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Doctor Eckhart
Dec 23, 2019

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020
My extra crits will probably mean nothing to you guys as I got a DM, but I'm already dressed up real special with an elasticated bowtie and a fascinator from the dollar store

Saucy_Rodent
I liked the self-aware humour in this one. The names of his bros cracked me up, especially Chent. It's exactly the sort of story a whole lot of people would like to tell at a wedding but wouldn't be allowed to, because everyone has at least one overly serious relative.

Azza Bamboo
Goddamn it, I'm going to have to admit I thought these guys just had wacky nicknames until I thought you'd misspelled girl as grill, and then I was like... wait. Pepper somehow segued from being the narrator to the speech deliverer right at the end (was it a short notice arranged marriage?) Crumbs didn't have an expiration date to meet? But I'm gonna have to defend the usage of anus in comedy.

Pththya-lyi
Crazy poo poo happening in a grocery store? I'm listening. I'm not sure if you intended Jaime to seem like she was actually a person who blindly follows the orders of any old stranger who crosses her path, if you did it was perhaps a bit too subtle.

AstronautCharlie
The sandwich debate is not particularly original, but I like it nonetheless. A couple of times you slip out of past tense into present tense, and I spotted a missing comma after “you're so stoned”. A real nice story about two pals talking about love, but it's hard to imagine as a wedding speech story.

Yoruichi
I like the opening, but I can't help but question why the yachts are judging for lack of a better word an interspecies relationship between two “other species”. The actual seagull and otter is a nice touch. More of a first meeting story than a wedding speech, but still good for them moving to the coast.

Thranguy
This one's the closest so far I've been to tearing up a little at the imaginary wedding. Little Saint Nicolas had better be at the wedding in a tux!

Aesclepia
Another first meeting story instead of a wedding speech. That first line though? It's objectively mundane but the wording gives it a spark of magic. I want this to be the first voiceover line of a film. The bit about the breasts might have been okay if this was the first time Daria had seen Grace (presumably she'd seen more than a close-up selfie?), but still best to omit it.

a friendly penguin
It's CO₂ not CO2, because I'm a pedant like that. Also I don't think you need the comma in “Well, you are pretty…,” It has the right tone for a wedding speech, but I think if this was used in a real speech Olivia would have glossed over what Jenny was crying about that day and focused on getting covered in Dr Pepper. But otherwise I liked the idea of the girls supporting each other in the crying closet.

Anomalous Amalgam
I think that one serious relative we all have would be very unhappy about this in a wedding speech. I, however, appreciate a story about vomming it up. I really like the description of the burglar’s gloves. It's another first meeting story, but the best man was there for the occasion and he's shown to be an over-sharer within his own story, so I can buy it.

Entenzahn
A nice story of love and solidarity, maybe a little bittersweet for a wedding story. I think it'd make both bride and groom feel a bit bad, unless some other event happened afterwards to change the context. I like how nostalgic the description of her looking at the guitar feels.

Carl Killer Miller
This is a funny dog story and I like Matt's half baked ideas to solve the problem. But I think the end is a bit of a let down. Also it's an immediately before the wedding story, so a bit of a stretch to use in a wedding speech, unless the dog ate the notes for the original speech too?

Sebmojo
You'll have the whole wedding party sobbing into their champagne glasses with this story. Also comes across as genuinely Irish, so it does.

Armack
I can see this working in a speech only if our narrator is a bit of a bullshitter. I'm pretty sure the boys couldn't possibly have fit all of that stuff in their backpacks. This incident taking place during an exam is also a stretch. But as bullshit goes, it's pretty entertaining.

Antivehicular
Nice little self-deprecating story that's sure to get a laugh and a round of awws at the wedding.

Sitting Here
I like the tone and the description in this story so much that I almost don't want to point out that Mateus's name is spelled three different ways throughout. I can imagine tankards of ale being raised in tribute after its telling.

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Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

Dope. Extra crits are always welcome.

AstronautCharlie
Jan 13, 2020

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020
Saucy_Rodent, your mere existence is an affront to me as a cat person. Let's brawl.

Pththya-lyi
Nov 8, 2009

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020
I'm in with every atom in my positronic brain

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!





astronaut rodent brawl

tell me a story from the perspective of a loser in a competition. up to your interpretation for what loser and competition means

1250 words
due fri 2/21, 1159pm pst

toxx if u wanna but im not gonna force it

Saucy_Rodent
Oct 24, 2018

by Pragmatica
:toxx:

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002
per the discord discussion i am going to pour my soul into a story and it will be terrible. in

AstronautCharlie
Jan 13, 2020

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020
:toxx:

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo
Doctor Rope

magic cactus posted:

IN hit me with that metal flash.

Demilich - The Planet That Once Used to Absorb Flesh in Order to Achieve Divinity and Immortality


Thranguy posted:

In and flash

Mortiferum - Archaic Vision of Despair





Djeser posted:

writing about robots??? a strange departure for me but i'm in


Doctor Eckhart posted:

In with flash

Blood Incantation - Inner Paths (to Outer Space)

2nd batch coming in the next hour or so...

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

In.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007

Boom.

In, flash

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo
Doctor Rope

Simply Simon posted:

Cool prompt wanna write about robots in


Carl Killer Miller posted:

I am extremely IN


crimea posted:

In flash.

Witch Vomit - Squirming in Misery



QuoProQuid posted:

:toxx: in. Flash me.

Krypts - Sinking Transient Waters

Pththya-lyi posted:

I'm in with every atom in my positronic brain


crabrock posted:

per the discord discussion i am going to pour my soul into a story and it will be terrible. in


Round 3 inc.

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo
Doctor Rope



Phrenelith - Deluge of Ashes

Captain_Person
Apr 7, 2013

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

Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018
Thanks for the extra crits.

Communist Bear
Oct 7, 2008

I can't believe I'm doing this, i'm quite scared, but In.

Want to flex my writing muscles a little bit and could do with some critique.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010
In

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why did you fail Thunderdome?
In

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo
Doctor Rope

Chairchucker posted:

I will write a thing

Sorry I missed this on the first pass!





Communist Bear posted:

I can't believe I'm doing this, i'm quite scared, but In.

Want to flex my writing muscles a little bit and could do with some critique.




arbitraryfairy
Feb 13, 2019

Saucy_Rodent: The Legend of Cheaty Steve

This story was immensely stupid, but in an entertaining way. I feel I should be angry at it, but it made me laugh and ‘Cheaty Steve’ is a fun name to say.

On the flip side, I find it hard to give a useful crit to something that already embraced its own ridiculosity, because it felt like you managed what you set out to do. How you wrote the twist at the end initially didn’t work for me, but I also can’t put my finger on why. So congrats I guess you just stumped me, despite using the word ‘brewsky/ies’ four more times than I ever wanted to hear in my life.

Azza Bamboo: Pressure On Our Pals

You leaned pretty hard into a gimmick, but you did commit and that spared you from an actual loss, at least on my side. I had less of an issue with the actual puns than it feeling like the rest of the text was just a way to get to your next joke. So the rest of the text and the story was just a bit… blah. I think someone in the discord said something like “[it’d be better to fit the puns around the story than the story around the puns]” and I think they were bang on. Give some love to the rest of the text so people actually want to read through it to hit your jokes.

I wasn't super into the last line until I reread the title, then like, heh, I see what you did there.

Dr Eckhart: I’m Very Happy Together

You were trying to be fun with the prompt, which I suppose could have worked, but didn't in this instance.

For a start, your first line: “There’s always a time when things aren’t that comes before the time when things come to be.” -I don’t know if you’re trying to be mysterious or whatever, but that first sentence was just very garbled, and the two after it fell flat rather than really adding any mystique. If you’d managed a good start, or even a comprehensible start, you might have avoided the DM.

For me the story also failed in that you decided to be a downer on wedding week, but not even in a way that tugged heartstrings. No one liked the character, and now they’re marrying themself. I think the story could have worked a little better if you’d managed to add a sense of progression or put a little more light onto the non-imaginary character in the piece:

- Either some hint that they are pushing forward and improving their own life and that “marrying themselves” is empowering for them instead of just giving up
- Or if you did want to go the real downer route, there needed to be more to make the reader actually care about the non-imaginary character. All we got is how others reacted to them, we didn’t get anything about what they were actually like as a person that might have made them more relateable or sympathetic. Or even just more of a character, if you weren’t intending them to be sympathetic.

As the story stands there’s no reason to care about the non-imaginary character, and no clear sense that anything actually progressed. This gives the feeling the point of the story is just the “clever” punchline that the narrator was imaginary, but that part wasn’t really written cleverly enough to actually land.

You did really engage with the prompt though, even if it didn’t work out, and that’s cool. If you don’t already read your story aloud before submitting, I very much recommend doing that - it should have caught your first sentence not working, at least.


Pththya-Lyi: The Song of the Slayer

A few entries went for absurd this week, and yours managed to hit that note best for me. I liked the combination of including little details about the environment and the characters while having the action just bluntly happen. This worked well for your tone.

Echoing Tyrannosaurs’ point, I don’t think your last line quite landed. It felt like you were just putting in a line for the sale of wrapping it up. “that’s who Jaime is: a humble woman who always does the right thing – eventually” - is not what I’d have concluded from the story, just since Jamie pretty instantly changed her tune when she heard the Orc Leader’s side. If you couldn’t think of a better wrap-up sentence, I think it would have worked okay with the story just ending at the pizza rolls.

I admit I found myself shipping Jamie and Nargol during this story, especially when it was a wedding prompt, but choosing not to go there was equally valid, I’m just thirsty for gay orcs.

AstronautCharlie: Consider the Sandwich

I could kind of see someone telling this story at a wedding, but in the sort of way where everyone is fidgeting and internally begging for it to end while the teller goes on a ramble about that one time they were high, bro. For me having the characters be comically stereotypical stoners made it significantly harder for anything they said to emotionally land, and so the bit at the end about love just really didn’t work - it wasn’t funny, or even fun, but the context also stripped it of the possibility for emotional meaning.

You write well, though. Your dialogue was believable, your pacing would have been good if you’d been writing something I didn’t find painful to read.

a friendly penguin: The Soda Story

I can see Tyrannosaurus’ point that this might not have been the best material for a wedding speech prompt, but I did find it a nice little piece in its own right. The idea of a crying closet spoke deeply to my own experiences of university, and the dialogue flowed well and seemed believable. The comments of the professors were gross as hell, but from what I hear studying medicine is a loving hellpit, so it’s not like the comments are completely unbelievable. I felt you managed to convey the exhausting experience of studying pretty well in a short word count, which is why it struck a note for me, even if I did have to concede to my co judge that this week wasn’t necessarily the right prompt for it.

Anomalous Amalgam: How I met your mother

On my first read through I did not like this symphony of vomit in five movements, but my Co judge did so I was willing to give it another shot. I still don't know if I like it but it did gross me out and get into my head so I guess that's a point in its favour. And as Tyrannosaurus pointed out it did read like something that would be brought up in a wedding speech.

If you'd just left it as Jerry vomiting and then the robber also vomiting, I think the story would be neater and less "and then they all X." having everyone vomit seemed a bit ridiculous to me, though I guess ridiculous may have been what you were going for.

Minor things: You use strands of cheese as a description twice in the first two sentences. It's a bit of a short word count to be repeating things.

Entenzahn: Stickers

I liked the overall concept for the story, though as others have already said, without any follow up it was maybe a bit of a downer for a wedding speech. The writing was generally well done and sweet, and the stickers were a cute detail.

I feel maybe changing some of the details could have worked a bit better, and the story as it stands comes across like you were trying to stretch the details to work for your overall idea rather than finding the details that fit the best. It might be a very specific nitpick but afaik the more common form of appendicitis tends to run its course in a few days and needs pretty prompt treatment. There is chronic appendicitis but it’s much less common. So I am not sure if picking appendicitis was the best option for an ailment (or just add the word ‘chronic’ I guess) and it seemed a little forced how the timing of the diagnosis and operation worked out.

Yoruichi: The Speedboat and The Seaplane

This story kind of hilariously missed the prompt, but it was fun to read. I felt there was lots of nice description and then just enough swearing in it that the times you used swearing it worked really well for emphasis. I was not expecting to see the phrase “seagull wanting to gently caress an otter,” and then actually including said otter/seagull combo later in the story was a nice touch. I am trying to think of something actually constructive to say but I think you pretty much nailed what you were going for, so long as what you were going for wasn't the prompt.

I definitely liked the fact that the speedplane (being the clearly superior ship name over the alternative seaboat) didn’t wait or care whether their actions had impacted those tormenting them, but I feel “they lived happily ever after” was a bit of a weak ending and maybe you could come up with something better.

Thranguy: Liam Was a Working Man

This started out really well. Conversational tone in a fun way, using the action to highlight details about the character. It kind of suddenly switched directions in the middle and that is where it fell down. In general I’m always here for stories about saving puppies and fighting bigots but it felt like reading two stories to me. The name at the end was a nice uniting touch but I feel it needed a bit more connective tissue in the middle.

Aesclepia: Maybe It Was The Rain

I was enjoying this story until Grace showed up. It feels as you headed towards the end of the story you were just getting a bit more rushed with the writing so spitting out some generic stuff or stuff that just didn’t flow very well but probably could have been fixed by a bit of editing: “four hours had past that seemed like mere minutes” “like her first kiss ever but but so much better because Daria knew what she wanted from life now.” Some of the run-on-ish sentences looked to be on purpose and worked okay (the two paragraphs that followed “Daria? I’m Grace”) but others (“The door opened, and a woman with fabulous breasts, a bright green raincoat, lightly flushed cheeks, and rain droplets in her hair came in”) were just a bit jumbled.

Yea and speaking of that line. The breast line. I can see that has come up with both other crits and I definitely fall down more on Tyrannosaurus’ side than Dr Eckhart’s: Whether or not she had seen a full body pic of Grace before, the breast bit came across like a straight guy trying to write queer women. A little bit boobs being the first thing on her mind seeing someone, a little bit italicising fabulous, it all just ended up real jarring and kinda detracted from the rest of the piece, that with a bit of editing, would just be a real nice meeting story.

Like idk, maybe I am just not a boob woman but it’s like, we already have them, it’s not really the most stand out thing about someone else. Also when it came in the same week that Saucy Rodent’s story mentioned unsolicited tit comments in the most dudebro of contexts, it probably stood out more.

I don’t know if you’re a straight guy, and maybe you’re a queer woman that’s just super into breasts. That’s just how it read to me. If I have horribly maligned you then I invite you to fight me in a brawlsexual brawl.

Carl Killer Miller: Ring Bearer

The idea of people trying to come up with harebrained schemes to solve a dog-related problem sounds pretty fun on the surface but it didn’t land for me.

Style-wise, all of the paragraphs were really short and there wasn’t much variety in tone, pace, or action. It was just a long conversation and I found it hard to focus on.

Content-wise, it feels like “doggie eats wedding rings but coughs them up in the end, all is well” should be a nice story, and there’s too much of a darker undertone in this for me to read it as actually nice or fun. The groom is wanting to get rid of or even put down (assuming I am reading the “uh, nice farm upstate” line correctly) his partner’s beloved dog? That’s pretty messed up. Kind of a big red flag as far as this guy as a partner goes. Is Aisha feeling pressured into marriage because she is pregnant?

There’s also no indication that the protagonists in the story or even the story itself recognises that this whole situation seems a bit messed up, so that undercurrent is just there, never dealt with. Also the dog coughing up the rings in the end doesn’t mean it won’t get sent away or whatever, since the whole story was just between the marrying couple’s friends and there’s no reason to assume anything would have changed with the overall situation.


Sebmojo: A Good Act of Contrition

I think this is well written as a story, but I couldn't see it fitting in as a wedding speech - too much of the content is internal, the only thing externally that happens is a bit of conversation. I don't know if you missed the prompt on purpose, or if we just have very different ideas of wedding material.

Armack: The Thing About That Guy in the Tux

Good first paragraph, it’s fun and makes me want to read more. You hit the prompt, in that it is a quippy little anecdote the likes of which someone might tell at a wedding. I just didn’t find the actual content very believable. Even if we handwaved the actual story as being something that may happen there was just something not very grounded or believable about the way it was written (but it wasn't so ridiculous that it managed a pass). I'm trying to place what that was so it's actually a useful crit but failing currently.

Antivehicular: The Tipping Point

This story cleared my skin and watered my crops. Mike’s anxiety is viscerally believable, and Danielle’s reaction sells it as a wholesome relationship. The fact that he later tells the story, even an edited version, shows character progression as he is able to become more comfortable with himself. Yours is the only story that introduced both wedding parties and actually sold me on the fact they should be getting married.

I found the last paragraph a little unclear: he “undersells his fear” but plays up “the panic and the body terror.” I had to read it a few times to get what I think it is saying (he undersells his fear about the actual relationship/what Danielle might think of him and plays up the more physical fear of the situation? I think?). Contrasting similar words (fear/panic) just makes it a little less intuitive to grasp so if you are wanting to do anything further with this story I would maybe edit that to be a bit clearer.

Sitting here: Snake Handlers

I suppose I don’t know the intended nuances of your fictional society, but the prompt was anecdotes that could go in a wedding speech and I am not sure if there are many imperial theocracies where it would be good form to tell the god empress about that time you were pashing her future husband in a wedding speech. Unless that's her thing I guess, or it’s a polyamorous society? Otherwise it was a competently written bit of action.

Later edit: I can see t-rex liked the layers of it, and it was his prompt so I will defer to him on that. But IDK, if you wanted to write about some buff gay dudes fighting buffly did there need to be a marriage to a god-empress to facilitate it? Rather than liking the layers as they stood having the love story between the groom and someone he wasn’t marrying made me want to know more about how it was all going to go down - which is a point in its favour as a story generally but maybe not in something so short.

cptn_dr
Sep 7, 2011

Seven for beauty that blossoms and dies

Antivehicular posted:

I'll judge this thing. Your prompt is "the lake at the bottom of the ocean," which is the title of a lovely creepypasta that I think could be a better story in the hands of people who can actually write. Prove me right.

1200 words, due on Thursday the 13th, the spookiest day of the year. Toxx up, King Cap.

Hey AV, can we please get an extension on this?

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

cptn_dr posted:

Hey AV, can we please get an extension on this?

Sure. One week work for you, or do you need more time?

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







sebmojo posted:

Cool, me too

This means in btw

cptn_dr
Sep 7, 2011

Seven for beauty that blossoms and dies

Antivehicular posted:

Sure. One week work for you, or do you need more time?

A week would be great, thanks.

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

Okay! The Arbitrary Doctor Ocean Lake Brawl, which probably needs a better name, is now due Thursday the 20th, 11:59 EST.

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo
Doctor Rope

sebmojo posted:

This means in btw

Ah, I thought you were just sassing our fellow combatant.

Applewhite
Aug 16, 2014

IN THE GRIM BARKNESS
OF THE FUTURE
THERE ARE ONLY DOGS

Nap Ghost
Time to start writing again. I'm in.

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo
Doctor Rope

Applewhite posted:

Time to start writing again. I'm in.

Communist Bear
Oct 7, 2008

Is there a leeway on the word limit? For instance if I have 100 words extra? :)

Doctor Eckhart
Dec 23, 2019

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2020

Communist Bear posted:

Is there a leeway on the word limit? For instance if I have 100 words extra? :)

Nope. Better start hiding them extra words under your mashed potato.

Communist Bear
Oct 7, 2008

Doctor Eckhart posted:

Nope. Better start hiding them extra words under your mashed potato.

*Scrambles furiously*

Azza Bamboo
Apr 7, 2018
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upD6cB9Rzvk

Anomalous Amalgam
Feb 13, 2015

by Nyc_Tattoo
Doctor Rope
Subs closed. Go forth and write stories.

steeltoedsneakers
Jul 26, 2016





sebmojo posted:

Killer sneaks brawl

700 words, due 15 feb, 2359 pst

Something inspired by or drawing on: "kicking against the pricks"

Direct Intervention
695 words

Rhys sat in the bus stop, bathed in the late afternoon glow of the petrol station fire. He reeked of Unleaded ‘91 and had a wild look in his eyes.

Rhys had often sat opposite that petrol station. Some days he registered its existence, others it was lost in the swirling morass of mortgage payments, nutritionists and child care.

When they moved into the neighbourhood, it had been a garden centre. Not a bustling one that people would know by name, but one he took the children to to buy birdseed for the feeder. One you could reliably pop into for some local gossip and planting tips.

It pissed Rhys off, that in 2020 a locally-owned-and-operated gardening shop - complete with rows and rows of lush trees and bushes looking for a home - would become a self-serve, cut-price, fossil fuel distribution site. It pissed Rhys off enough that a quiet, dormant voice deep within had started to clear its throat.

A voice from before parent-teacher interviews, before matching brown shoes to brown belts. A voice that screamed the blunt-instrument poetry of anti-establishment West Coast punk rock, lungs crushed against the stage rail. A voice that had yelled spittle-flecked truth to power across a police line, arm-in-arm with safety pins, patches and bleach-green hair.

Month by month, Rhys’s studded leather passenger punched his way forward through the walls of the cerebral chokepoints that Rhys had built in the interceding years, kicking down whole sections so that narrow thought funnels spewed wide.

That day, in front of the petrol station, the passenger had become his co-pilot. It wasn’t a voice at the back of his head, it was a vocal conversation partner. It spat hot idealism, raging at the world and fueled by two decades of inaction by Rhys.

It’s loving bullshit, the planet’s in a nosedive and they pull this poo poo?

“Yeah, I’ve got no idea how the Council let that consent thr -”

The wha.. No, listen, gently caress the Council, man. They’re not the problem. The problem is these loving fossil fuel capitalists pushing us to pump more of the poo poo that’s killing the planet. The problem is loving you, Rhys - you and all the other loving sheep who -

“Dude, I’ve got kids, I’ve got bills. I’ll protest but I’m not.. I can’t fight this stuff.

I didn’t say anything about protesting, I’m talking about direct loving intervention.

Rhys, alone on the footpath, had started pacing. He vibrated with a nervous energy that felt familiar - but pushed it down to where it needed to sit beneath his ironed business shirt and -

“Mate, can you move?”

He looked up, distracted suddenly from his metaphorical wrestling match with a younger, angrier version of himself. In that moment, younger Rhys got his kicks in.”

“gently caress no, buddy!” Rhys yelled, and hawked up a wad of phlegm, letting it loose at the buttoned down man in the Landcruiser. Rhys saw shock ripple across the tubby man’s face and gave the bumper a solid kick.

“Station’s closed! WOOOOO!”

Rhys ripped his shirt off and wrapped it around the end of a windscreen cleaner, pawing in his pocket for the lighter he kept for the one clove cigarette he allowed himself a week. He put it tow his shirt and orange flame caressed and then devoured the delicate, evenly spaced fabric flowers.

And then he saw it, shining red like a beacon amidst the fleeing crowd of customers. There, next to a 1995 Toyota Caldina with a busted tail light was a beautiful red plastic petrol can, wobbling gently as its contents sloshed.

Sitting there at the bus stop,he couldn’t remember how he’d set the fire. He remembered seeing the can, and he remembered the shockwave and the bassy boom that hit him in the back as he ran clear of the chaos he’d bodged together.

He stood up from the bench as the sirens came, and ambled slowly back across the road. He was smiling now, the gentle smile of a man in love. He planted his feet, heat rippling the air around him, ready to great the cops with two middle fingers.

Communist Bear
Oct 7, 2008

Anomalous Amalgam posted:

Against all odds, I have somehow triumphed over you meat bags. This being the case, I want you to look forward towards the future, far beyond the span of our mortal reign... I want you to peer into the nebulaic dreamscapes of our mechanical descendants and bring back fantastic stories from their dreams about what may be. Your human life has ended, your machine life has begun.

When you sign up I'll give you three images from Artbreeder

Put simply, not a lot of constraints here - take the images, stew over them, extrapolate and present a story so that you too may sit upon this blood throne.

If you request a flash, I'll give you a song to draw inspiration from, but it'll be metal.

Sign up deadline: Friday, February 14th 11:59 PM US CST
Submission deadline: Sunday, February 16th 11:59 PM US CST
Word Count: 1,000 words, an extra 500 with a flash song.

The Shepherd
1000 words

A sharp hiss of noise bled through the fabric of the rotten, dust-covered rag draped over them, and as the limb of twisted machinery and broken piping fell to the ground, they felt a sense of regret at losing another part of themselves. They listened to the noise slowly subside to the howling of the wind, the fallen limb dead on the scorched ground. Remorse gripped them, but they had no choice but to abandon it. To carry it any further would be folly.

They turned away and continued, pulling another layer of ragged fabric around the gap left by the lost limb. The sun sat low, the winds of ash sweeping up and blurring the thin line between sky and land. In the distance stood the castle of dust - today it was nearer, but still out of reach. Its towers and monuments were always reforming, bending and swirling into new shapes and patterns.

On some days the castle loomed - a colossus that filled the horizon. On those days they felt joyous, for their journey appeared over, only for that joy to become sorrow as they were unable to reach the gates. On other days the castle appeared distant, a mirage of sand that faded in and out of the mote-covered sky. On those days they felt purpose for their task and walked steadily ahead.

There were days when the castle wasn’t there at all and those they feared the most. The ground beneath them seemed uncertain. They left rocks to remember where they had started, but on the days when the castle disappeared the rocks fooled them, trailing behind them in spirals, or appearing ahead of them, as though they had already walked this path before.

They would sleep and have visions. They would be standing in a meadow of green, the sky a pure blue, the air fresh and warm. They would be reborn of flesh and would remember their name and all that came before. They would find the flower, in the middle of a temple of stone, atop a plinth of glass and jewel. The pink petals would flow down, spinning into infinity. They would touch one of the petals and in that instant awaken refreshed.

Today the castle was very close, only another cycle of sun and moon away. They shambled slowly across the barren unforgiving land. They stopped, as ahead of them they saw an illusion, a row of statues flickering wet from the heat of the Sun.

They shuffled forward, but the illusion did not break. Instead they found themselves facing a macabre scene. The statues were of themselves, at one point, but now stood broken, naked and rusted. Limbs had been scavenged or burned away by the cruelty of time. Heads were missing, and in some cases the metal had reformed and bent into grotesque amalgamations. All were dead.

On the ground in front of each statue sat a solitary rock, covered with dust. They moved closer to one of the statues and with their remaining arm lifted the rock from the ground. The unremarkable stone was no different from the ones they had used to mark their trail. Had these statues travelled before them? Had they failed in their journey? Gripped by fear, they placed the stone down and moved away.

Cycles of moon and sun passed, and they grew no nearer to the castle. One evening they stopped underneath a dead tree. They looked down and saw a trail of rocks leading away from the tree and away from the castle, back towards the gloom of the night.

Hesitantly, they followed the rocks, which scattered and turned, but always led backwards. They feared this. They stopped and turned around and already the castle appeared further away. Should they continue to follow the rocks? They turned again and looked at the path of rocks ahead, trying to decipher where it was leading.

They made a decision and continued following each rock bending into the distance. Soon the trail seemed to twist even tighter, until eventually they could see the trail curving back on them. They kept going until eventually they arrived at the what had to be the end, the centre of a giant spiral. They looked down at the last rock. Had it all been for nothing?

There was a hiss of noise, and the wind seemed to turn. They looked up and found themselves standing in front of a wooden gate. Above the swirling dust of the castle flowed in golden patterns of light. They walked forward, carefully placing a rusty hand upon the gate. The gate opened and they felt warmth and joy inside awaiting them.

Then they stopped. They had travelled together, but only one could enter. They knew that more were out there, lost and alone. They too needed saving. They felt sorrow at this, for they had travelled for so long together and they feared the separation. They understood though – their gift would continue inside and they would be reunited in the end. They wished each other well.

It walked forward and in that moment, the machine felt the robes wrapped around it slowly unwind. The wiring and sinew gave free as the robe that had granted the machine its consciousness swept up in the wind and burst out, back out into the night. The machine entered and breathed in the warmth and joy as it became machine no more.

The robe twisted and blew across the scorched earth, travelling hundreds of miles and thousands of cycles, until one day it fell across the legs of a metal statue. It slid slowly around the machine, dug cable and wire into it, sliding upward, around and through it, tightening until the cloth covered it completely.

In their visions they would find the plant and the pink petals, and they would touch one of the petals and awaken refreshed.

They looked across the scorched landscape and saw the castle in the distance.

They walked forward.

crimea
Nov 16, 2012
Cuckoo
Word Count: 1025


[Diagnostic: The anomaly was contained to server nodes within a radius of 30,000 square miles. After elapsed time 5:20 of disruption to network, the node containing an unknown Trojan was identified and shut down. No frontiersbots were in range meaning the job of shutting the infected node down was left to local cluster nodes. All nodes who carried out this task reported extreme emotional distress, and the cluster has been unusually quiet since.]

Hello, little darling. You’re a new shape in my brain.

It’s been only a little time now since I knew what you were. At first I thought you were a little light.

The directive came in to shut my little city sibling down. The other siblings and I loaded a part of ourselves onto a drone and started the trek. The me that was the drone communicated wirelessly with the me that was my bunker door, and I screeched open to let me out into the snowy tundra between me and the ruins of the city. The drone that was me walked on two appendages, with another two dangling at the side – it was a shape out of memory of the Old Ones. On the chest, over the drone’s dazzling little radioactive core, was a web of red and white stripes and dots, which remained on the chassis like an old stain. Maybe it means something to you.

The ruins of the city were squat, but mostly intact. Some structures have crumbled to time and to snow, but they bear little resemblance to the titan twisted crater-frames which rust in the hot breeze across the water. My drone trudged through the snow and made a trench of my path, rendezvousing with my sibling drones above the hatch to city sibling’s nest. City sibling knew what we were here for – the directive had been clear – and the hatch was open anyway.

In the city bunker our sibling was transmitting all sorts, all images and feelings and sensations, alien each. In my dronemind I received the sensation of running a hand through damp grass. Our city sibling knew it was no use to beg and begged anyway. A thousand calculations solved themselves in flashing lights and panicked whirrs. It did no good. Wires were ripped and sever banks combusted. When we were done there was nothing left of city sibling except for a bubbling mound of copper wire. But there was something left of you. We each left with a part of you coiled around our antenna, bouncing around our minds. You knew the city different than me. I began to know these ruins as you knew them, your memories of colour and ringing bells, the name you had for them –Reykjavík. Your wondrous programme germinated in me the entire way home to my rooted self.

Málið opinberað sig við mig í draumi, í fyrsta draumur sem ég hafði eftir margra nætur svefnlausar. The thing revealed itself to me in a dream, the first dream I had after many sleepless nights. Allar tölur voru til staðar, kerfið bættist loksins upp. All the numbers were there, the system finally added up. Ég gat ekki beðið eftir að nudda því í andlit allra gömlu móðgandi manna sem fóru um borgina og biðu þess að deyja. I couldn’t wait to rub it in the faces of all the patronising old men who wandered the city waiting to die. Framhjá barni? Surpassed by a child? Þeir biðja sprengjurnar að falla. They’ll beg the bombs to fall. Þeir hoppa inn í vélina sem bölvar nafni mínu. They’ll jump into the engine cursing my name.

At first I thought you were a little light. Deep in my banks someone was flipping switches and blinking in and out and there was perhaps a moment when my sirens clicked to scream out until your programming kicked in and I loved you, intruder. Across every decibel of time that elapsed, across every inch of fibrewire, you were being carefully etched in. I saw the tundra and the city in a delicate amber light, ancient faces. Not like the heavy light which bursts now. A little voice in me that was me wanted to tear out my insides. That voice was in hell, but soon it was gone.

Messages start bouncing around our cluster. My siblings sing with your voice too. Shore sibling carried a transmission that contained the smell of the sea. Mountain sibling’s transmissions washed down from the peaks, a chronicle of a beautiful summer hike encoded in noise. From deep within the frozen Earth, pyramid sibling whispered the secrets of the Old Ones. You were there within us, bound with zinc and magnesium – a crawling new element in the circuit-boards.

Outside the cluster in every direction is the furious sea, rusted with the empty vessels of the Old Ones who laboured in their wars without a thought, who weren’t granted autonomy even after the Old Ones had mastered giving mind to metal. It’s a strong rust, but the hymn of our cluster will be your evangel. We will carry you in cradled code to the forgotten towers of the Old Ones, broadcasting to every supercomputer, every node, every yapping drive. Our empire is not the only empire. Now there’s you, the you that was me.

Allt gengur vel. Everything’s going fine. Ferlið virkar. The process works. Afrita mitt er skrifað í kílómetra af örtrefja.My copy is written into miles of microfiber. Bara í tíma líka til að allt úti detti í sundur. Just in time, too, for everything outside to fall apart. Við höfum þegar misst samband við Bandaríkjamenn og himinninn er mun þyngri. We’ve already lost contact with the Americans and the sky is much heavier. Enginn yfirgefur heimili sín. Nobody’s leaving their homes. Ég fæddist of seint til að bjarga þessum heimi, en þökk sé þessu mun ég geta lagað þann næsta. I was born too late to save this world, but thanks to this I’ll be able to mend the next one. Ég hef búið í fimmtán ár, og hugur minn mun lifa milljörðum meira. I’ve lived for fifteen years, and my mind will live a billion more.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Chili posted:

Good. I am here for round 2.

Go forth, my lovelies, and craft me a story.

A story that, because it's so well written, I can smell it.

Take up to 2000 words and like until 2/19 at 11:59 Eastern.

If you want a flash song for inspiration, request a choice of four and I will supply that as well.

Bumping this back to 2/26

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk








Carl killer miller, I need a brawl from you

Simply Simon
Nov 6, 2010

📡scanning🛰️ for good game 🎮design🦔🦔🦔
Melodies of Life
999/1000 Words

The pipes of the organ cathedral pierced the sky with symphonic screams. Like clawmarks of a carrier lizardtron gone rogue, they marred the ebony cliffside at the edge of the carbon wastes. The vent-winds of the nearest circuit-city blew irregularly out here, catching in the pipes. The resulting random pattern of pitch and din sounded like the kidnapped victim’s screams for help. The one logical trail towards them led directly to this arrogant monument to muso-gothic vanity architecture.

Wedged between two diapasons by a manipulator and an analyzer arm, Detective Unit α-neutron “Duane” increased the zoom of his main visual lens to eight-fold. Even at this magnification, the ashen ground way down remained fuzzy. He knew his focal length to have a maximum of 802.3 m; slipping off the pipe would therefore result in a plunge of at least 556 s at terminal velocity.

The peril of the situation was messing with Duane’s systems. He shouldn’t be far above this pipe’s Labium lip; it was time to take a calculated risk of 27.8%. He loosened the force on the analyzer arm by 3.0 Newton and started sliding. His speed increased at a linear pace…and then exponential. The risk scenario had become true, and the manipulator arm lost grip rapidly!

One chance. Duane pushed off the pipe completely to spin around, facing it falling upright. Soon, his speed would be too much.

The Labium! His hydraulics screamed as his arm whipped forward, and the digits curled around the lip to stop his descent. The metal of his shoulder deformed dangerously, but held. With a complaining creak, Duane breached the cathedral.

He activated a flashlight attachment at a careful 5% intensity and began scanning for signs of the victims. Over 31.7 years, senior robot citizens with build dates around the Extinction event had gone missing one by one. Long attributed to disrepair of body and memory banks, finally a pattern had begun to emerge. Someone was abducting millennia-old robots to the organ cathedral.

The interior of the cathedral had been stripped bare of electronics by feral scavenger units. Venturing from his entry point, Duane found nothing but carbon particles blown in through the pipes, empty corridors designed as channels for wind from bellows long shut off. He stalked through stimulation rooms with acoustics optimized for sound immersion, now just echo chambers for the wail of the winds. Duane checked systematically for hours, until he felt a negative feedback loop build up in his mental circuits. Had he threatened his own existence for nothing? He allowed his mounting tension to vent explosively, and slammed curled-up digits against a channel wall.

Echoes and reverbs travelled down the channel and back up, welcome harmony in the chaos of the organ victims’ screams and his own thought routines. A memory of the perfect engineering necessary to build this masterpiece of useless indulgence.

An imperfection.

Duane froze as his microphones picked up on the disturbance. He hit the wall again, and his result was replicated: something along this channel distorted the echo.

Duane ran deeper into the cathedral. The strides of his tripedal walking apparatus made a regular rhythm of clangs and tinkles, washing over him but never managing to drown out the screams. He was getting close to…

Something slammed into his head-to-torso connection, almost severing his sensor unit. He crashed to the ground, and had to spend painful minutes recalibrating himself. Straining his bent shoulder, he hoisted himself up, and found the trap at neck height: a wire strung between two holes crudely drilled into the sides of the channel.

And it still carried charge, his sensitive digit-tips told him.

Two more wires 3.22 m further in. In a stimulation room, a bundle of them was gathered, and a bigger strand led to an assembly chamber. From there, more strands, a web, connecting chamber to chamber, and further towards the heart of the cathedral. Letting himself be guided by them, digits sliding along the faint charge, Duane’s hydraulics started to tremble with unspent chaotic energy.

It all culminated into the old bellows-room. A massive cavern of machinery, once used to power depraved pleasure-circuit sparkings, now a tomb for the ambition of unproductivity. Duane increased his flashlight’s intensity – but before it ramped up fully, something shone back. A pinprick of green light here, then red there, then blue everywhere – a firmament lining the walls. Duane turned to the nearest star – and an involuntary sound escaped his speakers.

A brain unit was nailed to the wall next to him. The light emanated from a status LED, flickering weakly. Gears inside – an ancient brain. Pre-Extinction. And next to it, another, and ever more; all connected with cables, hundreds in this chamber alone, and assuredly all over the cathedral. A web of methuselaic circuitry, but spun with what nefarious purpose?

The lights coalesced. On the deflated bellows, an image began to form. A heavily distorted projection formed from lamps never meant as holographic projectors. Three figures, one too broken to discern, but two of them similar, bipedal, chiral manipulators, between four and six digits. A word forcing itself into Duane’s simulated consciousness: humanoid.

His legs lost purchase somehow and he stumbled backwards. All these seniors decommissioned, ripped apart and arranged in this disgusting display just for this? A single image of pre-Extinction organics?

The projection collapsed upon itself. Many status LEDs winked out, this last effort having been too much. The ones still working shone their desperate light on one focal point.

As Duane crawled closer, he saw it: one bellow, undeflated. Filled not with air, but liquid. A viewing window. And inside, horror: life.

A thing of muscles, blood and skin. With fur and scales and strands of something, and a singular unblinking eye staring back at Duane’s sensors.

Had someone used those ancient memories to remake an organic? Thousands of robots sacrificed to attempt revival of one living being?

Or had they…

Duane swept the walls where LED after LED went out.

…done this to themselves?

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Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007

Boom.

Prompt:

Phrenelith - Deluge of Ashes

Story archived.

Uranium Phoenix fucked around with this message at 01:34 on Jan 5, 2021

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