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  • Locked thread
Governor_Guycott
Mar 26, 2008


I'm in!

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The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning



Good fix

toanoradian
May 30, 2011

The happiest waffligator


You deserve better than this tardy twat toanoradian, V for Vegas. I don't have an excuse. I was distracted.

a free game shouldn't have 750 levels

V for Vegas posted:

Iakopo - 1636

Then Zeus met with Gatot Kaca of Indonesia, and lo, Homer was drunk
The biggest problem I have with this story is that I was more bewildered than frightened. Confusion can be scary, but I don't think it did here. The setting of a weird foreign circumciser’s hut, with the goal of Iakopo finding a jar of foreskins, is interesting and a good start for horror. However, what happened as the story progresses just confuses me. The Fofo interpreted Iakopo’s interest in pua jar by giving him a knife and made the poor kid stab him. It’s not really connected. I blame my confusion on your inclusion of gods or famous figures from Samoa. It didn’t really add much to the story (I understand the stabbing had to do with being a man) but the inclusion makes it seem important. After some research, I understood your story better, but I think your usage of the myth is awkward. The ‘Le fe’e e! faafofoga mai ia’ chant had some problems. The chant was for the war god O Le Fe’e before his worshippers go to battle, yes? I can see the connection between manliness and war-readiness, that for Iakopo to truly become ‘Man’ he must be ready to battle and thus ready to kill. It’s a good reference and nicely contrasts Iakopo’s early fear of being unmanly, but I found three aspects of this that makes it less effective.

First is the loneliness of this O Le Fe’e chant reference, how it is almost completely separate from the rest of the story. None of O Le Fe’e’s symbols (e.g. the white cloths, the cuttlefish) had been mentioned. I think if you include just one, it would give that part a bit more connection to the rest of the setting. If not the symbols of the god, what about the things people pay attention to in the pre-war ceremony, the colours? White turban, red flaming rage, dark shells as bad omen… O Le Fe’e’s chant includes a lot of colours and by ignoring them I think you miss a chance to really solidify the chant’s place in your submission.

Secondly is the mention of Salevao, another war god and Tui Fiti, a hero. I would argue that referring to these two harms your earlier reference. Mentioning that Iakopo is the ‘last living son’ of Tui Fiti, another god, and that Iakopo will eventually have ‘the spirit of Salevao’ coming to him makes it sound too much like a heroic prophecy. It basically says, “Iakopo, son of The Great Hero, you will fight the spirit of War Dog with the help of other gods’. Heck, if by Salevao you mean the god of rocks that is responsible for the name ‘Samoa’, then Iakopo will fight, like, The God. Heroic prophecies are fine in fantasies, but in horror I feel they are misplaced. Especially one predicting a divine war. Instead of making this reference, why not expand the manliness=ready to kill aspect? Give us more hints of ‘change’ inside Iakopo, as his ‘true manliness’ is through killing instead of just circumcision. The last line of the story is a bit too late and too little in these hints, in my opinion.

Thirdly, why is a Javanese man praying to the Samoan gods? Also, the shrunken heads are creepy, but from my limited knowledge of Javanese mythology, those aren’t really the stuff from Javanese myths. A Javanese man doing a Samoan ritual in a place riddled with symbols from the Amazon makes the entire thing feels like a jumble of unrelated mysticism. It makes the O Le Fe’e chant seems like a random thing The Fofo just say because he had just read George Turner. Worse, it makes me suspect that you just insert any ‘mystical’ thing you fancy. You could use other symbols from O Le Fe’e mythology, like the fact that he petrifies people or of bloody white cloths. These may not have the same visceral effect like shrunken heads, but they’d be more connected to the chant.

The chant is obscure in the first place, and I feel the way you insert them in the story is weak. The first and third point make the chant seem removed from anything in the story and the second point make it part of a misplaced fantasy sequence. If you fix them, I think the obscurity would be justified, as it adds to the theme.

You sound like you find my fence sexually arousing
I liked how Iakopo and Hemana talked. Their dialogue felt sufficiently childish. Hemana’s saying that he’ll be a man but Iakopo won’t felt quite real and bring to mind the hypocritical poo poo I said as a kid. The use of crushes as means to threaten, the dare, the tons of small curses (doesn’t ‘poo poo’ sound good to the child’s tongue?) and the accusations of lying paints the relationship between these two kids really well. I could sense that they were good friends without you needing to show physical actions, like... a fistbump? Secret handshakes? Whatever good friends do to each other. Good job!

However, I spotted few errors in your dialogue. I believe there should be a comma between the last spoken word and the closing inverted commas. Some of your dialogue tags are ‘Said Bookisms’, synonyms to ‘said’ that are unnecessary or unlike. For example, I don’t think you can smile a word. Or that a ‘snapping’ could happen without using exclamation marks. These first draft mistakes are easy to fix, so no big deal.

The rest of my critique are insignificant thoughts.

Constant usage of 'The Fofo' makes him seem special. I like it.

I have no idea what ‘dewan’ means in the context of ‘little dewan’. I asked my Javanese parents and they don’t have a clue either. It meant something like ‘council’ in Indonesian, but it doesn’t sound quite right when paired with ‘little’. Perhaps you mean ‘dewa’, which means god?

‘Frozen screams etched onto shrunken heads’ makes for an excellent creepy metaphor. I don’t think the shrunken heads can actually show emotions that would equal a scream, though.

All the trash in The Fofo’s house, instead of adding a sense of disgust in me, rather undermines his ‘mystic-ness’, in my opinion. I don’t know, his work as a foreskin cleaver already make him a normal person, but the garbage kind of spoils any otherworldliness I feel from him.

In conclusion, the story has well-crafted dialogue and a nice horror premise, but the plot progresses into a clutter of mythology, resulting in bafflement instead of horror.

V for Vegas posted:

Maybe submit closer to the deadline next time.

you don't understand man
i don't wanna go back there
the stress
the rancid breath of the judges
the sharp wires
no more
no more

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Thanks toanoradian, yeah I'm afraid my stories often take place on TV backlots where the walls are just thin, one-sided façades that are OK for a once over, but do not hold up to scrutiny.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Those with skin in the game:
Sitting Here
Canadian Surf Club
Benagain
monkeyboydc
Stone of Madness
WilliamAnderson
GreatBacon
Chairchucker
Bad Seafood
Sebmojo
JonasSalk
SC Bracer
Frank Malloons
The Saddest Rhino
V for Vegas
Noah
BlackFrost
Beezle Bug
Impermament

AND TWO NEW CHALLENGERS:
Aquavelva and Governor_Guycott


If I missed you then speak up and become known.

GorfZaplen
Jan 20, 2012



Let's do this. I'm in

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning


The Saddest Rhino posted:

(I'm halfway rewriting my original small town horror thing for last week and will put it up on the fiction farm)

In lieu of submitting for last week's Thunderdome, I expanded my original draft to about 3k words and have put it up here: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...hreadid=3530038 (instead of the farm which only allows <1k). I tentatively titled it Sea Change although I'm thinking maybe A Day in the Sun will Change Your Life may be better.

It's still within the "small town horror" motif, but I set it on a tropical island town in Malaysia and I was also addressing SurreptitiousMuffin's challenge to write a Lovecraft thing. I only chose to use the themes present in his stories (sea things, hostility, incomprehensible fear) instead of setting it in his cthulhu mythology because I think it would just weaken the story.

Would appreciate if you guys gave me some criticism and sentence me to death, thanks! crit me hors

The Saddest Rhino fucked around with this message at Jan 24, 2013 around 09:40

supermikhail
Nov 17, 2012


"It's video games, Scully."
Video games?"
"He enlists the help of strangers to make his perfect video game. When he gets bored of an idea, he murders them and moves on to the next, learning nothing in the process."
"Hmm... interesting."


In. At least I think the deadline was Saturday.

twinkle cave
Dec 20, 2012


In.

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER


In

budgieinspector
Mar 24, 2006

According to my research,
these would appear to be
Budgerigars.



Putting my left foot in, shaking it all about, doing the Hokey Pokey, etc.

toanoradian
May 30, 2011

The happiest waffligator


I would like to register in this 'Thunderdome' thing. Heard it's pretty in there. Flowers and butterflies and unicorns!

supermikhail
Nov 17, 2012


"It's video games, Scully."
Video games?"
"He enlists the help of strangers to make his perfect video game. When he gets bored of an idea, he murders them and moves on to the next, learning nothing in the process."
"Hmm... interesting."


Thunderdome XXV entry, 933 words

When one has nothing to lose, one can do some pretty bizarre things. As when Alsa Sherrek, the self-proclaimed First Emperor of Hynasia, poisoned all his staff at a council meeting. For the sake of historical accuracy, it must be said that he watched the chaos, the agony, and the deaths with some degree of satisfaction. We're afraid he was not a good person.

The last grasping hand had not fallen, the last pair of eyes had not rolled up to face oblivion, the last tremor had not quelled, when Sherrek left the room and locked the door, carrying a cup of poisoned wine. He came to the Grand Audience Chamber, sat on the throne and waited.

Presently, a door materialized in the middle of the room. It opened, and a man in a white uniform stepped through.

Looking at the cup in his hand, Sherrek spoke softly.

“It's all over. I have failed my people. My family. My ancestors. Might as well kill myself and spare those few hundred souls who remain of my army. It's all over. Isn't it, Marshall?”

The uniformed man, who was watching the scene respectfully, said, “Uh, hello. I believe this is yours?” He extended his hand and a blue semi-transparent scroll appeared above it. The scroll unfurled itself, showing some writing under the seal of Hynasian Empire.

“Yes,” Sherrek said.

“Then the situation must be pretty dire. But you wouldn't have called me if there was only one option left... That's poison? Classy... Just to make sure, you're aware that I don't work for free?”

“Yes.”

“Good. Now fill me in.”

Sherrek told Marshall a story, sad, epic, believable, and false. Then he led him to the map room.

In twelve hours the troops of the Southern Coalition around the last citadel of the First Emperor of Hynasia were routed. Sherrek did not quite understand it all. Messages had been sent, men relocated, resources suddenly discovered, attacks called, retreats sounded, and, boom, they had won. He had only done what Marshall had told him to. He didn't understand it, but he didn't need to. All he had to keep an eye on was Marshall.

They had a big celebration that night. There were many new faces – soldiers who had suddenly become Sherrek's generals, filling the recently freed spots.

Wine had been drunk and Sherrek spoke thus while he was showing Marshall to his bedroom:

“My friend, just take me to Vynna, and I'll make you the richest man in the Universe. I'll give you the most beautiful women and the best houses... And this house is yours. It's mine, but it's yours, too. Here are the keys to every room. Do what you like, go everywhere you want... Except. Except the room at the end of the corridor. Sorry, that's a secret.”

Next day was a lazy day. Everyone slept in late. Some plans were made at dinner, but mostly everyone kept talking about the miraculous victory. After dinner, Sherrik took a dozen guards, went into the forbidden room, and waited. At midnight, the door opened, and Marshall stood on the threshold. When he saw the guards around him, he said, “Hm. Clever.” Then they knocked him out.

Marshall woke up tied to a chair. Opposite of him sat Sherrik. Otherwise the room was empty.

“So, it comes down to this,” said Sherrik. “I want to rule Hynasia.”

Marshall studied his face.

“Can be arranged,” he said.

“Good.” Sherrik got up.

“Aren't you going to untie me?” Marshall said.

“No. And no tricks.”

Twelve months later Sherrik stepped into the last bit of free Hynasia – the Conference Hall of Sarish Parliament. There were no free people there, it was just a place, but the place meant something. Then Sherrik stepped into it, and free Hynasia was no more.

“It just had to be a republic,” Sherrik said. “Oh, well.”

He grabbed a chair, lifted it onto the conference table, then got onto it.

“I am the king of the world!”

Soldiers said “Hoorah!”

“Hope it'll last,” said Marshall, out of cuffs for some time now.

“What?” Sherrik said, genially. “Who can oppose me now? I am Sherrik the Conqueror, Sherrik the Invincible, soldiers run at the sound of my name... Oh. I am the king of Hynasia. I am supposed to be letting you off... Well, I don't see why I can't hold onto this world now that you've delivered it to me. I myself... and my people aren't completely dumb, you know... Anyway, no. It would be fair to release you, but it would also be foolish. So, tonight we celebrate, tomorrow you die.”

Marshall just frowned.

A group of soldiers ran into the hall.

“Sir, your Majesty, there is a spaceship approaching.”

As Sherrik passed Marshall on his way outside, he heard, “You could have been the viceroy.”

A white triangle shone in the night sky.

“Have you got guns on it?” Sherrik asked one of his generals.

“Yes, sir.”

Then a dozen more white triangles of different sizes blinked into existence next to the first one.

“Who is it?” Sherrik said.

“We don't know, sir.”

A soldier came up to the general.

“They are transmitting, sir.”

The general passed the receiver to Sherrik. A calm voice spoke to him.

“We are the Marshalls. We have come to claim our own. Hynasia is it. You can give up quietly, Sherrik, or you can resist. But we think you should give up. And you will.”

“Tricky bastard,” Sherrik muttered.

So ended the First, and only, Hynasian Empire. Its Emperor suffered a little longer.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


^ Title, fucker.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

I'm in.

Sedgr
Sep 16, 2007

Neat!


Is anyone else a little shocked? I just watched a man rush into the dome, trip over a rock, and fall on his own blade. It's days and days until submission time and the Thunderdome already has a man laying on the sand screaming, just waiting to be put out of his misery.

Someone have pity on the poor fool and slit his throat.

It was just so senseless and avoidable. I can only hope the dome shows mercy and grants him a quick death.

Better that than being left on the ground bleeding just to eventually be torn apart by the ravenous horde.

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

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

Submit early and often, isn't that the theory? In the end it's probably not much different than what I usually do, which is wait until the deadline and then suddenly mash my keyboard.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Sedgr posted:

Is anyone else a little shocked? I just watched a man rush into the dome, trip over a rock, and fall on his own blade. It's days and days until submission time and the Thunderdome already has a man laying on the sand screaming, just waiting to be put out of his misery.

Someone have pity on the poor fool and slit his throat.

It was just so senseless and avoidable. I can only hope the dome shows mercy and grants him a quick death.

Better that than being left on the ground bleeding just to eventually be torn apart by the ravenous horde.
He swaggers in talking big, yet has never spilled his blood in the sand and does not sign up himself. I'm in a Ben Franklin mood, so here's my offer:

Sedgr
Sep 16, 2007

Neat!


Chairchucker posted:

Submit early and often, isn't that the theory? In the end it's probably not much different than what I usually do, which is wait until the deadline and then suddenly mash my keyboard.

My understanding was that the best thing to do in the dome is to keep working until the last possible moment. Submitting early gains you nothing, while taking extra time to chip away the rough edges can help a piece improve dramatically.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

He swaggers in talking big, yet has never spilled his blood in the sand and does not sign up himself. I'm in a Ben Franklin mood, so here's my offer:

There was no swagger or big talk in that Judge. Even a mere dome spectator can see pain about to be inflicted and feel a little pity. Or is the dome to be a silent arena? With no gathered crowds to leer at the sport? Can a man truly leave the dome victorious if no one is able to cheer his name? Do the losers die for nothing? If no one sees them fall, and we can not speak of their deaths, the waste seems monumental.

Thunderdome is literary gladiatorial combat. The participants may pit themselves in battle, and the Judges decide who lives and who dies, but without the spectators there is no show. We are all complicit in this violence. It binds us as a society.

If you wish to add my name to the rolls, I will come and spill my blood and die among the others. But that means you must read what I write and that is the greater punishment I think.

A crowd that fears they may be dragged onto the field of battle for voicing their opinion is a crowd that is silent. And that would be the greatest Thunderdome death of all.

I would be but another body lost in the heap of corpses.

The choice is yours Judge. I will enter the dome this once if you demand it.

PM me your decision if you can please. I'm away tomorrow so I may miss in thread replies.

STONE OF MADNESS
Dec 28, 2012

PVTREFACTIO


Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

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

Don't think about it, just join. Do it now.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


Oh yeah, by the way fuckers:

We're goon-rushing another interesting lit rag this week. Try to not gently caress it up and know that daddy loves you.

:X

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Way to blow your load early. We were going to spring that on them at the end, remember?

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Way to blow your load early. We were going to spring that on them at the end, remember?

Do you read their stories every week? The 1/3 of them that don't actually read the thread before or after squeezing out some kernel-pocked turd won't see it, and the rest are so cognitively disadvantaged that they won't remember it as soon as they see a pair of jangling keys.

Also, it's a warning to edit poo poo before you post (due to the way-extended sign-up). You folks are locked in, and it's ultra-shame if you don't produce now. We'll think of some cruel and/or creative ways to gently caress with non-producers.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

We'll just spoof email addresses and submit their stuff for them... without a cover letter!!

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


Sometimes you have to submit early because you won't be around on the deadline. If someone wants to crank out their story cause they got other poo poo going on, let em.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


I'm in.

Steriletom
May 11, 2009

My inability to write has angered the ghost of Thunderdome! Beware my example, lest you be haunted.


I'll try(in).

Hitlers Gay Secret
Mar 7, 2010

The Third Reich's under new -- and better -- management.

Hasn't word reached Camp Pendleton yet?


College Slice

Alright, let's do this. I'm in.

EDIT: gently caress, just realized Midnight on Saturday was two hours ago. Guess I'll participate next contest.

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

No, that was midnight on Friday

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

West time is the best time. Y'all in my timezone now.

edit: I wish my avatar text linked to this thread instead of the goldmined one. That way when I'm spamming the rest of the forums with worthless content I can be recruiting new fodder.

Sitting Here fucked around with this message at Jan 26, 2013 around 16:04

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Maybe try clicking your own avatar link instead of being a giant retard baby...

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Solve for X 1209

Trelawny sat at the small kitchen table. He took out small pack of Lucky Strikes and lit one up, exhaling smoke that wreathed the bare 20 watt bulb hanging from the ceiling. He looked at the detective sitting across the table from him.

'When did I first notice something was wrong? Is that even the right question? There was always something off kilter about him, the flywheels of his mind always spun a little faster than most. You got the feeling that he angled away from reality in a direction you couldn't quite follow.' Trelawny took another draw from his Lucky Strike. 'Of course there were rumours of what he got up to even back then, although nothing was ever concrete. But if there was one moment when I noticed that his direction to the rest of us had changed, it would have been the game of chess we had in his lecture hall before the war.

We had played fairly regularly together as undergrads at Kings, but it was never anything too serious. On my part at least. He was mad about Capablanca and would play though his games constantly, especially after new games would come in after a tournament. It was the math of course, that was driving him. Quite before anything Turing was doing with it, he felt every game was a puzzle to be unlocked. That there was one true game of chess locked away inside the pieces. Fiendishly difficult yet devatatingly simple. He won our games more often than not, but after I went to the States to teach we fell out of touch and hadn't played each other in years until I came back home for a short visit. I recieved a telegram from him, quite short, abrupt really, in his usual style, simply asking me to come around to his school for a game that Saturday.

Well of course I went, but as soon as I arrived he ushered me from his office to an empty classroom. The whole place was deserted being the weekend and all, but he closed and locked the door behind us. Said something about not wanting to be disturbed. On the student desk on the front row a chess board had already been set up. As we sat down he told me that he would not be playing me, but that a machine would be playing me instead. I asked what he meant and he just smiled and moved his first piece out. Pawn to king four I think it was. I moved out my piece and then he did something quite peculiar. He dragged up a second desk with some papers on it and began writing on them. As he worked he explained he had created an algorithm that would assess the value of each piece, it's position, and give him an answer on the next move.

So we sat there, heads bent over the desk towards each other like two young students gossiping in the front of study hall. With him just working away furiously at his calculations. Each move took around half and hour for him to compute. I asked him if it would not just be easier for him to make the move, but he shook his head. 'No' he said. 'Only math can find the true move.' That phrase has always stuck in my head ever since. 'Only math can find the true move.'

Well we continued on for most of the afternoon until he made a horrible blunder, left a rook en prise I think it was. He looked quite shaken when he made the move, he knew it would lose him the game, but the math had told him what to do so he did it anyway. He looked back over his notes and shook his head. Got up quickly, shook my hand, said he hoped I had a good trip, and then walked out of the room. I didn't see him again for five years.'

Trelawny butted out another cigaratte and stood up. He walked to the small window that looked out into the snow. A train whistle sounded in the distance.

'The next time I heard from him was by telegram. Again, it was simply a short message. 'Have completed the machine stop come at once stop'. Well, I didn't have the foggiest what he meant, but I was heading home anyway and it was a simple enough thing to drop by. But when I got to the school I was told he had been fired twelve months earlier. What for they would not tell me, but I had never heard of it so it must have been scandalous for them to hush it up. I feared some of the old rumours might have been true so I rushed over here.

Gods, he looked like he had aged twenty years in the time I had seen him. Well, you know what he looks like I guess don't you? Just horrible. I had come in and barely removed my coat when he started without any preamble into a long rambling monologue about algorithms and this abstract pure mathematical argument. Never my strong suit you know, application of math was always my field. But from what I could follow it seemed quite advanced from what is being bandied about in the literature. Suddenly he stopped and simply said 'I built it.'

'Built what?' I said.

'A Turing machine.' he replied.

Well, I can tell you I didn't know what to say. You may not know this detective, but a Turing machine is not something you build, it is an intellectual exercise, like Schrodinger's Cat. No one ever put a cat in a box with some decaying radioactive material. Just as no one has 'built' a Turing machine. It is merely a way to think of a procedure of ascertaining the truth or falsity of an assertion in a finite number of steps. For heaven's sake, one of the core components it needs is an infinite amount of tape to run through it. You could never 'build' one.

I told him that and all he said was 'you don't need an infinite tape if the correct algorithm is given at the start. The right algorithm will tell you the truth of any question.'

'You mean any mathematical question' I asked.

He looked away and asked me to come by again tomorrow. He would have it ready to demonstrate to me then.

When I came back, I found the place as you see it now. It is like it was last night, except for his body on the couch with the back of his head blown out and the smashed pile of gears, rotors and tapes lying on the table. '

Trelawney tapped the last cigarette out of its packet. He crumpled the pack in his hand, dropping it onto the table.

'I can see him now, detective, entering into that infernal machine the one question he needed so desperately to know the answer to. Then, with the cold implacable logic of the universe, the machine spitting back out the one, ultimate answer. Math showed him the only true move he could make.'

Capntastic
Jan 13, 2005

A dog begins eating a dusty old coil of rope but there's a nail in it.

Fallen Rib

Sign Ups Closed, 28 Hours Left

swaziloo
Aug 29, 2012


Capntastic posted:

Sign Ups Closed, 28 Hours Left

The first rule of Thunderdome: Judges can change poo poo at whim. Midnight can become 8pm.

The second rule of Thunderdome: Waiting until the last minute to decide whether your turd idea can be made a polished-turd idea before the deadline may gently caress you: See Rule #1.

Nevertheless, I may try to make my story less-bad and participate in the goon-rush for good measure.

STONE OF MADNESS
Dec 28, 2012

PVTREFACTIO


Anyone looking for a crit partner? It's my understanding that we're not allowed a separate Dome Crits thread, but if you want to swap crits pm me or mention it in your submission post and let's sort something out. The crit process is too valuable to ignore imho.



Power Lies
1462 words

Kleppman knelt before the altar of Nameless and prayed, not to his own God, but to that of his parents. The words came slowly, as if unfamiliar; more important, he knew, was the feeling of prayer, the divine communion, a connection of the heart. But this was never coming back – at least, so the books had told him.

Kleppman prayed that someday, when all had been accomplished, it might.

The candles had been lit, the incense smouldered, and now, from far above him, deep intonations sounded – the Angelus bell. Time, then, to dismiss his trepidation; time to begin.

He drew the pouch out of his cowl, and probing a finger within, gathered enough of its septic ichor to coat the idol's face. The stench was overpowering, even through the camphor in his nostrils – but already, as he daubed the leathern thing, its face was softening, its features starting to respond.

His fingers trembled; he spoke the incantation, and this time the words spilled out of him, too fast, running together, watery and indistinct. And after the final phase – Ia! Ia Ialdabaoth! – he felt a surge of panic, for he knew his tongue had slipped.

The idol flexed before him; so he had not yet failed. Entrails, then. A cloth bag hung around his shoulder; he opened it, spilling its cargo into the verdigris-stained dish at the idol's feet. Then, working quickly, he sliced open the belly, drawing out the intestines, the kidneys, the lights, fixing each to their respective points across the idol's granite base. It was done; the sacrifice had barely uttered a sound. The idol began to glow, a faint, humming crimson, and he stroked its gnarled horns, as the papyri depicted.

It spoke, and though to Kleppman's ear its dry, glottal raspings were completely unintelligible, another voice now sounded, flat and echoless, in his mind.

You who would approach, be warned; <Nameless> hungers greatly, and does not forget. Turn back, fool, lest you trespass too far; lest <Nameless> come to know you, and remember.

It had spoken the Name; too late, he wished he had anticipated this, that he might have researched a protection or countermeasure, for he did not want to know. Still, he had merely heard the noise of it; he had by no means understood.

It is my wish to approach, he replied, his inner voice directed to that thing which spoke within him, and now an image found its way into his mind: a falcon, soaring upward through the clouds of night, and far above, a great dark condor, circling to strike.

If it is your wish.

The idol changed; its shrivelled limbs unfolded, stretching out across the wall, turning back upon themselves, shrunken joints ensnared by lengthened fingers, a weird geometry of skin and bone. Gradually, the thing grew still again, and Kleppman noted the profound disharmony struck by the angles of its body against the painted frieze behind.

Speak, then.

The Maghrebian scrolls agreed; there were six things a man could require of the Nameless. Only two might be granted without penalty of death, and it was for the gaining of these that Kleppman had devoted a lifetime's research.

Gnosis. Exousia.” Total knowledge, earthly power. He spoke the words out loud, and the echo came back sharply, almost instantaneously, lingering between the ancient walls as if to commit his speech, forever, to the place.

For a moment all was silent, save for a constant muffled dripping from the cisterns nearby. The idol's mouth hung open; Kleppman found his gaze sucked towards it, playing on its shrunken, tinctured lips, its rotted charcoal-teeth, and a sudden vertigo seized him, pitching his consciousness forward, out-of-body, as if he were about to topple through that flaking aperture and into some lightless abyss beyond.

You will pay the price?

For a fraction of a second, Kleppman considered the question – but the deed is already done, he told himself.

“Yes.”

All of the arrangements had been made, and for the most part, it would be silent, instantaneous, as painless as possible. He'd sought skilled men, professionals, and found their price; he'd bought their expertise, and the instant he gave the word, they would fulfil their contracts. A children's home in Namur. A convent in Béziers. And Alice, home in Ravensburg; dear, innocent Alice, for whom there could be no intermediary, no agent but himself.

Excellent, the idol said, and a horrible suspicion took hold of Kleppman – that it spoke not to his mind but from within it, that it dwelt inside his head, and knew his thoughts. Again, that image flashed before his eyes, a bird-thing rising from the earth, dark wings looming high above; but whether it was a product of his own mind or a suggestion from the idol, he could not tell and did not want to know.

<Nameless> accepts your offering.

* * *

He knew the Name. Its four constituents were seared into his brain, so very simple, so infinitesimally complex, and never to be unlearned. Within them, every evil was compounded, encoded, waiting for expression. The Name was the key; the Nameless, now, his hard-bought ally.

Well, nearly. He'd spent the evening making phonecalls, some quite expensive; everything should by now have been completed. All that remained was his own, small task.

He'd already taken care of June. Her body lay within the cellar-crypt, deconsecrated, after the correct fashion; but this was merely a token, a gesture of obeisance. For, what was marriage, after all? If anything, she'd had to be killed as a matter of convenience.

No, the real meat was yet to be served.

Alice lay asleep in bed, upstairs; he'd tucked her in early. She'd exhausted herself at the playground – he'd seen to it, chasing her around, playing horse, or dinosaur, or handsome prince – and she'd loved it, chirping and squealing, her old delightful self. Even June had managed a smile.

Her face, though peaceful now, had not looked quite so calm this evening. He'd broken her heart, he knew, it was the moment that she saw the knife, and realised –

But he could not allow himself to entertain thoughts of pity. Better to think of the prize.

Alice's door opened smoothly, brushing softly against the thick blue carpet, and a shaft of light sluiced into the room, just enough to make out the little figure curled upon the mattress. Starkebär was up there, too, he saw; it was only recently that she'd grown strong enough to heft him from his chair up to her bed. Very gently, he lifted her arm from around the teddybear's neck and lowered him to the floor, his button eyes pointed at the opposite wall, as if to shield him from the violence to come.

The knife was clenched within his left hand. His right caressed the hair above her brow.

Goodnight, my darling...

The knife flashed through the air, descending fast, and stopped. Alice turned, a half-roll sideways, burrowing her shoulder deep into the crevice of her pillows.

He already knew; the deed was already done. Yet he found himself frozen, his white knuckles hovering, unable to finish.

Alice sighed, and a wiggling thumb crept upwards, as if to place itself within her mouth – I thought we'd broken that habit – and now Kleppman knew he could never do it, and would never be able to do it for as long as he lived.

And now the Nameless knew it, of course, just as It knew all his thoughts.

Quickly, then, before he was made to do something – unthinkable

* * *

Kleppman lay spread-eagled on the bathroom floor, and focused on his breathing. It had slowed, markedly, over the past minute – and now a coolness swept throughout the muscles of his body. His fingers relaxed. His back was warm, and wet. The tourmaline handle of the knife crept over, slightly, as the blade settled inside him; his arm slapped flat against the dark-slicked tiles. There was a great deal of blood.

It hadn't been easy. For a moment, as he gazed at his reflection in the mirror, it had seemed that even this simple deed might be beyond him – but his terror of the Nameless overcame.
And now he awaited his release.

* * *

A new sensation stirred within his chest, as if his sternum had turned to light; for a second, his body seemed to flood with brilliance, and then the wave withdrew, pooled at his heart, and rose out.

The ba-bird flexed its owl-like neck and stretched its wings; its glowing claws pushed down, and without as much as glancing at its former body, it took off on its journey to the stars.

Circling in the firmament, something nameless spotted it, and plunged.

SC Bracer
Aug 7, 2012

DEMAGLIO!


Ah, well here goes. I'm not even sure if I'm good enough to post here considering, but whatever, I'll make a diamond out of these turds yet. I would like a more detailed crit from someone with free time, if that's possible, since I want to know how to do something about my writing.
---

A Hobson's Choice - 935 words

The hearing I was at wasn’t for any minor incident. Rather, I was terrified of what the consequences could be. I don’t think I’m a coward or anything like that but it’s very hard to explain the feeling in my stomach that’s like a pit opened up inside. I could’ve thrown up at any time onto the faces of the officials but a part of my brain was entirely sure this was a terrible idea so I might have held it back. I can’t remember actually. I couldn’t even remember who, other than the dean, the officials were because my vision was so hazy that they seemed like so many dark, shadowy figures menacing me. There were three of them. One of them was smoking, the other was grotesquely obese, and the third was so normal it felt almost disappointing. It looked so very casual, but the tension was thick enough that I could barely breathe

A few days ago, I was sleeping in the stands of our football field. Skipping class actually but it wasn’t that big a deal. My headphones had broken the day before so I hadn’t had my ears plugged the way I normally would have. What woke me up were a bunch of loud voices… and screaming? No, it was a person literally begging for mercy as he was punched and kicked within an inch of his life.

“Well then, Mr. Zommers, we’ve heard that you might have witnessed the terrible assault against Mr. Jones. Could you tell us more about who might have committed such a heinous crime?”

It certainly was a “heinous crime”, I’ll give them that. The real problem here was that I’d messed up, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to let the same group commit heinous crimes on my body for being a sneak. You see, they saw me crouching under the bleachers, doing a terrible impression of a ninja, mouth agape in horror. After they’d finished punching the crap out of Jones, they came up to me. I did think of running, but realistically speaking the only result of that would have been a somewhat quicker route to getting beaten up.
Poor old Jones wasn’t around to testify anymore. So that left just me. If I went ahead and spilled, I might get a reward. Maybe. At the very least, I wouldn’t have something like “obstruction of justice” down on my record, since I’m fairly sure that’s not the best way to get ahead in life. On the other hand, there was a one hundred per cent chance that hypothetical reward would go to waste as soon as I got out of the hearing because there’d be a patch of ground with my name on it in big bloody letters.

“Mr. Zommers? Are you quite alright?”

No. No, not even a little alright. I’m sure they saw it in my face and my eyes. I wiped the sweat off and nodded weakly at them. Do I take the risk and deny all knowledge of the attack? Do I take the risk of getting my rear end handed to me by the same group? Either way I was finished. My fingernails were digging into my palms deep enough to draw blood. I couldn’t feel it though. Not over the lump in my throat and my thudding heart. Really, I had two choices, and neither quite appealed to me at that moment.

“Well it’s a long story,” I said, my voice a croak, “but I was there. I saw everything. They threatened me if I didn’t keep quiet. They said they’d make sure I was next.”

I told them everything. How I had been sleeping there when I heard voices, and had ducked down under the bleachers to avoid being spotted. How they had dragged Jones into the field and kicked him in the balls because the “gay bastard”—I remember that phrase very clearly—had to like that, right? I told them everything I knew about the attackers. I gave them names. The four were listening to me, with grave expressions, chins resting on their hands. I couldn’t tell if I’d given them what they wanted. Well, of course it wasn’t easy coming out with all this but it felt vaguely cathartic. I wasn’t hiding a dirty secret from anyone. I was still shaking but it was, well, it could have been a lot worse. The smoking official took a long drag at his cigarette and looked at me. His eyes were kinder than I’d expected and I felt better for it. The normal one was writing frantically into a pad. He had a lined face, and looked tired more than anything. We shook hands as they left, and the fat one patted me on the shoulder with a smile. I suppose he was nicer than he looked, since I’d expected little more than cold derision from him, but then again this was a good lesson in not judging someone for how they looked.

“You’ve done the right thing, boy.”

I’m not an expert when it comes to how these things work, but it sounded like I’d be safe. Sure, I might land up in the hospital, but at the very least I’d be able to get back to my studies as long as I survived the experience. That was something. Hey, maybe they might even do the cool thing and give me some sort of police protection until the whole thing blows over. I was alone in that brightly-lit room filled with bookshelves and a warm, mahogany desk, and I’d never felt better.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


I've got my fingers crossed that neonnoodle is going to be cruel as hell to you guys next week. Also calling not-it as a judge in case neon jumps off the cliff and requires a 2500 word minimum. It'll be the other judges' funerals and not mine.

Forthcoming, forthwith, will be the fourth (divided by two) TD goonrush details.

Here's a hint: $20 for acceptance, and it's delivered in a format you may not expect.

Fanky Malloons
Aug 21, 2010

Is your social worker inside that horse?


Erik Shawn-Bohner posted:

Forthcoming, forthwith, will be the fourth (divided by two) TD goonrush details.

Here's a hint: $20 for acceptance, and it's delivered in a format you may not expect.

Well, I hope whoever we're goonrushing likes weird stuff, because there are some pretty strange things happening in my word processing program right now.

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CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER


A story about someone who tells the truth or doesn't tell the truth and gets What They Deserve. 500 to 1,500 words. By 8am GMT.

The Apocalypse of Peters Call the coppers, 999 cunts in this baby.

In the darkness a bright light stabs into life. Before us sits a man in a white coat working on a computer, illuminated by the yellow flame of a Bunsen burner that heats nothing. The tables around him are strewn with an assortment of scientific equipment; a glassblower’s nightmare of twisted tubes and bulbous nodules through which unlikely coloured liquids drip, bubble and smoke.

We see him intently read a piece of paper in front of him, and then type the copied words onto the old-fashioned screen: neon green text on black background. The yellow flickering light combined with the glowing green screen give his face a nervous, sickly pallor. Over his shoulder we see that entire paragraphs of the article he is reading are highlighted in fluorescent pink ink; the same incomprehensible scientific jargon shines on the screen in front of him. The man closes his eyes, sighs deeply and presses a button on the keyboard. A fanfare (remarkably similar to the Windows95 shutdown chime) sounds and on the screen a message blinks.

code:
 _______________________________________________
¦                                               ¦
¦       Congratulations Dr Peters!              ¦
¦       Your manuscript has been submitted to   ¦
¦       the scientific database.		¦
¦       Your request for tenure has been	¦
¦	accepted.				¦
¦_______________________________________________¦

Dr Peters smiles and relief creeps across his features, but as he relaxes bright lights start to twinkle within the room, and his face transforms into a rictus of fear. The signature sound of a Tardis can be heard, then suddenly two men appear in a flash of light and lens flare: a tall, muscle-bound character wearing shades with a shotgun slung over his leather jacket accompanied by a frizzy haired man, wild eyed confusion on his face. The duo are faintly see through, and seem to fade in and out of reality.

"We have to go back!" shouts the wild eyed man, and his companion comforts him with an affirming tone. “We’ll be back.”

Our scientist hero is cowering in fear behind a stand of beakers when they suddenly turn to face him, and in a chorus of a thousand deafening voices they begin to chant.

"Dr Peters, we have returned from the wasted future that you and your kind have caused. Your deceit has created a world where civilization is tainted beyond saving. We have travelled through time to punish your misdeeds!”

Dr Peters face is slack jawed in terror, his body begins to shake as he manages to let a word fall from his trembling lips: “How?”

“HOW!?” shouts the enraged Austrian, “Recognising that the end was near a machine was built to send messengers back to prevent the catastrophe. We are humanity’s salvation!”

The man’s eyes drift to their clothes and his hoarse throat begins to frame a question – before he can speak he finds himself staring into the twin barrels of a shotgun levelled at his head.

“But due to the corruption of the scientific record every attempt failed!”

“We had to copy some movies,” the wild haired man mutters, taking the welding goggles off his forehead and rubbing them on his bright yellow rain jacket.

The two ghosts of the future recover their composure and resume the judgement, more strongly than before.

“You are hereby charged with the following crimes:
Lying.
Cheating.
Fabrication of Data.
Intellectual dishonesty."

Each of these accusations strikes the scientist like an invisible wind, falling back with each until he can barely stand. He holds onto the table as scientific miscellany strikes him, his coat flaps in the deafening gale.

"PLAGIARISM!"

With this final allegation every item of glassware in the room explodes into a myriad of shards and Peters is flung back in slow motion with a Wilhelmic scream. The two apparitions stride forward, passing through the tables of shattered glassware as if ghosts, and with snarling faces declaim,

"With your heinous acts you have contributed to the stagnation of human civilisation, perverted the course of history and taken the credit for another's work. If found guilty you will be hung by your tongue for all time in the depths of hell, while demons feast upon your entrails! HOW DO YOU PLEAD?"

The man raises his face and tears stream down his cheeks as he sobs:

"Guilty."

Lightning flashes, thunder cracks, and the scene goes dark.

"Don't be a Plagiarising Peter! Your work should be correct and your own; otherwise it’s just plain stealing!" The clipped consonants and rounded vowels of the narrator blare over a short credits reel and the lights go up on the empty theatre, suddenly stutter, then fade. Whatever defibrillatory spark that has set the projector in motion has fled.

Some said it began when music was cut up and recycled ad neaseum, the same track sold again and again. This was called “remixing”, and it was good for profits. Perhaps it was when the reboot of a movie franchise was filmed a year after its sequel. This was “refinement” and it, too, was good for profits. Maybe the end truely began when people were looking at screens of varying sizes from the moment they awoke to when they closed their eyes at night: continual consumption was very good.

All we know is that it was realised, all too late, that the continued progress of humanity in knowledge and action had somehow stalled. Eventually there reached a point where, in the rampant duplication and consumption, that nothing novel had been created for some time. Then people didn't know what they should copy. In the end the last of the original ideas was that each person who was born would be assigned a scripted life and allowed to live it without deviation, which cleared up all the confusion. A screen told them where to go, what to do, when to smile.

There was no nuclear fire, no super volcano, no meteor storm required for our apocalypse. The fire of ingenuity lit by out first ancestors that had been nurtured for a millennia slowly faded, like a candle starved of oxygen, until it finally flickered, and died.

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