When you start to read a work of fiction, you check your disbelief at the door. This is even more important when you are reading speculative fiction or horror, and there’s even a name for it; the willing suspension of disbelief.

William O'Connor

Wyvern Dragon by William O’Connor

Usually, once you’ve seen a dragon on the cover, you’ve already suspended your disbelief and you are prepared to go along for the ride. Sometimes, though, in the middle of a book, just for a moment, you stumble across something that you just can’t accept and it jars you out of the book. You may still go back and finish the book, and may even enjoy it; but somehow you remember that moment.

The Novella “The Weight of the Sunrise,” by Vylar Kaftan, won the 2014 Nebula Award. On John Scalzi’s blog Whatever, one commenter noted that, while they enjoyed the story, Kaftan had a character born and raised in Britain refer to the wisps of hair that cover the forehead as “bangs,” instead of  “a fringe.” That one choice of words threw the commenter out of the story.

Tell us about the time your disbelief kicked back in, and you were jarred out of a story. Did you finish the story, or was it so bad you walked away?


  • Marion Deeds

    Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town.

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