Short SF poems / science fiction haiku / A bit like this

According to a standard storytelling trope, good things (as well as bad and ugly ones) come in threes. While I don’t usually make any particular effort to follow this rule on my blog, I thought it would be quite a good excuse for following up my last couple of posts with another one on a pairing of my interests.  Today’s theme is SciFaiku (aka scifiku or scifi-ku).

The SciFaiku Manifesto describes SciFaiku as “a distinctive and powerful form of expression for science fiction. It packs all the human insight, technology, and vision of the future into a few poignant lines. SciFaiku is haiku and it is not haiku. It is driven by the inspiration and many of the principles of haiku, but it takes its own direction. It deviates, expands, and frees itself of haiku.”

I first came across the concept of SciFaiku several years ago, doubtless while reading up on haiku (itself an artform combining my interests in Japanese and poetry).  Unlike filk music, I have tried my hand at SciFaiku a few times.  I wrote a couple back in August 2006, which was probably fairly shortly after I first heard of them.

The first one is:

Swimming round my blood

tiny sentinels

keeping me fit and strong

This was written with nanotechnology in mind, but I realised sometime after writing it that it could equally well apply to antibodies (which would, I suppose, make it a something like Mediku or a Biku rather than a SciFaiku; both of those are terms I just made up and I doubt either will catch on).

The second was designed to be a summary of the film Gattaca, which I must have watched fairly shortly before writing it.  It ran:

Imperfect genes;

yet fool the scanners

and reach for the stars.

I can’t remember whether I wrote any more after that, but those are the only two I still have written down apart from one I wrote yesterday (while thinking about this post).  This one is inspired by Firefly, which is probably my favourite TV series ever (so far):

In the black

soar like a leaf on the wind


If you read this post when it first went up, you may have noticed that I have subsequently edited the middle line of this SciFaiku.  That’s because I was listening to a bit of Firefly-inspired filk music by the Bedlam Bards which used the line “soar like a leaf on the wind” as a refrain, and this seemed to work better than my original line (“flying free as a bird”).  I’m fairly sure it’s a quote from the film – I think it’s uttered by Wash towards the end.

NB I’m sure you noticed that the title of this post is roughly in haiku format, but it would probably not count as SciFaiku.  If anything, I suppose, it is meta-SciFaiku!?


Not a typo!

Perhaps inspired by my post yesterday about coffee beer, I have today been enjoying another blend of two things I love and listening to filk music (thanks to the tag radio).

In case you’re wondering, filk is not a typo.  Although there is no canonical definition of the term, it could be defined roughly as folk music on science-fiction themes, although both the musical genre and the subject matter are somewhat more flexible than that definition would suggest.

Actually, despite what I said just now, apparently the term did originate as a typo.  It appeared in the early 1950s in the title of an essay by somebody called Lee Jacobs:  “The Influence of Science Fiction on Modern American Filk Music” (which was, of course intended to be “…Folk Music”).  What was to become known as filk music was already happening by then, mostly in impromptu singing sessions at science fiction conventions, although it became more established in the 1970s.

Rather than reciting a load more information about filk music that I’ve just been reading about, I will direct you to the Wikipedia article on the subject (which has links to several other sources of information) if you are interested enough to learn more about it.

As far as I can remember, my fairly sporadic song-writing efforts to date have never ventured into what could legitimately be called filk territory.  I did once write a song about (or rather, against) mobile phones, as well as a tune entitled dodecahedron (so-named because you could sing it quite easily by just repeating the name of my favourite platonic solid), but I don’t think that either count.