The Word-Hoard: Tableau

August 27, 2018 Bushi 0

Tableau n. 1. A picture, as of a scene. 2. A picturesque grouping of persons or objects; a striking scene. 3. A representation of a picture, state, scene, etc., by one or more persons suitably costumed and posed.   Not an especially obscure or difficult word, but “tableau” can add a bit of welcome variety to the “scene” or “picture” you may […]

Leigh Brackett

Leigh Brackett on Pessimism

August 24, 2018 Bushi 6

If you spend a lot of time reading/watching the news or plumbing the depths of social media, you may feel like everything is going to crap. You may be feeling like it’s time to despair, or that things have reached an all-time low. And I’m not going to pen an […]

Clark Ashton Smith, Zothique

Introduction to the Weird Clark Ashton Smith

August 23, 2018 Bushi 13

When you think “Weird Tales,” H.P. Lovecraft should spring immediately to mind. Even if you’re new to scifi/fantasy, or if you don’t read much horror, you’ve no doubt at least heard of the Master of Cosmic Horror and creator of Cthulhu. If you’re not a fan of the genre, you […]

The Word-Hoard: Lapidary

August 22, 2018 Bushi 0

Lapidary: n. Someone whose job is cutting and polishing stones, especially precious stones.   adj. 1: Relating to the work of cutting and polishing stones, especially precious stones. 2: Clever but simple.   The root of “lapidary” is obvious enough to classical language scholars – lapis, the Latin word for “stone. […]

The Word-Hoard: Sybaritic

August 21, 2018 Bushi 3

Sybaritic adj. Fond of sensuous luxury or pleasure; self-indulgent.   The Emperor , of the Emperor’s Notepad, suggested that it might be interesting to explore the origins of some of these words while we’re tossing them into the vault. “Sybaritic,” then, is an excellent starting place. Sybaris was a wealthy […]


The Word-Hoard: Unguent

August 20, 2018 Bushi 3

Unguent: n. a thick substance, usually with a pleasant smell, used to treat skin problems or make the skin soft. “Unguent” is an excellent alternative to “ointment” and “salve,” should you think either of them too mundane or overused. Whether you’re talking about the fine-smelling oils that an aristocrat might […]

The Word-Hoard: Vertiginous

August 17, 2018 Bushi 0

Vertiginous: adj. 1 a : Characterized by or suffering from vertigo or dizziness b : Inclined to frequent and often pointless change ; inconstant 2 : Causing or tending to cause dizziness  3 : Marked by turning ; rotary    When you’re poised atop a celestial skybridge or climbing the […]

Jack Vance channels Burroughs: Planet of Adventure

August 16, 2018 Bushi 8

An Earthman finds himself stranded on an alien world peopled by multiple, warring races of men and strange non-human creatures. Armed with courage and wit, trusting in his charisma, combat ability, and survival skills, and guided by compassion and a will to unite the men of this new world, he […]

The Word-Hoard: Effulgence

August 15, 2018 Bushi 9

Effulgence: n. A brilliant radiance; a shining forth. “Effulgence” strikes me as a great word for that flood of light when the door is opened between a dark chamber and a well-lit one. Maybe the effulgence of light contrasts sharply with the black silhouette of a sinister villain. Or of […]

Genre Wars: SF & F and Magic

August 14, 2018 Bushi 3

Last week I shared my musings on the divide between scifi and fantasy, and why it’s not the most helpful or natural distinction. Over at, one of my counterparts has offered a different perspective. In the hottest of takes, he suggests that in Star Wars, the Force is less […]