In case y'all forgot, it's Mars judging again! I only had time for the two reviews this time around (though I did have a third picked out *shakes fist at clock*); I want to thank everyone who participated last Saturday--without you, there'd be no competition!
(Hope you all got your fair share of chocolate from Cheap Chocolate Day on Monday, too!)
First Runner Up
The Red Fleece with Mother's Voice
I really love the tone of this piece--very creepy and well done. I can practically see the character rocking back and forth as s/he goes about their task. I was confused at first what Mother had to do with any of this, until I caught on that the main character calls the voice that, and I thought that really tied the piece together. With the repeating phrase, it feels disjointed, which added to the tone all the more.
The only part that confused me (in a bad way) until I read it several times over was the fourth paragraph--when s/he tries to slam the door to drown the voice out. I couldn't figure out what 'it' was--the only 'it' in the last sentence could have been the door, since 'words' is plural. Sometimes, saying something even though it's repetitive can clear up a lot of confusion in your writing!
A little terrifying (for the counselor) cliffhanger there at the end! With the preceding sentences . . . well, it doesn't look like it's going to turn out well for the poor guy. Well done!
with Changing the World
Tara was certainly right when she said Finks' enthusiasm was infectious; I loved the character dynamics between these two. They remind me of a song from one of my favorite musicals (Santa Fe from Newsies, if you're curious), where the one character saying, "Imagine a place where it's better," and the picture painted is so beautiful that even if you don't believe it, you want to believe--and sometimes that's stronger than truly believing. (I like Finks.)
The world building was also excellent. I love the hints dropped throughout the piece--about this incident that happened long ago to make this post-apocalyptic world come about (The Roman God of Fire and Metalworking makes a lot more sense than an alien race from Star Trek, by the way; had to look that one up, haha), the Engineers (presumably the leaders or scientists of the city), the ash clouds and volcanic gases, the lack of sun and wind (do they even know what those are from anything but stories, one wonders?), and how power sources must be hard to obtain (and probably diminishing by the year, I'd guess, if you can't leave the city!). Certainly, I agree with Sara Codair--I'd read more of this.
Changing the World
“Are you sure about that?” Tara asked, dubiously. She eyed the mechanism suspiciously.
“You’re telling me that this machine will change the world. I find that hard to believe.”
Finks wiped the soot from his goggles and beamed at her. “Of course it will change the world!” he exclaimed. “This little beauty will let our ships fly!”
“Flying ships? Really?” She shook her head. “The Engineers gave up on that idea years ago. It’s impossible. You need to accept that we are stuck in this city. There is no way out, Finks. The volcanic gases would kill you, not to mention the ash.”
He bounced on the balls of his feet. “Tara, if we could get a ship to fly high enough, the gas wouldn’t be a problem. We could go out and explore, search for other surviving cities! We can’t be the only ones to have survived the Vulcan Fallout.”
Tara bit her lip. What he was saying was ridiculous and impossible, but she also wished it could be true.
“What if we could find a place that was unaffected by the fallout?” he whispered, eyes shining. “Imagine that, Tara! Imagine being able to see the sun again and feel the wind in your hair! There might even be grass!”
His enthusiasm was damnably infectious. She could feel a smile breaking out. With a sigh, she relented. “Okay, Finks. Have it your way. What do you need me to do?”
Flashing her a dazzling smile, he showed her an empty cavity in his machine. “I need you to steal a power source for me,” he said nonchalantly.
She growled at him. “Why can’t you ever ask me for help with something legitimate?”
“Because you’re so good at the illegitimate stuff.” He waved at her. “No time to waste!”
See you all back here next Saturday! :D