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Tony, aka Kells

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Posts posted by Tony, aka Kells

  1. “Questions and answers from the past.”
    writer's character: Alexander Richards
    judge's character: Toni Turner

    Lieutenant JG Richards delivered what his title promised in this well-told story of discovery and motivation.

    I was impressed by the fact that Captain Barnabus, even though looking forward to a shore leave, made the decision to investigate the wormhole first. It was very Starfleet of him. Although while the investigation answered the question of what had happened to the USS Tycho, NCC -1977, there still remained his questions about the wormhole that had taken it 33 years prior.

    I also like the fact that the incident brought about a fraction of personal discovery. . . "Do I regret ever having joined Starfleet rather than becoming a family man? Not for one moment, though I do sometimes find myself wondering, when I am alone, what if . . .? ”

    Thank you, Lieutenant Richards. Well done.

    ---

    "Lessons from the Past"

    writer's character: Kalianna Nicholotti

    judge's character: Jhen Thelev/Sinda Essen

    I must admit I approached this story with a slight reservation. A story with no dialogue is always something of a gamble.
    But appearances can be deceptive and 'Lessons from the Past' was a joy to read, quite literally.
    The lack of speech paid off, dealing as it does with memories - although our minds are good at remembering sights and even smells, rarely do we remember exactly what a person said. In this case, dialogue would have felt intrusive and jarring to the contemplative mood.
    Presenting snatches from the lifetimes of a Trill symbiont was a great way to approach this topic and Nicholotti presents us with half a dozen completely different hosts. Different, and yet connected by a number of themes, most prominently love and a deep interest in the unknown, be it space, science, future or even death. The presence of the symbiont is always there, not just to pass on the lessons of the past, but also to learn new lessons along with its host.
    Nicholotti's writing is beautifully poetic. Lines like; "questions not even asked yet would have answers" and "[the] impression that the star itself was dying, as rays of yellow, red, and orange bled into the water and spread in the waves" create a story that is evocative and thoughtful, as much about the future as it is about the past.
    Wonderful.

    ---

    "The Light of Darkness"
    writer's character: Hannibal Parker
    judge's character: Aron Kells
    This story places itself strongly within the genre of military sci-fi, which gives it an immediate opportunity to shine as it's not something that, with the exception of a couple of memorable DS9 episodes, Trek has done. Within that genre, it takes the Challenge's topic to heart and examines an important battle in the early service of Hannibal Parker, then a young marine officer. However, once under the surface of this attractive veneer, the story breaks down a bit. There's nothing very uniquely Parker about this story, and even his rallying cry is taken directly from Starship Troopers -- a disappointment for me, because I'm intrigued by Parker's character and I was intrigued to see one of his early experiences. The battle itself didn't carry much tension as I was certain Parker was going to survive and I wasn't vested in the Ha'Rouque character. However, the fact that the writer took on the challenge of writing about bloody military maneuvers in a universe in which that's generally not too accepted gains many kudos, and I'd like to see more of young Parker in the future.

    ---

    "Life in Memoriam"
    writer's character: Ben Livingston
    judge's character: Aron Kells
    This story takes on the immensely challenging task of explaining what happens in the moments we like to think of as empty. Or, put another way, it tells us what happens when nothing's happening for this character, and it does it very well. The wandering reflection amidst the structural device of the push-ups provides a nice ebb and flow to the narrative, and this is, all things considered, a very lovely take on the in-between. Its length is just right, too, as any longer would give way to a sort of mental rambling that this character wouldn't do: He reflects as he gets ready for his day and then he goes to it. Well done!

    ---

    "Not until this world burns"

    writer's character: Diego Herrera
    judge's character: Melitta Herodion

    When I started reading this piece I first thought that I was going to be reading about a character's exploits before or after a night of heavy drinking. As I read more though I found that I couldn't have been more wrong. The topic, "from the past" could refer to any number of things from a single past experience to the impacts of culture or tradition and how a person deals with one of those things. This story, "Not until this world burns" tackles all three (past experiences, ancient culture of a character's race and tradition) and it does so beautifully and in my opinion, it also does it successfully.

    As well as being well written this story made me want to look up the various details of Andorian society that weren't spelt out as the story progressed. I particularly had trouble with the different gender and family references but with that said I wouldn't ask that to be changed at all. I found that this story was excellently crafted using imaginative and deeply descriptive descriptions as well as truly heart felt emotions for each of the characters. To me though one of the best features of this story was how as the story progressed layer after layer of past influences were added which created the overall and very memorable effect and I deeply enjoyed reading.

    Very well done.

  2. Happy midsummer, all! I'm pleased to bring you the results from our May & June Writing Challenge "From the Past."

    Our winner for this round is Ed, aka Captain Diego Herrera, for his short story "Not Until This World Burns." Close on his heels in the rankings was Marissa, aka Captain Kalianna Nicholotti, with her short story "Lessons from the Past." Congratulations to both of them and to everyone who entered!

    A new Challenge will be up early in July and will run through late August. Until then, I would like to thank my fellow judges for this round: the writers behind Fleet Captain Toni Turner, Commander Jhen Thelev (Lieutenant Sinda Essen), and Commander Melitta Herodion.

    • Like 1
  3. Welcome, my friends, to the May & June Challenge for 2013!

    For this Challenge, Chris -- the writer behind Sinda Essen & Jhen Thelev and the winner of the last "Do Unto Others" Challenge -- would like you to consider the topic "From The Past." I will note that this is a particularly apropos topic as it coincides with the release of the new Trek movie, Into Darkness. Perhaps you'll interpret the Challenge literally and explore time travel. Perhaps you'll look at those little monsters that haunt your character's past. Perhaps you'll interpret the Challenge in a completely unexpected way! However you do it, make sure that your entry wows you, as well.

    The deadline for this Challenge is Monday, June 24th, which gives you the better part of two months to consider this topic, watch the new movie, and produce your story!

    As always, please remember:
    *Your work must be completely original.
    *You must be the sole author of the work.
    *Your story must take place in the Star Trek universe, but may not center upon canon characters.
    *Sign your final draft as you would a post on your ship.
    *Your story must be between 300 and 3000 words.

    As of today, Thursday, May 2nd, this Challenge is open.

    For any questions you might have, remember that you can always visit the Writing Challenge website.

    Good luck!

  4. "Lex Talionis"

    writer's character: Sinda Essen

    judge's character: Toni Turner

    The theme of "Do unto others" embraced the law of retaliation equivalent to an offense, went into effect in this well crafted study of lex talionis. Whether deemed retributive or poetic justice, the Cardassian hit all the marks as he enjoyed playing with the Vorta's confusion, until he gave her the final blow.". . . Fair is fair, after all.

    However, it was phrases like, "Sudden light stabbed down into her eyes," and

    "a growing sense of black fear began to take shape." that kept me reading just to see how many marbles the Cardassian had in play.

    Well done, Sinda. Not a word wasted in either portrayal.

    ---

    "Among Warriors"

    writer's character: Jorus Cogud

    judge's character: Aron Kells

    "Among Warriors" is certainly a good example of what one might not want done unto them! This story immediately leaps forward with choices both in plot and in form (mostly commas where the reader might expect periods), and it doesn't let its momentum fade until the end. The story offers a unique story of a previous host of the Cogud symbiont, and I was pleased to see the writer attempt this! However, I had some questions, especially given that the writer's primary character is another Cogud host. Did these memories impact the Cogud symbiont in a particular way that made them resonate with the author, and can those memories be explored (or have they been) by Jorus in the main sim? These aren't critiques of the story at hand, mind you, just areas to possibly explore further, as the long-lived Trill symbionts offer a really unique way to tell a story.

    Well done, and I hope to see you back for the next challenge.

  5. Welcome to the end of our first short contest of 2013! April's Challenge asked participants to consider the theme "Do Unto Others," and I'm pleased to bring you the results now.

    The winner of the Challenge for April is the writer behind Sinda Essen, with his story "Lex Talionis"! Our runner-up is the writer behind Jorus Cogud, with his story "Calling Home"! Congratulations to both of you!

    My special thanks to my fellow judges for this round -- the writers behind Fleet Captain Toni Turner, Captain Kalianna Nicholotti, Commander Melitta Herodion, and Commander Karynn Ehlanii Brice.

  6. Welcome, my friends, to the first monthlong Writing Challenge of 2013!

    For this Challenge, Sarah -- the writer behind Saveron and the winner of the last challenge -- would like you to consider the open-ended topic "Do Unto Others." What does this mean? How will you take it? The challenge of the Challenge is to interpret the theme with your own thoughtful story, so I look forward to reading what you do!

    The deadline for this Challenge is Saturday, April 27th, which gives you just about three and a half weeks to cobble a story together. Let's see what the springtime (for those of you in the northern hemisphere) does with your creativity!

    As always, please remember:
    *Your work must be completely original.
    *You must be the sole author of the work.
    *Your story must take place in the Star Trek universe, but may not center upon canon characters.
    *Sign your final draft as you would a post on your ship.
    *Your story must be between 300 and 3000 words.

    As of today, Tuesday, April 2nd, this Challenge is open.

    For any questions you might have, remember that you can always visit the Writing Challenge website.

    Good luck!

  7. "My Brother's Keeper"

    (writer's character) Saveron

    (judge's character) Kali Nicholotti

    I absolutely love the imagery invoked in the writing throughout My Brother's Keeper. Not only does it give the reader an in depth picture of the setting, but it brings the story to life in ways that can only be done with the careful weaving of words in this manner.
    The idea of Romulans and Vulcans living in the same system is truly unique. With all of the available choices in the quadrant, including within Empire space, this was a very 'out of the box' solution to the problem facing these people. It is very apparent that there are two vastly different civilizations here, illustrated by the conversation between the two on the planet as they wait for the transports. Their interactions show a glimpse of what the future may hold; promise, as well as distrust, at least on one side of the fence. On the other, logic prevails no matter what, a point which is put across with a coldness that only Vulcans can convey.
    The only thing about this entire piece that struck me was the fact that the conversation between the two seemed to just run in circles. I think that the point of the story itself was held in the description of the planet and the thoughts behind the words, but the dialogue seems to detract just enough from the story itself to create ripples in the flow. It is only at the end that the point of the argument is seen. Still, it is all extremely well written and a great pleasure to read. I really look forward to seeing what you write for the next challenge!
    ------
    "Calling Home"
    (writer's character) Ryoma Hoshino
    (judge's character) Toni Turner
    I was quite pleased with Mr. Hoshino's entry as his words had a nice flow that indicated he was in command of them as he masterfully set up the scene. And that was something rarely seen in the pieces from ensigns.
    Many readers, I'm sure, could identify with his quandary of having regrets for not saying things that should have been said to a loved one before losing their faculties. The horror of finding out it was too late for his father to understand was softened by Hoshino's conviction not to allow his son to wonder how he felt about him with one reassurance - ". . . I will always be proud of you, son."
    "Calling Home" is a well-written and heartfelt piece. Excellent work, Mr. Hoshino.
    ------
    "The Cost of Failure"
    (writer's character) Diego Herrera
    (judge's character) Jhen Thelev/Sinda Essen
    It was very interesting to see how each writer approached the subject for this competition, broad as it was.
    I very much enjoyed Captain Herrera's take on the topic, building on the mission and story of the USS Vigilant as a starting for things to come over the next decade.
    Name checking other characters and ships from across the fleet was a particularly nice touch, giving a sense of intimacy we, as members of this group, can all relate to and reminding us that the actions of one ship, one crew can have a knock-on effect for an entire galaxy.
    However, Captain Herrera's intricate plotting was also the only flaw in the story. Taking the time to give us the political, military and even technological details of the conflict was certainly thoughtful and interesting, but it damaged the flow of the story with some quite dense exposition paragraphs.
    A short story format limits your choices, but I would have preferred to see more dialogue and characters, especially regarding the situation with Carlos Herrera's illness which was a more emotional storyline. Although I thought the juxtaposition of the two plots was excellent, especially in the literal juxtaposition of the two screens, which was a particularly clever touch.
    ------
    "Peace of Soul"
    (writer's character) Jaxon Mc Ghee
    (judge's character) Aron Kells
    The appeal of the Writing Challenges for many lies within the ability to dig deeply into the primary characters writers know so well. Oftentimes, ships' plots don't allow for the complexity of associated story that all characters have. Such is the case here, in which readers are given more about the character of Jaxon Mc Ghee. In the story, the reader takes a look at Mc Ghee with the lens of this particular Challenge ("where do you see the universe in 10 years?"); we then receive a viewing of Mc Ghee from the future and are allowed to see some of his character progress.
    The difficulty, of course, in using your primary character is that it's never clear how much you should explain. In this case, I could have done with some more backstory, because I was unclear why Mc Ghee made certain choices or to what background events he was referring to. Then, too, I had the feeling that Mc Ghee was the hero of this piece, despite some of the large actions; and while this may be cathartic, I didn't really get to know the character through the story -- and I wanted to!
    I know that there were formatting challenges with this entry, and that's not a problem -- I know that the forums can be fickle. But I would urge the author to be sure to edit future stories: There were some misuses of punctuation and grammar that left me wondering what the author had meant.
    I am interested to see what the next entry will bring! Perhaps we'll see more of Jaxon Mc Ghee's background or backstory? Regardless, thanks for entering, and I look forward to reading the next story!
    ------
    "Recognition"
    (writer's character) Della Vetri
    (judge's character) Jalana Laxyn
    I have thoroughly enjoyed to read this challenge post. Even though without going too much into describing the feelings of Miss Delvia Corsetto it has drawn me in, kept my attention and also kept me feeling for her.
    The way of painting the scenes, small gestures, the way Delvia and Brexx have spoken or followed the thoughts has shown a depth of the characters and story to feel with them. I have laughed quite often at the patience of Brexx, and his way to deal with her moods. The dynamic between those two has been quite faszinating and worked very well.
    Right from the beginning the question of why an Orion woman, whose species is usually depicted as very pleasurable to be with, was in such a bad mood set anchor in my head. Showing more and more of her life and situation, just made the question of the why more prominent. I was right in the flow of the story when the riddle got solved, the answer to this question not given too early or too late.
    I was quite impressed by the way Alex has put herself into the shoes of war veterans, those injured in their line of duty, showing their struggle after not being able to go on with their career. To see how simple things become difficult to them, how the inability to work in their field anymore burdens and frustrates them, re-shaping their character.
    I have loved to see that she was not even aware that she had another gift, one that would in the end show her that her life was not useless without her career in Starfleet. An ending that touched me in a way that it brought tears to my eyes, of joy for Delvia finding a new life for herself. Quite a wonderful contribution.

    ------

    "The Third Option"

    (writer's character) Kaedyn Zehn

    (judge's character) Melitta Herodion

    One of the most obvious issues that Starfleet and the Federation would have to deal with as time moves forward is the shape of the political climate. As one of the Federation's most dangerous enemies it is unsurprising that the Romulans would recieve so much attention in this challenge.
    The trouble I think with political stories is that it is often hard to create a compelling environment and realistic motivation for the various characters that are used especially with shorter stories. That said "The third option" provided plenty of depth and a certain sense of familirity when it came to the main charcter. I also liked the fact that most of the references to the main character's past didn't require much, if any previous knowledge to understand.
    Perhaps the only nagging concern that I have in the back of my mind is the fact that any Starfleet captain would even entertain the idea of attempting an assassination for whatever reason. What I find worse is the fact that the captain in question didn't even bother to confer with his superiors before deciding on that course of action. Reading how the scenarior played out kept me on the edge of my seat and I enjoyed it immensely but I certainly still find the idea questionable.
    Overall though this piece was expertly written and formatted and shows a depth of character not easily shown when simming. I certainly look forward to reading more in the future. Good job.
  8. With the Writing Improvement Month's special Writing Challenge right in its middle, this was the longest Challenge we've ever run -- so, without further ado, let me bring you its results:

    The winner of the Challenge for January-March is the writer behind Saveron, with her story "My Brother's Keeper"! Our runner-up is the writer behind Ryoma Hoshino, with his story "Calling Home"! Congratulations to both of you!

    Thank you to everyone who participated and who continues to participate! We had a record number of judges assisting for this round and, as related by their scores, it was extremely difficult to pick clear stand-outs. Well done, everyone!

    My special thanks to my fellow judges for this round -- the writers behind Fleet Captain Toni Turner, Captain Kalianna Nicholotti, Commander Melitta Herodion, Commander Jhen Thelev (Lieutenant Sinda Essen), and our special guest judge, Lieutenant Jalana Laxyn.

  9. Remember that February is the time to enter our special Writing Improvement Month Challenge! Rules and guidelines are posted below, but be sure to follow the link in order to enter!

    The general 118 Challenge has had its deadline pushed back to March in order to make room for this special Challenge.

    --

    Welcome to UFOP: StarBase 118′s first open Writing
    Challenge! We encourage you to enter this month-long contest with your
    story, and join a competition that has existed within our group for
    almost ten years.


    The topic for this challenge is “Someone to Watch Over Me.”


    Details & Rules

    The challenge is accepting submissions from Friday, February 1st to
    Saturday, February 23rd. Results will be announced by February 28th.


    Please observe the following rules for your submission:


    • Your work must SciFi-focused, but does not have to be Star Trek themed.
    • Your work must be completely original.
    • You must be the work’s sole author.
    • The story cannot exceed 3000 words. (You can use this tool to check the length of your submission.)

    Prize

    The winner will receive this awesome t-shirt in their size!


    00384097-338570_catl_360-300x300.jpg

    If you don’t want that, there are tons of other prizes available,
    up to $25 value, not including shipping. Prizes only available to
    residents of the United States. If you’re not a resident of the United
    States, but you win the contest, will receive a cash prize of $25 US via
    PayPal.


    Submit Your Entry

    To submit your entry, click here to open the submission form.


    For any questions you might have, please email Capt. Nicholotti and Capt. Aron Kells at wim2013-challenge@starbase118.net.


    Good luck!

  10. Note that this contest's deadline has been extended through March 22nd to incorporate the Writing Improvement Month's special challenge!

    Welcome, my friends, to the inaugural Writing Challenge of 2013! To start off, we're returning with a two-month contest with a theme chosen by the December Challenge's winner. As our characters move into 2390 -- their last decade before 2400 -- Jalana Laxyn would like you to consider what the next ten years hold. In her words,

    "'Where do you see the universe in 10 years,' be it in society, technologically, medically, personally.."

    What do you think might happen? UFOP:118's blockbusters of the past few years have taken a stab at that question with, for example, this year's Klingon crisis and the admission of Bajor to the Federation, but perhaps your take will be smaller than that. What can you do with ten years of growth and the character of your choice?

    The deadline for this Challenge is Friday, March 22nd! You have just under seven weeks to submit your stories from the start date (Tuesday, January 8th).

    As always, please remember:
    *Your work must be completely original.
    *You must be the sole author of the work.
    *Your story must take place in the Star Trek universe, but may not center upon canon characters.
    *Sign your final draft as you would a post on your ship.
    *Your story must be between 300 and 3000 words.

    As of today, this Challenge is open.

    For any questions you might have, remember that you can always visit the Writing Challenge website.

    Good luck!

    • Like 1
  11. "But what do you believe in?"

    by Arden Cain

    reviewed by Toni Turner


    The situation that Arden Cain presented, was an interesting exercise in survival where his crew mates were questioning what would keep hope of rescue alive. I liked the fact that he didn't judge the others for their beliefs, and the fact that even though he was as desperate as they were, he found inspiration within himself, simply believing that he had the courage to use his knowledge, and sheer determination to solve the problem that faced them. As he said, “It gave him direction for further attempts even if his spirits were dangerously low.”


    This was a well-written story, easy to read, understandable, and with a good flow, in spite of a few words used incorrectly (e.g. “far to nosy, far to insensitive” "to" should have been “too”). However, none of those errors took away from the story to any major degree.


    Excellent work, Arden. I really enjoyed this piece. :)


    -----



    "Sentimental Value"

    by Brayden Jorey

    reviewed by Velana


    Betazoid culture and religion has always fascinated me, so I was excited to see it brought to life, especially in such a romantic context. I was so enamored with Jorey and Koroth, two men from radically different worlds who have fallen in love, despite all the odds. In fact, I wanted to see more of them together. Unfortunately, while the story started off with a great potential for conflict, it wound up just walking us through a Betazoid ceremony in a touch too much detail. And although this certainly lived up to the month's prompt, I feel like a story-telling opportunity was lost.


    I got excited when Jorey spoke to his grandmother about the Klingon ritual he would have to go through, to prove himself worthy to be with Koroth...so I found myself disappointed when all we saw was Jorey going through a similar Betazoid ceremony. What would have been far more intriguing would have been to see Koroth going through it, or if we'd gotten to see Jorey during the Klingon ritual, something that was mentioned at the end, but only in passing. I feel like there was no real conflict, which is a shame because the set-up was there in the beginning of the story. It just didn't follow through.


    -----



    "The Mightiest Warrior of Them All"

    by Jalana Laxyn

    reviewed by Aron Kells


    One of Trek's most cherished tropes -- indeed, perhaps the ur-trope for which it's known -- is that of the outsider looking in. Spock, Data, Odo -- and now the author's G'Tok. The idea of exploring the Santa Claus "belief" is an intriguing take upon the theme, and doing so through the unfamiliar eyes of a Klingon/human boy may have been the perfect way to do so. Further, the story of Santa as told by G'Tok's father harkens back to the best Klingon episodes of DS9 and TNG, in which the audience learns that Klingons are not simply one-dimensional space vikings, and that they have -- if not a measure of humanity (they're aliens, after all) then at least one of vulnerability; and I'd argue that there's little more vulnerable than a Klingon father telling his half-human son that on December 24th, even Kahless can't trump Santa.


    The difficult task for a story like this is to have the outsider other earn his otherness. It's not really fair to compare the character of G'Tok to Spock or Data in that context; those characters had years upon years in which to build, and this character has only a single story. However, by the end of the piece, G'Tok doesn't quite earn what the author's set him up to receive -- the pride of otherness, as made tangible by the blade under his pillow; G'Tok is an other simply to be an other, and he doesn't advance either his character or the Klingon culture in the way I expected. Or, in other words, he acts exactly like a Klingon ought to act and, despite the promise of the story, he didn't really challenge my perceptions.


    Nevertheless, this was a successful story that made much more of the Challenge and the premise than, say, Molagh explaining Sto'vo'kor might have. An interesting premise and an intriguing commentary; thank you for the read!


  12. And so we've come to the end of our Writing Challenges for 2012! I'm pleased to bring you the results of our last Challenge of the year:

    The winner of the Challenge for December is Jalana Laxyn, with her story "The mightiest warrior of them all." Our runner-up -- who's new to the group! -- is Brayden Jorey, with his "Sentimental Value."

    Thank you to everyone who participated for continuing to submit your best work! We'll see you in 2013 with a new Challenge. Be ready!

    My special thanks to my fellow judges for this round -- Fleet Captain Toni Turner, Lieutenant Commander Velana, and Captain Diego Herrera.

    • Like 1
  13. "Guts and Glory!" by Tallis Rhul

    reviewed by Aron Kells

    Even from the title, the reader possesses an idea regarding the nature of this piece; that assumption is immediately realized via the first scene, and continues throughout the piece. The story is also formally advanced as it reserves its bold, italics, and normal sections for discrete sections that, with each of their first instances, inform the reader who they're to be approached. The narrative of the team continues via each time period and character, and combines to make a cohesive piece.
    What I wanted from this piece was to be pushed further. The trope of the sports team is so canvassed that it no longer carries much weight for character, story, or reader whether the team loses or wins, and while this story plays with that idea, the note upon which it ends doesn't allow it to say anything unique about its subject, and its characters are dimensionally reduced as a result. There are also some small choices -- such as calling the sport "soccer" when "football" would have made more sense in this context -- that I found distracting.
    The idea of intertwining historical narratives and the form of this piece are ultimately very satisfying; but I would challenge the writer to develop the content beyond that idea into something that challenges, rather than accepts, the ideas of a well-known trope like the sports story.
    --
    "Empty skies over Tokyo" by Kalianna Nicholotti
    reviewed by Arden Cain
    This was a very interesting approach on the challenge topic. The story is of how a single object could become so instrumental in shaping characters of today. The story is very well written and each of the sections within it are carefully crafted. I would have liked to see more length in some of the smaller sections of the story but given the word limit the story couldn't have been better. I was a little confused to the reason why the tense was changed in that last section as it is not apparent if the character is talking to anyone in particular or if it is more of a journal entry etc. This is certainly a interesting story and well worth the read. I look forward to the chance to read more of this character in future challenges.
    --
    "The Family Business" by Ben Livingstone
    reviewed by Aron Kells
    This was a solid take on the theme; it gave insight into both Ben and Arthur, and did so in a form that was very aware of its word count (this could've gone into our flash fiction Challenge!). Its brevity is one of its strongest aspects, and something I would challenge all future participants to match: Perhaps not in the similar shortness of their entries, but in those entries' spareness. However, the story wants in terms of risk-taking. Put simply, it's too safe -- a narrative of father and son spliced together in the normal way. It's a solid sim, albeit in a more traditionally narrative form, but it doesn't really push the boundaries of what it's trying to do. Nevertheless, it works strongly within those boundaries and advances an important character story. Well done!
  14. Happy December, folks! I'm pleased to bring you the results of our November contest. Sorry for the delay in posting.

    Our joint winners for November are Kalianna Nicholotti, with her "Empty skies over Tokyo," and Tallis Rhul, with his "Guts and Glory!" Runner-up goes to Ben Livingston, with "The Family Business." Congratulations!

    Reviews will be up in a moment, but be sure you check out the December Challenge, up now!

  15. Welcome, my friends, to the last Writing Challenge of 2012. It's been quite a ride this year: The Challenges saw a facilitator change, the addition of several judges to the rotating pool, our first one-month contests, our first collaborative contests with Ongoing Worlds (in July and in November), and our first alternate form contest (in August, with flash fiction, poetry, and free-form options). I hope to be able to bring you even more in 2013, but for now, let's look at closing out this year.

    The December Challenge will again be a monthlong Challenge, and in it, I ask you to consider the place of belief systems in Star Trek's future. Contemporarily, December is a month of holy days for many religions, but I'd like you to consider the question of religion and spirituality in the future context. Sure, we've seen the Bajorans and their Prophets, the Klingons' Sto-Vo-Kor, and the Vortas' belief in the Founders' godhood, but what else is out there?

    For example, when I designed my character (Aron Kells), I created for him a spiritual system based upon a quasi-concept deity called "the Architect." This was in direct response to an astrophysicist I worked with at the time; she was brilliant and dynamic, but she also followed strictly one of the strongest faith doctrines I've ever encountered. I thought the combination was intriguing, and thus my character was born.

    But what of yours? Is there a spiritual side to any of the characters for which you write? Or perhaps you could take a look into the unexplored spiritualities of the Romulans -- or the Ferengi -- or the Borg? Whatever you choose, be sure to craft a compelling story for the final contest of 2012!

    The deadline for this Challenge is December 26th (Boxing Day)! That gives you 26 shopping days to come up with something good, so begin thinking now.

    As always, please remember:
    *Your work must be completely original.
    *You must be the sole author of the work.
    *Your story must take place in the Star Trek universe, but may not center upon canon characters.
    *Sign your final draft as you would a post on your ship.
    *Your story must be between 300 and 3000 words.

    As of today, Saturday, December 1st, this Challenge is open.

    For any questions you might have, remember that you can always visit the Writing Challenge website.

    Good luck!

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