Sounds Grim

The Grims have a language all of their own.

If you’re a bit lost off, then head here for a translation.

Words will be listed in order of their appearance in the story, to avoid potential spoilers. The chapter in which the term first appears is in brackets after the definition.


Cull – A cold, clinical method of population control in which entire families are gunned down in their homes. AKA the cold-blooded murder of innocents in order to cut down on the number of mouths to feed. (1.1)

Cullsman – A government-hired hitman employed to keep the population down. A man who culls. A cold-blooded murderer of men, women and children. AKA A murdering asshole. (1.1)

Cull Crew – A group of cullsmen, usually operating in a trio. Three murdering assholes. (1.1)

ID card – By city law, all citizens of the city must carry identification on them at all times. (1.4)

Everloving – A Grim word used as a substitute for ‘fucking’ when in polite company. (Steamtalk 1)

Freelands – King Solomon’s makeshift city beneath the old freeway. So called because its inhabitants live a life of excess and merriment (Steamtalk 1) 

Grim – A homeless person. So called because their black hooded robes and pale, emaciated appearances make them appear like the Grim Reaper.  (Steamtalk 1)

Hooch – Alcohol. Illegal in this time and place, but obtainable if you know where to look. Sold by Hoochmen, unscrupulous criminals who are out to make a quick fortune (Steamtalk 1) 

Medicine – 1) Drugs, usually ones that raise the mood of the user. 2) Karma – as in ‘Don’t worry, someday he’ll get his medicine.’ (Steamtalk 1)

Mayor – The asshole in charge of the city. He decides everything from when the Cull Crews are sent out to how much food every family receives. (Steamtalk 1)

Snap – A particularly tasty morsel of food. As in ‘Plenty of snap in here.’ (Steamtalk 1)

King Solomon – Leader of the Freelands (Steamtalk 1)

Foraging – An all-purpose word the Grims use for mugging, food runs into the apartment blocks and a few other unsavoury acts.  (Steamtalk 1)

Whizzers – A hallucinogenic drug so strong that the user is alleged to be able to hear colours. (Steamtalk 1)

Flamebow – A side effect of the steam when it is thrown onto a fire, the flames take on a very impressive technicolour display. 1.6

Steam – A gentle drug that has the effect of making the user totally, utterly happy and relaxed. Usually stored in a jar and thrown onto an open flame and inhaled, to much merriment. (1.6)

Steamtalk – The effects of being ‘Steamed’ which may cause the user or ‘Steamer’ to talk nonsense, become harmlessly aggressive or shout threats which will not be honoured. (1.8)

Shituation – A shitty situation (Steamtalk 2)

Sinner – Anyone who doesn’t follow Reverend Wayne Cross’s ultra-strict religious code. (2.4)

Cut the devil out of you – 1) A sinister threat from Reverend Wayne Cross. 2) A process (which in Cross’s warped mind is designed to lead the sinner back to God) where a sinner is imprisoned in a cage for forty days and nights and has a piece of their flesh carved away every day. (2.5)