SciFaiku Frequently-Asked Questions
What's a scifaijin? People on the mailing list have gravitated
toward this term to mean "SciFaiku poet", just as the Japanese term for
haiku poet is "haijin".
What's the status of the 5-7-5 syllable rule for SciFaiku?
Haiku is traditionally written in 3 lines of 5,7,5 syllables, though in modern
English haiku this is quite frequently relaxed. Why? Lots of reasons
probably, but among the more compelling reasons, the pattern comes from
Japanese, and its applicability to English is somewhat dubious
(syllables in the 2 languages aren't equivalent, etc.). In any case,
the people on the mailing list seem to value reading SciFaiku even if it's
not in 5-7-5 form (as long as it strives for minimalism), but everyone seems
to respect the discipline of trying to write in 5-7-5 for those who feel
What's a contrail?
A one-line scifaiku bordering on aphorism, with an SF or fantasy
observation or definition. The link is NOT literal; it's an allegory,
allusion, analogy, or Zen pun. The syllable count should be as minimal as possible.
Two examples, one humorous, one serious :
Ur - Decline and fall of prehistory
Origami - hyperspace model
What's a one-breath?
A scifaiku in two short phrases on one line or two. The link between
phrases may be allegorical or allusion, but must have an SF or fantasy
Two examples :
Hey diddle diddle -- jet-propelled cow
lights on all night
Geigeresque bath fixtures
Suggestions for this FAQ came from numerous helpers. The one-breath and contrail were defined by Mary Margaret Serpento. Errors are, of course, mine. Thanks to everyone.