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July Responses and Winners!


Tony, aka Kells
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Hello, folks, and welcome to the end of July! Our tireless judges of this special short contest have convened, voted, and returned to the mysterious depths from which they came, and I'm pleased now to announce our winners.

The winner of the July Writing Challenge is Alleran Tan, with his story "Ethical Considerations"! Our runner-up is Idril Mar for her "Trek Noir"! Congratulations to our winners, and thanks to everyone who participated.

To those of you who were entered in the Ongoing Worlds contest, their reactions will likely be mailed straight to you; regardless, any good news will be also find a place in these forums!

Thank you to this round's judges: Fleet Captain Toni Turner, Captain Kali Nicholotti, Commander Karynn Brice, and Lt. Commander Arden Cain!

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"The Creature: Alone"

by Edward Johnson

reviewed by Aron Kells

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This piece does takes on the task of a first-person look at an entity that isn't a person at all; and while its title gives you some clue of what's to come, the power of the story is in its telling. A first-person story must have a strong voice, and this story does -- though what that voice might sound like, I'm not sure. In several places, its "new" descriptions of familiar sensations allow it an innocent sensibility, and its mix of sensations and stolen memories produces a mix of knowns and unknowns that keep the reader guessing at what the entity will encounter next. However, while the idea behind the story is a good one, it's also a very tough one to pull off, and the story doesn't do it as effectively as it could have. It is too short to really develop who the entity is, what it wants, or why we should care about it, and I was immensely about Nari Covania and her background answered the entity's. My recommendation for this story would be to slow it down, to let it breathe, and to use the aspects that do work -- the voice that matches the non-grounded entity's perception, for one -- to allow the entity, and the reader, to explore the nuance of feeling for the first time.

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"Trek Noir"

by Idril Mar

reviewed by Aron Kells

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Immediately afterward, I thought thank god it wasn't an opera! Said Louise Fletcher of her time on DS9: "...That's over-acting not in a negative way, it's just sort of operatic, and everybody can be big, because it's a big environment, and the emotions are big. It's just like that black and white thing, the good and the evil and the power. It's sort of like the seven deadly sins. How do you act those in a small way?" But what this story does so deftly is exactly the opposite of what Fletcher identified in Trek. "Trek Noir" is a small, smoky, quiet piece that presents a simple slice of an engineer's life, and after the usual bombast, the ultimate questions of good and evil, that's very welcome. Idril's voice is insouciant and there's no doubt in my mind that this writer knows her character, and that knowledge made for a very enjoyable read. The piece's one shortcoming was in its over-reliance upon adverbs; its descriptions were rendered more like 60s stock sets than fantastic new worlds (or a not-so-fantastic new world, perhaps), though this could equally be part of its noirish charm. All things considered, this was a strong, vibrant, but also understated story from an established Challenge master.

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"Hard Decisions"

by Vid-Lotilija

reviewed by Kali Nicholotti

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It’s always nice to get a view of things from a perspective that is outside the normal Federation or Starfleet realm directly, and in this story, readers get a glimpse of what a Romulan family, at least partially, might be like. With all of the ‘charms’ you might expect of Romulan society, along with hints of just how dark the secrets might run, Hard Decisions gives us a view of the other side. The idea of an El Aurian, who had been completely immersed within Romulan culture, then going to serve in Starfleet may not be something that you see every day, but this writer certainly gives meaning and depth to the reasoning and it brings something wholly unique to the potential future of the character. At the same time, for all of the buildup that was done in the beginning leading to the big decision, the end seemed just a bit rushed and left me looking for more! My recommendation for this story would be to give us more about the negotiations and, perhaps, the feelings that the character had as she marched towards her destiny on the other side of the Neutral Zone. Overall, this was a great story and a neat addition to the history of a character that seems to be very much different from others I’ve seen. Keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing more in the future.

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"Ethical Considerations"

by Alleran Tan

reviewed by Karynn Brice

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I just want to start my review by saying "Great Job!" This was a terrific piece that I enjoyed reading more than once. Your theme was engaging and kept me both interested and contemplating long after I had finished reading. In classic Trek style, you took a concept that is still controversial and repackaged it to give us a chance to look at it from a different perspective.

I have very little to constructively criticize in this entry. I think there were a few places where, for me, the pace seemed a touch slow, at least the first time through, but otherwise it was great. Your spelling and grammar were without any noticeable errors and it was obvious that you had taken your time to think about and develop the Ferengi-Borg character. Congratulations on a very well-written story.

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"Captain's Personal Log...."

by Tyr Waltas

reviewed by Arden Cain

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Being a Captain of a starship is no easy task. While trained to handle diplomacy, combat and to give the appearance of unwavering control even in the face of tragedy it is surely the emotional conflicts that hit a Captain worst of all. This story isn't new one but it is one that should be remembered. The way the story progresses from a fairly calm minded person to one in a rawer emotion state was very well done. Imagery used along the way was also quite fitting to this piece. If there was one thing that I would have liked to see more of, it would be more emotion. It stands to reason that for the character to react like this something has pushed him over the edge so how does he really feel beyond simply speaking of freedom and the atrocities of society. It would have also been nice to see some reason why this event was different or what changed in the characters mindset to trigger this "log". Overall though I felt that it was engaging and heart-felt.

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