Our warrior writers have fought admirably, but ultimately only one can emerge victorious. Our esteemed judges have sifted through the carnage and rendered their decisions. Without further ado, here is what they had to say on TWA #8
Donald Jacob Uitvlugt is our guest judge this week. Donald strives to write what he calls “haiku fiction,” stories that are small in scope but big on impact. (Find out more about haiku fiction here. He welcomes comments at his blog http://haikufiction.blogspot.com or via Twitter @haikufictiondju).
Another stellar week here at the arena. I’ve already given a few comments on each of the stories, but I will summarize a few of my feelings before giving my verdict.
“Ragna-Roach: A Remembrance” — I really, really like the obituary feel of this story. I as the reader got a lot of information in a very short space. As a writer of haiku fiction, I can really dig that. I do wish that some of the mysteries in the story were touched on a bit more.
“Illuminating Lunatics” — Not wild about the title here. It doesn’t really reflect the rich complexity of the story. This one read to me like a novella compressed into short story format, but it works. Kaiju meet MMA…
Two more really good stories on a difficult prompt. Both stories hit the right notes of showing the impact on real people in a world where kaiju exist. In the end, I have to vote for the story that had the greater emotional impact on me. And that story is:
“Illuminating Lunatics” by Tony Southcotte.
Rich Alix is our second judge. He is a patron of The Human Echoes Podcast, and an all-around awesome guy. He is the voice of the common man in this contest, and here is his judgment:
RagnaRoach: A Remembrance by Daniel Hale – I really liked the angle this story took, RagnaRoach was not evil or intentionally destructive but just trying to go about its business with all these buildings in the way. I liked how the city started to not only embrace the creature but also rebuilt itself to allow the roach to visit without destroying everything all over again. That they even started to profit from the monster was like the last level of acceptance. I also found that the newspaper/journalistic feel to this story fit very well. The bias that comes with that type of writing really helped drive home just how much the city loved its giant sized attraction. All the details (Institute of Megafauna anyone?) are presented so matter of factly that you accept them all. I really started to feel for a giant bug and that’s not the easiest task to do. Well done.
Illuminating Lunatics by Tony Southcotte – This story came at the prompt from an entirely different angle, and one that took me a couple readings to really reconcile with it. The origin story of the kaiju was unique but also had a touch of Pacific Rim to it and it worked. I loved the idea that Chuck was your typical office worker in a lot of ways, he just happened to work with the kaiju. Showing how they took something like the kaiju and reduced it to what was essentially a giant sized WWE franchise was an interesting bit of social commentary. The fight scenes were very well written and conveyed the tension and panic involved superbly. A giant, 4-armed yeti is probably my new favorite monster also.
Where both of these stories failed at all in my eyes is by not bringing it down into the mundane even more. I was envisioning stories written more from the periphery. People stuck in traffic jams or displaced from their apartment buildings due to kaiju battles. Sanitation workers cleaning up the remnants of vanquished monsters and maybe selling pictures or souvenirs on the side.
As per the usual, this was not an easy choice. I enjoyed both stories quite a bit but in the end I went with the story that I felt embraced the spirit of the prompt more. This week my vote goes to “RagnaRoach: A Remembrance” by Daniel Hale.
Another split decision! When we started this contest, we didn’t think we would be relying as much on the proletariat. Let’s see the voting breakdown:
Congratulations Tony Southcotte! You are the winner of TWA #8. It was a close fight, and Daniel should be very proud of his efforts.
Do you agree with the results? Let us know in the comments.
On a side note, we are paying our authors a base level rate at the moment, but if you really enjoyed their story and want to help us make sure these awesome people get paid, please donate below. 75% goes to the author, the rest goes to keeping this place up and running.