Howdy! Welcome to the results for Vol 2-10; let’s jump right in!
Judge Whitney Healy says: I had a difficult time judging this week: many competitors chose to write with open-ended conclusions that sometimes confused me while others used allusions to mythology or other parts of history with which I was not familiar. Some of the entries took more time to evaluate because I had to do the research to fully understand the allusions–which is always okay, of course: I’m a life-long learner and an English teacher, so I like having to do some “homework” in order to fully appreciate a response.
Sarah Cain, “Honor Your Mother.” I appreciated this story because it was circular in style and because it hinted at the personal beliefs you may have underneath your text: it was actually one of the first that “wow”ed me, and, boy, does it make us think. We really should value the little time this planet may have left.
Charles W. Short, “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” In college I minored in psychology, heavily interested in what makes the human mind tick (or fail): PTSD is a disorder that always made my heart pain for those afflicted, and your tale reads exactly like a testimony, confession, or session: excellent work.
Scott Vannatter, “Preparing for the Storm.” Echoing of the imagined post-apocalyptic fight for survival, this tale made me hungry to learn more about what the people were preparing for. Was it really a storm, or was it something much, much more? What exactly are the “night-crawlers”. A chilling piece that I enjoyed reading.
Maven Alysse, “Sloth.” This piece is an excellent metaphor for the deadly sin of sloth, as our “hero” (though perhaps more tragic) begins to “clean out” his penance. I thought this piece mirrored the very action (or inaction) sloth is: laziness, apathy, and jealousy. An extremely multi-layered response with a lot of symbolism.
THIRD RUNNER UP
Jeffrey Hollar, “Dimensional Difficulties.” By the end of this somewhat sci-fi story, all I wanted to know was what was underneath the text. What were they researching? How did our hero go so wrong? It was a piece that made me want to hear even more.
SECOND RUNNER UP
Caitlin, “Relenquished.” In a post-apocalyptic tale unlike most that we’ve seen in recent popular culture (no zombies, no scientific disease–only the power of nature), we see how the strength of family is what counts in times of crises. I particularly liked the line “filled with the trinkets of another lifetime”–there is a LOT of symbolism here. Those “trinkets”, on the surface, may seem only mementos, but I believe they represent what was and what was lost. I also appreciated the use of dialogue used to tell the story. A read I think you should consider extending.
FIRST RUNNER UP
Marie McKay, “The Chosen.” Marie, I am partial to sci-fi, so perhaps you were playing my taste, but regardless, this tale was extremely well-crafted. I appreciated the use of a long opening paragraph describing your setting of Novus. In the opening you also took the time to develop the crew just enough so a reader knew what kind of characters they were: strong, carefully chosen, and capable. Then, you changed to a rapid-paced dialogue between the explore sight and control: and as readers we discovered how “lost” our explorers really were, all while your played on the concept of time (which most of us associate with sand). I appreciated the mystery the ending of your story evoked, and I found myself applauding the tale, as it was one of the few “unexpected ending” pieces that still felt complete enough. A story I could find myself reading over and over again and still be entertained.
And now: presenting first time Flash! Friday
“The Sands of Space and Time”
From the opening, this story had me hooked. In fact, my very first note was “This is what I have been looking for!” In so few words, you persuade a reader into believing everything you say about lost civilizations, a reader nodding as you make your points naming the lost. Your structure also lends itself to make a reader think: you mix lengthy, descriptive sentences with short, harsh fragments that read as points in your argument. By the end, unlike the other pieces, this piece taught the lesson of perseverance without actually saying that the subjects had to be patient, dedicated, and so on. I appreciated lines like “They proudly build upon our Sands, yet for all their mighty works, despair: threescore and ten are there years, and then they die…” I mean, look at this line! There is so much underneath the text, so much wisdom and truth: there is pride, ownership, desperation, perseverance, darkness, secrets, and defeat! And so well-written! Those are the kinds of sentences that cause the metaphorical weep for their pristine perfection. A standing ovation have you received.
Great job, Phil! Your winner’s badge greets you eagerly below. Here is your brand new, hot-off-the-presses winner’s page and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Please contact me here asap so I can interview you for Wednesday’s #SixtySeconds feature. And here is your winning story:
The Sands of Space and Time
We’ve watched their history. The passing of nomadic tribes. The rise and fall of city-states. Carthage. Babylon. Karakorum. Empires and peoples come and gone. San. Bantu. Boers.
They live and die upon the Sands, those fleeting giants of the Earth. For all their towering height, their length of time upon this world is short. Ten thousand of us would not match their height. Ten thousand of their years is but a blink to us. They proudly build upon our Sands, yet for all their mighty works, despair: threescore and ten are their years, and then they die, and are buried in our Sands by their progeny.
The first of us to come to Earth, in countless ages past, was fruitful and multiplied, and (thanks to exponential growth) subdued the earth. Our forty-five-greats-grandparent was progenitor to us all, the Sands who fill the deserts and the beaches.
Mankind, too, will pass; we Sands will carry on.