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Sunday, September 11, 2011

And the winner is...

Have you ever read a book solely because you couldn't get the monstrous image of its author out of your head? Someday you will. Better yet, you may even be the monstrous image that snags an unsuspecting reader!

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 be 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, and there is no requirement for a judge to use the entire 30 point allocation.

Ryan J is about to put on the “Editor Hat.” It's sort of like the “Sorting Hat” they use at Hogwarts (“Seriously? You've done all of that? And no one pressed charges?”), but a little less sarcastic.

Dust My Jacket...

  • J.M. Perkins

    His atomic components are the bones of dead stars. His emotional and physiological features are the end result of millions of years of relentless warrior ape breeding. He is 113 kilograms of tooth, claw and muscle wrapped around the most advanced computer known to man. He draws from the common cultural knowledge of humanity to forge shocking visions through the power of language itself. He is: J.M. Perkins.

    Ryan J: I really loved the description here, it's a great revelation into the sorts of things J.M. Perkins thinks about. The fact that most of the elements of our bodies were once gouted forth from the heart of a dying star is so overwhelming, you can only live an ordinary life by not thinking about it.

    After reading it, though, I'm not so sure I could say anything about J.M. Perkins' life, or what he writes about. I do know that whatever he writes will be produced by a mind that can't forget we are made of star-stuff.

    I'm gonna give this 4 points- it's awesome writing, but does not convey all that it should.

    The photo has been added to the catalogue of source material for my future nightmares.

    ** I'm capriciously giving J.M. Perkins' scores a 1 point boost for courageously offering photographic evidence that he is nominally human, neither undead nor synthetic. **

    J M Perkins: voted! / Henry 1
    Ryan J: 4 + 1
    Total: 6

  • J.M. Perkins

    J.M. Perkins spent the first 14 years of his life preparing to flee to the wilds of Canada to escape the forces of the Antichrist. Since then, he's spent his time since attending college, working at a candy factory, performing a variety of unsanctioned sociological experiments, getting published and graduating high school... though not necessarily in that order. He lives in San Diego with his roller derby playing photographer wife and his chickenshit dog.

    Ryan J: I think the prose of your first one was slightly more mindblowing, but this one tells us more about you, and in a similarly entertaining manner. It presents facts that are more informative, but in a manner that conveys a lot of personality.

    This one was more successful than the first, even though the first entertained me a little more. The photo comes across as a more serious writer too.

    I give this a 8.

    ** I'm capriciously giving J.M. Perkins' scores a 1 point boost for courageously offering photographic evidence that he is nominally human, neither undead nor synthetic. **

    J M Perkins: voted! / Henry 2
    Ryan J: 8 + 1
    Participation bonus: 2
    Total: 13

  • xdpaul

    Eness is the first, less famous, farmboy on a remote planet who wondered if there was more to this than moisture vaporators and patch-in droids.

    He writes adventures in rural horror, technology and the burning pink seascape of the soul.

    The head of a rugged clan of six livestock-raising urban denizens, he’s been grafted to the capital city of the future home state of Captain James Tiberius Kirk.

    Ryan J: The second sentence is my favorite. Not sure why. Must be the seascape. The whole blurb does an excellent job of giving a sense of your life, and the sci fi references do a good job of suggesting other fiction that you've loved- which is important. It makes me think 'this guys likes things that I like. Maybe he'll write stuff I like too."

    I give this 8 also. The consequent tie was broken by photographic evidence.

    J M Perkins: 2 / Henry 1.5
    Ryan J: 8
    Total: 11.5

  • Henry

    In his long and varied life, Henry has bagged wild groceries, labored manually, been a student, built sandwiches, purveyed pizzas, sold the news, been a student, edited a magazine, delivered the news, aided engineers for whom English was a second language, been a student, written comic books, supported software (L)users (he says the ‘L’ is silent), broken software, broken more software, told stories professionally, edited a magazine, all while working part-time as a minor god.

    Ryan J: I like the bagging wild groceries, and the (L)users- though I work with computers, so perhaps I'm not entirely objective here. I'm left with the impression that this is a guy who's done a lot of interesting stuff. There's a lot of twists on common sayings here that are fun (selling the news made me think for a moment that the right to control the content of the news is what was for sale. The citizen in me suspects that's wrong. The fan of dystopian fiction in me suspects that's right.)

    I'd love to see a little about the kind of writing you've done, but working part time as a minor god is as good a description of writing as I've ever seen. The Greeks called their poets (some of them would have been novelists today) 'makers' and 'creators'- it's actually what the word poet means.

    I give this 6.

    J M Perkins: 1.5 / Henry voted!
    Ryan J: 6
    Participation bonus: 2
    Total: 9.5

  • Vidad

    Vidad MaGoodn is an occasionally typo-prone neurotic, who thinks having lots of babies is good and having debt is bad. Needless to say, that line is easier to type than to live.

    He likes starting fires, arguing both sides of an argument with lots of gesticulation and little actual content, and typing up things that most people wouldn't dare to think.

    His writing verges on the insane and borders on the profound, though both are generally sacrificed to a good joke.

    When he's not writing, he's thinking about writing. When he's not doing either, he's wishing he'd chosen a career that made money without requiring work.

    Gin and cigars are his less-than-secret vices, and both were used in the creation of this book, albeit with limited efficacy.

    Though his "career" is in radio, be glad you're reading this rather than hearing it, since his voice painstakingly intertwines the rich timbre of Larry King with the soothing richness of a far-off truck horn.

    Finally, before reading, be sure to pack your cheeks with something nutritious, because the sweet-tart fluff herein is likely to raise your literary cholesterol. Don't say you weren't warned - because no one will listen.

    Cloning Ray: because "Great" and "American" are both far-off seconds to the word novel.

    (Disqualified due to length, but included for the sake of completeness!)

    Ryan J: I'm hesitant to score this because it's been disqualified, but I can at least make a a few comments. This does a great job of telling us what kind of person you are, and your general personality. Though I think it's better to be self deprecating of yourself and less of your book- the part about sweet-tart fluff sounds more like the observation of a critic and less like text printed on a book to make people want to buy it.

    I agree with the advice to break this up into two parts.

    J M Perkins: 1.5 / Henry 2 minus 5 = -3
    Ryan J: (null)
    Total: -1.5


Given the fact that we had our first negative total, and that a relative newcomer bookended the viable tally, I think this qualifies as a truly impressive spread! Here are the numbers:

5th Place (out of 4): -1.5 pointsVidad

4th Place: 6 pointsJ M Perkins

3rd Place: 9.5 pointsHenry

2nd Place: 11.5 pointsxdpaul

1st Place: 13 pointsJ M Perkins

Congratulations, J M Perkins! As winner, you are hereby invited to propose next week's challenge, scheduled to be announced the morning of Friday, 16 September 2011.


So what was the lesson of this challenge?

Ryan J: I think that the actual blurb for the dust jacket has a couple of goals- convey some distinctive facts about the author, tell you a bit about what they write, and suggest their personality. These entries all are suffused with personality, but some do a little less telling about your life and writing.

As usual, all scoring is necessarily capricious- so don't go basing your sense of self worth on the outcomes here. You are all phenomenal human beings, forged of the bones of dead stars. And stuff.

One last thing- if I'd been able to participate, I would have added a picture too. But my daughter's birthday party precluded the snake festooned photo shoot, so I'm instead posting an out of date photo of my first experience with the savage and prophetic children. (The kid is now seven, and my horrid chin is now concealed by a majestic goatee, but otherwise, yep, that's me.)

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