Raunch Review: Foundation

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.

The Author: Isaac Asimov

Work in Question: Foundation

The Profanity: “Space!”

Look, I realize that Isaac Asimov wrote the first Foundation stories in the nineteen-forties, and the first book didn’t arrive until the nineteen-fifties. I also recognize that white Americans, in particular, like to pretend that this was some glorious era of American history where the nuclear family was the norm, everyone washed their hands before dinner, and children always called adults “mister” and “ma’am.” But, I also know this is an era where terms like FUBAR and SNAFU were invented, and a glance through the Green’s Dictionary of Slang records plenty of new vulgarities emerging. So, it’s important to acknowledge that the wholesome mystique of the fifties is mostly myth wrapped up in attractive propaganda. Foul language was common even then, despite what folksy feel-good television programming would like to tell us.

All that said, there’s a reason why that propaganda is effective. Much of the content from that era seems clean—but, publishing was operating under different rules in the middle of the twentieth century, and censorship was in full swing. Publishing something even mildly vulgar was difficult—J. D. Salinger notwithstanding. But that’s not an excuse when it comes to fictional profanity, which makes Asimov’s choice of “space” for a futuristic oath a bit silly, even for its era.

Throughout Foundation, it’s common for characters in the book to shout out a “No, by Black Space, no!” or “Great Space!” and every time it stands out a little more than it should—coming across more cute than effective. I’ve talked about the impact of oaths in the past, especially oaths that are blasphemous, and how they tend to extend beyond the standard lifespan of your typical run-of-the-mill profanity. That’s not what’s happening here. The concept of “space”—at least within the first book—is never treated with a particularly deific reverence. The titular Foundation’s faith is based on knowledge and nuclear energy/power. So when the “space” oath gets referenced, it feels out of place and awkward. Even swearing by “nuclear” or the “atom” would make more sense within the story’s context, and neither would have come across so twee.

Final Score: 2.5

🤬 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.

Friday Link Pack - Christmas

Friday Link Pack – Christmas

It’s Friday, and it’s Christmas! Merry Christmas! Hopefully, you’re done opening presents and full of delicious Christmas Dinner and ready to curl up with the Friday Link Pack, my weekly post covering topics such as writing, art, current events, and random weirdness. Some of these links I mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! This will be the last official Friday Link Pack for some time [Details here]. Next week we’ll finish up with a big year-end review. Let’s get to it.


Creating Fictional Holidays
One way to increase the believability of your fictional world is to pepper it with invented but engaging holidays. In this article Robert A. Sloan offers some advice on creating holidays unique to your world.

Worldbuilding: Creating Holidays
Sensing a theme here? Since today is Christmas, I thought it’d be fun to explore different aspects of holidays as it pertains to writing. In this article, author Elizabeth Briggs breaks down our holidays into five unique categories. (She also links the next link that I’ll embed below.)

Life Day!
The crew of Writing Excuses and author Dave Farland discusses holidays in this video taken at Superstars Writing Seminar 2011 in Salt Lake City. Click the link to watch it on YouTube or use the player below.

What Did Kindle Unlimited Pay for Pages Read in November, 2015?
Author Chris McMullen crunches the numbers from last month on the per-page payouts for Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program.

Boost Your Writing: 3 Things To Do Now To Start 2016 Off Right
The new year is right around the corner, and Angela Ackerman of Bookshelf Muse and Writers Helping Writers has some helpful housekeeping ideas to kickstart the upcoming New Year.


Krampus, The Yule Lord
In his new book, author and artist Brom has illustrated some of the characters surrounding the legend of Krampus. From Mrs. Clause to Krampus himself. Wonderfully creepy and as always amazingly imaginative. Today’s Featured Image is a detailed version of Brom’s Santa, make sure you check out the full version in the link. You can buy, Krampus, The Yule Lord at Amazon.

Constructual by Juana Gomez
Faded photographs of humans printed on fabric are embroidered with the internal anatomy, neural pathways, muscle structure, even the circulatory system. A unique and lovely look into the human body and the systems housed inside.

Paintings of Haphazardly Wrapped Gifts by Yrjö Edelmann
I stared at these images for a long time and just found myself shaking my head. Edelmann’s skill is undeniable, and it’s amazing to think these are simple oil paintings on canvas.


2015: The Best Year in History for the Average Human Being
If you listen to the 24-hour news cycle, you’d think we’re spiraling down into a maelstrom of doom and gloom. However, that isn’t the case at all. Things are looking pretty awesome for humanity, despite what Fox News will tell you. (Spoiler: next years looking even better.)

Cthulhumas Wreath Creature
Next year, if you want to terrify your friends and neighbors, consider crafting this wonderful (and festive) Cthulhu-esque wreath.

Should We Keep A Low Profile In Space?
We have been so eager to discover intelligent life outside our planet, the New York Times questions whether or not that is a good idea. Some doors might best be left closed.

Artist Kate Leth created this adorable little Cthulhu for you to cut out and hang around your house. An easy (and terrifying) way to decorate your home or workspace for the holidays.

Time Travel Map
This map from 1914 has been making the rounds lately. The isochronic map shows the time it would take to travel from Europe to the far-flung edges of the world.


“A Caganer is a figurine depicted in the act of defecation appearing in nativity scenes in Catalonia and neighbouring areas with Catalan culture such as Andorra, Valencia and Northern Catalonia (in southern France). It is most popular and widespread in these areas, but can also be found in other areas of Spain (Murcia), Portugal and southern Italy (Naples).

The name “El Caganer” literally means “the crapper” or “the shitter”. Traditionally, the figurine is depicted as a peasant, wearing the traditional Catalan red cap (the “barretina”) and with his trousers down, showing a bare backside, and defecating.”


Did you know Lovecraft wrote a super sappy Christmas poem? (Well, honestly, he wrote a bunch.) Last year I featured the poem Christmas on I Make Stories, and if you’re feeling jolly you should check it out.


End on a high note

Friday Link Pack - 07/10/2015

Friday Link Pack 07/10/2015

It’s time for the Friday Link Pack! Some of these links 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.) Let’s get to it…


The Year Of Women
Author Kamila Shamsie makes her case and challenges the publishing industry to make 2018 a year when only women authors are published.

‘A Year of Women’? How About ‘A Year of Publishing Parity’ Instead?
Author Lorraine Devon Wilke‘s rebuttal to Kamila Shamsie’s piece challenges the industry not to publish only women in 2018, but to be fair and equal in who they choose to publish.

Dune, 50 Years On: How A Science Fiction Novel Changed The World
Great piece from The Guardian on Frank Herbert’s Dune one of the greatest science fiction novels of our time and its impact on society. [The featured image for this post is a Dune illustration by Henrik Sahlström. I highly recommend checking out his work. He does great stuff.]

15 Words To Eliminate From Your Vocabulary To Sound Smarter
Helpful for both conversation and for writing. It’s good advice and a handy list to keep nearby. [Thanks to Dave for sharing this.]

Scottish Prize Goes To Book Rejected 44 Times
Never give up. The only way to fail at writing is quitting.

Six Tools Of My Trade
A few readers and fellow authors have emailed me and asked what tools I use when I write, from software to hardware, even writing instruments. This week, I put together this post sharing six of my essentials, and some of my favorite things I use on a daily basis.


Cal Redback
I have been seeing Cal’s incredible photo-manipulation work all over the internet as of late. Bending the natural world with human forms he creates pieces that are both haunting and somewhat disturbing.

Zack Mclaughlin’s Sculptures
I’m in awe of these hyper-realistic paper and wood sculptures of birds. They’re beautiful. He sells these in his Etsy shop as well, which you can check out here.

Why Babies In Medieval Paintings Look Like Ugly Old Men
We’ve all thought it. What is with those strange little creatures hanging off people in medieval art. Well, Vox gets to the bottom of it and reveals the reason behind their strange appearance.


Stuff In Space
An incredible little site that allows you to see all of the satellites and garbage currently orbiting our lonely little planet.

One Vancouver Forest Played Just About Every Wooded Locale On The X-Files
Coming from the Pacific Northwest it’s always amusing when I see shows like Supernatural and The X-Files try to pass off our lush fern-covered forests as places in the Midwest or the South. We PNW locals all know… oh, we know.

The American Home Through The Decade
A fun little infographic that explores the ever-increasing footprint of the American home. As a tiny house, well… sensible house apologist I find it a bit depressing until we see the emergence of the tiny house movement.


List Of Kim Jong-il’s Titles
“When Kim Jong-il, former leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), is mentioned in North Korean media and publications, he is not simply addressed by name. At least one special title is used, and his name is emphasized by a special bold font, for example: “The great leader Comrade Kim Jong-il provides on-the-spot guidance to the Ragwon Machine Complex.” Alternatively, a larger than normal font may be used. The titles themselves were developed by the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party. The same applies to Kim Jong-il’s father, Kim Il-sung, who ruled North Korea from 1948 to 1994. Scholars have collected the following list of Kim Jong-il’s titles…”


The Quest of Iranon
A golden-haired boy sings of a city where he was once a prince.



Friday Link Pack 06/12/2015

Friday Link Pack 06/12/2015

It’s Friday, and it’s my Dad’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Dad!), and it’s my parents wedding anniversary (Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!) Also, it’s time for the Friday Link Pack! The post where I 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.) Let’s get to it…


25 Reasons Why You Don’t Make Any Money At Comic Cons
Absolutely fantastic post. So often I see professionals, very talented artists, and writers, doing the exactly what is being listed here. It’s all good advice. Take it. [Thanks to Lola for sharing this.]

Dear Authors: Don’t Respond To Goodreads Reviews
Frankly, you shouldn’t respond to any reviews. Ever. At all. If you need to respond to anything, respond to your email. That’s important.

Top 5 Literary Languages
In this old post, The Stage discusses their favorite made-up languages. Which is your favorite? Anything you think this list is missing?

Cthulhu The Wimp
This week I wrote a guest post for Michael G. Munz’s blog. In it, I pick on everyone’s favorite old one. What do you think? Am I right, or am I way off base? Check it out and let me know.

Red Litten World Cover Reveal Giveaway
The giveaway ends in just a few days! Enter for your chance to win signed copies of The Stars Were Right and Old Broken Road, as well as a Bell Caravans patch, swag, and a $50 Amazon gift card. Entering is easy and there are a lot of ways to increase your chances to win. Do it today!


20 Contemporary (Women) Artists You Oughta Know
From sculptures to painters to photographers. A handy guide of some of the best women artists working today.

The Photography Of Gautier Pellegrin
I’m in love with these photographs. The more and more I look at photography, the more I am attracted to photos that really drive home emotion. For me, Pellegrin’s work does exactly that.

Pejac In Hong Kong
Absolutely love some of these pieces from the street artist Pejac. The window work stood out in particular.


51 TV Writers Reveal Their Favorite Thing They’ve Ever Written
This is a fun list. There are a few shows on here I loved (Parks and Recreation, Veronica Mars, The X-Files, Portlandia, Scrubs) and it’s always neat to see which parts the writers were most proud of. [Thanks to Mike for sharing this.]

The Future According To Anime
Hopes & Fears compiles a list of their favorite predictions from anime, from World War 3 to space travel. Only time will tell if anime got it right.

How To Cook Turmeric Chicken, Rice, And Peas. In Space
Admit it. You always wanted to know.


“Aachenosaurus is a dubious genus of prehistoric plant. It was named based solely on fossilized fragments of material that were originally thought to be jaw fragments from a duck-billed dinosaur (a hadrosaur). However, the fossils turned out to be petrified wood, to the great embarrassment of the discoverer.”


In the Walls of Eryx
Here’s something you don’t usually see from the grandfather of horror. A near future science fiction tale on the planet of Venus!


Haters need hugs