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December Responses and Winners!

Tony, aka VAiru

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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.

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"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!

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I am really excited. Thank you so much :D All the stories have been a great read, thanks for sharing them with us and congratulations to you as well Brayden :)

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