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Friday, February 13, 2009

The Friday Challenge - 2/13/09

Wow! Very nice turnout for the 2/6/09 Friday Challenge, including entries from quite a few first-timers this week. Congrats, WaterBoy; your challenge obviously struck some sparks!

In approximately FIFO order, the contestants are:

Torainfor, untitled

Ben-El, "Nuke 'em"

Leterren, "Silence"

Chandler, "On crash-landing and conversing with an alien"

Giraffe, "Squid!!"

Henry, "The Talisman"

Euthyphro, "Starship Boozer"

Vidad, "Necessity"

Al, "Intervention"

KTown, "Music of the Night"

As always, even if you haven't submitted an entry you're invited to read, comment on, and vote for your favorite(s), with the winner(s) to be announced Sunday evening.

On a related note, it turns out the JS-Kit comment engine imposes a 3,000-byte limit on posts, as KTown found to his considerable discomfort, and despite having read the entire JS-Kit administrator's manual from front to back I still can't find any way to change that limit, to link to individual comments, or even to link to a particular page of comments on a long thread. Ergo it looks like posting entries as comments is not a viable long-term solution.

This time around I've taken the liberty of consolidating KTown's entry into a single post, but I don't want to get into the habit of doing that. It provides too many opportunities for me to slip up and mangle someone's entry in the process, and KTown, if I've done that to yours, please let me know and I'll fix it ASAP. But I think the better long-term solution for the blogless might be to have you email your entries to slushpile@thefridaychallenge.com (plain text only, please, no PDF or Microsoft Word files), and then we can turn them into bloggerel and post them on this site, much as we do with the stories in the Story Morgue. (And speaking of which, you've got just three days left to comment on Quill.)

Any comments or suggestions re this idea?

Now, as for this week's challenge: by popular demand—well, by Ben-El's and Rigel's demand, anyway—I'm going to defer the challenge originally scheduled for today and instead continue with the twin themes of "I wanna rock!" and "Let's All Dump on Star Trek." Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to bring rock 'n' roll to the universe of Star Trek.

(Didja ever notice, despite all the bars and lounges in all the ST TV shows and movies, no one ever dances in Star Trek? I mean, excluding Data and Dr. Crusher's big gay ballroom-dance number?)

So what's your story? How do you bring rock 'n' roll into the most sterile and boring sci-fi future outside of THX-1138? Are you playing in a Disaster Area tribute band? On the road with the licensed touring company of Arcturan Pink Floyd? A translator, stuck with the job of trying to make sense of the Dark Side of the Moon liner notes in a universe where gravitationally locked moons are a distinct rarity? A go-go dancer with a USO show touring all the Federation forward bases on the Romulan frontier? Or are you some poor schmuck bass player in a lounge band on the Ferengi casino circuit, trapped between a bunch of drunken Klingons on your left who are shouting "FREEBIRD!" and a bunch of equally drunken Gorns on your right who have assured you that they definitely will kill you if they ever hear "Freebird" again?

Or perhaps it's all a mystery to you, as the last thing you remember is hitting that big power chord at the start of your big show at Woodstock III, and then a short-circuit in the light show opened up a chronosynclastic infundibulum and sucked you five centuries into the future. Or maybe it was the acid. You're really hoping it was the acid.

Personally, I keep envisioning myself as being in a blues band that through some combined caprice of fate and an idiotic booking manager has wound up as the house band at a summer resort on Andoria, where "summer" means it's only -10 degrees at high noon and everybody has blue skin. I think this is some kind of barely suppressed memory of my having been the sound tech in a band that got stuck in a hotel in Appleton, Wisconsin, during a three-day blizzard. Or maybe it was that time we got snowed into the only motel in Julesberg, Colorado, with the members of 38 Special...

Never mind. There are stories, and then there are stories that you don't need to know. Thanks for not asking.

Anyway, that's the challenge for this week. As always, we're playing by the ever-changing rules of the Friday Challenge and playing for whatever is behind Door #2—which list, I now notice, is very badly out of date, so I'd better update it. The deadline is midnight Central time, Thursday, 2/19/09.

So... Are you ready to rock?


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