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Fast Ripe, Fast Rotten (A one-off)

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  14:12:04  4 December 2005
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Midnight Rambler
On forum: 10/17/2003
Messages: 30

"Whatever's on my hand stings my eyes, the two agonies fight each other."

Loved that line Ian. You're going to be a well paid writer yet, that much is obvious.

Oi Rambler, your email address need updating

Updated and fixed Amoki.
  15:08:37  5 December 2005
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The man lacking a plan


On forum: 08/02/2003
Messages: 273
Thanks very much chaps.

It does have a kind of noir air about it, doesn't it Chode? I find myself slipping into that style sometimes, for better or worse, end up getting carried away with the similies.

In particular thank you for the kind words Midnight Rambler, they gave me a boost that I will not soon forget.
  19:22:37  10 March 2006
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On forum: 02/17/2006
Messages: 14
Hold tight. You´re about to probably get the boost of your life now.
This review must be the paramount laudation you will ever receive, and probably the most depressing, too.

I think you kind of reinvented the wheel without noticing it.
Even though in our times such a thing is almost impossible considering the density of information we are fed (up with) every day, in my opinion (and I mean it) it is the best story I ever experienced (be it prose, a movie or a computer game, or whatever fiction comprising a plot).
Sounds a bit much? Wait; I’ll give details.

Honestly speaking I did not notice its full beauty right away, only when the first impact began to settle and I began stripping the story down to its frame. I do not think you have even considered it that way, but let me explain myself. Only when you understand a diamond’s nature will you recognize its perfection. (No, that is no bullshit quotation).

You have used the two concepts that have proved to be the best humankind has thought up to confuse a reader (you can be sure it never fails the desired effect when well prepared and appropriately written) and interwoven them with a reasonable character motivation/conflict as well as a concise plot.

The effect of confusion relies 1. on the fact everybody expects the Plot to be Linear (by which I mean continuity and a linear travel from A to B, not, as often used, a plot where the protagonist faces no obstacles), which must ultimately be determined by the way we are taught to perceive time and the development of our life within it, and 2. the fact we are compelled to assume the narrator is objective. (Now that was Helluva sentence. Pat yourself on the back for reading this one.)

In other words you have put together what has always belonged together:

1. The circular plot (i.e. A and Z are one). A.k.a: The perpetual plot or plot loop.
This is the usual suspect when people are really confused after the show.
First appearance in a movie I know of: David Lynch’s Lost Highway. Guest roles in: Twelve Monkeys, Matrix 3 (poor specimen though).
First known appearance in prose: (sorry no info)
Only known appearance in a PC game: Hitman, Codename: 47, which must be the most professionally crafted pc game plot ever.

2. The twisted P.o.V.: A.k.a. The confused narrator.

Only appearance in a movie I can think of right now: The Secret Window. Great Movie. (By the way; No, the Matrix Trilogy is not a suitable example here.)
First known appearance in prose: The Tell Tale Hearth, by Edgar Allen Poe (A story which really does not have anything more than this asset to it. You see, I am in no way easy to impress.)
PC game: none that I know of.

3. Straightforwardness(and this is a short story’s greatest quality).

a) The best part about this (and the realization that let me grip this story’s exceptionality): Each part that constitutes the story serves both as an external and an internal motivation (thus keeping it really simple).

For example the fact the protagonist does not want to leave his comrades.
External purpose: make him stay put in this place.
Internal purpose: Make him a sad divergent personality. Give him a goal, and a human side, and give fate the cruel twist that his humanity is what made him inhuman at last (which is a great paradoxical situation creating tons of friction).
Or this loneliness.
External purpose: Reason he is in need of rescue and uses the beacon.
Internal purpose: Possibility to hint at his madness by the strange thoughts that can be placed in his head without arousing too much suspicion.

And even better, you pull off the outward explanation for both the perpetual plotline as well as the narrator’s confusion from the same element: The influence of irradiation (i.e. there is interdependence between these two concepts, thus permanently bonding them.)

b) In addition, there is no dead weight in your story (which certainly does not apply to the other story you have posted here.) The only exception is the bullshit fire-fight (which I certainly realize is the needed action part - still not well done). If the intention was that the protagonist fires himself, there are easier ways of implementing it more skilful, and if it should have been another guy: it falls out of the story’s frame = Dead Weight!

Still, all lines are clearly drawn, and each joins somewhere giving the whole plot an inner unity and a purpose in itself, as well as a topical issue to deal with. (In this case salvation both physically and mentally as well as other topics such as loyalty and its gains.)

All the aforementioned attributes weigh far more than the fact it is pleasantly dark (even noir) and excitingly cynical, as well as sinisterly gory. That is no big deal to pull off (not considering the boundaries of this competition). But what you created is in one word: the perfect (science-) fiction short story. (Ok, its six words.) At least from the outline. That is beacuse there is nothing more suitable to perfection than simplicity. (Nope this one isn’t a damn quotation either. I refuse to embellish myself with other feathers than my own.)

I have never seen all those elements blended together that well and as straightforward, and actually never seen them assembled that way (but believe me you can be sure it has already been done before. Ours are easy, but in the end cruel times for an author.)

As you see this is more than the usual inane laudation pouring all over the place. Yet, it is even more praise.

It must feel like playing with the rubick’s cube, and by chance hit all the sides right. Surely the STALKER background helps along a lot to make the story reasonable and concise.

Now, once I elucidated my opinion it is clear why I tell you it is best to get prepared for the fact that you will never best this one. While I predict the average quality of you work will steadily increase within the next time, be prepared for the insight you have left you zenith behind you.

Now, I will make getting this story somewhere my goal (right behind getting my own stuff published, and about a dozen projects.)

I think we should think about getting the best writers on this board together for some anthology. I can already think of a publisher (in theory). I think you know whom I mean.

Because of that, and other reasons of course, you’ll certainly see why we need to talk.
I’ll have to leave the modalities at your choice though.
  21:36:48  10 March 2006
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Ancient History


On forum: 04/30/2005
Messages: 873
Well, I can't possibly give you the same comprehensive praise that Blank4G did. But I can say that was a fantastic piece of writing. A wonderful bit of prose. Well done mate.
  03:22:41  13 March 2006
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The man lacking a plan


On forum: 08/02/2003
Messages: 273
Taken me most of the day to fully digest your post Blank4G, needless to say I very much appreciate you putting such effort into analysis and explaining why you enjoyed the story.

It's difficult to not feel a little affronted with the Rubik's Cube comparison though. I'll be the first to admit that there is always an ammount of 'mess' involved with writing, there is with any creative process, and that while that mess is scaled down with experience it still remains even for the most accomplished writers. I've gone through my share of mess, I used to scrap huge segments of writing ( literally hundreds of pages ), trying to find out what worked.

I was certainly in a state of 'flow' when I wrote fast ripe, fast rotten, but the main ideas and basis of the piece had been floating around my head for a while, it was just that moment of creative diarrhoea where your unconscious has finished chewing over what you've fed it and suddenly evacuates with little warning ( pardon the colourful metaphor, but that's just how it feels to me ).

I'm obviously not prepared to credit the idea that this is likely to remain my best work ( not with a novel on the boil! ), I am pleased with it however which is more than I can say for most of my pieces.

The anthology sounds like a great idea, it's always struck me that GSC have used this literary contest as a means to draw attention to the game and paid little attention to the efforts/requests of the writers themselves ( can't blame them I guess, they are a business ), and while it's cool that all stories will be put on the DVD there is a danger of the better efforts not getting the recognition they deserve.

If you need to contact me then my e-mail/MSN is, needless to say I'd certainly be interested in chatting with you about getting my work 'out there'.
  09:34:03  13 March 2006
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back with a vengeance


On forum: 07/31/2003
Messages: 1729

If you need to contact me then my e-mail/MSN is, needless to say I'd certainly be interested in chatting with you about getting my work 'out there'.

Haven't seen you on MSN for ages. I take it that I've been blocked for good?
  16:34:27  13 March 2006
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The man lacking a plan


On forum: 08/02/2003
Messages: 273


Haven't seen you on MSN for ages. I take it that I've been blocked for good?

Not really the place to discuss it here, I've sent you an e-mail.
  17:01:44  15 March 2006
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On forum: 02/17/2006
Messages: 14
The need to clarify...

Ok... This time I`ll make the vain attempt to be brief... , but still try and avoid being misunderstood, so get your reading glasses.

I was in two minds about the Rubick`s cube statement myself, but then I resolved to stick with it just to see how you`d take it.
The way you understood it is certainly not the way I meant it though.

I know perfectly well that a story is not created by chance, even if any creative process is in fact random and destructive. (Only a fool without the slightest experience would doubt that.) I like to compare creation with a hurricane ravaging one`s mind, followed by a conscious re-construction into something new (wich is my explanation why the late hours alway bear the best fruit). Still your comparison with digestion kinda hits the nail on the head as well... .

My point with the previous stamemnt was in fact the assumption you did not start this story with the general Ideas I have mentioned before. Because if you`d have created this whole plotline from scrap, considering each implication and each element`s general suitability, I would have staked my nonexistent credentials on the fact you`d been a pro with 20 years of experience (it would not have improved the stories worth a bit though).
By the (of course conscious) effort to make the story "work" you still pulled off grand things behid the scenes, that you shurely have felt to be in place (i.e harmony of the story) and intended... I wonder if that makes it any clearer what I am trying to say...

Another approach: If you take an "outward approach" to story creation, it gets more complicated and intricate. Processing all the theoretical information and possible implications as well as their suitability and sense would have been an endeavour worth a novel or a movie-screenplay, not to mention its near impossibility.

It would have taken far too much time to implement in a fanfic story that in fact is thrid-grade literature (or anyway close).
So in my opinion, as we are a generation that has been (passively) confronted with plot and stories; with visual style and moviemaking since early childhood, we have developed sort of a "sixth sense" for cliche, and what will work in a story, what would fit, and what not and how to lure the reader onto the wrong path to thrill him.
You have sure seen it coming that your story turns out great in a sense of: good plot, interesting setting, unexpected turning point and consciously taken influence on those things (at this point I need to elucidate that the story's impact is simply "tripled" by the fact one has learned to "underestimate" the writers here. I have chosen this term so as not to offend anyone. Still is if the story would have been from a well known author, I would have anticipated far more things and you would`ve never caught me this wrong-footed (as you will never do herafter ). I have to confess that I have overlooked all the hints at what could possibly be wrong with the guy, thinking the detail would not be well thought-out . )
(Doesn`t that sound familiar? )

So to get it off my chest: I never doubted you deserve full credits for the story, it does not lessen its genius by the fact you have (assumably) taken the "inward" approach in its creation.

Well, I think there`s no insult on cutting short on my laudation in that way.

And concerning your future work: I have not objected that the quality of your work will improve. I have only said that the perfection of this story lies in simplicity.
It is obvious why you will never best this aspect with any novel you could possibly write.
The conciseness and inner unity of the plot is determined by the medium that is chosen for it. Imagine the horror of a novel with as many turning points per 10 pages as your short story has. Possibly I would even like the novel better, but I do not see the conflict with my previous statement there.

There is far more to a piece of literature than the plot; alot that is far more open to opinion, in fact so much, the word perfection seems out of place.

In my opinion any piece of literature consitst of: Style (i.e. pure descriptive ability) , literary mastery (i.e. the art part of descrtiption), ambition and message (awkward word for meaning behind the obvious), plot, feel and imagination.

Nowadays plot seems to beat all those others though.
It ocurrs to me that your story may be just that good because the other points have been (to some extent) neglected or did not fit in.

A simple example to clarify my point: If I was to compare the acknowledged "Matrix" with your story, and asked which one was the greater experience, I would choose Matrix without hesitation.
Still as I said before yours is still better devised as the Matirx regarding plot.
Surely it is hard to compare a short story to a movie, but if you bare it down to its essentials, it is far more comprehensive than one would think. Wait, I have to get my scalpel for that.

The Matrix story is by far overrated. First of all to clarify my statements about creativity I will expose the elements they have shredded and re-worked into this plot that. (still there`s one logical system-failure I do not see how they could have avoided (as the wacholski brothers themselves, obviously): put it simply: a man needs more than 80 kg of dissolved organic mass to survive his whole lifespan.)

Where they gathered stuff (general ideas not the plot) as far as I can tell...

1.Hong kong karate movies (for sure)
2.Terminator (obviously)
3.Total Recall: the point where they want to trick him into believeing that what he thinks is real is in fact only an implanted memory and he did never leave the company-building (note: the choice to wake up or continue is offered as a PILL to wake him up!)
4. Tron: the way programs are scripted, changed and controlled, as well as how they move along the "data highway" wich only became an issue in the later bullshit parts, especially the second.
5. Soylent Green: that is the name of the novel by I do not know whom, but there also exists a movie dealing with it. The main point there is that the dregs of future scoiety get dissolved and worked into a sort of cheap food with tofu-like quality coming in three ubiquitous flavours Soylent green, red and.... i think yellow (though I do not want to know the recipie for that! N)
6. there has been a series over ten years ago that the germans have translated into: The three-legged rulers (literally). I cannot help but think the original title was a bit more inspired, still the point there was that aliens ruled the planet, travelling in three-legged flying saucers implanting men mind control units, making them work for their survival.

So you see, by combining all those into a neat world of its own, the movie almost manages to fool the viewers into the illusion its makers devised anything of their own. Shure the visual style helps along pretty much, too.

I was the biggest fan of this movie but analyzing it made me a fervent critic. I felt kinda like fooled by it.
The Idea the world seems dull and pointless (for example seen in the Trueman-Show), that leads to the explanation it is only a virtual world, (and explaining why the damn chicken tastes so dull... ) serves only as an outline, not as a substantial plot-waypoint at least in my opinion. Sure it creates the idea of Morpheus being a terrorist, but that is whithout any later meaning as well as getting demasked as a ruse quite fast. In essence the plot revolves around the prediction of the oracle (a quite recurring motive, still fate and the possibiltiy to maipulate it seem quite interestingly picked as anathema to virtual, programmed worlds ruled by scientific rationalism. Hacking as a philosophical abstraction of existentialsim... hmmm). It is dealt with in a stisfactory way, but let`s face it: who of us ever realy Neo is The One?

Thus stripped down, there is not much left of it`s uncanny genius celebrated in many a review I think. Its well done, but in essence nothing new. So what remains is only plot, and that is kinda lame.

Getting back to what I wanted to explain, I would label the matirx better enterainment as a whole and a larger source of inspiration (simply because so many people have put so many good ideas into it), still your story is better thought (out plot-wise) and makes better use of plot. Period.
Now I think you`ll understand what I wanted to say. Your story is a pure diamond, but by no way the crown of mankind`s literary achievements or aspirtations.

Concerning your closing statement: I am no publisher or editor (or else I would not have gotten here ), so I do not "need" to contact you. (Now it`s my turn to get hung up on formulation ). I simply want to do so because I hope for a fruitful dialogue and collaboration. (No mentor-disciple thing intended either way.)

I leave the rest for my e-mail

P.S. My answers make stand-alone short stories it seems...
  17:32:46  15 March 2006
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The man lacking a plan


On forum: 08/02/2003
Messages: 273
An intriguing and ( again ) very detailed response, thank you for expanding on your ideas/views and providing examples, an interesting read.

I see what you mean about not expecting any tricks/subtle clues when you approached as it is an 'amateur' work, there are some other stories on here which have had the same impact on me - you go in with modest hopes then they are exceeded by a good margin, therefore doubling your enjoyment.

I've attempted a collaboration in the past with mixed results, it mainly never got up to speed due to my erratic work ethic, but that doesn't mean I'd shut the door on such a project and am always eager to discuss writing with a like-minded person.

As to your e-mail, I look forward to it although I won't be able to reply for the next two weeks or so due to leaving for the Dominican Republic tommorow ( hope to find some fresh creative fuel there along with the sun and cocktails, I certainly did in Tunisia! )
  20:04:58  15 March 2006
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On forum: 02/17/2006
Messages: 14
If you check your email in a few minutes you will find it right there... would appreciate a reply before you leave.

The sort of collaboration I meant was a bit different but I am open for any suggestions, still I think time wil come, although not just yet. we eill be able to talk business soon though.

And: Enjoy yourself! (hopefully you will not ruin your stay with incessantly pondering your writing. That's what kept happening to me last year.)

Oh, and dont forget to take these
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