Magazines & Anthologies
Rampant Loon Media LLC
Our Beloved Founder and Editor-in-Chief

Follow us on Facebook!


Read them free on Kindle Unlimited!





Blog Archive

Sunday, May 15, 2011

And the winner is...

For our third challenge, four contestants submitted an equal number of entries, and the same number of individuals — but not quite the same list of individuals! — assigned numeric votes. (Everyone resisted the temptation to veer from integers, despite an admittedly strong inclination.)

If any of you are able to take a second look at your own work, and see ways in which to improve a concept so that it can be more successfully developed, the effort will have been worthwhile.

Those of you who vote are allowed to assign a range of “0” to “3” points, per entry. Since challengers may not vote for their own stories, a bonus of 2 points is given to a participant's highest-ranked work, if that participant also takes the time to vote on the other entries.

Official judges receive a 30 point allocation, to assign as they see fit. The only restriction is that at most, only half of those points may be given to any single entry.

Ryan J is about to put on the “Editor Hat.” It's sort of like the “Sorting Hat” they use at Hogwarts (“You sound like a Ravenclaw... although deep down, you're really a Hufflepuff in disguise.”), but a little more nearsighted. Remember, this time it can only see a maximum of 200 words.

Recasting Genres

“Recasting Genres” by miko
Apparent source: “Jack and Jill” from Mother Goose's Melody (c.1760s) by John Newbery [see also, Roud Folk Song Index #10266]

Ryan J: This one was my favorite. It was recast very smoothly — were it not for the names of the probes, I would not have guessed the source. It's as far as you can go from being a nursery rhyme to a science news article, and I think the cleverness of making that shift is a big part of why I enjoyed this one so much.

Arisia: 3 / Ernest T. Scribbler: 2 / miko: voted! / xdpaul: 3
Ryan J: 10
Participation bonus: 2
Total: 20

“Strangler with a Sprained Hand” by Ernest T. Scribbler
Apparent source: Stranger in a Strange Land (1961) by Robert A. Heinlein

Ryan J: This one was disturbingly fun to read — fun because it's clear that the author was enjoying the process of laying out the language, disturbing because the topic conjoined to that language is so grim. (I really enjoyed the line about the ossification of the cartilagenous rings of the trachea. This one more so than the rest, though, I'm not sure I could identify the targeted writing style, so I'm not sure what the genre expectations Ernest is playing with might be.)

Arisia: 1 / Ernest T. Scribbler: voted! / miko:3 / xdpaul: 2
Ryan J: 7
Participation bonus: 2
Total: 15

“The Big Bad Wolf” by Triton
Apparent source: “Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf” from Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Tales (c.1843), by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps

Ryan J: I think fairy tales have a lot going for them in translation to sci fi, but this one still felt a lot like a fairy tale, just set in space. The setting changed more than the genre. The warning of the old woman really contributed to that. An old woman standing on the road (spaceport?) giving warnings to passersby seems like a more comfortable fit for the fairy tales from which the 3 Little Pigs came than for a science fiction story. Genre is more than the setting of the story, after all, but also the atmosphere of the story, the flavour of the writing, et cetera.

Anyone ever see the Muppet Show? Pigs in Space was one of my favorite segments. That and the Swedish chef.

Arisia: 3 / Ernest T. Scribbler: 2 / miko:1 / xdpaul: 2
Ryan J: 5
Total: 13

“The Task of Amon T. Yoder” by xdpaul
Apparent source: “The Cask of Amontillado” (1846) by Edgar Allen Poe

Ryan J: I really enjoyed the Victorian flavour of the writing. I'm not familiar with the original material, so it's hard to judge how smoothly the story was recast, but the writing felt very true to the spirit of the period. There's a certain almost oratorical style to the writing of this era, where each sentence is balanced and structured, that is captured really well here.

Arisia: 1 / Ernest T. Scribbler: 3 / miko:3 / xdpaul: voted!
Ryan J: 8
Participation bonus: 2
Total: 17


Based on the numbers, we have one clear winner and a strong second:

2nd Place: 17 points — “The Task of Amon T. Yoder” by xdpaul

1st Place: 20 points — “Recasting Genres” by miko

Congratulations, miko! Since you also won last week's challenge (and thus proposed the new one, taking yourself out of next week's competition), you have the option of selecting another new challenge proposal this coming Friday, or passing the “Editor Hat” to xdpaul, so that you may more quickly participate again.


So what was the lesson of this challenge?

Ryan J: This challenge has drawn out the difference between setting and genre. Where and when a story takes place are important — the Rockies in the 1800s is probably a western, while Alpha Centauri base in year 4000 is probably science fiction — but the setting is not what ultimately defines the genre.

If that story in the Rockies features a band of cowboys fighting for their lives as Lovecraftian ghouls destroy their herds, you really have more of a horror story than a western.

If a murder has taken place on Alpha Centauri base, and the protagonist is seeking clues, you have a mystery within a science fictional setting.

The boundaries are not clear cut, and you can profitably mix elements from each. The perception of genre is more dependent upon the atmosphere and character of your story, and the stakes at play, than where or when the story takes place.
blog comments powered by Disqus