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  • Locked thread
Dec 5, 2013
Next verse same as the first.

Uranium Phoenix posted:

Interprompt: Aliens and Wizards Are Actually the Driving Force of All History, Literally All of It (Except the Russian Revolution)

How The Aliens And The Wizards Started Their 546,897th War

Dengihash sputtered and flailed it's tentacles in surprise. "The Tsar cannot mean to give that order! The army is already on the verge of riot!"

"He has made repeated, bad decisions recently." That was Jergoshilai, Dengihash's superior.

"Lesser Poobah, I have been studying this leader for it's short life and I question if this makes even a human amount of sense."

"What are you saying, Dengihash?"

"This may be the work of The Council."

"Get the Grand Poobah on the line right now! We must report!"


"Your Wizardliness." As Marshall Yymyrrrillywnii, Most High Executor of the Council of Wizards turned, the messenger bowed to the ground.

"What is it this time?"

"The Tsar has ordered that the army use force to quell the riots. Mutiny is beginning as we speak."

"I thought I told Cedric Tailimarrr to stay out of it!" The High One thundered.

"He has, as reported on by the three committees that are spying on him."

"Then it must be those alien scum! Sound the alarms! This means war!"


May 31, 2007

Uranium Phoenix posted:

Interprompt: Aliens and Wizards Are Actually the Driving Force of All History, Literally All of It (Except the Russian Revolution)

No word count? Don't mind if I do!

"A wizard did it" Melanie said, slamming her fist down on the podium. The members of parliment looked at her strangely. She motioned for her aide to bring forth a blackboard.

"JFK assassination; magic bullet! And no not the kind you buy at the supermarket! The Shining; A WIZARD!"

The Blackboard was litup with a "Hello Kitty" laser pointer as Melanie frantically explained the situation. Each item the laser pointer hovered over had several underlines, to signify their importance.

The members of parliament slapped their heads against their foreheads. It was so obvious, why hadn't they noticed before. They quickly agreed, they needed to go to war with the wizards.

Greep-Groop the alien smiled maliciously. The Idiot ray next to him hummed down as it powered down, heck it was hardly even needed. Everything was going according to plan.

Natty Ninefingers
Feb 17, 2011

I thought the deadline was midnight PST?

Apr 12, 2006

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should!


QuoProQuid posted:

Week CCLXXV: Little Man History

Submission Deadline: 23:59:59 EST, Sunday, 19 November 2017

Feb 25, 2014

reading the prompt is a good idea btw

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003

Oh poo poo, forgot to warn you that the time zones change week to week.

Aug 2, 2002

Grimey Drawer

Natty Ninefingers posted:

I thought the deadline was midnight PST?

it's ok, we've all been there.

it's nice if you're on the east coast and it's PST, because you get 3 extra hours.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores

Clapping Larry

Kaishai posted:

Submissions for Week CCLXXVI: Little Man History are now CLOSED!

What a delight it is to see history repeat itself in the form of Thunderdome drowning in shame. ThirdEmperor, Sham bam bamina!, flerp, Obliterati, BabyRyoga, J.A.B.C., Deltasquid, apophenium, Natty Ninefingers, Simbyotic, Ironic Twist, TheGreekOwl, Flesnolk, and Amoeba Bot evidently couldn't bear to examine the past. Fuubi has done them one worse and gone AWOL after toxxing, again. When the story of this day is written, it will record more facepalms than mortal man can imagine.

Only the path of late submission offers a chance at honor now. Fuubi, your fate depends on the mercy of QuoProQuid. May I suggest some haste?

Everyone else, we'll see you in the courtroom. Good luck!

hahaha this is disgusting and you should all ask yourselves why you suck at doing things you voluntarily chose to do.



if I had a meaningful way to punish you for your failures I would but unfortunately I am only a pretend blood despot.

Jan 12, 2012

It is a common error and, though I am predisposed to grumpily point you to the prompt, I am feeling generous about the two late submissions.

For everyone else, I can't punish you for failing to submit but I will be really, really disappointed if you don't post something resembling a story.

Natty Ninefingers
Feb 17, 2011

Saw p, not e. Aplologies and gratitude for mercy.

May 31, 2007

Sitting Here posted:

hahaha this is disgusting and you should all ask yourselves why you suck at doing things you voluntarily chose to do.

"I hate this." the T-rex said, resting his face on his tiny arms, "This is T-rexible!"

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores

Clapping Larry


Mar 1, 2014


-- 23 F --

There were about two dozen of them with him at chamber 5, about a floor above of which the spanish parliament was having its meeting. Camilo dimmed the lights, and the sound of machine guns and small arms being loaded filled the room. A similar event was happening in dark lit chambers all around the floor, where the men of the Valencia Military region. Camilo wasn’t slow to catch on, and he pulled out and reloaded his pistol.

“Remember Galaxia” the commander Antonio said near him, addressing them, “Counter-attack if you need to. Just don’ smell any saboteurs” he continued.

There was no mood for talk for Camilo. A sickly patience had demanded of him absolute focus. And he looked sick. At 24, he was too skinny for his age, unlike the robust commander he was standing next to. He supposed that the men around him were feeling the same thing, even with their imperative looks. But he didn’t know. He hadn't’ bothered to ask when they left to reach Congress.

The clocks hit 6, and everybody moved to take positions. They moved through room to room, sweeping around silently, guns raised on unsuspecting security officers who were quickly disarmed. They reached the floor above, the few arms that could detect them and ruin their operation quickly taken out by surprise, as they are escorted with guns pointed to their heads back the door. They wouldn’t have to wash any blood away if everything went according to plan.

Camilo was one of the men at the back. His sickly presence had not passed unnoticed, even before that, as they had relegated him to hostage duty, both for his own sake and the operation’s. Along with few others, they gathered the dozen or so people between them and the parliament, converging and packing them into rooms that were easy to safeguard.

The hostages went willingly, if shaken or twitching. But it was the last one that puzzled Camilo. He was neither caring nor frightened. He stood rigid though undetermined in front of him, blinking, uncomfortably aware of who he was. Camilo realized who it was, and an empty feeling near the pit of his stomach formed, not unlike the one of hunger.

It was Andre. It was the man he had spent so many nights sitting by him in the same bus stop to take them back home, the one he had looked up upon for 12 years as an older brother, the only one that could have made his bitter body flourish. There were many people who Camilo blamed for his vulnerability. Not him through, not after what they’ve been through.

“poo poo, you’re actually doing it…” Andre exclaimed, Camilo grabbing him by the arms and dragging him by the shoulder, pistol aimed at his sides, an onrush of force directing him back to where the hostages are.

“You can’t be serious, think about the republic,” He continued, Camilo holding his gun with increasing pressure, finger at the trigger, pressing it harder against his ribs, handling him no longer like a friend, but like an enemy.

“I am not thinking about it. I’m acting against it.” they reached back rooms where the rest of the hostages are, Camilo pushing Andrew through the door. Whispers of footsteps moved around, as the men of Valencia got into position,

"I suppose you want destroy it for fear you will lose it,” he said after regaining himself“ ...or that it will take too great a hold on you." Camilo recalled some of the eloquent phrases he had heard at meetings. He had shared them with Andre, back when they were still living together. The words seemed so ridiculous to Andre. But to Camilo, they were more true then the truth could hold.

“We won’t keep it alive by artificial means, We are counter attacking. We are -” he got interrupted before he could continue.

“It takes courage to be alive, you know, even in the sewer of this world. Even if you hurt in it, even if it hurts you...”

Camilo blinked. Everybody who had taken this step had the same experience as Camilo. They couldn’t lead a normal life anymore. It took a while to sink in that they were becoming foreign among foreigners. It was this unnatural and senseless chaos that surrounded them that they were specifically trying to control, and that chaos, that bodily infection that had taken ahold of the state and them. They had identified it, and it was Spanish Democracy. Two Hundred had already made this decision - thousands or more would follow is they went through.

Camilo stared at Andre, and there was a silence, of about two moments. What wings had brought this across him to be like this. They shared the same land, yet he felt suffocated, while they were left untouched.

Control. Control. When had this superstition about control begun? A month? A year? He recalled long ago the nights he spent at Segovia, when he decided to cease being a coward. That night he talked to Andre about his confusions. Andre was optimistic about the country. He seemed to understand and appreciate all of Camilo’s fears and apprehensions. Looking back with perfect hindsight, he shouldn’t have confided to him how much he was terrified. That was before he had joined the military after all.

Control. That was fragile, just like how he felt about modern existence. Maybe Andre had a point. Maybe the elimination of superstition would leave them happier, more content people. But humans, they mature so late, and when they do, they realize they have just only begun.

The heavy steps of boots echoed through the hallway, a mass of bodies exploding through the doors to the parliament. Camilo broke contact and shifted, last in line to pass through with his gun ready.

“Hold it everybody!” the commander screamed from inside the parliament.

Camilo closed the door behind him, the door separated him and Andre once and for all.


TheGreekOwl fucked around with this message at Nov 21, 2017 around 01:01

Apr 13, 2009

I am a real boy.

Heroic Verse
The Fall/Liberation of Saigon
1163 Words

When they left, they left by bus and by plane and by helicopter. They spilled out of Saigon and I felt them go. Then the Communists came, and I was emptier than the streets below. I spent my time smoking and waiting, not trusting myself to read.

My American friends had fled in the weeks prior. They left me their books whose annotations would continue our unfinished discussions. The floor of my apartment was now a library. I looked at them all, their multicolored covers dappled with ashes.

My brother Đức came in, a few days after the capture. I had assumed he too had fled; he had fought the Communists briefly several years ago. If he was recognized he would surely be executed or at least imprisoned. Something in my gut grew taut, though I barely acknowledged it.

“Brother, what are you doing to those books?”

Fearing confiscation, I had begun to rip out poems or passages which had particularly moved me. Perhaps in time they would move me again.

“I want to keep these.”

“There’s going to be a rally tomorrow.” Đức wiped sweat from his brow and knelt down beside me. “I think we should make an appearance.”

I skimmed a poem by Thomas Hardy before flipping to the next page. “Aren’t you worried you’ll be found out?” I asked.

A brusque knock at the door silenced Đức’s reply. Three soldiers stepped in, all with identical disgusted looks on their faces, their guns held at their hips. Đức and I stood up to regard them.

One nodded at me and asked, “Are you Mậu?”

“I am.” The soldiers roved their eyes over my library.

“We’re sending you out of the city. To teach literature.” He spat on a collection of Keats. “You won’t need this English filth.”

The government was working faster than I had expected. The next day I trudged to the palace to receive my curriculum and some rice. They drove me out of the city as the sun went down.


It was easy, but there was no joy in it. My students were illiterate. The material was just dry propaganda. They began to hate me, except one old man. He would come around in the mornings, after planting but before class, to work through some material with me.

At night I translated some of the simpler texts I had smuggled from Saigon. I thought of my brother. I missed him in a dull, distant way. I also tried to compose my own poetry, rekindling a passion from years ago. Đức never let me write in peace. Whatever I considered my best work was disregarded by Đức. I’d scratch and scratch at my lines until the were buried, unintelligible.

Đức had been right about my poetry. It was overwrought and sentimental. Blunt and pathetic.

I tutored Worm, the old man from class, that next morning. He had a mark on his face that looked like a little worm. A mean nickname, but he didn’t seem to know his birth-name. I had kept out some translations and he noticed them.

“Lessons for tomorrow, teacher?” he asked. He was categorically ignoring his own work, copying out the chữ Quốc ngữ.

“No, just memories.”

“Oh you keep a journal? Once I learn these letters I want to keep a journal too.” The man smiled, which caused his worm to wriggle. I responded with a tight smile of my own. His illiteracy was the only thing between me and a jail. I stuffed the poems back into my trunk.

“That’s a good idea. Now go ahead and finish copying the alphabet.”


A few weeks passed before I heard about Đức. He had been caught trying to buy books someone had stolen from the U.S embassy on the day of the Fall. The man told me and offered me a sorrowful look before heading on his way, more bad news for someone else.

Class that day was particularly hard. I kept imagining what I could have done. I could have gone back to Saigon. Better us get captured or killed together than like this. I had no idea where to look or what to do, so I turned back to the Victorian classics.

I stomped and raved in my abode, angry, hateful. My little brother. I shouted out lines from Wordsworth, from Elizabeth Browning. I rattled off most of "Goblin Market." I developed an audience and awed them with rhymes and rhythms. I was not performing. I was shouting, over and over, a line from Hopkins:

And yet you will weep and know why.

I wept, and knew why.


The next morning was hot. I felt the stares of people through my home’s thin walls. I wrote then, an emotional outpouring. I was relieved to find myself unable to cry. The lines I wrote, in my own tongue, built me back up. My own propaganda. My own rebellion.

Đức were you buying those books for me?

Worm came in while I worked and offered me a light breakfast.

“Thank you,” I said. He fretted over my puffy face and bloodshot eyes. “I’m sorry for the ruckus yesterday. I’m sorry for missing class today.”

He scoffed, “You got some bad news. It’s okay.”

I let him read over a few stanzas. On some level I think he understood them. He whistled through his teeth and told me how nice they were.

“My teacher! A poet!” He laughed and left.


My relationship with Worm grew stronger and stronger. He would teach me folk songs or drinking songs and I would teach him poetry. We learned a lot from each other. Things became harder in the village. We were hungry more often than not. Teaching and learning on an empty belly is not easy.

Worm had become a competent reader and writer. After some cajoling I showed him the poems I had composed in the months since Đức was imprisoned. The poems seethed with my anger.

“Teacher, these are good!” Worm said one night. He leafed through my poems and repeated some of the lines under his breath. “Why do you stay here and teach us and write? You should be out there trying to find your brother!”

“What can I do, Worm? They’d shoot me without hesitation.”

“They might, but you might get away with it. You’ll never find your brother starving with us.”

Worm did nothing but voice my own frustration. I had been passive too long. It was comfortable. Shrug my shoulders and adjust, shed a tear here and there, but I would never act. He was right.

“Promise me you’ll get these out somehow,” I said, handing him the rest of my poems. “I need to know you won’t be the only one to read them.”

The gravity of the situation silenced Worm. He took the papers into the night. I didn’t know where I would go or what I would do. But I would no longer sit and just accept things.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


Uranium Phoenix posted:

Interprompt: Aliens and Wizards Are Actually the Driving Force of All History, Literally All of It (Except the Russian Revolution)

Mr. Richards, dressed in a black suit and black sunglasses, was sweating in the Nevada heat. He also couldn't make out a drat thing in the dark building, but there were certain formalities one expected from his profession. "You did well hiding it here," he told the military base commander. "We'll have to cover it up."

The general nodded. Obediently, a private dragged a blue tarp over the flying saucer.

"Did any civilians see it?" Mr. Richards asked. "There's rumors that someone got pictures of these aliens."

"No. Wait, do you mean the aliens that inexplicably crash landed in Roswell despite their obviously superior technology, or the the aliens that secretly control every major world government, technological advancement? You know, the ones that built the pyramids and all that."

Mr. Richards stroked his chin thoughtfully. "Either is bad. If people realized, for example, that most ancient pantheons really just are expressions of how our ancestors worshiped our alien overlords, well, that would be... bad."

The commander raised an eyebrow. "Do these other aliens really matter all that much then?"

"Probably not. Nevertheless, covering it up feels like the right thing to do."

A nod. "Well, it's settled then."

"Settled, like the outcome of every major war, and our technological progress for the next millennium, both of which humans have absolutely no effect on."

"Yup." A pause. "I'll be seeing you, then."

Mr. Richards nodded, then pressed his earpiece and pretended to be hearing something important, such as an update on the completely and totally determined course of history mapped out for them. But all he could think of as he tried not to run into anything in the base was I can't see poo poo.

Uranium Phoenix fucked around with this message at Nov 21, 2017 around 04:10

Jan 12, 2012

Week CCLXXV: Little Man History Results

Overall, the judges and I found this to be a very strong week. Admittedly, over half of you failed or DMed and the other half had some weird ending issues, but there were some strong ideas throughout almost all the pieces that you submitted.

Let's go with the negative mentions first. DMs go to sparksbloom for writing an okay story that was almost completely unrelated to the prompt and hdidn't actually seem to be historical fiction. It is about two throwaway lines away from being off-prompt. Another DM goes to Greek Owl for a really confusing take on a Spanish coup. The judges and I had some serious difficulties making sense of the piece's grammar and story. This week's loss goes to GenJoe for writing something with decent characters and themes that never really amounts to much. I think that you needed to either edit this piece or give yourself more time to read it through. Not a bad story, but on the lower end of a good week.

I am pleased to announce several postive mentions. An HM goes to Nethilia for writing a delightful, albeit easily resolved, story about a girl who really likes math. It was cute. Another HM goes to Fumblemouse for very strong dialect writing. Shame about that jarring, mismatched ending though.

The Winner for this week is crabrock's stellar "The Winter Palace." It's a very nuanced tale about a complicated period of upheaval. The judges and I loved your complex characters and strong prose. It also had an ending that didn't fall flat on its face!

You have the throne, crabrock.

QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at Nov 21, 2017 around 03:25

Jan 12, 2012

Marianismo - Antivehicular
Prompt: 1951 Argentinian Presidential Election

The prose here is not exactly poetic but it reminds me of Latin American fiction, which is apropos. The dialogue, however, is reminiscent of a bad translation: stilted and awkward. Sentences like “Forgive me, Mrs. Fernández. I was at a delicate place” don’t strike me as human dialogue so much as someone trying to sound Argentinian. The weakest part of the story is probably its first third, which focuses too much on Ms. Fernández, who disappears thereafter, and not enough on Elena and Soledad’s relationship, which is fine but could have been better explored and refined.

The story itself is interesting. It doesn’t entirely stand by itself, but I can imagine understanding the broad outlines without knowing the intimate details of Eva Peron’s life. Elena and Soledad’s commission to create a dress out of chicken wire and plaster is deeply distressing and signals to the reader how Evita’s story ends. Their interactions are tinged with a sadness that makes me want to read more. The exchange about “choice” is probably the most touching part of this piece and I really do like the line: “She made her choice, dear," replied Soledad, not having the heart to say her choice was made for her.” The discussion of the Virgin Mother is some good commentary about female gender roles, though I don’t think you fully articulated that within the piece.

Also, this is a very solid paragraph:

“It was perfect, the picture of discretion. The glossy fur betrayed no trace of the wire beneath, and the First Lady's coat would be a thicker and more luxurious piece than this. There was still the plaster to add, and a sturdy layer of it at that, but a properly smooth finish would see to that. It would not be comfortable, but it would serve its purpose.”

Not phenomenal but an admirable attempt. I could see this being lengthened and refined into a stronger piece. If you edit this, I might bring Evita and the parade closer to center stage. Make the piece more explicit.


A Head Full of Numbers - Nethilia
Prompt: Musa I's Pilgrimage to Mecca

I knew I was in for a treat by the end of the opening paragraph. This is an extremely sweet story about a girl who likes math. The voice is about as delightful as I could have hoped. I really enjoy the asides of her counting in her head. It captures a childlike delight in numbers that I was never smart enough to experience. The conflict here of the daughter worrying she might be replaced is adorable.

Initially, I was worried that I had given you something too hard, but the event is well integrated into the story. It provides impetus to the events without taking the place of the plot itself. Karam has her own thoughts and desires. Her parents respond to events from their own limited perspective. Musa I is a far-off background entity who might need some explanation if I were viewing this story out of context, but is fine within the constraints of this week. The Quran quotation is a nice touch.

My gripes are ultimately minor. I think that the penultimate section is just a wee bit info-dumpy compared to the rest of the piece. I think the primary conflict is resolved a little too easily and that the story would have been bettered by a heart-to-heart between father and daughter or some other revelation/action.

Overall, though, I did really enjoy this story. IDK if you have any ambitions for this story, but I would add some details and look for places to publish.


Two Birthdays - Fumblemouse
Prompt: Channel Islands Occupation

Another story with a good sense of voice. I’m beginning to feel cautiously optimistic about this week.

I like about 90% of this story. Amy is a delightfully headstrong daughter who has very particular ideas about the people who have wronged her. While Da is an irresponsible, drunken parent, his enabling of his daughter is amusing and makes sense within the context of the story and larger history. Mam isn’t much of a character but there’s some physical humor in her horror. These all feel like real people who have real chemistry with one another. I’ll repeat myself by saying that the voice used to articulate these things is just wonderful.

The actual conflict of “let’s get back our radio” is real and vivid for me. I like that the story operates without in-depth knowledge of WW2. I get Amy being pissed about rationing. I get Amy liking to fiddle and listening to music with her parents. The references to Churchill and others are nice details, but they aren’t essential to the piece itself. The drunken ramblings are cool. Did I mention that I enjoy the voice here? Because “Da turns back to her, blows her a kiss, and then we’re out, sprinting away and laughing like drunk schoolchildren” is pretty great.

The 10% that I dislike is the ending. Though it is realistic and well written, the incident is just too jarring when attached to a story that is otherwise very upbeat and charming. Perhaps your intention was to have reality ensue after a Hogan’s Heroes-esque infiltration mission. Perhaps you wanted the reader’s shock to parallel Amy’s own shock and disbelief. If that was the intention, though, I wish there had been a more gradual descent. Alternatively, I wish the story had continued forward to give Amy a bit of resolution. Dead dad is one hell of a sour note to go down on.


Ω by Thranguy
Prompt: Fall of Constantinople

The Omega. The End of the Greeks. Cute.

There’s not much that happens in this story beyond dialogue and, as such, it lives and dies on its ability to conjure up an interesting conversation. While I see nothing overtly bad, there’s not much in the story that is notable either. Flavia’s decision is interesting and avoids being pointlessly nihilistic, but the reader never learns enough details about her life for it to be truly fascinating. Michael engages in a realistic bit of debauchery, but nothing about his dialogue makes him seem like a real person. Caius engages in a cool bit of crisis profiteering but fails to be really substantial.

Also, everyone seems super blase about their impending surprise sex/murder.

I suppose that is my issue with the story as a whole. It isn’t bad, but it feels insubstantial. Flavia seems too emotionally distant. The action takes place off screen. Instead of being a source of dread, the inevitability makes this story feel dull. If I were to rework the piece, I would explore Flavia’s psyche a bit more and expand on her relationship with Michael. Instead of dumping a ton of info into each exchange, I might insert some banter or back-and-forth to give the piece room to breathe.

It handles the prompt very well, but I would have liked to see some more ambition. It is a fine attempt, but I think you can write something stronger.


Riptide - sparksbloom
Prompt: The Disappearance of Harold Holt

On this week’s sliding scale of historical relevance, this story is probably the most tangential to the actual event. I suppose that isn’t completely out of bounds given that I said the event could be an “exacerbating factor” and not the inciting event. Still, it seems a bit odd that you could remove exactly two sentences and wind up with a story about a little girl’s disappearance anywhere in almost any time period.

The words that you have here are actually very good. You do a good job of capturing Molly’s growing panic and desperation. Her internal thoughts about the beach and Toby and how she can’t call the police are just off-kilter enough to be unnerving, as is everyone else’s apparent numbness to it all. It is a good internal monologue about a woman under a lot of pressure who has finally come unmoored. Imagery is strong, particularly in the last half.

There are a few things that stop this story from reaching its full potential. The first of which is the reason why you DMed: It is almost completely unrelated to the event assigned. That isn’t a problem if you decide to submit this story elsewhere, but it is a problem for this week. It doesn’t read as historical fiction and could be submitted in literally any other week.

Second, I don’t have a sense of any character except Molly. I suppose that neither Toby nor Rachel are the focus, but integrating them as real people would have both set the stakes and helped illustrate why Rachel’s disappearance left Molly such a ruin of herself. Last, the story seems to be about half a beat short of a satisfying conclusion. I’m struggling to figure out what this might be, but I would go back and reevaluate if you have any ambitions for this piece.

Overall, strong writing. Good voice. Wish I could have had a better sense of who and what was at stake here.


Of Saint Peter and Onesto - Tyrannosaurus
Prompt: Cadaver Synod

This is a nice breezy piece that feels much shorter than it actually is. Onesto is a cute protagonist, a poor peasant who is caught up by Papal politicking that goes way over his head. The exchanges with the dead pope seems implied to be imaginary, but I enjoy the possibility that it is not and that this po-dunk fisherman has stumbled into a hierophany. Both characters have a strong voice. Onesto’s constant vacillating between well-intentioned supplication and doubt is handled well. Formosus seems like a pretty cool guy for a corpse.

There’s a good integration of the historical event here. It sets Onesto’s story into motion but the story is still Onesto’s. The piece could function without knowing what the Cadaver Synod was.

My biggest criticisms with the piece are that it feels insubstantial. Onesto’s plight never really ends up being much more than a possible hallucination. As well done as the conversation is, it never seems to have implications beyond the moment. There is a suggestion at the end that Onesto’s actions have larger consequences (which the historical record supports), but you never delve into that within the story. I would consider expanding this a bit further and perhaps show how Onesto loses control of the situation. Let the errant prophet be consumed by his miracle. Give him and the corpse more to do.(The fate of Pope Stephen is probably ripe for that.)


Couldn't Be Further From Djahy - Djeser
Prompt: Late Bronze Age Collapse

Hm. The prose here is competent. There is nothing particularly poetic with your descriptions, but I have a clear understanding of what is happening and where. If I didn’t know your prompt, I could guess that this was taking place in Ancient Egypt. I might miss the nuances of your nameless enemy being one of the “sea peoples,” but that is a minor quibble. Blocking is well done. You do a fine job of making a fight interesting, which is something that Thunderdome has struggled with in the past.

My problems with this piece start to emerge in its last third after Nesbanebdjed bests his nameless foe. Given that they’ve just almost murdered each other and have displayed no comradery before, I am not really sure I understand your protagonist’s decision to spare the foe. Perhaps it is his frustration and exhaustion, which you hint at in the opening, but that doesn’t really explain why they engage to begin with. I don’t really buy the “He didn’t look like an enemy and so I let him go” excuse. Maybe it is meant to be transparently false, but you don’t really provide a persuasive counter-argument. The communication barrier is also a killer, because it prevents Nesbanebdjed and the reader from really connecting to this sea-person in any substantive way.

My other big criticism is the ending, which strikes me as tonally mismatched with the serious tone of everything else. I would go back and inject levity into the earlier parts of the story or find something more serious and inspiring.


The Winter Palace - crabrock
Prompt: October Revolution

Have I ever told you about a Russian dish called, “pickled herring in a fur coat?” It’s an odd dish of contradictory ingredients dating to the Russian Revolution that, according to legend, symbolized the unity of the Russian people. The pickled herring allegedly represents the proletariat, the potatoes represent the farmers, and the red beets represent the blood of communism. In reality, the odd list of ingredients were probably a way to stay alive amid mass starvation. All of the elements are cheap and could be found in cans across newly Soviet Russia.

Your story reminds me of that, but in a good way. Your characters display an odd mismatched set of motivations. There is this romantic narrative playing in the foreground while the reality of the situation is much messier. The Captain is a supporter of an old oppressive system but kind and noble in his odd way. The men, noble comrades fighting for communism, are a bunch of drunken sailors looking for an excuse to inflict violence on others. The protagonist, who inflicts a terrible act of violence, is engaging in a secret act of mercy. It’s all very well done. I’ve liked how you’ve captured the contradictions of the October Revolution without being overly preachy or falling back on old stereotypes.

Those contradictions are helped by some very competent prose. There are some nice details, particularly in the last terrible bit of violence, and in the opening paragraphs. Your vocabulary really captures someone who is caught up in something larger than himself, someone who is playing a role to fit in. It makes me wonder about the internal thoughts of the other sailors.

My only serious criticism with this piece is that it needed a little more room to breathe. I don’t think that such a thing was possible given your word limits, but some prolonged exchanges between the protagonist and captain would have allowed both characters to sound more human. The gruesome violence of the conclusion is well done, but would have been better had you lingered on it. I wanted to feel more uncomfortable with what happened.

Overall, very well done. I think you managed to fulfill the prompt artfully.


Inferno - GenJoe
Prompt: Chilean national plebiscite, 1988

First of all, I mucked up by assigning you an event from the wrong continent. I am dreadfully sorry about that! Hopefully it didn’t give you too much trouble.

This story is odd. It’s another piece that is heavy on conversation that uses the historical event as a literal backdrop: a television going off in the background. I go back and forth about whether the dialogue here is good or bad. There are some images and ideas, like the reminiscing about the stadium, that I like, but a lot of really clunky words and phrases, “If it gets bad, you might even start growing hooves, and maybe someone’ll start having to feed you grass.” For an 800 word submission, I am struck by how uneven the entry is.

That is not to say I hate the piece. While I think you struggled to really focus in on your central conflict, there are some interesting ideas throughout here. I like the theme of hope in a week full of dreariness and loss. The parallels between the national environment and the instabilities of one’s own life are novel, if imperfectly implemented here. I wish that you had better exploited the prompt and made the event more than just a television and a billboard. It would have been nice to see more of Francisca, instead of hearing about her second hand.

Ultimately, I don’t think this is a bad piece so much as one that needed another round of edits. In a larger, weaker week, it might have gone unnoticed. In a week with relatively few submissions and strong writing, though, it stands out. Probably the loss, though I don’t find it terrible.


The Pastry War
Prompt: Pastry War

The opening of this piece is a bit odd and clunky. I understand that Henri is being mocked, but his reaction seems unusually staid. The phrasing is both mechanical and assumes that the reader has an exceptional understanding of the event. I don’t think this piece would function without the explanation of the flash rule. Also, there are certain lines that read more like a screenplay than a short story.

(“He glanced down the street, and could just make out the French frigate the man was referring to off the coast, lazily anchored in the harbor. It was part of a blockade from the Rio Grande to the Yucatan.”)

(“He recognized Luis, a fisherman. Luis had tried to bring his fishing boat out, but the French frigate had put cannon fire across her bow, so he’d sulked back to shore.”)

Once the scene is set, however, the piece improves substantially. The awkward exchange between Antonio and Henri seems a much more realistic and amusing exchange than outright, insurmountable hostility. I giggled at, “Your insensitivity again bewilders us all.” Henri’s dire attempts to communicate in his poor Spanish are very endearing. I also like the subtle twist that Henri is not being discriminated so much as he is the victim of French policy. People aren’t coming to his shop mainly because they have no money. They might dislike his French heritage, but its the embargo that is killing Mexico. That’s a cute and clever way to handle things without making Henri’s neighbors seem completely abhorrent.

I like idea of the resolution, but it does seem a little too easy and a little overly saccharine to me. Henri doesn’t really do much to achieve it and everyone seems a little too accepting of him afterward. It might have been better to introduce the little girl earlier and show Henri being sympathetic to her plight instead of having a last minute accidental redemption. I also might have toned down Henri’s level of “acceptance” at the end or shown how his sacrifice had negative consequences as well as positive.


Of Honor - Fuubi

Holy “aggressively over the wordcount,” Batman! I can forgive a little pushing at the edges of the limit if you are desperate for words, but you submitted something 100 words over. If the lateness hadn’t DQed you, your failure to follow the prompt certainly did.

That said, Fuubi, this isn’t a bad piece. There are some typos and tense errors. There are awkward phrases (“the alcohol”). It is a little overly self-serious at times and the dialogue can leave some to be desired. Still, none of these elements are really unforgivable. I rather like the two men drowning their sorrows at the beginning. I also like Arashi’s internal musings about Ronin and the dangers of the road. It feels period appropriate and reminds me of an old Japanese movie. The ending action sequence is fine, I guess. Not great, but functional.

I think you could have improved this piece substantially by subjecting it to another round of edits. Try reading your story aloud to identify awkward phrasings and grammatical errors. Ask yourself if elements build toward a strong conclusion. You don’t have many words to spare in flash fiction and it can often help to be as clear and precise as possible.


The Departure - Natty Ninefingers
Prompt: Fall of Pedro II of Brazil

First and foremost, you need to double-space your stories. Because of the way the forums work, your piece looks like a big ol’ block of text. I had to manually format this piece for it to be readable.

That newbie issue out of the way, this is a somewhat strong introduction into Thunderdome. There is some nice imagery with regards to the royal staff. The phrasing is, at times, a little strained, but not unreadably so. There are some nice details and some really sad descriptions of Pedro and his family.

Where this story fails is where most newbie stories fail: It fails to conjure up an actual conflict. Your protagonist is more video camera than person. They observe a sad series of events without seeming to have much of an active role in what happens. No great revelations are achieved. No dramatic decisions are made. We just see a weird royal family scamper off into the night. Though interesting within the context, I’m not sure if I would really like this piece if I didn’t knowing exactly who and what it was describing.

Think about what your protagonist can do to affect change. Think about who they are and what motivations they have within the confines of the story. Force them to make some choice and give that choice larger consequences.


Jan 18, 2015


QuoProQuid posted:

Of Honor - Fuubi


Thanks for the crit!

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

I read these with judgemode, and wasn’t particularly interested in the prompt, your story should stand on its own.


Nice GMM cadence, well sketched small incident, lots of good detail. It suffers from having the subject be purely offstage – an error, I think. There’s also a lot of intricate surrounding detail and not a lot of incident, but I think on balance it carries its weight, supported by the strong metaphor of the dress, and the political throughline is clear without hectoring. A strong, delicate piece of work.

8 HM

A head full of numbers

Killer first para, well judged insight and pitch perfect voice. I also like the detail of the world you’re describing. Unfortunately there’s not much more here than ‘kid is good at maths, the end’. I think if you’d found a way to integrate that into something more human then it could have been very good, as it is it’s competent but shrugworthy. A pity.


Two Birthdays

When you go with a voice this strong you really need to nail it or it will just be annoying, and I’m pleased that you do – your control stays steady throughout and the simple country folk are amusing without being caricatured. You nail the ending wrench, it’s genuinely affecting, but I think what I like best about this is the rich layering of imagery around the radio – I can hear the complicated silence that its static makes, and have a sense of how that persists in the protagonist after the story is over. Really good work.

9 HM/W


This competently sketched vignette of a city under siege carries its sting in its tail, and it’s a solid one. I think the garden metaphor is maybe a little undercooked and though there’s a queasy honesty to her last line it feels a bit detached overall, but that’s probably what you were aiming for – so this is hits its marks. A decent effort.


Rip Tide

Yeah that’s pretty hosed up with the ocean and the booming head voices and holey moley! I like a lot of stuff in this one but in company this strong it needs a little more to keep its head above water (lol). E.g. if you’re going to have the daughter being the thing that brings her back, maybe she should be in the story? Turning it into zombie apocalypse level mass-drowning doesn’t really land well either, since it takes a nicely personal (and well-drawn) story into something with much wider implications, while not supporting or expanding on those implications. When you get to the row of zombified husbands it veers into the comical which is really not what you’re looking for. Nice words, and an interesting and fairly well-drawn premise, but you drop the ball at the end and it floats off to sea in that irritating way that balls do.


Of saint peter and onesto

This is one of the breezier revivified dead pope fisherman stories I’ve read this week, and it ploughs its chairchuckery furrow with breezy assurance, but then it gets to the end and oh the guy just left him there and then some other stuff happened but we don’t know what. Dead popes just can’t catch a break. This thinks it’s a bit funnier than it is, which is only a venal sin but when layered with the lack of overall point edges its way into mortal. Still a mostly competent slab of words, and the concept had potential.


Couldn’t be further from djahy

This is a great slice of our slacker guard guy’s life, and it’s cool that he got a nice new sword, but while I am genuinely impressed by how vigorous and vivid you’ve made the words, and the picture in my head of the events you describe is clear and crisp as a good apple, I’m left a little unsure about the point of the piece as a whole – guy meets a guy, has a fight without really thinking too much of it, heads home. Again, words this good would normally suffice but it’s a strong week.


The Winter Palace

This shares a cold and tight precision of detail with a lot of the other stories this week, but it also has a tight and gnarly bundle of conflicting motivations that lead to a hard decision at the core. Tight and powerful stuff.

9 HM/W


Yeaaaah so there’s lots of decent story pieces in here, all swimming around in the word broth, but you’re not really leading with your strongest suit when you have people creaking in chairs and drinking water out of coffee mugs. I think you know what this story’s about, and I can see roughly what you’re aiming at, but if the bulk of your story is chitchat while looking at a tv it better but drat fine chitchat and this really isn’t. I am sure there’s a more interesting story you could have told me.

4 DM/L?

The Pastry War

Opening para is a little clumsy, it’s a good scene but could be conveyed better. You do much better with the meeting with Antonio – I love the pastry being tossed to the dogs. In fact the details in this are all dead on point, and it’s a pity it flags at the end by veering into glurge, because it’s a strong idea and a good control of detail and incident. I think if you’d taken your ending (mean frenchy learns to give everything away and is hapy! Hurrah!) and given it a quarter turn to the left this could have been excellent, but as it was it’s pretty good and that’s no bad thing in these troubled times.


Of honour (note correct spelling cheers no recompense needed)

First para is intriguing, possibly hinting at some kind of time travel shenanigans - prepped for late story sci fi swerve. Also prepped for bland writering, don’t describe a drink as ‘the alcohol’ especially not twice in a row. It’s like talking about how your character ate a food, then ate a food again. Also you’re doing that thing where you talk about ‘that man’ and ‘the man’, give him a goddam name. if his real name is a big secret then give him a fake name. That, and a couple of typos/tense errors aside this isn’t actually terrible, it’s a bit ploddy but tells a yarn that wouldn’t be out of place in one of them extruded fantasy product books I used to like when I was a little sebmojito, it’s generic and fairly bland but has some grit and the characters want stuff and act to achieve it. No time travel though: frowny face emoji.


The Departure

The twin mortal sins of submitting late and not using paragraph breaks aside, this has some strong points – mainly in the profusion of good and well-conveyed details. It’s ultimately just a guy wandering round watching stuff though, and doesn’t really amount to a story. solid first effort though.


Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


nice crits, ty


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

yeah where the gently caress is it someone should get on that pronto

Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give

Ultra Carp

Thanks for the crits!

Aug 2, 2002

Grimey Drawer

TD CCLXXVII: Rewrite Mashup

Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em up your rear end. This week we are rewriting stories. I often read a bad thunderdome story and think "man, this has some nugget of a good story, but boy was it all hosed up." So this week we're gonna rewrite TD's worst stories and rescue those poor little nuggets that ended up exploding into a poo poo geyser. But taking one bad story and making it good, well, that's too easy for sophisticated flash fiction writers like youse.

This week, I'm giving you two bad stories, and you're going to mash them together. Take the best parts of each and make a whole new story. Signup to get your two story links.

No word gimmicks or flash rules.

Do not do a line-by-line rewrite. The stories serve as inspiration, not as a template.

Signup deadline: Friday, 11:59pm EST
Turnin deadline: Monday, 5:00am EST

Wordcount: 1000 words

a very melancholy rhino

Turd Polishers:
01. Dr. Kloctopussy: Old Growth by Meinberg, The Non by Ironic Twist
02. Antivehicular: Runes by Hawklad, A Trip to Mythmania by Devorum
03. Flesnolk: Ablaze by llamaguccii, Corporate Losses by J.A.B.C.
04. Uranium Phoenix: Obsolete by ZorajitZorajit, His Same Story by Carl Killer Miller
05. Thranguy: Give Me a Home by Bompacho, Untitled by Voliun
06. flerp: Tulpas for the One Percent by AgentCooper, Breeds Contempt by Fuschia tude
07. SurreptitiousMuffin: Blood on the Pampas by December Octopodes, Children of Rho-Man, Issue #300- The Dissolution by Fleta Mcgurn
08. Natty Ninefingers: Untitled by Quidnose, Current Playlist: All The Worst Songs, Ever by Thranguy
09. sparksbloom: Mushrooms in London by Karia, Another Day In Los Grano D’oro by Broenheim
10. Tyrannosaurus: Backwash by sebmojo, Objector in Red by Froglight
11. CantDecideOnAName: The Deviant Machine by Nikaer Drekin, BlazinTrees.exe by CaligulaKangaroo
12. sebmojo: Yeah, the Girls by Chairchucker, A Funeral for a Dog, A Young Murderer, and The Aged Bad Boy of Directing by Mrenda
13. Yoruichi: I'll be your guide by HWPS, Barrel of Fun by jon joe
14. TheGreekOwn: Mostly They Come Home by Grizzled Patriarch, In Between by PoshAlligator
15. steeltoedsneakers: Stay Strong by Starter Wiggin, The Job by Twiggymouse
16. Jay W. Friks: A Fool's Errand by kurona_bright, The More Things Change by Jitzu_the_Monk
17. apophenium: A Man Alone With Himself by Hocus Pocus, Delivery Man by Mercedes
18. Exmond: For Every Moment of Truth, There's Confusion in Life by Blade_of_tyshalle, Sunday by unwantedplatypus
19. Fumblemouse: The Willow and the Ribbon by Benny the Snake, Protect the Future by BeefSupreme
20. Aesclepia: Future Not Included by ThirdEmperor, Severance Pay by leekster
21. QuoProQuid: Monster killers and child stealers by Exmond, Nausea by RunningIntoWalls
22. Sitting Here: Get off my magical lawn by Pham Nuwen, Clothes Make The Man by Kharmakazy
23. BeefSupreme: Home Office by Metrofreak, Builds Character by kurona_bright
24. Amoeba Bot: Discretion by Jagermonster, A Constant Itching Behind the Eyelids by lambeth
25. Kaishai: Strike Duty by epoch., Squawk at Night. by widespread
26: BabyRyoga: Purgatory by Killer-of-Lawyers, The Fire and the Slave by Jonked

crabrock fucked around with this message at Nov 27, 2017 around 01:48

Dr. Kloctopussy
Apr 22, 2003


The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o'clock in the morning

not again!

Dec 30, 2011

I wanna sing one for the cars
That are right now headed silent down the highway
And it's dark and there is nobody driving
And something has got to give

Ultra Carp

ohhhhh shiiii


Apr 11, 2012

by FactsAreUseless

In. And I'll be trying for a redemption soon.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


yeah in

Apr 21, 2010

With love's light wings did I o'er-perch these walls,
For stony limits cannot hold


Leftover surprise? Next weekend? Sure, in

Feb 25, 2014


Mar 21, 2010

Sure I'm In.

Natty Ninefingers
Feb 17, 2011

hokay. in

Aug 2, 2002

Grimey Drawer

Old Growth by Meinberg
The Non by Ironic Twist


Runes by Hawklad
A Trip to Mythmania by Devorum

Ablaze by llamaguccii
Corporate Losses by J.A.B.C.

Obsolete by ZorajitZorajit
His Same Story by Carl Killer Miller

Give Me a Home by Bompacho
Untitled by Voliun

Tulpas for the One Percent by AgentCooper
Breeds Contempt by Fuschia tude

Blood on the Pampas by December Octopodes
Children of Rho-Man, Issue #300- The Dissolution by Fleta Mcgurn

Untitled by Quidnose
Current Playlist: All The Worst Songs, Ever by Thranguy

Apr 30, 2006


Apr 12, 2006

Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should!



Jan 1, 2012

And I understand if you ask
Was this life,
was this all?

Well I'm already a bitch, so sure, let's see how much of a bitch I am. In.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

sign me the f up

Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome


Mar 1, 2014


Well, At least I didn't completely screw this up with the DM.

Count me in.


Aug 2, 2002

Grimey Drawer

Mushrooms in London by Karia
Another Day In Los Grano D’oro by Broenheim

Backwash by sebmojo
Objector in Red by Froglight

The Deviant Machine by Nikaer Drekin
BlazinTrees.exe by CaligulaKangaroo

sebmojo posted:

sign me the f up

Yeah, the Girls by Chairchucker
A Funeral for a Dog, A Young Murderer, and The Aged Bad Boy of Directing by Mrenda

I'll be your guide by HWPS
Barrel of Fun by jon joe

TheGreekOwl posted:

Count me in.

Mostly They Come Home by Grizzled Patriarch
In Between by PoshAlligator

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