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Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In, and lol at all of these domers who listened to the popular music of their day. 13-year-old profane was all about the comedic ragtime stylings of Tom Lehrer, e.g. We Will All Go Together When We Go:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frAEmhqdLFs

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Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


https://thunderdome.cc/?story=6345&title=A+Te+Deum

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 10:10 on Dec 30, 2018

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


https://thunderdome.cc/?story=6437&title=They+Shoot+Koalas%2C+Don%5C%27t+They%3F

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 10:11 on Dec 30, 2018

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Bonus Crits for Week 294

feedmyleg // The God Hole

The body horror in this piece is pretty strong, and the central premise of cloacal surgery as commentary on a societal obsession with achieving bodily perfection, cheating death, etc, through surgical means is an interesting enough hook. Where this story fails, however, is in its lack of focus: it starts a lot of ideas, but leaves them hanging as fragments of unexplored potential. As an example of what I mean here, Bradís distaste for his aging and sagging body is established from the get-go, and the obsession with the removal of body hair was quite subtly done -- but once heís got a cloaca, thereís almost no exploration of the physicality of his body, and the story focuses instead on his youthful invigoration that he experiences as a result of the surgery. The paint on the new cloaca is barely dry before the story gets to bone hollowing and Lesterís demise, at which point we see Brad re-entering the cycle -- but itís a *lot* of plot, and very little character development.

You also hand-wave through a lot of character motivation: sure, Brad doesnít like the fact that heís getting old, and maybe isnít super comfortable with his junk. But itís a *bit* of a jump from there to ďI would like to combine all of my excretory and reproductive functions into a new multipurpose out-boxĒ, and Brad is awfully quick to buy into Lesterís justifications for getting a cloaca installed. Most dudes, in my experience, are pretty attached to the old todger, and itís stretching credulity to think that two gym buddies would happen to both be keen on the same drastic piece of surgery. The fundamental core of effective body horror is its believability: we need to be swept up in the characterís motivation, so that once the ball gets rolling we can no longer look away. The moment I can say ďwhat? Thatís some bullshit right thereĒ, the story falls. And when youíve got two dudes basically saying ďyeah, gently caress weiners, amiriteĒ, that spikes the old BS-meter.

Iím also lukewarm on the religious subtext here: from the title, the pontification of the surgeon, etc, Iím guessing that on some level the modification towards being birdlike might be intended as a general aspiration towards becoming angelic, and that body modification in pursuit of perfection can be interpreted as an attempt to become closer to God, blah blah blah. If thatís your angle, itís fine (if a little heavy-handed), but you need to commit way harder to that pretense than you do here. Personally, Iíd get rid of it and focus on the cloacas.

So, thereís a lot of potential here, but very little of it is actually realized. Pick the ideas that are most important here, toss the rest, and focus on putting some real character-driven meat into the story.


Ironic Twist // LOVELYBAD
OK, Iíve slogged through this story a bunch of times now, trying to work out what the actual gently caress is going on here, and I feel like Iím only marginally closer to an answer after my fifth read than I was after the first. The use of language is really quite lovely throughout, and the imagery is certainly evocative, but I cannot for the loving life of me work out what the hell itís trying to be beyond that. There are hints at an emotional core lurking waaaaaay under the surface, but itís obfuscated with so many layers of (pretty) bullshit that trying to find the thread of this story is like digging out an ingrown hair. And the more I dig, the less certain I am that itís really down there: after five reads of this thing, Iím beginning to suspect that Iím being played for a sap, and that thereís no treasure to be found down there. Who knows, maybe I just need go back and read it a sixth, or a sixteenth time, but right now all Iím taking away from it is a weird trip pawing at ungraspable significance.

areyoucontagious // Echidna
This needs a bit more time in the oven, I think -- the research inspiration for the story stands out like raw batter inside a cake. I donít think that, at this point, anybody really needs an advertisement for Homo Deus, and the essential core of the narrative is basic and familiar enough that I think you can get your point across just fine without name dropping Yuval Noah Harari. The various references to CRISPR-Cas9 and snips and so on end up in an uncanny valley: it feels like the story is working very hard to establish its scientific bona fides, but itís not clear for whose benefit this is intended. If I already know about this stuff, then my response is going to be ďgood job, you too have read a bookĒ. If I donít, Iím certainly not going to learn it from this story -- about the best itís going to do is send me to the Wikipedia page on CRISPR, assuming that I care enough. And therein lies the rub: thereís not enough actual fiction craft in here to make a reader care, because the characters are flat, their motivations feel store-bought, and you can see the ending coming from a mile away.

SurreptitiousMuffin // g=Gm/r^2
OK, first of all, youíve got your physics wrong, and badly. g=Gm/r^2 is not the equation for G-force, itís an equation that describes the gravitational acceleration experienced by a body (say, a spaceman) at a distance r from an object with mass m (r is not the size of the object, but the distance from the center of mass at which that acceleration is experienced). The further that spaceman gets away from that mass m (i.e. the bigger r gets) the *smaller* g gets. When people talk about G-forces, theyíre usually talking about when human bodies experience an acceleration that is greater than the gravitational pull at the earthís surface, like when a human in an airplane performs a tight loop. The G-forces that a spaceman would feel on re-entry have nothing to do with the titular equation of this story, but are instead due to atmospheric drag acting on a body moving with high velocity into a fluid medium.

Then thereís the formatting, the physical structure of the piece. Itís eye-catching, sure, but hosed if I can work out what the relevance of the conceit is to the narrative thatís being established. It does give it a lyrical quality, and Iíll concede that that works well at a few points, but the inconsistency of its application through the piece feels lazy. And ultimately, after a couple reads, the formatting contributes less and less until finally it just feels like a pretentious and self-indulgent gimmick.

Setting those issues to the side, the use of language is very pretty and poetic (aside from a few atrocious missteps like ďbonelike handĒ), but thereís really no meat on this story, no substance to speak of. It aims to dazzle with its verbiage, but in the end the atmosphere is pretty thin.

cptn_dr // Solitudeís Not For Everyone
This really isnít that bad; itís mostly just unfocused and unsure of what it wants to accomplish. There are a lot of ideas in here, but almost none of them are explored with any real interest, such that the final result is a pile of worldbuilding and window-dressing capped with a dud of punchline. At a high level, itís missing a coherent character arc and a plot .Beyond that, itís disjointed: in the whole sequence leading up to Kerrigan docking with Kirkwoodís station, nothing happens that in any way colours the interaction between these men.

From a craft perspective, the story opens with alarms going off, and then murders what little momentum that opening provides by diving into a hierarchy of Kerriganís thought process before going into a backstory that ultimately has zero relevance to the rest of the story. The stakes feel low throughout the early section, because aside from the alarms thereís no other indication of danger -- and the idea that this poor bastard would have to take this elaborate and roundabout journey through all of the stages of anxiety only to discover that the problem is that thereís a space station nearby seems ludicrous. Also, for that matter, given that Kirkwood was looking for peace and quiet, it seems like choosing to plant his space station in the direct line between Luna and Planet Whocares wasnít the greatest idea?

It seems like the story you want to tell is one about how solitude affects people, so just focus on that. Youíve got Kerrigan, who is alone but doesnít like it, and Kirkwood, who is alone and seems rather pleased with it. Screw the alarms and dumb punchlines, and make the characters do something interesting. Also, maybe give them names that arenít so similar to one another.

Thranguy // Agency
This feels a bit like a mash-up of Blade Runner and Slaughterhouse 5, which is unfortunately a way more awesome concept than the story that emerges. For a piece thatís so heavily character-driven, the motivations are baffling obtuse. I mean, I get that youíre going for a play on free will and agency (the title is a bit of an eye-roller in retrospect), but even in that context thereís no clear indication why our protagonist willingly goes along with this job (which seems to be ďkill aliens for apparently no reasonĒ) or why an advanced intelligence would agree to this setup (they seem interested in grooming humans for ascendence to ďcivilizationĒ, but exactly how does getting themselves lit up in an off-brand Voight-Kampff advance this goal?). Ultimately, it makes for a story that, much like Blade Runner 2049, feels like itís asking all kinds of deep and portentous chin-scratching questions, but seems kind of dumb when you stop and think about it for a minute.

Yoruichi // Braaaaaains
I found this to be an incoherent mess of a story. The characters are paper-thin, and the dialogue between them (especially the initial exchange between Mae and Jared) reads like low-budget Markov bots bouncing random sentences off of one another. And youíve got to be loving kidding me with poo poo like ď...in fond exasperation at Jaredís perpetual lackadaisicalnessĒ. The whole ďharboring a secret love that is finally expressed at the moment of deathĒ thing is about as basic a storyline as they get, and slapping a coat of zombie on a story is just about the cheapest punch-up there is -- this should be an easy knock out of the park, which makes the fact that the characters spend the whole story tripping over their own narrative shoelaces a little baffling.

ThirdEmperor // The Friendly Machine
I wanted to like this story more than I did -- I think the premise is pretty solid, and having what seems like a school group of enthusiastic children watching as someone gets slowly microplaned by a surgical robot is delightfully twisted. But thereís a lot of exposition and elliptical world-building that doesnít feel like it goes much of anywhere -- like, for example, the whole blue housing ticket system, which never felt clearly explained. Cynthiaís hostility towards Momma Aphouse doesnít feel earned, because itís never particularly clear as to why her hackles are so raised towards this particular woman in the first place. And, for that matter: why exactly are all of these people here in the observation room, anyway? All of this is stuff that should be reasonably simple to flesh out, but as it is thereís so much legwork left as an exercise for the reader that it makes a light-feeling story a bit of a slog to get through.

Obliterati // The Last Shot of the War
Iím really not a fan of war fiction, so I bounced off of this pretty hard. I also had a rough time with all of the time jumps back and forth, and by the time I had it all straight I found I had zero loving idea as to what was motivating any of these characters. Like, I donít see how their war history was in any way relevant to their future world with minesweeping robots, or what Sakamoto was even doing returning to the island in the first place. And what exactly is Sakamoto trying to accomplish by blowing himself and Takamura up at the end, besides ending the story with an explosion?

Tyrannosaurus // Brutus, thou sleepíst. Awake, and see thyself.
For the most part, I dig this pretty well. The interweaving of Julius Caesar with the story was nicely done, but I think I could have done with a bit more exploration of who the Father was, and what motivated the clones to act on their murderous impulses. Like, initially I was thinking that it kind of parallels the motivations of Brutus et al, in that the clones are murdering the father to protect the glory of Rome (in this case, to prevent themselves from being destroyed when the colonists arrive), but that breaks down because they didnít know that they were clones until they killed Father and got the infodump from Mother, and so they only got the patricidal motivation after theyíd done the deed. Continuing on that front, I wanted a better sense of who this Father was, or what it was -- with the whole consuming the bodies of the clones, I initially thought it was some kind of recycling machine / cloning vat, but then if Father was killed (destroyed?) Iím not sure how their propagation plan works. Also, why *did* they give the clones Shakespeare?

Uranium Phoenix // The Wheel Turns
I like the concept youíve got going here, and I enjoyed the gentle poignance of the idea of this robot struggling to find a thread of coherent experience through its cycle of rebirth. I was also grateful for a story that actually made some reasonable sense and was pretty clear from the get-go with regards to what it was about thematically. All that said, though, the dialogue felt like it sagged throughout, and the story relied a little too much on the dialogue to provide the worldbuilding details (and yes, Iím aware that this is a bit loving rich given the story that I submitted, but whatevs). I felt like the story ended a little early for me -- I felt like I really wanted to see what ended up happening with Admat-24, but I guess itís generally best to get out early and leave Ďem wanting more.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In with door #1.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


https://thunderdome.cc/?story=6530&title=The%3Ci%3E+Voidmart+%28REACTION%21%21%21%21%29%3C%2Fi%3E+Record%3A+A+Scholarly+Analysis

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 10:12 on Dec 30, 2018

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In, :toxx:, Team Mollusca

Here's a snazzy tremoctopus:

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


https://thunderdome.cc/?story=6617&title=These+few+birds+escape+from+the+net%2C+and+fly+away+to+the+heavens

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 10:13 on Dec 30, 2018

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Thanks for the crits, RandomPauI and Chili!

Also, in.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


https://thunderdome.cc/?story=6624&title=Midnight+Sun

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 10:13 on Dec 30, 2018

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


Reporting in from the Realm of a Million Eyes.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


https://thunderdome.cc/?story=6649&title=The+Gift

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 10:14 on Dec 30, 2018

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


I'm with her.

(in, she)

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


https://thunderdome.cc/?story=6665&title=Kindred+Instruments

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 10:15 on Dec 30, 2018

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In, team bloodsuckers.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


https://thunderdome.cc/?story=6703&title=The+Clockmaker%5C%27s+Son

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 10:15 on Dec 30, 2018

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In with ferocity - let's see one of these hideous flash rules.

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


https://thunderdome.cc/?story=6792&title=ZODIAC+RACE%3A++UNTUCKED

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 10:16 on Dec 30, 2018

Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


In, with Portugal Is Not A Small Country.

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Barnaby Profane
Feb 23, 2012

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2021


https://thunderdome.cc/?story=7062&title=In+Sesimbra

Barnaby Profane fucked around with this message at 09:43 on Jan 2, 2019

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