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Friday, March 13, 2009

The Friday Challenge - 3/13/09

Light turnout this time. As of the deadline we have but three entries in the 3/6/09 Friday Challenge. In the order received, these are:

Lady Quill: "Mysteries Unfolding"

Al: "Waking the Dead"

Vidad: "Speechless"

As always, even if you did not submit an entry, you're invited to read, comment on, and vote for your favorites, with the winner to be announced Sunday.

Now, as for this week's Friday Challenge: for the past few days I've been thinking much about Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I'd like to say that this is owing to my recent discovery of the Ria Press web site, which features a nicely formatted PDF of Heart of Darkness amongst its collection of free downloadable public-domain books, but it's more likely some insidious side-effect of my having had substantial exposure recently to an R&D project with the code name of "Congo."

Whatever the cause, that's the starting point for this week's challenge. If you've never read Heart of Darkness, now is a good time to do so; if you distrust PDF files from unknown sources, you can always get a clean text copy from Project Gutenberg. It's a short novella—36 pages in formatted PDF—and while the story last impinged on the public consciousness in the form of the movie, Apocalypse Now, it occurs to me that Coppola's film came out decades ago, and in any case this story is just begging for an updated and modern sci-fi rewrite.

Hence this week's assignment. I want you to think about, plot out, and make at least a promising start towards writing a modern, updated, 21st century (or later) good clanking hard sci-fi remake of Heart of Darkness.

What's your angle? Are Data, Wesley, and a bunch of redshirts taking a rickety old Galileo-class shuttlecraft to Arglebargle IV, to find the remote outpost of the legendary Admiral Sulu, who's reportedly gone native? Or are you and your three fav BFFs cruising down Alameda in a '62 low-rider Impala convertible, into the deadly Heart of Compton? Is John Kerry taking a Swift boat up the modern-day Congo River, to have an experience that will no doubt be seared, seared into his memory?

Or how about this: maybe we are the primitive and superstitious natives, and a party of E.T.s have come here, searching for one of their own who's gone native and is using his/her/its advanced technology to set his/her/itself up as a god?

Anyway, the Challenge is issued; you now have one week to come up with a response. The deadline is midnight Central time, Thursday, March 19. Good luck.

And remember: "The horror! The horror!"
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