Donald Whytock on 21 Feb 2002 06:30:35 -0000

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spoon-business: Nomilogue #1

For recognition once the Clock is again on:

{{ _A Journey of a Thousand Words_


Where to begin?

It's said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but the journeys I'm anticipating aren't going to be measured in miles, or quite possibly even steps.

But since I don't know where my journey will take me -- if anywhere -- and I don't know how I'll communicate along the way, the first step seems to be in the direction of assembling all these scribblings and notes and journal entries into something coherent and getting it out to be read.  And perhaps even understood.

And therefore the path on which the first step was taken was through the door of the publishing company for Scientific American, in order to submit my collected research for the world to see and appreciate.  This first step inward was shortly followed by hasty steps outward.  The educated, proper publishers of a well-respected magazine apparently had no time to waste on the babbling of an obvious lunatic.  Never mind that I had proof and diagrams, never mind that the very idea was revolutionary...the very idea was beyond their ability to seriously consider.

I didn't fare better with other magazines and technical journals.  Even getting down as far as tiny Science News didn't get me anywhere; their reaction was that what I had to offer wasn't science, and therefore wasn't news.

Finally, as what I thought would be a last resort, I tried Analog, which runs science fact articles as well as science fiction.  Perhaps, I hoped, they would have a more liberal point of view.  And in fact the editor's initial enthusiasm encouraged me at first, until he spoke: "This is interesting.  Nice retro style, reminiscent of Verne and Wells.  How many installments do you think it'll run?"

"I don't think you understand.  This is non-fiction."

He stared at me, then back at my manuscript; he leafed through the pages again, and eventually responded with, "...Ah."

"I have proof...diagrams, test results..."

"Yes, I'm sure.  Have you tried...Scientific American?"

"I've tried everywhere.  Look, I'm not some crackpot.  My lab documents, practices controlled-environment testing..."

He looked pained.  His eyes rested on the pages in front of him for a while, before he fished in a drawer and handed me a card.

I looked at the name and number. "SPIT?"

The editor squirmed.  "The Society for the Propogation of Innovative Technology.  They're dedicated to providing a forum for...unpopular ideas."

"And they call themselves SPIT?"

"No, but...everyone else does.  I'm really sorry.  We do run speculative fiction, yes, but I'm afraid the management draws the line at...speculative fact."

I wasn't encouraged, but I wasn't otherwise successful, so I called and was told to come on in, and was met by a bored-looking receptionist who listened to all of three sentences before holding up her hand and asking, "You got a prototype?"

"It's still in development.  I plan to provide progress reports as we..."

"Yeah, yeah.  Here's our submission policies." She handed me a booklet.  "You'll probably be submitting to our Unexplored Physics focus journal."

I felt ill. "SPIT-UP?"

"Bathroom down the hall.  Have a nice day."

A quiet evening with a stiff drink eventually loosened me up enough to look at the submission guidelines.  Most of it was standard format for review of scientific papers, but toward the back a new category caught my eye:


{{ _Literary Forms_

Proposals may be submitted in Literary Forms -- forms whose structure enhances but does not interfere with the rules and actions being presented.  A Literary Form must allow the rules and actions being presented to be clearly understood by all players.  Literary Forms include Prose Forms and Poetic Forms.



I tried to wrap my head around the concept of presenting scientific principles in a literary form.  A footnote said this new format for submissions was a result of findings that otherwise difficult-to-comprehend information was more accessible to the public when presented in a form that generated more interest.

I was fairly sure poetic forms were not an option to me; I had never done well with verse in my English classes.  On the other hand...


{{ _Prose Forms_

Prose Forms are Literary Forms, in which a proposal's rules and actions are presented in the context of a story or narrative.  The rules and actions presented must be clearly delimited from the story component, and at the same time must be reflected in the story component.  If a proposal is submitted in Prose Form, and it is adopted, it earns its submitter 10 score.



Narrative.  And ten score if they accept!  When the Old Man first talked with me, I thought he'd be looking for a way to get rich; it never occurred to me that I might also.

I shall assemble my notes, and add the experiences that led to my findings, and describe my journeys (if they actually occur), and share them with the world.  Or should I say that I'll SPIT them UP?

(To be continued...)