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  • Locked thread
Tyrannosaurus
Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Thalamas posted:


Oookkkaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Get yourself a shimmy jib!

Bless your heart. Two weeks it is.

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Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


Dr. Merctopus Brawl
(paging BadSeafood)

Perfect (700 words)

*Android Wife Learns About Feminism*

Dr. Kloctopussy fucked around with this message at Dec 4, 2014 around 05:56

Erogenous Beef
Dec 20, 2006

i know the filthy secrets of your heart


Tyrannosaurus posted:

Bless your heart. Two weeks it is.

Hyper Macho Tylannamas Brawl

Write a story narrated by an older, matured version of the focal character. To make this more difficult for you, your focal character is a little girl faced with two equally-important responsibilities.

Pick one of the following to include as a significant detail:

* Arby's, or similar bottom-tier fast food
* A car painted to look like a bumble bee
* Skee-ball

No dolls, and don't squick me out.

Due: 3 June @ 23:59:59 Pacific Daylight Time
Wordcount: 1250 or less.

Meeple
Dec 28, 2009


THUNDERDOME XCIII RESULTS

After a long, drawn-out debate across three time-zones we have reached a conclusion. This was actually a good week, as far as a newbie can tell, as there were very few absolutely terrible ones.

The winner, by the narrowest of margins (coins were not involved, I promise) was Meinberg's Salt Spray and Summer Winds. You told a clean, novel story that hit the prompt very well. I personally found the backstory a bit hard to follow, but it was well liked by all three judges.

HM to Kalyco in a very close second with Fall Away. My personal favourite, the characterisation was very strong and believably hosed-up. The description of Rachel and AJ's dialogue were what brought you down here.

Another HM to Crabrock's And the stars look very different today. It felt like an easy story to read and to write, but a good one.

Malefic Marmite is this week's loser for spending 1000 words talking about a guy reading a dictionary at a bus stop. Flight and dreams are nowhere to be seen as the bloody vultures don't even take off. Seriously.

DMs to Nitrousoxide for a clunky series of action sequences and poor dialogue strung together with precious thought for plot and a resolution tacked on as an afterthought, and Jeza for writing hard sci-fi about someone trying to break speed records in space. All velocity in space is relative, this is a meaningless concept. I am irrationally angry about this story because I like hard sci-fi a lot.

Baudolino
Apr 1, 2010

THUNDERDOME LOSER

Interpromt.147 words.

When I close my eyes I no longer see the stranger lying drunk outside my mother`s house.

Inside the wake is still ongoing and outside my dad still lies drunk in the snow. The smell of his vodka-stained shirt continue to sting my nostrils, but at least I do not have to see it. The neighbours are probably peeping out from behind their curtains choosing to only see the ungrateful son leaving his father in the snow as he calls the cops. I no longer care what they think. Father only had eyes for the bottle when I was young, he must love it more than he ever did love my mother. I guess now it is my turn to be the one who closes his eyes?

When I close my eyes I longer see the stranger lying drunk outside my mother`s house

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.


It's about time you wrote something good Meinburg! PROOoOoMPT!!!!

Jeza
Feb 13, 2011

The cries of the dead are terrible indeed; you should try not to hear them.


Meeple posted:

All velocity in space is relative, this is a meaningless concept. I am irrationally angry about this story because I like hard sci-fi a lot.

think ur so smart how bout u brawl me

ill kick ur butt so hard it'll go flying thru the vacuum of space real fast m8


physics nonce

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


THUNDERDOME XCIV: TRULY ALIEN

You know what I'm bored of? Humans. Humans are just the worst. So, I want a story that is about a truly alien intelligence. Your main or viewpoint character can be a human if you feel it necessary, but the narrative needs to focus on something alien. And by alien, I don't mean someone from another planet (or country if you want to be even more grounded), I mean an intelligence that is radically different from humanity. No genre restrictions, feel free to go wild and let your freak flag fly.

Flash rules are available upon request.

Judges:
Meinberg
Djeser
Systran

Sign-up deadline: Midnight EST, Friday, May 23rd. I will be punctual.
Submission deadline: Midnight EST, Sunday May 25th. As above.

Word Count: 1111

Entrants:
God Over Djinn
Sitting Here
Entenzahn
Kalyco
Ironic Twist
Broenheim
WeLandedOnTheMoon! (Takes place on a moon, has a location for a protagonist)
kurona_bright
Mercedes (contains compassion)
curlingiron (takes place on the continent of North America before the year 2000 CE)
Phobia
PootieTang (the end is the beginning is the end)
Espequinn (colors)
Some Guy TT
sebmojo
Bushido Brown
V for Vegas
Fumblemouse
Hocus Pocus (computers)
Tyrannosaurus
Mazo Panku
Meeple
Cheneyjugend (Tabula Rasa)

Meinberg fucked around with this message at May 24, 2014 around 02:49

God Over Djinn
Jan 17, 2005

onwards and upwards


in

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores


Clapping Larry

IN

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why didn't you invest in
Thunderdome?


In.

Kalyco
Apr 4, 2013


To IN and beyond!

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



In.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Having won the alien brawl vs. brawlmaster sebmojo (100% brawl win-rate here!) I will step up to judge this also.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


In

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


Hey, this is interesting. I will do it.

I would also like a flash rule, because I am a dangerous dude.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


WeLandedOnTheMoon! posted:

Hey, this is interesting. I will do it.

I would also like a flash rule, because I am a dangerous dude.

I like your user name. Your story has to take place on a moon.

a new study bible!
Feb 1, 2009



BIG DICK NICK
A Philadelphia Legend
Fly Eagles Fly


Meinberg posted:

I like your user name. Your story has to take place on a moon.

I am also self imposing BAD SEARULE that my protagonist is a location.

kurona_bright
Mar 21, 2013


I'm in 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.


Meinberg, I'm in, you son of a bitch. And I demand an awesome flash rule or else!

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Adventure Awaits!


Fun Shoe

Yo, I'm in and I need a flash rule.

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.


The strange technicolor blob that lives in my closet told me to enter this week and ask for a flash rule. I don't question it. Last time I did it made my dog spontaneously combust.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


Mercedes posted:

Meinberg, I'm in, you son of a bitch. And I demand an awesome flash rule or else!

Your story must contain compassion.

curlingiron posted:

Yo, I'm in and I need a flash rule.

Your story has to take place on the continent of North America before the year 2000 CE.

PootieTang
Aug 2, 2011

by XyloJW


I'm IN and this time I'm gonna do more than one draft, and I'm not gonna wait 'till the night before the deadline. Honest. I swear. For real this time.

Also I'd like a flashrule too, because why not.

PootieTang fucked around with this message at May 20, 2014 around 22:12

SirFuzzington
May 3, 2014



I'm in and I would like a flash rule

Some Guy TT
Aug 30, 2011


sebmojo posted:

CRABROCK WINS THE FIGHTBRAWL BY FIVE FISTS AND A HALF-FULL BOTTLE OF JACK

Well that was unsurprising. Time to step away from the judge's table until somebody starts begging desperately again. Or I actually win something. Whichever comes first (take a guess). Way to stay on the ball, Meinberg, already having two lined up. I'm in.

Crits will be up later today.

Some Guy TT fucked around with this message at May 21, 2014 around 00:18

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

yeah gently caress it in

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


PootieTang posted:

I'm IN and this time I'm gonna do more than one draft, and I'm not gonna wait 'till the night before the deadline. Honest. I swear. For real this time.

Also I'd like a flashrule too, because why not.

Your story must something that ends while it simultaneously begins.

Espequinn posted:

I'm in and I would like a flash rule

Your story must address colors.

Bushido Brown
Mar 30, 2011


Lipstick Apathy

in

V for Vegas
Aug 31, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER

i like this prompt so put me on the list.

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

In. All my stories are essentially about V.A.L.I.S anyway, so this should be a doddle.

Some Guy TT
Aug 30, 2011


Crit time~

ReptileChillock posted:

This goon commits notary fraud. Then he does a bunch of airship stuff that doesn't really have anything to do with notary fraud.

Your first section is completely unnecessary. The second and third are more than enough to establish that Tobias is a weasel and there's probably someone out there somewhere who wants to toss him in jail. And I actually did like your plot trajectory for the most part. Guy's a dick, gets what's coming to him. You obviously didn't think much of this story but you can get quite a bit of mileage in Thunderdome just by writing a narrative simple enough that the reader can easily understand what's happening.

Meinberg posted:

An imprisoned soldier dreams of going back home and summons the god of wind to come give him a hand.

I was a little lost as to the whole idea of the god of wind. How did Frerick summon him? And why did the god show up? Ignoring these points you've got a pretty decent yarn here. The dude's in a pretty classic revenge type situation. He's a little bit cocky, but not too arrogant given that he's in jail and had to ask for a god to help bail him out. I did like the god character, even if I wasn't totally clear on what he is. Frerick's sacrifices aren't really sacrifices at all but the god doesn't care, which makes the ending feel all the more appropriate. You utilized your story elements pretty well, making for a well-rounded effort with broad appeal. That’s how you got the win.

Cheneyjugend posted:

A bird is hatched from its egg. Then it does stuff.

First person is not a good place to start from here, at least not with this kind of diction. Birds aren't known for being articulate, and baby birds especially shouldn't have this kind of descriptive ability. Even ignoring this your story runs into the problem of it just being a bunch of stuff of no apparent consequence. Try watching a zoo cam for an hour and write about everything that happens. After about ten minutes you'll be bored out of your mind. There has to be something magical or wild in stories about animals or they just come off as horribly pointless.

God Over Djinn posted:

Guy's falling down. Gets all meta-philosophical about story structure.

I can't help but feel like I'm being pandered to. Well it worked. I couldn't help but giggle at the parts where Simon is musing about the kinds of things he should be describing as he plummets to his inevitable death, only to realize there's not really a whole heck of a lot a person can actually do whilst falling to their inevitable deaths, incapable of accomplishing anything. It's absurdist humor that plays a little loose with the prompt but it's funny. And isn't that what really matters? I mean it won’t win you anything with a judge that doesn’t like the joke but I enjoyed it.

Bushido Brown posted:

A couple of kids attempt to build a helicopter out of flies.

The main problem with your story is diction. From the moment I saw the word halteres I had trouble thinking of these two as anything except eccentric engineers. The word choice is too advanced- you're using at minimum a middle school vocabulary but this is an elementary school age adventure. The idea's cute, but that only makes proper vocabulary all the more appropriate. They should be having dumb arguments, mispronouncing words, and otherwise just being obviously dumb somehow. As written the idea is played just straight enough that it never really takes off.

theblunderbuss posted:

This guy loves the sun so much he wants to marry her.

Yeah, uh...what else is there to add to that, really. The reason the Icarus myth is believable is because the guy's a dumb kid who hasn't really thought through the fact that the sun will kill him. Your story is about a guy who knows the sun will kill him and spends every waking moment trying to make out with her. Maybe it's technically an anthropomorphization, but still, I have no idea how to react to that. Comedy I could see. Psychological horror I could see. But this reads like a doomed romance, and the only reason those stories are interesting is because there's at least some pretension the lovers can get together somehow.

Entenzahn posted:

In a dystopia, a man and his girlfriend could go to this totally awesome place with forests and rivers and cool natural stuff. He just needs to build an airplane. Things don't go as planned.

I enjoyed the worldbuilding here precisely because there's so little of it (ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION EVERYONE ELSE). You describe all we need to know briefly and with subtlety, so the story gets right to the important stuff of showing why Jacob wants to leave. But at the same time the tower isn't really that bad a place. Technically this might be a twist ending but there's just enough doubt put up about Jacob's thought process that it actually comes off fairly organically. I'm sure Jacob does know the dystopia's theory for what happens if you try to leave, but at the same time he's choosing to ignore it because it's not in his dream. Maybe that required a little too much behind the scenes thinking on my part but I liked your overall trajectory.

Jeza posted:

This woman wants to break the speed record because her great grandfather did it. Also nobody does speed records anymore because faster than FTL technology exists. And there's lots of other technical language here I didn't care about because I'm not an engineer.

Your story is technobabble. I don't care if these words actually mean something to someone with the right technical education. From my perspective, this is Star Trek filler. Do you know why people like Star Trek? It's because at its best the show explores why people want to boldly go where no one has gone before, and your story has exactly one line explaining Ellen's motivation. I guess people also watch Star Trek because they like to complain about the poor quality of the bad episodes. Don't aspire to be that kind of Star Trek, not unless you're going for comedy.

Kalyco posted:

A woman has a lovely boyfriend. Also she has these weird dreams about falling.

I'm not sure I buy the parallelism here about a bad boyfriend being the same thing as heavy gravity crushing you against the floor. Mostly because I'm not sure how infinite falling could be considered a good thing that hurts in the short-term (which is how to analogize it to a break-up). The opposite, really. Oh, the good news- the fact that I'm criticizing this on a metaphorical level means I understood what happened in your narrative and what you were trying to accomplish with writing it. It's doesn’t make for a perfect story but it works. Your imagery is slightly off and I didn’t think the suicide subtext was spelled out that well compared to other suicide prompts this week, but of the ones that went with that theme yours was the best written. That’s how you netted an Honorable Mention.

WeLandedOnTheMoon! posted:

Billy gets a new toy called Uplink. But Uplink is not a fun toy so Billy ends up sending him on a suicide mission because that's how Billy rolls. Then Uplink joins up with the evil toys because either Billy's into really complicated narratives or the toys are real I don't actually know.

I'm guessing the toys are real because Billy doesn't show up after the launch but that just begs so many questions. Is this supposed to be like Toy Story? Then what's supposed to happen next? Your cast of characters is literally a set of plastic action figures. I'm not going to be able to identify with them on a character level so you at least have to give me something to care about in terms of plot. But then you drop the metanarrative halfway through and introduce more characters I know nothing about and just, how am I supposed to react to that? This is another for the "I have no idea why you wrote this" pile.

Gau posted:

This kid was born with literal wings on his back so everybody makes fun of him. he tries to feel better by flying but people with wing disease can't fly. Also therapy is for losers.

Why does Jamie Ballard get two names when she shows up in only two sentences? I didn't even notice the (actual) name of your character until the second read through. That kind of thing is really distracting, and got me off on the wrong foot. The rest of the story didn't make me feel much more confident. He's depressed about the wings, dismissive about treatment and seems to dislike the idea of suicide even though practically speaking he's OK with killing himself? You really needed some kind of subtle edge to make the visual of a mopey kid with wings believable, and the story just ends up meandering fairly pointlessly. Not a whole lot of fun.

Nitrousoxide posted:

This guy named Muledy is a pirate. He robs some ship because he wants what's in the safe, but the captain's an rear end in a top hat and lets the pirates kill people instead of just giving them the safe combination. It turns out Muledy was after the medicine to save his dying kid.

This is almost a twist ending, except that there's no context about who Muledy is and what he wants in the first place. This is worse than a twist ending, actually, because if you were messing with my expectations there would at least be a point. What’s worse you never get around to explaining the captain's motivation at all, which only makes the ending that much more inexplicable. You know what might be more persuasive than killing unrelated crew members at random? Muledy just saying "I need that medicine for my dying kid you fuckwit." When a solution that obvious is staring us right in the face you need a very good reason not to use it. And you didn't provide one.

Tyrannosaurus posted:

The narrator's kind of a dick, likes killing animals for fun and bragging about it. Then he goes on a safari to hunt the most dangerous game of all- small children.

I wanted to like your story. The opening's really solid, and got me thinking, is he going to get comeuppance? Will he learn a lesson? Is the mau mau going to be something crazy and weird? You have all these amazing possibilities for concept, and you end up making it a cartoonish story about child murder. I'm really more disappointed than angry, because it's clear you could have taken this a more interesting direction but I guess a better idea didn't really take form. All I can say is- when in doubt, don't make your story stupid and depressing for no reason.

crabrock posted:

A former test pilot is feeling cranky because he's retired now and there's nothing important for him to do anymore. Then his new neighbor's dog won't shut up. Drastic measures are necessary.

For the longest time I thought you were just wedging the prompt into this story arbitrarily with the whole test pilot thing then we get to those last few sentences and there it is delivery landed mate. The obnoxious dog isn't exactly a groundbreaking trope but you handle it with cranky style and fun. Chuck is the kind of former test pilot who doesn't need a retirement party- the dude knows exactly who he is. This is a solid effort done in mainly by the fact that it only really deals with the prompt obliquely as a punchline. It’s a good punchline though.

Phobia posted:

An anti-Italian racist tries to commit suicide, but stops at the last minute when he notices there might be witnesses. Decides suicide isn't so cool after all. Or maybe that was just smoking.

I didn't really like this story at first glance. Theere was a lot of suicide this week and this is a pretty generic narrative. On further reflection, while your story wasn't that ambitious, it did accomplish all the basic essential goals outlined in the summary. The main problem is that you don't have any real sparkle- in a week that had a lot of good imagery, you don't really describe anything, and your main character is a cipher for a typical liberal arts nice guy. I guess I'm glad the kid didn't have to watch him kill himself, but beyond that I didn't really care that much.

Malefic Marmite posted:

Somebody waiting for a bus looks at vultures for awhile, thinking about his childhood. Then the bus doesn't come and the vultures don't do anything.

"Did not write a story" is a recurring problem in Thunderdome, but you earned loser just by the sheer quantity of nothing you managed to stuff into a thousand words. We don't even know why the narrator is waiting for a bus, let alone why we should care. In fact, you don't even mention the bus at all until halfway through. Until then it's just vultures and childhoods and what? There's a connection? If either the vultures or the childhood figures had done anything I might have been able to squeeze some sort of interpretation out of it but as is your whole story is just a giant pointless question mark.

Benny the Snake posted:

Kid has a terrible day and his parents are always fighting at home so he tries to kill himself. Then he sees a sick bird and changes his mind.

I actually like your basic concept here. School sucks, home sucks, the world is totally unfair. It's the suicide that jumps out of nowhere and makes this weird. Just running into the bird should have been enough to make the kid decide that life maybe isn't so miserable after all. Remove that one element and this would be a perfectly serviceable story- that did not match the prompt so sorry you didn't fool anybody there. Ignoring that the other main issue here is that it's just too wordy. You could chop off half the words and still get just as good a sense of how Jeremy feels like a failure, and that would have given you the room you needed to integrate flight into the story in a much more meaningful way.

Nethilia posted:

A girl gets wings because she lives in a universe where weird stuff showing up on the body is a parallel for puberty. She hates her wings but then she saves a kid and decides that wings aren't so bad after all.

I don't know why there were so many angsty stories this week, especially considering the loose connection most of them had to the prompt. That being noted, your story works, on a basic level. The fantastic elements are relatively subdued and work primarily to service the story rather than just being sheer wackiness in and of themselves. Personally I'd think snake hair would be a heck of a lot more annoying than wings but what do I know. Your story is well balanced in these regards, but balance alone does not a good story make. Jordan's generic enough that it's difficult to get excited by her problems, and the somewhat random nature of the Distinctions makes it hard to pull a decent theme out. It's not a bad story- it's just not a good story either.

sebmojo posted:

Angels are being caught because (???). Henry takes his daughter to see the angel because (???).

As far as I can tell you were so enamored with the concept you didn't actually take the time to explain any of the context for this. I read this several times and I still can't answer most of the basic questions about the setting. This removed me so much from the work that when we get to Henry and Rab having it out over implied crimes, I don't know how to relate it in the context of the setting. Ditto with Catherine and the angel. On a pretty fundamental I just didn't get anything that happened here. The quality of the prose is the only thing even making the story readable.

Bad Seafood posted:

This kid is taking shaman instructions from the douchebag shaman king. He then undertakes a test that involves the prompt.

It took me way too long to figure out whether Tsengri or Kojiten was supposed to be replacing the shaman. Be careful with your pronouns. They can be really confusing when establishing context. Speaking of which, your story is really lacking in that department. Why does Tsengri want to be a shaman? Is it because of his dad? We get more exposition about Kojiten than we do about Tsengiri, which is horribly worthless when the latter is the character we're supposed to care about- the one that actually does stuff. If you're going to send a character on a vision quest, it's pretty important that the reader be able to understand why or else the imagery just comes off randomly.

kurona_bright posted:

A woman has made an impulsive decision to start life over again in Seattle because her current life sucks. Then she meets an old friend at the airport who magically solves all her problems.

You've got a good narrative voice and the dialogue's all right. The main thing holding it back is the simplicity of the concept, and how the conflict is solved almost the minute it shows up. The context for the situation should really go in the first paragraph, the second at latest. As written the stuff about Natasha's past life pretty much comes out of nowhere. It's all right to dribble out a little bit at the time, as the conversation goes, but by not establishing the scene right away you ruin an excellent chance to get your reader curious. I also probably would have liked a story from Jane's point of view better. From Natasha's perspective nothing that happens relates to her actions, making her less a main character and more just someone who has things happen to her.

Meeple
Dec 28, 2009


Jeza posted:

think ur so smart how bout u brawl me

ill kick ur butt so hard it'll go flying thru the vacuum of space real fast m8


physics nonce

U mot m8. Ill deck you in, swear on me mum.

Hocus Pocus
Sep 7, 2011



In with a flash rule please!

Meeple
Dec 28, 2009


Crits the first

ReptileChillock - Ramshackle Estates
The time you spent writing a superfluous and discouraged introductory sentence might better have been spent getting an accurate wordcount. I appreciate, however, that this may have required you to look at your own words again and I can sympathise with your reluctance.

Your prose stumbles over itself in the first paragraph and never truly recovers; your storyline, alas, follows a similar trajectory. The flow of your writing suffers from an abuse of commas bordering on the sadistic - another pass to edit and rephrase (or even just re-punctuate) would have served you well.

The storyline lacks coherence, as the setup is too brief to give any weight to the subsequent string of barely-related action scenes that fail to tell us much at all about the character of Tobias, his motivations, plans, feelings or, really, anything. “Just who are you?” Meeple asked, but nobody knew the answer.

In your favour, the prompt was given at least as much of a consideration as the rest of the plot, which is to say precious little. Flying was involved, and there was a germ of an idea in Tobias’ childhood dreams that in a better world might have done well. I can only imagine the protagonist did indeed have some driving goal, but sadly we’re left guessing what that actually was beyond a throwaway reference to “the farm” in the opening paragraph. There is a story in there that could have been salvaged, and the scenes you set were tolerable, but I didn’t feel it hung together.

This was a borderline DM nomination from me, and put me in a terrible mood for writing the subsequent crits. You owe your colleagues an apology.

Meinberg - Salt Spray and Summer Winds
You crafted an engaging world with your story, one which I found pleasantly novel and well executed. The gods had interesting characterisation and the magic was refreshing, much like salt spray or a terribly forced back-reference.

Frerick’s backstory was blurted out in a rather truncated splurge of exposition, much like I imagine his name might be pronounced. The four brands on his arm were a perfect setup for a quick, sequential tour of how he arrived in his current predicament which you sadly let slip. The one paragraph of history you start with leaves too many questions - Which side won? What were the sides anyway? Why was he branded ‘slaver’ or ‘rebel’? Why does he have any reason to think his daughter is still alive? Some of these are answered later, but not all, and I’d prefer up-front explanation in a story this short.

You executed your story well, though minor niggles of prose and story rankled (for example: “stony” is the more common spelling; I’d suggest a colon before “five hundred and thirty-six”; why has he waited two years to escape anyway; round circles in a stone wall are far more effort to build that I imagine a prison cell would warrant). It certainly feels like the summoning of the gods was where you hit your stride, and the protagonist’s feelings come across better here.

You addressed the prompt directly: flying was clearly involved, and Frerick has a dream, and even has the decency to develop his character and change his dream at the end of the story.

Despite its minor flaws, this was a strong entry and deserved the win.

Cheneyjugend - Late Bloomer
Like a cupcake, I found this story is sweet but ultimately not very fulfilling. It was completely different from everything else this week, for which you certainly earn at least one point.

Your use of language is awkward at times: “We come to know, when the days are wet and cold, and try as he might, father’s wings cannot save all from the pummeling drops that soak the nest, that the ruder surprise is the lack of food.” is a hell of a sentence, but worse abuse of commas was perpetrated this week so I will stay my hand.

It’s hard to ascribe much character development to a baby bird, but I can’t say I really felt much of a ‘dream’ in there - I can’t say I’d describe birds flying the nest as a particularly unusual motivation, unless they were secretly penguins. Were they secretly penguins? If so, I feel you should’ve said. The flying part, obviously, was hit with reasonable accuracy.

SomeGuyTT wanted to cite you for failing to use context appropriate diction, to which I say “cheep cheep squark wark.”

Middle of the pack.

God Over Djinn - It begins at the beginning and ends at the end.
It begins at the ‘gently caress’ and ends at the ‘you’. This review starts with me, Meeple, coming to an abrupt and unpleasant realisation: I dislike meta-humour and gimmick stories, and now I’m reading one.

My initial impression of this story was “poo poo, I don’t have anything to write, so let’s see how long I can string out ‘This guy’s falling to his death, he wets himself, and then he goes splat.’” I won’t claim that’s your actual intent, but I am not the judge to whom you would want to be submitting an entry of this ilk.

The prose was very well executed, which claws it back from the edge of the precipice but fails to excuse it in my eyes. You also made only a passing swipe at the prompt.

Bushido Brown - Like a Morning Star
A pleasant little snippet of a story, but it felt unfulfilling and short. I find it hard to shake the feeling that this story was primarily a vessel for a series of bad ‘fly’ puns, which may or may not be a point against you.

You did teach me a new word, and unlike all the other stories that fall into that category, had the decency to actually explain it rather than leave me resorting to Google and an ineffable sense of my own inadequacy.

Your address of the prompt was direct and clear: the protagonist dreamt of flying, without falling into cliché. Your title, on the other hand, seems somewhat unrelated to the story.

theblunderbuss - Incandescent
I was, apparently, alone amongst the judges in liking this, which I suspect says more about my regrettable taste in melodramatic fantasy than your story.

I ended my first read of this story with a niggling confusion over what ‘she’ actually was; a second and third reading gave a bit more clarity. This strikes me as a symptom of knowing what’s going on but failing to tell the reader early or clearly enough (Meinberg’s story did something similar with the protagonist’s backstory). Better posters than I have belaboured this point already; take it to heart.

With regards to the prompt, I had warned that I would mock those who wrote about a dream to build a flying machine or become a bird. I will give you the narrowest of passes as your protagonist merely dreams of becoming a flying machine, which escapes on a technicality.

Entenzahn - Gravitational Pull
Your setting is neat but the story, alas, is not a terribly novel one. I did warn that I would mock as appropriate those who wrote stories about a protagonist who dreams of building a flying machine; consider yourself duly mocked. You showed us the setting through incidental details very well, which I did like.

As I am an enormous pedant, I will also deduct you some modicum of points for physical implausibility - human-powered flight (pedal-powered flying machines such as you seemed to be describing) was an unrealised dream until the early 20th century; the flapping-wing ornithopter designs especially never made it off the ground.

I found your language to be stilted at times; not so much over-formal and lacking contractions as merely failing to flow nicely. Run-on sentences and abuse of the common comma feature in places and no doubt contribute to this finding. A thorough editing might salve some of this.

Your aim at the prompt veered into the aforementioned cliché, but was at least accurate.

Jeza - Black Holes
As you may have already gathered, any opinions I might have had about the quality of your actual writing were drowned by my irrational anger at the core premise. Velocity in space is by necessity a relative measurement; a ‘speed record’ isn’t just a case of reading off a speedometer and high-fives all around. A few more words addressing that directly and I would’ve been left to enjoy the story; you certainly put enough effort into the rest of the science (or at least science words).

Physics pedantry aside, let us move on to the story. Amidst the technobabble there was a reasonably straight arc of a story, though it didn’t stretch very far as most of your word count was focussed on the climactic action scene. A little more emphasis on the character and less on the technology might have done you well.

You fell straight into the prompt, so I shan’t raise any complaints there.

Kalyco - Fall Away
I was very fond of this story; it was my personal favourite on my first read through and it was only narrowly pipped at the post for the win.

You snuck an awful lot of character development into a short story, and the main characters were hosed up in a very believable way. There were moments of awkwardness: AJ has a propensity for implausible long sentences that don’t flow very well on the page; you cram a lot of unnecessary adjectives into one paragraph about Rachel in the middle.

Your story addressed the prompt quite literally, with a character dreaming of flying, though I felt there was also the metaphorical dream of the relationship with AJ in there too to ensure you hit the prompt cleanly. You also win the “least bad suicide story” award for the week, given the sheer number of stories about people throwing (or failing to throw) themselves to their death.

WeLandedOnTheMoon! - Defector
Your writing style in this work felt almost childish to me, which I could entirely believe was intentional given the subject matter, but left me somewhat unsatisfied. The dialogue was hammy; again, maybe that’s intentional, but it still flowed poorly. Perhaps a contrast between the dialogue a kid might use when playing with toys and more smooth-flowing description might help, or going all the way down cliche. As it was, I couldn’t shake the feeling I’d read some kid’s homework.

Your story arc, beneath the clunky language, wasn’t entirely bad - a little character development, an ending that, though I hated the way you phrased it, wasn’t fundamentally flawed. Your idea was good and quite novel, but the execution was too flawed for me to enjoy it much. You addressed the prompt just fine, at least.

PootieTang
Aug 2, 2011

by XyloJW


Meinberg posted:

Your story must something that ends while it simultaneously begins.

Did you mean must include something that ends while it simultaneously begins (like those reverse aging jellyfish) or the story itself must end while it simultaneously begins?

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


PootieTang posted:

Did you mean must include something that ends while it simultaneously begins (like those reverse aging jellyfish) or the story itself must end while it simultaneously begins?

The missing word there is "include." However you interpret that is up to you.

Meinberg
Oct 9, 2011

ICE-MEIN


Hocus Pocus posted:

In with a flash rule please!

Your story must feature a computer.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why didn't you invest in
Thunderdome?


BRAWLIN ALL DAY

sebmojo posted:


500 words, themed to a musical piece of your choice, 21 May 2359 PST

Dieseltown
499 words

“I’m quitting,” Ronnie said. He scratched his arms and nervously looked around and I wondered if junkies had always been like that or only since the advent of TV crime dramas.

“Sure, kid,” I said. “Just a little, then. Don’t want to go cold turkey.”

He bit his lip. I projected a placid smile and did my best to pretend it’s perfectly fine we’re going through the same circus every time he scores some smack off me.

“Just a little,” he said. “Sure.”

#

I put the envelope in the mailbox on corner 30th/Bellevue and turned to leave, and there was Mac. I’d seen him around, buzzcut, ex-marine, doing assorted jobs for assorted shady clients, and Big G was one of them, and that was bad news for me.

He got a key out of his pocket and dangled it in front of me.

“If I open that envelope,” he said, “what am I gonna find?”

“Money,” I said.

“Money.”

“My daughter.”

“How generous of your boss to pay her medical bills.”

“I’m Big G’s best peddler. I earn more money than any of his other bozos, and then some for recreation. Do you get this? I’m an outlaw, and I have to do loving overtime. But my cake is the biggest. So I scrape off some dough. So what.”

“Well it ain’t your birthday.”

“And what if I gave you a slice?”

He raised an eyebrow.

“A big one.”

#

It had taken weeks of blackmail in public places to get Mac to trust in the businesslike nature of our relationship enough to come here. The alley was empty and dusk had settled when he crossed the corner and walked towards me, pace brisk, spine upright.

“Hands where I can see ‘em,” he said.

I raised them chest-high, a paper bag dangling in my right. When he extended his, I tossed the cash.

Mac must have seen the movement in the corner of his eyes, because instead of catching the bag, he turned just in time to grab Ronnie’s wrist and wrestle him for the knife.

I took a step forward and buried my own in his back. Once, twice, a few more times. I stopped once he was on the ground, wheezing. At least let him die somewhat peacefully.

“I hope your daughter gets better,” he finally croaked, eyes on the sky.

“Thanks,” I said, but he was already gone.

Ronnie, still clutching his knife, stood over the body. He looked as though he’d never seen a man die before. His jaw had dropped to his chest, eyes wide like a lame bunny in front of a steamroller.

I snapped my fingers. When he looked up I threw him a crumpled-up plastic bag and he caught it between his arm and chest. After some careful examination he said: “That's not my money.”

“It’s your H.”

“I wanted money,” he said. “I’m trying to quit.”

“Sure, kid” I said. “It’s just a little. Don’t want to go cold turkey.”



---
Musical piece: Cage the Elephant – Ain't No Rest For The Wicked

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sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Entenzahn posted:

BRAWLIN ALL DAY


Dieseltown
499 words

“I’m quitting,” Ronnie said. He scratched his arms and nervously looked around and I wondered if junkies had always been like that or only since the advent of TV crime dramas.

“Sure, kid,” I said. “Just a little, then. Don’t want to go cold turkey.”

He bit his lip. I projected a placid smile and did my best to pretend it’s perfectly fine we’re going through the same circus every time he scores some smack off me.

“Just a little,” he said. “Sure.”

#

I put the envelope in the mailbox on corner 30th/Bellevue and turned to leave, and there was Mac. I’d seen him around, buzzcut, ex-marine, doing assorted jobs for assorted shady clients, and Big G was one of them, and that was bad news for me.

He got a key out of his pocket and dangled it in front of me.

“If I open that envelope,” he said, “what am I gonna find?”

“Money,” I said.

“Money.”

“My daughter.”

“How generous of your boss to pay her medical bills.”

“I’m Big G’s best peddler. I earn more money than any of his other bozos, and then some for recreation. Do you get this? I’m an outlaw, and I have to do loving overtime. But my cake is the biggest. So I scrape off some dough. So what.”

“Well it ain’t your birthday.”

“And what if I gave you a slice?”

He raised an eyebrow.

“A big one.”

#

It had taken weeks of blackmail in public places to get Mac to trust in the businesslike nature of our relationship enough to come here. The alley was empty and dusk had settled when he crossed the corner and walked towards me, pace brisk, spine upright.

“Hands where I can see ‘em,” he said.

I raised them chest-high, a paper bag dangling in my right. When he extended his, I tossed the cash.

Mac must have seen the movement in the corner of his eyes, because instead of catching the bag, he turned just in time to grab Ronnie’s wrist and wrestle him for the knife.

I took a step forward and buried my own in his back. Once, twice, a few more times. I stopped once he was on the ground, wheezing. At least let him die somewhat peacefully.

“I hope your daughter gets better,” he finally croaked, eyes on the sky.

“Thanks,” I said, but he was already gone.

Ronnie, still clutching his knife, stood over the body. He looked as though he’d never seen a man die before. His jaw had dropped to his chest, eyes wide like a lame bunny in front of a steamroller.

I snapped my fingers. When he looked up I threw him a crumpled-up plastic bag and he caught it between his arm and chest. After some careful examination he said: “That's not my money.”

“It’s your H.”

“I wanted money,” he said. “I’m trying to quit.”

“Sure, kid” I said. “It’s just a little. Don’t want to go cold turkey.”



---
Musical piece: Cage the Elephant – Ain't No Rest For The Wicked

Noted. Lake Jucas, you're up.

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