If none of (a) to (f) apply, please explain your reasons in writing in the space labelled “Other.” Inmates are not permitted additional pages.
[A selection of “Other” responses follows. Respondent’s names have been replaced by pseudonyms to preserve inmate anonymity. Comments scratched into the wall and/or with rows of indecipherable symbols were excluded.]
“Anonímia de Tal”
I measured my expectancies—
mantras, books, and pills in quantized repetition,
overtime and undertime spent flickering from pillow to post,
leaping with the pendulous clock,
though in a temporary lapse,
I once considered skin mites, so fearsome microscopically,
and the sparrows pecking hair lying fallen at my feet.
I have a list of pastimes on a piece of paper
in case a stranger asks about them,
or what’s written on the paper.
One of them is making lists,
and one of them describes
the things I cannot understand—
• with more buttons than a penguin can count
• using the word quantum
• named Sonia
• and so on.
The rail clatters its rhythms but the carriages never move.
They’re always here, and through a frame, a door,
a window, a hole cut in a rainy mirror,
you can see them waiting.
Telma was painting the feature wall
with essence of vanilla. Joanne was reading
a possible book, perhaps the persistence of trains,
or a painting, the persimmonence of time.
She’d need her glasses to be sure.
As well as entertaining us (sometimes), speculative fiction asks and answers ‘what if’ questions that can open up new possibilities and fire the imagination.
In this blog I’ve written up some of the non-fiction speculations behind my stories, and I was interested to see that a new publisher, Sci Phi Journal (Science Fiction and Philosophy) makes the connection explicit by adding “Food for Thought” sections after the stories and including essays that discuss philosophical aspects of spec fic.
Time travel is a spec fic standard that has never gone away, and in the sometimes real world, a lot of questions about the nature of time—physical, philosophical and neurological—still have no clear answer. Continue reading