Reading in bed last night, I came across this gem:
It is always a temptation to say that such feelings are indescribable, though they seldom are.
— Gene Wolfe, The Sword of the Lictor (vol. III in the Book of the New Sun tetralogy), chapter XXII: “The Skirts of the Mountain”
In a single line the author eviscerated a fairly common trope in SF/F writing. Now and forever after, when I read a sentence stating that X was indescribable or referring to an indescribable colour or an indescribable feeling, I’m going to wonder: Is it really indescribable, though, or is the author simply not interested enough to describe it to me?
I’ve taken the lesson to heart, though: from here on out I’ll be doing my best to excise indescribable from my own lexicon.