Call a Rabbit a Smeerp

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Call a rabbit a smeerp” sneers at science fiction that tries to seem more exotic by giving ordinary things and goings on unearthly names. It’s considered lazy worldbuilding.

It stems from an ironic line by James Blish, writing (under the penname William Atheling, Jr.) for Redd Boggs' fanzine Sky Hook, in a scathing 1955 review of works by Evelyn E. Smith and Robert Sheckley:

As usual, the problem is ‘solved’ by pulling three rabbits out of the author’s hat (though of course he doesn’t call them rabbits — they look like rabbits, but if you call them smeerps, that makes it science fiction).

Robert Silverberg, writing in the September 2013 issue of Asimov’s, commented: “Most science fiction, under close examination, turns out to have some degree of smeerphood about it.”

See also: Dressed-Up Mundanes, Space Opera, You'll Never See it in Galaxy!

Fanspeak 1955
This is a fanspeak page. Please extend it by adding information about when and by whom it was coined, whether it’s still in use, etc.