Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
ibntumart
Mar 18, 2007

Good, bad. I'm the one with the power of Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton, and Mehen.


College Slice

I’m a drat yellowbelly and good-for-nuthin’, but I will seek redemption. She will guide me. And oh yeah, :toxx:

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Chili
Jan 23, 2004

college kids ain't shit


Fun Shoe

Armack, thank you for the crit!

Muffin, I am in. Flipped a coin and it came up Heads.

Pham Nuwen
Oct 30, 2010




I usually skipped song weeks but I guess I'm in this week with him

sparksbloom
Apr 30, 2006


In. She. :toxx:

Jay W. Friks
Oct 4, 2016


Got Out.


Grimey Drawer

Codex Crits Part One

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nsn8oO0CxDNgTsa5HcP_NFIEjTwcaE1g/view?usp=sharing

Contained within are crits for

Yoruichi's "Searching for the Bottom of the Sea", Felime's "Last Breath", Apopheniums "Sacrosanct", IronicTwist's "The Trap Card", SurreptiousMuffin's "Canto III" , Anti Vehiculars "Dust", Pham Nuwen's "East and West and We're in Between-", Uraniumphoenix's "The Realm of Forgetting", Thranguy's "Hide and Seek".

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.






Gone to Collections
Words 1114
Negative Energy Plane http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wi...ve_Energy_plane

“How did you get those scars on your wrists?” Nadia, former Grim Reaper, Soul Collector and servant to Black Satan asked the son of God.

Black Jesus pulled from his cigar. The embers flared blood red, illuminated pale faces in the pitch darkness. He reached up and removed the cigar from his mouth, the light ebbing away, plunging everyone back into the starless night. “Oh, these were nothing, really,” he said. He hissed softly, expelling the rest of the cigar smoke. “I got a pretty big scar on my side too. All from hanging around for a day with some Romans.”

Black Jesus paused and no one made a sound in the quiet in between. “In the grand scheme of things,” he continued, “I only lost a weekend before I was back on my feet. I got off easy.”

Red light bloomed from the embers and Nadia eyes met with Sebastian’s. Not many things unnerved Nadia. She was a denizen of Hell and routinely commanded all sorts of creatures that would turn a man’s bowels to liquid. But she had doubts about him. She’s seen how he interacts with that guitar he’s never without. He argues with it as if they were an old married couple. The way the air shimmers with a cyclone of guitar strings as he fights is astonishing. But it has always bothered her that she had never sensed any demonic or magical power coming from that guitar. This was a broken man, his mind fractured like a struck mirror. A very powerful and unpredictable person. The glow faded.

“How about you, Sebastian?” Nadia ventured, her curiosity prevailing against her caution. “You have… a lot of puncture wounds all over your body.”

“I always did wonder about that,” Black Jesus said. “Would have been nice to have omnipotence like my dad…” His grumbling was uncharacteristic of him, but given their current circumstances even the most upbeat person would have trouble keeping a smile. Being trapped in Hell would have that effect on people.

Sebastian snorted. “Xavier and I had a bit of an argument.”

Nadia rose an eyebrow. “Who’s-”

“Sorry,” Sebastian quickly added, “My guitar. He wanted to kill hundreds, if not thousands of people. I did not want any part of it. So we wrestled and he might have stabbed me a few times.”

Somewhere to Nadia’s right, someone snorted. “A few hundred times maybe,” they said under their breath.

There was a long silence after that. Sebastian cleared his throat. “We ended up killing each other and then spent a really long time here. That is, until you guys freed us.”

Black Jesus took another pull. Long shadows stretched outward into the gloom.

“I have scars,” Nadia said, preempting any forthcoming questions. Everyone was looking at her. “You can’t see them. Not normally.” The embers died out again, the sudden veil of darkness eerily mimicking a confession booth. “It took me a long time to die. At least it felt like it.

“My… friend,” she growled the word through clenched teeth. She scoffed. “He’s been dead for centuries and still… John raped me. Then, being the coward that he is, didn’t want his wife to find out so he spread a rumor that I was a witch. The very next morning my neighbors came to me with torches and makeshift weapons. What hurt the most when I was being burned at the stake wasn’t the fire on my skin. I mean, it hurt like a motherfucker - excuse my French, Black Jesus, but it didn’t last for long. Breathing in superheated air does an ugly number in your mouth and nose and lungs. I’ve never felt pain like that before or since. In the end, I died because I suffocated. Fire sucked all the air around me I couldn’t get a breath in.”

“That’s so loving metal!” Sebastian said through his guitar.

“So how will you show us your scars?” Black Jesus asked.

“Take another pull of your cigar and you’ll see.”

The embers flared up once again. Black Jesus’ eyebrows shot up. Sebastian flinched. Xavier cursed and made a joke comparing Nadia to beef jerky.

Gone were Nadia’s immaculately coiffed hair and porcelain-like skin. Perfectly tailored suit and blouse were gone too, as well as her stiletto shoes. She sat there clutching her knees, completely naked. Her skin was dark and shriveled, like brittle leather. Her hair was short, dirty and growing in patches across her skull. Her eyes were pools of ink with pin pricks of red light staring back. And then within moments, her beautiful features slid into place like a camera iris shuttering close. The embers faded once again, plunging everyone into darkness.

“loving metal…” Xavier said, less enthusiastically this time. “You’re basically naked under those fake clothes.”

Another awkward pause. Sebastian was good with creating those.

“Why’d you defect to us, child?” Black Jesus asked and then answered before Nadia could respond. “I think it’s because in your heart, there is ultimately a good that you nor Black Satan could fully snuff out.”

Nadia opened her mouth to interject, but Black Jesus rolled right over her.

“You’re gonna explain to me that it was all about self preservation. Things weren’t working out and you had no choice. So you needed to bounce to the good guys because at least we won’t kill you if you mess up.”

“That’s-”

“Or maybe it’s because of revenge. Black Satan wronged you and you need our help stick him where it counts.”

“That’s-”

“Or maybe-”

“Stop talking!” Nadia puffed out her cheeks in exasperation. “I wanna free all the souls I collected and free them from an eternity of damnation. All of them.”

“Why?” Sebastian asked. “Have a sudden change of heart?”

“Yes,” Nadia said, matter of factly. “The last signature I obtained, I tricked a seven year old girl into signing her soul away. I was behind in my quota and I became desperate.”

“Well,” Black Jesus said, standing up. “This was a long enough break. We’re going back to take care of these souls.”

Someone in the darkness groaned petulantly. “We just escaped from there…”

That was fifty five years ago. Before inner demons were met and conquered. Before friendships were forged and tested. It didn’t take long for the landscapes of hell to be smudged into one long mental picture. In their memories, the demons and servants to Black Satan devolved into formless shapes of flesh, teeth and nails as the number slain grew into the thousands. With each liberated soul, their determination grew and their names had the power to instill fear.

And also, Nadia and Sebastian totally banged.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Mercedes posted:

And also, Nadia and Sebastian totally banged.

10 out of 10


(I will do you a proper crit if you want one)

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.






That would be great if you would. :)

Solitair
Feb 18, 2014

This statement is a lie!


IN with SHE

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


I'm with her.

(in, she)

Felime
Jul 10, 2009


In. Let's buck the trend and go He.

Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



SurreptitiousMuffin posted:

Week 309: He & She
I can judge, if you want

Djeser
Mar 22, 2013


it's crow time again



For those that didn't know, I livetweeted my reactions to last week's stories as I read them:

https://twitter.com/djeser_/status/1013666297475837952

Anyone who would like a full crit (including DQs, which I didn't get around to reading) let me know.

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.






Djeser posted:

For those that didn't know, I livetweeted my reactions to last week's stories as I read them:

https://twitter.com/djeser_/status/1013666297475837952

Anyone who would like a full crit (including DQs, which I didn't get around to reading) let me know.

I would greatly appreciate it. I'm rusty and I need help getting back on the ride.

cptn_dr
Sep 7, 2011

Seven for beauty that blossoms and dies



Yeah, I'd really appreciate a full crit if you've got time.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Me too please

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







Ya hit me up

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

A full crit would be welcome.

Thranguy
Apr 21, 2010

Yes, the good words are gone.

Why are the good words gone?!




I'd like a full crit too, yes.

Uranium Phoenix
Jun 20, 2007


RADIOACTIVE DUST SURGE DETECTED


Full crit please, yeah.

Chuf
Jun 28, 2011

I had that weird dream again.


If you got time, full crit would be great.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Fuschia tude posted:

I can judge, if you want
Yeah, you're in.

Anybody missing a PM? I think I've sent them all out but I'm also very forgetful.

Antivehicular
Dec 30, 2011

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



Yoruichi posted:

Me too please

Do you still want/need crit-swap buddies? I'm happy to crit your story.

Also, screw it: I've got a four-day work week and a lot of bad ideas. In, him.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




More critting is good critting so yes please. I haven’t read your entry for last week yet but will do so later this week and give you my thoughts :)

Sitting Here
Dec 31, 2007


BLO OD E M PR E SS

of

THUDNER-DOME






Here are the last of the 306 crits! Sorry for the delay!! If there are any dumb mistakes in these it's because i'm a dumb mistake, sorry


Benny Profane

Summary:

A female cuttlefish contemplates the sapience of her prey, and the growing hollowness inside of her as her body prepares for procreation and death. She feels eggs growing inside of her, but doesn’t feel the sense of surety she assumed would come with age. Eventually, she sees a procession of other cuttlefish, and instinct kicks in. She follows them to a part of the reef where cuttlefish go to bone down, lay their eggs, and die.

As soon as she gets there, an aggressive little male tries forcefully to mate with her. She’s not into this, and struggles. The commotion attracts a bigger male, who successfully fends off the smaller one. This make is acceptable to the female cuttlefish, so they do the deed and go to hide their eggs among the coral.

Predatory fish and sharks are wise to the cuttlefish’s habits, however, so the mating grounds soon turn into a bloodbath. Our cuttlefish and her mate are basically in a fight to the death to secure their eggs. A big shark heads for our cuttlefish, attracted by the blood she’s losing from a severed tentacle, but is intercepted by her mate, who basically offers himself up as a meal in her place. The shark swims off with his corpse in its teeth, leaving our cuttlefish to slowly bleed to death, content that she’s protected her eggs and given them the best chance they could have.


Expression of intelligence:

Hmm. See, there is a lot of spot-on cuttlefish behavior here, but I don’t know about intelligence. I guess if we take the prose to be an accurate reflection of the cuttlefish’s inner dialog, it shows that she is an emotional and self reflective being. I think there is possibly a spark of empathy or protectiveness between male and female cuttlefish. Otherwise, it’s just like I said; you accurately depict behavior, but there wasn’t really any attempt to play with the intelligence.


Comments:

You can probably guess what my complaints will be from the section above! This isn’t badly written, and your cuttlefish comes across as an emotional being even if she’s not super well characterized, but there is no real insight into cuttlefish intelligence. I feel like I’m watching scenes i’ve seen many times in nature documentaries.

I’m not saying every story needed to be mystical or religious or fantastical, but this reminded me a lot of the corvid stories in that it depicted observable behavior and little else. Like, the fact that you are conveying this cuttlefish’s narrative in human words isn’t enough to imbue her with any real intelligence or individuality.

Finally, this story felt too long for what it was. Every story beat was treated with the same level of detailed realism, so I was kind of fatigued by the time I got to the dramatic bits near the end.


Kaishai

Summary:

So our protag is a kraken, massive, old, and cunning. She’s out gathering sharp bits of coral for her nest when she tastes a message in the water: someone else is out there, close but not too close for comfort. He seems to be seeking a mate. Before going to meet him, she stops back at home to add to her coral defences and briefly tend to her children. The kraken loves sunken ships, even takes pride in maintaining the old wooden ones (to the point of maiming her children for damaging them). The kids themselves all bunk in newer, metal ships, which are harder to damage not not so precious as the wooden ones.

Housekeeping done, the kraken swims out to greet this young, audacious fella. She seems amused and possibly even pleased by how demanding he is, and signals her location with her ink. When he arrives, the kraken is able to deduce that this is a pretty handsome specimen. And he’s thoughtful, too! He’s brought her a whole (still operational) submarine as a gift.

She gratefully sets it aside for later, then jets off playfully into the deep, beckoning the male to follow. They zoom around for a while, for the pure fun of it, then finally couple just outside of the kraken’s coral defenses. He goes in for the kill, knowing that there’s every possibility she might do the same. She bites off one of this tentacles for the trouble, then retreats back into her coral garden, where it would be dangerous to follow. She’s injured but not fatally so.

The male lingers for a second, but ultimately swims off to recuperate from the loss of his tentacle and live to mate another day. Our kraken is pleased; she wouldn’t mind bumping into him again sometime in the future.

She retrieves the submarine and heads home to feed the delicious living people inside to her offspring; all is well in the deep.


Expression of intelligence:

I mean, this is obviously a sophisticated being. I think what intrigued me more than her obvious intelligence was how different her values were from a human. She is very much a product of her environment, even if the animal you modeled her after isn’t strictly real. She is a deep, feeling being, in a way that is distinctly cephalopodean.


Comments:

I really have no crits of this piece. As usual, the language is economical and lovely. The kraken is realistic in spite of being (sort of) a mythical being. I could believe there are huge, intelligent beings like this hiding down at the bottom of the ocean.

What gave this the disadvantage against the winning piece? Well, both characters had a distinct voice, both experienced something relatable yet inherently foreign to humans. I think it just came down to preference, honestly. It was aaaalmost a coin toss , but when it came time to make the call, the judges leaned toward...and stop me if you’ve heard this before...catharsis. I feel like I’m basically rehashing the crit from week 307.

Anyway, I really like how powerful and terrible the protag is, and how you present the violence of life in the abyss in a way that is neither casual or glorified. Really good stuff.


ibntumart

Summary:

This story is basically split into two points of view. One features two well-meaning women on the beach who help a beached octopus. The other is the perspective of the octopus herself. The story of the women is pretty simple; they’re grossed out but decide to be ‘compassionate’ and attempt to put the octopus back in the water. The octopus is less than cooperative, for reasons that I’ll get into shortly.

Meanwhile, the octopus has very much beached herself on purpose. We learn throughout the narrative that the individual brains in her tentacles work in a sort of chaotic harmony, but the the “self” of the octopus, the central brain, is little more than a switchboard operator, connecting messages between tentacles. She hates this, a lot. She wants to be the master of her body, not just a subordinate piece of it. The problem is, any hint of rebellion on her part triggers an unbearable flurry of hate and fear in the tentacle brains.

Her solution is to trick the other parts of herself. Her body responds reflexively to things that could signal a threat, including sounds. The octopus discovers that she can trick the rest of her body into “hearing” something by calling up the memory of the sound with enough focus. In this way, she triggers a sound-memory that causes her body to launch itself out of the shallows and onto the beach. She makes it to the sand, and in short order, feels herself dying. As her tentacle brains start to dim, she finally gets a sense of solitude, which is satisfying enough to justify her own death.

...sadly, the two well-meaning humans drag her back into the sea, and as soon as she’s in the water, her tentacles push her away from the humans.

The final beat of the story shows the central brain locked in a mutually hateful relationship with the rest of the body, but her trick probably won’t work again so they’re doomed to swim together for the rest of her life.


Expression of intelligence:

Of all the stories this week, this was the only one to really get into the nitty-gritty of what octopus intelligence would *feel* like. This octopus isn’t founding any religions or civilizations, but she is an incredibly complex being whose mind operates in a way truly foreign to humans.


Comments:

So I think if I did a line-by-line edit of this piece, I would tweak a lot of the phrasing and probably correct some errors. To grab a random example:

quote:

The cool currents slipped onto the woman’s body as her friend waded behind her.

When someone is walking into water, it’s weird to describe the currents as “slipping onto” them. That sort of phrasing is usually referring to something you wear. It’s also a passive, wordy way to phrase it. I would say The woman slipped into the cool currents and her friend waded in behind her. Or something like that. It’s direct and there’s no odd phrasing to dilute the image.

This whole piece kinda had bits like that, but that stuff is easily fixed with a concentrated editing pass, so I’m not going to focus on it.

What I really love about this story is that it didn’t focus on how civilized your octopus was, but how complex. How different from us. And how those differences make it impossible for the two women on the beach to understand what they were condemning the octopus to by releasing it back into the water. The conflict was purely internal, but it works because you have an individual functioning as a collective at odds with itself. That is extremely my poo poo.

Other than the editing stuff, I think I’d like to see a more meaningful ending. I think for word count reasons it makes sense to end this where it ends, but I didn’t really like that the final beat was just the central brain learning to hate. Like, that could be part of it, but I didn’t like how that was kind of summed up as The Point of the story. I would’ve liked to see more concrete evidence of a change in dynamic between central brain and tentacle brains, beyond mutual contempt.

Otherwise, this was conceptually my favorite story this week. Some of the other positive mentions wrote better stories, but this showed the kind of outside-of-the-box thinking i craved this week.



Bad Seadoof

Summary:

Full disclosure, I’m not entirely sure what sort of corvid this is. The stealing things makes me think of magpies, but the rest of their behavior is very crow-like. I’m just gonna say ‘crow’ because i like crows best.

Anyway, our crow narrator is piiiissed. He keeps all his worldly possessions inside an old statue in the woods. He comes home one day to find them gone. This will not stand! He calls a crow moot and the others agree that this theft is a severe crime and cannot go unpunished. It’s revealed that the youngest of the group saw the theft and knows who took the treasures. The narrator is pissed but grateful, because it was kind of a dick move to witness the theft and not mention it to anyone.

The deal is some kid raided the storehouse and took all the crow’s stuff. The kid and his family is known to the eldest crow, so they put out a city-wide APB with the perp’s description. The elder guesses that the kid might be wearing a sling, because of course humans are soft and ridiculous and coddle their young.

The crows spread out across the city looking for their mark. When they find him, he’s sporting the narrator’s treasured pocket watch, presumably about to go to school. They dive, attacking him in a swarm until some adults hustle him inside the building. The narrator manages to get his pocket watch back, at least, though it’s got a couple new scratches from the misadventure.

This is only the beginning, though. The kid is an enemy of the crows, and there is plenty of time left for vengeance.


Expression of intelligence:

We get to see a very sinister expression of traits we know corvids to have: memory, cooperation, facial recognition, and general observation skills.


Comments:

This was I think the only story to posit that intelligence leads to cruelty, to the cunning expression of contempt. Your crows are crow-like for sure; this story features a lot of real, observable behavior. This story’s point of view seems to be that traits we think of has human-like (a thirst for vengeance, possessiveness, a long memory for slights) are really endemic to intelligence itself.

Your narrator had a strong voice, which is another thing that set it aside from some of the other bird stories. That voice sounds a little too human from time to time, but it was kind of a welcome reprieve from the distant “animal does thing” approach.

I guess...I would’ve liked this story to be a little less human-centric? Like, maybe the central conflict could’ve been intra-crow drama, or something. I think it would be better to highlight the similarities between crow and human without having any humans involved. That’s just a preference though; most of my favorite stories this week focused purely on animals interacting with each other, the environment, or some internal struggle.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




Mercedes posted:

That would be great if you would. :)

A crit for Mercedes from week 308

Gone to Collections

“How did you get those scars on your wrists?” Nadia, former Grim Reaper, Soul Collector and servant to Black Satan asked the son of God. I am not immediately bored = good start. I don’t think Grim Reaper and Soul Collector need capitals though - makes them look like names given they’re right next to Black Satan and God.

Black Jesus This appears to be a joke based on your av but I feel like I’m missing some back story that would allow me to appreciate it more pulled from Should this be “on”? his cigar. The embers flared blood red, illuminated pale faces in the pitch darkness. He reached up and removed the cigar from his mouth, the light ebbing away, plunging everyone back into the starless night. I think there should be a paragraph break here “Oh, these were nothing, really,” he said. He hissed softly, expelling the rest of the cigar smoke. “I got a pretty big scar on my side too. All from hanging around for a day with some Romans.” The prose in the middle of this para gets a bit overwrought. If you swapped “pitch darkness” and “starless night” around both sentences would be better.

Black Jesus paused and no one made a sound in the quiet in between. Delete “in between”. “In the grand scheme of things,” he continued, “I only lost a weekend before I was back on my feet. I got off easy.” I was skeptical about the Jesus jokes but I am getting more on board with them now.

Red light bloomed from the embers and Nadia’s eyes met with Sebastian’s. I think it was a mistake to describe this scene as being pitch black and have them only be able to see by the light of a cigar. It’s weird trying to imagine people sitting around talking and not being able to see each other at all. They need a dim lantern or a smouldering fire or something. Not many things unnerved Nadia. She was a denizen of Hell and routinely commanded all sorts of creatures that would turn a man’s bowels to liquid. But she had doubts about him. She’s seen how he interacts with that guitar he’s never without. The tense is weird here. I think this sentence should read, “She’d seen how he interacted with the guitar that he was never without.” He argues Should be “argued” with it as if they were an old married couple. The way the air shimmers with a cyclone of guitar strings as he fights is astonishing. The tense is weird here too. Is he fighting right now? Has she seen him fight in the past? Is this supposed to be a generic statement of fact about him? But it has Should be “had” always bothered her that she had never sensed any demonic or magical power coming from that guitar. This was a broken man, his mind fractured like a struck mirror. A very powerful and unpredictable person. The glow faded.

“How about you, Sebastian?” Nadia ventured, her curiosity prevailing against Should be “over” her caution. “You have… a lot of puncture wounds all over your body.”

“I always did wonder about that,” Black Jesus said. “Would have been I think this should be “be” otherwise it sounds like it would have been nice in the past, but it’s not anymore nice to have omnipotence like my dad…” His grumbling was uncharacteristic of him, but given their current circumstances even the most upbeat person would have trouble keeping a smile. Being trapped in Hell would have Should be “had” instead of “would have” that effect on people. I think the fact that they’re trapped in Hell should come earlier. It’s not a surprise revelation so why not just stick it in the first para so the reader knows where they are? And why are they trapped in Hell anyway? Particularly Black Jesus - how did he end up here? And how did this merry band assemble? I am confused about all these things at this point.

Sebastian snorted. “Xavier and I had a bit of an argument.”

Nadia rose an eyebrow. “Who’s-”

“Sorry,” Sebastian quickly added, This should be a full stop not a comma “My guitar. He wanted to kill hundreds, if not thousands of people. I did not want any part of it. So we wrestled and he might have stabbed me a few times.”

Somewhere to Nadia’s right, someone snorted. “A few hundred times maybe,” they said under their breath. Who are “they”? It’s implied earlier that there are multiple people here, which is fine, but it’s weird to have someone unidentified talking. Am I supposed to care about this new character or not?

There was a long silence after that. Sebastian cleared his throat. “We ended up killing each other and then spent a really long time here. That is, until you guys freed us.”

Black Jesus took another pull. Long shadows stretched outward into the gloom.

“I have scars,” Nadia said, preempting any forthcoming Delete “forthcoming” - the sentence means the same thing without it questions. Everyone was looking at her. “You can’t see them. Not normally.” The embers died out again, the sudden veil of darkness eerily mimicking a confession booth. I have never been in a confession booth but I have never pictured them as being pitch black. I still think this scene would make more sense if it were dimly lit. You could still have the light of the cigar coming going. “It took me a long time to die. At least it felt like it.”

“My… friend,” she growled the word through clenched teeth. She scoffed. “She scoffed” doesn’t work as a stand alone phrase - it sounds like it should be a dialogue tag, or she should be scoffing at something. “He’s been dead for centuries and still… John raped me. I got confused here. He raped her despite being dead for centuries? Or he raped her before died? And who is John anyway? Then, being the coward that he is, didn’t want his wife to find out so he spread a rumor that I was a witch. The very next morning my neighbors came to me with torches and makeshift weapons. What hurt the most when I was being burned at the stake wasn’t the fire on my skin. I mean, it hurt like a motherfucker - excuse my French, Black Jesus, but it didn’t last for long. Breathing in superheated air does an ugly number in your mouth and nose and lungs. I’ve never felt pain like that before or since. I would delete this sentence. It sound like the pain was the worst bit, but she just said it wasn’t. And the next sentence explains that suffocating was the worst bit. In the end, I died because I suffocated. Fire sucked all the air around me I couldn’t get a breath in.”

“That’s so loving metal!” Sebastian said through his guitar.

“So how will you show us your scars?” Black Jesus asked.

“Take another pull of your cigar and you’ll see.”

The embers flared up once again. Black Jesus’ eyebrows shot up. Sebastian flinched. Xavier cursed and made a joke comparing Nadia to beef jerky. Xavier is the guitar, right? A few lines up you’ve got Sebastian talking through the guitar, and now the guitar is talking on its own, which is confusing. Either have them always talk separately or only have Sebastian talk.

Gone were Nadia’s immaculately coiffed hair and porcelain-like Delete “-like” skin. Perfectly tailored suit and blouse were gone too, as well as her stiletto shoes. She sat there clutching her knees, completely naked. Her skin was dark and shriveled, like brittle leather. Her hair was short, dirty and growing in patches across her skull. Her eyes were pools of ink with pin pricks of red light staring back. And then within moments, her beautiful features slid back into place like a camera iris shuttering close This is an odd turn of phrase, and doesn’t work as a simile because cameras shut really fast, rather than sliding into place. The embers faded once again, plunging everyone into darkness. Delete “plunging everyone into darkness” - we get how this works by now.

“loving metal…” Xavier said, less enthusiastically this time. “You’re basically naked under those fake clothes.”

Another awkward pause. Sebastian was good with creating those. See? Is Sebastian or Xavier talking? It’s weird.

“Why’d you defect to us, child?” Black Jesus asked That is a good question Black Jesus. Nadia starts this story as a former grim reaper, but now she’s a normal human who got raped and murdered? I thought she was a demon? I guess she joined Satan after death? But why? This is too much for the reader to have to guess about and then answered before Nadia could respond. “I think it’s because in your heart, there is ultimately a good that neither you nor Black Satan could fully snuff out.”

Nadia opened her mouth to interject, but Black Jesus rolled right over her. Lol Jesus is a dick

“You’re gonna explain to me that it was all about self preservation. Things weren’t working out and you had no choice. So you needed to bounce to the good guys because at least we won’t kill you if you mess up.”

“That’s-”

“Or maybe it’s because of revenge. Black Satan wronged you and you need our help stick him where it counts.”

“That’s-” Would have been better if you’d found a different word rather than repeating “that’s”

“Or maybe-”

“Stop talking!” Nadia puffed out her cheeks in exasperation. “I wanna free all the souls I collected and free them Delete “and free them” from an eternity of damnation. All of them.”

“Why?” Sebastian asked. “Have Should be “had” a sudden change of heart?”

“Yes,” Nadia said, matter of factly. “The last signature I obtained, I tricked a seven year old girl into signing her soul away. I was behind in my quota and I became desperate.” Lol Grim Reapers are dicks too

“Well,” Black Jesus said, standing up. “This was a long enough break. We’re going back to take care of these souls.”

Someone Who’s this now? in the darkness groaned petulantly. “We just escaped from there…”

Oh poo poo here comes the word count better write an ending

That was fifty five years ago. Before inner demons were met and conquered. Before friendships were forged and tested. It didn’t take long for the landscapes of hell to be smudged into one long mental picture What is a “long mental picture?”. In their memories, the demons and servants to Black Satan devolved into formless shapes of flesh, teeth and nails as the number slain grew into the thousands. With each liberated soul, their determination grew and their names had the power to instill fear. Ok so Black Jesus, Nadia, Sebastian and his guitar, and one or two other nameless companions, rampage around Hell murdering demons and freeing souls. I am on board with this, but it should have been at least half the story, not one para.

And also, Nadia and Sebastian totally banged. This is an incredibly stupid last line. Don’t get me wrong, I laughed. But I am very immature and love dick jokes so the fact that I am happy that they banged is not a good indicator of quality writing.

Overall I’m giving you 4/10. If I’d been judging in an average week this would have been a no mention. I liked the concept and the characters. The Black Jesus / Black Satan thing felt like an in-joke that I wasn’t party to. The Jesus jokes probably would have been stronger without making him Black Jesus. The biggest weaknesses are the super-rushed ending, and the fact I have no idea why they’re all trapped in Hell or who these people are. But at least someone got to bang.

Mercedes
Mar 7, 2006

"So you Jesus?"

"And you black?"

"Nigga prove it!"

And so Black Jesus turned water into a bucket of chicken. And He saw that it was good.






Yoruichi posted:

Solid motherfucking crits

Thanks for your efforts man! And yea, all the characters in this story are recurring characters. If you wanna read goodbad stories pm me or catch me on irc and I'll link you

Mercedes fucked around with this message at 15:16 on Jul 4, 2018

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

:siren: Thunderdome Recap! :siren:



Although Sitting Here, Ironic Twist, and I make an effort to understand what people were on about in Week 301: Communications Breakdown, the writers' messages don't always come across, possibly because we're distracted by burning couches and/or improbable physics. Week 302: Invisible Bartertowns then takes us into realms of wonder, of bemusement, and of regrettable poetry, but we can't find Mr. Calvino anywhere! Maybe the space kraken ate him? Oh, well; we'll always have our reading of Lazy Beggar's "Unsolicited Silence" and all the periods contained therein. Stop.

I got a little angry. I asked the boozers what was going on. In a forceful tone. And with a little shaking for good measure. Not one word. One guy whimpered. And instantly started to cry.


Episodes past can be found here!

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


I hosed up the dates in the OP and gave everybody an extra week. You do not have that extra week – deadlines are this Friday and this Sunday as per usual. Sorry if that confused anybody.

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 03:11 on Jul 5, 2018

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

Pain is inevitable.
Suffering is optional.
Thunderdome is forever.


In with She. No DMs, off to lurk in IRC.

CascadeBeta
Feb 14, 2009

by Cyrano4747


In with Her.

ibntumart
Mar 18, 2007

Good, bad. I'm the one with the power of Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton, and Mehen.


College Slice

Big ups for the detailed crit, Sitting Here!

Kaishai
Nov 3, 2010

Scoffing at modernity.

In. He.

Yoruichi
Sep 21, 2017


Horse Facts

True and Interesting Facts about Horse




A crit for Antivehicular for week 308

Dust


This never should have happened at all, but at least it happened during dust season. Most of the staff here wear their respirators inside Why? Are the buildings so decayed that dust gets everywhere? The image I’m starting with doesn’t fit with the descriptions of the lab below, and when I keep mine on through the foyer and the locker room, nobody notices. A month ago, not being acknowledged would have torn open my heart. Now I’m waiting to find out what has happened to change her perspective in the last month. Today, it's my weapon. I'm a nobody, and that's what's going to get me out of here alive. Nothing happens in the next few paras to suggest her life was in danger.

The lab's quiet today. The senior researchers are spending dust season off-planet; it's just my peers and I, cogwheels I think this should just be “cogs” turning in the RSK BioEng machine. I spend my workday running my assigned synthesis trials under the hepatic-cell hood, breathing silenced by my respirator and the hood's ventilation. At this point I’m finding the science-y words distracting. I don’t know if a hepatic-cell hood is a real thing or a made-up thing, but the fact that I feel I need to stop and google it is lifting me out of the story. I think you should have ended this sentence after “synthesis trials”. Every breath is sandpaper in my lungs. I stare past my data readouts, imagining the viruses at work inside me: the silvery crystals taking form inside my alveoli, being released on every exhale, glittering in my respirator filter. I had to read this bit twice, because I thought that the crystals were dust in her lungs - all the respirator / dust references had primed me to expect the dust to be the problem. It might have been easier to follow if you’d said “..the viruses at work inside me; producing silvery crystals inside my alveoli…” I wonder if they're bloody. They weren't yesterday, but yesterday didn't hurt this much.

The first words anyone says to me all day are when Trinh, emerging from the renal culture room, asks me if I'm staying late. I force a chuckle, say I've got a few things in the incubator, and she nods and leaves me to it. Once she's gone, I spend an hour finalizing my reports, then power down the empty incubator. The hallways outside are dark. These are all quite dull actions and don’t tell me anything about the character, the world, or what’s going on.

The first step of my escape is to wipe my extracurricular work off the database. I don't have delete privileges, but a utility on my portable drive will handle that. Delete this sentence - these details are boring and don’t add anything. It's designed for scorched-earth suicide runs, but I'm going for a fine touch -- a few files deleted, the data on new strain of the medicarbon production virus that was going to earn me a promotion. In a second of system churn, it's all gone. It's already wiped from my personal logs, all the samples incinerated and autoclaved, and I've never had the brain to memorize protocols. RSK couldn't pull it out of me with truth serum and a power drill. This paragraph is waffly. This is the first time we hear about medicarbon, but this important piece of information is buried. I’m thinking to myself: the first step is to wipe the database and burn the evidence, got it. What is the next step?

The last trace of my masterpiece Her role in creating this virus deserves more explanation. What was she trying to achieve? is in my lungs, doing its work in bloody froth and silver-grey carbon.

I shut my systems down and rummage through my desk, making sure it doesn't look thrown over; keeping this looking normal will buy me a few days before someone gets suspicious. I grab the fountain pen my father bought me as a graduation gift, anodized finish worn away by worried fingers, and my backup lab timer with its cheerful faceplate. It's funny, the things you realize you'll miss. Once they're in my pockets, I force myself to tidy and fiddle, make the surveillance feed look like I plan on coming back. Also waffly. The detail about the pen and the timer tell us something about the character, but not much. It seems we are still completing step one (delete files, burn evidence, etc.) and I’m still waiting for step two.

I'm in the locker room, putting away my lab gear, before the fear hits me. It's tiny crystalline nerve-jolts along my spine, playing my vertebrae like chimes. I leave This is the first moment of tension we’ve felt, but it’s over so quickly. You need a more interesting verb here out the back, swallowing down the jangling fear as I pass the darkened bioreactor room, with its upright coffins full of comatose subjects The hosed-up-ed-ness of this shouldn’t be glossed over whose tissues culture rough medicarbon. Their faces always look peaceful. Sometimes that reassures me. Not today.

The train to the shuttleport is full of people in battered respirators and rubberized dust-season coats, and enough of them are coughing and wheezing that I can manage a few coughs myself, the sharp pain still better than the burning pressure of holding them in. I move with the crowd into the shuttleport, the careful dance of anonymity finally beginning to calm my nerves, and I split off to the private gates. The two-seater Trinmed shuttle I guessed this was a type of shuttle, and further down was confused before I realised it’s a company name. This would have been easier to pick up if the shuttle was described as having the Trinmed logo on its side, or something is waiting, and the pilot helps me strap in. The fear is still a twinge in my gut, but it's growing quieter. It would be better to be ramping the tension up at this point, rather than down.

We take off. The clean recirculated air hits my face, and I take off my respirator. The filter is bloody, but the medicarbon crystals in my lung-froth still shine. At this point we’re half-way through, and nothing has happened except for an incident-free getaway. I still don’t know why she’s escaping or really anything about her apart from she’s a low level scientist who has a dad.

***

The problem with medicarbon production has always been the overhead. Years-long bioreactor contracts come with hefty payments attached, often to unproven subjects; very few people sign up for multiple bioreactor tours. No corporation likes unproven human capital. I thought the bounty for an overhead-reduction strategy would be substantial. Now I'll never know. At this point I’m getting bored. I think this bit is trying to explain her motives and a bit about how this world works but it’s too subtle and because I’m bored I’m having a hard time paying attention.

The medicarbon virus adapts well to culture in the lungs. The yield is much lower, but there's no need for the subjects to be unconscious; any sufficiently sedentary employee could be infected while maintaining their normal work duties. No dedicated bioreactor subjects. Increased profit per employee. Optimum use of RSK's human capital. What motivated her to try and create a virus that would enable such a terrible scenario? Was it really just the money?

It was perfect on paper. And then I got infected. How? Was it her fault or the corporation’s? That seems like an important detail but I’m left guessing.

Some days, the medicarbon growth in your lungs is sandpaper. Some days it's knives. Every day is a fresh torture as the virus adapts to the state of your tissues, maximizing production before the incapacitation threshold. It always takes exactly enough.

RSK BioEng is very good at "exactly enough." My parents were RSK clerks, and the company funded my education. We've always had exactly enough to get by, without a scrap more, and I can extrapolate. Ok cool now we’re seeing a bit more of this dystopian world - more of this earlier would have been good. Any stipend paid to lung-reactors would be exactly enough to keep a struggling clerk or admin infected and producing, but never enough to make the pain worth it. Entire office blocks would be full of them, pushed to their tolerance limits, hives of human misery.

If I hadn't felt it myself, I might never have thought about it. But now I know, and it's a thing I can't abide, not even for a fat bounty and a private lab. This is a crucial insight into her decision, but it’s so brief compared to the lengthy description of her very dull escape.

Trinmed doesn't know any of this. They just think they're headhunting an RSK scientist, and they're hungry enough that that's enough to get me an off-planet contract. It'll do.

***

Once we dock with the Trinmed orbital facility, two of their techs meet me in the bay. I've already taken off my coat and let my hair down. Less to deal with when we get to the bioreactor room.

The rep didn't blink when I asked for a year-long contract in a bioreactor coffin. Why? Why would anyone want this? At this point I am very confused about what she’s signed up for - above it says she wanted to get off-world, and now she’s going in a coffin? Most of the headhunted want to disappear, Why? and it's likely they'll have a new name and history for me once I'm out, just in case RSK comes calling. What they don't know about, though, is what I've got in my lungs. Infection with a generalized strain will wipe it out, kill the last trace of my awful little project. I could have done that much myself with hydrogen peroxide down a larynx tube, then a bolus of morphine or a bullet, but I've always been a coward. So this is all an elaborate suicide plot? I guess she needs their help to make sure the virus doesn’t spread, or something? I feel like I’m having to guess too much.

Once we're in the bioreactor room, I undress, pack my things into a storage locker, Is your stuff just going to sick in a locker for a year? This seems weird and step into the coffin. The techs begin to connect tubes and prepare needles. A month ago, this would have been impossibly shameful. Today, they can do their worst. Why a month ago? What has happened in the last 4 weeks? Did she get infected a month ago?

The first shot, loaded with analgesic, is cool and tingling. The sedative drip starts, and soon I'm starting to float away. I imagine the medicarbon that'll spring from my soft tissues, growing to fist-sized crystals emerging from my skin. Good lord why would anyone voluntarily sign up for this? I'll never see them. I don't mind.

Former bioreactors say they spend their years in the coffin floating, dreamless. I hope it's true. Is she going to die or is she going to wake up in a year and just get her stuff out of her locker and go work for Trinmed?


Overall my first impression of this is that too many of the words are spent on sci-fi details and not enough on the character or progressing the story. If I were judging in a normal week I’d have given it 6/10 and no mention.

You often write with a lovely, dreamy style (I’m thinking particularly of After the Sundering and Sacred Vessels) but it doesn’t really work for this story, which is essentially about someone getting infected with a terrible virus, escaping a lab, and then setting up a plot to kill the virus and possibly also themselves. To work better I think this story needed to feel more suspenseful, with tighter prose.

I read through this a few times to write this crit, and on each read through I felt like I understood more of what you were going for, and liked it more. But overall I think the way it’s written is too subtle, the key pieces of information about the character, what’s happened, and the decision she’s made, get lost in amongst the pointless description.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


Yo some nice stuff happened, but it also means I can't be around to close signups. Rhino will do that, but y'all are gonna get THE REVEAL a little early because I can't be at the computer when I had planned to post 'em. He and She reveals comin' up.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


SHE



Margret Wander AKA Dessa is a poet, rapper and singer from Minneapolis. She started her career with underground rap crew Doomtree, but has since spun off on her own. She's amazingly versatile, able to jump between emotional lyric ballads, dark poetry, kickass throwdowns and some truly superb pump-up jams. I love Dessa's music so much that I got some of it tattooed on me. She manages to ride the line between beautiful/strange and direct/honest better than anybody else in the business. Do me proud on this one, fam.

This week I chose the strange and vaguely apocalyptic The Beekeeper. Everybody who listens to it seems to read it in a totally different way, and I'm curious to see what directions y'all spin it off into.

SurreptitiousMuffin fucked around with this message at 04:38 on Jul 7, 2018

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


HE



Jason Webley is an enigma. I met his manager after a gig and he told me, totally straight-faced, that he was impossible to work with because sometimes he'd just wander off into the wilderness for six months and come back totally clean-shaven. Apparently, when he runs out of ideas, he has his friends bury him alive for a while. He appears to sweat 120 proof malt rye. I don't know how true any of these things are, but considering the man's music they're honestly not that hard to believe. He's a little more one-track than Dessa, but damned if he doesn't ride that track well. Webley does dark folk music about people dying. Sometimes it's about people falling in love while dying. Very occasionally, he breaks out of his usual vibe to write dark folk about getting shitfaced because you may die tomorrow.

The song for this week is his strange and epic The Last Song, which is the cheeriest apocalypse jam you're likely to hear all year. Take it where you will, folks, just take it somewhere strange and beautiful.

SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


If you have already signed up and would like to change from one song to the other, you may do so at the cost of 200 words from your maximum total. Please post in the thread if you intend to do this, preferably as soon as possible.

Signups close in about two and a half hours. If you haven't signed up but would like to, then it ain't gonna cost you words. This wasn't part of the original plan (reveals and signups were gonna be simultaneous) but I'm in a good mood. The procrastinators among you just got lucky, I guess.

Lippincott
Jun 28, 2018

You weren't born to just pay bills and die.

You must suffer.

A lot.


In with she, Thanks!

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

curlingiron
Dec 15, 2006

Come fight terrifying creatures in the THUNDERDOME!


Yeah, let's do this. She

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply