Terms of Estrangement, Edited by Jesse Sheidlower

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June 2021 Issue [Readings]

Terms of Estrangement


From the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction, an online resource that began as a project of the Oxford English Dictionary.

meat puppet: the human body; a physical human being, especially in contrast to virtual reality or artificial intelligence

overmind: a single, nonmaterial consciousness composed of the consciousnesses of a large number of beings

corpsicle: a cryogenically frozen person; someone in cold sleep; (occasionally) a frozen corpse

dirtsider: a person who lives on a planet (in contrast to a person who lives or frequently travels in space)

galactographer: one who maps the physical structure of galaxies

telempath: a person who has the psionic ability to sense others’ emotions

transhuman: a person who has gained abilities, through genetic engineering or cybernetic augmentation, sufficiently advanced that they are regarded as a different species

xenocide: a person who kills an entire alien species

posthuman: a descendant of humans who is sufficiently different from present-day humans in form or capability to be regarded as a new species

unperson: a person who, usually for political reasons, is deemed not to have existed and whose name is removed from all public records; a person regarded as less than human

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