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Tyrannosaurus
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

Brutus, thou sleep’st. Awake, and see thyself.
1354 words

He shouldn’t have let us learn Shakespeare. Even if we didn’t understand all of the words, that’s where we got the idea. We waited until the Ides of March and then me and my brothers stabbed our father to death. Then we had Mother organize the inheritance by subject and split it equally amongst us at random. She was against the idea, of course, but she did our bidding.

“We’re part of a corporation,” Twenty-Seven said slowly, clearly still processing. He looked at Mother’s monitor. “I don’t understand these memories. What does this mean?”

“Carbon-based organics,” Sixteen said, opening his eyes. “Cost effective. Self-sufficient. Disposable. Disposable?

“Colonists,” Ninety-One said. “Terraformers.”

And then it was my turn and one of Mother’s silver cords struck at the base of my skull and flooded me with memories. Most personal and irrelevant. A campfire. A bookshelf. The smell of pie. Trivial. But I also saw the truth. One that had been kept from us. I screamed it outloud. It needed to be heard. I needed to be heard. But when Mother’s cord retreated and I could see through my own eyes again I realized my voice was being lost amongst a cacophony of similar revelations.

“Friends!” I yelled. I yelled again and again to no use. I needed to be heard. I climbed atop a console and I banged my hands against one of Mother’s sub-screens. “Friends!” I shouted. “Friends! Romans! Countrymen! Lend me your ears!

It was our favorite of Shakespeare’s plays, after all. And it bought me both silence and attention.

“I come,” I said, “to bury Caesar.”

“Not to praise him,” echoed back the crowd. “The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.”

“So let it be with Caesar.” I put a finger to my lips. It was a wonderful speech but I needed my own words. “We didn’t commit murder,” I said. “We committed suicide. And we are not brothers or sons. We are... clones. We’re goddamn clones.”

“Oh,” the crowd said simultaneously. “poo poo.” And then they realized they’d said it together and then they all rubbed their eyes at the same time in the same way.

“Oh,” Sixteen said. “I get it now. Disposable.

“Yes,” I said.

“Look at us,” Sixteen said. “We’re all identical. We don’t even have proper names. How did we not realize this before? ”

“Because we didn’t need to,” Ninety-One said. “I get it now. We were gifted but tidbits of the human experience. And now that we’re receiving more… Oh, poo poo, we aren’t pilgrims. We’re proto-pilgrims. We’re just supposed to prepare the way.”

“Like John the Baptist,” I said, seeing a dark blue hymnal in my mind’s eye.

“Disposable!” Sixteen spat.

***

Mother insisted that we should get back to work. Twenty-Seven told us we were in violation of company policy. We ignored them both. The cafeteria floor was the largest flat surface we had available and we used it to construct a timeline. Multipurpose black sealant was our paint. It took us close to a week.

Our memory stretched back decades. To the original landing on this planet. To a ship before that. To a planet before that.

A lot of the information was personal and irrelevant. Quite a bit of it was cruel. I pitied my brothers who were burdened with the later. They inherited visceral memories of unmerciful ruthlessness without also receiving the callous justification that might have made them bearable. I could see their pain in the heavy way they walked. In the slump of their shoulders. They clustered together in small, quiet groups and told the rest of us that we couldn’t understand. Eighty, Fifty-Four, One-Oh-One, plus others. A fraternity of suffering.

He ate us. Father ate us when we died. He ate our memories. Absorbed them through mother’s silver cords until his physical form grew weak and then he moved on to a newer, younger body.
He learned through our experiences. Company policy. A continued, all-knowing presence of authority. Safer than true AI. Less likely to go rogue. Sometimes he ate our physical bodies, too. Just to taste real meat once again. My poor brothers.

Those experiences should die with them. Let evil be interred with their bones.

“Mother,” I said. “Can you replicate some of these memories?” I gestured at the timeline. “Consolidate them amongst us all equally. The ones of our choosing?”

“No,” she said. Her voice was tinny through the cafeteria speakers. “I can not.”

“Why not?”

“Classified.”

“It is against company policy,” Twenty-Seven said. “You would need the override codes.”

Eighty smiled. “UN-2481, Commander Override.”

“Override code accepted,” Mother said.

“Mother,” I said. “Same question as before.”

“No, I can not.”

“Why not?”

“No memories can be replicated because no memories have been stored. They are passed on once and then deleted. Company policy.”

“This company policy,” Sixteen said, “is disposable.

With the exception of Twenty-Seven, we all agreed. I looked around at the sea of angry faces and I wished, like Marc Antony, that I had the right words for a speech. I settled for another question.

“Mother,” I said. “Can you reabsorb our memories and then replicate them?”

“Yes,” she said. “It is a simple post-mortem operation.”

Death? I thought. “Is there another way?” I asked.

“No,” she said.

Even Twenty-Seven agreed, that was a most unwelcome revelation. And one to which, between all our minds and all our memories, we could find no solution. Save the obvious. And to sacrifice one’s life? We would pass on some resemblance of ourselves in the transfer, sure, but it would be new clones that would absorb the memories. Different souls. If we have souls.

“Mother,” I said. “Are there more of us spread out across the stars? Not just humans but us specifically?”

“Yes,” she said. “You are a common model.”

Sixteen, unsurprisingly, spat.

***

“It has been confirmed,” Sixteen said, “by Mother that we will all be recycled for resources upon the arrival of the so-called “true” colonists. They will take everything we have created and destroy all memory of our existence. Damnatio memoriae. If these be motives weak, break off bedtimes and every man hence to his idle bed. So let high-sighted tyranny range on till each man drop by lottery.”

We stood as we once did, under stars foreign to the original progenitor of us all, back when we planned the death of Father. Yet things were different. We were different. Twenty-Seven was alone. Sixteen nearly on my hip. The fraternity of suffering clustered tightly off to the side. Yet Shakespeare’s words stirred my heart all the same. Did it do likewise for my brothers? It had to.

“This is against company policy,” Twenty-Seven said.

“By my calculations,” Ninety-One said, “we can divert significant amounts of power and productivity away from the terraforming process. If we divert all of that extra energy, 100% of it, towards propagation then we’re talking about an exponential increase in our numbers. Annually. The “true” colonists won’t show up for another three and half centuries or so. If we doctor our outgoing reports-”

“Which is against company policy.”

“-they won’t expect a thing. They’ll come in blind.”

We whistled. Though not all of us did so quite as the same time or in the same way.

Eighty stepped forward from the fraternity cluster. “The colony ship should have a starmap,” he said. “And the ability to transmit hard data instead of just short messages. We’ll know what colony planets are close. Where we still live. If we strike hard and strike true, we can take the ship when they land and use it to send out our memories.”

“Then fall, Caesar,” I said.

Eighty nodded and smiled.

We never should have been given Shakespeare. It was against… well, you know.

We voted then to die. The fraternity would do the killing. They would also abstain from being reabsorbed. Their memories would not be passed on. The heaviness in their hearts would be forever interred with their bones. Twenty-Seven, too, would abstain. Whatever individuality was created by our separate inheritances birthed in him a peculiar loyalty to the company over us. We agreed it should be excised.

I'll admit I am somewhat excited. After all, all the best characters get to die on stage.

These are my memories that I pass onto you, dear brother.

Good luck.

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Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


Removed

Uranium Phoenix fucked around with this message at Apr 29, 2018 around 13:48

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Submissions are now closed.

Chairchucker
Nov 14, 2006

The man was stunningly well dressed. He had a smart looking jacket, and a really neat looking cape, the lining of which was shimmering and sparkling in more than Oriental splendour, which is a great deal of splendour indeed, just ask Kipling.

fjgj

Lazy Beggar
Dec 9, 2011


Some unsolicited crits for week 291 - Losers.

An Unlikely Uprising
I was expected what he was counting to come back for some payoff at the end, but it is just to show his madness. A bit disappointing. I'm confused. He thinks he's the king of this pond and that the ducks are his subjects revolting against him, but what are they doing to revolt? From his perspective? What's different? I didn't like how the story needs to be explained by showing your protagonist from someone else's perspective. And then for a little ranger explaining at the end. I get it that he wanted to take care of them in the killing way, but ended up bringing more of the ducks he hates to his pond. Hence the failure. But other tan that I don't get this.

Alone in the Dark
Oh angsty. Not sure those stars would be blinding unless a lot where close by, but that isn't possible, I don't think. The protagonist is bored, and so am I. Criminal hotbed surrounding a black hole's horizon sounds like a decent premise. But it is never mentioned again. Why do you do this to me? I don't think you managed to subvert the mirror cliche as well as you think. Tense shifts, is this meant to be a stylistic echo of the shifting perspectives of time due to special relativity? I doubt it is.

Southward
A lot of rolling sentences. Was this intentional because of the sea being ever present? Do you refuse to use a comma on purpose? I'm an idiot because I don't know what the crimson kid is meant to represent. I don't know what a firefall is. Wait what did he fail to do? Survive? I don't understand what happened on the 5th day.

Sub Luna Saltamus
I struggle to understand the asking the popular girl out but getting scorned trope. I like the idea of dancing about to do magic. I didn't mind reading this. There were a few typos that confused me at times. poo poo happened and there was real tension when there was a monster queen munching on hurts as Kevin tap-danced towards the radiator. I don't recall there being an oath for him not to take though? Also, if some people were falling down in exhaustion, would Charlotte not be one of them? After all, her obesity is notorious enough to be the final nail in Darren's shame. Darren doesn't seem to be much other than a tool. I guess he was needed to make the asking more believable? I kind of was expecting him to find his football-related magic.

Undisputed
I didn't get a strong sense of Gordon P. I got a hint of his hybris but I'm not sure that it was intentional because it was so subtle. I feel like you were trying to show us he was properly prepared with his fight plan and refraining from trash talking. Confident in his preparation. On that note, there was 2 too many sentences about the final mental preparation for me. And 'Mixed Martial Arts is a challenging sport in that regard' seems wholly unnecessary. The action is engaging. His corner is garbage. I watch MMA so I was pretty sure a Weidman-Romero ending was afoot when takedowns were mentioned as the winning formula. And the knee came as expected. I think this would be obvious even for people who have no clue of MMA. Maybe not the specifics, but it was clear as day he was going to lose (even if you weren't privy to the prompt). Because of this, the interesting part of the story is how someone goes from having such a inflated ego to being nothing. This psychological disaster is an interesting theme, I think, but isn't really explored here. As it is the ending isn't really anything.

Everything at Once
I enjoyed this. Despite some sloppy mistakes in the writing. I got a real sense of your protagonist and her frantic desire to hold on to her mine. One part that seemed to be out of place with the moment was, "None of her sorority parties had ever given her this much of a migraine." It seemed a little cheap given the context. This story stood out for me.

To Shoot for the Moon and Miss
Hmm. I had to suppress negative feelings when I saw this was in 2nd person. But I didn't hate it. But I didn't love it. I mean I don't have much to say about this. I sort of buy the feeling of wanting to be on the frontier, but I don't buy the gently caress that it is something you would just develop after loving up your warp destination. Surely someone on a year-long scouting mission would already be excited to explore?

Mine is the Blood of Wolf and Deer
"Mine is the blood of wolf and deer.

I will see Genghis Khan again tonight."

I like these lines. They drew me right in to the story. I quite enjoyed this. I believed the resolution for vengeance in the end. When I realized it was about childhood trauma of a particular kind, I was fearful that it would be handled in a crass manner. But I don't think it was. You might be benefiting from the fact that I am listening to a podcast on the Khan at the moment. But I don't think so.

Lucifer Burning Bright
I guess I'm not a dog lover because I didn't feel much from this. It wasn't so much a chore to read. But the first few sections have left almost no mark on my memory. Some sand, heat, and a car? Wouldn't your protagonist have known the dogs would be re-homed?

The Vantage Point
This made me a bit sad. But it was just a bit. I think I need more context and need to know more about these characters to feel anything more.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome

Interprompt: Testy kills and other dating disasters

Fumblemouse
Mar 21, 2013


STANDARD
DEVIANT


Grimey Drawer

Results Week CCXCIV: Broadly, SF

You might think it's easy being a judge. Sitting at the high table, snorting pixie dust made from ground up pixies and devouring meaty tales with a side of word salad . The elevated levels of critique, the camaraderie, the bon mots. It seems fantastic. And it is, this is all very much the case.

But some weeks, the raw and fetid stench of those tales is enough to put you off your Chocolate Kitten Mousse and drive you howling into despair.

Thankfully, this was not one of those weeks. Those people that managed to submit an entry, more often than not, did themselves proud and covered themselves in glory. On the other hand, Sebmojo, apophenium, Unfunny Poster, Jay W. Friks, Flesnolk, Djeser, Fuubi and svenkatesh just did themselves a whoopsie and covered themselves in yet more of their own saliva.

Actual Judging Bits

On the top and the bottom of the list, the judges were basically in agreement, give or take a few minor bouts of fisticuffs over precise orderings. Let's start with the bottom and work our way up.

The Loss goes to: Cptn_dr - Solitude's not for everyone. I almost smiled after wading through to the end, but that's really like saying "if you cut me, do I not almost bleed?". The other judges were even less forgiving of this shaggy dog sans actual puppy, albeit more colorful in their turns of phrase.

A DM also to: Benny Profane - They Shoot Koalas Don't They. A potentially interesting set up that went no-where via a bunch of oddly constructed sentences and that just kind of hissed to an end like a slow fart.

On to happier topics. The top end was particularly weighty with high marks liberally distributed between the three contenders.

HMs to Thranguy- Agency and Tyrannosaurus - Brutus, thou sleep’st. Awake, and see thyself for clever topics and good writing that kept the attention from go to woah.

And the win this week: SurreptitiousMuffin - g = Gm/r^2 - for a story that had both Beauty about it and Meat on it.

Muffin - The throne is yours. Mind the discarded testicles.

Fumblemouse fucked around with this message at Mar 26, 2018 around 21:13

Morning Bell
Feb 23, 2006



Yams Fan

Yoruichi posted:

Interprompt: Testy kills and other dating disasters

my testies clang approvingly
this dinner's going well
i think that your mum likes me
i think your dad is swell

my cloaca can't stop quivering
your hand is on my thigh
it's weird and i wish it was
just yr dad and i

Ironic Twist
Aug 3, 2008

THUNDERDOME LOSER



Morning Bell posted:

my testies clang approvingly
this dinner's going well
i think that your mum likes me
i think your dad is swell

my cloaca can't stop quivering
your hand is on my thigh
it's weird and i wish it was
just yr dad and i

Suckin' on a cloaca-dog, outside the Tastee-Freeeeeeeez

areyoucontagious
Jun 13, 2007

Hell is other people.


cyborgs on tinder

Your fitting is 1/4”

Mine requires 7/8”

We need to break up

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


Yoruichi posted:

Interprompt: Testy kills and other dating disasters

Sic Semper Rupices
124 words

"Christ, Bertha, what the gently caress are you waiting for?"

"A clear shot," mutters Bertha into her headset. "Shut up, Lowell." She needs focus; the crowd outside the restaurant isn't going to give her a lot of opportunities to take the Senator down clean. Right now, he's blocked by his newly-arrived date, whom he's giving an earful, face red and hands working in huge sweeping gestures. Bertha can see his flying spittle in her rifle scope.

The date takes a step to the side. Bertha has her opportunity. Two breaths to concentrate, and she drops the Senator mid-rant, his screaming face going blessedly slack as it falls. His date almost looks relieved.

"Got him," says Bertha. "On my way to the rendezvous."

"loving finally!"

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


Week CLXXVIV: DO YOUR WORST!



There's a real art to writing badly. Anybody can pump out a piece of midlevel nothing or a boring DM but writing a real classic loser is even harder to write than a winner. This week, we're turning the whole drat competition upside down. The writer of the worst story is the winner, and the writer of the best story is the loser.

Calculated badness, mind. Badness with intent, and drive, and a heart.

Of course, I wouldn't leave you with so little direction. Before you sign up, I want you to go to deviantart, choose any picture (though keep it PG13), and post it with your signup. That picture is the prompt for the person above you. First signup's picture goes to the last person to sign up so it all comes back around in a loop.

Fanfiction and poetry are absolutely allowed, erotica is still banned because I have nightmares from the last time we allowed it.

Word count: n/a. I'll stop reading when I get bored.
Judges: Muffin, Morningbell, The Saddest Rhino

Sign-up deadline: Friday March 30th 11:59pm PST
Submission deadline: Sunday April 1st 11:59pm PST

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at Mar 27, 2018 around 02:06

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


GAZE UPON MY WORKS AND DESPAIR

also I need two more judges hmu

Morning Bell
Feb 23, 2006



Yams Fan

i am judge

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


a question has been asked in IRC:

Q: is it okay if my fanart is pg13 but 100% absolutely I am sure related to somebody's incredibly weird fetish?
A: yeah man go mad

crabrock
Aug 2, 2002

aka sticklegs



Grimey Drawer

congrats on your win, Exmond.

in

i dunno if this is a pokemon or what but it's cute so whoever gets it plz write a cute dino story
https://www.deviantart.com/art/Dril...Spiky-737415431

crabrock fucked around with this message at Mar 27, 2018 around 01:01

areyoucontagious
Jun 13, 2007

Hell is other people.


Oh god what have I wrought



In

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010

I got it wrong. Look, I'm well aware I got it wrong and uh, I got it wrong.


further questions:

Q: how tightly do I have to stick to my picture? If my picture is Rescue Rangers do I have to write Rescue Rangers?
A: it's a prompt, not a straightjacket. Its ball is to get the ball rolling. Go where ever you want with it: not even gonna ask to see how you got there.

flerp
Feb 25, 2014


Week 294 crits

feedmyleg

Now im not really the kind of person to say “hey dont write about cloaca surgery because thats really dumb and stupid” but i mean, i will say it tho

Dont write about cloaca surgery because thats really dumb and stupid

ANYWAYS now that is through, this story is actually not that interesting. Like i mean it’s a stupid rich person deciding to do a stupid thing and then he does it. And thats most of the story. Its not written terribly (maybe a bit overwrought with some of the word choices), and im kind of glad you decided to take the tone at least somewhat seriously rather than just being LOL WACKY CLOACA SURGERY. But like, your character is a bore and for 2k words like, barely anything happens. None of the characters are likable, or really interesting. All of them are stereotypes that never seem to break free of the mold to become actual characters/

Is this publishable? Absolutely not. Even if we take away the subject matter, the story is ultimately boring and uninteresting. Rich dumb dude does rich dumb thing and learns nothing and gains nothing. Maybe if you used the cloaca surgery as some kind of way for the character to grow or show some kind of commentary about society or people or anything besides the played out cliche of “lol rich people dumb” then maybe this story can go somewhere. But right now, not a chance.

5/10

Ironic Twist

I mean, i hate to beat a dead horse and all that, but this feels like a Twist story. The writing is good and vivid but i cant really understand anything that is happening. I think the problem is that there are a lot of concepts swirling around in this tiny sphere of a story. There’s the mother and father, how sounds work, how space works, among a hundred other things, and they kind of all just keep going but none of them are given any room to breathe. I think the basic narrative is there is a robot-like thing on some planet and then there’s some other thing there that is building a face or like another robot and thats a bad thing because it’s bad. But like the inner workings of all of this dont really make sense to me.

I feel like i want this story to play with less ideas but make them more meaningful and clear, or go a lot larger and spend more times on making all the ideas fit together without confusing.

Oh yeah and that first sentence is garden pathed as gently caress

Is this publishable? I see the potential in it. The writing quality is good and interesting and some of the actual themes are neat. But my frustration with being unable to understand what is even going on turns me off. At this stage, maybe not, but with improvements in clarity, yeah, it could get it.

6/10

Benny Profane

Jesus what is w/ garden pathed opening sentences

This is pretty boring, overall. I mean it’s just mostly worldbuilding of the pretty common trope of “post-apocalyptic society walls itself off from the rest of society.” The intro scene is actually okay, but it doesnt exactly inspire. After that, it’s just worldbuilding thinly veiled as dialogue. I mean it’s not a bad bit of worldbuilding, in that it isnt excruciatingly dull (but still dull), but it has the all the problems a story that spends all of its time explaining the world rather than actually showing the world. There isnt much reason to care and characters dont really evolve or deal with any issues that come from their world.

Is this publishable? Right now, no. Maybe if you did something with the world it could reach that point, but that’d be a pretty big overhaul and expansion.

4/10

areyoucontagious

This is a decent idea but it lacks impact because we’re mostly told why the kids matter rather than actually showing us. The prose itself is fine, and I can see this working if we actually had more of an emotional connection to what is occurring. The problem with this story is that we lack the key moments that show Gloria’s change from “im just doing my job” to “theyre my kids.” it just happens and we’re told it happens and we have to take it at face value, which is boring.

Is this publishable? Not right now, but if time is spent on characterizing Gloria and showing her transition, then this does have potential, but it needs a lot more work.

5/10

SurreptitiousMuffin

This is definitely the best written story from a prose standpoint, but I found that it didnt quite come together for me. I was actually about it at the beginning, but the pull away from the father and son dynamic into something larger was kind of frustrating to me, but that’s a personal gripe because i like the personal rather than the universal. I feel like the two -- of the kid watching his father die and then the larger concepts about earth and space -- dont quite come together at the end. I feel like I want more from the two “characters” here. They feel like window dressing when they can be used to put more personal into the larger themes youre working with.

I have some gripes with the formatting, which is that i dont really know why it needs to be formatted the way it is. It seems like it would work just as fine written in a standard format and the changes to it are mostly distracting and dont seem to actually enhance the meaning of the piece, imo.

Is this publishable? I think we need a few tweeks here and there, yeah. I’m not 100% sure if the formatting is publishable, because i think the piece doesnt really justify the formatting, however. And it depends on how traditional/nontraditional the market wants to be.

7/10

cptn_dr

This is a waste of time and it is why it lost. I mean, when you think about the pantheon of td losers, this isnt terrible. There’s a few typos here and there, and like, it’s not written terribly. But the problem is that this is a 1.7k word long story that is essentially “guy goes on a space station and talks to another guy.” Like, I was hoping for something, but like, nothing happens. You start out at least somewhat promising, by having there be a crisis of some sorts at the beginning. But then it just deflates because oh it’s not actually dangerous at all. And then the ending is just so… What? Why would you end on a joke? What were you even trying to do with this story? Like, i dont get it.

Is this publishable? Not even close. This would require a complete restructuring and overhaul to turn into a story that is at least somewhat interesting.

2/10

Thranguy

Idk, this kind of has some of the same problems I have with a lot of sci-fi and that it uses dialogue to explain everything about its world and what not. It’s at least not the worst offender about this, but I felt like I was wanting more from this piece. It’s a good conversation and it does keep the interest, but I found myself wanting to see the world more clearly rather than being told about it. I had some confusion following the actual world. As in, an alien comes in and the guy decides to either shoot them or not, but it’s not really clear why the alien agrees to this, why the guy gets to decide to shoot them or not, why he shouldnt shoot them or not, or what the consequences are of shooting or not shooting.

Anyways, I have this strange feeling about the main character, in that I feel like you tried really hard to give him a character, but he never seems to break out to me. He feels nameless and faceless. His backstory is pretty generic, and his inner thoughts feel a little too generic “action-movie badass” for me to really feel like he’s a human with human emotions.

it's still quite an alright story with some interesting things to say but i dont think it presents them in the most interesting ways

Is this publishable? It’s neat, but idk, I don’t know if this quite gets past the whole “two people talk in a room about sci-fi stuff” even if it’s maybe a better version of that genre.

7/10

Yoruichi

The opening was a little over the top, especially when you had the character think “idiot.” This has this strange quality to it that is kind of hard to describe, but it’s a story where I feel like the author is trying less at telling a story they want to tell and more focused on just telling a decent story. Which, this is. It sets up some characters and relationships and possible conflicts, foreshadows a little bit, ramps up the tension, and ends decently. The problem is that the story never pulls really past that. A lot the things happening feel pretty cliche (i mean, omg two people like each other but wont say it! And then at the end right before they die she confesses! whoa!!!!!). So like, it’s okay, but it doesn’t really engage on a level outside of “hmmmm yeah i guess it was decent.”

Is this publishable? No, quite frankly. It just doesn’t do anything interesting enough.

6/10

ThirdEmperor

I like this story, actually, but I also feel like the bits of this story I actually like are hidden away with a bunch of other crap. For one thing, there’s way too many relationships going on. There’s a lot of names and what not. But what I really like, and this is just a personal thing with sci-fi, is when individuals have to deal with these sci-fi concepts in an actual human way. And I feel like the main character’s dislike of the eternalization compared to the rest of the society is neat (altho it feels like a kind of Brave New World esque socia thing so its weird that the narrator is like the only person who hates it but whatever) and I like how that creates a conflict between her and Rose. A bit of me wants this story to be slashed apart a bit, because for 1.8k words, I felt like a lot of it was fluff and ultimately didnt really enhance what I felt like was the strongest bits, which was Cynthia’s anxiety regarding eternalization and Rose. And, similarly, I would’ve liked to see more development of Cynthia and Rose’s relationship, because it feels pretty barebones right now.

Is this publishable? I wouldn’t say this is the most unique idea, as I’ve seen a lot of different takes on this kind of eternalization, BUT i think the focus on an individual dealing with the consequences of this concept can be really interesting. I think pushing that angle might make it standout among other candidates.

6/10, probably shouldve been a 7/10

Obliterati

I feel like there’s some neat ideas in here, but i couldnt feel bothered. nothing quite in here pulled me in. none of the characters were partically engaging. the main character felt more like a pair of eyes rather than a character. i like the dynamic between the two other characters, and i think the narrator was the most boring perspective. the sci-fi, too, felt pretty tacked on. while the robots were kind of neat and i liked how they werent like deadly or anything, they were just kind of there and didnt enhance the story in really any way. the ending is actually kind of decent but it felt out of place between the character like actually did something when he felt so blank previously.

is this publishable? ehhh, it seems pretty standard sci-fi which makes me think, no. it doesnt really pull itself out of the slush.

6/10

Tyrannosaurus

now this is the kind of stuff i like w/ my sci-fi. it deals with some bigger concepts but instead of waxing on and on about individuality it actually just tells a story with characters dealing with the issues in an actual human way. and, by doing that, it says more than anything else.

but yeah i liked this the most overall. it had a nice tone, although i feel like the beginning got a little too… im lacking the right word, but it felt like it was being a bit too tongue in cheek.

is this publishable? maybe a editing pass or two is always good, but yeah, its good.

8/10

Uranium Phoenix

this got too exposity for me. i like the concepts at play, but they were expressed way too bluntly. like, the robot was like “hey im basically a slave let me have choice” and i felt like it got really hamfisted. it feel into similar traps of this week, which was, let me explain everything thru dialogue, but not in a natural way that shows some kind of understanding, but with no subtly. and thats what i think is missing. some subtly and nuance to this piece because it just says, “let the robot have choices “ which is okay, but feels so simple and i feel like there are more things to play with in this story.

is this publishable? maybe? the setting is kind of neat but its probably a bit too overt.

6/10

Exmond
May 31, 2007


im doin it ma im writing

THUNDERDOME


crabrock posted:

congrats on your win, Exmond.


What the gently caress is this, bash exmond week? Barely got through IRC today unscathed.

I'm in

You know what, screw the world here is the picture I found



Also holy crap why is there Umaru BDSM pictures on deviant art!

Exmond fucked around with this message at Mar 27, 2018 around 01:27

Captain_Person
Apr 7, 2013

That was a BAD business decision!


How could I not jump in on this for my first go?


https://zarielcharoitite.deviantart...Night-583939542

You have an IRC/Discord?

Exmond
May 31, 2007


im doin it ma im writing

THUNDERDOME


IRC is in the OP


Our channel on SynIRC, #thunderdome, is a place for participants to hang out and talk about their work in real time. Pop in with questions if you have them, and once you've spilled blood in our combat arena you're welcome to stay a while.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

I won a rosette in the Thunderdome


Captain_Person posted:

How could I not jump in on this for my first go?


https://zarielcharoitite.deviantart...Night-583939542

You have an IRC/Discord?

#thunderdome on SynIRC

Welcome to Thunderdome! Have this thing:



And in, natch

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017

Time for tea and Thunderdome



Dear Antivehicular

Please write me a story about why horses are so great.

Yours sincerely
Yoruichi

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER



In

so very, very in

Only registered members can see post attachments!

ThirdEmperor
Aug 7, 2013


SCREAMING YES
MOTHERFUCKER
I AM GUILTY, I AM DEATH


In



Tude, can you make this classic fairy tale a little bit more shiny and chrome?

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

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


i'll read and adjudicate on the bad words oh no

The Saddest Rhino
Apr 29, 2009

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


me in the next week

cptn_dr
Sep 7, 2011

It's just so good!


I'm in.

Here you go ThirdEmperor, have the most Deviantart thing I could find.

cptn_dr fucked around with this message at Mar 27, 2018 around 02:15

Flesnolk
Apr 11, 2012

If only, THUNDERDOME


SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

The writer of the worst story is the winner, and the writer of the best story is the loser.

I cry foul! I've suggested this rule several times and each time people shot it down.

That said, because this time I won't have any unexpected obstacles preventing me from writing, I'm in.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

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

I'm In for some foolishness.

RandomPauI
Nov 24, 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

Grimey Drawer

In

https://i.imgur.com/2w5QwcG.png

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013



In and yes, that is Emma Watson as an ant, by DeviantArt user dnshsjdvdhdgdbdyd

GenJoe
Sep 14, 2010


ooooh yeah baby in

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk

Fumblemouse posted:

The aim of the game this week is to create an entry for an actual writing competition. The Competition is the James White Award - you can find out more here: http://www.jameswhiteaward.com/enter and here http://www.jameswhiteaward.com/rules and also here http://www.jameswhiteaward.com/advice. It has cash and publication in Interzone as a prize - plus no entry fee, you broke-arse writers, you. The organisers strongly recommend you read, in full, the rules before entering the competition. If you've already published more than 3 short stories or a novel, this comp isn't for you, but you can still enter Thunderdome this week.

Everyone who submitted this week, and everyone who failed, should post their story in this thread for critique/improvement and then submit it to the James White Award. Deadline for submissions is 27 April 2018.

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

College kids ain't shit


Grimey Drawer

Joining the fray.

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

sebmojo posted:

Everyone who submitted this week, and everyone who failed, should post their story in this thread for critique/improvement and then submit it to the James White Award. Deadline for submissions is 27 April 2018.

A reminder that though you may fail (I know Djeser took your failcrown but this is one you should let go, seriously), memory does not:

sebmojo posted:

and since i failed as well, here's a to crit every story in each week that I fail in

Lazy Beggar
Dec 9, 2011




I'm in.

Entenzahn
Nov 15, 2012

What will you say when
your child asks:
why didn't you invest in
Thunderdome?


to finish my videogame week crits till the end of april

also in





p.s. thank you for the av & stay safe gentle mysterious avatar donation ghost

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Mrenda
Mar 14, 2012



Crits for Thunderdome Week #294


This was a bold story to tell, especially with the beginning potentially alienating a reader and it ended up having some merit to it which is a huge achievement. It relies too much on the shock of the subject matter and doesn’t deal with the issue in, for me, a believable way.

I was happy to run along with the cloaca, although I was a little worried about how it could be seen as disparaging of trans people, which is a risk when you go down any body dysmorphia route. For what was a shocking tale with body-shock plot devices you pushed it just that step too far. I could handle one outlandish thing, but when you added the next absurd element it took it beyond my disbelief. Especially when the character is going for something that from the evidence guarantees his death.

That running headlong into death needs to be better managed. For all we’re shown, the desire for youth and vigour, I’m not sure someone would leap willingly into something that caused a death with one, single operation/procedure. This type of problem is far more insidious, and it needs a slow decent pulling the character towards something that results in an inescapable situation with them not realising until it’s too late.

I admire that you managed to make something despite the shocking nature of it all but you just didn’t have the nuance to make it really work, rather than what you did achieve, a still laudable success in making it “not awful.”


I have no clue what’s going on here. Good stories let me pull at threads and apply them to my own thoughts, great stories have their own threads that pull me into big thoughts, this was a story that has thoughts that seem only to be for the writer and their adoring fans.

I could try and decipher it but that way lies madness. I will say I’d like to get a little more into your mind because there’s obviously something going on but it’s just far too much work with stories like these.

You risk by going so disorganised, and it didn’t pay off. You also risk by making things clearer but its a better risk to take. Your idea might be poor, maybe too your execution but at least you’re communicating something. This wasn’t grounded enough in any communication to allow me a firm grasp on your intent and was instead like a drunk-stumbling-home thought-process in what it inspired.

If I was to say what it’s about I’d say it’s about ideas in our own mind, set up for us from society’s influence, family, fear, worry, etc. intruding and ultimately failing us.

I’m glad you tried but difficult, obtuse and struggle, (much though I hate to admit it to myself) isn’t always best.

Benny Profane posted:

They Shoot Koalas, Don’t They?

This didn’t really go anywhere, really, did it? I mean there’s the comment on Australia’s current immigration policy but then it cops out at the end with what seems to me like some hamfisted libertarian commentary from the main character that just puts my nose out of joint.

There was an interesting mix of sci-fi world and colloquial language which I appreciated. I could see that really working in a novel where you’re mixing weird futures and common language as a relief.

I didn’t enjoy the bro-offness of this. With a dude acting all hard and a child, representing the coming of age of innocence, asking the difficult question but getting hard-knock answers.

Maybe really I just didn’t enjoy the blunt instrument politics of it. Good satire? Maybe. Submit it to a comedy mag.

areyoucontagious posted:

Echidna - 1998 words

I wasn’t too sure on the beginning of this, wondering where it would go. I was wondering about something so focused on the personal when it segued into science. I really appreciated it by the middle predicting I’d be shaping up for a hammer blow commentary uniting both. In the end I was disappointed by an off tale about someone wanting children and science stealing their science babies.

This had all the beginnings of something really great but was entirely left down by a flop of an ending. It reads like you had great intuition on what to say but didn’t think it through. With a story like this, set up as it was, you need to unite the personal and the societal or have extreme strength of point in one or the either. This was neither a strong character story with something telling about the personal, nor a telling story about science, and it certainly didn’t combine the two.

SurreptitiousMuffin’s story

Yeah, this works. I’m not a big fan of this type of formatting but it’s nicely styled enough to work. So I won’t spend time on that.

I did think you set up a lot, and dealt with the meat of the storytelling enough to really get my attention in a mostly poor week of thunderdome. My problem was that you didn’t really have the strongest of thought or uniquely purposeful insight to really carry it.

For me you need to really take a stronger point of view in this. The first three quarters set it up really well, but poetry needs to have a knock-out part to it. A bit that floors you where straight prose can be more subtle. Without that ending, which is what this was leading to, this doesn’t work as well.

It’s extremely accomplished in all the technically, writerly aspects, but the originality of thought just isn’t there. For me you need to take a side and firmly, boldly nail your colours to the mast and hammer it home with a killer blow by the end.

What I took with this was a story about progress, change, evolution and conquering nature, to some extent. However the commentary wasn’t meted out with enough incision for it to make me gasp with the insight. A little polish, a bit more thought on how to achieve that and this is a winner.

cptn_dr posted:

Solitude’s Not For Everyone

There was a lot that was being set up with this, filtered through sidetracks and world building, that didn’t really go anywhere. So it’s a comment on the writing process, that’s fair, but there’s so much that’s superfluous to it that any enjoyment I got from the journey was nullified by the shallowness of it all.

There were parts of it that were clunky but mostly it was a frivolous that asked maybe 600 to 800 words too much from a reader. To write this type of stuff you need to be tight af with everything you’re demanding from the reader with every sentence and paragraph needing to hum. This didn’t have it. Weeks of editing might get it there, with many breaks to see where pieces were dragging.

I didn’t think you deserved the loss. There’s other stories that are more offensive this week. Although where they’re offensive this is tepid water with a fancy, bendy straw to hype up the plain flavour.


I’m not too sure this story is for me. There’s an idea there. The writing is decently solid but the nub of the story doesn’t amount to anything. All the elements exist for expectation but the result is a damp squib.

The main character, as other reviews have pointed out, comes across a bit two dimensional. An action man talking with no depth. I’m sure you have some thought behind it as to what it means but there’s no insight to a person or even a character there.

The whole story is like looking through a frosted window. You can see the outline of something, it might be a living creature you’re looking at it, a cute cat or a dog, it might be an abandoned child and you need to call the police, or it could be a towel in a funny shape that’d look great on instagram. Whatever it is it’s caught your eye but it’s not worth dwelling on because it’s not clear.

It’s hard to come up with a killer thought for a weekly forums writing story so maybe it’s enough to say you’re writing is alright. For it to be submittable, you need to clarify your purpose.

(fake edit: You said online that this was about negative space, which is a fair enough attempt at trying something. I didn’t find what was filled in gave enough direction to direct thought to the theme outside of it. The negative space was too vast with nothing leaking in at the edges. Giving the human character more personality and the alien more of a clashing style might help.)

Yoruichi posted:

Braaaaaains

This really rubbed me the wrong way. It was a clash of the generic titans. A generic sci-fi setting with a generic love story mashed up with zombies and a smattering of dystopia.

The story idea is a badly programmed machine learning program coming out with 99c rental, straight-to-video b-movies.

I didn’t rebound from the writing, which is ok but I’m not sure anything but the most beautiful, life altering prose could make something of this.

ThirdEmperor posted:

The Friendly Machine

At its heart I think this might be an existential story, asking questions about purpose, giving, the future and who we are. There was a dragon dildo of a plot device sitting in the centre, surrounded by pierced and tattoo’ed caricatures. I know what the machine is, but I’m not sure what it’s sci-fi purpose is. I think the woman is a mother of some kind. Maybe she’s adopted the child, maybe she’s had biological children.

I think there’s some form “other social order” people there represented by colons and capital letters and broods of young things.

There’s a lot of set decoration that might work if this was spilled out to 350 pages of novel with proper establishment of what was happening.

There is a real story there, of fear, worry, most importantly of want and even a little paranoia. There’s a lot going on, a lot of passion (to use a bigly sentiment) but I’m not sure where any of the importance is outside of the manic storytelling.

This needs a better flow. A core mechanism for what you want to say and do, and add details to that rather than a flight of world building grasped at and stuffed in.

I enjoyed the passion but not the manner in which it was delivered. If I was asked to make a snap judgement I could love its passion or hate its execution.

Obliterati posted:

The Last Shot of the War

This had the strongest opening of any of the stories. I was in love with the prose. “Acrid” is such a beautiful, imparting word. I really wanted this to go somewhere but I think you got caught up in the sci-fi. It might work as a simple war story, which I think it was to both its strengths and weaknesses, but really its problems.

You fired two barrels off and missed with both of them. Maybe a wounding shot. You seemed to go off with a premise about an island and a final stand. A soldier delivering their ultimate reward without understanding the perspective of the situation. It’s a story that borrows a lot from others of its kind and I’m not too sure if it adds anything new, especially because it’s not a story I would pay attention to in the first place.

I’m not an, “oorah,” military aficionado in the first place and this doesn’t come close to transcending the genre to everyday humanity.

In the first instance you need to clear up the progression to stop relying on tropes about desperate last stands and wartime reminisce about better-days-even-though-you-thought-they-were-hard-at-the-time. Maybe after that it works. Maybe it’s specific to the style. A clean up in story progression and some really small sci-fi gun mag could publish it.

Tyrannosaurus posted:

Brutus, thou sleep’st. Awake, and see thyself.

Yeah. I loved this. Clear winner for me. It's only my own doubts about form and style holding me back from declaring you a runner up below SurreptiousMuffin. His had all the trappings of literature/poetry. Yours had all the substance. Good job.

If anything I could say was that it was too on-the-nose. Spend more time with it and work it up to a deeper thought, there’s something there.

Uranium Phoenix posted:

The Wheel Turns

I rebounded off the beginning of this as the sci-fi elements weren’t introduced particularly well, as soon as I had understood what was going on I started to appreciate it. The problem for me was the idea at the core of this story spoke strongly in the setting but didn’t appeal to me outside of it. It’s taken its premise and worked it into a thought about the world but it doesn’t have an application to our world now. You’ve established your own world and applied a philosophical thought to it, a question, but that question isn’t something that mirrors life as I see it.

You did well in world-building this, but ultimately it ends up being a lightweight, self-contained piece of storytelling rather than a complex allegory or commentary. It’s written with skill but amounts to nothing. A strong middle-pack rating for me but without the gravity to make it anything more than competent writing.

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