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not too distant future

Discussion in 'English Only' started by WisteriaLane, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. WisteriaLane Senior Member

    Italy- Italian
    How does this sound? This is the incipit to a si-fi comics and it telegraphically specifies time and location; so could it go something like: 'Planet Earth in the not too distant future...' ? or maybe 'planet Earth, a not too distant future...'? thanks
     
  2. Franzi Senior Member

    Astoria, NY
    (San Francisco) English
    Do you mean it's from the introduction to a sci-fi comic that is vague about time and location?

    "Planet Earth in the not too distant future" and "Planet Earth: A not too distant future" both sound fine to me. The latter sounds more like a title.
     
  3. WisteriaLane Senior Member

    Italy- Italian
    I have to write an unfinished sentence as shown which would serve as introduction to the comics maybe followed by suspension dots. so the former is probably better....
     
  4. padredeocho Senior Member

    United States
    1) 'Planet Earth, in the not too distant future, . . . ." Yes, this is good.

    2) 'Planet Earth, a not too distant future...'? Nope, that one is terrible (just my opinion).
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2008
  5. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Wisteria Lane, it all depends on (yes, here it comes) the context. As the stage-setting introductory words to a sci-fi (science fiction) comic book "Planet Earth, the not-too-distant future" (perhaps without hyphens, given the genre) sounds fine to me. But if it is going to be a complete sentence, then I would prefer your first sentence.
     
  6. WisteriaLane Senior Member

    Italy- Italian
    Sorry... I thought 'incipit' was known in English too... I meant prelude, intro...
     
  7. Franzi Senior Member

    Astoria, NY
    (San Francisco) English
    It looks like it is used in English (though I'd never heard it before), but it's a much less common, general word than in Italian. It's only used as jargon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incipit
     
  8. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés

    If you want to be more specific, (1) is better. If you prefer to be a little vague, (2) does the job nicely. In stage directions, "...a not too distant..." or "a faraway place" or "a something or other not clearly specified" are often used to point the reader or viewer in a direction, without giving precise information. In other words, they are used more to set a tone than to convey specific facts. The use of a rather than the article the suggests the likelihood that there are many possible somethings, and that you don't want the reader to be overly preoccupied with which one in particular.
     
  9. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    Like Franzi and Cuchuflete I don't find this in the least bit terrible.
     
  10. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    :confused:

    I like (2) as well. In fact I prefer it to (1).
     
  11. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    (2) 'Planet Earth, a not too distant future...'

    Taking a somewhat eccentric (perhaps) middle road - I find this terrible, but perfect.
    It is absolutely right for the genre.
    I might punctuate it differently, but no matter. It is a scene-setter.
    For those who consider it should be the, not a, please re-consider and reflect on the trousers of time. In the world of Science Fiction, there are many different futures.
     
  12. padredeocho Senior Member

    United States
    I have never heard of planet earth referred to as a "not to distant future".

    Let's try it with other nouns:

    China, a not too distant future, will be/is the world's economic capital. I just don't see how that works. I think that is like trying to force a square peg into a round hole. If I were grading that in an English paper, I'd mark it red. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2008
  13. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    As panj says, it's right for the genre.

    The genre is not that of an English paper to be marked by a writer of legal briefs;).
     
  14. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    If you were reading it in an English paper? Why would you confuse the clearly stated context, a prelude to a science fiction comic book with an English paper? What might not suit your standards for one genre may be perfect in another. One-size-fits-all stylistic dictates are dangerous. Close reading of text is highly recommended for the first post of each thread.
     
  15. Franzi Senior Member

    Astoria, NY
    (San Francisco) English
    I agree that "Earth, a not too distant future, is..." is bad. "Earth, a not too distant future..." in an introduction isn't really the lead in to that sentence, however. I would interpret it as meaning the same thing as "Earth: a not too distant future". It's a label that is absolutely standard for this sort of context. Think about all of the cheesy Highlander scenes that begin with "Scotland, 1654" or episodes of Dragnet that begin with "Tuesday, February 12th. It was a cold day in Los Angeles, and..."
     
  16. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I think Franzi's hit the nail on the head...
     

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