Thank you to all who worked their magic on the story elements in Microcosms 29. We had a reasonable number of submissions this week, but we always welcome more. Please keep returning to Microcosms, and spread the word about this contest among your followers and friends.
One or two people have reported problems with the spinner not showing the genre. If you are in the same boat, please let me know at my twitter account; we are working to find a solution.
I have to announce the sad news that Steph Ellis has regrettably had to stand down as co-administrator of Microcosms, due to having rediscovered that she does, in fact, have a life. 🙂 Many thanks to her for all the hard work she has put in looking after Microcosms for quite some time.
I will be taking over full responsibility, as far as my administration privileges allow, until Kristen is better placed to return – all being well, very soon. If anyone else is willing to help out, get in touch with me (link above)… PLEASE!
Many thanks to Stephen Shirres for judging MC 29. Here’s what he had to say:
When sitting down to judge this week’s entries, I kept in mind what Meg Kovalik had said about wanting stories filled with joy and hope. As usual, there were some great entries; but two pieces really stood out for me, and it was really hard to pick a winner and a runner-up.
Favorite / Favourite Lines
A J Walker – Staccato soundbites followed by inevitable applause.
Holly Geely – Steam belched from the pipes like great puffs of flatulence…
Avalina Kreska – It was as if a thousand mesmeric maidens hit one note and held it within silver strings of ice.
Bill Engleson – And I also came here tonight with bile, yes, Bile with a capital B, in my blood.
Vibha Lohani – There was a clap of thunder and it seemed lightning struck somewhere.
Sal Page – Daisy was only nine but had quite a voice on her.
Steph Ellis – Someone else’s problem/This unwanted stray
Geoff Holme – This was confirmed when a steam boiler in the wings exploded, projecting debris across the stage and dislodging Wynd’s stovepipe hat and his weave, thus totally upstaging his wife’s peccadillo.
Richard Edenfield – You can bring your dog as long as they know how to drive a stick and not just fetch one. –
Meg Kovalik – The crowd gasped as the lumbering sanitation machine rolled onto the stage.
The Day All of Our Brains Turned into Cheerios
Just made me laugh!
A J Walker – Primary Colours
I liked the sweet excitement of Alan and how proud he was of his job. The last two lines are wonderfully happy and positive.
Holly Geely – Like A Balloon
A wonderful explanation to the problem the sky-people were facing mixed with a couple of great lines, such as the complaint about the Emperor-President taking a bubble bath.
Meg Kovalik – Heavenly Hellfire
A lot going on in such a short number of words which all pull together at the end.
Steph Ellis – Full Circle
I’m not usually a poetry person but I loved this poem. Very moving and reminds us of the role all people play in helping those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 29.
(insert drumroll here)
A J Walker – Primary Colours
Artificial Intelligence / Political Rally / Steampunk
Alan Intriligator looked up to ceiling, taking in the myriad globes in the auditorium’s roof space. It was the clockwork man’s job to pull the lever that would drop the balloons onto the crowd below. He felt something which he thought may be pride, though it could be excitement. He was not sure on feelings yet; Jeremy was supposed to have added subroutines so that he’d instinctively know what feelings he should have given specific stimuli, but he’d been keen to see if Alan would learn from experience.
Senator Random Johnson was cranking up the crowd as the end approached. Staccato soundbites followed by inevitable applause. There were more pauses than speech now.
Jennifer, the whip smart speech writer, was loving it. Clapping like a seal whilst rocking up and down on her tip toes in her impossible high heels.
‘Look at him, Alan. Milking it. Look at the audience. They’re loving it.’ Jennifer squealed. ‘I think we’ve backed us a winner!’
Alan pulled out his pocket watch. If Random was on time, as he usually was, then it was almost lever time. It was Alan’s time to rock up and down on his feet. It WAS excitement, he was sure. There was something about the colour and the simplicity of balloons. He longed to see the faces of the crowd. He was about to unleash a moment of simple beauty onto the thousands in the auditorium.
Random looked over at Alan. He’d finished his speech and Alan had missed it as if a sub-routine had failed. But he quickly rebooted. Pulling the lever lovingly towards him.
And then the red, white and blue balloons fell in a slow motion jostle towards the expectant faces. The adult’s faces lit up. For a brief moment they were children again.
Sal Page – On The Naughty Step
A truly wonderful comedy tale that I think captures everything Meg was looking for. Daisy is a great character and the comic situation is drawn with a delightfully gentle touch. If Daisy does end up as our Prime Minister I wouldn’t be complaining. It is the kind of story I wish I’d written myself.
Child / Riot / Comedy
‘What on earth do you think you’re doing? …That’s it! I’ve had it up to here with the lot of you.’
Daisy was only nine but had quite a voice on her. A few rioters nearby paused. A red-faced man stopped in mid brick-throw to stare. The brick fell to the ground.
Daisy climbed the steps of the Queen Victoria statue and tried again.
‘You lot are too noisy,’ she yelled.
WPC Flowers sneaked through the confused crowds. She needed to reunite this girl with her family. But Daisy saw her megaphone.
‘Will that make my voice bigger?’
‘Please may I …?’
Bless her. So polite. Daisy lifted the megaphone. ‘You need to sit down, calm down and think about what you’re doing.’
Several people did as they were told, seating themselves on the statue’s steps.
‘Go and put that stuff back right now,’ she demanded of folk clutching shop loot.
‘Put that broken bottle down. It’s dangerous. You could hurt someone.’
In under an hour Daisy had got all the rioters – well over a hundred people – sitting quietly, doing colouring in. A miracle. She walked around, handing out different colours, encouraging sharing and praising artistic endeavours.
Most drifted off home before the rain came. A few stayed and were handed police-issue black umbrellas; a gesture of reconciliation. Daisy put up her floral brolly and puddle-danced in her ladybird wellies around the Queen Victoria statue. The lingering rioters joined in. Quite a moment.
Daisy couldn’t remember anything other than things her teacher and mum had said to her. So strange no one came forward to claim her. But she had a great life with WPC Flowers, who officially adopted her three years later.
This was years ago. Daisy’s forty now. Our MP. Some say she’s Prime Minister material.
Congratulations again, Sal. As the Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let me know if you are interested!