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Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


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dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Jagermonster posted:

As cutesy and smug Crabrock's entry is, it's way better than yours.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


You gonna take that poo poo from that dirty little scumdrinking nub?

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

poo poo talk's cheap. If Jagermonster thinks there isn't enough failure in his life already, he can challenge me.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


Wanna complete a circle jerk with a Martello challenge that I judge?

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Oh man, the possibilities - make us write some crazy poo poo we'd never think of, or see who's truly MORE legit cyberpunk with a techno-noir throwdown.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Martello posted:

Oh man, the possibilities - make us write some crazy poo poo we'd never think of, or see who's truly MORE legit cyberpunk with a techno-noir throwdown.

Alright, hit me up.

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


Results, Bitches

Judging this week was less separating the wheat from the chaff, and more trying to find some chaff that might be edible if I was starving to death. Several of the stories had good ideas, but didn't pull them off through the story or writing. Others had capable prose, but were utterly forgettable. Also I read every one of your stories sober, and I never want to do that again. gently caress all y'all.

Edging ahead by writing something I read twice without considering suicide and not being hated by either SittingHere and Kaishai, was our winner: Systran, with The Obfusacator. An interesting profession and readable writing. Also everyone dies, and I like that. Good job!

Honorable Mentions: Erogenous Beef, for being slightly above average, and CantDecideOnAName, for improving his prose under the yoke of 3 flash rules.

And loser by unanimous consent with no meaningful debate: Voliun. I don't know what the gently caress happens in this story and I don't want to.

Crits coming later tonight.

Systran, call forth your co-judges and give these people a prompt, that they may absolve themselves.

Dr. Kloctopussy fucked around with this message at Apr 23, 2013 around 21:10

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Doing my crits later (I promise I'll finish this week), but I wanted to give Can'tDecideOnAName a personal clap on the shoulder for a good job. Yeah it wasn't the most original or compelling plot, but your prose stayed on target, the grandma ACTUALLY PLAYED A ROLE THANK GOD and there was little/no rambling.

Well done, my full thoughts in a while.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Anyone who wants to judge please come into IRC so we can get the new prompt into the Dome posthaste.

edit: If no judges arrive in IRC by 5pm EST (less than two hours from now) I am just going to make some poo poo up on my own.

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at Apr 23, 2013 around 19:14

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Critiques for Week XXXVII: Everybody at Once for a Change


I ended up being the judge behind Door #3, so here are my crits. Whoever told so many of you that stories don't need to have conclusions is a goddamn filthy liar. Whoever tried to teach you about verb tense consistency should probably be pitied.


crabrock, "The Case of the Elusive Keymasher":

Your piece is a twelve-hundred-word-long Thunderdome joke. Think about that for a minute.

You know it wouldn't stand alone or make sense anywhere else: you tip your hat to that in one of the several wink-wink-nudge-nudge, isn't-it-clever? moments that shoot the humor dead. You know the phrase 'mugging for the camera'? That's what this story does, textually. The lines are self-conscious and self-aware. Occasionally a decent joke slips in (I was mildly amused by 'He let out a sigh, lost in exposition,' and I got half a smile out of the stuff between 'The End' and the last line). Fewer words couldn't have hurt it. Worse than a heavy-handed joke is a heavy-handed joke that drags on.

While it's early to be certain, I have a feeling you may be in trouble. (Later note: You should bake Voliun a cake for diving onto that landmine for you.)

********

CantDecideOnAName, "Modern Day Monster Hunter":

You haven't done full justice to the prompt: because Martin's working for his grandmother (I presume), his task comes off more as a household chore or favor to family than the work of a licensed professional, even though he's getting paid. If it weren't for the title, what his profession is wouldn't be all that clear. Does he hunt chupacabras specifically or predators in general, and why did he try and push the job off on John? Is John a licensed monster hunter too?

Also, the 'night sight' is a throwaway detail that makes the creature less frightening. If it were only a flash of teeth and eyes in the dark, then a brush of scales on denim, it would increase the suspense and my worry for Martin. Save the details of its looks for after it's dead!

Your action was blunt and to the point, and your dialogue moved right along. The pacing's off, though. There's a long wind-up for a problem that's solved in one paragraph. Less set-up and more fight in the chupacabra would make the story more exciting. I like it as-is more than I liked your last two pieces, but I wouldn't count on it standing out in the crowd.

********

kazakirinyancat, "The Mystery of the Silent House":

Ow ow ow, the tense shifts--I'm in agony, and I'm not even Fanky Malloons. You have serious grammar problems. The tenses are the worst of it, but there are other issues too, enough of them to make a bad impression early. I'll get back to this.

The first section of your story--half its length, or nearly--describes nothing happening. Empty rooms. Banal choices. Nothing interesting. The second section is so tepid that the ghost is dull. Nothing continues to happen, and learning that 'nothing' is the point and things are boring for a reason doesn't really help; I appreciate the idea, but it comes too late. The prose and plot have less life in them than does Gerard. The last line is a small saving grace, a nice slap of violence that gives your protagonist a hint of personality.

Going back to your grammar, your prose is staccato with too many short, unpunctuated sentences packed end to end. Don't shun your friend the comma so; it's cruel. Remember that when a conjunction joins two independent clauses, a comma should come before it, like so: 'I worked with ghosts and convinced them to move to other places, so I should have been relieved that there was no one there.' Some of your sentences are awkward as sin, like 'Everything built atop the graves of past generations and this house should be no exception yet there it was'--what I think you mean is 'Everything was built atop the graves of past generations, and this house should have been no exception, yet it was.' I don't like that last clause at all. Something like 'yet I could sense no presences' or 'yet I felt nothing' would be at least a little more active.

But those tenses are your major issue. The bulk of the story is in past tense, but you shift into present frequently. Sometimes within the same sentence. 'Living space was for living people and the dead have to make room'--augh! The dead had to make room. The dead outnumbered the living. That had happened a couple of times before. Etc. I strongly suggest taking this to the Fiction Farm and asking for help with the mechanics.

Keep in mind, your idea wasn't bad. A house that's not haunted because it devours ghosts? That could have been cool. You needed either fewer words or a different focus, though, and you definitely needed less description of things not happening.

********

Nubile Hillock, "Mark Zak: Douchebag Detective":

I knew when I saw the title that this would be magical.

So, okay, I laughed a lot, but you know this isn't a winner, yes? We're clear about that? All right. For enjoyability, you get high marks. For almost everything else... yeah, not so much. Your grammar is a hilarious mess that entertains in a way you probably didn't intend, and I have no idea what the Museum is or what Cossack fighting trousers are. I'm quite perturbed you put magical Cossack fighting trousers in only at the last minute. The whole premise is impossibly stupid. But you know that, and it's half the charm anyway.

This is no less a long joke than crabrock's, but it doesn't point to its own absurdity to make sure the reader notices. It's just gloriously dumb. If you'd tried even once to be serious, it wouldn't work on the level it does; the whole thing would fall apart. Good thing you didn't!

But can we talk about '“And this is Detective Zak, Bromicide Specialist and Chief Facepunchologist” Said the older one with the serious Burt Reynolds ‘stache'? How about 'as Marked stepped out of his truck'? Polish and proficiency still matter. One reason I loved sebmojo's spider story for the three-way brawl was how well he wrote about the rear end spiders. Learn from the rear end spiders, Hillock. Learn from them.

********

Erogenous Beef, "Border Patrol":

Your premise is murky. I think I get most of it, but I can't tell where Howard is or what border he guards, whether he's in Hell, processing visitors from Dreamland; in Dreamland, processing visitors to Hell; or in Purgatory, and Hell has nothing to do with it. The stormtroopers' guns smell of brimstone. I would expect Alyssa to see Hell in her dreams. But if Hell is involved at all, why would there be a regulation against spinning nightmares there? I can't work out why Alyssa is dead, either--overdose, I suppose, but then why does Howard say she was gonna kill herself? I'd like to be caught up in the otherwise effective suspense of this story, but the nagging confusion won't let it happen.

On the other side of the coin, you have wonderful ideas and good pacing; the intentional mystery unravels well, and I only wish I hadn't spent my first read scratching my head. Your consistent technical skill is always a pleasure. This is worth working with further if you're so inclined.

********

Nikaer Drekin, "The Prayer Steward":

You've found a comfortable balance between your humorous touches and your more serious plot! I think the happy ending helps, but your characters' situation is still grim enough that it's impressive you pulled this off. You've ended up with an enjoyable piece of soft science fiction, my favorite of your entries to date.

You handwave your SF elements to a high degree, though, particularly the superlight/hyperspace bit. When the ship wrecks against 'starmatter,' I'm bemused. Iron? Carbon? What? How did a spaceship get damaged that badly and not blow apart? And 'any plausible reason for the ship to keep moving' is probably a bad choice of phrase, since (assuming I understand the physics, admittedly) stuff that's moving in space doesn't stop unless it has a way to cancel out its own velocity. Say 'any plausible reason for the ship to make it home' or something and you'd have the same basic sentiment without making fussy people squint at you.

That's not quite a nitpick, since the climactic miracle would be stronger if your science seemed more solid, but it doesn't ruin the piece. Your made-up profession is well done, and I like your interpretation of mystery. Good work.

(But: 'a voice like a warm, bubbling footbath'? So it's full of dirt and feet, then? Yech.)

********

Voliun, "Office Pains":

I'm at a loss.

Again, your story doesn't end so much as stop. Again, it doesn't make any sense. You've created a mystery, sure, but 'what in the name of Zeus is happening here' doesn't meet the spirit of the prompt. I can't spot your fictional profession, since cops and thieves both exist in our world. Your prose is raddled by technical errors; you imply at one point that a folder seeps sloppy joes; you've got a store selling broken glass; 'obseration' is not a word. You put a pitchfork-wielding mob at the mall. And why linger on the clot of vomit? Stephen King can get away with that, gods know why, but you can't.

I'll say this: there's much less needless detail than in "S.O.S.," and if the errors were ironed out and your odder sentences untangled, your first section would be interesting. You've got me curious about Momo and Roscoe's relationship, why he drives for her when he seems to despise her. Not sure what a beard has to do with anything. Your middle section drifts into buddy-cop territory, but I'm still following along. But the last section sputters and dies; I can only throw up my hands. You had over four hundred more words to use. You should have used them! Taken your plot somewhere! Anywhere!

Look at this sentence: 'A glance at his watch was not enough for Roscoe to wash away his disdain, but his voice remained its gruff part though.' I don't know what you want to say. He was still disdainful after glancing at his watch, but his voice remained gruff? As opposed to what? Gruff and disdainful aren't exclusive; maybe 'His disdain lingered as he glanced at his watch, but his voice remained neutral' would work. Give this some kind of ending and then take it to the Farm to get more help with your sentence-level mistakes. They are legion.

Next time you enter, include a conclusion in your story. Preferably a logical one. It would improve your chances of not losing eleventy-billionfold.

********

Little Mac, "A Beating Around the Bush":

Entering despite technically missing the deadline, eh? I like the cut of your jib.

This is cute, too. It plays with language in a fun way. I'd read a series of stories about Nick Bedelia, Idiom Detective... assuming they had endings and resolved the case at hand instead of finishing on a joke that opens a whole new, also inconclusive plot. Good grief, that's such a bad stumble I'd be worried for you in another week. It wouldn't hurt either if your verb tenses were consistent! You go with first-person present for the most part, but everything after the first sentence in your first paragraph is set in past tense. The past tense crops up again with 'Someone had beaten around the bush.'

While I'm on the subject of technicalities, you should never let a sentence like 'She pauses, furrows her brow, and then she's gone with a breathless "you've got 48 hours"' escape your keyboard. There should be a comma after 'breathless,' and sentences within dialogue start with capital letters just as any other sentence would. The same goes for '"you crack me up."' You're missing plenty of commas in general.

Your story is much better than Voliun's, but you get the same advice: endings. Have them. Add one to this entry in particular, because you've got a clever idea that deserves a complete story.

********

CancerCakes, "Tempting Icarus":

Oh, come on, you didn't have to drink the tense-failure Kool-Aid that's so popular this week. 'I was sitting in my spot, preparing myself for action, when this dame runs out the darkness.' Ran out of the darkness, you mean. Your protagonist sounds like a cheesy cliche noir detective pretty much throughout; it's tricky to imagine him as a Space Station Director General, but then, he wasn't a very good one. I'd still lose 'dame.'

'[...] slowly spiralling closer to Tau Ceti like a fly with a flaming hard on'--do flies even have those? Why would a fly that wants to boink a star spiral slowly? Thunderdome makes me ask the strangest questions.

I followed your plot without trouble, and while the ending hit me as a flat note the first time, I see it as fitting now. This isn't the story of the protagonist's escape from the cataclysm that's coming but of his total failure and loss of everything through his own actions, piece by piece and toe by toe. (That said, 'The arsehole did some more shearing' is a ridiculously blase way to describe the protagonist being maimed.)

Your opening is very confusing if the reader isn't familiar with event horizons. 'It'd be years before we fell into the star' would say the same thing. And let me reiterate that improper tense shifts are godawful and you need to stop. 'I was still reeling from the situation so I don’t make quick with an answer: I get a kick in the ribs.' How do you do that without giving yourself an aneurysm? 'I was still reeling from the situation, so I didn't make quick with an answer: I got a kick in the ribs.'

The noir cheese is too thick; you need polish; you chose a good title; it's a complete story in a round in which those are mysteriously lacking. Your new avatar is safe for another week.

********

systran, "The Obfuscator":

There are some elements of your premise that are slightly muddled for my taste, such as why tens of millions of people suffered the effects of the Words when governments collapsed. What did the Words have to do with the collapse; did they cause it; were they a weapon used in a fight that had already started; why use them on the people? It's a shame to have something like that right up front, since I never wholly stopped doubting that I understood how the Words worked. You could cut the first reference to studying twelve years to not understand languages, I think. The protagonist brings that up again later, and postponing it might enhance the suspense regarding how he's translated these Words without ill effect.

Regardless, I really like this one. It's another fine example of a mystery that doesn't need to be solved for the story to be whole. Your false profession is so good, and your ending is perfect--I do wonder whether the client ever realized the obfuscation did nothing for him, whether China knew they didn't have useful Words. Without the uncertainties you'd be my clear favorite, but as it stands you've got some competition.

********

Jagermonster, "The Mysterious Lawman vs. the Untouchable Kingpin":

...But don't you only have to license songs and characters for public or commercial use?

Take this story, this exact premise, and have the party be televised. Live-streamed. Something like that. You've got a clever idea kicked in its teeth by a plot hole, but that would be easy to fix. Find another title while you're at it, because the one you've got is a groaner.

I hate to say this, but I think you flubbed one of the prompts. Your protagonist is a cop; serving in a nonexistent division isn't the same as having a nonexistent profession. He's not solving a mystery, either, but his plan to take Hernandez down is a mystery to the reader, and that probably counts.

Your use of present tense is solid. Your prose is solid too, except for a couple of travesties: 'The crowd joins in, “birthday to you!”' Treat 'birthday' like the beginning of the crowd's sentence and capitalize it. I don't know what the reasoning was for 'I lean in close, “next time, license the rights to ‘Happy Birthday,’ motherfucker,'" but 'next' needs a capital letter too. I remember grousing about your technical errors a couple of weeks ago; there aren't many in this piece, so you get improvement bonus points.

You're in the upper middle of the roster, and I truly do like your twist.

********

Auraboks, "Shady Affair(ie)s":

That is a completely terrible title. Petty complaint, you might say? Sure, but I don't have that much else to complain about. Work with me here.

Your choice of profession is charming. The Tooth Fairy is a lighthearted and silly concept, and you've come up with a very different explanation for it that holds on to just the right amount of silliness. ('Fruitpip,' 'ToothTime Corporation.') It's a fairly dark story, really, and the flecks of light serve as contrast. Your easy, polished prose keeps the story tripping along. Suspense builds up around what will go wrong with the fairies' run. The twist isn't telegraphed; you created a false happy ending and then pulled it away, and for me, it worked.

Just one thing: '"But the teeth...," I began.' Why, God, why? There's no comma after an ellipsis!

I daresay you can tell you're in my top tier. systran's compelling ideas won out in the end, but this is still fine work.

********

Jeza, "Excerpt from Transcript of Preliminary Investigation – Case #200384":

You've got an immediate issue that leaps out as soon as Van Der Haart starts talking. Namely that he's supposed to be talking. His words sound like the opening of an autobiography, not like something a person, even an educated, pompous, self-important person, would say in an interview or otherwise. Is the mystery supposed to be why Sandler didn't tell him to shut up sooner? Once the transcript starts to cover their conversation instead of Der Haart's exposition, I can believe it--it's still exposition to the very end, but it's more gracefully handled, and some personality comes through for both parties.

Technicalities: the phrase 'us Resolvers' should be 'we Resolvers,' and 'the two parties to which I was contracted to' has that redundant preposition on the end. 'The earlier crime scene was also compromised in that firefight' is missing a period. My overall impression of your technical skill is good, though.

(Oh, hey, you edited after I wrote the crit. At least you see what you've done. YOU OUGHT TO REGRET IT, SIR.)

The missing badge is clearly meant to be significant, but I'm not sure I see its meaning; my guess is--assuming this interview takes place shortly after the crime--that he wasn't at the shootout in his official capacity. Maybe he even set the whole thing up to get the money? I wish I knew. Without a firm answer, the story teeters on the edge of the no-conclusion trap.

********

zakucat, "Murderous Dreams":

This is another one that didn't end up making sense. One reason is that the last line--an answer? A twist?--depends on knowing what the Scrivener's job is all about. Writing things? Recording? That's important how? I'm left guessing that the Scrivener's probably the murderer, but only because your final beat is completely empty otherwise and not because it's a logical conclusion. If that is the answer, I still have no idea how or why the murders were done.

It seriously reads as though there's a whole section missing, if not more, between the second and final sections. There's no flow. There's a lot more attention paid to gore than to plot. This isn't a story, and that's a shame since your profession, setting, and the ideas of dreamthings and their murder are all strong, deserving of better treatment.

Though it's a minor concern in comparison, your grammar's sloppy. 'The Archiver crinkled her nose as the pungent, musky stench filled her sense of smell; or at least, what was perceived to be.' What? What does that last clause mean? What was perceived to be her sense of smell? You might want to tighten it up: 'The Archivist crinkled her nose at the pungent, musky stench.' Sometimes you capitalize the 'The' in the Archivist's title, and you probably shouldn't, but you definitely shouldn't be inconsistent about it. You use semi-colons when you want commas, commas where you want semi-colons. Your tenses aren't consistent either. '[...] her dark blue cloak faded around the hemlines and what used to be a loose fit around her silhouette was replaced with a formless piece of material that only served to cover her and not much else' should say 'faded around the hemlines, and what had been a loose fit around her silhouette had been replaced by a formless piece of material that served to cover her and not much else.' Actually, I don't understand that sentence anyway. Wouldn't a formless cover-up be a loose fit? 'Archivist' is the word for someone who maintains archives.

Your ideas are good, so you should take this to the Fiction Farm (though maybe you should clarify that ending first) and ask for further critique. You might be able to turn this into a longer, complete story worth keeping.

********

Kleptobot, "What the Good Book Says":

Is the protagonist a real Inquisitor, as in that's a serious licensed profession in the story, or is he an unsanctioned zealot? I couldn't quite tell; apparently he was sent by the Board of Education, and this Tyson person is working against the Board to 'correct' books. So is Tyson a criminal? If so, why would a lawful Inquisitor go to jail for raiding him rather than the guard going to jail for assault? So many questions. You're light on mystery too, other than those questions, and I don't think that's the kind of mystery Dr. Kloctopussy had in mind.

I'm not even sure what it's trying to say about the editing or censorship of textbooks, since the writing conveys that the Inquisitor is wrong, wrong, wrong, but the premise would seem to suggest that he's a lawful man doing his legal duty, and Tyson's men are defying whatever it is the Board of Education wants. Maybe you just need more backstory to explain whatever's going on with the BoE.

********

sebmojo, "Doing our bit":

You can do better. The dialogue designed to obscure is more annoying than effective here, as you've pulled the trick of a character not quite saying something too often. The rhythm of your sentences is over-choppy for my taste. You come perilously close to the mystery of the piece being 'what the hell is this about,' and this is one of the occasions when your habit of slapping stuff together at the last minute shows in your proofreading.

I liked the story rather more when the premise clicked in my head on a second read. The choice not to define what Alastair is doing or why works, as it turns out. His attitude is cheerful, harmless-seeming, and he's a Toll Inspector of all dull things, so the reaction of the family doesn't appear to make sense; I had to look harder (and it helped that I came back to this one after a break from reading) to make out the shape of what they fear. It's a good trick. That start-and-stop dialogue was not the way to do it. It's unpleasant to read and shows your hands moving behind the curtain.

The piece is certainly stronger than I first believed, and if you could manage the ambiguity in a manner that didn't read as contrived, you'd be in business.

********

Noah, "The Coffin of Henry Wick":

You chose a profession plausible enough that I did a quick Google search on 'coffin inspector' to make sure that's not really a thing. Apparently it isn't. That's kind of disturbing. I buy Miles as a professional doing his job; I'm intrigued by the strange grooves he finds in the coffin... but then Henry sticks a pen in him. Things don't go so well from there.

Killing a man over and over for the sake of a company-stamped seal of approval is cartoonishly extreme, and I can only guess that there's something special about the coffin--something to do with the grooves?--that resurrects Miles every time he dies. I have no idea what or why. I don't know why Miles wouldn't agree to give Henry the seal after two or three deaths, much less countless. It all seems like a lot of bloodshed, horror, and effort for something so mundane. The premise almost needed to be used for comedy.

Maybe the problem is one of a story too big for the week's limit. If you had more room to explain Henry's psychosis or the deal with the coffin (it shouldn't be explained altogether, but more hints would be nice), and/or if you gave everyone involved stronger motives, this could work out.

********

Fumblemouse, "Rub me the wrong way":

You took the 'odd' part to heart, and how. It doesn't quite work for me. I'm weirdly intrigued by this guy who obsesses over Thomas the Tank Engine enough to turn people into train faces--that's crazy creative if nothing else, and it could work for a quirky horror piece or a dark comedy. I think you were going for at least one of those, but which? I can't tell. That's a sign your two tones aren't blending well.

Your conclusion involves letting a mass murderer get away with his crimes, and it just isn't funny even before one considers the body-horror element of the son and father being locked in one body. On the other hand, if it's not supposed to be funny at all, I don't follow why the protagonist let Toppham Hatt (good grief) go. It's too complex a problem to be handwaved away in a serious piece.

You've got some unnecessary fantasy elements in the setting: dragons, elves, and dwarves have nothing at all to do with the story at hand, and bringing them up when your world is otherwise 'Earth with djinns' provides distraction. What's a Fat Controller? Does it matter that Toppham is one? Smaller nitpicks: you're missing at least one period, and British ought to be capitalized. It's 'Teletubbies,' not 'tellytubbies.' The amalgam of Hatts uses 'me' in place of 'I' as though it/they were a caveman. It's strange.

It's pretty strange too that the Thomas the Tank Engine guy is my favorite thing, but there it is! There are other good elements: I enjoyed most of the dialogue, the genie concept, the handling of the prompts, and the protagonist's genealogy joke. The prose is competent. If you work further with this, I suggest either toning the zaniness way down or amping it up.

********

perpetulance, "The Invokers":

perpetulance posted:

I had problems with this prompt. My writing is bad and I should feel bad.

If you already know, I won't be telling you much that's news!

Your story isn't bad, which is the critical thing. The concept of peace achieved through everyone's lives being run for them is nothing new under the sun, and I saw the end coming, but you've got an original choice of fake career and a very personal 'mystery.' You'd be comfortably in the middle in a stronger round if your writing were better at the sentence level. (You're in the middle this week because a lot of other people did worse. That's not the ideal reason.)

'“No, please, don't kill me!”, the woman cried.' That comma is an abomination. 'The crowd watched the man drop the ax the ground'--you're missing a word. 'Realizing that their own self interest would never allow them to negotiate fairly, the armistice that ended the third world war was written not by man but by their child of silicon.' You're telling me there that the armistice(s?)'s self-interest wouldn't allow it/them to negotiate. (Notice also the hyphen in 'self-interest.') Many of your sentences are awkward even when they aren't technically wrong, such as 'The lights dimmed on the stage, with the closing curtain separating them from the crowd.'

Like half the 'Dome this week, you misuse verb tenses. The line about the armistice I quoted above should say 'had been written,' because it describes a past occurrence within the past-tense story. 'At twenty two, he received him assignment of Invoker.' Auuuuugh. 'At twenty-two, he had received his assignment of Invoker.'

This is a good example of a story that's decent at its core but marred significantly by insufficient proofing.

********

Bad Seafood, "Ammit Inc.":

This time I twigged to your inspiration when Sergei started weighing things; it came together with the crocodile, I did a quick search on 'Ammit,' and voila. She's a companion of sorts to Anubis, the Egyptian judge of the dead who weighs the hearts of men against a feather. I think the story stands whether or not one gets the reference, although you don't directly explain the purpose of the scales. One can guess. I suspect there are other references I'm not seeing; the piece works anyway, except--is Dresden a superhero? If it weren't for his cape, I wouldn't get that. I'd probably think he was recently dead.

There are proofing and sentence structure issues. 'And he, too good natured to refuse' needs a verb; that comma doesn't work as a stand-in. '[...] her right hand extended as tough in an awkward attempt for a handshake.' Ouch. Try 'as though for a handshake'--she's probably not intending an awkward attempt, so describing her purpose that way is weird. 'Dresden flipped the card over as though expecting to see something' doesn't work because we're in Dresden's perspective, so none of his actions should involve the phrase 'as though.' He knows whether he expects to see something, and so should we. 'Dresden signed and extended his arm.' Wrong verb. Etc.

Except for the is-he-a-superhero question, I like everything about this on the plot level--and I like it if he's a superhero, I just want to be more sure. It's more a quibble than a significant concern. The sentence level is a mess, but your verb tenses are correct, and at this point that's almost worth bonus points.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Apr 24, 2013 around 05:23

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


I literally hate everyone that has posted in this thread.

That's why I'm glad I'm judging this week.

CancerCakes
Jan 10, 2006

WORST WIZARD, THUNDERDOME
LOSER


Preemptively in for whenever systran gets off him butt. Like last week the last entry under the deadline will get a crit from me, the statistically worst writer in the place.

Also I am pretty sick of people in here not having PMs, and those that have them not using them (or i seek you or em ess en or what ever the kids use nowadays, it has initials) to coordinate their circle jerks.

I will brawl anyone who doesn't already have PMs, you win I buy you the upgrade, you lose and you buy it for yourself.

Your prompt, word count is 450, judges and deadline tbc
if you read this spoiler congrats you are a judge, report for duty at the button under this post that says "message", unless you ain't man (or woman) enough. limited availability

Thanks for the crit kaishai, I don't want to poo poo up the thread talking bout it though.

Jagermonster
May 7, 2005

Hey - NIZE HAT!


CancerCakes posted:

Preemptively in for whenever systran gets off him butt. Like last week the last entry under the deadline will get a crit from me, the statistically worst writer in the place.

Also I am pretty sick of people in here not having PMs, and those that have them not using them (or i seek you or em ess en or what ever the kids use nowadays, it has initials) to coordinate their circle jerks.

I will brawl anyone who doesn't already have PMs, you win I buy you the upgrade, you lose and you buy it for yourself.

Your prompt, word count is 450, judges and deadline tbc
if you read this spoiler congrats you are a judge, report for duty at the button under this post that says "message", unless you ain't man (or woman) enough. limited availability

Thanks for the crit kaishai, I don't want to poo poo up the thread talking bout it though.

I'll take you on for the upgrade.

p.s. thanks for the crit, Kaishai

edit - just looked back and saw the "your prompt" part. I feel weird picking a prompt for a brawl - will let whoever judges pick something

Jagermonster fucked around with this message at Apr 24, 2013 around 02:44

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

Kaishai posted:



So, okay, I laughed a lot, but you know this isn't a winner, yes? We're clear about that?

What!? Clearly you misunderstood my genius.

I'VE BEEN ROBBED OF MY THUNDER-CROWN

(thanks!)

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Hillock come to IRC

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


Holy poo poo I love whoever gave me this.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

systran posted:

Hillock come to IRC

Might be on later tonight, tomorrow is better. It's finally nice out I CAN LEAVE THE BASEMENT

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Erik Shawn-Bohner posted:

Holy poo poo I love whoever gave me this.

haha

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Week XXXVII: Mandatory Thunderbrawls.

For this week there will be a very short sign-up period (48 hours from the time I post this). After signups close, judges will assign you to brawl another person who also signed up. The judges WILL assign at least one flash rule to each group. It may be a shared flash rule or there may be flash rules applied to individuals, but everyone will be hit with a flash rule before Friday.

We will announce the winner of each individual brawl. Feel free to make avatar wagers etc. once your opponent is announced.

There will be three judges:

-Myself,
-Erik Shawn-Bohner, and
-Martello.

Each judge is only going to read and critique a third of the entries. We will obviously all have to read the candidates for the very top and very bottom, but otherwise you will only be judged and critiqued by one person instead of three. If a judge WOULD LIKE to critique outside of their one-third, they may do so.

Critiquing 30,000+ words in two days usually burns the judges out and results in rushed critiques; we hope this will give you more thorough and thoughtful critiques. If you write poo poo, it will also give us more opportunity to tear you apart in more detail.

For your submission, choose one: Past tense OR present tense.

Your submission must also contain: A beginning, a middle, AND an end.

The story must also take place during or in some way deal with first contact between two civilizations. Just like a mystery does not have to be a guy with a fedora investigating a murder, first contact does not have to be an alien invasion.

Word Count: 1,600 Words.

Signup by: Thursday at 7:00PM EST.
Submit by: Sunday at Midnight EST.

Potential losers:

Klocktopussy vs. Hillock - Judge: ESB

Klocktopussy's plot must involve cars, Hillock's must involve a lawyer.

Bad Seafood vs. chairchucker - Judge: systran

AVATAR CHALLENGE Everyone knows chairchucker is the diamond in the rough. What wondrous prose could he produce if he actually took the 'Dome seriously? The winner of this 1v1 gets to give themselves an avatar of their choice OR give a losertar of their choice to the loser (I will pay in case that isn't clear).

Noah vs. Fumblemouse - Judge: Martello
A prophecy must be part of the plot.

Sitting Here vs. Some Strange Flea - Judge: Martello
Sitting Here: Alternate History. Strange Flea: Lost Technology.

Auraboks vs. Nikaer Drekin - Judge: systran
Auraboks: You must write horror. Nikaer: You must write something whimsical and the inciting incident must occur within first 100 words.

JonasSalk vs. magnificent7 - Judge: systran
800 Words or less. loving deal with it and loving make the words COUNT (pun intended).

Kleptobot vs. Cancercakes - Judge: Martello
Cancercakes: A misunderstanding must be a driving point in the plot. Klepto: A game must be in plot.

perpetulance vs. crabrock - Judge: systran
Perpetulance: Your theme is "gluttony," Crabrock: Yours is "blame." Your stories should clearly reflect those themes.

Errogenous Beef vs. Kaishai - Judge: ESB
Something revolting/disgusting must happen during the course of your stories and it must advance the plot.

HaitianDivorce vs. Jeza - Judge: ESB
Martial Arts of some form must be a part of the plot.

kazakirinyancat vs. zakucat - Judge: Martello

Plot must involve a cat.

monkeyboydc vs. Impermanent - Judge: ESB

Impermanent: Handicaps/disabilities must be important to the plot. Monkeyboy: Poison

Losers who did not submit:

sebmojo
Black Griffon
twinkle cave
Canadian Surf Club
blackswordca
Nyarai
JuniperCake
jagermonster

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at Apr 29, 2013 around 20:42

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


In. This'll be fun.

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

in for somebody else's easy win.

Noah
May 31, 2011

Come at me baby bitch


Lets do it.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


I'll judge. I got a 3-day weekend coming up.

perpetulance
Mar 24, 2013

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In.

Black Griffon
Mar 12, 2005

Now, in the quantum moment before the closure, when all become one. One moment left. One point of space and time. I know who you are.

You are destiny.


I'm in.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


Marty and bohner rolling oldschool. better put your tardhelmets on.

Bad Seafood
Dec 10, 2010

If you must blink, do it now.


Hit me.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

I am tentatively in, so put me down for brawling purposes, but if I don't have crits for this past week posted before signups close, strike me out and shame me mercilessly pls.

Erik Shawn-Bohner
Mar 21, 2010

by XyloJW


Sitting Here posted:

I am tentatively in, so put me down for brawling purposes, but if I don't have crits for this past week posted before signups close, strike me out and shame me mercilessly pls.

By Original Three Decree, you are cleared of crits, even though it's a personal desire.

Your desires are stupid and you need caned weekly.

You will write this week. And I impose upon you that it must be a good and happy story.

You can't hide behind bullshit for not writing.

Auraboks
Mar 24, 2013

...huh?


In.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

Erik Shawn-Bohner posted:

By Original Three Decree, you are cleared of crits, even though it's a personal desire.

Your desires are stupid and you need caned weekly.

You will write this week. And I impose upon you that it must be a good and happy story.

You can't hide behind bullshit for not writing.


Well now. I'm not gonna argue with the OG3.

Give me the hardest dude u got in that case.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In.

dreadmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk

Sitting Here posted:

Well now. I'm not gonna argue with the OG3.

Give me the hardest dude u got in that case.

Hello.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry


Yes.

JonasSalk
May 27, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER

In.

JuniperCake
Jan 26, 2013


In.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


I'm in. But I want to mix tenses, and only have a beginning and an end (is that even possible?)

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 7, 2007



Fun Shoe

fu i mean in

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HaitianDivorce
Jul 29, 2012


In. Let's give this a shot.

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