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Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Surreptitious Muffin, old buddy.

Kia ora, bro.

Now we both realise that your styles are weak and feeble. Also, that it is long past time that they be ended. You have suggested it be me that should do this; so let it be written.

Tl,dr: bring it bitch

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 05:05 on Dec 13, 2014


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Also: in.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

LeperMerc Brawl

500 words on the Gene Wolfe quote: "Our greatest sin is that we are only capable of being what we are."


A Call Home (484 words) Weak title, though not objectionable. The best titles make sense after you've read the first para and make more and better sense after you've read the last, this one is just blandly descriptive.

Rick swallowed hard, and leaned heavily against the payphone, using it both for support and to hide from the growing storm. Hiding from a storm with a payphone would be awkward, but there's a sense that the storm is both the weather and his relationship with his daughter that makes this work. There's possibly a better word you could find though. He'd drank whiskey on an empty stomach again, I like the economy of the description here and the bile in his gut flared up from time to time, threatened to force its way back up. Each time, he He pushed it back down, and continued to fumble with the change in his numb hands. Often complicated 'he x'd while he y'd and the z's flew' constructions can be improved by simplifying. Twenty-five cents. Fifty. Seventy-five. Entire paychecks had disappeared in a bar without a thought, but he clutched to those quarters for dear life cliche, though the sentiment is good as he pushed them into the slot. Funny, that. These two lines move the perspective/pov and it's a little jarring.

Finally, it was in, and the ringtone prompted Rick to reach out, to make this all right again. He could fix it, he knew he could. It was just a bit of drinking, just a few words. "Nothing that can't be fixed," Rick whispered to himself as he began to punched the numbers. To the house phone, the old answering machine. She could just ignore the call if it was on the cell, but the machine, she'd have to listen to that, have to hear him out. This is nice specific detail. More than anything, he needed her to hear him out. And I like this motivation, it both works for the story (which after all has almost nothing actually happen in it) and rings very true from my experience of alcoholics.

One ring. Two. Already, Rick could picture her standing in front of the phone, staring down at it. Three rings. No one but Rick and telemarketers called the landline. Ohhh nice. And even they had Christmas off. Heh. Four. With a whirr and a click, the call transferred over to the ancient machine, spinning the tape to record what Rick said. He paused, both to gather his thoughts, and to suppress another wave of bile. When he finally spoke, his words were more slurred than he'd realized, and he had to try and correct them as he went. Good detail. "Sarah, it's Ri- Dad. It's Dad. I know you're- you're mad at me for what I said."

What followed was a blur for Rick. Sort of weak. You're the writer, don't tell us it was a blur, describe the blur rather than summarise it. Apologies, promises, admissions, things he'd said a thousand times before, and things he'd only thought of saying. Many of them weren't pretty. After what must have been several minutes, the words stopped coming. He'd said everything he could think to say, everything that came automatically. Normally, she'd answered by now. Or at least picked up and then hung up again. This was the first time she'd ever ignored his call- ignored him, and it left him at a loss. He had no words left, and for a moment, he couldn't do anything but stare blankly forward, barely able to process what was happening.

It was the fifteen-second warning beep of the payphone that got his thoughts moving again. "Sarah, I didn't mean what I said about you and Sam. OK, so this is sort of the punch, such as it is, and it doesn't land (if it's even meant to?) Don't be coy. Either tell us what he said and make it dreadful, or don't. I'd- I'd just had a bit too much to drink Well duh and... Sarah, I am your father! Pick up the goddamn pho-"

The line clicked and went silent, leaving Rick with only dead air and the cold wind to keep him company. 'Dead air and cold wind' is a primo word punch.

"Our greatest sin is that we are only capable of being what we are." - Gene Wolfe And putting the quote down here uses it to perfection; note that it would have been wasted up the top.

I liked this a lot, though there are a few clunky word choices and it isn't quite sure how much it wants to reveal about the dad's sin which fuzzes the end. But it conveys a mood very well, and gives a brutally tightshot portrait of a drunk and the wreckage he has created in, and of, his life. Exacting work.

Mercedes posted:

Sitting In A Tree, S-T-U-K As Can Be

^^^ Title is a little ehh

Words 490

“You seem to be in quite the pickle, Sergeant Skittles,” said shouldn't he be shouting or calling out if the cat is all the way at the top of the tree? the dog, Sir Barkley, his lips unmoving as he looked up at to the cat in her precarious perch high in the tree. “I bet you want me to do the whole song and dance and fetch our human for you?” By itself this is a funny opening line. With everything laid out it's clotted and ploddy. If you have a sweet line, make sure it has room to breathe.

Sergeant Skittles 'Sergeant Skittles' is a funny name, but I'd prefer if you paid it off in some way, like you did with the dogs name. blinked slowly. Thick dark lashes rested on her high cheekbones, like fuzzy caterpillars floating in a bowl of sweet cream loving NO this is an unfunny in-joke, which makes no sense even in context. Do NOT do this sort of thing. 1. “I’d rather be the neighborhood bicycle than call on you for anything of importance. Unnecessary, cut. I have this under control,” said Sergeant Skittles.

“Well then,” said Sir Barkley as he laid down and got comfortable, “that is a very tall tree you are sitting in.” His lips peeled back like curtains in a toothy grin. “Did the bird you chased up there teach you how to fly?”

Mongrel, don’t you have a red rocket to clean Huh? or a leg to hump?” "Don't you have a leg to hump?" is punchy and funny. Avoid the temptation to overcomplicate your dialogue unless you're making a specific point with that overcomplication. Good snappy fuckyou banter is generally very rhythmical..

Sir Barkley slapped the grass with his tail. Nice, this is a good doggy way to convey character.“At least I have all of my parts.”

Sergeant’s No, this reads weird as an abbreviation of a name. ears pressed against her head and her eyes went into slits. Dogs actually have pretty bad eyesight. How high is the cat? “You slipper-fetching, man-serving -- This is weak. Give S S her reply, and make it a good or a bad one, and convey character that way. Oh, our human! Get it to help me down!” Why can't Skittles meow?

The human walked across yard and tussled Sir Barkley’s ears. “Ock,” said the human. “Ock, ock.” Hmmmmm. This injoke just about passes because it's actually funny, but seriously. Injokes have their place and a brawl like this isn't it.

Sir Barkley rolled over and the human rubbed his belly. A minute passed, dull and a voice called from the house, dull drawing the human away and leaving the animals alone again. dull

This is a terrible para. Describe something, make something happen, make the cat try desperately to attract the human's attention, characterise the human, do SOMETHING.

“Man, those tummy rubs feel awesome,” said Sir Barkley. Ehhhhhh. Also sort of a waste.

“What the hell, Sir Barkley?” asked Sergeant Skittles. “You didn’t even try to get the human to help me down!” UNF PLOD PLOD

“I sure didn’t.” He contentedly slid around in the grass. Placeholder, dull.

Sergeant Skittles stared, dumbfounded. Why is he dumbfounded when it's clear from teh story so far that they don't like each other very much? Also “W-why?” 'Wh-why', 'B-but' and 'What th-' are all phrases you should not be typing because they are super cliche and bad. They also convey no character.

“You gave me fleas.”

Sergeant Skittles recoiled her head. No, you recoil or you pull your head back. You can recoil a hose, I guess, but that is sending this story in a much more tentacular direction than I think the text warrants. “Fleas? Is this what this is about?” she asked. “We both had fleas and it sucked! I’m sorry you got them from me.”

“Not just the fleas. I had to wear a cone around my neck for a week.”

Sergeant Skittles suppressed a laugh as the visuals streamed through her mind’s eye. OH gently caress THIS loving SENTENCE WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME it is not good i am afraid. Though it almost works here, 'suppressed a laugh' is one of those lines that you're almost always better cutting. And 'as the visuals streamed through her minds eye' is a super clunky and terrible way of saying 'at the memory.' “That was terrible.”

Sir Barkley got up. “Have fun spending the night outside, Skittles.”

“Wait, wait!” she called out after Sir Barkley. “I’m sorry, I really am. What can I do to make it up to you?”

“I want you to call me by my full name from now on.” ONLY GOOD BIT OF THE STORY COMING UP HOLD ON TO YOUR TITS

Sergeant Skittles hesitated. When she finally spoke, she did it slowly. “You want me to call you ‘The Round Mound of Rebound Charles Barkley the Bad Mamma Jamma’ Okay that made me lol. every time?” She shifted in her perch. “That is far too stupid. Even for you.” so you've set up the stakes, and what the cat wants, and what the dog wants, and dropped your joke (which is pretty good) but then you just let it all go and it sort of phloghlffflghsfsffs to the ground. I NEED THING. OKAY, BUT YOU MUST GIVE ME THING. NO. OK BYE is not a story. If you'd set up some essential element of sergeant skittles character that explained why she couldn't call him by his name, then it might have worked better. But this is a bust.

“Oh look! It’s a car. I think I’m gonna go chase it now,” said Sir Barkley as he went NOPE. He said it, then he ran. Also, I think you could have landed the joke better if you'd saved the full awesome majesty of his name until this para. racing down the street.

Sergeant Skittles watched in disbelief why doesn't she believe it? They clearly aren't good friends and she wouldn't do a fairly straightforward thing to get him to help her. hell, she could have agreed then broken her promise, that would be authentically catty. as her only hope of getting down APART FROM CLIMBING OR THE FIRE DEPARTMENT vanished. “Well, old girl. You seem to be quite in a pickle.” Weeeeeeeak ending.

Well. I remember failing a similar story last year so maybe I have a problem with stories where people on the ground talk to people stuck up trees. But this is both unconvincing and ploddy. The central conflict is fine enough, but i didn't get the sense that either the dog or the cat really cared about the outcome.[/b]


Despite how it might appear this is not a Thunderdome for people: it's a dome for words. One combatant had good words; the other did not.

The victor is Leper Colon V, by a knockout.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

New thread title imo

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Google current EST and do the math(s).

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk


sebmojo fucked around with this message at 13:46 on Dec 24, 2014

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

crabrock posted:

Feste, when you first posted your story I figured it probably wouldn't go well.

You've only failed if you give up now. Stay in the 'dome and fix your mistakes. That's what you're here for, right?

I've gone through your story and made several suggestions, asked questions you should answer (through storytelling), and noted place you could improve on.

This took a lot of time, and I'm doing it to help you.

And this from a man who can punch through Chobham armour plate with his dick.

He does not help by halves.

Edit: use names for people goddammit

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

sentientcarbon, where's our fuckin prompt

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

magnificent7 posted:

THANK YOU ALL! yes makes sense.

"Shut up," Tom suggested politely.


Since neither of these two stains on god's green earth chose to write a single loving word of their brawl I am declaring them both to be failures so total that the Hindenberg would look at them and go 'hey I'm not so bad y'know I might have exploded in a huge fireball and killed everyone within a thousand yards but at least I'm not those two CHUCKLEFUCKS.'


sebmojo fucked around with this message at 10:37 on May 14, 2014

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

magnificent7 posted:

Are you even using real words, crabs magnet?

What was that, babbling twatnugget? You want a dramatized reading of the worst old thunderdome story I can find to drive home the sad truth that it's still better than you'll ever do?


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

for that, merc, you're putting in an entry too.

oh, and in on this ridiculous brawl

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

A random crit of one that missed the cut last round.

curlingiron posted:

Welp. I'll put it here, and maybe in the other thread, too, if that's okay.

The Good Boy - 437 words

Brutus climbed the steps to the room, the familiar creak of the old slats in eerie contrast to the chaos and howls from outside. He did not want to reach the top, but had to keep moving. He felt the others’ eyes upon him, judging.

Okay you've chucked a bunch of balls in the air. what is the chaos, who is watching, what's in the room. You have 400 words to have them drop in a satisfying way.

He had waited as long as he could, but even he could see that the writing was on the wall. The good times were over, and he knew that if he wanted to live, he would have to find a place in this new world on his own.
Nope. Plus this is all filler. 400 words, man. Plus, dogs can't read.

He hesitated. He knew that he shouldn’t, but he turned his head, looking down at the audience there. The short one – the leader, not because of a natural gift but due to a relentless, deep-seated fury that kept him fighting until long after the big men would run crying – met his eyes, a challenge. Nope. Also kinda fillery.

“Well? You’ve got this far, don’t tell us you’ve changed your mind!” The short one smiled nastily, baring his teeth. Nope.

Brutus returned to the stairs, and finally reached the top. The room was there. Nope. Also redundant, you've already said this.

The first two had been easy. The Man, Brutus had learned long ago, took joy in tormenting those weaker than him, and though he claimed to love Brutus, what he really loved was showing Brutus his place. No gift went without some cruel joke, no tenderness except that in mocking apology for the pain that preceded it. Getting there, but nope.

The Woman was not quite so unkind, but with bottle in hand had seen Brutus alone, neglected, unfed and, unable to care for himself, punished when he finally succumbed to nature’s necessities and soiled himself, humiliated. Okay closer, but still nope.

But here was the Boy, and the Boy had been kind. Okay we have the three sketched out and know that the third is behind the door, the potential for a satisfying closer approaches.

“Puppy?” came the voice, small, from beneath the bed, and the Boy’s golden head emerged slowly from beneath a comforter, faded but beloved, by both Brutus and his Boy.

He felt his resolve melt. He sighed, felt the gentle touch of the Boy’s hand upon his head, and knew he could not do it.

“Traitor!” shrieked the short one, bolting up the stairs. Brutus turned, but before he could even raise a hackle, the boy struck.

The short one recoiled, stunned, as the missile – a baseball, long familiar to Brutus – rebounded, and the Boy bent to pick it up, ready to strike again.

Brutus heard a familiar laugh. No, she was dead; the Woman was gone, but here…

He turned, and yes, there was the Boy, laughing the Woman’s careless laugh, the Man’s look of contempt on his face.

“Stupid dog!”

Brutus made it quick, because he had been a Good Boy. Nope, nope nope. What is the chaos outside - kill all humans day? Ok. So the protag is a dog - do stairs really creak when dogs climb them? So the dog kills the boy... How? You've laden everything into the final OMG they are DOGS TWEEST and it doesn't stand up because you've skipped important details to keep the twist secret. And it feels cheap because the characters don't seem that doggy.

That said I'm enjoying it more in retrospect, which suggests your basic idea is sound. It's a decent evocation of the prompt, mans best friend etc, but twist endings are very 14 year old things to write. Let go.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 02:48 on Jan 9, 2014

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Nz daily time? You've been away too long. We are all Americans now and live our lives to the rhythm of their endless freeways.

You'll get your brawl when the PST rolls around, slow and dark as the Marianas.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Mag7/Meinberg/Mercedes AnimeBrawl

Magical Heroine Miyuki
500 words

Miyuki was painting her nails in her office when the ninja crashed through the window. She hurled her chair backwards; the ninja’s razor-sharp sword bisected the pot of nail polish a moment later, leaving a contrail of crimson. Miyuki grabbed the upturned chair and hurled it. The ninja dodged, but she saw an opening.

There was a knock at her door.

“Yes?” called Miyuki, vaulting over her desk and slamming the side of her foot into the ninja’s side.

The door opened and she gasped. It was Jun! What a terrible time for him to visit!

“Hello Miyuki-san, I was wondering--” Jun said as she ducked under the ninja’s lightning-fast hammer strike. Jun’s face fell. “I am so sorry; you are busy.”

“No, Jun, wait—“ her words were cut off as the ninja dropped his ninja-to and grabbed her neck. The click of the closing door was muffled by the pounding of blood in her ears. With a choked squeal she flicked the ninja’s sword up into the air with her toe, grabbed it out of the air then decapitated him. A gushing fountain of deep red blood spattered the quarterly reports for the Hokuriku region and her shoulders slumped.


“That’s terrible luck!” said her best friend, eyes wide. “Did you get the reports in on time?”

Miyuki’s jaw dropped. “Fuyu! Who cares about the reports?! That was my one chance with Jun and now he will never go out with me!”

They were hunched over the bomb Miyuki had recently discovered in the janitor’s closet. The blinking LED showed five minutes to go. “It’s just,” said Miyuki, despairingly, “I’m always in the middle of something when he comes to talk to me but then I go to talk to him and I get all tongue-tied.” She cut one of the wires with her nail scissors.

Fuyu patted her shoulder. “Be brave. Pretend that you’re, I don’t know, a hero from one of those cartoons you like. Then you could talk to him, maybe?” Miyuki cut another wire; the bomb started beeping and the timer flicked down to ten seconds remaining.

Just then the door to the closet opened. Jun stood there, mouth agape. “Huh? M-Miyuki-san?”

Fuyu gasped, then pushed Miyuki out of the closet onto Jun. “ Run!”

Miyuki grabbed Jun’s hand and they sprinted down the corridor with Fuyu close behind. As they grabbed the fire hose from out of the reel a fireball lifted them up and hurled them out the window. They landed with a crash against the side of the building, Miyuki clutching the hose, and Jun, with equal fervour.

There was an awkward silence as they bumped gently against the glass. Fuyu, swinging below them, poked Miyuki’s foot.

Miyuki set her jaw. Fuyu was right. It was now, or never. “Jun, w-would you go out with me on Saturday night?”

Jun blushed, then nodded, as flaming wreckage spiralled down to the Tokyo streets far below.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk


sebmojo fucked around with this message at 13:47 on Dec 24, 2014

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

500 words is now the limit.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

I will judge this.

:siren:QuiddestRhino Brawl:siren:

500 words on serenity in the midst of chaos.

Due in one week and one day, Monday midnight PST, you know the drill.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

TheRamblingSoul posted:

When should I expect the next prompt for sign ups since this week is closed already?

Great seeing that this thread has been so popular recently! (Maybe not so great for the judges that have to crit, though :v:)

A day or so. Judgment comes fast, crits come slower. This was a behemoth of a week so might take a little longer.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

crabrock posted:

Muffin & sebmojo
:siren: Muffin vs. sebmojo round 2: We don't get to go home :siren:

You were headed to the moon but you overshot. Now you're flying out into space and out of fuel. NASA has just informed you that there's no way for you to get back. You're going to die. Radio just cut out.

Make it count. No self-loathing or despair. No aliens.

Wordcount: 500
Jim Spaceman’s Adventure and the Fuel
479 words

Jim Spaceman tapped the fuel gauge. The fuel gauge which showed how much fuel he had was pointing towards ‘low’ which meant his fuel was very low. “Oh dear,” he said to himself. “I am nearly out of fuel.”

Verily, he was! The radio had ceased transmission, and Jim was struck by the sudden lack of candour. "Friends!" he said unto the empty air "though we have parted, I hear you in my heart! Such sweetness you brought. Oh, but a flower plucked too early smells only the sweeter!"

Luckily he was flying in his space ship through a patch of space that was full of space rocks that had space houses on them. They drifted by outside his space ship like grey pitted golf balls with space houses on them. “Hello in there,” he called through his radio after first depressing the radio call button. “Hello in there,” he said again.

From the houses came no reply. Jim wondered by whom they had been abandoned, and why. Their windows stared at him in the manner that eyes would stare at him. He would not be alone for this final tranche of his journey into death. The last lonely eschatonaut would drift his last through the suburbs and flower beds of joyous decay. Suddenly, there came from a window a haunting sound. It reminded Jim of honey, ash and love. "Shut up bro I'm watching TV," it said.

"Comely maiden!" cried Jim into his space intercom, "I must know you!"

Jim activated the thruster button of his space capsule, flicking up the polycarbonate plastic protector shield and pushing down on the red button labelled ‘thruster’ before realising that he was out of fuel and the thrusters were unable to provide thrust without fuel. Hastily he put on his space suit. He opened the airlock by turning the key labelled ‘open airl ck’, noting in passing that the ‘o’ had worn off the ‘open airlock’ sign. In a few minutes he was in space.

He alighted upon the space rock, and walked towards the house. The haunting sounds of rugby came from within, presumably coming from a television set, as it would do difficult to play rugby inside such a small domicile without causing significant damage. Jim knew what he must do to woo his love. He began to pound a seductive rhythm upon the walls, then let loose his heart's song. It was "Too Drunk to gently caress" by the Dead Kennedys.

At that moment the space door opened and there standing in the doorway of the space house was the most beautiful woman Jim had ever seen, wearing a spacesuit. The spacesuit had a shiny visor. The woman beckoned Jim Spaceman inside and he entered the space house. And he lived there in that house until he died, 34 years later.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

whoa what are the odds

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

:siren:FLASH RULE:siren:

There was a lot of chitchat and horseshit floating around last week. This will not continue. Every post by an entrant that isn't an entry, a crit or a story this week will get their word count cut to 500, then to 250, then DQ'd.

Write well, you bastards.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Jagermonster posted:


For the love of god, Muffin, what have you done? Weren't these mini-epics supposed to be only til the result thread was posted?

Yes. :siren:No more epic stories. :siren:

e: imma limit your stupid FACE vvvv

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 23:19 on Jan 14, 2014

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Bigup DJ posted:

Does anyone have reading on how to do a good mystery story?

I approve of your sneaky attempt to get someone's word count halved.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Beast Pussy posted:

The Devil in the Details 100 words
It was cold at the crossroad, much colder than it had been all those years ago. As the time crawled steadily closer to midnight, Ernest recalled his last meeting with the devil.
"So you make me the smartest man alive, and in return I give you my soul?" Ernest asked.
"Yes," came the gravely voice of the figure in front of him.
"And there ain't no way I can get it back?"
The figure shook its head wordlessly.
With a handshake, Ernest was incredibly bright, but felt strangely hollow inside.
But now, wise enough to recognize his error, he'd come back to correct his double negative.


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Rules make for rules lawyers, but I agree. So no more brawls until the next judge comes in.

And don't challenge someone until you've at least got an honourable mention.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

If anyone wants a crit from me for their story from the last week's prompt, post a link to it in the next day or so (and no, it will not halve your word count).

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

okay that's enough, I'll do those and see if I still have my will to live.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Sitting Here posted:

Spaceless Dementia

Linne and Desera celebrated their two-thousandth anniversary silently, over a rare cup of coffee at the breakfast table. The window to Linne's left cycled through various soothing pastoral scenes.

After a time, Desera shoved away from the table and went to the small kitchen's ambience terminal; she waved a hand over the screen, and the idyllic meadow in the window dissolved. Beyond was dark, starless truth. There's an oddity with the viewpoint in this story; who is determining that it's truth? Nice line though. The no-space. The metacosmic Bermuda triangle.

Linne raised an eyebrow, but didn't comment. After so long, what use was it hashing out the same old argument? Viewpoint. They'd gone over its every permutation in the first five hundred years.

As if on cue, the ship's com system chimed. It was reedy and off-key after so many years, but like everything else aboard the Nomad, it had outlasted its intended lifespan by a millennium, would last a thousand thousands of years into the black and motionless future. Another nice phrase, but grammar is weird in this bit.

Desera made a sound. describe it plz. on second thoughts cut this lineLinne waited.

"They're still out there," Desera said. Her speech was halting, unsure.

They're all lunatics, Linne replied over their private thinkcom channel.

Desera shook her head. "No. Talk to me. Like this."

The ship's com chimed again.

Linne cleared her throat, made a few low, gurgling sounds. "Nothing changed," was all she could manage.

Desera seemed to understand her meaning none the less either explain what linne is talking about or cut this because it doesn't convey anything. "What if someone found a way back to time-space?"

"They didn't. Who could? Navs are dead. Science crew, dead." She frowned at Desera. Tell me you aren't losing it on me now, too.

"I said talk to me," Desera snapped.

Linne felt the subtle presence of their mind-to-mind channel evaporate, leaving her alone in her head for the first time in centuries. "It got to you," she said.

"Of course it did." Desera was breathing heavy, her eyes bright and feverish with something alien, something fatal.

Hope. nice

Linne recoiled from it. She should have known, should have felt this madness over their shared connection. But it was only then, totally severed from her once-lover's mind, that she realized madness had been festering for a long time, slowly insinuating itself into Desera's thoughts like fungal mycelia taking hold in the quiet dark beneath the forest floor. nice line

A vent pushed recycled air into the kitchen. It smelled of ozone and plastic. Linne was on her feet and walking out of the kitchen before she could think.

The scent of loam and bark and healthy rot hit her as soon as the conservatory doors slid open. They'd planned well, long ago when it became necessary to seal themselves into this corner of the ship. To escape madness. The decision to shut out the rest of the crew, who'd been cabin-fevered and increasingly violent after that first hundred years, had brought its own kind of guilty insanity, but she'd had Desera.

Mind to mind, heart to heart, they had kept each other sane through contradiction and intimacy, argument and play. But after centuries, they'd become so much one mind and one heart that the balance had given way. Linne had become complacent, Desera had found a disease called hope.

The com system was chiming at regular intervals by then. Someone was alive on another deck, wanted their attention.

The conservatory was a whole micro ecosystem unto itself. Ugly sentence, unnecessary, just let us have the image. Linne lay down on the bare dirt and looked up into the ancient canopy. The trees had grown to the absolute limit of the great domed room, and when there was no more sky to fill they turned in on each other, so that the ceiling was obscured by a twisted, web-like amalgam of wood. In another thousand years, the conservatory would be nigh horrible fantasyismun impassable.

The chiming stopped. Linne was flat on her back still, and in the abrupt silence the pounding of her heart filled her ears. Cliche, rephrase. Perhaps the caller had given up. Or...

Desera, she called. But without the thinkcom, it was just a name echoing in the solitude of her skull.

Linne could still do the unthinkable, if it came down to it. She could seal herself into a further corner of the ship, leave Desera to her hope and the madness beyond their barricades.

A klaxon went off outside the conservatory. Desera had deactivated the security fields. Even if their crewmates had found a way back to cosmic space, what was to keep them from tossing Linne and Desera out of the nearest airlock on principle? I'm a little lost in the plot here, tbh.

Linne wanted to grow roots and join the mindless dream of the trees, before fear or hope or guilt could grow roots in her mind. I would physicalise this thought, make it less abstract; she's lying on earth and leaves, remind us of her physical reality. She stayed on her back, willing Desera to come back on the thinkcom and make it all right, willing herself to get up and go to the barricades and face the unknown by Desera's side. But the moments passed and nothing changed in the conservatory, even as everything was changing beyond its doors.

Absolution came to Linne, found her still flat on her back. The doors swished open and there was Desera, along with five wild-haired, mostly naked women who had the lean, ropey look of people who'd lived outside all their lives. Linne closed her eyes against the hope and anger and fear and anticipation she saw on their faces.

They chattered to each other about the trees, too fast and too musical for Linne to parse, having gone so long without speech.

There was no way out, she realized. Some of the women had fallen to their knees and were raising their arms toward the knotted clot of branches high above. There was no one left to fly the ship, no one with the wherewithal to do anything but hope. She could sense that they thought her the diseased one, prone on the floor with the dead weight of truth pressing her into the ground.

She opened her eyes and looked up at Desera, who was haloed by the entangled canopy, and wondered when, if ever, hope and resignation had been anything more than different ways to lose the same game. Good aphorism. But on balance I don't think this works because you haven't got clear stakes for the protagonists. You have a nice set-up, and I like the speech/thought distinction with the two lovers, though.

Mr_Wolf posted:

Who Needs Gods 1194 words

“Smash it! Come on you idiot – even Sasha hits harder than that.”

The old Fiat put up more of a fight than Danny could ever match. This doesn't work grammatically. Danny was all bones - his skin barely clinging to his frame this is sort of nonsensical as an image. He was a fighter though and that's why Joe kept him around.

Joe sat on the edge of an old oil barrel, a smirk slowly spreading across his face as the bat bounced off the side of the car. The sweat poured from Danny and he hadn't stopped biting his bottom lip since Joe had decided to encourage him.

“Give someone else a go man. You're not even trying.” Joe said.

Sasha was smiling. Joe had to duck the stone she threw at him.

“Typical girl: can't throw for poo poo.”

Sasha threw an insult back but the desert wind caught it. and...? Joe threw what with? some water into his blistered hands and wiped his eyes. The sand was a permanent companion around here but sometimes Joe longed for loneliness. this doesn't make sense because he is hanging out with people. You are about 70% of the way there with all your similes and images. Parse them for sense and don't overegg the metaphorical pudding.

Danny was swinging the steel bat with everything he had got. Shame it wasn't much.

Joe jumped up and walked over to the car. He made sure to skip when he walked past Sasha, the dirt blew into her.

“Joe, just let...”

Joe grabbed the bat and ushered Danny back. Joe swiped his brown hair from his forehead and got to work; He dented the hood, his anger embedded into it forever this is super purple; the windows exploded, a piece of glass glanced off Joe's lip. He pinged the side-mirror off and it careered violently into the side of a wall. okay I'm starting to wonder why I'm reading this. you have 1000 words, give me a point early on; so far you haven't

Everyone watched Joe. what a dull sentence. The group had always looked toward him for advice or leadership, he was the oldest at 19-years-old. Age still mattered to some in this world - mostly to the people who needed it to. what a dull para, find another way to get this world building across.

Sasha gets up and walks off to the bunker shaking her head as she disappears through the door.
why do we care? Also, tense.

The sound of rhythmic pounding filled the silence as Tommy emerged from the dirt cloud blowing in from the North. When someone is making noise it is not silent in fact it is the opposite of silence

“Dead! Died...someone has dead, died.” I quite like this way of showing panting dialogue

“Slow down. Breathe.” Joe pulled the bent over Tommy up.

“Joe. Someone has died. Up in Birmingham. She was 45 and she died from a heart attack or something.”

Sasha watched from the bunker. She looked around the airfield and the kids were silent. Death hadn't been discussed in this world for a long time. Sasha brushed the dust from her faded red dress and walked towards Joe. sasha is the queen of irrelevant blocking

“Joe, is it true?” Sasha said.

“I don't know,” Joe looked off into the distance “I don't think so.” did the wind ruffle his hair I need to know

Sasha ran her fingers up her left arm; the dust fell away as she did. nice detail. “Yeah, typical bullshit probably. Some kid trying to scare people”

Joe looked off into the distance SOMEONE JUST DID THAT and he saw huge black clouds that emerged SOMEONE JUST DID THAT TOO from the Earth, like tumours that spread through the sky, everything left infected. WHOA COSMIC have these just happened or where they always there? A faint wind started to whip through Sasha's blonde hair.

“Looks like a bad one Joe, I’ll get the spare generator on.” Sasha walked away before Joe could respond. SERIOUS SHE HAS A REGALIA AND ALLKINDS OF QUEEN poo poo IDEK

“I'll get everyone in the bunker. You need anything?” Tommy asked.

“No. Make sure you bring some blankets in before you shut the store room.” yawn

Tommy was 16-years-old - although in this world your age didn't matter: it was what you could do that counted.

Joe met Tommy a few years back – or months, it's hard to keep time when it doesn't matter any more. Tommy was trying to fish out an old car motor from the lake behind the valley. Joe helped him, knowing the motor was useless. Tommy felt he owed Joe a favour – Joe did too.

The group had stumbled upon on old convenience store in the next town a few days after Tommy joined the group. By the time they had dragged the trailer to it, two men had began to move the stock onto their truck. ok so is the storm important? is someone dying important? how about the car? why did you tell us about it if not?

“Stop them.” Joe said.

Tommy ran to the first man and jabbed the blunt end of a pick-axe into the back of his head, falling to the floor the man began to convulse. Tommy was breathing slow, shallow breaths as he waited for the other man to exit the shop. The man opened the door
his eyes shielded from the midday sun with his arm - unfortunately for him Tommy too. The wooden shaft of the axe smashed into his mouth, knocking a few teeth down his throat. Tommy slowly walked around to stand over the man, the raised pick-axe shielding the sun from the man's eyes.

“Alright.” Joe walked over and took the axe from Tommy. “Good.”

Tommy liked the violence; he had scars all over his hands and he was covered in crude, tattoos he had done himself; Skulls, snakes – the usual. Tommy had used his key to his old home the first time he gave himself a tattoo; a lightning bolt on his right hand. The reason: Tommy's Father had decided to go across the water to find some work.

“Take care of yourself Tom. Don't forget me boy, y'hear?” He gently placed his hand on Tommy's shoulder and gave it a squeeze. Seeing his Father leave wasn't anything to Tommy, just another name to forget in time. ohhh, it was a retrospective exposition storm, I get it

The storm grew stronger as the group sat in the bunker, the rain started to hit the tin roof; like a million ball-bearings being fired from the sky, or like one of the kids said “like an army of small people skipping across the roof .“ This is like a cage match for terrible analogy of the year. Both contestants retire, defeated.

The group huddled up on the dusty benches in the bunker, the lights flickered as the two generators struggled with the unexpected extra work. Some of the kids were crying as thunder began to rumble overhead. Joe's insistence that the storm wouldn't hit being proven false. dude I thought he was infallible why u lie author guy

Tommy noticed Sasha holding her cross.

“You going to pray? For this to stop, hmm?” Tommy snarled.

“I pray everyday for you not to be such a prick Tom.”

“How many loving times have I told you not to call me..” Tommy was interrupted by Joe's hand grabbing his arm.

“Sit down.”

Joe agreed with Tommy though: he rejected religion years ago.

“Who needs Gods when we can outlive them? We're all Gods now; unbreakable, watching decades go past in the blink of an eye.” Joe had told Tommy once. Tommy tried to inscribe part of it onto his arm but the pain got the better of the inspiration. He only got up to “Who needs Gods.” He liked it that way.

Sasha broke the silence “What if it's true? About the woman up in Birmingham.”

“It's not.” Joe stood up and stretched. “It's not true now and it will never be true again.” See, I quite like this aspect of it but you surround it with so much irrelevant detail and fumbling filigree, that you have no space to do anything interesting with the premise.

Tommy was staring at the floor. He looked up and said “Don't you wonder what it would be like Joe?”

Joe sat down, looked up to the ceiling and sighed “No. Not for a long time.”

“I suppose you stop questioning life when death isn't the answer any more.” this is what is known as a sledgehammer point because reading it is like getting hit in the face by a sledgehammer. Sasha said, letting go of her cross.

The storm rumbled on, with no let-up in sight. cliche The group huddled together and waited.

They just waited. Unf. This comes close to being tolerable. You have lots of nearly good lines and phrases in here, and lots of good complicated ideas and images that you're juggling, but you drop the chainsaw and cut off your toe and the chicken runs away squawking.

Quidnose posted:

Sting like a 01100010
1192 words

The nanocream pierced his skin in upwards of 10,000 places, but of course Ten didn’t feel a thing. Once on a tour he had felt a slight tickle when the salve was applied, but it had turned out the service unit was a knockoff made of a cheap aluminum alloy, to which he was allergic. The model currently treating him wasn’t top of the line, but it didn’t give him a rash. This is very beep boop science fictional but has so far given me nothing to care about.

“Knock knock, Champ.” Olly stood in the doorway, grinning. “How ya feeling?’”

“Stiff.” Ten clenched his fist, increasing the blood flow. Now he felt the microscopic pinpricks that came as the nanobots worked. The service unit finished attaching the monitoring diodes, then settled in the corner and switched from the low hum of high-grade lithium to an ancient recording of something called a Bing. Ten found it mildly pleasing. Yawn.

“I’m not surprised, considering.” Olly projected a screen from his watch into the air and flipped the digital sheets with a swipe of his hand. “You gave the twins hell. Number seven is on the decommission list.” Still dull.

The feeling had finished draining from the areas where the cream was spread, and the robot’s face switched from an unremarkable female avatar to a digital timer that began to tick down, legal information regarding restorative technology scrolling below it. Ten reached out and put his hand on the readout and the screen changed to an interview program. Even duller if possible.

“Let’s see, then.” Olly pulled up a calendar, scanning with his fingertips. “You have two days off and then you’re back in Hong Kong. Cheap scrap job there, they want him down in the first. But you know, make it look a little more convincing, maybe. Crowd wants to see a little danger, after all.” Ditto.

Ten laughed short. He had been fighting for six hundred years, but he was sure he would never understand that particular dichotomy. What

Olly tabbed forward. “Then you’re scheduled to have six months taken off, shouldn’t take more than five hours, in-patient. Just a light tune up. Oh, which reminds me.” He pulled up a comm-panel and opened a message in light purple stationery. “Your wife wants to know if you want her to go to twenty-five or twenty-one this time.” OMIGOD THIS IS DULL I DO NOT CARE ABOUT THESE PEOPLE PUTTING ON FUTURE OINTMENT AND ORGANISING THEIR FUTURE CALENDARS

“Twenty-five is fine.” Ten opened and closed his fist. The nerve endings were returning. A few more seconds of pinpricks and the aches would be gone. “Spend the extra money on a fruit basket for her. Organic.” gfgnfngfgfFGFGNFNGFNG

Olly whistled. “Big spender.” He pulled up a spreadsheet and scrolled, grinning wickedly. “Although I guess you can afford it, putting your life on the line every night.” ...

“Nobody’s life is on the line, Oliver.” The service unit beeped and the female avatar returned. It rolled over to Ten and switched to a medical readout, arms extending from secret compartments in its silver frame. “Not since the fix.”

“Everything’s a fix, innit? It’s the show, kid.” Olly put his index finger to his nose and winked. “Who knows? Maybe one day a ‘droid’ll win.”

“Yeah. Maybe.” Ten held out his arms. The robot began to disconnect the sensors, humming quietly. HOLY SHITBALLS what was the point of those words


He was just pulling the door to the diner open when three metallic fingers clamped around his wrist. He turned and looked into a poorly painted face. She was an older model, smoothing around the edges, her metal a far cry from the lustrous sheen it might have had, once. Ten was a bit surprised; there weren’t supposed to be any non-Humans in the dining sector. “Can I help you?” Ok this is actually better. Why not start with this?

“YOU ARE THE TEN.” She was older than he had initially thought; her speech software was foreign, tinny, far from the human lilt of recent upgrades. Ten hated dealing with outdated technology, but it was a dream come true for his PR Department whenever he did. It’s the show…

He smiled at her, hoping it masked his irritation. “That’s me all right.” He pulled a small digipad from his pocket and flipped it open while he fished for a stylus. “Who should I make it out to?”


Ten looked up, confused. “Strange dedication.”

The robot rolled forward on bald tires, a little too close. Ten took a step back. “TWENTY CYCLES AGO WAS HE BESTOWED FOR SHELTER KEEP. CLEAN MAINTAIN AND SHELTER KEEP. CYCLES AND MEMORY BANKS FULL OF 88-129-0. NOW FIGHTSCRAP. INQUIRY.”

“Look, lady, I don’t choose who I fight.” He tried to move away, but she followed. “They should have sent you tickets to the next one. If they didn’t—“

“NO FIGHT. INQUIRY.” Her metal appendages opened and closed on Ten’s wrist, tightening with each spasm, a desperate, inhuman claw.

It was too much, even from a PR standpoint. He pushed her hard and she rolled, brakes clicking, into the side of the building. She lost her balance and toppled over sideways into the trash. Her wheels spun endlessly, finding only empty air and soda cans. Aw, ok, just like that we are friends again. I like this, the details are well chosen, there's emotional resonance, I like the robo dialogue.

He spat at her crumpled parts. “Crazy scrapping defect! What are you, beta? Jesus.” He gave her one last scowl before turning and heading into the diner.

Her speakers blared a monotone shriek, threating to burst from the sudden volume. “INQUIRY. INQUIRY. HE WAS THE ONLY. TO YOU HE WAS FIGHTSCRAP BUT TO ME HE WAS THE ONLY. INQU-”

The door closed behind him, and he was out of the cold.

Ten sat at the counter and picked up a menu. For an instant, he thought he felt a pang of guilt, then realized his mistake: he was just hungry.


The bell sounded and they advanced from their corners. The android lead with a quick, low jab, and Ten took the full weight of the machine. The blow hit him like a transporter, and he could almost hear the resonance of metal against skin in his eardrums. He felt his rib snap, shift, and instantly re-fuse tissue and bone. He covered his face with his hands as his opponent lay into him, hit after hit into a body like a boxing bag. Then the scripted opening, and it was his turn to lead the dance. Parry, duck, jab, a left sidestep, jab, duck, jab, a forward press, jab, jab, jab, jab, jab. UP UP DOWN DOWN LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT A B START The android was on the ground now, his face a mess of metal and silicone, circuitry showing between the wires where his eye hung, the pupil focusing and unfocusing like the lens of a camera, I like the details hereand still Ten’s fists pummeled him, his knuckles raw to dry bone and flecked with bits of titanium, drops of his sweat turning to steam where they met exposed mechanisms as the battery flow pumped, slowed, stopped. He roared, and then he was standing with the android’s head in his hand, the spinal column dangling and twitching like an alien bug. Then it was over. His victory theme blared from the speakers. It’s the show. It’s the show. It’s the show.

The crowd roared out, hungering for the blood that never came. The android’s eyes swirled in his head, taking in the entirety of the crowd. Oil leaked onto the matt in small, greasy droplets. Okay that entire first section was a waste of space and could have been compressed into a line. But I like the last two, so on balance YOU ROBO-PASS.

QuoProQuid posted:


Death in Dorset - 723 words

When the Earl of Dorset entered the chamber, he was greeted by angry murmurs. A thousand men had come to complain. he is a fast counter!! The largest crowd yet. Mayors, barons, soldiers and priests huddled together and watched him with distrustful eyes. The young Earl positioned weak verb himself on his throne and motioned for the visitors to begin. The room erupted in shouts.

“My liege, this has got to end. You’ve disrupted the natural order!” said a heavy-set fisherman, this is terrible dialogue in case you were wondering who managed to make himself heard over the din by banging his spear against a pillar until the room quieted. you have the order wrong here. bang first, then speak. His flesh pulsed as he spoke and his face contorted in agony.

“My family can’t eat!” he hunched over in pain as his gut writhed. his gut writhed and he hunched over in pain is the right order.

A priest forced his way forward, shoving aside a cavalryman whose neck was held together by a single tendon. his neck was a single tendon. That's all that was left. The soldier’s head rolled across his chest and fell with a snap to the floor. Someone behind him fainted.

“I haven’t been able to get a moment of quiet in days. My entire congregation thinks the End Times are upon us and yesterday someone stole the tabernacle. They are passing the Eucharist out like sweets. It’s sacrilegious!”

“Uh yeah?” shouted someone from the back, “You try takin uh poo poo recently? Chamberpots ah literally overflowing. I can’t take so much as uh stroll down tha street without stepin in it. There’s filth everywhere.” your dialogue is pretty terrible I am afraid. as with speaking, if you can't do accents well don't do them

The complaints continued. Meat writhed and breathed even after being served. Pox victims walked the streets, dropping mounds of flesh behind them. Abbeys were overcrowded with the injured whose wounds would not heal. Stone slabs had to be dragged onto graves to prevent the dead from wiggling to freedom and there were rumors that the Pope was going to excommunicate the entire realm for offenses against God. This is actually a decent para, and you could have started with this and got on with the story.

The Earl raised a hand and a hush fell over the crowd. Somewhere in the distance, a building collapsed.

“And what would you all ask me to do about these atrocities?”

“Your Grace,” the fat man managed to settle the fish swimming in his stomach, “we intercede on behalf of your prisoner, Death.” I would have put this a bit further up in the story. Everyone in the story knows it, so you might as well tell the reader too.

The Earl frowned, “But how can I release a creature who stands accused of treason against myself and my family. It would not be just! You know how I found him, do you not?”

“Yes, my liege. The entire county-”

“I returned from the hunt early and found the beast skulking in my personal quarters, trying to break into my wife’s room, trying to intimidate the midwife into opening the door,” he was shouting now, “Is this the thing you want released? A fiend that preys on the weak? A monster that would deprive me and the entire realm of an heir? I am not about to let MY authority be undermined!”

“My liege,” said the priest, suddenly looking very old, “perhaps we can negotiate with Death? Agree upon a ransom? Please. I don’t think the county can survive anymore upheaval. Let him go under the condition that he spare your dynasty.”

The Earl combed a grey hair from his face and motioned for his guards to bring Death from its cell. I've always wondered how guards know to do exactly the right thing when Earls and what have you wave at them. are we talking some kind of ASL or what are we talking about?

The prisoner was brought into the chamber with thick manacles covering its arms and legs. Once more, a hush fell over the crowd and they parted to let the figure pass. Death smiled and bowed before the throne.

“Thank you for the audience, Edward. Your hospitality is uncommon.”

The Earl frowned at the creature before him, “Death, I have brought you here to negotiate the terms of your release. Surrender all claims over my dynasty and you shall be freed.”

“Edward,” said Death, tilting his head at an angle that gave the Earl a headache, “You are too hasty! What reason do I have to negotiate with you?”

“I could have you thrown into the oubliette for eternity. Do you think I can’t hold you? My cells are impenetrable.”

Death’s eyes, unmoving, watched everyone in the room at once. The rusted chains around his arms bent as they scraped together, “Ach, is death german coz that explains a lot but you are too hasty! My companion is here to rescue me. Your walls cannot stop him. Even now, he rallies at my defense.”

“And who,” said the Earl, brushing dust from his robe, “would befriend Death?”

“Time,” the creature said over the roar of crumbling bricks and decaying mortar. Lame twist ending. This suffers from terrible dialogue, a dumb (but rescuable) concept and nothing actually happening. On the plus side,

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

crabrock posted:

I will crit 1 person who seb isn't critting. This better not lose me 250 words.

Good lord man of course not we are not monsters

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Entenzahn posted:

Yes please

First time I ever wrote a story, I'll take any feedback I get

edit: Ah gently caress.

Whimsical judge ruling: crabrock has to crit this one too.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

petrol blue posted:


Business - 994 words Boring title. The best titles mean one thing when you start and something subtly different when you finish reading the story. This is just bland.

My spine itched. Of course it itched, this job just wouldn't have been quite perfect without that as well - only the best for me and Jones, as always. These two sentences are an even mix of pointless detail and dull who-gives-a-crap. The spine is never mentioned again, the clunky phrasing of 'this job just wouldn't etc', Jones (his partner?) never gets mentioned again. Plus it's never entertaining listening to people grumbling about their work. Words at the front of your story are gold dust - use them accordingly.Still, better to have it than to get dumped at sea by some rear end in a top hat with two brain cells to rub together. They never said how many had been stashed with Davey Jones before they put the system in place, and I was probably happier not knowing. See last comment, though I guess it's okay worldbuilding.

“Homicide?” That same tone of voice everyone used when they saw the badge, somewhere between surprise and amusement. Wait for it...

“Can't imagine you get much work these days?”

I muttered my way through the usual banter, shut her down when the questions cut too close to the bone. No need to let on that we just as big a joke to Them Upstairs. Maybe I pissed the lady off, or maybe Toombs was just that big of a prick, but it was near half an hour before I got to see the big man. I passed the time using a glossy pamphlet to pick dog poo poo out of my shoe. While i like the dogshit detail, why the gently caress do you have this nameless lady and their meaningless conversation? What do these paragraphs add? I know you're going for a gritty Homicide Life on the Streets vibe, but you can do that and convey a lot more than you are.

Toombs' 'office' turned out to be the whole top floor, a hell of a long way up, and it was fitted out just as nicely as you'd expect, though possibly with a bit less elegance. What is this vague bullshit. Give me details. The man himself was taller than he looked on TV, thinner, and the suit just made him look like a crow. yes to the crow observation though it's a little cliche.Old, but who isn't? Once people hit their late 80s it was hard to tell. He didn't get up from his seat. And yes. This last bit is an example of the sort of action conveying character that you should have started doing a lot earlier.

“Officer. What can I do for you today? Interested in dying, perhaps?”

“Sure. Who isn't?” He caught the sarcasm, seemed to take it as criticism of his work.

“Well, true, it's not death per se, but it's the finest substitute human minds can create, and improving by the year. I should know, I spend most of my time dead. I... Well, I was dead until your appointment, but Sharon thought I'd want to talk to a colleague in person. Both in the death business, you see?”

It was the same logic that'd got me put on the investigation. Didn't see it myself, but I let him prattle on. Never know when something important might slip into his sales pitch, and it gave me a chance to check the place out in more detail. Seems people would pay pretty well to not exist, and Toombs (“It's actually from the Aramaic for 'twin'”) just happened to have the right death wish and the cash to make it happen. Years of scientific research, near-total suppression of brain activity, yada yada.

“So, does it work?” I hadn't really meant to interrupt him, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't curious.

“Or your money back.” He grinned at that one. Practised, I could tell. “We offer the option of coming back after a set time, so you can decide whether to continue. You'd be surprised how few people take that option.”

No, I wouldn't. I'd done my homework, spent far too long digging through excruciatingly tasteful black-bordered leaflets looking for hard facts. It had surprised me the first time, though. He carries on with his spiel, and eventually offers to show me around. More like it.

As the elevatore spelling doors peel open, first thing I notice is the cold - nothing too bad, but enough to be noticable. spelling It's from the cryogenics, he says, shows me the long row of heavy doors like you see on meat fridges. I yank one open, mostly because he wasn't going to, and there's a slight pull to the action, like on your freezer.

Inside, it's the size of a shipping container. Three rows of 'corpses' about twenty deep each, hung like suits on a rack. Tubes and wires stick out of them, nothing I can make much sense of beyond 'medical'. It's real cold in here, somewhere about freezing. Toombs confirms it, reeling off figures about how cold slows the regeneration, nothing that'd be news to a school-kid. I poke at a few tubes, but my heart's not in it: I wouldn't be able to spot anything unusual here, and the cold was getting into my old bones. Still, it confirms one thing – pricey. But the cost of dying... Well, I could afford it. I question him on it. Honestly: who cares? You haven't given me anything to give a stuff about yet.

“Economies of scale”, he claims, and goes off into science again. Smart move if he's hiding something, I'm too out of my depth to tell if he's bullshitting me. We go back to his planned tour, but he's too smooth to let anything slip. It's an hour after I arrived before we go back to his office. I pretend to be satisfied, and see myself out.

Well, that's I tell him. I don't buy any of this poo poo, and I'm prickled by the way he treated me more like a potential customer than the law. I kill the elevator somewhere in the mid-teens, step into another corridor full of heavy doors.

Huh. Could be this floor's not in use, but it's more than just 'not cold', it's actively hot in here. I pull open one of the doors, and the temperature hits me like a blast furnace. Not just that, the smell too.


They don't hear me over the sound of their powertools, so I get a good long look at the real 'death' Toombs is selling. The rows of bodies are the same, hanging from rails, but there's bags over their heads. The rest of them, it's fresh raw meat, being stripped off the bones by the workers. I do quite like this image, it's properly gross and vivid. Doesn't make any sense, mind, why wouldn't they just burn them or w/e?

I stumble retching back into the corridor, throw up on Toombs' shoes. Two goons grab me, hold me as he brags how easy I've made this for him.

Later, as the needles go in, he plays me the footage:

“Interested in dying, perhaps?”

“Sure. Who isn't?” Weak, weak ending. So people are being put to 'death', but they're actually being put to death to save money? who knows. Cliche investigator investigates, get put to allegedly reversible death, but actually real death. This is mostly competent in prose, but next time work on telling an actual story.

JamieTheD posted:

Eh, this is a try.

Fascinating (1033 words)

Today was the 109,589th day of Lyell-43's life, and it began, much like any other day, with maintenance. It was a dull procedure to Lyell, involving scans, poking and prodding, and the automated daily self-test of his memcording unit (working just fine, as usual), but it was important, although Lyell had forgotten why some time ago. After all, if it never went seriously wrong, and the procedure was important, why waste space on something as trivial as why these things kept him safe? Still, wasn't 300 years of life worth a little boredom each day? Don't talk about things being incredibly dull in the first para of your 1000 word story. You are a fisherman, standing on the shore, casting your line. Do not bait it with soggy newspaper.

And today, not even maintenance could dull his enthusiasm. A ship was coming to Earth, the first in some time. It had a berth free, and Lyell was first on the recruitment list.

“Lucky, really,” Lyell chuckled to himself “It's not often a spacer gets bored and leaves their ship.” A: still dull B: pointless C: no one talks to themselves like this

Having finished his maintennance, he took one last look around his home. The mementoes of his own life jostled for room with those of previous tenants, and the gardens... Well, Lyell had never been very interested in gardens. Rocks, mechanisms, astronomy... But never really gardens, or gardening. He hoisted up a carrysack with some small trinkets, jokingly saluted his place of residence, and left it.

The air was clean, and the wind was bracing. It was no more than an hour's walk to the spaceport, and the ship that would take him to the stars he'd so enjoyed this past 50 years or so. What was its name again? Lyell struggled to remember, as he'd never saved it in the memcording device (why waste space?), and as he did so, he felt a weak shove against his ankle. OMG SOMETHING HAPPENED STOP THE loving PRESS

Curiously, he looked down. It was... Some sort of animal? He'd seen animals, but never really looked at them closely. This one was breathing shallowly, barely moving, and furred. Its long tongue lolled from its mouth, and its eyes looked strangely calm for an animal. Perhaps it was tame.

In any case, it didn't really matter, because very shortly after Lyell noted this, the animal took one last breath, slumped down, and stopped moving. ok start the press again, it wasn't very interesting

Lyell-43 was fascinated. He knelt down, and examined the animal a little further. Its teeth were sharp, but its fur was greying in places. It wasn't breathing, it wasn't moving. Lyell rubbed his forehead, and scratched at his chin in confusion. No buzzing, so it didn't have a memcorder, like most tame animals on Earth. No movement, either, which was the puzzling part.

Shrugging, he picked the animal up, slung it over his shoulder, and continued walking toward the spaceport. It was the nearest building, after all, and he could ask the captain all about it. i cant wait

* * *

Marek-21, captain of the Iron Lady, stared at the person his manifest stated was a new crew member. More specifically, he stared at his left shoulder, where an animal was hanging, dead. Do you see how you could have started your story here and it would be better in every way? You've got characters, weird situations that the reader wants explained, conflict?

“Lyell-43, correct? You mind telling me why you've got a dead dog over your shoulder?”

Lyell looked blankly at the captain for a moment.

Marek sighed. “The animal. Over your shoulder. It's dead.”

“So it's a dog, is it? I've never really seen one before. But, terribly sorry, you used a word I've not really heard before. Er... Dead?” Boring dialogue. We know all this.

Marek scratched his chin. He looked Lyell up and down, mild distaste on his face. “Dead.” he grumped “As in, it is no longer living. Must have been someone's pet, us oldsters tend to keep pets without memcorders, breed them and the like. I didn't really look at your file too hard beyond your skills, so-” he paused, as if the subject was odd “-You're one of the younger ones? The ones who don't remember death?”

Lyell set down the animal carefullly, and shrugged. “Honestly, I've never even heard the word. And how can something... Well, not live?”

Marek grunted. “Let me put it like this: Have you ever done cliffdiving, or anything else the training manuals mark as dangerous?”

“Certainly, I used to spelunk a lot!”

Another grunt. “And do you ever remember having an accident?”

Lyell simply looked blank. Marek sighed “It's the 'ah' word, isn't it?”

Lyell nodded. Marek shook his head. “Different tack. Do you have any gaps in your memcording?”

Immediately, Lyell's face brightened up “Why yes, I do! I was always taught these weren't worth bothering myself about. After all, I'm always safe, and with the memcorder, I always get more experiences!”

Marek chuckled. “Well, it's going to be an interesting trip then. You say you're a geologist? And have some knowledge of astronomy?” Lyell nodded.

Marek's grin was somehow mocking, which confused Lyell. “Oh, don't worry, young one. You're definitely joining the crew, and our library's sure to be instructive!”

Lyell had a feeling this was a joke. Shame he didn't understand it. But you squander it with soggy newsprint dialogue. Don't write like people talk, write like people talk in good books.

* * *

The journey had been long to Alpha Centauri, and, as Captain Marek had stated, the library had been most instructive. Furthermore, it had given Lyell a whole new subject to research. How had he missed such a fascinating field of history, and biology, and other fresh material to experience?

A light tap on his shoulder made him jump in surprise. Turning, Lyell came face to face with Captain Marek. His grin was open, obviously delighted at the atavistic reaction of Lyell's.

Lyell grinned right back. “Ready?”

Marek stopped grinning, and stared Lyell hard in the eyes. “Ready. Your memcorder's been upgraded, everything else checks out... But I have to ask, are you ready for this?”

Lyell's face flushed. His breathing changed, and his throat felt tight. Seeing this, Marek simply nodded. Somehow, Lyell managed to nod back.

“No fear, then, Lyell-43?”
“No fear, captain Marek. Why should I fear something that will only hurt temporarily, and teach me something new?”

Marek smiled, stepped back, and levelled his boarding shotgun at Lyell's head. “I'll ask one more time before you become an oldster like me... Are you afraid, or in any way unsure?”

Lyell's smile was radiant. “It's a new experience, captain, and new experiences are valuable to those who never die. I'm sure it will be... Fascinating.” Unf. We harp on tell and show in here, and it's for a reason. You had the potential for a good story and a good change from start to finish, but you pretty much squander it on GUY IS BORED AND DUMB, GUY READS BOOKS. Why not have an actual conflict on (say) alpha centauri? challenge your protagonist, make their life difficult. Show us how he changes don't just tell us about it.

Kaishai posted:

Endless Night
(822 words)

Marian planted the morning glories around her brother's body herself. She arranged their tendrils to drape across his chest, cloaking the sunken cavity there. She twined thin vines around his shattered fingers. And as his eyes opened, pinprick pupils asking her all the unanswerable questions, she laid a band of green across his brow. Okay this is how you do an opening para. Observe how much subtle showing and suggestion about the world and the characters is going on in this one, and how many interesting questions are being raised.

A tap sounded against a tree behind her.

Marian turned; Suriya stood on the edge of the clearing where Niall would possibly, improbably recover. The short, narrow woman interesting description met Marian's eyes and bent her neck to precisely the proper degree. good use of adverb; the sentence would mean something different without it. Marian mirrored the nod automatically. ditto "Come see him if you wish," she said, rising.

Suriya walked forward three steps. She stopped ten feet from Marian and Niall, the respectful distance. Surely she couldn't see him well from there. Marian nearly said it aloud. But she settled for inviting Suriya closer with a gesture that was, perhaps, more curt than politeness demanded.

"I mean no offense," Suriya said.

"No. I know you don't."

Niall's mouth twitched under their joined regards. Marian looked away, to Suriya, and considered the scars twisting her friend's visage: the thin, pale worm of tissue on her jaw, the cleft in her nostril that never had healed. Under her jacket would be worse. How many pins kept her arms together now? How many rods did she have in place of bone?

Meanwhile Suriya studied her too. Neither of them could bear to watch Niall breathe, it seemed. The other woman reached out, almost touching; Marian gave a tiny nod, and Suriya gripped her shoulder. Suriya said, "It could end here. Paul doesn't have a grudge against you--no one does."

Marian ran a hand down her face, forehead to chin, all of it as smooth as on the day of her birth. She kept her answer to herself. Suriya could guess it anyway.

What had happened to her brother was no proper ending.


Paul greeted her appearance at his door with claims of pleasure. He led her to an outside table, where they drank chilled cider without speaking until their cups were empty. "I don't want bad blood between us," Paul said then. "My conflict with Niall doesn't need to go any further."

"That's why I thought we should talk," Marian said.

"You're the most reasonable person I know."

At least he wasn't smiling. She breathed in the humid summer air and listened to the wind. "Why did you do that to him?"

Paul clasped his hands tightly enough to pale his knuckles, so the healing cuts across them stood out in lurid red; stitches tracked a black line along the one thumb he had left; his left arm was shorter than its partner by several inches. I am loving all the precise description of healed wounds, and the implication that each one leaves a memory"Liss. Mostly Liss."

Marian remembered Paul's former lover, remembered the lesser fights over her; but Niall's relationship with Liss had ended two hundred years before.

"I've hated him since she left me for him. Year after year since, centuries of hearing him hum to himself when he's happy and seeing his smug loving smile when he looks at me. Protocol didn't help. I went too far." Paul poured himself more cider and took a long drink. "It happens. But I'm sorry I hurt you. What do you want from me to make things even?"

Marian settled for a lesser truth. "I could use help with his healing."


"His heart could beat again, someday," she said. "Maybe. He could be in less pain. Will you pay for that? I would bear you no ill will." She'd try to forget. She would try very hard.

She thought Paul might consent. He spread out his mangled hands and turned them over to look at whatever damage his angers had done to the palms. He looked at her, and his eyes were old.

But they narrowed. His lips thinned. Only for a moment; a moment was enough. "No ill will," he agreed, and she heard a polite lie.

Marian stood and seized her chair and smashed it into his head.

Paul thudded onto the grass. She brought the chair down again with the strength in her still-whole body, and the arm he raised to ward it off gave way. She bashed his hip, his ribs. All fragile. All mended too many times after fights. The chair broke eventually and drove splinters deep into her skin.

When he had paid in true kind for her brother, she stopped.

Suriya came to help her get Paul's body to the clearing, where they made a bed for him ten feet away from Niall--a respectful distance. Marian pulled the fragments of wood from her hands before she gathered new morning glories. Dots of her blood stained a few of the stems. There would, she supposed, be scars.

"He has family of his own," Suriya told her. "This won't be the end either."

Marian framed Paul's wild eyes with flowers. "Nothing ever is." Awwwwww poo poo, nice end punch. So it's basically an ultra civilised Sartrean hellscape. So good. This is a great example of how important well deployed details are. The title is clever in that it evokes vampires but then at the end you realise that it's a spiritual night they are living in.

Djeser posted:

Assuming Erogenous Beef is correct, I'm still #19. But I stuck with 750 anyway.

Man After Man (749 words)
Grug was different after his head grew back. Things always came back shaped a bit different. That was how Ax had three arms even if two of them swung loose more often than not. That was why Jur had those four legs that opened and shut and made Grug dizzy and grabby from looking at her. Haha, good opening para. Wacky cavemen are basically the best.

The first problem was the botched hunt. Not that they needed food beyond the craving for something warm and fleshy in their mouths. Grug had been chasing the cow (an antler-cow, a harder kind to hunt) when a feeling came over him. He had been here, in these woods, for as long as he could remember. He'd filled every space between the roots with private moments and the smell of his own body.
He wanted right then to be somewhere else.

In that moment, he'd fallen out of the group. The antler-cow dashed through the opening and gave Ax a good chest-gore on the way. They still sung and danced around the trees and chewed mushrooms until their heads grew fuzzy, and Ax didn't even get upset. Everything was forgotten as the next day came, same as millions of forgotten yesterdays before.

The new man in Grug's head didn't forgive him, though. He twisted a knot in Grug's stomach so tight he lay on his bed of furs, burying his nose in the smell of his own drool until afternoon.

The man thought just like Grug, but unlike Grug's thoughts, which were always about the things he saw and heard and smelled, the man's thoughts were about Grug.

For a while, the voice grew dim and didn't say much if his thoughts were loud. He threw himself into every kind of fun there was. He went on hunts and threw himself in front of cows so he'd get tossed. He ate mushrooms enough to kill a cow, and rode the waves of toxicity i was going to say this broke style, but I'm wondering if you're going from clumsy > elaborate language deliberately, in which case it's ok with a grin. All the feasts and races and all the eating and mating couldn't quiet the man in his head forever.

A chill set around Grug as he left one morning. No more fun. Why weren't things fun? Because the man in his head kept thinking, worrying, reflecting.

Overlapping memories slid away from Grug the further he walked. Millenia of life in the valley had ingrained the shapes of everything in his mind deep down to the soles of his feet. For the first time he knew, he stood on new ground. Yeah, you're totally doing that. Smooth.

The trees thinned. The ground didn't shift beneath his feet. The softness of earth had given over to a light smoothness that felt unreal, but the man in his head wanted more. Broken shapes clouded with moss and dirt surrounded him. This was a place where earth and stone had died, and that frightened Grug, but the lines intrigued him--lines in the broken stone, reaching further out of the forests, calling to something he couldn't remember.

He left the trees where the lines gathered. They met along the ground, then rose into the sky, shadow-black against a granite facade. Some of the stone panels had broken over the ages, exposing the skeletal abyss inside. Grug had to raise his eyes to follow the lines of the pyramid, dwarfing every thought he had, larger than the world in his eyes, to the apex where the sun gleamed like cool water.

Between his mind and the man in his head, from a point equidistant from both, images spun themselves out of impossibly thin thoughts. Grug panicked. He'd never thought of something he couldn't see. He grasped at the ground. A sliver of stone fit his palm. He knelt and took his stone stylus to the granite ground.

He drew the pyramid first. Its straight lines were a shape of intention, of higher thought than he could consider. A faceless figure beside the pyramid. In these lines he made he could see the divine order passed down.

Grug couldn't see the fang-cow sneaking up on him.

The next moment, he was flung, his neck torn, his body thrown against the hard ground. Everything whirled into darkness.

Grug's skull burbled back together with a couple more lumps and a vestigial third eye on the right. He sat, then stood, whole again. Grug looked between the etching on the ground and the pyramid behind him. The man in his head was gone. The etching was just shapes. He retraced his steps back into the wild, back to what was left of humanity. Huh. That was very cool. This is a rare example of a very high concept idea done well; you evoke a lot of abstract strangeness, but because it is grounded in your party-hard regenerating cavebros it works a lot better than it otherwise would, and leaves a lingering anticipation about what might have been. Nice work.

Barracuda Bang! posted:

Felicia Goes South
901 Words

"Hi, welcome to Hell!"

Felicia woke up, and opened her eyes, but everything was blurry and all she knew was that, wherever she was, it was a very sanitary bright. She felt an aching in her arms, near her wrists, but felt nothing unusual when she reached for them. She was lying on her back on something hard and cold, like a sidewalk. "I woke up and didn't know where I was" is a classic bad opening. You're going to tell us where she is, so get on with it.

The voice repeated, "Welcome to Hell!"

As Felicia blinked, the scene slowly came into focus and in front of her she could make out a store, Hel-Mart, LOL and a frail, small-framed redundant elderly woman in a firetruck red vest. She turned and looked to her rear. Nothing. Not void or emptiness. Nothing.

"Where am I?" Felicia asked, looking away as she realized she just asked the only question she had already been told the answer to.

Not seeming to mind, the woman said, "You're in Hell, MORE LIKE IN TELL, AMIRITE seriously, this is dead words. if you find yourself having characters repeat themselves that is a secret sign from you to you that you didn't write it properly the first time. sweetie. I don’t know what you did - they never tell me. I just know that what you’re looking for is in Aisle 10, in housewares.”

“What? Why am I in Hell? I don’t even remember what I-”

“No one does. But you’re going to pay for it all the same. Now, come inside and get started. Might as well not put it off any longer.”

“Get started on what?” Felicia asked, feeling surprised at how little she was curious about how she would spend what was presumably to be the rest of eternity.

The old woman stared for a moment. “You’ll know what to do.” BLAH BLAH BLAH

With a shrug that came not entirely of her own volition, Felicia made her way through the store. She passed the grocery section, where gluttons were endlessly gorging themselves on still-frozen corndogs and cake frosting, pouring maple syrup directly into their overextended maws. She continued toward her destination, housewares, where she saw the vain standing in front of mirrors, posing their flawless bodies but seeing only wasted, decrepit versions of themselves, often with super saggy tits and beanbags.

Felicia found herself in Aisle 10, which housed garden tools. She found herself drawn towards a water hose, and struck with the immediate realization of just how long eternity would be if she were stuck in this infernal big-box store for its duration, and began mindlessly tying a looped knot at the end. The other end she weighted with a trowel and threw over a rafter, over which it was held, once she had adjusted the height and and tied the end. Satisfied, she climbed the shelf, put her head in the loop and jumped.

And landed on the ground, no worse for the wear. Her neck was fine, as was the hose noose, dangling undamaged above her head.

Frustrated by her failure, Felicia scoured the area, trying to find a way to end her shopping experience, to no longer be stuck in Hel-Mart, to no longer be mysteriously compelled by the store manager to take her own life. And lo! Like a lighthouse guiding drunk Portuguese fisherman safely back to shore, she saw the beacon of her salvation. In the lighting section, its colors swirled with a majestic beauty that could only be described as, “groovy.” OH, FFS.

She grasped the bottle, burning her hands, and smashed the narrow top against a shelf. She drank, the searing liquid burned Felicia’s throat on its way to her stomach. Once at its destination, she fared no better and began writhing in terrible agony, moaning and burping up gross little bits of orange goo or whatever. chairchucker and Mercedes mostly get away with this kind of stuff because they are funny, and they don't waste our time. If you want to get away with this: don't waste our time with dead words and bullshit dialogue.

And then, it passed. Still standing, she looked down to see that she had a rather dark spot on her pants, and was now standing in a puddle of yellow and orange liquid. Daunted, she put face in her hands and wept. She wept. She wept and she wept and she wept. then she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept and she wept. She wept because she knew that this was only the beginning. Felicia knew that there would be no end to her compulsion, nor of her failures. All she wanted to do was to be free of this burdensome afterlife, and yet it was denied her. And also she slipped, like an idiot. this is not even a sledgehammer point it is the Creusot Steam Hammer of points, built in 1877 and able to deliver a painfully obvious point with a force of more than 125 tons. We know it's going to be like this forever because she is in hell. you have told us that about a dozen times already.

She clambered her way to a display of brightly colored dorm mini-couches (somehow she knew it was August) and sat. Curled up in a ball, wrapped tightly in an unicorn blanket, she tried to think of a solution. So far, at least, she had been unable to kill herself because her body couldn’t be damaged. Wait, that wasn’t right. It could be damaged. It was just able to let things pass through if they were quick enough, like with the hose, or the lava lamp. What she needed was slow, and complete.

With a huff, she was on her feet, galloping back to to the grocery section. Felicia looked in the farthest corner and found it - the butcher shop. Pushing past the gluttons, she entered the back room and looked for the switch to turn on the meat grinder. Once it was on, she took a moment to steel herself. This was it. She would finally be free.

She took a step onto a nearby table. Looking at the intake she saw that it would fit her almost entirely. This would be over quickly, of that she was glad. She closed her eyes and, for no good reason, pinched her nose this is a good detail, btw and jumped.

Agony. Numb. Black. Nothing.

“Hi, welcome to Double Hell!” okay that is a quarterteaspoon worth of clever which I will add to the sprinkle of nice details and the gallon of faux breezy bibble bobble bullshit to make a revolting hobo stew that would be rejected by 80% of self-respecting bums. Still, 20% is something to work on.

Martello posted:


Somewhere in Romania...

Vlad Blackdickula held Suzy McHugetits' hand tightly, passionately. Sweatily.

"You're really going to enjoy this party, I think, my dear," he intoned, looking deeply and passionately and sexily into her big beautiful, voluptuous, sexy, round, eyes. Then he stared down at her generous, pillowy cleavage.

"I certainly hope so!" Suzy McFunbags tittered. "I do so love parties." She opened her full, red lips in a pant of passionate anticipation. Sexy anticipation.

Vlad leaned in for a kiss. His thin, manly lips met her full, red, pillowy womanly lips. They kissed passionately, like two people in deep lust. Sexy, passionate lust.

The limousine came to a stop outside a magnificent, incredible castle. The kind of castle where they make movies about muscular, brooding knights and beautiful, lusty ladies. And vampires.

"Is this all yours?" Suzy McLargebreasts shrieked. "It's so magnificent! It's incredible!"

"It certainly is," Vlad returned. "All mine. Please, my dear, come inside, and see the wonderful party we have waiting for you." He held out a long-fingered hand. Suzy took it and they climbed out of the long, black, long limousine together. They walked along a path paved with old, stately, impressive stones. Huge, oaken, iron-bound gates opened for their entry. Inside was a party like Suzy McBigjuggs had never seen! Men and women in amazing, fantastic, horror-movie costumes made love on every couch, chair, table, and even the hard, cold, stone floors! Suzy McBusty's hands flew to her face.

"It's a costume party!" she wondered. "Why didn't you tell me? All I have is this skimpy little sexy red dress and sexy red heels," she burst out.

It was true. She saw on a couch in front of her, a very large, muscular man wrapped completely in mummy bandages. He was thrusting his very large, muscular penis between the enormous breasts of a woman painted up like the Bride of Frankenstein, from the movie Bride of Frankenstein. On the floor to her left, another very large, even more muscular black (very black) man dressed up as a Haitian voodoo zombie was double-teaming another woman (with enormous breasts) dressed up as one of the Brides of Dracula (from the Bride of Dracula movie) along with a large, muscular man wearing the best ghost costume she had ever seen! It looked like he really was transparent, see-through. They also both had very large penises.

"Why," Vlad ejaculated. "Those aren't costumes, my dear."

"What do you mean?" Suzy McJumboknockers gasped.

Vlad threw back his head and laughed, a long, loud, deep, rich laugh. Suzy O'Balloonboobs suddenly noticed, for the first time, how long, sharp, and scary his teeth were. "My dear," he chuckled, "I mean that this party is an orgy...of the DEAD! MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!" lol

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 13:41 on Dec 24, 2014

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

crabrock posted:

I will crit 1 person who seb isn't critting. This better not lose me 250 words.

Hot sexy crits equal words in the bank as any fule kno so in fact you may have 500 words back on your total, minus 13 for being crabrock.

New word limit for crabrock: 987

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Sentientcarbon is theoretically going to do crits for the last round, but in any case i think my orgone levels have built up to the point i can do another six more - pipe up if you want one.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 12:18 on Jan 17, 2014

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Signups are now closed.

Write hard.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Just short of seven hours remain.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

J. Comrade posted:

Hello TD regulators,
I think I'm not supposed to edit my submission, but while formatting the title I back-slashed where I should have forward-slashed and missed a return... would fix if allowed. Will ensure to preview thoroughly any future submission. Further excuses are available on request. Thanks in advance for your attention and, if I'm lucky, indulgence.
Best regards,

No edits means no edits.

Submissions closed.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

poopkitty posted:

Late because I'm at the mercy of the government and they shut down our computer system with no warning over the weekend. I'm submitting my mystery in the Redemption Thread. And I'm in for next week; lesson learned.


Make sure and enter too, judges don't read backwards from the prompt.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Fanky Malloons posted:


And in.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

:siren:The Quiddlest Rhinobrawl:siren:

The Saddest Rhino posted:

Hush, oh hush, my darling. Do your dreams worry you? weak line Come to father’s arms, and let his love bring you warmth. Father feels yearning in your trembling tears, and please permit this reads like a business letter sign off father’s words to calm your fears. This is way overwritten for what it is, a frame for the actual story.

In the old days, where when the land and sea were children as you are, and the lakes and the seas were one with the skies, Tama-rereti set sail on his canoe. Away from the lush green and blue of his rainforest home, he was the greatest navigator of his iwi, Muffin would know best, but iwi is an unlikely choice, it means all the tribes in a region - hapu would be a better choice here. or just say tribe. but none knew Tama-rereti’s intent, for his tales are recorded through only voices, and voices change and grow. with puberty, yes. if you refer to the mutability of the oral tradition sir i'm sure you could have put that better.

Night fell, and he found himself ugh just say 'was'blanketed by its darkness, for the sun left no light in the skies. The lake was the home of the Taniwha, and Tama-rereti grew frightened, for he knew they had no love for Man. They, of shapes and sizes in numbers as vast as the grass of our hills, of fish scales and gecko tails and shark teeth and tuatara spines, swam and trashed HOONS AND VANDALS in the depths of the lake, enraged by the intrusion of a violator this is v elevated wordage for a kids tale buddy. The chaos PROMPT WORD brought fear to Tama-rereti’s heart, and from the surface broke a great shape: a Taniwha built of a whale, the foam of the lake as it rose thunderous against Tama-rereti’s skin. When the leviathan fell back, the tremor made him fall across his canoe. His fishing basket, weighed down with gathered pebbles, rolled and lay beside his head.

Tama-rereti held his basket up to the heavens, and to Ranginui, He of our skies and whose tears bespoke of his yearning for Papatuanuku, he cried:

These humble stones may not be so fair
As the fine jewels which dress your skies maori really didn't have much in the way of jewels being a stone age people greenstone was p much it
Let them be as the sun and the moon
And light our path, small as they may be
this is terrible poetry

Dazzled with the spray of the black lake, what the man cast wide his basket and the pebbles scattered across, hanging on the sky. Ranginui, whose love for the people nurtured by beautiful Papatuanuku is only rivalled by his aroha of Great Her, smiled at Tama-rereti’s act, and so he sings: TENSE

You have called and I have heard
Let the dark night be lonely no more

And the shining lights of Tama-rereti’s basket blinked brighter and brighter, and they flew up high, and became the stars which made make, surely? our nights radiant. The Taniwha, calmed by the serenity of their glow, sunk down into the waters. Upon reaching shore, Tama-rereti’s waka rose gently to the skies, its body made the bridge of Orion and Scorpius, DUDE IT IS A PRETEND MAORI MYTH WHAT IS WITH ALL THIS PAKEHA NAMES FOR CONSTELLATIONS ETCits iron anchor the Southern Cross and its tangling rope the Pointers. In praise of life, Tama-rereti sang his wishes for the eternal embrace of Ranginui and Papatuanuku to bless our world, and these songs are now our lullabies to you. hmmm the trouble with this is that it's really not very mythical, because there's no moral and not much striving (dude goes for a paddle, sees a whale, flips out and throws his stones in the air) and is also not very maori because they were stone cold badasses who did things like beat the poo poo out of the sun until it stopped rising so fast

Now, lie back, my child. Let Tama-rereti’s courage and waka be your guide to the tranquillity of sleep, and may your dreams be of hope and peace.

As Our Boat Drifts I Let My Child Sleep; I Pray for Fresh Rain to Wet Our Lips

Putting the title at the end is lovely though.

(499 words)

E: Tama-rereti and the Milky Way is, on a quick google, an actual Maori myth, so ignore that part. But that means this was just a straight and not that interesting retelling of an existing myth, which I'm not a huge fan of either. So: judgment unchanged.

Quidnose posted:


What is up with the title? Is it his name? Wasted opportunity, unless I'm missing something?
495 words with title.

The monitoring panel was pushing the bottom of yellow. I am puzzled by this sentence is it some form of robot sexual harassment or what Smoke filled the engine room, reflecting the warning lights in snake like wisps that undulated for an instant before disappearing into the nothingness of the dark. Goodness me that's some purplage.Above him, footsteps resonated, clattered down the hallways towards the escape pods, or what was left of them. The engine sputtered and burned half of the fusion core in an instant. You flip between omniscient and protagonist PoV here.A screen appeared, a holographic lighthouse beacon: Meltdown imminent; evacuation required.

It had all gone to hell, far faster than they said it could at the Academy. Three quick blasts from the pirates and half the crew were probably dead, if the engine room was any indication. The Engineer’s Give people names unless there's a really good reason, imo legs were crushed under some sort of industrial pylon that had hastily dislodged itself. One of his hands still clung to his shipmate’s, a pretty girl whose name he hadn’t yet learned and who had vanished under a large pile of heating duct. this is faintly comical which I don't think is your intent The other hand had somehow managed to reach a control panel in the confusion, and as his world stopped spinning he slowly realized the sequence he was typing was for “self-destruct.” this is implausible - it's about to explode so he sets it to explode?

He hesitated, just for a second, the emotional part of his brain momentarily taking over tell/show as the faces of his commanding officers and the faceless bodies of the crew he had flown with for three days flashed before him. Half a second, really, a moment of an instant, bad grammar but it it? was too greedy, it was everything they had beaten out of him in the Academy. He took a sharp intake of breath as he desperately clawed toward the fail-safe key which does...?. The monitoring panel clicked to red.

All at once, everything went blue. I CAN SING A RAINBOW, SING A RAINBOW TOOOOO

He looked around, his breath pounding bad word choice in his lungs. The engine was still, tell/show: what noise was the engine making?the fire immediately extinguished as the air rushed from the room, diverted to the bridge, the barracks, the pod bay. One by one the lights in the room shut off like a row of candles in a sudden breeze 'one by one' implies it's methodical, 'candles in a sudden breeze' implies it's very quick. The holographic screen flickered, changed its readout: Engine room secured. CONFUSED. Then it vanished.

He turned the key once, twice, but no spark came in the vacuum. So is this like the starter key for the spaceship because that's hilarious. The gravity lock was released and the pylon floated off his legs. mass vs weight motherfucker do you SPEAK IT He clung to the key with his fingertips until the weightlessness and weariness won out. Then he floated. IS HE IN PAIN AT ALL OR IS THAT NOT A THING IN THE FUTURE

The silence was deafening, more suffocating than his final breath. Through the bay window, the stars shimmered, cold, innumerable. Watching them, he remembered the nights on his home planet, when he would wander home and lay his blanket under the endless sky. There was silence there, too, but broken by signs of life: the howl of a distant animal, the whispering of the crickets, the gentle song of the night winds. On those nights, he had plugged his ears, longing for the silence of freedom. Now, floating helplessly, the hammer of his heartbeat faded away into cold clarity. You're about halfway there with this, but it's too purple and consciously elegiac to really do the job

His eyes full of stars, he slowly exhaled. this really is a lovely last sentence, so yay

So these are both pretty fundamentally hosed-in-the-bone pieces of writing with pretty bits at the end. Stylistically you both messed up, to the point that I'm unwilling to split the difference; so I will decide on how well the prompt was implemented. Rhino gave us a dad telling a story to his child to make him/her sleep while hoping for rain, which is not really serenity in the midst of chaos. Quidnose had a final breath of memory in a blown up spaceship, which pretty much was.

Victory to Quidnose, by a zero-g whisker.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 08:25 on Jan 21, 2014


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

I am in with thinking about the immortality of the crab.

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