Author Topic: PC288: Flash Fiction Contest Strikes Back!  (Read 9001 times)

Ocicat

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on: November 27, 2013, 09:30:43 AM
PodCastle 288: Flash Fiction Contest Strikes Back!

This week we’re back with a special episode collecting the winners of our recent flash fiction contest! A huge congratulations to our winners – we’re looking forward to hearing more stories from them!

3rd Prize:
“Georgina and the Basilisk,” by Leslianne Wilder
Read by LaShawn Wanak


Georgina has not moved the newspapers in years, only let them pile one on top of the other, showing assassinations and exploding towers, skinny white girls with fake breasts- probably singers or actresses, wars in countries she doesn’t know. She’s too old to bother learning names or places. Twice a day, the woman who is not a real nurse comes to Georgina’s house to empty Georgina’s catheter bag and paw through Georgina’s silverware. The non-nurse barely speaks English. She insists she’s tidying, but Georgina knows she’s picking for cash, jewelry, heirlooms. The agency won’t send someone different; they use words like “false reports” and threaten not to send anyone at all. When the non- nurse leaves, Georgina sits alone in the stale heat of the old house with the basilisk.

2nd Prize:
“The Bear,” by Taven Moore
Read by Christiana Ellis


“I haven’t seen the bear in months,” I lie.

My lips curve into the smile of a sane woman. A smile practiced in a mirror late at night. White teeth against red lips. Just the right amount of crinkle at the edges of my eyes.


1st Prize:
“Wuffle,” by Chantal Beaulne
Read by Nathaniel Lee


The wizard entered the barber shoppe the way most did – with great effort, feet planted on either side of the doorframe, and assisted by the barber’s two beefy arms. Resisting their combined labour was the wizard’s beard. It clung to a lamppost outside, whining like a devildog sensing his oncoming castration.

Listen to this week’s PodCastle!
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 04:59:57 PM by Talia »



Whiskerwing

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Reply #1 on: November 27, 2013, 04:31:54 PM
MASSIVE kudos to the readers. Christiana Ellis brought The Bear to life in ways that sound even better than the story did in my own head.

Hugely wowed.


Moon_Goddess

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Reply #2 on: November 29, 2013, 10:05:55 PM
I really enjoyed "Georgina and the Basilisk"   I pondered if it were real and no one else noticed, or if the Basilisk was all in her head.    If it's all in her head is it a reaction to illness and impending death?    If it's real? why has she been the only one to discover it, and if it is real.   What a horrifying thing to have living in your home.

I have to admit, I don't think I understood "The Bear"  I know she got released from psychiatric care, and then she walked into a bloodstain on a wall?   I missed something somewhere.

"Wuffle" was cute, I kept feeling like I'd heard part of it before or something but darker?   Like this was the cute version of a different beard story?   Or maybe I've lost my mind and I'm gonna follow a bear into a bloodstain....

Was dream6601 but that's sounds awkward when Nathan reads my posts.


Moritz

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Reply #3 on: November 30, 2013, 09:49:34 AM
As someone who participated in the contest and the voting:
Thanks again Ocicat for running and hosting! I really like the three winning stories - didn't vote for one of them, but it turned out that it worked better for me in audio anyways, so I am really happy with the outcome.



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Reply #4 on: November 30, 2013, 12:46:54 PM
Great readings on these stories!  I read them during the contest and enjoyed getting to hear them on the podcast.

Thanks so much, Ocicat, for running such a wonderful and fun contest!



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Reply #5 on: November 30, 2013, 05:54:39 PM
Hooray! These are three great stories, and very deserving of their wins! And whoever did the story/reader pairings, you get an extra kudos because that was brilliant. I particularly enjoyed Scattercat's reading of Wuffle. ;D

Okay, Pseudopod and Escape Pod, it's your turn! ;)



Fenrix

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Reply #6 on: November 30, 2013, 06:04:52 PM

Okay, Pseudopod and Escape Pod, it's your turn! ;)


PseudoPod is scheduled to run them as the first episode of the new year.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Devoted135

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Reply #7 on: November 30, 2013, 06:09:59 PM

Okay, Pseudopod and Escape Pod, it's your turn! ;)


PseudoPod is scheduled to run them as the first episode of the new year.

Awesome, thanks for the head's up! :)



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Reply #8 on: December 01, 2013, 01:19:20 AM
This was such a treat, and just in time for Thanksgiving commuting. LOVED these stories, and the readings were first-rate. Also, Ocicat - I loved your hosting job! I have fond memories of our friend the Barnacle Goose, and the Bonnacon of course. :D

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Reply #9 on: December 01, 2013, 06:36:23 AM
After going through the contest process, it was great to hear the finished product. Loved the readings.  Thanks again to Ocicat, and everyone else who helped, for all the work you put into this.

"My whole job is in the space between 'should be' and 'is.' It's a big space."


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Reply #10 on: December 02, 2013, 04:38:43 PM
All deserving!  I'm going to be lazy and cut-and-paste my comments from the contest threads.

Georgina and the Basilisk:
Quote
I generally liked it, though it also makes me sad.  My interpretation is that there is really no basilisk, and that she has Alzheimer's at a stage where she can still care for herself but where she doesn't trust anyone

The Bear:
Quote
I like it.  One of my favorites in the contest.  My only complaint (and it's a small one) is that it takes a little too long at the beginning to realize this is a pschiatric evaluation, rather than just a regular conversation.

"My lips curve into the smile of a sane woman."
I like this line especially.

Wuffle:
Quote
Easily my favorite so far.  Facial-hair humor is an easy sell for me, but even so I think this was solid even without that affinity.

Lots of fun little details all over the place, with a poignant ending having no creature living on his face to taste his tears.

If this doesn't win the cotest, the author should keep submitting it elsewhere, no need to change anything.  If I had a publication I would buy it.



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Reply #11 on: December 02, 2013, 04:41:29 PM
I have to admit, I don't think I understood "The Bear"  I know she got released from psychiatric care, and then she walked into a bloodstain on a wall?   I missed something somewhere.

Either she is crazy and murdered someone in the past which her mind has masked by making up an invisible killer bear that kills or doesn't on her command, and has been faking sanity so they'll let her loose.  In this case the passing through the wallpaper is somewhat ambiguous, perhaps passing the point of complete dissociation from reality, or perhaps suicide.

Or she actually can command an invisible killer bear, and the bear has now opened a gateway to its world for her to go live in.



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Reply #12 on: December 02, 2013, 06:16:09 PM
So happy to see the quick turn-around with these as we're still waiting for the Escape Pod and PseudoPod winners to show up.

As for the stories, it was awesome to hear them in audio format after having read them several times in the contest. Wuffle is fun, light-hearted, and fantastically written, and thus easily deserved the win. Likewise, The Bear is well written and creepy, with enough mystery to really pull you through the story. The only one of the three I have any beef with is Georgina. Not because it's not a well written piece, it very much is, or because it isn't interesting. It's just not really a story, in my book. It's a very interesting character sketch. I think the fact that it pulled third place speaks to the skill of the author in the writing, but personally I would have chosen a story with a little more... well, story to it.

Still, that just my opinion, and the masses have spoken. Huge grats to all three winners and another mighty thank you to Ocicat for doing such a great job hosting.

Now, bring on the EP and PP winners!

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Reply #13 on: December 02, 2013, 06:38:16 PM

Now, bring on the EP and PP winners!


PseudoPod is scheduled to run them as the first episode of the new year.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


Ocicat

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Reply #14 on: December 02, 2013, 09:59:25 PM
I'm glad some folks enjoyed my hosting job.  I almost prefaced it with an apology for being both inexperienced at this sort of thing, and for having no sound equipment to speak of - it was recorded using the built in mic on my mac laptop. But as a listener I always find such apologies tiresome.

I don't think I'd want to make a regular thing of hosting, but it was fun to try.



LaShawn

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Reply #15 on: December 03, 2013, 01:41:03 AM
I'm glad some folks enjoyed my hosting job.  I almost prefaced it with an apology for being both inexperienced at this sort of thing, and for having no sound equipment to speak of - it was recorded using the built in mic on my mac laptop. But as a listener I always find such apologies tiresome.

I'll one-up you. I used the mike that came with our Wii Rock Band game.

Oh, I had such a fun time reading Georgina and the Basilisk. I didn't get a chance to participate in the contest, so I feel honored to have my first reading be one of the winners. Thanks, all, and congratulations to the winners!

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Reply #16 on: December 05, 2013, 09:18:10 AM
I have to say I liked no. 2 and no. 3 much better than the winner. I liked the ambiguity in both - is it really a basilisk or is it a woman falling into dementia? is it really a bear or just a way for a deranged person to justify past trauma? The beard... eh. I admit I got distracted at some point, but it just didn't grip me, and I didn't find the beard idea funny.



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Reply #17 on: December 05, 2013, 03:17:34 PM
I have to say I liked no. 2 and no. 3 much better than the winner. I liked the ambiguity in both - is it really a basilisk or is it a woman falling into dementia? is it really a bear or just a way for a deranged person to justify past trauma? The beard... eh. I admit I got distracted at some point, but it just didn't grip me, and I didn't find the beard idea funny.

Blasphemy!  Funny because beard!   :D  JK, you can find it funny or not as you like, I mostly just wanted to preposition "because" again.



Varda

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Reply #18 on: December 05, 2013, 03:48:41 PM
I mostly just wanted to preposition "because" again.

...Because "because"!

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Reply #19 on: December 05, 2013, 04:05:01 PM
I mostly just wanted to preposition "because" again.

...Because "because"!

Because of the wonderful things he does!  (Sorry, the "Because Because" tripped my song playback function, it's always had a bit of a twitchy trigger)



Spindaddy

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Reply #20 on: December 06, 2013, 01:38:26 AM
I'm glad some folks enjoyed my hosting job.  I almost prefaced it with an apology for being both inexperienced at this sort of thing, and for having no sound equipment to speak of - it was recorded using the built in mic on my mac laptop. But as a listener I always find such apologies tiresome.

I don't think I'd want to make a regular thing of hosting, but it was fun to try.

Hey I thought you did good! The funny part for me is I had always assumed you were a woman, so hearing your dude's voice when i expected something else was kind of fun. For a laptop microphone that sounded pretty good. I had been wondering if you were using a headset or something else.... The bestiary intro was intriguing and I want you to know you caused me to spend about 4 hours wiki'ing various beastiaries. Damn you! I had work to do.... :)

With that said, I like the Bear best. As someone with a very dark side (when I was younger I had rage issues) I was completely entranced with this story. I could feel the angry teen in me nodding with a grim satisfaction and saying 'Yes, finally someone understands the bear inside us all.'

Georgina and the Basilisk made me laugh. I thought it was quite a fun story. I've been exposed to a lot of grouchy old people and this seemed to sum them all up rather nicely.

Wuffle was sort of weird, but as a Bearded American I can't understand why anyone would want to get rid of such a useful beard.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 01:43:46 AM by Spindaddy »

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Reply #21 on: December 06, 2013, 02:31:36 PM
The funny part for me is I had always assumed you were a woman, so hearing your dude's voice when i expected something else was kind of fun.

Me too, though I'm not exactly sure why I thought that. 

Perhaps because cartoons have taught me that cats are all female and dogs are all male, except for poodles which are all female. 

Not that it really matters one way or the other.  :)



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Reply #22 on: December 06, 2013, 03:28:11 PM
I'm glad some folks enjoyed my hosting job.  I almost prefaced it with an apology for being both inexperienced at this sort of thing, and for having no sound equipment to speak of - it was recorded using the built in mic on my mac laptop. But as a listener I always find such apologies tiresome.

I don't think I'd want to make a regular thing of hosting, but it was fun to try.

Aw, that's a shame, 'cause I thought it was most excellent and that you did a great job!  ;D

We'll be happy to open up some new beastiaries for you, though!

For the people asking about PP and EP flash fiction - Fenrix has already mentioned when PP's is scheduled to drop. We talked to both Norm and Shawn prior to going ahead and doing ours first because we were a bit anxious about going before them, and they were both happy for us to do it. Norm says the EP flash fiction contest should go live sometime soon in 2014.


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Reply #23 on: March 06, 2014, 02:51:19 PM
Maybe our poor bald-faced wizard can have a companion again after all!
http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/beauty/beard-transplants-are-now-a-thing-20140226-33ib5.html



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Reply #24 on: October 06, 2014, 08:56:55 PM
I named Wuffle as #14 in my fave Podcastle of all time:
http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/10/podcast-spotlight-podcastle/