Monday, September 20, 2010

Science Fiction Lexicography: Bull Goose Loser


Now that the Oxford English Dictionary has gathered together definitions and citations for a raft of words derived from science fiction (ansible, blaster, alternate universe, etc.) and fandom (trufan, worldcon, filk, u.s.W.), it's time to start laying down the documentation for some far future edition of the OED which will scoop up terms which currently only insiders use.

I have two candidates, both the creations of Master Neologist Gardner Dozois.  Today's entry?

Bull Goose Loser.

 The Bull Goose Loser is the science fiction writer (so far, no fantasists have made the grade) who has been nominated for the most Hugo and Nebula Awards without ever winning one.  I believe it was invented to honor (and to twit) his pal George R. R. Martin, though Gardner can correct me if I'm wrong.  I'm pretty sure that Gardner was the BGL for a time, as was Jack Dann.  I had hopes of nabbing the title for myself at one point, but I fell short.

Gardner derived the title from Ken Kesey's "bull goose loony" (the psych ward's alpha male) in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

The title of Bull Goose Loser is a noble one but, unlike most such honors, it does not achieve full luster until it is lost.  Being the BGL is essentially a promise from the universe that someday you will graduate to a higher and more satisfactory status.

Until that actually happens, however, the Bull Goose Loser lives in a state of uncertainty.  Because we all know how good the universe is at keeping its promises.

Above:  An image that John Hemry found on the web.  On the Fox News site, of all places!


1 comment:

HANNAH'S DAD said...

> Above: An image that John Hemry found on the web. On the Fox News site, of all places!

It was from a contest for "vintage ads of fictional futures".

and a followup contest at:

(check the Korova milk ad with the bears - horrorshow!)