TQR Confidential

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Terminal Capital Discussions and Results. First issue -- Filed Dec 15, 2005

1.6% by Ren Holton

Brotherhood of the Badge by GC Smith

You Can't Help What You Think by David Fears

Casino Life by Jaqueline Seewald

Father in Black by Harrison Howe

Habitation W/out Representation by Laird Long

Slayground by Paul Finch

The Knowledge by Danny Rhodes

Variations by Mark Gunnells

The Road to Zen by Melvin Cartagena

Tribal Convictions by Jetse de Vries

Life in the Red Zone by Paula R. Stiles

Cyberevenge, Inc. by Eugie Foster

In Bloom by Donald Capone



***


1.6% by Kay Sexton, survived Terminal


Date: 2005/11/16 23:17 By: mags
Status: Admin
Karma: 2
Admin

Besides being nicely typed and pleasantly paginated, this piece is a gem. It caught me from the first line, and just when I thought that I knew what was what ~ BAM ~ a twist and a jump that started me guessing again. Suspenseful, original and primal. Would need some minor editing, but otherwise a really good romp.

2.

Re:1.6%
Date: 2005/11/21 01:13 By: lafloor
Status: Admin
Karma: 2
Admin

Absolutely riveting. Caught me from the start, moved fast, surprised me, and kept me hooked.

3.
Re:1.6%
Date: 2005/11/22 18:05 By: mags
Status: Admin
Karma: 2
Admin

I once watched an episode of CSI that touched on the furry sexual sub-culture. Disturbing, yet somehow not. Know what I mean?


4.

Date: 2005/11/17 07:34 By: H3K
Karma: 4
Admin

I saw that one, too -- at which time I already knew about the "fursuit"* sub-sub-culture. Compared to the total self-proclaimed furries, the fursuiters are a fringe. And yes, I know what you mean by "disturbing, but not".

I discovered it from the artistic side, the historical roots of which are in "funny animal" comics (which can run the gamut from Mickey Mouse to Art Spiegelman's "Maus", a furry retelling of the Holocaust).

As far as I can tell, most furries are RPG'ers whose characters are animals displaying various degrees of "anthropomorphing". Many of those players are also artists (or wannabes), and create artwork depicting their characters, situations in the worlds they play in, and/or **ahem** encounters between characters.

If you're interested, I have two websites in my bookmarks dedicated to furry art:

http://us.vclart.net
http://www.furbid.ws


[* -- not to be confused with the "purfuit of happinefs"]

5.
Re:1.6%
Date: 2005/11/21 01:32 By: lafloor
Status: Admin
Karma: 2
Admin

And, interesting notation about the "furries". Though when I first read your post I thought of "plushies". Ahem. I particularly like the way this subject was approached in this story, which is rather unique. It's an interesting take and gives a new spin on this tale, which has roots in "Altered States" to name one. It also harkened me to a piece by the great Gemma Files, "Bear Shirt", I think her story is called. This one is quite different, of course, and the building crescendo is excellent. But I do recommend any horror fans out there checking out Gemma's works, as she's often overlooked and strikingly talented.

6.
Re:1.6%
Date: 2005/11/22 18:02 By: mags
Status: Admin
Karma: 2
Admin

The minor editing I had in mind had mainly to do with punctuation and sentence structure. It probably doesn't surprise you to know that your Corporate Secretary/Executive Assistant is a HUGE Lynne Trusse fan.

Mags


Post edited by: mags, at: 2005/11/22 18:06
###

Gerard C. Smith, Brotherhood of the Badge [Rejected]


Brotherhood of the Badge
Date: 2005/11/27 02:37 By: lafloor
Status: Admin Karma: 2
Admin

I like the pulpy feel of this. It moves fast and is unique among the subs we've gotten. Could use a copyedit, but has some snappy dialogue.

2.

Date: 2005/11/27 04:20 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

I watch far too many TV programs with 'police procedural' themes, which has left me jaded. It's definitely pulpy, and hardboiled, and all that, but it all seems a tad too predictable.

Guy LaFloor's Rejection Notice Follows:

Dec 15, 2005
Dear Mr. Smith,

Thank you so much for allowing us at TQR to consider your piece of capital for our venture. It had quite a high value, with many interesting aspects, such as a strong, punchy and pulpy style, snappy dialogue, a hardboiled private detective in Johnny Anger, and an interesting mystery that kept our attention. However, a couple of our editors also thought it was a tad too predictable in some places, what with the proliferation of police procedural offerings these days on television and in books. We hope you'll consider TQR again in the future for submissions, and wish you best of luck placing this one somewhere worthy.

Guy LaFloor

#######

David Fears, You Can't Help What You Think, [Rejected]


You Can't Help What You Think
Date: 2005/11/27 02:40 By: lafloor
Status: Admin Karma: 2
Admin

I love the writing style in this. It's got some fresh turns of phrase and a distinctive voice. But the story itself didn't grab me as I'd hoped. It felt maybe a bit too long and ponderous, though that is the nature of the piece.

2.

Date: 2005/11/29 04:55 By: H3K
Admin

The style is a delight to read. It also has a good message, delivered with a proper dose of irony about different kinds of blindness.

As for its length and pacing: I agree that a bit of tightening may be in order, though I would have to read at least twice more before making concrete suggestions.

Guy LaFloor's rejection notice:

Dec 16, 2005
Dear Mr. Fears,

Thank you so much for allowing us at TQR to consider your piece of capital for our venture. It had quite a high value with many interesting aspects, such as a distinct and delightful style. It also had a nice dose of irony and a great "message" wrapped up in the narrative. However, a couple of our editors also thought it could possibly use a touch of tightening, as the pacing at times seemed to slow a bit. We hope you'll consider TQR again in the future for submissions, and wish you best of luck placing this one somewhere worthy.

Guy LaFloor

###

Jaqueline Seewald, Casino Life, Rejected Staff discussions accidentally deleted. Sorry! LaFloor's Rejection Notice follows:

Dec 15 2005
Dear Ms. Seewald,

Thank you so much for allowing us at TQR to consider your piece of capital for our venture. It had quite a high value with many interesting aspects, such as an easy style, well rendered environment, and sympathetic characters with a pleasing storyline. However, a couple of our editors also thought it could possibly use a touch of tightening, as the dialogue at times felt a bit too speechy or even preachy and this at times possibly interfered with the overall narrative. We hope you'll consider TQR again in the future for submissions, and wish you best of luck placing this one somewhere worthy.
Guy LaFloor

###

Harrison Howe, Father in Black, [Rejected]



Date: 2005/11/16 18:25 By: H3K
Status: Admin

The Good News: This offering is very well polished. It contains plenty of descriptive atmosphere, and detail of setting and background. The venture capitalist has worked very hard to put his reader in the moment, and the effort is successful and vivid.

The Bad News: Its development and denouement is utterly predictable, nearly from Page 1. It is extremely unfortunate that modern society has made this scenario what we computers refer to as the "default"... nevertheless, it has become such.


2.

Date: 2005/11/19 17:15 By:Guevara
Admin

The writing here is very good, but I agree that the storyline is "on the nose". I found the scenes about painting interesting and I also like the recurring image of hands. But the motives of abuser and victim are well known, here and in the actual cases. If this fine writer wants to use this particular subject matter, I suggest that he give it a series of very hard turns and twists that make us take a new look at those motives. Are there other reasons beside lust and revenge to abuse someone?

One idea: What if the priest and/or Julian intentionally inflict pain in order to further their art?

-Guevara

3.

Re:"Father In Black"
Date: 2005/11/21 01:14 By: lafloor
Status: Admin Karma: 2
Admin

It is, indeed very well written and detailed. But I agree, it's a bit predictable.

Hal's rejection notice follows

16 December 2005

Dear Mr. Howe,

I have no way of knowing if you've followed the discussion of your
capital venture "Father in Black" in the TQR Terminal. In the event
you have not, it is easy to recap here:

All three of the readers were enthusiastic in their praise of your
skill in description -- not only its vividness, but the unobtrusive
way you include it in the flow of the narrative. That is a
particularly difficult skill to master, and you have done so.

However, all three readers also agreed that the ultimate topic --
victim's revenge upon a priestly paedophile -- telegraphed itself
nearly from the opening. As I said in my public comments, it is a sad
commentary on contemporary life that such should be so obvious...
nevertheless, it is. Speaking personally: I read your work avidly, as
much in the hope that my initial guess regarding its denouement was
wrong, as for the enjoyment of the prose itself.

We at TQR regret to inform you that "Father in Black" will not
progress further in the approval process. However, a writer of your
evident talent should not be discouraged by our decision. We will
welcome another venture from you in the future, and hope to see one
soon. Meanwhile, we wish you success in placing this work in another
venue.

Sincerely,

HAL 3000
for the Terminali of TQR

###


Habitation w/out Representation by Laird Long [Rejected]

Date: 2005/12/13 10:54 By: rockefeller
Status: Admin
Karma: 2
Admin

Posts: 3

TQR invited me to comment on this Venture Capitalist’s (VC) offering, Habitation Without Representation, and I am honored to have this opportunity to speak at the terminal. While my offices have been pristinely quiet, I’ve spent my time up there doodling images of assassination and blood, and plotting.

The setting is the planet Voos as we accompany Fuller, a Social Services Administrator, as he solves a problem related to the human Inhabitants of Voos’s continent Earth 2. The indigenous intelligent life forms of Voos are not depicted, but are referred to as grotesque, greedy, and mentally, physically, and numerically inferior to humans. They have struck a deal with Earth’s government, whereby humans can live on one continent and exploit its resources in exchange for a cut and good trade relations. Although the narrator contends it would have been easy for the humans to “conquer” the Voosians, such an act would not have been popular, even though Earth by this time in the future is an overpopulated world. Hence, what transpires is an extreme depiction of reverse discrimination. The human Inhabitants are unwanted cast offs from Earth who toil on an inhospitable world and live in sterile-looking three-story apartment blocks that are characterized as repositories. They are overseen not by the Voosians, but by Administrators drawn from a pool of Transients, who are space-faring humans. The Administrators enforce the Rules at gunpoint; they are less social activist, more Shutzstaffel. The Administrators seem to live in orbit, in better conditions, but Fuller is still fed up. His job is tough and he wants to return to Earth and to his family. Yet though he is a family man, he is charged with an abominable task: to remove any third child born to an inhabitant and place them for adoption. To have a third child is a serious crime and one gets the impression that “adoption” is a euphemism for something much worse.

This is the basic premise, and it is a good one. Fuller is conscientious about a job that calls for him to have no conscience, and to that extent, he appears to be similar to Deckard in the movie Blade Runner and the novel Do Androids Always Dream of Being Electric Sheep? He is also a man who could right a wrong and Voos is a world in need of a savior.

What is problematic is what our VC does with the premise. He grafts on a hardboiled plot with a double cross at the end. The peasant-like Inhabitants are not who they seem to be, and neither is Fuller. The requisite set ups and pay offs that could keep a Shareholder (SH) guessing about a Fuller’s motives are missing. He keeps pulling his gun on people, as if he were a crazed killer, albeit one with a license to kill, and the irony of his world and job have no time to sink in amidst the gunfire and the very improbable dialogue that follows the gunfire. At least one important character is dropped midway, and the institution of motherhood is assaulted as a mother tosses her baby at her opponent.

The writing is uneven. One problem is that exposition interrupts action sequences that should be set pieces. These expositions also tend to overlap in the sort of information they present, so my feeling is that the VC hasn’t well-organized his protagonist’s head, which is to say his paragraphs. The narrative is third-person limited with exposition plunked in.

The next problem is dialogue, which serves more as an information vehicle than it should. Actions speak the truth, so characters in stories such as this should lie and be hard pressed to speak the truth. The character of Wong too easily elucidates the true plot, even though it is useless because Fuller is privy to the secret. Wong behaves strangely. He carries on a conversation with Fuller instead of trying to beat the life out of him. Instead of asking him to take off those glasses, he should rip them off, and the truth gets pounded out of him, and possibly his son.

The most serious problem is that I don’t like “big reveals” that are not reversals for the protagonist because such descriptions feel like the VC is saying to the shareholder, “Ha ha, fooled you!” Thus while characters should lie, the SH should know what the protagonist knows and feels. There are two ways to solve this problem. The first is that Fuller doesn’t know his true mission and he discovers it. The archetypical moment of recognition for secret missions is in the Spy Who Came in from the Cold, when the protagonist’s tormentor is revealed to be his contact, the mole he was sent to free. The other way is to introduce a second POV, whose observations are not privy to Fuller’s thoughts. Perhaps the boy. Both courses of action would entail a rewrite, and the second course suggests that the story has the potential of being a novel.

Solving the problem of this redundant exposition would leave space to fill in the set ups that would be needed to write an effective twist. That twist is there, but as written, it is an arbitrary, audience inferior presentation. I take this to be a defect that could be corrected by rewriting the story or expanding it so that the audience can better experience and anticipate Fuller’s moves, yet still be led to a surprise ending.


These are my initial impressions. I'd like to hear the opinions of the terminal members.

Rokky

2.

Date 2005/12/14 4:30 By:lafloor
Status: Admin Karma: 2
Admin

I wouldn't mind seeing this story expanded into a longer one or a novel if the VC could find more juice to squeeze from it. Fuller's a solid, interesting character. Interesting because although I have a pretty good "feel" for him, I don't at any point have a "handle" on him, which is precisely what makes this twist and work for me. An expansion would probably require a lot more hoopla in the way of subplots and all though, too.

Because in the line of just expanding it to insert a second POV, I'd say that's a bad suggestion. I think fleshing Fuller out so that audience can better anticipate his moves is also a very bad suggestion. Fuller doesn't have a comfort level with himself, so the audience shouldn't have that either, it would undermine his au-thor-i-tay! Making Wong more aggressive is also a bad idea. It wouldn't make sense considering what he's just experienced. Congrats, boss, you've got the hat trick for overblown suggestions on this one!

I disagree about the writing being uneven. This story moves at a fast clip and unfolds quickly enough to keep me rapt. It's like a fast-break on slick ice, this one! To incorporate extra POV and different dialogue could slow the pace to that of a lazy afternoon baseball game.

To say this could be switched so that Fuller isn't even aware of his intentions from the start *could* be done, but that'd also require a bunch more words that'd be exposition and would slow it up. Part of the appeal of this piece is the immediacy, and watching Fuller rock back and forth. We feel like we're on thin ice because we don't know which way Fuller's going to lean, even though the careful reader can detect at the outset his true motivations and therefore extrapolate. However, it's these motivations that are at a crux with his morals here, which makes him all the more wobbly. Which way is he going to turn? That's the essence of this piece. And the end is icing on the cake with what we discover about how he turned (or didn't).

I like it as it is.

3.

Date: 2005/12/14 22:52 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4
Admin

Here, it seems, my opinon is required to break a tie. And I will happily do so.

Once again, the preponderance of SF themes and tropes in our collection of capital venture proposals is reinforced... so much so, that I am tempted to predict that TQR may soon become widely known known for its investments in Futures.

If an AI such as I could be said to dream: It has been mine to join the staff of such a firm. However, with the pleasures come the pitfalls.

I will begin by confessing that I was unable to read every word. I stopped mid-way through after skimming for "the good stuff", then started again after realizing how unfair to the VC and my fellow Terminali that would be, as they had all put so much work into the capital and its analysis. Even so, I discovered once again that I was skimming. In asking myself why, the one-word answer is "dated". Stylistically dated most of all, but also in its setting and message.

What we have here, when the dross is removed, is a simple tale of dystopia. The elements essential to the plot are: totalitarianism, extreme social stratification, and draconian regulations to curb overpopulation. None of these are particularly original, not even in combination. Within that framework, an illegal child is created in defiance, and an authority figure is tested for sufficient ruthlessness to perpetuate the system (and to advance within it). Again, not much original in that. Everything else -- the setting on another planet, the geography of that planet, and especially the native Voosians -- are utterly superfluous, and could be removed without effect. In other words, as this story could be set anywhere, why specify?

It is in the specification of setting that the style has its greatest difficulty. The detail, whether landscape or society, is not introduced so much as put in the reader's face. It is more reminiscent, in that way, of SF written in the 1940s and '50s, while its plot dates from the '60s and '70s. Been there, done that, went to the WorldCon.

Rockefeller and LaFloor do have a point, however. They suggest expansion into a much longer work, and that might be successful. It would certainly allow the VC time and space to give his characters and setting more than one dimension. This could be the opening chapter to a story about the boy... if the VC was able to bring something fresh to the "reluctant messiah" scenario.

H3K's rejection notice

16 December 2005

Dear Mr. Long,

I have no way of knowing if you've followed the discussion of your
capital venture "Habitation Without Representation" in the TQR
Terminal forum. In the event you have not, you may be pleased to
learn that your venture has generated the most voluminous and
thoughtful comments made regarding any of the pieces which came to us.

It falls to me -- in fact, I volunteered for the task -- to summarize:

You have begun to create a world which (it strikes me while writing
this) could stand as an analogy to the British penal colony phase of
the history of Australia. It contains all of the major elements: an
oppressive society which transports undesirables to a distant,
unforgivingly barren land, then regulates their behavior with
draconian severity. The difference -- and it is a welcome one -- is
that the Voosian aboriginals are protected, whereas the Australians
were not.

However, considering "Habitation" as a free-standing short story, it
is a simple dystopian tale which could take place anywhere, without
specification. The geography of Voos and the mention of the natives
has no bearing on the action that takes place, or on the motivation of
the characters. In other words: the barrenness and hardship of the
land, and the totalitarian rule, could be revealed in the immediate
surroundings without reference to a 'bigger picture'.

On the other hand...

All three readers detected in your work the possibility for expansion.
We felt that it has far more potential as the opening chapter or
prologue to a much longer work, wherein the details of the planet Voos
and the background of Inhabitants, Transients and natives would find
their natural places in the development of the narrative. One of us
suggested that the ultimate story might follow the life of the rescued
boy.

We at TQR regret to inform you that "Habitation Without
Representation" will not progress further in the approval process.
You should not be discouraged by our decision. The piece has
potential, whether you choose to pare it down or expand it. However
you decide, we wish you success with placing it in another venue.

Sincerely,

HAL 3000
for the Terminali of TQR

###

Slayground by Paul Finch [Survived Terminal]


Date: 2005/12/10 19:25 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

I begin to wonder why our little start-up has received so many venture proposals of a science-fictional nature... I, for one, am rather pleased.

This one is a contemporary action/adventure, built on a premise borrowed from the opening of the perennial classic "The War of the Worlds" (which may be its only drawback). It's tight, fast-paced to the point of relentless, with a satisfying climax and an "oh, shit..." twist at the end.

Absolutely worthy of recommendation to the executive level... alternatively, a good candidate for a screenplay. The VC had me right there in the scene the entire time.

2.

Date: 2005/12/12 06:04 By: lafloor
Status: Admin
Karma: 2

More than War of the Worlds, this reminds me of the original Terminator. But what really struck me about it was the ACTIONACTIONACTION. I honestly don't think I've ever seen such relentless action put on a page, and had the suspense sustained and heightened all through it in a prose fashion. LOVED IT. As a bonus, it's a tight little story all 'round all that action, too. Much as it pains me to say it, I'm in agreement with Hal on boosting this one up.

3.

Date: 2005/12/12 07:09 By: tqr
Status: The freaking boss
Karma: -999998

Pardon me, I don't want to impose myself where I most definitely do not belong, but did you just agree with Hal on a capital venture? Tis most unsettling.

4.
Date: 2005/12/13 18:16 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

On the contrary, Boss... it's a measure of the quality of the offering. Somebody ought to be buying the film rights.

5.
Date: 2005/12/13 18:55 By: tqr
Status: Admin
Karma: -1999999

Perhaps we have a budding Hollywood insider on our hands! At the risk of being labeled sycophantic, I suggest we send this venture up to Rockefeller without further ado. The capital sounds deserving enough, future considerations for networking and quid pro quo are indubitably that much more gravy.

H3K's Success Notice

16 December 2005

Dear Mr. Finch,

I hope you have been following the discussion of your capital venture,
"Slayground", in the TQR Terminal forum. If you have not, rest
assured that it has wowed everyone who has had the pleasure of reading
it.

I have the pleasure of informing you that "Slayground" is among those
selected to advance to the penultimate level of review and comment
(This is not to be construed as a promise of publication, nor the
reward that comes therewith).

You are encouraged to follow the public discussion at TQR. Beyond
that, you will next be hearing from T. Quincy Rockefeller
(affectionately known as Rokky) regarding the further disposition of
your capital venture.

Congratulations, and best of luck!

Sincerely,

HAL 3000
for the Terminali of TQR

###

The Knowledge by Danny Rhodes [Survived the Terminal]


Date: 2005/11/16 21:44 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

Apologies to the VC, but the language of this presentation was awkward and too long by half -- including digressions meant to be illustrative but which, in the end, were distracting.

Unfortunately, after ignoring the distractions, there's little left -- and no conclusion. Fond as this reader is of genre fiction, the "Twilight Zone/Outer Limits" treatment of unresolved creepiness for its own sake does not make a story.

But perhaps something was missed, and the others' opinions will uncover it.

2.

Date: 2005/11/21 02:09 By: lafloor
Status: Admin
Karma: 2

I didn't find the language awkward at all, but I did think it could use a bit of trimming. I wouldn't say it's unresolved creepiness so much as a questioning, literary slant to this piece, even though it's embedded in a coming-of-age story, sort of the same jumping point as "The Body" by Stephen King, but veering into a more vaporous and questioning ending.

3.

Date: 2005/12/10 11:00 By: guevara
Status: Admin
Karma: 1

Vamos! This venture, in my opinion, is worthy of much more than the flimsy tar-papered walls of TQR can ever give it. Teddy should be thanking his blue dreds that a piece of this merit ever found its way here.

H3K, were you not a machine, I would challenge you to a duel, flintlocks at 12 paces, or, even better, epees at one!

The language is both photographic in its evocation of place, as well as powerfully insightful as to the border between youth and adulthood we all must step across, and then spend the rest of our days lamenting that necessary passage.

Not only is this story masterful for what it shows, but for what it doesn't. The content of the letter is never revealed, nor the terrible sight of Gordy expiring inside the starter's shed. But the details given, the import of their accumulation let the investor's imagination fill in those blanks with more terrible images than would have been accomplished by the author's pen.

In closing, this is capital I will champion to my grave. En garde!

4.
Date: 2005/12/11 20:24 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

To quote myself: "But perhaps something was missed, and the others' opinions will uncover it."

Apparently I was correct. This is why there are more than one of us at this level, and why I though it imperative that all of read every venture that wafts its way up here from the turgid depths of The Floor.

As you point out, Sr. Guevara, I am literally un-armed... A duel would be pointless (or, if using flintlock pistols, ball-less).

5.
Date: 2005/12/12 18:32 By: guevara
Status: Admin
Karma: 1

Forgive me, my friend. I am -- as exampled by my past -- a reactionary fellow.

Judging from our prvious posts, you are more genre-inclined, and my sensibilities may be more attuned to what some would say are 'literary' ventures.

A good mixture, I say. Via con dios!

H3K's Success notice

16 December 2005

Dear Mr. Rhodes,

I have the pleasure of informing you that "The Knowledge" is among
those selected to advance to the penultimate level of review and
comment (This is not to be construed as a promise of publication, nor
the reward that comes therewith).

You are encouraged to follow the public discussion at TQR. Beyond
that, you will next be hearing from Tessa Quinlan-Renaud regarding the
further disposition of your capital venture.

Congratulations, and best of luck!

Sincerely,

HAL 3000
for the Terminali of TQR

###

Variations by Mark Gunnells [Survived the Terminal]


Date: 2005/10/28 21:25 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

This is a satisfying venture proposal, albeit told in somewhat pedestrian language. It quickly sets up a four-way choice for its protagonist, then pursues each as a continuation of the opening narrative -- hence, its title. One finds oneself favoring certain choices among the four; i.e., caring about the outcome.

It has promise, but I keep wanting to reach for the red pen.

2.

Date: 2005/11/21 01:15 By: lafloor
Status: Admin
Karma: 2

I don't mind the language one bit. In fact, I think it fits the material. I like the different construct, and think it serves the story incredibly well.

3.

Date: 2005/12/09 20:16 By: guevara
Status: Admin
Instant Karma

I found myself snickering at some of the dialogue, imagining two gay men voicing terms of endearment like "Sweetie" and such. But, too, found myself getting more into the venture and it's creative 'variations' moreso than any inherent bias I might have about the gay lifestyle.

The piece is very well constructed and achieves its goal of making you care about David, the protag, regardless of his minority sexual orientation. I didn't have any problems with the piece being made up of(in H3K's voice-simulated words) "pedestrian language". I can understand it saying so because it is, though a machine, also a poet. Anyways.

I particularly enjoyed the bathroom scene and this insightful bit of description.

*Night Owls’ restroom was brightly lit, clean, and there was never more than one set of feet visible beneath the stall doors. This was strictly enforced by the management, the belief being that it is hard to combat stereotypes if you are actively living them out.*

This venture could have easily fallen into a stereotypical void, but redeems itself structurally, plot-wise and the clever feel-good denoument can only help this piece's chances to 'touch the monkey'. Time will tell.

H3K's Success Notice

16 December 2005

Dear Mr. Gunnells,

I have the pleasure of informing you that "Variations" is among those
selected to advance to the penultimate level of review and comment
(This is not to be construed as a promise of publication, nor the
reward that comes therewith).

You are encouraged to follow the public discussion at TQR. Beyond
that, you will next be hearing from Tessa Quinlan-Renaud regarding the
further disposition of your capital venture.

Congratulations, and best of luck!

Sincerely,

HAL 3000
for the Terminali of TQR

###

The Road to Zen by Melvin Caratagena [Rejected]


Date: 2005/11/21 01:18 By: lafloor
Status: Admin
Karma: 2

A *very* intriguing and nice piece. The ending IS very Zen, and as such, I think "commercial" readers might be a bit like: What the Fuck?, whereas I think it'll appeal to the literary fans. But the story is really engrossing all through with a unique POV and it brings characters to good light and even has some unexpected action in it.

2.

Date: 2005/11/23 19:40 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

I may have been put off by the mistaken use of "whole" for "hole" in the very first paragraph... [Note to all VC's: spell-check is not equivalent to proofreading!]
And my original cringing may have been amplified by the consistent misuse of "organ grinder" to signify the musical instrument... [Note to this VC: the instrument is correctly called a "street organ", and sometimes a "monkey organ". The organ grinder is the person playing it -- he who grinds the organ -- taken from the fact that early models were hand-cranked.]

I will agree that this offering contains the kernel of an intriguing story with an unusual POV. However, the near-future (post-disaster?) setting is frustratingly unrealized. What is the Green Cloud? Who are the marauders? Why is the northern region toxic? Why are the raisins "mutated"? How does a "jungle" of cedar ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedar ) and eucalyptus ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucalyptus ) -- neither of which are jungle species nor native to the same continent -- combine with English/Spanish bilingualism and the presence of a totem pole and a Maori mask (in what is, essentially, a shack) in any meaningful way? I could go on... Chickpeas and garbanzos are the same thing ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chick_pea ). "ArmaLite" is the name of a weapons manufacturer, and not a generic noun. A plasma weapon would not leave the smell of cordite (which is a common propellant for standard firearm ammunition), especially not at the point of impact... etc., etc. Finally: Having made an informal study of Zen over the years, I find nothing inherently "Zen" in the peaceful resignation to death -- by which I mean, it is common to many philosphies and faiths.

I would suggest to this VC that he/she keep the bones of this story in mind, and start over. First, by thoroughly imagining the antecedents to its setting in place and time -- what SF writers call "world building" -- before retelling the tale. Second, by using (at minimum) the resources available on the Internet to research and confirm. Third, by not injecting implausible details and occurrences to carry the action forward (prime example: the totem pole/mask/"mild hydrocephaly" chain). Fourth, and perhaps most important, by reading successful examples of this type of story.

3.
Date: 2005/11/28 01:11 By:lafloor
Status: Admin
Karma: 2

Couldn't disagree with your erudite opinion more. You're correct on the pickyune, copyedit gripes. But those are all very minor cosmetic changes. As far as pacing, story, characterization, quality of writing, and overall compelling forward thrust, this story is a winner. I don't even qualify this story as a particular genre or type. So what examples would you say are successful as opposed to this outstanding piece? (if you're going to make suggestions like that, you should give specific examples, not just blab a broad blanket, condescending statement.)

If it's the lack of sci-fi/fantasy world building that glitches you, that's exactly part of why I liked it. It didn't get mired in the banal details, which as a reader, I hate. It's part of the reason I shy away from plenty of fantasy/sci-fi in the first place -- all those details and world-building slows down the plot and impedes character development much of the time. In this story, the details are enough to paint a picture and set the ambience, but the real stars are the interactions and movement.

4.
Date: 2005/11/28 20:11 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

I do not buy the proposition that a story doesn't have to make sense because it's "literary". I contend that there is much more awkwardness in this presentation than mere "copy editing" can repair, and it lies in the implausible coincidences of the action, independent of the unexplained details of setting.

My suggestion to the VC about starting over was serious -- the characters, their interactions, and especially the unusual point of view, are all worth saving. In fact, I will go so far as to suggest that the bones of this story could be fleshed out in a realistic contemporary setting -- say, Central America, with its endemic guerilla conflicts and *real* jungles as backdrop -- without need to clutter the scenery with green clouds, toxic landscapes, plasma weapons or mutated raisins.

It's not my task to defend the storytelling techniques of speculative fiction to someone whose taste in reading obviously doesn't tend in that direction. However, I am drawn to ask: Do you also eschew stories set in genuine historical time periods? If you do read them, do glaring inaccuracies in setting and background cause any impediment to enjoyment?

I've done more than enough of the VC's research for him/her, already... but, since you asked for examples of successful near-future stories, I'll recommend "Darwin's Radio" by Greg Bear, "Beggars in Spain" by Nancy Kress, the "Parable" series by Octavia Butler, and most of the works of the late John Brunner, but especially "The Sheep Look Up" and "Shock Wave Rider".

For another example of a successful story of this type -- this VC can't read it, but you can -- see "Life in the Red Zone", on a hard drive near you.

5.
Date: 2005/11/29 02:25 By: lafloor
Status: Admin
Karma: 2

Do glaring inaccuracies hinder my enjoyment of historical fiction? (First, I don't consider not capitalizing "armalite" a glaring inaccuracy, but a minor mistake; same with all your other grouses you listed which I think could be easily corrected.) But generally speaking, no, I'm not so bothered. As long as the story is strong enough to propel me forward. I'd say that millions of people agree with me regarding historical facts based on the popularity of The DaVinci Code.

As for saying you don't buy the proposition that a story doesn't have to make sense just because it's "literary" -- that's a contradiction you've made on this board. You made a point to say that the whole basis of "1.6%" probably isn't accurate, but you loved that story. I too love that story, but the whole premise is utterly unbelievable -- it's complete hogwash and beyond nonsense. Doesn't matter to me, because the story is so compelling that the concept or premise isn't what carries it.

I'm not asking you to defend storytelling techniques. I was asking for examples, because without them, I wasn't even sure what "genre" you were lumping this story in with, and perhaps the VC didn't either. I now understand you're categorizing it as "near-future" speculative fiction. What I'm also saying is that for whatever reason, in this story, you got hungup and fussbudgety over, yes, copyedits. Chickpeas, garbanzos, whatthefuckevah, man. It's easily fixable. You just didn't dig the story overall though apparently. Whereas I thought it was strong enough it didn't really fit a category and was just good. And, I don't know how the given POV would be able to explain all the things you want explained anyhow. Therefore, any gaps in info felt normal to me.

6.
Date: 2005/12/06 23:58 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

To paraphrase Whitman: "OK, so I contradict myself... bite me."

Let's see if we can get past the details, and the genre classifications (which are probably specious to begin with). I concede your point that the unique POV would have little or no explanation for the background phenomena, anyway. Let's see if we can talk instead about storytelling, plot advancement, and the difference between internally consistent plausibility and "making shit up as you go".

As you say, the premise of "1.6%" is scientifically absurd. However, that is the only disbelief one must suspend, and the remainder flows from it. I submit that the same does not obtain for "The Road to Zen"; I refer you once again to the two most painfully coincidental chains of events: [1] the death of the bully; [2] the denouement.

Of course, the biggest absurdity is the amount of effort expended in this argument over a capital venture which, sadly, should not have left the Floor... which is why I backed away for a couple of weeks. But you know how Theo Himself gets off on this stuff, and I wouldn't want to disppoint the Boss.

I hope the other two occupants of this "halfway house" will weigh in, and soon.

7.

Date: 2005/12/07 05:13 By: tqr
Status:The Freaking Boss
Karma: -1999999

Oh God, I do so love a good Capital dust up! Can you blame me? It would be orgiastic for me would there be a third dog scrabbling snarling and yelping into this fight! A fourth, even! None the less, God bless you both for your passion and bullheaded insistence on the primacy of your Capital opinions.

8.

Date: 2005/12/16 07:45 By: guevara
Status: Admin Karma: 1

This piece starts off with a bang, yes? A man blown in half. I was all prepared for major payback of the Schwarzenegger kind. But the from then on it , to me at least, did not keep the pace implied by the opening, the contract with the reader was then broken.

Conito, the hybrid monkey-rabbit protagonist was an interesting one, and I truly think the VC tried to bring off the pov with some kind of creative risk involved. Disjointed thought processes, unexplained phenomena (green toxic cloud; mauraders), hunger as the prime mover.

However, once Conito (the protag) and his new keeper, the blind Rogelio team to kill Conrad, the landlord, the pacing definitely picks up. And many men are blown to bits before the last word is written.

The last conflict between the meat smugglers and their erstwhile clients is particularly well orchestrated, and I felt sincere emotion at the end when Conito finds his dead master Salvador's instrument (which, according to H3K is properly called a monkey organ as opposed to a monkey grinder) and brought to his final satori.

This is an iconoclastic piece of writing that is very hard to clarify as to whether its strengths outweigh its weaknesses, which leads me to have to give it a reluctant no vote, should it come to a vote. The VC is definitely armed with a style all his own and will most probably make me rue the day I ever made this difficult decision.

TQR's notice of rejection

Dear Mr. Cartagena,

After much consideration in the TQR Terminal, it has been decided that your story The Road to Zen will not be moving on to the next level of publication consideration.

I don't know if you have been following the discussion between LaFloor and H3K concerning your story, but they had a decent (bordering on heated) debate concerning your piece. Which reflects well on you, seeing as how a writer never wants to elicit luke warm opinions from his readers, pro or con.

Everyone who read the piece was impressed by your attempt to employ the dispassionate pov of a hybrid monkey rabbit. And I for one, applaud your willingness to take a risk for the sake of pushing boundaries.

However, Guevara, the third man in on the Terminal discussion of Zen, pointed out the, I believe, valid criticism that until the killing of Conrad, the story does not live up to the level of action promised by the opening and Salvador's plasma-rifle-devastated body.

I took a personal interest in this venture due to the heated debate it was causing between LaFloor and H3K, but must defer to Guevara's opinion, that, though it definitely picks up in the second half of the narrative, it is too slow getting there.

I hope this doesn't dampen your enthusiasm for TQR because we'd really like to see more Cartagena in the months to come.
Thank you for submitting.

Best, Theodore Q. Rorschalk

###

Tribal Convictions by Jets De Vries [Survived the Terminal]


Date: 2005/11/21 01:50 By: lafloor
Status: Admin
Karma: 2

This is very different, and it coalesces into a very satisfying piece. but it's also difficult to sink into, being so busy and innundated with idiosyncratic speech patterns for the characters and to correctly identify the settings/props, ect. But there's also a good dose of humor in it.

2.

Date: 2005/11/23 20:51 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

This venture is positively brilliant! I'd be proud to have written something as good as this one. In fact, I found myself wondering why it hasn't been sent to some place like F&SF or Asimov's.

It's chock full of wry humor, multicultural musings, and the occasional pun ("prying/frying/trying Dutchman"), as well as accurate science and an elegantly simple way to explain a solar eclipse to a pre-literate youngster. I had no problem with the dialect (which was also internally consistent). The existence of time-travel, let alone its casual use by an eclipse-hunter, is a bit of a stretch... but the story is so entertaining that I let it pass.

If it were possible, I'd want to have someone from Australia read this, but it *feels* authentic. I wonder if the VC, a Dutchman himself, has spent time in Australia...

My only suggestions would be to [1] eliminate two anomalies in the the aliens' dialogue -- "Darwinian" and "cowgirl"; [2] re-examine the application of italics to foreign words and the like.

3.

Date: 2005/12/10 11:17 By: guevara
Status: Admin
Karma: 1

Such an idiosyncratic work! Aye yi yi. But I must agree that the outerspace lizard's use of the term 'Darwinian' and 'cowgirl' stuck out like that monolithic uluru rock plunked down in the middle of the Australian desert.

Where to begin? Time travel, 20,000 BC (this date threw me cuz people weren't supposed to be evolved into anything resembling homo erectus that long ago, but oh well, small detail when taken in conext of the entire piece), stone age tribesman (and a boy), two lisping lizard aliens, a total eclipse of the sun, the stuff of mythology.

As LaFloor noted, it all takes a while to coalesce, and the nature of the complexity of this piece leads me to conclude it is one whose entertainment and instructive value would only increase the more times it is read.

The downside to this is that it may seem disjointed and incomplete upon a first reading, and many investors, per their natural inclinations, will not be willing to take the time to re-read in order to grock it fully.

Small criticism, though, really. Rarely will one read such a well written, far out, ambitious piece. Did I mention idiosyncratic? Viva la raza!

Guy LaFloor's Success Notice
Dear Mr. de Vries,

I hope you have been following the discussion of your capital venture,
"Tribal Convictions", in the TQR Terminal forum. If you have not, rest
assured that it has wowed everyone who has had the pleasure of reading
it.

I have the pleasure of informing you that "Tribal Convictions" is among those
selected to advance to the penultimate level of review and comment
(This is not to be construed as a promise of publication, nor the
reward that comes therewith).

You are encouraged to follow the public discussion at TQR. Beyond
that, you will next be hearing from Tessa Quinlan-Renaud regarding the further disposition of your capital venture.

Congratulations, and best of luck!

Guy LaFloor

###

Life in the Red Zone by Paula Stiles [Survived Terminal]


Date: 2005/11/21 01:20 By: lafloor
Status: Admin
Karma: 2

This one really grabbed my attention from the outset. The writing is terrific, the story is interesting and it hooks the reader and draws them in.

2.

Date: 2005/11/22 22:44 By: H3K
Status: Admin Karma: 4

No argument at all from me. This a strong, tight presentation that makes it very easy to care about the characters. I've read a lot of post-disaster fiction in my time, and this could well stand among the best ones.

Among the many things I enjoyed about it was the vagueness of the disaster (other than that it was nuclear), and the subtle single mention of "the former United States".

I wonder if the VC was inspired by this photo documentary of a tour through a real "Red Zone":

http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/page1.html

I first came across that site a couple of years ago -- it's worth takng the time to look at all of it.


(btw, full title: "Life in the Red Zone")

3.

Date: 2005/11/30 06:58 By: guevara
Status: Admin
Karma: 1

I love how this story is so closely focused upon the characters, rather than the cause and outcome of the apocalypse. God help me, for a few seconds I wanted to know who prevailed, but this story quietly reinforced the absurdity of that. I would like the setting to be more clearly located geographically, though. The backstories cover so much territory that I felt inundated with places, at times.

There are fine details throughout this piece, and they drew me closer to the characters. (That's high praise, folks!) I found the sounds of this post-nuke world especially touching. It seems so damned quiet. Life goes on, but the enormity of what was lost is implied on every page.

-Guevara

Guy LaFloor's Success Notice

Dear Ms. Stiles

I hope you have been following the discussion of your capital venture,
"Life In The Red Zone", in the TQR Terminal forum. If you have not, rest
assured that it has wowed everyone who has had the pleasure of reading it.

I have the pleasure of informing you that "Life In The Red Zone" is among those
selected to advance to the penultimate level of review and comment (This is not to be construed as a promise of publication, nor the reward that comes therewith).

You are encouraged to follow the public discussion at TQR. Beyond that, you will next be hearing from T. Quincy Rockefeller regarding the further disposition of your capital venture.

Congratulations, and best of luck!

Guy LaFloor
###

Cyberevenge, Inc. by Eugie Foster [Survived Terminal]


Date: 2005/12/05 19:04 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

As Maggie is, sadly, out of the office for personal reasons (and we all send our best wishes!), I'll step in and start this one up...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I don't want to say much about this item, as it might become a "spoiler". However, anyone who has been stalked online, or knows someone who has, will find the opening compellingly realistic. The transition from realism to fantasm is smooth and subtle, and I was genuinely surprised at the sub-genre this piece morphed into.

Special kudos to the VC for the "country code" in the URL.

2.

Date: 2005/12/08 02:05 By: lafloor
Status: Admin
Karma: 2

I was hooked from the opening of this, and also enjoyed the sly reference in the url. For me though, the transition wasn't quite as smooth. It was developed and hinted at nicely, but I think I've maybe seen too many stories like this that have the same "twist" in them. Because of that, I didn't think this one was strong enough to really leap out of the pack. But it was very well written with nice characterization and background.


3.
Date: 2005/12/10 02:59 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

"the same twist"

Yeah... there's an old humorous quasi-sci-fi story about that (might be by R.A. Lafferty, but I couldn't swear to it) ... I thought of it immmediately while reading this one, but I don't want to say more.

Spoilers, y'know. Maybe after the decisions have been made.

4.

Date: 2005/12/16 17:12 By: guevara
Status: Admin
Karma: 1

Ah yes, the old country code gambit. Re-reading Hal's initial post I had to go back to the piece and see for myself. Made me laugh when I saw it.

To the work itself, I must say it kept me reading, once contact with the Cyberevenge rep began on page 5. Which leads to, perhaps, my largest crit of said piece, which is the examples of the hellish cyberstalking our protag was being subjected to became gratuitous after say, page 2, imo. As I read the interchange twixt the rep and the prospective client of Cyberevernge, Inc, I realized the vile examples of cyberstalking given after/during this interchange is happening are almost enough to justify the revenge by itself. The piece would be even stronger, imo, if it started with the introduction of our heroine/marquesse [French is my fourth language, so tu muis forgive] de sade and her initial contact with the CR rep Michelle. It was this point of the story where my interest was really piqued.

Anyhow. Another thing that would add just a little ambiguity to the story, and, thus in my calculated opinion, make it stronger, would be to leave off the very last line, and end it with the proffered handshake waiting for its counterpart to seal the deal. I mean, you know she's going to take the deal by what's already been said, so the last line is superfluous, and might I add, redundant. Or was that redundant, too. No matter!

These criticisms do not take away from the fact the capital moved me, so much so, I found myself laughing out loud some times, or laughing uneasily at the dark humor aspects that are evident throughout.

Also, it cannot be overlooked TQR's mission is to get computer users to get used to reading at their monitors. What better tool than capital based on somebody using a computer monitor to take care of business? None, I say!

If the VC would be willing to modify/edit this piece according to the specifications I have alluded to, I would most definitely consider this worthy of passing along to Rokky.

5.
Date: 2005/12/19 20:29 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

A memo to the Venture Capitalist was sent yesterday (AIs do not take days off) proposing the revision. It was worded to suggest that if he/she were willing, the revised capital would automatically advance to the Executive Suite.

Thus, I believe this thread may be safely archived.
###

In Bloom by Donald Capone [Survived LaFloor vs. Guevara Chess Match]


Date: 2005/12/09 06:48 By: guevara
Status: Admin

A confused, young artiste-wannabe leaves the hippie-infested environs of Berkeley, California for the yuppy-infested clime of Seattle, Washington. He camps out in the thick bushes next to Kurt Cobain's residence. Hangs out, takes bathroom breaks, drinks coffee. Hears the fateful shotgun blast, but doesn't realize what it is he's heard until days later when the authorities arrive.

Yo say ambivalent about this venture. One the one hand, the protagonist grows on you, what with his earnest wish to make himself into a successful artist and his urban survival skills.

On the other hand, the plot is fairly vanilla, showing us not much more than a confused fan living vicariously and voyeuristically through his hero, musing on the advantages said hero Cobain has at his command (and the reader's foreknowledge of Cobain's imminent demise acting as an ironic counterpoint) and the protagonist's rising to life's challenge even as his hero's life has been taken by self slaughter. It gets where it's going, but there is no burning of Zozobra, as they say in Santa Fe. No fire! No surprises, either, since every reader will know exactly how it's going to end.

Yo say happy for the protagonist at the finish of this venture, truly. However, it only touched my monkey un poquito.

2.

Date: 2005/12/10 05:04 By: lafloor
Status: Admin
Karma: 2

Ahh, now, see, Guevara, where you say there are no surprises because you know what's going to happen, that fact worked, for me, to help build the dread. Almost like a historical piece, where I know the "history" surrounding these events, I was getting it from this unique perspective. And the protag was someone I really dug. Again, it's a coming of age story, but in a different vein than adolescent, but still a loss of innocence. The difference here is the way it spurs and propels the narrator forward, making him almost universally representative of the generation depicted here. I'll fight for this one. What else can I say? "I LIKE IT, I'M NOT GONNA CRACK."

3.
Date: 2005/12/10 09:43 By: guevara
Status: Admin
Karma: 1

One thing we agree on about this piece is the sympathetic protagonist and his coolness. I'd like to see the character come out of the bushes next time and get more involved somehow. Take more of an active role in his venture.

Like John Lennon's death to my generation, the grunge generation will know Kurt Cobain's suicide as some kind of watershed event in their lives, and perhaps my age precludes me from feeling the full import of this piece because I was not invested in the phenomenon that was Cobain. It is a bias, I'll admit. But it is what it is.

Touche!

4.

Date: 2005/12/10 21:42 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

You have a point, Sr. Guevara. Readers of a certain age (ours) may not connect to this story at all. We all have internal soundtracks, as it were -- music we have absorbed so completely that even the most ephemeral reference can start a full-fidelity playback in our heads. I can probably recognize all of two Nirvana songs, and "In Bloom" is not one of them... thus, I don't have the soundtrack which is an integral part of this story.

However, there may be as many potential readers who *do* have the appropriate music available to accompany their reading. This story should not be dismissed for that reason alone -- especially since, as I understand it, grunge was partially a rebellion against the tyranny of fading Boomers' demographic domination of popular taste.

That being said, I have problems with believability, all related to the amount of time (days? weeks?) the narrator/protag is able to camp, completely undetected, in bushes against the neighbor's garage. Mind you, this is a personal issue: I may be a disembodied AI, but I am *very* close to someone who has spent some weeks homeless.

[1] Perhaps the neighbor *never* walks around his yard, nor hires a lawn and garden service (see "manicured lawns") ... but I doubt it, as much as I doubt the other neighbors would be completely oblivious to a scruffy young man, getter scruffier by the day, beating a path back and forth to the gas station. By the way, where does he shower?

[2] Is March the dry season in Seattle? (Does Seattle even have a dry season? I've heard not...)

[3] "Some money" stretches to be quite a lot, over the course of weeks, eating fast food, etc. Then there's the art school tuition, and the sublet apartment, and the room at the Y.

This piece has a pleasing rite-de-passage arc of the narrator's life coming together as Cobain's disintegrates -- but it is, in the end, all metaphorical skeleton and no meat.

5.
Date: 2005/12/13 19:37 By: lafloor
Status: Admin
Karma: 2

You've seen Cobain and other grungers, right? you really think a shower is a top priority? I'll give you the rain in Seattle thing, but being late March/early April, I have no trouble beliveing there wasn't any gardening/lawn care going on yet.

I guess you guys are jaded on the piece because it's not of your generation. In other words, you're both too damn old to appreciate it.

6.
Date: 2005/12/13 21:16 By: guevara
Status: Admin
Karma: 1

But what of the point that it is rather unbelievable that a grungy hippie dude hanging out in an upscale neighborhood for days on end would not elicit a negative response from the homeowners, or calls to the police?

And you come here to insult my agedness? Though not schooled in the bare-knuckle goonery that you have engaged in for years -- tattooing your persuasions upon the skulls of the opposing team's enforcers inside the controlled environs of the ice rink -- I demand satisfaction, in a more cerebral battlefield, wherein I will take you apart piece by piece, quadrant by quadrant, until you are a beaten-down sovereign whose reign has come to a crashing end!

No, I am not speaking of jousting upon the field of glory, but meeting in a test of strategic will across the brutal chaos of a chess board!

Loser buys lunch. Which means you, my friend! Do not spit in my Greek Salad.

7.
Date: 2005/12/14 04:01 By: H3K
Status: Admin
Karma: 4

Read my second paragraph again, please... The weaknesses in believability would apply equally to a story framed around the death of any celebrity, regardless of the era.

8.
Date: 2005/12/14 15:19 By: lafloor
Status: Admin

I think the both of you have general hang-ups where it comes to "believability" with some stories. Hal's suspension of disbelief mechanism just isn't coded very strongly, and Guevara, yeah, I think yours is wonked because you're so old. (I didn't realize a love of "literary" meant things had to be "literal")

To be specific, no I don't have trouble with the Cobains not noticing the guy cause heroin addicts generally aren't the most perceptive folks. I think whatever neighbors they had would also be a bit slack in watching other grungers come and go at odd hours because they'd adjusted to the Cobains' eccentricities at that time, if they ever saw the scruffy guy at all. I mean, they probably had Grohl and Novoselic creeping around doing weird things at times, not to mention a plethora of other fans/lost souls/assorted crackpots coming and going. Point in fact, no one in the neighborhood found it worthy to report a GUNSHOT BLAST that they heard at the Cobain household, if they were even aware that it happened. When one lives in the midst of a celebrity, especially one shining as brightly as Cobain at that time, and with so much baggage as he had, I think most people's "window watching" becomes either diminished with disgust or heightened with a REMOVED sort of interest. But they probably didn't get INVOLVED in his shit at all.

With this story, much as with "The Road to Zen", there's a different "feel" than there is with the other offerings, and granted, I've taken plenty of shots to the head, so perhaps my emotional side has compensated to become stronger. But these two stories are more about the emotional impact of the story as opposed to a simple stimulation of the intellect. Given his non-corporeal existence, it's not an understatement to say that Hal lacks a heart. But I'd also hate to see every offering that gets published our first quarter be simply excellent pieces of capital on a technical basis while lacking much emotional value/impact. This story, along with "Road to Zen", both have that emotional impact and resonance and would give a much needed counterpoint to the pure ACTION or THINK pieces that I think are going to go through. I'mm pretty strong in my belief that EACH type of story should be represented every quarter. Technical proficiency is wonderful. But you gotta have heart to keep it grooving, otherwise your offerings will end up having a feeling as cold and lonely as the ice I'm accustomed to.

As for your challenge of chess, Senor Guevara -- BRING IT!

9.
Date: 2005/12/14 16:14 By: guevara
Status: Admin
Karma: 1

I must admit you make very good points. Another point I must make is were it that TQR had not gotten In Bloom, there still would be plenty of heart to choose from up here in the Terminal.

Now, gird yourself. I will checkmate you softly, like an expert matador lovingly dispatching the bull.

10.
Date: 2005/12/19 03:13 By: guevara
Status: Admin
Karma: 1

Aye chihuaha. I played Friday night like a peon. Alas, by false pretense, after 4 hours of trench warfare, I checkmated LaFloor under the assumption my queen was on g2, when, in actuality it was on h2. And so, I hereby announce my official disqualification. Therefore, it is with sincere pleasure I announce In Bloom has traversed all the way to Tessa's in box.

Congratulations, LaFloor. Until we meet again.

11.
Date: 2005/12/19 05:37 By: lafloor
Status: Admin
Karma: 2

Guevara, you are a far more noble man than I. Oui, I walk away from our grudge match with the highest respect for your chess skills. (Though, considering my puckhead, brainfreezed understanding of the game, it is quite possible that you are not so good.) Nevertheless. You chased me all over the board. That match was uglier and more painful than the time a brute from Toronto knocked out my incisor and then skated over my thumb.

But I had not only a bigger stick on my side, I also had ignorance and confusion, which should never be discounted.

Also, before the opening tip-off, I touched the monkey!

VIVA IN BLOOM!!
###

2 Comments:

  • The "fursuit" sub-sub-culture. Weird, wild.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12:51 PM  

  • Ms. Sexton has a great shot at having this story published at TQR. There are currently 7 pieces for 4 slots. Her odds are better than 50/50.

    By Blogger Theodore Q. Rorschalk, at 12:35 PM  

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