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Special Guest Poet Carol Hamilton
Guest Poet Katherine Quevedo
"The Geologist Speaks"
John C. Mannone
Vivian Finley Nida
"Illumination Satellite: 2020 Chinese Vision"
"about it all or just about"
Charles A. Swanson
"Willing Suspension of Disbelief"
James Frederick William Rowe
"Ain't no Winchester"
"Into the Vortex"
Guest Poet Sharon Cote
The Sanity of the Lonely Body"
Steven Wittenberg Gordon
"Golem: A Triptych"
Guest Poet Tyson West
"First Freefall on Canis Minor 14C"
Guest Poet Charles M. Saplak
"Shattered Expectations of the Future Dystopia"
Frequent Contributor News
as haberdasher and draper, moved on to earn
at a government post. The rest of his 17th C. life
was devoted to grinding glass. I picture him
in his basement, like my father always busy
in his garage workshop, moving minutiae,
fascinated. Passion kept him grinding in secret,
much hidden away. He must have told someone
of his world of bacteria and protozoa,
creatures busy swimming away lives
in an unseen universe. He watched
tiny fleas lay eggs, deduced insects do not
procreate by spontaneous generation.
Long years ground against the grain
of leisure … hours of obsession,
fascination, compulsion, constancy,
persistence while society looks askance.
Until … violá …worlds within worlds
within worlds …. jeweler's eyepiece …
astronomer of the night …. show how tight,
how tiny our vision, we here,
bound within our senses
until someone tells us a fairy tale.
For once we listen …
and sometimes …
we even believe.
Editor's Note: The story of Leeuwenhoek's discovery of microscopic life has always fascinated me. I remember learning about it in biology in the 5th grade and being captivated by it. This poem so beautifully commemorates this monumental achievement of a strange, amateur scientist, who opened the doors of human perception to a world so small as to be imperceptible. JFWR
Editor's Note: The poet speaks of the passion unearthed--such a wonderful play on words! I felt the same in reading the geologist's brilliant description of these treasured stones. JFWR
Poet’s Notes: I am fascinated by carbon with its origin in old stars, its many forms, and its long and short cycles. The more I researched, though, the more unwieldy carbon came to feel as a subject. Then I came across some abstract prints that gave me the idea of writing about carbon as a series of haiku. I have seen this form on occasion and have always been intrigued by it.
splash after splash
whiff after whiff
clod after clod
flame after flame
to stretch a segment
into a ray
or at least bend it
into a circle
yearning for space
while pursuing time
only to stumble
over our shadow
end up in ether
Poet’s Notes: Willing suspension of disbelief is often spoken of as a concept of fictional works, but believable science fiction is built on the principle that rules govern the seemingly impossible. H. G. Wells built his novels around making the unbelievable believable. He did so by surrounding an event, such as a Martian invasion, by realistic and minute description, a web of realism that makes the science fiction element seem as if it could really happen.
Editor's Note: If I were able to find some of those star stickers today, I'd add them to my room this minute. I used to focus my Ikea light on them in order for them to shine even brighter as I fell asleep. JFWR
Poet’s Notes: An oak tree is large and strong; and like all creation, the visible was created from the invisible. I have read that when the brown stuff from inside an acorn is placed beneath the power of an electronic microscope . . . all is seen, is mysterious waves of energy that come and go. These waves can be bent and influenced by our thoughts.
Poet's Notes: Our future was painted long ago on the walls of caves. There is magic in blood and stars, in the darkness of caves, and in the darkness of space. There is magic in us.
Editor's Note: The excellence of this poem resides in its thematic uniqueness. No poems touched upon the intersection of the horrifying and the science fiction at all aside from this. Although this poem differs tremendously from Alien and Event Horizon, I am glad to see that sub-genre represented. JFWR
The poem is arranged simply and there isn't much to report on anything particular regarding its aesthetics. Nevertheless, the style I think harmonizes well with the comic tone of the poem and shares some similarities to the general feel of my poetry that tends towards the comedic rather than the serious.
My poem lets go of any leash that inhibits my imagination. The poem tells a story which I construe as science fiction--although I hasten to add that I am not a "science fiction writer." It describes and evokes a terrifying experience--one that, in turn, could serve as a metaphor for far more mundane, ordinary facets of life.
Editor's Note: Black holes may not be fresh in science fiction, but the sheer beauty of the last stanza in general, and "Time has disfigured me" in particular, shows there is still more to say about them worth printing. JFWR
Editor's Note: Too often, aliens are depicted simply as space humans, sharing so much with our own selves that they hardly represent anything unique. Not so in this poem, where the aliens are profoundly and uniquely different from ourselves in the most important of the ways: psychologically. Whereas we see ourselves as one, they see themselves as two. To imagine that difference is itself worthy of a poem, but then to imagine the We alien to come to understand how humans achieve weness in our connections to others is absolutely stirring. The "we" grammar does much to enhance the presentation. JFWR
Poet's Notes: Hebrew legend has it that it is possible for a rabbi to become so holy and knowledgeable through the study of the Torah, Talmud, and Kabalah, that he can acquire the power to breathe life into a "man" made of clay in a manner analogous to the way God breathed life into Adam. There have been documented cases, as an internet search will reveal. I added a touch of the legend of Pygmalion to my four-poems-in-one version here.
Editor's Note: The golem legend is a fascinating one, as it reflects upon our history-spanning ambitions to be the creator of new life. I often think that humans are always striving to be even more "in the image of God" than they already are, and how much more god-like would we be if we achieved such a feat as to create an artificial life form? JFWR
Editor's Note: I enjoy the way this poem weds the theme of colonization of new worlds with a thoughtful contemplation of our sense of human divinity and our relationship to dogs, both as fellows in our travels and as part and parcel of our obsession with our own right to rule. JFWR
About the Poet: Tyson West has published speculative fiction and poetry in free verse, form verse, and haiku, distilled from his mystical relationship with noxious weeds and magpies in Eastern Washington. He has no plans to quit his day job in real estate. His poetry collection Home-Canned Forbidden Fruit is available from Gribble Press.
Editor's Note: Woe to those of us who have erased our dreams by our discoveries. JFWR
About the Poet: Charles M. Saplak lives in Roanoke, Virginia. He currently has a collection of horror stories available on Amazon titled, Quiet, Yet Somehow Wrong. He is in the process of collecting some of his science fiction stories for a companion volume.
Poet’s Notes: This short formal poem is about a subject matter I love so much. It’s a cinquain of iambic pentameters, untitled, rhymed ABABA. I’d be curious to know what readers would think of it without this note because I suspect it may sound a bit obscure. It was inspired by several Einstein’s quotes about man’s place in the universe, mankind’s duplicity (for which it can be so fascinating and repulsive at the same time), the mystery of the cosmos itself--in other words, the meaning of everything. Among them my favorite one is the following: “Only two things are infinite--the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”
Editor's Note: Our voices echo in the void, while all we yearn for is a response... JFWR
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