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My kids, Honorverse,, and A Beautiful Friendship

In the breaks in his writing schedule, David has promised to stop by and chat for a while!
My kids, Honorverse,, and A Beautiful Friendship
Post by Gladtobemom   » Tue May 15, 2012 10:06 pm

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I've posted about my son, David (12) in the past. He's a fan of the Honorverse. He's quite voracious reader and has managed to convince his teacher that Honor Harrington (the mama tiger of SF literature according to him) could be his American Literature project. He actually made a little Lego movie of a treecat caught in the greenhouse.

David's a pretty sophisticated reader for his age. Our take on "rude" language is that it's important to know HOW to use the language to communicate. That means, if you use a word, you should know exactly what it means, how you intend to use it, your intended audience, and take responsibility for its use. Some words are meant for emphasis or to offend. If you MEAN to offend your audience, then you use that kind of word. Words must fit their purpose and their audience.

David has just finished Mission of Honor and A Rising Thunder. He wanted me to relay his reactions:

Mr. Weber:
I have now read all of the Hoververse books. I've also read all the short stories. I have enjoyed them and they are wonderful to talk about and to share.

I keep wondering why you are introducing unimaginative rude words into the newer stories. English in the U.S. has its set of extra rude words, but it's only a small subset of the population that speaks English. Canada, India, England, Guam, and other places have their set of rude words too. Even Hawaii has its special set. The only thing that seems to be everywhere is that using a "God" in something is meant to be extra harsh. I was disappointed that the different places haven't developed their own set of rude words. So much time and distance separate them. I mean the time they were settled and separated. I'd love to see what expletives would be used on Manticore, Sphinx, or Gryphon too. Then there's Beowulf, Haven, and all the other places.

In my thinking, sir, I can't imagine the the F word is the only Solarian curse word. There's no shade of meaning, no different levels of offense and no window into the culture of the person saying the word. It's like they just throw in the F word when they are irritated, dismissing, frustrated, or hate. You could substitute stupid or irritating or surprisingly frustrating for the F-ing that the navy guys say every time they talk about Manties. Of course, those aren't very colorful; I want to know what interesting colorful things they really would say after a millenium or two of having space travel and lots of colonies. You've gone to so much to introduce all these new unpronounceable names in the new characters that show cultural connections, why not introduce expletives that do the same.

For instance, muddy spring is just gross on Sphinx. The snow has been there for so long that the grass is just gone underneath. So "muddy" for a Sphinxian might be like "bloody" to an Englishman. Then there are impassable forests of bushes and thorns . . . so if something is impossible it might refer to some specific condition like that. Any anti-grav culture would have a great fear of losing their grav so things coming crashing down all over the place--they'd think the if something is going to really go bad fast, then that would be something like, "You want my opinion Captan, they've slagged our grav." Or something like, "Go chew on a Netbush thorn." "Oh yea, It's celery time!" for when someone solves a problem. What if someone is too citified, "Can't take a whizz without antigrav." And the callsigns of the LAC guys, they could reflect their local places, beasts, and irritations. You've got Hexapumas, treecats, , but what OTHER things are big and scary or stinky or irritating or really gross. What spectacular bugs could crawl up somebody's butt or back. Grayson has the Tester, but I would think their tough planet and need for filters would give them frustrations to apply to their expletives.

I'm not as imaginative as you are. I don't know all the stuff on all the planets that you've invented. I always thought that some of the earlier books were a little light on excitement in the conversations. In these last two books, I like the intensity sometimes but I'm disappointed in the language. It's like the only offensive thing they can say about anyone is the F word. I don't have any right to say so, you're obviously not a lazy guy since you write so many books, but this seems a little lazy to me. Or maybe I'm just greedy because I want these places to be more real and different from each other and different from right now right here in the Southern U.S.

Please don't think I'm trying to tell you how to write. Wonderful stories come out of your head. I just think that you missed out on an opportunity to give everyone a wonderful flavor experience for each of the different cultures in their local expletives. I want to know more about these place and these people. How characters talk to each other really lets me feel something about them. I get to respect, hate, dismiss, be surprised, feel compassion, etc. Conversation really makes it more fun to read and more fun to read aloud. I read aloud quite a bit to my family. We trade around. Every time I get to Kolokoltsof, I just skip his first name because it's too long. Every time I get to the F word, I just say stupid or frustrating or idiot or something. I do it because the word has too much meaning here and now in the Southern U.S. that it takes away from the story.

I really work hard to try to convince teachers that Science fiction is real literature. This year, Mrs Nemcsik has been pretty cool about letting me choose my books. I got to use Spaceboy by Orson Scott Card, On Basilsk Station and The Honor of the Queen by you, and Have Spacesuit Will Travel by Robert Heinlein. Every single time I had to argue that there is much to learn about character, principles, and self reliance in these books than in most of the books she suggested. For instance, for On Basilisk Station, I compared and contrasted the principles of the Hauptman Cartel, Matsuko, Honor Harrington, Pavel Young, Manticore, and Haven. I really thought that this book was was a great study in principles and character. I had to pretty much argue the whole thing to my teacher ahead of time because she looked the book up and it was called a Space Opera and she pronounced it, "Entertainment." I told her that Shakespeare was entertainment and that I thought you used your books to sneak in studies on principles and politics--just like Shakespeare. She let me use your book. So those big bunch of F words used 2500 years in the future as the majorly used swear word is disappointing.

Thank you Mr. Weber
David W.

On a lighter note, Zoe is 11. She is a special girl and is much more typical 11 year old girl. She's been reading A Beautiful Friendship. She saw that David was crafting a letter to you and wanted me to relay her thoughts.

Dear Mr. Dave Weber,

I'm only half way done with A Beautiful Friendship and I am liking it. I'm reading it as an ebook. I shared it with my friends Dillon and Kayla. Dillon finished it yesterday while he was waiting for his mom at his after school place. Dillon has this cat with little short legs named Heckle. He told me today thanks and he liked it as good as Charlie Bone.

Sometimes when I read ebooks, I lose my place. I like it when the Table of Contents has titles for the chapters. That helps me find my way back to where I was. I can look at the list of chapters and it helps me remember what happened. I always get asked about what I'm reading and to tell about it. If I have titles that tell what's going on, then I can just look at that to remember so I don't sound dumb. It would be really nice if when you write kid chapter books could chapters have words that tell about them on the table of contents page.

I really hope you are going to write more books about the Treecats.

Do you think this book will be an AR book soon?

Yours Sincerely
Zoe W.
Note: AR is Accelerated Reader, it's a program schools use so that kids can pick from hundreds of books to read and then take a quiz on it for credit.

I don't want you to think that my children are only critics. They truly enjoy your work. David, especially, has read the first few Honorverse books and the anthologies several times. We do talk about what we read, probably more than most people. We encourage them to analyze what it is that they get from their reading and what makes it extraordinary, or not.

David has been chewing on this topic for a week or so. He's chomping at the bit to know what's going to happen to Beowulf. He's got one last paper to write for his American Literatue class. He's been chewing this over because he's trying to figure out how he can get his ideas on dialogue across in a paper.

His teacher rolls her eyes at me when she talks about David. She is surprised that he is a "high achiever" but that he doesn't seem to want her approval. He hated Red Badge of Courage and she was not amused at his criticism.

Zoe has Asperger's, she didn't speak at all till she was 4. She's come a long way since then. She reads aloud superbly now and loves stories with adventurous main characters.
Gladtobemom
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Re: My kids, Honorverse,, and A Beautiful Friendship
Post by kbus888   » Tue May 15, 2012 10:45 pm

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Hi Gladtobemom

It appears you are successfully motivating your young children to enjoy the written word.

CONGRATULATIONS !!

BTW, welcome to the forums !!

R
..//* *\\
(/(..^..)\)
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.(,,,)^(,,,)

Love is a condition in which
the happiness of another
is essential to your own. - R Heinlein
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Re: My kids, Honorverse,, and A Beautiful Friendship
Post by Renegade13   » Sat May 19, 2012 8:34 am

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@Gladtobemom,

Congrats on having a pair of wonderful children - you have much to be proud of!!
Your son makes a good point, although I'm not sure how RFC would adapt his suggestions - something for RFC to ponder and decide about.
My own son (who just turned 12), really enjoyed A Beautiful Friendship, and has shown interest in starting the full series this summer. He's not quite the reader that I was at that age, but he's close and gaining ground!! (LOL)
I have to say that I fully understand that your son doesn't like some of the books that he's been forced to read in school. I despised most of Shakespeare's stuff (MacBeth was a notable exception, and Othello wasn't too bad), and a large percentage of 'the classics'. A couple of the 'all-time greats' are - IMHO - complete garbage (Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz)... but to each their own!!

As kbus88 stated, welcome to the Forums!!!
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Re: My kids, Honorverse,, and A Beautiful Friendship
Post by N.A.A1n1   » Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:57 am

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Gladtobemom, I have to say that your son brought up a couple of points that I hadn't really thought of before, mainly because my coworkers tend to use the foul language in question. But it was obviously well thought out, and it's easy to see that he's a bright kid.
I am interested in seeing how Mr. Weber responds now, and I'll be watching this topic to see how this all pans out.
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Re: My kids, Honorverse,, and A Beautiful Friendship
Post by Northstar   » Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:34 pm

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N.A.A1n1 wrote:Gladtobemom, I have to say that your son brought up a couple of points that I hadn't really thought of before, mainly because my coworkers tend to use the foul language in question. But it was obviously well thought out, and it's easy to see that he's a bright kid.
I am interested in seeing how Mr. Weber responds now, and I'll be watching this topic to see how this all pans out.


Since Mr. Weber's books are written for adults, I doubt he'll have anything to say about it. Don't like it? Don't buy adult books for a kid.

Sorry, I have no patience with this sort of thing. He uses cussing judiciously to make a point, never gratuitously.

This is adult sci fi.

That grumpily said... welcome to the forums, A1n1. Barks happen... bites hardly ever :-)
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Re: My kids, Honorverse,, and A Beautiful Friendship
Post by N.A.A1n1   » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:02 pm

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Northstar wrote:
Since Mr. Weber's books are written for adults, I doubt he'll have anything to say about it. Don't like it? Don't buy adult books for a kid.

Sorry, I have no patience with this sort of thing. He uses cussing judiciously to make a point, never gratuitously.


Thanks for the welcome. However, my read on David's letter to Mr. Weber is a bit different from yours. It seems to me that David is bothered less by the foul language, and is bothered more by the missed opportunity for world-building.

Although you are right, as Mr. Weber is very judicious with the swearing. And with good reason. If you inundate yourself or others with a limited vocabulary of swear-words, they tend to lose both meaning and vehemence.

Vehemence is kinda what swearing is for. I mean, if you sound bored when cussing, what's the point?

On another note, I picked up adult sci-fi fairly early myself. I don't regret it a bit, but a lot of nuances became more clear as I got older, and the stories got richer, more fulfilling and thought-provoking. I just hope David continues to read what he likes. People who read for pleasure seem fewer and farther between these days.
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Re: My kids, Honorverse,, and A Beautiful Friendship
Post by Spacekiwi   » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:06 pm

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N.A.A1n1 wrote:
Northstar wrote:
Since Mr. Weber's books are written for adults, I doubt he'll have anything to say about it. Don't like it? Don't buy adult books for a kid.

Sorry, I have no patience with this sort of thing. He uses cussing judiciously to make a point, never gratuitously.


Thanks for the welcome. However, my read on David's letter to Mr. Weber is a bit different from yours. It seems to me that David is bothered less by the foul language, and is bothered more by the missed opportunity for world-building.

Although you are right, as Mr. Weber is very judicious with the swearing. And with good reason. If you inundate yourself or others with a limited vocabulary of swear-words, they tend to lose both meaning and vehemence.

Vehemence is kinda what swearing is for. I mean, if you sound bored when cussing, what's the point?

On another note, I picked up adult sci-fi fairly early myself. I don't regret it a bit, but a lot of nuances became more clear as I got older, and the stories got richer, more fulfilling and thought-provoking. I just hope David continues to read what he likes. People who read for pleasure seem fewer and farther between these days.



Actually, i would say that some of the best cussing has little or no emotion behind it, as to tell you that you are so beneath the cusser as they are simply partaking in the formality before flattening you into the ground, mentally or physically. emotions means youriled them and its personal, them leaving it as impersonal could make it even worse for you.
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Re: My kids, Honorverse,, and A Beautiful Friendship
Post by Northstar   » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:38 pm

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N.A.A1n1 wrote:
Northstar wrote:
Since Mr. Weber's books are written for adults, I doubt he'll have anything to say about it. Don't like it? Don't buy adult books for a kid.

Sorry, I have no patience with this sort of thing. He uses cussing judiciously to make a point, never gratuitously.


Thanks for the welcome. However, my read on David's letter to Mr. Weber is a bit different from yours. It seems to me that David is bothered less by the foul language, and is bothered more by the missed opportunity for world-building.

Although you are right, as Mr. Weber is very judicious with the swearing. And with good reason. If you inundate yourself or others with a limited vocabulary of swear-words, they tend to lose both meaning and vehemence.

Vehemence is kinda what swearing is for. I mean, if you sound bored when cussing, what's the point?

On another note, I picked up adult sci-fi fairly early myself. I don't regret it a bit, but a lot of nuances became more clear as I got older, and the stories got richer, more fulfilling and thought-provoking. I just hope David continues to read what he likes. People who read for pleasure seem fewer and farther between these days.



Agasin, welcome. :-)

Um the Honorverse books are military scifi, not a Quaker revival. :-) They take place in a time of war. And nobody does world building better than RFC, aka David Weber. I know no one better at it, including JRR Tolkien. I can have my editor quibbles here and there, but the overall world-bulding is just superb.

The RFC you will see referenced in posts is his nom du website, runs for celery.

Agree with you completely on the pleasures of reading and hope he continues to enjoy it. This place is haunted by bookaholics :-) like me.

And, yes, cussing loses impact when repeated too often. On the other hand, military and other adult characters who never ever cuss, all of them, not just Honor herself, would be not believable, hm? Human beings being what we are.

Hope you enjoy and participate.
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Re: My kids, Honorverse,, and A Beautiful Friendship
Post by KNick   » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:24 pm

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Dear Gladtobemom;


I hope your son will continue to share his thoughts with us on this forum. Anyone, of any age, who expresses themselves that clearly should be encouraged to. I look forward to his further insights as he reads the rest of the HH books.
_


Try to take a fisherman's fish and you will be tomorrows bait!!!
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Re: My kids, Honorverse,, and A Beautiful Friendship
Post by Charles83   » Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:36 pm

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I think this may be a missed opportunity for world building as this kid say, if any of you speak spanish real good spanish go to spain, the way they use swear words is so imaginative that they dont need to use normal swear words, they can use words as common as milk or meat and made them sound like the foulest swear words in the universe, they have applied a lot of imagination to their swearing, so much that they dont swear anymore in words the use sentences and sometimes even entire paragraphs.
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