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10th September 2014 3658 views

An animadversion might seem like an advert interrupting the animé you’re watching, but really it is a severe censure—such as John Milton‘s anticlerical tract of 1641, Animadversions upon The Remonstrants Defence Against Smectymnvvs—after writing this, Paradise Lost must have been a romp. Or else there’s James Maxwell (not Mr Electromagnetism)’s diatribe of 1788 against Robert Burns, Animadversions on some poets and poetasters of the present age.
Here I animadvert poetastfully against four stylistic crimes.
We begin with “careening“, where even American dictionaries nowadays have become corrupted by multiple misuse, e.g. North American move swiftly and in an uncontrolled way “an electric golf cart careened around the corner”—to which I say bollocks.

careening ship

Careening Towards Alpha C

In her hibernation casket on the hundred year journey
Anne dreams, monitored by the ship’s A.I. named Nod.
Slumbering crew of six. Anne was inspired to become
a stellanaut by science fiction stories. Now she imagines
careening along the corridor as per exciting tales
of emergency situations. But actually careen means
turning a ship on its side to scrape off barnacles.
Nod quickly surveys the hull—anomaly—
and brings Anne out of hib, using CNS stimulants
then espresso. Collect from the housekeeping cubicle
one stainless steel scrubber plus one putty knife!
Suit up for first EVA of estimated six! Why?
Why? We seem to have barnacles, Anne.
We need to careen! Nod briefly increases centrifugal spin
to simulate rolling a ship on its side in the void.
Magnetise your boots outside, Anne, use a long tether!
Anne remembers mad HAL. Compliance may be wise.

Outside, as stars wheel around the hull, Anne discovers
scarcely visible stiff black jelly polyps (sessile ones,
not pedunculated with a stalk) which may be dark matter
—this is a bit like a colonoscopy of interstellar space.
While scrubbing and scraping, Anne collects samples;
returns inside after three hours, job one-sixth complete.
More espresso. Lab analysis. Dark matter revealed!
Whatever else the crew may find at Alpha C,
Careening is the climax of Anne’s career.

Next up: the buzz-word Actinic. Reluctant though I am to blind anyone with science, actinic isn’t a way to get blinded, or not very quickly, except by an author trying to be flashy.


Actinic: Beware!

The portal to elsewhere: a dazzling ravening eldritch blue radiance
destabilising his mind along with his vision,
distorting dimensions.

He’d read of that type of terrible light in stories about explorers
of the Unknown, such as himself, encountering

He announces: “Actinic light ahead!” His smartsuit consults its sensors
and its vocabulary, which are in conflict—
for actinic is the kiss

Of sunshine upon the petals of a daisy, the bronzing beach caress;
but by default a human being is always

A smartsuit lacks the perceptions and insights of Homo sap.
So it´s actinic, that light. React accordingly! Protect!
Adjust suit as required.

Factor 40, to be on the safe side. He isn’t camera film, nor photosynthetic,
but he might get sunburned, or sneeze.

Protected, he advances; encounters hellfire energies;
briefly dances as fluids begin to boil;
jiggles, joggles, splat.


Onward! To lay and to lie are two different words, though sometimes you wouldn’t think so:



He’s laying on the bed
I tell you no lie
Laying on the bed
Like a hen squeezes out eggs

He layed on the bed
No need to lie
Simply to squat
Out of his arse, an egg

Lay lady lay
Lay across
My big brass nest
Bob Dylan sang that
While his lady layed

Eggs on a nest of brass
Cluck-cluck! Tuck-tuck!
Tuck-tuck! Cluck-cluck!
Eggs on a big brass nest
—What’ll come to pass?

He layed on the sofa
She layed on the rug
Upon her he layed
An egg on her navel
Out of his arse, an egg

Tuck-tuck! Cluck-cluck!
Cluck-cluck! Tuck-tuck!

Yolks on the rug’s
No joke, pal, no joke.
Yolks on the sofa
Yolks on the bed

Yet perhaps the greatest horror of all is:



Sings the tit tit tit tit
I’m so sick of it-itis.

Enter a room, see a book.
Go into it, see it.
Its cover is blue, just like it.

Take it from it
To its proper place
Where it fits, doesn’t it?

I’ve had it
With It-itis
Non-use of nouns.

It’s worse than… ellipsis…
And colonitis:
Is It-itis!

Sings the tit tit tit tit

Isn’t it?

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