Newtonian Dialogue

 

People in the future will talk differently than us, but as a sci-fi writer I still have to make sure my readers can understand them.  It’s a difficult balance, but I think I’ve found a way to make things easier.  The trick is to use scientific terms in ordinary conversation.

I don’t mean technobable.  That’s boring.  I’m talking about sneaking words and phrases that come from science into a character’s dialogue.  For example…

Normal: Our relationship was getting serious; soon, we’d have to get married.
Sciency: Our relationship was gaining momentum; soon, we’d have to get married.

Normal: We tried to be friends, but there was too much conflict between us.
Sciency: We tried to be friends, but there was too much friction between us.

Normal: These rumors are unstoppable.
Sciency: These rumors have too much inertia.

The words momentum, friction, and inertia all come from basic Newtonian physics, but their meanings are well understood by everyone.  Futuristic characters might use these words frequently, but they don’t sound out of place to the modern reader.

It would be harder to slip words like neutrino, carboniferous, or quantum mechanical into a normal conversation.  Maybe there’s a way to do it; I don’t know.  The point is scientific terminology does filter into people’s vocabularies.  Even more so for citizens of an intergalactic empire.

One Response to Newtonian Dialogue

  1. Casi Nerina says:

    Oh, I like this. Although, I’m having to do the reverse in mine. I have a backwater boy who doesn’t understand science mixing with a bunch of science geeks that don’t want him to know they’re science geeks. So when I find it I have to pull out as much as I can and only slip it into dialog very occasionally.

    Like

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