Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Friday Challenge - 11/21/08

This, as many of you have no doubt noted, is not Friday the 21st, but in fact Tuesday, the 25th. I started writing this post last Friday morning, but have a major deadline coming up in the first week of December and as usual a lot of fresh information coming in at the tail-end of the project. Therefore, rather than work through the Thanksgiving weekend, I started my deadline kick last Friday and subcritical things — such as, say, blogging — have been pushed aside for the moment.

Which is something of a pity, because the 11/14/08 Friday Challenge turned out to be a really good one. This is what I enjoy about doing this contest and why I keep doing it; I am always truly delighted when you take some idea I've tossed out and return with a story I never would have thought of. This time around, not only did we get some really strong entries, but even the Comments seem particularly insightful and well worth reading, if you have not already done so.

With that said, the writers who submitted entries for "The Space Colonists' Dilemma" are:

WaterBoy, "The Message" - short, sweet, incisive, and you almost ruined it for everyone else. Why did you have to get all moral on us?

EP, "The Eagle has landed" - cute and funny, but too short to count as much more than a joke.

Snowdog, "Stevie's Message" - I'm not sure what to say about this one. It's tight, well-written, and I really liked it, probably because it's closest to what I would have written. (I probably would have found a way to sneak in a few lines of Newt's dialog from Aliens, though. "They mostly come at night. Mostly.") So before I pick this one I'd probably best take a step back, take a deep breath, pour myself another cup of coffee, and think about it some more.

Ben-El, "Building Jerusalem" - Wow. Just, wow.

Henry, "The Final Message" - beautiful, sentimental, the sort of thing that should touch the heartstrings of any American who still remembers how his or her grandparents got here. Nicely done.

And the winner is...

I'm going to have to ruminate on this a bit more. I'll post my decision later.

Update: 8:00 PM Okay, we convened a meeting of the entire Rampant Loon editorial staff, reread all the entries, discussed them at length—

And in the end decided to drop back, punt, and call it a three-way tie. What the heck. It's almost Christmas shopping season. Or something. And we're already two days late picking a winner, and if the discussion this evening is any indicator, we aren't going to be agreeing on one anytime soon. So...

In the category of Responding With Astonishing Speed & Submitting An Entry That Not Only Fairly Sang, But Also Raised The Bar For All Subsequent Entries: WaterBoy.

In the category of The Story Most Like The Story I Would Have Written, Which Considering My Career May Not Necessarily Be A Good Thing: SnowDog.

And finally, in the category of There Is A Novel Inside This Story, Screaming To Get Out: Ben-El.

Okay everybody, come on down and collect your prizes.

P.S. Ben-El, I'm serious. I want to see that novel. Write it.

Now, as for this week's Friday Challenge: well, obviously, it's Tuesday already, and I don't know about the rest of you, but the rest of my week is pretty well tied-up from Wednesday afternoon on. So first off, the bungeeline for this one is Thursday, December 4th, not Thursday 11/27, and secondly, the topic is...

What else. Thanksgiving. Give us your best Thanksgiving Holiday story. It can be factual; it can be fiction. It can be funny, heartwarming, serious, or horrible. Tell us about the time your Cousin Ramapithecus went into the kitchen, said, "Mm-mm, smells delicious!" and ate the giblets and gizzard you'd boiled up for the dog. Tell us about Uncle Slosh, who shows up every year and shouts, "Everyone can relax! I brought the turkey!" and then whips out his personal quart of Wild Turkey, with no clue as to how unfunny or obnoxious that has become. Tell us about the time Auntie Promiscua had just a little too much rosé and proceeded to provide the family with Way Too Much Detailed Information about her personal life, or about that Most Romantic Thanksgiving Ever, when you and your college sweetheart were on your way to meet her folks but instead spent the holiday stuck in a Greyhound bus station during a blizzard, eating cold turkey sandwiches from a vending machine. Whatever your story is, if it has even a vague and tangential connection to the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to hear it.

As always, we're playing by the so-called rules for the Friday Challenge and playing for whatever is behind Door #2. The deadline for entries is midnight Central time, Thursday, December 4th.

Now shake off that tryptophan buzz and get writing!