) and the detail of the sexual encounters described and book 2." - from an Amazon review.

    The objection was based on the opinion that this was not suitable for a young audience, when the book was clearly aimed at adults. It's unfair, unreasonable and it happens. Like all reviews, it represents a sample of opinion, which as an author you have to live with. The saving grace are the complimentary reviews that contrast with it.

    Personally I take a simple approach. If it's right for the character in that circumstance, then fine, but it has to be used sparingly or it loses all power from over-use. Also, as the author, you have to know what it means. If one of your characters is going to call someone a tw@t, or a lumm0ck, then find out what it means first, bearing in mind that words change meaning over time.

    If you don't know what I mean, look up the word 'nice', both now and in the past. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=nice

  10. #25
    Edited for submission Holbrook's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link, Shevdon. Very useful.

  11. #26
    A mere player txshusker's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Brian Kittrell;679020]For some, even a single appearance of an F-bomb can make them close the book and throw it away. Reviews are very subjective like that.
    QUOTE]

    Do you all find people less tolerant of eff bombs and curses in books than on TV and in movies? I watched "The Killers" the other night (don't judge me, Katherine Heigl is volcanic) and she drops an eff bomb right at the end -the only curse in the movie I think, and I doubt anyone objected. The stuff they say on primetime major networks would shame my grandparents. To me, no one objects much, it seems, there like they do when they read it in books; almost like hearing it is less offensive than reading it. I guess our ears are desensitized and our eyes are not?

  12. #27
    Things Fall Apart AZimmer23's Avatar
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    People cuss. That's just how it is. Not everyone, of course, but in any book with a diverse cast, there are most likely going to be one or two potty-mouths. Sorry you got a bad review due to that - I'm not sure that person really has any business critiquing written works (and I'm curious to know if she's read any of Neil Gaiman's "adult" novels such as American Gods. I think he drops an f-bomb in the first paragraph). They are a million things such as grammar, plot holes, story-telling, character-building, etc. that are soooooo much more important when critiquing another's work.

    It's been said, but I will re-iterate, I could see complaining if it was gratuitous, or was out of character, but anyone working in a bar, kitchen or newsroom for that matter who had a sensitivity to foul language wouldn't last long. I had a couple of journalism profs that used quite a bit of salty language in class, and I'm no stranger to colorful spoutings myself, so I indulged freely. A couple of people complained to the higher-ups in the J dept. and essentially got laughed at. One prof, who has been an editor at the Asian Wall Street Journal and has been short-listed for a couple of Pulitzers told one girl that if she can't deal with cussing, she's in the wrong major.

    I mentioned Neil Gaiman. What about Stephen King? Charlaine Harris? I actually find books that aren't YA or younger oriented without cussing to ring false. Or maybe I just hang out with a lot of potty-mouths, myself included.
    Last edited by AZimmer23; March 27th, 2012 at 03:48 PM.

  13. #28
    lorcutus.tolere Gumboot's Avatar
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    I deliberately injected swearing and graphic description of blood/violence (in this instance a child birth) into my prologue just to make sure everyone is clear about the book's content from the get-go.

  14. #29
    To open - anyone who knows me KNOWS I don't curse. Normally in my fiction, I will lead to the curse word and then slip out of actually putting the word in. With a recent short story, I stuck it all in, mostly because I wanted to get the concept down and didn't have as much time to wordsmith my way outta what the character says (per my normal routine).

    Before anyone asks - my audience would be put off by foul language, certain words.

    How is some ways that you have seen (or done yourself) authors clean up the language while getting the point across (that cursing is frequently used for)???

  15. #30
    Things Fall Apart AZimmer23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warfitz45 View Post
    To open - anyone who knows me KNOWS I don't curse. Normally in my fiction, I will lead to the curse word and then slip out of actually putting the word in. With a recent short story, I stuck it all in, mostly because I wanted to get the concept down and didn't have as much time to wordsmith my way outta what the character says (per my normal routine).

    Before anyone asks - my audience would be put off by foul language, certain words.

    How is some ways that you have seen (or done yourself) authors clean up the language while getting the point across (that cursing is frequently used for)???
    (Parts of this entry are intended for rhetorical effect.)

    It's not hard.

    "'Why you...' she trailed off, letting the epithet die in the wind." Is one example, but I don't see the point.

    I will say it again, many people curse, and in a room of a dozen people, there are bound to be one or two foul-mouthed melon farmers. I used to argue with my sister about this all the time. She insisted that anyone with a large enough vocabulary doesn't need to curse. I said that's not true. We went to Word Dynamo and took some college level vocab tests. She scored (a ridiculous approximation using an algorithm, I know) 40,000. I scored 55,000 and whooped triumphantly, "Sometimes '****' is the only word that gets the point across, bee-atch!"

    Like I said before, unless I'm reading Harry Potter or something targeting a similar demographic, I just don't buy the realism of a novel with no cursing.

    **** that pussy ****.

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