Whew! What a great contest. You all rose to the challenge, and some of you had some really challenging spin elements. Nicely done!
A HUGE thanks to this week’s judges, Steph Ellis and Daisy Warwick.
All right, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
Craig A – Genealogy
Comments from Steph Ellis: Shows your elders aren’t always as batty as you think. Wonderful phrase ‘a few drawbridges short of a castle’.
Ed Broom – 17th Century Boy
Comments from Steph Ellis: Humorous poem that shows adolescence doesn’t change down the centuries, from ignorance ‘which craft?’ to self-centredness ‘my shirt needs sewing’.
Avalina Kreska – I am King Anarchist
Comments from Steph Ellis: Such a fun story as a pharaoh is persuaded that punk is a good thing. First bit of flash I’ve read with Sex Pistols and Sid Vicious mentioned, Siouxsie and the Banshees next time anyone?
Casey Rose Frank – Who
Comments from Daisy Warwick: I think this piece beautifully captured human intrigue.
Stella Turner – Holiday of a Lifetime
Comments from Daisy Warwick: I’ve always imagined that time travel into the past could be a particularly dangerous affair given the wealth of violence carried out through capital punishment, war and general lawlessness. I think this piece captures that well with a good sense of humour.
AJ Walker – Prophetic Words of a Stranger
Comments from Daisy Warwick: I liked the imagery of the watch and the kindle – the clues that Thomas was approached by a time traveller rather than being the time traveller. I can imagine this bite-sized scene in my head. Good use of 110 words.
Casey Rose Frank – Who
Comments from Steph Ellis: Love the language and imagery used in this to weave an air of mystery over who ‘she’ is and who created the manuscript.
Rob Jones – Once and Future King?
Comments from Steph Ellis: This story made me smile as soon as Merlin was called the ‘bearded dude’ and Arthur asked if he’d ‘done the sword thing yet?’
Brady Koch – Separation Across Eras
Comments from Daisy Warwick: This story says a lot about spite. I found myself imagining where this story could end up after the final sentence as well as wondering what the couple were fighting about to begin with, which is why I have chosen it because there is more to its entertainment factor than the ninety-five words it was originally laid down in.
Bill Engleson – Doc Grimly Rides Into Deadwood
Comments from Daisy Warwick: I was impressed with this piece and enjoyed several aspects of it – the rhythm, the scene and the added unfortunate predicament the characters find themselves in the absence of the Sun.
Before we get to our winners, here are our favorite lines from this week (from KM and Daisy).
““Bodies were strewn throughout Slick’s Saloon,
And the few still with breath wept at the moon.”” – Bill Engleson
““There’s a river of…Oh, my God, I forgot about chamber pots.”” – Holly Geely
“His spurs jangled against the wooden back of the dock, hat in hand, good to show some reverence even if this court looked liked a fancy dress party.” – Stella Turner
““Stan wasn’t the best operator at Time Travel Inc.”” – Stella Turner
““The old bat was clearly a few drawbridges short of a castle.”” – Craig A
“When the night is months long, the ice likes to whisper in the dark.” – Paz Spera
““You judge but you don’t know.”” – Paz Spera
“The Pharaoh; curious about future fashion, peered closely at the boy’s spiky hairstyle.” – Avalina Kreska
““But no anacondas. Inside a snake would be too dark to read.”” – Voima Oy
“She left the rainy streets for the calm workshop and the man introduced himself as Tom. Intoxicating wood smells. Piles of the raw material as well as a rocking-horse and bookcase. Polished tree-slices with quotations carved into them.” – Sal Page
“He would have preferred the tiger’s jaws to this slow torture under the burning sun, awaiting the fatal bite.” – Cath Barton
“She dove through the folds of time, called by an idea, a dream, a question.” – Casey Rose Frank
““So if you’re Arthur, this bearded dude must be Merlin”” – Rob Jones
“If you find yourself, like me, splashing through the entrails of some medieval city in western Europe…” – Tamara Shoemaker
““Do not take this boat Thomas.”” – AJ Walker
“Jade knew no-one would ever crack the code she used to write the Voynich manuscript, so she couldn’t resist leaving it for her future past self to puzzle over.” – Dave James Ashton
“Which craft it is
I could not say
That Mama stands accused of knowing” – Ed Broom
“The capsule was warm to the touch. It was Edna’s first indication of a larger problem.” – Brady Koch
And now, without further ado, I present to you the winners of Microcosms 5.
(insert drumroll here)
There were several stories that received the same, high number of votes. I hadn’t counted on that happening… To be fair (and because there needs to be a winner), it was necessary for me to be the tie-breaker.
But I also don’t want the others’ accomplishments to go unnoticed. So, Sal Page, Casey Rose Frank, Craig A, Cath Barton, and Brady Koch – you have all earned invites to the upcoming anthology! I’ll send out e-mails soon. 🙂
In the end, I gave the nod to Stella, whose clever story also exemplified skilled world building – it only got better with multiple reads. And it made me laugh, which is always a bonus.
Stella Turner – Holiday of a Lifetime
Cowboy, Salem Witch trials, Sci-fi
Holiday of a Lifetime.
His spurs jangled against the wooden back of the dock, hat in hand, good to show some reverence even if this court looked liked a fancy dress party. They’d pulled at his leather chaps and marvelled at the fringes saying he’d convened with the Devil and crossed themselves vigorously. Had they never seen a Texan cowboy before? Where was he Massachusetts?
When he wouldn’t enter a plea they sentenced him to a peine forte et dure. Luckily he wasn’t going to find out what that was. Stan reset the dials and he caught a bullet at The Battle of the Alamo. Stan wasn’t the best operator at Time Travel Inc.
Both judges picked the same winner this week. Great job, Holly!
Holly Geely – Reality
Comments from Steph Ellis: Great (chamber) potted story. The use of senses takes us smoothly from the modern world to the medieval world with rather unfortunate results for the time-traveller in question.
Comments from Daisy Warwick: Time travelling in a bid to escape the horrors of ‘now’ to a nostalgic past that in actual fact wasn’t all that rosy given the devastating diseases that existed with no cures, uncontrolled vermin and lack of street plumbing. I picked this piece for my winner because it made me chuckle, yet it’s probably not wrong in the cringing reality that it paints.
Elements: time traveler, medieval Europe, mystery
The collection of electronic parts and colourful wires aren’t an art project. The machine beep-boops and I see civilizations spinning past..
The streets are filled with agonized screams. There’s a river of…Oh, my God, I forgot about chamber pots. The smell is so strong! How can anyone live like this?
And the rats…
Where is everyone? Where exactly am I?
I wander into shadows. Dark shadows. They’re filled with bodies. Bodies covered with black boils.
I should have chosen my date more carefully. I’ve escaped my reality, sure, but this isn’t what I had in mind. I could go home, but they won’t want me now.
- 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 US. If you already pre-ordered the book or don’t have a Kindle, 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 both invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let me know if you are interested!