Raunch Reviews: Battlestar Galactica

Raunch Reviews: Battlestar Galactica

Raunch Reviews is a series about profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not. In this series, I examine the faux-profanity from various works of sci-fi and fantasy, judge their effectiveness, and rate them on an unscientific and purely subjective scale. This is Raunch Reviews, welcome.

Raunch Reviews: Battlestar GalacticaThe Authors: Glen A. LarsonRonald D. MooreDavid Eick
Work in Question: Battlestar Galactica (1978 & 2003)
The Profanity: “Frak”

As far as worldbuilding goes, Battlestar Galactica is a hodgepodge. It blends all manners of stuff: Ancient Greek gods, modern mythology, faster-than-light travel, politics, fear of the internet, murderous robots, weird visions, spaceship dogfights, strange paper with missing corners, and underwear worn over tee shirts. Yet despite its silliness, the 2003 reboot remained internally consistent and for a long time and—at least for its first two seasons—it was some of the best sci-fi on television. As a result, some of the silly points become charming, but sadly, “frak” isn’t one of them.

The word first appeared in the original series (1978) where it was initially spelled “frack”  — it wasn’t until later (2003) that producers changed it to “frak” to make it a four-letter word. (Gasp!) It’s clear what it’s meant to replace, but it comes across more immature than serious. I dislike one-to-one replacement words, they’re lazy. There’s plenty of circumstances from the backstory that could have been effectively tapped for the purposes of faux-profanity. “Frak” is adolescent in tone, does little for the world, and effectively reads as an overt and clumsily minced-oath—nothing more than an attempt at sneaking naughty content past the censors. We all know what they were saying… well, except for KFC.

Score:  (1.0)

Previous Raunch Reviews

Have a suggestion for Raunch Reviews? It can be any made up slang word from a book, television show, or movie. You can email me directly with your recommendation or leave a comment below. I’ll need to spend time with the property before I’ll feel confident reviewing it, so give me a little time. I have a lot of books to read.

Ursula K. Le Guin

The Unread Story

“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.”

A few years ago I helped back a beautiful little documentary on Le Guin’s life. If you haven’t seen it, I highly encourage you to seek it out. Le Guin was a fantastic writer and remains an inspiration not only to me but to a thousand other writers. You can view the trailer below.

I <3 Ursula K. Leguin


Hydnellum peckii

Garden of Horrors: Hydnellum Peckii

Sometimes nature is downright bizarre. Take the Hydnellum peckii, commonly called the “bleeding tooth fungus” (it’s also called “strawberries and cream” by people who, I assume, have never had strawberries or cream before.) When young the Hydnellum peckii produces a fluid that makes it look like a mushroom murder victim. It appears to “bleed” a red juice that in certain light looks an awful lot like blood. I’m not kidding, it’s kind of horrific.

A young Hydnellum peckii "bleeding"
A young Hydnellum peckii “bleeding”

The bright red fluid actually contains a pigment that is known to have anticoagulant properties, but it doesn’t stick around for very long. Once the fungus ages the “bleeding” stops and the Hydnellum peckii dries out and looks rather dull.

Despite its appearance, Hydnellum peckii is not poisonous, but the fungus is so bitter it’s considered inedible. Besides, why would you want to put this thing in your mouth anyway? That’s disgusting. Don’t be nasty.

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The Collection Grows

The Collection Grows

Last night, while pallin’ around at the Pioneer Square Art Walk, Kari-Lise and I checked out our friend Casey Weldon’s solo show at Treason Gallery. If you’re in Seattle, I recommend swinging through. It’s an incredible body of work, and a great selection of Casey’s engaging and often humorous work—check out the full show here.

It’s a big show, and there was a lot to check out, and much of the work drew us in. But we both fell in love with the green variant of Casey’s Fang You Very Much. Next week is our fifteen-year anniversary, so Kari-Lise and I figured this would be an excellent gift for ourselves—something collective and something we both appreciate. I’ve shared it below, it’s glorious.

Casey Weldon - Fang You Very Much - Green (2018) - Acrylic on wood 12” x 12”
Casey Weldon – Fang You Very Much – Green (2018) – Acrylic on wood – 12” x 12”

I really dig the visual depth going on here, the loose swirls and patterns offset by the realistic mouth, and the creepy glowing eyes. Casey’s skills and imagination never cease to impress me. The subtle reference to Felix the Cat is a nice touch, and something I initially missed (thank’s for pointing it out Julie.) I’m excited to hang it up in our home and finally add a Weldon to our collection. It’s about damn time.

Pay the Writer

Pay the Writer

Rest in peace, Harlan Ellison. You incredibly complex man, you.

I’ve seen many good folks sharing all sorts of stories about Ellison. Three that stuck out: John Scalzi’s piece for the LA Times, Neil Gaiman’s heartfelt blog post about their friendship, and this wild thread where Ellison publically plans a conspiracy to commit murder at Dragon Con. I’m sure there are many more.

If you are interested in reading Ellison’s work (there’s a reason he’s an SFWA Grand Master), I recommend starting with either I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream or Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman. He also wrote the greatest episode of Star Trek ever.

The Stars Were Right is an entrant in #SPFBO 4!

I’m in SPFBO 4

I’m excited to announce that my first novel, The Stars Were Right, has been accepted into this year’s Self-Publishing Fantasy Blog-Off. This will be my first book award contest since I started writing and I’m excited to be a part.

Here’s how it works: each year 300 fantasy authors submit their books. Those books are then divided among ten bloggers—Stars will be reviewed this year by the good folks over at Booknest. In Phase One, the books are read, and each blogger chooses one book to advance to the next round. Then in Phase Two all the bloggers read the submitted ten, and score each of them. Out of those ten books only one will be selected as the winner! It’s fun and great for the indie fantasy community. Check out the past winners here.

300 Books. 10 Judges. 1 Winner.

Big thanks to author Mark Lawrence for championing all of this, organizing events like this can be a lot of work, and Mark has been a tireless supporter of indie authors. Be sure to check out Mark’s books, follow him on Twitter, and read his blog.)

Also, I want to thank my pal Mihir from Fantasy Book Critic for letting me know submissions were open. I’ve watched the SPFBO from the sidelines for a few years now, and for whatever reason, I never thought my books qualified. I’m happy I listened to him and took the opportunity to submit.

Win or lose, I’m excited to see how The Stars Were Right does. The contest skews heavily towards fantasy fiction, and while The Stars Were Right is very much urban fantasy, the weird world of the Territories has a lot in common with many other subgenres. As my readers know, I tend to eschew the standard fantasy trappings in exchange for something more… um, strange. So, we’ll see! Fingers crossed!

Phase One runs from August 1st – December 31st, 2018. If you want to read along, you can see the full list and bloggers participating over here. Follow along on Twitter by using the hashtag #SPFBO. Regardless of the outcome, I’m excited to join in, and I want to wish good luck to everyone who is competing. It should be a good year!