Thursday, January 15, 2009

Catching Up

Sorry for the longer than usual silence. Last weekend was consumed by family matters — except for the time I spent early Saturday morning writing the Gran Torino review — which was expected, but not to the extent that it happened. The week since has been overrun by a parade of trivia, none of the matters being of great importance but all of them being of great urgency. I'm awake now only because The Kid's school just called; school is canceled today because it's -18° F out there, with wind chills reaching down to -40, and they don't want to risk having students get frostbite while waiting for the school bus. Good decision.

I am having the hardest time not waking The Kid right now to share this joyous news.

Those of you who live in sunnier climes might want to take a moment to review It's so cold in Minnesota... in order to establish a baseline understanding of what life here is like.

As for the results of the 1/2/09 Friday Challenge:

Henry: Great story, well-written as always, but every now and then we have to make an example of some poor snowdog just to prove that we're at least semi-serious about deadlines, and this week, you're it. Sorry. Oh, and it's "caste" not "cast."

Torainfor: Another sweet, beautiful piece of work. It's a really touching idea, in a spiritual/fantastical way, and I can't find a thing to complain about with the writing... Except that it actually doesn't seem long enough. It feels like the idea needs more development, and that that deus ex letter at the end is just a convenient way of crossing the bridge to the ending. Really close — but it feels like it needs one more rewrite to be there.

WaterBoy: Yeah, this one gets the coveted "Most Like What I Probably Would Have Written" this week. It's kinky; it's funny; and there is definitely a market for short SF stories with a kinky funny sexy angle. I leave finding that market as an independent-study exercise for you, as whenever I try to do so online, I always seem to wind up in websites devoted to stories about Japanese schoolgirls in sailor uniforms who meet up with things with lots of tentacles and somehow manage to lose all of their clothing.

Ben-El: I liked this one a lot. It's a stretch for you, which I'm really pleased to see you trying, and while it's a bit ragged and unfinished in places, it's got style out the wazoo. One of my tests of "good-storyness" is whether a piece of writing triggers some kind of sympathetic resonance in me that sparks new ideas, and while reading yours, I got this one. Why bother making artificial wombs at all? If the society is this far along the road to "it's just protoplasm," there's a much cheaper way. Why not make it a condition for, say, getting a green card, or receiving food stamps? "Lady, if you wanna get General Assistance, you're gonna have to sign the one-year contract and accept the implant." There are some really socio-creepy ways in which this story could be further developed. Good work.

Arisia: Short, tight, well-written, with a good solid shudder at the end. We went back and forth between this one, Ben-El's, and WaterBoy's entries for some time, but in the end this one edged out the others, by being more finished than Ben-El's and more serious than WaterBoy's.

So congratulations, Arisia: this week, you're the winner! Now come on down and claim your prize!

As for the 1/9/09 Friday Challenge: ah, use the information in the linked articles to figure out something for yourself. I originally had in mind a really complicated story idea involving ley lines, the Wild Hunt, colony collapse disorder, and the clash between faerie and modern technology, but I never had time to flesh it out properly and we're out of time now. So whatever you've come up with; yes, that's it exactly, that's what I meant.

And you've got one more day, so get it finished and posted!

Something tells me I am not gonna be up at midnight tonight, watching the clock to make certain no one snowdogs in after the deadline...