The Turkey City Lexicon
(Annotated with some Games Workshop observations)
The Turkey City Lexicon is a terminology guide that’s been floating around in one form or another since the late eighties (Google will turn up plenty of hits if you want to see one of the original copies; I got this one from the SFWA website). The Lexicon is deliberately not copyrighted and is intended to be copied at will and passed on to other writers (note that you shouldn’t try this with anything else on the SFWA site, if you go there – there are some great articles but most of them are copyrighted).
There’s a tendency for people to look at the Lexicon as a list of “common mistakes” or “things not to do”, which is not entirely correct as I understand its purpose. Certainly seeing a common problem set down pithily can help crystallise that particular example of bad technique, but a couple of the terms in here are complimentary and many others aren’t necessarily fatal problems. As in “you might want to watch out for funny-hat characterisation on page four, although with the narrative voice you use it works well”. What it is meant to be is a useful resource for critiquers, giving you a quick and easy shorthand for a known quantity you’ve observed in writing. In the above example, you don’t need to spend half a paragraph describing a shaky spot in the characterisation, you have a quick term to cover it and save space and time for both of you.
The early, simple version of the lexicon by Lewis Shiner was expanded and added to by Bruce Sterling, not, in my opinion, always for the better. There are no real differences in actual content between the two, so for this version I’ve picked whichever version of an entry I thought was better phrased. The GW-specific notes are my own – I’ll add more as I think of them, if I have the time. Discussion of any or all of the entries is of course welcome - it's what I'm posting this for.
Anyway, let’s get on with it.
Part One: Words and Sentences
Brenda Starr dialogue
Long sections of talk with no physical background or description of the characters. Such dialogue, detached from the story's setting, tends to echo hollowly, as if suspended in mid-air. Named for the American comic-strip in which dialogue balloons were often seen emerging from the Manhattan skyline.
"Burly Detective" Syndrome
This useful term is taken from SF's cousin-genre, the detective-pulp. The hack writers of the Mike Shayne series showed an odd reluctance to use Shayne's proper name, preferring euphemisms like "the burly detective" or "the red-headed sleuth." This comes from a wrong-headed conviction that the same word should not be used twice in close succession. This is only true of particularly strong and visible words, such as "vertiginous." Better to re-use a simple tag or phrase than to contrive cumbersome methods of avoiding it.
Brand Name Fever
Use of brand name alone, without accompanying visual detail, to create false verisimilitude. You can stock a future with Hondas and Sonys and IBM's and still have no idea with it looks like.
"Call a Rabbit a Smeerp"
A cheap technique for false exoticism, in which common elements of the real world are re-named for a fantastic milieu without any real alteration in their basic nature or behavior. "Smeerps" are especially common in fantasy worlds, where people often ride exotic steeds that look and act just like horses. (Attributed to James Blish.)
Useless ornament in prose, such as fancy sesquipedalian Latinate words where short clear English ones will do. Novice authors sometimes use "gingerbread" in the hope of disguising faults and conveying an air of refinement. (Attr. Damon Knight)
The mis-use of the present participle is a common structural sentence-fault for beginning writers. "Putting his key in the door, he leapt up the stairs and got his revolver out of the bureau." Alas, our hero couldn't do this even if his arms were forty feet long. This fault shades into "Ing Disease," the tendency to pepper sentences with words ending in "-ing," a grammatical construction which tends to confuse the proper sequence of events. (Attr. Damon Knight)
Bogus lyricism like "star," "dance," "dream," "song," "tears" and "poet". Used to evoke a cheap emotional response without engaging the intellect or critical faculties, getting us misty-eyed and tender-hearted without us quite knowing why. Most often found in titles.
The ludicrous overuse of far-fetched adjectives, piled into a festering, fungal, tenebrous, troglodytic, ichorous, leprous, synonymic heap. (Attr. John W. Campbell)
An artificial verb used to avoid the word "said." "Said" is one of the few invisible words in the English language and is almost impossible to overuse. It is much less distracting than "he retorted," "she inquired," "he ejaculated," and other oddities. The term "said-book" comes from certain pamphlets, containing hundreds of purple-prose synonyms for the word "said," which were sold to aspiring authors from tiny ads in American magazines of the pre-WWII era.
An unseemly compulsion to follow the word "said" with a colourful adverb: "'We'd better hurry,' Tom said swiftly." This was a standard mannerism of the old Tom Swift adventure dime-novels. Good dialogue can stand on its own without a clutter of adverbial props.
Part Two: Paragraphs and Prose Structure
A sudden, alarming change in the level of diction. "There will be bloody riots and savage insurrections leading to a violent popular uprising unless the regime starts being lots nicer about stuff."
Expositional redundancy. "'Let's get out of here,' he said, urging her to leave."
The unwitting intrusion of the author's physical surroundings or mental state into the text of the story. Authors who smoke or drink while writing often drown or choke their characters with an endless supply of booze and cigs. In subtler forms of the Dischism, the characters complain of their confusion and indecision -- when this is actually the author's condition at the moment of writing, not theirs within the story. "Dischism" is named after the critic who diagnosed this syndrome. (Attr. Thomas M. Disch)
An ailment endemic to genre writing, in which soap-opera elements of purported human interest are stuffed into the story willy-nilly, whether or not they advance the plot or contribute to the point of the story. The actions of such characters convey an itchy sense of irrelevance, for the author has invented their problems out of whole cloth, so as to have something to emote about.
A cheap labour-saving technique in which the author, too lazy to describe the surroundings, afflicts the viewpoint-character with a blindfold, an attack of space-sickness, the urge to play marathon whist-games in the smoking-room, etc.
An element of motivation the author was too lazy to supply. The word "somehow" is a useful tip-off to fuzzy areas of a story. "Somehow she had forgotten to bring her gun."
An attempt to distract the reader with dazzling prose or other verbal fireworks, so as to divert attention from a severe logical flaw. (Attr. Stewart Brand)
Characters grandstand and tug the reader's sleeve in an effort to force a specific emotional reaction. They laugh wildly at their own jokes, cry loudly at their own pain, and rob the reader of any real chance of attaining genuine emotion.
Show, Don’t Tell
A cardinal principle of effective writing. The reader should be allowed to react naturally to the evidence presented in the story, not instructed in how to react by the author. Specific incidents and carefully observed details will render auctorial lectures unnecessary. For instance, instead of telling the reader "She had a bad childhood, an unhappy childhood," a specific incident -- involving, say, a locked closet and two jars of honey -- should be shown.
Rigid adherence to show-don't-tell can become absurd. Minor matters are sometimes best gotten out of the way in a swift, straightforward fashion.
Signal from Fred
A comic form of the "Dischism" in which the author's subconscious, alarmed by the poor quality of the work, makes unwitting critical comments: "This doesn't make sense." "This is really boring." "This sounds like a bad movie." (Attr. Damon Knight)
Squid in the Mouth
The failure of an author to realize that his/her own weird assumptions and personal in-jokes are simply not shared by the world-at-large. Instead of applauding the wit or insight of the author's remarks, the world-at-large will stare in vague shock and alarm at such a writer, as if he or she had a live squid in the mouth.
Since SF writers as a breed are generally quite loony, and in fact make this a stock in trade, "squid in the mouth" doubles as a term of grudging praise, describing the essential, irreducible, divinely unpredictable lunacy of the true SF writer. (Attr. James P Blaylock)
Squid on the Mantelpiece
Chekhov said that if there are dueling pistols over the mantelpiece in the first act, they should be fired in the third. In other words, a plot element should be deployed in a timely fashion and with proper dramatic emphasis. However, in SF plotting the MacGuffins are often so overwhelming that they cause conventional plot structures to collapse. It's hard to properly dramatize, say, the domestic effects of Dad's bank overdraft when a giant writhing kraken is levelling the city. This mismatch between the conventional dramatic proprieties and SF's extreme, grotesque, or visionary thematics is known as the "squid on the mantelpiece."
MF – I’ve heard several versions of the supposed “Chekhov’s Gun” principle, no two of them meaning exactly the same thing. For example, the version I first heard is “If a character produces a gun, then it should be used to shoot someone, or threaten someone, or go off by accident, or fail to fire when it’s needed, and so on. If it does none of these things, then it is superfluous and should be taken out altogether.” That’s a point about narrative tidiness rather than timely deployment of plot elements.
White Room Syndrome
A clear and common sign of the failure of the author's imagination, most often seen at the beginning of a story, before the setting, background, or characters have gelled. "She awoke in a white room." The 'white room' is a featureless set for which details have yet to be invented -- a failure of invention by the author. The character 'wakes' in order to begin a fresh train of thought -- again, just like the author. This 'white room' opening is generally followed by much earnest pondering of circumstances and useless exposition; all of which can be cut, painlessly.
It remains to be seen whether the "white room" cliche' will fade from use now that most authors confront glowing screens rather than blank white paper.
Wiring Diagram Fiction
A genre ailment related to "False Humanity," "Wiring Diagram Fiction" involves "characters" who show no convincing emotional reactions at all, since they are overwhelmed by the author's fascination with gadgetry or didactic lectures.
MF – A trap hard SF often falls into, in my experience. I suppose the related ailment in GW fiction would be “fluff-diagram fiction” (sorry Gav), in which the story is sidelined by the author’s desire to lay out in detail some aspect of his take on the game-universe.
You Can't Fire Me, I Quit
An attempt to diffuse the reader's incredulity with a pre-emptive strike -- as if by anticipating the reader's objections, the author had somehow answered them. "I would never have believed it, if I hadn't seen it myself!" "It was one of those amazing coincidences that can only take place in real life!" "It's a one-in-a-million chance, but it's so crazy it just might work!" Surprisingly common, especially in SF. (Attr. John Kessel)
Part Three: Common Workshop Story Types
Adam and Eve Story
Nauseatingly common subset of the "Shaggy God Story" in which a terrible apocalypse, spaceship crash, etc., leaves two survivors, man and woman, who turn out to be Adam and Eve, parents of the human race!
MF – Not an issue for GW writing for obvious reasons. See Alfred Bester’s “Adam With No Eve” in the brilliant anthology Starburst for a rather good twist on the idea.
The Cosy Catastrophe
Story in which horrific events are overwhelming the entirety of human civilization, but the action concentrates on a small group of tidy, middle-class, white Anglo-Saxon protagonists. The essence of the cosy catastrophe is despite the supposed devastation the hero actually has a pretty good time (a girl, free suites at the Savoy, fancy cars for the taking) while everyone is dying off. (Attr. Brian Aldiss)
Dennis Hopper Syndrome
A story based on some arcane bit of science or folklore, which noodles around producing random weirdness. Then a loony character-actor (usually best played by Dennis Hopper) barges into the story and baldly tells the protagonist what's going on by explaining the underlying mystery in a long bug-eyed rant. (Attr. Howard Waldrop)
MF - Not unrelated to Roger Ebert's remarks about the Talking Killer device, aka "Before I kill you, Mister Bond..." The killer gets the protagonist at his mercy and then decides to put off killing him so that he can fill the hero in on exactly what's been going on, and bring the reader up to speed at the same time. You know, like I did at the end of Crossfire. Although this is a plot device rather than an actual story type.
Deus ex Machina or "God in the Box"
Story featuring a miraculous solution to the story's conflict, which comes out of nowhere and renders the struggles of the characters irrelevant. Oh look, the Martians all caught cold and died.
The Grubby Apartment Story
Writing a little too much about what you know. The penniless writer living in a grubby apartment writes a story about a penniless writer living in a grubby apartment. Stars all his friends.
The Jar of Tang
"For you see, we are all living in a jar of Tang!" "For you see, I am a dog!" Mainstay of the old Twilight Zone TV show. An entire pointless story contrived so the author can jump out at the end and cry "Fooled you!" For instance, the story takes place in a desert of coarse orange sand surrounded by an impenetrable vitrine barrier; surprise! our heroes are microbes in a jar of Tang powdered orange drink.
This is a classic case of the difference between a conceit and an idea. "What if we all lived in a jar of Tang?" is an example of the former; "What if the revolutionaries from the sixties had been allowed to set up their own society?" is an example of the latter. Good SF requires ideas, not conceits. (Attr. Stephen P. Brown)
When done with serious intent rather than as a passing conceit, this type of story can be dignified by the term "Concealed Environment." (Attr. Christopher Priest)
SF story which thinly adapts the trappings of a standard pulp adventure setting. The spaceship is "just like" an Atlantic steamer, down to the Scottish engineer in the hold. A colony planet is "just like" Arizona except for two moons in the sky. "Space Westerns" and futuristic hard-boiled detective stories have been especially common versions.
MF – Then again, one of the fun things about the GW settings – the 40Kverse more than the Warhammer world, it seems to me – is the way you can rip all kinds of stuff off and stuff it in there to do a 41st-millennium tribute to it. Not necessarily a bad thing, providing you don’t end up in Bat Durston territory (more about him another time).
The Kitchen-Sink Story
A story overwhelmed by the inclusion of any and every new idea that occurs to the author in the process of writing it. (Attr. Damon Knight)
The Motherhood Statement
SF story which posits some profoundly unsettling threat to the human condition, explores the implications briefly, then hastily retreats to affirm the conventional social and humanistic pieties, ie apple pie and motherhood. Greg Egan once stated that the secret of truly effective SF was to deliberately "burn the motherhood statement." (Attr. Greg Egan)
MF - He wasn’t kidding, either. Greg Egan writes some of the most powerful and disturbing hard SF I’ve read, precisely because he’s not afraid to back away from the full implications of the science and technology he writes about.
I think that 40K writing is vulnerable to this to a certain degree: I’ve seen quite a few stories that dip a toe into the grim, violent, insane world of the 41st Millennium, stay there for a moment but quickly falls back into “but the Imperium is actually an OK place and lots of people there are nice and happy just like us”.
Discussion on this welcome.
The "Poor Me" Story
Autobiographical piece in which the male viewpoint character complains that he is ugly and can't get laid. (Attr. Kate Wilhelm)
Re-Inventing the Wheel
A novice author goes to enormous lengths to create a situation already tiresomely familiar to the experienced reader. Reinventing the Wheel was traditionally typical of mainstream writers venturing into SF without actually reading any of the existing stuff first (because it's all obviously crap anyway). Thus you get endless explanations of, say, how an atomic war might get started by accident, and so on. It is now often seen in writers who lack experience in genre history because they were attracted to written SF via movies, television, role-playing games, comics or computer gaming.
MF – Not that coming into the genre that way is a bad thing per se, but when a writer hasn’t had much exposure to written specfic in this way it usually shows, and not in a good way. To quote Terry Pratcherr, you should be importing, not recycling.
The Rembrandt Comic Book
A story in which incredible craftsmanship has been lavished on a theme or idea which is basically trivial or subliterary, and which simply cannot bear the weight.
he Shaggy God Story
A piece which mechanically adopts a Biblical or other mythological tale and provides flat science-fictional "explanations" for the theological events. (Attr. Michael Moorcock)
MF – Although he wrote them himself: arguably his finest and most powerful story, called “Behold The Man”, does this for the life of Jesus. I remember it disturbed me when I read it, and I’m not even religious.
The Slipstream Story
Non-SF story which is so ontologically distorted or related in such a bizarrely non-realist fashion that it cannot pass muster as commercial mainstream fiction and therefore seeks shelter in the SF or fantasy genre. Postmodern critique and technique are particularly fruitful in creating slipstream stories.
The Steam-Grommet Factory
Didactic SF story which consists entirely of a guided tour of a large and elaborate gimmick. A common technique of SF utopias and dystopias. (Attr. Gardner Dozois)
MF – See the opening of Huxley’s Brave New World for an example of this done effectively.
The Tabloid Weird
Story produced by a confusion of SF and Fantasy tropes -- or rather, by a confusion of basic world-views. Tabloid Weird is usually produced by the author's own inability to distinguish between a rational, Newtonian-Einsteinian, cause-and- effect universe and an irrational, supernatural, fantastic universe. Either the FBI is hunting the escaped mutant from the genetics lab, or the drill-bit has bored straight into Hell -- but not both at once in the very same piece of fiction. Even fantasy worlds need an internal consistency of sorts, so that a Sasquatch Deal-with-the-Devil story is also "Tabloid Weird." Sasquatch crypto-zoology and Christian folk superstition simply don't mix well, even for comic effect. (Attr. Howard Waldrop)
MF – I’m not as convinced as the Lexicon that these two genres are utterly incompatible. Well, obviously not, since I work in a setting which combines them without hesitation. Which isn’t to say that the combination doesn’t need to be handled delicately, since those aforementioned different mindsets lead to different storytelling conventions as well as different world views.
There was a very interesting panel on this at a con I went to in April – I might post some more on it if I can find my notes.•
The Whistling Dog
A story related in such an elaborate, arcane, or convoluted manner that it impresses by its sheer narrative ingenuity, but which, as a story, is basically not worth the candle. Like the whistling dog, it's astonishing that the thing can whistle -- but it doesn't actually whistle very well. (Attr. Harlan Ellison)
Part Four: Plots
Abbess Phone Home
Takes its name from a mainstream story about a medieval cloister which was sold as SF because of the serendipitous arrival of a UFO at the end. By extension, any mainstream story with a gratuitous SF or fantasy element tacked on so it could be sold.
Picaresque plot in which this happens, and then that happens, and then something else happens, and it all adds up to nothing in particular.
List of actions a character could have taken, but didn't. Frequently includes all the reasons why, as the author stops the action dead to work out complicated plot problems at the reader's expense. "If I'd gone along with the cops they would have found the gun in my purse. And anyway, I didn't want to spend the night in jail. I suppose I could have just run instead of stealing their car, but then..." etc. Best dispensed with entirely.
Card Tricks in the Dark
Elaborately contrived plot which arrives at (a) the punchline of a private joke nobody else will get, or ( the display of some bit of learned trivia only the author is interested in. This stunt may be intensely ingenious, and very gratifying to the author, but it serves no visible fictional purpose. (Attr. Tim Powers)
A plot which functions only because all the characters involved are idiots. They behave in a way that suits the author's convenience, rather than through any rational motivation of their own. (Attr. James Blish)
Plot which weaves and curls and writhes in weedy organic profusion, smothering everything in its path.
The basic building blocks of the quest-type fantasy plot. The "hero" collects sufficient plot coupons (magic sword, magic book, magic cat) to send off to the author for the ending. Note that "the author" can be substituted for "the Gods" in such a work: "The Gods decreed he would pursue this quest." Right, mate. The author decreed he would pursue this quest until sufficient pages were filled to procure an advance. (Dave Langford)
MF - Nick Lowe expands on the idea in an excellent article at www.ansible.co.uk/Ansible/plotdev.html . Cheers to Bill King for the link.
Second-order Idiot Plot
A plot involving an entire invented SF society which functions only because every single person in it is necessarily an idiot. (Attr. Damon Knight)
MF – The assertion that this applies to the 40K Imperium is not a new one. Floor’s open…
Part Five: Background
"As You Know Bob"
A pernicious form of info-dump through dialogue, in which characters tell each other things they already know, for the sake of getting the reader up-to-speed. This very common technique is also known as "Rod and Don dialogue" (attr. Damon Knight) or "maid and butler dialogue" (attr Algis Budrys).
The Edges of Ideas
The solution to the "Info-Dump" problem (how to fill in the background). The theory is that, for example, the mechanics of an interstellar drive (the centre of the idea) are not important/ What matters is the impact on your characters: they can get to other planets in a few months, and, oh yeah, it gives them hallucinations about past lives. Or, more radically: the physics of TV transmission is the center of an idea; on the edges of it we find people turning into couch potatoes because they no longer have to leave home for entertainment. Or, more bluntly: we don't need info dump at all. We just need a clear picture of how people's lives have been affected by their background.
That perfect, telling detail that creates an instant visual image. The ideal of certain postmodern schools of SF is to achieve a "crammed prose" full of "eyeball kicks." (Rudy Rucker)
MF - See the other thread.
Piling too much exposition into the beginning of the story, so that it becomes so dense and dry that it is almost impossible to read. (Attr. Connie Willis)
Large chunk of indigestible expository matter intended to explain the background situation. Info-dumps can be covert, as in fake newspaper or "Encyclopedia Galactica" articles, or overt, in which all action stops as the author assumes center stage and lectures. Info-dumps are also known as "expository lumps." The use of brief, deft, inoffensive info-dumps is known as "kuttnering," after Henry Kuttner. When information is worked unobtrusively into the story's basic structure, this is known as "heinleining."
"I've suffered for my Art" (and now it's your turn)
A form of info-dump in which the author inflicts upon the reader hard-won, but irrelevant bits of data acquired while researching the story. As Algis Budrys once pointed out, homework exists to make the difficult look easy.
Nowhere Nowhen Story
Putting too little exposition into the story's beginning, so that the story, while physically readable, seems to take place in a vacuum and fails to engage any readerly interest. (Attr. L. Sprague de Camp)
Passage in an SF story which suggests that our deepest and most basic convictions about the nature of reality, space-time, or consciousness have been violated, technologically transformed, or at least rendered thoroughly dubious. The works of H. P. Lovecraft, Barrington Bayley, and Philip K Dick abound in "ontological riffs."
The most pernicious suite of "Used Furniture". The grizzled space captain swaggering into the spacer bar and slugging down a Jovian brandy.
Name assigned to the voice which takes centre stage to lecture. Actually a common noun, as: "You have a Stapledon come on to answer this problem instead of showing the characters resolve it."
Use of a background out of Central Casting. Rather than invent a background and have to explain it, or risk re-inventing the wheel, let's just steal one. We'll set it in the Star Trek Universe, only we'll call it the Empire instead of the Federation.
Part Six: Character and Viewpoint
A character distinguished by a single identifying tag, such as odd headgear, a limp, a lisp, a parrot on his shoulder, etc.
MF – This can work if done deftly and with minor characters. Stephen King excels at it, and Ed McBain is pretty good too.
A ridiculously perfect and idealised character, moving through a story which serves no other purpose than demonstrating how ridiculously perfect and idealised Mary Sue is. None of the other characters have anything to do other than rave about Mary Sue's wonderfulness; challenges and obstacles exist only for Mary Sue to solve effortlessly to admiring gasps from everyone else. Also known as "avatars" or "self-insertion", since the most common Mary Sues are thinly-disguised versions of the author and are more about wish-fulfiment fantasies than conventional storytelling. Endemic to fanfic; the term apparently originates from an early and imfamous example in an old Star Trek fanzine.
MF - There are lots of definitions and examples of Mary Sue, although the term as it's used here isn't really attributable to one author any more. The definition supplied here owes much to Teresa Nielsen Hayden's rather good one at http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archi...ves/004188.html .
GW fanfics and homebrew backgrounds aren't immune either - you can find them pretty easily once you know the signs. The twist is that the Mary Sue is often a Guard regiment, Space Marine Chapter, Eldar Craftworld or an entire galactic state. Common warning signs: "The Mary Sue Regiment fought so ferociously in the Battle of Sueville that even the [famous Space Marine Chapter] were awe-struck that unaugmented humans could fight so hard, and their Chapter Master officially declared the Mary Sue regiment the equals of Space Marines". "Inquisitor Mary Sue has demonstrated such amazing ability that the High Lords have personally ordered that nobody is allowed to stand in her way or question her actions". "Now that it has declared independence from the Imperium the Mary Sue Republic has become a haven of enlightenment and progress, where technology is being developed at an exponential rate with no aura of superstitious mysticism, painless and fully-effective techniques to protect psykers from daemonic attack have been developed, alien races of all kinds are putting aside their differences and living contentedly side by side, and where every Imperial who sees what's going on immediately defects once they see how wonderful and free life among the Mary Sues is".
The small, downtrodden, eminently common, everyday little person who nevertheless encapsulates something vital and important about the human condition. "Mrs. Brown" is a rare personage in the SF genre, being generally overshadowed by swaggering submyth types made of the finest gold-plated cardboard. In a famous essay, "Science Fiction and Mrs. Brown," Ursula K. Le Guin decried Mrs. Brown's absence from the SF field. (Attr: Virginia Woolf)
Classic character-types in SF which aspire to the condition of archetype but don't quite make it, such as the mad scientist, the crazed supercomputer, the emotionless super- rational alien, the vindictive mutant child, etc. (Attr. Ursula K. Le Guin)
MF – You can pick the GWverse submyths for yourselves, I’m sure.
The author loses track of point-of-view, switches point-of-view for no good reason, or relates something that the viewpoint character could not possibly know.
Part Seven: Miscellaneous
Engineer's term distinguishing the inevitable clunky real-world faultiness of "Actual Machines" from the power-fantasy techno-dreams of "Fething Magic."
MF – Except the original Lexicon didn’t say “fething”. Well worth remembering for 40K and Necromunda fiction, which deliberately shies away from the sleek, clean, super-reliable dream-tech of settings like Star Trek.
Useful term for the purported world in which the majority of modern sane people generally agree that they live -- as opposed to the worlds of, say, Forteans, semioticians or quantum physicists.
The intoxicating glamor of a novel scientific idea, as distinguished from any actual intellectual merit that it may someday prove to possess.
The Ol' Baloney Factory
"Science Fiction" as a publishing and promotional entity in the world of commerce.
Courtesy Matt Farrer
based on the Turkey City Lexicon
Science Fiction (& Fantasy) Writers of Amercia