ljgoldstein (ljgoldstein) wrote in theinferior4,

Margaret Atwood's Noo Werds

I really liked Margaret Atwood's MaddAddam, and might even get around to posting about why someday.  But can I just say something about her truly terrible neologisms first?

To begin with there are the goofy misspelled names -- HelthWyzer for a corporation that makes pharmaceutical products, a spa called AnooYoo.  These aren't words that make what they're selling sound enticing -- instead they look like something a kid would write by mistake.  I was trying to come up with current products that are misspelled the same way, and the only thing I could think of was Froot Loops, which, of course, is a cereal for children.  (I'm sure there are others -- I just couldn't think of them.  But they're mostly from the same era as Froot Loops -- Rice Krispies is another one -- and sound more old fashioned than futuristic.)

Then there's CorpSeCorp, for the security force used by the corporations.  How on earth do you pronounce this?  Corp-se-corp?  Corpse-corp?  Core-se-core?  Whichever one you choose, it's awkward, and doesn't trip off the tongue in conversation.  (And don't get me started on CorpSemen.  Would anyone really join a group where they were called this?)

Just as awkward are the wolvogs, a mixture of wolves and dogs.  And then there are the pigoons, which are supposed to be combined pigs and humans, but I couldn't figure out how the word "human" turned into the "oon" sound.  Worse, the first half a dozen times I saw this my mind automatically went to "pigeons," * giving me a weird picture of flying pigs.

There's a gang of Asians called Asian Fusion -- because, I guess, nothing says terrifying gang member like a kind of Yuppie cuisine.  And it's doubly annoying because of the way non-Asians tend to refer to Asian books and movies with food metaphors -- "a Chinese banquet of a book," "a sweet-and-sour confection…"  Though all the gangs seem to be called by some kind of cuisine -- Blackened Redfish, Tex-Mex -- with no reason for it.  And are all the Hispanics supposed to come from this one relatively small region?

But I did like the book, honest, more so than the earlier two in the series.  I'm going to have to think about it some more before I can say why -- and hope I can learn to ignore all the annoying words.

* So did my spell-checker.
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