RESULTS – Microcosms 17

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to celebrate your contributions to another great week. Thank you all so much!

And a HUGE thanks to this week’s judges, AV Laidlaw and Steph Ellis.

Here’s what AV had to say:

This is ground control…
I was at a gig on Tuesday. “Thanks for supporting live music,” the musician said afterwards. “No,” I thought, “thank-you for playing me the music.” It takes bravery to stand on stage and sing or play an instrument for an audience. It also takes bravery to put up your writing for others to read and judge. So thank-you for writing. Thank-you for letting me read your stories.
… Now it’s time to read the judging if you dare.

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

Honorable/Honourable Mentions

Meg Kovalik – Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Comments from AV: A fun tale showing the imagination of a child transforming the mundane world around them into something alien, with a little bit of naughtiness thrown in for good measure – isn’t this what all good writers do? Isn’t this what all adults should do from time to time? And a cracking last line.

Emily Clayton – Y 2 Eyes

Comments from AV: A fun tale showing the imagination of a child transforming the mundane world around them into something alien, with a little bit of naughtiness thrown in for good measure – isn’t this what all good writers do? Isn’t this what all adults should do from time to time? And a cracking last line.

Holly Geely – And I Quote

Comments from Steph: Everyone has their breaking point especially when stuck in close quarters with someone (I’d have probably strangled Phelps as well). Great way to bring some humour to what has generally been a sad time.

Ashley Gardana – Polycarbonate

Comments from Steph: My second poetical choice this week. The helmet is the barrier between the astronaut and life but is also what protects her. Missing the rain has become a fixation and one that could kill her and the use of repetition gives this poem a haunting and despairing voice.

Geoff Holme – Four Candles, Two Soups
(Special HM, even though late)

Comments from Steph: Loved this very touching tribute to that wonderful comedienne Victoria Wood. Warm-hearted, witty, a brilliant observer of human life, gone far too soon.

Brady Koch
(Special HM from KM)

Comments from KM: I wouldn’t normally interject when I’m not judging, but I just wanted to give a special HM to Brady, who submitted not one, not two, and not three, but FOUR stories this week! And each of them was great. 🙂

Runners Up

DE Park – I Could While Away the Hours

Comments from AV: I love me a bit of existential horror – the sheer boredom of an immortal intelligence seeking anything to break the monotony. I like how the story is structured, starting with the hard military SF at the beginning followed by the reveal that it’s all a lie and the final question. The title sounds its straight out of classic 60s & 70s science fiction.

Daisy Warwick – A Trip

Comments from AV: A stoned conversation captured perfectly – the little obsessions about cherries, the worries about the correct colour for the Netherlands – and with a kind of innocence far removed from the original Prince song. A lovely bit of surrealism.

CR Smith – What The Purple One Wants, the Purple One Gets

Comments from Steph: So that’s where they all went. A lovely homage to the talents so recently lost, nice to think of them all still performing somewhere out there – they will be missed.

Brian S Creek – What Happened to Crimson Team?

Comments from Steph: Amazing how the human mind can fill in the gaps. Great build up of tension with just the right words amongst the breaks and the use of repetition – ‘angry, so very, very ang’, ‘stay away, … stay’ and ‘I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die …’ gave it a powerful punch.

Favorite/Favourite Lines

Before we get to our winners, here are AV and my favorite/favourite lines from this week.

Is this the shape of it?
The sorrow of it? – Bill Engleson

O Purple One has spoken. – C R Smith

That’s all ersatz, a sham. – DE Park

…the airlock is sealed. I’m trapped outside and it’s closing – Brian S Creek

Behind this helmet of polycarbonate,
each breath warms my face – Ashley Gardana

“Hey,” said Phelps. “My mom’s human. I’ve got half a right to quote human history.” – Holly Geely.

He lay in the bath, depressing the needle with brown stained fingers and waited for the end. – Geoff

Hazelnut wrapped in caramel he felt a pang of homesickness; it was his mum’s favourite. – StellaKateT

In her last video log for her daughter, Captain Darla remarked how cumulus clouds looked just like mashed potatoes from her vantage point on the space station. – Brady Koch

“Fine. Freakazoid! You blue-eyed and green-eyed freakazoid!” – Emily Clayton

Everyone dies and for the dead it isn’t sad. – Leara Morris-Clark

‘The truffles will wear off in a few hours and the cherry I’ve got at the end of my fingertips right now is pretty special.’ – Daisy Warwick

The smallest spheres: her tears in knowing she was never returning to space. – Brady Koch

His hand hovered above his pistol: would it be friendly or hostile? – Meg Kovalik

The driver looked convincingly human in a skin-tight leopard print jumpsuit and platform shoes. – Voima Oy

Her flight suit wasn’t made for saying good bye to five year olds. – Brady Koch

Archimedes danced in her head as the ocean surface rose above her. – Brady Koch

Brenda stands outside the antique shop, wearing her mustard-coloured beret. – Geoff Holme

And now, without further ado, I present to you the winners of Microcosms 17.

(insert drumroll here)

Community Pick

CR Smith – What The Purple One Wants, the Purple One Gets

WC 100 @carolrosalind
Astronauts – (Purple) Reign – Drama

What The Purple One Wants, The Purple One Gets

O Purple One has spoken.
She wasn’t impressed with the last interstellar miscellany. We need fresh blood. I’ve sent our astronauts to scour the universe.

“O Purple Two, Sir, we’ve found the place by following the music, it’s drifting out. The planet rocks, there’s so much to choose from.”

“Bring me a sample of each. Which species are they?”


“Ahhhh! Known for amusing repartee, get me some humorists as well. But remember, non should be too old.”

“Sir, It may take a while, we can only take one at a time. These people are worshiped. They will be missed.”

Judges’ Picks

Ashley Gardana – Polycarbonate

Comments from AV: Firstly, I love who the poem is held together by repetition of the first and last lines of each stanza, each time with a little twist. Secondly, I love the central image of the thin film of polycarbonate that keeps the astronaut alive but prevents them from feeling the rain, the very stuff of life. Both emotional and thought provoking.


Behind this helmet of polycarbonate,
each breath warms my face,
the condensation bubbles like droplets,
and I remember;
I miss the rain.

Beyond this helmet of polycarbonate,
blue earth cuts the purple of space,
I see more ocean than land
and I remember;
I miss the rain.

Before this helmet of polycarbonate,
early morning thunderstorms,
and a window view aside a cup of tea,
and I remember;
I miss the rain.

But for this helmet of polycarbonate,
I would plunge from orbit,
my life would slip by,
and then maybe
I would feel the rain.


95 words

Bill Engleson – The Traveller

Comments from Steph: A perfectly crafted elegy wins it for me this week (it is, after all, National Poetry Month). The plaintive repetition of ‘Is this the shape of it?’ to an emptying universe denied its poet combined with some wonderful language and imagery made this an emotive and powerful read.

The Traveller

Is this the shape of it?
The sorrow of it?
Is it a surge of joy
his crimson lungs
taking the young,
grasping their fear,
screaming in the stratosphere,
a storm of rain,
of violets
and violence
and supple violins?

I scramble along
the parapet,
afraid of falling.

Is this what I see?
A universe
no longer
pouring out its heart
with poetry
and body parts?

Is this the shape of it?
I can reach out
and touch
the fullest of moons,
this night,
reaching down,
the emptiest of hearts.

Is this the shape of it?

105 words with space between
astronaut, (purple) rain, poetic-drama

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 David Bowie.: The Little Black Book. 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 18
RESULTS - Microcosms 16

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