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November Responses and Winners


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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!

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"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.
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"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.
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"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!
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