Murder and Matchmaking

Murder and Matchmaking
A novel mashup of Sherlock Holmes and Pride & Prejudice

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Dr Johnson!

September 18th is the birth date of the illustrious writer, poet, and lexicographer, Samuel Johnson. To commemorate the great man and as part of Speculative Fiction Blogging Week, I thought I’d have a look at some of Johnson’s modern definitions pertaining to science fiction, fantasy and horror. For those of you who are not already aware, the genius has not let the fact that some three-hundred-and-one years have passed since his birth dampen his wit or insight into the modern era. You can follow him on Twitter or indeed purchase his excellent Dictionary of Modern Life. (Whitcoulls have the eBook ) Here are some examples of his definitions about popular speculative works:
AVATARMister Cameron’s blue-skinned dramatick Folly, presented at the cost of all the Treasures of the Americas. “Bereft of a ticket to see Avatar at the electronick theatre, I daub myself with Woad & place Stained-glass ‘pon my eyes to replickate it.” DALEKironmonger’d Hobgoblin that imperils all creation for up to five-and-forty minutes at a time. HARRY POTTERWizard whose greatest spells have made Publick Schools acceptable to the masses and infant-books acceptable unto adults. THE LORD OF THE RINGS FILMSfantasickal epic staged in New Zealand: takes as long to watch as that far country takes to visit. “Wise Criticks should observe that The Lord of the Rings is no more than two dwarves that set out on a lengthy walk, later beset by Phantasms and bracing scenery.”
In spirit of celebration, I thought I would also have a go at a couple of Johnson definitions: SPECULATIVE FICTIONFanciful tales of the technologickal, fantastickal, or diabolickal, conjured by bards that pursue wild imaginings over coin. TWILIGHTLurid saga of an unaccountable romance betwixt a besparkl’d vampire and a milksop maid; much damn’d by criticks for its overwrought prose, fanatickal tween following and prodigious profits. I encourage others to honour the esteemed maker of dictionaries by composing your own definitions.


Unknown said...

These are really good and funny. Not sure I could come up with stuff as good as yours.


Debbie Cowens said...

Thanks Clarissa. I have no idea how the Modern Dr Johnson manages to produce new definitions so prolifically - especially not when he also has to keep to 140 characters for Twitter.