Apostropocalypse

wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
#1
Great word huh? The apostropocalypse is in the Neal Stephenson book Reamde, which I'm reading at the mo. It describes an event in the history of an MMORPG where they had to rewrite all the names and races in the backstory because they handed over writing duties to an English academic who was offended by the apostrophes everywhere, pointing out that they were being incorrectly used or suggested an untenable underlying linguistic structure.

I'm also reading Peter V. Brett's demon war stuff at the moment and I can honestly say I think he is guilty of apostropocalysm. Stephenson's vicarious point is that things like Shar'Dama don't make sense. Does the apostrophe denote a missing letter? If so why is it followed by a capitalisation?

Happens all the time in fantasy (as one of his other protagonists explains) but can anyone think of other offenders? Authors where this grammatical abuse, or daft letter combos (e.g. qz, xz) in words has spoilt their enjoyment of their read?
 

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
#2
I always thought R. Scott Bakker used too many umlauts.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr., is guilty of too many apostrophes, as well as unpronounceable names in general (I would not suggest reading his books, he writes the same one over and over again).

Agree with respect to Peter V. Brett. I'm slogging through #3 at the moment and annoyed by this.

On the other hand, I think Erikson mostly uses the apostrophes correctly (like T'lan as short for Tellann).
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#3
Great word huh? The apostropocalypse is in the Neal Stephenson book Reamde, which I'm reading at the mo. It describes an event in the history of an MMORPG where they had to rewrite all the names and races in the backstory because they handed over writing duties to an English academic who was offended by the apostrophes everywhere, pointing out that they were being incorrectly used or suggested an untenable underlying linguistic structure.

I'm also reading Peter V. Brett's demon war stuff at the moment and I can honestly say I think he is guilty of apostropocalysm. Stephenson's vicarious point is that things like Shar'Dama don't make sense. Does the apostrophe denote a missing letter? If so why is it followed by a capitalisation?

Happens all the time in fantasy (as one of his other protagonists explains) but can anyone think of other offenders? Authors where this grammatical abuse, or daft letter combos (e.g. qz, xz) in words has spoilt their enjoyment of their read?
The people of Slaver's Bay (ASOIAF) come to mind. Its not that irritating as with Peter Brett though.
 

ofer

Journeyed there and back again
#4
I'm with the big goatee. Not a big fan of apostrophes. I just don't get them. Not even in books which I liked. Away with them all!

The worst case of apostrophes I can think of is in the Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey. Literally, almost every single character has one. Sometime I entertain the notion that the foreman in the printing press where her books got printed had one too many while on the job, and it just cost too much to replace the whole edition.
 

Boreas

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#5
I agree with Stephenson and @ofer. Get rid of unnecessarily complicated names with apostrophes and the like. Umlauts, though, have a point. They really change the sound of the vowels. But too much is too much.