DISCUSSION THREAD -- December 2016 75-word Writing Challenge

Venusian Broon

Defending the SF genre with terminal intensity
Dec 7, 2011
Festive period has me all rushing about...but I just managed my vote in -

Ooh, I noticed a lot of poor burning faeries this time. Poor wee things!

Anyway on first glance, these baubles of words caught my eye instantly: Cat's Cradle, Victoria Silverwolf, Abernovo, Reiver33, Hoopy Frood, Chrispenycate, VinceK, Moonbat (I love the way you think!) and Phyrebrat.

The one's that had me wrapped up, in tinsel of course, were: Wruter, AJB, Vaz, AnyaKimlin and DG Jones.

But the angel at the top of my tree, for unfortunately there is only room for one in this contest at the top, but a splendid star of an entry in my mind...was Shyrka's Hoar Frost


resident pedantissimo
Staff member
Aug 10, 2005
West Sussex
I have voted - my short list was:- Victoria Silverwolf, Wruter, HoopyFrood, DG Jones and my vote went to The Judge

But it's the last day, and:- Abernovo, AJB, Ajid, AnyaKimlin, Ashleyne. B. Watts, Calliopenjo, Culhwch, DG Jones, farntfar, HazelRah, Ihe, Jo Zebedee, juelz4sure, Mad Alice, Perpetual Man, ratsy, TacticalLoco and Ursa major don't seem to have voted yet (this could be out of date as webreception died on me for quite a while), which is rather a lot by this point.

My thanks to Cory Swanson, Glen Starbeast, Vaz and Venusian Broon for their appreciation, and of course to Cathbad for the vote.


Professionally indecisive
Jul 9, 2015
I always struggle to find the time to write anything even half decent in busy months, so a special thankyou for those who mentioned my story. And I have even managed to vote in time too!


Peter V


Dave Barsby - who got the vote :) (also because I am a sucker for anything anthropomorphic or the like o_O)

The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
Staff member
Nov 10, 2008
nearly the New Forest
And another month when a number of stories got shoved out into the cold because for me they didn't meet the genre, and while I think every story got the weather or some aspect of winter in there, for me the theme needed to be an integral part of the story, not simply part of the background scenery, which whittled away a few more. That still left plenty of good tales, though, and I had to be strict to keep the shortlist to a manageable size.

And the shortlist is:

Culhwch -- Witchlight
DG Jones -- Fairy Light
Hoopy -- A Visit From...
Luiglin -- Revenge is a dish best served cold, very cold
reiver -- Early This Year
Shyrka -- Hoar Frost
Venusian Broon -- Burnt Matches
Victoria -- Climate Change

A difficult one this month and I changed my mind several times as I tried to put these eight stories into some kind of pecking order, but in the end, the pathos of VB's bitter tale won my vote.

A special mention for Luiglin's title, and for improving my knowledge of Celtic myth (I had to Google Cailleach) and Shykra and Ursa share the award for the best punning title.

Some Ice Cold in London thanks for the mentions Droflet, Starbeast and CC, and frozen solid Holmesian not-at-all-odiferous mega-thanks for the votes Chris p, reiver, HB, DEO and Peter V! Very much appreciated.

The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
Staff member
Nov 10, 2008
nearly the New Forest
A bit late for this poll, but just a general reminder to everyone to take care when voting, and members new to the Challenges should remember to read the opening posts in the poll threads and/or the rules to ensure they know what they can and can't do.

For obvious reasons we don't allow members to vote for themselves, and whether this is done deliberately or by mistake after hitting the wrong button, we can't remove a self-vote and allocate it elsewhere, so it's simply discounted. Votes are precious, so we don't want them wasted!


Well-Known Member
Sep 13, 2011
Thanks for the kind mention, VB!

Couldn't quite find the genre of Gaslamp Fantasy in several of the stories in this challenge, but some amazing imagery nevertheless.

A few stood out for me.
Loved the oil spell incantation in Scarborough Faire by @Calliopenjo; the magical (sur)realism of Burnt Matches by @Venusian Broon, brought the sensibilities of both Charles Dickens and Angela Carter; and the dark melancholic fantasy of Amongst Angels by @Phyrebrat could power a story a hundred times its length.

In the end, Revenge is a dish best served cold, very cold by @Luiglin took my vote. The inclusion of the icebound Thames, reminiscent of the the Ice Fairs, invoked the gaslamp feel, and the prose was sublime.
Jan 25, 2012
Prime Evil Soup
Congratulations, Your Honour!

For those who wondered where the gaslampness in my musical story was, I drew a long bow and referred to one branch of timelines as "gaslight timelines", using the term gaslight not as a technological marker of the Victorian era, but in this sense:

Gaslighting or gas-lighting is manipulation through persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying in an attempt to destabilize and delegitimize a target. Its intent to is sow seeds of doubt in the subject, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. (From Wikipedia).

It seemed an appropriate term for a bunch of timelines where history was changed so they still contained time-travelling dinosaurs.

Now, I'm off to name a supervillain Gaslight. Bwahahahaha!!

Ursa major

Bearly Believable
Staff member
Aug 7, 2007
Here are the results of the Ursa jury, a series of cold snap decisions....

Honourable Mentions:
  • Trophies by Dave Barsby
  • Frozen Liquid Assets by Heijan Xavier
  • Burnt Matches by Venusian Broon
  • You Better watch Out by TheDustyZebra

Runners Up:
  • A Visit From... by HoopyFrood
  • Santa's Naughty or Nice List by Bowler1
  • Hustle on Threadneedle Street by farntfar

  • Hoar Frost by Shyrka

(In the above, each category is ordered by time of posting.)


by day Stuart Orford by night Dark Lord's scribe
Mar 22, 2012
Mercia, UK
Cheers @Glen and @Abernovo for the votes and for the mentions folks. Congrats to @The Judge.

I went for @Peter V - nice snippet of a terminal but heart warming conversation.

A special mention for Luiglin's title, and for improving my knowledge of Celtic myth (I had to Google Cailleach)
I read up further on the Cailleach a few years back after she appeared briefly in a trilogy by Mark Chadbourn called Age of Misrule (well worth a read). She's quite an interesting entity.

In the end, Revenge is a dish best served cold, very cold by @Luiglin took my vote. The inclusion of the icebound Thames, reminiscent of the the Ice Fairs, invoked the gaslamp feel, and the prose was sublime.
Cheers. My original idea was based on the Ice Fairs that were staged on the frozen Thames. It started out as a happy tale with the Caillech being invoked in order for Londoners to stage the fair. However, seeing as how she is a Celtic deity and far removed from southern England, I decided a more darker revenge tale was more appropriate. Phossy Jaw, a truly horrific historical afflication, seemed to be a perfect reason.

Have a great New Year!
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Benevolent Galaxy Being
Mar 11, 2010
Congratulations Judge

@Victoria Silverwolf - Medal of Excellence for 2nd Place​

My Story: I was inspired by the 1938 film version of A Christmas Carol. I watched it a few times this month. The movie has a special place it my heart, and...

"OOOooooOOOOoooooo- I'm a ghost."

"Tonto?" (Starbeast's, talking palomino horse buddy)

"I'm the Holiday Horse Ghost of Popcorn."

"Why are you covered in talcum powder?"

"I'm a ghost. Just play along, please."

"OK. Oh horse spirit, why do you haunt me?"

"I want your popcorn."


"Yes, popcorn. I used to be the Ghost of Seasonal Sausage. But when I approached a lady and said that to her, she slapped my face. Then she chased me away with by hitting me with her purse. Now, give me your popcorn."

"I have some candy corn."

"I don't like that. What else do you have, mortal?"

"How about some Fritos?"







"Well... What kind?"

"Vinegar and Salt."

"Yuck. No. Give me popcorn, or I will swallow your soul."

"OK, OK. Here."

"I don't like caramel corn."

"All I have left is chestnuts."

"I'll take those."

"Here. Happy? Hey. Get your hooves out of my pockets."

"I think you're hiding buttered popcorn from me." (RRRRRRIP!!!)

"Hey. You tore my favorite long coat."

"Uh-oh. Well...goodbye!"

"Tonto! Come back here!"

"Sorry mortal. I have to join the other spirits."

"When I get my hands on you, I'll make you into a REAL GHOST!!!."


Who are you people?
Apr 27, 2011
Congratulations The Judge!

I enjoyed completing my first 75-worder trilogy this month, even though meeting the theme and genre (!) in the Aus outback was a challenge. Back in October it felt like the apocalyptic story would have to be a trilogy, even though I felt I was skating close to the edge of the rules - '...the stories must stand on their own'.

Thanks Cory Swanson for the vote! A pleasant surprise.


Level 30 Geek Master
Dec 9, 2015
The events of my story took place in the winter. Honest! All the while I wrote it, I saw the protagonist walking in the snow!! :whistle:

Honestly, I knew I had to change the story a bit to reflect the winter theme, but I had an appointment to get to right after I wrote it up. When I got back, I simply uploaded the file. A few hours later, while doing something unassociated, it hit me. Of course, it was too late! Meh.

I'm calling it old age. ;)