Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

WEP Challenge: Holidays which are out of this world

The WEP Challenge, skilfully and generously hosted by Denise Covey and Yolanda Renee, is on again.  This month the challenge focuses on holidays since December is jam-packed full of them.  We are asked to give a science fiction twist to our favourite among them.  Alex J Cavanaugh, blogger extraordinaire and accomplished author will be judging the entries.




There are lots of people playing and a visit to Denise and Yolanda's blog here will take explorers on some tremendous adventures.  If you click on names with a DL next to them you will be taken straight to their entry.

I read a lot of science fiction many years ago, but have neglected it of late.  And I have never, ever tried to write it.  So I am again out of my comfort zone.  My introverted self likes her holidays low key and personal, but I am happy for anyone who can enjoy the bells and whistles.  Any of the bells and whistles. 

I am well aware that my 'science' is not sound.  However, a girl can dream.  A girl (or a boy) should dream.  And I remember when man landing on the moon was considered a flight of fancy.

This is not the piece I planned.  Not the piece I sat down to write.  I do hope that some of the real writers among you will tell me whether that happens to them.  But, for what it is worth, here it is.
 



***


This is EC, reporting live on a threat to our precious peace.  

We owe that peace to the dedication and inspiration of three dedicated scientists who saved our world two hundred years ago.  Covey and Renee identified and mapped the Tolerance and Empathy Genes, and Cavanaugh discovered how to magnify their impact. To give us a military advantage and allow us to finally win the war, the opposition was exposed to Cavanaugh's stealth drug.  It worked.  On them, and on us.  Our combatants were infected just as thoroughly as the enemy and also laid down their arms.
 
Cavanaugh's drug spread.  World wide.  Wars, aggression and prejudice disappeared.  Culture, religion, colour, gender, sexual orientation?  No longer an issue.   The long hoped for  'impossible' dreams of world peace and co-operation became a reality.  Science and the arts blossomed, and poverty became a thing of the past.  

Early this month a man identified only as 'Lone Star' mounted a legal challenge against the augmentation of the T/E genes on the grounds that his right NOT to be tolerant or empathic was being denied  His challenge hinged on the fact that this compulsory augmentation is an act of intolerance.  The Emperors of the World have retired to consider his case, and their decision is imminent.

Crossing to the Court House now to hear their verdict:  Will their tolerance or their empathy triumph?  What will they decide? As soon as the decision is announced it will be broadcast on all channels and all media.
Starting now...


'Lone Star.  We have thought long and hard about your application.  You have posed a conundrum with no easy answers.  Being tolerant of your wish to be intolerant threatens the peace and harmony which Cavanaugh, Covey and Renee worked so hard to give us.  We are not even sure who or what you want to use that intolerance on.  And it doesn't matter.
We will not jeopardise that peace.
Of course we empathise with the dilemma you find yourself in.  The challenge you set us is twofold.   What can we do to retain world harmony and give you the rights you seek?  Our solution comes down to a choice.  
Your choice.
You may have the antidote to the T/E Augmentation.   However, if you accept you may not remain on this world. You will be transported to a nearby star with sufficient supplies for your lifetime, where you can live as you please.  Whatever you choose is final, and you have an hour to make that decision.'

The Emperors have spoken.  Do you agree with their decision?  What will  Lone Star do?  And what would you do?  Zap your answers to us now.






Decision made.  Transfer complete.  Twinkle, twinkle little star...
And the light from that star will shine down and and enhance so many of the festivities that he refused to tolerate.  I wonder whether he realised before he left that his intolerant home star would shine brightly at us
This is EC, signing off from our still tolerant and peaceful world, and wishing you all a happy holiday season  filled with love, laughter and light.  However and where ever you choose to celebrate.


***
Word Count 500(ish)
Full critique acceptable.

127 comments:

  1. Wow, EC, you're a crafty one. Loved it! Yes I often sit down with an idea in mind and somehow the story becomes something else. That's often the better stories!

    'Being tolerant of your wish to be intolerant...' reminds me so much of how hard it is to be politically correct. Let's put free speech in there too. A world wracked by indecision. But these guys showed him...out!! I think the world you created at the beginning was intriguing and it fulfils my sense of what I'd expect in an alternate universe. I love, however, how you 'twinkle, twinkled' at the end and brought us back to a world we recognised.

    Thank you for participating in our challenge (and incorporating our names!!) at this busy time of year, Sue.

    Denise :-)

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    1. Denise Covey: Thank you and Yolanda for hosting the challenge. I have been loving (and as usual awed by) the entries which have been posted so far. This piece is very, very different to the one I planned. I am glad to hear that sometimes the words go their own way.

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    2. Words that take on a life of their own are the best. Those stories just write themselves.

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    3. River: I fought this for quite a while, trying to write the piece I planned. An epic fail.

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  2. Interesting idea, that we could be injected with something that would guarantee empathy. It would be good to stop aggression before it starts and people would care about others. Nice theme for the holidays for sure. :)

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    1. Deborah Drucker: I suspect that guaranteed empathy and tolerance would make the world a better place. Even the effort would make the world a better place.

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  3. Going into your imagination made me feel so good. Thank you, EC.

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    1. Rawknrobyn: There are dark spaces in my head too. Perhaps in honour of the holidays a more hopeful place emerged this time.

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  4. That was awesome! The humor was spot on.

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    1. Alex J. Cavanaugh: Thank you. I had visions of ninjas spreading your drug...

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    2. And clones. Don't forget the clones...
      Really, really liked this one!

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    3. Alex J. Cavanaugh: Thank you. Very, very much.

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  5. A fun-filled & fantastic fantasy--felicitations!! (I do NOT consider myself a true author but, yes, sometimes my pieces seem to have a mind of their own.)

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    1. fishducky: You are much closer to an author than I am. It is reassuring to hear that sometimes the pieces dictate the direction they want to take.

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  6. I offer no critique...other than a very positive one. We need to spread Cavanaugh's drug world wide...and fast! Where are Cavanaugh, Covey and Renee when we need them most?

    Great little story! Well done. :)

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    1. Lee: Thank you. It would be most excellent wouldn't it?

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  7. Sue, I loved this and I'm thrilled to have my name used as a character. If only such a thing were possible, but then I would want it to be voluntary.  But just as intolerance and indifference seem to be part of the human condition, the right to free will is too. The decision of the Emperors of the World, for Lone Star, live in peace elsewhere was also a good move, but I immediately wondered who these Emperors were. Can I just say this lovely flash left me with loads of questions and a world I would love to know more about. What a great Twilight Zone Episode this would make.

    Excellent work, and seldom does a piece of work turn out the way I initially thought it would. Love the way our imaginations take control and take to places we never thought we would go!

    Thanks so much for participating in the WEP's Holiday Celebrations that are out of this world.

    Wishing you and yours a very Merry Holiday and a prosperous and peace-filled New Year!

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    1. Yolanda Renee: I have some questions about this world too. Questions which are nagging quietly in the back of my head. It seemed to me that a world dedicated to tolerance and empathy couldn't be ruled by any one person. Multiple cultures/religions/view points needed to be considered. And one gender would be insufficient too.
      Thank you and Denise so much for this challenge - and I loved the trip that your piece took me on.
      Happy holidays to you and yours too.

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  8. Your imagination is interstellar fuel for us all

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    1. Cloudia: My imagination has been taking me places for a very long time. I am glad to have some company on the trip.

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  9. I think there are many writers who want to develop an idea they've had for a while, but find themselves drawn to a different one on the day.Sometimes, the idea is the nub, just expressed differently.
    When I was teaching I would sometimes ask students to write the story twice-once as comedy, once as drama.

    I note the renegade is known as Lone Star and you've presented this following some Texan-expressed desire to cede from the Union.Hmm...

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    1. dinahmow: After the event (of course) it occurs to me that the current ugliness set the course of this piece. I am hearing rather more black and white rhetoric than I am comfortable with. I condemn the terrorist's violence, but there are faults on both sides. Big faults.
      I did know both that some Texans want to cede from the union, and their emblem. No conscious connection was made, but my unconscious is a tricky beast.

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  10. I enjoyed that EC, thank you :)

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    1. DeniseinVA: Thank you. I hope you will visit the other contributors too.

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  11. Loved it, EC. But it's going to take me more than an hour to decide....

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    1. Sandra Cox: Lone Star is now intolerant - and was always decisive.

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    2. Sounds like you're in tune with your characters, EC. Good job.

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    3. Sandra Cox: The characters and the story are the ones calling the shots though...

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  12. This is really, really good. Excellent in fact. And on that lonely star all by himself, I wonder how long he will be able to tolerate the fact he has no one to be intolerant against except himself.

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    1. River: I suspect the Emperors of the World had taken that into account.

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  13. Enjoyed this tremendously. It provided some interesting food for thought and I love anything that makes me think out of my comfortable little box. Now I want to go watch A Clockwork Orange again to watch a similar conundrum.

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    1. Anne in the kitchen: I have never seen A Clockwork Orange (though my partner has and loved it). The book is very powerful though. Very.

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    2. I never read the book and only went to see the movie because at the time it was an X rated movie, I had never seen one before and decided to live a little on the wild side. (remember this was when Midnight Cowboy had an X rating also)
      I found the story shocking , not because of the violence, but because of the choices made. It was similar to the effect your writing had on me.

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    3. Anne in the kitchen: Thank you. I think. I don't like to think that I shocked you - but a comparison to A Clockwork Orange is high praise. I remember Midnight Cowboy. A very challenging movie.

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  14. Sent into exile, by choice. Guess he couldn't convince cohorts to join him. Nice piece of work, EC. HOwever, brings me to thinking of 1984 and "Soma", in some ways.

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    1. Strayer: This society is a great deal more pleasant (and freer) than 1984. I don't know Soma. Just the same, I think you are right, and that it is derivative in some ways.

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    2. Soma is the hypnotic drug forced on the populace in Aldous Huxley's dystopian story, of a carefully controlled "utopian" society in Brave New World.

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    3. Strayer: Of course. Why didn't I remember that? I wouldn't describe Brave New World as utopia though. Very, very scary.

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    4. Nope, not utopia, for sure. But they thought they were creating a perfect world, so "utopia", tongue in cheek.

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  15. EC, this is excellent, and I really enjoyed it. Very thought provoking, lots of questions! A good story.

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    1. Carol: Thank you. As I replied to Dinahmow, I think it was born out of the current ugliness.

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  16. I am, perhaps, devil's advocate...but I am very wary of the one-size-fits-all remedy.
    If the recent Paris Peace Talks had come up with such a proposal all sorts of alarms would have been ringing in my mind!Maybe Mr Star would have had some company ...

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    1. dinahmow: You are not alone. I don't believe that one size can fit everyone. Just the same I would like to see a lot more tolerance in the world. Just not enforced tolerance.

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  17. Witty and observant in trying to fix problems that continue to plague mankind: intolerance, war, greed, etc. That planet sounds like utopia to me. I like this story, EC, and wish there were such a solution. (Maybe Alex, Denise and Yolanda can get working on that. . .)

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    1. D.G.Hudson: Perhaps if we lobby them hard Alex, Denise and Yolanda will work on it - in their spare time. And thank you so much for nudging me to play when I first stuck my nose in at the WEP door. I have had a heap of fun.

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  18. so wonderful and such a lonely star

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    1. Linda Starr: Sometimes being alone is the best option. For you, and for everyone else.

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  19. If all the problems of the world, the big ones, could be remedied with just one fit... oh what a wonderful world it would be (ha, I'm singing that last line in my head right now). Excellent job on the writing!! Merry Christmas to you too!

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    1. mail4rosey: And a very Happy Christmas to you and yours.

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  20. A chilling little conundrum indeed. You've taken a meaty subject and prepared it in a bite-sized piece, ready to stick in the mind long after walking away. Love it!

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    1. River Fairchild: Thank you. Mind you Dinahmow and Yolanda are right. Compulsory anything has problems. Big problems. Which I know and didn't explore enough...

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    2. Well, exploring it to its conclusion would encompass a library's worth of novels. ;)

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  21. Very nicely done Sue, you should write more, or publish more if you've already written them! x

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    1. All Consuming: There is nothing written. Not since the bad poetry of my early twenties. It is all in my crowded head.

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  22. I haven't read Sci-fi for long while. You did excellent job here!

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    1. Bookie: Neither have I. It is a genre I mostly neglect these days - and thank you.

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  23. You need to continue in the that world.

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  24. Picture are my thing, and you have surpassed yourself. Love them.

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    1. Bob Bushell: I know that words are difficult for you - and really appreciate the visit. Only the second picture is mine. And thank you.

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  25. Replies
    1. Cindi Summerlin: Thank you. I suspect WEP is a game you would enjoy.

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  26. Such a wonderful story. I wish we could do it too - send all the intolerant ones to another planet.

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    1. Olga Godim: Thank you. I loved your story too - and have a new hero now.

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  27. The problem for me with science fiction is that I just don't get it. Fantastics is even worse. As I write this I am watching this movie about a time where people had certain years bestowed on them, they traveled light years and so on. I keep the movie on but since it started an hour ago I haven't understood one thing. So for those who can write up a storm in science fiction and make it understood I applaud them.

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    1. Rasma Raisters: Isn't it wonderful that we have a range of genres to enjoy. It sounds to me as if you would be happier with the movie turned off. Watch something you will enjoy.

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  28. Awesome job! I often sit down with one thing in mind and then something completely different comes out. :) You jumped right into sci-fi and I wouldn't have had any idea that you don't write it all the time. :) Wishing you happy holidays too!
    ~Jess

    ~Jess

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    1. DMS ~ Jess: I don't write ANYTHING all the time. I am a reader rather than a writer. And it is a very long time since I have read science fiction either - though I loved Ray Bradbury, Theodore Sturgeon and quite a few others.
      Happy holidays to you and yours.

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  29. That's pretty cool that Cavanaugh shows up in it:)

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    1. Sandra Cox: I was tempted to put the ninjas and mini-Alex in it too.

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    2. Heh heh. Would have been cute.
      Now here's the problem with life on a nearby star. How does one shop for sales either on planet or on line? What if there's no birds, critters or flowers?

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    3. Sandra Cox: And Alex reminded me that the clones had escaped my memory...
      No birds, critters or flowers would probably decide the deal for me. Sales? Could swing it the other way. Though no new books could be a killer. Torn...

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  30. Wow Sue! Science fiction goes to a new level and nicely done in a spaced-out sort of way. It seems that Alex, or his clones, may well be everywhere....

    Gary, typing from another dimension.....

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    1. klahanie: Gary you (and/or Penny) are welcome in every dimension.

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  31. I love this entirely and without reservation. For me, kindness is the thing that should matter more than anything else, and what is kindness if not tolerance and empathy melded together? There has to be common sense applied to "rights" and this is what the Emperors did in this case.

    I so enjoyed this, EC! Not only a subject that appealed to me, but also well written and precise.

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    1. jenny_o: Thank you. There is certainly room for more tolerance/empathy - and yes kindness in this world.

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  32. Wow- loved it! What a wonderful world it would be! I think you did a fantastic job and I can't think of a single line I would change. Kudos!

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    1. Terri@Coloring Outside the Lines: Thank you. I hope you have checked out some of the other entries. There are some truly amazing ones.

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  33. Loved the names...so funny. Well done. I enjoyed your tale. I sometimes write off the cuff and wonder where the story came from.
    Nancy

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    1. N.R. Williams: Thank you. The subconscious is a weird and wonderful place isn't it?

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  34. Now thats what I call an epic plot for a Novella. Sweet. What happens to lone star now?

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    1. Spacerguy: I suspect other people join him over time - but wonder what sort of society they build. Would we recognise it?

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  35. You have amazed me yet again and remind me what it is to be human.

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    1. Jono: Amazed? Some days I am ashamed of our species, and some days I am glad. An uneasy balance.

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  36. I loved it, EC (made your name shorter). ;-) Your story mixes well with the time of year we're in. You write well. I love everything about it. Especially the names. Genius. What a great tribute to these three. I would have to agree with the decision. Yes. You wrote a thought-provoking piece. Good on you.

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    1. Robyn Campbell: I answer very happily to EC. Thank you so much. I would describe myself as a reader rather than a writer - but thought that the three deserved to star.

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  37. I enjoyed reading your story - what a great idea! This is a winner in my eyes.
    I wish we had a drug like that. And sensible judges...

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    1. Carola Bartz: Thank you. An empathy/tolerance drug wouldn't go astray would it? At all.

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  38. What can I say that others have not?
    The happy reviews, comments non stop
    The story you told, friends you entwined
    I'll just say goodbye until next time

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    1. desk49: Welcome and thank you. How I loved both of your WEP poems.

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  39. You want "real writers" to respond to your question about the story having a mind of its own? Oh, dear sweet Sue, you ARE a real writer. Once again, your story is delightful.

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    1. Susan: Not so but far otherwise. But thank you. I AM a real reader.

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  40. Hi EC - wonderful comments here - for an extraordinary story .. I love the way you've incorporated Denise, Yolanda and Alex into the storyline. Well the lone star - has only himself to blame (must be a 'he') - he hasn't time to bring others along - he'll have to cope on his 'oneyo' - not something he's going to enjoy - I wonder if he'll work out what went wrong and re-evaluate his life - too late .. but he'll have some interesting thoughts to worry about.

    Love the idea of peace and goodwill ... with no hate ... well done - great piece of writing and the thought process -is such fun .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary Melton-Butcher: I am so very lucky in the comments I receive. For this, and every post. They add to/transfrom the posts. For which I am grateful. Perhaps others will join Lone Star - later. But I do wonder what sort of society they will find/build.

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  41. Effective is what I think would describe your story, because it made sense to me despite its unusual approach. That is a nice intro to the challenge, ahead of the story, and it is a fun way to handle the moderators who oversee. The Emperors seem serious in their decision, and I feel Lone Star should compute a response. I would ask for The Emperors to reconsider, whatever the decision. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Patrick Coholan: Welcome and thank you. I don't think the Emperors are going to reconsider any time soon. Though I could be wrong...

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  42. EC that was awesome. Social justice is not easy to achieve. I've often thought that those who wish for world peace really do not understand the consequences. Yes, the Emperors were just, and reasonable. I loved this scenario :)

    I'm no "real writer" but my stories frequently go way askew from my original thinking. My characters refuse to believe they are made up constructs of my imagination, and subject to my will. Oddly enough, I can't bring myself to delete them. Boogers!!

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    1. dolorah: Thank you. I wish that social justic was easy to achieve - or that more people were committed to the attempt.
      I am so pleased to learn that other people's characters develop a whim of iron. I was wondering whether it was a personal abberation.

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  43. What a fun idea for a challenge! I like your entry; can\t wait to see some of the others!

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    1. Deniz Bevan: It is a fun challenge. I hope you do visit the others - there are some stunners. The next one takes place in February. Perhaps you would like to join in?

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  44. Good on you for giving this a go, even if your other idea didn't work out. And I love the names of the characters and that you were able to have fun. Or at least, as a reader, it felt like you had fun.

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    1. The Happy Whisk: It was fun. I am so grateful to D.G Hudson who encouraged my wimpy self to have a go a couple of challenges ago.

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    2. Very cool. Here's to taking more challenges in the days to come.

      Off to watch a movie with my hubby. It's coooold here tonight. Burrrrr.

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    3. The Happy Whisk: Send some cold this way. Please. Next challenge in February. Do you want to play? And I hope the movie is good.

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  45. I love this! The wish for peace and the wish for freedom often come into conflict, and you captured that perfectly here. As much as I want to see people get along and treat one another with empathy, it isn't something you can force without losing something crucial in the process. The way you addressed such a weighty issue in such a short story is impressive indeed.

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    1. L.G.Keltner: Thank you. It is a fraught area isn't it?

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  46. Awesome! You have perfected idealistic snark. Love it.

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    1. Riot Kitty: Snark is one of my middle names.

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  47. Congratulations on winning - that's just brilliant .. such a fun piece of work - Happy Christmas and what a wonderful start to 2016 - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary Melton-Butcher: Thank you so much. Still in shock here.

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  48. I LOVE this snippet. Organic. Delightful too.
    And bang on the button!
    Congratulations on winning, E.C!
    Hope there's a longer story waiting to unfold...?

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    1. Michelle Wallace: Thank you very much indeed. A longer story? I know not. There are things nagging in the back of my head though.

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  49. Congratulations! I love the use of a reporter as a narrator.
    Perhaps Lone Star was joined by others, some who regretted their choice and began the struggle for peace, others who did not...and they called their home Earth...

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    1. Li: Welcome and thank you. I suspect Lone Star was joined by others, but had not thought about them calling their home Earth. What an intriguing concept.

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  50. Congrats! this was awesome! I have to admit, I'm a sci-fi nerd so I loved it extra special, ha. I believe Lone Star (not a Texas reference I presume because we do have a lot of tolerant people here, LOL) was joined by others, and as time went on, their intolerance for each other eventually caused their OWN demise.... :-)

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    1. 1st Man: No, no reference to Texas. Coincidence. He was acting on his own, and star was more appropriate than wolf. Your path is more than possible.

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  51. Such a interesting read! It's crazy to me that you don't consider yourself a real writer.. you write and it's good, thus you're a good writer :)

    Congrats on winning!!

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    1. Madilyn Quinn: Thank you. I would consider myself a dabbler at best though.

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  52. You deserved to win! I'm proud that you did!

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    1. Lynn: Thank you. If I had been judging the outcome would have been different.

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  53. This was just delightful. It absolutely deserved that first place. Many congratulations!

    Look forward to reading more of your work. Happy New Year 2016.

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    1. Nilanjana Bose: Thank you so much. Happy New Year to you - and isn't it coming up fast?

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