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September & October Responses and Winners


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Thanks to our great writers who entered this September and October Challenge! Just in time for Halloween, I'm pleased to bring you the judges' decision and our feedback. I was incredibly happy to see the diversity of stories here, from a character-action piece to a second-person mythos narrative to some alternate history via time travel to the story of a tribble fancier. Well done, all!
The judges were unanimous, however, in deciding that "Yesterday's Tomorrow," courtesy of Chris, the writer behind Sinda Essen and Jhen Thelev, should win this contest. The Challenge's runner-up, then, is "Diplomatic Impunity (or 'The Tribble with Troubles')," courtesy of Sarah, the writer behind Saveron. All my congratulations to both of you, and please watch the Community News around mid-November and -December for more about these authors and their stories!
My special thanks to my fellow judges for this round -- the writers behind Fleet Captain Toni Turner and our special guest, last Challenge's winner, Lieutenant Ben Livingston.
Writers and all interested parties will find individual feedback posted below this message. Please feel free to use this thread to offer your congratulations to the winning writers!
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"What Was To Come"
writer's character: Diego Herrera
judge's character: Ben Livingston
There is a particular allure for writers to incorporate ornate and complex language. Done poorly, this can ruin a respectable piece; in “What Was To Come”, however, sentence structure and diction add to the story. It’s clear that each uncommon word and every turn of phrase is chosen to deliver a particular connotation. The piece deserves a second read for the language alone.
The story itself tells of the “sphere-builders” from the perspective of one realizing that their way of life is going to come crashing down – and it cannot be stopped. This piece’s power is, in part, that this is a plot played out over and over throughout history, and the writer explores the experience of someone to whom it is actually happening – an appealing perspective and a voice not often heard. There is a peculiarity of the work that highlights the idea that this could be any society with more power than it has collective wisdom: the story of the Sphere-builders is one with which many readers may be not be familiar. Reading the story without the relevant background leads to questions as to the race’s identity, which only emphasizes this theme.
There is one aspect worth noting for future improvement. The character’s reaction to the situation is given, but it does not offer a complete exploration of the character’s internal journey once the realization occurs. The piece is set up to deliver a stunning account of the feelings experienced upon realizing “what is to come”. The final line is powerful, but it would be more so with more leading up to it, offering a chance to better identify with this alien.
This is an extremely well-written piece that deserves to be sat with and pondered. It is a showcase of language, a story with an intriguing idea, and a great piece overall. Well done!
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"Diplomatic Impunity, (or 'The Tribble with Troubles')"
writer's character: Saveron
judge's character: Toni Turner
This piece was a fast-paced read that flowed seamlessly from beginning to end, the only problem with that was it left me wanting to read more at that pace, which was not a fault at all. I also liked Severon's mastery of extra long sentences as well, proving that when punctuated correctly, they don't disrupt the flow or pace of the point being made.
While the entry verged on being perfect, I kept reading it over to see if I had read it's one mistake incorrectly, but alas the misspelling Federation (Federtion) kept blaring out at me in the third paragraph. No problem though, I didn't count off for that careless mistake.
Excellent work, Lt. Commander.

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"A Place in Time"
writer's character: Brayden Jorey
judge's character: Aron Kells
A very solid story! This story uses its Trek foundations, from the appearance of the Borg to the use of imzadi, to place itself strongly before it makes its gutsiest jump: The Borg have changed! The fear of assimilation that Trek's presented for nearly a quarter of a decade has escalated and the Borg, for whatever reason, have decided that they'd prefer to annihilate whomever they encounter. However, that's also where the story stumbles a bit, because, like Jorey, I'm not quite sure what the scenario I just saw meant. Was it a premonition, or, one step further, temporal jump? Or was it a delusion? Either of those would've been a really interesting consequence to investigate, but especially the second: Why would Jorey be delusional; what terrible things have happened to him? It's clear that he's a character who lives very much within his emotions, and so I was tempted to think that it would be easy to jump to a place of overwhelming emotion, and perhaps even delusion. For the future, I'd suggest that the writer think about what really happened here and whether it could happen again, and, if so, why...?

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"Yesterday's Tomorrow"
writer's character: Sinda Essen
judge's character: Aron Kells
Yesterday's tomorrow, indeed! This story starts off at a sprint and never slows down, helped along by its smart pacing, a heavy use of dialogue, and space descriptions; if pages were involved, it would be a page-turner for sure. The Macmillan epigraph provides a very useful context for the piece; replicators in post-WWII Britain would certainly mark those words as true. In fact, I think it was a very smart choice on the writer's part to keep this story relatively small and contained with a single character as its through line, as I suspect that introducing replicators would -- well, as Charlotte says, "What happens when everyone suddenly has everything they ever wanted, without restraint?" However, the story intelligently doesn't concern itself with answering that question in exhaustive detail but presents its narrative as an answer to the question. In one way, the story is a Trek-based reaction to the steampunk genre generally; it uses time-travel as its macguffin, but I suspect that if this had been a television episode, there would have been a few hundred fan fictions based in this alternate history! If I had one suggestion for the writer, it would be that while the dialogue is doing a useful job of moving the story along, I wouldn't mind stopping to breathe a bit in this world before the big reveal as I'm quite curious about what, for example, Charles's life would be like on a day-to-day basis. However, I don't think not knowing detracts overwhelmingly from what's presented here, and I'm entirely satisfied by the story's end. Excellent work!
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I never cease to be both amazed and honoured!

Once again the quality of writing was incredibly high, which only adds to the honour!

Thank you to the judges, and especially to my fellow writers. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the entries and can only imagine how tough it was to judge.

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Congratulations Chris, that was a thoroughly enjoyable read!

As were all the entries; I love the Writing Challenge for the interesting new reading material.

I am honoured to be recognised, and rather surprised. The competition was particularly stiff this round. Thank you.

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