In winter, Expanse aficionados gathered at Longitude on occasional Wednesdays for ora xush (“happy hour”), and shared their Belter. Farmer would show up as long as he was poured daiquiris, and Baban conceived a rum-based concoction called naterash (“no thrust”). “In the belt, constant thrust is how they mimic gravity,” Baban explains. “Engines kick off, zero-g. One sip of this cocktail and you feel ready to float out of your seat. The rum is finished in a vacuum still, which felt appropriate.”

“Xelixup (excellent),” Baban added.

How Farmer happened to be invited to create Belter is one of those labyrinthine Hollywood coincidences that in this case began at Professor Thom’s, a bar on Second Avenue and 14th Street in New York City. In 2011, Farmer, then living in Manhattan, was frequenting Thom’s to watch the first season of Game of Thrones on a big screen. One night, he turned and noticed that sitting right next to him was none other than George RR Martin, the author of the books behind the series. In town to see his publishers, Martin, not quite yet the blockbuster best-selling household name he was soon to become, wanted to watch the show with a real audience.

Farmer started a conversation. Wanting to avoid looking like a star-struck fan, he mentioned knowing an organizer of Google Talks, the prestigious author series, and asked whether Martin was interested in speaking at the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters. (The contact was Farmer’s mom, Ann, who works at Google and is an organizer of the talks.) That summer, the talk took place, and Martin brought in tow his assistant—Ty Franck, who had just published Leviathan Wakes.

One thing led to another, and Farmer spent three months creating a grammatical structure for the population of Belters. (Here is Farmer discussing the language.)

The Belters curse quite a bit, and as a warning if you happen to be at Longitude, watch out if anyone calls you dzemang. It means crooked penis and, says Farmer, “is definitely something you don’t want to be called in the Belt.”

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