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Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


In.

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Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


In. I don't need a flashrule but I am going to :toxx:

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


e: snip

Obliterati fucked around with this message at 12:39 on Feb 3, 2021

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


THUNDERDOME WEEK 442: I GET KNOCKED DOWN BUT I GET UP AGAIN



WITNESS ME, LOSERS OF THE DOME, AS I ASCEND THE BLOOD THRONE SO OFT-DENIED ME. YOUíRE NEVER GONNA KEEP ME DOWN. YOUíRE NOT LAUGHING NOW, ARE YOU - well actually you should be, my story had laughs - BUT THAT IS NOT THE POINT RIGHT NOW. THIS WEEK YOU SHALL PANDER TO ME.

In your story, someone gets knocked down by something and gets back up again: they can get knocked down in the story or you can cold open on the linoleum floor or whatever, just give me someone knocked down who gets back up again. If you ask for a flashrule you will receive the something that knocked them down. Give me your wildest swing at it.

No erotica, fanfic etc.

Word limit: 800 words. If you have ever lost in the Dome, you may :toxx: for an extra 200 words. Itís time to get back up again.

Signups close: Saturday 23rd Jan, 0900 UTC

Deadline: Monday 25th Jan, 0900 UTC

Judges:
  • Obliterati
  • Simply Simon
  • Yoruichi
Entrants:
  • flerp :toxx:
  • Staggy (a feather)
  • Noah
  • brotherly
  • Mercedes
  • Thranguy (a piece of unexpected news)
  • weltlich :toxx: (a gust of wind)
  • a friendly penguin (a gigantic tail)
  • sebmojo (the blues)
  • crabrock (a shillelagh)
  • toanoradian
  • Idle Amalgam :toxx:
  • Azza Bamboo
  • ...

Obliterati fucked around with this message at 12:39 on Jan 25, 2021

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Staggy posted:

In, flash me

Someone gets knocked down by a feather.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Thranguy posted:

In, flash

Someone gets knocked down by a piece of unexpected news.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Weltlich posted:

in and a flash

Someone gets knocked down by a gust of wind.


Someone gets knocked down by a gigantic tail.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


sebmojo posted:

i'm in, flash

Someone gets knocked down by the blues.

crabrock posted:

in, give flash, bash fash

Someone gets knocked down by a shillelagh.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


:siren: Signups close in 24 hours! :siren:

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Obliterati posted:

:siren: Signups close in 24 hours! :siren:

:siren: Signups are closed! You'd all better be getting on with getting back up again! :siren:

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


:siren: Entries are closed! :siren:

If your story arrives before we start the recapping, I'll still include it...

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


:siren:WEEK 442 RESULTS:siren:



Some of you got knocked down and got back up again real good and hard. Some of you just got knocked down.

Lying face-down in a pool of their own vomit is this weekís loser, Idle Amalgam. You can have my old losertar, see if the magic rubs off.

In our DMs, Azza Bamboo, Tree Bucket, toanoradian and a friendly penguin struggle mightily to get up off a floor made entirely of banana peels. It's all rather embarrassing.

HMs go to those who, with great effort, have regained their balance: Thranguy, Noah, flerp, and sebmojo all got back up again, to varying levels of judge satisfaction.

But one stone cold motherfucker is rising from the ashes we thought were their corpse, spitting out teeth and flipping off God. Stand tall, Staggy: the Blood Throne lies vacant and will answer to no other.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Oblitcrits for Week 442

Brotherly - In the Blue Glow

What happens in this story?


A guy tries to out-mushroom-collect the local top mushroom collector and fails, also the mushrooms are on fire later.

General thoughts

Why are the mushrooms on fire? Is this some weird property of mushrooms I donít know about? Are they all high? It was not like this when I was on shrooms.

I kind of like the idea of Ďrivalry with a nice guyí but you donít work it hard enough. As it stands we just get it at the end - Ďwait, Branna isnít a garbage eater, heís just some okay guy?í You could have had some fun with him being obviously a chill dude and that being the tension of the story.

Instead we just get this kidís travails with mushrooms and I feel that robs the ending of any punch it might have had. Like somewhere in your head you have a story with a similar ending and a completely different start and middle: write that.

Minor note:

ďYaíre serious Ďbout this, ainít ya?Ē
Iíd been dropping the Ďshrooms behind me on the dirt, into nothing.

Here are two examples of something called the apologetic apostrophe - youíve left little marks to alert us to letters youíve skipped. ĎDonít worry, reader,í youíre telling us at max volume, ĎI sure do know how to spell Ďaboutí, yes sir, but today I choose otherwise FOR REASONS OF LOCAL PATOIS.í You donít need to apologise for using the vernacular. Any reader worth writing for would be able to figure those two sentences out without the help.

Hell, would your narrator, if they were actually writing this down on the page, feel the need to highlight their Ďwrongí English? Doubt it. Weíre into opinion territory now, but if youíre going to use non-standard English of any kind you should just own it.

Is someone knocked down?

Yup!

Does someone get back up?

Yup!

Rating: 4/10

#

Azza Bamboo - The Tale of Leam

What happens in this story?


A vaguely Gaelic maybe-giant in Australia bumps into fey anti-imperialists.

General thoughts

Well itís top-tier judge pandering if nothing else: I for one curse the British Empire on a daily basis. Unfortunately echoing my specific political tastes does not a good story make.

Why are there vaguely Gaelic fairies in Australia? If this is Gaimanish Ďfolk bring their myths with themí stuff itís not developed here.

Thereís a lot of Ďstuff just happensí here and it all hinges on there conveniently being Gaelic-coded fairies about who are down to gently caress with the British Empire - as said I would love this reality but I ainít buying it as packaged.

Is someone knocked down?

Metaphorically maybe? Is being transported akin to being knocked down?

Does someone get back up?

Assuming the above reading you can get away with the contents of the wee poem at the end, but will my fellow judges think the same???

Rating: 4/10

#

Weltlich - A War Story with Uncle Welt

What happens in this story?


A man parajumps into a hole in the ground and is lifted back out by the wind.

General thoughts

Does it count as pandering when youíre clearly making your own use of elements from my winning story? Hell if I know, letís see if itís good!

Well as a beginning it takes too long to get going. Your first four paragraphs are just setting: whilst I both like the narratorís voice and get that he would know the names of things, have opinions on their utility, etc., the story doesnít start until they jump out the plane (if I wanted to be cruel, it doesnít start until the guy lands in the grave). You could choose to start there, say at ĎNow, the DZ at Peason was shortí. Suddenly you have more room for the story, which judging by this perfectly maxed word count you needed!

The second half of this is thus painfully compressed into 500 words and it suffers for that. Guy falls in hole, parachute lifts guy out of hole, guy is rescued from parachute.

Last question: whatís the condition of narration here? Who is Uncle Welt talking to, how long ago was this, whyís he telling the story now and to these people? The only thing we have to go on there is the word Ďuncleí; so all we have on this audience, whose existence is so important to the story that you establish it in the title, is that they are somewhere between one and infinity niblings. Iím not asking for their names or life stories, but youíve added this uncle-nibling dynamic and what have you done with it? gently caress all is what youíve done with it. Conditioned narration is a great way to add depth to your story - to include bits of the story-about-the-story, as it were - but you donít do that here and itís a missed opportunity.

Minor note:

I have no idea who dug it, or why, but he plopped right down into [the grave].

Why hedge like this? Youíve already established weíre on a goddamn battlefield and the idea of a hole existing there is not the most belief-stretching bit of this incident. In fact I was going along with it until this line, which is nothing more than a cautious restatement of the thing you told us in the sentence before! Be confident in what youíre telling us! Does it matter to the story who dug it? No? Then donít waste our time.

Is someone knocked down?

Oh boy.

Does someone get back up?

And how.

Rating: 4/10

#

A friendly penguin - Mint and Sugar

What happens in this story?


Two guys go off to slay a monster. Itís a giant cat and one of them has cat magic so itís fine.

General thoughts

The only thing here that isnít generic by-the-numbers fantasy is the giant housecat, and you save that for a lazy reveal! Give me the version of this where everybody knows itís a giant cat and thatís just the kind of thing that happens around here! What is it to be a questing knight when all the threats to THE KINGDOM OF INSERTLOREHERE are larger versions of domesticated animals and apparently just as tame? Itís like you tried to give me something unexpected but didnít want to write anything unexpected.

Itís unclear to me whether or not the reveal comes as a surprise to the characters or the setting; youíve done just enough setup work to show our narrator has Thoughts about cats, but not the how, the what or the why until it happens to be necessary. In fact, the best note in this story is that little dod of characterisation with the cat riding a horse and the way you try and tie it back into the resolution. Doesnít land, though.

Is someone knocked down?

Yup!

Does someone get back up?

Yup!

Rating: 4/10

#

Staggy - All feathered things

What happens in this story?


A woman is stranded on a desert island, her only hope of escape the giant bird that scavenges there daily.

General thoughts

Hereís a good way to start a story. It gives the reader both details and questions - reasons to be interested and reasons to read on. Relevant detail is carefully and subtly introduced: we learn that sheís shipwrecked not from a narrator taking time out to remember a bunch of sailing mishaps or speculating about travel times but from the simple fact of a shipwreck on the shore. I talked about Ďconfidenceí in earlier crits and this is what I mean: this one clear detail is all that needs said to establish the wider picture. You can - assuming your story is interesting - expect your reader to get it the first time.

On top of this our protagonist has a clear objective - she wants off the island. I am that painful word, Ďinvestedí.

Iím not 100% on what the roc is playing at, to be fair - if their interest in their own feathers is some lore I donít know or this is just about liking shinies - but gently caress it, you establish its interest clearly enough.

Like in a sense you could call this story Ďsimpleí - person is trapped on island, person discovers means of escape from island, person escapes island - but that simplicity just gives space for the actual story to be told, which is in Zhen Yiís strong characterisation and a nice twist on a classic setting.

This all pushes this story into the high tier this week. I knocked you down with a smart-alec flash and you got back up again: nice work.

Minor note: the roc both doesnít disturb a single grain of sand and whips up a sandstorm. I get what youíre going for but this wording is a little confusing.

Is someone knocked down?

Yup!

Does someone get back up?

Yup!

Rating: 8?/10

#

Tree Bucket - The Story of Erik Blue-Tooth

What happens in this story?


Öitís more of this Norse IKEA thing, isnít it

General thoughts

ďOohhh, youíre clever one!Ē came a cheerful female voice.
CLEVERER THAN SOMEONE WHO DOESNíT PROOFREAD

The core problem with this story is that itís completely dependent on your Valkyrie reeling the details off one-by-one like a hostage reading a teleprompter. It all takes place in a featureless void. This isnít a setting: this is the waiting room for a setting. If you absolutely must do ancient-Norse-warrior-reincarnated-as-software (and you absolutely goddamn should) GIVE US THAT WORLD, not the anteroom where they brief you on how wacky itís going to be.

Erik simultaneously has no idea whatís going on, seeing as you clearly make him out as a medieval guy who needs to be told computers are lightning, and also knows enough to quip about thirty-day trial periods. He cannot be both.

Is someone knocked down?

Yup!

Does someone get back up?

Arguably!

Rating: 3/10

#

flerp - just a few more minutes like this

What happens in this story?


After being knocked down by a homophobe, our protagonist and his boyfriend have a tender moment together on the ground.

General thoughts

Nice spin of the prompt here, with the entire story taking place on the ground. The patter between the two is strong and the core image of Abe joining us on the ground is cute.

I like how youíve used the device of our possible concussion to ration out the details and give the protag a little more freedom to act. It also helps a little with easing us into second person. You might be slightly overdoing it - by the time of the paragraph ĎAnd then the memories hití I for one didnít need you to explicitly tell us weíre remembering again, youíve already established this is something weíre doing right now.

Iím in two minds about the use of second person. Speaking craft-wise I think itís well done - it avoids the classic pitfall of being overly prescriptive and doesnít intrude too much on the story - but Iím also left wondering why you chose it, and what purpose it serves. Is it just to put me, the reader, in the protagonistís shoes, to get some feeling of what itís like to be knocked down like this? I feel like thereís more potential here that youíre not using.

Is someone knocked down?

Truth.

Does someone get back up?

Technically, no? But itís obvious that they will and thatís good enough for me.

Rating: 6?7?/10

#

Mercedes - Flying By The Seat Of Your Pants

What happens in this story?


An occultist and a would-be-skydiver join forces to sin against reality itself, and also to temporarily combine their minds in order to jump out of a plane without a parachute. It nearly goes wrong. They both poo poo themselves.

General thoughts

Definitely some laughs here. Changing oneís mind the minute the bribe appears is a classic but itís still funny.

Iím not entirely sure why this voluntary body-puppetry - that you even establish requires informed consent to work properly - is so very heinous. We donít have any sense of scale for what our fella considers too evil for occultism.

The worst I can say about this story is that the humour, whilst funny, isnít enough to carry the whole thing.

Is someone knocked down?

Well technically they fall down but Iíll give you it

Does someone get back up?

Yup!

Rating: 6/10

#

toanoradian - Making Me Mindless Minions

What happens in this story?


It was boring so I ignored it.

Also, a man isnít, then is, then kind of is again, a zombie? Then there are letters.

General thoughts

Those who pander know that my favourite type of story is the type that is proofread. Kudos to you for sticking it to me, The Man, and refusing to humour such bourgeois decadence.

Most obviously your grasp of tenses is all over the shop:

I was so close I can feel the rumbling in his throat.

NON. A THOUSAND TIMES NON.

THIS CHICANERY IS A DIRECT ASSAULT ON HUMANITYíS COMPREHENSION OF TIME AND MERITS THE UNCONDITIONAL OPPOSITION OF ALL THAT DRAW BREATH (UNLESS YOUíRE DOING AN ACTUAL THOUGHT-OUT THING WITH SHIFTING TEMPORAL PERSPECTIVE OR SUCHLIKE BUT YOUíRE SURE AS gently caress NOT, ARE YE, CHUMLING?)

Iím going to blame the proofreading for the complete incomprehensibility of this story, and youíre damned lucky I am. The what and the why of everything here is unclear. The continual shifts in tenses, perspectives, and unexplained mindstates of the narrator are giving me whiplash.

Even if none of this were the case, what actually is in this story? Am I supposed to be horrified or amused by the butt hair? What were you trying to do here? What is this about?

Minor note: WRITE OUT YOUR NUMBERS STEMLORD, THIS AINíT NO CHEMISTRY PAPER

Is someone knocked down?

I think so?

Does someone get back up?

I donít know.

Rating: 2/10

#

Noah - Championships Are Forever

What happens in this story?


A brain-damaged former American football player in his old favourite bar canít hide from whatís happened to him.

General thoughts

Okay so this bar is supposed to be a safe place for Sammy, right, where they care about the poor guy and, having lovingly made some VCR tapes for the purpose, replay his greatest moments? So why in gently caress are they replaying the moment his brain was pulped? Why is this in the Sammyís Best Moments rotation? It seems, at best, extremely inconsiderate. PLEASE NOTE, WE TALK ABOUT THIS IN THE ĎCAST AND I MAY BE WRONG I get that this is your device to get the incident itself on the page, and I see how it ties in to Sammyís loose grip on the world, but it falls apart the moment you put his major brain injury on the screen. Maybe you can go full Memento and have the tapes as how Sammy remembers his past, thus insisting on it being in the rotation - something you kind of hint at with Fat Malcolmís moment, that there were parts of Sammyís life he doesnít have on tape and are thus lost to him completely - but you didnít. Thatís a shame because I can see what youíre going for and I like the idea as well as the technical execution, except for that one crippling problem: as written, it just wouldnít happen.

SO MAYBE THAT WAS ALL SHITE BUT IíM LEAVING IT IN FOR YOUR EDIFICATION ANYWAY

This is the kind of issue you can absolutely fix in a redraft - especially given you are clearly struggling against the word limit. Weíre into opinions territory here, but essentially you either need a way for that shot to be in the rotation or another way of showing us the event or, simply, a different kind of ending. After all, itís not like we didnít know by this point that heíd gotten brain damage - youíve told us enough - and youíre not really Ďrevealingí anything else to the reader with this ending. Do you actually need us to see the injury, and if so why?

The dialogue does its job well, although itíd be nice if Malcolm and Sammy got voices that stood out more from each other - I know you can do that, you managed to characterise an unnamed old man through giving him a distinct voice, so your major characters should, also, sound different to each other.

Is someone knocked down?

They were in the past in a way thatís relevant to the story, and we literally see it replayed - it counts, even if you should have found a different means of doing it.

Does someone get back up?

The first time, I suppose.

Rating: 6?7?/10

#

Thranguy - Oh, Boy

What happens in this story?


A person learns, from the news, about a terrible crime committed by an ex.

General thoughts

A nice wee snapshot of the moment of learning something terrible about someone that changes both them and your shared past in your eyes. TWO decently written second-person POV stories in one week? You spoil me, ĎDomers.

Itís an interesting choice to make the ex-relationship such a short one and I think I like it. Gives the story a Ďtwo ships passing in the night, also maybe one of them harbours a terrible evilí vibe. The more I write about this one the more I like it, lucky you.

Other than that, not much to report: skilful use of language, storytelling through careful detail. You made good use of your flashrule - job done.

Is someone knocked down?

drat right!

Does someone get back up?

Only metaphorically, but Iím a benevolent tyrant. Itíll do.

Rating: 6?7?/10

#

Idle Amalgam - Waffle cone

What happens in this story?


Elgor wants ice cream, but itís not there! Now itís only available in this place that theyíll never be allowed to g- wait, I am now getting reports that, in fact, the ruthless intersolar megacorporations are just letting them go. No trouble.

General thoughts

ME: MUM CAN WE STOP FOR THE ELCOR FROM NOTED BIOWARE VIDEO GAME SERIES ĎMASS EFFECTí

MUM: NO, WE HAVE THE ELCOR FROM NOTED BIOWARE VIDEO GAME SERIES ĎMASS EFFECTí AT HOME

THE ELCOR FROM NOTED BIOWARE VIDEO GAME SERIES ĎMASS EFFECTí AT HOME: Elgor wasÖ wellÖ a knuckle-walking sponge man, or at least it resembled a man most of the time.

I figure this is innocent but still, too close for comfort on your big knuckle-walking aliens, there. It doesnít help that, even granted that itís a shapeshifter, youíre clearly not sure what Elcor actually looks like in its primary form. You describe it as both human and ape-like as various points (believe it or not, these are different animals; pick one. Better yet, describe it on its own terms). Combining ape/human analogies with the stereotypical bad English that Elgor speaks, the way Yuliya addresses it like a combination of a child and a Ďbig oafí, and its sole interest being a child-like obsession with ice-cream sends a message you probably didnít intend.

The message is that Elgorís species is dumb as rocks, silly if noble savages needing a firm hand, and Iím assuming this is unintended because you give us a whole aside about them being Ďadvancedí spacefarers. If youíre wanting to convey an alien mindset through a different approach to language, you can do better than dialogue written like the Hulkís first TD entry. It can still love ice cream. Iím perfectly capable of forming full sentences, if less so as the crits go on, and I fukken love ice cream.

Thereís also not much at stake in this story. What was the point in setting up all this stuff about inherited debt and indentured servitude to megacorporations only to toss it out the window as soon as you can? You damned well know this, because you even had to have the realisation Ďdoní on her that the core conflict of the story actually doesnít exist at all. Ice cream for everyone!

Thereís ultimately too much world-building and nowhere near enough story. I donít give one hot gently caress about the Proxima Wars of the 3070s! Am I supposed to? Because you canít make me. Itís just generic window-dressing and it shouldnít be here. If this is a story about Elgor and Yuliya, it doesnít actually start until ĎElgor was ecstaticí.

Is someone knocked down?

Does slumping count?

Does someone get back up?

I guess?

Rating: 3/10

#

sebmojo - I went down to the crossroads

What happens in this story?


The devil calls in his debt from a man who defies him, but not all is as it seems.

General thoughts

Nice twist on the devil at the crossroads, and weíre shown quickly that thatís what this story is going to be. Blues as gently caress imagery - particular points to the brain leakage. The voice on this one is strong and Iím here for it.

The Ďtwistí - bit of a push to call it this really - is good. I always have a bit of - hoho - sympathy for more detailed portrayals of the Devil and itís as good a reason as any for him to be going around striking Faustian pacts. Itís believable - would maybe be nice to see some light hint of it in his dialogue or something before the reveal.

I requested someone knocked down by the blues and you gave me a man squaring up to Satan. When I asked for stories about people getting back up again, this is pretty much what I wanted.

Is someone knocked down?

Sure as hell. Iím even in the mood to agree the Devil counts as the blues.

Does someone get back up?

Damned right.

Rating: 8?9?/10

Obliterati fucked around with this message at 22:40 on Jan 25, 2021

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


:siren: Sitting Here - Sebmojo Brawl: A Noon So High It's Illegal in Amsterdam :siren:

Your story takes place during the last high noon there will ever be.

Word count: 1500

Due date: 24th February, 2359 UTC

Obliterati fucked around with this message at 23:36 on Feb 10, 2021

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Obliterati posted:

:siren: Sitting Here - Sebmojo Brawl: A Noon So High It's Illegal in Amsterdam :siren:

Your story takes place during the last high noon there will ever be.

Word count: 1500

Due date: 24th February, 2359 UTC

Sometimes high noon takes a little longer to come than usual. That's okay, no worries! It just means both it and everyone underneath it are pathetic weak babies, fated to be baked in the heat of the sun!

On the request of both brawlers this deadline is extended to 3rd March, 2359 UTC.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Interprompt: What the gently caress Did You Just loving Say About Me, You Little Bitch??

287 words

Obliterati fucked around with this message at 19:47 on Mar 2, 2021

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


:siren: WEEK 445 CRITS :siren:

Brotherly - See You in London

What happens?


A spy is spying on a spy, but the other spy is spying on that spy! Then: spycraft ensues.

General thoughts

So the obvious problem with a spy vs spy story is that if you only give us one side of the story, constrained as we are entirely in Marjoramís frame of reference, we have a very incomplete picture. This is what you have done.

Throughout this story I couldnít help but think about This Is How You Lose The Time War, which is by Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone and is extremely good. Two writers! Each takes one of the spies and writes a letter to the other one! Then the other replies! Then they repeat! The two spies, like their two writers, share equal billing! This is literally how they wrote that book and while obviously it is totally unfair to compare you to not one, but two professional writers who also had a lot more words to work with than you did, the point I am going for is this: youíve given us two primary characters, and given us absolutely nothing on one of them. For this to work I would have needed to see both of them in this story, and other than your little lines at the end you donít show me K at all beyond a scattershot of random personal traits. This story needed K, not their KGB file and some notes in crayon.

(Basically I am saying go read This Is How You Lose The Time War)

You spend a huge amount of space on generic Very Spy Things which arenít really grounded in anything. Maybe she went to Shanghai and spent six months working as a maid in the house of a minor Party functionary, then she came to Scotland and palled around with the last three Jacobites, then she dropped acid and was fairly sure she went to Dubai to BASE-jump off a goddamn skyscraper. Does it matter? None of them come up again. The sole way that any of these shenanigans does, is this:

quote:

Each trip, she got a step closer.

Thereís something to be said for trying to evoke a sense of the vibe, or the place, or whatever, but this isnít it in my view. I almost feel like youíve done it too much? Itís clear youíve made an effort to paint us a picture, with whole paragraphs about data streams and anti-homelessness devices, but my feeling is that there is too much of this and not enough story. The heart of the story you wanted to tell was spy vs spy and you gave me Nirvana.

Rating:

If I yearned for blood itíd be on my DMs.


Azza Bamboo - Not to Fail at Valentineís

What happens?

A pilot wants a date, so she downloads an AI into an android body.

General thoughts

Tbh the most confusing thing about this story is the idea that the abstract and culturally mediated concept of happiness has somehow been compressed into an algorithm, to the point where one can have a cap on it. Thatís before we get into Jasper literally maxing it out. If thereís such a thing as a safe flying limit of emotion for our aircraft AI, why does she have emotions in the first place? Why have we bestowed personhood on these beings and kept them in chains?

Iíve struggled to put my finger on exactly how this one bothers me, but I think itís in the core premise. I am not convinced that Jasper, as presented, actually knows what they have signed up for; yet Kerry is clearly not just taking her for a hypothetical Ďsee, this is what human meat dates look like, and I am performing this demonstration for you in the spirit of human-AI understandingí date. She has gone to considerable effort, and you do make the turning on joke. Iíll just say it. Kerry is absolutely intending to gently caress this aircraft AI right from the start, and I am not convinced Jasper understands thatÖ intent. Not even at the final line, which - if you had answered this question to my satisfaction - would have been funnier.

As a premise, this isnít itself a problem! A future with strong AI is going to have weirder and more unsettling activities than this and weíre all just going to have to deal, but itís like you set us up for that, the absolutely blatant disconnect between the twoís ideas of what is going on here, and then didnít explore it. Most obviously, this AI probably has internet access. Does sheÖ not know about a certain frequent element of dating?

If you were trying to explore this in here, I couldnít find it. We just sort of bounce between ĎI am android, I am ranting about partsí and ĎI am android, what is this human action?í until we run out of words.

OPINIONS TIME.

If you want to show us these peoplesí characters you need to give us either more of this time together - as in, you need to give us more and different incidents that give us more than the two notes youíve hit - or less - as in, bring us down to a single moment or scene and give us them failing to understand each other, disagreeing, even arguing. The strongest bit of this story, for what itís worth, is the clear gap in emotional investment between the participants, and the section that does this best is the gift exchange. Give us how Kerry feels as she sees this being sheís attracted to deconstruct the heartfelt gesture into something we could write in an anthropology paper, or how Jasper feels as she begins to realise that whatever is going on in Kerryís head is something quite serious indeed, and we might be cooking with gas.

Ultimately I think you need to decide: is Jasper capable of feeling a romantic connection in this manner or not? If that was the question you were asking with this story, you could have done more with it.

Rating:

Itís a low meh from me.


toanoradian - A Clown and A Fool

What happens?


Evelyn comes prepared to present a logical disputation of her boyfriend Abrahamís hypothesised proposal of loving. He does not propose this. Later, they gently caress.

General thoughts

Before I say anything else - this one grew on me more than I expected it to. At the line ĎProfessor SillyStropfordtungí I was fully expecting this story to disappear up its own arsehole and never see the daylight again, and in hindsight I let this cruelly prejudice my first read of the story. Apparently Merc loves that though! Your mileage may vary.

Fortunately for us both I did give it another go and I was wrong! Mostly. I still think the humour is overdone, and you only get away with it because amongst the dreck there are so many funny lines. Opinions-wise? Iíd say keep the incredibly overt sexual tension to the dialogue, as I think thatís where both the humour and the story really shine - the two people who really want to gently caress but are trying not to today.

It is absolutely at its weakest when you belabour the joke. Iíll grant you that Ďbut paraphrasing Evelyn (2021), [it] sucksí is funny and youíve established theyíre academics already so itís legit, but then you feel the need to lampshade it with ĎEvelyn chose not to ask how he said those []sí. You donít need to do this! The joke was funny. Hit us with it and move along, donít get bogged down in telling us youíre not going to explain the pronunciation! Itís like youíre handing me a delicious sandwich and snatching it back so my teeth snap together like an old cartoon. Take it from a completely unsuccessful and unfunny ex-standup comedian - the moment you try and defend the joke you lose the room worse than if they just didnít get it.

Also donít actually take my word on humour.

Rating:

Substantially better than I first thought, Iím fine with this HM.


Casual Encountress - Lipstick Kisses

What happens?

A self-confessed disaster of a woman is torn between two women, confesses this to her date, and her date is fine with it. Thatís it! Thatís the story!

General thoughts

Cracker of an opening line. Youíve given me scene and character without loving about. High hopes here, but will they be delivered on? Well you know the official answer already but whatever, Ďwinnerí, I STILL GOT VIEWS

Yeah what makes this one work, for my money, is the strong narrative voice. Itís a good balance of self-deprecatory and, still, not actually self-perceptive enough to fully change. I feel like Iíve met this person in a bar somewhere. Or been th- MOVING ON. THE GUSHING ENDS HERE. YOU KNOW THE GOOD THINGS YOU HAVE DONE.

There are a couple of points where I feel this voice drops off, more noticeable because itís mostly is so strong:

I chose poorly, because this just drew in Juniper the way Abby had just dominated me. This realization burned off the boozy haze. - I feel like this is the one point where you resort to just telling us poo poo and we both know you didnít need to. IMO you could just cut this to ĎI chose poorlyí or just give us a bit more of that Juniper/Jennifer reaction.
Juniper had sensed something was a little off when I returned, because I was definitely flushed, and clearly off balance, but I won the battle of my conscience. - at this point you ever-so-nearly drop out of our narratorís PoV until we get to the end of the sentence AND YOU CAN DO THIS SENTENCE, ALSO, BETTER THAN YOU ACTUALLY DID THE SENTENCE THATíS RIGHT

Rating:

High end, possible (yes, POSSIBLE) win, good poo poo, more of it pls


flerp - We Didnít Drown

What happens?

Two lads make out in the post-apocalypse.

General thoughts

This feels like the aftermath of senpai noticing me, if senpai and I incidentally happened to flood the Earth earlier in a cataclysm that wiped out the majority of human life but it wasnít that big a deal.

Even if we ignore the wooden characterisation - Raynard does all the talking and thinking, mostly about all the cool things he knows, and our unnamed self pretty much just worships him or requests instructions - thereís one obvious problem with this story. Why in Christís name would I like these characters? They appear to have just, well, killed everyone. Sure, Ďweí didnít drown, but everyone else seems to have! Iím as against burning the planet to the ground as the next guy but Ďthe fish came backí doesnít sell me on gigacide.

Maybe there is some prologue in your head where all of this was legit! Should have written us that instead.

Rating:

Low end, DM


Thranguy - Emotional Registers

What happens?

Our characters strip the digitalÖ souls? From some guyís teeth.

General thoughts

You will not be pleased to hear I originally liked this one more than I actually decided on. Ultimately I wanted to like this; lots of very cyberpunky terms thrown about with abandon, a wee nod to qualia, all that computery SF business that I officially claim I like. A couple nice turns of phrase. Problem is: what do you do with it?

Not all that much! Iím assuming this is an artefact of the recurring characters, but I donít remember those stories and Iím not going to read them for this. Your second paragraph is clearly where you felt the need to fling backstories at us and Iíd rather read a story about characters doing things than one mostly about things they vaguely did previously. Several more paragraphs are us jumping around in time as our narrator realises something else we kinda need to know for the story to make sense. Despite all of this Iím still not entirely sure what a digilect is, which is not a good sign. Fortunately you do tell us itís digital life of some kind later on.

These bits in italics - intruding thoughts? - seem thrown in at random, and by the time they appear the story has gone on for so long without them that they just appear out of place. Is this guy talking to me, right now, rambling about digilects? If so, what are these italics to me? Audible interruptions? His thoughts? I donít know what theyíre doing here.

Bottom line, though - in a busier week youíd have got away with it. This week, you didnít.

Rating:

Wasnít my loss candidate, but Iíll be honest - I didnít try and fight it.


Yoruichi - Hell-crossed Lovers

What happens?

Yve and Kana, vampire and demonic lovers, have a tiff about how their various occult obligations keep them apart. To fix this, ritual!

General thoughts

So while there are some funny lines in here Iím not hugely sold on it. The back and forth is good at points and the erotica is (lol) well-handled, the core premise is cute; but then thereís all these entrails to consider. Obviously we donít always have to like our characters, and at least compared to the other lives-are-cheap entry of the week this story isnít trying to present them as good folk. That being said - maybe itís just me - but I donít hugely care if these two beings get their happy ending? Like thereís being a prisoner of your curse, bound by powers most terrible to do what you must to survive, and then thereís being a dick about it you know?

The woman still being alive, etc., is all a bit too pat. If sheís still alive, maybe giving her a couple of lines before she is rendered down into plot juice - maybe she has RELATIONSHIP ADVICE - might push this story past my squeamish moral objections.

Also Iíd have ended it on ĎKana rammed the stake homeí.

Rating:

Meh? Not bad, but not good either.


Pththya-lyi - Song of the Warleader

What happens?

An orc leader arrives in (small-town?) Minnesota to claim her bride, Jaime.

General thoughts

Iíd have liked to see just a little more juxtaposition of the fantasy and Minnesota. I like what you do with it and I wanted more, to be honest. I also appreciate that you just presented this stuff as fact - thereís such a place as the Orc Republic, thereís such a place as Minnesota - and just told us a story of where they overlapped, rather than giving us a history lesson on how this thing has happened. Instead you give us a good strong opening line that tells us, right up front, that both these mythical places are real, gives us the basic premise of whatís to come, and Iím here for it. Maybe a tiny bit more of Knutsen, just to underline things.

Is there space for any subplot in here? What we get is good, but it is, in the end, all just this one thing - the orc and the human figuring out their relationship. Not that I have anything useful for you here, but to really make this story shine I think it needs a light touch of a second angle.

Rating:

Could happily have seen an HM for this one.


Sebmojo - One job

What happens?

Dave has to pick up flowers on the way home before the shop closes. Trouble ensues.

General thoughts

Well you know what I think because I said it to you directly but gently caress it letís go again. The prose is competently laid out and thereís a laugh here and there but Daveís pratfalls arenít enough to keep me interested, really. Hearing that the original one of these was in second person with a narrator talking to Dave just makes me wish Iíd read that instead - to have some more grist in the story, something I can actually get my teeth into. Ultimately thereís nothing bad I can say about this story, but not much good either.

Rating:

Itís a meh from me.

Obliterati fucked around with this message at 12:55 on Mar 6, 2021

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Obliterati posted:

:siren: Sitting Here - Sebmojo Brawl: A Noon So High It's Illegal in Amsterdam :siren:

Your story takes place during the last high noon there will ever be.

Word count: 1500

Due date: 24th February, 2359 UTC

:siren:JUDGEMENT:siren:

Neither of these stories really grabbed me. Some cabal you are wtf

Sitting Here wrote a story where she clearly did not give a gently caress and she didn't give a gently caress hard. Good opening that actually sells me on this vibe, even though the genericness of it was a bit overplayed. Extra points for top tier judge pandering: inexplicable damage to astronomical objects. Doesn't outstay its welcome.

Sebmojo wrote me a story where a bullet is shot directly into another bullet and somehow did not make this mad enough. Some lovely turns of phrase and all that but this story feels both too generic and too specific at the same time, if that makes any sense? Lots of fun strong language about this relationship and I'll steal it later, but if you asked me who these folk are or where they are or why they're shooting each other or what decade it is I got no clue.

The win goes to Sitting Here by a hair. I... liked the shootout that begins with one of the revolvers reaching escape velocity because gently caress this? Give us more of the not-giving-one-gently caress voice imo

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


Mercedes posted:

:stonklol:THUNDERDOME WEEK QUATRO QUATRO CINCO VALENTINE EXTRAVANGANZA :stonklol:




:siren:AUDIO RECAP:siren:

I am pleased to announce that Mercedes, I, and AN UNEXPECTED GUEST did not hate your stories this week.

Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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




FUTURE ME

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Obliterati
Nov 13, 2012

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


How To Navigate The Remains of Ross-248-b
1081 words


If you must go thereís things I have to tell you. Things I held back. I went out there so you could have a better life, not so you could follow me in! Youíre right, Iím shouting, Iím sorry. But look. Whatever you decide - just remember that I love you, and that weíll always have those weekends at the Transport Museum.


1 - The Vanguard Beacon

Most fragments of the planetís core still burn hot, each with an EM signature that betrays its unique mix of elements. Iím told theyíre dimmer nowadays. By the time they enter our Solar System, twenty years from now, theyíll all be dimmer still. But there are no other lights to steer by.

This is where youíll learn if you chose your captain well. Good ones flip and burn, match velocities, and make new maps. If they donít, youíre lost - and itís too late to do anything about it. So avoid the boastful and the superstitious. Thereís no place for pride in the Remains and, no matter what anyone tells you, deep space is nothing like the sea.


2 - The Steam Train

Nobody would dream of looting the Steam Train. Every new crew is brought to look upon it in its high Vanguard orbit before going any deeper. Finally they understand all the secrecy; the interview questions about family mental illness, the clipped and empty words of shipís officers when asked questions, the way veterans widen their eyes at some innocuous remark and then burst out laughing. When they gather you on the viewing deck, you must act like youíve never seen it before.

The Steam Train is yellow. It is a Great Western Railway 6800 Grange Class 4-6-0 locomotive, 1962. It is tumbling through space at half the speed of light. It orbits a cooling fragment of a shattered world. Itís yellow. When I came home from my tour - the first one, before we had you - I tried looking up the model number. Those records are missing. But there are only so many of that class left on Earth. Do you remember?

Other than a little peeling paint, the destruction of the world it stood on seems to have done the Steam Train no harm. Sometimes, when solar winds blow from deeper in, it is just enough to turn the wheels.


3 - The Sealed Island

Itís fine to be worried. Most fresh crews are deeply affected by the sight of the Steam Train. If yours arenít, then worry. Theories should be spreading from bunk to bunk and dorm to dorm. Perhaps it means that all species walk the same technological path and that nothing is really new; it could be some kind of time portal; maybe itís a sick joke by the higher-ups.

All of these will stop at the Sealed Island.

The people of Ross-248-b had some warning. Some did. The clean faultlines on the stone, the glass dome that encases the entire island, the reservoirs of fuel deep enough to sustain a thousand tours... A sliver of ocean churns around the rockís edge like a storm in a teacup.

The potential for treasure sends away team after away team into echoing underground halls, rooting through abandoned bedrooms and rusting engine blocks. Their searches yield strange fruits: the complete works of unknown musicians, maps of strange systems, sixteen tons of canned mince. It was still good.

But anyone who wants to survive the Remains should be able to eyeball the maths. That mass, that fuel? Barely enough for a course correction. This is why Iím giving you my old atlas. You wonít listen to me, but if you peer down at the silent village nestled between mountains and carefully study the contours, youíll be unable to deny it: this empty bottle in the ocean is the island of St Helena, once a dot in the mid-Atlantic, every crest and ridge the same as homeís.


4 - The Leeward Beacon

This is the edge of the Remains; there is nothing else. Swing around it and use its mass to slingshot you homeward. If your captain plans to push on, mutiny. Anyone who has gone beyond will understand why.

The Leeward is almost completely dark. In between scans the veterans will tell each other all sorts of stories about differential temperature fluctuation and relativistic time dilation effects in thick empty voices, like when you say a word too many times and you lose its meaning. No-one will check the rockís EM signature, or ask its age- but whatís really important is that this is where you must stop: this is where you have to turn around and

And - fine. Have it your way.


5 - The Steam Train

Do you remember when you were six and we went to the Transport Museum every week for a year? I tried getting you into dinosaurs, but you loved trains and you hated listening. There was this one train in the main hall. You know the one. I think your mum still keeps that one picture of us inside it, you hanging out the cab and me holding on to it and you. Iím sorry I stopped coming after that. But I had seen what orbits the Leeward Beacon, and could only think about the trains falling into the sky, crashing through the glass ceiling and disappearing from sight.

This is why you have to turn back. Why you shouldnít go at all. Not because itís dangerous: because thatís it. Nothing but cooling rocks, dead islands and steam trains stretching back forever, and there is no mark you can leave on the Remains that you wonít eventually stumble onto again, years from where you made it.

Iím sorry for the man Iíve been - the one I will be. But you donít have to prove yourself to me or to anyone. You donít have to go out there and itís just - whatever you decide, I understand. If you need to see it to believe, I understand. I did. I will again.

So if this is the last time we talk - I love you now, and everywhere before and since. But if I were you, and I listened to the advice of my old man - Iíd fly a ship forward into the future, staying ahead of the Beacons and the islands and the goddamn steam trains and all the Remains of all the Earths that will soon be headed for a world like ours, elsewhere and identical.

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