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Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Taking the shot.

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autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

yo ur braking tables, brah

perpetulance
Mar 24, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

On the plus side there's a nice hidden nipple.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

(almost) doublepost crits!


Dearest systran, your use of ship monikers is most endearing but the story suffers from some staleness of prose. Some clarity with regards to plot would be most appealing. What do golf clubs have to do with saving Earth? Why do things explode into foodstamps? No foodstamp ray or Randian Transmogrifier is ever mentioned! A thrilling yarn, though!

E. Beef, you daring harlot, you are the apple of my eye; the one focus of my thoughts. The story you wove so deftly, so precisely, on the loom we call the English language, will linger on forever in our hearts and minds. I will get back to this when I have drained the words of all mirth and joy and use my robotic brain to peel apart the magic and stare at the dirty gears below.

All-Blessed Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi, though we have never met I still lust after you - but not as you are. My eyebrows twitch and steep and vibrate when I think of you, as you are in my head not as you are in the flesh. The work is lacking, is stilted and cumbersome. Things happen, yes, but all under the arch of steeped brows and predatory gazes. Things happen by not happening, by expressions and slow words and passive tone. I could have loved you, maybe.


Kaishai, one and only, often I lay awake contemplating your existence. Slowly at first, but then the thought process accelerates beyond control and I find myself pulling hairs from my head and muttering satanic verses. No, I have no idea how the flag and some vague political affiliation drove anyone to insanity, but I liked reading it. Do I know what happens? Is there a resolution? I want to think the answer has been inside me all along.

dear (and unfortunate) mag7, This story wasn't always written: it just happened. I remember the time we walked along the beach, you in your trench coat and me in my booty shorts. You held me then, pressed me close and began to whisper into my ear - but the moment hung forever. Your story is like this, words come like so many waves but they leave nothing; no impression.

Symptomless Coma, though you are dear to me I cannot forgive this transgression. Do you remember the night? I remember it well. There you were, feeding me grapes in the sculpture garden, your voice softer than the autumn breeze. We sat there, nearly silent until the stars had appeared. It was then you truly spoke: I'm pregnant. But we'd never so much as touched...

Electrifying Aurabooks, though our time has been short it has been memorable. This has been a prompt power-stomp hitting all the right keys (including the one to my heart). The action never stops and it's pulpier than a papermill. Words escape me. All I wish is that it were read to me over and over. I will find problems with it then, you can be certain.

Sir Jonas Salk, it is with pity I write to you: your horrid uncle has driven me away. His boring, stilted manner and sheer corpulence has chased me from the household. I am afraid we can no longer be wed, and in fact I am filing a restraining order against anyone from your lineage. Good day to you, sir.

Black Griffon, I see you've met my former colleague Johnny of Five Aces. Perhaps if you had the zybourne device you could use it to turn back time and write a more gripping story. Much like the time we drank an entire bottle of rum, I have no clear recollection of what happened in the story - but I can assume it's of no great importance because I feel nothing.

Cancercakes, I cannot be in charge of my emotions at all times. Your behaviour is erratic - but perchance that is what draws me to you? Space and libertarians and bootstraps, for how much more could I ask? At least, that is what I tell myself. Deep down there is so much more I desire, but I know that neither you nor anyone else could ever hold to my ideals.

Dearest Radioactive Bears, perhaps if we had been gay cowboys on the plains of Arizona we'd have had a better understanding. I cannot reconcile your political views with my own, and your take on 'action' is flimsy at best. Things happen, or don't happen, the momentum and placement are weird, I cannot follow them and I no longer trust my feelings. Please return all my previous letters.

Crabrock, ours is a tale of love persevering. I wanted to leave at first, driven away by your awkward phrasing and your continued barrage of information directed at me. But I stood by you, and I was rewarded, somewhat. A philosophical quandry, a take on the prompt I had not considered. Well done, imaginative if a little predictable, but it's a routine that will see me into our retirement condo.

V for Vegas, I will follow your lead into the deepest of caves. Though our pace may be slow and the arc of our relationship ultimately disappointing, I will have experienced some things which I will hold onto until the day I die. Perhaps if you captivated me more we could have had a future together.

Perpetulance, sometimes what a man needs is more than just the usual. Though you delivered on the prompt and held my interest just long enough, there isn't enough going on to warrant greater affection. They emotional payoff is not in balance with the words written, I'm sorry.

Dr. Kloctopussy, I have but one picture of you, it's all I need to remind me. The ancient camera captured the setting sun, the dust and your trusty steed. The words burnt into the sign on your father's ranch are illegible, too blurry to read. I don't care what they say. I will remember you as you were then, not as what you may yet become.

Seb, I wish you would sell your laserdisc collection and finally pay attention to me. This is not what I asked for, but it is a thing unto itself. Are you happy here? I know I could say I am, but I'm not sure if it would be the truth. I can't ask you to change, seb, and that's why we can't be together.

autism ZX spectrum fucked around with this message at May 7, 2013 around 11:46

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Nubile Hillock posted:

doublepost crits!

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Wasn't even a doublepost. loving n00bs

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



Nubile Hillock posted:

(almost) doublepost crits!




Each of these is like a beautiful work of art, I bow before thee.

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


All right, you've written and submitted, but now it's time for the fun part:

REJECTION LETTERS! REJECTION LETTERS FOR ALL!!

Systran,
The editors of Enduring Atlas greatly enjoyed your piece. Your hero, while somewhat stereotypical, easily embodied the libertarian archetypes that we at this magazine hold dear. Clever ideas abound—laissez-faire mode will be forwarded as a suggestion to any private corporation that attempts to pioneer space flight. While not an out-and-out winner, there were plenty of smart touches and little twists on the classic genre formula.

However, I’m sorry to say that we must pass on publishing your piece, at least for now. The ending, while the last line worked well, was somewhat weak, and overall the story’s voice was a tad passive. With that in mind, perhaps this would work better as one in a series of Paul Peter Ron Rand adventures. This might make the piece more dynamic overall.

Mr. E. Beef:
We here at Brosef Stalin’s Yankee Yarns don’t know precisely how you accomplished it, but somehow your submission is a mixture of the bro culture, libertarianism, and pulp adventure while containing a healthy portion of all three. I’m not ashamed to admit I laughed so hard that a brewski or two sprayed out of my nose! There were enough distinct details about the main characters to avoid cliché, and you must be given credit for the amount of fine puns you managed to squeeze in. Cyber Lauper may have been a bit of a stretch, though.

Despite the editorial staff’s general approval, our editor in chief is afflicted with a crippling fear of bronies and was hospitalized for a spell upon their mention in your piece. We’ll have to pass for this issue, but maybe we’ll be able to sneak it past him next cycle.

Mr. Gandhi,
I am sorry to report that the only Terror that occurred this week in Tinseltown was the staff's reading of your story. At its core, this is not a bad tale necessarily, but it is bogged down with so many words that don’t do much of anything for the piece. Descriptions should provide personality and ambiance to a scene; yours were just piles of flavorless verbal slush.

Your story is like a 300-pound private eye whose blubber makes his body an indecipherable mess and turns his face puffy and bland. Sure, there very well may be a devilish rogue with a chiseled jaw who’s a crack shot with a .45 somewhere underneath, but that doesn’t matter if he won’t slim down and show us that. Make your story lean and mean, then feel free to submit again.

(To be continued when I write up the rest)

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Cancerous shitcrit. Why aren't you doing Seb? Because he was after the deadline and because gently caress you that's why.


Dr. Kloctopussy posted:

To the editors of Spaced! Outrageous Stories from Outerspace!:

Journal title - you left your options about as wide open as possible with this one. I would say this is an "otherworlds" rather than "outerspace" kinda story but I can't fault you for letting your story evolve away from where ever it started

Enclosed please find my submission to your incredible magazine, a 1,146 word short story titled...


Titan's Cowgirl

The rings of Saturn arced over the horizon as L.V. gunned her hoverbike into overdrive. She clung to the edge of the cyrovolcano, it’s first warning eruptions misting her goggles with a fine spray of ice. She used her left-hand prosthetic—an old surgeon’s model—to wipe them off. The grappling hook on her her right arm clamped tightly to the bike’s controls. She hoped the storm was blurring the view from the methane miner they were about to liberate. With a miner, the Union would finally have enough power to run the factories at full capacity, ending the false scarcity driven by the monopolist’s greed. Hell, CorpStat might even increase her bounty again if she pulled this one off.

You tried to do an awful lot with this paragraph - setting, action, ticking timebomb environment, Chekhov's Gun surgeon hand, motivation, overarching background, possibly more. That makes it weak, and disjointed. The sentences aren't punchy enough to be action and aren't lyrical enough to flow. Also I didn't get that the bounty was on her head the first time I read it through, that could have been clearer.

She couldn’t see the twins through the thick orange clouds and cyromist, but Ben and Becky were racing around the other side of the mountain. They’d come in first and draw the guards attention while she slipped Neil in from the back. loving Neil, she thought. He was always such a weasel. But he was the only member of the Union who could run the mining unit. The other side of the mountain (volcano?) would be miles away, on the other side of the peak. Did you mean they are approaching from the other side of the valley, or are approaching the opposite side of the miner on the same slope? All this doesn't really matter because...

L.V. heard the blast of gunfire as she cleared the icecloud. There were Ben and Becky, alright, dodging bullets shooting from the squat cube of the miner, perched on a pathetic puddle of methane. Neil jerked around to look, causing the bike to lurch to the side. She leaned against the motion, expertly righting the bike as they shot out of the storm. Between Neil and the storm, the ride had been almost as rough as breaking bulls back in El Paso, and considerably less fun. At least it was too loud for him to talk.
... this is where your story should start. I like this paragraph as it shows the intention of an attack, that the allies are under fire, and that there is a doofus on the back who has made the journey more difficult than it needed. Next paragraph should be the setting and the volcano, and then back to the action. Intersperse the political stuff through the story.

An explosion rocked Ben’s bike and sent him skittering across the surface of the lake. Jesus, were they suicidal? If the methane caught fire, they’d all be dead! She opened the throttle all the way. With Ben down, it was now or never. She launched her grappling hook at the hatch, catching the handle. She reeled in, hauling the bike, herself, and Neil to the door. The handle turned easily in her grip. It must be her lucky day, someone left the door open.
I had difficulty visualising the scale in this story. How big is the miner? The puddle is presumably the size of a duck pond. The grappling hooks didn't work for me either - Surely she is just accurately crashing her superspeed bike into a door here?

“Let’s go!” she cried, leaping into the Unit. Neil followed her timidly, but she didn’t have time to worry about that—she hadn’t expected him to be much use at this stage anyway. Following the map she’d memorized weeks ago, L.V. bolted onto the foredeck. The guards were still firing at Becky. She shot her grappling hook at the one on the right, catching him on the shoulder of his bulky armor. Bulls-eye! if they planned this weeks ago why didn't they do it then? because they wanted the storm to cover their approach? seems slightly suicidal to me. The shoulder is not a bulls-eye.

The second guard turned and rushed her. She flexed a muscle in her wrist and five scalpel blades instantly tipped her fingers. She raked them across the guard’s exposed face and he went down, clutching his bloody eyes. Feeling the wire on her hook go suddenly slack, she spun back to the first guard. He held a long serrated knife in one hand and her hook in the other. He grinned at her.

Chekhov's gun is fired. It is a cool idea BUT it doesn't haven't anything to do with cowgirls, and later on she says that the guards were just doing their jobs BUT she just blinded one. It's not consistent

“Missing something?” He asked.

“Not really,” L.V. said. She retracted her blades and made a few effortless loops with the hook’s wire. She raised her right arm and the lasso undulated in the air above her head like a halo. With a flick she sent it over the man’s head and shoulders, before pulling it tight. The man gaped and his knife clattered to the ground. She tied up the two guards, gave the all clear, and sent Becky to check on her brother.

Why not just blind this one? Why not throw the grappling hook at him? Because she's a cowgirl. BUT THEN why have the blades at all.

“That’s why you don’t mess with the cowgirl,” she said, nodding in satisfaction. The or a? If The it should be the Titan Cowgirl, if just cowgirl it should be a

Then she felt the cool mouth of a gun pressing against the back of her head. gently caress, she’d forgotten about the engineer. But when the gunman spoke, it was in a voice she recognized only all too well.

“But I like messing with cowgirls,” Neil said. “Especially ones with such a high price on their head.” L.V. groaned.

“It’s almost too easy,” he continued. “Just wait here for CorpStat’s retrieval ship, hand you over, collect the cash, and retire.”

God, he really was a first-class idiot.

“There is no retrieval ship, Neil.” L.V. said slowly, so there would be a chance he’d understand.
This conversation does the job, but Neil is just pathetic. That was intentional as the danger here isn't him it's the volcano, but underlining it here with "despite the exploding volcano" would show that the cowgirl is a cool customer and that neil is a complete moron even more

“What are you talking about?” he said, rapping the gun against her skull. “They’ve got to come get the miner before the volcano erupts!”

“If they were going to get the miner, they would have got it already. Open your goddamned eyes, the volcano is erupting. They ran the numbers, and decided it wasn’t worth the risk.”

“But they can’t! There’s people—“ His voice ended with a wet thud, and L.V. felt the gun drop away. She whirled, scalpels extending, and came face to face with the biggest black man she’d ever seen. He took a step back, but didn’t lower the two-foot long wrench he’d used to dispatch Neil so effectively.

“I do believe,” he said, “that this means of production should be controlled by the workers.”

“drat straight!” L.V. grinned and stuck out her hand. “L.V., a.k.a. the Cowgirl.” cowgirl is capitalised here. Shove a titan or titan's in there for more pulp factor

“Dr. Richard Bomber.” As they shook hands the floor shook beneath them. Becky and Ben raced up, and L.V. was relieved to see both Ben and his bike functional. L.V. grabbed her hook and tied it back onto its reel. Truth be told, she had missed it.IT? The bike, the reel, the hook the rope? I think that a cowgirl should more love for the steed than the rope, but that's just me

“Time to go!” L.V. shouted. The sound of shrieking metal filled her ears, and suddenly the floor wasn’t flat anymore. The miner was at ground level, otherwise the bike wouldn't have been able to get to the door, Why is it sinking? Again the placing a size of the miner made it difficult for me to get this. She stumbled against Bomber, who propped her up and steered her to the door. A ceiling panel crashed down, exposed wires dragging sparks against the floor. good couple of sentences, shows you a lot

“Shiiiit!” screamed L.V. No time to try to save the miner now. “Everyone out! Take the guards!”

“But they…” Ben started to protest.

“They were just doing their jobs. Union won’t kill a man for that. Leave this traitorous bastard though,” she said kicking Neil.

A huge woosh came from the volcano, sucking up the air around them. The ice was coming down in sheets when L.V. and Bomber jumped on her hoverbike. sheets of ice dropping from height would pound most things to dust very quickly, hail is more believableThe twins were already 100 yards ahead of them and running fast. She hit the gas as hard as she could and they sped away from the collapsing miner.

The explosion roared behind them. L.V. looked back and watched the unit go up in a glowing mushroom of flame. The shockwave rattled the ground as it grew. It was a drat shame they lost the miner, but now that they had Bomber, she was sure she could get another one.

“Hold on!” she warned. He held on and leaned in as the it hit, helping to balance out the bike.

“Yeeeehaw!” L.V. whooped as they rode the wave of heat across the rocky desert, Saturn gleaming huge in the sky above them.

Overall I liked this. Why didn't you name the bike? A cowgirl's noble steed needs a name. And the political stuff was kinda crammed in at the beginning, rather than worked through the story. The action worked, and this is a character and world you could develop if you wanted to. The only problem is that space cowboys are pretty done out.

Hotness scale - regurgitated medium dip

CancerCakes fucked around with this message at May 7, 2013 around 14:01

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


CancerCakes posted:

Cancerous shitcrit. Why aren't you doing Seb? Because he was after the deadline and because gently caress you that's why.


Overall I liked this. Why didn't you name the bike? A cowgirl's noble steed needs a name. And the political stuff was kinda crammed in at the beginning, rather than worked through the story. The action worked, and this is a character and world you could develop if you wanted to. The only problem is that space cowboys are pretty done out.

Hotness scale - regurgitated medium dip


Thanks for the crit! It is really helpful--you hit on a lot of things that I knew were generally weak and showed me why. And you caught several things that I completely missed (Ugggggh, of course her hoverbike would be named.)

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Nubile Hillock posted:

dear (and unfortunate) mag7, This story wasn't always written: it just happened. I remember the time we walked along the beach, you in your trench coat and me in my booty shorts. You held me then, pressed me close and began to whisper into my ear - but the moment hung forever. Your story is like this, words come like so many waves but they leave nothing; no impression.
I hate to say it, but your crit makes no sense to me. Were you looking for a lasting impression like, a car blows up? A kid gets raped? What?

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


Hey, it's some more rejections for you dudes!! Halfway done.

Kaishai,
If there’s one thing that the editors of Eldrich Tales love, it’s stories dripping with atmosphere, and yours is certainly one of those. The descriptions set the eerie tone right from the start, and the intensity ratcheted up smoothly and organically. The last scene was graphic in just the right stomach-churning, otherworldly way that fits right in with our publication.

On the more negative side, we were confused on the technical workings involved a little bit. The purpose of the wards was not really given in detail, so it robbed some of the shock and dread from Daniel’s discovery. Speaking of which, though, the bad luck worked quite well—a tiny little mistake had drastic consequences, and we like our consequences drastic here. The political side of things was serviceable if a bit thin.

We do unfortunately have to pass your submission over for this issue. We consulted the editorial Ouija board regarding your piece and got “reguuftiselet.” Rearranged, that spells “futile gesture” and has thirteen letters anyway, so we think it would be best to hold off publicaton for now.

Magnificent7,
Thank you for your generous contribution to our facility’s recycling program. Your tale started with an okay idea—wait, scratch that, it ended with an okay idea, it began with confusing bullshit. Your decision to have the parasite as a twist of sorts and refer to it as “the thing” weakened the piece immeasurably. When it got to the reveal, our editors finally went, “So that’s what the hell is going on,” instead of enjoying a moment of clarity. It’s too bad, because you had the perfect opening line right at the end:

“There was a time I’d have done anything for Kate, but that was before she tried to embed a parasite in my skull.”

There. Exceptional hook and no lovely, unsatisfying mystery. There are other issues with this story, such as some sloppy grammar errors, but it would be no meaningful improvement to address those before giving the reader a chance to understand what the hell is going on.

Symptomless Coma,
By any chance, are you actually subscribed to our periodical? We are wondering because we’re not sure you really get the appeal of time travel. Well, to be fair, the concept of time travel as an avenue for family vacations is an interesting one, but it certainly is not used to this fullest here. If the rear end in a top hat dad didn’t explicitly say he “felt properly Viking” we would not have been able to figure it out ourselves.

Okay, so we figured out he’s in Viking times or whatever. What then, do you drench us in vivid imagery to convey the rough, exotic locale that these ordinary families are going through? Nah, we get a few cultural minutiae worked in. My friend, this is a pulp lit rag, not an encyclopedia! None of the details are really explained for those who don’t know the place, least of all the little girl’s “image” that is so crucial to the ending.

Also, the dad is a whiny rear end. Setting the story in his head may have been a mistake because I’d rather be permanently stranded among unwashed Vikings and dirt-floor huts than around his thoughts.

Best regards,
Time Travelin’ Weekly

Auraboks,
I must say, as a representative for Testosterone Tales, we are impressed at the use of Fist Ferguson as an unreliable narrator. Most pulp pieces of this type involve some fantastic world where the villains are crazy and the heroes crazier, but you cleverly subvert that here. I genuinely thought Greene would be some cackling supervillain, but his normality gives the reader a startling moment of clarity that then, upon realizing Fist is a madman, we can go back and look at the rest of the tale differently.

The story also works well as satire, converting a rabid Ayn Rand fan’s crazy words to actions and pointing out how ridiculous they would seem if brought to the real world. This piece isn’t quite as flashy as others with similar characters and themes, but it’s more reflective. You wouldn’t think it from our name, but this publication appreciates such nuance.

Nonetheless, we cannot publish this or any other Fist Ferguson piece, since a majority of our subscribers are libertarians and you know what a dire situation print is in. Thanks for sending it by, though!

JonasSalk,
There seems to be an epidemic of folks not reading the magazine titles they send in to. For your information, Mr. Salk, we are not Indeterminate Fantasy: Where the Fantasy is Barely Present. With phrases like “Uncle Sam’s boys” and “greenbacks” and “illegal immigrants,” it seems as if Uncle Stingy is more of a 1920s business tycoon than some fantasy money hoarder. Beyond the crystal ball and alluded-to spells, there’s nothing “fantasy” about this piece.

Also, some of the plot just didn’t make any sense. Why didn’t Uncle Stingy just get his maid to clean the bodies? Why include another witness when she’d already seen the corpses? Why did you name a character Uncle Stingy (because that is a terrible name and I cringe every time I type it)? Even if these questions were resolved and the story received some serious polish, this would still be the wrong publication for it.

There is no fantasy element in this story that couldn’t be removed without consequence, and as unfortunate as it is to reject a story where a really fat guy squishes two other dudes, it must be done. Our sincerest condolences.

Nikaer Drekin fucked around with this message at May 7, 2013 around 18:18

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


everyone shut up and give 'mojo the win everything else and everyone else was poo poo qed

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


or is it ipso facto

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

magnificent7 posted:

I hate to say it, but your crit makes no sense to me. Were you looking for a lasting impression like, a car blows up? A kid gets raped? What?

He means your story doesn't stay in his mind after he finishes it. It falls through the cracks like so many grains of sand.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Oooh. Crits. That looks like fun. Can I join in? Can I? Pleeeeeeese?
I'll try and have the rest up within 24 hours.

Systran
Dr. Honeker's Heinous Heist
Submitted to: Enduring Atlas: Tantalizing Tales of Space Bootstraps and the Magnificent Men who Pull People (and Sometimes Aliens) up by Them.

There is a curious mix of the very clever and not so good involved in this one. You’ve obviously taken the political aspects of the theme to heart and delivered a rompy satire of the Space Hero as US Libertarian and a lot of that works quite well. The details of the world are often neat - the laissez-faire ship is a great joke, and I can imagine people not used to arm-bearing would be agape at the site of your libertarian protagonist wielding one with ease. Even the gold-to-foodstamps plot device is metaphorically apt. When the humour matches the details consistently, you’re onto something.

A lot of the time, though, the execution lets you down.

Your space bullet roars past the commies, and then over the students and the campus (because it’s a space bullet that ignores gravity?), or are they the same group, in which case it it goes past and over them simultaneously.

I’m not quite sure why strolling armed past unarmed people is ‘manning-up’, even if the gun they were just agape at is now hidden.

To follow the space bullet trajectory he has to saunter over the length of the campus to reach the headless corpse. That’s a lot of sauntering unless its a tiny campus

I’m pretty sure that a bag of golden golf clubs is not sufficient to base an economy on, but wevs, I'll let you off for the purposes of it being satire.

Why had Alisa just arrived on the scene, and why does she always speak at the end of the paragraph? That seems to read like a bad news report - “sexy secretary Alisa, who had just arrived on the scene, said, “It was horrible - there was blood everywhere.” That might be just me, though, but it seems weird and she does it all the time. Also - watch your passive voice there.

The captain never mentions work at all during the story only during the frames, yet Alisa says he talks about it all the time and the last line hinges on it - that line would be more punchy, I think, if work it was a linking thread through the story. e.g. “Work for yourselves, you leeches,” I called out, as the bootstrap ropes of my Father’s spaceship carried me up and away.”

Would Alisa really call it ‘a nebulous currency of imaginary numbers”? (Great line, though it is).

Can you really shout a stutter? “F F F Foodstamps.”? And raining foodstamps, well, there must be a shitload of them to completely block someone’s view.

Your characters, perhaps intentionally, are on the cardboard side. Self-obsessed, oblivious space douchebag isn’t exactly cutting edge in the satire stakes (cf futurama) and there’s nothing here to really distinguish him. Alisa is a walking cliche with her sudden but inevitable betrayal. It might have been nice to see something besides ideological fervour as the Captain’s motivation. Not to mention that aside from the initial shooting, the captain is mostly just a witness to events, not an agent among them.

Atlas says: we have a long and discriminating history of providing the best in libertarian and objectivist adventure, and we must therefore respectfully decline your submission as the tantalising in our tagline is supposed to indicate our readers wanting more, not our authors missing the mark despite their clear potential.


Ergonenous Beef
Duke Guncock versus The Man With No Balls (Words: 1196)
Brosef Stalin's Yankee Yarns.


I laughed several times when reading this and, as I am an embittered, cynical old gently caress, that gets props. You’ve taken it beyond the obvious humour of its basic description and fashioned something actually quite funny.

If there’s one element that seems to not work so much, it’s Cyber Lauper. You’ve already done the quote joke with Robot Lenin, and done it well. You’re over-egging the pudding with her, she really needed some other raison d’etre beyond convenient plot device.

“Duke shielded his eyes from the sun, fell to his knees, manly tears bulleting down his cheeks. “ This seems oddly sudden and out of character, however so-terrible-it’s-great a phrase ‘manly tears bulleting’ is. Perhaps just a tad more buildup required.

I think this worked in ways that Systran’s didn’t by keeping the humour at just the right distance from the proceedings. The situation is Serious for the Duke, and because he takes it seriously the reader does too, despite the absurd scenario. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the style is brisk and efficient, and there’s no heavy lampshading of jokiness in the dialogue.

You do overuse the comma replacing words thing. and rifles raised, aimed. grunted, turned . grabbed his shoulder, pointed bla bla bla. Yes, it’s a good trick, now show us something else.

Yankee Yarns says: Comrade! We are delighted to accept your submission to our august Publication. The spirit of Brovolution lives on in your heart and liver.




Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi.
Killer Headshots (words: 1149)
Tinseltown Terrors: Grim Tales of Hollywood,


Meh. I think you started off well- there’s some good tinseltown terror in the setup, but the middle and the resolution just start to head downhill and never stop

In the actual first paragraph, Gilroy Flack is killed in an interesting way, but it turns out to not have anything to do with the story, there’s nothing poetic in the manner of death. Also, he dies and his clients have time to react and have their careers hit an impasse before the day is out, an impasse completely unpassable by, say, getting another agent. Meanwhile, the Cop, on the trail of the Serial Killer with five victims in five days, stops off at a party thrown by someone he doesn’t know for no particularly good reason, except that the host is quite obviously the killer from the first line of his description

Finally, there is some conflict as the Attack of the Thespians commences. Our hero boldy runs way, only to be caught, injected with a mysterious drug and … “We’re so macabre that we’re going to let you live. Perhaps we’ll lock you up. Perhaps there won’t be any books and you’ll be quite bored. But there’ll be food, because otherwise you’ll starve and that would be killing you. Maybe a bed. MAYBE NOT! Mwahahaha, truly we are of the mildly evil, look at our sadistic teeth”. Yeah, it’s all a bit wet.

My eyebrows steeped in suspicion: I don't think steeped means what you think it means .

his luminescent eyes gazed in my direction: Dude has glowing eyes. Might be mildly EVIL!

I glanced around and found the other guest’s faces wrought with disdain, their darkened eyes and mischievous smirks aimed in my direction: I glanced around is redundant. I’m not convinced you can be wrought with disdain and mischievously smirking at the same time.


quote:

That’s why any agent who has the bad luck of hiring one of us feels the weight of our wrath.”

I blinked several times, his statement revealing the frightening truth of the killings. “So that’s it? The sole criteria for choosing your victims is they possess the bad luck to hire you?”

“Every cult needs a code, detective, and its bad luck for you to have discovered ours.” He took a measured step towards me and unsheathed a syringe from within the folds of his jacket.

Hmm. It’s almost as if bad luck were significant somehow - do you think bad luck could be involved, inspector?

who materialized out of thin air and impressed upon me a maniacal laugh that reverberated: This is over the top and makes it seem like the villian is supernatural, rather than psychotic. Also, impressed isn’t the right word here.

TinselTown Terrors says: Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately it was too terrible for even Tinseltown Terrors



The Blood on the Page
Eldritch Tales of the Uncanny.
Kaishai

I liked this a lot. Not so much the opening, which meandered a bit for my taste, shoehorning in the solidarity theme, which never quite gelled, but for the end, which was a brilliant bit of horror. The image of someone literally tearing themselves apart to blot out the words of passage is one that will stick with me for a while. This is the kind of pulpy goodness we want to see.

The first line did bother me a bit.

quote:

I stood in that darkness, holding the chilled door handle; more than the cold I felt the weight of my colleagues' hatred, as though they could know where I was or what I planned.

Who are these colleagues? The ones he meets that know their job is to stop the unspeakable terrors behind the eldritch texts? What is he planning that isn't part of the job? Or the non-scab labour, the ones not breaking the picket line to save the world. But if that's true, then 'as though' suggests they don't actually know he's doing so. Yet he feels their hatred – hatred for scabs in general then? Or just the hatred people feel for other people who intend to save the world (gently caress those smarmy-arsed world-saving bastards!). I’m pretty sure that this is a ‘secret role’ type mission, so not covered by employment contracts anyway. Anyhow - I'm having to do too much work here to make it fit. Maybe it should be his own guilt about breaking the line, but feeling the necessity of it too. Maybe. It just feels overplayed as is.

Throughout the rest of the piece there’s a good pace, but occasional opportunities to tighten things up. There’s nothing to really point out and say ‘This sucks and you should feel bad” but I think if you read it aloud and noted the points where you want to hurry up a bit, you wouldn’t go far wrong in giving them another look. Watch out for word repetition too: “I opened the door. I navigated by the beam of a flashlight; I walked fast past the propaganda”, “or a moment--responded for a moment, but a moment only,” I can see what you’re going for, but there is undoubtedly a better way, especially as close as these examples are to each other.

On the other hand “Not every lock should have a key” is good line and indicator of the kind of story you’re going for. Good emotional scene setting.

Another point, and a subtle one, is that I never got the aural feel for the environment. It’s an Eldritch library at night. It should be more silent than silence, so that the chittering and the violins and the chanting is less a cheap effects soundtrack than a violation. Needs moar evil libraryness.

And the last line – “I prefer it so”. It's a lovely echo-y line tying up yet opposing the references to solidarity throughout the piece. It has a quiet resigned nobility to it that I quite liked. Perhaps a few more hints of that element in the authorial voice....

Eldritch Tales of the Uncanny says: Horrifically pulptastic in places. We’ll set an editor on it to tighten it up and put it in the middle of the September issue.


Magnificent7 –
POWERLESS: THE BEGINNING
Amazing Creeps

quote:

Kate wasn’t always dead, it just happened.
The first line is catchy and all, but it doesn’t actually end up meaning anything. It might mean something if her death was abnormal in some way, or if there was some reason to think she had always been dead. Unfortunately being shot is neither

Another one where the protagonist starts off by shooting someone and then does sweet gently caress all. I get that it’s supposed to to be scene setting for a larger work, but this is flash fiction, not first chapters. Even then, a first chapter should still have conflict - you’ve the the protagonist and the problem, but there’s no conflict here to keep me interested, only conflict avoidance.

Not only that, but it feels like some other, better, stories are wandering in, having a look around, then wandering off again. Why is Hiro Protagonist wearing a gorilla mask, and why don’t the bad guys see it on the hood of the car? Kate being a raving lunatic sounds interesting, but we just see her being dead. Why is the story called powerless and what powers have been lost? Why a loving speedo? Who was parasite-Kate talking to on the phone when she was shot? Any one of these could have been more interesting than a dude hiding behind a tree with a dead reject from this week’s Doctor Who in his hand.

Amazing Creeps says. Neither creepy nor amazing. If you have any stories where the Creep is actually alive, we may not throw it immediately away, but I wouldn’t bet on it.


Symptomless coma
Submission to the esteemed editors of Time Travellin' Weekly.
Holy Day. 978w.


This one also starts off well, but doesn’t really go anywhere and makes even less sense. The beginning, with the premise of an awful holiday is handled relatively competently, and Dad looks like a bit of an Everyman, not nice as such, but identifiable and that works. I like his response to the tweeness of the guide’s approach. That seems real.

The exact nature of the Exclusion Zone isn’t clear and this caused me problems. He steps on the beach and feels like Seconds don’t exist - but this apparently doesn’t mean that time stops on the island for him and he’s wandering around among frozen primitives, which was my first take, because of what happened to the sea. He then lives with the primitives who I think are still moving, not breaking character but taking photos, because that’s completely normal in primitive villages where people dress in kirtles.

My best guess so far is that inside the zone time doesn’t pass, but life goes on somehow at perpetually quarter to three, and outside, time appears to stop. It’s zero time, but they can still hunt for little kiddies for six days somehow. If this was some primitive tribe trapped in a naturally occurring slow-time zone that might make sense, but nothing in the text suggests that interpretation. And if that was the case, the waves outside would speed up! I’m so confused, and I hate you for it.

But the meat of the matter is when the girl runs away. Presumably she goes off, finds the Vikings and instead of being killed and raped becomes their queen and builds a city and a tower in six days. All because she looks like a doll/religious figure. Did she accidentally fall into a vat of time-be-convenient? Again, not mentioned in the text BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE INCREDIBLY DUMB.

Also, a distinct lack of bad luck (which is different from unpleasant consequences), except for me reading it, and the politics stuff was missing to. So utter prompt fail.

Time Traveller’s Weekly says: Don’t call us, we’ll call you. At some point. In the future.



Auraboks
Fist Ferguson, Libertarian Action Hero (1006 words)
Testosterone Tales.


Auraboks, Auraboks, Auraboks. Can I call you Auraboks? There's a lot to like in this one, but a lot to not like too. Words. It has words that are used. I like that. The words make sense, they fall in an order that imparts meaning. They tell a tale that has action and imagery. All of this is of the good.

The problem with this is that nothing goes wrong for our crudely drawn hero. He seems to have absurdly good luck, in direct conflict with the prompt, and nothing seems to actually give him any trouble at all. I’m struggling to see what you were trying to do with this. It’s like one of the shittier comics from the forties, which had figured out that awesome dudes with cool toys were what the kids were into, but hadn’t quite figured out that behind the spandex there needed to be some challenge, some difficulty to overcome. It’s not fiction, its propaganda and it’s boring. When everything is possible, nothing is interesting.

UPDATE:

After reading my Esteemed co-judge's crit, I revisited this. I missed a great deal of the lovingly dripped irony involved. Sandwiched in between gluten-free fried turds as it was, I was hesitant to go too deep and took it too much at face value but I now see what you were trying to do a lot clearer.

It's still not a great favourite - if you were trying to show how the 'Hero' is really an psycho anti-hero, then he's too wishy washy of one (he cares about kids) and the freedom-fighter/terrorist dichotomy isn't tremendously appealing to me as subject matter. But my main problem, his invincibility, is much less of an issue, as I can see now that's not so much the salient element of his nature.

Testosterone Tales says: Fist Ferguson has plenty of testosterone, but so far no tales worth telling within our magazine. Please resubmit when he has a nemesis worthy of his prodigious talents.


jonassalk
What Lies Below (993 Words)
Fantastic Fantasy: Where the Fantasy is Fantastic


I have no idea, but what the gently caress? Uncle Scrooge McDuck calls ‘Dan’old over to his money bin to sweep up two flattened corpses his obscene capitalist corpulence has accidentally rolled over. How could you possibly make that boring? Not even Frank Herbert could gently caress that up in God Emperor of Dune (not for this subscriber to Giant Worm on a Trolley Fancier Monthly , at least).

I think you managed to make it suck because that there is all you did. You spent over a thousand words on that paragraph. Let’s face it, “ It’s Duckburg, but Scrooge is incredibly fat and called something else” isn’t the most creative tentpole to hang a story on. And what does Danold do? He wanders over to the bin, we learn some irrelevant backstory, he sees some flattened bodies and...he buries them. THE END. LE FIN. The only interesting action happens off page prior to Dan’s arrival with Scrooge’s steamroller impersonation. You then make matters worse by have McDuck point out that Dan hasn’t actually done anything. You are literally handing the readers a figurative silver platter filled with your own crap and saying “LOOK WHAT I DID”. Go away. I can’t bear to look at you right now.

Fantastic Fantasy: Where the Fantasy is Fantastic says: gently caress off.



Black Griffon
Breath of Death - 940
Four Balls: Treacherous Tales of Steampunk Adventures.


I wasn't entirely convinced by this one - you went a long way towards having something to say, but never quite bridged the gap. It took me a while to understand what was going on. I kept going over it looking for a detail I’d missed, but it eluded me and eventually I realised it wasn’t actually there and never had been. The writing, however was workmanlike, no glaring issues. The problem was mainly that I got the nagging feeling that the piece was unfinished.

So, Flynn is mad about getting stood up so he about to leave the cafe, and he’s reaching for his dagger because, what, he’s so mad he’s just going to murder the entire cafe?

The metal horse is just so you can say it’s steampunk, right?

The woman in the carriage is some kind of enforcer, but she seems totally unnecessary. At no point is Cartan looking like he’s feeling any emotion like remorse, so rededicating him to his task seems an artificial attempt to raise tension that has no basis in the story.

The explosives are powered by breath, and so by putting them in 2000 gas masks its instant megatonnage, I get that. Except why would they give them out on a tram that they were on? And why not just use dynamite? Why is the breath special, Why, Dammit, Why? You left me hanging and I get the feeling that you don’t even care.

Four Balls: treacherous tales of steampunk adventures says: It could have been four balls, but two of them blew up for unsatisfactorily explained reasons and we do require the full complement. Better luck next submission.

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at May 8, 2013 around 00:33

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

Martello posted:

or is it ipso facto

it's actually: shut up, turdmonger

magnificent7 posted:

I hate to say it, but your crit makes no sense to me. Were you looking for a lasting impression like, a car blows up? A kid gets raped? What?

write a loving story arc, stop whining

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Nubile Hillock posted:

it's actually: shut up, turdmonger

lol that's not even latin you idiot

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Martello posted:

lol that's not even latin you idiot

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Auraboks
Mar 24, 2013

...huh?


Fumblemouse posted:

He seems to have absurdly good luck, in direct conflict with the prompt

His good luck is bad luck for everyone else. He's a crazy person, and his success is not a good thing.

I admit that might be stretching the prompt a little, but it was intentional.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Auraboks posted:

I admit that might be stretching the prompt a little, but it was intentional.

That prompt was small but perfectly formed. Leave it alone, you filthy prompt-fudger! Anyway, reading my fellow judge's crit gave me a better idea of what you were trying to do and made me retrospectively less bored by your story. Huzzah! I have updated my crit to reflect that. He's a clever fellow that Nikaer Drekin, and you should buy his love with tiny presents.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

JUDGES WAKE THE gently caress UP

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


sebmojo posted:

JUDGES WAKE THE gently caress UP
Yes. This rallying cry is what got me into the next round of American Idol.

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER


sebmojo posted:

JUDGES WAKE THE gently caress UP

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


Fumblemouse and I are at a consensus, just waiting to hear from Hillock at this point.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Just post your consensus then; I'm sure he'll be cool with it.

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


All right, since Nubile Hillock is conspicuously absent, I will be announcing

THE WINNER/LOSER YAAAAYYYY

Our proud loser this week is Mr. JonasSalk, grats for ripping off ducktales and submitting it to a fantasy magazine I guess

On the other hand, Kaishai wrote a drat good piece of pulp horror and is crowned the winner! Only a freak supernatural occurrence prevented you from being published, probably because the Eldrich horrors don't want you spoiling their methods of operation. Nicely done, now get on that prompt, this crowd gets rabid!

My runners-up are as follows:

Almost-losers: magnificent7, Symptomless Coma

Almost-winners: Auraboks, crabrock

Nikaer Drekin fucked around with this message at May 8, 2013 around 15:33

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Grats Kaishai, but more importantly: grats crabrock for almost winning.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Thunderdome Week XL: Poor Richard's Thundervision

Judges: Kaishai, Erogenous Beef, and V for Vegas.

This week's motto: There are no gains without pains. Imagine this phrase sung by Russian grandmothers in front of a spinning oven and you'll have an idea of what's in store for you.

Behold Eurovision: Europe's answer to Thunderdome, except with even more pop music, pyrotechnics, weirdness, and inappropriately attached LEDs. Your task is to choose one Eurovision entry video from this year's line-up--unless you're systran, in which case you're instantaneously FLASH RULED to work with England's masterpiece. Your story must somehow relate to the song and/or video. Setting, theme, tone, characters, whatever; you must incorporate something, and the closer you get, the less of your liver the judges will tear out and devour.

ADDENDUM: Because we love crack-inspired LED fantasies as much as anyone, you have the option of choosing Eurovision videos from years past. However, since we'd like to encourage the use of this year's crazy, you must find and provide a link to anything pre-2013, and you will receive a flash rule.

In addition, you must choose an aphorism from Benjamin Franklin. Work that in too. Announce which aphorism and which video you want in your sign-up post; you may change your choices at any point before the submission deadline. Aphorisms and videos are not exclusive: if every last one of you wants to write about the Greek submission, feel free, as long as you explain why that guy keeps touching his moustache. I must know.

Note that you don't need to literally quote the aphorism. Let it serve as a theme, a guide to a plot, a character trait, or something else more subtle than a brick to the face.

Sign-up deadline: Friday, May 10, 11:59pm USA Eastern.
Submission deadline: Sunday, May 12, 11:59pm USA Eastern.
Maximum word count: 1,300.

Go forth and get your dance on, contestants.


Countries Competing:

Voliun (Malta; Tomorrow, every fault is to be amended; but that tomorrow never comes): "Paradoxical Gambit"
magnificent7 (Romania; Anger is never without a reason but seldom with a good one): "The Choreographer"
SurreptitiousMuffin (Finland 2006; Join, or die. Flash rules: Must incorporate Biblical verses and Lordi's hat): "Chainsaw Buffet"
Radioactive Bears (Ukraine; The way to be safe is never to be secure.)
perpetulance (San Marino; Men take more pains to mask than mend): "Graceful Exit"
JonasSalk (Switzerland; Wish not so much to live long as to live well): "Do the young die?"
Auraboks (Switzerland; Half a truth is often a great lie. Flash rule: Must involve non-Euclidean geometry): Shame unto the seventh generation.
Down With People (France 2008; If you will not hear and obey reason she will surely rap your knuckles. Flash rule: Shaving a beard must be a turning point of the plot.)
crabrock (Georgia; If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing): A kidney stone.
Fumblemouse (Belgium; If you would have a faithful servant and one that you like — serve yourself): "His Feminine Side"
systran (England; ‘Tis easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it): "Cephus' Blessing"
CancerCakes (Montenegro; Great beauty, great strength, and great riches are really and truly of no great use; a right heart exceeds all): "BitchFight"
NikaerDrekin (Latvia; Man’s tongue is soft, and bone doth lack; yet a stroke therewith may break a man’s back): "Passionate"
Bad Seafood (Greece; The wolf sheds his coat once a year, his disposition never): "Old Habits"
Jeza (Ireland; Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.)

Kaishai fucked around with this message at May 13, 2013 around 04:47

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


We're expecting some goddamn creativity from you fuckers, so don't just pick a video with busty Bulgarians warbling about love. As the resident Eurogoon, allow me to present a few older entries as examples.

Head for eastern Europe if you want some serious weird.

Russia 2012 - Russian grandmothers having a party and baking cookies.
Ukraine 2007 - Disco crossdressing army dudes.
Ireland 2011 - Ambiguously gay twins with insane hair and shoulderpads having a man crush or something JESUS WHY DID I WATCH THIS AGAIN

You get the idea.

Erogenous Beef fucked around with this message at May 8, 2013 around 23:51

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER




Edit: This is the best eurovision song ever. http://youtu.be/S0NyzVn6ayQ

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


If you're confused and don't know what to pick, you can always ask the judges to pick one for you. We reserve the right to flash-rule you, though.

And you may not like what we pick...

Voliun
May 31, 2012


Erogenous Beef posted:

If you're confused and don't know what to pick, you can always ask the judges to pick one for you. We reserve the right to flash-rule you, though.

And you may not like what we pick...

Well I am officially free from exams and I'm having a hard time picking.

Let me have it.

Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi
Mar 26, 2005



Unless I'm blind I don't actually see a wordcount limit anywhere

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Cpt. Mahatma Gandhi posted:

Unless I'm blind I don't actually see a wordcount limit anywhere

If you can write the Great Albanian Novel in five days, I salute you.

Kaishai just edited it in, 1300 words

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


I am honored to be in the top three worst submissions.

Since ongoing discussion of writing concepts is discouraged, (understandably) is it possible to create a new thread for Thunderdome WIPs? Everytime I get crits, I'm thrilled somebody found out how I'm loving it up, but I have a million follow up questions.

This time, I'll start earlier, write more, revise more, and then scrap it all.

I am thrilled to be writing this time around this holy-loving-christ what the hell:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pNEEb6dzi8&hd=1

And I'll be bouncing that yodeling poo poo off of this anapropsillism:

amorgphogirms posted:

Anger is never without a reason but seldom with a good one.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at May 8, 2013 around 17:36

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Voliun posted:

Well I am officially free from exams and I'm having a hard time picking.

Let me have it.

You will be writing for the glorious Mediterranean republic of Malta. I lived in that country for a while. No pressure.

From the annals of the Great Franklin: Tomorrow, every fault is to be amended; but that tomorrow never comes.

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angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

magnificent7 posted:


Since ongoing discussion of writing concepts is discouraged, (understandably) is it possible to create a new thread for Thunderdome WIPs? Everytime I get crits, I'm thrilled somebody found out how I'm loving it up, but I have a million follow up questions.


I think you would be fine to just post into the fiction advice thread. I know most TD people on IRC regularly read that thread as well.

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