Tag Archive: “limerick”

A Limerick, the Throne of the Crescent Moon, and Places in Fiction

Portrait sketch of Saladin Ahmed

Here’s a limerick about Throne of the Crescent Moon, the debut novel by Saladin Ahmed:

There was a wise man from Dhamsawaat
who lived with a boy who prayed and fought.
The man loved an old whore,
who deplored the ghul war,
and the boy met a girl who was not.

(With apologies to Zamia and Raseed for making light of their story – but I suspect Doctor Makhslood would embrace a harmless bit of impious doggerel!)

I enjoy stories with a strong sense of place.

Examples large and small come to mind: sordid New Crobuzon from China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station (not to mention the conjoined cities of The City & The City); Green Town, Illinois – distillate of gothic Americana that it is – from Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes; all of the burgeoning desert planet Arrakis from Frank Herbert’s Dune; and even Redwall Abbey from the Brian Jacques series of the same name.

Vivid impressions of these places root them in my memory.

I think that in the Crescent Moon Kingdoms – and especially the big, bustling, central city of Dhamsawaat – Ahmed may have created a similarly memorable setting. The main character Aduolla Makhslood is an expert ghul hunter and affable old fart who is all the more relatable for his relation to the places he inhabits: his favorite tea house, his run-down neighborhood, and his own dear home. So, as with the examples above, Aduolla’s world has become a part of mine.

(Links to related short stories…)

Posted on Saturday, July 20th, 2013.

Story Synopses for May 26

I have backlog of notes on story podcasts. Here are limerick synopses for a scant few of them:

Remembrance Is Something Like A House by Will Ludwigsen (via Podcastle 100)

A house that was home is forsaken;
abandoned in shame, it awakens.
With a creak and a lurch
it sets off on a search
to put right what once was mistaken.

Acceptable Losses by Simon Wood (via Pseudopod 191)

Mission’s the same, boys – collect our dead
with shovels and buckets and dread.
Many battles are won
and the Queen thanks you, son,
for her best weapon needs to be fed.

Intelligent Design by Ellen Klages (via Drabblecast 159)

In the kitchen with Grandma, baking,
young God learns the way of world-making.
“A pinch, a touch – you see?”
But He breathes life care-free;
another batch of bugs is waking.

Posted on Wednesday, May 26th, 2010.

Words About Words I Done Heard

Regulars by Frank Oreto (via Pseudopod 158)

Business is good at Jimmy’s bar, Drakes –
a regular crowd’s all that it takes.
They pay cash to devour
loners caught after hours –
it’s money, but still Jimmy’s heart breaks.

You have to make sacrifices if you want to succeed in this business.

AtroposWoman Called Witch by Doug McIntire (via Dunesteef 145)

What shape does Fate take
to end men in her embrace?
All will see her face.

The narrator witnesses an old woman intervene in a bank robbery. He is a petrified hostage; she is grandmotherly, inexplicably calm, and in one brief but decisive moment, terrifyingly fearsome. She is called Witch, and one day you may know her, too.

What Fluffy Knew by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (via Drabblecast 153)

Fluffy, housecat queen,
spies wee earwig invaders
and begins the hunt.

Ignore your vet – the tabloids are right. If your pets suddenly become vicious, it’s due to mind control parasites deployed by little flying saucers. Fortunately, Fluffy the domestic diva was present to observe the miniature aliens plant their bugs in her tomcat housemates’ ears. As anyone who’s ever played with a cat knows, there are certain threats our feline friends are well equipped to confront – so the outlook is grim for invaders who make such fun-to-chase morsels.

Film-Makers of Mars by Geoff Ryman (via StarShipSofa Aural Delights 57)

Dusty reels; real FX.
John Carter of Mars conquers
on film and in flesh.

Footage from an early silent movie adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series surfaces at a film festival. In some ways it is predictably dated, but the apparent age of the actors and the astounding quality of the special effects – from a grisly slaying to the fluid motion of the indigenous Tharks – raise doubts about the film’s vintage. As the protagonist investigates, however, he finds evidence that the footage is entirely authentic.

Bridesicle by Will McIntosh (via StarShipSofa Aural Delights 124)

The lost are not gone, just kept on ice:
brides are in stock, revived for a price.
Each date’s a taste of life
for each unwed dead wife –
and also, one, whose love lies alike.

As if cryogenic preservation wasn’t creepy enough, imagine adding a dose of mail order marriage to the mix. That’s the world of Bridesicle, where the dead may find themselves arrayed like so many flavors in an ice cream freezer to be sampled by wealthy suitors. It’s hard enough to repeatedly suffer a few minutes of rusty reanimation just to be rejected and returned to death, but Mylee, the main character, must reconcile this desperation with her disinterest in the men who could fund her resuscitation.

A Light in Troy by Sarah Monette (via PodCastle 94)

“There is still a child!”
She is chattel, but she guides,
and he holds her hand.

An aged master, more scholar than menace, beholds with mercy the hope of a woman whose people his crushed. Hope springs eternal.

The Identifier by Mark Patrick Morehead (via Pseudopod 184)

We who remain sort
history’s debris in bins,
and yet still we sing.

The human spirit prevails, even as our pitiable remainder is made to sift through the rubble of civilization. A tabletop IED, a bottle of wine, and a scratched Tchaikovsky CD make for one last wonderful evening in hell.

Posted on Thursday, March 25th, 2010.

Audio Fiction Limericks Volume 2

Catch ‘Em in the Act by Terry Bisson (via Tor.com Story Podcast 7)

There once was a dude whose name was Lou
who lived alone with nothing to do.
He bought a camcorder,
which caused some disorder,
yet after it all he still felt blue.

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen ads for those Crimestoppers™ cameras myself. Catch ‘Em in the Act is written in a repetitive pattern pleasantly reminiscent of a folk story.

The Twa Corbies by Marie Brennan (via PodCastle 82)

Thanks to ravens whose speech he did dread,
a peddler found a knight who was dead.
He told the knight’s lady
who seemed a bit crazy;
later she died and birds ate her head.

Posted on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010.

Reviews in Rhyme: Podcast Fiction Edition

Continuing the theme from yesterday’s book reviews, here are limericks about some short stories I listened to today. (Spoiler warning!)

Another End Of The Empire by Tim Pratt (via PodCastle 88)

The dark lord ruled the land with no ruth,
but his doom was to lose it to youth.
To escape prophesy,
he ruled graciously,
and in peace came the oracle’s truth.

Sometimes audio narrations make me cringe (especially when men attempt to deliver female dialogue in falsetto), but Cheyenne Wright’s reading of this story was great fun.

The Last Great Clown Hunt by Chris Furst (via Drabblecast 148)

On the Plains roam the tribes of the clowns,
the Bozos who were banished from towns.
A clown hunter-cum-cop
who’s tasked to the big top
meets his brother, the chief, which confounds.

I don’t like clowns, but I love the “native” clown names in this story, such as Runs With Scissors. Hilarious sound effects complement the somber telling of this tale.

The Cat Who Walked A Thousand Miles by Kij Johnson (via Tor.com Story Podcast 6)

In Japan lived a cat who was small
with her aunts by a gardened old hall,
but the earth shook and turned
and the garden was burned
so the cat ran away from it all.

The encounter with the monk at the end of this story nearly brought a tear to my eye. (Actually, it seems the narration was abridged, so the story continues after that scene. Fortunately, the beautifully-illustrated full text is available in a variety of formats.)

Posted on Monday, February 1st, 2010.

Recent Books in Rhyme: Fiction Edition

Here is a list of novels I’ve recently read, inspired by a similar list my dad posted earlier this month.

I didn’t feel up to the task of writing accurate synopses or insightful reviews, so instead I wrote limericks.

Sundiver by David Brin

E.T. smarts don’t evolve on their own;
they’re doled out to new Clients on loan.
But we humans are jerks
and we gum up the works
’cause we show you can go it alone.

Blindsight by Peter Watts

On the edge of deep space there awaits
thoughtless threat to the Earth and our fates –
so we sent some misfits,
in a ship well equipped,
for our heroes are all reprobates.

Ilium by Dan Simmons

The post-humans are gods up on Mars
who go Greek ‘stead of aiming for stars.
They enact Homer’s texts
– Helen has lots of sex –
and regret acts of key charactars.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

So this man and his son hit the road,
With a cart and some cans in the cold.
They struck out for the coast,
saw a cannibal roast,
and at last the man died as forebode.

Lamentation by Ken Scholes

A mechanical man cast a spell
and the city from which he hailed fell.
This pawn burdened with blame
for all lost to the flame
will rebuild it as others raise hell.

Hope you enjoyed that!

Posted on Sunday, January 31st, 2010.