I am so glad that my blog-buddy, BrainRants made me aware of The Expanse series. I have been reading the books and, not quite as quickly, watching the TV programs for several years. It is a great epic series, not just because I love Sci-Fi, but because the writers provide tons of eclectic detail to flesh out the story arc, and the characters.
Two male writers, taking a cue from their mentor, George R. R. Martin – he of Game Of Thrones fame – and/or J. R. R. Tolkien, publish as James S. A. Corey, when neither of them is James, nor Corey. As male authors, they have created at least four powerful, well-defined female characters.
The depth and breadth of their knowledge, which they work into the books is awe-inspiring – especially (for me) the linguistics. Millions have gone into space, and many are mining the asteroid belt. People move around on Earth, and the language where they migrate to slowly changes, but remains basically the same.
There was no Native Tongue in the Belt, so a new language, called Belta, has come into existence. It includes some sign language, for folks encased in space suits, who can be seen but not heard. The spoken language is mostly English, with additions and admixtures of American Spanish from Pittsburgh to Patagonia, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Maori, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, and more.
Every chapter brings examples of words and expressions that impress the Hell out of me, or drive me to dictionary or search-engine sites. Remember, Belta is like Star Trek’s Klingon. It is a non-existent language that these two are completely creating themselves. The fact that I’m at least a year behind the avid fan readers, means that I sometimes reach a site where others have gone for explanations.
Recently, I hit four words on two pages that I needed to research. One of the asteroids described, was not an asteroid, but rather, a collection of rocks with enough common gravity to hold them together, but not enough pressure to coalesce into a single unit. Like a bag of giant marbles – without the bag.
The writers described it as a Duniyaret. The Hindi word duniyah means ’world,’ and the Hindi word ret means ‘sand, or gravel.’ They had created a neologism in a foreign language, to describe this conglomeration of rocks. A habitat had been created on the biggest chunk, by welding together, what were essentially steel shipping containers, at a slight angle to one another, to bend around the curve. The authors called this “town”, Nakliye, a Turkish word that means ‘shipping.’
On the next page, I found a blazon – from heraldry, a patch or badge, often worn on lapel or sleeve, indicating owning or belonging, especially with good qualities. When we affix such a marker, we use the slightly more-common word, emblazon.
The residents drank water that was hyper-distilled. At first, I thought it might be like double-distilled whiskey, but the Hyper, in this case, refers to Hyperion, the Titan that the Greeks believed was the father of the sun. They didn’t waste precious power, but used a large parabolic solar-collector, aimed at the distant sun. I had trouble researching this term, because the search engines kept throwing up an American company named “Hyper Distillation,” which is not the same thing.
The UN Space Navy had an Admiral named Souther. I was reminded of J. D. Souther, a singer/songwriter from Detroit, who influenced Glen Frey of The Eagles, to compose country-lite style. I had assumed that the basis for the name was someone originally from the South of England – a southerner. Imagine my surprise when I found that the name is occupational, coming from old English/old French soutere – a boot or shoe – therefore meaning a cobbler.
I have cobbled together a little more click-bait to lure you in. Drop by in a couple of days, to see where my mind has gone without me. 😎 🌯