Register a SA Forums Account here!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
  • Locked thread
Bad Ideas Good
Oct 12, 2012
Argentina to Chile
Word Count: 816

Two-hundred and fifty kilometers of soil-stone is almost exactly what you’d think it is: It’s a desert of rocks. The final seventy-five kilometers of this leg are merely a desert in the traditional sense.

“Welcome to the fifth leg of thirteen in The Aires-Santiago Rally Raid. I’m your announcer, Chip Steggwell. Today will see our racers cross the border of Argentina into Chile on their way to the checkpoint in Copiapo. Despite the slightly shorter length, this leg is no less grueling than the previous ones, with temperatures reaching upwards of thirty-nine degrees Celsius at the mid-day in this blistering January climate. On top of the temperature, this leg has other challenges: The course starts high in the mountain range, about forty-five thousand meters above sea level, and will test everyone’s suspension systems as they move over the peaks, or else they risk running into dead ends in the valleys.”

The mountains of Argentina are some of the most majestic piles of dirt you can find in the dry season. Some are dormant volcanoes, others seem as though they would be more at home on another planet, and all of them look like massive, stoic, ever watching hell beasts that somebody has draped over with the dullest brown blanket.

“And we have an exciting one today, people. There is, perhaps, a six second difference between first and second place of the motorbikes as of this moment,” Chip is more than happy to say. It’s not often that there would be this close of competition three hours into a four hour race, at least not a race like this.


They dance around each other for a bit before Rodi makes his move. Dipping into a valley, he builds up some speed while Luc navigates the safer path up above. Rodi revs up, and punches back uphill to a path that runs almost parallel to Luc’s path, and will merge about three-hundred meters down, but gives him a little more clearance, momentum, and ultimately, the lead. It’s a lot of work and risk to shave eight seconds off of a four hour race, but familiarity with the area pays off somewhere, doesn’t it?

Luc is patient though, a trait that can be a double edged sword in a race. You can win a few races here and there with moves like that, but you don’t stay in the game for over twenty years without being smart. There are still the sands coming up, and those hills shift. Being able to identify the best path is much different from simply knowing it. The opportunity will come, but for now he will simply keep pace right behind Rodi.

But Rodi is young, and despite his skill is not used to having someone trailing this close behind. He needs just a few more seconds, just a bit more space between himself and his stalker. He knows the risk, but something tells him that he’s fated to win. He told his mother as much a week ago, the last he saw her. The gap isn’t that large, he just needs some speed, some distance.

Luc hears the rev blasting his ears through the helmet as he watches Rodi speed off the path, through the desert plants toward where the path curves back around after two-hundred meters. It would save some time, but the valley is two bike lengths wide, and the other side isn’t that much lower. If he fails, he could fall so far. But Rodi is committed, gets up to speed, and launches.

There’s a moment where everything slows down for Rodi here, and for that moment, he feels it. That sense of absolute knowledge, the predictive sense of all thing as they will be, the clarity of all. That feeling that comes when you know you absolutely nailed it. That feeling lasts all of two seconds for Rodi, as he lands on the other side initially cleanly. But the bike, overheated and overworked, gives off a clang, a sputter, and explodes some small loose metal into Rodi’s calf. Rodi screams, bites his lip, and tries to ride a little while further, before realizing both he and his bike can’t make it and collapses just shy of the path.

“Merde!” Luc yells as he watches the entire scene play out, and makes his way over along the path towards Rodi’s unmoving body. An attempt to communicate does not go well; Luc does not know Spanish, Rodi is already unconscious from the shock and heat stroke, and didn't know French anyway.

There are eighty-five kilometers remaining in the leg. Sitting there in forty degree Celsius heat, Luc prepares a smoke flare, ignites it, and watches as the other riders move by in the desert below. He looks at his rival of the last two hours, and silently declares his retirement. He does not want to spend another second in South America.


Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

I'm bokeh, you're bokeh
Black Cherry

Ironic Twist fucked around with this message at 22:56 on Feb 9, 2015

Dec 31, 2006

Fork 'em Devils!
Empty Victory - 1000 Words
Football - Germany

Dieter looked through narrowed eyes at the man sitting across from him, a wide oak desk separating them. It put the other man out of immediate reach, which was probably for the best right now.

“But what, coach?” said Dieter, injecting as much false respect as possible.

Berend’s face tightened. “But you aren’t in shape to play. Look, you’ll always be a legend here. The Red Hawks owe you much.”

Dieter slammed his fists down on the desk. “Fifteen loving years with this club, Berend! And now you tell me I can’t play my final game before retirement?”

Berend wasn’t rattled. “That’s right. Your form is weak and you are still battling injuries.”

“I know my body better than you. I can play! Who the hell are you to tell me I can’t, you little pissant, you were just hired a few months ago.” said Dieter.

“I’m the drat coach! Something you seem to have forgotten this entire season,” said Berend. He stuck his finger out at Dieter aggressively, nearly poking him in the chest. “And in these short few months, I’ve taken this club to the verge of promotion. How many times did that happen in your fifteen years?” said Dieter. “I’m not putting a has-been into the game that will guarantee us promotion!”

“gently caress you,” said Dieter, his voice gone quiet and stiff, his face twisted into something ugly. “I quit.” He turned to leave and started to walk out.

“Good riddance to you and your ego!” said Berend. “And take off your jersey before you leave the building. It doesn’t belong to you anymore!” Berend shouted at Dieter’ back.

Dieter had no intention of leaving the building complex just yet. He bulldozed through the hallways, scattering interns and some of the more panicky office staff. Dieter stopped outside of a conference room and stared in. The heads of nearly every major team in the league were inside, including his own. He banged on the window hard and every eye turned to him. Dieter stripped off his jersey, failed miserably to tear it in half, and settled for stomping on it. He threw the entire conference room the middle finger and stamped out of the building.

That night Dieter barely heard the chirping of his phone through his boozy haze. “Hello,” he slurred.

There was a pause on the other line. “Dieter Landa?”

“No interviews,” said Dieter lazily, almost letting the phone slip out of his hand.

“Do you still want to play your last game on your home field?”

Dieter shook his head to clear it. “Who is this?”

“You’re a free agent now. Any team that wants you can sign you. Most don’t. I do. And you need me.”

Dieter blinked slowly, trying to understand what was being offered. “Uhhh…” he said, dumbly.

A sigh came from the phone. “You seem to be a little… under the weather, so I’ll keep it simple. This is Gottfried Velten. Do you know who I am?”

“Yes. You coach the Black Lions. I was supposed to play your team in two days,” said Dieter. Dieter looked down at his watch. “Well now it’s tomorrow, actually.” Dieter burped. “And we hate you and your team.”

“Correct, except there’s no ‘we’ anymore, is there?” said Gottfried. Dieter was silent. Gottfried continued. “My offer is simple. I sign you and you get to play your last game on your home field as you wanted.”

“And in exchange you want help beating them. Inside information,” said Dieter. Dieter reached his hand up to massage his temples. More than just the alcohol was affecting his headache now.

“Yes,” said Gottfried simply. “We’ll keep it quiet, they won’t even know until you walk into the stadium.”

Dieter sighed. Could he really betray his teammates like that? But every thought was colored with Berend’s bullshit, given to him all season long. Your ball control is getting worse, Dieter. Dieter, your footwork needs help. Be a playmaker Dieter, don’t act like a forward.

“I’ll do it.”

Of course it wasn’t kept a secret, leaked a few hours in advance to demoralize the Red Hawks team and fans. The fact that their legendary midfielder had switched to the hated Lions, and for the promotional game, left both supporters and players confused and hurt. It was also too late to change many of the set plays, and Berend had to scramble to pull together older, unpracticed ones that had worked in the past.

When Dieter jogged out onto the pitch with the Lions, an eerie sound filled the stadium - a combination of taunts and pain. It hadn’t seemed real for them until that moment. It also became real for Dieter just then.

He looked down at his black uniform, then at the red figures on the other side of the field, then finally up at the audience that he used to love to make roar. He could see the raw emotions on the faces of those closest to him, and he hated how they saw him. This wasn’t supposed to be how his last game went. What the hell was he thinking? His anger at Berend had clouded any possible good judgment he had left after being knocked around on the pitch for a decade and a half. How could he have possibly thought this could have worked out any differently?

He shook his head and blinked back tears. He found Gottfried and told him that he couldn’t do this. Gottfried shrugged and told him to go back into the locker room. As Dieter walked off the pitch, he raised an open hand in apology to the fans. The fans thought he was waving, taunting them, and booed him. Dieter quickly lowered his hand, but the jeers followed him down the tunnel as he made his escape. Dieter spent his last game as a pro footballer watching his beloved team lose their first promotion game in nearly a decade from the locker room of their most hated rival.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

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

The Alley-Runners (536 words)
Aleppo (Syria)


See Archive

Grizzled Patriarch fucked around with this message at 17:53 on Dec 30, 2015

Jun 20, 2013
Royal Blood - 357 words
Tehran, Iran

Yusuf flicked the fire selector of his AKM back as the rebels led the honor guard from the palace. He was hidden in the second story of the national mosque, a pace away from the window so the barrel wouldn’t stick out and give him away. Rebels dug their boots into the knees of his comrades and began to yell at the crowd that had gathered there around them. The hooded heads of the captives looked up. Covered eyes scanned the city to look for something familiar. Tehran was gone from them now. Courses that oriented themselves with the streets and locals were lost to them now. Overnight the Shah had been taken away. With him fled the hope of political freedom.

Gingerly he placed the barrel of the gun on the windowsill. Yusuf breathed in and out. He didn’t know where to go from here. The rebels still chanted their beliefs. Hollow words that echoed through the city. What they said no one in Tehran wanted but yet here the city was tearing itself apart so it could sacrifice its chance to be free, its chance to be legitimate in the eyes of the world. But these weren’t the thoughts that filled Yusuf’s head. He was focused on who to shoot first to rescue his fellow guards.

A noise filled his ears and made him tense. An inescapable vibration that moved his vision back and forth. Then silence. He noticed the AKM had been firing since that incredible noise filled his head. The familiar dog’s bark was nowhere to be heard. Astounded he saw the rebels in the street start to run. Their new AK74s stocks glittered in the sun as they fired at Yusuf.

A tank had to have fired somewhere nearby. Nothing else could have made such an incredibly loud noise. Then his attention turned to his friends. They bowed down, kissed the ground, and raised their hands towards him. Yusuf wanted to pose with his AK and feel every part the hero. He realized though that they still had the black bags over their heads.

Yusuf dropped his gun and to his knees.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006


It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

:siren: :siren: Oooooh poo poo son, the deadline, it has passed. :siren: :siren: Posting from my phone, hope this comes through.

Mar 21, 2013
Well, gently caress. :v:
Leap of (Practiced) Faith (1161 words)
Acapulco, Mexico

It was currently noon in Acapulo, Mexico, and Jane Reed couldn't bear to stay another second in this hotel. Sure, the glass door leading out to the hotel room balcony showed off a sunny view of the sea – which was still as gorgeous as it had been when they checked in three hours ago – and she had three books in her suitcase that would be perfect for reading underneath the tropical sun, but those spat-out words from last night just wouldn't leave her alone.

So you're just giving up? Useless, worthless, ungrateful child.

She crumpled the bedcovers underneath her hands. Bad enough that she bombed the Google interview they had all been counting on, but then she had to slip up and hint at her thoughts about changing majors. It wouldn't have taken too much work. She was already minoring in Sociology, so it wasn't like she was going to have to spend another year studying – but that was when the phone-call switched from tight-lipped disappointment to nuclear explosion.

Do you even have a plan? Do you want to be a teacher when you're fifty and work the rest of your life?

She did – she'd been working on them for the past year, but it was impossible to stop Mom when she got on a roll and –

Do you have any idea of how much work and time we've put into giving you this chance?

Jane stood up. "Hey, does any of you want to go out?"

Kristen and Laura looked at her blankly. Kristen was the first to respond. "Like, to the grocery store or something?"

"No, like to that big cathedral we saw while landing. You know, tourist stuff. "

Kristen turned her attention back to her phone. "Ugh, no. Sorry. That's like on the other side of Acapulo, and I want to save my energy for the clubs tonight."

Jane looked at Laura. "How about you?"

Laura hesitated. "Well, I was thinking about taking a nap… maybe you should ask the guys?"

"No point." Kristen again. "They're all asleep so they won't get tired tonight. Tried calling Chris earlier and he told me to bug off." She frowned. "You're going to go by yourself if nobody else is coming, aren't you." It wasn't a question.

Jane smiled weakly, and Kristen sighed, and stood up off the bed, stowing her phone away into her pocket.
"Okay, then. You're paying for the taxi, though."

Upon seeing Jane's expression, she rolled her eyes. "Look, I'm better at Spanish than you are. And if you go out by yourself, you're painting yourself bright neon yellow for all the police around here."

Laura asked, "What do you mean?"

"What I mean is that some of the policia around here extort money from tourists. And Jane here -" She jerked her head at Jane, "– doesn't really deal well under high-pressure situations, right?"

You make me sick. That remnant from last night's conversation came back to Jane. "Well, uh – "

"Yeah. Don't worry, Jane – I'll make sure that they'll only take half of your life savings." Kristen grinned at Jane, and Jane forced one onto her face in response.

* * *

After they were both dropped off in Zócalo Plaza, Kristen asked Jane, "So what do you want to do?"

"Well, for starters, that." Jane pointed at the giant cathedral to their left. "I think it's called the 'Nuestra Señora Cathedral' or something like that."

"Mmm." Kristen was apparently distracted by a nearby vendor stand. When Jane craned over to look at what had captured her interest, she saw postcards of fit young speedo-wearing men against the backdrop of rocky shore cliffs. Typical Kristen.

Jane was about to start dragging Kristen over to the cathedral, when she suddenly whirled around. "Jane! We have to go see the cliff divers!"


"I just remembered! They're over that way – "Kristen gestured wildly in a direction behind Jane, "And they have a 1 PM show! It's less than a mile away! We can still make it!"

"Wait, wait, wait." Jane grabbed Kristen's shoulder before she could run off. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"Okay, so there's these guys who jump from the top of the cliffs around here into the sea. It's like a 100 foot drop and the water they land in is really shallow, like 12 feet or something!" She was bouncing up and down – so much for saving her energy for tonight. "I haven't seen them in ages! You have to see them!"

Well, Jane was the one who dragged her out there in the first place. Couldn't hurt. "Sure."

Kristen grinned. "Race you to the cliffs!" She took off, and Jane could only stare at her retreating back before she started sprinting as well.

* * *

"I hate you so much." Jane was wheezing as she walked up to where Kristen was standing – near a set of two stairs, which were labeled, "Diver Observation Deck".

"I win!" Kristen's enthusiasm was unfortunately infectious, and Jane couldn't help but smile.

"It's not like I could've won in the first place," Jane grumbled as she followed Kristen up the stairs. There were apparently three different levels, and they eventually chose the one on the bottom, because it was also the emptiest. It was also right across from where the divers were on the cliffs. Jane sneaked a peek left and noticed with some amusement Kristen's enraptured gaze. Then she looked over the railing and felt her stomach sink.

Sure, there was water down there – but it was a thin strip. It was hard to judge from this high up, but the swimming pools back home were probably wider then the water down there. And the shore was all sharp rocky edges. Jane swallowed, edged a little closer to Kristen.

It was only a little longer until the show started. The divers stepped up to the edge, and one-by-one, started diving off the edge. Notably, they didn't really jump high – sometimes it seemed like they simply fell forward and off – but they all straightened out and sunk, fists first, into the water. Some even did flips. But every time, they all emerged from the surface of the waves, smiling. It was amazing.

"There's never been a single death." Kristen said in her ear.

"What?" Jane turned to look at her.

"There's been some injuries – blown eardrums, broken limbs – but never a death. And they've been diving since the 30's." She was smiling as she looked across towards the four remaining divers. "Lots of practice, I guess. Look, it's the finale!"

Jane looked back up and saw all four of those divers simultaneously leap off. They dropped and dropped – and all landed fists first, and came up with their heads held high.

She poked Kristen in the side, who looked at her. "What?"

"Uh, sorry. I'm not going clubbing today."

"Why not? That's what we're here for!"

"Well, uh, I have to make a phone call."

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

920 words

Dmitri is drunk again, and mouthy. I watch him from an old wooden chair by the fire of the crowded sleephouse, warming up my damp woolen socks on the hot bricks.

“You thinking your team can beat my Nadezhda? You will see tomorrow that Nadezhda is no mere team of dogs, my friends. God Himself came down to me on that long fast patch 50 miles north of Klyuchi, you know it? His angels around him, he glowed like a furnace.” Dmitri brings up the vodka bottle for another swig then pauses, face beatific. “My eyes were blinded by the light, but when I could see again my Nadezhda was as you see it now, baying and yelping in the fresh-fallen snow, messengers of divine –“

It is then that the flung boot hit him in the head, and everything starts to happen very fast.

The boot was mine, in an embarassing turn of events – I’d had it under my chair while I warmed my feet and listened to my brother spin his yarn and some guy in a leather vest was moved by his story to pick it up and hurl it across the room. I saw it happen and stood up, knocking over my chair on to some fat bearded fellow’s bowl of sausage and cabbage. He flung an arm out to protect his dinner, catching a wiry young guy in the ear, at which point of course there was nothing for that guy to do but to turn and plant a fist in the mouth of his neighbour. In short: chaos. And as usual my brother at the heart of it, howling happily as he banged the head of a woeful-looking stringbean of a man into the table.

On the one hand I sympathised, and on many days in the past twenty years I’d have been the one with the boot. But he was family so I waded over to Dmitri and grabbed him by the collar, and dragged him out of the brawl, and out into the icy silence outside.

He was still giggling. I grabbed the bottle off him and poured the rest of the bottle on a handkerchief to dab at his cut.

“Ahh, Piotr! gently caress you, that was mine!”

The moon was up, and full, draping everything in silver. I could hear the dogs yelping in the pen around the side, must have heard the kerfuffle. “Mother made me promise to keep you alive, little scut, and that’s what I’ll do. Anyway we need you good tomorrow. It’s going to be me and you winning this, you drive into a crevasse and your magic dogs will have to go back to Heaven, da?”

Dmitri coughed and spat. The spittle was black on the snow and he looked at it with interest. “I’m going to beat you hollow, me and Nadezhda. They don’t run, they fly.”

I laughed. “Dream your beautiful dream all you wish, just don’t get eaten by a bear.”

Dimitri’s face twisted. “gently caress you big brother, you were always Mama’s favourite because she could control you. She’s not controlling anyone now.” He shook off my hands, spat again at my feet and stalked back inside.

The next day on the snow Dmitri was sullen as he harnessed up the dogs. I shouted encouragement at him from atop my sled but he did not respond. The line of sled riders was boisterous, anticipating the party after the final leg of the race no doubt. Then the pistol went off, the whips cracked and we were hurtling along side by side, rattling mob-handed across the rutted snow and out of the tiny town.

It was a good fifteen hours until the finish in Ossora, and I had no intent of tiring the dogs at the outset so I let the young boys whip their teams and halloo up the long slope into the hills outside town. Normally Dmitri would have kept pace with me, but this time he was the first of all, yelling at his team with a harsh tone that I did not remember hearing before from him. Within an hour he was out of sight and I frowned under my snow hood. He was right about his team, they were fine indeed, but not enough to keep that pace for long. I squinted into the dawn sun, slinking around the horizon like a boy returning to his house late and drunk, then saw him. He’d taken the shortcut over the hills, a dangerous route but a faster one. I tilted my head from side to side and gave my team a pull to the right. I had made a promise, after all.

The next I saw of him was up past the treeline. A black splotch on the white snow ahead, brother shaped. I could not see his team and he was not moving. I called out to my dogs, and they responded, yanking me along like the wind.
He was halfway down a crevasse, feet straining against the sides. The sleigh was creaking as it supported his weight, tied by a rough coil of rope around an ice axe he’d rammed into the snow.

“Brother, they are down there! My Nadezhda! Help me!” He was slipping.

I leapt from my still-moving sled and reached down, knife in hand. Dmitri saw my intent.

"No, brother, no, please, they are my---" I sawed through the first trace as he scrabbled at my hand, tears tracing down his face, then the rest. As I grabbed him to pull him back he screamed. "My leg, broken. gently caress you. gently caress you"

I got him out, cradled him as my dogs crowded round and whine, anxious. "We must pull together, brother. It is the promise I made. We must."

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 13:43 on May 28, 2015

Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!


200 words about a diagnosis gone wrong.

Benny the Snake
Apr 11, 2012


Quidnose posted:


200 words about a diagnosis gone wrong.
Mis-Diagnosis, my dick (100 words)

"Wait Doc, I never had psychosis?"

My psychaitrist shook his head. "Hearing voices is one thing, hearing your name being called out at random isn't really a symptom of psychosis."

"So I've been taking these anti-psycho drugs for nothing, then."

My doctor didn't say anything, but I could tell by that guilty look on his face. I wasn't mad, I suddenly had an idea. "How's your malpractice insurance, Doc?"

He looked scared as poo poo. "What do you want?"

I just smiled at him. He knew. He wrote me a perscription for valium for my troubles. Nothing's better than levrage, amirite?

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Miss Diagnosis
200 words

Sally Wackinthorpe was an expert at telling what was wrong with people. When a customer came into her small and cluttered shop, between the 'ting' of the bell and the end of its reverberation she could pick their needs, hopes, dreams, current pharmaceutical load and shoe size. She'd start telling them about it as they browsed the shelves, as they scratched their necks under the too-tight collars, as they hurriedly left. Sally loved going to work and always locked up the store at night with the sense of a job well done.

Then one day a customer came to the store who she could not read. His hair was average, mousy, in a style that was competent yet generic. He walked as though he'd rented the ground he stood on with a short term lease and expected to be evicted from it at any moment. When he asked her on a date she nodded, and scribbled her number on a piece of paper.

Oglethorpe (for that was this man's name) was, it later became apparent, a stage magician and embezzler. Together Sally and Oglethorpe roamed the world, looting high class hotels of their most treasured possessions. But Sally never smiled again.

Oct 30, 2003

Quidnose posted:


200 words about a diagnosis gone wrong.

I woke to white light and floating.

"Doctor, you might want to take a look at this"

Murky round silhouettes coalesced into the lovely round breasts of the nurse, too big to be hidden by her pale pink scrubs. Murky dreams of pain coalesced into the vivid image of my finger, the infected spider bite. I couldn't feel my arms or legs.

"gently caress he's awake. Check the propofol. Now please!"

I could just make out the mirrored ceiling past the glare of the surgical spotlight. My head was shaved, and a square of skull was hanging open like a trapdoor. My brain looked exactly like I expected, wrinkled and pale pink.

"Nurse can you double check his wrist-band?"

I couldn't summon the same sense of panic as the doctor, though I was aware that something was wrong. I wanted to look at my hand, see if the bite had got worse.

"John S. Smith"

"At we can sew this one's skull up. I don't think John J. Smith will be happy waking up with a tumour and without an arm."

Echo Cian
Jun 16, 2011

Quidnose posted:


200 words about a diagnosis gone wrong.


"What the hell happened?" Theo said, his voice muffled over Darius's ringing ears.

Darius dragged himself upright and stared at the shattered vial at his feet, utensils scattered across the floor. The corner of the bed frame jabbed into his back.

"Where's Lord Vale?" Theo asked, buzzing about like a pest. Darius wanted to swat him but his arms weren't cooperating. "What happened, drat you!"

Lord Vale. He'd been complaining of weakness, dizzy spells, sunlight hurting his eyes. Darius had guessed vertigo or anemia. Common enough. He'd come in for some tests to confirm the diagnosis, including a blood test as a precaution. They'd just gotten to that, right. Darius had disinfected, inserted the needle, and...was on the floor with Lord Vale nowhere in sight.

Darius reached for the broken vial and winced at pain in his arm. Theo's irritating hands pulled away his sleeve, and his nattering cut off in a gasp. "I- I'll be back," he stammered, and bolted for the door.

Darius felt the injury. Two puncture wounds at a distance apart roughly equal to a human's incisors. He closed his eyes and let his head fall back against the cot. Anemia. Right.

"Hell," he muttered.

Jun 26, 2013


Quidnose posted:


200 words about a diagnosis gone wrong.


The vetinary clinic was busy. Marietta wrote out dosage instructions for a diabetic cat and backhanded away some sweat.

Vicki brought a big cardboard box into the back room; Vicki the lovely, the caring, the unattainable. Marietta watched her wistfully for a moment. Would you like to - no, too formal. Want a coffee some time?

Vicki smiled and Marietta's heart melted. I'll never be brave enough.

"A kid brought in this bird off the street. I know you're run off your feet but I thought you might like to take a look."

Marietta opened the box. Someone had left a baby! No. Clearly, just a big... bird. She reached into the box and picked out a toy-sized bow and arrows. "Oh, poor thing. Did someone shoot at you?"

She smoothed down the pristine white feathers. "Nothing wrong that I can see, just a bit ruffled. You'll be all right."

A tiny hand - no, claw - wrapped around her finger. She helped the creature stand up and opened the window to encourage it out. The bow was gone. A sunbeam flashed like a golden dart and she smelled roses.

Vicki put her arms around her from behind. "You're the kindest person I know," she whispered. "I like that a lot."

Jul 19, 2011

"Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean They Aren't Coming To Get You"
39 words.

The reinforced ward door shook in its frame. The smell of rotten eggs was overpowering.

"Still think I'm just hearing voices?" I asked Doctor Wellington while I waited for the demons to break through.

He had nothing to say.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006


It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.

:siren: :siren: THUNDERDOME WEEK 127 RESULTS ARE IN! :siren: :siren:

First the good news: all three judges agreed that this was an above average week. Many stories were solidly average or above average. The number of stories we all decided were "medium-high" was surprising. We had to pare our potential winner/HM pile down from five stories, you guys! That's pretty dang decent!

This week's honourable mentions were all pretty good. In a weaker round, I think two or three of them would have been winners. Ironic Twist told an excellent story of brotherly competition turned oozy horror in a Finnish sauna. Quidnose took us back to wartime France, where two old friends made a bet and one of them had to lose, but the whole country lost in the end. Morning Bell traveled to Serbia, spinning a tale of conflict, prejudice, teenage love, and math.

In the end, Maugrim's tale of countryside Italian betrayal and cheese took the top prize. The setting and conflict were key to the plot, which had twists and turns and was well-wrought from start to finish. Congratulations Maugrim and enjoy your week on the ThunderThrone™!

Losers were harder to pick this round, simply because no story stood out as particularly eye-gougingly terrible. So in a way, you are all kind of winners, yay? So jerk yourself off and give yourself a pat on the back I guess.

December Octopodes gets the lone DM this round. Not only was it A Rosa Flores Story, it was a convoluted Flores story where we weren't sure why the hero and villains hated each other and the protagonist made some choices that just straight up didn't make sense. Chaos in Argentina I guess.

And our loser is tenniseveryone, with a completely inexplicable tale about cat people in Space India. There's the beginnings of a plot and a bit of conflict, if you can sift through the mess, but in the end, both parties decide to just pretend nothing ever happened and walk away and leave the thing they were fighting over to a popular vote. This is like the Gone Girl Ending of Indian spacecatpeople.

Shout outs to Djeser and Sitting Here for their assistance judging. See you all next week!

Mar 22, 2013

it's crow time again


SadisTech - Stick Wins at Pissing
This isn't a bad showing for your first time in Thunderdome. However, good for a newbie doesn't mean good, and while this didn't make me angry (beyond the baseline anger of having to read and crit all these dumb words) there's areas to improve. First off, the framing device didn't feel important in the end. What does it add to the story that he's telling this to his grandson? If you want me to read every word you write, make sure all of those words are good and/or important. Second, there were a few clarity issues that seemed like it needed another editing run. Not just the typos, which weren't many but which did make me stop and notice them, but also stuff like how in the beginning, you said he rarely ever talked about it, but then apparently he's got a mood his grandson recognizes as "war story mood". At its core, it's a fine story, and I did enjoy the actual story about the pissing contest, but it could have done without the slow buildup. If you wanted to make the grandson's role meaningful in some way to the message, I didn't get it.

Welcome to the dome.

December Octopodes - Blood on the Pampas
Overall, the structure of this is pretty good, though it does feel like it ends pretty abruptly. Where you trip up the most is in clarity and grammar. There's stuff like a big run-on sentence ("With no gun at hand and no horse...from the ruined estancia.") that seems like you just forgot to put whatever word was going to split it into two sentences in there. Also, you do a lot of something I have a problem with, and that's cramming a ton of stuff into each sentence. During your action scenes, all your sentences are like 'doing this, i did this" or "i thought this as i did this and this" and when you compound actions like that, you slow them down and you can make the pace seem odd. Like, "I punched him, knowing that my plans of quiet slaughter were so much ash." It's connecting the thought to the punch in an odd way, both conceptually and time-wise. Also, a bit more attribution to the dialogue would have helped--it was hard to keep track of who was saying what at that point. In general, this is a decent story with some stumbles in the execution that closer editing and attention to how the sentences flow could fix.

Screaming Idiot - The Bear, the Rabbit, and the Coyote
I rolled my eyes when I read that Pyotr wanted to be a writer, just because that's the equivalent of, say, a prog rock album about how the power of music defeats the evil overlords. There's some other cliches worked in there that feel heavier than they should--the family situation they've got going on, for one, seems like I've seen it before, even though I can't actually think of another situation like that off the top of my head. Aside from that, though, it was a decent story, and I didn't see much mechanically that bothered me. Your descriptions were generally decent, too--just wanted to mention that since some other stories this week were drier in that area.

Benny the Snake - The Kite Derby Mexico
This story came out all right. You did a decent job of adding in extra details, and you worked the information you were presenting (this time, how to build a kite--last time I judged I think it was hummingbird mating ritual you explained) into the narrative in a way that it didn't feel like a Wikipedia article. Still, it could use improvement. The pneumonia comes out of nowhere near the end, so it seems pretty abrupt. You don't really have a clear conflict running throughout the story--the actual conflict seems to pop up when the derby starts. And you kind of go a little too far in pointing out the message when you say "It all made sense now..." Yeah, I got that, the whole point of your story is that his kite is better-made because he worked hard and learned from his grandfather. If your story has a message, don't stop and say, "I then realized [symbolic point]." All in all though, this is some of the better writing I've seen from you, which isn't great, but it's approaching decent. Maybe next time, push yourself a little bit and write something in third person? You seem to do a lot of first person, and the variety might help.

tenniseveryone - The Truth Will Out
This has probably the most interesting plot developments so far, but it gets a little bit fuzzy (:haw:) in places. I think one of the issues is that some of the key points don't come up until later in the story. I didn't get that it was a sci-fi setting until I learned that Kip was a tiger-guy, and the "half-man half-tiger" thing made it seem almost like he was a hybrid, not an alien. Or maybe he is a hybrid. Anyway, the trickle of information makes the plot a little harder to follow--it might have been easier if we knew that the captain had died, and that these are the two most-qualified crewmembers to take his place. Also, I'm still not entirely sure whether it was a spaceship or a regular ship or what--establishing that clearly would also help. I had some mild issues with clarity around the dialogue transitions--just in some places, it felt harder to follow than it should have. It may just be a formatting thing; personally, I like a space between each paragraph, because then it's more evident where one 'thought' ends and another starts.

DreamingofRoses - Hyena's Dinner
Oh man, FOLK STORIES. I'm writing this before I read it. You better do this good.

And now that I've read it, I can tell you what I think. Stylistically s a folk story, it works all right, though there's some things I'd change to make it a more satisfying story-story. The main thing I'd consider is what's the conflict here? Hyena's tricking Lion, sure, but what's going to stop her from doing that? Everything kind of goes as expected for her, and it doesn't feel like there's any threat of things not working out. They don't want to fall for it, but everyone does, so I wonder maybe it'd be more compelling if she had to change her tactics and use some other method to convince one or both of them? The idea is kind of there with Gazelle and Springbok feeling anxious, but it's a bit cliche for the "well, I'll just tell them they were right and you are dumb" to work on both of them. As a story-book type folk tale though, the style reads pretty well, so good job on that.

Jitzu_the_Monk - Thai Cringe
Okay, so on the one hand, this story is written pretty well and I get a good sense of the emotions going on, even if Sumalee is a bit of a cartoon high school popular girl bitch. On the other hand, it's a story about a competition between brothel girls to have sex with as many virgins as possible. I've got to say that you didn't make it as weird or gross as I thought it might go, but that's still an interesting choice to go with, I guess. The misunderstanding too--did he think he got a reduced rate for being a Virgo? A little weird, but it was written well enough that I can't get mad about that, so good job on your devirginizing competition story!

hotsoupdinner - Coconut Shimmy
Solid first entry to the dome. There really aren't any major errors that stand out to me, so I can only talk about smaller stuff. The transition between the second and third paragraphs could be a little clearer, maybe with a section break, or alternatively, if in the very beginning, you establish that we're seeing this through Andre's eyes. I feel the feeling behind the ending, but Andre's motivation for helping Gabriel isn't entirely clear--I'm not sure whether he's doing it because he wants a fair competition, or what. That's what I assume, but there's not much earlier in the story to establish why Andre would stop and help him. It's not out of character, he seems like the sort of person who would do that, but I can't point to a part of the story and say that here's where you established Andre likes fair competitions or that he doesn't want to see Gabriel disgraced or whatever his reason for helping Gabriel actually is. While it seems like I've written a lot of criticism, it's really all I can say because other than that, you did a good job with plot, conflict, description, emotions--all that stuff.

Also welcome to the Dome.

Jick Magger - Sikuaq
Another one where I don't have much to talk about, because it's generally quite good. The one thing that stuck out at me was a tense issue where you slipped into present for a bit ("...but as the ice has receded further...") which doesn't match with the tense of the rest of the story. Otherwise, it's a solid story with a decent thematic thrust of living on the margins, close to death, and the struggle to survive and all that. The ending is probably going to stick with me for a while. Good job.

Nubile Hillock - Vacation
I'm writing this first before I confer with the other judges, and I'll go back and add more once I've talked. I like the style of this, but there's definitely points where I had to stop and look back at what I'd read for it to make more sense. The "sound of dirt hitting the coffin" made me think that maybe he was taking her body out to be buried, something like that. I don't understand the meaning of the connection between his circuits and Buddhist harmonies beyond maybe some shared identification with his wife, like realizing they were after the same thing, maybe? It's written well but I don't 'get' it.

Other judges didn't have much, so I guess this is just idgi for me.

PoshAlligator - No Filter
This is another story where some explanation up top would help out. It wasn't really until the end that I figured out what Colludium was, though I got the idea that it was sort of like a LAN tournament. Also, the near-future setting wasn't as obvious until we got to the people staring at each other and gesturing, so the idea that they're playing a fully virtual card game might help establish that clearly. The story would still work, as we still don't know what Jack is doing until the end, but with a better reference as to what's going on, it'd be easier to guess. Personally, I figured it was some kind of RTS or FPS video game, not a card game. The only other thing of note is that at the end I'm not sure if Jack is still in the basement or up at the hall or what. The relative seriousness and comparatively low stakes actually make this kind of interesting to read, because it's more unexpected to have this cyberpunk sabotage stuff going on around the cyberpunk equivalent of Yu-Gi-Oh.

Guiness13 - Catching the Train
Funny that I was just talking about low-stakes stories being interesting. This worked pretty well too, again because it's a relatively minor conflict--not in terms of its importance to Richard, but just generally. There's decent emotional thrust and some good description in there too, and while a more substantial ending might have been nice, in general it was a fine, simple read, so good job.

Mercedes - The Rock God
This story:
Rock and roll 8/10
Being pretty metal 7/10
Not having death and videogames in it 10/10
You almost lost me at Guitardome, but then brought me back with Xavier's sexual harassment. Also beyond the humor, it's a good story with good pacing, establishes its ideas up front so the rest of the story can elaborate on them, and ends in a satisfying way after the protagonist struggles to overcome their conflict.

edit: I literally did not get that this was about you and seb. woops

Quidnose - Transatlantic Melody
I like the way this story is written, but the ending feels really quick to me, like maybe there was supposed to be more there, but you ran out of space, or something. Not saying that the plot should have changed, but it feels like the big emotional shift that comes al happens right in that end, and the idea that there's this difference between Luc and Paul doesn't really get resolved beyond the idea that Luc defected and Paul didn't. That said, for a story that's primarily two people talking at each other, I wasn't as bugged by that as usual--the dialogue feels natural enough that I can believe these people are friends, and you've got some nice turns of phrase in there too ("I watched him play until he stopped being my friend and became the music again.")

Entenzahn - Run
You sure you didn't get Thunderdome confused with Gamerdome? I generally thought this was pretty good, but the emotions at the end kind of baffled me a little bit--I can't quite figure out how much David actually cares about her, and how much he's being a goony nerd and worrying about speedrunning while his girlfriend is literally in the hospital because a bull attacked her. The only time clarity was an issue for me was in the beginning talking about time, where 'over' and 'behind' feel like opposites, but you're talking about him being too slow in both instances.

Maugrim - Formaggio
This is a week of interesting conflicts. You started with a good line, which I like, and you managed to keep up the energy moving through your story. You manage to put enough detail into cheese that even as a person who pretty much only knows what goes on pizza and hamburgers, I could get a sense for what you meant. And you managed to keep a pretty good balance between the inherent silliness of flowery descriptions of cheese and an emotional conflict. It's lightly comedic without being too goofy that it loses its emotional resonance, and the unexplored narrative terrain of cheesemaking made me unwilling to take a break until after I'd finished reading this.

Schneider Heim - Encounter on Trollstigen
This was pretty good, though it took a little back and forth reading in the beginning to suss out exactly how everything works. To be fair, it is a lot to put all together, the mom and divorced dad with adopted son and they're all into fast cars. Aside from that, it read pretty well with a few errors that should have been picked up in an edit pass, like where you repeated "the entire width of the road" and it just made it sound a bit redundant. It also felt a little long in places, like around the flashback--I get what it adds to the story, but it feels like it's slowing down in the middle of a hectic race.

Tyrannosaurus - The Blue
I don't know what it was about this week that made TD collectively start coming up with good ideas all of a sudden, but there you go: sci-fi chainsaw ice sculpture. I've got to say I'm not entirely sure what the sci-fi added to it, beyond an extra layer of humor about needing special augments just for ice sculpture and tying into the feeling he has of being obsolete, but it works. You also get to be the rear end in a top hat who does the thing I'm telling people not to do, but makes it work. I've been saying to put the cards on the table up front, but the way you wrote this, it generates interest with that slow trickle of information, starting with the argument, then moving to augs, then chainsaw, then finally the fact that it's chainsaw sculpture. It wouldn't work as well if you were upfront about it, so good job.

Jonked - Desert Magic
I'm not a huge fan of stories where the joke is that someone's a big overdramatic nerd about something, and not just because I'm an overdramatic nerd. It's a pretty easy joke to go to, so when I realized what was up, I rolled my eyes a little. But to your credit, you kept it focused on the competition for the most part and not on how dorky this guy was, which made the dorky touches less annoying than if you'd beaten me over the head with how goony goon this guy is. That said, most of the middle of it feels stretched out, when the actual interesting bit of it is the final battle where he'll either go on to compete or lose. An angle I sort of wish you'd taken a little further is the idea that this guy is doing card tricks, i.e., MAGIC, with his Magic cards, while in Vegas. (Honestly, the story of a magician using his skills to play a card game like this might be more compelling than this while still getting the 'lol, magic' jokes out there.)

Your Sledgehammer - The Newcomer
I feel that this is a pretty solid entry, even if the broad plot structure is one that's pretty typical. Again, I don't know what everyone in TD was on this week that made them come up with interesting ideas, but the Eagle Festival definitely works for that, so good job there. The one thing that might have put this in a higher place for me would have been getting deeper into just why she's so good--does she have special training from her father? Has she worked hard at it every day? Is her eagle special in some way? The broad plot of a woman succeeding in a typically male field is common enough that it would have been good to see what makes her unique. The pacing here is all right, so I wouldn't necessarily throw in a flashback or something, but maybe a reference somewhere to what makes her a good falconer. (Eagler?) It'd help emotionally justify her win if we had an idea of what she's done to deserve it. Overall, I did generally like this and felt it was good and descriptive and everything, but that's what I think could be improved on here.

WeLandedOnTheMoon! - Playa Nigra
I'm not entirely sure how much of this I understood, but I think part of the point here is that it's meant to be confusing. Tim is confessing to a crime he didn't commit because he wants to be let free, and he's trying to get the main character to confess too. The thing that doesn't make sense to me is them laughing about it and the "good job" and handshake at the end. I'm just not sure what it means--if Tim was working with the jailer guy from the start, then what's the deal, were they just trying to kill the mian character or something? The structure of it was fine, and I like the idea of the tidal jail cell, but I just lost the plot at the end there, and I'm not sure if it's my own poor grasp of intrigue plots or ineffective writing. I was with you, more or less, up until the end at least.

Morning Bell - Love Is A Dot, Too
There's a typo in your first sentence, which is a pretty bad idea. But, on the other hand, the rest of the story is good. It reminds me of Screaming Idiot's story this week, except this one was more interesting and took the family hardship in a different direction. The description in there was good, the emotions worked well, and the message throughout feels solid and interesting, so despite tripping up your first impression this was a pretty good story to read. The only thing that seemed somewhat out of place was the fact that the bomb doesn't go off and then it's completely forgotten--it seems like Vuk would have asked about it, or something.

Bad Ideas Good - DNF
This feels more like a vignette to me, because I can't say what the beginning lends to the second part, other than establishing that it's a dangerous road they're traveling on. Then in the second part, you kind of bounce back and forth between these people's heads, and it gets weird to shift back and forth between Rodi's thoughts and Luc's thoughts--I would have picked one and stayed with it, in this case, probably Luc. Since the part with both of them is so short, too, I'm not sure what the ending is getting at--is he worried for his safety? Does he not like the the terrain? I don't really know enough about him to guess why he decides to retire and hates South America now, beyond the obvious that he's freaked out over Rodi's injury.

Ironic Twist - Black Cherry
Seriously, there's lots of good ideas this week. Sauna competition. Yes. And honestly, I don't have a whole lot to say about this, as I thought it was generally good. The emotions were pretty believable and I liked the connection as brothers, the idea that they're competing against each other constantly, but that it's just what they do. The slight jealousy over seeing his brother get married was a good touch that tells us a lot about their relationship too. The ending is a bit gross, but I guess, what was I expecting, you know. Good work.

Walamor - Empty Victory
I didn't have any major problems with this story, but it didn't catch me in any particular way, and it seemed like the ending came a little more quickly than anticipated--I think a lot of people this week ended up with kind of abrupt endings though. You definitely teased at some good motivations, but I don't know if I exactly feel the SPORTS going on in this one.

Grizzled Patriarch - The Alley-Runners
I liked this one a lot. There's some good vivid description in there, and I'm guessing the thing at the end was kind of going for a loss of innocence/can't believe this has happened vibe? Either way, it worked for me, and you made the most of your words in a short span, which is good. I do like not having to read a whole bunch, when you can pull it off without having it feel clipped, and this felt generally pretty substantial.

Leekster - Royal Blood
I'm not sure I really understood this, and given the length, it feels more like a vignette than a full story. I'm kind of assuming this was written so you'd have something to submit, but I wasn't quite sure what was going on with the bowing down and everything at the end. It wasn't badly written, it just didn't cohere into anything consistent for me.

seb and kurona, you guys were late so didn't get critted with the crits I did before judgement. If you want to get a crit, just ask.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006


It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.



I liked the first line of this. It’s a great hook. Sets up characters and immediate conflict. Unfortunately, the rest of the intro between Kevin and his mum is irrelevant. The writing is competent and the tale itself is funny. I find it tragicomic that you went over the word count because the scene with Kevin’s mum in the kitchen adds nothing to the story. But the meat of the story and the grandfather’s dialogue redeem it pretty well. A solidly average entry.

What I liked the most:
Grandpa’s dialogue was believable and I enjoyed the Aussie slang.

What I liked the least:
Kevin and his mum. She snaps at him like he’s being a brat but he hasn’t really acted bratty. Are we supposed to sympathise with him for reasons that are wholly unnecessary to the story itself?

December Octopodes

From the very first sentence onward this is awkward. The first paragraph in particular is confusing. The setup is interesting enough to tempt me to keep reading at least. Lines like “there was every sign they feared no survivors” are the ultimate in telling, not showing. Your readers would be better entertained and informed if you showed us exactly what the riders were doing. Some missed commas made individual sentences of this piece difficult to read. Also, doesn’t really make sense to me that he’d fall asleep while crawling toward the dudes who kidnapped Rosa. (And this far into the story, we still don’t know who Rosa is. And then oh. It’s that Rosa.) When he is approaching the herd of cattle and the crowd of men, you use “them” to describe both groups and I wasn’t sure sometimes whether you meant dudes or cows.

The action bits of this story are sloppy and confusing, but you do manage to paint a decent enough picture some of the time. All the bits about sins from Texas at the end confused the hell out of me.

What I like the most:
The pacing of this story is actually not bad. You start at a good point in the action and the scenes flow smoothly up to the end.

What I liked the least:
The telling-not-showing I mentioned above. Large parts of this story were basically “I saw that these guys were doing a thing” as opposed to just describing what the guys are doing. We already know the narrator is seeing it because he is the POV character.

Screaming Idiot

I gotta declare a conflict of interest here: I loving love boxing stories. So I wasn’t sure if this was going to get my hopes up or if I’d let a few things slide that I normally wouldn’t.

The early tense changes when your protag talks about himself make this an awkward read to start. Also, as far as the ‘Thunderdome Abroad’ setting goes, I have to say nothing about this story felt particularly Russian except for the mention of Rubles and stereotypical Russian names. This story could have taken place anywhere. That said, the plot was actually decent. The prose was difficult, the tense shifts continued, and some of the dialogue seemed a little forced. But you managed to tell an interesting tale right up until the end, because the B-story about the writer didn’t do the A-story about the boxer justice.

Also, I felt like the whole bear/rabbit/coyote dynamic added nothing to the story.

This had so much promise but it just never quite got there.

What I liked the most:
The boxer was a sympathetic character and the Coyote was an interesting opponent. The boxing storyline was interesting.

What I liked the least:
The ending. “Haha, see, they wanna publish sequels!” was just kinda tacked on pointlessly at the end.

Benny the Snake

You know, after reading the first paragraph of this, I can say that your writing has genuinely improved since I last judged you in TD, Benny. The hook wasn’t particularly grabby and the writing was a tiny bit purple, but you have improved. Kudos.

The “Yay!” kinda threw me. How the hell old is this kid supposed to be?

I have been to a Mexican swapmeet before so this part of the story intrigued me and managed to dredge up some fond nostalgia feels.

Once you mention your protagonist is eight, I feel the need to point out that he acts a lot younger at times.

The writing is decent enough but occasionally heavyhanded. Just like the dialogue is competent but occasionally too much. I feel like this story would benefit greatly from a line by line and I am happy to give you one once I’ve finished my other crits.

Papi’s death at the end was completely unnecessary and twisted the ending of this story from “feel-good if slightly hamhanded ending of a children’s book about persevering and not caring what people think about you” to “glurge gallery on snopes dot com.”

But overall, an improvement on your earlier work.

What I liked the most:
There’s some good imagery in this: the description of building the kite, the swapmeet, etc.

What I liked the least:
The last paragraph was ridiculous and the kids mocking him for his kite were pretty over the top. And how I couldn’t tell exactly what age the protag was supposed to be.


First sentence is long as gently caress and includes a misplaced semicolon, which made me concerned from the get-go. This reads like a folk tale, which heightened my interest in it. Unfortunately, the plot didn’t quite match with the folk tale voice. It’s not a bad concept but I found myself skimming toward the end because I knew what each of the characters would say and the ending was predictable.

Also, the typos and occasional missing word were distracting. This could have benefited from an edit.

In the end I felt like the characters were all just archetypes who did their thing and it was difficult to care when you knew what was going to happen in the end.

The prose was fine, I just… dunno, wasn’t feeling it.

What I liked the most:
If you were telling a different type of story, the folksy voice might have worked fine and you do it well.

What I liked the least:
The repetitive dialogue when Hyena is fooling Gazelle. I had to force myself not to skim that whole section. It was like listening to someone tell a joke you’ve heard before.


This story was one of those where the setting genuinely mattered. Kudos for that! But like another judge brought up, I couldn’t help but notice how utterly casual and detached the narration is. Your narrator is upset enough that she tried to claw another ho’s eyes out, man! We should be feeling that from your word choices. Also, I can’t help but notice that your (presumably female) protagonist had a very male-sounding voice.

The end got a chuckle out of me though, and the Dutch guy was amusing even if the sex scene was a little weird. I just wish the protag’s reaction had been more emotional, especially during the climactic (heh) scenes.

What I liked the most:
The last line about the squid.

What I liked the least:
What should have been the story’s emotional climax was neither a climax nor emotional.


Only thing that really threw me was the sudden inclusion of “Andre watched” after the first bits all being about Gabriel. My brain went who the gently caress is Andre? You incorporate the setting into the story well and once I know who Andre is, I sympathise with him and his motivations make sense. As someone who has spent time on tiny Pacific islands, details like “there were only forty-eight cars” resonated with me. You researched this well.

The ending was a little abrupt. I liked the fact that the ending was ambiguous but I felt like there wasn’t quite enough oomph behind Andre’s decision to climb down and help Gabriel.

Of course, if my main criticisms were “it was good but could have been great” then you must have done pretty well! You portray the setting well and I cared about what happened. Great job for a first entry! This was close to HM territory for me.

What I liked the most:
The setting and the pacing were good but in the end I liked how you made me care about a story that was about dudes picking coconuts.

What I liked the least:
Andre’s decision at the end didn’t quite sway me. He just does it without much internal deliberation. It would have been nice to know exactly why. Was it because he’s just a good guy all around? Is he sympathetic to the aging Gabriel?

Jick Magger

I noticed some tense awkwardness, but other than that, the writing was tight and I felt a little nauseated during the seal-killing scene. You really bring out the visceral truth of “stabbing something to death with a spear” in a way that doesn’t emphasise the gore. The introduction of the polar bear was a little less snappy, though. “His eyes stopped at the sight of a polar bear running toward him” (paraphrased) is about the least exciting way you could possibly describe a polar bear charging at somebody.

drat, that ending was dark as gently caress and unexpected. A grim end to a decent tale. The fight scene with the bear and the scene where he falls through the ice just didn’t quite have the same punch as when he killed the seal. Also, his justification for committing suicide in the end seems like it isn’t quite enough when he’d struggled through so much. But maybe that’s just me wishing for a happy ending.

What I liked the most:
That seal murder. Really well done.

What I liked the least:
The action scene with the polar bear just didn’t grip me like the opening scene did. If the rest of this piece had been as strong as your opening, it probably would have HMed.

Nubile Hillock

This was great and would have HMed in a weaker week. While there were some awkward bits (sudden introduction of the dead wife, abrupt introduction of the computer, abrupt introduction of the singing, basically just things that could have segued into one another better), this was overall an emotional and interesting tale. The setting is vivid; the character of the wife in particular is sympathetic and real.

My biggest quibble is that the end scene with the throat singing was a little confusing. It took me a second read over to understand that I guess the bus stopped in a village or something. Given how often the protag talked about dreams and memories, I thought he was just dreaming and couldn’t figure out what happened.

I enjoyed this story enough that I would read it again independent of TD, and that’s gotta count for something.

What I liked the most:
You paint an excellent picture of love and loss.

What I liked the least:
That muddled bit toward the end. The throat-singing bit didn’t seem especially relevant to the rest, which is a shame because you tied in everything else so well.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006


It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars.



The entire introduction seems unnecessary and the story could have started when he arrived at the tournament, imo. I get that you were trying to set a scene and describe where he was, but it came out kinda cliche and probably would have been better served if woven into the actual narrative rather than plopped at the beginning. That said, you interpret the theme decently and the competition is an actual competition that is relevant to the plot. Nice!

Also, since the protagonist is your POV character, it seemed weird that readers never got a hint that he was up to anything nefarious until the very end. This is very much a “guy comes to a place with ideas to do a thing and then he does the thing” story. There’s no real conflict. He doesn’t get stopped or discovered and there’s not enough hints about what he’s doing beforehand.

This story is much better than the last entry of yours I judged. Your writing has improved and you are much better at conveying ideas. Your language is clearer. This was just lacking the tension that would have made it really interesting.

Good to see you back and improving, Posh.

What I liked the most:
Your prose is so much better than it used to be. I got the impression you spent some time really editing this one.

What I liked the least:
The tension that should have been present because of the protag’s cheatin’ never happened because we didn’t know he was cheatin’. Good spy/cheat/sabotage stories rely on that suspense, but if we don’t know what he’s up to, there isn’t any.


What we really need is to know why he needs to get on the train. Otherwise, all the struggle is for naught. And we never find out, so… I am not sure I can care that much. The writing is competent and you describe action sequences well, even when they don’t make a lot of sense (a train station in Italy seems like a poor place to mug someone, given the proliferation of security and cameras, no?).

The ending was a non-ending but given that the conflict was a non-conflict I didn’t even really care about that. Just kind of a solid ‘meh.’

We get glimpses of your protagonist’s personality but I have to say he wasn’t particularly likeable. He struck me as kind of a dunderhead and I was almost glad he didn’t get on his stinkin’ train.

What I liked the most:
You’re good at describing quick-moving, fast-paced stuff. I could picture him whizzing around the city in my mind.

What I liked the least:
There were no stakes established. We had no reason to care. Why did he need to get on this train? Couldn’t he just take the next one?


The first line of this one hooked me immediately. Unlike so many opening lines, it’s mundane but interesting for its mundanity. It suggests a plot and possibilities. The dialogue is also immediately endearing. With so few words, you manage to make me give a poo poo about these dudes and their plight. Their attitudes strike me as historically realistic, too.

Luc is vivid. I can practically hear his dialogue out loud. Paul is a little less interesting, which is unfortunate given he’s the narrator. But he picks up toward the end, and when he pours the wine down the toilet, it’s a genuine gutpunch.

This is a great entry and your last scene is superb.

What I liked the most:
It is hard to pick one thing, tbh. My crit is mostly positive!

What I liked the least:
Compared to the rest of this great little story, your narrator character was boring. He was the least interesting part, which is what kept this from being the winner.


This is pretty decent but I can’t help but feel that the spectacular middle scene is robbed of impact because of the beginning. The beginning being written from David’s POV seems weird when the rest of the story focuses on Marisol, who comes across as a much more interesting character. I get that you were trying to show us David’s POV in order to make him sympathetic and not just some video game obsessed rear end in a top hat, but I think there were better ways you could have done that.

As-is, it felt like the beginning of this story was kind of a waste, which is a shame because the rest was HM quality. I loved Marisol’s spirit and her fear and her spitefulness toward the end.

What I liked the most:
Marisol is a great character and I loved how she decided to spurn David in the hospital.

What I liked the least:
The opening scene from David’s POV took away from the rest of it.


Cute opening line. The premise is intriguing. I like how self-aware the narrator is. You foreshadow the cheating well but despite the foreshadowing I still felt betrayed! The line about strong, hard cheese and strong, hard murder was wow. Your word choice for Giovanni’s feelings is superb and exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned the word choice in the hooker story made her emotions seem unfulfilling.

I got more and more excited about this piece the deeper I read into it, which is a mark of good writing.

The ending was great and I appreciate the fact that your descriptions of his grief weren’t overwrought.

Fantastic entry. The deserved winner in a very strong week.

What I liked the most:
Your descriptions of how Giovanni poured his emotions into his cheese. There’s some slightly comedic elements which balance out the emotionally heavy bits nicely.

What I liked the least:
There wasn’t much of this that I disliked, tbh. I read the whole thing through twice and still really liked it.

Schneider Heim

Cute. Not sure how I feel about the flashback. Upper middle, though probs not an HM.


I loled, but not in a bad way. HM candidate, perhaps.

The premise intrigues me because I don’t yet know what the competition is. As usual your dialogue is snappy and your wording is tight yet descriptive. The description of Donnie’s implants going offline is great. You can feel his senses being stripped of him piece by piece.

The description of the other competitors is great too. You reveal a lot about them in a short space, which is one of my favourite aspects of your writing.

The ending tied into the beginning nicely, and I have to admit this is probably one of those TD stories I will look back on fondly for a while.

Despite the fact that I don’t think you’re Canadian (are you?) you capture certain intangible qualities of how other Canadians feel about Quebec very well, haha.

In the end, what kept this from being a winner/HM to me was that I wasn’t quite sold on exactly why the augments mattered. I mean, why does he need a minimap to build an ice sculpture? I mean, I liked what the augments added to the story, but I just didn’t quite get it I suppose.

It was a funny, complete story that also would have HMed in a weaker week.

What I liked the most:
How the ending comes full circle to the beginning.

What I liked the least:
I mention the sci-fi angle being a little weird, but I didn’t really dislike it. This was a fun idea executed well.

Morning Bell

The love story in this piece works very well. The characters have a lot of character despite the fact that the piece covers a lot of ground and the setting and competitions matter to the story.

Where this piece fell a little flatter for me was when the protag and his brother became robbers/terrorists/etc. We see the protag go along with it and when he’s asked to blow up the competition, he agrees to do it after some trepidation. This is all well and good. The writing is emotive when discussing the competition itself and how he feels about Vesna, but my beef is with the part after they bang.

So they bang in the empty room and he decides not to blow up the university. This should be the story’s emotional climax but you just sort of rush through it. There’s no moment of deliberation, nothing that seems to sway him (obviously we know that it’s banging her that sways him, but he never discusses it in his own narration). Literally she says goodbye, then he snips the wires. This should be a huge emotional moment and it’s completely skipped.

This probably would have been the winner for me if that anticlimax hadn’t been so frustrating. It left the emotional impact of the rest of the ending inert. Also, it may be nitpicky but I am not big on the fact that Zlatan suffers absolutely no consequences for failing to detonate the bomb. He makes a huge emotional decision and nobody else in the story reacts or cares. That cheapens it to me.

What I liked the most:
You cover a lot of ground in few words and manage to show the characters developing and changing over time. Few pieces of flash fiction manage this well, so good job.

What I liked the least:
My qualms with the ending as mentioned above.

Ironic Twist

Opening line is pretty intriguing! A Sauna competition, you say!? The reader is made aware from the get-go of where the story is set without any telling-over-showing, which is fantastic. You intersperse the Finnish terms well into your English prose.

Great word choice throughout. Both brothers are strongly developed characters. The paragraph about them marching into Hell together was legit great.

The ending was emotional and disgusting in a good way. I liked the words you chose and the feelings you evoked. Maybe it’s just personal preference but I love it when stories actually manage to gross me out with something that isn’t just gore or a cheap scare.

The ending went a little off the rails, kind of in a good way but also in a way that might have lessened the emotional impact of the rest. The ambiguous ending makes sense given the state of your protagonist by the end but I felt like it came sooo close and just never quite arrived where you wanted it to.

What I liked the most:
How you portray the relationship between the brothers and the paragraph about them marching into Hell.

What I liked the least:
Slight abruptness of the ending. Otherwise this was a great piece and would have won in a weaker week.

I am posting crits in slightly smaller than usual batches because some crits ended up long, whoops. Also, some of these are out of order because as I was going to post them I noticed some people had gotten way more feedback than others. Gonna beef up the crits that are too short, because I got the feeling you guys worked pretty hard on these this week.

autism ZX spectrum
Feb 8, 2007

by Lowtax
Fun Shoe
Thanks for the crit! I was trying to show the similarity between vocal harmonic overtones and harmonic resonance. It's a really neato thing where mysticism and science meet up and hold hands.

Mar 21, 2013
If it's not too much trouble, Djeser, I would like a crit. :)

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

kurona_bright posted:

If it's not too much trouble, Djeser, I would like a crit. :)

yeah crit me up bitch all the way i want to feel sort of weird about ti

Oct 30, 2003
Critical analysis of Coconut Shimmy by newbie TDer hotsoupdinner

Young buck Andre challenges the king of the huskers, Gabriel, to a husk-off.

I liked your writing style a lot. It was straightforward and direct and easy to read. On the other hand there were no bits that really stood out to me as particularly interesting prose, but anything more than you wrote may have got in the way of telling a nice simple story effectively. What I'm saying is the prose suited the characters, story and setting.

There were a few parts that were a bit off, and unfortunately one of these was your opening sentence: "Gabriel stood on top of his pile of coconuts like an ancient conquistador." I don't really think this works, and it has the potential to be a great opening image. What is an ancient conquistador? Like an 80 year old Spanish colonial soldier? Or is he thinking of Alexander the great in Spanish colonial terms?

Re-reading your story I keep thinking I'm finding places where the writing is clunky, but then I try to reformulate them and realize that you've made a conscious decision to keep your sentences short and declarative, and that it works.

I think there were a few places where you used some idioms that didn't exactly suit the tone. One example is "had money riding on" and another was "he reckoned". I think that these clashed with the simplicity of the language somewhat, and I would prefer to see them replaced with word choices more like the rest of the story.

I liked the character of Andre a lot, very driven but not arrogant, and a hard worker. I think he came through well. I would have like to see Gabriel developed slightly more, maybe the narrator could have given us more of Andre's perspective of him.

This brings me to a small issue- I think there is a bit of a perspective shift after the first two paragraphs. Gabriel looks set to be the main character until we see Andre watching him, and the story moves more into a close third person perspective from then on. I think that this shift is a bit jarring, and it would be good to have the first two paragraphs from his perspective too, condensed and combined with the next few. "Andre watched..." would be a great place to start I think.

I felt like the conclusion of this story was a bit of a bait and switch. You'd built up the titanic struggle of these two huskers really well, but then to not find out who won was disappointing. I do, however, think you needed to change it up from just "Andre/Gabriel wins, the end," but I don't think this was the right way to do it. I have a problem with sudden endings in this format so I sympathize.

I thought this was a great first dome entry, well done! It kept my attention the whole way through and there was nothing in it that enraged me. I actually enjoyed it quite a bit, and was rooting for Andre until the slightly disappointing end. I hope you keep doming!

Feb 8, 2014

Thank you for the crits! I am humbled once again by the Thunderdome.

Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face

Yeah, welcome to THUNDERDOME CXXVIII. I just crawled out of my eldritch mahogany bed with its pillows stuffed with the zephyrous sighs of tormented spirits and springs reforged from the steel blades of countless abyssal warriors. You assholes wrote a bunch of lovely stories and landed me, of all people, on this hell-forsaken thunderthrone, and already you're clamouring for a prompt. I haven't had my morning tea yet. My rage is unbounded. I hate this throne. I didn't want this throne. For this, all of you will suffer.

You will dance to my discordant, agonising tune. You will write me epic stories. Not just epic stories, but epic black metal stories.

I wrote an IRC bot some years ago that generates black metal album titles. You will either choose one from the pre-generated list below, or ask me to generate you a new one and I will oblige. Reuse of prompts is fine. If I generate you a new one, you are stuck with it.

WORD COUNT is 1000 words. If I can make loving cheese epic in under 1000 words, you can certainly do the same for black metal.

SIGNUPS are due by Friday, 16th January at 11:59 UTC.
SUBMISSIONS due by Sunday, 18th January at midnight UTC.
PAY ATTENTION. This is UK TIME, you fucks. If you don't like it then gently caress you.

Me, sebmojo, Sitting Here.

The Pestilence That Enthralls
Subliminal Silence Of Maggots
Night Of The Armies
Visions Of Sumerian Night
Yearning For The Yellow Cities
Desert Disintegrates The Forest
Lethargic Army Of The Souls Of Burning Torture
The Screaming Of Goats
Void Vampires
The Miasma And The Leprosy
My Bloodshed Drowns Him
The King Of The Whores
Insufferable Commandments Of The Pagan Shrine
The Citadel Of Dwarves
Revealing Cthulhu

You may also ask for a new prompt to be generated just for you.

Wait! Here's another rule!
Look, just because I hate each and every one of you with a hate individually crafted on the forge of Satan's hornéd torturesmith, that doesn't mean I want to stifle your creativity. Don't feel genre-bound. If you want to write a wrenching family drama, pick a prompt and go for it.

But whether you decide to play this prompt straight or not, I don't want you using it as a crutch. Black metal is inherently epic, but we're here to learn how to write good stories. At least one character must display a range of emotions as your story unfolds. Convince me that they are a thinking, feeling human being, dwarf, vampire or maggot. You maggots.

Quidnose - Bloodstained Corpses Of The Twisted Quest (Flash Rule: Only the nose truly knows)
newtestleper - Rampage Of The Crimson :toxx:
crabrock - Murder Me
SurreptitiousMuffin - Yearning For The Yellow Cities
PoshAlligator - The Hunger That Burns (Flash Rule: No self-inserts about your drive to write. Nothing to do with you particularly, I just hate that particular device with a passion and this seems like a prompt that could go in that direction.)
tenniseveryone - Revealing Cthulhu
Entenzahn - Lethargic Army Of The Souls Of Burning Torture (Flash Rule: A character can't spell and that makes everything become terrible)
leekster - Night of the Armies
SadisTech - The Miasma And The Leprosy (Flash Rule: Arithmetical incontinence)
Jonked - The Citadel Of Dwarves
J.A.B.C. - The Angel And The Reaper
ZeBourgeoisie - Acolyte Of The Parasites :toxx:
Schneider Heim - My Bloodshed Drowns Him
Verus - Xanthic Leviathan Of Battles
DreamingofRoses - God's Venomous Bitter Dragonflame :toxx: if the story isn't interesting (Flash Rule: A florist's shop must play a key role)
JcDent - Coffee Disintegrates The Night
Doctor Idle - The Pestilence That Enthralls Glorious Altars Of The Blood-red Insanity
Flesnolk - Killing The Necromancer
Screaming Idiot - Void Vampires
Ironic Twist - Desert Disintegrates The Forest
Grizzled Patriarch - Its Enslavement Enslaves Them
WeLandedOnTheMoon! - The King Of The Whores
Hammer Bro. - The Screaming Of Goats
Bushido Brown - The Imprisonment Of Odin
hotsoupdinner - Insufferable Commandments Of The Pagan Shrine
Fumblemouse - Last Brimstone Of The Tombs Of Blistering Procreation (Flash Rule: Your story must involve someone going from point A to point B. Point B must be somehow important to the story.)
chthonic bell - Defiling The Dark Corpses
Your Sledgehammer - Unmaking The Carnal Demons (Flash Rule: Face to face in a different place when it all comes crashing down)
Auraboks - Embers Of The Xenocidal Queen
Walamor - Screaming At Hecate
Nubile Hillock - Agitated Hunger Of The Kittens Of Grandiloquent Infinity (950 words)
Bad Ideas Good - Visions Of Sumerian Night (940 words)
Benny Profane - Dreams Of Apocalyptic Parasite (930 900 words) (Flash Rule: In your story someone speaks one word too many.)
Benny The Snake - The Screaming Of Goats (920 :toxx: 800 words)
asap-salafi - Its Fire Torments It (910 words)
Megazver - Insufferable Commandments Of The Pagan Shrine (900 words)

Maugrim fucked around with this message at 20:52 on Jan 16, 2015

Dec 17, 2003

Stand down, men! It's only smooching!


make me a new one~

Oct 30, 2003


Aug 2, 2002




Generate me one, you pile of human filth, or I'll poo poo in your eyes so hard your dead grandma will go blind.

Mar 21, 2010
In with Yearning For The Yellow Cities.

Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.
Thanks for the crits. Very pleased to have neither a DM or a Loss this week too.

I am in so that I have the opportunity to disgrace myself. Please generate me one if that's okay! Generate me one you big idiot I am so mad and amped to do the writing grrrr. :arghfist:

PoshAlligator fucked around with this message at 11:15 on Jan 13, 2015

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

who wants a flesh rule

e: also hooly poo poo stop asking permission for thigns

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 10:46 on Jan 13, 2015

Feb 8, 2014

I am in with Revealing Cthulhu.

Nov 15, 2012

erm... quack-ward
Pick me a prompt and make it snazzy.

sebmojo posted:

who wants a flesh rule

e: also hooly poo poo stop asking permission for thigns


Jun 20, 2013
I'm in.

Night of the Armies.

Jun 26, 2013

In The Miasma And The Leprosy

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Mercedes posted:

:siren::siren::byodood:MERC-BRAWL 8: THE NU-UH IT AIN'T HAPPENIN':byodood::siren::siren:

You know what chafes my balls? Getting shot down. Not getting that job you were totes mcgotes qualified for. Getting the job you totes mcgotes wanted and then fired a week later for something completely out of your control. Four stalwart domers will write about rejection, but with a caveat. Someone gets kidnapped. Last week was fantastic and different so I will continue with tradition until it starts to suck. There will be two teams of two. Each team will write about one event while each person is writing from their perspective. I will judge based on order of posting, so keep that in mind.

Here is the prize list. As per usual, you have two weeks to write 2,500 words. January 14th 2359 is your deadline. If you sign up, you will be taking a :toxx:

Who are my rejectees?

why are all of you so feeble as to shy from this challenge

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 12:49 on Feb 19, 2015

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Entenzahn posted:

Pick me a prompt and make it snazzy.


prompt Lethargic Army Of The Souls Of Burning Torture

flash rule a character can't spell and that makes everything become terrible

edit: also gently caress you all have this dq'd of course but still better than anything you'll do

heh computers

352 wds

Couple years back had an nforce 3 motherboard, 2005 vintage. Real piece of rubbish. While trying to fix a persistent lockup bug I flashed my own BIOS and bricked it.

Rather than take this as a harsh lesson and move on with my life, I launched into an obsessive research program trying to find out whether it was fixable and if so how.

Established over a week of searching that there was a reset function, but that it wouldn't work because I'd already tried to use it or some other bullshit reason.

Gave up on it a little, and I was drinking a lot then.

And so, sleepless at 4.00 in the morning, I stumbled onto a distant corner of the internet where the irc grew labrynthine and the stars were strange.

In a dark channel with no title a madman accosted me, babbling of manual reset procedures and earth pins.

I swallowed his dark wisdom, though it brought me nothing but pain, reached with quivering hands for my thrice shrived needle.

I jammed the wire into the very innards of my cold machine, searching for the points of contact that would spark it to dark, sputtering life. I will not speak of the promises and exhortations I breathed into its silicon corpus, for they are of a sort that would echo strangely in daylight ears.

But whether as a result of them, or perhaps the intercession of the blasphemous entities I glimpsed in those distant corners of the Net, enshrouded in obscene and nameless protocols ... the whir, and beep, and blessed phosphors of the POST were mine once more.

Yet know this... they seem things of calmness and certainty, these magic boxes with which we power our windows onto the halfworld. But there are those out there which are as far beyond our feeble sureties as the sky from the sea.

Since I fixed it, at night I sometimes hear my computer start up by itself, in the cold room at the far end of the house.

I never go to see why it has awoken.

Instead I lie there, eyes unblinking, staring into the comforting dark.

sebmojo fucked around with this message at 12:47 on Apr 29, 2015

Feb 15, 2005
In with The Citadel Of Dwarves, but The King Of The Whores is very tempting as well...

Feb 16, 2011

I eat your face

Quidnose posted:


make me a new one~

Bloodstained Corpses Of The Twisted Quest

Read the prompt post you loathsome excrescence. Pick a prompt from the list or ask for a new one.

crabrock posted:

Generate me one, you pile of human filth, or I'll poo poo in your eyes so hard your dead grandma will go blind.


Murder Me (that's your prompt, just to be clear)

PoshAlligator posted:

Thanks for the crits. Very pleased to have neither a DM or a Loss this week too.

I am in so that I have the opportunity to disgrace myself. Please generate me one if that's okay! Generate me one you big idiot I am so mad and amped to do the writing grrrr. :arghfist:

The Hunger That Burns (FLASH RULE: if this is a self-insert about your drive to write I will personally tear your head off and poo poo in your neck. Also disqualify you. Nothing personal.)


Jul 2, 2007

There's no need to rush to be an adult.

Maugrim the Postwelder! Count my bloody pen IN and bring forth a prompt so that I may slay it!

  • Locked thread