I found this as a comment to an Amazon review (of someone else’s novel)

From a person who logs into Amazon as panopticon7:

It’s not science fiction if the technology described is merely listed–to be science fiction, there needs to be an element of explanation; without explanation of any kind, whether through descriptions of use all the way through full expositions of actual or imagined physics, it is merely the panoply of science fiction, not actual science fiction. simply slapping labels on stuff–Gates, beings with many bodies, space stations, AI, sentient ships, guns that can shoot through anything–is imaginative fiction, no doubt, but without any aspect of explanation of the science behind it, remains only that and not science fiction. the test is pretty easy–if the plot works just fine without ever understanding anything about how anything works, it ain’t science fiction. if the plot can’t work without knowing the actual or imagined science, then it’s science fiction. and notice i say “science” and not just “rules.” rules are for fantasy. cause and effect relationships, whether speculated or actual, are the essence of science. magic (which is inherently fictional) only needs arbitrary rules at most–consistency is optional. conversely, science–even if fictional–absolutely requires internally consistent direct relationships within the described environment that is not contingent on anything in the story. in short, science fiction is not happening if what is offered is indistinguishable from magic. (yes, this is a Clarke corollary.)


The house is quiet,
A hollow shell without joy
Since our orange cat’s death

From soon to be published “The Lesser Talisman”

The Minstrel’s Song

Come, fill your cup and listen to my tale,
About a world long lost beyond the Veil,
Where three moons hurry across the sky,
And lives are ruled by bronze, and horse, and sail.

A world where magic beasts, both great and small,
Bring woe to him on whom their wrath befall;
Though neither sword nor spear can do them harm,
Those bound to talisman are held in thrall.

My story starts as men ride forth to war
Before the walls between the rivers’ shore,
While Jann and Demon bet upon the end,
And count which men will fall to rise no more.

rapidfire postcard septemberI’ll be reading a brief selection from “A Larger Universe.” I had hoped to be finished with “The Lesser Talisman” but alas….

On reading a “Haiku”

Five syllables start
A Haiku, then come seven,
And then five again.

Tradition be damned,
I’ll do six, then six again,
Then I’ll do seven.

It sounds a little off,
And rules can be so hard,
But is it really Haiku?

Who am I to say?
Structure is so confining,
It’s just poetry.

I could write prose,
Or a sonnet’s fourteen lines,
And not think so much.

But when I’ve done it,
Every beat accounted for,
Then I truly know,

Shrinking an image
To seventeen syllables.
Is worth the effort.

–Jim Gillaspy–