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Contest January-February 2019 Short Story contest voting thread

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, Feb 1, 2019.

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Which Story or Stories Do You Like Best? (choose up to two)

This poll will close on Mar 1, 2019 at 6:20 AM.
  1. Story One: "The Unmoving Smile"

  2. Story Two: "Stricken with Prophecy"

  3. Story Three: "From Age to Age"

  4. Story Four: "The Zombies of Itza"

  5. Story Five: "The Holy Snake"

  6. Story Six: "Déjà vu"

  7. Story Seven: "Chittering"

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Troglodon

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

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    Heyo, if anyone's reading this, i'll just post my nonsensical thoughts on the stories with a twist: each story will have their own quote from some famous person that corresponds with said story.

    I know... :rolleyes:


    The Zombies of Itza: “What worries you, masters you” – John Locke


    We start off long but nonetheless comfortably, for this story’s main character and plot as a whole was designed with such meticulous and graceful craftsmanship! I especially marvel at the conflict between Hanl and Loxir which seems to analogue the real world conflicts that can incur between a country’s military and its higher up bureaucracies. Not sure if the author wanted to do that, but he/she did that successfully.


    Anyway, when I first read this, I also thought of John’s quote immediately and how Hanl’s incessant, but understandable worrying of Lustria’s fate, mastered his rash actions throughout the story…


    Poor Hanl :(


    The Holy Snake: “The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau


    What a fun, funny story this is! It seems to cleverly make fun and analogue real world institutions alike the previous story (albeit in a comedy manner), and in this particular case, it’s churches.


    The song itself is amazing. I’ve always wondered what religious Lizardmen songs would sound like, and the author not only delivered, but also meticulously crafted it! I would’ve liked it even more if it was shown what the Saurus were doing during all the singing – I think it would probably add more characterization to the cold blooded crowd.


    Also not entirely sure our beloved lizard boys would sing about beer and pizza, but goes to show imagination is boundless – reality is finite, I guess.


    Stricken With Prophecy: “I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.” – Thomas Hobbes


    This is sufficiently dark – no – profoundly dark!


    I absolutely love and adhere to stories like this in which tragedy arises from simple day-to-day things, and how it can adversely affect and change the character or characters’ lives, mental states, or their personalities. Even the tragedy in this story is deliciously multi-dimensional in which the two characters can’t be simply blamed for the tragedy…


    IMO, I think some of the imagery could’ve been cut back, for some of it is a bit useless and too tedious to read. But besides that small flaw, these types of stories are definitely the ones I like to draw inspiration from, thanks for sharing! <3


    The Unmoving Smile:“If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, so that my child may have peace” – Thomas Paine


    So far, all of the stories and the others I haven’t mentioned yet, have done a very good job on Show Don’t Tell (a writing technique in which the author uses suggestive and evocative language to relay the meaning behind the story’s contents to the reader rather than telling him/her directly).


    However, I must give special praise to this story, for this one has utilized this technique, and went above and beyond with it! I admire the skinks’ effort to decipher why their master was smiling even though he was dead – it was fun to read along with them and help solve this mind boggling mystery.


    One small critique here, though… I think that at the beginning of the story, the setting could’ve been described a little better with the help of imagery. I found myself partially confused because there wasn’t any imagery to slow down the pacing a bit and establish the number of characters, as well as the story itself. It’s only a minor flaw, but small amounts of imagery can help establish the story and help the reader feel immersed in the story right at the start.


    Déjà vu: “Poetry must have something in it that is barbaric, vast and wild” – Denis Diderot


    Pretty unique and interesting story this is, and I like it quite a lot! I especially adore the Saurus character in its barbaric, vast and wild tendencies. The most effective Saurus characters, I like to think, are the ones that contrast their barbaric nature with their duties and responsibilities, and this story did that fairly well. The cherry on the cake are the parodic rhymes which I also appreciate as well too.


    Might be wrong, but I think the story would’ve benefited from more substance. It felt too short and a bit random, so a little more details that went into the character’s history and his personality could’ve benefited the story. It also has no apparent links to the contest’s theme as well.


    Chittering: “Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper” – Francis Bacon


    This story is arguably as dark and depressing as “Stricken with prophecy”, and also shows the same enthusiasm for Show Don’t Tell as much as “The Unmoving Smile.” All very good points in my opinion! Alike what other people had already said about this fantastic piece, the first person perspective was done very well, and it made the trivial debate that would usually be boring to read, fun instead.


    I also adored the absolute darkness in this story as well… the truly noble hope of saving your temple city through sacrifice, gone awry nonetheless…


    From Age to Age: “God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh” – Voltaire


    This is the last piece in this randomized uhhhh (review?), and what better way to end our rich feast of lizardy literature than with an amazingly crafted humor story? I absolutely adore the banter between the Skink and the Slann that paints the former as a useless intellect, but later on in the story, somehow convince a Slann to literally end the world… it’s all good fun :p


    And despite the humor in the piece, it still does cover the time of absolute woe and uncertainty – a time of god playing comedian with fantasy oriented models…


    I think that's all the stories done - very good job everyone! i joined this forum to share my purple prose, and had always thought novellas and novels were the way to go, but now i'm starting to think short stories are the way to go instead.

    EDIT: Also, From Age to Age gets the paradoxical(?) trinket
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  2. Killer Angel
    OldBlood

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    Paradoxical Pacifism likes this.
  3. Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl
    Skar-Veteran

    Lord Agragax of Lunaxoatl Well-Known Member

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    Time to spill my thoughts upon this excellent collection of literature as well I think:

    Story 1: I loved this one, I really did. While not as outwardly comedic as from Age to Age or the Holy Snake, it is one of the more cleverly-written stories of the pack, and certainly the most cleverly written comedy story of them all. I just love how the various Skink attendants are wondering why their master died with a smile on his face, and then the end part of the story most likely hints at why he died smiling - he knew that both the Lizardmen were going to win the battle and that the Skaven warlock was going to try to snipe him during the battle, so that by being present at the battle in his dead form, he essentially trolls the Skaven because no matter how many times he shoots him, the priest is already dead, so he will never fall off his throne and will continue to encourage his army to victory despite never saying a word due to being dead. For this reason, I award the Lord Agragax Comedy Award for January-February 2019 to ‘The Unmoving Smile’! Very well done to whoever wrote this clever piece!

    Story 2: This one, on the other hand, is darker and sadder than watching Rogue One at Midnight with all the lights off when there is no moon. I don't think anyone could not feel sorry for our Kroxigor friend Muz as he tries his best to lug some golden prophecy tablets into a temple at the behest of his Skink Priest employer, only to accidentally drop one down a feed chute and into a Salamander's den. Fed up of being constantly berated by his minuscule employer, the Kroxigor loses his temper and, quite literally, strikes the Priest with prophecy (the remaining prophecy tablet), killing him instantly. Muz then feels an instinctive remorse at killing one of his spawn-brothers (most likely caused by the genetic patterns the Old Ones put into the Kroxigors), and feels that the only way he can repent his sin is to commit suicide, and he attempts to do so by hurling himself down a conveniently-placed cavernous hole which turns out to be the same feeder chute he dropped the lost prophecy tablet down. Unfortunately his fate is delayed slightly as he survives the initial fall, only to become a Salamander's dinner and die a much more painful death. Also included is marvellous description of the way the Salamander is able to detect the arrival of food down the chute.

    We don't often see Kroxigor protagonists here in our Short Story Contests (at least not from the short time I've been reading entries from them) and I'd like to think this story perfectly captures the unintelligent-but-not-Troll-level-stupid mindset of a Kroxigor and his utter dedication to his duty despite being unintelligent-but-not-Troll-level-stupid. A very poignant, grimdark tale of life in Lustria, that I believe is a sure contender for the @Scalenex Cup!

    Story 3: Another more comical tale this time, featuring a Slann trying to understand what in the name of Sotek a Skink priest is talking about. Am I correct in thinking that this story breaks the canon established/forced by the End Times series and inclines that the Warhammer World was destroyed simply by a Slann pressing a Big Red Button That Nobody In Their Right Mind Should Press just because a Skink's absurd calculations said so? Because if so, that is a particularly new, original and less boring way of initiating the transference from Warhammer Fantasy to Age of Sigmar (albeit one that is quite a bit more crazy). Certainly a well-written story that really captures how while Slann are extremely intelligent in the knowledge of the arcane and celestial fields, they are considerably less intelligent in more mundane fields of study.

    Story 4: A classic story of pointless religious bureaucracy interfering in the defence of Lustria against Vampire scum, and one brave Skink Chief's mission to restore reason and common sense to the city of Itza to support the raising of an army to vanquish the undead menace now rampaging through the jungles. All in all, this tale is a thrilling one - the protagonist is highly relatable in the eyes of anyone fed up with lofty bureaucracy in any field (including my good self) and you're constantly at the edge of your seat in hoping that somehow he will be able to convince everyone that the threat he speaks of is most definitely real and it's coming this way pretty quickly. There are just two questions I have about this one:
    • When the Slann charged the power of the tablet to electrocute the interfering priests and their minions, what happened to our hero Hanl? Did he die too, or did he survive? I ask because this is unclear, as he isn't mentioned after the priests' deaths, possibly hinting that somehow he was killed off too, but why would the Slann kill him if he agreed with the Chief's wish to raise an army as soon as possible?
    • Also would a Slann simply use his powers to kill his servants if they disagreed with him? I'm not sure if the Slann would be quite that dictatorial towards the other Lizardmen species.
    • Where on Earth did the Chief get a smoke grenade from? If we had had those as an option in the 8th Edition army book, our units could have become a lot more difficult to hit...;)
    Story 5: The third of the comedy stories entered into this contest, this one has some obvious parodies of regular Christianity and the more recent 'branches' of Christianity, such as so-called 'Scientology' and 'Christian Science', even down to the greed with which Medieval Christianity used to conduct itself through bribing simple peasants that they would 'go to Heaven' if they gave their hard-earned pennies to the Church. What's more, as well as mirroring the clash between Christianity and its descendant faiths, it parodies the clash between the old Cult of Sotek in Fantasy (at a place of worship with the same initials as the great company that created the Cult of Sotek in the first place and a similar greed for money) and the new Seraphon lifestyle in AoS First Edition (complete with a free but 4-page rulebook as its ‘holy scripture’). Lizard Heaven is an eternal jungle like Lustria full of Skaven to kill and eat, while Lizard Hell is the temperate lands of the Old World, where demonic humans, Dwarfs and Elves devour the blasphemous products of cows and crops.

    While a little crazy in places (How was pizza invented in the Old World?), this one is a fun, light mickey-take of the Lizardmen lifestyle, the eternal struggle of Warhammer Fantasy and AoS, and monotheism in all its forms.

    Story 6: This is the other story which really stood out in my eyes. The thing I find slightly boring about ‘prophecy’ stories is that they all seem to have the same overarching plot (a prophecy is discovered that involves a major figure and the figure either tries to stop it and inadvertently causes it or helps it to happen, or both at once with two different figures). While most definitely the least relevant to this theme (there’s no actual prophecy being talked about), I think that in this case it’s a strength of the story rather than a weakness, though.

    In any case, I still love this story, because certainly deja vu can be readily seen - both the Lizardmen are Saurus Warriors who have been part of a battle that has repelled some Chaos Marauders. Both are bound by their loyalty to the Old Ones and the Slann to protect their world from any and all Chaos attack, and do so with a cold-blooded savagery unlike anything the warmbloods have ever seen before. They are so similar, yet they are also so different - one is of flesh and blood, with the needs of a flesh and blood creature, seen here feasting upon the remains of one of the Marauders’ horses. The other has been elevated far beyond that, being a creature of celestial energy, much like the Protoss in 40K - he cannot die and cannot be truly killed, but is no longer able to enjoy the pleasures of a mortal creature (not that Saurus enjoyed much of anything anyway). The first Saurus is a hidden defender, largely unseen and unknown by the other races of the world, and when they do encounter the Saurus, they see them as vicious and merciless, sometimes even evil, unaware that the Saurus are on the exact same side as they are in the war against Chaos. The second by contrast is not only acknowledged for who he is, but also hailed as a hero by all the warmblood races - a cold-blooded, almost alien hero, but a hero nonetheless. Indeed he is almost worshipped as a demigod, while his Lustrian ancestor is seen as a monster, very much like the Orcs, Daemons and Beastmen he is genetically programmed to kill.

    As you may have seen in previous critiques, I thoroughly enjoy stories that ‘bridge the gap’ between the normally divided worlds of Fantasy and AoS, and this one certainly does this. It may be irrelevant to the theme, but who cares when a, it’s such a good piece, and b, the theme was a real stinker to write a story about this time round, both in its specific and generic forms (I apologise in advance @thedarkfourth). I give a very well done to whoever wrote this!

    Story 7: This last one is also a pretty interesting piece as it is the only one to have been written in First Person - something I’ve certainly only seen once before in a Short Story contest (“The Darkest Hour”), although in this case it features a Skink Priest as the protagonist as he performs ritualistic sacrifices to attempt to banish Morrsleib and its Chaotic creations. I love in this one how the author describes occurrences through the Skink’s eyes in the sort of way a Native American or another individual from a nature-grounded civilisation would discuss them, e.g. the earth talking or singing representing earthquakes and tremours, and the jungle filling with predators being a sign of it trying to restrict the Priest’s access. The only thing I can find wrong with this one is that why would a Priest sacrifice his Slann master? Surely that would go against all the Old Ones’ teachings (although I could be wrong). I certainly don’t remember anything in Lizardmen lore about Slann sacrifice, although feel free to correct me on this if I missed anything. Anyway, a great story full of brooding mystery that is probably the most accurate of all of them this time around to how actual Lizardmen would think and act. The only other true contender for the Scalenex Cup I’d say.
     
  4. Scalenex
    OldBlood

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    I look forward to responding to the reviews, but we could use more reviews and more readers. By my count we had seven people enter the contest and nine people vote. I'd like to think we attract twice as many readers as writers.
     
  5. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning

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    I might not be able to post proper reviews. I might do a short post with a sentence or two about each story, but I fear I wouldn't be able to get my critique across in a constructive manner then.

    I do have an idea which stories to vote for though, and I will do that in the next few days.
     
  6. Scalenex
    OldBlood

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Did you read my reviews. For the first time in contest history I gave out the Scalenex Cup early. "Stricken with Prophecy" won in a blowout.



    Hasn't been much traffic on this thread lately. We have a deadlock for votes. Can we break it?
     
  7. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning

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    Voted.
    No review, sorry. I am just too busy.
     
  8. Killer Angel
    OldBlood

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

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    You pushed back the stories I've voted for.
    Bad @Aginor ! :p
     
  9. Scalenex
    OldBlood

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Get used to it.

    Until recently the pieces I vote for tend to be in th middle of the pack for the total votes. Now we are back to the usual with this contest.

    I noticed I nearly always vote for @discomute but he has not been around as much lately.
     

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