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Friday, January 13, 2012

The Friday Challenge — 1/13/2011

This week in The Friday Challenge:

Bruce Bethke uses the “Slushpile Survival Guide” to ask a practical question of our contributors... and a surprising number select option “C.” • Join the discussion...

Henry Vogel demonstrates himself to be a glutton for punishment throws open the floodgates and asks for suggestions. • Join the discussion...

Allan Davis performs a post-mortem, and realizes the patient ain't dead yet (in fact, it's feeling much better!). • Join the discussion...

Kersley Fitzgerald seeks ways the literary community could assist Mom & Pop. • Join the discussion...

Tor.com opens the nominations for their new award, and the current standings are interesting, although some of us are unsure whether “interesting” is good or bad. • Join the discussion...

Tyler Tork wins our “And now, for the next century and a half...” AND Higglety Pigglety Pop! challenges, by overcoming unbelievable odds. • Join the discussion...

All this and more, as animals everywhere prepare for the indignity of Dress Up Your Pet Day, and the inmates discuss the view from their respective places in the asylum.


As of this morning, we have received the following entries for our current challenge:

An enthusiastic “Huzzah” to all who have entered! The judges are considering your submissions, and a winner will be declared by the evening of Monday, 9 January 2012. (Monday instead of Sunday, since I'll be participating in illogiCon panels all weekend...)

It's something in the water...

And now it is time for this week's Friday Challenge, courtesy of Tyler Tork:

Especially around election season, which it seems nowadays is nearly all the time, I get to thinking that it would be great if people weren't so... or if they just had a little more...

If I could just tweak humanity a little, put some drug in the reservoir, I don't know what, I'm convinced things could be much better.

But of course, systems are complicated, and as everyone in Congress repeatedly fails to learn, changing the rules can have unintended results. People are perverse. (Oh. Perhaps we could fix that!)

Write a story, or a news piece, or something, to illustrate how you might change people if you could reach inside their brains, or bodies if you prefer, and adjust one setting. Would you make them smarter? (And about what, exactly? Intelligence isn't one thing.) Stronger? Less whiny? Happier? Consider the likely side effects of your change. Make us see why it might work out that way.

Anyone can enter, except for Tyler Tork. You may enter as many times as you wish, but each entry must be independent of the others, and you may not build on anyone else's work.

Everyone is asked to vote, and to say a few words about what they liked, and why. Or to say a few words about what they disliked, as the case may be; by submitting an entry, you implicitly agree to accept criticism, because there will probably be some handed out, and no one is immune. When voting, please rank a work as either “0” (not so good), “1” (not as bad), “2” (could have been better) or “3” (pretty good stuff!). If you give either a “0” or “3” vote, feel free to argue in support of your reasoning.

Don't like the negativity? Feel free to think of the levels as “0” (Not bad for a first attempt), “1” (Right on!), “2” (Holy cow, I wanna buy this now...) or “3” (Sweet mother of God, how did you write something this awesome?!!). The point is to clearly differentiate, and rank according to your own preference.

For the purposes of this challenge, Tyler Tork will be serving as Ye Olde High Marker, Voluntarily Walking th' Plank.

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, 20 January 2012. A winner will be declared by the evening of Sunday, 22 January 2012.

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