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flerp
Feb 25, 2014

I DON'T ALWAYS
HERDY DUR MUR FLERP FLERPITY
FLOOPIN
BUT WHEN I DO
I YER DER FLERPITY
THURN DER DERMIN
BORK! BORK! BORK!







onsetoutsider skunk story crit

this is rather low effort, which the ending gives away very heavily. and i think it's obvious why the ending doesnt work. you set up a kind of horror-adjacent idea -- an ever growing pile of skunks -- and end it with a dude yelling "Sir Stinky the Smell-nifiscent" so yeah anyone could tell you didnt try with this ending. having your character die of a brain hemorrhage is also somehow even worse than the predictable answer of "getting murdered by a creepy weirdo in the woods" because now the story doesnt even teach a valuable lesson like "dont follow skunk carcasses into the woods and knock on the door of a cabin where the skunk carcasses seem to be coming from."

anyways, ending bad, so what. the rest of the story is relatively decent, but it meanders way too much. like, you couldve cut the first paragraph, and just made the first line be "there was a big ol' skunk pile," and this is already a story where barely anything happens. the other thing is you set up the skunk pile as being something supernatural -- dead things not smelling or even having flies is not natural at all -- but the ending doesnt pay that off at all. it's just a dude in the cabin. why arent the corpses smelling or decaying or covered in flies? the answer is, of course, you were lazy.

however, your character has no reason to do anything. she stops at the skunk pile because ????? and then she follows the skunks into the woods because ???? and then she enters the cabin because "well, i came this far already, might as well" which doesnt work because she wasnt motivated to do anything of this to begin with. again, another tell-tale sign of laziness. the character just does things because the plot needs to happen and it's very self evident. and, of course, your character has no character. they do things because you know characters are supposed to do things in stories.

the initial buildup to the skunk pile is decent, although the first paragraph is v wordy, you build into something resembling tension as you slowly ramp up the weirdness. hell, it mightve staved off a loss if it had an ending that was more interesting than "creepy dude in the woods" and had at least some kind of supernatural element that justified the skunks not smelling. it all completely deflates at the ending, of course, but the tension is there. but the protag doesnt matter and the ending doesnt matter and nothing really matters in this story, as i think we all know,

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ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


onsetOutsider's Barbara's Morning Commute

okay. you made a stink, you get a crit.

Barbara gets top billing, but is not really any kind of character. She seems to largely exist to convey the PoV of the story along her shoulders like a camera-headed freak of nature.

The set up of more and more skunks piling up aside the road could be the set-up of a joke, it has a certain pattern-building rhythm common to the start of jokes, but I don't feel you could claim it actually was in this instance. What a 'joke' is, well, that's even more contentious than what a story is, but I'd hold it to involve a certain necessary element of subversion.

So, a thing where more and more skunks pile up, and then there's a big stink, is not really a joke. A big stink is about what you expect when skunks are piling up.

The old man wearing the skunks is another cardboard stand-in for a character. Even the stink itself is mostly told, rather than shown, killing the chance of this actually grossing me out, which might've surprised me and been worth about half a point.

The reason I didn't bother in the first place was, well, I feel like you know these things already. If I've genuinely helped you improve, great. The number one step you can take to improve, though, is to get these in earlier -- and probably step away from using defenses like 'this was at least as much of a sincere effort as the last time I dropped an incredibly late story to avoid being banned'. You compared it to your teatime with an eldritch horror story, and I'd disagree. That story was genuinely surprising and disarming. This whole affair was predictable.

Saucy_Rodent
Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica


I liked onsetoutsider’s story in the same way I enjoy a well thrown paper ball from the back of the class. Doesn’t mean that kid deserves good grades, but my enjoyment is real.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give



flerp posted:

onsetoutsider skunk story crit

I'm gonna piggyback off this good crit for my own thoughts. I suspect you'll be writing this one off as "dumb premise," but I honestly think the premise is fine, and I was interested in the first paragraph. The concept of roadkill piling up to impossible levels over the course of a week, and nobody noticing until the situation is beyond absurd, is a perfectly good magical-realism-flavored premise. I can imagine any number of good stories starting with that skunk pile.

The real problem here is progress and execution. I know you had time-management issues, but I also suspect you had confidence issues, convinced yourself the whole concept was stupid, and deliberately half-assed it from there. I feel like this is maybe something you've done before in TD, and I'd like to see you get away from it, because it's self-sabotage and frustrating to read.

I'm not sure what concrete advice I have for you, besides working on time management, but I think outlining might help -- give yourself a firm foundation to write from, both in terms of knowing where a story's going and in maintaining confidence that it's going somewhere worth putting effort into. Give it a shot.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give



Also, in.

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


In.

perpetulance
Mar 24, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In.

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


I have a fistful of flash rules to hand out.

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



For the new page:

Djeser posted:

Thunderdome Week 346: A Fistful of Magic Missiles

Wild West fantasy. Make it as high fantasy or as grounded as you like, as long as it's recognizably Western, and somehow fantastic.

1000 words.

Enter by midnight in El Paso on Friday, submit by midnight in Denver City on Sunday. (That's 11 PM Pacific, for you Sacramento folks.)

Staggy
Mar 20, 2008

Said little bitch, you can't fuck with me if you wanted to
These expensive
These is red bottoms
These is bloody shoes



In, flash.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







In, flash

Applewhite
Aug 16, 2014

IN THE GRIM BARKNESS
OF THE FUTURE
THERE ARE ONLY DOGS



Nap Ghost

In.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Crits of the stories I read from week 345


A Broken Clock by Doctor Zero

(You get a long crit because I read this on the weekend and had time).

I’m not sure when the coffee date went sour, but my enthusiasm was definitely waning. Nor could I pinpoint the issue precisely. I pondered while he related a story about his friends.

Your story ends in its opening line, and not in a good way. I immediately understand that the protag is on a date and that the date is over, and am immediately bored.

Blaise was cute, clean, and well dressed, bringing a nice blazer and a scarf. The conversation had started easy and felt natural. He asked questions about me and my interests, but always ended up talking about own views. Was the confidence and charm that I found attractive two nights ago in reality, ego? Perhaps.

“Bringing” is not the right verb for a scarf. Just say “wearing.” Blaise is very boring.

Then I realized that he made too many assumptions - that this (whatever this was) was a done deal. He said I’d meet friends, we’d go places together, as if we had agreed to more than just coffee. We hadn’t.

I tried to figure out if my inner voice was being protective or perceptive as he flipped over the check.

I cannot express how bored I am of these two people at this point.

“Oh my god!” He exclaimed, and I startled out of my thoughts.

“Did they overcharge?”

“No, look at this!”

He handed over the bill. I examined it.

A mocha for him, chai latte for me. A chocolate croissant that we shared. Looked correct.

I shook my head. “I’ll give.”

“See anything unusual?”

I looked again. The name of the server, ‘’Becka’? I was about to say I didn’t know when I saw the total.

“Oh, $11.11? That’s neat I guess.”

He smiled as if he had the punchline to a joke I wasn’t getting.

“Do you know what time is was when I kissed you the other night?”

I blinked. That was random. I thought about it - pictured the night dancing, him asking for my number. After I gave it to him, he leaned forward and ever so gently kissed my lips. I thought it was sweet.

“Some time around midnight?”

“It was 11:11 pm,” he said. “I remember looking at the clock.

“Oh, huh. That’s … funny.”

Still bored. Considering giving up on this story at this point.

“Actually,” he said and leaned over the cafe table with a glance around as if he were imparting state secrets, “1111 is a good omen.”

But wait! Blaise might actually be a crazy weirdo or perhaps a wizard. THIS is where the story should have started. Instead of the 400 words of bla bla above you could have just said something like, ‘I was about to get up and leave, date over, when Blaise flipped over the bill and said, “Look at this! $11.11, a good omen.’” Actually that’s a crap opening line but you get the idea.

Was he putting me on?

“Ah.” I said, unsure what else I should say.

These two lines communicate the same thing, i.e. the fact that the protag is confused and unimpressed. You don’t need both of them. Stop saying umm.

“Look at the table number,” he said.

I did so. An embossed plastic tag informed me it was 22.

I raised an eyebrow. “Twenty two? Another secret number?”

He clucked. “It’s 11 and 11.”

When I didn’t drop my eyebrow, he said “11,” pointed at me, “plus 11” and pointed to himself.

“Ohhhh.” I said.

“And, I got here at 11:11 today. I made sure of it.”

He nodded as if that said everything, which it didn’t.

“Okay,” I said with a shrug, “I’ll bite. What’s special about 1111?”

This is also boring chit chat.

“Well, in numerology the number one is significant, as you can imagine. One is the smallest integer before zero. One is self. Every person is one. It indicates the universe, because there is only one. Mathematically, it’s also the basis for everything. Anything times one is one. Prime numbers are only divisible by themselves and one. When you get a pattern of one, it’s a sign of good luck.”

Ok things are getting interesting again. This should have been your second paragraph.

“Uh… huh,” I said.

This is the dialogue equivalent of “and then the protag sat still and did nothing.” Give them an action, or have them feel a feeling. Something that either tells us something about them or advances the action (ty to whoever it was that posted the link to Kurt Vonnegut's rules of writing from which I just stole that line).

“Oh! Look at the time here on the receipt. 12:45. Two minus one is one. Five minus four is one. One and one!” He beamed.

“Well, it would really be one minus two, and four minus five, which is negative one and negative one. Wouldn’t that be bad?”

“No!” He was really getting excited now. “Because negative one times negative one is … one!”

Yep, this date had absolutely gone south.

“Okay. Listen, Blaise.” I looked at my watch, “it’s almost One and I have to get going.”

I stood and slipped my jacket on.

“My treat?” I said and grabbed the bill.

He looked stunned, frozen.

When I walked to the register to pay, he snatched up his blazer and ran up to me. I studied a picture of a cat taped to the counter with the caption “You gotta be kitten me!”

That’s a nice detail. You need more of these to bring your setting to life.

“Can I see you again?”

I pocketed my change and turned to him. “I… don’t think so.”

Stunned look again.

“You’re a sweet guy, really but…” I shook my head. “Look, I’m sorry. I should give it to you straight.”

The the girl behind the register stood playing with her fingernails, mouth slightly agape, listening. I tugged his sleeve and led him outside. The spring air was fresh, sweet.

“The date started nice, but I’m just not feeling it. I’ve dated guys a lot like you and I know how this ends. I’m cutting to the chase and saving us both a couple of miserable months.”

We’re three quarters through this story and absolutely nothing has happened. In your first line you told us the protag was on a bad date and that they weren’t going to see the other person again. This is still the case.

“It’s the numbers thing.” He said.

“No. Well, yes, but not just that. The whole thing started to feel off while we talked, and I’m going to listen to that little voice for once.”

Ok so we have tiny moment of personal growth for the protag, but it doesn’t really matter because it was clear they were always going to make this decision.

“But all the signs were there.”

“Blaise. Stop listening to,” I made air quotes, “signs and portents and just be yourself okay? If you like numerology that’s great, find someone who’s into it.”

“Wait!” He cried, and glanced at his watch. “Come with me!”

Just as I’m about to give up again we have some action! Hooray! This should have happened in para 3.

He grabbed my arm. I didn’t move. I looked at his hand, looked back to him.

“Sorry,” he said and let go. “But please, just come with me to the gas station.”

“What? Why?”

“I want to try something. If you come with me, I swear I’ll leave you alone.”

“Fine,” I said and followed.

He walked quickly, and glanced at his watch. I felt stupid.

“What are we doing?”

“An experiment.”

I sighed.

We walked to the corner Sunoco and went inside, a bell jingling as we entered the small storefront stuffed with junk food, auto liquids, and day old hotdogs on rotating racks.

He grabbed two daily lottery forms, filled one out with 1111 and handed me the other.

“Any four numbers you want, but hurry.”

“Oh for…” I muttered but filled in a random 9578, mostly to make this whole thing end faster.

“There. That’s all I wanted.” He tucked his newly printed ticket in a pocket, but not before pointing out that it had been sold at 1:11pm.

I snatched my ticket and left as quickly as I could.

#

Later that night I was shopping and trying to decide on pasta when my phone chimed. It was a text from Blaise. It read, “Check the numbers” with a smiley face.

“Oh my god, really?” I said and made my way to the lottery counter. Tonight’s numbers were on a bright, red LED.

Pick four: 6-3-1-1, it proclaimed.

I scoffed, and checked the winnings chart. Blaise had won $11.

“Even a broken clock is right twice a day,” I muttered and deleted his number.

Basically anything would have been more satisfying than this ending. The joke is terrible. I wish he’d turned out to be a wizard and wins the lottery and now he’s a gazillionaire and the protag has to feel bad for being all judgy and not believing him.

The problem with this story is nothing happens, nothing changes, no one learns anything or really does anything apart from buy a lottery ticket and not win (yes yes not all stories have to have a traditional arc in order to be good but it’s not like this one had anything else going on is it, hmmm?). There’s very little characterisation and almost no emotion from the protag apart from saying “umm” a lot.

The ingredients you have assembled are not bad. You have a nonplussed protag, crazy numerology guy, a date and the suspense of waiting to find out if you’ve got a winning ticket. You could do good things with these, but you’ve got to take the protag on some sort of journey so that as a reader you want to get to the end to find out what happens.




Night Shift by Djeser

First thought: Ok this is weird. I like the vivid imagery though.
Second thought: Wtf is going on, is this some last minute ramble about nothing?
Final thought: Woah that was cool.

I wasn’t sure where you were going with this but somehow by the end it all works beautifully. I read it twice, just because I wanted to enjoy the imagery a second time. Well done.



The Night Cousin by Antivehicular

This is weird and creepy, in a good way. I like it, but I don’t love it. I’m not really feeling the protag, so I don’t feel invested in whether they escape or not. I think the weakest point is the decision to turn and run. Seeing her parents hideously sewn together is a good reason for a normal person to run away, but you’ve established that your protag’s not normal - the violence of the kidnap implies they were expecting something pretty hosed up - so this felt a bit like “and then she changed her mind and ran away the end.”



Barbara's Morning Commute by onsetOutsider

What

is

this

?

Ugh, alright, something helpful… Hmmm… This would have worked better if you had better characterised Barbara. At the moment she’s just an outline of a person - you needed to tell us about what she wanted and who she is.



If cats don’t go to heaven, then what’s the point? by Flerp

This is let down in the first third by the lack of emotion from the protag. He doesn't seem particularly upset about his cat's death and his comment that he'd give up his not-very-nice mother is way too off-hand. The witch also agrees to bring that cat back too easily, so the whole thing felt a bit flat.

I agree with you that cats are great though.

My Shark Waifuu
Dec 9, 2012





In, :toxx:, and flash.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







:siren:Fungusbrawl judgement:siren:

Pour out a 40 of fungus liquor for the 14000 words these lunatics squeezed out for our delectation, then take a sip and savour its lightly hallucinogenic bitterness as you ponder that they were basically all very good. There's nothing much to choose in terms of prose quality between the two, so unfortunately for the loser we are gonna have to go on story structure and how the pieces Worked.

Muffin's had a story where the female protag chased their young female protege until she ran up against the BIG SCIENCE FICTION IDEA and then did the SCIENCE THING that made the story end. Blowout's, by contrast, uh, did the same.

Hm.

I'm being unnecessarily reductive, but there are some lols to be garnered from the similarities.

In fact they were both very different stories - Muffin's hummed with Big Phalloides Energy from the first word and managed some really solid funguspunk tension, particularly in the malevolence of the sun and the intensity of the protag's relationship with her ellie-from-the-last-of-us standin. Blowout's was much (much!) more leisurely and let us know all about the characters, and the environment, and how the characters kicked back in the environment, before getting going.

The mushroom world were equally well-evoked with some genuinely singing prose, but I have to say that I cared more about Muffin's world because of the nice sociological world-building and the sense of consequences; Blowout told us about the consequences in hers, then handwaved them in a few paragraphs rather than having them impact the characters - the protag gets fungusified but it's actually hella sweet and nbd. Muffin's protag is also magically healed (seriously, did you compare notes) but I was way more concerned for her.

Against that, I loved the wide screen baroque idea of Blowout's Haloesque fungus sentinel worlds more than Muffin's science experiment gone wrong, and I would absolutely read a book where fungal crusaders dance among the stars, protecting the galaxy with a sitting here approved benign mycelial web. But that's not this story, is it? in this story the fungal crusaders advance on a base full of terrified civilians to (presumably) subsume them into a borg-esque hivemind. The story ends abruptly because if it didn't it would turn into a horror movie.

Muffin's ending was in some ways also clumsy, with a Star trek 2 style wave of Good Mushrooms sweeping the globe after Magic Science Butan gets pressed, but it doesn't leave the actually interesting/horrifying part outside the story. You can imagine what the characters might do, and it's not as interesting as what just happened, so it's ok to leave that bit untold.

So with Muffin's we have a solidly focused slab of funguspunk with some solidly pulpy goals and good words, that ends in an artless first draft kind of way but it's relatively easy to see how it could be smoothed out (oh, and I'm really not convinced by Dr Horrifying McMonster M.D., but i guess that's fixable too) With Blowouts we have around twice the words and a leisurely introduction to life in a tourist town, a bunch of lightly sketched characters, a genuinely beautiful environment and a cool sci fi premise that ends about three minutes before the actual drama happens.

Victory: :siren:Muffin.:siren:

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In, flash.

Doctor Zero
Sep 21, 2002

Would you like a jelly baby?
It's been in my pocket through 4 regenerations,
but it's still good.

Thanks for the crits, peeps, especially Joruichi for the details. Good feedback.



Also, I will probably regret this since I don't really have much time this week, but I can't say no to that prompt, so I am In like Flynn.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

by Cyrano4747


In

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Doctor Zero posted:

Thanks for the crits, peeps, especially Joruichi

Who the fukc is Joruichi?

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME



Your protagonist would sooner be dead than unfashionable.

Baneling Butts posted:

In, :toxx:, and flash.

In your story, nobody draws a knife or a gun. Nobody even makes a fist. No weapons.

sebmojo posted:

In, flash

Your protagonist could cuss the blue out of the sky.

Staggy posted:

In, flash.

Your story takes place entirely on a riverboat.

Viscardus
Jun 1, 2011

Thus equipped by fortune, physique, and character, he was naturally indomitable, and subordinate to no one in the world.


In with a flash.

Doctor Zero
Sep 21, 2002

Would you like a jelly baby?
It's been in my pocket through 4 regenerations,
but it's still good.

Yoruichi posted:

Who the fukc is Joruichi?

It's my Swedish accent. :shrug:

(seriously I don't know why the gently caress I typed that sorry.)

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


Viscardus posted:

In with a flash.

Your story must be set in or clearly inspired by the building of the Manchurian railway.

SlipUp
Sep 30, 2006


In flash me bigboi

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


SlipUp posted:

In flash me bigboi

In your story, there are no remaining landmasses.

apophenium
Apr 13, 2009


In with a flash pleas

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


apophenium posted:

In with a flash pleas

Tell me about your Level 20 Paladin.

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

Behold my brain the golden throne of my consciousness. In here I am seated. Shackled. From here I police the land.



in / flash

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME



None of your characters can be human.

cptn_dr
Sep 7, 2011

Seven for beauty that blossoms and dies



Captain_Person posted:

In plus a :toxx: for my crimes

(USER WAS BANNED FOR THIS POST)

You're better than this! There's only room for one inveterate Failure Captain in this dome, and that's me.

Brawl me.

Captain_Person
Apr 7, 2013

WHAT CAN THE HARVEST HOPE FOR, IF NOT FOR THE CARE OF THE REAPER MAN?

cptn_dr posted:

You're better than this! There's only room for one inveterate Failure Captain in this dome, and that's me.

Brawl me.

Lowtax has his spine money. I'll have your blood.

You're on.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.


Sebmojo won his Technically Correct brawl through, technically, being the only entrant

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Obliterati posted:

Sebmojo won his Technically Correct brawl through, technically, being the only entrant

shambam entered, he just posted a whiny excuse rather than a story

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.


sebmojo posted:

shambam entered, he just posted a whiny excuse rather than a story

Technically it wasn't a story

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013

BEHOLD MY GLORY

AND THEN

BRAWL ME


cptn_dr posted:

You're better than this! There's only room for one inveterate Failure Captain in this dome, and that's me.

Brawl me.

Captain_Person posted:

Lowtax has his spine money. I'll have your blood.

You're on.

Oh captain, my captain, I'm afraid this prompt is gonna be rough sailing.
Before the end of the month, PST, you two will have to deliver
A steampunk story, but not, and let me stress this, not garbage.
Gimme a tale about the people the industrial revolution swept aside, the anxiety of men forced to compete with machine, the runaway ambition of a capitalist clockwork.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

by Cyrano4747


Eh, flash me

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


This is, in fact, your protagonist's first rodeo.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME







MuffOut brawl crits

I enjoyed reading both of these, full stop. aaaaaaah I kept getting interrupted while trying to get my thoughts together, so have some lists of disjointed critique.

Muffin

Pros:

  • You deliver your setting in a very quick, hands-on way. The rules are established early on: fungal forest = weird (to the reader) but safe; open wasteland = sun = death. The towers are introduced near the beginning as a tantalizing mystery, but you don't rub it in the reader's face. It's a natural part of Isken's observation of her surroundings.
  • Isken chews the gently caress out of that scenery. If people aren't talking, she is interacting with her environment.
  • THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE SUN THE
  • Isken has an immediate, distinct, endearing motivation: care for the weird orphan. There's almost a built-in "save the cat" beat there; this isn't her biological child, Henni is an outcast. So the fact that Isken cares about Henni makes me care about Isken.
  • Jak is pretty likable once we figure out his deal, even if his backstory is a little bit muddled by the rushed feeling of the ending. I was left wishing Isken had spent more time with him, built up more rapport.
  • There are these tiny, mild little bits of humor that i really enjoy. Like when Isken sees the elevator for the first time and is like "rooms that go up? lol wait til they figure out stairs."
  • Pretty language, of course.
  • I have crits about the ending, but since this is the positive section I'll say: There is a clear throughline from the beginning of the story to the end. As soon as we see those towers, i know they're going to be involved in the endgame.
  • You continue to be a steady hand with fungal worlds, ancient tech, and found family. Humans aren't smarter than nature. We're not smarter than evolution. That which can't bend breaks in the ugliest way.

Cons:

  • I'll start with the big one: The ending. It's technically a satisfying series of events (Isken learns the truth of her world, reclaims the land for the mushroom kingdom, gains a buddy along the way), but compared to the parched, sprawling feel of the rest of the story, it feels very truncated and expository. I think part of the problem is that Isken is able to infer way too much about the nature of the towers and Jak. Don't get me wrong; she's smart, and I like a smart protagonist. But, for example, Isken makes a pretty huge jump when she deduces that Jak was transformed into a hunt-any by the science-magic of the tower. It would have made more sense to put that revelation in the slightly later scene where they encounter human-Jak's voice.
  • You drop a very subtle hint early on that the hunt-any might not be as monstrous as they seem; Isken notes that they tend to run from groups of hunters, taking only the sick and weak. By the end of the story, I chose to infer this meant that they were rescuing people, the same way Jak rescued Henni. If that's the case, might've been cool to see some other healed people hanging around at some point.
  • When Isken realizes that Henni is being treated for sun-sickness, she has a forehead-slapping moment where she's like "how did I not see it??" and goes on to describe how Henni had been subtly exhibiting the symptoms of the sickness the whole time. I went back to the beginning and didn't see much indication of that, though there was ample opportunity.
  • I was kind of expecting Henni to, I don't know, have more to her? Not to say she's badly written, it's just that she's described as very otherly in a way that suggested there might be some revelation about her later on.
  • Basically, i wanted more words of this. Under the circumstances, I'm pleased with what I got, but a selfish part of me is like "you could have fleshed this out more."

Blowout

Pros:

  • Your ending is as leisurely as Muffin's is snappy, which has its own sort of appeal. By the end of the elevator sequence, I'm sold. I don't wanna read about this place, I want to visit it! I am angry I'll never go to the mushrooms planet.
  • The Eye is a uniquely low-key, high-stakes setting. Just a place you can kick back with some brewskies and take in the lush vibrant mortal peril outside.
  • The phrase 'safety dads' cracks me up
  • Even though we don't get into the primary conflict right away, I had a pretty decent idea of what general sort it might be, thanks to the safety briefing in the beginning. You don't mention that there's never been a breach unless you are going to breach the gently caress out of your space dome.
  • I love characters, especially in spec fic, who experience a sense of wonder at their surroundings, which your protag seems to have.
  • The actual premise of the story is wildly ambitious in scope and I loving love the concept of a fungal security network built on a cosmic scale.
  • The description of the setting is good, but where the piece shines for me is in the description of the fungal hivemind once Lu joins it. It "feels" right, like how I'd want a proper fungal hivemind to be.

Cons:

  • I agree with Sebmojo; I want to see hivemind-Lu and skullfriends try to convince the uninitiated Eye-dwellers that, uuuuh, actually being part of a fungal network is cool and good. But you'd need some massive restructuring to fit that in at this word count, so I can see why you ended it where you did; that said, it's hard for me to make a projection as to what might happen after the final period in this peace. Even if the people who live in the Eye were chill being being initiated into the mycosecurity system, you still got a ton of terrified tourists who probably want to, you know, go home. Showing us that confrontation would've likely changed the mood of the story to something a lot darker, so again, I can see why you didn't go there.
  • I love the lively sense of 'place' you establish within the Eye, though I wish there'd been a couple fewer characters. Tighten it up to Lu and Juno, and maybe Kimball since his daughter is the one who breaches the dome. Lem and PJ don't do much except engage in a little revealing banter about the 'power rangers.' Which brings me to...
  • I was expecting there to be more of a whole DEAL with Juno and her robosuit buddies! The other characters do all this grim speculation as to how human the power rangers are, and the answer is...yep, pretty human, just with some scars. You hint at what I want to see: once Lu is connected to Juno through the hivemind, she is able to see into Juno's past where she suffered from lung problems and had to be cut up and stuffed in a suit to walk. I think what i was looking for was a more explicit juxtaposition of the symbiosis of person/suit and the symbiosis of person/fungus.
  • I'm not totally convinced by the explanation that the Eye is "ready" to join Team Spacefungus; sure they all know CPR and are a self sufficient little bubble of cooperation, but it's a tourist destination, and, as everyone knows, tourists are the worst. Lu's narration in the beginning of the story makes the Eye feel like a perilous resort, not a bastion of cooperation and community. I wanted there to be something more explicit about the Eye, something that would credibly grab the attention of the Kahu.

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

Well, it's been about three and a half years since my last rumble in the Thunderdome, but I'd say it's about time to get, as the kids say, "back on my bullshit." Let's see if you folks have gotten any better.

In.

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cptn_dr
Sep 7, 2011

Seven for beauty that blossoms and dies



ThirdEmperor posted:

Oh captain, my captain, I'm afraid this prompt is gonna be rough sailing.
Before the end of the month, PST, you two will have to deliver
A steampunk story, but not, and let me stress this, not garbage.
Gimme a tale about the people the industrial revolution swept aside, the anxiety of men forced to compete with machine, the runaway ambition of a capitalist clockwork.

The first project we ever worked on together, back in the wasted mists of our teenage years, was lovely steampunk. It's fitting then, that the one which tears us apart in blood and oil is also steampunk.

:toxx:

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