Thursday, April 28, 2016

26+ Ways to Kill: Xenocide or Xyston

Welcome! Since I write culinary mysteries, “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time” deals with food topics and with mysteries. This month I am sharing ways to kill people—in your mysteries, of course—and some tips on getting away with it! To avoid the pronoun problem, I’ll use heesh (he or she), shis (his or hers), and shim (him or her) throughout the entries. Tune in for murder and mayhem.

Very short entry today as X is not loaded with killing method options. I’ll bet that doesn’t surprise you.

In fact, I only unearthed one legitimate method, and I’ll make the other fit.

Xenocide is not a method of killing. Rather xenocide, the killing of an alien population, can occur in multiple ways. Spoiler Alert: In Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card), Ender and his team think they are in training for defending Earth from a second alien invasion. They are training with a highly sophisticated and realistic video game. Well, guess what? It’s not a game, it’s the real thing. They do beat off the invasion and the team obliterates the entire alien population. Or do they?

Science fiction is rife with examples of alien extinctions. If you peruse a lot of the literature/filmography talking about or executing xenocide, you should come up with a balance of the arguments for and against the action.

Sometimes the xenocide occurs with a simple virus or element common to earth. Other times, high tech methods are used. Most of the time, in those stories, we just blast them into oblivion. I would challenge you to explore some uncommon method if you are commiting xenocide in your story. And somebody ought to raise the ethical issues surrounding the action.

In actuality, xenocide could refer to killing off any group that is foreign another group. Ethnic cleansing is a kind of xenocide, too. Your story could do to international thriller land with that scenario and a mad ruler.

The real way to kill today with X is to pull out your trusty xyston and whack away. The xyston was a short pike used by the Greek cavalry. It is an infantry weapon fashioned with a pointed metal head (steel or iron) on a long wooden shaft. One would kill by thrusting through a person. This is another foramination method.

A spear differs from a xyston due to length. Once the pole is too long to be thrown with accuracy as a spear requires, it is a pike meant for hand-to-hand combat. A pike is anywhere from 10-25 feet long allowing for some safety of distance. That is unless your xyston is 12 feet and the other guy’s is 13 feet.

The xyston (Greek version of the pike) wasn’t used after the Greeks waned. The pike continued on in Europe, but it too went out of fashion in the 1700s, thus you are again dealing with an historical mystery or with a contemporary mystery featuring an antique weapon. How many times have I said that this month, I wonder?

I can see a battlefield death in your novel of a feuding pair staged to look like the enemy killed the victim with shis xyston. Or it could be an accident, a sort of friendly-fire death, old-timey style.

Omigosh! We are almost to the end. Can you guess what Y killings will use?

If you take time to share this post on social media, I would be most grateful. 

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#Mystery writer, need killer ideas? X is for Xenocide or Xyston. Lots of tips this month! #atozchallenge

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Looking for new, fresh ways to kill (in books of course)? Check out Xenocide or Xyston on “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time” at

Check out Sharon Arthur Moore’s culinary mystery, Mission Impastable  


  1. I'm impressed that you found some good X ways to kill. I'll be curious to see if there are a lot for Z.

    1. Nope! Just one. But it's a goody! Your story is certainly coming together! An impressive A-Z performance!