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Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

400 words

There’s a spot on the concrete where a drop of rain just fell. The water splashed, a minute curtain wall of water rising up around the central point of impact for the briefest moment before subsiding. Around it the concrete is still dry, speckled with black pebbles in the light grey. Next to the spot on the concrete is a tire, black cracked vulcanised rubber compressed by time and the mass of the rusted-out Toyota it is attached to.

The Toyota’s driver-side door is open, hinges rusted solid to lock it ajar. There is a figure in the seat, slumped back and pressed down by the weight of the roof, which has caved in. What would have been the head is obscured from view. There are rips in the cotton shirt and dirty yellow bone is visible through them. A bird lands on the roof of the car, clackclack, and hops down to perch on the steering wheel, cocks its head to the left and right, hops on to the gear shift. A creak comes from the car and it startles, fluttering out the smashed window.

The car is poised on the edge of a jagged smashed outcrop of road, high above the stained concrete below. It is tilted forward, kept from falling by a couple of lengths of twisted rebar protruding from the broken end of the road that have impaled one of the car’s wheels. The wind gusts for a moment, and the car creaks again. A few more raindrops fall.

On the edge of the road is a clump of dandelions. They have deep green leaves that are ruffled by the wind and a handful of bright yellow flowers that bob up and down. One of the dandelion flowers has seeded and the wind catches one of the seeds by its feathery pappus and whisks it off, sending it spiralling high in the air. From up here the ruined city stretches out for a long way. In the distance a couple of vertical strands of dark smoke rise up into the grey sky over cracked and broken buildings.

The dandelion seed flies for a few hundred meters then catches on a brick wall, near a thin line of moss that has grown out of the mortar. It might take root there, eventually, or not. Rain is falling more heavily now.

Slowly, gently, a night comes down upon the calm and sleeping city.


Lord Zedd-Repulsa
Jul 21, 2007

Devour a good book.

They Were Right
333 words

For the last six months, a strange new cult has been predicting that the end of the world would come soon and I’d been stuck investigating them in hopes of digging up a good story. They were so drat sure that they even picked a time: 7 PM on August 28, 20XX. Just like on every other occasion a group had made such claims, nobody believed them aside from a scant few hundred who came from the usual types of backgrounds for this sort of thing: the searching, the lost, the delusional, the clueless.

But this time they were right.

At 7:03 PM, as I got comfortable watching the cult's compound through binoculars, the ground rumbled as if a tank were coming down the street but before I could look outside to confirm that, it shook again and threw me to the floor. Bookshelves tumbled all around me as I army-crawled under the table I'd been seated at for some head protection. Night took over everything when the next huge tremor rippled across the ground and something cracked against the back of my skull despite my attempt at a safe position.

My watch said 7:09 the next moment my vision cleared. At least I think it did because I promptly puked all over my arm and the drat watch, now apparently as cracked as my head, stopped working an instant later. I tore it off, wiped my arm off on my shirt, wiped my head free of blood, and I swore I heard someone whisper in my ear although I’m alone in the apartment. Since the ground no longer vibrated against my bruised body, I pulled myself to my feet, grabbed a piece of broken something or another to use as a cane, and crept my way out of the apartment towards the cult complex. The group who guessed right on the date and time of something as world changing as this was worth looking into as closely as I could.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.
In the Garden (360 words)

Fie leaned out from the tent flap, a spyglass to her eye. Her rifle lay across her lap. It was an ancient thing, even older than her. The killing fields were in full bloom. There was rain on the wind and the sun hung low. She stowed the spyglass within her coat and gripped the rifle tight with both hands. Tapping the stock against the ground, she found the leverage required to stand. Her body ached, but the day was young. "Boots to the ground." She made her way down.

Her perch sat atop a building on its side, concrete split, skeleton bared. The floors within had collapsed upon themselves, a minefield of broken glass, splinters, and plastic. She instinctively tested each section before crossing. Where soil had invaded and sunlight was plentiful, nature had rushed in to fill the gaps. Sometimes this made the way more solid, but often the plants hid treacherous footing. If the surface gave, she'd tap out another route. She had plenty of time.

By the time she'd reached the bottom it had started to rain. She sat down on some rubble and unscrewed a jar. She'd brought five in total and scattered them about. She'd collect them on the way back. Leaning against the wall, she took off her hat, opened her mouth, and welcomed natures bounty.

Something dreadful had happened here once, though it was so long ago it seemed no one remembered. She'd been a child then, and no one had explained it. Now it was over, and there was no one left who could explain it. Bodies upon bodies with no one to bury them. A battlefield, a massacre, a mass, open grave. But the Earth accepted them all the same. Picked clean by insects, interwoven with roots, clothed with grasses and vines and flowers in their skulls. Bushes and small trees burst forth from their stomachs, with laden with berries and fruits in the shade.

From her coat she produced an old bayonet. Shouldering her rifle, she began to pick the fruit, filling her pockets with as much as she could carry.

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.
Entries are closed.

Sep 11, 2018

I never said I was a role model.

INTERPROMPT: Dream me a dream (or nightmare)

300 words or less.

edit: Interprompts are mini-prompts that sometimes occur in the lull between submission closing and judgment time. We have a lot of stories this week and it may take the judges some time to get through them, so this interprompt is an excuse to write more stories while we wait (im)patiently for judgment to be rendered.

There are no winners or losers. The stakes are low. Keep writing.

Beezus fucked around with this message at 23:17 on Jun 12, 2023

Oct 9, 2012

Dreams of the City
298 words

I don’t know why these dreams always start on the shitter. I’m sitting there, not thinking about biological functions but about the path that runs through my flat from the main door to the garden out back, and how it’d be really nice if there were a wall or a door or anything between my khazi and the people walking that path. But nope, I’m sitting there with my kecks round my ankles, being watched by everyone.

This isn’t one of those no-pants-at-school dreams, though. It’s recurring, and it stays with me when I wake.

I clean up and head through to my bedroom. The door’s there, same as ever. Practically, the door should lead onto the path. Not into an old, white-painted room twice the size of my flat that’s filled with antique furniture.

The bay window features closed net curtains; it’s impossible to see out. There’s another door at the back of the room, one that would logically lead to more of this impossible home, but I don’t look too hard at that one. No, I’m looking at the white-painted door to the outside world, its large metal mortice lock and the heavy key that turns easily in my hand.

From the outside, the room is the front of my grandparents’ house. Cracked flagstones lead to the front gate and onto the street beyond. Despite their actual house being in a leafy suburb, right now I’m already in the depths of a city. at night It reminds me of an abandoned *fin de siecle* Paris just after sunset. The sky above is bone-white, dotted with black stars.

This is as far as I’ve ever come. When I go back and open the door to my grandparents’ house, I wake up.

Oct 9, 2012

I'm trying to up my crit game, so if you enter for the interprompt I'll crit your story.

Sep 11, 2018

I never said I was a role model.

That's Your Cue
220 words

I'm draped in ruffles and heavy velvet. The scene is dark, and I can barely see four feet in front of me. Someone on the other side of this wall is shouting. What are we shouting about? Seems so rude. And why am I here? There's somewhere important I have to be. And I'll head that way as soon as I remember where I'm supposed to go. She's in trouble, I think. She needs me. Is she why I'm wearing a ruff? Why do I look so stupid? I glance down at my feet and find slippers on them. They're covered in peeling gold puffy paint.

"Time's up," a voice murmurs in my ear before I'm dragged to the wall. I hear riotous shouts, the roar of applause, and a piercing scream.

Oh god. They're going to kill me. What have I done? A blinding light shines around the corner. I'm not ready to go into it. I have so much love left to give.

This person releases me and shoves a ream of paper in my hand. "There's been a line change here."

It's a script.

I see it for a split-second, just before the walls fall around me and I am bathed in a spotlight. I can't see the crowd.

I don't know my lines.

Idle Amalgam
Mar 7, 2008

said I'm never lackin'
always pistol packin'
with them automatics
we gon' send 'em to Heaven
191 Words

I’m falling. I know it’s not real of course. It’s only a dream, and since I know it’s a dream I don’t feel any apprehension about falling. There’s no fear of impact. No sense of vertigo as my innards shift from gravitational resistance. There is only the disconcerting fact that I’m falling. If I force myself, my dreamself that is, to turn and look upward, a pinpoint of light appears to be shrinking in the distance. However, after a moment I realize that the point of light isn’t shrinking at all. It remains forever out of reach while I fall further into darkness at a nonexistent velocity. I’m suspended in a state of perpetual falling. I look back down hoping that maybe there’s a bottom to the darkness, an end. But it never comes. Wind that’s not wind whips past my imagined limbs. I try to wake myself, but no matter how I struggle to penetrate the veil of unreality that keeps me dreaming, I’m stuck here forever falling towards nowhere. Eventually, I’ll forget that I’m here at all. Forget that I’m dreaming, and then, only then, will I truly sleep.

Oct 9, 2012

Beezus posted:

That's Your Cue

I like the twist, and I've had dreams a lot like that, and you capture the mounting dread well. The structure has enough sense of narrative to it, but I still feel the sudden twists of dream-logic. Nice.

But. I think the use of "scene" at the start telegraphs the ending, and a different word would make it hit better. Also, there's a "she" who shows up three times in the opening paragraph, with a mounting sense of urgency and disquiet to the narrator... then what? She vanishes totally, not just from the story but from the narrator. Which, yeah, I'm not going to try to argue that dreams don't have that kind of sudden dropped thread, but as someone reading a story the sudden disappearance stands out like a sore thumb.

There's no fear of impact, no sense of vertigo, and no sign of anything actually happening. "how I struggle to penetrate the veil of unreality that keeps me dreaming" is too purple for a piece that doesn't top 200 words, and that's a microcosm of my issue here: so much of this is padding. Words used for their own sake, to bulk out the story so it's more than one, maybe two lines. It's not bad padding, but if you're going to be pretentious then commit to the bit and go seriously overwrought, really play with language, and if you're not then find something to describe, rather than relying on descriptions of absence.

Dec 15, 2006

b l o o p

Back-to-School Nightmare Season Starts Earlier Every Year
187 words

I dream about high school a lot.

Sometimes there's a class I'm supposed to have been taking the whole year and didn't know about; sometimes it's a class I'm supposed to have been teaching. Sometimes I can't find my classroom. Sometimes I can't find my students.

In one dream, the principal moves me into a classroom with glass walls in the center of the school so she can "keep an eye on me." I start to teach, but my classroom is suddenly filled with screaming 5 year olds. They begin to throw paint at each other, and I look up to see the principal staring at me, slowly shaking her head.

The worst ones are the ones where there's been a problem with my high school diploma, and I have to go back to school to take one last class. I sit at a desk next to the students I taught yesterday and try to pretend like there's nothing weird about it. It's always weird.

I envy the people who dream they're back in college. But I pity the ones who dream about middle school.

Dec 15, 2006

b l o o p

What is "fiction"?

Jan 21, 2010

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

Lipstick Apathy
The Beach: a place where I constantly find myself and each time I think why am I here? and have NO good answers because the beach is a disgusting place with constant eyewatering wind and sand in every crevice and the stench of dead fish and the screeching of gulls and children and the utterly endless noise of all kinds and the wetness and the salt and the torturous sun blasting down everywhere without an ounce of shade.  

The Dream: --recurring-- At the very least once every six nights (of which last night was one) I am tortured by a disgusting dream which no amount of analysis or therapy or pills or hypnosis or other snakeoil new age nonsense has been able to remedy. In the dream, which is entirely vivid and utterly convincing, I find myself on an empty shore at twilight and the tide is curling around my ankles and my feet are rooted in the sand. I realize, simultaneously, that I can not move and that the tide is rising at an alarming rate. The water passes my hips and shoulders and glugs in my ears and then, a scrap of seaweed wraps itself around my face and squirms its way into my mouth until I wake gagging and thrashing my duvet onto the floor. 

The Reality: I keep returning to the beach. I keep standing on the shore. I keep enduring the noise and heat and wondering when the tide will rise. And every time the salt sloshes past my ankles to lick my shins I think could this be it? Could this be it? But the wave always runs away from me, slinks away like a beat dog to hide in the sea again.

Oct 9, 2012

curlingiron posted:

Back-to-School Nightmare Season Starts Earlier Every Year

This hinges quite a lot on the reader having had that "back in school" dream and knowing that sense of near-existential dread. It's clear that's what's going on, but it feels oddly anodyne for the dreams it's describing. The only part that sells any real emotional impact is the headteacher shaking her head. Sitting next to the students you've been teaching is weird, yes, but maybe use some of the 100+ words you didn't use to give us non-teachers an idea of what feelings that would bring up?

And maybe this is because I'm not American, but I don't get why someone would pity the ones who dream of middle school? I'm very willing to accept that this is just one of those cultural references I won't get.

e: Now I know what a US middle school is, I totally get it.

derp posted:

The Beach

I really like this. Separating out the description of the beach makes it clear both what it's like and how the narrator feels about this place, both in reality and in the dream. If I haver a quibble, it's that I'm not a fan of using italics for both emphasis and the internal monologue. Even if it's just quoting the thoughts, that additional bit of differentiation would help with readability.

DigitalRaven fucked around with this message at 23:15 on Jun 12, 2023

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

my anxiety dreams are weirdly derivative of Billy Madison
171 words

I'm back in third grade, and I'm late. I arrive at 9:38 to a school day that began at 9:00; the children graciously ignore the huge, ancient creature who has been sentenced to their class. The teacher gives me my work. I grab a pencil off the floor.

Today's lesson is "story art," tracing and embellishing on an illustration. I take a vague amphitheater space and turn it into a combination mad scientist's lab and wedding venue: delicate arches, huge mutant cockatoos, cultists lurking in the margins. I draw with easy grace, every stroke a new detail.

My teacher frowns at it and points to a lab bench. "Why is that desk drawer open? Who leaves a desk drawer open like that?"

"I do it all the time," I say, "at work." Do I still have my job, pending my elementary graduation?

"It's not best practices," my teacher says. I understand now why I'm back in third grade. There are so many fundamentals of life I need to learn.

Oct 9, 2012

Antivehicular posted:

my anxiety dreams are weirdly derivative of Billy Madison

Another "back in school" dream, but this one - focused as it is on the one specific lesson, and the one specific incident during that lesson - feels like it has a narrative to it. I like the sudden shift between the fun details of the adult engaging with story art, and the sudden reminder and confusion of the practical, working world. Given the way some people can say "it's not best practices" in an office or lab and make you feel like a child for not knowing, this really hits home.

Apr 21, 2010

Deceitful and black-hearted, perhaps we are. But we would never go against the Code. Well, perhaps for good reasons. But mostly never.
Thunderdome Week 566 Judgment

Well, that was a refreshingly good turnout.  Let’s keep it going, everyone.

As you may recall, I asked everyone for Post-Apocalyptic Vignettes.  While there were a few whiffs on the Vignette side and a few more on the ‘Post-’ part, at least everyone managed Apocalyptic.

This was a good week overall, but there were a few stories that fell a bit short. Dishonorable Mentions go to Wahad’s When the World Ends and Simply Simon’s Peace Orb, and the Loss to Lord Zedd-Repulsa’s They Were Right, all of which come down to a lack of the kind of vivid, impactful, and punchy writing.

On to the good, of which there was plenty.  Honorable Mentions go to:

Flyrant’s Proselytize My Child, of the Darkest Dark
MockingQuantum’s City Limits
derp’s the pack
Antivehicular’s A Thousand Flowers
sebmojo’s Ozymandius
and Curlingiron’s You Are Mine

And the win goes to Cephas for Chernobyl in Verdigris (the judges were aware of, and chose to forgive, the post-editing shenanigans.  But don’t do it again.)

Welcome to the Blood Throne!

Crits coming soon, and let’s all keep up the energy through the summer and beyond!

Jun 23, 2022

It's a puzzle.
Here is a video of me reading all the stories to my dog Waffles and her puppies:


Thousands have been reported missing

This is a really lovely glimpse into the fear (and ultimately in this case, relief) when people are cut off from their loved ones during/after a natural disaster. Your descriptive language made the physical sensations palpable. It’s my opinion that the most interesting component of apocalypse stories are the human relationships in the aftermath, so I love that is what you chose to put under the microscope here. You did an excellent job involving so many different sensations in your language.

The perspective in this story is interesting. It’s third person, and we are watching Gabby as she finds the strength to leave her apartment for the first time in three days. We do get some degree of omniscience and are able to hear some of her thoughts. But for the most part the language leaves us ascertaining her emotions via outward, physical descriptors. When she thinks of the orchards that are (or used to be) along the path to her Grandmother’s rest home, her fingernails bite into her palms. We’re watching her as she goes through this moment, but are kept at arms distance, not knowing exactly what she’s going through. There are descriptions of some things that serve for worldbuilding, but could also be used for more glimpses into her mental state. Like when she drops her breakfast of canned peaches, that detail feels more expository, when it could be used with more emotional descriptors to convey how Gabby feels about eating canned peaches for breakfast in the middle of a drowned world. Similarly, I think maybe a little more emphasis could be placed on the very specific moments/beats/decisions from Gabby’s perspective. She’s faced with the decision to stay in her relatively safe apartment, or venture out to try to find out if her family is okay. The latter is a very bold and scary decision, but we don’t really get to feel her make it. She just acts on it and we follow along.

A couple minor notes, mostly about the first impressions of the story. First of all the title certainly expresses the scale of this event and the huge number of people affected. Unfortunately though, it counteracts the initial stage your picture of Gabby seems to set. At the beginning, Gabby is isolated, alone, and scared. She has been for three days. Her phone has no signal, and she has no idea if her loved ones are safe. But the title gives the indication of a news report, and makes the reader feel as if they do have a broader scope of the events, when I think you want to make them feel zeroed in on just Gabby and what she’s going through.

Repeated words/phrases always jump out at me. If they’re intentional that’s great, but I always point them out just in case they’re not. In both the first and third paragraphs, Gabby’s heart hammers. In the second paragraph, “Dawn had broken on a drowned world, the silence broken…”, repeated use of the word broken may indicate the city-wide destruction, but I think variety might also be helpful.

Let us touch on the birds.

I mean, wow. This story is a great example of why I love vignettes. Because this doesn’t have a plot, or characters, or action. But I had such a strong emotional response to this and found myself holding my breath. It’s absolutely beautiful. You’ve managed to capture the seemingly diametric feelings of hope and loss, beauty and destruction, civilization and nature.

I feel like in our current world we’re often reminded of how climate change can affect wildlife, and we can also derive some comfort from the adaptability and resiliency of our animal friends. But still, people reminding of these things can easily come across as preachy, or idealistic. Which I imagine would be much more acute in a world so recently destroyed. We don’t know exactly how it was destroyed here, but it seems recent enough that many are still dwelling on what was lost, and extreme enough that mountains toppled.

But still, these words give me hope now, and I like to think they would have the same effect on the speaker’s audience. Extremely well done.

When the World Ends

In some ways, this felt like a very top-down view of the apocalypse event from someone who has seen many apocalypse events. It felt a bit more like a speech given by someone who watched it happen, or it happened before their time. It didn’t feel quite as much like these events were experienced by the person conveying them. Which didn’t really bother me, until the POV linguist character was introduced at the end. At that point the perspective on the story shifted. This is an account being written for future generations, to “remember”. I think that is an important aspect to consider: what does this writer want future generations to remember? What life was like when there was electricity? What people experienced while everything was stopping, the chaos/confusion/death? Or to remember the resiliency and resolve that’s inside everyone?

If this is a piece written by someone who lived through the apocalypse, as a message to future generations, the descriptions are interesting. Would their audience know what things like “phone”, “click of a button”, “life support”, “planes and satellites”, etc. mean? If the audience for this piece is future generations who have known only this life, does it make sense to say things like “But life finds a way, like the guy in that movie said.” when they’ve never seen any movies and only broadly understand what they are?

This feels like a really awesome jumping-off point for a story. I found myself actually really wanting to know what a slice of life was like for this POV character. What the “little errands” are that they do, what they’re keeping watch for, things like that. Or, if this is intended to be a sort of “found footage” account, it feels like the first page, an introduction or thesis statement. But the rest of the account is what could be really interesting.

We’ll Be Right Back

I really enjoyed the timing of this piece, being near enough to the apocalypse that some still remember what life was like then, but also removed enough that life has taken a new shape. It made David’s character and perspective in this piece really great. He understands his audience and how to tell them stories that provide wonder and entertainment, but also that they’ll connect to. He has a keen understanding of what is really the heart of post-apocalypse stories: human nature and what it preserves and will always find its way back to.

I will say, I was a bit confused at the beginning of the piece. I didn’t really understand what was happening, or where David was. Because of the description of the audience and his memorization of the blocking, I thought he was onstage. I’m not sure if any kind of different structure/formatting might clarify that a bit more. But I spent more time finding my footing in the story than I would have expected.

I think with a less skilled writer, David’s passing in this story could feel trite or even cliche. But I think you handled it very well. I definitely felt an emotional response, and the kind of warm sadness felt when someone dies who has lived a very full life. David was ready for death, but it still feels like the other people in the story did lose someone important, someone who was a beloved person and also a valued resource.

City Limits

Ooh this is very nice and fun. I absolutely love the language and descriptions of the monsters. I LOVE MONSTERS. They’re so very good. How you describe the monsters and the Mechanisms and the events that unfolded is chilling and fascinating. It feels much more like a description from someone who lived through these things and felt that fear firsthand. It also is peppered with some of that delightful language people use when telling things to young whippersnappers, which is a nice way to feel the character is very real.

“a beast that was slippery to the eye” I like these words.

You’ve done some very impressive worldbuilding here, but in a way that feels personal, engaging and visceral. It’s not the kind of big-picture, distanced world building that feels like a campaign setting description. But a universe and a world that actual people and creatures live in. Also very good use of the flash rule song.

Peace Orb

I really enjoy the emotion of this piece. Both men know that this orb doesn’t have magical powers of peace. But they seem to understand that sometimes people need an excuse to feel the things they want to feel, and act upon the things they want.

Some aspects of this are a bit confusing to me. For instance, the Wanderer seems familiar with this area, and calls the fortifications “recent”. But the old man seems to indicate that this community has been together (and at this location?) for sixteen years?

I will also admit that it took me a few reads before I think I realized the implications of “‘You didn’t break your own legs.’” At first, I didn’t even know who was talking there. I know toward the beginning you call the old man crippled, but I guess I just thought he had old man mobility issues, not two broken legs. But then the old man doesn’t really react or acknowledge that. So are they both recognizing the fact that the community isn’t actually peaceful, in the same way they know the Peace Orb actually isn’t doing anything? Or is this community plagued by outside violence, hence the fortification and the broken legs? Sort of confronting that the extent to which a community is peaceful is limited by their surroundings? I think it’s fine if these are questions you didn’t want your readers to have the answers to, but I sort of feel like I’m meant to have the answers and I don’t? I might be missing something. I think some more reactions from the old man might clarify some things. But from the moment the Wanderer scoffs until the end, all we’re told is “the old man said”, then he looks down, raises his gaze again, then another “the old man said.” I don’t feel like I have enough information to know if the old man is lying to the Wanderer, to himself, both, or neither.

I Slept Through the End of the World

This piece filled me with longing, sadness, loneliness. It was beautiful and evocative, quiet and contemplative. As the POV character goes on their journey, their experiences were so viscerally described. I don’t understand what exactly is happening, or has happened, to them, but that doesn’t bother me because they don’t know either. Maybe they’re so lonely they’ve started to hallucinate. Maybe they are incapable of death, and now live the isolated existence of being the only one who is. Maybe they are part whale and are drawn to live with the other whales. It’s a bit magical and profound not to know, and gives the story’s ending a sense of wonder that makes it feel a bit lighter.

Overall this is extremely well done. I don’t know that I entirely latched on in an empathetic way to the POV character, but that didn’t diminish my emotional response or enjoyment.

When the Sleeper Wakes

This is a really nice piece of cosmic horror. The descriptions of The Sleeper are compelling and terrifying. The scene described within the family was extremely cool and chilling. The father’s chaotic excitement, the mother and POV character’s fearful reticence, and the brother’s unnerving stillness. Then the very alien scream! Though I will say, I was a little thrown off by the shriek being described as having “syllables”, which isn’t something I would associate with a shriek. I did really like the idea of this shriek becoming more and more alien, then sort of “infecting” the father.

The structure of this is throwing me off a little bit. It sort of feels like the first, fourth, and fifth paragraphs are one continuous thought, and then the second and third paragraphs were thrown in the middle. But those two paragraphs were my favorite part. I wonder if the fourth paragraph could get moved after the first? Though that would require some tweaking of the intro to the final paragraph. But either way I think some part of me wanted a sort of segway or transition between the very legendary descriptions of The Sleeper and the events within the family. The family part felt really compelling, so I wanted to be the grounding part of the piece, with the cosmic intro and resolution as supplementary framework. As-is it feels a bit thrown in.

The second paragraph does have a little grammatical weirdness that was a bit distracting. But nothing that really derailed things.

The Line Is All

I really recognize and appreciate what this piece is doing. It’s incredibly thoughtful, imagining a future where society has fallen, and future generations regard capitalism with religious reverence. The Wall Street and stock market touchpoints were consistent and effective. I really enjoy writing that treats familiar things as unfamiliar, and especially within this sort of far-future lens. You did that very well. Within this framework, the whole idea of stonks going up and down does feel very arcane, which also somehow makes our whole modern focus on them feel trivial.

That said, it is a very cerebrally written piece. That’s not an inherently bad thing, but it made it a little bit less compelling for me to read. I found myself reading and rereading each paragraph, digging through a sea of proper nouns. Once I realized what the piece was doing it all made more sense, but at first it sort of felt like expository worldbuilding for a much longer story.

the pack

I loved this use of the flash. You incorporated both the disco [ball] and the inferno, which I appreciated very much. Also bonus points for including a dog and not letting him get hurt, always big pluses for me.

This piece definitely captures that feeling/essence of survival mode. The dog is primarily motivated by the most base urge for food, even risking his safety to get it. The imagery is very effective and I feel like I have a very clear picture of events as they unfold.

The descriptive language in this piece is very evocative, though it feels a bit inconsistent. It describes automobiles as “colorful metal beasts”, which indicates the dog’s limited perspective. However, it also uses “asphalt”, “deep reddish purple”, “blood orange”, and other descriptors that feel incompatible with the framework of the dog's perspective.

I think for the title to be a bit more effective, we might need more of an indication early on that this dog would prefer to be a part of a pack. The first indication of that is “He both worries and hopes that other dogs are there eating his meal.” Why would he hope there are other dogs stealing his food? Up to this point we’ve been told “he has been alone for many sleeps and many meals”, but not that it bothers him. I know it’s become an assumption that post-apocalyptic stories involve some degree of loneliness, but I think if that were really established at the beginning, the ending would be much more satisfying.

it’s all about the timing

Oh what a delightful, silly piece. It was very fun to have a bit of levity, even within a story involving murderous marauders. I think one of the best parts about post-apocalyptic stories involves the recognition that some aspects of humanity are consistent even in very drastic situations. And it’s very amusing to imagine that, even in a very different world with dire stakes, some of us will always just be big ol’ dorks.

This story is definitely not as serious or profound as some of the others, but it’s still pretty great. The characters were clear, and the glimpse of the world was effective. It wasn’t overly specific, but didn’t need to be to establish the setting and stakes. I was very entertained.

Occupational Health and Safety

Wow the imagery in this one is VIVID. It’s extremely cool and also gross (in a great way). I will say though that the grammatical structure did distract me from fully experiencing the world of the story. The sentences ran on in a way that made me lose focus a bit, and I couldn’t really see the events unfold until a re-read.

There were some details and specificity I found particularly engaging, like the bit about the tuna cans. Such an evocative detail, which really makes you picture the worms just diving right into the rubber boots to slurp up the humans inside. So gross and scary.

I really liked the idea of the ending, with this lone person on scaffolding, unable to descend because they’re surrounded by carnivorous worms (though this is unsurprising because I’m a huge fan of the movie Tremors). I’m a little surprised at how immediately nonchalant the POV character seems about this situation though. Like, he just witnessed something horrifying, frantically laughed to prevent himself from screaming to death… but then just a few moments later he’s just shrugging and hanging out having a smoke.

A Thousand Flowers

Oh goodness. This is so beautiful and sad. I experienced such a wide range of emotions while reading this. It felt like it captured Julia and Carla’s decades together. The joy they’ve felt, the life they’ve built, and now the uncertainty of the end. Particularly gut-wrenching was the dichotomy of Julia’s thoughts in the final paragraph. It’s such a terribly familiar feeling to be begging the universe to let your loved one stay with you, while also reassuring them it’s okay if they can’t.

I’m not sure I would have clocked this story as being post-apocalyptic if I didn’t know the theme for the week. Maybe because it seems to be more removed from the sort of tropes of apocalypsey stuff, which is not necessarily bad. But it felt just like they lived in a remote community that had experienced a decline, not necessarily a larger apocalyptic style event. Carla having this serious illness and calling it “the rot” seems to imply that this was maybe something involved in the world as we now know it ending, but there’s no mention of it being contagious or anything so it’s not super clear.

It did, however, make excellent use of the flash. It’s clear in this story that something beautiful will, in fact, remain. Their love for each other, the beautifully described glasswork, the lively community. These things are all conveyed in such a way that makes clear that the pain they’re going through will indeed leave beautiful echoes in their world.

The Dance Boss of Disco City

Okay I’m going to be completely honest, I’m not sure what’s happening here. It’s well-written, well-crafted, and there’s a mention of goons, all of which lead me to believe this is some sort of allegorical in-joke by an experienced Something Awful person? Unfortunately I’m still very new to TD and thoroughly unaccustomed to SA. Maybe it’s an illustration of TD itself? I tried to find some clues in this piece, but this sort of feels to me like other times where I’ve tried to understand something in TD only to find out it’s a somewhat elaborate in-joke. Bailey Fontane anagrams to “beefy national”? That’s the best I’ve got. I may be completely off-base though and this is an original piece not intended as any kind of allegory.

Like I said, it’s extremely well-written, so I apologize that it seems to have gone over my head.

Footy on the Brain

Hahaha what an amusing and bizarre story! I’m reading these on the archive in judgemode and when I get to a story with a flash, I pull up the lyrics to the song and read them before I read the story. And this was very much not what I expected from that song! But there’s a literal heart thief [lizard] in the story so hard to argue with that.

The stakes in this piece are all over the place, in a way that feels very intentional. When it starts out, I’m like “oh wow the apocalypse is going to have happened while they’re off camping!” And then we learn the POV character is in a long-term relationship while not being publicly “out” and I’m like “oooh personal, relatable human things in the middle of an apocalypse story, very cool.” And then they pull into the driveway and mom’s car is there and I’m like “oh no what are they going to walk into? Is this going to be really sad?”

But then it becomes clear that this is an entertaining absurdist piece with talking lizards, skulls that hinge open so the brains can pop in and out, and it was all just very unexpected and absolutely delightful. It was a cartoonishly fun ride, but with actual human interactions happening between the absurdism. I liked it very much. I especially loved the part with them thinking, “I’m just relieved that coming out seems to have gone much smoother than I’d expected” while they are holding Toby’s brain in a jar.

You Are Mine

It’s always refreshing to hear stories of how characters in post-apocalyptic stories don’t just survive, but thrive. And then later, how the characters who have known nothing but that life become extremely well-suited to it. Cassie found herself in an unexpected but not unwelcome situation, and subsequently in an unexpected but not unwelcome relationship with her daughter. It’s a very compelling situation and dynamic.

I like how the title of the piece ties to its ending. Were it not for the title, I would probably assume the words Cassie spoke were something along the lines of “I love you”, which probably would have been more confusing to someone who had never heard them before. I will admit that “you are mine” doesn’t convey quite as much affection as it does possessiveness to me. But if Cassie is someone who didn’t desire a child, the fact that she feels that strong of a connection to Tessa must be profoundly meaningful to her.

I’m not sure why but something that struck me right away was that Cassie left her property and headed out into the woods, and I wasn’t clear why? If the house abutted the woods anyway, I didn’t see why she couldn’t keep living there, even without power and utilities. Surely it would be a cleaner and safer place to have a baby.

How to Forget the End of the World

This piece really seems to revolve around these two characters, their relationship, and their differing views on how to contextualize their relationship with the Past. They have opposing perspectives, or so it seems to the POV character, who seems frustrated with the clever “kid”. They seem to have some sort of relationship to each other, though I’m not clear what it is. But it seems important to both of them that the other understands their perspective, and they do seem to rub off on each other a little.

The characters themselves don’t feel particularly grounded to me. I understand in a piece this short that it’s hard to paint a clear picture, but there is a degree of specificity lacking from both of them. They speak in sort of broad generalities that makes the whole conversation feel a little more like a video game cutscene than an actual exchange between two people.

They have different perspectives, but why? Are their backgrounds different? We don’t know where they came from, or how they came to be together. Are they traveling together? Are they family? Did they just meet a couple days before? I really couldn’t tell you from reading this. Without those touchpoints, this is sort of just two blurry characters expressing opinions. I as the reader am not even sure which I’m supposed to sympathize or agree with more, not having the context for what has happened to their world.

Though I Fear, I Still Walk

CW: Suicide

Idk if it’s customary to put CW on things here, but I did so just in case.

This story is about a student wizard who attempted to erase herself from existence, but instead seems to have frozen all life other than herself. A very heart-wrenching premise. Now, rather than ending her life, she is determined to reverse the spell so others may continue, even if she still chooses not to. That last part is unclear, whether she still intends to unalive herself if her current plans are successful. I hope she chooses not to. In the story, she expresses regret at freezing everyone, and with language people tend to use after a suicide (e.g. “If Imber hadn’t refused Werlian’s invitation on that day…”). But it’s unclear if she regrets the intention of her spell.

This story is filled with hope, plans, intentions. All very interesting in a story whose POV character expresses a desire to not exist. In that respect it also gives me hope for Imber. She is compelled to put things right for the people around her, and still feels a connection to them.

“Imber wanted to die, but she couldn’t live with the fact that…” maybe this was intentional juxtaposition, but in this case it felt odd to use “couldn’t live with” something to indicate a reason why a person couldn’t die.

Overall I really enjoyed reading this, even if it made me a little sad. I really feel for Imber and hope for the best for her.


I think my favorite thing about the story is the sort of cinematic shift in the scope from which we’re viewing this tableau. We begin extremely zoomed in, our vision just the size of a raindrop. We slowly zoom out and see the tire, then the car and its contents, then the precarious position the car is in. When the dandelions enter our scope, we zoom back in again, first on the dandelion clump, then just one, and finally the single seed. We follow its flight until it stops and we are left with the stillness. This entire sequence is extremely effective. The variety held my attention and captured the entire scene in an extremely digestible and interesting way.

I’m pretty impressed by how much emotion you were able to convey in this piece, despite the fact that you didn’t use particularly emotional language. The descriptors are rather objective, describing the scene as it appears. But your careful use of exactly what is being described and how really conveys the heaviness of feeling. That, paired with the title, really drives home the feeling that we humans, like Shelley’s Ramesses II, view ourselves as eternal, powerful over our domain, having “conquered” nature to become the dominant species. But now here in this piece, it’s all gone. At least, everything that is a part of our sense of human civilization. The only life we see is the rain, the bird, the dandelion, the moss. The very nature we viewed ourselves as having dominion over.

They Were Right

I enjoy the premise for this piece: a journalist is covering what they consider to be yet another kooky cult, only to learn that their apocalyptic predictions were actually accurate. Once learning this, they decide to engage more actively with the cult rather than watching them from afar. It would have been nice to gain a little more specificity with either the character, the setting, or the cult. They’re all painted with fairly broad strokes so it’s hard to feel like I can really relate to what’s going on or imagine myself in this person’s shoes.

In a piece that’s only a few hundred words long, the first sentence needs to carry a lot of weight. It’s usually punchy, emotional, and helps open the curtain and set the stage. The first sentence here does provide some context, but it’s also a bit lengthy to really snag the reader’s attention. Then using “20XX” was an interesting choice. I wasn’t sure why. Did the cult merely predict the calendar day and time, but didn’t know what year it would happen? In that case, including the year at all wouldn’t make sense. Maybe choosing not to select a year was intended to make the piece a bit more timeless? I’m not clear on that and it distracted me more than it probably should have.

Another thing to watch out for: inconsistency with tenses. Some sentences here were in past tense and others were in present tense. It added to the sort of jarring confusion, but in a way that was also a bit more distracting than helpful, I think.

In the Garden

There is some incredibly evocative imagery here. The way you’ve juxtaposed death/bodies/skeletons with life/nature/fruit is really stark and effective. I could very clearly see the things you were describing in my mind. You’ve painted a really colorful, even beautiful, picture of this world. New life has begun to grow and form here.

One thing I’m not sure I understood about this piece was the inclusion of descriptions of weapons. Fie keeps her rifle close to her, and her bayonet in her jacket. She sleeps high on a perch, and carefully peers out with her spyglass before emerging. These are details that seem to convey a constant threat, from which she must guard and defend herself. But then every other detail in the piece seems to describe a lonely solitude. “Now it was over, and there was no one left who could explain it.” If there was no one left, why does she seem to be so careful? I think this lack of specificity here prevents me from fully understanding Fie’s mindset or her role within this world.

The Eye of the Aftermath

Oh wow. What a piece! MockingQuantum got home from work while I was reading this and he was like “how’s it going?” and I was like “This story has a lot of poop in it! But, like… violent poop

I’m not going to say I *enjoyed* reading this per se, because I’m not sure I was intended to be like “Whee! What fun!” But I will say that I was extremely engaged and had an incredibly strong reaction to this. The language you used was absolutely visceral and disturbing in an incredibly effective way. I was extra disturbed because I didn’t know what an eye-tooth was so I thought that was an especially horrifying thing in the world of the story. I looked it up though so it does make more sense now. Still disturbing, but less so than if the character was growing teeth from their eyeballs.

This was a very different take on the post-apocalyptic prompt. Here we see a character who seems to be emotionally and physically incompatible with their current world. And yet they persist, no matter how poor their quality of life may be. But at the same time, it’s not really hopeful, and in fact is probably quite the opposite.

Proselytize My Child, of the Darkest Black

I believe this is a story about a Lovecraftian-style endless being who feels existence through color. They become obsessed with a goth kid they encountered and then lost. They then move through existence inadvertently destroying worlds, trying to make them understand how rad the goth kid was. I’m sorry if that seems reductive. I don’t mean it to; I’m just not very bright so when pieces have a huge scope I have to simplify it for myself.

I am impressed with how much you were able to describe the thought process of (what I think is?) an eternal being. They don’t see existence, or life, or beauty, or colors, the same way that we do. Their pursuits and goals are opaque. Yet the pursuit itself is so clearly described here. Combined with the descriptions of colors, it definitely feels like synesthesia of intention.

I’m still not certain I understood everything that was going on here, but I think I liked it.

The Women of Troy

Very cool! What a super neat take on the prompt. Focusing not on some hypothetical ending to the world as we know it, but rather choosing a familiar story and focusing on the world that ends within it. Much like our history, these grand stories with war and heroes seem to forget the very real lives destroyed in the aftermath of events.

You did a really great job of combining the touchpoint information, which ties it to the story we know, with emotional language to make it all feel personable, fresh, and relevant. The POV character seems to take us through various phases of her grief as she processes all that she has lost, how this came about, and what her life looks like now. It is a bleak perspective to be sure, but you’ve also managed to make it feel all too familiar.

Bonelord Trevor

This was extremely fun and satisfying. I was very entertained by the characters, descriptions, and events. There was emotional levity, but it was grounded in very specific details that helped add to the amusement. The characters themselves were having a Serious Conversation, which made our view of the events even more comical. The ending was punchy and funny and capped it off in a satisfying and consistent way. I don’t have much else to say other than: I think you were effective in what you set out to accomplish!

Cutting up the Hours

This was a very tidy, contemplative piece with relatively low stakes. Our POV character is taking refuge in an abandoned office building while they wait out a storm. We don’t know where they’re going, where they’re coming from, or what their daily life is like outside of this. But they take this moment here in time to reminisce about their brother and his life/accomplishments before things changed.

The language itself is clear and well-crafted. There is a longing for the things familiar to the POV character: their brother, their music, the accessibility of needed things (like batteries). But in this piece, it seems to be an ingrained longing, one that has made a home in this person’s mind. It’s not an acute, painful longing anymore. But more a reminiscing reminder to themselves of bygone things they once enjoyed.

Chernobyl in Verdigris

Gorgeous imagery, really engaging all the senses.

This piece is undeniably well-written and well-crafted. But I think the use of such heightened language diminishes the emotional impact for me. It speaks so loftily that it makes it much more difficult for any of the feelings experienced by the characters to really resonate with me as a reader. I don’t feel like I identify or connect with them as people because my brain is too busy parsing the poetic language.

Absolutely stellar writing, and everything included is so intentional that I don’t feel there’s much for me to comment on.

Jun 4, 2021

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome

Some critiques!

The Women of Troy
I enjoyed this! With your start I unfortunately tripped over the "The fire is the colour of the sky" and didn't get the imagery there. Is the sky flickering? I don't know and I'm confused.But still a strong start and looping back end.
We got characters in dire situations, colorful prose about how this sucks and the end loops back to the starting title.
My only issue is with the backstory, and how we repeat some of the information. You already told us they are going to be war-brides and our character is clearly upset over this fact. I don't need to be reminded.

Bonelord Trevor
This is really funny, and not subtle. My kind of story. I laughed at the therapist line. I'd like to hear from others if the joke got "old", though I didn't have any issues with how many times cannibalism came up. I have only two issues:
I don't get how Trevor can find the whole organization or what it means? "Skillset? Who needs a skillset when I can find our whole operation?" said Trevor.
My other issue is the ending. It’s really rushed and makes the story feel like a punchline, rather than a story.
Still, this was very funny and I liked the pace, and the general silliness.

Chernobyl in Verdigris
Something is missing from the start to get me engaged. It might be a lack of motivation, or I my brain blanked when I saw a bunch of description and then a reference to a character I know nothing about. It’s well done, I’d fight if someone said this was bad, but I would say I wasn’t engaged at the start.
This dis-engagement continues because we are talking about a “master” that I know nothing about, and that is a neat and indirect way of telling us things about our POV character, but it takes some time to figure out. Like I have to sit, drink a cup of tea and really think about this piece.
I really got into the story when Chernobyl in Verdigris was mentioned. That sentence shined, and then we had things happening and emotions and it was awesome!

Thousands have been reported missing
Typo in first sentence: They'd found Signal? As in the person's name is signal, or they found A signal?
Apart from that I really enjoy this story. It’s a great example of slowly unfolding a characters feeling and being subtle. I like how this character's sadness and anxiety unfolds.
I think the ending misses the mark. We have this very subtle, escalation of tension, escalation of panic and then its like “YO BRO HER FAMILY IS FINE” and the story is over. We didn’t get enough time to breathe.
So I think if the thing I am saying is I want you to have more words, then the story is really good!

When the Sleeper Wakes
This piece is really well done. I like the eldritch nature of the antagonist, and how we immediately know this story is horror, sliding toward eldritch. In a few words you show the reader how this is post apocalyptic, and how everything is hopeless. I get a tone from this piece, and it reverberates within me.
One issue is with the explanation oh the Sleeper/Apocalypse. It really reads like a "How we got here" moment and for me, it doesn't fit with the piece. In the middle of our eldritch horror, where the unknown is the scariest thing, we have this lump of exposition explains that humanity is bad, and that we overreached in our attempt to control power. There isn't enough space for this idea to grow, and it runs in parallel with the protagonists spitefulness, but doesn't get close enough to the character to really justify why he wants the world to die. That’s one other, small, issue, is we don’t fully understand why the Protagonist is so spiteful and wants the world to die.
I do like the ending, how the protagonist thinks the creature is a prisoner. I want to give you more words, and hope you don’t go into telly exposition to draw more themes and metaphors. I do enjoy this piece, and I think if you expanded on it, I would enjoy it more. I hope to read more!

Brief aside, I love how we wrote the same rought idea, and did opposites. We both wrote eldritch horror, but your POV is from the mortal. We both wrote about colors, but you did light (Which is awesome in retrospect) and I went for dark

Falling - Interprompt
Note, I missed this was an interprompt. Good writing for something that was created in less than a day!
Hmm, the start doesn't engage me. It's like I'm getting information that pulls me one way, but then I'm being told it doesn't matter. (I'm falling, but it doesn't matter. I don't care about falling.) I think its the being told part that is disengaging me. If we got closer to the character, got his reaction, instead of information, I could get into it.
I get into the prose with "Innards shift from gravitational resisance", cool line! The middle is talking about some kind of light and the word falling repeats itself ad naseum. I don't really care. The end is cool though, that's a nice line.
This reads like a performance piece, which means if accompanied by music and a voice actor reading it, the piece would hit a lot harder. The prose lacks a mood, or theme, which I would expect in such a low word count. If I could get a emphasis on how I should "hear" the story, where do we pause, where do we do a poignant pause or scant whisper, this would hit harder. That's why I think it's a performance piece. Visual aids and vocal aids would help me figure out the theme or mood.

Jan 20, 2012

Some quick post-judging notes for those who are new to TD:

- One of the central tenets of Thunderdome is that anyone can crit anyone else's story, no matter your comparative levels of experience with writing, either in TD or otherwise, so if you read an entry and have something to say about it, you are welcome to share it here. Keep in mind that your opinion as a reader is a valuable and useful crit, so don't feel pressured to get deep into the weeds on analyzing someone's story-- even a brief "this element worked really well for me, I didn't really get this, wasn't a fan of this" can be extremely helpful.

- We try to keep this thread limited to posts directly related to the weekly TD cycle--prompt posts, signups, entries, judging, and crits (with the occasional interprompts/brawls/other writing silliness, and this sort of "admin" post when necessary). If you have questions/comments about judging, crits (including questions about other posters' crits on your story), TD in general, writing in general, or your overall disgust with the unruly nature of words and stories, there's a (brand new) less formal companion thread for TD now:

There's also a Thunderdome discord, which has slowly become a general SA writing discord, which would also be a good place for discussion & questions. Also there's a bunch of puppy pictures in one of the channels... but like, furious Thunderdome puppies.

Fat Jesus
Jul 13, 2011

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


I was meaning to join this thunderdome, but life and potato got in the way a bit, but I did write 500 words of gibberish that I hope makes sense the other day. I've been trying to 'write' for 3 whole weeks since I retired, and I'm sorta scared to show anyone what I wrote.
I'm not going to be much good at crits apart from saying I liked this and didn't something else, but I'm here to offer bananas, gain your trust and learn your ways.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk


Fat Jesus
Jul 13, 2011

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


Rise of the Superhussein
500 words

Ragnar's ship floundered on the rocks below as Lady Ayn of Rand, assisted by her knight, Sir John of Galt, climbed the final highest tower of the tallest mountain in the Lands of Economos. Finally the lair of their foe, the enslaver of Man, came within their sight. Their journey had been great, with many perilous trials, but they had arrived unscathed, not having given a single penny as a tip the entire journey.
Entering the cave, they saw him in his dread majesty, tall, thin handsome and looming above in his Robe of Change, holding the dread Staff of Hope - The Superhussein himself.
Should they not stop him, they knew, he would take their All and destroy the markets, giving freely to the weak and stupid too lazy to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. What was unearned given to the troglodytes who slaved in the factories and railways of their fellow nobles.
Was it not the nobles' genius that was the true labor that sustained the land, not the sweat of peasant brows? Yet the monster would unleash the power of the Jobless One himself, Marx von Engels, long since banished to the underworld of failed ideas.

The Superhussein faced them, his welcoming laugh startling them with it's warmth.
Treachery, she warned Sir Galt, but he came forward, his Sword of Objectivity raised against the foul, friendly and seemingly harmless demon before him.
Suddenly with a flash the Superhussein turned his back, raising the Robe of Change, baring his majestic brown behind. Sir Galt, stunned by the enormous rear end before him stood motionless, mesmerized.
The Superhussein raised his staff and R&B soul boogie sounds filled the cave as he began to wave to and fro snapping at the beat.
"BOOGIE" he roared, as he began to twerk, the huge cheeks of his booty slapping with thunder that rung the cave. He twerked faster, louder and louder, as Lady Ayn and Sir John fell helpless in faint, their racism brought to head beyond any endurance. The Superhussein danced around, twerking harder and faster, the booming beat of the Acid Queen herself filling the cave as it reverberated across the universe and beyond space and time.
It was too late.
Sir Galt rose and rushed from the cave, knowing all was lost, for he had unleashed the Ritual of Socialism and Lady Ayn of Rand was no more, banished to the underworld of failed ideas.
He looked with terror and dismay as the rainbow people led the peasant hordes rushing to the new dawn of boogie with the magical bootstraps the dark one had given them, flying high through the air.
As the mountains of stocks he held in the distance trembled as to fall, then remained steady, the markets also wavering, but remaining more or less the same. Disaster! The Superhussein's illusion magic still clouded him, he realised.

It was all gone, he knew, all of it, there was but one thing to be done. Bible gun camps.

May 11, 2009

Humanity's real enemy is me!
Hya hya foowah!
:siren:Thunderdome Week DLXVII: You're Gonna Be OK:siren:

Last week we had the post-apocalypse. Let's keep the ball rolling! Oh poo poo, oh poo poo, the ball is rolling in a weird and unanticipated direction!

The prompt.
This week we're tackling Hopepunk.

Wikipedia posted:

Hopepunk is a subgenre of speculative fiction, conceived of as the opposite of grimdark. Works in the hopepunk subgenre are about characters fighting for positive change, radical kindness, and communal responses to challenges.

I want to see a scene, 1000 words or less, in which one character is helping another through a hard time. There must be some imaginative, non-realist element present in the scene for it to fit the prompt.

Remember, this is speculative fiction, so something about the world has to be different from our own. Make it scifi, fantasy, alternative fiction, horror, whatever. And it's a single scene, so no narrative hopscotch allowed.

For an extra 200 words, I will give you the setting that the scene is currently taking place in.

Signup deadline is 11:59 PM Friday 6/16/2023 (EST)

Turn in deadline is 11:59 PM Sunday 6/18/2023 (EST)

Please refrain from submitting fanfiction, erotica, or political screeds.

Chairchucker (Flash: An antique store with wares from a simpler time.)
MockingQuantum (Flash: The core of an unstable reactor.)
Rohan (Flash: A medicinal plant garden aboard a ship heading to colonize a new planet.)
Fuschia tude (Flash: The server room hosting an AI hive mind political ruler.)
Fat Jesus (Flash: A coffee shop in the middle of a multi-species city, in the dead-rear end first 10 minutes of opening for the day.)
curlingiron (Flash: A pilgrim's shrine devoted to the god of darkness.) (TOXX)
LurchinTard (Flash: A summer night festival.)
DigitalRaven (Hellrule: your characters are humans with crab claws instead of arms, and do not find this at all unusual.)
Chernobyl Princess (Flash: A snowy village, but all the houses are empty.)
Thranguy (Flash: A college dorm during finals week.)
Crabrock (Flash: The lonely gravestone of a hero from many years ago.)
Idle Amalgam (Flash: An underwater cave with an air pocket, at the bottom of a murky black sea.)
Slightly Lions (Flash: Aboard a train headed somewhere otherworldy.)

Cephas fucked around with this message at 14:57 on Jun 16, 2023

Nov 14, 2006

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


hello flash me please

Jan 20, 2012

I can hope, punkily. in and flash me please

May 11, 2009

Humanity's real enemy is me!
Hya hya foowah!

Chairchucker posted:

hello flash me please

Your flash is:
An antique store with wares from a simpler time.

MockingQuantum posted:

I can hope, punkily. in and flash me please

Your flash is:
The core of an unstable reactor.

Mar 19, 2008

Look, if you had one shot
or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted
in one moment
Would you capture it...
or just let it slip?


in and flash

May 11, 2009

Humanity's real enemy is me!
Hya hya foowah!

rohan posted:

in and flash

Your flash is:
A medicinal plant garden aboard a ship heading to colonize a new planet.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004



Fat Jesus
Jul 13, 2011

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


my sword is yours, in and flash, if I don't get ejected into the sun first.

Dec 15, 2006

b l o o p

In and a flash, please! Also :toxx:

May 11, 2009

Humanity's real enemy is me!
Hya hya foowah!

Fuschia tude posted:


Your flash is:
The server room hosting an AI hive mind political ruler.

Fat Jesus posted:

my sword is yours, in and flash, if I don't get ejected into the sun first.

Your flash is:
A coffee shop in the middle of a multi-species city, in the dead-rear end first 10 minutes of opening for the day.

curlingiron posted:

In and a flash, please! Also :toxx:

Your flash is:
A pilgrim's shrine devoted to the god of darkness.

Aug 25, 2022
In. Flash me!

May 11, 2009

Humanity's real enemy is me!
Hya hya foowah!

LurchinTard posted:

In. Flash me!

Your flash is:
A summer night festival.

Aug 25, 2022

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

I will judge

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

:toxx: if you want a hellrule (a deliberately unfair flash rule). No obligation, but it can be fun and generally produces decent stories.

Oct 9, 2012

In and :toxx: for a hellrule


Fat Jesus
Jul 13, 2011

to ride eternal, shiny and chrome


A Brother's Love

573 words

Gog and Magog ran the best coffeehole in all Mordor, a favorite haunt of the brother's old Uruk-Hai comrades, known for the fine blends of selected powdered elf, along with the usual dried manparts other inferior orcs used.
Trade had been good lately but was slow that morning. Some blokes had shown last night up at the Black Gates wanting cash for gold or some poo poo, Magog told his brother, and they should expect a rush later that day.
Gog nodded glumly, unsmiling even more then he usually unsmiled.
"Oh come now, there'll be others," said Magog, putting his large claws on his forlorn brother, "you was too good for her, mate."
Gog slapped the paw away with his brick-like fist, grunting. "Shaddap about the bitch! I'm trying not to think of it, the thought of her doin' the beast wit two backs, wiv that.. bloody warsinger?"
Marching away in disgust, throwing his manskin apron to the ground, Gog disappeared outside leaving his brother wondering what to do. It was true. He had returned to their vent to find her, his wife of three weeks, locked together with a warsinger, some fancy bastard with dulcet tones that got their pus leakin', he thought savagely, shaking his head.
And all the Orcs were laughing at him this morning again as they came out of the vent they now shared, thrusting their hips and at him and such. He had taken three heads before Magog could beat him unconscious with the arm of one of his victims. And just before the bloody Eye had a gander, he remembered grimly. Something had to be done.
Gog came back, a bit of blood on his feet, picked up his apron and got back to work washing the coffee skulls, grunting.
Magog saw he had been crying. Crying? Blubbering like that little man they had impaled on their way back from Osgiliath, he mused.
"You want her back, don't ya mate?"
"What if you take her the heads you took this morning? Ladies love head."
"Already boiled em."
"Well, um, how about we toddle back to Isengard and ask the wizard to make you a new one?"
Og looked at him, his wet eyes now filled with hope. "But..where we gettin' that sort of coin?"
"Just so happens, I've been puttin' a bit away for meself, but seeing your pitiful and weak pathetic eyes will soon get us both burning in lava up to the hips, We'll use that!"
"Really? You'd do that for me? I don't know what swears to say!"
"Of course, we'll leave tomorrow, anything to keep me own head. Let me go poo poo it out, back in a sec."

Laying the pile of stinking gold before his brother, Magog stood back with satisfaction as his brother burst into tears of gratitude, fighting the urge to pull his knife and take it all back.
"You hear that? They're coming back! Let's make a little more for the road!" Og shouted.
The brothers flung open their doors, a glorious morning, a dim sun in the black clouds and smoke, with the music of ominious thunder filling the skies, brought their good cheer to new heights. Og ran about grinning as they prepared for a busy day serving hot blood, giblets and coffee to the returning masses holding heads aloft, as the Eye looked upon them with approval. The future looked nice and dark.

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