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 numerically 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 (unless there is only one entry, in which case the silly restriction is lifted!), and there is no requirement for a judge to use the entire 30 point allocation.
M is about to put on the “Editor Hat.” It's sort of like the “Sorting Hat” they use at Hogwarts (“Wait a minute. Weren't those the lyrics to ‘We Didn't Start the Fire’?”), but a little less sarcastic.
“It's not all that bad... Really” by Watkinson
M: Oh, Watkinson, Watkinson, Watkinson... if you'd played up the Terry Pratchett-esque characterization of Death, or gone for the notion that the end of the world comes for each individual when that individual ends, I might have given this the edge! As it is, your piece reads as far too optimistic to be apocalyptic.
Interesting form of optimism, though. I dig the notion that even if we wipe ourselves out, we won't have truly “ended” the world.
“Neither Bang Nor Whimper” by Allan Davis
M: You didn't believe me about the Mayans running out of room on their calendar, did you? Well, if you had to go there, at least you threw me an interesting narrative... and you sort of tied it in with that other great pyramid-building civilization, since your bugs reminded me of another fictionalized incarnation of magical, flesh-eating scarabs. The ending was slightly unexpected, which was a plus.
In a way, it feels like this one was assembled from vignettes of a longer story you planned to write, but didn't quite have time to flesh out. Given that you only have eleven months until the Mayan angle will be of questionable interest, I'm not sure I'd give this one any further effort.
With only a single point separating them, surely the victor can take pride in such a close contest?
1st Place: 6.4 points — “Neither Bang Nor Whimper” by Allan Davis
Congratulations, Allan Davis! As winner, you are hereby invited to propose next week's challenge, scheduled to be announced the morning of Friday, 27 January 2012.
It was actually sort of difficult to select this week's winner, because although clear that both entries had received a fair investment of time and typing, neither quite fit my expectations. But then, those were my expectations, and if the world ever ends, I doubt if I'll be the one to see it coming. Well done, both of you!