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Jul 29, 2006

Thunderdome LXXIV: Y Tu Thunderdome!?

It's a New Year. The sun shining, the snow is melting, and all around people are burying old feuds. Forgiveness is in the air.

But some feuds can never be forgiven.

This week, I want to read a story with roots as old as time. Once, they were the best of friends. Now, they are the worst of enemies. Ceaser and Brutus, Anakin and Obi Wan, Professor Xavier and Magneto.

:siren: Your story must include two characters who were/are/will someday go from being the staunchest of allies to the most the hated of rivals:siren:

There's plenty to work with here, this is some classic poo poo. Betrayal. Love. Mothers turning against sons and brothers against sisters. Any genre, any time period, the disagreement can be anything, so long as it matters to your characters more than the world itself. Make it sad, make it epic, make it a story that stands the test of time. Don't be boring.

You don't have to include the entire arc (in fact, you probably shouldn't), but by the time the story is finished, the reader should have a pretty good idea of where the characters have been, where they're going, and what has torn them apart.

Sitting Here
Fanky Malloons

Sign-up Deadline: 11:59 pm, Friday the 3rd, EST.
Submission Deadline: 11:59 pm, Sunday the 5th, EST.

Word Count: 1250 epic words (or less)

Epic Poet Contenders:
The Leper Colon V
Purple Prince
God Over Djinn
V for Vegas
Erogenous Beef
Nubile Hillock
No Longer Flaky
JuniperCake (DQ)
petrol blue
Black Griffon
ThirdEmperor (DQ)
Nikaer Drekin
Fanky Malloons (also a judge) (DQ)
Schneider Heim
Seldom Posts

Roguelike fucked around with this message at 06:22 on Jan 6, 2014


Jul 29, 2006

You no good excuses for writers have about another two and a half hours to signup and make my life just a little bit worse.

35 signups, what the hell is wrong with you people. Why can't you all be more like Peel and Bigup DJ who just stopped by to say they were cool peeps who weren't competing this week.

EDIT: Haha, Signups CLOSED

Roguelike fucked around with this message at 05:05 on Jan 4, 2014

Jul 29, 2006

The Midnight Hour tolls, SUBMISSIONS CLOSED

Those of you who have failed to submit, look into your hearts and despair, knowing that your names shall forever be engraved on the Wall of Shame, beneath even the abonend bunkers and poo poo geysers.

Jul 29, 2006

:siren:Thunderdome 74 Judgement:siren:

I asked for the best of friends. You gave me stories with mild acquaintances, family members who never liked each other, boys who sole measure of friendship was that they were willing to give each other the time of day, and fish.
I asked for the worst of enemies, those of you who remembered to include this part gave me madmen, drug addicts, killers, and disgruntled senators.
The degrees of failure were more impressive than I could have imagined. Some of you missed half the prompt, some of you missed all the prompt, some of you didn’t even tell a story. But from the filth, there were a few who managed to find unfilth.

This weeks winner, with a raw, rough story of drugs and murder that tugged at the judges’ heartstrings is sentientcarbon.

Honorable mentions go to Quidnose for telling a tale about horrible little monsters, Martello for vikings throwing each other off balconies, crabrock for a compelling yarn about the inseperable love between a man and his gun, and JuniperCake for a creepy elephant story that just wasn’t quite finished in time.

The worst of the worst out of a staggering 29 entries, give it up for the loser Feste who managed to be both the most difficult to read and have the least payoff with an eye scorchingly bad discussion on the merits of architecture that had absolutely no payoff whatsoever.

Dishonorable Mentions go to Mercedes for trying to pander to the judges with dumb in jokes, and Mr_Wolf for a tense destroying tale of child prostitution that made every rookie writer mistake and then some.

sentientcarbon, I pass the cursed sceptre of Thunderdome to you, please post the next prompt.

Jul 29, 2006

Critiques for Week 74

Sorry my crits suck. Much like your stories. Boom!
No really, I have to go somewhere far, far away from Thunderdome and do something that doesn't involve writing for a very long time so this is all you're going to get. I know you guys worked hard and I know it sucks to only get a few sentences about how bad your story is, but there are literally no more words left in me to give. You can console yourselves with the knowledge that that I didn't get your stories because I'm a big dummy.

Mr_Wolf Block 89

Even if this grimdark story about the totally not Judge Dredd future wasn’t steeped in amateur mistakes, it would boring and somehow both too British and not British enough. But it was, so it’s worse.
Stop writing the present in the past. You know how you start the story with a direct statement, do that for everything. Go through and just eliminate as many words as possible, replacing sentences like "I wanted to keep my mouth shut..." with "I kept my mouth shut..." See how much easier that was to write and read? Now go delete that whole sentence because it sucks. You need to be a McCarthy of words, interrogating each one and forcing it to provide a list of its friends before you throw them in the word gulag, never to see the light of day.
Make your sentences and paragraphs flow together. Not just better comma use, but grouping ideas together and transitioning nicely. Read your story aloud if you need to. Eliminate or rewrite anything that doesn't belong.
Follow the goddamn prompt. Does "He can hold his drink and a conversation so I didn't argue with the pairing" sound like they were the best of loving friends to you? The only positive here is that the error is a matter of degree. If you dialed this story up to 11, it might have hit the prompt.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Jubilee. An active liability that could get her entire team killed at any moment.


uranus Duat

I did not enjoy your Sliders fanfiction.
The pieces of your story don’t tie into one another at all. The rivalry with his coworker, the dumb pottery macguffin, the lab that doesn’t work like any lab ever, the random Christmas party, the doppelganger, there’s nothing bringing them together to make a cohesive whole. Your protagonist isn’t interesting, his coworker isn’t even a character beyond spouting expository dialogue, and the ending is crushingly weak.
Oh and you didn’t follow the loving prompt. I guess you set up Simon to be the rival and then in a stunning twist it was actually doppelganger Carl, but it doesn’t work. The betrayal is meaningless because Carl is obviously a dick, why wouldn’t he be a dick to his alternate universe self. They were never friends and even now they aren’t exactly rivals, it’s unclear if they’re ever going to see each other again.
But even at being an rear end in a top hat, Carl wasn’t very good. Even the pettiest, most selfish assholes have to be able to think bigger than stealing the credit and writing a paper for an invention that would pretty much change everything forever.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Angel. A tepid, boring shell of a man whose power is a bad version of what everyone else gets for free.


Feste Faded, Jaded Dweller

Is this architect erotica, what the gently caress is this.
Your story hates it’s reader. Reading this is like the written equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard. It’s pretentious, it’s boring, it’s not a loving story, and it’s not on prompt.
Arguably worse, despite over a thousand loving words devoted to the subject, each one like a nail to my brain, you’ve completely failed to convey that the protagonist has any passion for architecture.
To put this in perspective, last year someone wrote a story about a poo poo geyser. That story, whatever its downfalls, was a thousand times easier to read and, y'know, actually told a loving story.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Omega Red. A mutant so evil even the Soviets didn’t want him and whose ability brings slow, toxic death to everyone around him.


Meinberg The Last Child

Okay, so this story is clumsy and awkward with a lot of words that say very little and a desperate need for names and pronouns, but I can’t hate it because it has screaming blood rain, it feels epic, and there’s a solid moment of betrayal.
There’s the beginnings of a good yarn here. Give this an ending that actually makes them the worst of enemies instead of waltzing in the rain, and you’ve got a foundation for something that could be quite good.
That said, your dialogue reads like it was written by Prequel Trilogy George Lucas, most of your descriptions feel stale (“blazed”, “thunder”) or clumsy (“voice roared with rebuke”), and I have no idea what’s going on.
I think the dialogue at the end of the sentence contributed to the distant, overwrought feeling of the story, but the one sentence where you didn’t do it made me very afraid this wasn’t a conscious choice. If it wasn’t, you should know that most of the time it’s weird to do that. And if it was, what was up with that one sentence.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Mystique. A bad cliche with a mysterious, unexplainable past that despite all odds occasionally manages to be interesting.


SurreptitiousMuffin The harrow and the plow

Well it told a story and hit the prompt and didn’t waste my time so I guess it’s okay. I mean okay as far as dumb thunderdome in jokes can be okay. Which isn’t very.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Squirrel Girl.


Play Where It Went Wrong

This is okay, I don’t hate this, there are some good feels here. The story could benefit with a little less interference from its all knowing narrator and a visit from the word reaper. You almost miss the ‘worst of enemies’ aspect of the prompt but I think the third to last paragraph manages sell it convincingly.
You also did a whole lot of telling, which worked better than it usually does, but with another 450 words to spare, I think you could have developed the characters of both the boy and the girl by expanding on some of the pivotal scenes. Show me a knife-fight argument. Let me see her finding the boy and the friend together.
This is the one story this week where not naming the characters wasn’t really a problem. I guess since their names were basically ‘girl’ and ‘boy’.
“many shuddering orgasms later” may be the best sentence fragment of the year so far.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Leech. Kind hearted with adorable eyes and heart three times too big. But still kinda ugly.


crabrock Last Words

I wanted this to work. I liked the subplot of the sword and the bandit lord from The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen. I liked the Bagpipe Who Didn’t Say No. But I’m afraid, like the eponymous Casey, you struck out.
I’m fairly sure you’re a good enough writer to know that “His chests oozes black roots that wrap around the gold star pinned on his chest” is a bad sentence for more than one reason, so let’s skip right past the numerous small mistakes right to the point of failure.
We don’t ever get to see them being friends. Where are the good times? Oh sure, we’re told they’re friends, but the flashback that shows them working together needs to be good. It needs to make me want to keep reading about the protagonist and his quirky relationship. There needs to be a dynamic that’s likable or fun to hate or interesting. Instead we just get a mildly psychotic protagonist, who is not sane enough to be sympathetic but not delightfully crazy enough to be entertaining.
Once you’ve established the foundation, your story could go on to play off that and be funny or tragic or whatever instead of turning into the bit of a mess it becomes.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
X-23. A clone of a beloved character that fails to capture any of the magic of the original.


Schneider Heim In Exile

Okay, so sure you don’t know whether it’s Rudolph or Rudolf, and you completely forgot half of the prompt existed instead telling a completely straight coming of age story, but I’m willing to forgive a lot for your attempt at a boar hunting scene.
I guess I should point out that your dialogue is wooden, your characters are far too self-aware (what twelve year old kid has ever not wanted to go help his friend topple a kingdom), and having a father punch his kid makes us not like the father.
But enough of that, let’s talk about boar hunting. The good news is that your spears had crossguards, that’s good. You need that crossguard because otherwise the boar’s momentum won’t stop and he’ll loving run up your spear and kill you.
But it went downhill from there. Boars shouldn’t be pawing or pinning anyone, they should be goring with tusks backed by hundreds of pounds of hatred and rage. Your action scene was weak and confused, lacking any sense that this boar was a deadly and terrifying creature bent on the eradication of these two foolhardy youths.
But the real problem with this scene as the climax is that it doesn’t further the story. I guess we’re supposed to realize that Rudolf/ph is Cairn’s friend, but we knew that already. Maybe the point is Rudolph/f’s becoming a man, but we care nothing about his faraway kingdom or his quest to reclaim his throne. Even Rudolph/f only seems to be going through the motions.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Gambit. A forgetful thief who can’t remember to keep his Cajun accent up half the time and has one gimmick that isn’t very good.


petrol blue We Don’t Fight Anymore

I don’t know, maybe if I was smarter, this story about a couple waiting for someone to die would be a brilliant commentary on the state of postmodern narratives. But I’m dumb, so I’m not even sure it counts as a story. For one, stories traditionally have a beginning, middle, and end. In between, something generally happens. You have two sections about two awful, unlikable people where nothing of any interest happens and your third section, in a dramatic change of place, is a flashback to… nothing happening?
It’s possible to write well about the desperation of everyday life, but the Glass Menagerie this is not. It lacks any of the small details or false hope that could make this situation feel so dreadfully real and depressing, instead it just feeling like ruined relationship tourism.
While you were at it, you also missed the prompt by writing about like, an average married couple. I have neighbors who hate each other more than your characters. I asked for timeless enemies and you gave me a petty husband and wife who inconvenience each other by putzing around.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Winnie the Pooh.


Nikaer Drekin Dissolution

Timeless premise. You did a great job making the reader like Bruhl and hate Kennington. Bruhl’s dialogue was easily the best part of the story, much better than your poor use of words like youngish, slunk, and morosely.
Which, uh, which might have been where you erred.
Because I’m not rooting for Kennington. When he comes back from the dead after a bunch of now pointless action, I’m not thinking “thank god he survived” I’m thinking “man, Kennington is a dick for making his wife kill that guy, I hope Bruhl whacks that fool”.
Kennington wearing a vest really undercuts his best line in the story too. “You don’t have murder in you.” That line was good and it showed that he still believed in his friend, which was touching. But it turns out Kennington is just a lying fucker and he never believed in his friend at all.
As far as the rest of the story, all the action stuff reads like you’re describing scenes from a bad movie, Kennington is duller than watching paint dry, and Sara existing only to be manipulated is kinda insulting.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Sabertooth. Prone to pointless outbreaks of bloody action but never actually able to kill any of the good guys that we’re rooting for him to slaughter.


Martello As Brothers, Once

You loving nailed the prompt. Some people might say it’s cliche, but gently caress those people. Cliches done well are a thing of beauty. You had an interesting setting and awesome use of a lot of strange countries and names to inform rather than confuse the reader. There’s a strong voice, characters that were fun to read, and a rocking mad king with an adorable dog.
Nitpicks. For a story that feels very grounded, the ending seems far too neat and tidy. Instead of a sense of unease for the future of this kingdom, I’m left with a feeling that everything’s basically all wrapped up.
Good stuff, but the Thunderdome Gods decreed that there must be three judges, not one, and so your choice of genre has doomed you, noble barbarian.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Selene. A 17,000 year old vampire that tears poo poo up but sets a poor example for the children by not wearing any clothes and posting white noise in the thread.


Tyrannosaurus The Incident on the Chunky River

Is this supposed to be funny. I don’t know, judging Thunderdome has rendered me incapable of any feeling but rage. If it’s supposed to be funny, I guess the idiot plot that only works because Stump doesn’t tell Gulper about the hook is okay.
But I didn’t laugh, so I don’t think it’s meant to be funny. Or at least, not haha funny. And if it’s only light-hearted and not funny then why is Stump so dumb. I know, I know, he’s a catfish, but like why’d he invite Gulper over in the first place.
gently caress, I think Thunderdome has broken me.
Anyway, they didn’t really turn into the worst of enemies, they just had a spat and Gulper went off and got himself killed.
The fish falling in and out of accent was confusing too. Maybe that was also supposed to be funny. And then the narrator suddenly develops an accent. In fact, word usage is all over the place with fish smiling, talking about hell, and knowing what liver is. Are there fish apologists, now that would be funny.
If you think about it, they weren’t really the best of friends either. I mean the narrator tells us they are, but I’m not sure if I can trust that guy.
At the end of the day though, I can’t hate this for not making me laugh and not nailing the prompt. It was readable, you told a story, and you appear to have spent some time editing it. Good job, you’re in the top 50% of the class.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Iceman. Utterly average competence. Can be relied upon to not gently caress things up, usually. Constantly laughing at the back of the class.


Nubile Hillock Dust to Dust

“I stared, awestruck, out through the dome. We were going to die.” is the hook of this story, everything that comes before is complete chaff. Throw it all away. Especially since after the first half of your story, your narrator’s voice completely changes and everything we learned, we get to learn again in a better, more active voice in the second half.
‘Better’ in only the most relative use of the term. It still feels clumsy to have this second hand narration of past events. The entire interesting part of the story is in that flashback, the crew of the arcology slowly becoming mad and turning on each other until only Cassy and the protagonist are left.
The part we see is like turning on the last five minutes Event Horizon. The protagonist seems like less a character and more an excuse to narrate events. I guess you missed the prompt too, while you were wasting all those words on setting, you also forgot to even allude to any friendship with Cassy.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
The Blob.


Jagermonster Figmo

I like politics. I know politics. Reading this, I don’t get the feeling that you do.
By not using parties or ideas you were probably trying to portray a mainstream ‘both parties are corrupt and equally bad’ view of the U.S. Congress, but gently caress that poo poo. Welcome to 2014 where everything is filibustered, you don’t need to talk to filibuster anymore, and acrimony is so high that the Democrats are on the verge of killing the filibuster. There’s no banking initiatives, this Congress can’t even keep the loving government open.
Without knowing the issues or the stakes, I can’t find myself getting involved in the story and it devolves into two scumbags screwing each other over. Obviously the point of view scumbag thinks he’s in the right, but so does literally everyone in Congress.
As for the rest, we don’t get any glimpses of their partnership, certainly nothing to make us think they were the best of friends. The purple heart stuff was heavy handed and the plot itself was completely straightforward without a cloud of tension or twist in sight.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Sebastian Shaw. Destined to lose his position as soon as anyone with an ounce of political know-how shows up.


Mercedes Black and Tan

Oh it’s an extended thunderdome in joke that includes the phrase “goatse’d the air”. Well, at least you told a story and maybe hit the prompt. Go join SurreptitiousMuffin in the not losers corner.

You know what, no, at least Muffin didn’t waste my time. This wasn’t nearly as bad some of the poo poo submitted this week, but those guys put their hearts into their stories instead of playing Thunderdome bingo and hoping the judges would catch all their sweet references.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Storm. Always giving an overwrought speech before using any of her powers.


Seldom Posts Two Heroines

There’s some good language here and the distant, poetic narrator kind of works, but this piece is hamstrung by going up against much longer stories that tell more complete tales. You made a good choice not writing 1200 words of this though, because that would be terrible.
As an experiment in writing to see if you can slip fanfiction through, this is pretty solid. As a story it’s lacking some key elements. Still, it was fun to read and didn’t make me angry. “Joy poured out of her like a garden hose,” is the second best sentence fragment of the week.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:


Kaishai Mirror Truth

I really, really liked the start of your story. It was fun, it was quirky, it had a likable protagonist.
Then you decided to break my heart by telling a completely by the numbers anorexia tale.
As anorexia stories go, I guess it’s fine--pretty good even--but stories that are about(™) sensitive issues are always going to be a horrible quagmire of dead puppies.
The ending also confused me as to whether she’s cured or bulimic or going to go back to being anorexic tomorrow. And it made me sad. Because these are just not the kind of questions I want to be asking myself after I finish reading a story.
Good job hitting the prompt though in a fun way. Or y’know, what would have been fun if it hadn’t been about anorexia.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Rogue. Whenever she touches people, horrible things happen.


Erogenous Beef Redox

This chemistry talk is way better than architecture talk. I don’t know if it’s all bullshit or what, but it’s fun to read.
Which is good, because take away the chemistry and this story doesn’t really have a lot going for it. It’s lacking desperately in tension and plot, the only stakes are some ill defined chemical cold war, and I’m not entirely convinced it follows the prompt. I think we’re supposed to care about the niece, but after setting her up with the photograph, that thread just completely disappears.
The ending also seems to be building toward something, but I just don’t understand the story ends where it does. The Americans sent her here to give a talk and she refused to give it, which seems bad, but I have no idea how that ties in with everything else. I can sorta speculate that maybe she’s going to defect or help Hermann defect or blow up this council of nitrogen scientists. This feels more like a middle then an end, there’s no resolution or natural stopping point I can see here.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Dark Beast.


Walamor The Promise

This scene was okay in It’s A Wonderful Life because everyone hates George Bailey and wants to see him rot in that awful town forever.
Here though, in ‘two guys discuss their life over coffee’ creative writing purgatory, it sucks. For more than a thousand words, two assholes talk back and forth in a conversation that goes nowhere and then they leave.
There’s no action, no story, nothing but two guys and a joyless diner laying out some expository dialogue that everyone could see coming from a thousand miles away. Just give these guys something to do or make one of them funny or… something. Anything.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
George Bailey.


Fumblemouse Dragon vs Taniwha

Feels like this story is all razzle with no meat. Lots of great language, cool imagery, and fun dialogue, but at the end of the day I’m left with no idea what the betrayal is or why they’re rivals now or even what the nature of their feud is. It’s not like defense lawyers and drug dealers are natural enemies or anything.
I have the uneasy feeling that I’ve entirely missed the point of this story. I could either blame myself for that or you. Hmmm, tough choice.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:


sebmojo Besties

Okay, the good news is that you clearly hit the prompt. The bad news is that you did so with a story that limped slowly along going from happy to depressing before delivering with the weakest of endings. The first two parts feel like they exist solely to set up the third part, which could be okay, but hardly anything besides character names carries over. So little happens in the second part that you could almost cut it out completely.
The payoff for all of this is Sharon learning that Tracey is sleeping with her husband and then getting to tell her friend to gently caress off. Maybe if I liked Sharon or had seen Tracey being consistently awful to her it would have been more of ‘hell yeah’ victory moment, but I didn’t and it wasn’t. Instead it just seemed like the plodding, inevitable end to the depressing as gently caress third act which lacks any of the joy of the first two acts.
The real failure of the story is that after spending all this time with Sharon, I still don’t have any sense of who she is or what she wants out of life or why I should root for her. I would rather see the point of view of Tracey, who may or may not be lying to sleep with James, and is a much more interesting character who appears to have actual ambitions.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Emma Frost.


Quidnose Old Boys Club

There’s so many children. I hate all these children. gently caress children.
The dialogue is fine although some of this seems a little Steven Spielberg remembering being a kid and less actually being a kid. You managed to more or less untangle all the children’s names.
But gently caress these kids, I hate them all and if that was what you were going for, good job. Arnold is a bully, Stuart and Reggie are pathetic, Daniel is a coward, the rest are evil. Yes, children are awful. Maybe as a part of a larger story this could work better, but as a standalone it just feels so ugly to read.
As far as I can tell, no one in this story has a single redeeming feature. It’s all darkness and gloom without any joy or fun or happiness at all.
I’m going to go drink.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:


No Longer Flaky The Sea’s A Harsh Mistress

This story wasn’t that bad. Then the dialogue started. And it was, it was that bad.
I don’t even where to start. Let’s begin with the structure and then we’ll move on the content. You need to be writing dialogue that interacts with the story. Rather than just posting a script, you need to be weaving the words in with things that are happening so that everything flows together. This makes your story more interesting to read and helps keep it from becoming stale.
Now for the content. Words are precious. Each one is like a bullet. If you waste them, if you use them inappropriately, then you won’t have any left for when the Nazis come storming over that hill with murder in their eyes. So when you write ““No more than I am a tool of yours. You use me for your own benefit, [blah] [blah] [blah]”, you aren’t just wasting words, you are killing your story. But more than that, dialogue needs to feel like it belongs. And the wooden, cursy, mess that both the boat and the sea talk in doesn’t feel like it belongs.
Look, what I’m trying to say is, write better loving dialogue.
Now, I don’t mean to give you pass on everything else that sucks in your story, but don’t worry about it too much. You remembered to tell a story, you hit the prompt, the boat even had, like, motivation and poo poo.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Black Bolt.


Kleptobot The Martyr

Two guys talk. One of them kills the other.
It wasn’t the worst of the week. I get the feeling that you didn’t care about any of these fools. I certainly didn’t. Not David, or Gregor, or their stupid revolution. So when Gregor gets shanked and tossed into the sea, it’s just kinda ‘welp’. And then it’s over.
You get points for them actually having a disagreement that didn’t make one of them obviously wrong and maybe in a longer piece you could have talked enough ideology to make this interesting, but right now it just doesn’t feel complete.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:


sentientcarbon Brother’s Keeper

Awww, this is a good sad story about a boy murdering his mother because it had to be done. It hits just the right notes of Reggie finally coming to terms with what he has to do and how Ma used to be a much better person before her life disintegrated.
That said, drugs seem like a little bit of a copout for an actual disagreement. I wish you’d been able show Ma as a villain that Reggie felt he had to get rid of without resorting to that cliche.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:


Black Griffon Gravity slaves

Two old lovers meet on a battlefield. There’s some potential here, but it’s squandered in clunky exposition and plodding dialogue.
There’s no momentum to this story, you just lay out the setting then lay down the dialogue then have a perfunctory fight. You need to mix all these elements together instead of keeping them separate. The fight needs to be going on with the dialogue. Get rid of all those blocks of text at the beginning of the story and if you really feel the need to keep any of that information, tell it to us as he remembers it during the conversation.
The way it is now, you’ve got a big flashing sign saying ‘Here’s what I’m going to do’ and then you do it, which isn’t a terribly interesting way to tell a story.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Cyclops. A guy who telegraphs that he’s going to shoot you by pointing his eyeglasses at you and then lifting up his hand.


JuniperCake Never Forget

There’s a good voice here that’s fun to read while also managing to be be increasingly creepy. It’s too bad that it came in over the time limit with a rushed ending and some editing issues. With a little more time I think you could have really hit the ‘worst of enemies’ part of the prompt, but as is, you kinda flubbed that too.
Would’ve loved to have read the finished version of this.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Bone Wolverine.


Fanky Malloons Usurper

Even though it was double DQ’d for being both late and from a judge, I would totally crit this if Thunderdome hadn’t broken my will to live.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Invisible Woman.


ThirdEmperor In Remembrance

A guy goes to a wake and gets plastered. I can’t even see the prompt from wherever this story landed. I mean yeah, it’s expected that when someone loving dies, you say nice things about them and don’t bring up all the times they were an rear end in a top hat.
I guess, technically, this manages to tell a story, there are actions that take place. But it just feels like wankery.

If This Story Was An X-Man It Would Be:
Harry Leland.

Jul 29, 2006

You can't spell in without in.


Jul 29, 2006

The Court of Last Resort
1168 words

The Four of Clubs lit his cigarette with the ashes of his old one. Rubbing his nose, he pushed two queens forward, then rapped the table. “Bet, Knave.”
Bullets ran down the Knave of Swords’ face. Reaching a shaking corner up to his neck, he removed a miniature silver scale. “Four, this is all that’s left, I worked hard-”
“It’s worth four rooks,” Four interrupted, sliding a bishop into the pot and pulling a pawn out.
The Knave managed a tenuous smile. “R-read the jury and weep, Alekhine’s Gambit. Y-you’re streak is over, Four.”
Four tapped a corner to his nose. “I don’t think so, Knave.”
The verdict came in. Knave saw, screamed, and ran for the door, but Ace was ready for him.
“Appeal denied.” Four snapped his fingers.
The two cards left through the window.
Four flicked his cigarette over the sill after them. The pale glow twisted and turned in the wind, managing to nip hot at their corners, herding the gliding pair of cards down into the swirling snow storm.
It was time. All those little cards below, going about their little lives. Soon, they would be waking up. Waking up just in time to see their cell doors flung open to a world they didn’t know existed. And standing right there in the sunlight they’d never felt would be the messiah they didn’t deserve.


The Big Court, The Court of Last Resort, La Una. Under the watchful blindfold of Liberty, it kept guard against the teeth and claws of the nature. Nine rumbling black eyes of light and music spied a lonely card making his way up the icy sidewalk.
A familiar, oiled olympian met Four just as the sidewalk ended and the black marble steps covered in blood began, the line between justice and mob rule.
“Another appeal, Four?” Seven took his coat, then took a moment to rub Four’s shoulders. “You know we need to count your pieces.”
“It’s all there.” He winked his nose at Seven. “I’m turning this town around.”
Seven’s face rippled as he concentrated on each piece, working hard not to lose his count. “Big talk, Four.”
“One good card, that’s all it takes in this lousy world. You’ll see.”
Seven raised an eyebrow, but finished the rest of his count in silence. “Sure, Four, I’d like to see that. You can go in now.”
He’d been to The Big Court before, but even knowing what to expect, walking in was a kick to the face. Cards writhing on poles, naked down to their boots, selling their dignity to the beat of stenography. This was the lubricated, pistoned, arrhythmic heart of justice itself.
Even this late, Four was still hours early. Hours of good cigarettes and bad card dances while he waited for the full bench.
Fat Cat, The Gunshot, Mister Butterfly. One by one they came. Judge Alice was last, her black velvet robe seemed to levitate over the court’s red carpet. Four hadn’t worn his robe in years, but seeing her made him wish he had.
His first jury found Four looking down the barrel of a Broken French. He sneezed once and folded.
“No luck, tonight?” Fat Cat asked with a frown. “Do not worry, perhaps it will change.”
Five verdicts in, Fat Cat’s frown had reached his whiskers. “Fold,” Four said, kicking his jury back to the dealer and pulling out a wet, wadded tissue to blow his nose.
By the time Four finally won his first, modest verdict, his stack had dwindled by half and there were hives breaking out on his eyebrows. Mister Butterfly was finished, having contributed most of his pieces to Fat Cat’s hoard.
“Your luck changes?” Fat Cat asked, giving an encouraging smile to Four. “I am so happy for you. I do not know what I would do with all these pieces anyway.”
The Gunshot went out next, going down with all hands blazing on a Reverse Nimzowitsch. The winnings gave Fat Cat enough to add a moat and drawbridge to his fortress of pieces.
“Bad luck for Gunshot.” Fat Cat peeked his head out from his castle. His frown was now an infection spreading down his neck. “Ah, it is down to you and it is down to me. And Alice, but she never plays until the fat lady sings.”
Four’s sinuses were clearing and his time was running out. Riding nothing more than a White Sicilian, he pushed his remaining pieces forward. On a whim, he chased them with Knave’s miniature scale.
“It’s worth four rooks.”
Alice gasped, “You would bring such a thing into this court?”
“I would. I did. I have,” Four said,
Alice nodded at Fat Cat. Fat Cat rapped his paw against the table. “I call.”
“White Sicilian.” Four flipped the verdict, taking the pot. He went all in the next round, and the round after that, each time betting Knave’s silver trinket.
“King’s Safety. Ruy Lopez Hat-trick.”
He doubled his stack with each verdict, laying siege until Fat Cat hid behind nothing but smiles.
And then only Alice was left. Her pieces had been dwindling all night, she hadn’t rolled a single verdict. Four rubbed his nose. It felt good. Blindly, he pushed his stack forward.
“Fold,” Alice said. The word had become her vocabulary. She folded on the next verdict and the one after that.
“You going to play or just watch while you lose everything?” Four snapped.
“What do you want?”
“What does any card want? I want to see summer again.”
“I want the sun to rise in the east.”
“I want two and two to make four.”
“I see.” Alice folded her fingers inside her robe. “And if I gave this all to you, you would go away?”
“Not on your life.”
“One verdict then.” Without taking it off, she folded her robe into the pot.
Four touched his nose. It felt clear. This was it. As good a chance as any card had ever gotten. He pushed his pieces forward. “One verdict.”
Four watched the jury that would decide his fate come in, the stork delivering each member face down. He reached for them, but Alice caught his corner. “We could still plea this out.”
“Maybe if it wasn’t my lucky day,” Four said, finding the courage to flip his verdict.
“Queen’s Gambit Delivered.” His shoulders sank in relief
Alice revealed her own paltry Broken French with chagrin, then snapped her fingers. “Appeal denied.”
Four felt a sneeze coming on.
The dancers laughed at him as they drug him outside, depositing Four’s crumpled form on the marble steps beneath the eyes of the court.
“Tough night, Four?” Seven handed him his coat.
Four wiped off the blood and mucus, straightening his corners as best he could. “I’ll win, Seven. Next time. You can count on that. I just need to get the pieces together. You’ll see, I’m good for it, I’m going to fix this town.”
“Sure, Four, I’d like to see that.”

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