(Belated) Happy Birthday, Jack Vance!

August 29, 2018 Bushi 0

John “Jack” Holbrook Vance was born on 8/28/1916, just a little over one hundred years ago yesterday. “Who is Jack Holbrook Vance?” you may ask. Come, I will explain presently! The man named Jack Vance came from a moneyed family, but upon a turn of fortune was forced from youth […]

Cirsova #9

New Release: “Antares”

August 28, 2018 Bushi 4

Back in the early summer of 2017, I wrote up what I’d describe as a weird reptileman-centric sword and planet tale and submitted to Cirsova magazine. Alex wound up with a slew of stories during that submission period and attained several issues worth of material. Well, the time has finally […]

Secret of Machines

Rudyard Kipling Does Scifi: The Secret of the Machines

August 28, 2018 Bushi 2

I recently found another SF/F podcast that I’ve been digging – Reading, Short and Deep, by SFFAudio. Each episode (available online or through the Apple Podcasts app) consists of the reading of a short SFF work and then some insightful literary analysis and critique by hosts Eric Rabkin and Jesse […]


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 […]