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QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

Tr*ckin' and F*ckin' all the way to tha
T O P


sebmojo posted:

:siren:Next entrant gets 'effluvium'.:siren:

I'll take that, thank you.

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Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006


Am I allowed to conjugate my word?

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005



Are you calling me fat?

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:




Titus82 posted:

Are you calling me fat?

No, I am.

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


in

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


double posting to crit AVA by flerp

i cant rly see my own writing so its nice to see there are things it looks like im trying to do. this is sort of parodic but also an honour cuz the themes are srs if edgy.

this chars motivation is that he doesnt want to go to work. you dont extrapolate on what the job is but i imagine its some kind office software related thing which would prolly be rly annoying in this setting. so you dont go into detail but I get the gist. thats fine.

the prose is good. its more brutal and edgy than I usually write but I like alot of it. like something I didnt like would be "warm, like how i thought death would be." that didnt do it for me but a lot of it did, a lot of concrete words like someone vice gripping yr skull.

its a cool idea and like when tech is so advanced and you only do the bare minimum to explain it, i like that. it adds to the sense of just how far stuff has gotten away from us.

it feels flattering to me that when trying to emulate me you went for a rly heavy idea. fwiw it worked for me. the ending is bleak but not out of place for the story and i think weve all been that dude.

this story hm'd (my heart). AVA is a lovely name.

Screaming Idiot
Nov 26, 2007

JUST POSTING WHILE JERKIN' MY GHERKIN SITTIN' IN A PERKINS!

BEATS SELLING MERKINS.


Fun Shoe

Who knows what dark thoughts percolate within my subconscious, waiting for the opportunity to push forward to the day-lit forebrain?

EDIT:

sebmojo posted:

"crepuscular"

The weird thing is that I was going to use that word in my post and decided against it in case it was going to go to someone else.

Screaming Idiot fucked around with this message at 02:17 on Jul 8, 2016

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Screaming Idiot posted:

Who knows what dark thoughts percolate within my subconscious, waiting for the opportunity to push forward to the day-lit forebrain?

"crepuscular"

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Noah posted:

I Lived There Once
Words: 1400

The greygreen clouds of detritus, pollution and ash surrounding Earth made Armand want to smoke a joint 'want to smoke a joint' feels like a weak action in the opening para? I think i'd like this more if you tied it to a specific memory say? more than ever. Why there was a viewing window at all baffled him. The window was built for someone else, for him, maybe, but him in 100 years, when the Earth would be okay again. nice line, i'd have built this para round that more He felt taunted, and agitated, but he stared out nonetheless. A smirk crept across his face, Earth was probably really high right now. eh, i think you could have comfortably left the lol stoner reveal a bit later, or could have made it funnier/more interesting

“Oh Armand, there you are, I’d like to introduce you to your trainee, Jim,” super bland dialogue Armand’s manager said. Armand turned, having forgotten why he was even here to begin with. The kid didn’t look much younger than his own son, probably wasn’t even born on Earth. He had that gaunt look about him, but it would have been rude to ask. In another 5 years, it would have been assured, but Armand didn’t want to make any presumptions. again you're telling me what the protag wants rather than showing

“Jim’s on the rotational program, and will be spending the next couple of days here. I’ve already given him stuff to work on, how about you show him around.” i do better dialogue than this imo

“Yeah, sure,” Armand nodded and shook Jim’s outstretched hand. Jim’s handshake was firm, almost robotic, but lacked the muscle of Armand or his manager. He was a space baby. i'm really liking the implied world btw

Armand led them down several sterile, template hallways, into an office layout with far too many desks for how many staff were actually there. Armand had pushed 4 desks together into one large block of workspace that had papers, appliances and reformable plastic office supplies scattered about. i could rag you for bland description but i guess it fits with the bland space

“Is that a CD player? I’ve only seen photos,” Jim asked.

“Oh yeah, one of the things I got to bring up, still good as new,” Armand said. He clicked it on and a cacophony of music that's an awful phrase came blaring out of portable speakers. Jim winced in shock, but the staffers down the hall paid no attention to the din.

“Well you know, a lot of hardcore punk composed after 1990 contains a series of problems concerning transitions understood in the subconscious and their necessary involvement in the mechanics of modulation. Now, this applies to many dimensions of the music scene for example there is the inclusion of ‘Noise’ as opposed to other forms of sound. But the participation of the 1990s was indeed more brutal to the sights and sounds of current musicality, and it was refined into what critics had dubbed Smashism, but at the same time Smashism was also heavily predicated on unusual audience reactions to what people would call noise, but now call Noise,” Armand said over the din. haha i like this

“What?”

“Exactly,” Armand said. Jim had the same reaction to the music that his own son had several years prior. Even had the same response after Armand had explained the entire why of its being.

“Anyway, whatever, hey, you like to get high?” Armand asked. see this would have been a good and funny, if obvious, place to bring up the lolstoner stuff for the first time

So they cruised. Armand was already a little high and now was as good as any to stay that way. Door by door they cruised and for the longest time Armand had wondered why they had made the door latches so short, short enough that he’d stoop slightly to reach them. When he had come to grips with the fact that his son would never crack 5’4” at best, he realized this was how it was going to be. this whole son thing isn't really landing so far

The hallways were barren and sparse, but he imagined they’d be crowded within the next several years. Jim wasn’t the first Prime Crop he’d met, but one of them. He wondered if Jim’s kids, his own son’s kids maybe, would be the first to leave this place. Would they be the first people to meet the first person born again on Earth.

“Let me show you something,” Armand said, stopping at the copier room.

“Are you going to show me your penis?”

“No, HR said I can’t do that anymore.”

Armand opened up the copier room door, took one unnecessary glance in the empty hall, and led them in.

“I call it the ‘Event Horizon.’”

“Here, hit this,” Armand said, producing the vaporizer from his pocket. Jim hesitated but still took it.

They sat there on the hard copier room floor passing the vaporizer back and forth in silence. The warmth of the blue-green apparatus, no larger than a tube of lipstick, was a ruse. He knew there was no need for the added heat. The oven fed on synthetic oil cubes that sublimated much lower than a real combustion oven. A salt lick for ungulate bourgeoisie. He pictured them, they had made reservations to the copy room on their phone apps. They had reservations but they were still okay to wait, it was their favorite copy room after all, and they always had good service and they would be seen by all those who needed to be seeing. They had great drinks, sure, but fifteen loving dollars for one cocktail? this is an amazing para for some reason

“Is this it?” Jim asked.

Armand shook his head. “No, sorry. Stay right there.”

He scooted out a step stool from behind the copier and placed in the middle of the room. He grabbed a heavy heat-stapler from the desk and ascended toward the fluorescent fixtures on the ceiling. In a single, steady motion he undid the latch of the fixture and smashed the light into tiny pieces of Valhalla.

“Jesus,” Jim said, but he didn’t move. The poo poo was good poo poo.

“Wait,” Armand said. He climbed down unseen with routine grace. He opened the lid of the copy machine and left it agape. His fingers moved over the keypad, each mandated braille bump familiar. He punched in 4,000 and mashed ‘Copy’.

In the sliding light of the machine he made his way back to where Jim was sitting, his slippers crunching the plastic shattered lights. Light. The sound as plastic gears slid the scanner across 11 inches of glass. The familiar and artificial squirt of a piece of paper coming out hot. They sat there in the darkness, taking hits off the vaporizer and watching in the blackness for that moment of crawling, awful light before darkness took them again.

Armand wasn’t sure if he had fallen asleep or just wasn’t paying attention when the copier finally ran out of paper. He wasn’t sure how long the machine had withheld the light from them, or if it had just this moment stopped.

“Whoa,” Jim said.

“We’re not done yet.”

After opening the copy room door for light, Armand grabbed the massive stack of paper, it extended from his crotch to his chin, and he waddled ungainly down the hallways to the elevator.

“Punch in code 324,” Armand said.

They found themselves in a sterile loading bay of sorts.

“I found this a couple of years back, I think it’s for when they can start sending supply crews back down to the surface. Anyway, there’s this thing.”

In front of them was a clear, hutched chamber with a hood vent, something out of a chemist’s short-order kitchen. that's a nice tight description Armand placed the stack of papers in the chamber and slid the hutch closed. Without needing to look, Armand reached low with his right arm and pulled the plane throttle-like handle slightly. don't need this imo

There was no sound, but Armand could see when the vacuum began to form as the first white sheet started to rustle. In an instant the paper was sucked out through the vent, the blank white sheets first. The speed increased and the stack of papers started to grow darker and darker as the pages with the dregs of the toner surfaced. Finally, the darkest pages began to zip out of the airlock, a flipbook of blackness rocketing away, and then just as quickly they were all gone. Everything was gone. this is a fantastic and potent image, gj

After a moment, Jim spoke.

“Trippy. Where does it go? To the recycling center?”

“Hmm? No, it just gets shot out the airlock. I think it’s venting gas and filtering it or something.”

“It just gets shot into space?”

“Yeah. Pretty sure. This probably won’t be up and running for another 30 or 40 years.”

“You’re messing with me right?”

“No. It gets shot into space, why do you think I named it the ‘Event Horizon’?”

“You’re wasting it.”

Armand shrugged.

“That’s really hosed up, I gotta go back to work. I have poo poo to do.” see this is all really good dialogue

Armand didn’t watch him leave. He agreed, it was hosed up. It was all hosed up. really nice closer

This takes a while to get going and is kinda sloppy but has an agreeable wonky kick at the end, like a half-cut taekwondo green belt showing off his moves at the Christmas party. Definitely not a fail, but there's lots to criticise in the quantity of bland soggy words around the good ones.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 13:06 on Jul 7, 2016

Siddhartha Glutamate
Oct 3, 2005



I have a thyroid condition.


I'm going to go eat some puddin'

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Finally finished editing my livecrits. I've left the more substantial livecrits as-is, though. This wasn't a great week for thoughtful stories deserving of a nuanced take, tbh.

Week 201 crits

The Other Side of the Wall

Alex is smoking a cigarette. Because that’s what you do when death is everywhere, you smoke a cigarette and marvel in how cool you are. Ok don’t have a lot of hope for a good happy ending right now. But i’m willing to be surprised

Death death death death death and also blood oh it’s time to kill thanks for reminding me i forgot to set an alarm

Eh my issue so far is this story is working really hard to make sure you get the atmosphere of “things are bleak” but it’s doing that by repeating bleak buzzwords over and over again. This is a common domer problem. The way you sell this kind of story is through specific detail, not necessarily of viscera, but maybe just the way a character reacts to killing that’s unique to them. So far alex doesn’t seem like he’s got much of a personality.

Ok you’ve got an interesting bit with alex not being able to look at the rage filled eyes of the enemy, that’s a character beat, you can do something with that

There’s a lot of ways to do characters’ thoughts in a story but appending “Alex thought” without any commas or formatting changes isn’t one of them. See how your favorite books do this, it’s a good skill to have

You’ve got to look at dialogue formatting, too. I know people have told you this in the past. It’s not:

quote:

”I’ll shoot him.” The rebel said...

It’s

quote:

”I’ll shoot him,” the rebel said…

Okay I don’t buy Alex surviving this but maybe you’ve explained this.

This:

quote:

pulsing like rat trying to gnaw its way through his flesh to freedom taking short breaks between bites

Is a really bad simile because it’s way too complicated. It’s much better if it ends after “flesh.”

Okay I actually kind of like that the ending is that Alex wasn’t really built for this whole war thing and he gets out of it without losing anything that’s really important to him. I don’t think the time jump is necessary at all though

I mean mechanically speaking this story has a long way to go, and you don’t really develop Alex beyond this “everyman” archetype but there’s an arc and there’s emotional stakes to this and that goes a long way imo

Grim callings

My favorite part of this story is that you’ve crafted this world that you’ve clearly thought about at some length. And there’s elements of strong storytelling here. You’ve made the stakes very high and palpable, and they do a lot to drive the action of the story.

The problem is more on the micro level with this story. The dialogue is really expository; characters are speaking for the benefit of the reader, and it doesn’t come off as realistic, meaningful communication. This actually really impacts the end of the story, because if we’re to believe that the protagonist actually misses Death, there has to be some emotional connection between the two of them, not just this “Death isn’t as cruel as we’re told she is” thing. And as QPQ pointed out, the bear attack scene just doesn’t work. It’s not tense enough -- there’s not enough uncertainty, and the prose isn’t emotional enough.

Speaking of prose, you’ve gotta watch those comma splices. Your first sentence is a comma splice, for example, which really doesn’t bode well.

Overall, I think this story either needs more words to develop its emotional language, or you need to drop some elements. The scene between the protagonist and the mayor isn’t really necessary here, and it just slows down the elements we’re really interested in.

Never Again, You Scum!

I liked your first line, but c’mon Chili, you gotta stop these goofy endings. Like I’m having trouble imagining how you pictured sledgehammer murder-suicide as a good idea -- in a story that isn’t going for over-the-top goofy charm (and this isn’t), I feel like a sanity check would tell you that this makes very little sense.

Stylistically, this is kind of a muddle. You go for this elevated diction in the first paragraph, but it doesn’t keep up through the rest of the story, and that’s good, since the diction was a little pained. But you should have made this consistent all the way through. There’s also a “six years later” that comes really abruptly, without even a scene change marker like a “***” or something.

You also introduce Luca’s friend as an accomplice and give us no plausible reason for this friend to do Luca’s bidding. Don’t do that.

Small quibble: “He watched the subtle curves his lips made” is this really a thing kids do? I don’t think it is. It sounds like a set of specific details meant to make this moment richer than it actually is.

This just isn’t a very successful story. It attempts an epic feel, but it doesn’t really land, because the structure isn’t very sound, and the ending is so over the top… and it’s not even happy. I’ve seen some of the stuff you’ve written since this, and I have faith that you can get better. But the nicest thing I can say about this is that the ending is marginally better than the “eat the bread” story.

February

This piece really suffers under its figurative language and heady concept. As close as I can figure, there’s a huge beast in some relation to a village, and this beast has extrasensory capabilities. Maybe it presses its will upon people. But the family’s hidden a child (a twin?) and the child, raised in secret, is able to rise up and rebel against the beast, seriously weakening it.

This took me four to five read-throughs to grok this much, and there’s still a lot I don’t understand. Like how did this child compel other creatures to revolt when they couldn’t before? What is the nature of the beast’s abilities? Is it a god or just a demon? Am I supposed to feel pity for it?

Condensing this piece to one perspective (perhaps the child’s) would do a lot to make this story less confusing. I enjoyed the style of the piece at first, and I think the elevated, poetic diction is successful at channeling a mood when it isn’t being frustratingly ambiguous.

Alika and Marcius

I found the prose in this one immediately confident and engaging, and I appreciated that a lot. Your first few paragraphs made me invest in the character. I wanted this character to get a win after all of his losses, and I think specific details told with the skillful prose (like Marcus measuring his time in horses) made this one of my favorite stories this week. It isn’t incredibly substantial, but you’ve developed a character’s voice pretty strongly.

I don’t think you stuck the ending, especially in happy-ending week. There’s a catharsis to it, I suppose, but it sounds like Marcus was pretty damaged from killing his enemy and he’s dwelling on it; there’s no uplift. I would have fought for an HM on this one if the ending was just a little bit tighter.

Bystander Effect

This was a solid, well-told low-stakes story, and in this week that was enough to put this in contention for an HM. You have an escalating source of tension, even if it requires me to suspend a sense of disbelief that police won’t care about people beating a dog, and that tension allows this story, more than anything else this week, to earn its happy ending. It’s thoroughly engaging all the way through, and while I do think the story could have used a couple more editing passes, it was one of my favorites this week.

Untitled

Since you didn’t put any effort into this story, I’m not going to edit my livecrits:

Oh boy a script i hate description

Is this an allusion to something? Or are these just two dudes hanging out and talking about how their literature’s going to change the world. I’m going to go with the second option and maybe if it’s an allusion one of my erudite co judges will give me that perspective

Anyway this reads like a platonic dialogue except neither of these characters are as smart or as interesting as socrates

Why are we juxtaposing “632 A.D.” and “third grade.” what is going on.

Anyway this skit about a book people are reading about tolerance (yeah this is like some allusion I’m not getting) reads like a really simplistic fable about religious hypocrisy, and probably the nicest thing I can say about it is that it isn’t offensive and it very well could have been. But this is poorly edited, and these two dudes just loop around the same points over and over again so it’s not even interesting as amateur philosophy.

Mince

I found this story really endearing, and it was my pick for the win. Mechanically, it’s rough, and there’s that part where there’s stray dialogue in single quotes where I didn’t know what was happening, but overall I thought the rough mechanics actually endeared me to the naivete of the main character. It’s this well-realized, nervous, fragile voice, and it felt fresh and energetic to read.

My co-judges were down on the darkness of the ending, and while it’s definitely not the brightest ending, I didn’t share their unhappiness about it. I guess I figured that something like this is the best of all possible worlds for this character, who has no allies and not much strength either. So I’m glad he has a cat in his life and it’s not dead, and that’s good enough for me.

Funding Cuts

And this was my pick for the loss this week. This piece charmed my co-judges but I just found this story poorly paced, and I thought the perspective change was really ill-advised. There’s a lot of go-nowhere dialogue, and then there’s some worldbuilding that doesn’t mean a lot, and then they have an encounter with a more primitive culture and take a souvenir. These just feel like “things that happen,” and maybe this would work for like one of those short films before a Pixar movie, but it certainly didn’t work for me in these brief 500 words.

And he had black wings

Story time for Russian week crits: there’s a quote supposedly by Shostakovich, who on his deathbed may have taken issue with the way his Fifth Symphony was performed. See, Shostakovich wrote the symphony to write something to get back in the good graces of the Soviet establishment, with militaristic triumph prevailing in the last movement. But Shostakovich claimed that the triumph really was ironic. “The rejoicing is forced, created under threat. It’s as if someone were beating you with a stick and saying, ‘Your business is rejoicing, your business is rejoicing.’”

This is, unfortunately, the effect I get from the ending to this story. It’s especially a shame because I like the pathos of the particular Hell you’ve created, and I thought you might be working toward a more melancholy happy ending, but instead you eviscerate all of the brooding conflict and substitute a cavalcade of happy happy happy. The ending goes to so many lengths to make what’s mystical and strange about this story mundane and normal and I don’t like that at all.

The Monster in the Lake and in My Stomach

It’s my fault, but I can’t help but judge this story on the muddy sexual politics here. I’m rooting for the main character to get over this idea that sex makes her a bad person, and learn some vocabulary for negotiating consent, and maybe consider that having sex with a manipulative boyfriend is the bad thing here. But the ending you’ve given in Happy Ending Week is the protagonist choosing to not talk to her boyfriend (okay), her winning back the approval of her dad, under the condition that she doesn’t have sex again (which seems victim-blamey as gently caress), and her sitting with the weight of shame upon her. The only way this works as a happy ending is if we’re supposed to approve of Dad’s parenting, to think it’s a good thing. And it’s not! It’s hosed up!

I like the prose and the voice here, though. You’ve conveyed the character’s intense emotions well, and the shame-as-monster thing would have worked if it wasn’t for my queasiness around that shame being central to the “happy ending.” I dunno, it’s not really fair to you to let my prejudice concerning the story’s values make up most of this crit, but it’s something that I’m honestly not able to look past when I’m considering the positive points here.

1905

This is well-written - probably the most well written of the bunch - but I’m not hooked after the first paragraph. And nothing’s really happening, even though the scene setting is great and the prose flows with expert fluency.

I mean this is clearly the work of a very good writer but there’s not much of an arc or compelling emotional stakes, and that’s stopping me from really loving this. Some of this detail just feels indulgent, like the writer’s using this as an exercise to practice imagery and setting without a lot of consideration of what the reader’s getting out of this piece. I mean it’s cool that Nadya gets to read a story to her descendant, but I wish we knew why this was so important to her, or more of her emotional world. She doesn’t like her granddaughter’s husband and she resents modernity, but what else? Letting us into her head would do a lot to elevate this story.

Eden

There’s a real sweetness to this story, but all three judges concurred that the bittersweet ending is way better than the tacked-on epilogue. The content of the epilogue is already contained in the other ending, and here it seems to just be a failsafe against the judges saying the first ending isn’t happy enough. On the whole, though, these are some well-drawn robots, and I was invested in the way they were taking care of each other against impossible odds. Your prose is good as always, although:

quote:

Maxine could feel the security warning buzz like a hornet in the back of her head. It almost stung.

This simile kind of gets away from itself.

Definitely one of my favorites this week, though that epilogue cost you an HM.

A New Friend

This story’s big on mysticism and wonder, and as far as atmosphere goes, you’ve got it in spades. The oddness of Snerb -- his name, his dialogue, the way he’s described -- and the oddity of the whole severed head thing makes this story unique, and I certainly saw some promise in this. The problem is this doesn’t really go anywhere. There’s no arc or catharsis, other than this ascendency to Severed Head Nirvana that I didn’t completely understand.

I’d like to see some more consistency in the prose, too. If you include sentences like this:

quote:

The sun finally sets and silence and darkness settle together, two somnolent beasts lying down together for the night.

The rest of the story needs to be elevated in the same way. (I would suggest not including sentences like this.)

But on the whole, this is relatively clear for such an out-there story, though I didn’t entirely grok the ending and I got confused at “we climb down” and had to reread the entire story to make sure I didn’t miss anything. “He climbs down” would make this a lot more fluent. I definitely think that this story would work better if you had more room to work with.

Legends of War

So QPQ already ran with my “powerpoint about the Silmarillion” line, which means that this story’s dry and told from too much of a distance, but also that it’s very low energy. This is a story about coups and power struggles! You’ve got to make us feel some kind of tension, and there’s not even an attempt here.

It’s possible this might have worked better without the structural antics -- if you told us the story of the queen losing power at the end of the war, preferably without all of the exposition around it except where it’s absolutely necessary. But the dialogue is bad, the story itself is just trope after trope, and there’s no emotional resonance to any of this.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


singular

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Am I allowed to conjugate my word?
yes

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



This competition is poo poo and you're all poo poo and I'm in

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Djeser posted:

This competition is poo poo and you're all poo poo and I'm in
terrible

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:




Titus82 posted:

I have a thyroid condition.


I'm going to go eat some puddin'

Pizza rolls aren't a thyroid condition, dawg.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx


Hi I'm back let me in :toxx:

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo



this word sux

if you flash me a better word i will use it five times five times five times five times five times

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







spectres of autism posted:

this word sux

if you flash me a better word i will use it five times five times five times five times five times

Nacreous

Carl Killer Miller
Apr 28, 2007

This is the way that it all falls.
This is how I feel,
This is what I need:




spectres of autism posted:

this word sux

if you flash me a better word i will use it five times five times five times five times five times

I'm looking forward to your story using 'nacreous' three thousand one hundred and twenty five times. I hope your hyphen game is strong.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


spectres of autism posted:

this word sux

if you flash me a better word i will use it five times five times five times five times five times
gently caress you. You're using nacreous five times, and you're ALSO using singular five times.

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005


Thanks bunches for y'all doing gods work with crits.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

gently caress you. You're using nacreous five times, and you're ALSO using singular five times.

the most beautiful thing i've ever seen

Some Strange Flea
Apr 9, 2010

AAA


Pillbug

If you fail, I'm claiming all the rights to hard-boiled cyberpunk detective Singular Nacreous for a future entry.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Next entrant gets labrynthine: cannot be set in a maze.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx


sebmojo posted:

Next entrant gets labrynthine: cannot be set in a maze.
I'll take that one

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


THE SIGNUP DEADLINE APPROACHES

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 19:15 on Jul 8, 2016

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


THE FEARED SUBMISSION DEADLINE LOOMS.

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 19:15 on Jul 8, 2016

take the moon
Feb 12, 2011

by sebmojo


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

gently caress you. You're using nacreous five times, and you're ALSO using singular five times.

im coming for u after this

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


spectres of autism posted:

im coming for u after this
come after me by writing a story that doesn't suck this time

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

In.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


mordant

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






in

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Indescribable

Entry is now closed. Submission is in 48h approx. Get on it.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






Can i request a flashrule to make up for the weak word i got

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Sitting Here posted:

Can i request a flashrule to make up for the weak word i got

Girl gets on dream bus, doesn't have money for the fare

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


sebmojo posted:

Girl gets on dream bus, doesn't have money for the fare
The bus is a cosmic trap.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

The bus is a cosmic trap.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







This image is straight out of a childhood nightmare I had, THANKS

but okay, you are both fair and just judges

sephiRoth IRA
Jun 13, 2007

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality."

-Carl Sagan


Here it is. I worked hard on it, so I hope it hits all the right trans-dimensional, tentacular buttons.

Abstraction
WC: 1199
Flash word: non-euclidean

"There was- accident."

It was Isabelle's agent, calling across two oceans on the sat-phone I insisted they take with them. Every other word was getting dropped, and I pulled a muscle in my jaw straining to pick out complete sentences. Isabelle was hurt.

"- fell. The scaffolding- down-"

"How is she? Can she get back to the city?"

Screw the commission. Stan Mosley was a weird guy that always creeped me out at my wife's parties. Whatever he'd paid her to paint in that cave would undoubtedly be disturbing like the rest of his requests. I just wanted her home.

"- coma-"

I sagged against the counter while my stomach convulsed. They were miles away from any standard of civilization, and my wife was bleeding in her brain.

"I'll fly out there. I can get on a plane today."

"We're -jungle, Tim. -call you -Kinshasa."

The call dropped.

***

The firm understood, of course, and I flew out the next day. I sat in a hotel for rich tourists in Kinshasa for a week before I heard from the agent.

"She's awake. We're at General Hospital. She's been asking for you."

"I'll be there in ten minutes."

***

The hospital room was cleaner than I expected. I also did not expect my wife to bat her eyelashes and flirt with me like we were both in college again.

"You're a sweet man. You came all the way to Africa for me?"

"I was in the neighborhood."

She laughed. I could always get her with those stupid jokes. I gave her a kiss and ran my hand through her hair.

"What happened, Isabelle? Are you okay? What are the doctors saying?"

"Tim, you should have seen the cave. The stuff in there was unbelievable. There were things from the cradle of humanity!"

"Honey, I don't care about that. How's your head?"

"It's fine!"

I frowned.

"I'm fine, really! Did you see my paintings? I think Stan's going to be really happy."

***

The doctors cleared her for the flight home. They said that they couldn't find evidence of head trauma; her five-day coma was idiopathic. I told Isabelle that we were going to some stateside doctors when we landed, but she kept insisting she was healthy.

During a quiet moment on the flight, I pressed her again about what happened at the cave.

"Isabelle, why did you fall? Did you hit your head?"

"I don't remember…"

She trailed off. I waited until her mouth hung open and her eyes became vacant.

"Isabelle?"

"I don't think I fell. I saw something deeper in the cave."

Her face made me involuntarily tense. I had seen the commissioned paintings. My wife was famous for her photo-realism, so I too was able to experience the cave. The sculptures and wall etchings, all twisted with non-euclidean perspective, indicated that the proto-race that made them worshipped something beyond the scope of traditional mythologies. Whatever she found wasn't something she needed to re-visit.

I forced a smile. "It's not important, sweet. I'm just glad you're safe. Let's get you home and comfortable."

She nodded, and after a bit fell asleep with her head on my shoulder.

***

"drat it all!" Isabelle's shout came ringing through the house.

I was still working from home, and privy to Isabelle's new daily frustrations. I went upstairs, poking my head into her studio.

"Everything okay, sweet?"

Things were not okay. The workshop was a disaster. Isabelle was standing in front an empty easel, surrounded by a small, shredded canvas, clutching an art knife. She was furious.

"It's wrong, Tim. I can't get the right perspective!"

In the weeks following our return to the States, my wife had begun a violent departure from her existing body of work. She had dabbled in other media and styles before, but now her paintings were surreal.

I picked up the ragged canvas and grimaced. The composition was unpleasant. Crude swirls filled the scene, a mixture of grey and red suggestive of mottled, water-bloated flesh.

"What perspective, Isabelle? What is this?"

"I can't capture the essence. At least not like this." She gestured towards the tatters of canvas. "It needs to be bigger. Grander. More real!"

"Isabelle, I…"

I stopped speaking. She turned away from me, back to her shop. The conversation was over.

***

I ran into Stan in our foyer about a week later. I had just come home from the office and was met with his leer and moist, feeble handshake.

"Sorry to intrude, but Isabelle said that some of her new work would be interesting to me, so I just dropped by!"

I sighed, but before I could reply my wife's voice called out from upstairs.

"Up here, Stan!"

Stan grinned and began running up the stairs. I climbed after him, my steps growing slower the closer I got to the top.

Inside the studio, my wife stood in front of an enormous canvas covered with a sheet. She waited until I came in, and then threw the cover off with the flourish of a magician's assistant. Her painting elicited a gasp from Stan and a muffled groan from me.

Isabelle's creation was derivative of the works in the cave, writhing supplicants before a shapeless idol. Behind the idol there was an attempt at non-euclidean landscape, and despite its crudity it still caused me to reel.

Stan and Isabelle hovered together, talking about "how close she was" and how "three dimensions were key". I left them and placed a call.

I didn't like my wife's erratic behavior, and I explained this to our doctor. He offered to make a friendly house call that weekend.

Isabelle didn't come to bed that night.

***

As I left for work the next morning, a delivery truck was dropping off several hundred pounds of modeling clay. I edged away from the crates. They didn't herald any good news.

I got back that night and all the crates were gone. Inside, I found Stan and a few nameless sycophants from Isabelle's social circles. Stan leered when he saw me.

"It's perfect, Tim. Your wife is a genius. I think we're ready for the exhibition!"

I didn't bother asking which exhibition. I went to bed. Isabelle stayed in her workshop again.

***

It was Saturday. I woke up to the sound of Stan and the other twits stomping up the stairs, chattering like birds. I got up and paced while waiting for the doctor.

The screaming started later. I tripped sprinting up this stairs and by the time I got to the locked studio door, the screaming had turned to low moans.

"Isabelle? Open the door!"

I hammered into the door with my shoulder, finally crashing into the room on my tenth try.

Isabelle had filled the studio with shapeless plinths. A wall of clay towered over the pedestals, creating a forced non-euclidian perspective. The floor was awash in blood.

My wife crouched over the corpses of her friends. She was cutting at the bodies with her knife, picking out pieces and setting them aside. She turned, and from the wet, skinned muscle that made up her face she hissed at me.

"Flesh, Tim. The answer was flesh. I should have started with flesh."

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.



Here is my tribute to HP Lovecraft.

Charnel No. 5

“Smells like a charnel house in here.”

“Hmmm?” My daughter, Tania, looked up from her… I dunno what they’re called. It’s like a phone but… smarter?

“The smell here. It smells charnel. Like a charnel house.”

“All right, sure,” said Tania. “The smell’s a bit odd, but that’s hospitals for you.”

“It’s more than that,” I said. “The doctor’s one of them.”

“Not this again.”

“He’s a boat.”

“Dad, he’s trying to make you better.”

“He’s a negro, too.”

“Dad!”

“What? I said ‘negro’, not… the other one.” Tania shook her head and turned back to her phone. She didn’t believe me. No one did. Probably no one would, until it was too late.

Dr Jenkins came in to check up on me. He must’ve suspected I knew what he was. “How are you today, Mr Leichhardt?”

“I know what you are, you miscegenated bastard.” Tania rolled her eyes.

His smile slid from his face slightly. “About the same, I see.”

“I ain’t afraid of you.”

“That’s good,” he said. “I’m just here to give you your antibiotics.” There was a hint of sailboat about his features. Just a hint. Most men wouldn’t notice it, but I wasn’t most men.

“Trying to turn me into one of you?”

He shook his head, and didn’t answer. I knew I was right. I took the pills from his hand, but when I raised them to my mouth, I slipped them down my collar. I made a big show of washing down the pills with the glass of water on the table next to me. “I’ll be back this afternoon,” he said. He turned to Tania. “All right if I have a word with you outside?”

“Keep your hands off of my daughter, you boatperson,” I said.

They both ignored me, and went to chat out in the hall. I just knew he was trying to seduce Tania. Seduce her into boatpersonhood. That’s just the kind of thing his people would do.

I mean boat-people. Not… whatever.

Tania came back in after they’d talked for a few minutes. “All right Dad, I have to head off now.”

“You have to tell someone.”

She looked at me. “Tell who what?”

“Someone has to do something. They’re everywhere. And they won’t stop until we’re all like them.”

“I don’t really have time for this, Dad.”

“Please, before it’s too late. Someone has to stop the boats.”

Tania shook her head and walked out the door. And I knew we were all lost.

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God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


Shaggy (1187 words)

Some peoples' parents called the dorm phone every weekend. My mother called me twice in a year. The first call was to tell me that my dog had been put down. Shaggy. Mom made an excuse to hang up before I could cry. Crying set her teeth on edge, she'd always said, and she wouldn't have it in her house. That's why I'd spent so much of my childhood wandering, with Shaggy.

The second time she called, she begged me to housesit. Rico was spiriting her off to the Bahamas. I thought about the house. It would be empty, with no Shaggy trotting down the driveway to greet me, but it was also airy, and cool, and half a mile from the closest neighbor. By that afternoon, I'd packed up my one suitcase and begged a ride from the dorm mother. I stood at the end of the gravel driveway, drenched in early-summer heat. I had forgotten how good the air smelled out here.

Around the corner of the garage, tail wagging, trotted Shaggy.

I spun around. Nobody was there but me and the dog. He looked at me, and I looked at him.

"gently caress! Shaggy? Really?" I reached for his collar. There was the familiar tag, with my mother's outdated phone number from two houses ago. "She was screwing with me," I said to the dog, who sat motionless on the driveway. "Who lies about something like that?"

I dug my fingers into Shaggy's fur. It was damp and matted and carried a noisome smell of wet earth. "You need a bath," I told him. "And I really need a drink."

Rico's drink of choice was cheap beer in large quantities. I brought two cans to the patio and drank them too quickly. Shaggy was silent but attentive. Feeling suddenly dizzy, I looked him in the eye. "I really thought you were dead," I said.

He didn't respond, so I got myself another beer.

By sunset, I'd lined up six empty cans and invented a story. An awful mixup at the vet, my mother's lifelong horror of difficult conversations. She wanted to pretend that phone call never happened. Clearly. Obviously. I put my feet up on the chaise lounge, and let myself fall asleep.

I woke with a start. The sun was long since up, my bare legs were halfway to lobster-red, and my mouth tasted like a public swimming pool. "Ugh," I said. Then: "Shaggy?"

He wasn't there.

It must have been the hangover that made me so uneasy. I caught myself tiptoeing through the kitchen. "Shaggy?" I called again. The inside of the house was dark and still and dusty. I snuck down the hallway, stomach roiling, checking each room.

The door to my childhood bedroom was open the barest crack. I reached for the doorknob, then, heart pounding ludicrously, cursed myself for being a baby. I threw the door open.

I jumped backwards, then started to laugh. She'd replaced my posters and bedspread with generic beige-and-flowers. A guest bedroom. That was all. Feeling ridiculous and relieved, I walked to the window and glanced down at the pool.
Floating there, just beneath the surface, was a matted, doglike form.

It was motionless, except for the rippling of its fur in the current from the pool filter. I threw myself back from the window and stumbled over the bed. I raced down the stairs, down the hallway, through the kitchen, and onto the patio.

Shaggy trotted up to me, almost smiling.

There was nothing in the swimming pool, nothing at all. I cautiously patted his wet and noisome fur.

I opened another beer. I found myself keeping my back to the wall, not wanting the dog to surprise me again. I defrosted a baggie of chicken and cautiously fed it to him. He never took those black, wet-looking eyes off of me. Did his claws always make that clicking noise against the kitchen floor? I watered the plants and freed a half-drowned mouse from the pool filter. My stomach wouldn't settle. Shaggy trotted behind me.

"Are you a bad dog, Shaggy?" I asked him. A long moment passed. "Sorry," I added, uneasily.

I only knew two remedies for unease: beer, and sleep. I shepherded Shaggy into the backyard and lay down on the living-room couch. I pulled a throw blanket over myself and fell asleep.

When I woke up, it was pitch black in the house. Not even the suburban nighttime glow of VCR clocks and bathroom nightlights. Something was breathing noisome air into my face.

My shriek emerged as a croak. A soft weight compressed my lungs. The blanket had lashed my arms to my sides. I thrashed. Claws dug into my shoulders. With all of my strength, I ripped my arms free and flung the thing across the living room.

It hit the edge of the hearth with a wet crack.

My voice was a squeak in the darkness. "Wake up," I said to myself. "Oh, God, wake up."

I fumbled among the unfamiliar furniture. The house was a black pit, and the fireplace was its blackest center. I crept towards it, sliding my hands along the floor. I touched a pool of hot, sticky liquid. Then my fingertips brushed against fur, and I forced myself to not jerk away. I could barely hear breathing.

I made myself reach into the dark and touch the dog again. He was freezing cold and soaking wet and terribly, terribly broken. My stomach heaved. I fumbled backwards towards the kitchen, towards the pantry, thinking that they must keep a flashlight somewhere. I stared into the darkness, hoping that I'd somehow notice anything moving in front of me. I heaved myself to my feet, fumbled blindly in my mother's junk drawer, and found a flashlight.

Its beam illuminated Shaggy, standing almost close enough to touch.

His neck was twisted. His head sagged, upside down, too heavy for his bony shoulders. His fur was black and mossy, his breath ragged. He stood in the beam of the flashlight, his shadow streaking out behind him, lean and angular, like the shadow of a far larger beast. One ruined leg flopping limply, he took a step towards me.

The flashlight skittered wildly across the floor. The dog's obscure shadow loomed on every surface. Was he coming for me, or was he cowering? I snatched a heavy stone vase from the kitchen island, sloshing its contents over myself and onto the floor. Then I dove for the creature. I raised my weapon and bashed it into the soft density of Shaggy's body. I raised it again and again, until the kitchen floor was wet with bloody pulp and I was soaked in sweat and gore. I bashed his head until the bones ceased to crack and I lay on top of the wrecked body, exhausted beyond moving. Then I gave a few more weary thumps with the vase. Then, nothing.

The sun must have been nearly ready to rise. It must have been. But what would my mother find, when she came back? And what would find me in the morning?

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