I'd like to extend a hearty Monday Mixer welcome to first-time contributors Mike Manz and RogRites. Welcome back to Snellopy after a long absence from the competition as well...you have been missed. Of course I also enjoy welcoming back all of the returning talented writers to the challenge. I'm told the words weren't quite as daunting this week but using them as skillfully as everyone did is still quite a feat. The stories ran the gamut of genres this week and the decisions was, as always, difficult.
RogRites for his story The Browser. This was an enjoyable little tale combining a bit of mystery and confusion within an overall speculative fiction framework. This definitely has the potential to be expanded upon to become a more complete work. While I did find it, overall, to be an enjoyable read, it did leave me with more questions than answers.
K.R. Smith for his story Recipe For Disaster. This was another fine speculative fiction tale with some excellent world-building taking place within the exceptionally short word count allowed. I enjoyed the degree of detail worked in so subtly giving us the inescapable idea these are definitely alien species. The longer length of the sentences in this story, however, did seem to rush me along without much of a reason to slow down and absorb the details.
Snellopy for his tale True Wisdom. This tale was a thing of beauty in its understated simplicity. The concept of a holy man laying aside all of the precepts of teaching and wisdom to spend his final moments in the pursuit of a little bit of fun and enjoyment was very entertaining. Were it not for the presence of so many well-written pieces to choose from this story could, certainly, have garnered higher honors.
Nick Johns for his story Art For Art's Sake. I loved the matter-of-fact, straightforward manner in which Nick's agent of the dark side made his case. This tale had an excellent ebb and flow to it that led me patiently along to a conclusion that was not at all expected. It is always the hallmark of a Best Prompt entry when the words are so expertly woven in that I am forced to go line by line to ensure what prompt words are even there. additional kudos go to Nick for forcing me to double-check the definition of "atramentous" to make sure it fit in context. Really well done!
Alissa for her story You Call This An Upgrade? With this tale, Alissa humorously reminded me that the term "system upgrade" is an oxymoron. The humor of the story was irresistible as the beleaguered librarian tried to maintain his professionalism in the face of technological shortcomings. Alissa did twist one of the words a bit but it was an allowable oversight in the context of a well-paced and fun story. Special thumbs-up for including Joseph Favre into the mix as it lent a speck of real-world to a fanciful speculative fiction piece. Very enjoyable read!
Mike Manz for his story An Unusual Collection. As a first-time entrant, Mike really brought his A-game to the challenge with this creepy little tale. As someone who has written his fair share of dark and disturbing stories, I loved how this entry began so innocently and progressed to a brick-to-the-face conclusion with exquisite subtlety. All nine of the prompt words found their way in with an ease I can imagine was much more difficult than it appears. i could almost see this being the handiwork of Rod Serling or Alfred Hitchcock since it had that decidedly-eerie vibe to it they both presented so well. Outstanding work, Mike!
Please bear in mind my decisions are entirely subjective and may not find favor or agreement with all, but decisions are like that. For those writers not mentioned, no slight is intended and I hope next week will find you back for more.
Here is the link to view and read all of the truly inspired offerings for this week. Please show a little Monday Mixer love and make a point of clicking on each entry and checking them out. Remember, each link clicked on takes you directly to that particular writer's page and provides them blog traffic and, hopefully, feedback to encourage them to come out & play next week.