Thoughtful Thursday: FanLit’s 2017 SFF Limerick Contest

It’s time for our annual Fantasy Limerick contest!

Your task is to create a limerick that has something to do with speculative fiction. It could be about a character, a series, an author, or whatever fits the theme. Here are the rules for creating a good limerick (quoting from this source). A limerick:

  • is five lines long
  • is based on the rhythm “da-da-DAH” (anapest meter)
  • has two different rhymes
  • Lines 1, 2, and 5 have three of those da-da-DAH “feet,” and rhyme with each other.
  • Lines 3 and 4 have two, and rhyme with each other.
  • You can break the meter rules if there’s a good reason. You may
    • drop the first “da” in a line, changing that foot to da-DAH
    • add an extra “da” or two at the end of a line IF it’s used for an extended rhyme, such as cannibal and Hannibal
  • The best limericks are funny or witty or clever.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsSo, the meter goes like this:

da da DAH / da da DAH / da da BING
da da DAH / da da DAH / da da DING
da da DAH / da da BAM
da da DAH / da da WHAM
da da DAH / da da DAH / da da PING

As an example, here’s the winning limerick (by Arcanist Lupus) from last year’s contest:

The Bay’s home to more than just mud
and streets where the parking is crud.
Let all changelings beware
when the scent in the air
is the fragrance of roses and blood.

And here is the winning limerick (by Ben) from 2015:

The day came that I had been dreading,
It would surely end in beheading
and my family depressed
as they murdered their guests,
Never go to a Westeros wedding

Your turn!

The author of the limerick we like best wins a book from our stacks or a FanLit T-shirt (sizes avail are S – XL). If you live outside the US, we’ll send a $7 Amazon gift card.


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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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46 comments

  1. Paul /

    There’s a song of ice and of fire
    that so many fans really admire.
    But there’s really no time
    to write the last line
    as the author will likely expire.

  2. sandy ferber /

    (IN HONOR OF HARRISON FORD’S BIRTHDAY TODAY:)

    Big greetings to Harrison Ford,
    About whom we’re out of our gourd,
    He’s here and alive,
    Turning 75,
    So HA! to that nasty Sith Lord!

  3. Rad Possum /

    It upended that life that he’d built
    and wracked him with unending guilt
    For it was Kushiel’s Dart
    That pierced Joscelin’s heart
    and Elua bade “Love as thou wilt”

  4. Andrew /

    The Foundation relies on its Plan,
    Not on anything done by a man.
    Now a mutant named Mule
    Is making Seldon a fool
    Bayta stops him when no one else can.

  5. Kevin Harkness /

    In a country of fire and ice,
    Lived a family oddly quite nice,
    ‘Till the patriarch, Ned
    To the king lost his head,
    Then the land was all dicey and slice.

  6. A limerick by R2D2 to the Death Star’s main computer
    01010
    011110
    1011
    0011
    11111110

    To be read as:
    zero-one zero-one zero,
    zero-one one-one-one zero,
    one-zero one-one,
    zero-zero one-one,
    one-one one-one-one one one-zero

  7. Anna Nimmhaus from File 770 wants to contribute this:

    My first love is fiction that speculates,
    If original or even if peculate.
    So long as it’s fun
    It can preach a sermon
    But those dull ranters’ notion of heck’s too late.

    Thanks Anna!

  8. Meandering Monotreme /

    Just one abomination suffices
    To throw the whole world into crisis
    A machine he requires
    To fulfill his desires
    And to build a great many devices

    (The book in question, in case you missed it, is Devices and Desires by K J Parker)

  9. Jonathan Edelstein /

    “What’s fantasy,” do you inquire?
    Why, it forms a genre entire
    Defined not by magic
    Nor fate bleak and tragic
    But limitless paths to inspire.

  10. Um, how many are we allowed to enter?

  11. Jonathan Edelstein /

    When Maia, a child long neglected,
    By death to the throne was directed,
    He started a stranger
    To court’s deadly danger
    But found help he never expected.

  12. There was a young man from Camorr,
    Whose lies became legend and lore,
    His tongue was like silver,
    His hands deft and clever,
    But always was left wanting more

    ~

    There once was a man, lost a finger;
    Whose presence no-one wanted to linger,
    He went on a quest,
    Saw a marvellous chest,
    And his death was a bloody hum-dinger

    ~

    (My favourite) :

    There was a young man name of Kvothe,
    “Not quite like that,” he doth quothe,
    It caused some confusion,
    But one spoke in delusion,
    “I think you will find it’s ‘Covfefe'”

  13. Jonathan Edelstein /

    Take Middle-Earth’s races and fashion,
    Repackage them all with dispassion,
    Then call it “Shannara”
    And, to Tolkien’s horror,
    Relax and start raking the cash in.

    (It helps if you pronounce “Tolkien” with two syllables.)

  14. I can’t recall each of the times
    A single man’s thwarted my crimes.
    Hear this, all you scum
    Of the ol’ Mended Drum:
    Beware of a copper named Vimes!

  15. Mark E. Henaghen /

    I love adventures in the stars,
    Whether starships, or satellite bars.
    Give me lasers or guns,
    And cunning smuggler’s runs,
    I want epic voyages afar.

  16. The final frontier lay ahead
    His taste for adventure’d be fed
    As he shook hands with Spock
    His joy turned to shock
    When Kirk gave him a shirt that was red

  17. Wolf Lahti /

    So what do you win if you win?

  18. Mark E. Henaghen /

    A PI and a faerie knight,
    Toby’s caught in ev’ry changeling’s plight:
    Though her blood says she’s Fae,
    She’s too mortal to play
    Toe-to-toe against pure blood spite.

  19. Davy Jones walked the last bit of plank
    Left his soul to the gulls and then sank
    Far beneath the waves swell
    Not to heaven or hell
    But a locker-room on George’s Bank.

  20. A fantastical beast, I desire.
    Like that dragon from beyond the Shire.
    Or something from Trent.
    Yes, she’s seen the best!
    George, write me a dire that breaths fire!

  21. Like most girls from the Middle Ages,
    Illiterate with no use for pages,
    Wanted to get kissed,
    Wound up Born of Mist,
    Now Vin waves in nobleman wages.

  22. On a planet that’s one big bureaucracy,
    With a president who’s escaped the plutocracy,
    The whole galaxy’s run afoul
    But don’t panic, bring a towel,
    The sad robot will call out hypocrisy.

  23. Kevin Harkness /

    You twitch as the music begins
    Then the voice of Rod Serling chimes in,
    So, buckle up child
    ‘Cause the ride will be wild,
    And the nightmares undoubtedly grim.

  24. Cameron Hopkin /

    Fantasy Fatigue

    When the thing they’re all writing is grit
    and now dragons and wizards are shit
    You read characters grim
    and some GRRM
    Must be time to pull out The Hobbit!

  25. Aanander’s rule was so vicious
    Awn Elming’s death so capricious
    Radchaai Breq’s plan commences
    Ancillary Revenge is
    A dish that’s best served with fish sauce

  26. Bek
    There once was a fantastic play
    Filled with darkness, horror and dismay
    The zombies arrived
    And the vampires survived
    And the werewolves could prowl in the day

  27. Mark E. Henaghen /

    I just heard George Romero has passed,
    And thought how long his genre will last.
    Of zombies there’s no lack,
    But will George be back
    To lead “Father of the Living Dead”‘s cast?

  28. Another from Anna Nimmhaus:

    Jack Vance gave us the book _Dying Earth_.
    Of strange color it sure has no dearth.
    But for all of its diction,
    It’s still science fiction.
    At the end, chalk up higher its worth.

  29. Rad Possum /

    A couple, a dozen, a score
    then slowly there came more and more
    shambling out of the grains
    all while moaning for “Braaaaaaaaaains”
    for their father has crossed the far shore.

  30. Sethia /

    There was a poor orphan named Potter
    Who overcame many a plotter.
    He had quite a struggle,
    Though he was no Muggle,
    But he beat Voldemort, that old rotter.

  31. E.J. Jones /

    Sophie Hatter of talents galore
    Aged ungracefully in Dad’s hat store.
    Old and frail were her jowls,
    Loud and legion her Howls,
    And the denouement dealt her one more.

  32. Jenny H /

    You may think that you know very well
    That the Fool is a boy (or a gel)
    But did Starling know best?
    Has Fitz seen him undressed?
    Just don’t ask Robin Hobb – she won’t tell

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