Faux-fanity: Ranking Science Fiction Swearing From Shuck To Shazbot
The Maze Runner
James Dashner’s 2007 YA novel The Maze Runner was a surprisingly fun read, dropping readers into a post-apocalyptic tale that was far more engaging to me than anything involving a Katniss or a…Divergent character. A group of teenaged boys comprise a makeshift society at the center of a massive maze, filled with dangerous creatures. These boys don’t have their memories intact, which means the conversations never turn to romantic lust or anything of that sort. Even without rock-solid memory banks, it’s like they inherently know that swearing is awesome. And it’s nearly impossible to rail against a Greenie or run away from a Griever without having something stronger than “Oh no!” to scream, so the Glade’s in habitants came up with their own foul language.
- Shuck: The end-all, be-all of Glade exclamations. It’s probably no surprise which word “shuck” is supposed to represent, given it has the same last three letters. It’s pretty versatile, and the amended “shuckface” also comes up time and again. “Shuck it, this tree is impossible to climb.”
- Klunk: This generally means “shit,” and almost always connotes an actual pile of dung. “This pile of klunk doesn’t know how to handle a spear.”
- Slinthead: There’s no direct counterpart for this one, a derogatory description generally reserved for someone who just shucked up. Not even “shithead” seems to convey the proper feeling behind the word’s usage. “Ya dumb slinthead, you just wasted all of our fresh water.”
Profanity Effectiveness Rating: There’s not a shucking thing wrong with either of the first two words, as they roll off of the tongue pretty easily. Slinthead, however, doesn’t really do it for me. Slint, regardless of how you feel about the band of the same name, is just a wrong-sounding word, like “moist.” 9 out of 10.