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Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

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

*


I've had little internet access and even less free time for the past few months, but dagnabit, in.

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Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

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

*


Fumblemouse posted:

bigger than ALL THE DONKEY COCKS YOUR WRITING EVER SUCKED

only cause i can't post my fanfic and erotica itt



(Seriously though this is awesome.)

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

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

*


When You Need It Most
1285 words

I wonder if Mister Hanrahan is still alive?

The things your brain dredges up when it's delirious.

It’s been hours since I fell. The rain abated, but I’m soaked through. I’d say ‘soaked to the bone,’ but then I glance at the shattered splinters of tibia protruding from my shin. Doesn’t seem so funny then.

I was due home hours ago, I think, but will anyone raise the alarm? And even if they did, the undergrowth is so thick. I can’t even see the trail overhead. Pain throws white sparks across my eyes when I try to drag myself up.

The first time Mister Hanrahan gave me one of his gifts, it was raining out.

--

Mister Hanrahan lived in the big split-level next door, but he was all alone and getting old. He had a big German Shepherd for company, at least. My mother never invited him over like our other neighbours, and since he was childless, I had no reason to know him.

I was trudging from the bus stop in the rain when I came upon him walking his dog.

“Alice, isn’t it?” He called me over. I had to crane my neck up to look him in the eye. He seemed just as wide as he was tall.

The sky had been bright blue when I’d left for school, so I didn’t have an umbrella. He offered to share his.

My mother always told me not to talk to strangers, but Mister Hanrahan wasn’t really a stranger. Neighbours don’t count.

He introduced me to his dog, Stella. She nuzzled my palm with her big wet nose and Mister Hanrahan let me hold her leash. We walked home together.

Looking back I can see how some people might have thought it strange, possibly a little creepy, but maybe I just grew up in a simpler time. Mister Hanrahan never made me uneasy. Besides, the walk was a short one. There was never a doubt in my mind that I was safe.

The rain battered the sidewalk, drowning out small talk. I kept close to Mister Hanrahan and thanked him when we neared his porch.

“Here, Alice.” He reached into his pocket. “I’ve got something for you.”

Mister Hanrahan had dark eyes, hooded with wrinkly lids. They sparkled when he said this.

How could he have something for me when we’d never really met?

He pressed a packet of dog treats into my palm, the wrapper slippery with rain.

“Oh, we don’t have a dog,” was the first thing that came to mind. Then I felt an immediate flush of embarrassment at seeming so ungrateful. “But thank you very much.”

He wrapped his big, leathery hand around mine and held it there for a second, forcing me to hold on.

“Keep them anyway,” he said. “You never know when they might come in handy.”

I never thought to bring it up to my parents. Children are careless with small things, so the dog treats went forgotten in my coat.

--

Evening games of hide and seek were common in our neighbourhood, and one night I found myself pressed against the exposed roots of a shrub, half-hidden by foliage. Jim Baylor was hunting the hiders, stomping loudly through the grass on the other side of the hedge.

On all fours, I crawled along the hedge line, head down, desperate to avoid being detected.

Something clattered around the corner of the house, and I crept toward the noise, thinking it might be someone else who was hiding out.

I rounded the corner on my hands and knees. A massive, mange-patched dog nosed through a rubbish bin. It snapped its head up, sniffing the air.

The dog’s ears flattened. Its whip-thin body bristled. It bared its teeth, fangs dripping with drool.

I scrambled back, awkwardly crab-walking away, but the dog followed, snarling, intent to defend its source of food.

My memory flashed to the press of Stella’s nose into my palm, the stink of her wet fur. And the dog treats in my pocket.

Fear-numb fingers slippery, I tore the packet open and threw the little rawhide chews at the canine’s feet, then took off running.

I never looked back to see if the dog ate them, but it didn’t follow me home.

--

A few days later I spotted Mister Hanrahan working in his yard, digging up weeds in his flower bed. I called over our fence to thank him for the dog treats.

His droopy face smudged with soil, he smiled at me, a big toothy smile like he knew just what I meant.

“That reminds me.” He stood from his flower bed, dusted off his knees, and approached the waist-high fence that separated our properties.

“I’ve got another gift for you.” He reached into his jacket and withdrew a small, cylindrical object, white plastic that shone in the sun. “Your friend Maggie has been looking for this.”

Maggie was having a sleepover at my house that night. How did he know?

He passed me the object, which had Margaret Ellis embossed across the side, a typewritten label.

An asthma inhaler. I didn’t even know Maggie had asthma.

--

I passed the inhaler to Maggie in my room that night, and she wrinkled her brow, confused.

“Where on earth did you get this? It’s been missing for like a week. Mom’s been panicking.”

My stomach tightened. For some reason, I didn’t want to tell her about Mister Hanrahan. I was afraid that if I told her, her parents might talk to him, and he might stop giving me gifts.

“You left it here last time you slept over,” I lied.

When Maggie awoke gasping and thrashing that night, the inhaler was right by her pillow where it needed to be.

--

We moved to California that summer, and I only got one more gift from Mister Hanrahan. I knocked on his door to tell him we were leaving. He answered with Stella at his side. I cuddled the dog’s furry face to mine and told her goodbye.

He said he had one last thing to give me, then retreated back indoors.

From his porch, I glimpsed the interior of his house: shelves stuffed with knick-knacks and souvenirs and little statuettes, cupboards overflowing with what my mom called “bric-a-brac.” Boxes were stacked from floor to ceiling.

He returned carrying something shiny and green, and he pressed it into my hand: a small toy lizard. The reptile was poised like it was climbing, tail curled up. A shiny ring of metal dangled off its snout.

“This little guy was my wife’s,” he said, turning it over to show me the belly, which was stamped with Moab, UT. The lizard’s mouth was open, like it was smiling.

“You take good care of it,” he said. “Never know when it might come in handy.”

I didn’t have any keys, but I kept it.

--

Eventually, I got keys: first car, dorm room, first house. The little lizard’s paint flaked off inside my pockets, spots of it wearing down to bare metal beneath.

I hadn’t known Mister Hanrahan had had a wife, but if he had and she’d passed on, it seemed disrespectful not to hold onto it.

Somewhere along the line, I noticed with a snort that the little reptile was hollow. A whistle. You blew right up his tail.

--

And now I understand why I remembered.

My hands are heavy with cold as I fumble the car keys from my pocket, where the little lizard jingles.

I put the lizard to my lips and blow. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but I think I can hear someone moving in the trees.

Mister Hanrahan always looked out for me.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

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

*




Hello friends and welcome to THUNDERDOME CXXVII: DOMIN' ALL OVER THE WORLD. It is the year of Our Lord 2015teen and my New Years Resolution is to travel more.

Won't you go on this journey with me?

Write me a story that takes place in a country you've never been to. I'll take you at your word as far as where you have or haven't traveled. If you lie, you're lying to fudge the rules of an internet contest worth literally no money for people you'll probs never meet, so you're the one who comes out lookin' kinda sad there, pal.

But wait! There's more!

Your plot must also feature a competition. A war? Rad. The World Cup? Sure. Two dudes playing dominos in the background? Sure if it's plot-relevant. A love triangle? Ooh baby.

Thrill me with your stories of competitions abroad.

WORD COUNT limit is 1000 words. However, you get a 200 word bonus if your story is from the POV of whoever loses the competition. That doesn't mean it has to be first-person or anything gimmicky like that. Just prominently feature a sad, sad loser, because that's probably what you'll be.

SIGNUPS are due by Friday, 9th January at 11:59 Pacific Time.
SUBMISSIONS are due by Sunday, 11th January at 11:59 Pacific Time.

YOUR RIGHT HONOURABLE JUDGES:
Myself, Djeser, & Sitting Here

TRAVELIN' DILLBERRIES:
sebmojo
LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE
SadisTech
Bad Ideas Good
PoshAlligator
Schneider Heim
tenniseveryone
newtestleper
Nubile Hillock
Maugrim
Tyrannosaurus
Your Sledgehammer :toxx:
Screaming Idiot
Guiness13
Grizzled Patriarch :toxx:
leekster
Benny the Snake
hotsoupdinner
Morning Bell
Ironic Twist
Mercedes
Jick Magger
kurona_bright
Jitzu_the_Monk
December Octopodes
Jonked
Entenzahn
WeLandedOnTheMoon!
Quidnose
DreamingOfRoses

Anomalous Blowout fucked around with this message at 00:01 on Jan 10, 2015

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

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

*


Mercedes posted:

I shall grace you all with a story written with one hand

:fap: :fap: :fap:

quote:

since the other will be carrying a screaming baby.

:flaccid:

MERCEDES WORD BONUS: +100 extra words if someone in your story is sexually frustrated. It must matter to the plot.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

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

*


If you ask to be the third judge, all your wildest dreams will come true!

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

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

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:allears: Hey bb, what u doin tonight

Ohhh not much just reading a bunch of terrible stories.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

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

*


Signups close in about eight hours!

We can't wait to be disappointed by you.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

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

*


FORTY NINE MINUTES LEFT TO SIGN UP!

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

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

*


:siren: :siren: SEVEN MINUTES to sign up that is :siren: :siren:

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

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

*


YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

signups they are closed

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
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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.

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

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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!

Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

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

*


WEEK 127 CRITS, PART 1:

SadisTech

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.


DreamingofRoses

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.


Jitzu_the_Monk

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.


hotsoupdinner

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

rock
ice
storm
abyss



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

*


WEEK 127 CRITS, PART TWO:

PoshAlligator

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.


Guiness13

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?


quidnose

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.


Entenzahn

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.


Maugrim

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.

Tyrannosaurus

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.

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Anomalous Blowout
Feb 13, 2006

rock
ice
storm
abyss



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

*


Man I could loving kiss you if you weren't a smoker and also a crab and also a rock.

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