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The Hurricane's Eye Blinked · Original Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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Love Flies Innuendo
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#1 · 1
· · >>Baal Bunny
A few editing misses of the missing word or extraneous word left in type make me think this was submitted at the last minute.

"Wish? Did somebody way wish?" Is there someone else here who used to watch Pee Wee's Playhouse? He's even named Carl, who was another character. Now I'm trying to remember if there were a dog and cat too, but my brain won't move past the cat in Mr. Rogers.

I think there's a Marx Brothers reference? Unfortunately I'm not familiar enough with them to get it. Ah, it's explained at the end.

It maybe gets a little cumbersome how often Fishbone has to remind the reader that various body parts aren't real. If there was a payoff or thematic meaning, it might be more justified.

Oh, so you interpreted the stuffed animal as a dog? I thought it was a sheep...

I have mixed feelings about this. There's not much of a conclusion, other than Olive making peace with her companions, I guess, but it never felt like that was the ultimate resolution the story was driving toward. It's more like a window into the lives of these characters than a self-contained narrative, though I did like the characters well enough. So it was a pleasant read with a vaguely unsatisfying ending. I guess part of it is that the relationship between Simon and Olive is so nebulous that I don't know what needs fixing or how, or whose side I should be on. I have no idea why Simon would want to spy on Olive, what either of them ever meant to each other, or why Olive is so broken up about it rather than taking a "good riddance" attitude. So I just think it's lacking context, but what's there is a nice scene.
#2 · 1
· · >>Pascoite

Thanks, Pasco:

Your comment has made me realize that the story is currently lacking a third act. When the three go to see Olive, she should yell at them some more and demand that they leave. Fishbone should then actually leave the apartment--and get picked up almost immediately by Simon who's waiting outside. That would let me expound a bit on the Simon/Olive relationship and let Fishbone put everything on the line to show Olive that he just wants to help her.

It'll also likely push the story past 5,000 words which'll put it over the limit for Zooscape, the magazine I wanted to try selling the story to, but oh well...

And yes, that's a Pee Wee's Playhouse reference. I don't remember there being a Carl in the cast, though--Laurence Fishburne played Cowboy Curtis, of course, and there were some cat and dog puppets who had a little beatnik band, it seems to me. But I only made the stuffed animal in the photo into a dog so I could have a cat/dog relationship. That's something that Simon needs to talk about in the third act when he rants in a calmly unhinged manner about "proper" male and female roles in the world.

But I've got today off from work, so I know what I'll be doing. Act Three awaits!

#3 · 1
· · >>Baal Bunny
>>Baal Bunny
Phil Hartman played a sailor named Captain Carl.
#4 · 1
· · >>Baal Bunny
This story is structurally sound, but my feelings about Simon and Ms. Olive are ambivalent. I think I am being asked to side with the latter here, and through her redemption to arrive at the author’s thematic purpose, which is to deconstruct (in a lighthearted way) what is natural and artificial, at least in terms of our ordinary way of speaking. But the relationship of the householders, played out through the activity of ‘innocent’ servants, has associations which are too close to those which might come from dysfunctional households (where parents work to undermine each other’s authority, use children as an outlet for frustration, etc.) for that to easily get across. Simon very singularly instills the bots with love and a sense of “wish”, but then turns out to be a liar and a bastard. Such a turn could only be poisonous for a child. Either that, or one must believe that hot-tempered Ms. Olive has a partial point-of-view.

My favorite element is the use of the prompt picture. The idea of a toy maze as a concrete metaphor for the need of characters to sort through their personalities in a complex living situation is suggestive, filled with potential for humor and tragedy. It is vivid enough that a reader could really chew on it, turn it upside-down and ask questions about it, while itself still retaining some sense of ipseity. It blends perfectly with imagery of artificial intelligence—in an age where we are more likely than ever to identify with machines and be willing to explore the notion of our own ‘artificiality’. But it needs the right tone.
#5 ·

Thanks again, folks:

I added a third act, redid the little robot characters as versions of Spike, Rarity, and Twilight, and posted it to Fimfiction. In case anyone's interested... :)