Science Fiction Microstory Contest discussion

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OCTOBER 2016 MICROSTORY CONTEST - COMMENTS ONLY

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message 1: by Greg (new)

Greg Krumrey (gkrumrey) | 178 comments ** COMMENTS ONLY **
The theme* for the month follows this note from the competition's Creator/Director, Jot Russell:

To help polish our skills and present a flavour of our art to other members in the group, I am continuing this friendly contest for those who would like to participate. There is no money involved, but there is also no telling what a little recognition and respect might generate. The rules are simple:

1) The story needs to be your own work and should be posted on the Good Reads Discussion board, which is a public group. You maintain responsibility and ownership of your work to do with as you please. You may withdraw your story at any time.

2) The stories must be 750 words or less.

3) The stories have to be science fiction, follow a specific theme and potentially include reference to items as requested by the prior month's contest winner. The theme for this month is posted below.

4) You have until midnight EST on the 22nd day of the month to post your story to the Good Reads Science Fiction Microstory Contest discussion. One story per author per month.

5) After, anyone from the LI Sci-Fi group or the GR Science Fiction Microstory Discussion group has until midnight EST of the 25th day of the month to cast a single private vote to Jot Russell () for a story other than their own. This vote will be made public once voting is closed. Voting is required. If you do not vote, your story will be disqualified from the contest. You don't need a qualifying story to cast a vote, but must offer the reason for your vote if you don’t have an entry.

6) To win, a story needs at least half of the votes, or be the only one left after excluding those with the fewest votes. Runoffs will be run each day until a winner is declared. Stories with vote totals that add up to at least half, discarding those with the fewest votes, will be carried forward to the next runoff election. Prior votes will be carried forward to support runoff stories. If you voted for a story that did not make it into the runoff, you need to vote again before midnight EST of that day. Only people who voted in the initial round may vote in the runoffs.

7) Please have all posts abide by the rules of Good Reads and the LI Sci-Fi group.

8) Professional comments and constructive criticisms are appreciated by any member in either group and should be posted to the separate thread that will be posted at the end of the month and all voting is complete to avoid any influence on the voting. Feel free to describe elements that you do and don't like, as these help us gain a better perspective of our potential readers. Remarks deemed inflammatory or derogatory will be flagged and/ or removed by the moderator.

9) The winner has THREE days after the start of the new month to make a copy of these rules and post a new contest thread using the theme/items of their choosing. Otherwise, the originator of the contest, Jot Russell, will post a new contest thread.
______________________________
*Theme Requirements for the October 2016 contest:

Save the Girl (or Guy) and you save the World, Galaxy, or Universe. A Romance and Adventure in Deep Space concept.

Must include these elements:
• A Human and a Non-Human romantically involved.
• A cool spaceship.
• The fate of a planet (or larger realm) hanging in the balance.

Optional but fun: start with the first two paragraphs of the original “Tandem Story” that inspired this month’s theme. It can be found by Googling “Tandem Story Funny”.


message 2: by C. (last edited Oct 03, 2016 07:46AM) (new)

C. Lloyd Preville (clpreville) | 735 comments It's pretty quite around here this month!

My story is up. So far, the month is off to the races with lots of good writing. Cudos to the early birds. Great stuff.

-C.


message 3: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 988 comments I couldn't write anything. Your "Crunchies" melted my keyboard...


message 4: by C. (last edited Oct 03, 2016 08:57AM) (new)

C. Lloyd Preville (clpreville) | 735 comments Yeah Justin. I liked your "Horde" too. Nice nickname for the bad-guys! Lol

As for your many claims of "not going there", as the bard liked to say: "Methinks thou dost protest too much!" : )

-C.


message 5: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 988 comments Yes, I wrestled with what to call my nameless, faceless, giant group of attacking bad guys in light of your previous entry. But, horde is a great word. :)

What can I say? The non-verbal reporter interviewing the protagonist was a real louse. LOL!


message 6: by Ink (new)

Ink 2 Quill (ink2quill) Justin wrote No Damsel in Distress

I liked your story. It took an unexpected twist with a modern look at the damsel in distress theme. Nice job Justin.

John


message 7: by Ink (new)

Ink 2 Quill (ink2quill) THE FIRST JOINING
By Tom Olbert


You wrote such a beautiful story with great worldbuilding. I loved your descriptions and where the story ended up. If I can think of any constructive critique I´ll let you know but until then nice job Tom.

John


message 8: by Ink (new)

Ink 2 Quill (ink2quill) Planetary Punishment
By C. Lloyd Preville

I loved your story and the frightening power of Ruby and the Crunchies. Galactic diplomacy is really no joke with you. Nice story.

John


message 9: by Ink (new)

Ink 2 Quill (ink2quill) ​If Jesus Returns As A Robot: An Exploration In Essayistic Science Fiction.
By Heather MacGillivray

Yours is an interesting story that ends short of any simple answer or even love attained. I could easily picture the characters wearing togas. Good story Heather with a nice, unique touch.

John


message 10: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 988 comments John wrote: "Justin wrote No Damsel in Distress

I liked your story. It took an unexpected twist with a modern look at the damsel in distress theme. Nice job Justin.

John"


Thanks John, much appreciated! I liked your story for this month as well!


message 11: by Tom (new)

Tom Olbert | 1029 comments John wrote: "THE FIRST JOINING
By Tom Olbert


You wrote such a beautiful story with great worldbuilding. I loved your descriptions and where the story ended up. If I can think of any constructive critique I´l..."


Thank you, very much.


message 12: by Tom (new)

Tom Olbert | 1029 comments I found "Nubium" by John Appius Quill delightful.

Good flow and good satiric humor (the A-pole joke was maybe used once too often, but it was entertaining nonetheless.) It was a well-envisioned and darkly funny take on the "Big Brother" angle seen through the contemporary lens of drones and texting. The way the human/AI love story blended in with a world ruled by admonishing technology was very interesting.

The ending could have been explained a bit better, I thought. As I understood it, the POV character's world was a close Earth parallel, with pretty much everything duplicated, except it was further down the road to a tech-dominated dystopian future. Overall, I enjoyed it very much, especially the "wide-angle visuals" comparing the two worlds.


message 13: by Ink (new)

Ink 2 Quill (ink2quill) Tom wrote: "I found "Nubium" by John Appius Quill delightful.

Good flow and good satiric humor (the A-pole joke was maybe used once too often, but it was entertaining nonetheless.) It was a well-envisioned ..."


Thank you for your input. You got my story and I´m glad it pleased you. Sorry for the parts that need more explaining.
Thanks again Tom.


message 14: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 988 comments Fun story Chris! I liked it!


message 15: by Chris (new)

Chris Nance | 437 comments Thanks so much Justin! :)


message 16: by C. (new)

C. Lloyd Preville (clpreville) | 735 comments Heather: "I am woman, hear me roar."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niJ83...

Lol

- C.


message 17: by Heather (last edited Oct 13, 2016 07:05PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments :) ah, the eternal (subconsciously?) asked question on the lips of Creatives Everywhere, in every Age ... whether Carl Jung, or Joseph Campbell, or Pablo Picasso, or William Shakespeare, or Jane Austin, or Aristotle, or Virginia Woolf, or cave dweller painters in blood and ochre... or whoever:

"what the heck is a dinosaur?"
"what the heck is a stereotype?"
"what the heck is an archetype?" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iahYi...

lol


message 18: by J.F. (new)

J.F. Williams | 186 comments I posted my story. It contains a clue to a famous story that sort of inspired it.


message 19: by Paula (new)

Paula | 860 comments Whatever that story may have been, J.F., I can imagine there'll be many inspired by this new one of yours. Super in all ways.


message 20: by J.F. (new)

J.F. Williams | 186 comments Thanks, Paula. I have trouble with the the notion of intergalactic romance so I went a little absurdist. Please note that I did not read Justin's story till just now and stole none of it despite the remarkable similarities. :-)


message 21: by C. (new)

C. Lloyd Preville (clpreville) | 735 comments Kalifer,

Great story. Hilariously quirky like grape-flavored Jerky.

-C.


message 22: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 988 comments Kalifer, I really liked the twists in your story!


message 23: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Zylka (carriezylka) | 221 comments Just checked the story guidelines...how very Heroes of you.... "save the cheerleader, save the world"!
I love it!


message 24: by C. (last edited Oct 19, 2016 10:28AM) (new)

C. Lloyd Preville (clpreville) | 735 comments Too quiet, gentle people.

A little lunchtime limerick to share. . .
No, not the one about the girl from Nantucket.

There once was a guy who expired,
But didn’t notice because he was tired.
He thought he was dreaming
So alive he was seeming
(You pick your favorite ending, indicate by posting a number or come up with a new one.)

1. Until the Almighty he ired.
2. Until all his brain cells unwired.
3. Until his pacemaker retired.
4. The undertaker was truly inspired.
5. The gravedigger complained and was fired.
: )

-C.


message 25: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 988 comments Hello everyone,

This is the original story before I pared it down to fit in our word limit. It is not here for judging of course, but further critiques are certainly welcome. If it is against group policy to post the longer version here just let me know and I'll be happy to remove it.

Thanks again to everyone who has already critiqued my official entry for this month!
*******************************************************************

The D’nalgne Commonwealth had stood alone against the Horde for over a year before Earth and its colonies got involved. After decades of internecine strife, Earth’s unified government was loathe to engage in further military conflict. Yet the atrocities inflicted by the Horde upon conquered systems demanded some kind of response.

At first it was only shipments of weapons, but everyone knew it wouldn’t end there. Small groups of advisors were sent. Not to engage in combat of course. The media had a field day with the first deployments, vid-cams in everyone’s faces, images of gray-clad advisors disembarking from “unarmed” drop ships. Who were we kidding?

Of course those advisors had come under attack and returned fire. Dozens perished live on vid-cam. Who wants to see that while eating dinner? The public clamored for something to be done. More troops were needed to protect the advisors since all of the Commonwealth’s troops were fully engaged against the Horde. Millions were sent. Now Earth had skin in the game, and that’s where I came in.

Despite the influx of Earth’s troops and equipment, the Horde chewed through much of the Commonwealth’s outer defenses and were making a direct line to the D’nalgne home world. It was a beautiful planet, like a tropical island amongst the dark sea of space – but difficult to defend. As the center of government and commerce, every jump corridor led straight to it. Ever try to deploy a 360 degree minefield around an entire planet? Thought so.

Time was getting short so the joint chiefs of the Unified Forces Command called for a total planetary evacuation. My job was to take my team and safely escort the Princess Prime Minister Saylana Tress to one of the D’nalgne fortress worlds closer to Earth’s outermost colonial boundary. I expected it to be the usual head-of-state protective detail of some prissy, self-centered, spineless politician. I’ve never been more wrong in my life.

The Princess, I never used her full title - much to the dismay of her majordomo, was simply the most beautiful woman I had ever met. Her skin was as smooth as porcelain with a slight bluish hue that seemed to sparkle under the right light, just like her eyes. She was a full head shorter than myself, but perfectly proportioned and…

Hmm? No, I don’t know her measurements! I’m a professional. Now do you want me to continue? Fine.

What stood out to me was her hair, or, what looked like hair. Actually D’nalgne females don’t have hair. They have dreadlocks composed of soft wavy tentacles that approximate the look and movement of hair. If I didn’t know better I’d say they have a mind of their own.

Anyway, I had just touched down in my cloaked ship, the Scimitar, next to the palace when the vanguard of the Horde fleet arrived and began their orbital bombardment of the capital. As I ran out of the hardened launch bay, a massive blast took out my entire team who were still assembling outside on the tarmac. Vaporized. Just like that. But combots are easily replaceable and I had a job to do.

The palace also sustained a direct hit, but fortunately the Princess’ personal guard detachment had already hustled her out to the flight line. She did not look afraid, simply determined.

“Let’s get you out of here your Highness!” I yelled over the violent hail of destruction obliterating her capital.

“Is there room for my guards aboard your ship?” she asked. Her voice had a resonant quality to it that was soothing yet commanded instant respect and obedience. It sounded both in my ears and directly in my mind.

“I’m sorry Princess, my ship’s not a transport. It’s designed for stealth and not large enough for your personal detail.”

What? I didn’t lie to her! The combots fold up for storage. Her guards couldn’t do that. Do you want me to finish this story or not? Then stop interrupting!

She looked at me for the barest instant with those soft eyes, pivoted and simply pointed back towards the fiery furnace of the capital. “Save as many as you can Captain,” she ordered quietly. Without a word her entire guard turned and fanned out into the inferno to rescue civilians.

She turned back and looking up at me said, “Well, it’s seems I’m in your hands now Earther.”

“Commander Miles Trask at your service.” I bowed slightly from the waist.

Another blast hustled us quickly into the hangar and up the short ramp to my ship. It’s cloak shimmered and rippled as dirt and debris fell upon it.

“Sit down and hang on Princess!” She had already strapped into the seat next to mine when I allowed myself a surreptitious glance in her direction. Her tight smile told me I was not quite as discreet as I had thought, but with the hangar collapsing around us I had to refocus on getting us both as far away from here as possible.

The Scimitar erupted from the hangar and clawed for altitude. She watched the view screen as the burning capital quickly receded behind us, then vanished behind a veil of clouds and smoke. Entering low orbit, we flew right between the attacking Horde ships without being detected. I activated the decoy drones I had deployed before my arrival and gave the Horde fighters something to chase besides us.

She turned to me again and placed a data wafer in my hand. Her touch was electric. No, really. It was electric. She gave me quite a jolt.

“Oh I’m so sorry Commander! I forgot to ground myself!”

“It’s okay your Highness, really. No harm done,” I said, shaking my numb hand and cradling my bruised ego.

Yes, I was lying then. It had really hurt.

“I must get to this fortress world to rally my people. From there, I can broadcast to every city in our Commonwealth.” Her voice was so enthralling that I barely noticed she was holding my shocked hand. “Please hurry.”

Yes. I absolutely wanted to hurry. There was nothing more in the universe that I wanted to do in that moment than carry out her wish.

I let the navigation computer chew on the data wafer, then made the jump into hyperspace.

“Thank you Commander.”

“You don’t need to stand on ceremony with me your Highness. Please call me Miles.”

“Of course Miles. I am Saylana, but I’m sure you already knew that.”

“I was fully briefed.”

“Yes of course you were, but I’m not what you expected.”

“No Saylana, no you’re not.” I paused, carefully considering my next words. She was still the leader of a sovereign state entrusted to my care. “You’re better.”

I think she turned a darker shade of blue.

“I must rest now Miles. I will soon enter the d’thrall. By the time we reach our destination, I will be ready to rally our people against the Horde.”

“But, what is the d’thrall?”

Suddenly I realized she was now holding both of my hands in hers and the cockpit of the Scimitar had never seemed smaller.

“I cannot explain it to you. But whatever you see happening to me, you must not fear.”

And just like that, all of my fear and doubt about her, us, the war, anything, disappeared like mist before the sun. I pulled out the small couch behind the cockpit and…

Hey now! That’s not where this is going. I gave her a blanket and went back to my seat okay? You don’t believe me, I’ll give you the data from the cockpit data recorders. I was a perfect gentleman. Besides, after the d’thrall things were…different.

The closest thing I can compare it to is a cocoon, except it was made up entirely of her dreadlock tentacles. They wrapped themselves tightly around her –

The blanket fell off! Now if you don’t quit it I’m going to give you another hole to put your drink in. Got it?

Just as we exited hyperspace at the D’nalgne fortress world, her tentacles uncoiled, receded to their previous length, and revealed a completely new Saylana. Her soft and delicate body had been replaced with a muscled and powerful one. Standing up, she was now a head taller than me and had to stoop in the Scimitar’s cockpit. Her voice was slightly deeper, yet still with the same resonance that had graced my ears when I first met her only a short time ago.
Flexing her forearms caused a ridge of serrated spines to appear running from her wrist to her elbow.

“Now…” she said powerfully. “My people will see our hidden strength, enter the d’thrall they have forgotten about for so long and together we will crush the Horde!”

She clapped my shoulder with a powerful hand.

“Set us down there.” I hurried to comply.

And that’s how the Horde was defeated.

What do you mean you don’t believe me? You think I’d make something like this up? Okay, fine.

“Sweetheart, can you come over here for a minute?”


message 26: by Heather (last edited Oct 20, 2016 12:37AM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments @C
... 'til he was told, "No! No whisky in Heaven, only lemonide!"

(Yeah, so what? St Peter's helper at The gate that day had a strong Aussie accent)


message 27: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 988 comments LOL! Funny! We had a guy here in Everett who used to be the director of the 787 Preflight & Delivery team. He was from Australia and everyone always gave him a hard time about his accent. To make matters even funnier, he was a very short guy. So it was always height and accent jokes for him.

For the record, I think all of the Commonwealth accents are great to listen to!


message 28: by Heather (last edited Oct 19, 2016 09:25PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments @Justin,

To my mind, this longer version that you've just posted here, while well written, has a more traditional story-telling style feel to it ... which to me makes it seem a bit boring when compared to the other version which you posted as your official entry, given that I first read the other version first, of course.

The reason I found the other version more exciting is twofold:

1.) the editing (to make it fit the word count) made it a smoother ride through the story without getting tripped up and obstructed by the details as YOUR imagination saw them, as opposed to how MY imagination interpreted them;

2.) (it probably was entirely unintended by you, BUT,) besides just being an editing issue of 'tightening up the story,' the other version - by allowing far more room for the reader's own imagination to interact with the story - took a step (in my imagination at least) in a new science (hence science fiction) direction .

That direction is a greater interaction with Consciousness. That happened because the shorter version of the story allowed for archetypes to be present. (N.B. archetypes are aspects of consciousness that we 'know' through a gnosis ... unlike stereotypes that are archetypes that have been dogmatically pinned down as 'this' or 'that.')

If you google Graham Hancock and "mother ihuasca," or, Dr Steven Greer and exopolitics and alien consciousness, you might find some things of interest about how social and scientific interest (and hence s/f/ story-telling) may well, in the future, be heading in that direction, of focusing more on that which pertains to consciousness states.


message 29: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 988 comments Thanks Heather for reading the longer version! And I agree with you that the shorter version flows better, etc., and better incorporates the elements you already commented about. The shorter format really forces us to get to the real story without all the excess baggage of exposition and excessive descriptions.

Cheers!


message 30: by Heather (last edited Oct 21, 2016 12:43AM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments @Justin & C,
Actually, here's what a modern Aussie accent typically sounds like! http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016...

(p.s. if the Critique Police are on the prowl, I'm hiding behind you two as my human shield! since YOU TWO did start this 'off-topicness' with messages 24 and 25 above ... Soooo, I'm just an innocent bystander caught up in the swirl of events! lol :) right? )


message 31: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 988 comments I'm fine with that Heather. :)

The modern Aussie accent piece was hilarious!!!!! LOVED IT!

And the accent. :)


message 32: by C. (last edited Oct 22, 2016 11:14AM) (new)

C. Lloyd Preville (clpreville) | 735 comments Heather,

I loved the Aussie perspective piece too. Was smart, sassy, and very funny.

I don't suggest hiding behind me due to the simple fact that I tend to draw more fire than you do. It's like hiding behind an archery target that has seen better days. : )

I wouldn't worry about the critique police any more. Your critiques are getting so good that perhaps you should take over the role of brevity barrister, or maybe the conciseness constable.

-C.


message 33: by Heather (last edited Oct 22, 2016 09:59PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments Yeah, she very talented, that Maude Garrett in the video. She has a similar energy to that of her uncle, Peter Garrett - front man for the (fabulous) band Midnight Oil https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXpTP... AND a former politican. (He was a minister in Julia Gillard's government!)

edit: TAKE AWAY MESSAGE FOR AMERICA: Vote Hillary in and some of your politicians might follow Peter Garrett's lead and re-channel some fine Masculine Creative-Energy, via their (old) Rocker personnas, into politics! (I guess Bernie was sort of trying to do that.) Peter's energy is the polar opposite to some of the Masculine Political Energy coming out of the States nowadays ... or is that just the impression one gets from afar?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejorQ... is about balancing energies! Now that's Masculine Energy expressing itself well! Go Peter!


message 34: by Jot (new)

Jot Russell | 1141 comments Mod
Last night to get those stories in!


message 35: by Carrie (new)

Carrie Zylka (carriezylka) | 221 comments Reading through the stories now....gonna be hard to choose!


message 36: by Justin (new)

Justin Sewall | 988 comments To everyone who reviewed my story, thank you! I'm just sorry I was unable to get any reviews in myself. I thought all of the stories this month were very enjoyable and creative. Reading your creations is a real pleasure and privilege!


message 37: by Heather (last edited Nov 07, 2016 06:05PM) (new)

Heather MacGillivray | 581 comments @C

C said (message 16: by C. Oct 13, 2016 12:34PM
C. Lloyd Lloyd (CLPreville) | 106 comments) Heather: "I am woman, hear me roar."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niJ83...

Lol

- C.


Hey C, I think you mis-saw the animal (as a dinosaur) ... and so posted the wrong video! Here's the (real) "Eye Of The Tiger"'s Viewpoint ... and Voice Of The Tyger's ROAR!
http://bipartisanreport.com/2016/11/0...

:)

(p.s. I see the dinosaurs have backed down! That video you posted of the dinosaur roaring has now disappeared from you tube! Must have gobbled up by this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CevxZ... terrific story telling of the evolution of The Feminine archetype.)


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