Poll: Aphelion April 2015 Flash Contest


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Post April 19, 2015, 10:33:22 AM

Poll: Aphelion April 2015 Flash Contest

APHELION FLASH FICTION CONTEST: April 2015
The “Change That Tune- 2010+ Version?” Challenge


THE PREMISE: Select a song title that was released from 2010 till the present. Use the title of the song as the title of your flash fiction story. Write a story based on what the title makes you think of, anything, first thing that comes to mind.

THE CHALLENGE: Write a story starting from a title selected from music song titles of post 2010 songs. Use only the title and reimagine a story that shares the title only as inspiration. You must list the song and band that is your inspiration prior to the story.




HERE THEY ARE:



JUST IN TIME
2014 song sung by Barbra Lica (from album Kissing You)


I am watching him when he disappears. No camouflage, blending with the background, dropping flat. Just plain vanishes. The spotter camera is new, the image perfect. Remote streaming every second to my web drive. I pull the viewfinders away, rub my eyes, replace them. The path is still empty. I get to my feet, slowly, pushing up from the park bench, camera glued to the spot. Eighty meters, perhaps ninety, just where the meadow ends and the forest begins. Then suddenly, movement in the trees and I snap the lens up. Focus. Gasp. He’s there, walking the path. Out of the forest now, not in. Ten meters from where he winked out, going the other direction. Chestnut hair messed up, dark green jacket--torn? I can’t quite tell. Moving quickly now, over the open ground. Towards me. Looking at me.

I stash the camera and yank my smartphone from its pouch, swipe it open. Speed-dial, first entry as I turn, start towards the park gates. Nobody in sight. It’s just him, and me.

“Hello?”

“Janet. It’s me.” Trying to think of what to say. “I need backup.”

“What--Sam, what? You on one of your spying missions again?”

“Something like that.” Over my shoulder he’s gaining on me. Maybe thirty meters now, his face intent. A gash down the side, like he’s torn his cheek on something sharp. Blood oozing down to his chin. “Bird watching,” I say.

“I get it. So, call the ambulance?”

I start running, past the deserted playground. Birds scatter from the bushes along the path, among them two of the crossbills I’d been trying to watch. “I don’t know,” I say. My breathing labored, the words broken up. “Something fast.”

“Sam, I’ll call you back.” Silence. I stow the phone, fumbling with the magnetic catch. My poor condition is really starting to show. Breath coming in desperate gasps, chest burning. The gates don’t seem any closer. My pursuer, the vanishing man, nearly on me. A quick glance, all I get before he takes me down, a flying tackle below the knees. My head spins as I topple, arms flailing, trying to cushion the impact. Too slow. My head hits, ears singing as the world lurches, whirls down to darkness.

For a moment, I don’t remember where I am. Then it all comes back in a rush. On the bench, new camera cradled in my hands. Watching the grosbeaks in the big pine down by the path, near the edge of the forest. With the amazing zoom I can pick out every detail from a hundred meters, probably more. It’s the perfect time of day to catch birds in their habitat, not a soul here but me. A few strategically placed caches of birdseed along the tree-line and I’m getting the greatest footage I’ve ever strung together.

The birds suddenly scatter. I scan the trees nearby. Fox, perhaps? Raccoon? A shadow emerges from the dimness and I zoom the camera back to take it in. The man saunters casually out along the path, his hunter green jacket neatly buttoned, chestnut hair immaculately combed. I watch him through the lens as he strolls along the path towards me, turns to move out across the wider meadow and the swamp on the far side of the park. Something, somehow, familiar in that face…

My smartphone buzzes, yanking me out of it. I set the camera down and swipe the phone open. “Sam,” I say.

“It’s me.” There is an urgency in Janet’s voice. “Are you alright?”

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know, I just had this feeling, like something wasn’t quite--Sam, where are you?”

“Sitting on a bench in Langmore Park. Streaming footage.”

“Nothing weird going on?”

“Peaceful and quiet. Up until a moment ago, I was the only--”

My head hurts and there’s a dizziness behind my eyes. Slowly I lift one arm, rub a hand across my aching jaw. Blood there, a thin gash down my left cheek. I sit up, wait for the world to stabilize around me. Mixed forest, maple and birch, pine, hemlock. Birdsong everywhere. Chickadee, finch, cardinal. And there, a junco. My bag is lying beside me, the contents spilled out across the ground. Water bottle, tuna salad sandwich, apple. My new camera, its lens damaged. Birdseed, the bag spilled and seeds scattered. I shake my head, moan at the ache there. Something is definitely not right. I need to get to a hospital. Heave myself to my feet and collect my belongings, shoulder the load, move off deliberately down the path. The meadow just ahead, yellow grasses swaying in the breezy sunlight. My eyes adjust slowly, finally focus on a figure standing across the edge of meadow, maybe a hundred meters. Beside a bench, his bag there on the seat. He turns, fumbles with the bag, does not see me wave. Begins to walk away, quickly. My shout is lost in the breeze. I start to jog, an awkward gait, but it galvanizes me.

“Wait,” I yell. The words come out unformed, garbled, as if I’m out of practice. The man ahead seems not to notice, stumbling unevenly forward away from me. I move faster, desperate now, catch him just past the playground. He is shaky, staggering, but my energy is nearly spent. I have to stop him. Lunge for his ankles, bring him down in a heap ahead of me. His foot bounces up and hits my temple, and all goes black.

“Sam?” Janet’s voice is anxious. “Sam?”

I open my eyes. Paramedics all around. Oxygen mask over my face. I blink at her.

“You had another attack,” she says. “Hit your head. You’ll be OK.”

I nod. Pull the mask away. “My footage?”

“Perfect,” she says. “Great nature shots.”

“Nothing else?”

She kneels beside me. “No. Now get some rest.”

As I’m closing my eyes, across the meadow I think I see a green shape move against the yellow grass. Probably nothing.

THE END





World Peace Is None Of Your Business
(Morrissey 2014)


Do you yearn for the good old days proper warfare? Do you miss a sense of right and wrong, and which side you're on? A time when it was acceptable to be different and people had pride in such things, when violence and national identity worked hand-in-hand. We all know that the changes the world has gone through are for the better, but it leaves no place for the inner workings and necessities of mankind's soul. Civilization began with organized violence and for the first time in human history, civilization is held up without such organization. While this is a tremendous benefit to us all, it leaves a hole and hunger in the human psyche. At World Peace Inc. our aim is to balance these factors.

Join us for a peaceful warfare retreat, in which everything happens with full consent and there are no losers. Should you choose victim, or conqueror, is all up to your discretion and taste. Armaments and battlefield, lodging and accommodations, are all provided in a discreet and private location. Not only is this an opportunity for you to live out your instincts, but you can also do mankind favor with the intentional trimming down of the population in a consensual way.

Conqueror Package:

Have you ever wanted to be on the winning side of a battle? To engage the enemy without fear of negative repercussion? To be on the side that is just, without involving civilian collateral damage? If so, the Conqueror Package is for you. We provide you with a weeklong authentic battle scenario against those who have signed up for inevitable defeat. The bloodshed is real. The tactics are real. The warfare is real. It is the stakes that have changed. For the first time in history you can go into war for the actual betterment of mankind. Two needs filled with one game. Human instinct and population control.

Victim Package:

Have you ever wanted to be immortalized in valorous defeat? To stand up and die in battle for a good cause? To see the enemy rise and face your fall without fear , courage expressed through action. The Victim Package allows for total defeat without shame. To die for the cause of the salvation of the world, to go up against an enemy which you know to be your friend. The Victim Package offers a unique perspective and civilized way to offer self-sacrifice as a means to benefit the world population.

If neither of these packages suit your taste, try our new auxiliary Battle Reenactment Program, with less certain odds but all of the gory details. Be a part of history in more ways than one, full regalia provided, but by all means the enthusiast may provide their own.

Leaving anyone behind? World Peace Inc. also offers full tax-deductible write offs for your family and loved ones.

Satiate your instinct and help the world maintain its immaculate balance, affordable, humane, and civilized, World Peace Inc. offers you the best of both worlds, for the betterment of the world.

END



I Gotta Feeling
(by Black Eyed Peas- 2010)


Huvd was in the middle of a lush park, sitting on a bench, his senses unusually at ease (finally!) - the same as his huge eyes. Of course he was still tuned-in and still listening to the voices that came at him from all directions. His telepathic enhancements made it easy for him to keep an eye on the city that stretched into the distance surrounding the park, so there was no need to use any mechanical listening devices.

And then, they came, again: all those lamentations, curses, screams. They were yelling out, crying out, with sorrow and regret.

-A ship was approaching the seaport, two miles from the park, and it was clearly off-course. The captain had unexpectedly left the bridge before the time and the crew felt lost. The paying passengers were fighting each other, trying to take their baggage with them instead of assisting the elderly people in need. More than that, no officials on the shore were proficient enough to prevent the disaster from occurring in the few minutes remaining;

-A crowd was crying out because of a sudden strike that had stopped the subway. It had occurred in combination with a protest by all the city taxis whose drivers had parked their vehicles in the road and were walking home, preventing any private car from moving forward or turning around. It was an unbelievable hurly burly that wasn’t going to cease anytime soon;

-Meanwhile, in the City Council’s chambers, a politician with no experience at all about the specific matter before him was eagerly signing a document which required that people followed some unnecessary laws. He was thinking only of his friends who would benefit from the unscrupulous regulation instead of the good of all the citizens. The policemen outside, who were supposed to be guarding the entrance, were in a bar nearby airily sipping coffee, leaving no one to look out for thieves who were stealing computers and other devices in the main hall of the same building. None of the video-cameras were working correctly because no one had set them properly, nor had they activated the internal link due to a disruption in the secondary electrical system that had just occurred a month ago;

-An outdated hospital was turning away most of its ill patients given the scarcity of beds, so there was complete and utter confusion among sick who shoved and objected. Meanwhile the hospital’s three new buildings, that had been completed two years ago, were still closed due to the lack of the necessary inspections because the regulations changed every two months. Besides that, one of the new structures was obviously going to collapse soon because of the poor materials originally used to build it;

-An experienced judge was thinking about how he could set free a known assassin who was connected to the local mob, without appearing to be corrupt, though he clearly happened to be. He was trying to find an useful technicality he could use, which would ultimately save his personal career, too;

And many, many other calamities kept popping up, minute by minute: an unceasing series of boasts, false claims, unscrupulous actions, and unlawful decisions…

---------------------

“Are you back from your vacation?” the high-ranking officer asked Huvd as he entered the control room.

“Yes, I am,” the tall hairless bear-like alien replied. “That primitive planet, and especially the unorganized country I was in is the perfect place for ones like us to have some rest and relaxation. It’s wilder than a jungle!”

“But there are really no wild beasts there…” the other objected.

“Oh, there are, in other forms…In a way, being there just makes you feel alive, with no rules to follow, no laws to be respected and no consideration for anything or anyone. It’s so different from here, where we are always bound by our regulations and by our duties.”

“Yes, you’re right,” his colleague added with a knowing look. “So, you finally gotta feeling after so long. Are you planning to go back there when you have more free time?”

“There? Well, probably not. After all, the place where I stayed is a country named Italy, that is so unstable, so uncertain, how can I even be sure it will still exist on that distant planet when I go on vacation again in a couple of years? I don’t even understand how that country is still standing…”

“Do you mean you wouldn’t like just another day or two?” the other asked him.

“Exactly. I don’t mind visiting there but only for a very brief period. When I come back, I like to find functioning up-to-date mechanisms, modern elevators that are still running, superior services, and a society that fits my needs. I can easily resist going back to that planet.”

“I see. You’re not a romantic individual, nor an unruly one....”

“Typically, nobody among us usually is,” Huvd replied in a plain tone. “We are all members of the Space Technicians’ Congregation, and we were built this way, in accordance with the wishes of our masters who genetically conceived us and matched us to fit the jobs we do. We are renowned across all the known inhabited systems for our great ability to pilot the most massive starships in this galaxy, finding the best course possible to get where we are going. Moreover, we have almost no feelings, we always restrain our desires and we lead a life of unending training, improvement, and continuous upgrade. We are connected to the main computer’s navigation system so we always work together during the journeys. Our telepathic senses were enhanced to let us get to our destination quickly, and to protect our mind from external alien disturbances, if necessary, not for our fun or entertainment. Were we just romantic or unruly all the time, that could greatly harm us when we set out on our space flight, you know…”

The other smiled, but it was a perfectly self-restrained, short-term smile, as common politeness clearly required.

THE END




"Clockwork Angels" - Rush 2012

“Is it true you’ve never cried before, Elayne?”

Elayne looked out at the grand city of Moonlight Station, paying only half attention to her fairy-friend’s rather personal inquiry. She was hiding below the sill of an open window thirty stories in the air: the perfect spot for a marksman like her. The twilight breeze rushed over her face like a warm stream, shaking her bangs.

“Hey!” The tiny form of Nina the fairy zipped up and down in front of her, “Earth to Elayne – answer me.”

Elayne shooed the troublesome creature away. “Of course I’ve never cried. I’m fifteen years old, crying is for little girls.” She used the scope of her rifle to scan the distant floor of the city. Just as she suspected the goblins were getting uppity again, walking about like they owned the place. Moonlight Station was once a peaceful human town until the green hoard graced it with its presence. Now it was war every day.

The exception was nightfall. Surprisingly, the goblin warlord agreed to a civil compromise: No hostilities after dark. Elayne spared a glance at the clock tower nearby. It was an opulent work of art decorated with stone angels holding a bronze bell that chimed at dusk. This bell was the signal for both sides to holster arms until morning.

The sun receded quickly, the colors of the day rushed to the western horizon turning the sky pink and the clouds black. If Elayne wanted a kill, it was now or never.

“Nina, which one should I pick?” she asked.

Fairies, however small, had superior eyesight; humans often enlisted their help in battle as spotters. The fairies often obliged in exchange for what they thought to be mankind’s greatest gift to the world: pie.

Nina aimed a finger. “There, the one picking his nose by the water fountain. He’s totally exposed, you can’t miss.”

Elayne surreptitiously took aim at the foul green skin. She inhaled and started to squeeze the trigger.

The clock tower bell rang out. It was a dull, empty ring that echoed far into the distance and resonated throughout the town like a wild river. Nightfall had arrived.

Elayne withdrew her rifle. “Saved by the Clockwork Angels …” she murmured to her lucky prey.

“You know,” Nina began cautiously, “Ever since this war began the greenies have won every battle they’ve fought. Do they have a crystal ball or something or do you humans just stink at fighting?”

“Talkin’ to the wrong woman, I’m just a grunt. Elayne crawled out from under the blanket hiding her body and wrapped it up. “Gotta go now, meet me here again tomorrow.”

“Wait! Where’s my pie?”

“I’ll bring you one tomorrow.”

“Unacceptable!” Nina flapped her wings and flailed her limbs, “Pie now. That’s the deal.”

“I have to meet someone first.”

“Oh, you can’t be serious. That courier boy what’s-his-face? Markin?”

Elayne held a fist close to her heart and closed her eyes. “We’re talking about my first love. This is a very important part of a young human girl’s life; I have to tell him how I feel.”

“B-But,” Nina stammered, “You fall in love all the time. This is like your 12th 1st love isn’t it?”

Elayne scampered back to the barracks like a rock skipping over a pond. A courier’s job was very important; he ran confidential information between friendly regiments both day and night. Elayne was lucky to even catch sight of Markin let alone catch him, and when she did she told him everything.

The inevitable silence was filled by nothing but her own doubts. Would he laugh at her? Would he ignore her? Neither occurred. He patted her on the head and said: “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel the same way.”

The next morning, Elayne returned to her thirtieth floor nest with a jubilant bounce in her step. Nina was already there, half-buried in a pie she managed to pilfer from an unsuspecting human. She popped her head up from the crust. “What’s with the dopey smile? You didn’t actually confess your love did you?”

“Of course I did, and he said he loves me too!”

“He said he lov – does he even know your name? Ugh, why do I even try?”

The sky was gray most of the day; sunlight struggled to shine through the muscular clouds. Dusk came upon them fast and even with Nina’s eyes, Elayne failed to spot a single target worth the risk of firing upon. Goblins weren’t the best marksmen but a single shot was all they needed to uncover her location.

“… Elayne,” Nina said weakly, like she never intended to speak. “Look: down by the church.”

Elayne used the scope of her rifle. What she saw stopped her heart. Goblins congregated around a single human: Markin. Far from attacking him, they seemed to be welcoming him. The girls watched with cold numbness as he revealed the hidden positions of human soldiers, including their own.

“It can’t be …” So many of Elayne’s innocent beliefs disintegrated in front of her, replaced by the heaviness of stupidity. How could he say he loved her when he was plotting against her this whole time?

The same look of sadness and betrayal overcame Nina’s features but it provided only a little comfort. “Guess it wasn’t a crystal ball after all. Nightfall will be here soon. Shoot him now.”

The words were icy but accurate. Elayne took aim and framed her face to the task. She inhaled and secretly hoped that the Clockwork Angels would save him.

Ka-bang!

They didn’t. She withdrew from the window and hid herself. The clock tower bell rang out as the last bit of daylight shriveled over the horizon. And in the still silence of night, Elayne cried for the first time in her life.

The End



Till the World Ends by Femme Fatale

By now, humanity was dispersed throughout their home star system, but most people lived on the third and fourth planets closest to the Sun, so people often wondered why the Sisters of Crystal were so far removed from the rest of humanity. The accepted response was that the time spent on the journey to see them was part of the price for their prayers. After years of suffering in silence, watching his mother anguishing over one particular incident in her long life, Dorvor decided he was willing to pay that price.

The middle-aged man had been told on Mars that seeing the nun’s floating pyramid on Europa was worth the price of the star-ship ticket on its own merit, but Dorvor was unconvinced until he saw it out the ship’s window for himself. The crystal pyramid was twenty stories tall and moved over the surface of the planet’s cracked ice like a glass over an Ouija board. It had been constructed this way to continually dodge the bursts of water that shot out through the ice, exploding from the moon’s sub-surface ocean.

The bottom floors of the pyramid were reserved for the pilgrims who visited the nunnery – pilgrims like Dorvor, who disembarked quickly from the spaceship, walking through the foyer. As he waited to be called in to his appointed audience with the Sisters, he looked over the informational plaques in the vestibule. He passed his hand over the metal plate and a reenactment could be seen. It showed the steamship Titanic hitting the iceberg in 1912, and people trying to escape the sinking vessel. The image then shifted to a woman in a church in Belfast who invited others to sing with her, “For those in peril on the Sea” while the ship was actually sinking.

“Fascinating beginning, wouldn’t you say?” a second pilgrim, also a man, asked the nervous Dorvor.

“Indeed. Praying for people during their greatest hour of need, using only spiritual insight centuries ago – it’s amazing.”

“As I understand it, the basic idea holds true. If there is a God, then that being is beyond time and space, and so the constraints of time and space do not bind him. Praying for those at peril in the past is as effective as praying for those at peril in the present or in the future.”

Dorvor was glad for a theological distraction while he waited. “From a scientific viewpoint, if the universe is holographic in nature, and each particle knows what every other particle is doing, then praying for anyone along any timeline is a viable option. Even Einstein believed that everything was happening all at once and it was all connected – our brains being instruments that allow us to separate time into individual rooms if you will.”

“Nicely put,” said the older man. “I’m Tewold from Mars. I’m here about my dead wife.”

“I’m Dorvor from Earth. I’m here about my mother. She went through a disaster in the Sea of Japan nearly 130 years ago – a tsunami. She’s dying now and has nightmares about the event whenever she sleeps – so I’m here to ask the Sisters to pray for her, so she can finally find peace.”

A portion of the wall disappeared and a nun, dressed head to toe in red velvet robes, stepped before the two men. Her face was covered with white lace beneath a red velvet hood. She waited for one of the men to follow her.

“Go ahead,” said Tewold. “Your mother is still alive while my wife can wait.”

Dorvor nodded with thanks and followed the woman into the next room. They entered into a small cubicle, one of dozens surrounding the bright floor of an arena where a hundred nuns sat, their heads bowed in prayer. Above them floated hundreds of digital bubbles, each one filled with a prayer request for a person in the past.

“We can’t change your mother’s past, only pray for her as she goes through the crisis - a tsunami I believe,” said the nun while focusing on the floor of the arena.

“Yes, yes! She was on a beach and there was a tsunami that washed away the hotels and buildings. She keeps having nightmares about the injured people calling to her from under the debris. Somehow, she managed to get to safety before the second wave hit, but she has always felt guilty about her survivial.”

The nun’s hood nodded slightly to show that she had heard and understood the man’s prayer request. A digital bubble appeared above their heads and, as the nun motioned towards the bright room, the bubble went out through the glass, joining the other prayers hovering over the nuns on the floor.

The white lace face-mask turned towards the man. “Is there something you want to ask me,” whispered the nun in a comforting tone.

“How far back have your prayers gone so far?”

“As far back as the Fall of Rome. Using ancestry rolls we slip in bubbles with names of the ancient ones.”

“And when does The Order see an end to the need for these prayers?”

“We’ll keep praying for those in past peril till the world ends,” the nun answered resolutely. At this she gestured and the door opened.

Dorvor stepped out into the hallway, to find the communicator implanted in behind his left ear was buzzing. “Rachel, what’s going on? I just finished talking with the Nuns.”

“Grandmother is sleeping peacefully! She woke up and said something about hearing a bluebird singing on the hillside, as if it was leading her upwards to safety. She had forgotten about the bird until now, but saw it as a sign, urging her to climb out of the valley and live.”

Dorvor smiled and looked back at the now blank wall. “I’ll be home soon,” he told his wife, breathing a sigh of relief.

The End





To vote, rate these stories using the form below with scores of 0-10 (in whole numbers) and send it to me via PM:

Categories:
1) What overall score would you give the story?
2) How good was the Characterization?
3) How effective (or original) was the plot?
4) How clear was the setting to you?
5) How good was the use of dialog?
6) How well did the story meet or address the challenge as it was given?

NOTE: you must have posted at least one message before you can send a PM. Join in a discussion or just say hi in a thread before voting via PM. If I suspect a voter of being a false identity (i.e. a troll), I won't count their vote.

Author scores for their own entry will not be counted.

Like so for each entry please:

(Title)
1) Overall:
2) Characterization:
3) Plot:
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:


Voting will close on Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 at approximately 8 p.m., East Coast Time.
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman
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Post April 20, 2015, 07:08:52 AM

Re: Poll: Aphelion April 2015 Flash Contest

My votes are already in... :D

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Post April 27, 2015, 09:27:40 AM

Re: Poll: Aphelion April 2015 Flash Contest

Got my votes in!
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Post April 27, 2015, 10:30:48 PM

Re: Poll: Aphelion April 2015 Flash Contest

My votes are on the way.
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Post May 04, 2015, 09:11:39 PM

Re: Poll: Aphelion April 2015 Flash Contest

Our winner is "Clockwork Angels" by Wesson
Congrats to our winner and thanks everyone else for all the stories I enjoyed each personally.
As per consensus here are the scores.
Discuss amongst yourselves and standby for a new one.

"Just in Time" -Rod “Rodentraft” Taylor- 305
"World Peace is None of Your Business" - JP Garnier- 244
"I Got A Feeling" - Sergio “ente per ente” Palumbo -332
"Clockwork Angels" - Wesson -377
"Till the World Ends" - Michele “bottomdweller” Dutcher -349
Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman
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Post May 04, 2015, 11:56:49 PM

Re: Poll: Aphelion April 2015 Flash Contest

Congrats, Wesson! Great job!

Here's my take on these--the good news and the bad—in detail:

JUST IN TIME

1) Overall: 2
2) Characterization: 7
3) Plot: 0
4) Setting: 10
5) Dialog: 8
6) Challenge: 5

total 32

NOTES:
I couldn't make any sense of this story at all, thus the zero for plot. I couldn't find a recording or lyrics for the song attributed, so I couldn't judge its answer to the challenge, and I made a probabilistic guess for that.


World Peace Is None Of Your Business

1) Overall: 8
2) Characterization: 0
3) Plot: 7
4) Setting: 0
5) Dialog: 0
6) Challenge: 10

total 25

NOTES:
I think this is the lowest score I've ever given, and I'm sorry, but it's an advertisement--there's no dialog, setting, or characterization.


I Gotta Feeling

1) Overall: 4
2) Characterization: 5
3) Plot: 8
4) Setting: 7
5) Dialog: 4
6) Challenge: 10

total 38

NOTES:
This was fun up until the end--a blistering commentary on public mismanagement. That last big paragraph was a a very transparent info-dump, though. I rather think that there was more in it than the reader needed told, and the essential content of it could have been spread out through the story and presented more gracefully.

Clockwork Angels

1) Overall: 10
2) Characterization: 10
3) Plot: 10
4) Setting: 10
5) Dialog: 10
6) Challenge: 10

total 60

NOTES:
Wow. This one hits where it counts: you make us care about your character, and then you smash her.


Till the World Ends

1) Overall: 10
2) Characterization: 9
3) Plot: 10
4) Setting: 8
5) Dialog: 9
6) Challenge: 10

total 56

NOTES:
This story also gives us a character we can care about, and an uplifting resolution.

The lyrics associated with Femme Fatale (from a Britney Spears album by that name) have no association to the story; neither do those by Nicki Minaj, doing a Femme Fatale remix. I finally found some that did seem to have some association with the story; they're by Dave Matthews.
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Post May 05, 2015, 04:34:41 AM

Re: Poll: Aphelion April 2015 Flash Contest

Congratulations to the winner, well done, indeed!!! :D :D :D
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Post May 05, 2015, 08:58:15 AM

Re: Poll: Aphelion April 2015 Flash Contest

Congrats to Wesson. I voted your story as my favorite as well. Here's how and why I voted as I did:

Just in Time
1) Overall: 7
2) Characterization: 8
3) Plot: 8
4) Setting: 9
5) Dialog: 7
6) Challenge: 7
I thought a man caught in a time loop was a fun idea – especially when the author showed us how he keeps repeating the scene, trying to get a video of what is happening to him – why he keeps having ‘attacks’. It was confusing, but any kind of complicated plot in under a 1000 words has that problem built-into the challenge. This would probably do better as a short story – 3500 words.

World Peace is None of Your Business
1) Overall: 9
2) Characterization: 7
3) Plot: 8
4) Setting: 7
5) Dialog: 7
6) Challenge: 10
I thought this was hilarious! If you have too many people on the Earth, and no one wants to start a war to reduce the surplus population, why not send people out with guns to shoot each other recreationally. I like the 2 separate packages – victor and victim. So funny! – I think humans do this emotionally ever day, subconsciously deciding what role to play at work or in their family – victor, victim, rescuer: 3 classic physiological profiles.


I Gotta Feeling
1) Overall: 8
2) Characterization: 8
3) Plot: 8
4) Setting: 9
5) Dialog: 7
6) Challenge: 7

I felt the author’s torment and angst about how people disobey basic human rules and other people get hurt because of it. I especially liked the way the author set the scene at the beginning.

Clockwork Angels
1) Overall: 10
2) Characterization: 9
3) Plot: 9
4) Setting: 9
5) Dialog: 8
6) Challenge: 10
As is reflected in my scores, I thought this story was pretty much perfect. I liked the song title chosen, the different characters, the dialog was strong, the plot was interesting, the scene was solid. Nicely done.

Till the World Ends
1) Overall: Mine
2) Characterization: Still Mine
3) Plot: Mine and Mine Alone
4) Setting:
5) Dialog:
6) Challenge:
I wanted to write this story because I read a comment elsewhere that gave me the basic idea for this story. After writing this, however, I did some research and found out that what I had been told about the Titanic was probably a myth. I had been told that people in a church service were stopped by the choir leader who instructed everyone to sing ‘For Those in peril on the Sea’. I wasn’t able to find anything about that in Wikipedia or elsewhere.
Since the house is on fire - at least let us warm ourselves.

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Post May 05, 2015, 09:23:36 AM

Re: Poll: Aphelion April 2015 Flash Contest

Congrats to Wesson, liked your story very much. It reminded me of a time when I was in Hue, Viet-Nam. I wasn't a sniper or we didn't have any encounters with the V.C. or the N.V.A. that day, but it is strange how a story can sometimes remind one of a time gone past.

Good Job!!
Tesla Lives!!!
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Posts: 34

Joined: September 24, 2012, 10:58:31 PM

Post May 05, 2015, 01:39:17 PM

Re: Poll: Aphelion April 2015 Flash Contest

Wow, thanks guys! Big thanks to Lester as well, I know you tend to be one of the tougher reviewers so I'll take any high marks from you very seriously.

I have to admit I was rooting for Bottomdweller's story a great deal, I was so into that one the moment I started reading. The whole idea of praying for souls in the past as well as the future is an interesting thing to ponder. I also loved all the detail you put into the pyramid setting as well.

Thanks you for your service Megawatts, I agree it is strange how some stories can have that kind of impact on your memories.
Write for yourself, there's no one else more worth writing for.
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Location: Chantilly VA

Post May 06, 2015, 03:23:27 PM

Re: Poll: Aphelion April 2015 Flash Contest

Good stories all around. Wesson's was pretty good and deserved the win.

Lester I'm I don't always agree with your critiques, I'm not sure why but I just don't. Maybe it's because I don't require the exactitude in a story to enjoy it, the same way you seem to.

Just a comment on our seemingly different mental approach to critiques and likes and dislikes.

RT

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