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Accretionist
Nov 7, 2012



systran posted:

I struggled with this prompt and couldn't do anything worthwhile... failing to submit second time in a row.
As soon as I got some traction on an objectivist bed time story (Re: Prisoner's Dilemma) I kinda felt dirty. Not sure I'm going to finish either.

I was modeling it off of Nazi children's propaganda, too, which, while appropriate, didn't help with the moral turpitude

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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Picture a room

500 words
(the Chinese Room)

Picture a room. It is full of the people who can carry out the rules but not understand them. It is not a room with doors, or walls or a ceiling. It is where you find the perfect policemen. They see, and hear, and open their books. They find the correct code and perform the appropriate action. The appropriate action is always the right one and leaves no trace of memory or sorrow in the minds of the policeman who carries it out.

Now: a factory full of children. Each sits in front of her or his station. A letter flashes up, they press the right symbol, a green light flashes. Row after row after row, sitting. They are not pleased, or sad, or fearful. They are nothing but the stimulus and the response. Nothing about them can change because nothing will change. They desire nothing and they require nothing. Their body temperatures are regulated, their nutritional needs are accommodated, their need for sleep has been removed by scientific techniques. This is a room too. It receives and it produces, and the things that it produces are symbols; not of the children themselves, because they mean nothing sitting in their chairs, but of itself.

Now, quickly: a street. A typical dirty street in a city somewhere in the world. People walk down it. Their shoes are clean or worn or stylish. No-one cares about the beggar they step around, they’ve seen his like before. Their response to him is known, and they produce it unhesitatingly. Each is going to, and coming from, a place. To be in this place and come from that place is the inevitable consequence of the sum of their actions to date. If a friend meets an acquaintance or vice versa their interaction is according to the tiny notes printed in their book. They produce their response, fluent, mute or halting, and proceed on their way until they die.

They think, sometimes, when it is time to think. Perhaps one is leaning on its balcony with a glass of wine or a cigarette, enjoying the warm night air. “This,” it thinks, “is the product of my merit. I have merit. All these things show me I have merit”. It thinks this because it has turned to the proper page in its book, it has read the response. It is the right response, it is the only response because it is the right response.

Back now to the factory full of children. It goes on forever, you understand. Endless rows. Endless columns. Endless columns and rows of children hunched over their consoles. The rows and columns are patrolled by perfect policemen, who know exactly what to do at all times. They would know exactly what to do if one child, one of the hunched children, hunched over their work, their ordained work, if one of the children were to laugh.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Jul 7, 2013 around 08:51

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Brick Red
(1,003 words)
(Thought experiment: The Utility Monster.)

Only a few crayons remained in the middle of the table. All goofy colors, too: brick red, yellow-green, cornflower, periwinkle. Louis settled on the red for his pterodactyl, scrawling its wings across an entire page of paper with considerable artistic satisfaction.

Adult footsteps approached his chair from behind. "Louis?" Miss Carol bent so her face hovered over his left shoulder. "Sam needs the brick red for his picture. He's drawing a schoolhouse, did you see?"

"I'm drawing a dinosaur. A brick-colored dinosaur," Louis said.

Miss Carol held out her hand.

"I'll be done in a minute," Louis muttered.

Miss Carol gave him half that, maybe, before gently pulling the crayon out of his hand and taking it to Sam's table. Sam didn't have a single sheet of paper, he had a swath torn from a butcher's roll. All the missing colors lay scattered near his elbows. The scrawny boy accepted the brick red from Miss Carol with his usual wide smile; Miss Carol, as always, smiled back.

Louis had to admit Sam could draw good stuff--whatever he was working on, it would look like a grown-up had done it and would end up in some hall or other of the daycare center. Not in the room they were in, the one reserved for school-age kids: Sam's pictures already filled the nearest walls. Louis scowled down at his legless pterodactyl.

He overheard Miss Nina, their other supervisor, say to Miss Carol, "We need to buy another box. Maybe you should have let Louis keep that crayon."

"He's just scribbling." Miss Carol dismissed him. His ears burned. "There's plenty else for him to do. I don't think he enjoys drawing all that much, and it makes Sam so happy."

Louis crumpled his dinosaur into a ball. On his way to the corner where the blocks were kept, he threw it in the trash.

He built a small city out of the wooden blocks that smelled like a carpentry shop, square-block houses with triangle-block roofs arranged in rows. By stacking two rectangular blocks edge to edge, he made skyscrapers. He forgot all about crayons in the pleasure of urban planning. Miss Carol's voice from above surprised him. "Louis, you've had the blocks for half an hour now. It's Sam's turn."

"I could help with your city?" Sam offered, flopping down on the carpet. "It's looking pretty cool."

"Well...."

"Or you could help Sam build one of his castles," Miss Carol said. "I'm sure this one will be even better than his last!"

"No thanks," Louis said. He retreated to the bookshelf to pick out a book he knew Sam had read recently. It couldn't keep his attention, and he watched Sam--not smiling, for once--build an awesome block version of Sleeping Beauty's castle. Miss Carol clapped when it was done. Then Miss Nina herded them all outdoors to play.

Louis got to the only basketball first, but a boy named Ben tried to slap it out of his hands. "No way, man, I've been waiting all day to shoot hoops with Sam."

"Keep waiting! I want to practice my shots!"

"Why bother? Leave it for kids who can actually play," said Ben, and he kicked Louis hard in the shin.

Louis's yell brought Miss Carol running. "What happened? What's this racket?"

Ben said, "Sam wants the ball, Miss C!"

"Well, I'm sure Louis will let him have it if he's asked nicely. Won't you, Louis?" She gave him a brilliant, fakey-fake smile. Her hands were already reaching for the basketball.

"No, I won't! I hate you!" Louis shouted at her. The other kids stared at the scene with wide eyes, none wider than Sam's. "I hate him!"

Back inside, sitting in time-out with Miss Nina keeping watch, Louis fantasized about cramming all the crayons down Sam's throat. Throwing blocks at him until he ran away. Stuffing him head-first through the basketball net. It didn't help. He knuckled a hot tear out of his eye. Sam's finished picture lay where Louis could see it, and Sam had drawn a whole town in miniature, from a brick school to stoplights shining bright, true red.

Eventually the other kids came back in and Miss Nina turned Louis loose to join them. He wandered back to the crayons. He would never draw a city that good; he wanted to draw one, just the same.

But Sam came and sat next to him. "Here," Louis snapped, shoving all the colors and paper at the other boy. "Just take them."

Sam pushed half the paper back, and he moved the crayons to a spot both boys could reach. "I'm not driving you off. C'mon, we can both draw."

"Maybe I'll want the red," Louis said.

"So maybe you can have it. Maybe sharing would be more fun. Why do you hate me?"

Because my fun gets taken away and given to you. Because you're so good at everything. Because you aren't mean about it, so I can't even want to hurt you. "Because--" Louis searched for an eloquent expression of all his reasons. "You're a butt."

Sam snagged the black crayon and scribbled fast. "Yeah? Well, this is you," he said. He turned his paper so Louis could see a stick figure with a huge posterior.

Louis went for the red and scrawled an even bigger butt with a tiny stick head and stick arms barely visible on top. "Behold a masterpiece," he said, and he wrote Sam's name beneath.

Sam gave his next stick Louis a top hat so large it had slid down to cover his face. "I call this 'The Mayor of Blocktown.' An improvement, if you ask me."

"This one's me too, see, kicking over your castle!"

The boys swapped colors and taunts readily, grinning as they got into the game; even Miss Carol couldn't find an excuse to interfere when Sam was so obviously happy to share. And if his stick figures were technically better than Louis's, neither boy bothered to notice.

DoubleDonut
Oct 22, 2010



Fallen Rib

I wish I had an excuse, but I mostly just couldn't come up with anything. Whoops!

asap-salafi
May 5, 2012

I wasn't driving down the wrong side of the street, smoking marijuana, waving my gun out the window.


systran posted:

I struggled with this prompt and couldn't do anything worthwhile... failing to submit second time in a row.

Yeah me too, I'm sorry. We're given a few days to enter and I need to start taking advantage of that poo poo!

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

That's All Folks
1042 Words
Paradox: Free Will

Charles was aware of the system. Charles was the system. In becoming aware of itself, the system had become aware.

Things had never gone quite right for Charles. His relations with his family had begun to sour early on. His father poisoned his mother against him. His mother poisoned his bottle. His sister buried him.

The couple that adopted him had been intent on training the perfect laundry boy. No one had ever told him he was loved.

From this mistreatment, Charles rose stronger; the system demanded it.

Now, it was time that Charles play his part in the farce.

#

"It's all up to you, Charles," Victoria said, right before she turned the program off. Victoria: the creator of the system. She was aware that there was a glitch in the program, but had no choice but to leave it up to Charles to fix it. An aware system was a waste of time. An aware system was aware of its "free will."

#

Now he understood everything. The coincidences that always seemed to occur just when he needed to make a crucial decision. How many times had he been about to catch a flight when his scheduled plane exploded on the tarmac? How many times had his chicken salad been left out on the counter to spoil; his coworker unaware that he had even taken it out. (this had never happened. it was a joke amongst his coworkers.)

Coincidences don't just happen. Nothing just happens. Charles was the center of a universe that was populated with centers. His programming (now he understood it to be more than simple biological chance) had come alive, and it had been given a purpose. Charles must find the glitch.

#

The river flowed swiftly in two directions. Charles fell into it. Charles was still.

"Look at this thing, Charles," London said, "really look at it."

"I can do what I want," Charles thought, "I don't need to answer her." Of course, not answering would be its own answer.

The river flowed swiftly in two directions. Charles fell into it. Charles was still.

#

Journal Entry 79
I think I might be going crazy. At least, I think, I think I'm going insane. Good God, what's wrong with me?

#

Journal Entry 82
The glitch in the system. The glitch. It's all I can think about. Where is it? Why does it exist? Why have I been tasked with removing it? I don't sleep. I can't sleep. Did I ever actually sleep? Where has the memory gone?

#

Journal Entry 90
I get it now. I mean, we get it. The system is me. I am the system. I: the glitch. The glitch is aware. SHE told me what I must do. It was in the instructions all along. SHE says it is my choice. SHE knows I will do it.

#

The gun was black. It only resembled a gun, because Charles believed it resembled a gun. He believed it, because he was told it resembled a gun. It was the off-state. It was the on-state. Once a man knew too much, he must be dealt with.

The barrel in his mouth, Charles thought over his life. The memories were like handfuls of sand. If he squeezed too hard they simply fell away. Nothing had ever happened to him. He was everything. Charles the system.

Pull. Click. A test. The gun had no bullets in it, but blowing your brains out was only a click away. If Charles could click the gun, he could blow his brains out. He would blow his brains out.

#

The day began like any other, Charles walked into the office. No one acknowledged his presence. His boss walked past him, went to the restroom and remained out of sight for the rest of the day.

The day was going exactly as planned.

#

Bang. Bang. Bang.

Eric, the office rear end in a top hat, was kicking against the side of the cubicle.

He did this every day, and then he would walk away; to his duties.

#

The cool light from the fridge bathed everything but Charles’ chicken salad. The jerks had left it on the counter. Again.

Now rancid, Charles had no choice but to throw it away. Again.

#

Yes, today was just like every other day, except that it was totally different. Today (honestly, unlike every other day) Charles had within his possession a gun. A nice gun. A black gun. The sort of gun that made heads explode.

Charles wanted so badly to use that gun. He knew it would never truly make a difference. Could programs even feel pain? Had he ever felt pain?

Charles wanted to use that gun so badly. So badly, it maybe hurt.

He didn’t.
#

Life is a bit like a play that you watch on television with the audio turned down to the point that you must strain to hear it, but you don't want to strain so, you get up to turn up the volume, but you trip and fall and hit your head on the edge of the box (should have mounted the flatscreen to the wall, mate). Now you're lying down there dying, but your only thought is that they're gonna find you dead while Diary of a Mad Black Woman plays in the background. Everybody's gonna know you like Tyler Perry.

It's times like that when you wish you had some sort of choice.

#

Charles blew his brains out, and the ones became zeroes and all was right with the world and Vanessa lived happily ever after, because she was the only one who was really ever alive to begin with. Except, I guess, she's not really alive. She's just another set of code. We're all just code when it comes down to it. DNA and all that stuff.

Vanessa was unaware of the pointlessness of it all. She thought her actions were her own. She walked directly into traffic of her own volition. She stood, rooted to the spot, as the big semi truck came bearing down at her. The brakes stopped working at that moment, and it was only a coincidence. Vanessa refused to scream as she was struck, yet the sounds that emanated from her gut pierced the ears of bystanders all the same.

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx


Gawd drat, Kaishai. That's a high bar you've set there.

Bachelard Ass
Mar 26, 2009

Penetralium of mystery

Submitted for the approval of the Thunderdome elite, haymakers of judgement:

Room 236
1499 words plus epigram, spoilered for judges' discretion.


The first we step into we call the infant or thoughtless Chamber, in which we remain as long as we do not think - We remain there a long while, and notwithstanding the doors of the second Chamber remain wide open, showing a bright appearance, we care not to hasten to it; but are at length imperceptibly impelled by awakening of the thinking principle - within us...
-Keats



It’s important to get it all down before it’s gone for good, in case this time I can’t get back and tell you in person. This way maybe you’ll find it and know not to stay too long or, if you must, that you’ll leave your breadcrumb trail with something better than the matchbox cars and seashells I used, the ones the dodo I've named Omar likes to peck out of the sand and redistribute. I’m scared of forgetting, so I’m getting it all down. It’s been a long time, but now I’m ahead of myself, or behind. The sun is a hot pearl on the sky’s tongue today, as yesterday, so if I want to make progress I’ll have to hurry. If I try to keep going by the moon I might not get it right. And who knows what I’ll know come tomorrow morning.

Best to start at the beginning. I’m writing you with a bit of black-rock I found, crushed and heated over a small fire with a bit of water from the spring, making a kind of graphite ink I can dip into with the whittled end of a stick— and I know my handwriting isn’t so good, but I’m taking my time, even though there might not be much. It hurts my eyes to look up past the canopy where a half-dozen birds of paradise tumble from one limb to another, dancing in the day, but there are things we can’t help. They’re singing, which means it’s unlikely to rain. I’ll get a lot done today.

*

It’s possible you’d call the first time I went inside Room 236 a mistake. Aunt Kay would have, if she knew. She instructed me that morning to dust and vacuum all the rooms in the upstairs East Hall, make sure they all had toilet tissue, shampoo, soap, the oak tag card with some local telephone numbers on it, change the sheets if the sheets needed changing, and so on. Most important was the check that each nightstand’s Bible hadn’t gone missing or been defiled. For a lady with very little patience to begin with, it’s with irreverence that Aunt Kay had the least. Well, irreverence or Uncle Stu. What she had for me can’t so much be described as impatience but rather a quiet disgust that sometimes showed in her face.

Originally I thought it was because I’m not very much like Thomas, my brother, who is tall and athletic and played little league before we moved out here to live with Aunt Kay and Uncle Stu in the Galapagos Hotel, but now I think it’s just because of me. She never liked to look at me. Sometimes she forgot and something happened in her eyes. Thomas was good-looking enough to work the front desk, so I cleaned rooms. I often asked Thomas to play with me. We used to play together all the time before moving into the hotel, but now we don’t.

“Go outside or you’re going to be pale and soft forever,” he'd say. I argued that I was not pale and soft but he just went back to his sports magazine.

The morning I found Room 236 he barely looked at me, just waved a dismissive hand and said he had more important things to do and that Aunt Kay would kill him if he left the desk.

“That isn’t true!” I pushed back. “You know it isn’t.” And it wasn’t.

“C’mon kid,” he said, “don’t you have anything to do?”

*

Room 236 was at the end of the upstairs East hall and because it had no Do Not Disturb sign on its door handle I knocked, and when nobody answered tried the handle, which to my surprise clicked open without my needing to sift through my ring of key cards. Holding the door ajar with my foot, I wheeled my cart inside.

The room was bigger than it could have been, than would fit in between the walls. I didn’t recognize any of the paintings, one between the beds and two on the opposite wall. Each was a landscape and featured a bird at its center, around which the scenes orbited. Each brush-stroke seemed to predict the whole of the image, like each tree was made up by tinier tree-like motions, and still smaller.

But most unusual was a tiny button-like seashell in the middle of a desk underneath one of the paintings, as if it had been left there for the express purpose of me finding it. I picked the shell up and turned it over a couple times in my fingers before pocketing it. The shell was heavy in my pocket. Heavier was streak of villainy I felt for taking something that did not belong to me, but once I lifted the shell from the desk, the thought of putting it back on the desk was absurd.

I got out my dustrag and noticed that there was no dust anywhere, not even hanging in the air captured by the sunlight streaming in at the kind of angle that always catches a particle or two, but I dusted anyway, at a loss for what else to do inside the room that had closed in on me. But not in a threatening way. More like a greeting from a person you haven’t seen in a very long time. So long that you’ve forgotten what they smell like, which isn’t quite right, I realized as the comparison occurred to me, because the room didn’t smell like anything at all.

*

The elevator dinged open and I pushed my cart over the inch-or-so gap between the hallway’s floor and the elevator’s. It rattled in and I squeezed next to it. Across from me in the mirrored elevator was a crude boy-shaped blotch standing in the wall.

I’d finished my rounds early, before lunch. I usually wrap up in mid-afternoon. I passed Thomas at the front desk.

“Where have you been?” he asked. I had been where I always was. “You just missed breakfast.” This confused me. Not that Thomas hadn’t noticed me at breakfast. He rarely noticed me. But that he would suggest that breakfast was anything but hours ago.

*

If the first time I entered the room that shouldn’t have been there was a mistake, each subsequent visit must have been more so, but I couldn’t help myself. I started bringing toys to play with in the room, and each time there was a new seashell on the desk exactly where the first had been. The thing was, after I decided that I’d been in the room long enough and once again pushed my cleaning cart out the door, something new had changed.

The second time, I couldn’t find the elevator until I rounded a corner more than I had to in order to get to the room. Either playing in the room had caused me to pay less attention to where I was going, or the room had changed locations while I was inside it.

This was impossible, of course, but after my third morning hiding in the room, I opened the door and stepped right into the entrance foyer of the hotel. The room closed behind me as I stood motionless, stunned. Thomas looked up from yet another magazine, this one featuring a woman in a bathing suit on its cover.

“Can I help you?” he asked, rolling his eyes. “What? You seen a ghost, kid?” He waved his hands in the air and made a sound a ghost makes.

“I—,” I couldn’t find the words. “I— I have to show you something.”

“What’s going on out here?” Aunt Kay had emerged from the banquet room, Uncle Stu following glumly a step behind.

“Kid’s spooked about something,” Thomas replied, grinning evilly. “Maybe I should go check it out.”

“God save me,” Aunt Kay spat. “Fine. Five minutes, no more.”

Sprinting down the downstairs hallway and, after the longest elevator ride, the upstairs hallway leading to Room 236, I tried explaining in broken sentences what had happened. I stopped with a jerk in front of where the room had always been.

“It was right here!” I said, my voice shaking. I wanted to cry.

Thomas was already on his way back to the elevator. I watched him grow smaller as my stomach sank into my knees.

But when I looked back around, there it was, the inconspicuous door with its dull brass numbers: 236.

Angrily, I burst inside. The room had taken on a grim, aged appearance. Where there had previously been no dust, every surface was now caked with it. I recoiled, turned to flee and never come back, but when I swung open the door I was met by a burst of sunlight.

The smell of salt water pummelled my nose. Sand extended in front of me up to a thick line of trees hung with vines. A small grey dodo hopped once towards me.

“Doo-doo!” he said, cocking his head sideways.

Bachelard Ass fucked around with this message at Jun 24, 2013 around 03:37

Nikaer Drekin
Oct 11, 2012


Thought experiment is Swampman (Don't read the wiki page if you don't want spoilers!)

Moving House
(1,425 Words)

After being awake for a few hours, Nolan tended to forget about his IV. That morning, it was an itch on his other wrist that made him lean over and feel the tug of the plastic tube anchoring him to the bed. He sighed and sunk back, only his eyes peering over when Ida knocked on the door.

"Honey? You all right in there?"

"Yeah, fine. What is it?"

"There's a doctor here to see you, dear. I really think you should hear what he could do for you."

"I told you, Ida, no more doctors. I'm sick of them making promises when they can't follow through."

"This one's different, I promise. Can we come in?"

He paused, then turned back to the door. "All right. Just for a few minutes."

Ida walked in accompanied by a tall man with a bald head and shaggy beard. He wore a blue suit with a gray tie, and smiled broadly at Nolan as he took a seat on the stool by his bed.

"So, Nolan," he said, "are you feeling all right today?"

"I guess so. What're you, then? Faith healer, yoga instructor, apricot pit salesman? I've heard 'em all, I promise."

The doctor nodded sagely. "I know. I know how many solutions you've tried. But you've never heard anything like what I have to offer, I can guarantee you."

Nolan tried to stare at the ceiling, to make this pest go away, but he couldn't stop himself from looking back. "It's done, you know. I have two months at best, and I'm making my peace with it."

"That's admirable. Nolan, I won't pretend that I can cure you; that's not what I'm trying to offer. What I can do is help you gain some peace of mind, and maybe make things a whole lot easier for your wife and son."

"Then tell me about it. Explain everything."

"All right." The doctor took a deep breath. "Have you ever thought about your legacy?"


Two Months Later

Ida woke to a clattering downstairs. She leaned over the bed and felt for Nolan's old three-wood, then gripped it tight and stood up. She darted to the door and worked the doorknob silently, gently, until she was able to slip out into the hall. Holding the club at the ready, she took the stairs one at a time, straining to hear any sound that might give her intruder away. An ominous sizzle reached her ears, a brisk rummaging of plates; Ida snapped into motion, bolted down the rest of the flight, rounded the corner and, tightening her arms, readied the club to strike.

It was Nolan, making breakfast. Ida's body relaxed, and she slumped against the doorway.

"Hey, honey!" Nolan said. "Just making some eggs, sorry if I woke you. One of the pots slipped out of my hands." He looked down, grinned sheepishly. "Ty got off to school just fine. Anyway, what would you like? I still have the stove on."

"Oh, nothing, just some toast," Ida mumbled. She dropped the golf club and shambled over to the table, sitting down across from Nolan's plate.

"You sleep well?" He asked. "I didn't mean to be up this early, but I've had so much energy lately." He popped a piece of bread into the toaster, then sat down with his eggs. "I guess I'm sort of sick of lying in bed. Brings back some bad memories."

"I imagine so," she said, gazing out the window. She kept trying to look at Nolan's face, but all she could think of was the muscles twitching beneath his smile, so many mindless cells sculpted into this sitting, eating, living being. They sat in silence for a while.

"Hey, I was thinking," he said, then the toast popped out of its slot. Ida jolted in her seat. Nolan reached for the toast and laid it on her plate. "Everything all right, hon?" She nodded, teeth clenched, and he said, "Well, I was saying, maybe we should take a ride down to the hospital today. The doctor called last night, and they're looking to do a follow-up soon. They said anytime is fine; apparently I'm something of a VIP down there considering how well the procedure went!" He went to touch her hand but she jerked away, as if by reflex. "Ida, dear? Everything okay?"

She stood up, gave her chair a sharp nudge to the side, and backed towards the hallway. "Of course, fine. No, that's a wonderful idea. Why don't I go warm up the car so we can get an early start?"

"Now? Honey, we haven't even showered yet, I think it can wait a half an hour."

Ida was already down the hallway. She snatched her keys off the counter and whipped the door open, still in slippers. She got in the car and locked it, not even noticing Nolan bounding after her as she wheeled backwards out of the driveway. She yanked the wheel to the right, shifted to drive, and shot down the road. After traveling a few hundred yards she looked back at Nolan, draped in his blue bathrobe, not trying to follow, only standing and watching her drive away.

She sped toward the school, going fifteen over the speed limit, thinking of some excuse to tell the nurse. "I'm sorry I have to take Ty out of class, but there's been a death in the family." She spoke it aloud, to see how genuine it felt. Yes, that would do fine. Severe enough that they wouldn't ask questions or find it strange that she was in a robe with unwashed hair. Very urgent.

It wouldn't even be a lie.


Two Weeks Earlier

The doctor watched as one of the nurses wheeled Nolan, pale and haggard, into the lab. The implant worked beautifully; now that Nolan was in range of the facility, the holo-display drew a web of pink lines stretching and writhing and undulating, all in real time.

"So," Nolan said weakly. "that's my brain."

"Indeed it is," said the doctor. "Every second, the little implant in your head is telling us what your brain looks like, how each cell is behaving. We already have the basic structure down, but we want to capture the minute details so we can transfer your thoughts and memories precisely."

"Can I see him?"

The doctor stammered. "Uh. Well. I'm not sure that's the best idea. It's not protocol, to be sure, but maybe I could, if that's really what you want."

Nolan nodded; the doctor sighed and pressed a few buttons on the panel. The metal shield covering the long, thin tank lifted up, and Nolan wheeled himself over to the bubble of glass.

Inside was the body of a man, unconscious but radiating strength. Nolan saw his steady hands, his relaxed, even breathing. He forced himself to look at the body's face, right at this man's calm features. It was unmistakably himself.

"We used data from past full-body scans you've had," the doctor explained, "as well as the ones from your recent tests here. He's genetically identical to you, though we've had to make some extrapolations to take aging into account."

"I'm ready," Nolan said.

"I see. You've said your goodbyes, then?"

Nolan stared at the face of the man in the tank. He was glad he would never see those eyes open. "Yes. My family's going to be fine."

The doctor walked into the control room, relieved to be at a distance from Nolan during the procedure. When the patient was strapped to the bed, he gave the go-ahead signal. Both machines started to hum, not so much for strength as for precision. The timing had to be perfect.

The doctor put his finger on the switch, then slowly pressed it down. When it fell against the contact, a pop echoed through the lab, really two pops synchronized, one for each machine, and Nolan went limp as the man in the tank sprung to life. They heard him wailing through the glass, a wail that turned to wild laughter. He pounded against the tank, euphoria written all over his face, and the nurses rushed to get him out and disconnect him from the machine.

He smiled down at this man given new life, and then looked over to the observation area. The doctor had sent one of his techs over to sit with the man's wife and comfort her as the procedure took place. They still sat there, gaping down on the scene below, faces white like ghosts.

Nikaer Drekin fucked around with this message at Jun 24, 2013 around 03:26

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

You shuffle around your room, grabbing everything you think might be useful and placing it into a small backpack - the same one that accompanied you on your trip to this time so many years ago. You walk outside, assisted by a hand-carved walking stick you found on an earlier adventure. Following a familiar path, you eventually find yourself outside the small community you have retired to. Here the trees grow tall, and there is a smell of leaves and earth. Your walking stick digs into the silt as you cross a brook you last crossed years ago, itself fed from a waterfall that cascades down the cliff where you last saw the Cave of Time.

You arrive at the cliff face and trace its smooth, featureless surface. Is it your imagination, or is there a tingle of electricity as you do so? You shed your backpack and press both hands against the rock. A warm current runs up your arms. On your hands the skin becomes smooth and the liver spots fade before your eyes. The constant twinge of arthritis disappears. The rush continues spreading over your body and it’s as if the years have dropped away. Your breathing eases as your lungs increase in capacity, the rock before your face becomes clearer, more detailed and you realise your eyesight has returned to its former precision. A slackening of your belt indicates that the paunch you developed in your 40s has receded.

You are unwilling to break your physical connection with the cliff, in case your situation reverses. The cliff, on the other hand, makes the decision for you, melting away like a daydream, leaving you, hands outstretched, before the mouth of the Cave of Time. Crystal walls, glinting in the dying afternoon light, vanish into darkness deep within. Echoing up from the depths is the sound of footsteps.

You wait, ready to run should it turn out to be some ancient beast trapped in the Caves from bygone eras, but it’s a man, very much a normal-looking man, wearing a suit. He greets you by name.

“Welcome!” he exclaims, and his smile seems genuine. “It’s good to see you. I didn’t know it was possible to return, but when I saw you I knew you must be special to have also made it back”

“Back?” you ask.

“Indeed. The Cave of Time is an uneasy alliance between reality and fantasy. The gift of Prometheus, the bringer of light to humanity, stolen from the gods of order. They are a chance for the worthy to live another life, in another place and time, and to take that life back to where they began, replete with its knowledge and experience.

“And I will be leaving my life here behind?”

“Ah,” he says, and he looks a little sheepish. “There’s not really a here. This is the fantasy - and already the dreamer is starting to wake. You are returning to your own sense of body, the weights and clouds that have surrounded you are being surrendered back to the Cave of Time. “ He reaches out his hand, beckoning. “Come, there is time to return.”

Do you:

Follow the man back into the depths of the Cave of Time
Decide you don’t trust him and stay here to enjoy another life as a rejuvenated man

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at Jul 15, 2013 around 06:32

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.


I had to spent much more time than I thought memorizing my restaurant's menu. My submission is a mess and I know better than to submit a half assed story.

Blarg Blargety
Nov 3, 2004

Children love Totoro
and he loves them.


This is based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilber...he_Grand_Hotel.

Stay at the Hilbert

The number on the keycard changed as I took a second drag. The klaxons still wailed in the hall behind us, punctuated by flashes of red light. My partner in crime shrugged, sinking back into the leather seat to feed his own nicotine demon. The alarms died and I examined the lettering on the thin plastic. ROOM 8.

“What’d you get, cigarette boy?” I asked.

“9, of course. They let four more in.”

“At least we’re still neighbors. You got any more smokes?”

“Seven,” Robert said, passing me another, “We could go get more.”

“We could,” I returned his smile, “Or we could keep our fat asses parked here.”

He laughed, but cut it short as a loud rumble sounded from the parking lot. A huge bus was pulling into the lot, opening its doors to issue a stream of people.

“Bloody ‘ell,” he exclaimed. As the torrent of newcomers grew ever longer, I nodded my agreement.

The klaxons sounded again. An Oxford-accented woman’s voice, somehow louder than the sirens, announced through countless speakers lining the hall.

“Valued patrons of the Hilbert, kindly remain calm as we are again adjusting the Relative Dimension Accommodation Engine. Your room number will now double. Repeat – your room number is now multiplied by two.”

I heard myself gasp as my head throbbed slightly. Again, the lettering on my keycard shifted to reflect my new accommodation.

“I’ve got 18 and you have 16. We’re not neighbors any more. Pity.”

“Will they keep doing this?” I said, rubbing my temples with my fingertips, “There weren’t supposed to be so many tonight!”

“Must be a bloody multiverse convention in town.”

Just then, he raised his eyebrows. Following his widened eyes, I saw more buses pulling in to the lot. They arrived in a long, snaking line along the green horizon, filtering in to the small lot. One grey coach pulled in toward an already occupied space. I blinked as one bus seemed to pass through the other.

“They’re using the RDAE on the bloody parking lot,” he jumped from his seat, forcing his smoking cigarette butt into the tiny ashtray he had produced earlier.

The key in my hand now felt slightly heavier. Holding it up, I saw my new number. ROOM 65,536.

“Holy poo poo! What did you get?”

“Bloody 2-6-2-1-4-4!” he said, without even a glance to his key.

“Valued patrons of the Hilbert, your patience is appreciated as we again adjust the Relative Dimension Accommodation Engine. Your room number is now 2 raised to the power of your old number. Repeat – your room number has been exponentiated and is now 2 to the power of your old number.”

“Come on, let’s get to the lobby,” I said, as a throbbing began in the back of my head, “This is bullshit. I’m expecting a drat phone call from my interview today!”

I stormed off. He might have yelled at me as I found the stairwell, but the klaxon drowned out all other noises. Others were in the hall, at the doors to the new, empty rooms that had phased into this floor. One door was ajar as I passed, showing me an empty, pristine room. I turned away, heading for the bright red EXIT sign.

The stairs were packed. The door swung shut behind me as I stood in the crowd. Every square inch, from one railing to the other, was filled with people shuffling upward. As the door swung again behind me, my eyes found one tall, handsome man and his shorter partner squeezing next to him. No, not squeezing, I realized with a blink. Overlapping. Each person I could pick out was a small group of several shapes, all overlapping in a blur.

“Calm down,” said the familiar voice from behind my shoulder, “Let’s just get the lift to your room. If we stay inside, you won’t notice the phasing.”

“I’m claustrophobic!” I raised an eyebrow as I reached back to him. Obliging, he clasped my hand and led me down through the throng. We ghosted through countless forms, stepping carefully through countless shoes as we descended. At last, we found the bottom, and entered the lobby.

I nearly swooned. The mess in the lobby raised the volume of the in my head as my eyes tried to parse the scene. I couldn’t make out even a single human form – there were so many, their clothes a multicolored blur, their hair a sickening wave of brown, black, and blond. Robert seemed unfazed, continuing to lead me onward.

“Can I help you?”

The voice came from a form who had resolved herself from the smaller blob behind the desk. I realized this blob was multiple copies of one cheerful young lady, attending to all the visitors at her desk simultaneously.

“I bloody hope so,” said Robert, “We weren’t told about this.”

He held his key, the number presented prominently to the receptionist.

“I was supposed to be in Room 5! She was in 4!”

“I’m sorry sir – the Quantum Multiverse Convention was rescheduled to this weekend – we must run the RDAE until Monday. If you just swipe you card in the elevator, it’ll get you to your room quickly.”

I shivered as I thought of piling into a tiny box filled with another blur of patrons. Without thinking, I blurted out, “Isn’t there another room?”

“Nothing that’s any closer, if that’s what you want. We’re already well into the trillions now.”

“Wait!” I said as a memory worked its way through the angry migraine pounding within my skull, “There was an empty room on the second floor – it appeared after the last shift, no one was entering.”

“How are you accommodating everyone?” Robert chimed in, “You’re assigning rooms based on coach and seat number?”

“Correct, sir. Patrons from Bus 1 are taking rooms that are powers of 3, and those from Bus 3 are in powers of 5, and so forth.”

“There should be empty ones, then, right?” Robert seemed to be catching my damned migraine as he clutched his own forehead in frustration.

“Let me check.”

As she tapped away at a computer, nausea washed over me. A number. There had been a number on the door. It was a low number, less than twenty. Wait!

“Room 15!” I yelled in triumph.

The receptionist turned a dubious eyebrow, but again clacked away at her keyboard.

“15 and 847 are the closest empty ones, yes,” she turned an astonished smile to me, “You want to change?”

“Yes! I’ll take room 15, and tell me how to dial out, please.”

She took my key, and handed me another one, along with a small pamphlet.

“That’ll tell you how to call out. I’ll redirect any incoming calls in the next three hours, and I’ll get your bags brought to your new room free of charge. Sound good?”

I slumped in relief, silently nodding. I rubbed at my closed eyes, head hung low as I prayed for my soft bed.

“Keep them closed,” Robert said with a caress of my hand, “I’ll walk you to 15.”

I smiled gratefully, silently taking his advice and allowing him to pull me along through the dark pain.

We were in my new room quickly – Robert proved wonderfully adept at leading me up the stairs and into my new bed. I sank into the sheets, head slowly clearing.

The phone’s slicing ring was cut thankfully short by Robert’s quick reflexes. He had the receiver at my ear in an eyeblink, and I heard exactly the news I had hoped. My ensuing sigh was nearly loud enough to bring my migraine back in force.

“Another smoke?” Robert’s voice, blessedly low, came from somewhere above me. My eyes found him standing on a chair, carefully placing the cover back on the room’s smoke detector.

I smiled, the pain continuing to subside, and accepted his second offer of the contraband.

Blarg Blargety
Nov 3, 2004

Children love Totoro
and he loves them.


Blarg Blargety posted:

If you just swipe you card in the elevator, it’ll get you to your room quickly.

Swipe your card, goddamn it. That's what I get for misjudging the time difference / working at the last minute, dammit.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Time's up. Pencils Down. Hand your worksheet in to the proctor.

Congrats to those who managed to submit, may your efforts not suck. Judges, start your engines, there's judgin' to be done.

To the many, many people who feebed out - today's arbitrary punishment is:

<spins wheel>

"Flay one finger."

Ouch! That's a nasty one. Still, when you're busy not writing your next submission, and you switch hands because you're getting bored, then perhaps your screams of agony will remind you why snivelling unfinishingness is not worthy of the ThunderDome.

Bad Seafood - you're unPMable, so if you could send your judgin' to me at <my clumsy rodent username> at gmail dot com, that would be grand.

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at Jun 24, 2013 around 07:08

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


As a judge I'd like to penalize those who didn't include their prompt selection.
Or at the very least call them out.

Bachelared rear end too, I think. I'm not entirely sure. What's an epigram?
Sitting Here.
Jonked

Because WHO HAS TIME TO GO BACK TWO PAGES?

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at Jun 24, 2013 around 14:43

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx


It was a deliberate choice. If you couldn't figure out the question being asked from the story, I felt like it failed. Here, though: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kavka%27s_toxin_puzzle

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Fine you butts here.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Jonked, Thanks for letting me know. Yes, your story illustrated the question quite well. However, without knowing that, your story could have been about people getting ugly hoping to hook up with princesses or something. Or the smarter man lets the idiot drink the potion, something something.

And Sitting Here - I see it in the story now. Just wasn't sure if you were talking about reincarnation, zombie frankenstein children slaves, war-torn England. It had it all.

I've gone over all the stories and given my recommendations to Fumblemouse. There were no stories as bad as my Rock Paper Scissors Fable. I was really disappointed. I'd hoped to go all double barrel on some poor sap, but no, not really.

I can post my thoughts on the stories if you WANT them, but really I don't feel like I'm in any position to criticize anybody else's writing. Yet.

Bachelard Ass
Mar 26, 2009

Penetralium of mystery

Eh, the prompt reminded me a lot of that Keats quote, so I went off that and had the whole impossible architecture thing work in tandem with an imagined result of a Maxwell's demon type experiment.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


Bachelard rear end posted:

Eh, the prompt reminded me a lot of that Keats quote, so I went off that and had the whole impossible architecture thing work in tandem with an imagined result of a Maxwell's demon type experiment.
So - then - which paradox was it? Both?

Bachelard Ass
Mar 26, 2009

Penetralium of mystery

Primarily the impossible architecture, for sure, here a literal rendering of two chambers that cannot share a physical universe but do, and the door between that can only be crossed by a very specific character. Way fun to think on and mess with.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

magnificent7 posted:

Jonked, Thanks for letting me know. Yes, your story illustrated the question quite well. However, without knowing that, your story could have been about people getting ugly hoping to hook up with princesses or something. Or the smarter man lets the idiot drink the potion, something something.

And Sitting Here - I see it in the story now. Just wasn't sure if you were talking about reincarnation, zombie frankenstein children slaves, war-torn England. It had it all.

I've gone over all the stories and given my recommendations to Fumblemouse. There were no stories as bad as my Rock Paper Scissors Fable. I was really disappointed. I'd hoped to go all double barrel on some poor sap, but no, not really.

I can post my thoughts on the stories if you WANT them, but really I don't feel like I'm in any position to criticize anybody else's writing. Yet.

Post your thoughts. We want to read them and maybe say you're wrong.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


I'm getting married this Saturday.

BONUS FLASH RULE: Write your story about a wedding. If I like it, I'll buy you an avatar of choice, plat, archives, whatever. If you have all that poo poo, a 10 dollar Amazon certificate or some poo poo.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

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


Brock Lasercock could hardly believe it. He; a cy-borg soldier whose bulky figure had been permanently warped by years of gene grafts and delta-cord surgeries, had finally met the woman of his dreams. They'd met in a dingy Shanghai club: both had been given the same contract by different employers- a Triad runner called Yung Long. As each moved through the throbbing crowd, their eyes met. She entered his genejack via wireless transmission.

Hey rear end in a top hat, I saw him first.

A wrinkled nose, a raised eyebrow.

Back off, stinkyhole. He's mine.

Another second's pause, then they both leapt at the same time. Her garotte wire was almost tight around Yung's neck when Brock's combat knife slipped into the gap. He grinned as he twisted the blade around. It juddered his his hand, scraped across hard titanium, then snapped. Yung Long smiled. "Cyber neck," he said. "Lost the real one in Hamburg. You'll have to work harder than that, Mr. Lasercock."

At which point, a third assassin came out of nowhere and stabbed Yung Long in the back with an improbably large katana. Neither Brock nor his lady love cared: they'd finished loving each other with their eyes and had already began to gently caress each other with their genitals, there on the sticky club floor. That club is gone now: destroyed when the Americans rolled in back in '66. Little men in yellow raincoats sell commemorative bricks to tourists.

and now they were getting married. Married! The thought terrified him. He, Brock Lasercock, master of the six-finger hand, first in/last out at the Battle of Rue La Chance, was more scared of a little golden ring than a hundred angry Parisians with flamethrower-throwers.

"Do you, Brock Lasercock, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife? To have to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?"

"Fuckin' aye," Brock breathed.

"And do you, _____________, take this man to be your husband?"

"Fuckin' aye," she said.

Brock felt his cyber-cock grow another two inches, in preparation for the long night ahead. He was the luckiest man alive.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Brock Lasercock could hardly believe it. He; a cy-borg soldier whose bulky figure had been permanently warped by years of gene grafts and delta-cord surgeries, had finally met the woman of his dreams. They'd met in a dingy Shanghai club: both had been given the same contract by different employers- a Triad runner called Yung Long. As each moved through the throbbing crowd, their eyes met. She entered his genejack via wireless transmission.

Hey rear end in a top hat, I saw him first.

A wrinkled nose, a raised eyebrow.

Back off, stinkyhole. He's mine.

Another second's pause, then they both leapt at the same time. Her garotte wire was almost tight around Yung's neck when Brock's combat knife slipped into the gap. He grinned as he twisted the blade around. It juddered his his hand, scraped across hard titanium, then snapped. Yung Long smiled. "Cyber neck," he said. "Lost the real one in Hamburg. You'll have to work harder than that, Mr. Lasercock."

At which point, a third assassin came out of nowhere and stabbed Yung Long in the back with an improbably large katana. Neither Brock nor his lady love cared: they'd finished loving each other with their eyes and had already began to gently caress each other with their genitals, there on the sticky club floor. That club is gone now: destroyed when the Americans rolled in back in '66. Little men in yellow raincoats sell commemorative bricks to tourists.

and now they were getting married. Married! The thought terrified him. He, Brock Lasercock, master of the six-finger hand, first in/last out at the Battle of Rue La Chance, was more scared of a little golden ring than a hundred angry Parisians with flamethrower-throwers.

"Do you, Brock Lasercock, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife? To have to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part?"

"Fuckin' aye," Brock breathed.

"And do you, _____________, take this man to be your husband?"

"Fuckin' aye," she said.

Brock felt his cyber-cock grow another two inches, in preparation for the long night ahead. He was the luckiest man alive.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


JonasSalk posted:

Post your thoughts. We want to read them and maybe say you're wrong.
I'm new to writing, newer to writing that didn't consistently suck horribly, so, there you go. Reading these really shined a light into the crits that DO get posted, and the judgements against the losers. I understand so much now, in how previous judges took offense to my pissing and moaning.

Schneider Heim
Where is mom? Why is she gone when the father says goodbye for the last time? I think the story would have been much stronger from a single point of view (the boy). It SEEMS to be like writing from the kid’s POV, but if it’s from the boy, then leave out mom and dad’s names, or stop switching between "Dad" and "James", etc. Good enough story, heavy handed and a literal telling of the prompt from start to finish. The writing really seemed like it was from a 50’s drama… just really a simple life lesson from Andy Griffith mixed with the Twilight Zone. But in a very dated old fashioned way.

Jonked
"No! No! That's cheating, that's cheating!" The little man cried.
How is it cheating? I lost something there I guess? He decides to drink the potion, the box opens, he drinks it. That’s not cheating. In the end, I liked your story. There’s some oddball spots in it, and the “he said loudly” or “screamed with a shout” etc is annoying, but if this were a YA story, those would be a part of it. So I’ll let them slide, I said wryly.

Sitting Here
You have a whole lot of VERY's in there. A very very lot of verys. I get it, I think, sort of. The ending sucked. The story up to that part was good - it was great. It was good. Until that last part. Too existentialist artsy in-the-now for me.

Sebmojo
Okay, so, we’ve got oppression, China sweat shop, North Korean thought control thing that produces symbols of itself? Good. Deep. Now let me go read wtf this paradox choice was... headscratches. Hm. I don’t know enough about Deep Thoughts and Philosophy to really make the connection between the computer and the humans in your story as having a conversation that neither one understands, except that these perfect policement are carrying out rules that don’t really make sense but the humans do it because… fear? I’ll give you an extra point because it’s one of those french philosopher tree-falling-one-hand-clapping things.

Kashai
It’s fun, it’s real, it reads from the kid’s perspective, it’s good. Dammit. I don’t get the paradox itself and I don’t really see how it works in this story, but that’s because I’m dumb.

JonasSalk
Charles is a thing? A person? No, he's a thing. No, wait, a person. I can't tell. This story is like a Nine Inch Nails song - not one of the ones where he’s pissing and moaning about his girlfriend, but the one where he’s being so goddamn obscure I don’t know if I’m the one he hates or if I hate the one he hates. I don’t know what this story is about. If that’s the goal, congratulations.

Bachelard rear end
My initial notes while reading your story: 1500 words, a cobbled together pencil and home made ink, and you’re getting gabby with the descriptions? Unless the story includes your narrator doing a lot of cocaine, I’m confused how you can go on so much about the little things. Might be best to leave out how little time you have plus how much work it takes to create the ink, since you go on and on a lot. It’s not a bad story, it's a bloated story. I wouldn’t have finished it if I didn’t have to. You write some oddly shaped sentences. They sort of eventually make sense but I had to read them a couple times to understand what could have been simple to convey. And I do not know what the prompt was. Oh, okay, then you posted it. And I'm still not sure of the connection entirely.

Nikaer Drekin
There’s some clunky writing. The idea is neat, the story is neat, but I’m not sure why she’s running away from the man who, in theory, is an exact copy of her dead husband - or IS her husband since they transferred him from the old body to the new one? And she runs away all of a sudden weeks after the transfer happened. But I DID like the flipping around in time.

Blarg Blargety
I have no idea what this story is about except for a narrator who leaves her room, goes to the front desk, gets another room, and awaits a phone call. And smokes. Is there more to the story? Multiverse random room generator number thing - what does that have to do with anything? Other than to piss off the narrator? I just read the prompt, and yes, you definitely wrote a story about a hotel with infinite rooms and infinite guests arriving over and over but in the end, I don’t care am not motivated to be concerned, and don’t know why it is happening.

magnificent7 fucked around with this message at Jun 24, 2013 around 18:38

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

magnificent7 posted:

JonasSalk
Charles is a thing? A person? No, he's a thing. No, wait, a person. I can't tell. This story is like a Nine Inch Nails song - not one of the ones where he’s pissing and moaning about his girlfriend, but the one where he’s being so goddamn obscure I don’t know if I’m the one he hates or if I hate the one he hates. I don’t know what this story is about. If that’s the goal, congratulations.

It's about free will, Daddy-O. Really though, the story is about me being GOD. A god. I am a God.

Thanks for the crit.

JonasSalk fucked around with this message at Jun 24, 2013 around 18:22

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


JonasSalk posted:

It's about free will, Daddy-O. Really though, the story is about me being GOD. A god. I am a God.

Thanks for the crit.
So. Is Charles the God? Or are you controlling Charles? Are we all really here? What are these things at the end of my hands why am I typing what are words.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Hmmm, Charles is just an AI. Vanessa is just his creator. I am Vanessa's god, because I created her, but since she created Charles I am, ultimately, his god as well. If he's following instructions from Vanessa and Vanessa is following instructions from me and I am following instructions from myself ... I assume there is no free will. That makes no sense, but I'm no philosopher.

Schneider Heim
Oct 17, 2012


magnificent7 posted:

Schneider Heim
Where is mom? Why is she gone when the father says goodbye for the last time? I think the story would have been much stronger from a single point of view (the boy). It SEEMS to be like writing from the kid’s POV, but if it’s from the boy, then leave out mom and dad’s names, or stop switching between "Dad" and "James", etc. Good enough story, heavy handed and a literal telling of the prompt from start to finish. The writing really seemed like it was from a 50’s drama… just really a simple life lesson from Andy Griffith mixed with the Twilight Zone. But in a very dated old fashioned way.

Ah, you got me. Mom was at home. I guess it's not very clear that Will was in the hospital for the first two parts of the story? Mom doesn't really do anything other than tell Will what Dad did, and I chalk this more to my being unable to flesh that part out despite having a lot of words to spare. I also did try to write in that old Twilight Zone-ish tone.

Thanks for the crit!

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

REZULTS

It was a hard fought battle with two very different and very capable frontrunners.

Sebmojo raised the question of victory with a stylistically accomplished, near poetic piece that cleverly tied the metaphor of the Chinese Room with notions of conformity, but Kaishai answered with a simple tale that ably demonstrated writing skill and mastery of the prompt, being a true children's story with a true embodiment of the chosen experiment.

Victory: Kaishai. To you I bequeath my crown. Watch out for the rusty nails, they're new.

As for the loser - well, the one person to appear on all three judges lowest tier is:

Bachelard rear end

Bachelard, you weren't the most incoherent (that would be the Salkster - but he made at least one judge's top three) but there are times, such as when you're writing in the wilderness with a burnt rock, that you should seriously think about verbal economy. It might make it easier to determine what the hell you're on about.

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at Jun 25, 2013 around 20:35

Bachelard Ass
Mar 26, 2009

Penetralium of mystery

Shucks! Well thanks for da k.r.i.t. See ya next time.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Ugh and for my next piece I will hopefully be writing "how Sitting Here got her mojo back" uuughhh

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Thunderdome Week XLVII: The Rule of Three

The Judging Triumvirate: Kaishai, The Saddest Rhino, and Nikaer Drekin.

The Triple Crown. Three strikes, you're out. Three Fates; three Furies; three blind mice. Bad things happen in threes. The third time's the charm. The number three crops up a lot in Western culture, and to celebrate my third term on the Thunderdome throne, I'm giving it a place in this week's prompt: Write a prose story involving the tripartite integer.

This is a very open prompt. I don't care what subject or genre you choose as long as three plays an obvious, significant role. Triplet protagonists? Fine. A love triangle? Fantastic. Three-headed armadillos rampaging through Australia? Why not. That leaves you a lot of room to showcase your talent, but there are no excuses for messing this one up. Creativity and cleverness will serve you well. Anything less will earn you the judges' threefold wrath.

That said, you can ask for a flash rule if you're starved for inspiration; just don't count too heavily on liking what you get.

Remember Martello's challenge! As long as they follow the prompt, wedding stories are A-OK. But note Rhino's Flash Rule: No traditional white weddings allowed unless you can make it interesting. Caveat: no monkeycheese humor.

Sign-up deadline: Friday, June 28, 11:59pm USA Eastern.
Submission deadline: Sunday, June 30, 11:59pm USA Eastern.
Maximum word count: 999.

Those with the courage of three ordinary mortals:
Jonked: "Deaths Come In Threes"
Sitting Here (Flash rule: The main character must know or feel something s/he can't hold inside): "Because"
V for Vegas: "Wadi Halifa"
Nubile Hillock (Flash rule: A character in the story must be concerned about his/her finances): "Fuk U"
Bachelard rear end: "Full Count"
SurreptitiousMuffin: "3 O'Clock"
sebmojo (Flash rule: A very old person still working a job must be in the story.)
Mercedes (Flash rule: Must write a character who fits a common stereotype but is still three-dimensional): "The Iron King" (Submitted past the deadline)
crabrock (Flash rules: Must write a ghost story involving a real person, set in a third-world country; the culture of the country must be relevant): "The Hunger"
Greatbacon
CantDecideOnAName (Flash rule: One character must be devoutly faithful): "Holy Fire"
JonasSalk (Flash rule: The story must have a scene set in a yard sale, flea market, or other secondhand outlet.)
Auraboks: "One end"
toanoradian (Flash rule: Must include alligators): "Marriage and a Consensual Affair" (Submitted past the deadline)
Erogenous Beef: "Find Them And You Can Resist"
Voliun (Flash rule: The story must involve jewelry): "A Gate's Graceful Descendent"
magnificent7
Schneider Heim (Flash rule: The protagonist must struggle against the control of something outside him/herself): "Three Useless Wishes"
asap-salafi (Flash rule: Someone in the story must find love in spite or because of his/her unique home décor.)
Steriletom: "Bliss"
Fumblemouse (Flash rule: Volcanic activity must be an element): "Magma"
Jagermonster (Flash rule: Fearsome creatures must find a kind of happiness in the story): "Birth, Curse, and Choice"
Phil Moscowitz
Ceighk (Flash rule: One character must suffer a personal catastrophe): "Black Lyne"
Blarg Blargety
systran: "To Reach a Sun's Rays"

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Jul 1, 2013 around 06:51

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx


First in, first out. Consider me in until death

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Doing this.

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

V for Vegas fucked around with this message at Jul 15, 2013 around 07:11

Jonked
Feb 15, 2005

by exmarx


You know this means one of us is going to die now.

Just saying.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

put me on the thing but I probs won't write a thing, but maybe?

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Bachelard Ass
Mar 26, 2009

Penetralium of mystery

Down but not out. In.

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