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Long Story Short · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
#1 · 2
And I been riding on a ghost train, where the cars they scream and slam

The party had bored the hell out of him the moment he arrived. *RANDOM NAME* had come a bit late, thus pretty much everyone was either drunk or engulfed by another being’s mouth.

The beer he was holding, which was the fifth, hadn’t helped him getting “in the zone”. The only thing he got from it was full bladder and a headache.

His mood wasn’t improving, but his savior came in the form of a white and gold dress — or was it black and blue? His headache wasn’t helping — and a smile.

In a screaming ring of faces, I’ve seen her standing in the light

The girl seemed to be a victim of the party too, and *RANDOM NAME* thought that tonight wouldn’t be a total loss. A shiver, a hand clench, and the reborn hero managed to walk a few steps towards the mirage. All his years of reading the greatest poets would finally come to use.

“Hi,” he said.

She said, “You are the perfect stranger.” She said, “Baby let's keep it like this.”

Her look was fleeing his, and she didn’t respond. Now reduced to the role of a background character, *RANDOM NAME* did the only, and brave, thing expected from his status. He turned around and walked away, but a hand grasped his wrist.


He looked at her and saw the saddest smile he had ever seen on a woman’s face.

“It doesn’t have to end like this,” she said, taking off her locket.

She put her hand in my pocket I got a keepsake and a kiss

A blink, and the nymph disappeared.

And the big wheel keep on turning neon burning up above
And I'm just high on the world
Come on and take a low ride with me girl
On the tunnel of love

Wait, it's not February the 14th? Damn.
#2 · 6
· · >>Light_Striker
Rey the Scavenger made a sweeping motion with her hand and the gate slid open silently. She took a step ahead, and craned into the chink to look behind the door. She didn’t see anyone. Relaxed, she slunk through and found herself standing in the middle of a narrow, dingy corridor. She concentrated and scanned the vicinity for possible threats, but her mind probe revealed nothing. Satisfied, she fished a map of the place from her pocket, unfolded it and cast a glace at it. She folded it and put it back into her pocket.

Then she sidled along the corridor, hugging the wall, all her senses on alert, her right hand clutching the hilt of her lightsaber. The main room wasn’t far away, just behind that corner—

A large, dark shape jumped from a hidden nook in front of her. From the depths of that tenebrous shadow a red shaft of light arose, accompanied by an ominous buzzing noise and the sound of an artificial breathing apparatus. Rey took a step backwards and replied by turning her own lightsaber on.

“So we meet again,” the voice of the masked Kylo Ren echoed in the cramped space. “But this time, there’s no escape or way for you to win.”

“We shall see,” Rey answered as the red blade crashed onto her blue saber, letting out thousands of flying sparks.

Kylo Ren was no longer the weak opponent she’d met in the forest. He’d grown up, and his abilities with the saber had improved too. With the help of Luke’s training, Rey could parry his repeated attacks, but he’d fend her own lunges, and she was slowly, but steadily, losing ground. How long could she withstand the blows of her enemy, she didn’t know.

Yet, it was paramount she didn’t give in to doubt or fear.

In the dark corridor, where the reflections of the lightsabers were casting ephemeral shadows and fleeting blotches of sky and blood, the duel went on. The strength of Kylo Ren seemed to increase with time, while Rey’s was slowly dwindling away. She was now almost back to the gate. She parried an other blow, swung her saber around and in the nick of time blocked Kylo’s blade over her head as he was about to cut her in half. The two bright shafts in contact were humming madly.

“You’ll die, Scavanger scum,” Kylo Ren said. “And I shall not mourn your death.”

Rey didn’t answer. She was gnashing her teeth, conjuring up all her dying strength to try and repel the other’s violent push. But he was too strong. After a few seconds, she fell to her knees. Kylo Ren’s saber broke contact, made a large swing and came slicing through Rey’s saber hilt. The blue blade vanished and the loose part fell on the floor with a clang.

Kylo Ren joined his hands behind his head. “Goodbye,” he said, “Say hello to master Skywalker and tell him his new apprentice has failed.” And with that he swung his blade to deliver the final blow.

But the red saber blade, upon reaching its full vertical extension, hit the ceiling and got stuck for a fraction of a second in the hardware that was installed overhead. Rey saw her salvation. She extended a hand and threw all her remaining energy into a force push. Caught off guard, Kylo Ren was shoved back. He flew along the corridor and came crashing against the end of it. He fell limply on the ground, unconscious, and his lightsaber rolled aside.

A hush fell.

Rey sighed. She tossed the useless half of her lightsaber away, swept the sweat off her forehead, and slowly stood up. All her body was aching, yet she had no time to lose. Every wasted second increased her peril. She inhaled and rushed along the corridor to Kylo Ren’s stock still body. She stopped next to him, kneeled to pick up his lightsaber, that she put into her bag. Standing back up, she looked at the other corridor that extended from there perpendicularly. There was a faint, blinking glow at the end of it. That was the place she had to go to.

She ran as fast as she could. The glow was becoming brighter as she was moving ahead. Arrived at the end of the corridor, she found herself at the threshold of a vast room. It was swaddled in darkness, but for a large spruce tree standing in the middle of it, which was ornamented with shining baubles. A long electric garland snaked through its branches and cast intermittent light.

She lowered her gaze. At the feet of the tree she saw a heap of boxes wrapped in garish paper. She walked ahead to the tree, stooped and picked up the first one. It was heavy. Too heavy. She threw it aside. Took the next one. It was lighter. She shook it, and it gave a muffled sound, as if something big was hidden inside. Rey shook her head and cast it away. She took the third one.

It was very light. When she shook it, the sound was that of a small object lost inside a box too big for it.

She tore the paper away frantically, opened the cardboard box.

There was a thumb drive inside, with a tag attached to it. She picked it up and lifted it closer to her eyes. The paper read: WriteOff source code. First Order eyes only. Do not disclose to any third party.

She shoved the thumb drive into her pocket.

A grunt and a whine came from the corridor. Kylo Ren was coming around.

She would have to fight her way back outside.
#3 · 5
TBH, 3rd commenter is a new record for me.
#4 · 4
Dunno if I'll enter this one -- visiting the family back in the States, and I'll be on the road the next few days. We'll see what comes.
#5 ·
Wonder how much Christmas is going to affect this round
#6 ·
· · >>scifipony
What are the chances we get a Christmas prompt?
#7 · 2
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa
None... if that's okay with you.
#8 · 3
Well, it's a bit late for a Hanukkah prompt.
#9 · 4
· · >>Monokeras >>CoffeeMinion
I'm out this time (and next). The minific isn't my favorite format, and I've got some editing and reading I'd like to do instead of getting sucked into reviewing all week. I'll be back for short stories in the new year, I hope.

Have a great round, and I hope that some of our new members from last round decide to use this opportunity of a short, low-barrier-to-entry story to dip their toe into original fiction!

also, with CiG and i both out, statistically we're much more likely to see some new medalists shine...
#10 · 6
· · >>CoffeeMinion
I'm out this time (and next).

Nobody believes you anymore Horizon. We know how to read past your egregious lies! :P
#11 · 4
The Nightmare Before Christmas Holiday Exceptions: Christmas Peace On Earth-Prime Analogues, In the Dark Four Corners of a Rounded Room. Winter Will Never Come. No Prompt. Happy Holidays!

Airship Adventures, Like A Brick In Winter Come From On High. They expect one of us in the wreckage, brother. I Had Grown A Beard. Originality is Overrated Among the Clouds.

I Know You Don’t forget, don’t remember Cyberpunk Storytime. Chapter Two–Title of Story = Title of Song. Fifth Ace, Christmas in Space, The Rhymes We Tell Ourselves.

Airing of Grievances, A Handful of Clouds. Mother of Thousands To Die for Nothing, or to Live for Nothing? Butterflies in Their Stomach; The Fire of Life. Long Story Short, To Err is… Failure.

Over and Over and Over Again… Dead as a Doornail. Worst Case Scenario, The Beautiful Things Awaiting Us All: Merry Christmas, guys.
#12 · 4
It's true, we have heard that before!!! #FakeNews
#13 · 5
Well, I'll be damned. I came up with something.
Let's see if I can pull it off.
#14 · 9
It's in. For better or for worst (mostly for worst), it's in. Now give me that gold medal so I can go celebrate Christmas.
#15 · 4
Oh look, my hat's now relevant.

Merry Christmas, everyone. And have a happy new year.
#16 · 3
Well, I've written and submitted a story. It'll probably need some sprucing up, but that's to be expected.
#17 · 3
I have something submitted that is not discreditable.
#18 · 3
Submitted. And this time my entry didn't make me groan in agony at how much it differed from what I had in mind!

Well... Just a little bit.
#19 · 4
· · >>Monokeras >>Light_Striker
Seems like I've submitted to the Writeoff. Here's some friendly advice: if I keep going the way I am now...


I'm gonna have a bad time.
#20 · 3
Happy Xmas nonetheless!
#21 · 2
Ugh, that prompt was not an easy one, so that's the excuse I'm using for my lackluster entry.
#22 · 2
Oh dear sweet Celestia I got one in.

>>AndrewRogue sums up my transient emotions on the matter pretty darn well, even though in theory I know that this is more likely to be on the path to longer-term growth.

But this is going to be so embarrassing.
#23 ·
I mean the problem with that is the link is right at the bottom of the page…
#24 · 1
· on Feline · >>Zaid Val'Roa >>Ratlab
I give this two meows out of one bark.

Not sure of what happens at the end. I believe the woman got rid of both her husband and his dog, right?.

Even with that, the only thing I think this entry emphasises is that cats and dogs don't get along. Aside from a smile and a chuckle, I didn't get much else. If that was what you aimed for, then congratulations.
#25 · 2
· on szip · >>AndrewRogue >>Monokeras
So, is there a way of modifying the snark algorithm? I figure that would get in the way of objectivity. Otherwise, I had a chuckle, though I wish there'd been a stronger characterisation for the main protagonists. Nevertheless, a fun tale.
#26 · 1
· on Short and Sweet
Wow, spoilers, Laura. I liked that you ended on a high note, though I wished we could've seen the reactions of the other competitors once she gave her answer.
#27 · 1
· on Amongst the Ruins of the Brooklyn Bridge
I would've preferred it if you had gone full scrip format with centered blocks of text. Also, the lack of (emotions) before each block seems like a bit of a wasted chance if you were indeed going for a script format. Still, I liked the hints towards a life left behind for the sake of starting anew, it made for a nice backdrop to the relationship of Jocelyn and Sandra.
#28 · 3
· on What Do Monsters Dream About?
Inna-Lillahi-Wa-Inna-Lilahi-Rajim, Abdelhak.

I liked the prose, and how it let us dwell in the mind of our unnamed protagonist. I feel you could've gone a bit deeper and describe the depths to which he feels he's sunk, that would've given us a better grasp on how he feels now that he faces the end. Also, that closing paragraph was great, kudos for that.
#29 · 3
· on Doggy Style · >>AndrewRogue
I can only assume Hunter was immediately mauled off-screen, but hey, at least he embraced his inner furry.
#30 · 1
· on Gamer's Honor
You got a chuckle out of me, though I feel it would've been funnier if they had debated for longer about what would be the right thing to do before shooting him anyways.
#31 ·
· on Vignettes of a Man You Knew
You just reminded me I'm not going to see my dad until next year, so thanks for that. This was really nice, you packed a lot of emotion here. Speaking of emotion, I think you could've dwelled deeper on how the main character's dad felt during those moments of his life. Nevertheless, this is a lovely piece.
#32 ·
· on How I Survived Christmas
Wait... So the MC goes on this tirade about their day and the events leading up to the farry having an accident, only to press the record button afterwards? Was that a rehearsal to make sure no details were left behind? Oddities aside, I find the protagonist's nonchalance when facing possible death hard to believe. It doesn't come off as resignation, but more of an annoyance, as though being stuck in the bathroom of a sinking ferry was more of an inconvenience than anything.
#33 ·
· on Christmas Bells Are Ringing · >>Monokeras
Nothing says Christmas spirit like getting shanked and left for dead in an alley. At least, that's what I think happened. The story is light on details about that, and I wish it painted a more vivid image of what happened prior to the phone call. I liked the voices, though, they really gripped me.
#34 · 2
· on Christmas in Cleveland · >>Monokeras
I'm assuming somewhere there's a report by the Air Force deatailing how they shot down unidentified winged creatures that very same night.
#35 ·
· on Remember, O Thou Man
Nothing says Christmas like suicide bombers. One would think that you'de need more than just misanthropic apathy to strap a bomb and blow up a church, but apparently those are the standards of our society nowadays. Tasteless joking aside, I do wish we could've gotten to know his motivations a bit more. Maybe the story could have actually started with him going into the confessionary and they talk about how the man feels before the priest realises what's happening, but it's too late then.
#36 · 1
· on Short a Long Story
And that just plain hurt. I want to give Roy a hug and a plate of pancakes with blueberry jam. I don't have much to add, other than seeing a bit more of Roy's deteriorated thought process would've helped pack a stronger punch. Otherwise, excellent work.
#37 ·
· on Material Fuckup · >>Light_Striker
I can identify with the protagonist. I can sometimes get so wrapped up in my own mind the rest of the world disappears. One minute everything is fine, but blink and the elevator shaft is flooded.

I think everything works well enough. The theme of forgetfulness, the pacing with the protagonist reaching each floor, the relationship with the family, Chekov's microwave, the twist at the end reinforcing the theme. All worked without a hitch.
#38 · 2
· on LimLits
Abridged classic lits would come sooner than later
But from what I imagined, this is far greater.
Criticisms aside
I hope you're satisfied.
'Cause we've gout ourselves an immediate top-slater!
#39 · 1
· on Feline · >>Ratlab
I lean more towards a break up brought up by their pets. Rock solid relationship right there. Otherwise, what Fenton said.
#40 ·
· on Recompetence
Aw, man. You had a great momentum going, and I was looking forward to seeing the resolution. You're right at the word limit, so I guess you ran out of wordcount or time to edit. Either way, we're left with an unsatisfying ending, the whole conflict is essentially brushed away and we're left with no ultimate answer other than "don't sweat it!"
#41 · 2
· on LimLits
These poems I read at the start
Possessed of both charm and some heart
Though I can’t leave unsaid
I feel under-read
All the same, Final Thought: This is smart.
#42 ·
· on Jeremy
Hooray, I got a cyberpunk story! Just what I wanted for Christmas. Thank you, Writer! ^^

I think it’s a neat choice to tell the story from the perspective of the disposable personality, right before it gets deleted in favor of “someone else”. That’s about as dystopian as it gets, and I love the story for it. I have to wonder if the app builds an AI companion based on your personality that just happens to possess the relevant/desired knowledge, or if it’s modifying and sectioning off a part of your own mind and uploading the skills to the partition in your brain. It’s not terribly necessary to the story itself, but it’s the sort of thing I’d like to read about if you expanded this later on.

The only real feedback I have is that you might want to put a line break of some sort between the third-to-last and second-to-last paragraphs to make it easier to register that we’ve switched POVs from Prince Jeremy to Jeremy Prime. Though, it’s interesting that he addresses himself in the mirror as Jeremy, as though the person in control is not Jeremy, and Jeremy is, in fact, the secondary personality, riding shotgun while the downloaded app personality is calling the shots.

If this is indeed the case, it’s a way darker story (not a bad thing, mind), and you might want to make it a bit clearer that’s what’s going on. If it’s not, Jeremy should address the new secondary personality in his head by a different name, in keeping with the standards set by the naming conventions used by the other secondary personalities.

I like this story quite a bit, though. It’s an interesting take on respeccing your character, but in real life, and the potential ramifications of doing so.

Final Thought: I’ve always wanted to edit my own stat sheet.
#43 · 1
· on Jeremy
I'm not sure why my brain won't process it, but what I think is happening is that the MC is some sort of hacker/cyborg doing hacker/cyberpunk things in a cyberpunk world, and is shedding a personality/AI for the sake of its "mission" and whatever that entails, and the personality that's getting deleted/stored whatever is reminscing about all the things it did in the past in Hong Kong and New Cairo before Jeremy takes on the new persona.

At least, that's how my food addled mind interpreted it.

The problem is that I don't know how much of that is implied in the story and how much my brain made up, plus the inner monologue didn't really win me over, which is weird, because I normally really like those. I assume there's no line break because the transition from one personality to another is supposed to be immediate, but that just adds to my confusion.
#44 ·
· on Jeremy
It took me a few reads to get into this one as well. Perhaps sugarplum visions are distracting my story-interpretation sub-personality, or perhaps that’s something you might work on, author. One thing I found confusing is that I take it that Prince Jeremy dies after the sentence “The only thing I want to know is who,” but the story plunges right on in the first person and I had no sense of discontinuity. There should be some sort of transition there, in typestyle or otherwise.

Another question: how is he going to miss playing go if he’s being retired as an active process? Are such processes conscious at all when backburnered, or are they completely non-sentient in the interim? If the former, that should be emphasized more.

A decent effort, overall.
#45 ·
· on A Bourbon and a Lively Waltz · >>Zaid Val'Roa
Well that was a tellful intro, though the story finally gripped me by the time the reminiscing about past weddings started. John and Emma's interactions were definitely nice, and you can sense there is something stewing between them. I wish we could've gotten more of that before the reveal near the end, since the story is ultimately about romantic loss and people going their separate ways, then getting to know them and their relationship would've given the twist more impact. Still, definitely top twenty material.
#46 ·
· on LimLits
On prompt and creative. In particular, the variation in styles between the various pieces was enjoyable.

That said, I didn't really get the sense of a larger theme, and the fragmentary nature of the piece kept me from getting strongly invested in the story
#47 · 2
· on Christmas in Cleveland · >>Monokeras
Clever approach to leveraging both the prompt and the season.

Not 100% sure how likely the State would be to separate a newborn from their presumable mother, but still plausible enough to be unsettling.

Stylistically consistent and appropriate voice, didn't notice any serious mistakes. So, some straining of the suspension of disbelief, but overall a well constructed piece.
#48 · 1
· on Material Fuckup · >>Light_Striker
Interesting in that the protagonist is portrayed as sympathetic and unsympathetic at the same time. While the ending was guessable, it still worked. Small scope, but well composed.
#49 · 2
· on Vignettes of a Man You Knew
As the name implied, it was a series of vignettes, that were individually well drawn. Outside of a general time/life progressing, theme, I didn't really get a sense of how they interconnect.

The narrative voice seemed odd to me at times, I'm not sure just who's perspective this is from. A prime example is the intro to the second scene; within two paragraphs, it seems both omniscient (knowing his inner thoughts) while also being limited (not knowing where he is). It might be stronger with a more identifiable perspective, like a mother looking over an old photo album or something.

Overall there are some nice, evocative scenes, but for me they don't build on each other as much as they might.
#50 · 2
· on Gamer's Honor · >>Light_Striker
When you submit something, no matter how rushed it needs to be, there are three things you need to make sure are perfect: your title, your synopsis, and your first paragraph. Screw any of those up, and it sets an immediate bad impression regarding the quality of the work. It is unfair, of course, but that's the way it goes.

Case in point (provided you are writing for an American English speaking audience), it should be snuck up, not sneaked. If you're not doing American English, it is probably fine, but that particular one grates on most American ears. I also think calling it a surprise attack in the first sentence ends up working against you unless you do something more to call out the fact that it was actually a surprise for both of you. Surprise attack implies premeditated ambush, whereas what you are actually describing is what would more accurately be called a "clusterfuck."

Honestly, prose on the whole is functional but still a bit rough all around and would definitely benefit from an editorial pass.

So far as story structure goes, this is an entertaining little tale that will speak to gamers (kill AFKs, being at the keyboard is a skill), but I think it spends just a little too much time on the setup to move us to the eventual core of the story. Four characters was a mistake here, I think (my PUBG knowledge is weak, but I'm pretty sure squads can be smaller, yeah?) because it just EATS space to use them and you don't really have time to do anything with them.

This is most evident in the last section where, honestly, the not Mark characters kinda end up blending together because they have the similar voices and we don't really end up with anything else to differentiate them. It'd be much cleaner with just two voices.

Beyond that, I don't think your end punchline is quite strong enough. The idea is cute, but I just think the execution isn't quite there. Your form should match the nature of the joke, so wrapping up to "Long story short, we shot him" should basically be the entirety of it. None of the preceeding paragraph or anything. To that end, it'd likely be punchier to have Mark just take matters into his own hand. Or run the other way with the joke and just have the AFK pop our heroes, thus cutting their argument short.

Still, an amusing little ride even for a non PUBG player like me.

Always kill AFKs.
#51 · 5
· on Amongst the Ruins of the Brooklyn Bridge · >>Dubs_Rewatcher >>libertydude
I think, unfortunately, Sandra's assessment of her own life is a little too accurate. Too much has been cut out of this story for it to really gel effectively. There's some good heart and characterization here between our two leads and I can get into the majority of the emotions they are experiencing, but the nature of this murder ends up being a huge impediment to the enjoyment of the story, since my ability to really get into the characters kinda hinges on it.

Near as I can tell, they murdered their director because they got irritated with his insistence on getting the scene right, which kinda detracts from my ability to empathize with them and throws a big heaping helping of emotional dissonance into the workings. And that's ignoring the somewhat weird pivot on the "What are we, Lyn?" line.

I mean, I'm familiar with the emotional pivots that lead you to that train of thought, but they seem to be too in sync for that emotional movement to really feel natural to me. Like I'm not sure what really impels Sandra to question Lyn's interest in the relationship.

I dunno. Ultimately this ends up feeling less like a long story told short and more like a scene absent the remainder of its context.
#52 · 1
· on Christmas Bells Are Ringing · >>Monokeras
So I'm operating off the idea that Zaid is correct. Suicide might be a possibility too. It is awkwardly unclear.

Honestly, this ends up being a little too emotionally manipulative for me, I think. Using the end reveal like you do makes this feel a bit more like a cheap shot than earned pathos, especially given I can;t quite follow the logic here. I mean, I get it. Guy wants to have last words with his daughter. But it kinda feels like he is actively contributing to his own death. Not gonna call anyone else? Talk to your wife? Anything given how much energy you seem to have early in this conversation?

I'm also not quite sure I buy the kid's last lines, as they seem to indicate a little too much sense and scene reading despite how relatively young she seems to be.

Play it straight from the start and don't be subtle. Positioning this as a reveal really doesn't add much to the story, The base emotional beat and nature of the story doesn't really emerge until you reach the end and have the opportunity to recontextualize. Which isn't how you should do twists. Twists should give you more, while I feel all this one does is get you to square one on the actual story since we lack a real sense of conflict or urgency without it.
#53 ·
· on Short and Sweet

Super cute idea, but I'm gonna nitpick away anyway.

It feels a little weird for the host not to be named, given these sorts of shows usually highlight their host. You could argue that Laura just doesn't care, but as someone who has clearly been on the show for a bit, it does feel like a bit of an oversight.

The gameshow itself is a little odd structually, most notably in that it distinctly advantages people later in the round by giving them a standard to beat. Moreover, it is a show that would need a set of judges to weight length against clarity. The idea is certainly neat, but I think you need to tweak it a little bit to make it a more coherent gameshow.

Lost the wishy-washy "maybe" in the second to last paragraph. This is the end of your fic. Sell her win.

Other than that, I sort of have a problem with the contestants in that I don't feel their answers are particularly good? Like, again, it comes down to judging, but I can beat the champion on the spot "Heroes destroy jewelery to stop evil." It loses a little detail, but is also half the words.
#54 · 1
· on Short a Long Story
Okay, I’m going to be a bit harsh and I apologise, especially on Xmas day.

Here it is though.

It’s a very emotional fic, and it’s well written and executed but:

1. The same subject has already been tackled here (which won gold). I can’t help but compare both, and while the present story certainly holds its own, it’s not as complex and subtle as the other one;

2. The prose is fine, but in a way very simple so I can’t say there’s a big effort behind this. Similarly, I think it’s relatively easy to bring up a subject like this in minific format and tug at the heartstrings. I wouldn’t say it’s a cakewalk, but it’s definitely not the most ambitious story this round;

3. There seems to be a shifting PoV;

Subsidiarily, blueberries have a protective effect against brain degeneracy, but that’s nitpicking.

So yeah, good story, doubtlessly upper half, but maybe not top of it.
#55 ·
· on LimLits
It’s unequal to me. Some of these limericks are very clever, some seem just shoehorned in, especially the first one, which is not a very good way to start.

That being said, my ability to judge English poetry is rather limited, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

So yeah, disjointed.
#56 ·
· on Feline · >>Ratlab
Well I don’t really see the point of the first part. I don’t disagree with what’s exposed within it, but I don’t really see how it fits into the story. You could redact it, and the story would be the same.

There are clunky sentences at the beginning of the second part, which seems to have been rewritten/edited in a hurry.

The rest is fine, and the end is a nice twist, but the rest of the story is, well, sorta meh.
#57 · 1
· on Gamer's Honor · >>AndrewRogue
Minor point: I will say, for the record, that the American elementary school English teachers I had would precisely disagree with you regarding “sneaked” versus “snuck”, and that it doesn't really grate on me. I will also agree that you are more correct than they would be as far as what seems to be current dominant usage, though. :-)
#58 ·
· on Vignettes of a Man You Knew
It’s reasonably well written and evocative, but it lacks an arc that connects the three pieces and creates tension. It’s interesting but not dramatic. We feel the loneliness of the guy, but it’s never built upon. As a result, I can hardly root for your character, because I don’t know where is the conflict here.

Also I was expecting something completely different, along the lines of a little known, but poignant song called “Funeral of a Brazilian worker” which captures in a score of lines the destitution in which Brazilian peasants lived during the 60s. I thought you were aiming for this, but no.

So all in all, a bit too shallow. Add depth to the characters and you’ll have a good story.
#59 ·
· on Gamer's Honor · >>Monokeras
>>Light_Striker There is a reason I said most! :p
#60 ·
· on How I Survived Christmas
So the guy is trapped in the john while the ferry sinks?

I think the final record button push stops the recording.

I don’t have many things to say. It’s a story, it has an arc, but the story is just meh. Maybe the execution is faulty? First, it’s pretty straightforward and linear. Then, I think it’s just that we don’t really know the guy enough to root for him, and the way the story is told doesn’t really try to grab us.

In fact, the account of the story doesn’t jibe with the final situation. I don’t really see a guy trapped in a toilet while the ship he’s on is sinking turn on his phone and record such a disaptionate account of his day. I would rather expect something like “Dear parents, I love you. Goodbye…”

I think that that clash, together with the fact that the story is somewhat bland, really drags the story down.
#61 · 3
· on A Bourbon and a Lively Waltz · >>AndrewRogue >>Zaid Val'Roa
Once again I am struck by a story where, on the whole, I think the attempt at subtlety does more harm than good.

A twist or a reveal should re-contextualize the preceding material in a way that serves to improve it, not be the emotional crux of the story. The issue with waiting until the end of the story to drive home your big point and the emotional heart of the story is that I'm now at the end of a story that I wasn't particularly invested in so the big punch isn't going to have much of an effect on me.

You need to come out strong and use late twists/reveals as an opportunity to really double down on that, instead of effectively couching your hook in them.

I think this story hinges too much on the reveal. Realistically, the emotional stakes are kind of unclear up until tongue tied line, except the easy guess (I love you) broadly speaking turns out to be wrong. So it just ends up feeling muddled. You've got a solid emotional core once you let out, but the problem is you wait until we're done to actually let it out.
#62 · 2
· on How I Survived Christmas · >>QuillScratch
Y'all get morbid around Christmas.

Anyhow, I basically want to reiterate >>AndrewRogue here. It could be argued that this does a better job in delivering clearer emotional stakes and such off the bat, but again they aren't particularly engaging. Its a retrospective of a pretty normal annoying holiday with the families. I mean, I get that, but I'm not really interested in hearing about it, if you get me.

Reposition it. Put the stakes at the front. This is my last message before I die. Suddenly this character is more interesting as we see what he chooses to say and share, how he reacts to his imminent demise, what sort of person he is, and we know we're seeing a raw depiction from the start, rather than going "Oh" at the point where we've disengaged.

Again, it is another neat idea with a great emotional core, I just think it is undermined by the ordering. Lead with the hook!
#63 ·
· on Christmas Bells Are Ringing · >>Zaid Val'Roa
>>Zaid Val'Roa
Nah, I don’t believe the guy is going to be mugged or commit suicide. To me, he’s just a two-timer with two different lovers and families, and he must choose which one to spend Xmas with. That explains the final line, which makes no sense otherwise.

The fic is marred by a really awkward and faulty prose. Time shifts, odd phrasing (“call me on the phone” why not “phone me”?, “I flex my ears”, I mean, really? Etc.), and I find the dialogue too cliched and contrived to be relatable. It’s very formulaic and I don’t feel any sort of real emotion dripping through.

So yeah, not really sure what to do with this one, except that it needs work to bring it up to par.
#64 · 2
· on Doggy Style · >>AndrewRogue
Pretty much underwhelming. I mean, as Quill put it, the premise is good, but you do nothing with it.

The fic just drags on about the guy being stumped and staggered and the girl spitting out feeble excuses. It comes across to me as “I got this idea, I don’t know what to do with it, so I’ll just get away by padding a lot and shoving a halfhearted joke at the end.”

That’s a pity, because at least you could have ended like this:

“He clasped his GF in his arms so tightly he didn’t even move when she bit his head off.”

Wasted material.
#65 · 2
· on Remember, O Thou Man
Seriously. Y'all morbid.

Uh. Don't have much to say here, unfortunately? Prose is solid, but the story just leaves me a bit cold. This is pretty bog standard "humanity sucks" so everyone dies story. Now, I'm definitely the last person to be complaining about standard stories, I just plain don't like this story archetype. :p

That said, I might suggest you actually bring us in a bit closer to the priest's perspective? As is, we end up with a pretty straight series of events. I feel like delving a bit more into the priest's faith (what does he think of the fact that this man has killed them all - is there forgiveness for that?) might be an interesting take? I dunno.
#66 · 2
· on Vignettes of a Man You Knew · >>AndrewRogue
It took me far too long to realise the implications of the title. Thanks, author. That was a punch right in the feels.

In all honesty, I don't have a lot in particular to criticise this piece on. I disagree with previous commenters on the disjointed nature of the piece—it's a series of vignettes detailing different parts of a character's life, which as a medium is necessarily disjointed. And to me, it works: these three little glimpses into "our" father's life give us a sense of the breadth of his experience, united only by his sense of devotion to home and family. That's cool!

I liked the way the narrator kept themselves hidden throughout, too, only surfacing in the prose to make us aware of their own uncertainties in detail (a really cool trick to highlight what matters about a story by showing the reader something that explicitly doesn't). The narrator here knows that their audience isn't interested in them, that their audience only cares to hear about their father... so they slide out of the spotlight. I like how that almost itself hints at the bigger story here, at what's going on with the two characters who we never actually see directly. It's just enough to give us a sense that they're there without letting us focus on them at all (for that would be to the detriment of the stories on display).

If I had but one real complaint regarding the full-piece structure, it would be this: the imagery in the second scene could be changed ever so slightly and (with minimal effort) you could tie one theme strongly through the three vignettes. Consider the first vignette's "family took precedence over all things", and the last vignette's final lines: the theme of devotion to family, here, is so strong that I'm almost surprised it isn't raised in the second vignette. To present us with images of family, rather than (or perhaps alongside) home, in the second would be more than enough to achieve this, and I think it would make this piece stronger—though of course, I'm happy to accept that the decline and resurgence of the theme of family might have been your intent.

All in all: I like this piece. It doesn't hit me as hard as it might, and the individual vignettes could in places be tidied a little just to make the prose tighter (worst offender? The short passage as everyone joins in with the song in the third vignette, which keeps missing the mark for me on where it's placing its emphasis, as well as its overall tone), but it's a pretty strong entry with a very enjoyable form. I had fun reading this!
#67 · 3
· on How I Survived Christmas
And that’s when it hits me. No, not an idea or anything. But the mirror.

Oh my god, author. Dry, dark humour? This line has got it in spades.

I was going to complain about how the rest of your monologue here doesn't quite manage to make jokes like this, despite a tone that continuously hints towards it. I was going to complain about how that was almost uncomfortable to read, sitting on the edge of my seat, expecting a joke and getting none. I was going to complain that the contrast between humour and seriousness would have improved the ending of this piece... and that's when it hit me. I'm so sorry I couldn't resist.

This is a character who clearly deals with bad situations by making light of them, who fuels their hope with laughter, in a situation where they truly feel hopeless. And you know what? Showing us that even they are struggling to make light of what's happening to them not only builds a sense of unease and tension as the story progresses, but helps to drive home the despair at the end (especially as you bring in the climax of the story at the same time as the climax of that very tension by having them finally crack a joke and aaaaa that's really cool structure right there).

Now don't get me wrong, I think there's a lot that this story could do better, particularly your ending. The final line here is bland where it should be punchy, weak where it should have the strength of an emotional dam bursting. This is the moment that your lead has cracked and truly given up! Sell it to us!

I also think your hook could be stronger: while I disagree wholeheartedly with >>AndrewRogue's assessment of the hook in this piece*, I do think that the one you've got (namely the question of what has actually happened here, introduced by "I guess you guys want to know") is not nearly as strong as it should be. Perhaps it needs to come sooner? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for delayed hooks, but in cases where your hook is really a slow-building sense of mystery that pulls readers deeper and deeper in over the course of a piece rather than a single-line whammy I think that you need to give us that first little sense of mystery as early as possible. That's really the point of delayed hooks: you can only get away with them if your hook is strong enough to justify it.

But overall? I actually quite liked this one, and I think I have come to like it more over the course of re-reading it and thinking about it in depth. There's work to be done to make it shine, but you've got a great start here to build on.

*Quickly, while I think that Andrew's suggestion of opening with the stakes would make for a great thriller, I think that change is so drastic that it simply wouldn't be the story the author is trying to tell here anymore. I'd love to see that story, too! But I think the one the author has presented to us is also a neat one, and I'd love to see it tidied up in a way that remains true to its original vision, here.
#68 ·
· on Recompetence
Sorry I don’t really get it? The end is pretty much underwhelming. The hook is weak too. Skip the description, begin with “What’s wrong with you, Georges” and briefly describe the car

“What's wrong with you Georges?” said his father as he put the shift stick into second.

I mean, if what Zaid said is true, and you banged against the word limit, then you could easily have redacted all the sentences that do not relate to the dialogue and left the bare bones for the rest; after all, we don’t need to know the car stopped at a red light. That brings nothing to the story.

Contrarily to what the father pretends in the fic, I don’t see how both experiences are relevant one to the other. Nowhere is it said that the boy craves after college because he feels lonely or such. That makes the dialogue pretty pointless. Add to the mix that the conflict is not really solved at the end, so we are purposefully left hanging without an answer, that doesn’t make me like this story too much. I came out of it with a “so what now?”, which is not really a good way to end a story…
#69 · 1
· on Christmas in Cleveland · >>libertydude
I don’t think we ever got a minific written as a newspaper article so kudos for that —

The idea is fun enough: what would happen if Jesus was to be born nowadays in an advanced country like the US (the story is US centric but I’m sure it could be located anywhere else)? I think the story points out some of the hurdles, but on the other hand comes across as a little clichéd. The current mess in the Middle East is an ideal scenario for a fic like this.

Also I’m not really sure about the legal implications, but I can’t really comment on that.

It’s a cute questioning on how little our civilization has advanced since two thousand years ago. We’ve made progresses in some fields, but in some other we’re still the same, or we even have regressed.
#70 ·
· on What Do Monsters Dream About?
The warning was unnecessary, but fair enough.

It’s difficult to paint what plays inside the head of a (supposed) terrorist facing his last moments. I’m not sure what you’ve written jibes with what I envision myself, and I can’t help thinking you’re off here. Radical Islamic terrorists, as you no doubt want to paint here, seem to be elated people, who welcome death because they’re eager to die as martyrs. That’s irrational. The portrait you paint here is much too level-headed for me to swallow it. Recontextualize it as two ISIS fighters being cornered by the Iraqi army, and you have something much more realistic (to me).

Well re-skimming over it, I’m not sure they’re terrorist, but it’s ambiguous.

Otherwise, it’s competently written, solid enough, but there’s nothing really shining. We cannot really root for those guys, so their death let us somewhat unconcerned.

I think the subject is simply too vast to be tackled into a minific. As it is written, I felt it was a replay of Hitler’s death in his bunker.
#71 · 3
· on Christmas Bells Are Ringing · >>Monokeras
“I flex my ears”, I mean, really?

Maybe the author forgot this wasn't a pony round.
#72 ·
· on Christmas Bells Are Ringing
>>Zaid Val'Roa
Fair enough! :)
#73 ·
· on Amongst the Ruins of the Brooklyn Bridge
I partially agree with both previous reviewers. On the one hand, I understand why you put that in dialogue/theatrical form, and I agree it makes the reader figure if what we're reading is not a play about theatre. Sort of meta-play. So well done for this.

On the other hand, I agree with Andrew here: we don’t have enough background to relate to both characters, and especially why they butchered the director. You try to fill us in with that last monologue, but it doesn’t really succeed as you’re severely cramped by the format, all the more that you squander one word on each line to name the speaker.

It’s a nifty piece, though, and the characters are nicely cut, even though I don’t really envision two girls who’ve just murdered a guy just sit on a corner and banter. Seems too… histrionic. And it definitely lacks context.
#74 ·
· on Jeremy
So I’m a bit confused here. It’s pretty clear a former personality says goodbye before being replaced by another one. Yet, I don’t really know what the character is. The way you wrote, you imply there’s a master personality, a sort of operating system, that decides and operates the context (personality) switch. Yet we don’t know because all we get is a monologue.

Generally speaking – and if I’m not mistaken – schizophrenic people do exhibit multiple personalities, but no single one is aware of the others, there's like an airtight bulkhead between them. What you depict here is not realistic, so I suppose this might be some sort of android? I don't know. It’s weird.

Matter of fact, as I said on the chat, you could’ve ended like this:

I fished my cellphone out of my pocket and punched the conventional number: “Operator,” I said, “Please feed the super-skilled sniper program into the hitch ASAP. Thanks.”

Like yeah, this would be fine in a Matrix background. As is, it’s floating in the void, and the lack of context means we can’t really figure out what’s the meaning of the whole story.
#75 ·
· on Material Fuckup · >>Light_Striker
I liked this. Surprisingly, because in hindsight, it’s a fairly straightforward story, with no real conflict, just a recitation of facts in a sulky mode. However, I like the (obvious) parallelism between the climbing of the stairs and the gradation in the degree of fucked-ness experienced by the protagonist. And the end, although inevitable, was pretty fun too.

Nitpick: I’m not sure there’s a “smell of smoke” — I mean, it’s smoke. Smoke is not something solid that smells. It’s the fact that there’s smoke that makes you smell it. That’s not clear. What I mean is that “smoke” and “smell of smoke” are the same. If you smell smoke, that’s because you have smoke in your nose.

So yeah, top slater so far.
#76 · 1
· on Gamer's Honor · >>Zaid Val'Roa
Sneak → snuck
Feak → ?

#77 · 1
· on Feline · >>Ratlab
What a dick.

I think I can see what you're going for metaphorically with the first section, but, on the whole, I don't think it particularly gels with the remainder of the story and ends up using a lot of words to fairly minimal effect. The heart of this story is in exploring this totally fucked relationship and I think the words would be better served being put to that purpose. It is a cute little comparative setup, I just don't think it is quite cute enough to justify its inclusion.

In the end I kinda feel something is lacking here, and it might honestly this works better as something approaching micro fiction rather than flash fiction. It actually incorporates the prompt super well, to the point the everything outside the core to me actually ends up feeling a bit like padding. This is a particular abbreviated version of a breakup story that neatly incapsulates why the guy is a fucking tosser.
#78 ·
· on Gamer's Honor
#79 · 1
· on Short and Sweet
I think you can squeeze that in a more terse way, like “No one fighting for the throne survives”. Or something of the same ilk.

So I was discussing szip with Quill, which is basically the same story but handled differently, and he said to me: “The problem is that the punchline is a five-letter American English slang word I had to look up and all was lost.”

Same here.

I’m sorry, but A Song of Ice and Fire is simply a book I am not cognizant of.

Therefore, if there’s any humour in the punchline, it is lost on me. Now maybe there’s no humour, but I have no way to know, and that pretty much ruins it.

This is a low stake story, especially since we don’t get to know what the winner’s prize is. Finally you spend a lot of time explaining the rule or padding with public’s reaction, but “We knew Laura’d win”. What do I win?
#80 ·
· on Gamer's Honor
This is anticlimactic, and that's probably the point. It feels alright, structurally, but I'm not sure it reached high enough with the joke before it dropped flat at the end. The fighting was readable, but didn't really build into the 'guy in the car' bit much; you could have summarized that more, I think, and had extra room for the argument without losing much.

This fits the the prompt pretty well, though.

Humor is subjective, so ymmv, but this didn't do a lot for me.
#81 · 1
· on szip · >>Monokeras
This is cute. Not much progression, but I did smile at the jokes. Cutting that --help block to include another joke might not hurt; I don't think it's doing much for you. Nice job on a surprisingly literal prompt interpretation.
#82 ·
· on Feline · >>Ratlab
That last paragraph really threw me off. Door closes - engine revs - then footsteps? Is someone approaching a cat driving a car? Is the car revving it's engine by itself? What? Upon re-reading, I decided that the girl took his dog and left. Good riddance is probably right; she sounds like a jerk, if she just demands a kitten and expects him to give her whatever she wants. Probably took his car too.

The 'cat language' stuff is a cute gimmick, but I don't feel like it's really pulling its weight.

While this fits the prompt and does contain something like a full story, it's not having much of an emotional impact on me. I somewhat dislike both characters, and didn't feel really invested in either of them. It's a story I guess?
#83 ·
· on Short and Sweet
The comparison with szip is strong; this felt like it had less jokes, but also seemed more cohesive. It has a distinct emotional profile (hope - frustration - victory) which was nice. I felt the details of the gameshow were a bit off as well, but it did provide an interesting backdrop.

Pretty good? I think it's mostly just riding that last joke, but I did smile.
#84 · 2
· on Doggy Style · >>AndrewRogue
A short sharp drama? Maybe it's because I've only had jokefics so far, but this went over pretty well for me. I feel like you lost the opportunity to make a 'bitch' joke somewhere (although maybe that wouldn't have fit the mood) and I'd have liked to see a few more personal points instead of general worldbuilding stuff, but on the whole, I liked it.
#85 · 1
· on Remember, O Thou Man · >>Monokeras
The details here are weird.

This guy seems to be saying that humans, given a common cause, will come together against it. That seems straightforwards enough; Alan Moore's Ozymandius came from that, and it sorta worked for him. Moreover, the light igniting things suggests there's a lot more to this than just a simple bomb; that's, like, atomic levels at least.

OTOH, the concreteness of the situation - the implication that the guy has to be here for the explosion to reach him, coupled with 'comprehension dawning' on Father Peter, suggests that this is a fairly local/easily understandable event, which makes a lot less sense to me. Blowing up one church doesn't feel like it's enough for a 'common cause' incident, and the crying man seems smart enough he'd realize that.

I guess... I feel like your themes are fighting. Personal redemption/despair and widescale destruction can definitely work together, but I think the 'personal' stuff is bleeding into the 'widespread' stuff a bit much, and making it more difficult to parse what's actually going on, assuming I even read it correctly. Maybe beefing up the clarity on what exactly this guy has done would help with that... or maybe it would just water down the personal stuff.

Well, the construction here feels pretty solid. The details just need a bit of re-balancing for clarity, maybe.
#86 · 3
· on Amongst the Ruins of the Brooklyn Bridge
These people feel too 'sane' to square with what just supposedly happened, I think. The implied murder feels like it's just out of square with this whole thing; If it was, say, feeding the director laxatives, you'd have basically the same story but with slightly out of control people, instead of murdering psychopaths. That would make the introspective paragraph hit harder, I think, since doing something a little crazy because you feel your life is running wild is a lot more relatable than straight-up murder.

Also, are the names switched around in that ending? Jocelyn trembles, Sandra kisses her forehead? That doesn't seem to match the preceding bit.
#87 · 3
· on A Bourbon and a Lively Waltz · >>Zaid Val'Roa
So, I'll double-down on what Andrew said. This story felt emotionally 'flat' to me; mostly just bittersweet nostalgia and regret the whole way through.

The reason using the reveal to change the mood can be effective is because it grasps that feeling of progression; the mood going from, say, regret to joy, helps the audience feel that mood more clearly. You can go the other direction, of course; from bittersweet to utter despair, too, but the point is... most people want a story where something significant happens, and that's usually signaled by a mood change. There's a moment or two in here that might be hope, and that's a good start, but I don't feel like it gets enough traction to really sell itself before the reveal brings it back down.

This is a good character piece, but the emotional profile feels too muted for it to have much impact on me.
#88 · 2
· on A Bourbon and a Lively Waltz · >>Zaid Val'Roa
This is a nice, atmospheric piece at first that narrows down pretty cleverly on that former couple. Well executed, the prose is up to snuff, except for a “himself” instead of “herself” somewhere.

However I must agree with Andrew. Either keep the “I’m sorry” at the end but don’t tell us the guy has three words locked into his throat or tell us but don’t spill the beans at the end, so we’d never know whether it’s “I love you”, “I am sorry” or “Go fuck yourself”.

Of course you want to trick us into thinking the right guess is “I love you” and then there’s a twist because it turns out this solution is wrong. But that’s contrived and in hindsight it detracts from the story because we’re led to think the whole point of this was not to show us what two former lovers can feel one for the other after a few years, but simply to set a trap and then gloat over the dumbasses who have fallen into it.

So yeah, too much said. Pick what you want to redact and you’ll have a better story.
#89 ·
· on szip
I double down on what Hat said: it’s a cute take on the prompt. Well it’s apparently set in the present but I doubt it could be implemented with today’s technologies. We’re in a (far flung?) future here.

On the other hand, I feel the end is bit underwhelming. It sounds to me like you had a good idea, the execution is fine enough even though, as Hat notes, there’s not much of an evolution, but a blowing punchline was not that obvious so you settled for a sort of half-assed ending, not weak, but not really strong either.

Maybe you could’ve had the algorithm crash or something, too, but I guess that would’ve amounted almost to the same. I have no real idea how you could’ve raised the stakes here, so… fairly well done.
#90 · 1
· on Remember, O Thou Man
Isn’t the guy God himself? Or Christ?
God/Jesus himself complaining humanity has failed?

If it’s the case, this fic is surprisingly close to the last Star Wars installment. Remember, we learn more from our mistakes than from our successes.

Good luck for the next iteration, Lord.

(You gain nothing by obscuring the guy’s identity, I give that to Hat. Be clearer. Swathing the guy’s identity in mistery only diverts the reader from the true meaning of your story. It’s a distraction. Maybe you find that clever, but don’t do that. Be straightforward. Deliver, don’t withhold information just for the sake of wanting to make your reader scratch his head, it confuses the plot. This is not a mathematical riddle, it’s a story.)
#91 · 3
· on szip · >>Monokeras
The idea is cute, but the actual execution in story ends up rubbing me the wrong way. As >>Zaid Val'Roa says, it is p. much pure snark. Which is fine and some people are going to love it, but it just ends up grating on me a little bit. I dunno, maybe this round is just proving a bit dour for me on the whole.

Always remember to spellcheck before you submit. I am amazingly bad at it and it always costs me. :p

Ultimately the biggest problem is that the final joke is obvious from the moment it is suggested, meaning the punchline falters. There's nothing wrong with it and it is worth a smirk, but yeah, when you're banking on a joke, the joke being obvious the moment you start telling it is a problem. Still, there is some humor to be had beforehand that keeps it reasonable entertaining, but yeah, I'd recommend maybe trying to find a different punchline.
#92 · 4
· on LimLits
I can't say I'm much good at rhyming,
Or metrical syllable-timing.
Still, here's a quick verse
(It's probably worse)
But I've nothing to lose just by trying!

The titles you chose are eclectic,
but connection's a touch anorexic.
From Heinlein to Shakespeare,
I don't see a link here...
Perhaps that's unfairly prose-centric?

I've read nearly all your selections,
And won't say I have no corrections.
But your summarized snark
Seemed to hit on the mark -
Since I giggled, I'll hold my objections!

Your poetry's really quite neat;
Readable, smooth, and upbeat.
I'd tweak a few lines,
Amid'st all your rhymes,
But even so this was a treat!
#93 ·
· on Gamer's Honor
Okay, that’s the last one on my slate and since I’m not a huge fan of video games, I’ll just abstain on it and let to others the honour to comment.

well that’s not really fair. I’ll rank it.
#94 · 3
· on LimLits
This is cute, and unfortunately that's really all I've got. This is the sort of piece that I look at, chuckle, admire the author's attempt, and then feel bad about having to drop it near the bottom of my slate because it just doesn't do well on my scoring rubrick.

Setting aside the fact that I actually miss out on a decent amount of stuff because I don't know all the stories listed, making some of the limericks fairly opaque to me (I mean, I can infer meaning and idea and check synopsis of stories), but the ones I do know are definitely cute and entertaining. Sadly not much I can offer besides that, though. It was fun!
#95 · 1
· on Amongst the Ruins of the Brooklyn Bridge
Agreed on all points, especially the first one. I assumed, however—and don't ask why this occurred to me—that the two of them had killed their rapist, who may or may not have been the director.

Also, to save y'all a Google: the play this story is centered around is A View From the Bridge by Arthur Miller.
#96 · 4
· · >>Light_Striker
Radio Writeoff!

The last one of the year!

EDIT: Saturday the 30th, @3pm central/9pm London - our most commonly used time. (Thanks to Mono for helping with timezones.)
#97 · 3
I thought I'd let everyone know, there are three stories left with only two comments:
-What Do Monsters Dream About?
-Short a Long Story
#98 · 2
· on Remember, O Thou Man
I thought it was a divine 'end of the world' scenario rather than a suicide bomber so I agree that clarity on the details would be helpful in this story.

I liked the back-and-forth between the two characters though. Pretty solid entry imo.
#99 · 1
· on szip · >>Monokeras
I found this solid and entertaining. For me the I-persona not being technical was a nice touch, I have this habit of glazing over as soon as I read something like 'compression algorithm' so I'm glad you kept it reasonably short, although since it's basically hand-waved away as 'latest in AI tech' I wonder how much technical explanation the story needs in the first place.

The final punchline didn't work for me the first time because I didn't know what it meant. I actually thought it was going to be “A smell of petroleum prevails throughout,” or "42" or something. That's not your fault, but I guess a word that isn't slang but has the same meaning would avoid that issue. Anyway, I did chuckle once I'd found out what it meant, so yeah, nice entry.
#100 · 1
· on Feline · >>Ratlab
I feel if the theme of body language was emphasised throughout (e.g. human body language instead of auditory information in the final section) and the first and final sections were from a human perspective rather than a cat's, or instead if the whole story was from the cat's perspective, the pieces of this story might fit together more effectively. As it is, it feels disjointed.