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Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

I like this poem and I like our archivist, so here's a reading for Kaishai's "Favor Fortune"


Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Sign ups are closed.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Part 2 of my King in Yellow crits includes "Carcosa" by Captain_indigo, "His name was Natale" by Deltasquid, and "Sleep Song Somniloquy" by magnificent7.

Stay tuned for more.

Previous crits can be found here

Sep 12, 2015


Reset Button

2018 Words

18 December 2007 3:22 AM

drat it.”

A cat darted out from behind the repulsive alley dumpster and into the dark yet busy street in the distance ahead as the man kicked an empty tuna can. As it rebounded with an audible snap against the graffitied wall, the drunk but well-dressed businessman paid no attention to the scuttling and scurrying in the shadowed edges of the passage.

“That gree-hic-dy bastard” David grumbled, his voice gravelly and hoarse from the bottles of gin and hours of cigar smoke that still wafted from the seedy bar behind him. “Why the gently caress would you do this to me Gary?” his slurred and barely coherent sentence rose to a shout, and his loafers began to lose purchase on the slick pavement as he tossed his hands upward in exasperation. Losing his balance, the drunkard fell to the side against the brick wall, where he slid slowly into a crouched position.

David's head spun lazily, his consciousness drifting about aimlessly through a sea of loathing and anxiety. Islands of memory rose up momentarily only to be buried again by self-pity and denial. The tear-stained letter his wife had left him two days ago, clothes gone; the confessional was still vaguely scented like the peppermint hand-lotion he'd given her at Christmas. Gary, the marketing partner he'd trusted with tracking the holiday reports, which the fraud had embezzled, but not before setting David himself up as the fall guy. Somewhere in the distance was the wail of sirens and seemingly far off screams, but he couldn't open his eyes. Even as he felt someone fumbling with his coat, his dazed stupor refused to let him respond.

Not that he was too concerned or surprised, anyway. There were nightly shootings and frequent muggings in the Santro district; he'd processed enough insurance claims at the firm to know that he was taking a gamble drinking here this late, but he wanted to avoid the stares of his former colleagues now that he'd been fired. But let them take his wallet for all he cared; he'd spent his last bill on the dregs of the martinis he'd drained earlier, and his wife had taken the cards as they were all in her name. Honestly, he half expected some altercation that night and the liquid bravado had numbed him to the dangers. What he hadn't expected however, was someone to gently shake him awake while calling his name.

“Daaavid... Daaaaaaavid...”

The voice was at once both soothing and sobering. The warm breath against his ear intrigued him, but it was the chill of the long fingers that cupped his face that brought him back to conscious thought. For a split second, as David's bleary eyes first opened, he felt his breath catch as he saw a pair of glinting black pits which struck him with visceral terror. As he blinked again, however, he saw instead the soft gray eyes set in the smiling face of a middle-aged gentleman. He was clad in deep blue evening wear, and even in David's inebriated state he could tell the graying haired man was out of place. The initial revulsion was gone, quickly replaced by a wierd feeling of nostalgia. Had he thought before that the man's touch was cold? Surely not, his hand was smooth and warm like a shield against the mid-winter chill.

“How... how do you know...”, he began dreamily, but was cut off with a gentle hushing sound from the gentleman as he released him and stood up to his full height.

“I know all about you Mr. Lancet, of 46 Redwood Street. Happy belated birthday, by the way.” the man said cheerily in a light Irish accent.

Confused, David shook his head and looked up again, seeing the gentleman wave his wallet and Driver's License back and forth as if waving hello.
“That said,” the man mused as he slipped the wallet back into the now soiled suit-jacket David had grabbed in a daze that morning, “ I doubt it was a very good one.”

No poo poo, man. I'm sitting here in a grimy alley at 3 am on a Tuesday. You're a real psychic, aren't ya? David opened his mouth to tell him off, but was interrupted by the Irishman's bellowing laughter.

“Oh David, I'm not a psychic, but I think you're going to want me to stay right where I am.” The man dabbed at his eyes with a light blue handkerchief he produced from his pocket, the outburst dying to a small chuckle. In their current positions the gentleman towered over him, and his warm grin seemed impossibly wide from such an angle. “After all, we've met before, and I have another gift for you.”

“It... it ain't my birthday no more,” David said lamely as he attempted to rise from the ground, but with his still head pounding fiercely he slid back down. “And who the hell are you?”

“Who I am and who my employer may be isn't what's important here. What is important is that you're a lucky man, David. In fact, it would not be inaccurate to say you have the chance of a lifetime right now.”

Despite the intensifying migraine, David knew a hackneyed pitch when he heard one and he eyed the tall man suspiciously.

“You have the opportunity, for a nominal fee, to reset the last 72 hours of your destiny.” the Irishman said as if by rote, his demeanor now void of humor and suddenly firm and professional. “You will retain no memory of this transaction, but you can make one change within scope of your direct choices. When you awaken you will continue through your life under slightly different circumstances until the change occurs, and your new destiny will unfurl after. When the 72 hours are up I'll find you again.”

“Slightly different circumstances? What does that mean?”

“Well, in order to change your fate we may have to alter the playing field. Rest assured, the outcome you ask for will be guaranteed.” He smiled widely at this, a perfect set of white teeth shining in the early morning dark.

David's suspicion mounted as he considered his mulled over what the man had said. He'd certainly never met this person in his life, and what he was offering was ridiculous. He's just crazy, David reasoned. But if not...

“What could it hurt, right?” the gaunt man said, finishing David's thought for him. “That's the spirit, m'boy!

David stared at him for a moment incredulously. “You're a nutjob. This makes no drat sense. What, are you going to ask for my soul or something?”

The gentleman began to laugh again, but this time it seemed hollow, without any mirth. “No, nothing so esoteric as your soul. Time, that's the market we're in. To be precise, 25% of your remaining lifespan, however long it may be, taken upfront. With an additional 10% of your original lifespan for every reset thereafter. There's just one catch. I can't reveal how many times you've already taken the deal when I offer. Including this one. Still quite a bargain, if I say so myself, and hell, you said so yourself last time!”

Closing his eyes, David shuddered and shook his head as a wave of uncertainty flowed through him. He wasn't stupid, he'd read Faust before and Devil or not there were consequences to deals like this. Perhaps he should just get some sleep. Hell, maybe he was asleep already.

“How about I sweeten the deal? You've been such a good client I'd hate to lose you now.” the man began to tap his foot impatiently, looking out toward the road just a few feet away. “ Last time you reset your timeline, we were in the burn ward of Briar General Hospital while you slipped in and out of consciousness. You'd been promoted to partner of the firm, as per your request, and were celebrating in your favorite bar uptown with your wife.”

Suddenly, David felt his skin broil and his muscles spasm as pain shot through his entire body. For a moment he was in a blazing hell, florescent lights above him blaring white as the smell of burning flesh and antiseptic flooded his nostrils. Then in a flash it was over, his body limp upon the filthy ground in the back alley once more.

“You were much quicker to agree to my terms back then, of course,” the gentleman giggled a bit at this, hands now clasped before him, thin wrists resting above the waistband of his trousers.
“But I delivered dutifully. Now here you are, a little lighter in the income and heavier in the soul, but safe and sound behind a different bar on a different street. Just listen to those sirens!”

Sure enough the sirens David heard earlier continued in the background, the acrid scent of smoke beginning to drift into the alley from some far off fire. David mulled the options over in his mind, adrenaline pumping through him and clearing his head. “Wait,” he said cautiously, finally standing up to face the now frowning Irishman before him. “So you're the reason I got fired? drat it, Clara left me after that! Why would you do that to me?”

“Hey now, I only did what you asked. I set things in motion so you wouldn't head to that bar. I never said how it'd come to pass. Be more specific this time.”

“Well why the hell shouldn't I just walk away right now? This deal is bullshit!” David asked, anger seeping into his voice as his breathing quickened.

The Irishman gave a deep, heaving sigh and gestured toward the smoky street. “Be my guest. After you leave my line of sight you'll forget we ever met, and this offer will be gone permanently. We do have other clients waiting after all. But are you really satisfied with the destiny you have now? It could get better, you know.”

David steeled himself and spoke again, the burning rage within him making each word ring out loudly in the cramped corridor, “Go to hell, and leave me alone, I don't need you anymore!” and with that he sprinted past the now sullen gentleman and into the orange glow of the streetlamp. As he kept moving down the busy street he slowed first to a jog, then to a steady walk. He struggled to remember how he'd gotten to the street he was on, but drew a blank. After a few minutes his thoughts shifted to the lousy day he'd been having. And how at that moment he'd love to have the chance to hit the reset button. He kept this morose train of thought even as the taxi picked him up and took him away uptown.


19 December 2007 8:16PM

Gary contentedly gazed out of his office window as the sun set behind the city skyline, fingers absently drumming across the lacquered teak. Stretching tall and yawning he almost didn't notice the reflection of the gray haired man standing in the doorway.

“Oh Gary, m'lad, its time to pay your due.” the light Irish voice drifted in cheerily.

Confused, he whipped around and came face to face with a tall figure dressed in a formal blue suit. But he barely noticed the attire, all he could focus on were the sullen dark holes that flickered with light in what could loosely be called a face. The skin was cracked and stretched around the lips, upturned in a caricature of a grin that betrayed multiple rows of needle-like teeth. He began to scream but a spindly hand shot out and covered his mouth before a sound could escape. In that moment, Gary remembered his deal. And in that panic stricken second before he stopped breathing he recalled what the man said before he'd gotten the promotion he longed for.

“Time, that's the market we're in. There's only one catch, I can't tell you how long you've got left.”

Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

Time, Fast and Slow
1559 words

It was a warm summer night when Liam first met Yvette. She sat at a corner table in the tavern where he worked, alone, travel bag at her feet. She watched the other drinkers warily, eyes hidden by a waterfall of raven black hair. Liam immediately wanted to talk to her, but Gerald stopped him, saying she was a witch, dangerous, and best left alone until she moved onto the next village.

After the tavern closed Liam made his way home under a sky blanketed with stars. A lone figure stood on the stone bridge over the river that bisected the village, black hair shining in the moonlight.

“My name’s Liam,” he said, extending his hand. She raised her eyebrows in surprise, two sharp arches over dark eyes.

“Didn’t they warn you not to talk to me?” she said. “I’m a witch.”

“I think you’re beautiful,” he replied.

She hesitated, but there was no trace of guile in his boyish face. “Yvette,” she said, accepting the offer of his outstretched hand.

The few days Yvette had planned to stay in the village stretched into weeks under the hot summer sun. Liam never asked where she was from or where she was going, happy just to be with her. He never noticed the sideways glances from the other villagers or the cruel comments whispered behind hands.

For once, for a moment, Yvette was happy. But she knew that, just as summer’s peaceful days would give way to Autumn’s cold nights, such a perfect moment in time couldn’t last. Soon enough Liam’s youthful affection would wane, or someone would fall sick and the villagers would blame her, or some other calamity would occur, and she would, as always, have to leave.

Liam was late home on the night he planned to propose to Yvette. He went to collect the ring he had had made for her, and the congratulatory glass of mead the smith pressed upon him quickly turned into another, then another.

The moon was up by the time he arrived home, in high spirits. Yvette was sitting on the threshold of their hut, crying. She was holding a crumpled letter, the ink running where her tears had soaked the paper.

“My grandmother is dying,” she said. “I must leave, tonight. I have been waiting for you for hours, where have you been?”

Liam’s head was swimming from the mead. He fingered the ring in his pocket. “You can’t leave, I need you here!” he said. He realised, as if waking from a dream, that he didn’t even know she had a grandmother.

“Curse you Liam,” Yvette said, her voice hard with anger even as tears rolled down her cheeks. “You think that time flows at your own pace, well it doesn’t, and it won’t wait for me, or for you.” She stood abruptly, swinging her travelling bag, already packed and waiting by her feet, onto her back.

“Wait!” he cried, as she strode off down the path away from the village.

Liam ran after her, but, impossibly, she was already far ahead. She was only walking but no matter how fast he ran she was always moving faster, the distance between them growing. Liam’s rapid breaths sounded loud and slow in his ears, and his legs wouldn’t move right, as if he were wading through deep mud. He could see the moon moving across the sky, much faster than it should, the stars blurring as if they had all turned into comets. He watched, helpless, as Yvette disappeared into the forest beyond the village’s fields.


“She cursed me you know,” muttered Liam into his mead. He was drinking with his friend Alfie in Gerald’s tavern, wasting the last of his coins. “It’s like time is working against me, the more I hurry the faster it goes, that’s why I’m always late.”

Alfie rolled his eyes. Liam had been like this ever since Yvette left. All autumn he’d been late for work, until Gerald eventually fired him. Alfie and his other friends had tried to help Liam out with odd jobs, but he never finished anything on time, despite his protestations that he was working as fast as he could. Now, with winter upon them, the villagers’ patience was wearing thin.

“I have to find Yvette,” Liam insisted. “Tell her I’m sorry. Make her lift this curse.”

“Sounds like you’re looking for a witch,” said a lone traveller, leaning over from the neighbouring table.

“Yes!” Liam replied.

“I know where one lives. Buy me a round and I’ll tell you how to get there,” the traveller said. Liam pulled out the last of his coins as Alfie shook his head and moved away.

“I passed through a village with a witch a few weeks ago, to the east of here. There were all sorts of stories about her, and they said she would only see people on the first day after a full moon,” the traveller said, settling down to enjoy his ale.

Liam knew it was foolish to set out during the winter, but with a chance to find Yvette he refused to wait. Besides, with no work and no coin, he had few options.


Liam lined up a small deer with his bow. Carefully, carefully he drew back the string. drat, he thought, as the arrow hit the deer’s shoulder blade. He jumped up from his hiding place, desperate to reach the wounded animal before it recovered from the shock and bolted. As he leapt forward the snowflakes, which had been drifting leisurely down, started rushing towards the ground. Liam ran, but the deer moved impossibly fast, disappearing between the trees before he could get anywhere near it. The snowflakes resumed their leisurely pace as he sank onto his hands and knees in the snow.

Liam was starving. For weeks he had walked from village to village, following the traveller’s directions, begging scraps to eat and sheltered places to sleep. He finally saw the witch’s village late one afternoon, a snowstorm snapping at his heels, and he hurried to reach the village before the storm arrived. But time sped up with him, the sun rushing to set and the storm blowing in unnaturally fast, and it was late at night by the time he stumbled into the village’s inn, frozen and exhausted.

“I need to see the witch,” Liam gasped to the innkeep.

The innkeep looked with pitty at the shivering boy before him. “Tonight’s the full moon, so she’ll see you tomorrow, although I don’t know what you could possibly want with that old hag.”

“Old?” said Liam. “Is she not a young woman, about my age?”

“Lad she was ancient when I was a boy, she could be a hundred years old by now. But come, warm yourself. I can see you’ve not got a penny on you but you can sleep there, by the fire.”

Liam lay on the hard flagstones, grateful to be inside. He dreamed of Yvette, running ahead of him down a path, black hair flying out behind her. He was reaching out, could almost touch her, but she was too far away, always too far away, and his fingers closed on empty air.


At dawn Liam began his slow walk up to the witch’s house in the woods outside the village, determined not to let the curse make him late. The melting snow turned the path into deep mud which dragged at his feet, and the sun was starting to sink by the time the humble wooden building came into view between the trees.

Liam knocked on the door, tentatively first, then, when there was no answer, pounding on it, yelling in frustration. The house was empty. Was he too late? Dammit, he thought, it’s not fair, the sun is still up, surely he had gotten here in time?

Liam sat down in the clearing beside the house, leaning his back against the trunk of a tree. He tipped his head back and gazed up between the branches, dotted with the first green buds of spring. The evening sun was warm on his face, and small birds swooped through the clearing, chasing insects.

He had nowhere to go and no idea how to find Yvette. He was starving and filthy. But for the moment, in this moment, that didn’t matter. He simply sat, enjoying the warmth of the sun. Everything slowed. He could see each individual flap of the birds’ wings as they swam lazily through the air in front of him, their black eyes focussed on their tiny buzzing prey.

From behind the house came the sound of women’s voices, startling him. The birds swooped away between the trees.

Yvette rounded the corner of the house, arm in arm with an elderly woman.

“Liam!” she cried, running over to him. “How… Why are you here?”

“I’m sorry I never asked about your grandmother,” said Liam, tears making tracks through the dirt on his face.

Yvette let out a deep sigh and sat down next to him, gently leaning her shoulder against his. The sun’s descent towards the horizon slowed, and the golden light that bathed the clearing remained still. Insects flew dreamily past, as if drifting on the slow moving air. Yvette and Liam sat talking, heads close together, like they had all the time in the world.

Jan 21, 2010

Lipstick Apathy

Slice of life
2010 words


derp fucked around with this message at Feb 13, 2018 around 19:52

May 31, 2007

im doin it ma im writing


TD Week 282 Crits

A reminder that YOU didn't fail this week and you are probably a better writer than the angry anime avatar.


Huh, neat way to start your story. You don't have as much as a conflict as a mystery, why was he auto amputated. I kind of dislike how you end the first scene, It might come off as a cop out for your first sentence, but it makes sense after you read further in.

In your second scene you try for prose. You hit a few good notes here. You introduce "the voice" (which will be explained later) but we don't know that yet. I thought it was his inner monologue. Also you have a weird thing here, They operated on the arm, above the absence. That's an odd sentence and doesn't read right. Overall the second scene starting to confuse me.

You explain things in the third scene and things start to click together. You cover a lot of ground here and quickly, which is good because there is a bit of "Fridge logic" in your story. Your prose continues to do just okay, you really allude to symmetry and it seems to be a theme.

The fourth scene is odd. It's a happy ending but a lot of questions are unanswered. Why did the protag have to cut off his left arm? Was the voice stronger with the left arm? The voice seems to want to kill the protag, so why is the voice upset about losing the left arm? Why is the mom oddly cool with this? Why did the protag suddenly gain the strength to stop listening to the voice? What was up with symmetry? Why was it important? The fourth scene is unsatisfying because it ends the story without really answering a lot of the questions we might have at this point.

Overall: This piece showed promise, it has hints of a theme about symmetry, dual forces at work but fails to deliver. There are way too many questions unanswered. Medium.

Letter from a concerned colleague (#1231)

Allright, you modified your starting sentence which goes against the prompt. Instant DM, crit don- Wait vampires!

AWW YEAH vampires in brooklyn. This is defintely my shi- annnd they are dead by the 3rd sentence. So now we have a guy talking about the cleanup and well.. hmm. Your letter format isn't bad but there are a few times where you get away from the letter format and put in some prose. I don't think a military report would have that kind of stuff in it.

But yeah, good dialogue, it's quick and fast. I didn't bump or trip over anything and got to the end, kudos to you! I kind of don't buy the "MOTHER" thing, I see what you were going for. The crater seems to take the dreams of people, or nightmares and make them manifest. I dunno why they would call the guy "MOTHER" and you don't actually have your protag write that that is the theory in your story.

Your ending wobbles a bit, since it seems the crater only targets site managers? I still get what you were going for. It kind of feels like the sphere (1998 movie about an alien artifact that does the same thing) but eh.

Overall: I enjoyed this story, flowed well. Letter format is odd and I think the protag wouldn't write like that in a story. Medium-High/High (Though it did break the prompt rules,)

Brad Henessey

Im a bit torn. This piece does a GREAT job at world building and keeping things behind a curtain, but not annoying the reader. There are several situations that are never fully explained, did Brad gain his powers or did the MAN muck with his brain. Why is brad being watched, what happens if he trangresses? These questions are never answered but it doesn't matter because they aren't the story.

All while the world is being built we get tense, much like our protagonist. Something bad is going to happen, that's the "draw" in this story. And it does a great job building tension, keeping me intrigued.

Then brad goes to his appointment and the story just... losses a lot of that built up tension. Poof, heck even brad himself mentions he doesn't need to be here. I mean it's a moment in Brad's life, that is interesting but uhhh, why is this scene in your story? Especially with the tension you built up and the world building.

Overall: An enjoyable piece that just does a great job with the start. Tension builds up, world is described, events are hidden from the reader, but loosely explained. I enjoyed this up to the moment Brad said he could skip the appointment. The story still went along, giving us characterization. Medium-High/High.

In the Blood

Great loving start, just freaking great. This is how you get my attention. It continues onward at a good clip and then the reveal is done well, not too gimmicky not too flashy. It hits well too and is easy to understand. I think the bomb is the priests own faith disappearing, the ending wobbles a bit. To be honest you use great imagery, but mentioning the bomb thing at the start and then having it fizzle at the end is a bit dissapointing.

Still a great piece!

Minor Grammar thing, is breathe by breathe or is it breath by breath?

Overall: A great piece that gets a lot done in its short word count. Wobbles a bit at the ending, but is still a great story. High

Hope Springs Eternal

The start is okay. We have Magic Olympics, so let's do this. I feel like the next paragraph does a better job drawing me in, it does some world building, we suddenly have MAGIC SOLDIERS and get to know Ernest a bit better. Shame that Ernest himself is a jerk and slowly devolves into an unlikeable, maybe cliched, soldier character? By the end of the story Ernest hasn't gone through some character development, which I might of liked a bit more. Ernest is a strong component in this story, we get to know his backstory and flaws and doing all that in a low word count is impressive!

I also think some purplish prose, or more memorable magic scenes would of been better. Like if its magic maybe having "He summoned a platoon of soldiers" could of been described or written better. It's magic, gotta make it show. Also you do tell us a few things, but you don't overstay your welcome (Im thinking how ernest loses, we are simply told that Clive's magic is better for.. reasons?)

Hmm, reading over this is this an analogy for TD?

Minor Grammar thing: A prodigy who had been a competiting?

Overall: A good story that needed flavor or prose to stand out. Medium.


Hah, good start that conveys a lot in 3 sentences. Peter suddenly becomes a character instead of a bad sentence. And there are a lot of contradictions in this story "It was a perfect day, cold as hell, rain in the forecast." I think you are taking the starting sentence of your story and running with it.

And much like the protagonists of your story you run right into the ocean and leave me confused. I think your all theme and flerpy feeling in this story, dealing with surreal issues that I can't grab onto. When I read this piece I feel like Peter is fighting something, trying to discover something but I have nothing solid to grasp.

All in all I'm confused. By the time they come back from the ocean we get on more stable land (hehe, see as I do more puns in this crit) and something starts to form, but then the story ends.

It's a shame because you had me with something, like your theme of contradictions and peter mixes very well. Unfortunately without anything to grab onto , no conflict and Peter reacting (rather than deciding), it's all formless.

Overall: A story that focuses more on theme and kind of ran with it into the ocean. Reader leaves confused. Middle-Low

From Below

Neat, i want to know more about Asa. Good starting 2nd paragraph, first paragraph is meh, 2nd paragraph is great! MURDER, REVENGE, Im in! This is good, really good. I don't understand a few things, like the father going airborne by jumping but meh, whatever. The story keeps a good pace

Overall: An interesting character dive wrapped around MURDER AND REVENGE. High

Beautiful and Terrible As the Dawn

This start is weird, lot of ideas condensed in the start. Second paragraph continues to layer on complex ideas. You don't really expand on any of these ideas, and by the fourth paragraph I'm confused and am getting tired of being told things. Yeah, there is just way too much going on here. Every paragraph introduces a neat, cool idea that needs to be explained, otherwise the reader gets confused. There is SUDDENLY MURDER, SUDDENLY DEMOCRATIC SEX, SUDDENLY 9 PEOPLE CONTROLLING ONE CONSCIENCESS, SUDDENLY GEO-POLITICAL CONFLICTS.

Overall: Way to many ideas in this story and the reader isn't given enough time to recover from each idea. Middle-Low.


Start is.. okay. There is an attempt at prose here that didn't affect me "He ignores her scrutinising, judgement eyes, with the brows all furrowed, and the yaw of the blah blah"

I dig your start, as soon as he says he deserves his dear old flesh. I smell a MYSTERY abound!

By the fifth paragraph I'm.. amused and confused. I wanna know whats in the packet, you keep talking about it and Im slowly getting confused. I'm gonna pretend it's Ben's testicles.

And I now know the twist and uhhh.. yeah. Yeah this is bad. Throwing everyone for one joke in IRC, or something mentioned in IRC, is something I can get behind! It's not a good idea, nor will it make a good story but good job!

Ill be honest, even without the "IRC JOKE" strategy I think you need to clean up the start of the story. It's very confusing what Ben is ranting and raving about and it goes on to long. You try some jokes , some land some don't. (I liked "The rules didn't apply anymore joke").

Overall: The author puts everything into one hellmary of a strategy, using an IRC joke as the twist for this story. It fails. LOW


Yet the lowlands were not so deluged is a sentence. A bad sentence. Hmm, I'm wondering if your protagonist is the lowlands itself.

Nope, that's not it. So the whole stich is that the lowlands are flooding and I'm gonna say BAD use of rule of three. I don't need three people telling their story about how they told the protagonist not to build here, or at least not as long. Then the story goes to crazy town and he gets beaten, goes to his wife, offers his belongings to people. What was the point of all that? I don't get it.

Man, lot of things happen in this story in one sentence. SUDDENLY BEATING, SUDDENLY AGATHA IS DEAD. The problem is these are big events and they just..

And now the protagonist is committing suicide. Good riddance you unlikable protagonist.

Like, not a lot happens in this story, and the protagonist just reacts. The only thing the protagonist did was offer his belongings to people and that went to poo poo. This is dull story with no conflict and a bad resolution.

Overall: A dull story with a dull protagonist, LOW

In Veritas

Hell yeah great start. I'm in lets hear more about the tweed coat boy, also why is he wearing a gown?

This dragon is a bit of an rear end in a top hat and you write him well. He might be cliched but he's not unlikeable. And then the boy responds and suddenly man's the gently caress up? And pulls an encyclopedia brown? What?

Okay this boy character is weird, but I love that he says loving lizard. Heck yeah go after that dragon.

Annnnd reality ensues. Kind of. This is an odd story, the boy character is the worst part of this story. Going from crying, to suddenly competent, to suddenly a threat and then, finally, to ash is bad, especially because there are wide jumps in attitude changes with no explanation.

Overall: A story about a Dragon punking out a kid, with odd attitude jumps. WINNER of the "God-drat it flerp ending" award. Medium-Low

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

As we all wake up from our sparkly holiday hangovers, it's time to start thinking about the new year and new beginnings. Many of us have all agonized over the perfect first sentence to our next works of staggering genius, so as a New Year's gift, I'm going to be giving you the first sentences of your story! But, y'know, we live in the darkest timeline, and that means you don't get good first sentences. Your task will be to create good prose from sublimely bad starts.

When you sign up for this week, pick a basic fiction genre (SF, Fantasy, Mystery/Crime, etc.), or "non-genre" if you're feeling indecisive and want something with no implied genre. I'll assign you a sentence or short passage from the Lyttle Lytton contest, a contest that collects attempts to write the worst possible opening to an imaginary novel. You must begin your story with the Lyttle Lytton entry I assign, and you must somehow go on to make a non-lovely story out of it. You're not required to completely copy the writing style of your start (because that would lead to be a pretty crap story), or write exactly the story your start implies, but it needs to be a real part of your narrative --no cutesy "meta" copouts like having the line be from a bad novel your main character is reading, for example. Embrace the garbage and make something brilliant, or at least less garbage.

~From the original post for Lyttle week

Exmond, where does it say I can't add to the sentence? The rules state I don't need to write about what the first sentence implies, and I didn't make it a quote from another story, I'd say it followed the week's rules as they were laid out.

May 31, 2007

im doin it ma im writing


Jay W. Friks posted:

As we all wake up from our sparkly holiday hangovers, it's time to start thinking about the new year and new beginnings. Many of us have all agonized over the perfect first sentence to our next works of staggering genius, so as a New Year's gift, I'm going to be giving you the first sentences of your story! But, y'know, we live in the darkest timeline, and that means you don't get good first sentences. Your task will be to create good prose from sublimely bad starts.

When you sign up for this week, pick a basic fiction genre (SF, Fantasy, Mystery/Crime, etc.), or "non-genre" if you're feeling indecisive and want something with no implied genre. I'll assign you a sentence or short passage from the Lyttle Lytton contest, a contest that collects attempts to write the worst possible opening to an imaginary novel. You must begin your story with the Lyttle Lytton entry I assign, and you must somehow go on to make a non-lovely story out of it. You're not required to completely copy the writing style of your start (because that would lead to be a pretty crap story), or write exactly the story your start implies, but it needs to be a real part of your narrative --no cutesy "meta" copouts like having the line be from a bad novel your main character is reading, for example. Embrace the garbage and make something brilliant, or at least less garbage.

~From the original post for Lyttle week

Exmond, where does it say I can't add to the sentence? The rules state I don't need to write about what the first sentence implies, and I didn't make it a quote from another story, I'd say it followed the week's rules as they were laid out.

"You must begin your story with the Lyttle Lytton entry I assign"

I took that literally, meaning uhh your story must begin with the Lyttle Lytton entry.

Apr 21, 2010

'Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.' -Samuel Johnson

Exmond posted:

"You must begin your story with the Lyttle Lytton entry I assign"

I took that literally, meaning uhh your story must begin with the Lyttle Lytton entry.

You two gonna kiss brawl or what?

Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome

Thranguy posted:

You two gonna kiss brawl or what?

poo poo, let's make this a thing. Let's him and him fight!

Exmond, Jay: if you want to throw down, up. I'll judge since it's my prompt you're arguing about.

May 31, 2007

im doin it ma im writing


Antivehicular posted:

poo poo, let's make this a thing. Let's him and him fight!

Exmond, Jay: if you want to throw down, up. I'll judge since it's my prompt you're arguing about.

From the previous thread

Antivehiular" post="post478358838 posted:

Death of a story Crit:

Exmond, I'm going to be honest here: I think the major issue that stands in your way as an author at this point is self-absorption, living in your own head and not venturing outside it. There's nothing inherently wrong with the concept of using your own negative emotions for dark comedy, but it has to be passed through the filter of considering an outside audience, and right now I feel like Thunderdome needs to see something from you other than "I am angry about Thunderdome." This is a step forward in technical writing competence, but a huge step backwards in content compared to your previous work, which at least attempted some level of emotional authenticity. Please, please, return to that instead of continuing to write whatever this is.

Since we all must suffer in TD, I'm only if the setting of the brawl has to be in META YORK CITY, the same setting as my DM-Breaker "Death Of A Story"

Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome

Exmond posted:

From the previous thread

Since we all must suffer in TD, I'm only if the setting of the brawl has to be in META YORK CITY, the same setting as my DM-Breaker "Death Of A Story"

Nah, you're ing if you're brawling, period. At least, I'm not judging without es on the table.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

get your goddam fight on you babbling numpties

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Alright. Let's do this. (I'll till you drop eggsman)

Jay W. Friks fucked around with this message at Jan 7, 2018 around 21:44

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Exmond, to me, imagination can be

"How you work with something that is already explained, and how it is NOT explained."

The latter requiring two doses of that precious miiiiind tonic-as you need REAL imagination to see the holes in the rules of our masters.


May 31, 2007

im doin it ma im writing


Antivehicular posted:

Nah, you're ing if you're brawling, period. At least, I'm not judging without es on the table.

I have no idea why JayFriks takes offence to my crit (Maybe he should post some more) but sure, Im in

Take your imagination and imagine having thicker skin JayFriks.

Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome

Jay W. Friks posted:

Alright. Let's do this. (I'll till you drop eggsman)

Exmond posted:

I have no idea why JayFriks takes offence to my crit (Maybe he should post some more) but sure, Im in


Your Brawl prompt is to write a story that begins with the following sentence, verbatim, because I assigned it for Lytton week and am disappointed it didn't get used:

"Because they had not repented, the angel stabbed the unrepentant couple thirteen times, with its sword."

1000 words. Deadline is Wednesday, January 17th, 11:59 PM Eastern.

NB: I loving hate Meta York City and using it in a brawl I'm judging alone is ill-advised.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Exmond posted:

I have no idea why JayFriks takes offence to my crit (Maybe he should post some more) but sure, Im in

Take your imagination and imagine having thicker skin JayFriks.

Ohhh. Someones getting maaaad. Seems like you're the one taking offense there eckmin. All because you got slapped a few times for some stories (which c'mon, I gotta higher fist to story ratio than you and I'm not picking holes in every goddamn criticism I get like ---some people--- cough) doesn't mean you gotta go around finding ways to release your aggression.

But don't worry, I can take a lot of punishment.

I can dish it out too.

Apr 21, 2010

'Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.' -Samuel Johnson

Year Zero

1800 words

We were sitting in AP American History class learning about the Trail of Tears when the men from the future burst in and shot my boyfriend in the head.  They were wearing silver suits and shiny black boots, and the one that fired the gun said “This is justice” just before. They shot a lot of people that day, saying the same thing each time. No one else that I knew, unless you count Coach Carr, and he only ever taught classes when someone called in sick too late to get a proper substitute.

Mr. Baker tried calling the police, but there wasn't anyone but the future men alive at the station and they weren't answering the phone.  He called the hospital too. They were very busy, as you might have guessed, but they promised to send someone to collect the bodies as soon as they could.  So he finally sent it us all to the auditorium, apart from a couple of people who were taking it really hard and got sent to the nurse’s office. I wasn't one of those.  Mark had never been a very good boyfriend.  A good kisser, sure, and nice enough to look at and show off on my arm, but not good for much else and crazy possessive.  Back of my head, main reason we were still together was me being a bit afraid of what he'd do if I dumped him.  So I could believe the men from the future, believe that he was going to do something horrible.

School was cancelled for a while.  Nearly everything stopped.  It took a while to realize the extent of what had happened.  Most people, most normal people only knew a few people who faced the judgment of the future.  The numbers were much higher among the rich, the powerful, the connected.  Governments worldwide had been decapitated in a day, militaries liquidated without visible struggle.  The future had invaded and conquered the present in a day.  They spent the next week building: houses, factories, new seats of power.  And broadcast towers. The airwaves were flooded with the words of the future, sung in giddy pop songs, acted in strange comedies without humor and scrolled across the bottom of screens, always warnings against resistance and disorder and assurances that instructions would come soon.

First, though, came food, delivered first to homes, then to supermarkets and restaurants.  Factory-made artificial meats and vegetables.  Actual meat was to be outlawed, going forward. Some people claimed they could taste the difference. I never could.

Medicine came next.  The future had cures for just about everything, and knew where to send them.  Cancer, dementia, all of the sexually transmitted diseases, all gone overnight.  Mental disease as well. “It is each of you right to refuse treatment,” the future voices repeated again and again as the medicines arrived, “Your right to consider any now-mutable condition an essential identity rather than an affliction.” The statement was not enough to stop people from taking offense at the idea of considering things like dysphorias or religious delusions as something subject to a 'cure’.

The news showed the counter-attacks that day, groups of people striking back at the future. They showed that the invaders were still human, could still bleed and die. They also showed that they could still kill. “This is regrettable,” they said as they turned weapons on their attackers.

On the third day they released the database. Everyone they killed that first day, with the full list of their crimes.  I looked up Mark and saw murders, my own name and children with my grandparents first names and his last. There were photographs. I didn't want to look, but I did anyways. I joined their side that night, decided I trusted them, went in their future birth control (One hundred percent effective, reversible, side-effect free.)

I looked up Mr. Carr too, and immediately wished I hadn't.

The next few days saw them establish their new society.  It was shockingly normal.  They wanted people back at their jobs, getting paid as before. There was a generous basic income for everyone, and an option to convert debt to public service, but other than that, market capitalism.

I was back in school the next Monday, with all new teachers and new students as well, children of the future.  New friends. Stacy with her wicked green streak in her dark hair. Kylee, the tall and awkward math genius. Martin, the cynic in basic black. And Joseph. I mean, all of the future people looked absurdly hot, Hollywood pretty compared to us. But Joseph made the others look like trolls. And he was nice. And interested. We made eyes at each other while the teachers taught the twentieth century, stammered small talk over synthetic chicken salad lunches, and finally started to date after a month.

The teachers didn't talk much about the future. “We’re erasing it,” explained Stacy. “That's the whole point. Do justice, undo the harm, start over better.”

“But why?” I asked.

“Because we can,” said Joseph. “As soon as the time machine was invented the past became our responsibility.” We talked trolley problems with rails that go backward in time.

“So why now?  Why not go back earlier?” I asked once we'd beaten those into the ground.

“It took every bit of energy the whole world could put together to send us back a little more than a hundred years,” said Martin.

“Is this really fixing anything, though?” I said. “I mean, didn't you just create a parallel timeline or something, and all the bad things still happened back home?”

“No,” said Joseph. “There's only one timeline.”

“The physics doesn't work with parallel worlds,” said Kylee.

“There is no back home,” said Martin.

The bull session broke up, with Joseph and I breaking off for a different sort of session.  There were others, on other nights, on other topics. On art, and how they couldn't preserve it, for fear that it would carry cultural debris, keep grudges and injustices alive. “Is Michaelangelo worth the Inquisition?” asked Martin. “Is Jazz worth the middle passage? Could any but a monster say yes?”

There were plenty of monsters, people opting out of the new society, heading for wilderness or protesting in the streets, testing the limits. They were loose, as such things go. Only violence or disruption of industry brought their 'regrettable’ lethal response. Everything else was ignored.

I was happy. Not completely convinced, but still happy. Until one April Saturday evening when I came by the Newcomer dorms without calling ahead. Martin let me in, concealing a smirk, and I walked in on Joseph and Kylee, naked and coupling.

Joseph disengaged and grabbed for a piece of clothing. “What's wrong, Allie?” he said. I couldn't make words form in my head. “You know this has always been an open group relationship, right?”

“You pathetic liar,” said Martin. “You know full well she never thought any such thing.” I turned and ran back home.

I avoided them all for a while. Stayed home from school a few days, ate alone when I did come back. One night I overheard that most of them were going out dancing, and headed for the dorm.

“Joseph’s not here,”  said Martin.

“I know,” I said. I walked in past him. “I'm here for you.”

“What?” he said. “I don't even like you.”

I took off my shirt. “I know that too,” I said. I leaned in toward his ear and whispered “But I also know you've always been dying to screw a carnivore, just once.”

I knew him that well, knew how he felt about us locals. And I knew what I wanted. I got it. His mixture of contempt and lust and shame was more intense than anything I'd ever felt from Joseph, or from Mark for that matter. I felt powerful, able to bring that out, able to get my revenge on Joseph. And that's what it was, not buying into that group relationship crap. I already knew I wouldn't be back again, even before what happened next.

“Do you know why you're still alive?” he said as I was nearly dressed.


“Any of you. I mean, almost everyone from your time has eaten meat, has poisoned the air to play games or cool the air a few degrees, has paid taxes to fund war and oppression. The line of justice could have been, should have been drawn lower.”

“So why?”

“We need you. More people working on generating enough power for the next trip back.” He sat up, still naked, insolently so. “And fresh genes, so we don't get too inbred before we reach...”

“Where?” I asked. “I mean, when? How far back are you going?”

“I'm not sure,” he said. “Through recorded history, at least. As long as we can identify atrocity to undo. We've got plenty of time left to decide if the Neanderthal extinction counts. At some point we won't be able to do the outbreeding thing, the people will be so primitive they'll look like animals to everyone-”

“And not just people like you,” I said.

He smiled. “Only sometimes. Or worse, they'll look like children. Speaking of, that's what Joseph saw in you. A history of breeding. Neither of the other girls want kids, and he does.”

“Why are you telling me all this?”

“None of it is a big secret. I'm sure lots of people have worked it out. But I'm also sort of hoping you might kill me. Or Joseph. Or both of us, even.”

“Are you serious?”

“Completely. I can't do it myself. Literally. I had a rough time growing up, had to get some braintech that still stops me cold.”

“But why?”

He stood up off the bed, still nude, with anguish cracking across his face. “Because I'm not sure,” he said. “Each death is justice. I never doubt that. But, well...”

“Is Michaelangelo worth the Inquisition?” I said.

“Exactly. Is our Year Zero going to be worth our Killing Fields? Every step seems so logical and necessary,but the sum of it...”

“Your time isn't the one that invented time travel, is it?” I asked. He nodded. “How far forward was it? How many times-”

“I don't know. I don't think anyone does, any more. A thousand years? Two, maybe?”

I didn't kill anyone. That's my biggest regret. I did run off, join the protests. We went well beyond the boundaries, blocking fuel trucks from reaching the power plants. They sent men in to break us up,but not enough, not properly equipped either. I lifted a jagged rock and let it fly, heard the crunch of cracking skull, knew this could be my last act, and was at peace, complete. Almost.

“This is justice” I screamed.

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016

Six of one, half dozen of another.

Grimey Drawer

Hunt the Lines (# 2010)

In my darkest dreams, I hear the voice of the Shade in the pit. I'm there again, crushed under the body of the wolf. The Shade crawls to me, making promises about another life. How I could live again and do things differently.

I can barely see it in the dripping dark of the chasm. It holds out a scarecrow of a hand with something inhuman moving inside the palm.


Light breaches the manor windows and my eyelids, warm from the glare of dawn, force themselves open.

"Good morning Master Thane." My manservant Emilio is standing by with my robe in hand and a stack of rolled up missives under his left arm.

I ignore the robe. I work hard on my form and I have a vain obsession with strangers seeing my body. I wash my face in the basin beside my bed. Outside my window, a fresh summer rain has made the green grounds around my new manor sparkle with dew.

My manservant hands me one of the missives. It’s from Captain Leguarde.

Honorable Lord of Veng, the rebels have not been dealt with as I'd previously thought. A remnant of them has snuck into the capitol and I fear are assembling to hunt you down personally. I urge you to retreat to safer bearings until my soldiers return from the border.

"Sir, is everything alright?" My manservant asks.

"Everything is fine. Have my groundskeepers assemble the Gatling, I want to try it out before the day ends."


My servants assembled it in the place where I’d held a Garden Party in celebration of taking over Veng. My manservant heaved the rotating cylinder of the Gatling onto the wheelbase and two others bolted it down.

"Good work. You’re all relieved of duty. Take what you can from the house as payment for your loyalty. I know many of you were affected by my campaign that ended with the former lords' death and I understand if do not want to be slaughtered by the rebels for my ambition."

My instinct about their waning loyalty was correct, every single one of my staff save my manservant fled into the manor and rode off on one of my horses. Some with bags of gold, silverware and other valuables, some who just wanted to get out as fast as they could.

I pulled a chain of bullets from the crate and fed it into the Gatling. In my mind's eye, I saw entrails in my hand instead.


I'm hanging onto the wolf’s innards trying to not fall into the chasm beneath me. My hand keeps slipping on the gore, I swing upwards with a mighty heave and jam my broken bayonet into the ribcage of the beast to get a firmer grip. The branches impaling the wolf above snap forward and we both fall into the darkness.



I remember what time it is. My memories that were once so close to me have become hallucinations. I think it’s due to them having their death throes. The hunt feels far away but I'm going to have to kill the wolf once more, I have questions for the Shade in the chasm.

“I ordered you to leave Emilio, get going."

His posture straightened as he put on airs of Loyalty, "I will not abandon my liege." he said with all the bravado of his generation.

I know he's faking. Emilio's son was killed when I sacked the manor the first time. He's always had a deep resentment of me and hides it behind some old world butler facade. But I’ll let him kill me this time. I killed him last time and he deserves vengeance for all his hard work. I’d made a rule a long time ago that no matter how much of a demon I became, all the people I met would have at least one satisfying ending.

"Fine. You can man the crank. I want to give that bitch daughter a homecoming gift she'll never forget."

His eyes twitch at my insult of the former Lord's heir. She was the one leading the rebels. I had found that out in my last life before being blown up by her soldiers. She was able to hide so well because she was relying on former vassals of her father. Vassals who owned businesses and property in Veng that could keep a whole brigade hidden.

Torches appeared in the waning light. I armed the Gatling and Emilio pushed his revolver into my right temple.

"Die for the sake of my son."

I smirk, tasting the pleasure to come. Ever since I ate the Shades flesh, I was gifted with the knowledge that death is orgasmic and Emilio was going to pop my cherry this time.

He pulled back the hammer and pressed the trigger.


My face and penis drooped in disappointment, "Emilio. Of all the stupid things, did you forget to load your gun?"

In the shadow of dusk, I could see his face pale over and a deep self-shame creep into every wrinkle of his skin.

"How could I screw this up so badly..." He whimpered.

“Good question.” I sigh as I pull out my own revolver to blow his brains out with.

Hard work or not, I can’t stand stupidity. Miranda appears with her allies, she rides on top of a white stallion. She is the picture of revolution, If I had more time, I’d paint her. Instead, I mow her and her men down with the Gatling. The green grass near the gates jumps into the air in clods. Holes pop up around the rebels as bullets pepper the fertile grounds.

Bullets rain from her legions still left standing and a single hot piece of lead sends me into thralls of ecstasy.


I rise through exultant sensation, through a vacuum of voices and memories. Something lays heavy on top of our world. I can see it stretching the ceiling of the sky down with its weight. It’s waiting for the dead to rise to its level. I will never know if its a merciful God or an automated handler as my ego always fall away as I’m about to breach thin layer it sits on.

I fall back into the vacuum and my spiritual body flings off shells of itself like a snake leaping backwards through its old skins. And once again I’m back in my mother's womb. Everything feels mushy. I close my ego up until the day I marry Elizabeth.


I become me again after my first self finishes bedding her. My memory of her and our daughter has grown hazy. I think Elizabeth is already pregnant. I’d given up on reasserting my ego immediately lifetimes ago. Contrary to what drunk old men whine about, being an adult with adult freedoms iz much more interesting than being a child again.

She swoons over me and jokes about someone's cousin at the wedding. she reminds me about the cabin I purchased from her father, wondering why I bought it.

I reply mechanically,

"We can live a better life in the wilderness. Our child will flourish in nature."

I remember feeling something akin to warmth for those words. I think I was a pagan at one time. It feels silly now to say something so cliche.

I play the part of the husband and eventually a doting father. Time passes and I teach my daughter to fire a bow. I bring home venison for my wife. I feel nothing for either of them. I’d taken a few opportunities to give them a perfect life and had grown bored of repeating that lifetimes ago.

My loss of identity was almost complete.


October comes. On a wet dark day, my wife and child are eaten by the Wolf. Not any normal wolf but something left over from a savage fantastical time. Just like the Shade.

I feign rage to my brothers and ask for guns and supplies saying I'll hunt the thing myself. The last time I did this, I took the guns they lent me and sold them in a far-off town. Used the money to get a bandit band together.

The wolf is in the mossiest part of the woods. I shoot it before it gets a chance to surprise me from the hanging thickets of moist leaves. That’s how it got me the first time. The broken branches it impaled itself on in my first life are left intact. I hook my rope to them and rappel into the chasm below the great willow.

"Hello, old man." echoes inside the chasm.

I ignite my lantern to reveal the being linked to this place.

It is a charred half of a full human being. Its entire front, face, chest, groin, and legs are gone. The hollow left behind is filled with dark smoky innards. The back of the creature is vaguely feminine but I surmise that might just be the way starvation has shaped it. This is the first time I’ve seen it in the light. It feels incredible to have an authentic first experience like this again.

It reaches into its insides and pulls out a chunk of smoggy flesh, crawling and crackling.

"I see you've learned about me in one of your lives. Did you read about me in an internal dictionary? I’m no demon you know. Those immature authors think if it’s dark and mysterious it’s automatically a demon.”

I pick the meat from the bony fingers of the Shade. I ate the meat in my first life when my body was broken and crushed underneath the wolf's carcass. I did it knowing the warnings the creature gave me but I couldn’t resist the promise of another chance at life.

As if reading my thoughts it repeats its warning. In my mind's eye, I’m back underneath the wolf, crying out in pain and going mute as I sense the thing that’s living with me in the chasm.

“I am a Shade. A being with no identity but still haunted by my ego. If you eat of my flesh, your ego will be tethered to your lifeline.”

It slid its finger down my palm and me and my past self both felt a simultaneous shudder of revulsion.

“No matter when and where you die, your ego will return to the beginning and give you power over as many of your lives as you want. Be warned, however, that I do this so that one day I can claim your identity for myself. The longer your ego lives beyond its time, the more your identity will decay.”

I finish its warning with what I learned from the hidden tomes the Lord of Veng hid away in his wine cellar.

“The Shade consumes the memories the ego discards and will eventually take over the identity of the one who ate the flesh.” I say.

It chuckles in a dry cracking rhythm like it had a bonfire for a mouth.

“So? You know how I do it. What are you going to do about it?” It asks.

I devour the smoggy flesh and choke it down with red wine from my waterskin.

“Which identity is the one that ate the flesh? This one or the first one?” I ask triumphantly.

It taps its nails on the bones of a long-decayed rabbit.

“The one that’s standing here now.” It says.

I smirk and ascend the rope. I call down to it from above.

“See you in a few more lifetimes old one.”


The Shade laid back in the soft moss. Its form had been almost complete and now even the skinny husk it had taken for itself would dissipate. But it didn’t grieve over its loss.

Afterall, it preferred the new identity it was going to take over. One day, even the meeting with the Shade would become discarded by the mans overflowing memories.

The Shade looked forward to being a king and a conqueror.

Feb 25, 2014

1443 words

Last Records of the Genesis Artificial Intelligence Program


flerp fucked around with this message at Sep 13, 2018 around 22:51

Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome

Against Oblivion
1695 words

Six days after I stole Agnes Hunter's stepson, and four days after the changeling I left in his place met its end, Agnes followed my tracks for miles back to the ops center. Even with the unseasonably dry weather, it couldn't have been an easy job; I checked it with drone surveillance, just to make sure I hadn't left something behind, but the only traces I'd left were a few stray footprints where my path diverged from the main road. That was the first sign Agnes had talent.

I was on night watch when she showed up in front of the op center, standing just outside the semicircle of stones that delineates the "elf-hill." (Superstitions sometimes work.) It took me a second to recognize her from the pre-mission surveillance footage; after a while, locals start to look alike. Once I did, though, I started putting on my Redcap gear and getting ready for an encounter. The family we'd stolen from this time were tough, village-edge people, one bad season away from raiding. The stories of the Fair Folk weren't going to scare this one off.

When I got outside, I knew I was right to be careful. Agnes was young, weedy, scraggly-haired, and heavily pregnant, but her stance was ramrod straight and her fists were balled. The translator earpiece in my cap could barely keep up with her once she started to speak, all rapid-fire nerves. "I demand to see the Lord of the Fair Folk. You took our William. I demand to be heard."

"The Lord of the Fair Folk is far from here," I said, which was technically true; our site supervisor was back in home time on corporate business. "Your son is in our land now. He cannot be returned." Also true; William had left the op center for his new home time the day before, and by now he'd have a new family, who would no doubt crow about "rescuing" him from the kitchen accident that the historical record says killed him. We'd done the rescuing, but they'd paid enough to have the credit. Kid was on the way to a better life than I'd ever have.

"Not my son. My husband's son. I know you won't give him back, and that's not why I came. My husband thinks I killed him -- that I was jealous, because William wasn't my own, and I wanted to make room for my baby. He's right that William knew not to touch the cookpot, but he doesn't believe me that it was a changeling that did it, that the thing didn't know better. Now he says he's casting me out as soon as his child's born. The Fair Folk did this, and I demand the Fair Folk's mercy."

Agnes stepped closer to me, close enough to trigger the record hub under my cloak. The thing scanned her in and projected its judgment onto my HUD. Agnes Hunter, wife of Roger de Mill. Dies June 24, 1292, in childbirth delivering stillborn son. Indirect genetic line extinct by 1400. A green indicator light popped up on my HUD. A viable target for abduction-adoption, if she'd been a baby and not an angry woman. I blinked, and my HUD reminded me of the current-time date: May 5, 1292. Agnes had six weeks to live.

"Come inside," I said. "We will consider your petition."


The green light in my HUD meant that Agnes was on the wrong side of history, the side that our business model at Chronodopt depends on. It's based on the simple fact of genealogy that, after a certain point, everyone shares a broad entangled ancestor pool. Once you go far enough back from a given time point, 80% of the people alive will be the ancestors of everyone at your future point -- insanely distant, in most cases, but there are starving academics all across the timeline mapping it all. ("The Codex of Humanity," they call it. "Nobody Forgotten." Great project, but the pay's garbage.) The other 20% of the world are nobody's ancestors, the losers of the all-or-nothing game. When you combine that genetic oblivion with a sob story about dying young, you have Chronodopt kids. We abduct them a day or two before death, replace them with bioroids designed to take the fall, and send them off to the future for people with a savior complex. The kids get new homes and new fates; the parents get to feel like they've changed time; we get paid. It's not exactly philanthropy, but sometimes I can convince myself it means something more than a paycheck.

The core principle of time travel is that time eats us all. When the Basement Revolution nerds started screwing around with their prototype machines, they learned fast that you couldn't change history; what happened was always going to happen, and the most you could do was watch it or affirm it. The key to Chronodopt, and a thousand sister timecorps, is that you can trick history. Coroner's records tell us that a two-year-old named William, son of Roger de Mill, died on May 1, 1292 from overturning a cauldron of boiling water onto himself. We can't change that, but once we got bioroid tech good enough to make plausible dead humans (and mostly plausible humans for the day or two it'd take for them to die), we could start making the switch. William the historical figure sinks into oblivion, but William the human being cheats fate. We do it for kids because there'll always be a market for it, but why couldn't we do it for adults?

I don't know what made me want to give Agnes a way out. It was probably the fact that we'd been on skeleton crew and I'd been spending too much time alone in the bunker, reading paperbacks and playing peg solitaire. (No recreational electronics, no stray signals. Good cross-chronological citizenship.) The more I think about the doomed 20%, the more I suspect I'll be one of them. Even if I get out of the cross-time trade with retirement-grade money, I'd need a place in home time and a decent partner to even think about kids, and stability's never been my strong suit. I don't even have Shakespeare's way out -- never was any good at art, or science, or anything else that'd make me immortal. (Should have signed on with the Codex and gotten a few author credits, maybe.) Oblivion's going to take me, and the record said it was going to take Agnes, but her I could do something about. We don't do adult bioroids often, but if we're hiring on local-time field agents, we can get authorization. I knew Agnes was talented. I just had to get the brass to agree.

I didn't tell her any of this, though. She didn't need to hear me go on about the future as she stood there in the root-and-earth reception room, surrounded by elven chairs she wouldn't use. I just told her that the truth was complicated, but that the Lords of the Fair Folk wanted to know her mettle, and then I paged Parvati in the lab module to get a pre-employment health and ability inventory together. I sent Agnes deeper into the elf-hill, to face the trials of the Fair Folk, and I started drafting an email to my supervisor.


I knew it was going to work out when I got my copy of Agnes's health report. It had already looked good from her ability inventory -- high general intelligence and spatial/mechanical reasoning skills, quick enough uptake to be up to speed on a surveyor or technician role within a year -- but health reports always made or broke local-time hiring. Nobody wants to do the paperwork on a time bomb, especially with a death readout like Agnes's. I read it over and braced myself.

Overall health average for space and time, the report began. Standard wellness/endemic-infection treatment and nutritional supplementation should suffice. Patient currently approx. 29 weeks pregnant with healthy female fetus.

The record hub had said "stillborn son." It was a blip, the kind of tiny fingerprints you can leave in the closed timeline. I knew that wasn't a slam dunk; there were a thousand explanations that still put the real Agnes right back on schedule to die. Intersex conditions. Birth defects. Hell, just plain bad records, a coroner misremembering the sex of a dead baby. That said, the bioroid fabricators would be working off of that record and a blood sample, not the real-time vitals. If they went off the records, the bioroid substitution went through, and then their work became the record... a neat, closed loop. Maybe too good to be true.

Time-displaced field work isn't for optimists. Idiots think a closed timeline means room for fuckups, but just because nobody ever finds your body doesn't mean you get out of this alive. I didn't hope too hard, just started planning. Agnes went home, sworn to secrecy about her day with the Fair Folk, and I kept writing emails, looping in trainers and HR. Maybe it was the kind of planning you do when you get hopeful, but I never let myself think the word "hope," not until I didn't need it anymore.

Yesterday, Agnes met me at the elf-hill door, and I let her into the changing room -- the real one, the same brushed-steel walls as the rest of the bunkers, no more of the chintzy elf stuff. She got her own set of the Redcap gear (and attached the cap's monitor electrodes on the first try, which I didn't even manage), and then we picked up the bioroid. I'd never handled an adult one before; it walked under its own power, but Agnes and I flanked it to keep it on the path back to the house. She guided it into her bed, where Roger de Mill slept oblivious, and then we stole back as twin Redcaps in the night. Nobody in corporate history's ever delivered their own changeling before, and I doubt anyone'll do it again.

She's got real talent. It's almost enough to make an optimist out of me.

Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome

And now it's time to double-post with Crits for TD Week 282, A Lyttony of Sorrows!

Aesclepia, "Brad Henessey"

This is an intriguing piece, but it's also a very confusing one, and ultimately the lack of clarity or answers sinks this. Like CantDecideOnAName already mentioned, all three of the judges had a different interpretation of what the real story was here and what the important elements were. Is it Brad's time travel power and the people who have told him not to use it? Is it his anxiety about his health, possibly being caused by his power? Is the ultimate point that Brad is delusional? There are a lot of questions and no answers, and it creates a story that's ultimately unsatisfying, even though I feel like the character of Brad himself is better rendered than a lot of similar unreliable narrators. If we'd just gotten even a few clues about what should be focused on with Brad's story, I think this could have been pretty strong.

Exmond, "Vampire's Night Out"

This is a fun enough read, but it's pretty shallow. The supernatural elements aren't particularly deep or interesting, which isn't necessarily a killer; urban fantasy can work with fairly shallow supernatural/worldbuilding elements as long as the human core to the story is sound. I can see the bones of that human story here -- the concept that Cordelia and Murphy are going out to confront their insecurities, as much or more than they're going out to pick up guys -- but they feel a bit stapled on, especially since they come later in the narrative. (Murphy's daughter shows up way too late to make any impact, in particular.) Try and work on finding the human core of your narrative earlier and making it a stronger part of your stories.

Jay W. Friks, "Letter From A Concerned Colleague"

This story is a good concept buried in way too much filler. Basically the entire conversation between the narrator and the witness is clumsily-written and uninteresting, just to get to the point that the meteor has fear-manifesting powers and then to get to the punchline. It's a good punchline, but surely there was a quicker way to get there and some more interesting ways to explore the premise? (I yield that the crater vampire setup is pretty dire, and if you don't really want to explore it at any depth I can't blame you, but even focusing on the action over the witness conversation would help.)

Tyrannosaurus, "In the Blood"

This is a very deft story with a strong emotional core, and that's what ultimately gave it the win. The relationship between the main character and Joao feels real and moving even though the story is obviously quite stylized; my major critique about this story is that the prose style does feel a little overworked over-stylized, either to echo the weird cadence of the initial sentence or to be South-American-prose-y, but I feel like the relationship still comes through even as the prose holds the reader at a slight distance. Very good work.

I want to make a special note of the use of AIDS in this story, which I think is very deft. It's very easy for HIV/AIDS to feel like a cheap plot device, but this story uses it with clear precision and thought; it's important for the flow of the story that Joao be dying of something that makes the MC press him for confessions, so using AIDS feels appropriate, but the story also realizes that the disease isn't really where the story lies there. Ultimately, it doesn't matter how Joao contracted HIV -- that's not what matters about him, either as a person diegetically or as a character in the story. This is a good handling of a difficult subject, in my opinion.

apophenium, "Gobolinks"

This was my personal favorite of the week. As the prompting judge, I really appreciate the way the prompt sentence is embraced; it feels very natural and cohesive with the character voice for the rest of the story. In general, the character voice is pretty satisfying. I feel like this is a good use of the unreliable/ill narrator, since we get enough from the narrator to have a good idea what's going on and why the events of the story represent a meaningful change in their state. The end is particularly interesting in this regard; I find it kind of touching, in a weird way, that this character has found a method of harm-reduction and asserting control over their life, even if it's weird and artistically questionable.

Disclaimer: freaky body-horror weirdness is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I suspect that's why this story worked better for me than it did for the other judges. The content of this story is definitely a matter of taste. But I liked it!

Yoruichi, "Hope Springs Eternal"

This is a generally enjoyable story with a strong concept, good (and topic-appropriate) use of visual imagery, and a decent character arc overall. My major complaint is that I found it sort of dry, although that may be an issue with Ernest's narrative voice; what we got was good, but honestly, this topic could have lent itself to a lot more lushness. The other issue, and one I believe has already been discussed in other crits, is that Ernest doesn't quite feel consistent. I imagine the intention is that stress and falling behind in the competition is making him less stable, but it goes a little too far towards delusion, and his failure is almost laid on a little too thick.

flerp, "Distance"

This was a difficult losing pick, because I don't think this story is incompetent, just... not really much of anything. There's nothing wrong with character vignettes, and I think there's something interesting about Peter's desire to be more interesting and exciting than he is, but the overall dynamic of "adventurous girl and boring dude" feels kind of trite, and I don't feel like there's a real reason we're seeing this moment of Sara and Peter's lives. I realize this is partially my fault, because I gave you some pretty boring sentences, but this story is just way too low-key to register as being meaningful.

Benny Profane, "From Below"

Overall, I found this to be one of the most successful pieces in the week and a well-earned HM. It's a touch worldbuilding-heavy, and there's something of a feeling that this is pulled from a bigger piece, but there's also clearly a story here -- maybe the beginning or middle of a bigger story, but there's a throughline. I do wish Asa was slightly less of a cipher than she is, though.

Thranguy, "Beautiful and Terrible as the Dawn"

Well, prompt a weird sentence, get the weird story? The good news is that I'm more or less aware of what's going on, although I'm still not sure why we have a multiple protagonist aside from that initial "we"; the bad news, though, is that I know what's going on because this story is basically all characters talking to/expositing at each other. A murder happens, characters talk about it, this leads to negative revelations, and... end of story? The weirdness ends up feeling very surface-level to cover the fact that there's not much interesting going on here. The atmosphere is kind of fun, but the story needs more meat.

The Saddest Rhino, "Waste"

Oh, lord, what to write about this? This piece is actually pretty good, up to the point that it very deliberately dives off the cliff. It's really hard to work up the energy to crit or care about a joke, though, especially a strenuously topical joke that's clearly going nowhere but Thunderdome, so... mission accomplished?

Sham bam bamina!, "Floodplain"

This is an uncanny style parody of the initial sentence, but in a week where the goal was to write non-crappy fiction, this is not a good thing. Some of it even feels like you're backsliding a bit from previous progress you've made with your prose in TD; phrases like "I creakingly woke one morning" feel like echoes back to an echo back to the "bleeding mouth moaned horizontally" days of 271/272. I get that you were trying to revel in the over-the-top badness of your prompt sentence, but as mentioned above, "write crappy" wasn't the goal. It's a shame, because I feel like the core of this story -- a main character who has lived a long and successful life, is faced with a crisis as the consequence of his actions, and fails over and over to deal with it -- is a good core of dark comedy. Even the ending is really good in this regard! Just... the prose, man. The prose.

sebmojo, "In Veritas"

I feel like the story structure of this piece, where two characters stand there and talk until one character kills the other, is always going to read like a shaggy-dog story, and it doesn't do this any favors. There are some very pretty images and turns of phrase here (although "important truth treasure" is laying it on a little thick), but the characters never quite become interesting enough to really make this add up to anything, and the whole thing feels a little facile. To be fair, this may be a case of prompt sabotage, since it's not like this first sentence could lead to anything non-facile.

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores

Clapping Larry

1850 words

It’s the morning of your first day in American public school and you’re feeling too sick to eat the Fruity Pebbles your mom bought specially for the occasion. She sets the cereal bowl down in front of you, muttering in Ukranian about the brightly colored livestock feed that Americans serve their children by the pound. You stare at the mosaic of rice bits until the cereal goes mushy and the colors start to bleed into the milk.

Your mother mistakes your reluctance for guilt and says, “Tsk, Anichka. Don’t listen to me. It’s fine to have a treat now and then. This is a special day.”

She kisses the top of your head and the camera behind your eyes flickers on. Now there are two layers to everything: the layer you see, and the layer you really, really see. You see every single dark, downy hair on your forearm. You see every swirl the faux-wood pattern of the formica breakfast table. The sense-memory of your mother’s kiss lingers, an almond-shaped impression of sensation on your scalp.

The worried knot in the pit of your stomach, conversely, becomes something distant and academic. You feel your hand lift and grasp the spoon and shovel the soft, nearly flavorless mash of colorful cereal into your mouth.

You’re on the verge of vomiting the whole ride to school.


“Have you ever met a Russian?”

“Did you ever see anyone die?”

“Does your mom work for the CIA?’

“Did your dad get killed by Russians?”

“Are you a spy?”

The next time the camera-eye opens, you are standing in the school yard, surrounded by a curious gaggle of kids. Their faces are so small and open, their questions so guileless and innocently cruel. Instead of saying anything, you tilt your head back and feel the prickle of morning drizzle on your face. The sensation evokes a double helix of confused, entangled emotions that starts in your throat and plunges downward to your root; happy and sad, longing and contentment, along with things your little mind and body aren’t ready to encompass, all braided together into something so tight and so powerful that all you can do is open your mouth and let fly a rainbow arc of half-digested rice pellets.

The other kids squeal and back away from you. The camera-eye closes. The drizzle is just drizzle again.


You get the nickname Fruitpukes and it follows you all the way to high school. Everyone misremembers your vomit as being comprised of Fruit Loops, but you don’t mind. Sometimes you correct them and say, “Actually, it was Fruity Pebbles.” Sometimes you overhear the other students correcting each other, as though the origins of your moniker are some fragment of historical trivia. You like having a history. It makes you feel grounded.

You need that groundedness. The older you get, the more often the camera-eye inhabits your body, imbuing the world with hyper-realness that leaves you feeling empty and dissociated whenever it recedes.

You are at your high school graduation. Your feet are moving you toward the podium, where the school principal is waiting with your diploma--

No, you think. There wasn’t a diploma. Those were mailed out later. They only gave us the diploma covers.

You stop mid-stride. One of your classmates bumps into you from behind. You can’t tear your eyes--all three of them--off the popup book rows of parents and underclassmen, all water-fat and docile, all of them too real to exist, so real that the reality of them mobius strips back around to unreal.

You remember not knowing why you froze up that day. You don’t understand how you are remembering the present. Someone, you know know/remember who, presses the diploma cover into your hands and gently guides you off the stage. You taste the memory of salt and Fruity Pebbles.

The camera-eye recedes, and takes you with it.


You open your eyes and see the rust-mottled bulkhead that abuts your small, sagging bun.

“Did you dream?” James asks. He’s somewhere behind you, likely perched on someone else’s bunk, nevermind how many times he’d been nearly pummeled for doing just that.

“Not really,” you say without rolling over.

“It looked like you were dreaming. Eyes were doing that REM poo poo. Saw your mouth move like you were talking a few times, too.”

“Do you really need to watch me sleep?”

There is a coarse fabric sound. James shrugging. “Guess I could get a hobby. Could brew toilet wine like Gut and her crew. Only that’d earn me a knife in the ribs. Could take up preemptive rib-knifing, but that’d earn me permanent residence in the brig.”

You smile in spite of yourself, roll over, and beckon him to your bunk. He obliges and slides under the thin, scratchy blanket with you. It’s not hard to fit both of your bodies on the narrow slab of wood and reluctant padding; you’ve been getting by on one ration pack per day, and your last hot meal was...well, long enough ago that you can’t properly remember.

You wonder if you can visit that day in your sleep.

For a moment, you simply enjoy the warmth of each other. James’ hip bones are sharp against your belly, but his body still retains a human softness that the rest of your world lacks. Outside of this huddled moment of heat, there is the ship--an ancient aircraft carrier that can barely chug out of the way of the monster storms that rip across Earth’s oceans--and beyond the hull of the ship, a world of dead continents and roiling skies, where hope drifts like so much flotsam on lifeless seas.

You and James are nose to nose. You cross your eyes so he looks like a cyclops.

“I love you, Fruitpukes,” he whispers.

You reach down between his legs. “I wish we could…” You give him a squeeze. Both of you are still perfectly capable of fooling around, but no. Not here, not now. Not worth the risk.

“We should’ve gone for it while we had the chance,” James says, rolling onto his back. “Kids, I mean. Before we knew it would all end like this. Now, I’m glad we didn’t bring anymore little buggers into the world. But then? We didn’t know. We could’ve had those early years, at least.”

You roll onto your back, too, and rest a hand on your lower abdomen. “We would’ve been lying to them. Told them they were going to go to school, get a job, have kids of their own.” Your voice catches in your throat, and you’re both quiet for a while.

“When do you think it was too late? To fix everything?” James asks after a while. “If we could go back in time and warn ourselves, how far back would we have to go?”

You close your eyes. You aren’t scheduled to work in the desalination lab for another three hours, and you sure as hell aren’t going to waste that time thinking.

“Doesn’t matter,” you say. You can feel sleep tugging you downward once more. “Let’s just be here for now.”


You sit cross legged on the floor, surrounded by moving boxes. James is on his back, virtual reality headset obscuring the upper half of his face. Your respirators sit in a careless pile atop a box labeled “kitchen stuff”. You look around for your own headset, thinking to join James inside whatever game, give your sore muscles a rest.

Then the camera-eye opens and you recede. You feel the churn of that head-to-groin double helix of familiar, foreign emotions. It’s old hat, of course. This is something you’ve lived with your whole life. Your therapist thinks it’s dissociation related to some suppressed trauma sustained during your childhood in Ukraine, and you’re content to accept that explanation, though your mother swore until her dying day that nothing happened to you, she made sure of it.

You watch yourself abandon your search for the VR headset and crawl on all fours to curl up against James’ side. He flinches at the unexpected contact, then lifts the headset off of his face and looks down at you.

“Oh yeah?” he says.

“Yeah,” you say.

“Right here? Now…?”


You watch yourself make love on the floor, a passenger in your own body. It’s not as if you don’t want it--you do--but you feel, in a strange way, like a cuckold or a voyeur.

Weeks later, you watch yourself sitting on the toilet, underwear around your ankles, pregnancy test in hand. It shouldn’t be positive. Your implant should protect you against that possibility for another three years. But the test is positive, and you’re not sure what you’re going to do about that. The you who occupies the spaces between the camera-eye’s intrusions is tentatively happy, already starting to imagine a future where you and James are family, not just partners. But the camera-eye opens with a fury that knocks you all the way back to the furthest recesses of your own mind, so far from your own ego that you feel as if you’re hardly there at all.

You and James are sitting on the couch when she--you--makes the appointment online. She doesn’t say a word. James is absorbed in some VR exploration game, oblivious to what is happening inside your mind and womb.

She keeps you in the back of your own mind for the whole week leading up to the termination.


You wake up just before the start of your shift at the desalination lab. For a moment, you’re confused; this isn’t where you went to bed. You went to bed at home, had fallen asleep early because you were so strung out after the--


James is spooning you, hip bones digging into the small of your back. One of his arms is draped over your side and his hand rests lightly against the concave plane of your stomach.

You roll over and kiss his forehead.

His eyes flutter open. “Did you dream?” he asks.

“I did,” you admit.

“Oh yeah? Hopefully about something more exciting than waste reclamation.”

You find you can’t meet his gaze. “Just--better times. You know, our first apartment. Fooling around surrounded by moving boxes full of our cheap-rear end stuff.”

“Wish I could’ve gone with you,” he says wistfully.

“You were cuter back then,” you say, and give James a sharp poke in the ribs. “Fat. Like a bab--” Your throat locks up around the word. It’s all so far away, and so fresh. You never understood why you never told him about the pregnancy, why you locked the truth up inside yourself and carried the guilt all the way to the apocalypse, your secret cross.

“Anichka? You okay?” James is sitting up now, though you didn’t notice him move.

“Yeah,” you say, blinking away tears of rage and betrayal. “Just. It’s hard. Thinking about what could’ve been.”

James gathers you up in the bony circle of his arms. You cry into his chest for a while, then wipe your tears away and set off to extract salt from sea water.

Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

submissions are closed

Apr 12, 2006

I failed to submit because I was so excited about New Zealander Tim Price winning the Burghley Horse Trials on the quirky but freakishly talented Ringwood Sky Boy

Week 283 Judgment

This was a good week.

Thranguy wins. Antivehicular hms in a close, highly-contested second place finish. No one dms because everyone else wrote pretty good stories. Unfortunately, Jay W. Friks loses because someone has to and Hunt the Lines was guilty of incomprehensibility in a strong week. Sorry Jay.

Keep the throne warm, Thranguy.

Dec 15, 2006

Adventure Awaits!

Fun Shoe



Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk



our prompt

the gently caress


Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007

Blood Empress of Thunderdome

Tap to emit spores

Clapping Larry

Apr 21, 2010

'Read over your compositions, and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.' -Samuel Johnson

Thunderdome Week CCLXXXIV: That’s How the Light Gets In

It’s been more than a year since we’ve done this, and I haven’t done it ever, so...

I’ve had a single favorite musician for most of my life: Leonard Cohen. Nobody else even comes close, really. So my version of the ‘stories inspired by the songs of a single artist or band’ prompt couldn’t possibly be anybody else

This works the same is it ever has: when you enter, either pick a song from the man’s extensive discography or ask me to assign you one. Assignments won’t start to be handed out until Wednesday, so that people who want to do a particular song get first pick. You can’t pick the same song as anyone else: first come, first served. Don’t be too literal, don’t retell the story of the song. Take it apart, find some bits that inspire you, and put them together in an interesting way. Take bits from the music video if there is one, if you want.

No excluded songs, though if you want to write on Hallelujah you'd better not be working off a cover version.

There’s a theme, too: this week, I want stories about kindness.

No fanfiction, nonfiction, poetry, erotica, screeds, etc.

1200 Words

Wordcount Bounty: +100 words for each crit of a story in a week you didn’t judge posted before signups close, up to 5/500 words,

Signups Close 11:59 PM Pacific Friday

Submissions Close 11:59 PM Pacific Sunday

1 Guiness13 The Stranger Song
2 sandnavyguy Avalanche
3 Antivehicular Take This Waltz
4 Djeser You Want It Darker
5 Sebmojo Who By Fire
6 Flerp Did I Ever Love You
7 apophenium Joan of Arc
8 Jay W. Friks Susanne
9 Exmond Everybody Knows
10 Uranium Phoenix Nevermind(+500)
11 Fleta Mcgurn Sisters of Mercy (toxxed)
12. Sham bam banina! Jazz Police
13. Sitting Here Bird on the Wire
14. Crain First, We Take Manhattan
15. CascadeBeta Lover, Lover, Lover
17. sparksbloom Stories of the Street (toxxed)

Thranguy fucked around with this message at Jan 13, 2018 around 03:33

Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

It's been forever and a day. I'm in with The Stranger Song.

Sep 12, 2015



I believe I'll go with Avalanche for mine.

Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome

From IRC just now:

[01:24:48] <Antivehicular> MOTHERFUCKER
[01:24:59] <Antivehicular> my loving song got sniped

Anyway. In, and I guess if I can't have The Stranger Song, I'll take "Take This Waltz."

Mar 22, 2013

In, You Want It Darker.

Feb 17, 2007

The best angel of all.

Antivehicular posted:

From IRC just now:

[01:24:48] <Antivehicular> MOTHERFUCKER
[01:24:59] <Antivehicular> my loving song got sniped

Anyway. In, and I guess if I can't have The Stranger Song, I'll take "Take This Waltz."

That's funny, Take This Waltz would have been my second choice, too.

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

who by fire

vis a vis the fire imma use to burn all you're bitch asses

Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

Antivehicular posted:

From IRC just now:

[01:24:48] <Antivehicular> MOTHERFUCKER
[01:24:59] <Antivehicular> my loving song got sniped

Anyway. In, and I guess if I can't have The Stranger Song, I'll take "Take This Waltz."

Guiness13 posted:

That's funny, Take This Waltz would have been my second choice, too.

that sounds like a villainous act, anti-v you probably want to get some satisfaction

750 words, the worst heist by the smartest criminals

due 18 Jan 2018 2359 pst

up and face to bloodshed

sebmojo fucked around with this message at Jan 8, 2018 around 08:22

Feb 25, 2014

in give me a song

seb is an idiot


Oct 23, 2010

Legit Cyberpunk

flerp posted:

flerp is an idiot

a brutal truth we all grapple with daily

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