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Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Assembled for Your Convenience: The Thunderdome Archive!

Once upon a time, two Thunderdome veterans sharing a fondness for records, a fascination with statistics, and a touch of OCD conceived of the greatest project ever imagined: the Thunderdome Archive, where everyone's literary shame could be displayed forever. crabrock bought a domain and used his mastery of code to make all his visions come true. Kaishai assisted him by trawling the threads for prompts, stories, and relevant .gifs. Together they continue to fight the crime that is data loss.

The Archive's purpose is to store the over five million words of creative effluvium written for TD to date. If you want to make use of it to the fullest degree (which includes reading the stories), you'll need an account, and you can request one through the link at the top left of the index.

Note that accounts are open to participants only. If you're desperate to read about Vorpal Drones and vambraces at sea without searching the threads, you must first shed blood.

We have graphs!

We have lists and rankings!

We have mad libs!

(Please read "Rural Rentboys," Thunderdome's most beloved classic, to understand 2017teen and to reach true spiritual enlightenment.)

And much, much more! Visit the Thunderdome Archive today!

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 21:45 on Jan 6, 2017


Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Past Weeks of Thunderdome, 2012-2015
Week		Title								Winner		
I		Man Agonizes Over Potatoes					Sitting Here
II		Dystopian Chick-Lit						budgieinspector
III		Check Your Cis Privilege in Swaziland				sebmojo
IV		last man in the moon						toanoradian
V		Gary Numan, Fucksticks						Nyarai
VI		VI: Week Six: It Rhymes with Dicks				SurreptitiousMuffin 
VII		The goons who lose will pay the highest price			budgieinspector (II)
VIII		Martello's Girlfriend Said, "I'm late!"				Y Kant Ozma Post
IX		Old Sex/Lawn Sounds						sebmojo (II)
XI		Betrayal, by Zdzislaw Beksiñski					Jeza
XII		Hateful Protagonist						Fanky Malloons
XIII		Real Natural Horror, Bitches					Toaster Beef
XIV		You Shouldn't Be Here						Sitting Here (III)
XV		Sharp Vision Soothes Strong Reaction				LordVonEarlDuke
XVI		Oh the weave we web						Sitting Here (IV)
XVII		I Don't Know You						V for Vegas
XVIII		Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves
A		Round One							Res|ults
B		Round Two							sebmojo (III)
XIX		How Deep is my Fuckin' Love					Peel
XX		Face Your Destiny						The Saddest Rhino
XXI		Welcome to My Sensorium						Fanky Malloons (II)
XXII		Schroedinger’s Nihilarian					sebmojo (IV)
XXIII		DIE FOR YOUR POETRY						twinkle cave
XXIV		Keyboard Kings							Capntastic
XXV		What They Deserve						STONE OF MADNESS
XXVII   	There is only PAIN						EchoCian
XXVIII  	Show me the love!						Kaishai
XXIX		Written in the Stars						sebmojo (VI)
XXX		We're 30 / Time to get dirty / LET US gently caress			Oxxidation
XXXI		Russian Nesting Dolls						Some Strange Flea
XXXII		Playing Angry Birds on a Derailing Train			Fanky Malloons (III)
XXXIII		The Ides of Marx						Nubile Hillock
XXXIV		No dragonshirts at the club					systran
XXXV		Pictures and Books						Sitting Here (V)
XXXVI   	Polishing Turds							Dr. Kloctopussy
XXXVII  	Professional Excellence						systran (II)
XXXVIII 	Mandatory Thunderbrawls						Nikaer Drekin, Nubile Hillock (II), and Fumblemouse
XXXIX   	Lurid & Astounding Tales of Pulp Submissions			Kaishai (II)
XL		Poor Richard's Thundervision					Bad Seafood
XLI		Get Everybody and Stuff Together				Noah
XLII		Been Called Worse by Better					crabrock
XLIII		He's Dead, Horatio						Oxxidation (II)
XLIV		Old Testament Studies with Chairchucker				sebmojo (VII)
XLV		That Prisoners Call the Sky					Fumblemouse (II)
XLVI		A Child's Garden of WTF						Kaishai (III)    
XLVII		The Rule of Three						Sitting Here (VI)
XLVIII		Sitting Here is a Lazy Stoner					V for Vegas (II)
XLIX		You Have Chosen...Poorly 					Kaishai (IV)
L		Fifty Shades of Thunderdome					Anathema Device
LI		We Told You So							Umbilical Lotus
LII		Cyberblaxploitation Anniversary					Fumblemouse (III)
LIII		The Horrors of History						Noah (II)
LIV		Petty Politics							The Saddest Rhino (II)
LV		School of a Certain Trade					Sitting Here (VII)
LVI		Keyhole Views							Didja Redo
LVII		No Characters Allowed						Zack_Gochuck
LVIII		Seeing vs Seen							systran (III)
LIX		Write Where You Live						Kaishai (V)
LX		The Case of the Regrettable Entries				Erogenous Beef
LXI		Twisted Traditions						crabrock (II)
LXII		Thunderdome Against Humanity					Fumblemouse (IV)
LXIII		Who finds short shorts unbearably depressing?			Sitting Here (VIII)
LXIV		Dead or Alive							Echo Cian (II)
LXV		Songs We Were Singing						Kaishai (VI)
LXVI		Know When to Fold 'Em						Quidnose
LXVII		Lions and Tigers and Bears					Erogenous Beef (II)
LXVIII		Once Upon A Crime						Fumblemouse (V)
LXIX		Good, Giving and Game						Jeza (II)
LXX		"And what did you see, my darling young one?"			God Over Djinn
LXXI		A way with words						foutre
LXXII		big as poo poo							crabrock (III)
LXXIII		My God It's Full of Starfish					Roguelike
LXXIV		Y Tu Thunderdome!?						sentientcarbon
LXXV		He's Not Quite Dead						Peel (II)
LXXVI		The Mystery of the Finite					God Over Djinn (II)
LXXVII		Well gee, that's certainly something				Tyrannosaurus
LXXVIII		Past Glories							Kaishai (VII)
LXXIX		Periodic Stories of the Elements				God Over Djinn (III)
LXXX		"Why don't you ask your huge cock?"				Erogenous Beef (III)
LXXXI		Chairchucker's LEGO prompt about LEGO for people who like LEGO	systran (IV)
LXXXII		Captain Thunderdome						Oxxidation (III)
LXXXIII		Comma, Noun, Verb						Kaishai (VIII)
LXXXIV		Who You Gonna Call?						Bad Seafood (II)
LXXXV		Ground Control to Major Tom					WeLandedOnTheMoon!
LXXXVI		Have You Seen My Trophy?					HopperUK
LXXXVII		Touched by a Thunderdome					Fumblemouse (VI)
LXXXVIII	The Wise Fool							Nethilia
LXXXIX		We Don't Need No Water, Let The drat Roof Burn			curlingiron
XC		Down With the Sickness						theblunderbuss
XCI		OUR FINEST HOUR							Tyrannosaurus (II)
XCII		The Great White Elephant Gift Exchange!				Meeple
XCIII		The wind is rising, so we must try to live			Meinberg
XCIV		TRULY ALIEN							Sitting Here (IX)
XCV		Inhuman Centipede						Tyrannosaurus (III)
XCVI		Free to a good home!						docbeard
XCVII		Neither Tarnished Nor Afraid					Kaishai (IX)
XCVIII		Music of the Night						Anomalous Blowout
XCIX		COME TO YOUR SENSES!						crabrock (IV)
C		The Black Attache Case						Various
CI		WAR								Tyrannosaurus (V)
CII		B-I-N-G-O							Echo Cian (III)
CIII		Pacifist Run							Entenzahn
CV		Book One							SurreptitiousMuffin (II)
CVI		VH1 presents: Behind the Goon[sic]				Tyrannosaurus (VI)
CVIII		The Dewey Decimal System					Grizzled Patriarch
CIX		Attack of the Clones						sebmojo (VIII)
CX		cleaning up the streets						Fanky Malloons (IV)
CXI		FOLK ALL Y'ALL							Entenzahn (II)
CXII		Attack of the Graphophobes					SurreptitiousMuffin (III)
CXIV		Missed Catnections						Kaishai (XI)
CXV		The Eleventh Hour						Sitting Here (X)
CXVI		Today in Technicolor						crabrock (VI)
CXVII		Tired of your poo poo						Kaishai (XII)
CXVIII		If on a Winter's Night a Fire					Chairchucker
CXIX		Oh!  Calamity!							Tyrannosaurus (VII)
CXX		You Can't Jump a Fence Without Knowing Where the Sun Sets	Sitting Here (XI)
CXXI		Pet Words							Jonked
CXXII		Bar-back							Grizzled Patriarch (II)
CXXIII		C'est Nes Pas une Nouvelle					Tyrannosaurus (VIII)
CXXIV		god have mercy							Grizzled Patriarch (III)
CXXV		Thunderdome is Coming to Town					Kaishai (XIII)
CXXVI		Auld Lang Syne							Anomalous Blowout (II)
CXXIX		Those We Loved							Nethilia (II)
CXXX		Twice Told Tales of Magic and Sparkles				Echo Cian (IV)
CXXXI		At the Crossroads						Entenzahn (III)
CXXXII		economy of prompt						Fumblemouse (VIII)
CXXXIII		The Gods of Thunderdome						Ironic Twist
CXXXIV		Run Domer Run							crabrock (VIII)
CXXXVI		Famous Last Words						newtestleper
CXXXVII		A Picture is Worth rand( ) % 1500 words				Grizzled Patriarch (V)
CXXXVIII	Aaahh!!! Real Monsters						Broenheim
CXXXIX		Well gently caress Me Then						God Over Djinn (V)
CXL		Who do you think you are?					Grizzled Patriarch (VI)
CXLI		"Three May Keep a Secret, If Two of Them Are Dead"		Sitting Here (XII)
CXLII		BUT MOM, A WIZARD DID IT					Dr. Kloctopussy (II)
CXLIII		Smells Like Dome Spirit						Kaishai (XIV)
CXLIV		Doming Lasha Tumbai						crabrock (IX)
CXLV		"You gonna finish that?"					Djeser and Sitting Here (XIII)
CXLVI		The Ones You Hate to Love					Tyrannosaurus (IX)
CXLVII		The Tragedy of Shakespeare Descending				Thranguy
CXLVIII		Gambling Degenerates						docbeard (III)
CXLIX		Thrilling Adventure!						theblunderbuss (II)
CL		Everything Old is New Again					Ironic Twist (II)
CLI		Rewriting the Books						Sitting Here (XIV)
CLII		Rhymes with Red, White, and Blue				Bad Seafood (III)
CLIII		Gather Your Party						curlingiron (II)
CLIV		Naturally Unnatural						docbeard (IV)
CLV		IT'S TOO drat HOT						Tyrannosaurus (X)
CLVI		LET'S GET hosed UP ON LOVE					WeLandedOnTheMoon! (II)
CLVIII		...LIKE NO ONE EVER WAS						sebmojo (IX)
CLIX		SINNERS ORGY							Tyrannosaurus (XI)
CLX		Spin the wheel!							Thranguy (II)
CLXI		Negative Exponents						sebmojo (X)
CLXII		The best of the worst and the worst of the best			Dr. Kloctopussy (III)
CLXIV		I Shouldn't Have Eaten That Souvlaki				Kaishai (XV)
CLXV		Back to School							Dr. Kloctopussy (IV)
CLXVI		Comings and Goings						Ironic Twist (III)
CLXVII		Black Sunshine							Morning Bell (II)
CLXVIII		She Stole My Wallet and My Heart				Kaishai (XVI)
CLXIX		Thunderdome o' Bedlam						crabrock (X)
CLXX		Cities & Kaiju							WeLandedOnTheMoon! (III)
CLXXI		The Honorable THUNDERDOME CLXXI					crabrock (XI)
CLXXII		Thunderdome Startup						Kaishai (XVII)
CLXXIII		Pilgrim's Progress						Fumblemouse (IX)
CLXXIV		Ladles and Jellyspoons						Sitting Here (XV)
CLXXV		Speels of Magic							Benny Profane
CLXXVI		Florida Man and/or Woman					Grizzled Patriarch (VII)
CLXXVII		Sparkly Mermen 2: Electric Merman Boogaloo			Entenzahn (IV)
CLXXVIII	I’m not mad, just disappointed					Grizzled Patriarch (VIII)

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 04:28 on Jan 3, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Past Weeks of Thunderdome, 2016-2017
Week		Title								Winner		
CLXXIX		Strange Logs							Ironic Twist (IV)
CLXXX		Maybe I'm a Maze						God Over Djinn (VI)
CLXXXI		We like bloodsports and we don't care who knows!		Ironic Twist (V)
CLXXXII		Domegrassi							Boaz-Jachim
CLXXXIII	Sorry Dad, I Was Late To The Riots				Thranguy (III)
CLXXXIV		The 2015teen Great White Elephant Prompt Exchange		Ironic Twist (VI)
CLXXXV		Music of the Night, Vol. II					crabrock (XII)
CLXXXVI		Giving away prizes for doing f'd-up things			Titus82
CLXXXVII	Lost In Translation						Ironic Twist (VII)
CLXXXVIII	Insomniac Olympics						anime was right
CLXXXIX		knight time							Grizzled Patriarch (IX)
CXC		Three-Course Tale						crabrock (XIII)
CXCI		We Talk Good							sparksbloom
CXCII		Really Entertaining Minific					Sitting Here (XVI)
CXCIII		the worst week							Kaishai (XVIII)
CXCIV		Only Mr. God Knows Why						Daphnaie
CXCV		Inverse World							Ironic Twist (VIII)
CXCVI		Molten Copper vs. Thunderdome					Thranguy (IV)
CXCVII		Stories of Powerful Ambition and Poor Impulse Control		Tyrannosaurus (XII)
CXCVIII		Buddy Stuff							dmboogie
CXCIX		EVERYBODY KNOWS poo poo'S hosed					Grizzled Patriarch (X)
CC		Taters Gonna Tate Fuckers					Noah (III) and Kaishai (XIX)
CCI		Old Russian Joke						Benny Profane (II)
CCII		THUNDER-O-S!							spectres of autism
CCIV		Hate Week							SurreptitiousMuffin (IV)
CCV		the book of forbidden names					Djeser (II)
CCVI		WHIZZ! Bang! POW! Thunderdome!					The Cut of Your Jib
CCVII		Bottle Your Rage						SurreptitiousMuffin (V)
CCVIII		Upper-Class Tweet of the Year					Sitting Here (XVII)
CCX		Crit Ketchup Week						Ironic Twist (IX)
CCXI		Next-Best Friend Week						Tyrannosaurus (XIV)
CCXII		Vice News							Thranguy (V)
CCXIII		Punked Out							The Saddest Rhino (III)
CCXV		El sueño de la razón produce el Thunderdome			Oxxidation (IV)
CCXVI		Historical Redemption (or: Sin, Lizzie)				SurreptitiousMuffin (VI)
CCXVIII		Duel Nature							SurreptitiousMuffin (VII)
CCXIX		coz wer goffik							Sitting Here (XVIII)
CCXX		Enter the Voidmart						newtestleper (II)
CCXXI		The Escape of the Bad Words.					flerp (II)
CCXXII		Deliver Us From Bad Prompting					sparksbloom (II)
CCXXIII		Dear Thunderdome						Boaz-Jachim (II)
CCXXIV		I Wanna Dome You Like An Animal					Sailor Viy
CCXXV		Pick A Century							Okua
CCXXVI		Viking Wisdom							Hawklad
CCXXVII		It was a Dark and Stormy Night....				steeltoedsneakers
CCXXVIII	Unqualified							Erogenous Beef (IV)
CCXXIX		The War, on Christmas						sebmojo (XI)
CCXXX		Slaying the Cursed Yearking					QuoProQuid
CCXXXI		No Grown-ups!							Sitting Here (XIX)
CCXXXII		I want to crit your blood					Jitzu_the_Monk (II)
CCXXXIV		Binging on Bad Words						Tyrannosaurus (XV)
CCXXXVI		Three-Card Combo						Uranium Phoenix
CCXXXVII	A Way for the Cosmos To Know Itself				Thranguy (VII)
CCXXXVIII	Lie to Me							BeefSupreme
CCXXXIX		Stop trying to crit me and crit me!				The Cut of Your Jib (III)
CCXL		These Bits Don't Ad Up						Hawklad (II)
CCXLI		From Zero to Hero						Uranium Phoenix (II)
CCXLII		Resonance of Words						Kaishai (XX)
CCXLIII		We Are the Heroes of Our Time					Chili
CCXLIV		Unspecified Word Disorder					Sitting Here (XX)
CCXLV		it's all about me, fuckers					Djeser (III)
CCXLVI		You Need Satan More Than He Needs You				Thranguy (VIII)
CCXLVII		Crimes Against Literature					Uranium Phoenix (III)
CCXLVIII	A Vision of the Future						Thranguy (IX)
CCXLIX		Thunderdomers Assemble!						Solitair
CCL		Everything Means Nothing Anymore				ThirdEmperor
CCLI		We're Grammarpunk Now						Obliterati (II)
CCLII		Your Cardboard Protagonist Was Here				Sitting Here (XXI)
CCLIII		The road to lovely fiction is paved with good intentions	flerp (III)
CCLIV		dog week							sebmojo (XII)
CCLVI		Myths of the Near Stone Age					Sitting Here (XXII)
CCLVII		No failures week.						Dr. Kloctopussy (V)
CCLIX		One, Two, Three							Bad Seafood (IV)
CCLX		Empty Spaces							Fleta Mcgurn
CCLXI		You Are Cordially Invited to the Dome of a Thousand Doors	Hawklad (III)
CCLXII		Build Your Own Prompt						Tyrannosaurus (XVI)
CCLXIII		dragons are for rich white kids					ThirdEmperor (II)
CCLXIV		Dystopia With A View						Tyrannosaurus (XVII)
CCLXV		KEITH APE							Benny Profane (III)
CCLXVI		J. Walter Weatherman and Friends				Hawklad (IV)
CCLXVII		The Horror....the horror					SurreptitiousMuffin (VIII)
CCLXX		La Belle Époque							Obliterati (III)
CCLXXI		Reality Doesn't Care What You Think				sebmojo (XIII)
CCLXXII		Lost in the funhouse						sparksbloom (III)
CCLXXIII	A Wicked Pack of Cards						Ironic Twist (X)
CCLXXIV		I Scream, You Scream						Thranguy (XI)
CCLXXV		Bring on the Lovers, Liars and Clowns				QuoProQuid (II)
CCLXXVI		Little Man History						crabrock (XIV)
CCLXXVII	Rewrite Mashup							Fumblemouse (X)
CCLXXVIII	Get Your (Self-Improving) Freak On				Thranguy (XII)
CCLXXIX		How to Write a Story						Entenzahn (IV)
CCLXXX		Let’s Play Thunderdome: Entenzahn’s Bad Idea			Kaishai (XXI)
CCLXXXI		We Wish You a Merman Christmas!					Antivehicular
CCLXXXII	A Lyttony of Sorrows						Tyrannosaurus (XIII)

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 05:22 on Jan 3, 2018

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Thunderbrawls of 2017
Thunderbrawl 212 by sebmojo:  Entenzahn vs. The Saddest Rhino
Round 1			Entenzahn

Thunderbrawl 213 by Sitting Here:  BeefSupreme vs. SurreptitiousMuffin vs. Chili
Round 1			BeefSupreme

Thunderbrawl 214 by Chili:  sebmojo vs. BeefSupreme
Round 1			sebmojo

Thunderbrawl 215 by flerp:  GenJoe vs. The Cut of Your Jib
Round 1			The Cut of Your Jib

Thunderbrawl 216 by BeefSupreme:  SkaAndScreenplays vs. Sitting Here
Round 1			Sitting Here (by default)

Thunderbrawl 217 by Sitting Here:  Chili vs. ThirdEmperor
Round 1			Chili

Thunderbrawl 218 by sebmojo:  Chili vs. Sitting Here
Round 1			Sitting Here

Thunderbrawl 219 by flerp:  Thranguy vs. Toadsmash
Round 1			Thranguy (by default)

Thunderbrawl 220 by flerp:  sebmojo vs. Jitzu_the_Monk
Round 1			Jitzu_the_Monk

Thunderbrawl 221 by flerp:  SurreptitiousMuffin vs. Chili
Round 1			SurreptitiousMuffin

Thunderbrawl 222 by flerp:  Fleta Mcgurn vs. Bad Seafood
Round 1			Bad Seafood

Thunderbrawl 223 by flerp:  Tyrannosaurus vs. BeefSupreme
Round 1			Tyrannosaurus

Thunderbrawl 224 by flerp:  Djeser vs. Aesclepia
Round 1			Djeser

Thunderbrawl 225 by flerp:  Sitting Here vs. Uranium Phoenix
Round 1			Sitting Here

Thunderbrawl 226 by flerp:  Solitair vs. crabrock
Round 1			crabrock

Thunderbrawl 227 by flerp:  crabrock vs. Jitzu_the_Monk
Round 1			crabrock

Thunderbrawl 228 by flerp:  Bad Seafood vs. Sitting Here
Round 1			Sitting Here (by default)

Thunderbrawl 229 by flerp:  Tyrannosaurus vs. Thranguy
Round 1			Tyrannosaurus

Thunderbrawl 230 by flerp:  SurreptitiousMuffin vs. Djeser
Round 1			SurreptitiousMuffin

Thunderbrawl 231 by flerp:  crabrock vs. Tyrannosaurus
Round 1			crabrock

Thunderbrawl 232 by flerp:  SurreptitiousMuffin vs. Sitting Here
Round 1			SurreptitiousMuffin

Thunderbrawl 233 by flerp:  crabrock vs. SurreptitiousMuffin
Round 1			SurreptitiousMuffin

Thunderbrawl 234 by sebmojo:  Sitting Here vs. derp
Round 1			Sitting Here

Thunderbrawl 235 by Djeser:  Yoruichi vs. Sham bam bamina!
Round 1			Sham bam bamina!

Thunderbrawl 236 by sebmojo:  Chili vs. Djeser
Round 1			Djeser

Thunderbrawl 237 by Tyrannosaurus:  spectres of autism vs. sparksbloom
Round 1			spectres of autism

Thunderbrawl 238 by flerp:  sebmojo vs. Deltasquid
Round 1			sebmojo

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 10:38 on Dec 24, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
The Thunderdome Recaps

Since 2015teen, various Thunderdome participants have turned their time, their voices, their questionable intelligence, and their ever-dubious charisma toward the task of discussing rounds recently past. These are the links to follow if you want to hear goons talk about you, assuming your writing is crappy enough to distinguish itself in the fecal pile.

You may also hear Ironic Twist singing like Justin Timberlake. Don't say you weren't warned.

The recaps have a new index thanks to crabrock's efforts! However, it doesn't yet include The Top Ten poo poo Scenes of Thunderdome, which you may or may not want to miss depending on your tastes.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 22:59 on Dec 27, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
:siren: Thunderdome Recaps! :siren:

Despite a cameo appearance by a posse of shirtless dudes, I guarantee this review of Week 226: Viking Wisdom is less oversexed than the majority of Skyrim mods. Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and I discuss the responsibilities of judging before we brave the crests and the troughs of the prose seas. Our chances for glory come when we read a story almost as crazy with drugs as "Dust Dust Dust All Night": Sailor Viy's "The Guest at the Feast."

“I want drugs,” I said. “I want drugs and then I want to dance and then I want sex, sex, sex.”

In TD in this fateful hour, I call on the prompt in its power: the sun with its brightness, the snow with its whiteness, the fire with all the strength it hath, the lightning with its rapid wrath, the winds with their swiftness along their path--this is a convoluted way of inviting you along on a meteorological survey, otherwise known as the recap of Week 227: It was a Dark and Stormy Night.... Never before have we spent so much time on the subject of incest twins. N. Senada's "Osmond Diaz, King of Kings" gets a dramatic reading, and I can't help but wish it had been a reinterpretation of The Cenci instead of "Ozymandias" so we could have kept it all in the family.

Supreme Lord Osmond Diaz stood on his northern balcony admiring the scorched earth that he had conquered.

Episodes past can be found here!

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 13:39 on Sep 8, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Keys to the Kingdom
(1,172 words)

Usually when the kids of the apartment complex climbed the oak on the edge of the playground, Dinah sat on a branch higher than Eddie's, lower than Trevor's, and far enough out from the trunk that Leslie mostly ignored her. Leslie perched on the highest limb any of them had ever reached, and that was what made her the Queen of Brookside Path. But one afternoon Dinah wanted to climb while the others were looking for worms in crabapples, so she did; and she hauled herself up above her usual spot, to the fork Aaron usually occupied and beyond. She kept going until the next branch she grabbed bobbled under her touch. At that point, staying where she was seemed smartest.

How pretty it was! So much green shivering around her, and the ground--she could barely see it with so many leaves in the way. The flash of red down there was no leaf, though. Aaron had on his Chicago Bulls shirt again, and the bull's head danced as he waved his arms. "Dinah's the queen!" he shouted. "Dinah's the queen!"

He and Eddie swarmed up to their usual places, and the rustling almost drowned out Leslie's sharp, "She is not!"

Trevor stayed below and seized a low, thin twig just above his head, bending it down to his mouth. "You're listening to W-OAK FM! An important bulletin! Queen Leslie has been replaced by Queen Dinah, just now, and this is the place to hear about any future royal edicts. Queen Dinah, what can you tell us?" He aimed the twig so it pointed vaguely toward her.

Leslie slapped it out of his hand and lunged for the tree. She made it to her old throne with record speed. But she hesitated there, looking up at Dinah, her freckles awfully dark on her red face.

"Do I get to make edicts?" Dinah asked. She'd moved into the complex just two months before, and she still felt like a foreigner in their country.

"Leslie did," Eddie said. "So now you do."

Leslie said, "We don't have to obey them."

Aaron asked, "Since when?"

Trevor abandoned his radio station to join them in the boughs. "How about if they're dumb, we don't have to obey them," he said. "No more making us pretend to be horses. Horses in a tree is just stupid."

"The whole thing's kind of stupid," Leslie said.

Dinah kicked a foot. Her branch shuddered. "I'd rather be birds," she said, but Aaron's heavy sigh changed her mind. "My first edict is, I name all of you Prime Ministers and advisers to the throne. What do you want to do?"

"Fight aliens!" Eddie said.

"Then we'll save Brookside Path from UFOs!" Dinah declared. She scrambled down with the boys, though she'd always sat out of Space Aliens before. Pretending the trash cans were from Uranus would almost have to be more fun than staying in the tree with a sulking, glaring Leslie. And it was fun, despite Trevor's many butt jokes: Dinah turned her ponytail into a ray gun and saved Eddie's life twice before Aaron's mother, their babysitter of the day, stood up from the picnic table and herded them all home.

The royal court got together again after school on Tuesday. Trevor tapped Dinah's arm as they followed Eddie's big brother to the playground. "Do you still sleep in your mom's bed?" he asked. "Do you pick your nose and eat it?"

"Yuck! No! And no!"

"Leslie wants me to broadcast that on W-OAK," Trevor said. "Maybe the world would rather know she peed herself in gym class once and there was this gross puddle on the floor."

"She did?"

Trevor grinned and drawled out, "Maaaaaybe!"

Dinah shook her head. "That's too mean. I edict you don't do that, if that's okay."

He rolled his eyes so hard she thought he might tell the fake stories about her after all, but he didn't; he didn't have a chance, with Leslie badgering them all into Tag, Hide and Seek, and other games that kept them away from the tree. Whenever Leslie was It, she'd chase Dinah only. At first it made the boys laugh, but after a few rounds they stopped tagging Leslie ever.

The next time they met up, Leslie pulled out her dad's phone and talked Eddie into taking pictures of her and Aaron and Trevor in silly poses. He snapped one of Dinah, but Leslie took the phone back and deleted it.

The time after that, Aaron wanted to climb the tree again.

"Well, I want to play Tag!" Leslie said.

"I don't," Dinah said, "so I'll climb with Aaron." She started for the oak.

But Leslie ran and got to it first, moving like a squirrel to her former throne and then whistling for attention. "You watch," she yelled down, and she jumped for the next branch up and swung herself onto it. It bowed, but it didn't break.

"Dinah made it higher!" Trevor yelled.

"Screw Dinah!" Leslie shouted loudly enough for people in their homes to hear, and she tried for a higher limb.

Her feet slid. She slid, straight down, landing on her butt in front of the trunk with the most astonished face Dinah had ever seen. Her yelp brought her mother running from the table, and Dinah and the others scattered out of the way so Leslie's mom could kneel and ask, "Baby, baby, are you hurt? Honey?" She turned Leslie around and pulled the back of her shirt up. The welt across Leslie's spine was already turning black. "What were you doing up there!"

"I had to be queen again." Leslie looked up at Dinah. "I am now, right? That branch was higher than yours, right?"

It meant so much to her--but Leslie's expression was wrong. She was smiling, just a little, and it wasn't pain that made her eyes so narrow. Dinah stuffed her hands in her pockets and stayed silent, even when Leslie's mom glared at her so hard that her face turned hot.

"Brats, all of you," Leslie's mom said, and she guided Leslie away from the playground without looking back.

"No way was it higher," Eddie said.

Trevor said, "As if it matters. Nobody's going to let us climb the tree anymore when Leslie's mom gets done."

Dinah turned to the oak. Leslie's fall had snapped a few twigs, but the branches were intact. She climbed easily to her old seat, more carefully to the new, hugging the trunk when the breeze rose. The branch Leslie had grabbed for and missed was maybe a foot below her. She looked down at the boys, still on the ground, watching.

Dinah called, "We don't have to tell her."

Aaron snorted with laughter. Trevor flashed a thumbs-up. The three of them joined her in the tree to joke and whistle and pretend things for the little while that it was still theirs--theirs, all citizens as they were of the land of Brookside Path.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
:siren: Thunderdome Recaps! :siren:

The usual suspects return from holiday hiatus to dish about Week 228: Unqualified; Week 229: The War, on Christmas; and Week 230: Slaying the Cursed Yearking in a festive triple feature full of chemicals, cocaine, and Dickfuckery. Stop trying to run that cell phone through your garbage disposal and listen to Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and I speculate on Satan's weapon of choice before we read The Unholy Ghost's "System Memory" and Krunge's "Bugging Out" in full.

“Get your gay sex cat off me, Schmitt!”

Wait! We're not done! We sit down at the kids' table with the entrants of Week 231: No Grown-ups! and come away with cooties. Ewww! We may more likely come away on an NSA watchlist after some of Djeser's jokes, but never mind. This time we look over the positive mentions as well as the negative, and Jay W. Friks' "Agua Mala, Agua Pura" gets the dramatic reading treatment.

For now, she was only asking for water, crying to her kidnappers and slowly nodding during his long expositions.

Episodes past can be found here!

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 21:46 on Mar 19, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Critiques for Week CCXXIX: I'm Dreaming of a Fallout 4 Christmas

The Christmas deadline provides an excuse for me to assume every non-story, every nonsensical or nonexistent ending, every failure to look over your work before throwing it up all over the dinner table, all happened because you put spending time with your loved ones ahead of an Internet writing competition. Don't disillusion me, please. I want to believe! Allow me this last seasonal miracle! Otherwise I'll have to think you guys served up such a tepid pool of meh because you couldn't do any better, and do any of us want that?

Meh or no, thanks for spending some of the most wonderful time of the year writing words for other people. Now let's see who gave us the ugliest reindeer sweaters.

Boaz-Jachim, "Flight"

I don't see a holiday. The literal war is vague, a suggestion only, and the "war" between hunter and hunted is the sort of metaphor Erogenous Beef warned entrants against. He didn't directly warn you not to write a plotless action sequence, but should he have had to? This didn't make anyone's high tier despite the imagery--strong, if not varied--or prose, which is very sound other than the "like frozen skin under a hot faucet" simile. (His blood is like the hot tap water, not like the skin.) It's a good action sequence, well written, but it's no story; it doesn't even sketch the outline of a larger story.

One more odd bit: you telegraph your climactic moment (such as it is) with "I could jump to the ground. I could break a bone and lie there useless until he comes to take his kill." Why? The finale is weakened by repeating an earlier--and not much earlier!--visual.

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The Unholy Ghost, "System Memory"

Hopping from perspective to perspective the way you do here usually isn't a good idea. There's a lot to be said for having one character through whose eyes one sees, at least in a flash-length piece. It's interesting that although I generally dislike both the head-hopping technique and letting over a third of a story go by without anything happening at all, your flock of characters holds my attention even while they continue to stand motionlessly in a grocery line. That's a heck of an accomplishment, so congratulations!

You lose me when the exposition about Gift Giving begins. For one, it's a fairly tired and credulity-straining idea. Holidays are all about gifts! Except they aren't. For two, the information isn't incorporated into the story with particular grace. For three, it doesn't fit, though the reader won't know how much it doesn't fit until he reaches the end and realizes the story isn't about Gift Giving at all.

About that end. It's not good. Despite the exposition, despite the bizarreness of a terrorist cutting a man's head off with liquid, that attack is still at least a little intriguing and the twist--that he sabotages himself for the sake of his message--puts me back on board. What's he trying to do? What does he think will happen? What will happen next? Who knows! Instead of following that thread, you jump to a revelation that Frank is training to be an Agent, whatever that is, and trying to interpret Forward Tension, whatever that is, and everything I've read is one short step above being just a dream. Do I care about Frank and his career potential? No! This is where the shifting perspective shoots your story in the head. Frank is only one character among several. I would like to know what happened at the grocery store, what happened to the terrorist, even what happens to Gift Giving, but instead of any of that you give me the twist that Frank is some sort of would-be super cop going through simulations. Oy.

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Mrenda, "Christmas to Forget"

You likely want to intrigue with these dropped hints and vague allusions to your world that coyly decline to show the reader its full face. To your credit, I do wonder why the world is ending, and I gather that Alison and the unnamed "he"--the choice not to name him is insupportable--are involved with one another in a way the girl who must be his daughter wouldn't understand. So far, so reasonably interesting, if not a little vague.

But then Alison and Nameless launch into reminiscences, naming random characters and awkwardly reminding each other of their stories for the reader's sake. You're trying to avoid infodumping and to make the exposition natural, I think, but the shaky effort fails right around the line "He rose up like the times he testified before the courts: like when he’d dragged her to protests to face off against the Blackshirts." That dropped nugget of backstory clunks like a fallen muffler against the road. At this point I have minimal reason to give a flip about Alison or Nameless; I have no reason at all to care about the unseen Flubs. The increasingly clumsy exposition is not made more palatable by this.

In the end, I piece together that Alison and Nameless were childhood friends who grew up to rebel together against a government that exterminated what I'm guessing, stress on guessing, is an alien race. Another eleventh-hour sci-fi revelation, huzzah. Now they're together at the end of the world and spending their last moments telling each other things they should already know. Most of the story is dialogue, and dialogue is probably the worst way to deliver this much backstory or to build an SF world. Nothing that Alison or Nameless says makes the world come alive, compels me to feel the tragedy of their situation, anything. They're talking heads telling a story in scraps. Good lord, he never does get a name! Why on Earth not?

The first section is salvageable with only a few changes, naming the man primary among them, but I'm skeptical you could do much with the rest short of rewriting it completely. I'd prefer to see these events shown rather than told, but it's possible to pull off what you're trying to do. Difficult, but possible. Keep what these characters would never need to say to each other at the forefront of your mind and avoid having them say it anyway for the reader's sake. It's very obvious what you're up to in sentences like "We could have left, before college, before they began campaigning against our neighbour systems." You need to be able to sketch a reasonably complete and compelling picture through organic human conversation in order to succeed at telling a story through dialogue alone.

P.S. Saying this is centered on a holiday would be a holly-garlanded lie. Christmas is mentioned, but the story would be exactly the same if it weren't.

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Thranguy, "A Snowball's Chance"

You aren't kidding about snow around Christmas up there. If anything I laughed a little at "almost a foot" being remarkable, but the heavy snows do usually come after the new year. Anyway! A lighthearted story was welcome at this point in my reading, and the engagements of your snow soldiers are charming. The fantasy of the neighborhood mothers as wartime nurses especially makes me smile. The tone, though, is somewhat... fusty, for lack of a better word. It sounds old. I want more life in it, so I can imagine this kid as a kid or even as an active participant in battles rather than as an elderly veteran reminiscing about the Snow War of 2016. The voice puts the fighting at a remove.

Maybe the voice is also to blame for how the ending runs out of steam, then stumbles, and leaves an aftertaste like sawdust. The rock in the snowball takes the fun and the charm out of the premise; the final paragraph answers a question I didn't know I should have. It turns the wheel sharply toward grim. I wish it didn't. If I had to wager on whether you knew how the story would end when you started writing it, I would put my money against. It reads like a semi-desperate grab for a working conclusion.

I could have voted for an HM anyway if you'd included a holiday as more than an offhand mention, on the basis of a cute approach to war and pleasant prose. Fine-tune that ending and give the narrator's perspective a touch more in-the-moment excitement and you'll have something here.

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GenJoe, "Eris"

Some sentences deserve to be an entire paragraph for dramatic emphasis. Your first sentence could not deserve that treatment less. It's flat, uninteresting, and mundane, and I probably wouldn't notice that as much if it weren't presented as though it were deeply significant, though I would notice it fails to name the protagonist even if I were blind. There's no reason not to name him, so do that immediately instead of a couple of lines later. The entry has a lot of short sentences set apart; that technique could suit a tense story, in theory, but you're applying it with such wild abandon that all you're doing is making the prose choppy and drawing attention to its faults.

Of the three people who have tried the trick of keeping information from the reader early on, you've done the best job. I think it helps that you're building suspense not just about what has happened, but about what will happen, as clearly fecal matter is about to hit a rotary device. This catches my interest and keeps me moving through the story without too much pause.

The first section and the third--the ones with the most tension--approach good, but the second sends my eyebrows up. If a disruption of satellites would wreak that much havoc on computers across the country, if a millisecond here or there would Wreck Everything within four hours, then we really ought to reduce our reliance on those things. I don't quite buy that the problem would be so severe. Does the story need that chunk of exposition? Someone took out the satellites; bombs/missiles fall--and it has nothing obvious to do with time. Why introduce the issue?

Possibly the answer is "Because this is just a piece of a larger story I'm working on." I'm lost for how else to explain the ending, which stops dead in its tracks after resolving frig all. I'd almost swear you've written a teaser for your novel or something. Don't do that. Any piece you submit to TD (or anywhere, ideally) should stand alone on its own merit, be a complete piece in and of itself, and not drop its characters and plot off a cliff.

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Benny Profane, "A Saturnalian Carol"

So is Cato talking to Scipio Africanus? Scipio Aemilianus? Not that it matters much within the text, but I find myself curious now that I've turned to outside sources for help with your historical references. I'm familiar with the legend of the senator who appended every speech with Carthago delenda est, fortunately enough since it means I understand the phrase. You're banking on the reader either recognizing it or working out the gist from context--plausible, but if he didn't guess the exact meaning he'd miss the implacable weight of the verb. Go with Carthage must be destroyed. Anyone who would recognize the historical reference in the Latin will recognize it in the translation too. I'd forgotten about Cato's abhorrence of luxury, but you explain that well.

It's almost beside the point to criticize anything about the first section, though. It could be perfection and the second section would still be a ruinous clusterfuck. What happens? It seems that Cato wakes into a dream of decadence, in which he's crowned with paper and nudged into giving a gift to... himself? He's put on Saturn's throne. Wiki tells me Saturnalia involved role-reversals; the revelers reverse Cato's role by pushing luxuries on him, I suppose, but Cato barely reacts. Perhaps the knife symbolizes death for Carthage? I don't know. I'm irritated enough with the lack of clarity that I don't much care. No explanation I can come up with makes this less half baked. It's pretty writing that relies too much on knowledge and/or research and doesn't reward the effort of the latter.

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Lead out in cuffs, "The Necessary"

Don't format your work like this. Blank lines should separate every paragraph. Yes, even dialogue. Why do so many TD entrants think otherwise? Is there somewhere where cramming your spoken lines together is standard?

Like a few other people, you pay lip service to a holiday without centering the story on it as the prompt asked. The war is handled in a much better way. I thought as I went back to read this that it could be the same story if it were set in peacetime, but really, it wouldn't, as it's the absolute desperation and devastation of Mary's circumstances that renders her second act "necessary."

Maintaining a steady course and a consistent tone, not to mention wrapping things up with an actual conclusion, puts your story on a higher plane than most of the rest. But is it good? Eh, I'd rank it on the better side of so-so. John is a one-dimensional sleaze and Annie a one-dimensional saint--assuming you ignore that she's as culpable for the pregnancy she can't afford as John is, as the story sure does. It's the line about paying Mary out the week that pushes him over into cartoon territory for me. What, no (false) offer of another job later or of a simple wad of cash? How dumb is he to ask for help with moving his wealth and fire her in the same breath? He doesn't have to be so predictably scuzzy; there would be more punch in Mary murdering a distinctive and human villain than there is in her murdering a cliche.

The ending's pretty good otherwise. It's all story-shaped, and that's nice to see. Annie's name changing to Millie for a second is less nice, so fix that if you revise.

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Baleful Osmium Sea, "Father, why do people stop fighting in the middle of wars to celebrate?"

Right from the first line I worry you're trying to be cute, and "Jeohavhai" ramps up my concern, but then the tone appears to shift as the god discovers people murdering each other. Oh, good, I think. The similarity to Jehova is coincidence, probably. That bit about frozen fish is unfortunate, but this god is cool. Fish under the ice! That's an intriguing domain. How will he stop the war? You have me hooked--

--And then you jerk the line in the direction of a talking rabbit god that speaks like a character in a British comedy. Nope. Not funny. It's irritating, even, because I'm watching a good set-up go to waste as the rabbit keeps going and Jeohavhai calls himself a dork and the premise withers into something stupid. To be fair, the humor landed for one of the other judges, and he liked the story. This has merit if it amuses, but if the jokes fall flat... not so much, I fear.

It isn't entirely a taste issue. As an explanation for how Jehovah (come on, you know darn well what you're doing) becomes the One God, it's rather lacking, but even ignoring that you have the wacky zany rabbit-god antics happening against a backdrop of mass slaughter. The stakes are too high and the outcome too dire for Bugs Bunny over there to yuk yuk yuk about it. You know how Bugs acknowledges the tragic ending of "What's Opera, Doc"? His aside to the audience lightens the mood, but it doesn't play Fudd's murder of him for laughs. The cartoon would be a sad one if he were really dead, as your gods and people are, and that the final joke doesn't claim otherwise is critical.

You could try revising this piece to either reduce all the death or go all-out with black humor. I doubt I'm the only reader for whom genocide, deicide, and wascally wabbits don't mix.

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Entenzahn, "...Live the People"

Two idiots who believe having a more comfortable life than theirs is a crime worthy of a death sentence murder several innocent people, the short story. Like those of every would-be political assassin in U.S. history, these fellows' means of bringing change are monstrous and apt to destroy their ends. I want Seet and Rocke to fail and die, but they don't--well, Rocke manages the dying part--and they take children out along the way. All for nothing, as it turns out. The point of this is what? It isn't a story. It doesn't say much beyond that assassination is a terrible, damnable business.

It so happens I read the LEGO assassination book recently, and therefore I know the events in this entry bear a resemblance to the attempted assassination of William Seward! Seward was Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State, and John Wilkes Booth plotted to have him and the Vice President both taken out on the same night that he shot Lincoln. Therefore, a co-conspirator named Lewis Powell went to the house where Seward was lying in bed with a concussion, a broken jaw, and a broken arm. You might think those injuries would have given Lewis an advantage, but although Lewis stabbed the bedridden man several times in the face and neck, he didn't manage to kill him. In fact, he killed no one despite cracking the skull of one of Seward's sons; stabbing another son, a Seward daughter, and a soldier on guard in the house; and stabbing a messenger in the back, paralyzing him for life. It's kind of miraculous.

Assassination tales don't have to end as that one does, with the assassin's total failure, but if you're going to end one with "success" then your lead character should probably show more of a reaction than sitting down in a chair. I pick up the implication that going through with the murders has broken his spirit and probably his soul, but since you've built up zero sympathy with him, I ask again: so what?

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katdicks, "Ashes"

A rescue sequence with a Middle Eastern setting bolted onto it. Not much is done with the setting; the part that matters could take place in any modern war zone. The Muslim fluff thus reads to me as though it's there for diversity points. That's not a problem with it being Muslim fluff but with it being Muslim fluff, details that don't really matter because they aren't tied to the heart or climax of the story. Your holiday is part of the fluff and not obviously central to the work, although it's probably no coincidence that a bomb falls on a day meant for peace.

Other than that, you have some of the same problems Entenzahn does. You've written an action scene rather than a story. I do like your protagonist, or at least I don't mind him--there's not much to him other than "good guy"--and the successful rescue of the child gives this a kind of ending. Rescuing a baby is more or less a free pass to sympathy. It's a bit of a cheap tactic, though, one that doesn't show particular finesse. The work as a whole is okay: not great, but not bad, and a good Thunderdome debut.

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Chili, "Memories in Blue"

"Her hands tremble in the cold as he lifts her arm out of her woolen poncho." This line caused me a good minute of confusion as I looked for clues in the surrounding paragraphs about the identity of the mysterious "he." Oops! Now, however, I'm more distracted by the burning question of whether you'd been playing Fallout 4 just before writing your entry, because I've been playing FO4 and Raider Scavvers are fresh in my mind. As are Mama Murphy and her Sight. And the post-apocalyptic radio stations. It could be coincidence, but imagine I'm eyeing you with significant skepticism.

Mama Sue's visions of the past are a cool idea that doesn't interact enough with the rest of the story. They belong in something else that would let them take center stage. I love the DJ concept in the Bethesda Fallout games, so no surprise I like it here, but I don't understand why Mama Sue can only play music once a year; Macy tells us the streets are no safer on Christmas than on any other night, so why then and not at other times? Why hasn't all that radio equipment been stolen or trashed? Why, when the Scavvers--scavvers!--shoot Mama Sue, do they not scavenge anything? You want kill her off tragically so as to pull her heartstrings, I figure, but you're being too obvious about it. The scavvers have no clear motive for doing what they do.

I enjoy this story, though. For its emotional pull (cheap or not) and the sweetness of the memories (irrelevant or not) and the beauty of Christmas music, I rated it second to sebmojo's. I didn't fight for it to HM because the plot holes are too significant to deny. You've nevertheless written something I like, so I hope you consider revision.

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sebmojo, "Goodwill to all men (and ultramen)"

Perfect work? No. Polished work? No. Less reminiscent of Fallout games than Chili's? Maybe a little. Funny? Yes, and evocative of the family holiday atmosphere, with lights and snacks and arguments and that one uncle bellowing over everybody else. It's those family ties that really make this, because as funny as shitweasels are--not to mention punching ultramen in the crotch--the brother/sister, uncle/nephew, quiet in-law/ratskin nibbles dynamics are the source of the warm Christmas feeling so lacking elsewhere. The jokes would be empty if there weren't this heart below them. The Thraggo/Pertinax relationship is weak by comparison, but as something for the family to react to it's a welcome inclusion.

Once I'd read this I knew my win vote would have a good home. You saved Christmas, and in the doing redeemed the Mariah Carey Incident at long last!

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ThirdEmperor, "Fifty Years and a Wake Up"

My understanding is that Johnny is about to ship out to the stars, probably to fight in war though possibly for a peaceful purpose. There's one person in his life who could ease his anxieties. So he goes to visit his grandfather, a veteran of a war that from John's perspective was far away and long ago. Due to relativity, cryogenic sleep, or both, Gramps is biologically three years younger than his grandson; for him, the war isn't distant at all. But the world to which he's returned has moved on. His political allegiances are no longer respectable or relevant. His body has been hideously wrecked. Johnny neither knows nor loves him: he's come to meet his grandfather only out of fear. The advice he receives is blunt and little comfort--but the brief contact with the older/younger man lets the younger/older one rest more easily on his long, cold journey.

This sounds great, so long as you ignore that it's another case of an insignificant holiday. The relationship arc it has in place of a plot is a sound one in theory. Gramps is a strong, even moving portrayal of the veteran as a young man taken from his time and place and returned to a world that isn't quite his, that won't ever be quite his. It could be beautiful, this look at the alienation war can cause between a man and his erstwhile home and family, if it weren't such a vague, confusing, badly formatted, unpleasant mess.

See, it takes a while to realize what you're getting at, and I know at least one reader never did because the oblique approach to what was going on and the bickering between two talking heads wore down his patience. The back-and-forth between Johnny and Gramps is only sort of okay if you go back and read it again with an understanding of the relationship between them, between Gramps and this time, etc.; on the first read it's a slog. And those exchanges are around 85% of the story.

I remember you trying a similarly roundabout approach in Voidmart Week II. This technique of avoiding exposition is one I figure you want to master, which you can't do without practice, so I won't advise you to stop trying to lead readers into a gradual comprehension of your story. It's a drattedly difficult thing to do, but worthwhile enough when it does work. Keep stabbing at it. Someday you'll get there.

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BeefSupreme, "A Christmas Feast":

Okay, I have to agree that if the sausage is taken completely literally as just sausage, Ricky's persistence in chasing it at the peril of his squadmates becomes absurd. I'm at a loss as well for how wrapped sausages turn into shredded paper without any sign of meat remaining. What happened? Seriously, how did those packages get hit in such a way Ricky didn't notice? However! Imagine the sausages as a stand-in for home and family, and Ricky running through gunfire to get them back has considerably more warmth. They're a touch of what he's missing out in France. I'd like to think this is your intention, but I'm really not sure since the shredded packages at the end become kinda dark in that view of things.

So let's say the sausage is just a sausage. In that case, the humor is too weak to sizzle. What Ricky does is near the line between dumb and funny, but it's still on the dumb side. I like what I see of his character, and I like the banter between the squadmates, but his escapade is nearly as light as shredded parchment and nearly as empty too.

This entry is a good show of improvement, though, and it rounds out my top three for being generally pleasant.

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SkaAndScreenplays, "Throw Another Yule Log On The Ceasefire"

Oddly enough, the very thing I most dislike about this is what makes it hard to dislike it more. This story is trying, through a fog of terrible punctuation, to be heartwarming. Walter is such a Tiny Tim of a character that the results of the effort are saccharine, not sweet--the whole "story" is him making soldiers cry with incredibly thoughtful Christmas gifts. Of course none of them made anything for him in return, or he might not so clearly be Heaven's perfect angel! The soldiers can't appreciate Christmas miracles until a little child shows them the way! Ugh. But how mad can one be with an attempt to be heartwarming on Christmas? It would be like booing a cheesy Hallmark holiday movie. The dumbest sappy Christmas stories have a spirit behind them that I can't hate, and I can't be unhappy either that you escaped a DM.

None of that changes how ghastly the punctuation, mechanics, etc. are. If you don't see any errors when you look at this, then you face a serious problem. You can't punctuate dialogue worth a drat. This link may help you figure out semicolons. You capitalize words that shouldn't be capitalized and leave words that ought to be capitalized in lowercase. You're fond of saidisms: "groaned," "chirped," "cheered," "chimed," "boomed," "cried," "stated"--there isn't one "said" in the bunch. That chirping and chiming does not help with the sickly artificial-sweetener flavor of the piece, let me tell you. The right saidism at the right moment is perfectly good in my book, but using too many or using them exclusively puts many readers off. It suggests you don't trust your dialogue to convey tone without a helpful pointer.

You have to work on proofing. Your apparent base-level technical ineptitude is consistently damaging your work's reception. I strongly advise you to go to the library and come home with a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style, along perhaps with Eats, Shoots & Leaves. The Purdue Online Writing Lab is an invaluable free resource. The Grammar Girl site is less straightforward to navigate, but its casual style makes for easy reading, and it addresses useful small-scale questions.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 09:56 on Feb 22, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Critiques for Weeks II, IV, V, VI, VII, CCXXX, and CCXXXI: The Road Goes Ever On

For now I'm still writing crits of the stories I talk about in recaps. These are my notes on Weeks 230 and 231, with bonus crits as part of an extremely long-term personal project I'll probably never finish!

2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 31, 38, 39, 42, 46, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 68, 71, 72, 74, 75, 76, 78, 80, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 99, 100, 101, 102, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 111, 114, 116, 117, 119, 120, 121, 122, 124, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 153, 154, 155, 156

Your move, Sitting Here. :colbert:

Week 2: Dystopian Chick-Lit

Tempura Wizard, "The Flavor of Fish": All exposition, no motion; all tell, no show; passive as heck, and Sandra is nothing but her fantasy of marriage to a powerful man. That passivity makes this bad chick lit. The infodumping dulls the dystopia. It's a shame though that you didn't stick around and submit more work, since the baseline writing is more than fair. Sandra doing something in this world could make a good story, especially if some of the setting details were braided into a plot, and this should by no means be your last go at writing.


Week 4: last man on the moon

areyoucontagious, "Perfidity: Epilogue": As a story this has weaknesses if one isn't familiar with Mr. Dio and his work, but as a sassy response to a sarcastic judge? Brilliant. Other than the failure to capitalize planet names, anyway. The application of physics is so drat fine that I was applauding it before I even saw the requirements that bound you. It's not a bad mini-myth, either, because it embraces its own senselessness and makes no apologies. Your two modern DMs had me thinking you could probably write well. Now I'm certain you can.


Will Styles, "Mighty Seraphim": Eeesh. Comma splices ahoy. It's difficult to follow who's saying what and who's doing what in part because you're putting one character's untagged speech in the same paragraph as another character's action. The dialogue isn't punctuated correctly, multiple characters speak in the same paragraph, and you have an apostrophe in the possessive its. I'm way too busy trying to parse your text to get into the story. It doesn't help that said story is a tepid and familiar gladiator yarn up until Jackson gives his speech--and that speech isn't a good change from form any more than leaving the climactic battle off camera is a good change, which is to say not at effing all. You've kept all the boring bits and cut everything potentially exciting! Good grief. Next time, try the opposite and see how much further that gets you.


Week 5: Gary Numan, Fucksticks

sebmojo, "Who has the strength to save us all?": Your mechanics have improved since these halcyon days when you didn't know the difference between a semicolon and a colon. Look at that dialogue in single quotations, too! And a comma outside the quotation marks, goodness gracious me. It's a good thing you've done the improbable here and written the gamer goon story. The story that looks at a gamer goon's reasons for playing vidya at all hours. The story that allows him dignity. The protagonist's outside appearance might be that of a man lost in a toy, but his thoughts come back to his wife and son again and again. He plays now because he once played with them, perhaps. Lulling his child to sleep with the game sounds is as close as fate allowed him to get to father-son bonding. Wallowing in Halo is wallowing in his own grief and not an escape at all. Further, he has more control over life and death as Master Chief than he had when it mattered--sometimes; when he can't keep his avatar from dying either, he cries, not for a character but for his son and his wife and himself. It's a startlingly deep piece that every would-be poo poo-geyser writer should have to read.


Week 6: Week Six: It Rhymes with Dicks

sebmojo, "Sublimation": Enh. Ennnnnnh. Some s'mores would improve the experience of this campfire ghost story: I'd be too busy trying to get the marshmallow off the wire to mind the cliche ending. That final beat delivers the right flash of dread and a strong visual, but it still boils down to "HE WAS DEAD ALL ALONG!" and I can almost hear the pre-teen shrieks. James' dialogue starts out purposefully obscure, like he's breaking the news slowly to his wife/husband/roommate or can't make himself say the words, but the weather yammer is yammer and the other details invite the question of whether James is trying to write a story here or what. It's just off rather than dramatic or spooky.


Week 7: The goons who lose will pay the highest price

Chairchucker, "His Papal Majesty":

There's not a word of this that I dislike:
"Popehand," "Popesleep," even "Pope pope hooray"
(Which is a phrase and not a word, I know)
Can still cause me to grin these four years since.
The meter sings and sways as well it ought.
The Popewords build a simple, guileless charm,
More elegant than one might first expect.
A joke? It could be so. Such is your way.
And yet by art or instinct, all the same,
You've put a piece of joy into the world.
I grant it isn't saying much, but still:
No TD poem would I rather read.


Week 230: Slaying the Cursed Yearking

sparksbloom, "Earthquake Season": And here I never thought I'd see someone do for suburbanites what the poo poo geyser did for gamers. I don't know whether your intent is to satirize them by painting them as prejudiced, pious-in-name-only hypocrites; I'm inclined to give you more benefit of the doubt than I would if you didn't have a history of solid stories, but I still get a vibe of condescension from this piece, and that would make it unpalatable even if it didn't end with Hunter being beaten to death by Satan. Did you have any idea how to finish this thing? Your picture suggests hellfire, so maybe Satan-with-a-three-hole-punch is where you always meant to end up. What a thought. I prefer my hunch that this is seriously off the cuff. The sentence-level prose is sound--no surprise--but nothing else holds together or comes off as having much point.


Krunge, "Bugged Out": A try at comedy, right? But both too hard and too slapdash a try. You pound on the name "Dickfuck" as though the word alone could make any story a riot. There's zero reason for Billy to assume Schmitt would copulate with a cat, so the line comes out of nowhere and hits me as something that's supposed to be hilarious because, I dunno, bestiality just is? And gay sex cats kneading asses, everybody loves those! I laughed at “Get your gay sex cat off me, Schmitt!” the first time I glimpsed it, out of context--it's a potentially good line that Billy's weird assumption that Schmitt might bang a cat weakens. The story tumbles into the pitfalls that line the path of wackiness. On top of this, it brims with clumsy phrases and poor blocking. Did Schmitt bring a bunch of fleas with him with which to infest a home? Is Dickfuck his cat or a random stranger cat? Why the hell is there Raid in Schmitt's face mask? (Okay, that's more a logic than a phrasing issue.) Next time you write an action sequence, I suggest being as plain and straightforward as possible about it. Instead of "To the kneeling Billy, I took the opening to remove my awkward gloves and stuff them in his always open maw," say something like I yanked off my gloves and stuffed them into Billy's maw. Blunt, terse sentences suit blunt, terse actions.


Week 231: No Grown-ups!

Jay W. Friks, "Agua Mala, Agua Pura": What? Your first paragraph is a mess of tense shifts and misplaced pronouns: you're technically telling me that "their" son convinced himself to call her "your baby sister," which does not compute. I don't believe for a second that if Suendhil's adoptive parents aren't in fact kidnappers that they would let her starve herself and yell for help without taking her to a doctor, taking her to a therapist, sitting her down and talking to her, anything. Even if she's some sort of alien, they ought to have concern for her welfare now if they cared enough to adopt her in the first place. A bottle of medicine after multiple weeks of this behavior doesn't cut it. At the end, when it's revealed that Mia is indeed an inhuman creature, I'm left wondering what the point is and why the story was worth reading. Is the idea that people may do cruelties to other people out of misplaced kindness, like Suenhil's adoptive parents trying to give her a home in their world and Suendhil having her "brother" transformed against his will? Okay, but what then? I never pity Suendhil, only the brother who tries to be a brother to her, and so this is a story of how a horrible amphibian brat ruins the life of a decent kid rather than anything more meaningful.


sparksbloom, "The Understudy": I don't like this, I'm afraid. The kid voice is slightly forced, a little overdone with Kat repeating herself and dwelling on the "injustice"--do you need the paragraph about Indian Girl at all? Her plan is so malicious and yet so idiotic that I can forgive or indeed believe it only if she's around, say, seven, but the peculiar sexualization of the Truth or Dare game suggests something more like eleven or twelve. No kid of that age should believe feeding somebody a fuzzy random mushroom will only make them "a little sick," and if I don't ignore the implausible glow-in-the-dark characterization of the liquid then the scheme just gets worse. That said, Kat is certainly a distinct character and the drama of her situation is distinctly juvenile, an excellent thing in this round. The story stands out--but the ending? The ending is awful. There is no "this" for Kat or Marissa to see to the end. Kat's fixation on Marissa is kind of creepy. The girl owes her nothing. I wonder whether you had another subplot boiling in your head that either didn't make it onto the screen or that was edited out of the final version, something to do with Kat's sexuality since you keep shoehorning that subject in and then doing absolutely nothing with it. Marissa's surprise Kat would choose a girl in Truth or Dare makes no sense to me; it's only there so you can drop another hint that Kat might be gay, as though that matters. In the story as it stands, it doesn't. Kat is an aggressively unlikeable person on top of everything else, which could have worked if she were more interesting but ultimately does not.


Thranguy, "The Percussionists": Despite my suspicion you mean 1812 Overture where you say 1812 orchestra, this is pretty great. It's possibly the most fun entry of the lot. The kid voices are good, and I applaud especially the characterization of Martin as the kind of boy who tells whoppers in dead earnest. Adam's choice to wet his pants in front of Alice to spare Martin embarrassment reads as completely true to the type of friendship he and Martin have, a casual self-sacrifice that says more about how much Adam cares for being so offhand. It's a low-key climax, but that goes with the point. I thought at first you'd stubbed your metaphorical toe on the landing, but the way you end the story is growing on me since it calls back to Martin's wild tales and returns the Adam/Martin friendship to status quo.


flerp, "It's Not Much to Listen": This seems to be about a boy without empathy learning the rudiments of compassion after he finally pays attention to someone else's suffering, too late for catharsis. I'm not sure how well it works on that level. I get the idea, but Davey steals my interest and empathy, and the ending feels a bit rushed and forced after so many words of Joey not giving a drat about his dying friend. It needs better pacing if you want Joey's arc to satisfy. I see why Chili called this sad for sadness's sake, because Davey's tragedy upstages Joey's more low-key change. On the other hand, the Davey side of things is well done; Joey's belated realization is poignant; and the weird, awkward futility of the whole thing could be intentional given how it mirrors the weird, awkward futility of sympathy and life itself on occasion.


Krunge, "Unruined": You've simplified your prose considerably, but you've overshot the mark and landed in the valley of the shadow of bland. There's no particular narrative voice. Matthew and Simon aren't distinctive characters, though Simon improves after the skeleton fight. That's mostly by contrast to Matthew, however: he's interesting because his world is different rather than interesting in and of himself. I'm at a loss for why Simon's dance doesn't stop the skeletons but Matthew's does--or why dancing works at all. The whole story operates on kid logic, which would be fine if the boys were playing pretend, but they aren't. Even if this were aimed at children it would need to hang together a little better than it does.


Sitting Here, "Dumb Baby Stuff": A solid story with good characters, good conflict, a climax that incorporates the early conversation between Sarah and Brian, and a tug or two at the heartstrings, but Sarah's dad is absolutely a major character and I would have pushed to bump this down to an HM on those grounds. I also believe it could be improved if one of the betrayed parents tried to separate Sarah and Brian. Not only would Sarah's mother and Brian's father have a more reason to want to cut all ties to the other family, but their pain could make them sympathetic (to the adult reader if not to the child protagonists) in a way Sarah's dad definitely is not. He's a source of the problems Sarah and Brian face, and he's determined to exacerbate them because Brian just might hold him somewhat responsible. Could you be a little more of a complete dickcheese there, Dad? One message I see in the piece is that adult problems are complex and ugly and have terrible effects on the innocent, and a glance at the suffering of Sarah's mother or Brian's father would underline that idea while potentially further complicating it--a good thing in this case, I think. Overall, I like this quite a bit, but I wouldn't count it among your strongest entries mostly because Sarah's dad is such a douche that I spend too much of my reading time marveling at what a douche he is.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 00:17 on Oct 29, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Favor Fortune
(152 words)

The lord of luck, he clothes himself in lies.
He shuffles, stooped, into the seaside town;
Unhappy then are they who trust their eyes.

Meg Callahan his ragged coat espies--
A fishwife, she, whom fortune has let down.
The lord of luck, he clothes himself in lies.

No man so poor will purchase fish. She sighs
And studies his gnarled feet, his scabby crown.
Unhappy then are they who trust their eyes.

Meg calls out, "Catch!" and tosses him a prize:
A monkfish, like herself salt-caked and brown.
The lord of luck, he clothes himself in lies.

Directly to his arms her present flies;
Surprise and wild delight erase his frown.
Unhappy then are they who trust their eyes.

He clasps Meg's hand and sheds his human guise.
Together, they depart into renown.
The lord of luck, he clothes himself in lies.
Unhappy then are they who trust their eyes.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
:siren: Thunderdome Recap! :siren:

Cue the Hoagy Carmichael! It's time for some soul-searching as the recap team takes on Week 232: I want to crit your blood. Sitting Here asked combatants to draw inspiration from the cores of their beings, unaware that so many of you carry Eighties action flicks around in there. Now she, Ironic Twist, and I weigh hearts against feathers, then question the logistics of smashing someone's head with a boulder while your guts are hanging out. A sanguine shower of goblet porn comprises our finale: SkaAndScreenplays' "The Fires Of Discontent:," performed with such dramatic skill that you'd swear you were watching a Vampire LARP.

Araspasia polishes off the contents of her glass, setting it gently atop a buffet as her upper-lip stiffens as contempt makes itself known on her face.

Episodes past can be found here!

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
:siren: Thunderdome Recap! :siren:

A writer named Ironic Twist
Has been traumatized by a poo poo list.
It's convinced him each verse
Alludes to crap, or worse:
Think "The Dildo." and you'll get the gist.

You can decide for yourselves whether Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, or I know anything about poetry based on our metered response to Week 233: IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG. Our personal preferences shape our reception of the highest and lowest villanelles, each of which we read aloud, and though we indict some poets for the crimes they commit in our hearts, you may well disagree! Maybe you'll differ with Twist's literary theories also, but please respect his serious, peer-reviewed analysis. HiddenGecko's "Dem Bones, Dem Dry Boners" makes a special guest appearance from Week 23 to remind us that death doesn't have to be morbid--and that limericks don't have to rhyme, apparently.

Why I never, barman! another oily toucan!

Episodes past can be found here!

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 16:53 on Apr 14, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Critiques for Weeks VIII, CCXXXII, CCXXXIII, and CCXXXIV: Deep Into That Darkness Peering

More crits, catching up with the past two recap episodes and offering a preview of things to come in the next.

Week 8: Martello's Girlfriend Said, "I'm late!"

budgieinspector, "That's Showbiz": Dialogue tags would go a ways toward keeping the twins distinct from the start, and the long back-and-forth early on could certainly use a few. Long is a fair adjective for the story despite the word count. The fifth and sixth scenes stick out for repeating ideas that have already been established. I know Lucy wants a normal life; I know Welk is straight-laced and strict. If the twins were offered a contract right after their audition you could cut both scenes and lose nothing. What bemuses me in the end is why Darcy thanks Lucy for taking the blame, because Darcy's still out of her dream job and doesn't even have love to show for it. I can't call that a happy ending, and as ways for Lucy to get her quiet life go, it's roundabout. You'd have the same conclusion for less trouble if Lucy told Darcy where to stick it at the end of their long conversation. The extended path isn't a particularly entertaining or interesting one, so I'm left wanting more from the story than I've gotten.


Week 232: I want to crit your blood

SkaAndScreenplays, "Salvage Law": Sequels must stand alone. Assuming the judges will take the time to go read more of your words than they have to is about as hubristic as toxxing to HM. Even if they did, you're being judged on this entry, and it's a weak one that's worse yet when considered in isolation. What's the reader's investment in the recovery of the Aegis? Or Thessalia and Jenkins? Or the setting? You don't do much to set any of these up, instead throwing the reader in head-first--a tactic that would be more effective if the conflict, characters, or setting were interesting. Instead, the story's main point of tension is resolved off camera; the characters are talking heads; the setting is barely sketched. Needless scenes and subplots also bloat the text to a fare-thee-well. That business with Maura and her grandfather? Cut it. The kiss? Cut it. Neither of these contribute to this particular story. They connect to some larger work from which it has been carved. Turn the scene of Thessalia waking up from a vomit stupor to yak at Norris for paragraphs on end into a scene of her doing something to repair that ship, holy criminy Christmas cripes. The question of whether the team will escape the moon isn't a suitable climax: it lacks tension because there's only one reasonable answer. There isn't much tension anywhere, mind you, since every scene is people talking to each other with maybe a little action on the side. On the issue of the non-existent proofreading, I don't know what to say. I doubt you so much as hit the preview button. You had days to go and were toxxed to HM. Dear God, let this be the wake-up call you need regarding slinging unproofed poo poo at the judges. You have the potential to write good yarns, Ska, but nobody here can help you if you won't help yourself.


SkaAndScreenplays, "The Fires Of Discontent:": I'd spit at the sight of this format in any other week, but you were asked to write from your soul and draw on whatever it is that compels you to write. So, a screenplay. Fair enough! "May the winds of change fan them into a conflagration which engulfs the dead wood of tradition in a conflagration of progress." Not fair enough at all! This comes after stage directions that read like descriptions in an online roleplaying game. The voices of Charlotte and Araspasia could probably be more stilted, but it would take some work. Oh, hey, no wonder the RP descs are there! You've written World of Darkness fanfic! The E in Caine gives away your source material. You even refer to clans, so let's see if I can guess: Toreador and Ventrue? At least you didn't write a Fishmalk. Don't lean on other people's intellectual property for your Thunderdome entries. Don't ever publish fanfic without giving credit to the source. Otherwise, this is--naturally--talking heads talking at each other, and nothing happens beyond an exchange of threats. Maybe I'd come to care whether Dahl or Araspasia rules a city over the course of a longer play to which this was the intro, but all you've done as it stands is set up a conflict between names on a page. I'd rank it very slightly below the space story.


Prester Jane, "A Cave Adventure.": Welcome to Thunderdome, Prester Jane. Your story tells me right away that you don't have much writing experience, so you're in the right place! The rough mechanics (missing punctuation, awkward comma splices, etc.), overuse of -ly adverbs, repetition of words ("I started to feel excited," "Nathan said excitedly," "his excited voice," all within four paragraphs), repetition of ideas (yes, I know these kids find interesting things to play with in the cave; you've already told me so), flat prose (the repetition has a lot to do with how flat it is, but painstakingly describing every minor action doesn't help) and missing words ("I think its a Mom") are markers of an amateur effort. The Purdue Online Writing Lab and its exercises can help you with sentence-level issues. The OWL won't tell you to avoid crappy twist endings, so I will. What? You mean these kids were in a closet all along??? That definitely justifies reading about their protracted adventure in finding a shoe! You've written about something inherently kind of boring and counted on the twist to zing the reader, I imagine, but even if the twist weren't also dull it wouldn't make the rest of the story good in retrospect. Stick around and keep practicing.


steeltoedsneakers, "An Interrogation": I'm curious whether you've read the Wheel of Time or this fruit-based torture technique is either an urban legend or an actual practiced method. Regardless, you burn a good few words on the methodology and manage to make incipient torture a humdrum affair. The whole story drags its heels through Sam's "comic" mauling. To your credit, I expect any humor is supposed to be of the black sort, but that requires a sharpness this piece just doesn't have. I appreciate the moral re: work ethic while thinking there had to be a better way to illustrate it.


Hawklad, "Runes": Terrible first line: that wayward his has me trying to imagine how Aegar is at once chopping with an axe and being chopped by an axe. Go with "the man." Stick a he before heaves so you aren't saying Aegar's foot heaves the axe. I'm caught up in Aegar's slow, brutal death, the emotions and physical horrors of which are well described, until he and the rune-writer converse as though one didn't have a smashed stump in place of a leg and the other didn't have his guts falling out. The writer is the worse offender, as he might as well be chatting over tea for all his words suggest urgency or pain. It's the ending that ruins this story. Aegar is so maddened by the scratch scratch scratch that he uses some of his dying energy to kill a man, and then he picks up where that man left off? Why? The only answer that comes to mind is Hawklad needed to wrap up the story somehow.


BeefSupreme, "When It Raines, It Pours": Ooh, I like the first section so well that I'm dreading what will happen to turn this into DM material. The punctuation is nearly spot-on too! Look at that perfect use of a semicolon! Beautiful. I see the sentences getting a little rougher as the story continues (caps or italics for emphasis: choose one), but it's nothing terrible. The action sequence is excellent. My anxiety increases. The third section is the weakest yet and shows incomplete mastery of hyphens. Still not bad... here we go. Final scene. The blocking isn't so strong here as in the earlier fight, and I have no idea why Grimace in whiteface just ran by. The pacing slows to a crawl as Mr. Raines expounds on martial arts. Is all of this going to turn out to be about inexplicably retro drug parties? Yes, sort of. The ending is, I fear, rather awful, if possibly not so awful as to have earned a DM in my book. The last confrontation is ridiculously short compared to the martial-arts duel with a nameless henchman; worst is the last line focusing on Iselle when Iselle never became more than a McGuffin. The whole entry leaves a bitter aftertaste of disappointment.


kurona_bright, "Don't Fear the Reaper (Yes, Really)": Pthbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbt. Uncredited fanfiction. Shame on you. I laugh as I type that only because you weren't trying to get away with anything. It raises a point all the same: as one of the 1% of Thunderdomers who doesn't play Overwatch, I thought these characters were yours, which means you're passing off other people's intellectual property as your own and that's abominable and horrible and bad! Okay, my finger has been duly waggled, so let's look at what you've done with these nice fictional people you've stolen. To the surprise of no one, the story reads like fanfic, with the usual problems like an overload of backstory, expository dialogue--though you're getting better at that--and yadda yadda, you know the drill. I don't know what to make of the ending, since Gabe presumably remains dead. Is he going to hang around as Jack's pining-for-the-fjords boyfriend? The bankruptcy filing isn't the dramatic revelation you want it to be, either; it's not as much fuss over nothing as that old story about the D that I will never let you forget, but it's in the same family, so keep watching out for weak sources of drama lest you end up with melodrama instead.



Note: I come to form poetry looking for strict adherence to structure, a story or resonant message, and progression. I'm especially impressed or disappointed by meter, rhyme, and flow, and that shapes my reaction to this round.

Jay W. Friks, "The Last Quiet Place": Oh, dear, no. You either mistook which rhyme rule for villanelles you were allowed to ignore or believe toast rhymes with space--I suspect the former. The up side here is that I can (I think) gather the gist of your poem. An alcoholic who likely has other problems besides is locked in an institution, but he plans to get out and escape into death. Not bad. The down side is how awkward and sometimes nonsensical the individual lines are. The first and final stanzas barely make sense. Even the maybe-clever image of a security camera(?) as a cyclops doesn't hold up once I start wondering why the camera would ever be turned off; lines like "Kept behind risk and filled up space" look as though they're intended to be deep and artistic despite not meaning anything. The premise is worthy, but the execution's a mess.


Thranguy, "His Name is Herschel, By the Way.": Ambitious. I think you're trying to show mastery of the form by confounding expectations while playing within the letter of the rules. This risky tactic paid off with the judges, but I see a poem that reads poorly and contains approximately 0.5% of an adult's RDA of substance. Recite it with any respect for the line breaks and it clunks and clatters. Even when I read it silently, my inner ear hates it. The line "This is more trouble than I've been in" is awkward no matter what approach I take. The poem tells a story, but an empty one: Colleen, Sam, and a pangolin go up to a tower, meet a monster, jump, are caught by a zeppelin, then get knocked out by tridents. Okay, so? It's not interesting enough to justify the read, nor are the individual lines memorable. (Various story-poems from this round are weak on those points, to be fair, and yours has some energy.) My end thought is that if you'd pulled this off--if the story were striking, if the lines were striking, if the rhythm were good or at least unobjectionable--it would have been clever, brilliant, a wonderful way to go, and I tip my hat to you for the attempt. For the result, not so much.

Side note for all, not just you: Capitalize is in a title! It's a verb, not an article, conjunction, or preposition.


Chernabog, "My sorrow": Your subject matter gives you a tough row to hoe from the outset since everyone and his dog has read a poem about death and loss. Yours doesn't stand out in that field, but there's something to the final stanza, when the passionate cry becomes one of rebirth--or resignation--or mourning for having to live because he once was loved. But that flicker of depth is almost lost under the juvenile feel of the AAA rhyme scheme and the arrhythmic meter: a villanelle may not have to follow a set meter, but that doesn't mean just any sequence of syllables will sound good. "All your words have been exhausted so this is your last reply" is too long. The semicolon in your first refrain should be a colon. And the single, trickling tear is an image so overused to convey sadness that it almost makes fun of itself. I don't personally find this the worst poem of the lot, but it's the closest to trite, which could be what signed its death warrant.


sparksbloom, "sparks bloom": This piece has a nice sway, only slightly irregular (the eighth and eleventh lines have the same number of syllables, but the rhythm is different), and it includes good wordplay in the two meanings of match. However, the rhymes don't all come off as organic. More noticeable to me are the words that aren't meant to rhyme but look as though perhaps they are: flush and match, which (despite the aforementioned cleverness of the latter) "sound" bad in conjunction with the -ash parade. My main issue with the whole is encapsulated by the line "although it pains me to rehash," as the poem strikes me as repetitive: one idea, one note chanted again and again. There's no progression or change and not much to enrich the impression of a dead love beyond what the first stanza conveys. Probably those issues are linked: I wouldn't mind the lackluster rhymes if they said more, wouldn't mind the stasis pattern if the lines were stronger. This one is worth tweaking and keeping.


Hawklad, "Aurelia": Do something with the second refrain and you'll improve your poem at least twofold, because the current version sounds unbalanced in my mouth, ears, and mind and doesn't carry a clear idea to boot. Did the Fall of Man drive the world to the edge, or is the Fall itself the edge, or...? I just do not like it. The other quibble I have is that the environmental message becomes heavy-handed as the poem goes on, until I start thinking of Fern Gully and imagining the whole thing as sung by Tim Curry. Kudos, still, for good imagery and a solid tick-tock rhythm.


GenJoe, "Ash Tray": Nothing about smoldering in an ashtray is romantic, passionate, or anything but gross, and that metaphor fails despite inspiring the title. That fourth stanza is the weakest of the lot, the one spot that asks with plaintive eyes for revision. I like the verses about the shift horn better than I did at first; I see now the endless shifts that "weeks of underuse" implies. I don't care for the "explain away an" that the other recappers like, however--I'd ditch away, because as-is the line feels a syllable or two too long. Content-wise, though? The story and its emotions are strong enough to overpower minor flaws in technique. The pitch-perfect second refrain makes ideal use of the villanelle form. I love everything about the last stanza, her good-bye hug that he doesn't recognize for what it is and the quiet flow from that embrace to the tearing note. I can feel the pain in both of them and hurt for both of them. drat good work for a nineteen-line poem. You slam-dunked this prompt. Congratulations!


Week 234: Binging on Bad Words

Uranium Phoenix, "The Eyes of Eris": I would still be wondering why this lost, fleshy python and all, if it weren't for the final twist that pees itself the moment a thought so much as glances its way. Why would Eyes of Eris hire cyborgs to kill the miners they also hired, exactly? Why is destroying the station without solving that mystery a reasonable solution? Was Eris out to get the asteroid and also whatever's on board the Minor Miracle, which is to say a tediously peppy AI and a random maybe-cyborg, maybe-captain's-lover-I-guess? Nope, I'm not buying it from any angle. Emmy's twee "charm" is perceptibly forced in the pie factory line; Cythea is worse because Cythea barely exists. Alecta I like, even with the convenient array of bioweapon elements, so you deliver some of what the prompt asked. One interesting character doesn't save the story, unfortunately.


Twiggymouse, "The Job": The point of view is nebulous, but that's less a problem than the lengthy, dull, cliche conversation that opens the piece. Jameson's haphazard use of contractions makes his voice stuffy in the least interesting way. Worse, Michael's right: I know exactly how this is going to go, and yet it takes forever to get to Jameson's predictable arrival at the West High. Worst by far though is that you set up a story but never actually tell one. What the hell? Your prose isn't too shoddy: flat in places, yes, and cliche-ridden, but these are just things that make me think you need more practice. The lack of a story is such a sin that I'd have given you the loss over Uranium Phoenix, easily, but I hope you stick around.


Venomous, "Ears": First off, The pun draws me up short. Sure, your protagonist might pronounce it that way, but a pun that makes a reader stop to think about it probably isn't worth the cost, especially if you factor in the elbow-to-the-ribs execution. Moving on: you don't have much in the way of flow or coherency here. The beginning is awkward because who doesn't know the Mona Lisa is smiling? Why would Ricky be afraid of art critics? What? Then the amusing art-theft chat to which I was warming slams into a block of backstory with a crime-is-bad moral. Then! Then there's more backstory about Austerlitz, only this doesn't seem to connect to anything; then the narrator suicides because... because he does, and that's it. Nope. The PTSD and self-destruction don't fuse with the art talk and rampant cursing. Not a bit. Ricky ends up irrelevant. I don't know what you were trying to do if not to jam two stories together and make a misbegotten plot-centaur, and I don't know why you would do that. I'd probably rank this one lower than the losing entry too, though the bare hints of an arc put it above Twiggymouse's. The bright points are the narrator's internal descriptions of art and his argument with Ricky about it, which show decent character voice.


Benagain, "Driverless": Your work has some of the same problems as Twiggymouse's. The shorter length is to credit for how much less annoying it is, but I'm still looking at a non-story that leads up to something happening (maybe) and then stops. Naomi comes off more as bitchy than as sympathetic in her aggravation because of her ire being at maximum from the start. How angry she is at little things and how apathetic to larger things suggest a human despair with a lack of control; good job there. I imagine a story about this woman could have drawn me in, if only one had been told.


Metrofreak, "Home Office": You have my interest up through the delivery of the stiff envelope. You start to lose it when the exposition becomes overt. Once I know what's up, James puttering around his house isn't compelling anymore. The words drag on from there. You have too little story covering too much space; even as a character sketch this is repetitive; there's some nuance and certainly believable human behavior, but it is, alas, believably boring. This might be salvaged if you give James something to react to or act around: make something happen beyond his stages of loss.

2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 31, 38, 39, 42, 46, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 68, 71, 72, 74, 75, 76, 78, 80, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 99, 100, 101, 102, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 111, 114, 116, 117, 119, 120, 121, 122, 124, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 153, 154, 155, 156

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 00:22 on Oct 29, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
:siren: Thunderdome Recaps! :siren:

These are stories that have no end! Indeed, "stories" is kind, my friend! Some people started writing them, not knowing how to stop, and our surprise is none of them was judged the biggest flop! (Thanks to Shari Lewis for the memories!) From setting up a garage office to lying down in some Seine, we study the ways that the low entries of Week 234: Binging on Bad Words fail to satisfy, then round out the bad-word binge with dramatic readings of Venomous's "Ears" and Uranium Phoenix's "The Eyes of Eris."

Of course he wants to spend our last day in Paris gawking at bits of paper that some dead Italian fucks jizzed on like we don’t have a loving job to do.

Seven honorable mentions, a win, and a loss give the recap crew a lot to talk about when we turn our attention to Week 235: 21ST CENTURY MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN. What subjects should such monologues address? What constitutes a female voice? None of us is qualified to answer either question, but we offer our opinions anyway. Four monologues are performed in full: Sitting Here reads Kenfucius's "Little Heart Attacks," I read Thranguy's "The Seventh Portrait," and Ironic Twist does double duty with newtestleper's "Admit that this problem can't be solved with a spreadsheet." and Uranium Phoenix's "Lovebugs."

Asses touching, eyes in opposite directions. Ain’t that loving a metaphor for something.

Episodes past can be found here!

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Critiques for Weeks IX, X, CCXXXV, and CCXXXVI: Everybody Look at Me 'Cause I'm Critting Monologues

Did you know most of the stories of Week 9 and the classic "The Drone of the Tower" only received one comment's worth of feedback? Those were dark days. These crits attempt to amend that to a degree, then address monologues and Magic: the Gathering with a similar deficiency of expertise in each.

Week 9: Old Sex/Lawn Sounds

Dr. Kloctopussy, "The Diplomat's Wife": Exposition-heavy at the start, but it picks up once Katherine starts acting against Mr. Nesbit. It's not that interesting on its own, though. The final beat is the revelation that Nesbit is indeed Up to No Good and Something Will Have to Be Done--and the story stops there, right when it's getting compelling! I get that the point is how awesome Katherine is, but she's not so very awesome that a few minutes of her doing spy stuff is enough for a satisfying read.


sebmojo, "Old Friends": Thank God you've since learned how to use a semicolon. There's a lot to like about Jack and Evangeline and their ruthlessness toward each other. I'm left with many questions, though--not about why Evangeline is after Jack; I figure he never admitted that the Russians got intel out of him, but someone found out and now his allies are against him. Works for me. But who is Hippo, why did he "die," how did he survive, what did his wife have to do with it, etc.? I don't need all those questions answered, but I sure would like to know the relationship between Hippo's life and Jack's long-ago betrayal. If Hippo spied for Russia, why would the Russians get him? If he spied for England, why did he need to be turned? Or is Evangeline working for Putin now? I get the general gist of the story but can't make out the larger picture in which it's set.


The Saddest Rhino, "Operation Barnes: Post-Mission Interview Transcript of Agent P. Wrayburn": I love the phrase "assumed him to be a dusk-skinned, tropical safe house of veiled maidens and moorish palaces." For the rest of the story I will picture Singh as looking something like this, except with more harem pants. Anyway, I have some trouble following this up until the point when it turns into CIA porn. The blocking with Singh, Wu, etc. is hard to picture. The humor of the piece is a slow burn, maybe too slow since the funny bits are the good bits and the first one to show up is the fight over the Dragon. The punchline gets a roll of the eyes and a wry grin at the same time. Was that joke worth so much set-up? Ehhhh. You could execute it better now than you could back then, but Fifty Shades jokes are no longer timely, and it may be kindest to leave this in peaceful retirement.


Bad Seafood, "The Birdhouse": A strong opening despite the inconsistent capitalization of God, but you squander it by shifting into a flashback without any visual signal. Italicizing that lengthy section would set it apart and ease the task of following your chronology. Aiyee, but here's another one! And another! You don't give me a chance to know these people, though that doesn't matter much in the end. They're only set pieces to be knocked down as each new shocking twist unfolds. When it's over, here's what I know: elderly espionage agents go on a mission; one of them has an affair with another; the leader of the group betrays them for... reasons; they turn on one another in suspicion and the guilty party is the one to survive. Almost all detail is absent. Some meat on this story's jumbled skeleton might make it worth reading, though at this point you'd do as well to start from scratch.



Wrageowrapper, "The Drone of the Tower":

sebmojo posted:

I. Uh. Huh. That sure is some typin' fella.

Isn't it just. Some stories are terrible from every angle. The romance of Baz and the Vorpal Drone fails utterly as a serious piece, is too stupid in the wrong ways to be a humor piece, is weird enough for an absurdist piece but so frightfully proofread that I cannot trust your intentions, and includes the sentence "DoomCORP reigned down upon them." Yet. Yet. It has something, and I don't only mean in the way "Corn!" has something. The omnipresent so-bad-it's-good quality is complicated by fragments that approach beauty. That first line promises magic. (And the sentence "'I kills you', shouted something large and foreboding" delivers it, albeit not in the form one might have hoped.) The conquest of the tower strikes a wondrous balance between the dramatic and the inane. A song about cake defeats evil incarnate. It's almost too strange to dislike, and I could love it were it not for the punctuation, if only for Rhino's agony whenever I remind him it exists.



Jay W. Friks, "Moonlight Goes Back Home": I'm not sympathetic to the humans-destroy-everything message this tries to deliver with heavy hands, but Tyrannosaurus called the real problem: it's boring. Moonlight's words are pure exposition, yet she doesn't address the interesting elements, such as where she's from or who her sister is or who her mother is or why she was on the moon. She's more than a little twee in her role of cutesy space pixie skipping along through the ruins of Earth, tra la la. I do think despite this that you could tell a good story about Moonlight and her people, if you wanted, and it's worth trying to do. Other readers will be more open to the message, and you'd probably deepen Moonlight's character as you put her through the events of a longer piece.


Kenfucius, "Little Heart Attacks": "I’d have jumped on his face and shouted giddy-up cowboy given half a chance." Dear God, do I feel pity for this woman's son. I mean, she was in the middle of business on the toilet and... this is an unpleasant conjunction of concepts, you get what I'm saying? I'm most of the way through the text and this woman's just obsessed with toilet functions, oral sex, and underwear. You've overdone it and lost the humor. That takes a toll on the ending, which is touching in theory and in practice still manages to make me like the story more for what it's trying to do. My distaste for this sort of comedy won't be shared by every reader, but I'd pull the jokes in a notch if I were you--get rid of the sitting-on-someone's-face-after-being-interrupted-mid-defecation bit if nothing else.


sparksbloom, "Social Studies": While this falls flat for me, I question how much or whether that's your fault at all. Your mechanics are sound, your writing is good, and the character's voice is what I think you intend it to be. Your character's incompetence just isn't funny. Spewing her insecurities all over her students? Putting the burden of teaching Civics to her on them? Since I'm distressed instead of amused there's nothing for me to enjoy. This depends on hitting the reader right, possibly an unavoidable weakness in such a short comedy piece.


Thranguy, "The Seventh Portrait": Some of these lines bobble the meter, especially early on. Some of the early phrasings are strained: "Nobody made the choice / To not pose without her for one this year" raises a grimace when I read this silently and again when I read it aloud. It's an unsteady opening to an uneven poem that nevertheless has an extremely strong, sharp core. The pentameter sings in the third stanza. The woman's mingled hope and dread cut deep. It has such beauty and power that it justifies your win all on its own, but the fourth stanza threatens ruin as the poem teeters on the verge of outstaying its welcome. The return to the hope theme at the end is clumsy and repetitive, the affair a bloating tangent--the faltering marriage is a nice touch, but I'd do away with the "fair man who filled a void" (especially as these lines ring false to me, too forced-poetic for the narrator's voice up to this point) and take a different path if you want to keep the breakup in. Maybe Frank could be the one seeing Jenny piecemeal? Maybe the narrator can't stand to hear him talk about it anymore? There are possibilities. I like the idea too of cutting the last four lines of Stanza Four and sticking them below Stanza Three as their own entity. The final stanza is stronger and a good close, other than the seeming-needless "Abducted by some micro-cult or fiend." In short: a potentially exquisite poem that deserves to be hammered on a while longer.


curlingiron, "Damsels & Diplomacy": Not my cup of tea. It's an unsubtle woe-is-women, men-are-idiots piece, and the light tone of the conversation doesn't make up for that. I've seen a similar take on the relationship between princess and dragon done better in Patricia Wrede's Dealing With Dragons, one of my childhood favorites; that may be why I fail to click with your version. The character's voice is a leeeetle cutesy for my taste too, but I think other readers will like it, and she delivers as much exposition as Jay W. Friks' heroine in a sufficiently engaging way that it more or less works.


Uranium Phoenix, "Who Holds the Walls of Byzantium?": Another exposition dump, but this one goes over better than those before it, perhaps because the Empress is openly addressing the audience. (Not sure where that Her comes from, though. Jesus, whom Judas betrayed, was distinctly not female, so it reads strangely even if I assume the Empress is determined to see God as a woman.) Your approach bemuses me. Is it alternate history? That would explain the female courtiers, female Jesus, and the Empress's bizarre horror that a general should be male. On the other hand, everything outside of Byzantium appears to map to real history. Either way it's more of the gender-conflict schtick that makes me a little sad, because women's monologues don't have to be about men, you know? I'd rather read or perform a speech about the work of running an empire, but that's in large part a question of personal preference.


Uranium Phoenix, "Lovebugs": I thought you needed to drop a pound or two of gently caress until Twist read this aloud in fine belligerent-drunk fashion; now I know the cussing is spot on. The character voice built a mental image of a sullen forty-something man even before I heard a man perform it, though. Otherwise, it's a good thing you keep this short since I doubt the voice could hold its charm for much longer, but you make your point and exit stage left and leave an entertaining metaphor behind. It's fun to hear and ends on a note that leaves a thoughtful aftertaste.


GenJoe, "Casino": Good character voice. Whether Cheryl is in fact stalking Shannon or Shannon is paranoid about the way people see her isn't clear to me, and I like that: I imagine Shannon feels the same way sometimes. It leads me to think about her character in a way that gives her dimension. Her worries are cool for being worries I haven't seen that often in fiction. Of all the speakers so far, she's the one I'd read a book about if you wrote one. Since your entry doesn't have the beauty of Thranguy's at its best or that piece's emotional strength, I understand why you didn't win, but I have nothing negative to say about this. Nice work.


newtestleper, "Admit that this problem can't be solved with a spreadsheet.": Eeesh, NTL. I don't know. Your character voice is solid, the sins of the office entertaining--the calculation of professional typing rates maybe a bit low; sixty doesn't sound like anything to brag about. But why would even a spergy alcoholic do this? It's a contrived situation that raises too many questions and dulls the humor with alcohol math. She's using a syringe to spike her drink at work, for heaven's sake. I can't enjoy this to the utmost without turning off my brain, but if you wrote a version with less precise calculation of milliliters, I'd like to see it.


Week 236: Three-Card Combo

No Gravitas, "Two peas in a pod": Tense shifts in the first paragraph don't bode well; so much weather talk is arguably worse. Did I just read three paragraphs describing what the weather won't be like due to nuclear holocaust? Good grief. The level of exposition here is as toxic as the radiation. In the whole first section, the prose is deadly dull. In the second, I discover you aren't up on punctuating dialogue. I'm reluctant to discourage this banter when it has more vim than the infodumps that precede it, but that sadly isn't saying much, and your characters--nameless, faceless figures both--are talking heads in empty space. Would a Japanese soldier circa World War II say the phrase "get a second stab at the chick"? (Thunderdome's resident historian says no.) The conversation wears out my interest some time before it stops. Then... the pun contest. Dark humor can get old quickly, as it turns out. And all that nonsense ends in a twist, which retroactively improves the reincarnation talk a little but otherwise has me slamming my forehead against a wall--except for the Russian taking pleasure in his hair. That's a cute touch, though whether that's a good thing in a story about nuking millions of people is a question I leave to the philosophers.


Okua, "Change": This vignette makes good use of your cards and is otherwise all right, if sort of one-note: the nameless protagonist is infatuated with her friend's fiancee and unhappy about the forthcoming wedding. Lather, rinse, repeat. Thomas and Nameless are interesting enough that I'd like more of their story than that, both past and future. I wonder whether the protagonist's gender is meant to be a surprising twist, and I hope not, both because I figured her for a woman from the outset and because it would cheapen the work if it were written to blow our minds with the idea someone might be gay. I just can't figure out why else it would be structured as it is, with the protagonist's gender carefully avoided until that last line, and the last line treated like a mic drop even though nothing is resolved.


Djeser, "Or Something Like It": Decent bordering on good, though I thought Jennifer and Emma were sisters until the kiss. The romance seems forced at that point--I don't get a sense of chemistry--but it would be more accurate to say the whole ending feels forced. If Jennifer was given to the Flesh to save her life, that tether is like life support, right? She snaps her life support because her teenage girlfriend is mopey about what's necessary for her to survive. Really? I could be meant to infer that she prefers death to becoming an alien to the people she loves, but the bond between the girls isn't developed well enough for me to embrace this sudden drama. Maybe breaking that tether is instead a strictly temporary and futile act of rebellion to let Emma know she's still herself. While that remains drama out of nowhere, they're teenagers after all; I like that interpretation better, but Emma's thought about the lifeline makes me doubt it. More words and more romantic vibes before Jennifer breaks free would help this story rise to its potential.


flerp, "Sand Caught in the Laughs": "The waves lap at the sand like tongues, dragging a little bit of the world into it, piece by piece." I know it is the ocean, you know it's the ocean, but this sentence doesn't say it's the ocean, so I pause to fill in the blank. Not the best first impression. I like this anyway, vignette though it is. One reason I do is that the sister's a bit of a bitch, and her brother's feelings are presumably complicated--he misses her, but what he remembers is her trying to hoard the ocean and stomping on his tower. He recalls being called an idiot, and he didn't save her last voice mail. Yet he wants to hear her voice. I could interpret this relationship half a dozen ways, and maybe they'd all be right. It prods my mind into thinking about families and the illogic of love.


Kenfucius, "Concrete Divide": Wordy, but enjoyable and mostly good. I'm missing some of the context, I think: what the RUC is, why there are riots in the 1969 section. I'm also missing any mention of Billy there. Where is he? The Protestants don't have a representative in that one section of the four. I wonder why Kieran is so unforgiving when Mick's uncle is the one who was crippled. He and Mick appear to change roles after the first part, when Kieran is the more open-minded. That's credible enough but could do with a moment of exploration. It's slightly odd that the story ends with Mick's sad smile at Billy since Kieran is the main character; do you mean him to be? But on the whole your work is solid and deserves its honors.


SurreptitiousMuffin, "the woman OR the fools who came to drink the dark": What I see in terms of story is that the poet believes that Medusa was a monster until he learns the truth of Poseidon's rape from her, and the realization steals his righteous strength. Still the men kill her, but the poet's mind is reeling, until Poseidon either drowns them or steals--almost--their memories. I don't find this credible. The poet's attitude is that of a modern man, not a Greek hero. Odd as it is to say he's vastly overreacting to rape... for a mythic Greek, I think he is. Shock I would buy, but not the dissolution of his mind or the idea that Medusa must be killed because she knows the truth of Poseidon's behavior. That's like saying a man must die because he knows Bobby Fischer plays chess. I've warmed to the structureless structure more than I would have expected going in, but more as a storytelling technique than as a poem; as a poem it falters for me because the gaps create melodrama more than art. I don't quite like the whole (which you can blame on my distaste for free-form poetry as much as anything else), but the repetition of "and yet" is strong enough that I nearly want to.


Uranium Phoenix, "The Arena": This excellent story does a wondrous thing: it justifies its word count. The gladiator grafts are a cool idea that you use to tell a tale of faith, strength, inspiration, cruelty, mercy, and justice. I care about Caelia, I understand the world you've built, and I can clearly picture many of the moments you've described. In this case I can accept the differences from known Roman myths and history (regular female gladiators, the grafts). Your characters feel reasonably true to the very-similar-yet-distinct version of Rome you've created. This is also worthy of note: as good as the story is, I'm content with what I get and don't need to see what Caelia does next. You've written something that provides as much backstory and just as much hint of the future as it needs to in order to be complete unto itself.

2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 28, 31, 38, 39, 42, 46, 48, 49, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 68, 71, 72, 74, 75, 76, 78, 80, 83, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 92, 93, 95, 96, 97, 99, 100, 101, 102, 104, 105, 106, 107, 109, 111, 114, 116, 117, 119, 120, 121, 122, 124, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 139, 140, 141, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 153, 154, 155, 156

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 23:19 on Mar 15, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Critiques for Weeks XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XIX, XXI, and CCXXXVII: Are You Receiving Me Clear? There's Others Out Here!

A few more old stories get their overdue due, then it's back to current events with crits for the most recent negative mentions.

Week 11: Betrayal, by Zdzislaw Beksiñski

Bad Seafood, "Rainmaker": The beauty in this is hidden under a crust of difficulty. It shouldn't take so much thought to parse it. The first line, good as it is, connects poorly at best to the rest; My love, it says, and I imagine an adult and a romance. But later the narrator reads as a child, lifted and carried by the Rainmaker. Your words paint the marksman as a mythic figure, one arrived from the dust to save the town, but then he's nothing. And as for "sewn to breed hope"--! Go back to this story now that your skill has increased. Untangle the pronouns, make the things that should flow flow, and leave the things that should be strange strange. It's potentially amazing.


Chairchucker, "Car": Thank God for you, Chairchucker, and for the groansome punchline you submitted in this grimdust week, even though it doesn't hold up to thought at all. I couldn't begin to guess why Cameron and the farmers have tied Justin up and stuffed a rag in his mouth other than to fiddle with my expectations, but more than that, how did the farmers miss the car he was driving? Did it appear amidst them one day, wearing a tag on the bumper that said Hi! I'm Justin's!? I'd laugh harder if the setup weren't so flimsy, but oh, well. I'm glad if a little surprised you didn't get smacked for this: it's not as fun as the asexual dwarf PI.


sebmojo, "White Stone Rise": Take my incredulity that your mechanics were ever this bad as a compliment. Two people talk in the fourth paragraph, and the punctuation is a sufficiently shameful hash that I hope this story looms over your head at night and whispers "Commaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas" to you until a single tear of oil and salt mars the plated plane of your face. You don't prod much at the questions of what the stone is, what it wants, or how it transforms into a cathedral. I don't mind the mystery in the first two--that's the sort of story this is, though leaving everything vague keeps the piece ephemeral. I wonder about the last. Did Slattery cut it? Maybe he should be a mason instead of a farmer, so the stone "speaking" to him first would have a sort of logic and invite questions re: how aware of the village the stone was even before it broke through.


Week 12: Hateful Protagonist

sebmojo, "Serial": Would all this cutting and hiding make more sense if I knew something about the spider in the accompanying image, I wonder. You shouldn't make me wonder that. The prompt asked for a villain the judges could hate, and for my money yours doesn't qualify: too inhuman. Too eldritch. I can't hate a spider monster the way I could a person who massaged the murderous spreadsheet and hid the bits (ha, whether you intended that to be a pun or not). The comparison to a spider is perhaps overdone when the story says again, in the last paragraph, LIKE A SPIDER, as though I might have missed it the first time. You and spiders, huh?


Week 13: Real Natural Horror

Kleptobot, "The Wrong Warzone": I thought at first it was a symptom of my overexposure to Thunderdome stories and unfair to you that I figured the opening for some sort of fake-out, but would you look at that, Kevin is indeed a nutbar murdering innocent laser-tag janitors. Lindsay's reaction of shaking her head and walking away from the corpse is remarkably blase, I must say. This PTSD story surely isn't supposed to be satirical. But the CAPSLOCK OF RAGE, the "evil shooter," and other over-the-top choices disembowel the horror you're going for, so I come away feeling like I've just watched one of Monty Python's less successful sketches.


Week 14: You Shouldn't Be Here

toanoradian, "Untitled": You delightful weirdo. Outside TD, this would make no sense. Inside TD, it makes some sense as a tiny meta story about itself. It shines as a sassy response to the word-count restriction, especially since it high-fives the prompt on its way out into the depths of spaceless space. I find I like fiction about punctuation, which says sad things about me, I'm sure, but it makes this particular ficlet a lot of fun. I still don't know what Voliun was thinking when he tried to rewrite it, though.


Week 15: Sharp Vision Sooths Strong Reaction

Noah, "Revolution": Why in the names of the holies does Thunderdome have so many stories about secret lizardmen? Is this even the first one? Lord. On my first read I felt out of the loop, so I looked up Toby Nugent. Ted Nugent's son? (Who wouldn't be called Toby, Jr., would he, since Toby isn't Ted's name?) So I'm looking at political satire, I guess. Getting so specific doesn't work in the story's favor: you're writing about a man comforting his "good" lizardman wife in the wake of an assassination that's bound to increase anti-lizardman sentiment, etc. etc., and what you're driving at comes across without you dropping a name to add an extra jab at the Nugents if the reader happens to know who they are. Despite that, this is the best secret lizardman story I've read for Thunderdome by virtue of its combined absurdity and pathos.


Week 16: Oh the weave we web

sebmojo, "Strangers when we meet": What's impressive is how much of your world and its mechanics I'm able to pick up with so little infodumping and such oblique context clues. I don't know what precisely Victoria did or why doubling the time stream was so bad, but I know she's been in exile and now is on the run from an assault on her reality by parties as capable of manipulating it as she is. Up to a point, that's all I need. But then the doubles meet, exposit--vaguely--and vanish, and while it isn't quite a To be continued ending, why did I care about any of that again? You cut too many corners in trying to fit so much story into a tight limit.


Week 19: How Deep Is My Fuckin' Love

Benagain, "Dharma": Your dudes are a shade histrionic, and I'm at a loss for why right before a bachelor party is a particularly bad time for a break up, but otherwise? Fun. The narrative voice is good. If I'm not buying the protagonist and Jack as True Love Everlasting, I do buy them as a couple of goofballs sweet on each other. That said, I'm confused about the protagonist's team. First he's grouped with a bunch of stoners who are already out of the game, then he's with Brad and his posse. Huh? Draw a clearer connection between the potheads and the rest of the guys if you ever come back to this.


Week 21: Welcome to My Sensorium

Bad Seafood, "Lighthouse": A couple of weeks' worth of luck at least must have gone into keeping this muddled opening to a story that never happens out of the DM pool. I appreciate the narrator's voice in the first couple of paragraphs; I appreciate the effort to get into the perspective of a blind man with synaesthesia, but the result is confusing, only sometimes in an artistic way. More critically, there's nothing else here! A blind man arrives at his father's house for a birthday party. That's all. I'm curious about the lives of these characters, which doesn't make me any happier that this scrap is all I get.


Week 237: A Way for the Cosmos To Know Itself

llamaguccii, "The Long-Winded Shortness of Breath": Whir is singular and should have a singular verb. Why would a being that doesn't hear sounds claim its voice squeaks and crackles? What does a plant without eyes know about sight? Your "alien" perspective--how are these things extraterrestrial?--keeps returning to human reference points, and this enhances the vibe of small bitterness it gives off, I think, because this thing is defining its existence entirely in relation to something it hates. The prose reads well to a point, but but it loses luster after it descends into a rant.


Jay W. Friks, "Loud until silent by Jay W.Friks": You know better than this title and this format. Your mechanics are also rougher than usual, to put it mildly: the first sentence is missing a hyphen, the second tells me a cloud of vaporized wood and metal ran to a cellar, the fifth uses the wrong preposition (to in place of in), the sixth is in the wrong tense (it ought to be in the past perfect, since the story opens with the trench already there), the seventh has an unattractive comma splice, the eighth has a capitalized word that shouldn't be, etc. So many errors get between a reader and a story. A lot of work lies ahead of you if you proofed this before posting and saw no problems, but my suspicion is that you didn't, which is better for you in the long term but aggravating for me in the short. The story as I understand it is that a man in Aleppo is visited by a parallel-universe alien, which abducts him, reads his mind (with his consent), and sets him down in another world that's closer to his version of paradise. The moral appears to be that bombs are bad. It's not that I disagree, but there are quiet ways of committing atrocities too, so I'm not sold on "go live where people aren't so noisy" as a good answer here; even if I were, the alien abduction is a significant distraction from the horrors-of-war theme. I'm interested in Aleppo as a setting and in Omar's perspective, but neither is used to full potential.


BeefSupreme, "More Human Than Human": I regard your shameless handwaving of critical issues of space travel, physics, and life in general through narrowed eyes, sir. At the same time--what the hell! Resource management isn't the fun part of any space sim. Alas that the glossing over of problems doesn't stop there: everything seems convenient and effortless for these refugees. I'm missing any sense of tension regarding what might happen. The blue sun frays my suspension of disbelief almost as much as the infinite food supply, and there's less excuse for it. Not all SF has to be hard, realistic SF, but this goes so far the other way that it's like a story made up off the cuff by a bored and talented child. When the danger does come, it's as ill defined as everything else. What is the Marshall clone? Why does it stab Liz? Why is the response to leave entirely without investigating the mystery, given that a planet is enormous and would offer other places to settle? Although I enjoy the character interactions before the team makes its landing, the ending is terrible--almost more so for how little Liz is hurt--and I'm not sure what the alien contact is meant to be telling me about humanity.


newtestleper, "Landings": The concept of salvaging space debris to survive, I like, and I like much of the description of Delia's interaction with the whatever-it-is, but concept and description are all that you have. What's the story, that something alien was out in the Kuiper Belt at one point? What does it say about people, that they'll keep their eyes on the prize even in the face of wonders? Touché, but that point still wants more of a story to illustrate it. You stop when you've only just started and kill your entry in the doing.

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Kaishai fucked around with this message at 09:48 on Feb 22, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
:siren: Thunderdome Recaps! :siren:

Pull up a chair at the card table and join the usual suspects in pondering the cost of Week 236: Three-Card Combo in tears and pain, to say nothing of mana. Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, Djeser, and I find much to praise in the six positive mentions of this round--one of us especially enjoys the fleshy hivemind, and I wager you'll never guess who! Alas, we're punished for our joys when we read No Gravitas's "Two peas in a pod" and uncover a heartless Jewish conspiracy.

The Japanese thought that the Russian smelled of cabbage soup. The Russian thought that the Japanese was an idiot.

Our examination of Week 237: A Way for the Cosmos To Know Itself bears out the theory that good storytelling is an alien concept to Thunderdome. Through ranting plants, mysterious meteorites, and fifty solid minutes of staring at screens we travel, only to crash-land in a tragedy of errors: Jay W. Friks' "Loud until silent by Jay W.Friks."

I fell to my knees and vomited into the intergalactic blue grass.

Episodes past can be found here!

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
(933 words)

Read it in the archive.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 21:15 on Jan 1, 2018

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Critiques for Weeks XXII, XXIII, XXIV, and CCXXXVIII: The Limericks Were a Lie

Salutations again, TD. The recap for Week 238 will go over all of that week's mentions, so here's a crit for each of them and for each of three older entries too.

Week 22: Schroedinger's Nihilarian

Beezle Bug, "Drag me Down": I'd probably like this better if it were more shown, less told, but I see what you're doing with the noir voice. There's some bloat in the fourth paragraph: "Looking back, I should have gone with her" says it all, with everything else coming across as elaboration on facts already established or implied. Your work is competent but somewhat predictable until the fetus vision--that's sharp, that's powerful, and if the whole piece had that kind of juice I imagine you could have won.



HiddenGecko, "Dem Bones, Dem Dry Boners": Here we stand, with evidence right in front of us that it is possible to go through life without hearing a dozen variations on the activities of a woman from Nantucket. I never thought this day would come. Your meter is as bonkers as your content; barman does not rhyme with bachelor, and I refuse to believe you think otherwise. Quotation marks might have made things easier to follow, maybe, a little: it looks as though in every stanza the skeleton speaks the third and fourth line, and someone else speaks the fifth, but that's a theory I'm only coming up with as I try to tease method out of the madness. For all its failures as poetry, though, there's some charm in the entry's goofy PUA skeleton. He's a good approach to non-morbid death! If you revised this into a real series of limericks, I could see it being cute in a vaguely Shel Silverstein way.


Week 24: Keyboard Kings

budgieinspector, "Mercy": The job you do of sketching a monstrous person, hinting at her depths but excusing her for nothing, is beautiful, but your ending half betrays it. Some suggestion of the forced baptism before the corpses rise would be an improvement on leaving it so late. Make the water thematic and ominous sooner; the fish is chilling, but I don't see a clear tie to Muriel's past. The story in its current form reads as though you shoved a supernatural element in to fulfill your requirement, which is a drat shame because it ought to work and probably would if it had more of an on ramp or sturdier narrative support. Your smooth writing and King-like mastery of character cause the seventeen hundred words to flow by. Write a few more!


Week 238: Lie to Me

Erogenous Beef, "Cleaner": Tense shifts, EB? From you? Some of the lapses into the present might be technically if not aesthetically defensible, but "it shouldn’t be raining" isn't. Although postprandial is a fine word by me, I'm not happy with how soon I've spotted the story's main twist: in the second section, when Charlie says the perp is taller than himself or Detective Williams but doesn't mention the narrator. Once the notion that the narrator killed Black occurs to me, I'm immediately sure it's true. Charlie's comment about fish kills only makes sense as an I-know-what-you-did message to the narrator. I didn't foresee Williams would be in on it, and that's a turn I rather like, but this business with the murder weapons confuses me. Why would a witness think the chief was killed with a knife from the front when he was stabbed in the back, after death? No. The strangled corpse wouldn't kindly stand up so Williams could put on a show. A DM is a trifle harsh, but the early reveal really does kill this one.


Chili, "On A Playground": Uh-oh. Another mystery. The puzzle of who broke the apple isn't compelling my interest; I like logic problems, but I'm here for a story. The badly punctuated dialogue (dammit, Chili!) isn't helping. Vincent's section is absurd without being funny--he talks like a high-school kid at minimum. Then Millie acts like a cloud-cuckoolander, and ughhhhh. My guess at the solution: Ms. Hellman gave Vincent the apple, possibly colluding with him; Vincent gave Connie the apple, possibly counting on Jared to be a butt about it; Jared bullied Connie, and she dropped the apple; the apple didn't break. Ms. Hellman broke the apple herself to frame Jared and get herself $15, I guess. The first part of that plan worked so poorly that I'm not sure I have the right answer. Does it even matter? The final section tells me none of this is worth caring about, so why should I bother?


Hawklad, "Journal, Pages 467-472": Chelsea may as well paste sparkly stickers that say :sparkles: HI, I'M A HUGE BITCH! :sparkles: all over that journal, that's how hard you overdo her disdain for every living thing but Jake Leibowitz. I could maybe buy it in a letter to someone else, putting up an rear end in a top hat front for inscrutable high-school reasons, but it fails as a diary entry even before you forget about that conceit. I want to like the final sequence more than I do. Although Jonah is sympathetic--a respectable feat, given givens--Chelsea's incredible bitchiness (along with the pointless bit about racism, like everybody who snaps is of course an anti-Semite) turns the situation into a cliche. The story seems to paint Jonah's actions as her fault, which, no. That isn't the case no matter how punchable she is, and the final line renders her extremely punchable.


BeefSupreme, "Faith": What a great take on the prompt. The dad is the real unreliable narrator; the son isn't, quite, because the truth leaks in through his telling until I figure I know the story--and so does he, despite himself. I agree that his blind spot is too dense for a high-school kid. The beer incident flies because the narrator was seven. How old is he supposed to have been when his father brought women to these parties? Fourteen? Fifteen? Such a level of credulousness doesn't fly at that age. It's easy to fix: have the parents break up when the narrator's maybe eight, maybe ten, and have the dad tell the "tour" lie for a few more years. The son's faith should come off as touching, troubling, and sad without making the reader wonder about his IQ.


llamaguccii, "Coping Well": There's something interesting here. The man this man/woman broods over--it probably goes without saying at this point, but I wish they had names--died, I think, either a suicide or an overdose or murdered by the narrator. I can't tell which; the ambiguity is born of how little I trust the narrator either to know the truth or tell it. That's good. I wonder too whether s/he was really such a terrible partner that s/he consciously sabotaged his/her lover and said s/he hated him, or if, in his/her grief, s/he's focusing on the worst things she did and seeing him/herself as a monster without full justification. A moot point if s/he murdered him, of course. These are the sort of questions an unreliable narrator should invite. I'm more impressed by this piece than your others that I've read (excepting maybe the fragments of your Voidmart II story), but it dwells on the relationship angst for a long time, holding a single emotional note and wearing out my interest. The car crash that probably never happened grabs my attention again, almost too late--I would like less sleepless introspection. Consider working further with this.

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Kaishai fucked around with this message at 08:57 on Mar 15, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
:siren: Thunderdome Recaps! :siren:

Thunderfiction triple feature!
A Sorceress will kill a creature.
See coolkids thrilling
Twist and Kaishai--
BeefSupreme guest stars;
Slurps make SH sigh.
Whoa oh oh oh, oh-oh-oh,
On the weekly Thunderfiction recap show.

Thunderdome tells us lies, tells us sweet little lies in Week 238: Lie to Me. Does the recap crew buy them? Well, in some cases we're too confused to have any idea of what you're saying, but I'm not sure that counts. After examining an awful lot of corpses, we skip over to elementary school and try, by means of a dramatic reading, to work out what the heck happens in Chili's "On A Playground."

“Stop giving a gently caress when you don’t need to.”

BeefSupreme joins us in examining the slow-motion footage of Week 239: Stop trying to crit me and crit me! and Week 240: These Bits Don't Ad Up. Contrivance is a major feature of the low mentions, so we talk about how much disbelief a reader should be expected to suspend before diving into combat and kinks and coolkids, oh my. Eventually we resurface to read Julias's "Black and Blues," a love letter to percussion if ever there was one.

Sharks were cool, bugs were cool, robots were cool, and the pyramids floating behind him were evidence of him making Walk like an egyptian a platinum record.

Episodes past can be found here!

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Critiques for Weeks CCXXXIX and CCXL: Kill Like an Egyptian

Sometimes reading Thunderdome is like working as a literary coroner: it's corpses everywhere you look, and the causes of death get weirder all the time.

Week 239: Stop trying to crit me and crit me!

Jay W. Friks, "Single Bedroom. Two Residents": The formatting is as bad as that of your last entry, in a different way. You've probably seen this post, but if you haven't, read it carefully. The variety in errors makes me think you're trying to do better; I'd like to see you succeed so this issue can stop plaguing you. On to the content! Your premise is that divorce proceedings are settled through fights to the death in a 1984-ish dystopia. Lucille and Morris are unhappy with life together in their small studio space, so they elect to murder each other. All right. The story needs to offer more insight into these two people to be compelling, but that's a reasonable premise for a combat-centered flash. The delivery is just so friggin' flat. You spend a lot of words on the dystopian details that don't matter, including a description of the view of the court from a helicopter, while the fight itself is made the opposite of visceral by lines like She spent a moment considering the ax--slow, inactive prose that drags what should be a fast, vicious, tense scene down to a crawl. Verbs such as deposited don't help: they're formal, clinical. There's no punch in this death match despite the blood spilled. The key to saving the concept would be to focus more on Morris and Lucille as people, so that their battle would have stakes and the reader would care about the outcome. The dystopia is a distraction: chop it, reduce it, or make it the setting of a different story.


Julias, "Black and Blues": I like what you're attempting in the first section. The mechanics of the first paragraph are a train wreck, but I get a sense of tension both on and off the stage. The hook embedded in the question of what's up with Lizzie does its job: I'm curious enough to keep reading past the too-short-and-inconsequential-to-stand-apart second section, to Samantha and Lizzie's confrontation. Here's where you lose me. Lizzie gets physical (in a poorly blocked way; you could be much clearer about what's going on) without much provocation. Then she shouts sound effects. This isn't a manga! She's a bitch for beating on someone who's showing care, and if she's so weakened by disease, I'm at a loss for how she manages to shove blunt drumsticks through a human throat. That is arguably more difficult than drilling someone in the eyes with ears of corn. It's slightly less dumb, maybe, but talk about damning with faint praise.


Week 240: These Bits Don't Ad Up

Mrenda, "Do You Trust Me?": Your protagonist should have a name. Your compound modifiers (bleach-soaked, caked-in) should have hyphens. This mysterious "test" is annoying me rather than intriguing me, and I'm remembering that your Week 229 story tried the same trick of hiding information from the reader with a similarly negative result. I'd like the story to come out and say what Nameless's deal is instead of playing coy. I'm interested in what Nick knows and what he thinks will happen, but the end of the story arrives and I'm still not sure. Nameless drugs her boyfriends and poses them in a bunch of death photos. She leaves diaries full of lies for them to find. Ultimately she kills them because--go figure why--they don't trust her; her motivation appears to boil down to just being crazy, alas. The game she and Nick play with drugs and antidotes is confusing, and it drags on a long time. The "revelation" that she's a murderous psycho is anticlimactic.


Chili, "No Shirt? No Shoes? A Gun Will Do.": WTF, man? Two robbers hold up a convenience store with very little trouble from the customers, and without camera surveillance--a WTF point in itself. They think the clerk is a drug dealer, but he's trying to help his son. This triggers the robber who's probably been abused by his own dad into blaming the son's problems entirely on the father and breaking the clerk's teeth for the heinous sin of calling the robber "Champ." (Also a little WTF, but okay, people say strange things when guns are pointed at their heads.) That Michael chooses to shoot his ally to protect a relative stranger is a decent enough plot twist, but don't drop the mic and run away. Take a longer look at why Michael had to do that, at what his relationship to Jake had been, at the chaos in his mind now. You need introspection and/or more exploration of Jake and Michael's partnership for his choice to be truly wrenching.


Jay W. Friks, "As Cool as Slate": You start calling your main character "Eyeliner girl" partway through the story, and that's both distracting and silly, but then silly is such an accurate description of the whole piece that maybe I shouldn't get hung up on particulars. Points to you--seriously--for trying something different. I strongly suspect you're stabbing at humor here, what with the way you don't reinterpret your image so much as fling it into the story in all its glory. The moment when Chad Derringer first appears does a sweet skateboard flip right into the so-bad-it's-great zone. Unfortunately, most of the goofy elements come off as randomness for the sake of randomness, so your basic idea of an Ur Coolkid stealing souls to power his immortal tubularity is weighed down by moments, lines, and images that want to be funny but aren't. That's all without getting into the too-long word count or the lack of an ending. Those last points surely gave the judges little choice but to send you to the block, though between you and me, I kind of love this work's insane and pyramidal heart.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Violet Fire
(1,476 words)
Music genre: Didgeridoo

Read it in the archive.

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 21:18 on Jan 1, 2018

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
What Music He Makes
(500 words)
Credit goes to Cezar and Romania for "It's My Life."

It was noon in Australia, and Falsetto Dubstep Dracula was safe in the caverns of Coober Pedy, where tailors were replacing the diamonds of his glorious robe with opals for his performance that night at the Sydney Opera House. "I wish you could do something for my dancers," he rumbled. His voice in that moment was a rich baritone. "The bodysuits, if they were set with garnets--"

"You want Queensland for that, mate," said a tailor.

But dusk fell as the task was finished, so Falsetto Dubstep Dracula had no time for Queensland. He rose from the underground town and flew through the darkening sky toward the adulation that awaited him. His skirts trailed through the outback's dust, yet dirt could neither mar their splendor nor lessen his.

The ground below was flat, featureless, and nearly the same color as the billowing cloth he used in his concerts for a pool of blood. No one writhed under that surface, in bodysuits or otherwise. Scarce animals bounded and slithered over it instead. They became less scarce as Falsetto Dubstep Dracula floated over the land. Drawn to his charisma, the kangaroos and wallabies, the dingos, the platypi, the echidnas, and eighty million varieties of incredibly deadly snake gathered around him, their eyes reflecting the glow that shone from his opals and his pecs.

Falsetto Dubstep Dracula saw the heat-seared vista for what it was: a stage.

"Love is so bright," he began. "Like a diamond in the light...."

His deep voice caressed the land, pulling wombats from their burrows and koalas from their trees many, many miles away. Even the kookaburras shut up for a second to listen. The creatures lay still, waiting; they knew not for what.

"Love is so deep, and it makes my life complete. Like a mountain in the sky--"

Lightning cracked as the heavens themselves felt the tension.

"Love is high, so hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh!"

Meteors fell! The stars blazed bright! Roos leapt in nature's choreographed dance as baritone spiraled into countertenor, and the warble called each living thing to rejoice! Falsetto Dubstep Dracula sang, and most of the world's marsupials responded with gyrations that shamed mere mortal man. Native bats spiraled around him. They recognized their king.

WUB! WUB! WUB! Far didgeridoos paid him homage.

Higher and higher, Falsetto Dubstep Dracula's voice rose. Higher and higher, his body ascended. He became a mountain on that barren plain, towering in glory. The fires that burst from the ground as he threw out his arms hurt no animal, such was his power, and even when the emus threw themselves into the flames in rapture, they emerged again alive and covered in sparks of light.

It could not last forever. Nothing so beautiful ever does. In the end, the final note spread across Australia like a blanket of divine, flamboyant grace, and all who heard it carried it in their hearts until and beyond death.

Falsetto Dubstep Dracula drifted on, satisfied with his warm-up performance.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.
Thunderdome Week CCXLIII: We Are the Heroes of Our Time

Judges: Kaishai and Bad Seafood.

I've won at a special time of year, which can mean only one thing: Thunderdome returns to the Eurovision Song Contest this week for another dose of spectacle, sensation, and sexophone! I'm not kidding about that last one. Sunstroke Project is returning to represent Moldova. What a time this is to be alive.

Your task is to select a video from the roster linked above--or you may prefer to rummage through the 2017 playlist. Either way, pick a song no one else has taken, announce your choice when you sign up, then write a story that relates to it in some way. The tune, the lyrics, the costumes, and everything else about the performance are all potential fodder for your imagination. Now, perhaps you're saying to yourself, "None of this year's ballads excite me. Can I ask the judges to assign me something?" Of course you can! As long as you aren't afraid of the Turkish Manboat, this is a perfectly valid strategy.

:siren: Note: :siren: Moldova is an exception to the first-come-first-serve rule. As many of you can try to outperform SkaAndScreenplays on the epic sax as so desire.

There's one further twist. Your entries must address a theme: Family is more than blood.

No fanfiction, no nonfiction, no erotica, no poetry, no GoogleDocs, and no booing the Russians.

Sign-up deadline: Friday, March 31, 11:59pm USA CENTRAL
Submission deadline: Sunday, April 2, 11:59pm USA CENTRAL
Maximum word count: 1,200

:eurovision: Participating Countries: :eurovision:

Ironic Twist (France): "Fell"
SurreptitiousMuffin (West Germany 1979): "wherever the river ran"
sparksbloom (Belarus 2016)
flerp (Germany 2016)
Chili (Montenegro): "Rocket to the Stars"
Thranguy (United Kingdom 2007): "There Are Stories of the Dutchman"
BeefSupreme (Turkey 2012): "Love Me Back"
Sailor Viy (Armenia 2009): "Deucalion's Brood"
Uranium Phoenix (Belgium): "The Roar of Wind and War"
SkaAndScreenplays (Moldova 2011; Flash rule: One of your characters must be illiterate.)
Okua (Austria 2007): "A Ripple In The Water"
SkaAndScreenplays (again) (Moldova)
Chairchucker (Switzerland 2007): "The Undeath of the Party"
The Cut of Your Jib (Iceland): "In a Young Girl's Heart"
crabrock (Latvia 2008)
Djeser (Poland 2014): "Z jeziora"
The Saddest Rhino (Denmark 2007): "Five Facts on the Death of Signora Reina Del Teatrale"
Ceighk (Latvia 2014): "Midsummer's Eve"
sebmojo (Russia 2012)
Mrenda (Ireland): "All I Want At My Age Is A Place To Sit" (Submitted past the deadline)

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 23:55 on Apr 3, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

I am IN hit me with the craziest poo poo you've got. Last time it was Jedward and that was NOT EUROVISION ENOUGH I MUST HAVE the craziest most Euro-vision-ist poo poo

Heathen! Take West Germany 1979: Dschinghis Khan - "Genghis Khan" and repent your blasphemy!

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 05:51 on Mar 28, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

sparksbloom posted:

In. :toxx: Please flash me something (in)appropriately bonkers.

Kindly do the justice to Belarus 2016: IVAN - "Help You Fly" that the contest itself so cruelly denied it.

flerp posted:

choose me a song as long as it doesnt involve moustaches tia

I can think of no one better suited to Germany 2016: Jamie-Lee - "Ghost."

Thranguy posted:

in and give me something really strange.

Welcome aboard Eurovision Airlines! Please fasten your safety belt and prepare for the in-flight movie, United Kingdom 2007: Scooch - "Flying the Flag."

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 06:40 on Mar 28, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

BeefSupreme posted:

I leave my fate IN the hands of the blood throne

I trust Turkey 2012: Can Bonomo - "Love Me Back" to you. Don't let the Turkish Manboat down.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Sailor Viy posted:

In, please give me a song.

Gladly! Don blue velvet and join Armenia 2009: Inga & Anush - "Jan Jan" on stage.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

SkaAndScreenplays posted:

With Moldova 2K11

Zdob si Zdub - So Lucky (Moldova)

Kaishai posted:

Your task is to select a video from the roster linked above

However, far be it from me to stop someone from writing about the Moldovan lawn gnomes--so your choice can stand, but you get a punitive :siren: flash rule. :siren: One of your characters must be illiterate.

Okua posted:

I love Eurovision, count me IN.
And give me a song.

To my surprise, there were at least two songs in 2007 making memorable use of the phrase Get alive. One of them is yours! Austria 2007: Eric Papilaya - "Get a Life - Get Alive."

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 15:47 on Mar 28, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

SkaAndScreenplays posted:

Also gently caress-it. I'm all IN for Moldova and I'll take Sunstroke Project - Hey Mama for a second entry: with a :toxx: to pull off 2 submissions.

Man, you keep pairing things I wouldn't normally allow with awesome Moldovan videos. All right. Your vow is witnessed. But! :siren: Moldova 2017 is an exception to the one-entrant-per-video rule. :siren: Anyone else may claim it too and fight you for supremacy.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Chairchucker posted:

Hook me up with a song pls

In your capable hands I place Switzerland 2007: DJ BoBo - "Vampires Are Alive."

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

crabrock posted:

i'm back. give me a song.

Huzzah! Let the jovial Latvia 2008: Pirates Of The Sea - "Wolves Of The Sea" welcome you home.

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Djeser posted:

In. Give me a song.

I present you with the favorite of the United Kingdom televote: Poland 2014: Donatan & Cleo - "My Słowianie - We Are Slavic."

Kaishai fucked around with this message at 08:00 on Mar 30, 2017

Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

The Saddest Rhino posted:

in, give me the flash kaishai

Will Denmark 2007: DQ - "Drama Queen" be enough flash for you?


Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

Ceighk posted:

in and song me

Somehow, I hear Latvia 2014: Aarzemnieki - "Cake To Bake" calling your name.

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