Raunch Review: Blade Runner

Raunch Review: Blade Runner

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 Review: Blade Runner
Raunch Review: Blade Runner
The Author: Hampton Fancher & David Peoples
Work in Question: Blade Runner
The Profanity: “Skin job”

Dehumanizing or bigoted slurs have been prevalent throughout history. And they’re still with us today. Even in recent dialog, we’ve seen the powerful employing precise language in a manner to strip away someone’s value. It’s not a new phenomenon. I believe the best fiction serves as a mirror forcing those engaging with it to confront some of the uglier sides of humankind.

Blade Runner’s existential questions surrounding life and humanity and its fundamental question of “what makes us human” is why the faux-profanity “skin job” works so well. In concept, it combines that existentialist question with the bigoted language and aims it at the android replicants in the story.

Like “prawn” from District 9, “skin job” is born from fear and designed to dehumanize. This is why we see it wielded by the powerful to imply that replicants are less than human. Language is a powerful factor in creating “the other.” It allows our brains to trigger differently. It’s why we nickname enemies; it’s easier to kill a nickname than it is to kill a human with thoughts, dreams, and desires. By calling replicants “skin jobs,” one can logically make the leap that they’re disposable and easily replaceable.

Abusive language quickly leads to dehumanization, and dehumanization leads to atrocities. We see that in Blade Runner as much as we do in the world at large. It’s why “skin job” works so well, and it’s why it stings to hear it spoken out loud.

Score: Half Swear (4.5)

🤬 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.

Visual Inspiration: Syd Mead

Visual Inspiration: Syd Mead

On Monday, the legendary Syd Mead—easily one of the greatest illustrators/futurists of our time—passed away. He was 86. Normally, I use this series to highlight artists who I think need more attention. But I thought to take a moment to recognize someone who’s work influenced not only me but a generation of designers, artists, filmmakers, and architects to look forward and envision a better future.

“We don’t go into the future from zero, we drag the whole past in with us.”

—Syd Mead

Mead left an incredible impact and his legacy is enormous. So many speculative fiction properties were shaped by his neo-futuristic style: Blade Runner, Tron, Short Circuit, Star Trek, Star Wars, even Gundam and think how many of those have gone on to influence a new generation of creators. There’s a wonderful vibrancy to his work and it continues to resonate.

The city of Lovat in my Bell Forging Cycle, was heavily influenced by my experience with Mead’s paintings as a student—especially his work on Blade Runner. Something about his cramped and claustrophobic street scenes inspired me and they stayed with me years later when I set down to write. I’ve shared some of my favorites pieces below, perhaps they’ll inspire you as well. As always, you can click to view them larger.

You can see so much more of Syd Mead’s work on his website. There are several great art books that gather his work in the movies and as a futurist. I’d recommend starting with The Movie Art of Syd Mead: Visual Futurist or Syd Mead’s Sentury II.

Rest in peace, Syd. Thanks for everything.

If you like Syd Mead’s work, be sure to check out some of the other artists who I’ve found inspiring in the past. While there’s certainly a theme to the art that inspires me, you’ll find lots of different styles, tones, and moods.

Barbara Bernát Euro Redesign

Friday Link Pack 03/20/15

Friday is here. That mean it’s time to share a few links I’ve found over the last few days. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Enough prattle! Let’s get to it…


H. P. Lovecraft Letter Sheds Light On Pivotal Moment In His Career
James Machin recently discovered this letter from Lovecraft to J. C. Henneberger. The letter, nearly 5000 words long, unveils some of Lovecraft’s thoughts before he moved to Brooklyn, and before he turned down the editorship of Weird Tales. Fascinating stuff.

JRR Tolkien Falls Off Children’s Most Popular Books List
As Dylan sang: the times, they are a’changin’. While lists don’t negate the greatness of the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Tolkien’s other work, this is still a notable occurrence within speculative literature.

The Secret To Creating A Really Good Bad Guy
Author, editor, and writing coach C. S. Lakin has some great advice for those of you wanted to push your bad guys beyond the stereotypical traps in which so many villains find themselves.

Top 10 Social Media Marketing No-Nos For Authors
I posted this on Twitter and I was really excited to share it here as well. Author Anne R. Allen goes into detail about what NOT to do on social media. Every author needs to read this, and then re-read it, and then memorize it. I can’t tell you how many times I see authors breaking these rules on the internet.

Three Recent Reviews
My books have slowly begun popping up on review blogs. In this post I highlight some quotes from three recent reviews. I really appreciate folks taking the time to do this. If you have read my books please consider taking the time to write an honest review. They not only help us indie authors, but also help your fellow reader.


Photos From The Blade Runner Model Shop
Check out the work that went into the creation of the models used in Ridley Scott‘s sci-fi Blade Runner. (Easily one of my favorite movies.) The level of detail is equal to that of the models we saw for the Stars Wars sets I featured in a past Link Pack. Bonus: there’s even some Star Wars models USED in Blade Runner. See if you can’t find them in these pictures.

Barbara Bernat’s Euro Redesign
This beautiful redesign of the euro combines elegant type with beautiful imagery and makes someone rethink the idea of currency. Now… what can we do to get her to redesign the U.S. dollar. [Thanks to Kari-Lise for sending this one my way.]


Lighten Up
This beautiful piece by cartoonist Ronald Wimberly discusses whitewashing. The subtle change in a persons skintone to appeal to white people. It’s something that is prevalent in comics, and advertising, and books, and so many more industries. I really appreciated his thoughts. [Thanks to Steve for sharing.]

Man Builds Igloo ‘Speakeasy’, Serves Patrons In Polar Bear Costume
When life gives you lemons you make lemonade. But, what do you do when life dumps a metric ton of snow on you? Well, you make an igloo bar and dress up as a polar bear bartender. Obviously. [This also came from Kari-Lise.]

Carbon 3D
3D Printing is coming along in a big way over the last few years. It’s clear that it will fundamentally change our world. Carbon 3D just upped the game.

Never Trust A Corporation To Do A Library’s Job
As Google’s priorities change, what happens to the data they wanted to organize and catalog? Internet archivists are now stepping in to save our collective memory. An important look at archives, libraries, and how corporations have much different priorities. [Thanks to Dave for pointing me at this.]

Random Wikipedia Article of the Week:

The Emu War
In the attempt to curb the population of emus Australia employed soldiers armed with machine guns—leading the media to adopt the name “Emu War” when referring to the incident.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Picture In The House
One of the first stories to introduce readers to Lovecraft country. This is also where we first hear about Arkham and the Miskatonic Valley.

Gif of the Week:
Dogs are the best

Friday Link Pack 10/10/14

The last Friday before the launch of Old Broken Road is upon us! That means it’s time to share a few interesting links I’ve found throughout the week. Some of these are mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Let me know! All right, let’s get to it:

Old Broken Road:

Old Broken Playlist
Check out the music that helped inspire my upcoming book!

Pre-Old Broken Road Launch Giveaway
Need to get caught up on The Stars Were Right before the sequel drops? Enter my latest Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy!

Old Broken Road Swag Packs are now in the store!
Three new Old Broken Road themed bookmarks, new set of stickers, and a rad button! All you have to do is pay for shipping. (You can also send a SASE, details are on the Free Stuff page.)


The Exact Amount Of Time You Should Work Every Day
Did you know the absence of a proper lunch break can actually lower productivity? This University of Toronto study looks into what is the right amount of time to maximize your work.

19 Unintentionally Disturbing Moments From Kids’ Books
From Mister Dog to strange commands about murdering lambs, these made me laugh. So go on, touch the cow. Do it now.

The Genre Debate: ‘Literary fiction’ Is Just Clever Marketing
Elizabeth Edmondson of The Guardian argues that Jane Austen never imagined she was writing Literature. Posterity made that decision for her. Good stuff.


The Butterfly Effect, Literally
The Nerdwriter (one of my new favorite YouTube Channels) explores the butterfly effect, on, well… butterflies.

Rise And Shine – What Kids Around The World Eat For Breakfast
A New York Times photojournalism piece on the foods kids eat around the world. Really I am just repeating what the headline says, but click through, it’s fun.

Morbid Mondays: Maps Of The End Of The World
Atlas Obscura explore the maps of Revelations created by Baptist Minister Clarence Larkin in 1919. I remember seeing copies of these in my grandmothers house. Instant nostalgia for me.

The Problem With Wearable Technology, According To “Blade Runner” Designer Syd Mead
“Fashion is a temporary affectation. Fashion that’s timeless is actually a practical response to need. ” Loved reading about Syd Mead’s thoughts on the current state of wearables. Mead is an incredible artist and designer and it’s clear he put in a lot of thought when he created his vision of the future.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family
I’m featuring this again. Mainly because this is the story where I found the Old Broken Road epigraph. Also, it’s good.

Gif of the Week:

This pleases the shiba

Friday Link Pack 04-04-14

A Matter of Electric Sheep
It’s time to share a few interesting links I have found throughout the week. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Let me know!


The Shapes of Stories, a Kurt Vonnegut Infographic
Designer Maya Eliam recreated Vonnegut’s classic Shapes of Stories into a rad infographic—if you’re unfamiliar with Vonnegut’s presentation make sure you watch this video. It’s well worth your time.

JUST WRITE IT! A fantasy author and his impatient fans.
“The online attacks on Martin suggest that some readers have a new idea about what an author owes them. They see themselves as customers, not devotees, and they expect prompt, consistent service.”

What Killed It For Me #4: Clichéd Characters
Great article about how to go beyond a list of positive or negative traits to break away from cliché when it comes to writing engaging characters.

Tracy Hickman’s Sobering News for Aspiring Writers
I debated including this link this week. However I feel it’s important to show all sides of the disruption in the book market. What can you take away from this? Well, as the old way of book marketing crumbles around us those who don’t adapt to the new paradigm risk being left behind.


How History’s Biggest Thinkers Spent Their Days
Great graphs showing how some of the most famous people in history spent their time. I couldn’t get over Balzac’s 50 cups of coffee a day.

Medieval Castle Anatomy 101
From barbicans to the portcullis—Setus over at Katana Pen posted this really handy guide to all the random terms for the different parts of a castle.

A Matter of Electric Sheep
One of the coolest Blade Runner theories I have read in a long time.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

Into the north window of my chamber glows the Pole Star with uncanny light. All through the long hellish hours of blackness it shines there…

Farewell Gif of the Week:


Friday Link Pack 12/06/13

Syd Mead Blade Runner Concept Art
Syd Mead Blade Runner Concept Art

It’s time to share a few interesting links I have found throughout the week. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have any suggestions, let me know.


12 Real Life Inventions That Science Fiction is Neglecting at its Peril
One of my favorite bloggers, Charlie Jane Anders, compiles a list of real life inventions that has been neglected by modern science fiction. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your own project look no further. There’s a lot here.

The Stars Were Right trade paperbacks are available!
As of yesterday my book The Stars Were Right is now available as a trade paperback from Amazon! Nab it today! It makes a great gift! To celebrate I also discounted the Kindle edition to $0.99 for the rest of the week. You can’t even buy a decent cup of coffee for a buck these days.

The Stars Were Right Giveaway!
Now through January 5th you can enter to win a copy of The Stars Were Right on Goodreads. It’s as simple as following the link and clicking “Enter to Win!” Tell your friends (or don’t and give yourself a better chance at winning.)

Learning to Write
Hugh Howey offers some frank and simple advice on what it takes to write.


Syd Mead’s Bladerunner Concept Art
Some of the coolest concept art you’ll see. Ever. Really. I promise.

Wars on Kinkade
One part painter of light, one part dark side. DeviantArt artist Jeff Bennett merges Star Wars and Tomas Kinkade paintings into fantastic (and amusing) pieces.


The National x Bob’s Burgers – Sailors in Your Mouth
Two of my favorite things combine to create an amazing Thanksgiving song for the 2nd year in a row. If you missed “Thanksgiving Song” from last year make sure you listen to it as well.

Getting Lost on North Brother Island
Situated between the Bronx and Riker’s Island, New York lies a small bird sanctuary that was once the site of a hospital. After 40+ years of abandonment the result are some amazing (and creepy) pictures.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Beast in the Cave
A lost man. A dark cave. A potential threat.

Farewell Gif(s) of the Week:

This is basically what dinosaurs looked like. Too bad.


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