Improving our 75 Word Stories -- READ FIRST POST

Joshua Jones

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@Joshua Jones --- as you said; your story did get several mentions and in my book that's a pretty good month. Votes are hard to come by especially when one story gets nearly a third of them.

I found your story hard to follow. First the title put me off. I don't know what I was dreaming about but it was not until I tried to understand what did not put your story up there for me that I realized 2157 was probably a date. I had it in my mind that it was somehow related to your story and could not imagine what that relation was. My bad! --- Second, I was confused by the terminology of "Obsolete." I first thought that it was a statement of being out of date, but then we came to the "Obsolete bandits" which might be a group name and so the term might be group designation. --- Third, this sentence didn't make sense to me. "Carl froze, but couldn't turn away from the pleas for help, the Osolete bandits, and spilt blood." What is "Obsolete bandits" doing in this sentence? Did Carl spill his own blood? That does not seem to make sense in the story, but that is the obvious way to read the sentence. Fourth, "illegal thought pattern" does not obviously make sense to me if we are talking about something that is "obsolete" now if the "Obsolete bandits" is some kind of gang, then it does. But since bandits is not capitalized I was not at all sure that it was a group. Finally, and perhaps as an overarching concern, I did not understand the context. Is everyone on a slideway (this was my thought)? Why is Obsolete a death offense? Where are the people going? What are they doing? I did not understand an answer to any of those questions.

Now that I've really concentrated on this story, I'm coming to the opinion that you attempted too much in this story to be able to carry it out in 85 words.
Ok, that is kind of what I was thinking too. What I was going for was that in the future, humanity is managed by AI and robotics, who have replaced humanity in most jobs. Carl is one of the few humans who are able to do a certain job better than a machine, but the rest are Obsoletes, who eke out a living any way possible. Compassion, in this case, is the same as rebellion from the "guiding" of the machines, and is punishable with death.

So, the way I saw the storyline going, Carl was on his way to work at the direction of his Guide, and saw his brother being attacked by a group of bandits. He wanted to intervene, but the Guide wouldn't allow this inefficiency. When he refused the Guide's direct order, he was in rebellion, and the Guide destroyed him and three Obsoletes who happened to be near him. But, yeah, if that is capable of being presented in 85 words, I don't think I did a particularly good job of doing it.
 

Shyrka

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If it's any consolation, I read it as you explained above and came close to voting for it. In the end, I had the same issues as Parson - the Obsolete bandits did sound like some sort of organisation which I found a little jarring. Also, this section:

Carl stepped off the lane and said, “Guide, my brother’s dying. I'm helping.”

“Ilegal thought pattern detected. Purging 02952819,” it said, firing its weapon system and reducing Carl and three nearby Obsoletes to red mist.
The 'it said' doesn't immediately follow. I can work out that it's the robot, but since the above sentence is about his brother, it made me expect the next line to be from one of the obsoletes. Something like

“Ilegal thought pattern detected. Purging 02952819,” the guide intoned, firing its weapon system and reducing Carl and three nearby Obsoletes to red mist.
would have helped the clarity and avoided a nasty 'bump' in the flow.

I also think the mention of the brother doesn't really stand on it's own. You'd either need to introduce that sooner (some sort of 'he heard a familiar voice' thing) or just have it be a random other human that he doesn't know. I don't think you'd lose much if it was just him showing compassion for a stranger.
 

chrispenycate

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Not even a mention this month, and I had thought the construction quite good. People seeing it as reality rather than fantasy? Or boredom with my eternal attempts at verse?


Raid

Meat and leather, sinew, bone,
Cornucopia,
Camel of the tundra.
Patriarch beside his own,
Suckling calves mill under 'er.

Night serenity intent is rent
Weapons groped for, bows are bent
Hooves and antlers face the frost-furred foe.

Pack caribous that carry booze,
Clothing, weapons, tents, domestic use,
Were-transformed to warriors, outer ring protection.
Landsnecht antlers threatening,
'Gainst lupine insurrection.

Pack decamping, casualties
Wolf, deer entrails and human wounds,
They lost combatants, we did also.

It wanted to be much longer - about a hundred words, in fact. When I cut down:

Raid

Meat and leather, sinew, bone,
Tribal cornucopia,
Camel of the tundra.
Patriarch beside his own,
Suckling calves mill under 'er.

Night's serenity intent is rent,
Embers kicked to blazing
Weapons groped for, bows are bent
Antlers, hooves face frost-furred foe,
Cowardice erasing.

Pack caribous that carry booze,
Clothing, weapons, tents, domestic use,
Were-transformed to warriors, outer ring protection.
Snarling death is on the loose
Landsnecht antlers threatening,
'Gainst lupine insurrection.

Pack decamping, casualties
Wolf, deer entrails and human wounds,
They lost combatants, we did also.
Life goes on, defying freeze,
Drinking losses to the lees
Sacrifices to appease
Ferocity-deranged hell-hounds

did I remove any critical, essential elements? I know that tinkering with anyone else's poem is not wise, but has anyone any better cuts?
 

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