While I was writing The Black Petal, I introduced a number of terms that refer to things inside the world I created.  One of the questions someone asked me was about the use of “standard” when referring to a human.  I’ll admit that I wasn’t very consistent with it’s use in the story, but I wanted to point out that the terms are basically interchangeable.

The term “standard” is considered street lingo, and is what is generally used to refer to the base human model, as opposed to elf, orc, halfling, troll, etc.  The scientific term is still “human”, however.  Which means that in terms of the overall narrative, I’ll switch between the two terms from time to time.  It pretty much comes down to how I felt at the time.  If I’m talking about humans in the scientific sense, then “human” would be the most appropriate term.

I always imagined that the origin of the word simply came from the fact that there wasn’t a derogatory word for humans, and being called a “standard” would simply mean a person wasn’t of any real significance and the lowest level of the evolutionary chain.  Over time, the term lost a lot of its sting and just became a normal part of the world’s vocabulary.  The negative origin of the term hasn’t been completely forgotten, but that’s always a matter of tone and context.