Site icon Christina Engela: Author

“Shouldn’t That Be ‘Stakes’?” – Or, Doesn’t Anyone Know What A Pun Is Anymore?

South African female sci-fi

Hello friends and fans!

Today I’m going to openly address a niggling little problem I’ve encountered quite a few times since I released book 6 in the Quantum Series, “High Steaks“! In fact, it happened again today.

Yes, I know what I did there. Yes, I did it on purpose. No, madam, it is not a mistake – no sir, I know the difference in meanings and contexts between ‘stakes’ and ‘steaks’.

Er, tell me, do either of you remember a fascinating little thing in English language referred to as a pun?

A pun is defined as “a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words which sound alike but have different meanings.” – Oxford languages.

For example:

… and high steaks… for a high stakes adventure story containing both vampires (which would naturally evoke the significance of the word ‘stake’) and large numbers of cows being transported through space as a trade commodity and being used (believe it or not) as weapons of war! (…and there I thought the reference to “bovine torpedoes” was a hint!)

That said, I knew perfectly well when I titled the sixth story in Quantum that it was a pun – “steaks” instead of “stakes”. Weirdly enough, since I first published this book over 4 years ago, I’ve had numerous people jeeringly pointing out that I’d “made a mistake” in my cover or title.

Naturally this might have led, conceivably, to some potential buyers overlooking my book, while saying “Well, I’m not gonna buy that – she doesn’t even know how to spell!” or “Can’t afford an editor, shame – I’ll give it a miss!”

Sorry mates, the joke’s on you.

If you’re one of the very, very clever people who habitually substitutes “your” for “you’re” and laughs and points fingers on Facebook while screeching “does she know she spelled ‘stakes’ wrong?” then you’re actually revealing more about yourself than you realize.

So, to get to the point, for those who really have to ask (casts a suspicious eye westward… no, further west, now more north… to just below Canada – that’s right – over there… that’s the spot) the title of this book is a PUN.

It’s scary that I actually have to make a post to clarify this. It makes me wonder about the standards of education these people received – or, more disturbingly, if the general population has become so blindly literalist that they can’t think past the inside of their own eyelids. No wonder there are so many manic religious fundamentalists out there – people who believe every word exactly as it’s written, with no room for interpretation or subtlety! Scary! Still, it only reinforces the knowledge – somewhat comfortingly I’m happy to say, that I don’t write for everybody after all.

Funnily enough, I recall I did the same thing with the previous title in the series (“Prodigal Sun”) and yet nobody has ever pointed that one out to me, or asked if I’d made a mistake and used “sun” instead of “son”.

Perhaps they didn’t even notice?


That’s all for now!

As always, feel free to email or message me via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn if you have any comments or questions! (Just push hate mail under the door – use your pitchfork if necessary.)

Until next time, keep reading!


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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2021.

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