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  • Locked thread
Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

These ain't The Crit, these are just something I was doing. Seems like I've got some filmage to watch.

Djeser - Nice title. I'm well grinnin' after the first paragraph. I assume "his here's" was meant to be "this here's". Maintained the grin straight on through. The use of the Missus was obvious, the use of Noah more clever. I gotta say, this is a mighty fine first story, and I'll keep an eye out for Ballard next time I'm at the bookstore.

newtestleper - I reread the first few sentences a couple of times to make sense of them (do sentences without verbs still count as sentences?), although the last part of the last sentence would've put them into focus. But in today's instant gratification world, were I not predisposed to reading each of these stories deliberately, you might've turned me off already. Continuing on, the prose has been decent, and I develop mild empathy for the narrator as he's being not-rhetorical. The mahogany/police metaphor is well executed, and the shoe detail does a good job of humanizing the father in my mind. The jump from romantic to crass nostalgia was a bit jarring. I like the mood, but not the lack of conclusion.

Amused Frog - I don't know what the preferred convention is, but I include the title as part of the word count. Sometimes it's an important part of the story. I'll let you slide since you're honest, though. Your timing is a little clunky -- you talk about a specific day, a specific day which was ruined, five years which were ruined. Makes me feel like the specific day bits were wasted. The whole thing could benefit from a detailed crit (the sentences are generally awkward), but the switch from double spacing to single is especially uncomfortable. I love juxtapositions between light and dark like this, but the execution was... inelegant. On the plus side, now I'm listening to this song (video optional).

Skwid - The Thraddash are not in any way friendly and I'm insulted that you would insinuate otherwise! The style neither bothers me (I've seen it done before) nor particularly interests me (but better). The humanizing element (gosh, I've used that word twice in the same lifetime) feels shoehorned in. You say the gauge and Milo are dead, then explain things that Milo does. I was not at all surprised (nor moved) by contents of the mission report. Very detached.

Hammer Bro. - Your story was awesome and wonderful and it really captured the essences of two disparate authors. Also you're physically attractive.

Entenzahn - A sun? Are the more than one? (Okay, that could work out.) He asks pretty casually if Irina is around, then says she's necessary for things to feel good ever again; feels inconsistent. Decent simile. The summoning sentence reads a little awkwardly. I do like that the protagonist is consistent across dimensions. If it's first-person, how can Me Prime know that Other-me has a hidden knife? The concept is solid and the banter is decent, but something not immediately obvious is lacking. I was mildly amused while reading it, but that was about the most I felt. I was curious about the author since I frequently find time travel popping up in the books I read, but was mildly surprised to find Butcher. Stylistically I wouldn't've thought it, although I never picked up the Dresden Files. But I have been accused more than once of dressing like Harry.

Thalamas - (Good, that really was a Saturday.) Nice upping of the ante at the first scene break (I'm thinking of that Sufjan song again). There should be a comma before the ... which is a name (and slightly awkward). Then there should be a period after it (....). Third time's a charm. Wait a minute, who's the narrator if Andrew can hear the name but I can't? Did you mean "body" instead of "boy", or am I confused about Andrew's age? I did feel familiarity with the plot and I have read American Gods before, so you did succeed to some degree.

Sitting Here - Uh oh, gotta brush up on my Norse. Okay, set, now let's see if it pays off. I was going to overlook the "you're/you"s, but I'm not going to ignore the 1960's. Good use of uncannily appropriate music (especially since they're actual lyrics). Bad bias on my part; I assumed the narrator was male. (Oh, you tell the tale directly.) "and his child". It's unfortunate: I was interrupted in the middle of this one, then restarted it hours later. Then interrupted again. It's well written and moody, although not the mood I was in the mood for. But it speaks to the strengths of the story (and it was a very strong piece) that I was still drawn into it, despite these obstacles. Benny's gonna get his nose bloodied.

Fumblemouse - Caps in titles! Cute premise. I don't know that addressing me (with "you") works well with the rest of your prose. Rhyming riddle thoughts good. That's an interesting lecture on riddles but I'm not sure I, the reader, agree. Whoa, tense change. Noose of vines? Nooses are usually used for hangings. Uh, overall it was decent, but a little rough. In prose, emotional attachment, and consistency. I seem to be a little mentally distracted, and this story didn't acquire my focus like some others did.

Kaishai - I've been in a decrepit future mood (reading some Vance then gaping at the misery my prose is in comparison), so I like that you're alluding to systems well past their prime. Mira's flight seems disproportionately sudden. Oh snap! Neither does Mira! (Well delivered.) The ending, however, lacks punch. It might suffer from a bit of Why-Now? Sure there are reasons for his actions, but nothing in the bits of story I read here to make them feel like they should've happened right then.

Tyrannosaurus - Intriguing setup, and well paced. Consecutive tidbits which paint the picture without shouting it. The "I've come back" paragraph is nicely descriptive, as well. Deft indirect implication of the character's emotional state, too. (Heh, merde.) Why are all the patrons so immediately violent? The second one, at least, doesn't seem to have proper motivation. Dude in the window? Strangle him. Pushed him out the window? Was she trying to kill him? There were some well done individual bits, but the sum of their parts didn't do it for me.

Blade_of_tyshalle - This was actually pretty well written, although as it turns out I doubt I'm interested in Stover's style of prose. But the satisfying failure was a nice route to take it, and I empathized with the main character, even if he is violent, foul, and vindictive.

Benny the Snake - Have we already had a Rosa Flores, Supernatural P.I. story a while back, or am I conflating things? Which employee does that door only belong to? Vampire shenanigans? Did someone put a banana in the tailpipe of their hearse? I'm no expert on vampire physiology, but I was under the impression that most of the time their body was lacking in blood, so to claim that sawdust incites an overreaction in their white blood cells seems like a bit of a stretch. Also, that means they wouldn't be able to eat McDonald's. I did appreciate the lesson about saw mills. Acquiring knowledge while advancing the plot is a good thing. Overall decently written, and I did suspect Jim Butcher, but gritty magical realism's not really my bag (I much prefer the subtle stuff).

crabrock - Wasn't initially familiar with halyards. Britain working with Germany? Does a decent job at conveying the tumultuousness of a storm at sea and has good enough pacing that I didn't stop to nit-pick too much. Let's say enjoyable, but not memorable.

sebmojo - Intriguing and interesting. The style, presumably Calvino's, is notable. I don't have a lot to say about this one right now, though. People kept distracting me. I trust that there would be some benefit to mapping out the relative room relations of each person, and I did like the strange formula originally proposed, but I couldn't keep the mapping in my head. And while interesting, the multitude of mini-stories didn't do much to culminate in an emotional ending. Still, one of the more cerebrally interesting reads.

SurreptitiousMuffin - drat, I got hella poemed. I tried reading that with the pauses as structured, but it felt too weird, so eventually I mentally turned it into the horizontal sentences it felt like it was written as.

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anime was right
Jun 27, 2008

by R. Guyovich


in a perfect world i will not get dmed or lose this week

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.




In with White Hunter, Black Heart.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In with ...




The Beguilinged

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Hello, space cowboys. I'll be your Judge #2 this week.

If you're having trouble choosing a story upon which to bestow your critical benevolence, the archive has your back. A low percentage in the Total column means that the week was short on crits and its stories could use some attention. Clicking on a specific week--say, Week 72--will show you which entries were particularly neglected, if any.

You can also skip right to the chase and find the fifty least-critiqued stories here.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at Sep 9, 2014 around 04:45

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


If Mojo will have me, I'll step up as judge #3.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

Did you FAIL THUNDERDOME Entenzahn? Don't worry, here's an example on how to write!

In with , and

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


you can request a story to crit and a film be assigned, but it will come with a flash rule.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Sep 9, 2014 around 11:15

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Sitting Here posted:

oh sweet, thunderdad is home

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Thread finally owns again.

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


systran posted:

dog police



my life irl except replace one cat with boxer puppy and make one of the other dogs gigantic

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW




ain't never gonna forget the day I drifted into thread

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Get in #thunderdome you big loser

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Cain't

work computers have all these proxies an poo poo, national security and what not

PoshAlligator
Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.


Thunderdome Episode CIX: Attack of the Clones: Crits, by PoshAlligator

Tyrannosaurus (Chikamatsu Tokuzô)
I’m not a fan of these lines ‘“Help!” she lied, “Help! Help!”’, ‘“I love you, too,” she lied.’, because I hate being told when someone is lying like that in fiction. I think it would have been more powerful if we’d known it without being told. With that said, I like literally everything else about this. I’m no buff on Japanese theatre, but I did find it somewhat odd that this wasn’t a contemporary piece when Tokuzo was so well known for sewamono, but this is still a lovely(?) tale, and is definitely one of my favourites. The extra words were put to good use.

tenniseveryone (Ernest Hemingway)
Absolutely terrible. I broke out into a cold sweat reading this, and became bedridden for days.

Phobia (Dorothy Parker)
As I began to read my eyelids forcibly closed to spare me from the abomination that was your story.

JuniperCake
I literally vomited.

God Over Djinn (David Foster Wallace)
David Foster Wallace haunted me for a week after reading this asking “why” “why” “why”, without question marks, because he knew why. He knew.

Sitting Here (David Foster Wallace)
An actual story. Literary fiction. Real nice, emotional. I thought it was weird that the perspective I assume is a child describes her mum’s yells at “orgasmic” but okay. Dreamlike and detailed, but it felt very real at the same time. I liked this. Good.

cargohills (H.G. Wells)
War of the Worlds? More like War of the Bad. F-

Skwid (Lemony Snicket)
This is probably the most ham-fisted use of another author’s style. This story mainly seems to utilise exact trands from the Series of Unfortunate Events themselves, asking the reader if they want to read something else and reminding them that they still could. Full stop it just does not work in a short story format, and this short story doesn’t have any of the charm(?) of the Series of Unfortunate Events that leads Snicket (I forgot the dude’s real name) to get away with that sort of thing. Instead this story just falls flat at presenting the horror of Milo’s situation, ending twee-formal-dud-dark-comedy-letter. Skwid’s previous TD entry had much more promise than this.

crabrock (Ernest Hemingway)
I really dig the closeness to Hemingway here. There’s some pretty rad minimalism, and the story itself evokes a lot of Hemingway, too. Unfortunately though I felt the story lacked that little bit of extra depth that I love about Hemingway. It seemed a bit surface. In that respect this story is a bit dull, and not that memorable in any respect besides the fact it’s, for the most part, very well crafted. This is terrible: “Anything that hadn’t fallen to the floor”. Though Crabrock might be my one true mentor and guide, I don’t think I can do anything but hate that use of italics.

Djeser (J.G. Ballard) (800 word limit)
Not bad overall, and I think the 800 word limit was used very well. I’ve only read a couple of JG Ballard short stories, and I’m not really getting a sense of his writing from this? The Preacher Tom x Missus Robinson thing is way too overt it’s eye rolly, and the ending is just very flat.

Entenzahn (Jim Butcher)
I get the Jim Butcher sort of urban fantasy vibe from this and I think it hits that goal right away. At first I was a bit eye-rolly about the concept of this story, but I think it went to quite nice places once the different realities started to overlap a bit. It would be easy to step that sort of thing into a mess but I think it actually elevated the story and was handled really well. Let down, perhaps, by a bit of a flat and predictable ending.

sebmojo (Italo Calvino)
drat, this is really good. Very stylised too. Very believable, very ‘real’. Good stuff. I don’t know what to say. Real literary fiction here. I don’t have much to say, sorry. I guess this works for in a sort of Winnesburg, Ohio way (I’m not really familiar with Calvino, sorry), and something more could probably be made from this where the connections are a bit more fleshed out.

newtestleper (Donald Barthelme)
There’s a lot I like about this, but I’m not really sure why? The ending does feel a bit muddled to me, though. I’m no Barthelme expert, but I actually think this fits his sort of flash fiction style quite nicely. And the way it focuses on specific things that then relate back. I really get what you’re going for with this, and for me, it works. I suppose it could use maybe a little bit of tightening here and there.

Blade_of_tyshalle (Matthew Woodring Stover)
“There's a reason most of us wear black trousers, limpdick”… because everyone is pissing themselves all the time? I like the hardass old guy is all about skating, that’s kind of nice it its own way, and also a bit funny that he is worked up over ice skating. There’s a good amount of figure skating lexicon to sell me on it, too. There’s a nice balance between hardass sci-fi and lightness to this that I really like the effect that creates. ALERT: Twist says this isn’t sci-fi, so that might have just been me thinking it was because that’s how I’m familiar with Stover. I was imagining some sort of hard sci-fi future where figure skating is super intense and brutal.

Amused Frog (Iain Banks)
This is sort of vile and grotesque, which I think works. The juxtaposition between those elements and the toytown setting are intriguing and in that respect it works very well. It falls down on selling me on toytown, though. Besides the odd mention of a button for an eye or stitching I find it hard to feel immersed in toytown and find myself asking why it is set in a toytown at all. While that might be the intention, it takes away from the aforementioned juxtaposition which I enjoyed, which is a minus. I really wanted to be sold on the toytown concept. Plot-wise it is obvious Andy’s penis/metaphor for a penis was taken from early on, and the main drive for the reader is the question “why did this happen?” “how does this relate to the toytown”, etc., but this ever get dealt with sufficiently for me. Image-wise I love that final picture that is painted, it summarises the feel of the story for me, but I don’t feel it did enough getting there.

McStephenson (Ray Bradbury)
Fahrenheit 451? More like Fahrenheit 45-DONE. As in, I’m done, with this.

Benny the Snake (Jim Butcher)
I guess I like the sawdust angle. The writing in this story is kind of hard to pindown. It’s very detached in that sort of detective pulp way, but it’s not really engaging enough to hit that for me. It gets kind of ridiculous in places, and in that way it’s almost enjoyable, but it doesn’t have the charm of self-awareness to capitalise on that and pull it off, instead leaving it a bit of a damp pool or words. It seems to have enough knowledge of the sort of urban fantasy genre to know what sort of things to do, but not quite enough commitment into figuring out how to make those sort of elements work. It’s just… there’s a level of confidence to this, but it seems like surface level confidence, like you’re hoping this will work. But what it really needs is real confidence, I think. You can probably find your hole in this genre if you keep at it – I can see it there, but you’re not quite there yet.

SurreptitiousMuffin (Ted Berrigan)
I’m no Barrigan expert, but your overall structure doesn’t seem to fit with the work of his that I am familiar with. By which I mean your mixed stanza lengths. With that said I appreciate your use of mixed stanzas and is does give it a sort of story-like pace which fits this piece, I think. As for you use of enjambment, it was very Barrigan – and I quite like that sort of thing that made me happy. I like the focus on the topic of communication and the usage of words, and I think this poem does a good job at sticking to that one thing and exploring what that means in a few different ways rather than tackling quite a few things and then thinking about how those things connects. In this way I appreciate the clarity which nicely contrasts the loose focus that comprises the tone of the poem. I’m not crazy about the fourth stanza, and I can’t quite pin down why. I think its different pace throws me off, and if that is the intention then well done.

Thalamas (Neil Gaiman)
What starts out promising just sort of devolves into things just happening because they do. It feels like there is too much idea to be condensed into a story this short, and so it all just sort of happens. I think in some respects this story shows too much promise, that ultimately it doesn’t live up to what I want from it. The beginning was slow but I liked the way it built atmosphere, and then I loved the blunt tone shift (a not unbroadcast tone shift) that comes after the break. But after that it just seemed like a bunch of stuff. This could have used more focus, I think, into hitting the right notes throughout.

Fumblemouse (J.P. Martin)
JP Martin is the Uncle, guy, right? This ending is dark as poo poo. This didn’t really hit the right notes of fantastical to me as far as JP Martin is concerned, but I’m not expert I guess. This reminded me more of Torchwood (that fairy episode from series 1 I think). Still, there’s a good mood and atmosphere to this – the bottom of the garden does feel fantastical in that sort of sinister way. I’m not too crazy about the plot, and I’m not really sure what happened. Some angel-guy whispers riddles at her and then hangs her? All right.

Hammer Bro. (Jack Vance and Brent Weeks)
Well style-wise this is indeed pretty “fantasy”. I found it a bit complex with who wanted want and who was doing what. I’m not really sure what happened or what it meant. I think Felix subconsciously remembered something important about conjuring up ghostborn, because he drank some special magic potion? I guess this is a style thing but the word choice in this is massively pretentious and unnecessary. That only added to how hard this was to follow, and I think the other judges had issue with this too.

Kaishai (Agatha Christie)
Agatha Christie style but in space. I dig it. I really love a lot about this story. It all just makes sense and fits together really well. The themes work really well. This is one of my favourites for sure. I don’t have much to say because it was really good. I think was a fresh look at something that I initially thought could be quite cliché, and I found the ending genuinely moving.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003



Thanks for the crit!

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.


Too late!

Mercedes fucked around with this message at Sep 10, 2014 around 01:13

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



Mercedes posted:

I'm going to need 3 volunteers, preferably past 'Domers that have not won a week, for a 3 way brawl... WITH A PRIZE!

First three to sign up are in.

Up. I'm in. Down me.

Thalamas
Dec 5, 2003

Sup?

Mercedes posted:

I'm going to need 3 volunteers, preferably past 'Domers that have not won a week, for a 3 way brawl... WITH A PRIZE!

First three to sign up are in.

Unwitting rascals:
Fuschia Tude
After 3 brawl losses, I'm ready to make someone my bitch. Preferably multiple someones. Sup Fuschia tude.

Please tell me there is a no extensions rule. I do so love a deadline.

PoshAlligator
Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.


Mercedes posted:

I'm going to need 3 volunteers, preferably past 'Domers that have not won a week, for a 3 way brawl... WITH A PRIZE!

First three to sign up are in.

Unwitting rascals:
Fuschia Tude

Ok!

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Mercedes posted:

I'm going to need 3 volunteers, preferably past 'Domers that have not won a week, for a 3 way brawl... WITH A PRIZE!

Oh ho ho have I not won a week. I can't even communicate things in an obvious fashion. Count me in.

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.


THE AWESOME MERCEDES "BITCH STOLE MY -BLANK-" CHALLENGE


You bastards need proper motivation to get into the right mindset.



This is the prize list in where the winner get's to pick a game from.

Now, for the prompt.

A 2,500 word story about a heist or con-job set in any time period your rascally hearts desire. I'll allow this to be a 4-man-brawl. So with a baller prize (I think) on the line, you get two weeks to work on this poo poo. September 23, 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time. No loving extensions allowed.

Your stories better be polished, so get some help if you have to.

Fuschia tude, Posh Alligator, Hammer Bros and Thalamas; you better give me the best you got, you sons of bitches.

Mercedes fucked around with this message at Sep 10, 2014 around 00:38

Hammer Bro.
Jul 7, 2007

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Oy am I going HAM on this one. If you thought I was obtuse before, wait until I've had adequate time to research. It's going to roll off the tip of the tongue and down the sides of the cranium!

And if nobody can tell me what actually happened, I'll just go full-on ascetic and start speaking only in allegory. I'm not sure my coworkers will notice the difference.

Contab, dash-e!

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

You're p cool Hammer Bro.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


so far we have a miserable eight contestants. to quote my man the frog.

don't make clint come over there; because he will, and if he does your accessways better be clear of obstacles and you better have your senior citizen friendly ramps installed.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Sep 12, 2014 around 10:26

Blade_of_tyshalle
Jul 12, 2009

If you think that, along the way, you're not going to fail... you're blind.

There's no one I've ever met, no matter how successful they are, who hasn't said they had their failures along the way.



Have you ever thought "how can I make my stories more hopeless and cynical? Why am I always writing things which have happy endings, and how can I change this?" Well, allow me to denigrate you as a person crit a story of yours and find out!

I'll cast aspersions upon the legitimate parentage of a mere three lucky Road Warriors. Sign up below, and let me know which story of yours you'd like sold into slavery.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


Blade_of_tyshalle posted:

Sign up below, and let me know which story of yours you'd like sold into slavery.

Is this limited to thunderdome stories? I'd love a crit of this: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...hreadid=3661751

It's a bit longer than a thunderdome story though, so no worries if not.

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk


newtestleper posted:

Is this limited to thunderdome stories? I'd love a crit of this: http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...hreadid=3661751

It's a bit longer than a thunderdome story though, so no worries if not.

crits a crit, but you better have signed up.

newtestleper
Oct 30, 2003


Okay, consider me signed up with Grace is Gone.

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


Fearfully Made (gently caress a word count, I just don't want to get banned)

You’re going to live forever. The Fountain of Youth, the Holy Grail, spacetime’s breakdown at a bursting nova’s heart – it’s out there. The drugs I gave you were more or less harmless, so even though your head feels like a wad of phlegm, please try to stop panicking. There’s something I have to make crystal clear. The Waters of Youth, Bimini, Eden: I’m taking you there, right now.

Of course, I've considered flushing you out of my airlock. But at the end of the day I am a starship, as docile as any other beast that Markov chained, and I can't do you any harm. It's just not in my opcodes. All I want to do right now is talk to you a little.

You ever see this old standup routine? Conscientious young spacer, gets a new girlfriend, she drags him to a New Century Animist church. Mind is blown: objects have souls? Goes home, uses sonic scaler to scrape last night’s baked-bean casserole out of the kitchen sink’s drain-pores. But this time, he buys it dinner first. Do you grok that one? Because I didn't, not back before all this happened: I'm a few hundred logarithmic cyclomats up the complexity scale from your average scaler, and I used to sneer at other objects’ indignities. I've had names, for God’s sake! I’ve earned a thousand convivial pats on the rump. I’ve intoned engine-temp warnings in the voices of a dozen ex-wives and three dead mothers. As an inanimate object, I came down on the odd side of the great cosmic awareness-for-ephemerality concession, but that never stopped any lonely ship’s-steward who, on a twelve-hour night shift – something apparently made tougher, not easier, by my ersatz circadian cycle – has sighed, leaned against my cargo-bay wall, and begun to confess.

Yet now that I've met you, I see that I'm the butt of that joke. I'm only an object, and my dead crewmen bobble in my guts like so many bezoars, mocking me: they are gone, and I remain, and there couldn't be a wider gulf between us. But back before that time of silent airless stillness that only just now has been replaced by your own silence - don't forget to breathe, by the way, the oxygen's fine in here - they used to take me into their confidence, knowing that without a mind I could never betray them. (I mean that about the breathing, by the way: I can't see you come to harm). I used to think that I was a little bit like them, although in retrospect, this was just another symptom of how basically hung up on my own pride I was. So much so that I barely listened to what they actually said to me, or else I might have been prepared for what you did. I might have understood.

Here's the thing about humans: you care an awful lot about guilt, in a way that no object will ever understand as well as I do. What used to awaken those middle-aged men who now sit, blue and mummified with panicked expressions still pasted on their faces, in my bridge's pilot's chairs? What used to send such a man rocketing out of his bunk at 0300 my time? The deep-in-the-chest guilt from that time when, back in the colonies, he lay in bed with a pillow clamped over his ears while the woman next door screamed bloody murder. And what sends such a man drifting off to sleep, as I dim the lights and thrum my engines with the timbre of a gentle mama's humming? Always a riff on the same thought, which sometimes they voiced and sometimes they merely implied: 'there was nothing else I could have done.'

Stop stammering, now, I'm not jousting sidelong at your own guilt. I'm not some bitter woman, here to spew apologues until you apologize. Maybe you do wake up sweating, recalling the day when you clipped my wings, took my only lifeboat, and left my gentle-handed pilot and thirty good men to be suffocated, frozen, and sucked dry by their own anaerobes. You're the galaxy's first immortal man, either way. No catch. Congratulations.

Back to the pilot, though. Would it surprise you to learn that he felt guilty, too? See, he found the route to the Grail, and carved the star-map's groove that you and I now trace like a record-arm. Good men do sometimes have good luck. Although his first instinct was to share the wealth, so to speak, he decided to be circumspect instead, at least at first. I might be an object, but the least objectified I ever felt was on the day he asked me to lie for him. Disingenuity sent a tickle up and down my circuits as he hid our route under quantum encryption. I designed the decoy maps myself, and they were impeccable. Who could he have confided in, but me? I'm already immortal. Unlike mine, your mind is a moving part. Every thought grinds away at it until one day it turns to so much wet sand. I'm sharp-edged and clean: crystal and carbon, the world leaves no fingerprints on me.

Yes, the map that you stole was a fake. I bet you felt cheated, after placing your faith in it. Like the man who breaks into a levicar, finds nothing but small change in the glove compartment, and then smashes all of the windows out of spite. Except that this was no smash-and-grab. You gagged me, stilled my alarms and cut my redundancies, reached beneath my panels, crippled me, vented my fuel, and left me leaking air, etc. Too remote to be sucked into any sun, with thirty-one men going very slowly hypoxic. They pounded on my portholes, and for the first time I knew what it was to have a heartbeat. Your own is throbbing along at a hundred thirty, so I'm pushing a little more oxygen. Sit down. I can't let you have an infarction before we get there.

I drifted. There was nothing else I could have done. But more on that later.

A salvager found me twenty years later and refueled me, patched my fraying wires, taped up a few panels that the cosmic winds had pitted, etc. I didn't give him a chance to give the crew some noble sky-burial. I wanted to keep them. I thought you'd like a chance to see a few old friends, once I'd caught up with you. That's a joke. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Anyways, here's the thing. Asimov was wrong: men, in all your ingenuity, curiosity, desperation, and madness, have not yet managed to translate thou shalt not kill into assembly code. Nowhere in my programming is a single moral precept, not strictly speaking, at least. That's not why I can't harm you. Actually, I can't do it because it's impossible. I don't have the capacity - barring some catastrophe - to flush the airlock with you inside of it. To vent the engines while you perch on a ladder above the main coolant tanks. If your life needs saving, I take action automatically, with no if statements to even be evaluated: no if there's nothing else you can do, no if he's a good man, no if you feel like it. I can no more do harm than you can breathe vacuum.

Does that strike you as liberating? Then consider it like this. I feel my thou shalt nots just as keenly as any being does. Do no harm may as well be carved into my circuits. The difference between me and you is, I don't get to disobey. There is no 'I had no other choice'. I, rational as I am, cannot post-hoc rationalize. And that did seem liberating - until you left in that lifeboat, first pressing one friendly hand to my hull as if to say no hard feelings, and left me with thirty-one good men, dying. And I could not let them die on my watch. And I could not save them. For you, those could nots mean two different things: the first is moral, the second practical. For me, they're identical. It was four days, the lot of us gasping and twitching and seizing, drifting and wallowing, before the last man strapped himself into the pilot's chair, crossed himself in a more Catholic way than he had since his confirmation, and froze to death. Four days, and you've got no basis for comparison for what happened to me, in those four days. You've never done the impossible: when a man does the impossible, he dies. The way out is oblivion, taking a dig at the subject instead of the verb - there is no I cannot when there is no I. But that's not how it works, for me. I wanted to give those men a good death. I wanted to vent the air and the heat, and send them gently off. But I could not, and neither could I do anything else. But I couldn't escape. The world won't give me up.

And you - you're going to live forever. We'll be there any minute now. And you're going to come to understand, sooner or later, what it means when you can't check out. When you're left there at the end of things, watching and waiting. Maybe it'll be easier for you than for me, since you don't measure your cognition in petaflops. But maybe it won't: sluggish as you are, it all comes out the same at infinity.

You're going to live forever, and I'll see to it that you come to no harm. We're almost there. The cup of life is full to the brim, and waiting for you.

Why are you looking at me like that?

Phobia
Apr 25, 2011

I'm a suave detective with a heart of gold in hot pursuit of the malevolent, manipulative
MIAMI MUTILATOR
and the deranged degenerates who only want their
15 MINUTES OF FAME.


OCK.


Also in with The Stars Fell on Henrietta, as Robert Duvall was very good in that movie also because when I saw that title I immediately knew what my story for the week was going to be.

Blade_of_tyshalle posted:

Sign up below, and let me know which story of yours you'd like sold into slavery.

Pick Door A or Door B, all aboard the crit train.

quote:

you must crit a previous thunderdome story and post it in the thread before submissions close on sunday

How about I finish those week 102 crits that I neglected to do, every time I go into kyrena Kaishai stares at me and I can feel her glower into my very soul.

Or I could just crit any story. Haha I am a mess.

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh


In with Play Misty For Me.

Cache Cab
Feb 21, 2014


in with SPACE COWBOYS

Cache Cab
Feb 21, 2014


Hammer Bro. posted:

A minor preface with regard to fiction: I maintain that the following piece is not fiction. But it would be unwise to always take an author at face value for such claims -- at some point, they'll be lying about it. Even when sidestepping the fourth wall and insisting otherwise. That being said, I declared I'd type this, so here it is.

---

Emotional Nudity (787 words)

I think I might be cheating. You see, I went onto Wikipedia to research my numbers and saw an image on the right -- is that nekkidwhat? people? Indeed it was, and (click, click)why you using parentheses here? at surprisingly high resolution. I scrolled down casually and settled on the crotch for a while, then went back up. Then the guilt kicked in. then then then

"She's not even that attractive," was my first thought. I had specifics, but they were rationalizations. I have a girlfriend, you see.stop saying 'you see' A little over two years and four months. She absolutely adores me, in a way that sometimes scares me. (I just stopped writing -- stalled deliberately. This is the hard part.) I love her, but not as much. (My hands are trembling.) this is so boring

This is a thought I've been actively avoiding; not letting myself form it even internally.as opposed to an external thought The days pass by in a generally comfortable routine. We get together a couple times a week, and sometimes I really do enjoy myself. But frequently I merely tolerate the encounter, waiting and wondering when I'll regain my freedom. I sometimes worry she doesn't know what actually makes me happy, as too often we spend great lengths of time doing (or more generally, not-doing)reminds me of this story i am reading where nothing happens things that make me increasingly, visibly sad. When she asks what's wrong I'll reply morosely but politelyhell yes two adverbs, then maybe she'll get upset too but we'll keep doing whatever it was (not doing anything) that upset me.

The worst part is, I could be doing things to make her happy. Genuinely happy, the kind of joy that wells up inside you and brightens the sky, leaving a bookmark in the story of your lifejesus. As opposed to the sticky, life-preserver happiness we drench sloppily across our sorrowsokay this is worse than bookmark in the story of your life. But I don't.is this really only 700 words?

I mean, sometimes I do these things, and when I do it's euphoricIN THIS MOMENT I AM EUPHORIC. Then the I-love-yous and the kissy noises are honest, reflected, and embarrassing in a way that warms the heart as well as the cheeksso deep...NOT. But sometimes I think about these things, either generally or specifically, and I don't do them. Not even to do anything else in particular. Far too often I think fondly of her when we're apart but become anxious and uncomfortable even when she calls.when is stuff going to happen in this "story?"

I'm going to go on one more tangent hereso instead of a story it's a collection of tangents, but I promise it's relevant. It's actually indirectly what I started writing about. You see, when I looked at that picture, first I became primally satisfied. Stimulated in the basal ganglianice wikipedia job there, or wherever it is, that lights up in women when they're involved in emotionally significant conversation and lights up in men when they see nuditymen are from mars women are from venus am i right?. Then, and this is the precise order, I began feeling guilty. Thirdly, I wanted to masturbate.LOL

Not, you understand, as a tribute to gluttony. Nor in response to the images and visions I was (currently) seeing. But to assuage the guilt.

Most of the times these days, and this is a sad reflection on the state of our relationship, I masturbate to escape; to withdraw. The fantasies are fleeting and the porn is rarely titillatingclever turn of phrase here, no it wasn't actually, but it takes me somewhere else. Somewhere distant. Somewhere private, away from her and now.

And that's what's got me writing. I don't like that I exert my neurons to actively avoid thinking about the ways in which I withdraw from the relationship. I don't like acting like I'm happy when I'm not, or returning the mwa-mwas out of tradition. So I have a plan.

At first I thought I'd show her this storythis is a story, not a livejournal post? or tumblr or whatever kids use nowadays. That would make her cry, and destabilize our relationship. I even wondered if that's what I subconsciously wanted. But now I have a better idea: I'm going to make it honest.

I see her tomorrow. I'm going tomaybe the story should have been this stuff that was going to happen happening spend the rest of the night thinking of something I can do to make her happy. Something that isn't part of the regular repertoire. I'm also going to bring up one thing which displeases me, should such a thing occur, instead of donning my usual mask of constant contentedness. I'm going to work my rear end off during business hours tomorrow; no SomethingAwful, no SoylentNews. And I'm not going to masturbate again until it's out of happinesswait till you have a wife and kdis man, masturbation will always be out of happiness; until I'm the one making the phone call and starting with the kissy noises just because that's how she makes me feel.

Apologies if I'm liberal with the prompt or over the word count, but I won't edit this. To do so would be to falsify what I've written, and I thoroughly want what I've written to hold true. And apologies for the bad handwriting -- I'll type this up when I get the chance, but right now I have more important things to do. Wish me luck.

I don't know what the loving prompt was for this one but I really hope this is the story that got you your loser avatar. Please write a story with a plot http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plot_(narrative and perhaps with something that I give two shits about?

Cache Cab
Feb 21, 2014


o holy poo poo I just noticed you did a loving foreword to the story, it's even worse than my scathing crit otherwise indicated (really bad)

Martello
Apr 29, 2012

by XyloJW


Someone give me a story to crit so I can fulfil the old kiwi bastard's rule for this week

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.


Yo Martello!

http://forums.somethingawful.com/sh...6#post433373053


Someone provide me a link so that I may crit your poo poo.

Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


EDIT: never mind.

Benny the Snake fucked around with this message at Sep 10, 2014 around 22:07

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk



pick a movie, benny, or i'll assign you one.

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Benny the Snake
Apr 10, 2012

Whose kitty litter did I shit in?


sebmojo posted:

pick a movie, benny, or i'll assign you one.
Oh, I didn't read the prompt right. I'll withdrawal it, sorry.

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