|# ? Jun 27, 2017 17:25|
|# ? Jun 15, 2021 13:10|
Thunderdome Week 256: Myths of the Near Stone Age
Write me dreams of the dawn of civilization.
Entries/subs close 11 PM Pacific Friday/Sunday, respectively.
|# ? Jun 27, 2017 17:25|
haha you're all dead
|# ? Jun 27, 2017 17:28|
awful week you all suck including the judges
Dont start with dialogue, especially dull dialogue.
Look, i dont like exposition and im trying to be a little forgiving this week, but when you start exposition with “it all started…” i just, come on now. At least try to make it natural.
This might be too self aware. I can practically see you behind your computer screen smirking, but it isnt that fun to read.
If you’re trying to go for good-bad, you didn’t hit it. It’s not bad-bad, but it’s too self aware and eye winking for me to really think this is good-bad.
Yeah on a reread its alright.
I just feels there’s too much eye-winking, what with literally saying he quipped and he said “huskily” and stuff.
Idk what even to judge this week by so i guess this is middle?
Hi hello there run-on in first paragraph.
Too much talk not enough laser gun blowing up poo poo.
Tbh im skipping most of this dialogue because this is pulp week and pulp week imo isnt about people saying words to each other but about people having laser guns and shooting aliens in the face and finding new planets.
These r like awful lyrics. Like not even ironically awful just bad.
I liked it when she shot poo poo and i didnt like the parts where she said boring words about the world or something i dont know
I dont know what through your head, but maybe having a middle section of people just blandly talking about dumb bullshit nobody really cares about is a dumb loving idea.
Getting Stuck in Space and Quicksand
Wait what alien monsters strap somebody to a table and then is like “ok guys, job well done, lets take a rest and make her into an immortal monster trapped in a spacesuit tomorrow” and then also doesnt have any1 keep an eye on her or anything???? I mean im not about believability (esp when it comes to dumb scifi), i was willing to accept some aliens would kidnap a dude and put him in an immortal spacesuit to suck his bones or w/e but cmon now a little bit of believability would be nice.
Yeah dont name your two characters w/ similar names like Anna and Addams cmon now
Ok that ending made no sense and was super out of nowhere.
I mean this is bad. It is not good. The aliens, as antagonists, just do evil poo poo for whatever reason. The ending relies on a bunch of contrivances to work that arent even adequately explained, like why the hell would they be so attracted to the smell that they murder their queen or whatever? There is a bunch of exposition for you to explain poo poo. There’s not really anything fun pulp-wise, either, I think, besides the Skeletonman Jim.
Idk this is kinda trash but not signficantly more trash than the other stories.
Another One Bites the Dust
Hey this is a good opener!
“When she drove, she made you feel like the bombs never feel” -- the you should be he instead, imo.
Yeah this is cool. Good even w/o the dogs.
This is more like regular good and not good-bad but nothing else was really good-bad so i guess this is the best story
This was just good pulp. It set up a good premise, kept the energy going throughout the whole piece. It was pretty obvious Alice was somehow going to show up again and ive found myself rolling my eyes whenever the protagonist is inches from dying and then OH MY GOD hes saved!!!!! But i mean this is just pulpy fun which is what the week was about so it wins.
A Brief History of Humankind
Oh god im like 100 words in and this is already painful.
Too much talking, too cliche, feels like this is a joke thats already been done before and went on for too long.
Yeah this is just boring.
I say this a lot in thunderdome, which is a shame, and honestly, youve written much better comedy pieces than this so i dont rly think you need this advice, but maybe you do. But when your story is literally one joke (what if the earth was a obsessed woman coddling over humans and the moon didnt like the humans so they argued about it), it is NOT A STORY. It is a single joke that goes on for a thousand words. And, ive heard a lot of jokes in my life. So of them funny. But, after awhile, even the best joke gets old. Hell, almost every time a joke goes bad is not because it isnt funny but because it goes on for too long. So, yeah, thats the problem. Maybe this joke is funny, but is it funny enough for a thousand words? Hell no. No joke is. You need more in comedy story than just a single “lol what if.”
Also holy poo poo your entire story is dialogue. I know you lean onto your dialogue because you can give characters good voices, but c’mon now.
This shouldve DMed. I dont know why it didnt. Sure, it mightve strung along sentences better then a bunch of other people, but this was annoying. It didnt even feel like pulp to me. It just feel like a one-note joke without any action or change in tone or anything else. This felt like a waste of time, mostly, and legit, i was okay with this losing as well because this was terrible.
Why r u naming ur civilization after a std
One of the most painful moments, for me, is when i have a realization that something is trying to be ironically funny. This happened in your third paragraph.
The TMs are not funny.
The difficulty, when you try to write funny bad, is that funny bad is about a five minute drive from regular bad. Unfortunately, your story took the wrong exit and ended up in regular bad.
Ok i read this again and while its still bad, i think its more of a fun bad instead of a bad bad. Didnt make me laugh even tho it wanted me to but it was still a tad bit fun.
I mean, the ironic humor isnt working, and nothing makes sense in this story. Thats the major gist to take away from this. There’s nothing else to this piece besides its failed attempt at humors. The plot is mangled just to be extra funny, which you weren’t. Tbh, i think Profane’s is worse than this but you know whatever.
Maybe not DM??? Probably tho
The Unbearable Lightness of Giant Robots
I get it, its sci-fi, you need to have your Capital Words, but why robots? Robots and robotic are regular words.
Too much talking and watching. Needed more crazy antics. Not very interesting. I guess robots made out of snow is kinda cool but besides that, nothing much rly happened
Susan isnt rly much in this story. It feels like a serial story where id be like SUSAN NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO but im just like uhhhhhhh ok i guess susan is important or someting.
I wasnt too big of a fan of this. I mean i didnt hate this and its okay but it was just kinda like whatever, you kno. There’s snowballs and they turn into robots but the shift into trying to be an emotional story w/r/t susan falls flat because we dont have any context of susan. I guess if theres one thing this story does well is it implies at least a history of events before it w/o lines of exposition, which is good. But it feels hamfisted in its approach regardless, and the emotional core of the story feels forced.
Beginning of a story. Kind of interesting premise but not much happens, too much time spent on intro, and no real conclusion.
I liked this more than I initially put. The betrayal was really obvious, especially when he put on the gas mask. Sci-fi native americans is p cool overall. It’s a good setup and I prob would’ve kept reading if this was more than 1k words but u kno word counts and all that stuff.
I wouldve picked this to HM over any other HM this week but thems the breaks. This was fun and felt pulpy. I think some of the vagueness hurt, like the specificity of what happened in the past. I mean, I know you didnt want to exposit or explain anything, but almost felt like I was supposed to read a story before this to have the full context of this story. And this story doesnt really conclude. It just ends in a way of saying “I’ll be back.”
Skull-Crow vs. Tank-Man
This story shouldve been so good-bad, what with lines like “the lightly clad woman on the neon sign would never do her jiggly dance again”
This was gonna be some good bad poo poo at the start but then it kinda petered out.
Yeah i thought this was gonna be some good ol’ pulpy fun but it turned out to just be a lot of words (most of them dull) for a dumb betrayal scene. More dumb things need to happen.
I guess i liked the subversion of the mindless monster whose like “KILL KILL” is actually the good guy.
This goes into the bad bad cateogry, i think
This is trying to be ridiculous bad but idk it doesnt lean into its ridiculousness enough to be like entertainingly bad.
Devoured by Shitweasels
Finally a good title
I mean im just gonna say this, and this is a classic td problem. You give me a stellar rear end title, where im like, alright, lets see some goddamn SHITWEASELS and then your first line is the dullest poo poo in the universe and now all the wind in your sails are gone.
Wheres the drat SHITWEASELS at????
Classic star trek joke (gently caress u)
Ok this went from dumb pulpy poo poo into actual disturbing poo poo. Rapid tonal shift is the mark of a real good bad story so thats a +. However the beginning was super boring and dull.
This was bad tho. We know this, so lets just say that outright. The dialogue sucked. The tonal transition was bad. It’s just baffling to me that you title something with SHITWEASELS and we dont see SHITWEASELS for like the first half of the story? Like im not even asking for a lot here. Im just here for some dumb pulpy poo poo and SHITWEASELS hits that mark super well IF THEY WERE PRESENT IN YOUR STORY. But they werent! They just appeared in the conclusion to eat out some rear end in a top hat’s rear end in a top hat. God drat what a waste.
Low middle (but this shouldve been so much better)
Kind of interesting. Feels done before, but ehhhh, this is about emulation or w/e. I just didnt find it terribly interesting. Too much talk about logistics and stuff, imo. Thats prob me tho bcause im a millenial who needs poo poo to blow up. Like i dont think this is bad, necessarily, but i, personally, dont find it too interesting. Closer to hard sci-fi than anything else this week and thats not rly my jam. I find it too dry, which this is.
Also the twist was kinda predictable and also been done before so its impact hit me like one of those wet pool noodles.
I think you have a nice tone here. It’s a little subtle and understated, but it has a bit of uncertainty creeping through it.
Fishin’ for a Kill
gently caress you for a stupid rear end to be continued you piece of poo poo
Overall not bad
Yeah i mean this is kinda just pulpy fun (it kept reminding me of Snatcher, but Snatcher is better than this so sorry), but idk it didnt stand out to me at all really. It kinda just did its thing and left. I mean, maybe this wouldve left its mark if it had an actual ending instead of a to be continued which will never actually be continued.
yeah this crit is short maybe i wouldve finished it if you decided to finish your story
A Rat in the Palace
This prose is godawful. Its like a mix of purple prose and like a weird stylistic thing that i cant rly comprehend.
I have no clue what loving happened
Ok some from my understanding, there is an Outlander who is like a cowboy and there’s a wizard in some tower. Hes like “im gonna go murder this wizard bcause ????” and he talks to a kid of a merchant whose like “youre loving dumb as poo poo” and cowboy goes w/e. So then he solid snakes his way thru the wizard castle, and then gets chased by the guards that are like monster creatures or w/e and then he fights the wizard who has a thousand-nipple queen or something i dont loving know, and then theres a boss fight with the wizard and the hat saves the cowboy life somehow and then he beats the poo poo out of the wizard.
Yep i wasnt rly sure if this was my tired brain that made this story incomprehensible, but it turns out it was the story!!!
Its baffling to me that this got an HM and somehow Profane didnt get a DM. I mean, lets be fair here, your prose here is awful. It’s stylistic terrible and sentences are hard to parse for no reason. It is technically awful. And the story is incomprehensible nonsense, and not any better than the incomprehensible nonsense of the rest of the week. I think this might have left a better impression of me IF the prose wasnt so terrible it didnt hurt my loving brain. I guess theres some cool nonsense buried in the awful prose, but im not gonna dig through poo poo in order to find a nickel.
flerp fucked around with this message at 20:18 on Jun 27, 2017
|# ? Jun 27, 2017 20:13|
for my sins.
|# ? Jun 27, 2017 20:45|
|# ? Jun 27, 2017 20:57|
|# ? Jun 27, 2017 21:17|
Sure, why not, I'm in.
|# ? Jun 27, 2017 21:57|
yeah slap me down
|# ? Jun 27, 2017 22:27|
|# ? Jun 27, 2017 23:11|
awful week you all suck including the judges
|# ? Jun 27, 2017 23:18|
|# ? Jun 28, 2017 02:06|
|# ? Jun 28, 2017 02:18|
|# ? Jun 28, 2017 04:10|
|# ? Jun 28, 2017 05:04|
|# ? Jun 28, 2017 12:15|
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF WEEK 255:
Hawklad’s “Meatball Omega-6”
This seems okay, but simplistic and one-dimensional. I could have done without some of the gross things, but the dumb stuff at the end made me chuckle. Definitely won’t win or HM, probably won’t lose or DM.
Thranguy’s “Delta V”
Started off on better footing than the last one, with the promise of decent rapport between Tink and Jollo. Then it started getting into weird concepts like humans being the only culture that produces culture (keep stroking our species’ peen). Song lyrics without music don’t make me feel jack poo poo and the ending’s nothing without those lyrics. Also leaning more to a DM than HM.
Gotta judge these more like pulp, right.
ZeBourgeoisie’s “Getting Stuck in Space and Quicksand”
They keep getting worse. This one feels half-assed, requiring proofreading in a few places, and the ending is almost certainly the product of the author running out of words. Is it wrong for me to judge a pulp story like this for having a wooden protagonist who I didn’t buy into for a second? I’m gonna say no. First candidate for a loss/DM.
Boaz-Jachim’s “Another One Bites the Dust”
Not one of BJ’s instant classics, but satisfying enough. It has sort of a charm to it, and so does Rich. Plus it’s still pulpy, so I don’t have to feel conflicted for liking what I like that goes against the prompt. Winner/HM candidate.
Benny Profane’s “A Brief History of Humankind”
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeengh. This started out really twee and annoying, but I got used to it in time for the ending. I guess. Not really. Still leaning negative on this one. DM if there’s an available slot.
Jay W. Friks’ “Hanna-Barbera’s Stool”
Oh god. This is loving monkeycheese nonsense. I can now see what kind of plot you were going for but the transition from the liquid queen to the poker game didn’t exist. Hate to do this to you again but this is now my favorite loss candidate. Keep on trucking though! I chuckled very slightly once or twice.
Fumblemouse’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Giant Robots”
What the gently caress is this title. Lightness is the last thing giant robots have. Despite that this feels like a more successful iteration of “pulp sci-fi” than most of the stories this week have been. Tentative HM.
anime was right’s “High Cups”
I dunno about this one. It’s got its heart in the right place, but the situation is too simplistic to do the subject matter justice. I suspect this prompt was the wrong place to start sympathizing with the Native American. Bad luck getting the cover you did I guess. Middle of the road. Maybe HM if the other judges agree.
Fuubi’s “Skull-Crow vs. Tank-man”
Whose, not who’s. Typos annoying me. Really annoying. God gently caress you for not proofreading this before you sent it out. gently caress this story, too. Loss or DM.
Fleta Mcgurn’s “Devoured by Shitweasels”
Fuuuuck I think I know what this is. Okay I thought it would be kind of like Dreamcatcher but it’s the closest I’ve been to scared this week. I don’t know what call to make on this. Middle?
Nice. This one’s a keeper, mostly because of the ending. The premise is decent, and the irony that these constructs are helpless to do anything and don’t even know it is some great irony. Only the logistical blather is holding this back. Winner/HM.
Phobia’s “Fishin’ for a Kill”
Now this is more like it. This is some smooth and scuzzy pulp action, and the ending got a laugh out of me. This is the sort of writing that I think could actually pass as published pulp. Winner/HM candidate.
Third Emperor’s “A Rat in the Palace”
Okay are we supposed to dislike the Outlander because he’s racist against jackal people? This story strikes me as being coy to the readers, taunting us with trivia we do not know. It makes me care less. Prose is too pretentious to fit the prompt and I have no loving idea what the plot is and what the Outlander wants to do. Loss/DM candidate.
Recommended Winner: “Fishin’ for a Kill”
Recommended HMs: “Another One Bites the Dust,” “The Unbearable Lightness of Giant Robots”
Backups: “Continuity,” “High Cups”
Recommended Loser: “Skull-Crow vs. Tank-man”
Recommended DMs: “A Brief History of Humankind,” “Hanna-Barbera’s Stool,”
Backups: “Getting Stuck in Space and Quicksand,” “A Rat in the Palace”
|# ? Jun 28, 2017 12:31|
|# ? Jun 29, 2017 01:51|
Slinking late into class, having put in minimal effort and ready to roll my eyes at all complaints, here's ya stupid crits for punk week, part 2 of 3.
Something New - Hawklad
Ehhhhh. This story just doesn't click in any way for me.
Its a sad situation where everyone behaves more or less as you'd expect. I can't say I ever saw any depth to the main character or even knew why she wanted to get preggo - she gave better reasons not to do just that, and while contradictions like that exist in real people, there's always a logic. Even if its a logic they can't fully explain, or won't admit to.
So yea you kind of give us this grim claustrophobic story that turtles into the main character's perspective, but that character falls flat. Can we talk about how she and her friends were drinking, um, fuckin spaceship coolant? How was there not some hosed up teenage antics?
High Noon - Fuubi
Maybe, hopefully, this was a joke, but the quantum uncertainty that it might have been serious hovered over the judging process.
Critting this on the assumption it was meant to be funny, you failed at being funny, because its all confined to the MC's 'as-you-know' exposition rant. You present a gently caress-you-eggheads world where all the scientists were wrong, and are now busy weeping at their wrongness under various rocks, but hey, people actually think like that. Its not funny to just write a story from the viewpoint of an entirely mundane, egocentric lil' poo poo.
You needed action, probably some dialogue with foil characters. In general this needed to be brought up to eleven, otherwise, well, the 'joke' is that there's guy, see, and he's egocentric and dumb in a real way that the people reading have probably seen and had to deal with in the real world.
Snacks for Two - flerp
This story is the farthest anyone strayed from being punk, and sometimes not being punk is kinda punk. I'unno. The lack of any real rage against the machine limited how well it was gonna do with the judges, but just by being such a tonal break from the worst of the grim-blehs, it left us with a lingering fondness.
Its like, solid middle in writing, kinda insubstantial as a story, but it delivered a feel.
The Quality of Mercy - Kashai
I genuinely laughed when I realized this was gonna be a story about owl pit fights. That's awesome. Telepathic owls are awesome, and these ones came off as properly scary.
I don't know precisely where the story went astray after that, although there was some lack of clarity in the fight scenes. The bit where Rill's eye is gouged out lost a lot of its potential impact by being muddled into a dual-perspective bit that made me double back to figure out what just happened.
It was still a good moment and the piece overall is solid. I liked the opening paragraph a whole lot, although the co-judge argued it was too stiffly worded to express teenage rage, but we both agreed the ending was just weak.
At the end of the day, we don't really know much about Rill outside of her anger and - eventually - limited willingness to take it out on other people. We know almost nothing about Oowan or why they find it so easy to forgive her. In the end, while the choice to leave revenge behind is an obviously positive one, it also blanks out the only aspect of Rill's character we really know. Its hard to get excited for an ending like that.
Imperative - sittinghere
Urgh. I had to read this story twice and it hurt both times. There's something equally believable and horrible in the early dialogue, strong tension in the prose, but overall its just easier not to feel anything much about this story because holy poo poo. Ouch.
I wish there had been, if not necessarily something to lighten the story, some better idea of what's waiting out there for Rebecca.
This story. Just ouch.
AND NOW, A PREVIEW OF MY UPCOMING REVIEW OF CHILI'S ENTIRE BODY OF 'WORK' -
ThirdEmperor fucked around with this message at 14:23 on Jun 29, 2017
|# ? Jun 29, 2017 14:16|
|# ? Jul 1, 2017 02:24|
Ok that's it.
Come at me bro. I will take you down again so quickly.
|# ? Jul 1, 2017 04:03|
In it for gumballs and jawbreakers.
|# ? Jul 1, 2017 04:17|
Entries closed. This your only warning that close of submissions is 11 PM Pacific on Sunday.
|# ? Jul 1, 2017 08:57|
Where You Are Now
The dog lopes unevenly, hindered by swollen pustules enveloping its right shoulder and leg. The tumorous mass had saved the beast from the initial wave of scavengers, but now its protection leads it to a slow death of gnawing starvation. The dog is scrawny and in constant pain. It picks its way through the sun-bleached craters and rubble until it finds a shady place to rest. The dog sleeps dreamless.
Footsteps crunch rocks and pebbles. Every sound is amplified in this empty world. Every sound is amplified in the dog’s empty stomach and it wakes up. There is a man in front of the dog. He is half-crouched, and covered with rags. He extends a hand but keeps the other hidden.
In the man’s hand are kibble pebbles, a dozen or more depending on if a broken half of a kibble pellet is considered whole. He places a kibble in his mouth and chews. The man nods, but his other arm is still hidden.
When the dog turns to completely face the man, the scabrous, infected mass is given full light. The man exhales deep.
“Hey buddy,” he says. The man pulls down his scarf, revealing he is covered in boils and weeping sores. Track lines of swollen veins disappear under the rest of his clothes. “They didn’t want to eat me either.”
The dog approaches and eats the dried nuggets of kibble and remembers the years as they once were. The kibble is not enough but there is no more and the dog is hungry.
“Do you have a name? I’m tired. That’s a joke,” he says.
The man does not give the dog a name, though the dog knows it has one. It does not remember its name but it knows it had one. It follows the man as they walk because it feels familiar. When the light fades they find a boulder atop a dusty hill, surrounded by other rocks. The man clears a spot big enough for them both to rest. The rock at the top of this hill was once half-buried, but now the sun and wind have revealed the stained rings of eons at the base of the boulder. The man does not notice the rings.
The dog dreams of this hill when the hill was covered in soft dirt, fallen leaves and healthy trees.
In the morning, they use the hill as a lookout and can see for miles. They see structures in the distance.
“There used to be people there, but they moved on. Maybe they left something for us,” he says.
Decades old rubble sits untouched as they enter the forgotten city. They pick their way through the destruction and find a massive fallen colossus of a building leaning against another, albeit smaller, colossus. It creates a welcome shadow. Underneath the angular arch of the fallen building are pools of water, protected from the sun.
The water is foul but so are their bodies and after they fill their skins they play and splash in the tertiary puddles. When they sit, the man lounges and uses his rucksack as a pillow. Above him the fallen building looms and he marvels at the decrepit monolith. He does not know, has never known, the name for a building this large but the dog remembers.
They rest under the shadow of the corpse of the building and the dog dreams. The dog dreams of people and rain and cities.
They do not find any more food in the following days and the dog is hungrier and sleeps with no dreams. They move less each day and take longer breaks. During a rest, the man looks at the dog. He reaches out his hand but it is empty. He hides his other hand. The dog remembers a familiar feeling and it moves closer to the man. The man places his hand on the dog’s head and pets it.
“Good dog,” he says. He puts his hand down and closes his eyes. The man sleeps and the dog sleeps next to him. The dog does not dream and it is distressed when it wakes. The dog realizes it will not dream again.
“Are you okay, buddy?” the man says. The man reaches out to pet the dog but the dog can only react.
The dog feasts, ignoring the weak strikes of the man. Each bite strengthens the dog’s resolve to resist the man. It is gorged, but continues eating, and it thinks of nothing else but to consume. The dog drags the remains of the man to the water and sits next to him. It whines softly, but the man does not move. Finally, the dog lies down and sleeps.
The dog dreams again of time long gone.
|# ? Jul 2, 2017 20:29|
Aaaaaaand, it's gone!
Chili fucked around with this message at 11:41 on Jan 2, 2018
|# ? Jul 2, 2017 22:27|
The Boy Who Yearned to Kiss the Moon
“Where is your child?” asked Great-pa Ur, in whose name was built the place where much good beer is brewed.
“That,” said Nish Third-Wife, “Is a long story. Would you have it?”
Ur, who yoked ox to ox and man to man to work his fields and fill each gut and slake each thirst, dipped his head to nod. Nish was more than fair, but her best skill was in the way to tell a tale. She drew deep breath and did chant:
Odd, Dead-man’s-son, went to hunt in the woods by night. He watched the deer run by light of the moon. He threw his spear, but the beast leapt left and was spared. Odd ran to chase his spear and slipped. He went to stand but heard a great bear growl, and saw claws and teeth glint with moon’s light. The bear reached back his claw to strike.
The moon shouted ‘Hold, bear.’ Odd and the bear both froze, as they had not known the moon could speak. ‘This man is friend to me. Spare him for my sake.’ The bear was no fool, and knew he could one day call in this debt. He stepped back and let Odd go.
From then on, Odd and the moon talked as he went out each night, save one. ‘I am wife to the sea, but he comes to my bed but one night each month. On the rest, I am free.’ Odd and the moon talked, and did flirt with no shame, and Odd fell mad in love.
‘Take me to where you sleep,’ Odd said, ‘And let us give the sea horns all nights but one.’
The moon laughed. ‘If you can kiss me, I will.’
So Odd set out to learn how to kiss the moon. He asked each beast, but most were of no use. Hare told him to build a great sling to draw back and shoot him to the sky. Deer held a grudge and did not say a thing. Snake told him to bend close to hear the way, but Odd was not so much a fool as that. At last, Odd asked Bear.
‘The moon is not at all times in the sky,” said Bear. “Go to the lake at night, and see.”
Odd did see: the moon, full, on the still lake top. But when he tried to wade to her she fled. He could not move so still that she would stay. Then he saw the tree, branch high above the lake.
“So your fool boy broke his neck and drowned in the lake,” said Gael First-wife.
“He did not,” said Nish. “He kissed the moon, and went to live with the gods.”
“And when the sun dries down the lake and we find his bones and rank flesh, what will you say then?” asked Gael.
“No such thing will ever be,” said Nish.
Ur, whose farts smell of fresh wind and roses, save when he should choose to break wind in the face of a foe-man, for then they shall be more foul than sun-touched fish, waved his hand to make them still. “It is a good tale. A true tale.” He took Nish to his bed that night, and the next and the next.
The maids made idle talk. “Why would he hold such a fool story true?” asked one.
An old and wise one said “The boy was a threat. Ur’s pa’s son’s son might make a king one day. Best he was gone. But with his hands clean, yes, for the best.”
A young but wise as well one said “And this story makes Ur near-kin to a god.”
The old one gave a nod. “And makes his heir nurse-kin to a god.”
“Where do you think Odd is, in truth?” said the first maid.
“With the Gods, of course,” said the two wise maids as one, and that was that.
There is a tale Nish did not tell, though. A false tale, as it speaks things that do not go with what all men and wife-men know. A tale of a ship from far away, crewed by maids, crashed in the woods. Of the fair boat-chief who stole Odd’s heart and toyed with him for a week. Of how when it was time to go he asked to come with her, and she said no. Of how he begged, and she said he could come with her if he could kiss the moon.
And of how Odd did not use a tall tree and deep lake to kiss the moon, but a pool so small he could just dip his head, kiss the moon, win his bet, and leave his home with his sea-maid love, and not come home in all his days.
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 01:33|
There is a crack in everything
Father and Mother awoke, fell in love, and entwined themselves at the beginning of everything.
Mother, the naked earth, the most beautiful vision Father had or would ever see. Father, the sky, his coat of blue warmth wrapped around her shoulders.
Great waves of rock and fire and metal and wind crashed together as the two embraced.
Together they remained, drifting across the cold of space, holding each other close for aeons. Time passed around them, but it was barely moments in their eyes. Forever would not be long enough.
Like young lovers, for they were young lovers - the first young lovers - they held each other close and firm. Eyes wide in wonder of each other, both perfect creations born of the first breath of the universe. Hands caressed and pulled toward and rested on each other, learning each other as they learned themselves.
Love and warmth spilled forth, Mother birthing sons and daughters who roamed between her and Father.
Mother and Father held each other so close their children could not stand. They were huddled, low, unable to stretch out, as they crawled between their parents.
It was dark, dim. Father hung so close above Mother that light could barely breath. Some thrived in the loamy cosiness of their world, but others were not satisfied with the world they lived in. The children longed to run, to hunt, to explore the ends of the Earth. They loved Mother and Father, but among them desires became grudges became words.
“I want to run in the daylight, I want to stand straight in the sunlight. What can we do?”
“They do not know how we suffer. They do not hear us.”
And then a voice. A bold, strong voice.
“We must kill them, so that we can be free.”
Disgruntled murmurs became cries of anguish. Who could think such a thing, Mother and Father who had brought them into existence. Mother and Father who only knew love for one another and their children.
Another firm voice spoke out, confident but more measured than the last.
“We cannot murder our parents, such an act would be deeply wrong. But this cannot continue either, there is another way. We must separate Mother and Father.”
Some children gasped, some wept. Mother and Father’s love was so strong that even separating them sounded like an unforgivable sin. They wept because they knew that it was a price they would pay to stand tall, that their desires outweighed their parents’ bond.
Some simmered in the dark. Their siblings had no right, their parents’ love was the world and they would fight for it.
But the world had to change, and enough of the children knew it. They gathered away from their siblings. Leaving the ones content to wallow in the dark, and the ones who bristled and glared.
They climbed on their hands and knees, to where the roundness of Mother’s stomach met their Father’s. They took the heavens on their shoulders and heaved upward. Legs and backs unfurling to their full length, calves and thighs quaking under the the strain. Sweat poured off them as they stretched out.
The earth quaked and their Father’s bellows filled the sky. Their parents clung to each other, but the children could sense their freedom - their desperation to see light, to run with each other, to see the world as it could be outstripped their parents’ grasping, final efforts to hold tight. Father and Mother cried out as their fingers slipped apart.
Starting small at the edges of the world, blooming through the cracks, daylight crept in. Thin slivers of white, searing lines behind the children’s eyelids as they closed their eyes and turned away. They could feel its warmth grow on their backs, and then all around them. They opened their eyes and the light was changing, rolling through pinks, reds, oranges and yellows - until it just was.
The children laughed and drank it in. But not all of them. The small number of dissenters had seen what was happening, and leapt, holding onto Father’s brilliant blue coat. Riding up to sit with their Father in the sky, still smouldering with rage at what their brothers and sisters had done. They became the wind, the howls and gales, the thunder and lightning. They became an endless war on the family that had betrayed them.
Mother and Father’s grief was eternal, the forever they had together was mere seconds compared to the forever they spent apart. Mother shaking the mountains with her sobs and Father flooding the valleys with his tears, waiting for their chance to embrace when their children tire of dancing in the light.
NB: This is a retelling of a creation myth that I (and other NZ domers) grew up with. Ranginui and Papatūānuku are super googleable, as are the stories of their children.
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 03:20|
The Secret World
Aran’s people lived on a sunburnt plain at the edge of a dark forest. The women of the tribe foraged in the shadows among the trees, while the men prowled the grassy plain with fire-sharpened spears, surrounded by clouds of dragonflies. When the sun sank beneath the horizon and darkness fell, and the songs of animals that could never be found in the daylight filled the air, Aran’s people would sleep deeply until the morning.
Sometimes, Aran would wake up in the middle of the night, and the sky would be full of stars, and the air would hum strangely. Sometimes, there would not be a single cloud in the sky, and the stars would streak across the sky in bright white flashes, burning bright then disappearing. Sometimes she wanted to wake her mother, to say, look, look at what I see, but she never did, for fear that the spell might be broken.
The tribe would wake together as one with the sun. When Aran would tell stories of what she had seen in the night, her mother would only stare. There is nothing to see in the night, she would say, as she led Aran with the other women into the forest to look for berries. Our place is in the sun, her mother would say, and there was nothing more to say after that.
One night, Aran woke under a blazing moon, and swirls of blue fireflies danced overhead. Aran found them beautiful, following them with her eyes as she lay on the ground, and soon realized that, without knowing or choosing, she had stood up from her mother’s side and was following the cloud of fireflies into the forest. Her ears swelled with song of tiny wings. She followed the fireflies deep through the forest, under dark foliage, between rocks and over streams, and found herself some time later in a clearing filled with spiderwebs. Millions of fireflies hung trapped in the webs, twinkling in their struggle like reflections of the stars in the sky.
A spider sat in the center of her web in front of Aran’s face, her head hanging low. Her eyes glowed with blue moonlight, and white spines grew from her bulbous belly. Many glowing flies struggled and twisted against the threads of her web, their mouthparts kicking weakly as the lights in their belly pulsed.
The spider spoke with no voice. Curious little thing, she said. Do you find my web pretty?
Yes, said Aran, for it was indeed a beautiful web. Tiny droplets glistened along each impossibly thin and ghostly fiber, each contorting firefly a tiny trapped star, bellies gasping with light. Aran found herself reaching out to touch one of them, but stopped herself halfway.
The spider waited patiently. You’ve come a long way, she said to Aran, but it’s not too late to go home.
Aran reached out and touched the firefly, and the moon grew bright like a blue sun, so bright that Aran had to shut her eyes. She saw herself as an old woman, clothed in fabric she had woven. She lay on a stone, surrounded by her children and their children. She saw that she was dead, and that her people mourned her. She saw herself in a child, a boy this time, who grew to be a chief, and led his people north. She saw herself in shamans, daubing paint on walls, scratching charcoal on wood, and carving statues from stone. She saw great edifices rising from the earth in exaltation of strange gods, many different kinds, spires twisting upwards and flailing like flies caught in a web. She saw herself endlessly replicated, awake in the night under a murky sky, darkness kept at bay by struggling lights. She saw huge monoliths like termite mounds, full of her descendants, transfixed in flickering blue glow.
The vision faded as quickly as it had come, and Aran found herself back in the forest. The moon was again small and white. The belly of the firefly she had touched was now dull and grey, its glow faded from the world.
The spider looked at Aran with white eyes like stars. You have seen many things, said the spider. Time now to rest.
Aran found her way back through the forest in the moonlight, and found that she knew the way easily, as though she had lived in the forest for a long time. She left the forest and crossed the plain to where her people slept like stones under the stars. She found her way to her mother’s side, and curled up beside her.
She dreamed the first dream that night, and upon waking carried it with her into the sun.
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 03:41|
The Origin Voracious
“Put your cellphone down, girl. You came to me. Did it to spite your mother, huh? Well, now you’re going to sit and listen. Or not. But listening is the only thing that will buy you anymore time under my roof.
“When I left your mother alone in that park, I wanted to end my line. I wish I could poison the whole goddamn gene pool. But I couldn’t even kill my own daughter. So I rejected her. I hoped life itself would be enough of a punishment that she wouldn’t have children of her own. I washed my hands of the world and came to live in this place.
“Yes, yes. I’m getting to the why of it. But one thing you have to understand, before we go any further: We are evil. You are evil. The mechanic who services your car is evil. I am evil. Inasmuch as a true evil exists, we are it.
“Come here. Sit in front of the mirror--yes, it’s just a regular mirror. What did your mother tell you about me? Nevermind. I don’t suppose I care. There. Look at your skin. Look at the meat of you, the shape of you. Why, out of all the crystalline and contrary shapes in the universe, do we think our shape is remarkable?
“Exactly. We think our shape is good because it allows us to have life, to think. But look closer. See your skin as the ancient hunger it is. Keep your eyes on the mirror, you stupid child. Look, there, just below your collarbone--cathedrals of ancient trees. Untasted waters. Big, stupid creatures wandering the length of your sternum. And there, way out on the tip of your pinky finger--do you see them? They’re us. Cowering high in the trees, barely even self aware. Mostly harmless.
“Now look at the left side of your chest. Where your heart is buried.
“Yes. It’s a hole. Keep. Looking. This hole doesn’t have a bottom. It goes through time and space, our souls and our fates. Through me and you and everything that moves and dies. But the hole is infinite, and so somewhere in that infinity is inevitably consciousness. A god-sized kernel of awareness that only knows its own emptiness.
“Look up at your forehead. See the painterly, primordial skies swept with newborn clouds. And--there, if you soften your gaze--the waters of the first river, which sprung up like a hidden wellspring and carved canyons of time and space into the featureless void. The river is neither awake or asleep, good or evil. And maybe that’s why it couldn’t help itself. Or us.
“Back to the hole. Watch. The nonexistent god within looked out onto the steppes, forests, sky, and stars, and felt a hunger so deep we might mistake it for hatred. Because it was a being of the void, it couldn’t become part of the world without giving up its intrinsic nature.
“In those days, nothing ate. Nothing shat. Everything existed in the endless, golden afternoon of life without desire. When the giant sloth raised his head to sniff the wind, all he knew was how sweet the leaves smelled. When the apes who would eventually become men looked at the sky, all they knew was gratitude for the sun that warmed their faces. The first river flowed through us, then, giving everything and asking nothing.
“The hole couldn’t venture into the world without becoming something other than itself, but it could grow. It grew into the hearts of animals and made them crave each other’s flesh. It grew into the flesh of cells and told them to wither and die. It grew into the minds of ape-men and made them war over territory, mates, and the flesh of the lower animals. The stupid, mindless river of life could only continue to flow, pouring itself down the expansive throat of the world, draining itself to the dredges. If the hole couldn’t change, it could at least make the world feel its hunger.
“Why does that make us evil? Stupid child. Look at yourself. You see the story of our hateful condition in your own flesh. You see the emptiness that lives in your own heart. What will you do with that information? Will you tie off your ovaries and retreat into the mountains, live as an ascetic? Will you give your body back to the world without asking anything in return? No. You’re wondering what notifications you’ve missed. You’re thinking about going back to the ‘real’ world, away from this crazy old woman and her trickster mirror.
“Go, then. Leave. But listen: if any daughter of yours comes to find me, I will tell her: Your mother is evil.”
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 03:43|
It seemed to Winella Marshal that she had only just stumbled home to bed from the Clattersby Activist Conference when she awoke to the sensation of blueness. Through half-closed eyes she saw a large, bare-chested man suffused with a strange azure glow, standing at the foot of her mattress. His blue beard was long and cut flat at the bottom, his blue frame well-muscled and his wraparound skirt split to one blue thigh.
"Argh! What the hell?" said Winella, gathering the duvet about her and scanning the room for usefully dangerous objects.
"Winella Marshall," said the glowing man, raising his right hand palm outward. "I am Ammon-Thok, Priest-Mage of Sumer."
"What do you want? I warn you, my girlfriend will be home any minute. She's a seven foot skinhead with a black-belt in macro--aggression." In the absence of weaponry, she grabbed Mr Doggles and waved him menacingly about, causing the speaker in his tummy to go "Woof Woof Bark".
Blue light bathed the confused look of Ammon-Thok. "Er, fear not, Winella. I am here to serve and guide you to victory."
"Fantastic. A big strong man to save the day with his big...blue...muscles. This must be a dream," said Winella. She contemplated pinching herself but remembered that was a painfully stupid thing to do so she didn't. "Isn't it?"
"In a sense it is," said Ummon-Thok. "I am your spirit guide, dream-travelling through the spirals of time, serving eternally the descendants of Ur. I have guided Cleopatra, Boadicea, Joan d'Arc, and now you." Ammon-Thok bowed deeply for several seconds then looked up. "Erm, what are you doing?"
Winella peered over her phone. "Just googling. Let me see. Cleopatra - Suicide. Boadicea - Defeat and death. Joan, don't even need to look her up - burned at the stake. So much for leading them to victory."
Ammon-thok looked embarrassed. "They are immortal in history, that's a kind of victory."
"Is that what you told them? Let me serve you and you'll die horribly and also be famous?"
"Well, no, not as such. Time spirals mean I'm actually doing all of this at once, so from my perspective we're all still working together. I had heard it goes badly though." Ammon-Thok's blue face looked even bluer.
"So no real wisdom of the ancients, then? No tips on how to get free from systemic patriarchal oppression?"
"Not really my field."
Ammon-Thok's forehead creased. "Would building a ziggurat help?"
Ammon sat down on the end of the bed, his back to Winella. She heard him sigh heavily. Oh Christ, she thought, now I'm dreaming unpaid emotional labour.
"It's not easy, spirit-guiding, you know," said Ammon-Thok. "You're supposed to have all the answers, but everything's changed so much since Sumer. No wonder I wasn't any use to the others. And now you're the ninth descendant of Ur I've visited this century, and they've all said 'Thanks, but not much call for spirit-guides these days, we have the internet'.
Winella extracted an arm from her duvet, pulled a tissue from the box by her nightstand and offered it to him. He accepted and gave his nose a good blow.
"Have you actually seen the Internet?" Winella asked.
"No," he sniffed.
"Here - it's pretty cool, reactionary dickheads aside." She passed him her phone. "Just hold your finger on this button, and ask a question."
Ammon hesitated, looking at Winella. She nodded for him to go ahead. "Just talk," she said.
"Who … who is the most famous Sumerian?"
Google assistant piped up in a cheerful female-like voice: "Gilgamesh was the fifth king of the Sumerian city of Uruk. He became known as a demigod with superhuman strength in later legends and tales such as the Epic of Gilgamesh."
"Fffft. He was alright, I suppose," said Ammon-Thok. "Let me try again. 'Joan of Arc tactical review'." A flood of results popped onto the screen and Winella showed him how to scroll through the hits and click through to further details. "Fascinating," he said. "I can see how you'd find this useful."
"You can borrow it if you like. Something to do while you're looking for the next descendant of Ur."
"Really? Well, thank you. I shall endeavour to put it to good use." Ammon-thok began to fade like a dream in the morning light. "I suppose I've taken up enough of your time," he said before vanishing completely.
Winella lay back, and closed her eyes. "No problem, you crazy-rear end blue dream man."
"I wonder what I did with my phone," thought God-Queen Winella, donning her helmet as she wheeled out her electro-chariot.
A memory circled but then escaped her conscious mind.
"Et bien, c'est la vie." With a crack of her vibro-whip, Winella sped through the pyramids of the city.
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 03:55|
Word Count: 387
My troubles began long ago. Nothing I do can save me from them.
I was a soldier, long ago. I was pressed into service for the city. My cowardice did not save me. It only made me fight harder. When we were beset by bow and chariot on our first foray beyond, my cowardice cursed me to live, to fight like an animal in a pit.
I was promoted to sergeant. Cursed by the gods to a long military career spent in fear of the next battle. Lying, sleepless in tents, hoping to the gods and praying to my family’s spirits that the cold flint of an arrow would finally take me. And release me from this wretched world.
My troubles began long ago. I was retired, blessed by gods, and awarded by priest and king. I knew beer and the pleasures of flesh alike. I still did not sleep. I cried out at night, scaring my lovers who slept soundly, unafraid of the swirling spirits and death that curses this world.
I drank beer and paid for the comforts of many people. I still knew no rest. I prayed for forgiveness and protection, sacrificed lambs and gold in temples. I sold my baubles and mementos of war. What good were they ever, awards from people up high, who sleep soundly each night in their homes as men die?
My troubles began long ago. My mother was cursed with child. The child lived, and was born, she died, bleeding and discarded. I grew up, shouldering the work of the house, never knowing the soft bosom of my own mother.
I ran from the farm, at various ages. Only to find life cruel and unlivable. I never made it, until I was pressed into service for war. Then I still found life cruel, and unlivable, and yet I persisted.
My troubles began long ago. The primordial chaos of the sea angered the gods. So they sent one of their own to smash and kill the mother of all things. They twisted up her insides, made her ribs the vault of the sky, her tears the great rivers, and her blood the endless stars above.
This world is cruel. It has been troubled since before man walked on it. It will be troubled long after this man leaves it.
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 05:30|
sebmojo fucked around with this message at 21:25 on Jan 8, 2018
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 05:59|
Judgement coming soon.
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 06:05|
Thunderdome Week 256 Judgement
I thought keeping it short would make people read the prompt, but I recognize my mistake.
This week's loser is Killer-of-Lawyers. This world is cruel.
Chili DMs, but it's okay, because I don't think he read the prompt, so maybe he won't read this.
Noah HMs for a sad story about a dog. Benny Profane HMs by writing the sort of thing I had hoped people would write. sebmojo HMs for being a charming son of a gun.
Sitting Here wins, but does that really surprise anyone?
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 06:23|
Week 256 Crits: Dreaming of Better Stories
Noah - Where You Are Now
I'm not sure how this is the dawn of civilization and/or the stone age, but I found your characters sympathetic and compelling, and after sitting on it for a little while, decided I liked your dog dreaming of ancient days. The lapse into hunger at the end sold me on your dog as an animal and not just a dumb human on all fours.
Chili - Come My Way
The point of view in this is strange to me. It takes a scientific look at an ant colony as a whole, then zooms into one specific ant (who probably isn't a male ant, as much as it's a boring and pedantic nit to pick). I also had a hard time visualizing the scene, especially when Bent gets to his 'moral dilemma'. The story ends by setting up an image that conveys the point, then also saying "this is the point, he sacrificed himself." Also, where are the dreams? Or the dawn of civilization, for that matter? Other ants sacrifice themselves but it doesn't seem like this is the start of an Enlightened ant colony.
Thranguy - The Boy Who Yearned to Kiss the Moon
This is the first one that did something close to what I wanted. The overwrought prose is a problem though. I had to read the first line a couple times to figure out what it actually meant. And there's a weird fart joke halfway through that doesn't fit the tone--it's too sarcastic and wordy. But ignoring that, I liked the central concept and I liked the story you told. It's appreciably old but you did enough new stuff with it to turn it into its own thing.
steeltoedsneakers - There is a crack in everything
Speaking of doing new stuff with old things, I know this is a retelling. The problem is that it doesn't add anything beyond being a nice myth. I'm not averse to retellings, but a more personal/individual perspective would have been interesting as opposed to the mythic distance. As is, it's fine, it's just not got much to latch onto beyond being a real-world myth.
Benny Profane - The Secret World
I could tell where this was going early on, but it was a nice road to get there. And this is very much the sort of thing I was looking for: a story about some sort of emerging humanness. I would have liked to see the dreaminess of her nighttime world elaborated more, maybe in place of the vision of the future? Or maybe make the vision of the future more of a dream of possibilities, some of which the future will hold.
Sitting Here - The Origin Voracious
This is an interesting way to take it, though I see where you were coming from. And I liked the myth-building of some sort of endless need to fill that life possesses. I also got the idea that maybe this lady is a big dick with a negative view of things and that's coloring what she thinks of the world. So it managed to be both mythical and personal and even though you put a cell phone in there, I liked it.
Fumblemouse - Sumerian Blue
A fun story. But, like a lot of fun stories, it's hard to know when to stop a line. And it's easy to have two characters just kind of back-and-forth in a vaguely amusing way. Or maybe I've just seen so many scenes of people receiving supernatural visitors with a deadpan tone that I wanted something else to happen. You did a good job of setting up the punchline that comes after the break, though, and I enjoyed the joke.
Killer-of-Lawyers - Troubles
Sorry about the loss. The structure of your story is a little odd, in the way it jumps around. It might make more sense in reverse chronological order, like it's tracing your protagonist's thoughts as he's trying to figure out where the pain in his life is coming from. But the point fell flat to me because there's no contrast to it. It's one note sustained for the whole piece--which, to be fair, is short. Saying "this wouldn't have lost if there was something worse" is a tautology but this wasn't bad, just hasty and not fully cooked.
sebmojo - Bird Dreams
This is a way less serious take on the idea, but I still see thematic parallels between this and Benny's. The casual teenageness of the tone suits both the dumb ways they act and the way they're trying to figure out things like death and relationships. And being so endearingly stupid but well-meaning made them some of the most genuinely likable characters this week, which is probably why I ended up
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 07:08|
week 257: No failures week.
well poo poo.
Since boaz apparently had a catastrophic lapse in judgment, here I am writing a prompt post for you. Maybe if fewer people had failed, someone else would be typing this post! Stop failing shitdicks. You are the only obstacle in your path to greatness. Or something.
Anyway, I kinda miss the madcap antics of TD's early days. You kids don't even know. Everything was cruel and ridiculous and arbitrary. People actually cried when they read their critiques. Halcyon days, those.
Here's how it works. When you sign up, you will choose between the two options I am about to present to you. You should, however, be prepared to write for either prompt, since whichever option gets the most votes will be the official prompt of the week. This is one of those scenarios where you could easily let yourself off the hook and fail if the vote doesn't go your way. But you are not going to.
So, to recap: when you sign up, you will say something like: "In. I vote for [prompt that appeals to you]." Got it?
Little known fact, long ago I sold my soul to LOU BEGAS MUSTACHE in exchange for, IDK, something that seemed cool at the time, I forget. Anyway, he's calling in his debts.
The word count is 1300.
After voting closes, the judges will assign you one of the wizards given out in week 142.
PROMPT NUMBER TWO??
hi again thunderdome
If you choose sin week
You get 1200 words
After voting closes, the judges will assign you a sin and a flash rule. The flash rules may or may not be the same as the ones in week 159.
Voting closes at 11:59 PM PST on Thursday, July 6th. After that, the applicable assignments will be dealt out.
If you , your vote counts twice. Blame capitalism.
Feel free to form voting blocks. You can bribe people by giving them a portion of your wordcount if you want.
EDIT: You can also get an extra vote for the prompt of your choice if you give a thoughtful critique of one of last week's stories.
PAY ATTENTION TO THIS PART BECAUSE IT'S THE THING YOU'RE GOING TO gently caress UP!!!
You can sign up after voting closes. However, you will have to subtract 200 words from whatever the word count ends up being. So if wizard week wins, you get 1100 words, and if sin week wins you get 1000. You're also no fun.
The late signup deadline is 11:59 PM PST on Friday, July 7th.
Submission deadline is 11:59 PM PST on Sunday, July 9th.
Word count: 1300 (unless you sign up on Friday, 7/7/17, in which case your word count is 1100)
Sitting Here fucked around with this message at 17:53 on Jul 8, 2017
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 09:59|
in for sin
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 10:28|
That's dumb. If you put out a lazy prompt that's one sentence you shouldn't bitch about how folks interpret it.
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 10:44|
In I vote for [SIN].
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 10:47|
|# ? Jun 15, 2021 13:10|
Oh and thanks for the fast crits.
|# ? Jul 3, 2017 10:50|