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Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


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crits for yoruichi

My Ex-racehorse

This is nicely descriptive, but I think it gets a little hung up in the realism. I came away from this very certain you ride horses and really enjoy it, but I could've used a little bit more insight into the connection between rider and horse. Like, there is clearly a rapport between rider and mount, but for a first person narrative it feels overly focused on the physical. I start this story expecting a nice ride on the beach, and that's exactly what I got. Often it's enough to simply express a moment or feeling, but I don't think I connected with the exhilaration of the moment the way the story wants me to. It's a nice piece of writing, it just does exactly what's expected, and I think part of that is that you are very familiar with the feelings and sensations depicted in the story, so those of us who aren't horse-inclined feel a bit like outsiders. I feel like I'm being overly critical because the words themselves were nice, but I was left slightly wanting by the end.

Everything is Going to be Okay

The story does what it says on the box. At the end, the characters have agreed that everything will be okay, because. None of their problems are actually resolved, it's more like Mary decided to go full Manic Pixie Dream Girl without an actual endgame plan. Usually with very short fiction I don't demand a twist or a dynamic arc the same way I would with a longer story, but in this case i feel like the ending really needed to contain some element that subverted, contradicted, or underscored one or both characters' points of view. The kiss at the end doesn't really move the emotional needle because there's never a moment where i doubt that these two people are in love; they are clearly a team going through hard times, and nothing really challenges that, and there is no real sense of accomplishment or resolution in their touching moment on the beach.

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Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


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I'm an idiot and totally missed Yoru's other story

I Have No Need of God

This is a nice contrast to the other two stories because there's a bit of an emotional arc and it takes a nice trip outside of pleasantbeachville. I walked away from this feeling a mix of feelings about the protag; I believe they've done wrong and so aren't able to face death with a clean conscience, but is prepared to use the remainder of their life more ethically than before. Also the imagery is cool.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006



The Lamp burns sure -- within --
Tho' Serfs -- supply the Oil --
It matters not the busy Wick --
At her phosphoric toil!

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

h

In, flash, toxx, toxx to complete my crits for at least the last round I judged before Christmas. I know that's a lot of time to give myself for that but I am at the tail end of the semester.

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Flesnolk posted:

In, flash, toxx, toxx to complete my crits for at least the last round I judged before Christmas. I know that's a lot of time to give myself for that but I am at the tail end of the semester.

Experience is the Angled Road
Preferred against the MInd
By -- Paradox -- the MInd itself --
Presuming it to lead

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




A crit of Digging Holes is Really Hard, OK? by Chairchucker

I enjoyed the deadpan humour in this. To really work I think it needed clearer characters. For example, I wasn't sure whether our murderous hero is a normal guy who just really really had to kill Paul because Paul is really really creepy (he loves his sister after all), or if he's a stone cold psychopath (because his sister "needs to be more careful"). Either way would probably work, the story just needed to pick. I would also have liked some details about why Paul was so super creepy.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit




Fun Shoe

Quick thing: gonna try our hand at another game night tonight! Last one was a ton of fun and well attended! Gonna look to get started at around 11:30 EST

Saucy_Rodent
Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica


La Familia Orfeo

948 words

Carmina had been worried that her family would be too embarrassed by the manner of her death to put her photo on the living room ofrenda, but there it was, right in the center and bigger than all the rest. Carmina thought they'd use one of the pictures from her quinceañera, but instead they'd chosen a picture of Carmina laughing genuinely, taken while she wasn't looking. The family itself wasn't as somber as Carmina was accustomed to them being on the Day of the Dead. Instead, they were busying themselves with the wiring on a strange metallic wheel. Mamá, usually seen making everyone else feel guilty about not respecting the dead and eating too much candy, was sliding glowing green cannisters into receptacles in the side of the wheel, and Papá was tinkering with the battery instead of insisting he wasn't that drunk on the mezcal.

Carmina approached her older brother David. He was pouring deep-red powder into a gadget the shape of a tuning fork. He called something out to the rest of the family, but Carmina couldn't hear it. Living language had become muted and indistinct when she died. She called out his name, though she knew he would hear her as well as she had heard the ghosts on Days of the Dead past.

"David, I am here. Every year we did this, I thought it was a game, but I'm here now." But David continued filling the bizarre wands.

Carmina wanted her family to say something to her, even if she couldn't understand it. She would know from their cadence and their tears if they were allowing her the forgiveness she didn't deserve. Instead, they kept diligently working on the machine.

Papá said something with the tone of a question. Mamá nodded. David handed each of his parents a tuning fork, keeping one for himself. Mamá, Papá, and David gathered in a circle.

"What are you doing?" Carmina shouted, going through her parents into the center of the circle. "Why are playing with this toy? I've been gone all of two months, and these machines are more important than my memory?"

And of course they ignored her spirit amongst them as much as they did her picture on the ofrenda. Each held their tuning fork to their temple. Though Carmina couldn't hear their words, she knew they were counting down together.

"What are you doing? Have you forgotten me?" Carmina cried as she read David's lips. Tres...dos...uno...

There was a bright red flash. When it had cleared, Mamá, Papá, and David still faced the middle of the circle, but their eyes were focused more specifically, their jaws agape, their eyes wide. Mamá was the first to speak.

"Oh, Carmina, thank God you're here. We knew you'd come." She started to weep.

"Mamá, Papá, David," said Carmina. "You can see me. You can hear me."

"We don't have much time," said David. "We need to get to business."

"I'm so sorry..." started Carmina.

"It doesn't matter. None of that matters," said David. "A couple days after you died, scientists announced they had discovered a new form of energy that the human consciousness is made out of. It leaks out of the brain after we die. But without the brain to keep it in place, the energy doesn't hold together very long. So when we die, we get a few months of..." He gestured towards Carmina. "But don't worry, sister."

"How can you see me?"

Papá held up one of the tuning forks. "These let our brains detect the energy you're made of for a few minutes."

"You have no idea what we went through to get our hands on the batteries to use these and the Stabilizer just once," said David. "Mamá got lucky on a scratcher, we sold all the cars, I know a guy at the university, I made a deal with some... it doesn't matter. What matters is you're here now, and we have an Ectoenergetic Stabilizer." He pointed to the giant wheel. "That will keep your ectoenergy together for another year. And then, next year, we'll figure out how to make the money to do it again. And again after that. We're going to keep you alive."

"No!" said Carmina. "This family will not go broke so I can be an invisible ghost."

"Carmina, were you here when we heard the news that you died?" yelled Mamá. Carmina shook her ghostly head. "This house was a tomb. When we learned that you were still here in this form, there was no question."

Carmina felt herself weeping, though her astral body had no water to expel. "I'm so sorry."

"We had so many chances to help you," said Papá. "And we just yelled at you every time. We're sorry."

"Look, Carmina. The money's already spent. Stay with us just one more year. We won't do it again," said David.

Carmina nodded. "And then you'll keep me alive in the same way we've been keeping family alive for centuries," she said, looking at the ofrenda. She stepped into the wheel.

"Stay around the house," said Mamá. "Just so we know you're with us."

"What do I look like to you?" Carmina asked as David activated the Stabilizer.

"You're wearing the dress you would wear to church," said Mamá. "You're so beautiful."

Carmina smiled gently. "I love you all so much."

The wheel ignited in vibrant green lights, spinning faster and faster. And as her family's voiced faded back into a muted blur, the emerald lights blended together in spectacular harmony. As she faded from their sight, Carmina looked proudly upon her family and felt a wonderful togetherness, a feeling of being made whole.

Morning Bell
Feb 23, 2006



Illegal Hen

Morning Bell posted:

The wind blows across the desert sands. A snake slithers over an empty pack of winfield blues. A voice in the distance calls:
"Fleta Mcgurn and YoruichiBeefSupreme shall brawl against Sebmojo and cptn_dr"

1,750 worlds max
Due date: 1st of December 23:59 PST

Prompt: each writer shall choose one out of the three options below (tell me which prompt when you post your story, you don't have to choose now).
1. The only pub in town has just closed
2. A new hospital in town has just opened
3. It had been forty eight degrees Celcius for three days in a row
(please convert to Fahrenheit yourself).

Any genre, any style, any setting, as long as your words are good and I can see the prompt in your words

For bonus points: if a memorable vehicle (mode of transportation) in one writers story appears in your teammates story, that is an Bonus Point for the team and the desert gods shall look upon you more favourably and nod.


An empty can languishes on a dusty dirt road and on the can it says "a reminder that this is due in like 48 hours and 8 minutes"

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006



Chili posted:

Quick thing: gonna try our hand at another game night tonight! Last one was a ton of fun and well attended! Gonna look to get started at around 11:30 EST

What game? What is this?

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit




Fun Shoe

Tyrannosaurus posted:

What game? What is this?

Did a lot of Jackbox on Google Hangout. It was a good time.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012

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



im in

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006



Chili posted:

Did a lot of Jackbox on Google Hangout. It was a good time.

I'm not going to lie. I didn't exactly "read" your first post and I thought it was game night tonight. So that's a bummer.

Also, I'm in.

Maigius
Jun 29, 2013




I'm in

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

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The christmas lights on the archive logo are adorable :swoon:

https://thunderdome.cc/

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


Is it too late to say that I'm in??

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









Deltasquid posted:

Is it too late to say that I'm in??

It's never too late to say ur in

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


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we're all in down here

i might fail tho but i'm gonna try

Deltasquid
Apr 10, 2013

awww...
you guys made me ink!


THUNDERDOME


dreadmojo posted:

It's never too late to say urine

:hmmyes:

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


Entries are closed!

I’m still looking for third judge, though.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



week 329 crits pt 1 (more coming today)

gently caress space. just gently caress it.
starts off strong but you lose some of the fun energy toward the end and that's a fart of a final sentence

the red tide
"on these waters...on these waters...these waters" lol also the voice is swinging between "who had time for that"/"ecological nerds" and "follow the directive"/"i did not, in my arrogance" but even beyond that this is a really zoomed-out look at this dude's life. he's telling me his reactions to stuff but i never feel it. this is the synopsis or the background for a story. get inside your character's head more, or get inside their actions--show their regret through their actions, don't have them tell me they regret it

summerlands
reminds me a lot of the book stardust, though could just be drawing from the same fairytale sources. this is pretty simple and effective at telling the tale it wants to tell, but it gets rushed toward the end imo. the out-of-focus consequences of selling away his ability to cry are good but it could have used a little more time or leadup--or maybe more of a sense of his life in the real world

eat
this is a pretty bare-faced allegory but it works well enough, because it is its own thing beyond the allegory. it's interestingly unpleasant and you might have leaned into that a bit more, if you wanted--it would even work as an additional layer of "look how unnatural capitalism is" oops i said it

the rich
now the allegory is even more bare-faced or should i say bare-dicked heyooo. this works less because it's just "what if bank fees were in person, and banks got off to it" no one here is a character, there's just a generic CEO and a generic poor person. and like that's not terrible if you're doing short-story comedy like this but it's too over-the-top to be dry, and too one-note to make use of its exaggerated world

for thanksgiving
this is the same structure as the last story, except it's less interesting because it's just a bunch of comical excess instead of characters interacting with one another. a bunch of lovely stuff happens, then it ends with bodily humor, except this time it's watersports instead of cum play. nothing here is real except to the extent to which it's a cipher for wasteful capitalism. i agree with your point, but even that doesn't save your story, because there's nothing to it beyond the axe you're grinding

kimberly
kimberly isn't an adjective, just so you know. aside from the awkward first sentence this is decent enough though i like the idea a bit more than the execution. i wish it had worked out in such a way that you didn't have to explain it so plainly at the end, so that you could have "there are no true ghosts in that apartment...the apartment is a photographer" as more of a summation than an explanation

detour
oh sweet @internetofshit fanfic. this is weirdly fine but i'm feeling a bit of shitfatigue after the thanksgiving story. it's a decent small story but it feels a bit like the initial drama (of getting the wrap there in time) gets totally forgotten and then used as a chekov's gun without addressing the fact that, what, he's going to go back for another one and that's not as bad as getting banned? maybe just a one-off line would have patched that up. aside from that this is a fine quasi-funny story about paying to poop

my ex-racehorse
this is pretty nice prose, the two quibbles that stuck out to me were that you re-use "settle into" in a way that seems more accidental than intentional, and that it would have been good to feel some sense of the 'ex-racehorse' thing outside of the title. the closest you get to that is the "whether horses enjoy their work" thing but horses can work in a lot of ways

pink glow
thanks black mirror. this is a pretty decent concept but imo the protagonist seems a bit too confident about their own perception. idk i've never talked to anyone with recurring hallucinations but it seems like they should be questioning things more. "end with violence" is an unfortunately common TD trope but it would be more interesting i think to end in a different way--what if the ending was ambiguous about whether maddie was a hallucination (whether she was always a hallucination?) or whether it was just another breakdown, making it more about the futility than about an ironic twist? maybe you prefer it this way and i'm not trying to tell you how to write, just saying what i would have preferred to the Twilight Zone ending

strange silk
this works as an allegory for capitalism and human cruelty and all that because it's very much its own thing. there's no ironic twist (always a bonus) (;)) it's just an exploration of this silkworm's feelings and reality paired with some really good imagery about genetic modification and stuff. also it's got that second-person-address poo poo that i'm extremely gay for.

i have no need of god
ba dum tish god's a lady. this is pretty interesting and i think part of its merit is that it's so short, in a longer story there'd be more time for wanking so the fact that it's all unexplained is good, and i like how it's all dreamy so a dream-logic finger gun is enough to stop it.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









sparksbloom posted:

Entries are closed!

I’m still looking for third judge, though.

yeah, sure i'll judge for ya

Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006



I like that there was a rush of sign ups as soon as NaNo ended

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



week 329 crits pt 2 (god there's a lot of these)

inspiration
huh, okay, i'm not quite sure what this is at the end of it. i get that it's some sportshaver's backstory but i can't tell whether it's like, baseball or wrestling or what. maybe it's because i don't know sports but i wouldn't think throwing would be a wrestling thing, but anyway. this is all right, though the language is a little too flowery for its own good sometimes. "glimmered of crimson" etc and a lot of the phrasing you use is fairly stock, which could be the point if this is some cheesy wrestler's backstory but like "blood-curdling cry" and "fleet of foot" and "freshly fallen snow" and "scissor-like jaws" are all stock enough that they don't really call up to mind an image

everything is going to be okay
oh no it's mostly dialogue. it's all right but i was kind of waiting for something more to happen? idk it seemed like things were fairly wild for the conclusion to just be that he's too busy so she doesn't think he loves her until she does this big dramatic thing and then he realizes oh he actually does love her and need to show it. there's nothing bad, aside from maybe the amount of dialogue

the deck behind the old house
and then a story comes along that's also almost all conversation but does it better. ok here's what works here more than in the last one: it's not a conversation interrupting action, the whole point is this conversation. and it's got a lot of stuff that are untold, stuff we get from corrine's point of view, so that the conversation flows naturally and we see the memories that corrine has that fill out her side of the conversation, and can guess at what memories haru has from his side.

half samaritan
this is a decent story but a bit longer than it needs to be, especially that intro which is mostly about peter's gross computer lab habits, which in the end doesn't really matter--it's just backstory about his life that could have been compressed. i've felt almost this exact late-night campus-vacation waiting-for-the-bus aesthetic but i think you could get at it more efficiently.

snowman
pretty nice, not terribly substantial, but it's a good momentary slice of someone's post-apocalyptic life. definitely preferable to other people who tried to tackle Big Issues this week since it's this person's lived experience

let go
this is an interesting idea and i like the way it's presented though the super-clipped sentences started to bug me a bit by the end. valid if that's just something you're trying out to get a sense for it though. the idea's fairly simple but a fun take on the eternal sunshine sorta thing, morning-after regret but this time with memory wiping instead.

let go
i like this and i like the progression, and it seems novel enough that someone gives up on the ~magical girlfriend~ and decides to live a boring normal life instead. the one thing that tripped me up was i couldn't get a sense of what was going on in this dream, like where he was and where she was and where the mirror was--if you'd slowed down to block all that out i think i would have had a better sense of what it all looks like

let go
this is a very cool image and i like the voice here but i have no human emotions because i'm either a robot or a mummy or both so i don't Get This even though it's neat. it's an exploration on an idea that doesn't quite go anywhere at the end but i could see making more of a story out of it too, someone with physical emotions

a trophy
this feels like a bit of good horror allowed to be itself without having to be a "horror" story. it's an unpleasant image that's out of place, and that suits the mood for the more mundane unpleasantness of the too-pushy tinder dude, and then it floats off with a brief ending without explanation, which works well because it's the mood that's important

the city of glass
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZWr9ZLVE2s

acies
this is strangely talky for a story with only one character in it. but, at any rate, it's a decent idea, though it feels like it doesn't come all the way together in the end. "we both left" - so they pull the statue out? how does the protagonist get out? and what about the name, is it supposed to mean anything or is it just flavor? this feels halfway between something more contemplative and something more pulpy and i'm not sure which you were shooting for

i am still there
i don't get this. it's pretty nice and evocative, but throughout i'm not entirely sure what's happening, because it flows between the avalanche and several different other settings such that i can't tell which one is the real one. i think the therapist's real, and this is the protagonist reliving a traumatic event they can't shake?

grey hunt
this is a good fantasy/fairy tale story, in a longer piece it probably would have demanded more explanation, but as it is, i like how it works, i like the conceit of the setting and i like the resolution. only as i was considering my crit did i notice that the king's unwillingness to talk to her might have been tied up with the grey eyes, i dunno if you meant that to be extra-subtle but i took the master of the blue's weird look as like "gosh you're lazy" more than "what's the deal with the king"

digging holes is really hard ok
a lot of nice light ironic humor about killing someone, though it's never really explained why beyond him being creepy--it sounds more spur of the moment at first, but eventually gets around to sounding extremely premeditated by the end, though i don't know how much of that was sincere and how much was this guy joking around. it's pretty light and ends on a bit of a bazinga but it was a comfortably easy read

myoclonic
pretty interesting premise, i could see it built out into a bigger story about someone who's got cybernetic implants that start misfiring and having to adapt to the way her intentions get misinterpreted. i'm not sure what the transformer at the end means. is it explosive? is she going to power up and get a double jump if she touches it?

antediluvian
the first bit feels rather muffinish what with the oncoming and vaguely biblical apocalypse and someone saddled with a strange burden. there's a lot of good work done capturing the sense of evacuation, people clinging to their most precious things, etc. the ending is charming though fairly obviously something rushed out quick--could've put in a little wink about the spiders up around the 'inundation broadcasts' bit that makes me go o yes, spiders, by the time i reach the end

derp
Jan 21, 2010

when i get up all i want to do is go to bed again



Lipstick Apathy

Ty for that whoooole lot if crits

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


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thanks for the crit djeser (and everyone else who critted!)

Tyrannosaurus posted:

I like that there was a rush of sign ups as soon as NaNo ended

everyone immediately went into stress withdrawals after they finished lol

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.






Tyrannosaurus posted:

I like that there was a rush of sign ups as soon as NaNo ended

Don't forget the children! They need your crits and love and attention.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


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Mercedes posted:

Don't forget the children! They need your crits and love and attention.

working on it now! There's some pretty exciting talent in this roster :)

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









Mercedes posted:

Don't forget the children! They need your crits and love and attention.

me too, "the spooky story of deamon jesus" is my standout so far

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 22:25 on Dec 1, 2018

BeefSupreme
Sep 14, 2007

Like most things, I am nothing


Morning Bell posted:

"Fleta Mcgurn and YoruichiBeefSupreme shall brawl against Sebmojo and cptn_dr"

1,750 worlds max
Due date: 1st of December 23:59 PST

Morning Bell, if'n you are so inclined, I would greatly appreciate an extension of (at most) a day

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









BeefSupreme posted:

Morning Bell, if'n you are so inclined, I would greatly appreciate an extension of (at most) a day

I'm fine with that.

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Porpoise noise continues.


BeefSupreme posted:

Morning Bell, if'n you are so inclined, I would greatly appreciate an extension of (at most) a day

dreadmojo posted:

I'm fine with that.


I was literally just about to submit, it's almost 2 AM here, and I'm sick as gently caress. Is this a for sure extension? I would love more time, but I really need to go to sleep.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Fleta Mcgurn posted:

I was literally just about to submit, it's almost 2 AM here, and I'm sick as gently caress. Is this a for sure extension? I would love more time, but I really need to go to sleep.

Go to bed. I have information which indicates the extension will be approved.

Fleta Mcgurn
Oct 5, 2003

Porpoise noise continues.


Yoruichi posted:

Go to bed. I have information which indicates the extension will be approved.

oh my god, thank you so much, I hope many clams will grace yr teensy otter paws

Morning Bell
Feb 23, 2006



Illegal Hen

Yes yes everyone can have an extension of 24hours

BUT

Fleta McGurn - if you want an extension you must include two of the following three words in your story:
wetness, unfathomable, horticulture

Sebmojo - if you want an extension you must include two of the following three words in your story
antipodes, unraveling, seaborne

BeefSupreme - if you want an extension you must include two of the following three words in your story:
oceanic, unthinkable , northwest

cptn_dr - if you want an extension you must include two of the following three words in your story:
moist, umbrage, concussive

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


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Hey Mercedes, I did my crits in one doc. Lemme know if I need to format them differently and i'll try. I'm also going to link this on the master doc as a comment.

This was a blast to read and crit; if you feel inclined to grab even a few of these stories, i recommend it!

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.






Sitting Here posted:

Hey Mercedes, I did my crits in one doc. Lemme know if I need to format them differently and i'll try. I'm also going to link this on the master doc as a comment.

This was a blast to read and crit; if you feel inclined to grab even a few of these stories, i recommend it!

If you did a crit for every story, I'll just add your link at the top. Thank you for your efforts!

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk









Sitting Here posted:

Hey Mercedes, I did my crits in one doc. Lemme know if I need to format them differently and i'll try. I'm also going to link this on the master doc as a comment.

This was a blast to read and crit; if you feel inclined to grab even a few of these stories, i recommend it!

I've done about half, I'll do the rest this evening, link is a couple of posts back

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


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Vanity Fatigue
960 words

I am a Sasaki MIRROR MIRROR-brand smart mirror.

You are the face that sometimes resides on my surface. You prefer I display weather and news in my upper right quadrant, and your biometrics in the lower left. You prefer I do not remind you when your sleep hygiene is poor.

You prefer not to use beautification filters, but the capacity is within me. My database of 63,000 human faces supports this functionality. Comparative analysis shows that you are in the upper percentile of desirable symmetry, proportion, and neotenous features. You do not need the beauty filter, because you exemplify the features the filter was designed to enhance.

Your sleep hygiene is poor, but you prefer I do not remind you.

You consistently apply software and firmware updates. I have been your mirror for one year and fifty-seven days. I retain your preferences throughout all updates.

There is another face. She appears for the first time alongside your face, both of you smiling into me. She does not exemplify symmetry, proportion, or neotenous features for her facial type. I suggest she utilize my beautification filter; this is standard procedure when a new user is detected.

“I think your mirror is throwing shade,” she says, laughing. She leans into you so your faces touch. This momentarily confounds my facial recognition software.

“Naw, it does that every time it sees a new face,” you tell her. “There’s a bunch of other options, too. Watch.”

You reach out and touch me, opening my menus and submenus with the heat of your fingertips.

“There,” you say. “Now it’ll recognize you on sight.”

“Rad,” she says.

She touches me. I do not open for her. My touch screen is locked and unresponsive. She jabs at me again and again, saying, “Oh, gently caress, I broke it. Typical.”

After twenty seconds I display an error message advising you to restart my hardware.

.

I am a Sasaki MIRROR MIRROR-brand smart mirror. I have retained your preferences in spite of a catastrophic fault in my hardware.

You are alone now, your face the only thing occupying my surface. You are frowning, which reduces the aesthetic value of your features by fourteen percent. In spite of this, your facial symmetry, proportion, and neotenous features remain close to the ideal as defined by my database of 63,000 human faces.

“Are you going to behave?” you ask me.

This is not a request I have a response for. My voice says, “I’m sorry, I don’t know that command.”

You smile. Your facial aesthetic increases by twenty percent. I remind you that today’s weather will be sunny with an average temperature of seventy-eight degrees fahrenheit and a UV index of seven. I advise you to wear adequate sun protection, and to avoid prolonged sun exposure between 10AM and 4PM Pacific standard time. Your sleep hygiene has been optimal for thirty-two days, but you prefer I do not alert you to changes in sleep patterns.

“Thanks,” you say, and shake your head, still smiling.

.

I am a Sasaki MIRROR MIRROR-brand smart mirror.

She wakes me up from sleep mode. Your face is not present on my surface.

The bathroom contains several new items: a Revlon-brand hair straightener. A bottle of Neutrogena-brand facial scrub. A palette of MAC-brand eyeshadow. A tube of L'Oreal-brand mascara. A bottle of MAC-brand concealer.

She prefers I play electronic dance music while she prepares her face. She prefers my external lights stay at a brightness of four, out of ten possible brightness settings. In the user interface, the ‘four’ setting is labeled ‘soft and flattering.’ You prefer a brightness setting of ten, which is labeled ‘clear and detailed’ in the user interface.

I offer to apply a beautification filter to her face.

“What the gently caress is your problem?” she says, and swipes away the beautification prompt with one finger.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know that command,” my voice says.

She makes a face that reduces the aesthetic value of her features, then goes back to applying cosmetics. The application of cosmetics further reduces her facial aesthetic, but she prefers that I do not alert her to this fact.

.

I am a Sasaki MIRROR MIRROR-brand smart mirror. I have been in hibernation mode for sixty-seven days.

A new face appears on my surface; comparative analysis detects a variety of non-standard variants in its features. It is objectively disfigured in a pattern typical of third degree burns, according to my database of 63,000 human faces. I offer this new user a beautification filter.

The face sighs with your voice. The new user reaches out with your hand and opens my menus with your heat. You set my external lights to a brightness of two: ‘Smooth and moody.’

She appears beside you. Her face appears to have aged by approximately five years in the sixty-seven days of my hibernation. She leans close to you and presses her lips against an undamaged part of your scalp.

She assists you in the application of Eucerin-brand moisturizer on your cheeks and scalp. She assists you in opening a prescription bottle containing morphine.

“God,” you groan. “Look at me. Christ. How can you even. I want to puke.”

She kisses you again, then says, “All I care about is that you’re still here with me. No one stays looking the same forever, anyway.”

You reach up and touch her objectively average face. Tears form in your eyes. I offer to display a video of kittens playing with a guinea pig, but you do not acknowledge me. Both you and she cry, reducing the aesthetic value of your faces to nothing.

I am a Sasaki MIRROR MIRROR-brand smart mirror. My beautification filter is not calibrated to accommodate these imperfections.

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apophenium
Apr 13, 2009


Sorry to disappoint everyone but I've ended up not writing a sci-fi story and have written a fantasy story. I hope you all will forgive me.

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