RESULTS – Microcosms 16

All right, guys. I know I’ve been running behind. I really apologize. Thanks for your patience! If you’d like to volunteer to help run the contest, please let me know. I’ll try to make it as painless as possible.


A HUGE thanks to this week’s judges, Bill Engleson and Sal Page.


Here’s what Sal had to say:

Judging. Why do I always feel I got it wrong? Am I really worthy to be a judge? Don’t think so. Early this century I did jury service. Everyone in the court was horrible to us the whole ten days, except the judge. He was lovely. Yeah, I fell for the judge.

If only I had some way of contacting him to ask for help with this. Does he know what steampunk is, for example? (Massive apologies to anyone who’s done something stupendously steampunky & I’ve just not got it ….) Does he have any knowledge of the Titanic? Or horror, sci-fi or the 1920s come to that? For some reason I’m clueless while everyone else just seems to know. But I’m sure my judge would just smile and say ‘That is for you to decide.’

At least these ten folk haven’t been indulging in violent disorder at a petrol station for no discernible reason. Just a bit of fabulous flashing … so hurrah for that!

And here’s what Bill had to say:

So I’m torn. Which is harder? Judging or Writing? Or writing up a judgment? Well, if you have any hesitation, let me release you from your diffident doubt. It’s judging. By a country mile. Or, because I’m Canadian, a country kilometer.

This week’s entries flew through time and space, providing stark images of fate and folly having their way with an arresting array of characters.

In my experience, flash fiction writers speak in tongues, twisting their words with a sleight of hand, a blaze of narrative, a dram of dialogue that, in a jiffy, transports the reader out of their sinecure into a fantabulous cosmos of possibilities.

I am now back from my surreal travels and, bearing in mind the words of the late Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, who once said (and be very clear here that I am in no way comparing pancakes and flash fiction, nor flash fiction and children) that “In a big family the first child is like the first pancake. If it’s not perfect, that’s okay, there are a lot more coming,” will now render my decision for Microcosms 16…


All right, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…


Honorable/Honourable Mentions

Brian S. Creek – Cure for Boredom

Comments from Bill: In an earlier rush of judgement, I admitted my tendency to be partial to tales of airships and other flighty bags of wind and gas so it should come as no surprise that Brian’s explosive little tidbit found favour this go-around. And really, given the current Republican race for the Presidential nomination, rich gasbags and blowing up things for the pure pleasure of it seems to have become standard operating procedure in some quarters.

Comments from Sal: A hard working title, which adds to what we learn about this character. Like the moment of realisation about what’s really happening in those final lines and how the meaning of ‘It’s going to be quite a night.’ changes as it’s repeated.

Brady Koch – Overcoming Patience

Comments from Bill: Zeppelins and Orphans. Love ‘em both. Brady’s testy little sci-fi vendetta appealed to me for the swift exit of the poor sod in front of the vengeful little gaffer, Amos. Who hasn’t been stuck in a bread line and wanted to clean house, I ask you?

Daisy Warwick – 1929: Dancing to ‘When You’re Smiling’

Comments from Sal: Poetry is hard so extra points here for effort to bring character, atmosphere and narrative to the reader. And how can I not like something that rhymes Daisy with crazy?


Runners Up

Daisy Warwick – 1929: Dancing to ‘When You’re Smiling’

Comments from Bill: How could Ms. Warwick not channel characters from Gatsby? Especially his lost love, Daisy Buchanan? Well, the poem hits on a variety of ‘20’s touchstones, rhymes sweetly here and there, and pays nodding and nicking homage to Leonardo D. As grand as his Gatsby is, I am from the old school and favour Alan Ladd’s turn in the 1949 version. Once upon a time, it was available on You Tube, I believe. Anyway, April is National Poetry Month, at least across the line, so there you go.

Stephanie Ellis – Shelter

Comments from Bill: This vegetarian has a bit of a weak stomach but the writer in me relished Steph’s inspirational venture, her willingness to horse around with our sensibilities and make a shelter out of a sow’s ear, so to speak. Clearly there is a price to be paid for pulling the covers over your head. A tasty morsel all the way around.

Amy Wood – Here be Monsters

Comments from Sal: Nicely crafted. I like the repetition of ‘nobody said’ and that we’re shown how the character feels through extremes of temperature, internal and external. Really creates atmosphere. And that last line hints at what might happen beyond the end.

Brady Koch – Overcoming Patience

Comments from Sal: Good work with tricky prompts. There’s a lot betweenthe lines and I like the idea of Amos, beyond the end of this flash, further blasting his way through the rest of the queue and taking all the bread. Go Amos!


Favorite/Favourite Lines

Before we get to our winners, here are Sal and Bill’s favorite/favourite lines from this week.

“Cold sweat trickled down Eli’s face, cold despite the harsh hot wind. – Amy Wood

Nobody said the endless prairie could drive a soul mad with its unchanging beauty. – Amy Wood

I can’t offer much to Daisy Maybe a poor quality wine. – Daisy Warwick

I can’t offer much to Daisy
Maybe a poor quality wine
But her husband’s friend’s a Mafia ‘crazy’ – Daisy Warwick

Oh, it’s going to be quite a night. – Brian S. Creek

‘I sunk a lot of money into her construction, though to me it was mere pocket change. – Brian Creek

He slit the animal’s throat and cut open the stomach, hauling out the bloody entrails to make a cavity big enough for him to crawl into. – Steph Ellis

She might be new at this job but she knew it wasn’t Winston Churchill who was hopefully still in the coffin. – Stella Turner

Showing signs of decay, bullet hole between the eyes, a designer suit, and top end leather wallet carelessly thrown on the floor. – Stella Turner

He glances at them with one eye, the other lost in the Mutiny and replaced by a diamond from the looted treasury of some Hindu prince. – A. V. Laidlaw

His legs, shattered by a cannonball during the Opium Wars and held together by clockwork and wires of African gold, click with each hurried step. – AV Laidlaw

I move my queen across the chessboard, a polished silver cog her crown. – Stephen Shirres

“Captain, full steam would literally melt the ship from the inside. May I suggest very light steam?” – Craig A

“Captain, full steam would literally melt the ship from the inside. May I suggest very light steam.” – Craig A

Timing is everything he said. He had his futures options, a time machine in his garage. – Voima Oy

He had his futures options, a time machine in his garage. – Voima Oy

It was barely fit for ducks. – Brady Koch

The man evaporated, leaving a pile of dingy clothes. – Brady Koch


And now, without further ado, I present to you the winners of Microcosms 16.

(insert drumroll here)


Community Pick

Craig A – On the Rocks

On the rocks

“Captain, this craft is not sea worthy.”
The captains breath formed clouds as he spoke, “nonsense, this is the sturdiest vessel in the Atlantic. I hired the best engineers in the world to make it so.”
“But why this particular design?”
“Stealth of course! Now full steam ahead.”
“Captain, full steam would literally melt the ship from the inside. May I suggest very light steam.”
The captain slumped into his icy chair with a sigh, “I suppose.”

There was an almighty crash, followed by screaming. The Captain jumped to his feet, “What was that?”
“I believe sir that may have been the HMS Titanic…”
“I told you we were sturdy!”

110 words
#flashdog
@todayschapter
Millionaire, England, and steam punk.


Judges’ Picks

AV Laidlaw – The Sun Never Sets

Comments from Bill: I loved this post-Dickensian set-piece, this stroll by Lord Haversham through the tawdry, steaming streets of Kensington. Maybe it is because I have had a partial knee replacement that I identified and enjoyed his itemizations of his replacement parts. A rich little tale, well told.

@AvLaidlaw
Millionaire / England / Steampunk
110 Words

The Sun Never Sets

Lord Havisham strides through Kensington, past the beggars leaching from a smog tinted blood red by the sunset.

The gas lamps flicker on. He glances at them with one eye, the other lost in the Mutiny and replaced by a diamond from the looted treasury of some Hindu prince. His legs, shattered by a cannonball during the Opium Wars and held together by clockwork and wires of African gold, click with each hurried step. He tosses the beggars a few shillings.

He is an old man and remembers this place before the city. The fields and laughing brook. His heart was made of English oak then, but rotted long ago.


Stephanie Ellis – Shelter

Comments from Sal: I’m fascinated by the fact that someone would, or indeed could, climb inside the body of a horse to sleep. And for that matter, be hungry enough to eat a one. Put these two together and you get something clever, horrific and funny all at the same time.

Shelter

110 words
elements: frontiersman, wilderness, horror

@el_Stevie
#FlashDog

Tobias stumbled through the blizzard sensing he was being watched. When would they show themselves? He was more than a year late in joining his brother at the small outpost. And now his horse could go no further.

Tobias pulled out a knife knowing he had one chance. He slit the animal’s throat and cut open the stomach, hauling out the bloody entrails to make a cavity big enough for him to crawl into.

He did not hear starving voices cheer at the sight of the horse, the cries that at last their luck was turning and their famine was over. Nor did his eyes open as the axes fell.


Congratulations! Each of you will receive:

  • A winner’s badge on the site
  • An invitation for inclusion in the anthology (with a note that your story was selected as a winner)
  • A Kindle copy of Titanic: The Sinking of The Titanic. If you already have the book or don’t have a Kindle, etc., you are free to choose another book of similar value or donate the cost of the book to World Reader, The Book Bus, or another literacy-related charity. Please contact me with the country you live in and the e-mail address you’d like me to send the Kindle book to.


Additionally, you are each invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let me know if you are interested!

RESULTS - Microcosms 17
RESULTS - Microcosms 15
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1 comment for “RESULTS – Microcosms 16

  1. 31 May 2016 at 3:14 am

    Thank you for giving the info. It’ll help me bunch.

    0

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