Rarely Pure and Never Simple.

While a significant proportion of books fail Immerse Or Die on usage, punctuation, or other technical issues, reader disbelief has tripped more than one. Often it is the actually implausible, but sometimes the issue is reality seeming impossible. So, assuming Aristotle is right that fiction should put the plausible impossible before the implausible possible, how might one do it?

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Nonlocal Science Fiction, Issue #2 by Daniel J. Dombrowski (ed.)

Nonlocal Science Fiction, Issue #2 by Daniel J. DombrowskiPrioritising stories that are well-written over any particular definition of science-fiction, Dombrowski successfully collects dystopia, noir, post-apocalyptic and space opera in one magazine.

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Retrospective Failure

In my first report card, my form master described me as, inter alia, having a “dry wit”. As might be expected of someone whose education involved report cards, form masters, and the casual use of Latin in sentences, the following several years of education amplified rather than removed this trait. And it persists to this day: Steve Turnbull has taken it as one of his missions to gloss my social media comments with a metaphor comparing my wit to wine so dry it is dust in the glass. So, it will come as no surprise I am fond of irony. However, for the same span of time, one irony has irritated me: divine irony.

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Una the Explorer

After two years of sharing a house with Jasper and Una, I assumed that – while they would continue to investigate changes and carry out frequent continuity checks – they had defined their territories. However, last week Una decided to explore further up one of the bookcases.

Una climbing a bookcase

Day 919: we have established a new base camp. I consider pressing on for the summit, but Jasper is unsure.
©Dave Higgins – CC BY NC SA

Jasper staked out his claim on the second shelf soon after they moved in, and often sits there to watch us clean the litter tray or bat at the telephone cord, but that was the highest they have been until now.

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Moon Facts by Bob Schofield

Moon Facts by Bob SchofieldLike his muse, Schofield offers potential solidity, hidden by shadows and distance. Revealing where bees go to die, but not why, he offers this solidity to the reader as a basis for exploring further.

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Countdown to Continuance

July 15th 2015. The last day before Comet Gijalva doesn’t hit the Earth, wiping out humanity. With only a few hours to go until the central prediction of Fauxpocalypse is proved true, I and the other contributors go about our normal lives as if tomorrow will come.

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A Dream Within a Dream

Ever since I did my first witness-quality test at University, I have strongly believed human perception is open to surprising inaccuracy; however, I never expected that inaccurate perceptions would be an evolutionary advantage:


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Gingerbread Wolves by Misha Burnett

Gingerbread Wolves by Misha BurnettDrawing the reader deeper into his universe of gnostic metamathmatical outsider gods and human insignificance – but rejecting Lovecraft’s obsession with depressed moaning about degeneracy – Burnett delivers a fast-paced thriller that doesn’t skimp on consequences.

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There Ain’t No Devil, That’s Just God When He’s Drunk

Dave Higgins:

I am still recovering from an illness that should not be (described); so it seemed appropriate to share this interesting article from one of my favourite authors of metaMythos speculative fiction.

Originally posted on mishaburnett:

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

C. S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters

 This is a followup to this morning’s post on moral peril in fiction.  As I said in my other post, I do believe that protagonists should do the right thing (or at least as close to right as they can, as often as they can) but I enjoy the narrative tension of asking not only, “will the hero win?” but also, “will the hero remain a hero?”

What makes a character a “good guy” is an ethos.  In order to create believable moral peril–what I called “a credible threat of damnation”–that ethos has to be clear, sympathetic, breakable, and limiting. Let’s take a look at those attributes.

Clear: In order for the reader to understand that the character…

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Stranger Worlds Than These by L.J. Cohen

Stranger Worlds Than These by L.J. CohenCombining fluid language with solid structure, Cohen creates a series of speculative tales that raise questions without ever confusing the reader.

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