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Friday, June 10, 2011

The Friday Challenge — 6/10/2011

This week in The Friday Challenge:

Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors mourn one of their own. Goodbye, Joel Rosenberg, and thank you. • Join the (respectful) discussion...

Bruce Bethke visits the dark side, and finds it user-friendly. • Join the discussion...

Bruce Bethke analyzes the implications of modern religion. • Join the discussion...

Bruce Bethke links comic books and film, and the various incarnations of each. Sadly, no one bothers to mention Dave Cockrum's Futurians. • Join the discussion...

Daniel Eness links Frank Stockton and Emily Brontë. There's a first for everything. • Join the discussion...

Ernest T. Scribbler wins the That's Infotainment! challenge, in an inexplicable display of death-defying dominance. No, seriously. Death-defying dominance. • Join the discussion...

All this and more, as M celebrates Name Your Poison Day by baking a seven-pepper-and-Thai-chicken pizza, and the inmates discuss the view from their respective places in the asylum.

Childhood's Lend (of an Idea or Two...)

As of the deadline for our current challenge, we have received the following entries (listed in their order of appearance within Files > Friday Challenge for 6 10 2011):

  • “Enough - A Dialogue” by miko

  • “Sock for Shark” by xdpaul

  • “Stormtrooper Knights” by Triton

  • “The Magic Radio” by Arisia

An enthusiastic “Huzzah” to all who have entered! The judges are now considering your submissions. A winner will be declared by the evening of Sunday, 12 June 2011.

Ernest T. Scribbler's Unbeskorrnt Mnebeholiths: A Fanzine of Impromulgable Proportions

And now it is time for this week's Friday Challenge, courtesy of Ernest T. Scribbler:

Over the years, I've slogged through any number of rejection slips, and been mucked amongst any volume of slush, yet I've never lost my love for the first passion of my unnaturally extended life: Sadie Louise Gorschwitz. I've also never lost my love for that other great passion: Scientifiction. Well, that's what Uncle Hugo wanted to call it. As a moniker it stunk, but it was memorable.

The one thing I've never tried my hand at was outright publication. Hocking pulps? Sure. Schlocking scripts? You betcha. But serving as an editor? I never had the gumption, umption, or inclination, until now.

I am going to begin publishing a scientifiction fanzine. It will include whatever I dern well please, including fiction. I make no claim that any of it will be good, but I can pretty much guarantee it will at least be different.

So what do I want you to do? Write the stinkin' story that you always wanted to read but that no one was ever willing to publish. If I like it, I will. No limits, length or otherwise, aside from an avoidance of slander or anything that would put me on a federal watch list. (I'm not going to make any money doing this, and I'm doing well to afford the one Krispy Kreme a week that gives me complimentary internet access, so I can't pay you.)

As of now, we are playing by the loosely enforced and slightly modified rules of The Friday Challenge. All entries are due by 6 AM Eastern time on the morning of Friday, 17 June 2011. A winner will be declared by the evening of Sunday, 19 June 2011.

(Given the nature of Ernest's challenge, our normal voting procedure may result in a numeric victor — and public opinion will still be recognized — but it may not affect his decision about which selection to publish. So be it! Go nuts, folks.)

The Thing without a Name (A Greater Challenge!)

Finally, having re-established ourselves, it is time to initiate a new Greater Challenge:

A little over a year ago, our founder said, “One of my deeply held beliefs is that science fiction is merely horror with an engineering degree, and that a lot of the "classic" stories of the genre are memorable not for their SF stage dressings, but for the emotional impact of their horrific stories.”

We never really did anything with that, did we?

Okay, here is your chance! Think about the all things that frighten you. Think about the monsters under the bed. Think about the scary things that dwell deep down... and then show us how they tick. You can have up to 7,500 words to frighten me as much as possible. Your entry must be at least 1,000 words for me to even consider it.

For this challenge, I only want complete stories. If it's a beautiful fragment, but not convincing as a whole, it will be disqualified.

Anyone can enter. No exceptions. You may enter as many times as you wish, but each entry must be independent of the others. You are still not allowed to build on anyone else's setup... unless you receive their permission, and they agree to a collaborative effort.

All entries in this greater challenge are due by 6 AM Eastern time on the morning of Friday, 8 July 2011. A winner will be declared by the evening of Sunday, 24 July 2011. (That's approximately four weeks in which to write, and two weeks in which to judge. Use your time well.)

Oh, there is one more thing... but it is the most important! Have fun. Always have fun.
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