Decision Coming

So, there are 278 entries in the Zoe’s Tale ARC contest that got in before the deadline, and a lot of you folks wrote actual short stories, so the finding of a winner might take a smidge longer than I expected (especially since I have some real work to do today). So to cover my ass, let me say that I’ll announce the winner Monday. Also, to make up for the delay, let me say that there will be at least one runner-up position, who will also get something for their troubles. Sound good? Okay then.

23 Comments on “Decision Coming”

  1. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, imbued with specialness

    Ah, fudge! I missed the deadline. And I had a whole thing lined up about Harry Belafonte and alien gay marriage.

    Looks like once again I will have to buy one of your damn books.

  2. All the entries were just AWESOME and I do not envy your choice. But alas I will wait till monday to see who the winner is.

  3. Great contest. I’ve had a lot of entertaining and thought provoking reading for days. I wouldn’t mind a published ‘best of’ collection if that’s possible.

  4. Ditto. I’d go for some links to Honorable Mentions, and I bet the author would consider that a prize in itself. I read a bunch, and lots had really fun first person voices, plus the style homages were nice.

  5. I’m sorry, it ended up longer than intended (and not anywhere CLOSE to the original plan; that was Elder Gods). Oh, quite enjoyed both Old Man’s War and Ghost Brigades.

  6. I tried for short but story-like. My longest clocked in at 184 words, my shortest at 61.

    Usually my “flash” fiction ends up at 1100 words. This is sort of a first. :)

    (And at the end I was just typing stuff in. And I was on a combination of meds and herbal tea….)

  7. I felt kind of bad about managing to write 800-and-some-odd words at first, but then I remembered that I’ve been writing 3-6,000 word essays roughly twice a week for the past month, and decided that the residual diarrhea of the keyboard wasn’t too bad.

  8. Part of me wants to apologize for stringing a story out to four separate entries.

    Another part of me wants that first part to shut up because it was wicked fun, in the “oh, wait, what if…” sense, and I just…couldn’t…stop adding more. It demandeded! Demandeded, I tell ye!

    A third part of me is thinking the other two parts should just get off it, because if John didn’t like it he’d pull it.

    Another part of me wants ice cream.

  9. Michaelg: So long as you don’t wait until after I’m dead to get said pony, yes. A red pony will do nicely.

  10. Trying to get the permissions for something like that would be enough to make brave men run for the hills, naked, gibbering and howling unspeakable blasphemies to the wilding moon.

    …not that I’m trying to discourage anyone.

    Also: To John I have to add a thank you. I’ve been unable to make myself write anything for *fun* for the last couple of years, instead spending all of my time writing corporate BS and marketing materials.

    Something about that challenge jarred the gears loose in my head, however. I’m actually writing something else, now, that seems to be picking up creative steam from the incoherent posting that I left on the contest entry comments. Who would have thought?

  11. Not to cause an anxiety attack or anything, but it looks like there are 73,073 words in the comments (if you count every string of characters with whitespace at the beginning and end as a word, and you don’t include the “posted by” data). That’s easily novel-length.

  12. This was the sort of random writing challenge people used to throw out all the time on the talk.bizarre Usenet newsgroup, with varied results. This one seems to have worked out well.

  13. I had a short story all outlined and everthing. I was just about to write it when I had a realization: I (a person who hates to write so much that I avoid classes with essay finals) am about to write a short story trying to best people (many of whom may even write for a living) in a competition. And I only have 16 hours to write it and about 17 hours of engineering homework.

    I guess I’ll just write it later…

  14. Nathan, you can keep your mammal porking to yourself.

    I’m shocked, you mentioning such things with younguns in the house!

  15. ruzkin – I was born in Hong Kong in '85 and knew by the age of six that I wanted to be a writer. People spent the next fifteen years telling me it was impossible. Fifteen years too late, I've told them to shove it. I live in Melbourne, study Industrial Design, work in a bookshop and write every day. One day I'll crack the market. You're welcome to wait and watch for as many years as that takes.
    Chris Hayes-Kossmann

    Good luck with the decision, John. Some of the entries blew me away, and it’s not going to be an easy read. Looking forward to Monday!

  16. I love the idea of an anthology of the posts. Maybe it would work if

    a. you give all the posters (me, for example) an opportunity to clean up certain grammar challenges

    b. you offer the profits (or a portion of them) to a charity of your choice and

    c. we all meet at John’s house one Saturday morning to sign each others copies of the book.

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