Deathmatch 2016 – Round Two – Match B-D

WEEK2_MatchBD

Back to the Lightning Round Results , Round One

Rules:

Step One: Read the stories.
Step Two: Create a user account for comment and voting access.
Step Three: Vote for your favourite. Repeatedly. You can vote once every hour.
Step Four: Sound off in the comments. (Check out below for the commenter perks)

Like your favourite comments.

Liked Comments = greater voting power!

icon_level1Bronze: 50 up-votes will earn commenters Bronze status, which means that their votes will count for 2.

icon_level2Silver: 200 up-votes will earn commenters Silver status, and their votes will count for ???.

icon_level3Gold: ??? up-votes will earn commenters Gold status, and their votes will count for ???.

Gold: 400 up-votes will earn commenters Gold status, and their votes will count for 5. – See more at: http://www.brokenpencil.com/deathmatch-2016/deathmatch-2016-lightning-round#sthash.htH5irfx.dpuf

Step Five: Blog, tweet, tell all your friends – help your favourite author win!   #bpdeathmatch
Step Six: Repeat until Deathmatch Champion is crowned winner!

Click here for the extended description of Deathmatch rules and regulations. VOTE AND COMMENT! By registering an account you agree to be signed up for Broken Pencil’s newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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Now I am become Ken Burns, the Destroyer of Worlds

By: Rhys Timson

You could say it was all Ken Burns’ fault, enough people did, but that’s only a half-truth. The fault was collective, global. We all deserve a piece of it.

It started with Tau Ceti e. Some enterprising marketing guy from the company that bought the rights to the Ken Burns documentaries decided it would be a great idea to launch them into space. More specifically, the company would pay for a Voyager-style craft that would be loaded up with the entire Ken Burns oeuvre and blasted in the direction of one of the nearest habitable exoplanets. This was Tau Ceti e, an Earth-like world in the Goldilocks zone orbiting a yellow dwarf star 12 light years away. The shtick was these Tau Ceti aliens would one day receive the craft and be educated in American history the PBS way.

Read on...

Jean Claude Van Damsel in Distress

By: Ryan Power

This story begins at the end—the end of a 1000 year lineage of Ninjas.

Van Damsel stands, eyes ablaze under her ninja mask, knuckles bloody. Seventeen bodies litter the dusty street of the one-horse American cowboy town. She’s royally Kung Fu-cked the Hanoku Clan, terminating what was, until yesterday, the deadliest clan of ninjas on Earth. Yesterday Van Damsel stole the Clan’s sacred and all-powerful Shadow Scroll from their secret headquarters in Japan. Then they’d chased her halfway around the world on their solar powered hover bikes, finally catching her in this buckaroo boondocks. But they were too late, she’d already solved the riddle and absorbed the Scroll’s power—gaining the ability to disappear into any shadow and reappear out of any other shadow. Now she has the power of four out of five scrolls. One more and she’ll become Queen of the Ninjas.

Read on...
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138 Responses to “Deathmatch 2016 – Round Two – Match B-D”

  1. Forward_Yesterday says:
    x

    Ryan your story is deeeep bro! Keep em coming!

    1. PatriciaL says:
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      Agree with Forward Yesterday — I also loved JCVDID!!!

      1. charlescanter says:
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        This feed seems to have a lot more action and voting in the comments than the other battle.

          1. emgee says:
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            Just because Aliens are fun, also notice the song.. it’s from the album ‘Ninja tuna”

    2. Ryan Power says:
      x

      Four e’s deep, bro! Glad you liked it. I’ll definitely keep ’em coming. I consider myself a writer in training, still growing my craft. But I’ll probably be a writer in training until I die. If you’re interested in more of my writing, I post a new story to my website every month.

    3. 1234 says:
      x

      Am I the only one who found this passage heart achingly beautiful?

      The Aliens hug and cry and bromance. They turn and turn and turn in circles until they fall, dizzy and spinning. They breathe the essence of life. Then their bodies drop and remain motionless for seven days while their minds vibrate at the wavelength of light.

      This could be published as poetry in its own right.

      1. Mancub says:
        x

        I seriously love Ryan’s passages regarding music. I can hear the music in my head as I read —

        “The music surges upward, wild and daring, the melody rising and rising until it teeters, motionless, before descending into a primal fury. Sienna’s hands move in a blur as she massages the notes into existence. She swipes her iPad, dropping a thunderous trap beat, her fingers still jiving on the piano, making love to the sound….

        Sienna’s eyes widen, but she doesn’t break song. Her voice cries out, melodious and haunting, as if from a place of total surrender, a place where the self is forgotten in the fervid rapture of music. A kind of fierce prayer. Or a raving into the void.”

        The part about the fierce prayer or a raving into the void is beautiful. Especially when you realize it’s happening simultaneously to the barkeep and Van Damsel arguing over the existence of God.

        1. Ryan Power says:
          x

          Thank you for this, Mancub. Being a musician myself, the music scenes were important to me. But there will be another level to JCVDID. It is not yet in it’s final form. I am currently working with an extremely talented producer to make it into an audio book, complete with a full musical score and sound effects. The music will happen in real time with the narration, including the fierce piano and the trap beat dropping as it is narrated. The kung-fu fight noises, alien space ships, the unicorn sounds… it’ll all be in the audio book, down to the smallest details like the lighting of the cigar, all happening in time with the narration. It’ll receive a full soundscape as if it was a movie, with each character’s dialogue read by different ‘actors’. I’ve already got a radio station interested in playing it. But I will also put it online to download for free. I’m not going to tell you where. You’ll have to buy the issue of Broken Pencil that includes the final 4 stories for this years Deathmatch.

          1. devious_darren says:
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            Awesome!

          2. Forward_Yesterday says:
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            Excellent! I can hear it now.

        2. malala says:
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          So much passion.

      2. Ryan Power says:
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        Thank you! I’m happy you enjoyed this. Alien poetry might become my new thing. 😉

        1. 1234 says:
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          Don’t discount it. You have great rhythm in your writing.

          1. Ryan Power says:
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            I’m not even being sarcastic. I’m going to write an Alien poem. You’ve inspired it, 1234.

            1. Forward_Yesterday says:
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              I thought you thought the aliens we’re the destroyer of all things unicorny or good?

  2. devious_darren says:
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    Good luck to you both! Rhys Vs Ryan. Alien writer vs Alien writer! Great imaginations at work here!!

    1. jenny1453 says:
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      I totally agree.

        1. emgee says:
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          Why do you agree so much?

          1. hat-head says:
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            to get up-votes.

            1. emgee says:
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              Isn’t what the 2014-2015 comment section is for tho?

            2. emgee says:
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              Exposing the process of our thoughts just feels a tad much more refreshing (it’s really too warm in here to keep our jackets on)! I enjoy doing so, and thanks for playing hat-head.

    2. susandop@gmail.com says:
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      I agree with you there

  3. victorialeader says:
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    Wow these stories are neck and neck!
    I voted for JCVDID. There is a lot about this story that I don’t really like (the puns, the fantasy element, the plot that is slightly too fast for my usual taste) but within the context of the piece, I think these elements make the message stronger. Because I think this story is a rough echo of the world in its current state, or potential state, and there is a lot about the world right now that I don’t like either. The way I see JCVDID, the story is not supposed to be beautiful and appeal to everyone’s taste 100% of the time, because life is not perfect at all times. Instead this piece of fiction raises questions about where we are as a society, creates a little discomfort in the reader and (as is obvious from comments thus far) provokes a reaction.
    What I like about this piece is that somehow, through all the fantasy and imagination and outlandish characters, the story boils down to an age old message that is a real as real can be. I think that is a pretty clever thing to accomplish, and so my vote goes to Ryan on this one 🙂

    1. Ryan Power says:
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      Thank you, victorialeader! I appreciate your vote.

    2. gocampo says:
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      Really good points Victoria!

    3. hat-head says:
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      Sorry: what is the “age old message” in JCVDID??

      1. Forward_Yesterday says:
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        The barkeep and damsel arguing over which of their books/scrolls is the “truth”.
        The magical unicorn (nature) preserved in the witch, which is then killed off to extinction by the advanced race of hedonistic party aliens (some humans). There is a lot in this story. At least that’s what I took from it.

        1. victorialeader says:
          x

          Yes, as Forward_Yesterday said!

          There are messages and patterns in here that are so often repeated throughout history, and that we cannot seem to learn from. Man ignoring nature, the rise of the human ego. I guess it’s a constant lesson, and we’re going to have to keep hearing it until it takes root.

          I saw it that way anyway, I mean, that’s what this is about right?

          Or maybe I’m tripping on Unicorn blood. 🙂

          1. Ryan Power says:
            x

            Yes you are on point with your observations, victorialeader. I’m liking the discussion that has opened up around my story. My intention was to inject layers of hidden meaning into a story with a far out, goofy plot. I wanted it to work on different levels — as a fun read for those that wanted only that, but also as something with a bit more depth for those wanting to peel back the layers to look for what’s under the surface. It’s always interesting to me to see how readers react to a certain piece of writing.

          2. hat-head says:
            x

            Okay, I feel you guys, and the story is growing on me, but, to me, you are talking about themes, and the
            message” is quite ambiguous. The conclusion seems to suggest that this is just the natural progression of things, “the circular nature of life” – that the hedonistic party aliens that ruin nature are the end and the beginning.

            I also don’t find that they are unsympathetic in their hedonism – which is actually really interesting, in my opinion. Elsewhere people are talking about how beautiful the imagery is at this point in the story. In fact, perhaps it’s more interesting to think about how these figures are so sympathetic even though they’re destroying everything.

            1. emgee says:
              x

              I think the ending feels like it’s natural progression because it happens without a plan, my mind did not fight the idea that the unicorn dies, it surrendered to it and wanted to join the celebration. You are right about the aliens being sympathetic, they do not destroy the nature because of greed, they do it unconsciously, there are no sin to account for, no right and no wrong.
              I see hope. I see love.
              I personally think humans are part of nature and our consciousness tears us apart from it. The guilt from being humans depletes the love that we can feel which causes unnecessary harm to all earth links, including ourselves. When humans act from a place of giving and growing (instead of guilt and taking), life becomes sacred, celebrated and cherished.

              1. hat-head says:
                x

                Well, emgee, your take on the ending is the ambiguity in action – all of the social commentary disappears in this reading, in my opinion.

                In fact, I was starting to come around to the story by reading it this way: the hedonistic party aliens think that they are doing some beautiful and having an enriching experience, but they are actually destroying nature / beauty in the process. These alien party dudes think that they are really living and loving and doing it right, but in travelling all over looking for these experiences, they are also being very destructive.

                The fact that they are the beginning and the end and actually very sympathetic somehow seems to suggest that this phenomenon is the product of human nature – humans as nature destroying nature, kind of a thing.

                1. Ryan Power says:
                  x

                  This is a very apt reading, hat-head. Humans are sympathetic to nature, even though we are destroying it. Our minds are incredibly complicated and often convince us to see our own actions through rosy glasses. Many of our activities come with a hidden cost. But we often don’t see the costs because either we choose not to or we are too distracted to notice. The sympathetic nature of the aliens makes them more human. Their objective is not to destroy nature. But they destroy it through their desire for a good time, because they are unaware of the full effect of their actions. This story starts at the end and ends at the beginning, weaving multiple extra-short stories into one short story. This is not only to play on the Deathmatch competition. It is also to show that all stories are somehow related to each other. The effect of one’s actions will affect others. We are all together in this experience of life. Everything we do and achieve in this life is because of those who came before. And also what we do will impact those who come after. But the aliens are left alive and the story is left open, just as our collective human story is open. The future is unwritten. It is up to us to write it.

                2. hat-head says:
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                  Just to clarify using your own language: these guys think that they are giving and growing, but they’re actually taking. And maybe that’s unavoidable / maybe we’re naive to think that it could be otherwise.

                  1. emgee says:
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                    Hat-Head 🙂 The fact that the story is continuum suggest growth and change to me. Maybe it is in my nature to be optimistic, but I feel that if the aliens do not act from a place of greed, it leaves space for life to flourish again. I see nature void less. I don’t think we are wrong to think it could be otherwise, naive definitely.

                    1. hat-head says:
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                      Yes, whatever, it doesn’t matter: what I’m trying to say is that there is no straightforward “age old message.” And I’m clearly right.

            2. emgee says:
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              Please don’t discard what you saw from the story. I enjoy seeing it from you.

              1. hat-head says:
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                Is this comment directed at me? I haven’t discarded what I saw in the story, and I actually don’t even care that much what Ryan’s intention was for the ending! I’m a believer in the old “intentional fallacy.” I will only ever read the alien party bros as the travellers whom I’ve met in places like South East Asia who think that they are chasing the beautiful and the sacred but are actually being very destructive. It’s like when you try to find the island that’s the least “touristy” but, in going there, you are the beginning of the wave of tourists that will forever change it for the worse. So yeah, I’m feeling pretty secure in my reading, emgee, but thanks for your concern.

                1. emgee says:
                  x

                  Hey this is fun for me too, I like to understand different angles, because I agree with you about the non-durable touristic industry. For me the innocence is what gets me, it makes me hopeful that we can grow and change the way certain things work the way they do impact our world. I understand the absolute need for people and speak up about the importance of their local environment (not for money), the “watch dogs” who investigate in dept questions and inform masses and also the people who are open-minded who integrate the industry and the political sectors in hope to change from within and create durable and balanced associations.

                    1. emgee says:
                      x

                      Awesome, and I am certain that we all have our own opinions, and can make our own choices, but If we are inclined to be influenced, that’s o.k. too! – Just like when today you chose to write today but coincidentally find yourself watching the tube. Now see you next round hat-head.

                    2. hat-head says:
                      x

                      I wasn’t going to come back, but it’s too close, and I need to get my vote in!

                      Emgee, I find you really annoying. You remind me of the aliens at the end of the story, thinking you really know what’s up and have it right.

                      I started out voting for Rhys’s story, but I have been voting for Ryan’s story since I realized how much I love the ending. So, no, I was not swayed by your reading, but I was swayed by my own, and I have been sacrificing my writing time to come back here once an hour to vote. And to leave you funny Youtube links to comments that I didn’t notice before.

                      Okay, back to work!

          3. JMWearing says:
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            Coincidence that Ryan Power wrote a story about human ego?

            1. Ryan Power says:
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              Oh, Judy, I’ve missed you this round.

            2. Forward_Yesterday says:
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              Are you being facetious, or rude?

        2. Ryan Power says:
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          Nice insights, Forward_Yesterday!

          1. Forward_Yesterday says:
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            Thanks Ryan! One of my favorite writers is Tom Robbins and your writing style reminds me of his.

            1. Ryan Power says:
              x

              Thanks, Forward_Yesterday! I take this as quite the compliment. I’ve read all of Tom Robbins novels. He’s one of my favourites too. I especially like the way he mixes quirky humour with spiritual insight.

              1. Forward_Yesterday says:
                x

                I find comedic relief helpful when trying to digest the perils of some social conditions.
                It’s like sugar coating a pill of necessary medicine.

  4. Ryan Power says:
    x

    Rhys, I’m happy to be in the ring with you. I’ve liked your Ken Burns story from the beginning. I was lucky to make it out of the Unicorns vs Unicorns match with my life. Now I’m ready for the showdown of the Aliens.

    1. Mancub says:
      x

      Ryan’s Deathmatch within Deathmatch predictions are coming true. First unicorns now Aliens.

      1. emgee says:
        x

        I got fooled thinking this was a fiction story!!!!

        1. Ryan Power says:
          x

          Actually it’s non-fiction. It all happens in an parallel dimension 1111 years from yesterday.

          1. emgee says:
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            I’m not sure what to believe anymore.

          2. gocampo says:
            x

            Just liked it to pass the 1111!

            1. emgee says:
              x

              Hey Gocampo what a sweet gesture and I think that I can see it now – it’s a little blurry – but I’m starting to understand. It’s all about the faith!! (hehehe). It’s sweet to all interact this way, 🙂

  5. PatriciaL says:
    x

    I would love to see JCVDID in the final round. The style and perspective of this story would present an intriguing, engaging juxtaposition to either Luisa or Moulting, and thus would create a very dynamic and exciting final match. Best of luck, Ryan.

  6. emgee says:
    x

    Great match up, good luck!!

    1. 1234 says:
      x

      Wow, this comment got a lot of up votes…..

      1. emgee says:
        x

        Plus, the more up-votes, the more chances you get to win an all inclusive trip to the moon. Nothing to do with friends helping friends helping a friend out.

        1. 1234 says:
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          No nothing to do with that. Let us know what life is like on Jupiter and Mars.

          1. emgee says:
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            I picked up on your optimism and humor 🙂

            1. malala says:
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              I appreciate the humor in this room.

  7. PatriciaL says:
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    Both stories are good but, in the final analysis, my vote goes with JCVDID. For me, JCVDID is a more engaging read with its fast pace, wit, humour, and bizarre characters cloaking a clever representation of contemporary philosophical issues (global, political, religious, sexual). Whereas the Ken Burns story, though well done, is more focused on a limited political perspective. Although I am impressed with Rhys’ knowledge of current political players and situations, I find that Ryan’s JCVDID presents a deeper, more encompassing look at a variety of human conflicts.

    1. Mancub says:
      x

      Beautiful breakdown Patricia! Sounds like you have vast knowledge within the academic realm, I too agree that Ryan’s story explodes vivid imagery and philosophical conundrums to my wonderfully stimulated brain!

  8. Forward_Yesterday says:
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    Hey Ryan where can I find more of your writing?

    1. Ryan Power says:
      x

      My website — ryanpowerbooks.com

  9. gocampo says:
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    Ninjas and cowboys? Ya sign me up!

    1. Mancub says:
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      A classic scenario bearing an ingenious m night shyamalan twist of an ending!

  10. emgee says:
    x

    Ken Burns feels very sarcastic to me, Rhys. Did you intend it to be that way? Reading the story gives me the impression that humans are ignorant. You expand the story into the big picture, but what is the significance? At the end, humanity is at fault for being so small — “do the one thing it was always best at – blame someone else, blame its neighbours”. What is you message?

    1. Rhys Timson says:
      x

      Emgee, yes, ‘Ken Burns’ is intended to be satirical. But also, yes, humans are ignorant. That is my message, earthlings.

      I hate to try and boil ideas down so much as it usually takes the fun out of things, but the story is about nationalistic history-writing and petty tribalism: how each country tends to have a rosy view of its past (admittedly, some more than others) and how the failure to confront the reality of past mistakes drives present enmities and conflicts. It’s actually very direct in that sense. It doesn’t have the symbolism of JCVDID, for good or ill.

      I was also inspired by the various surveys for alien life (SETI, the new Chinese radar telescope etc.) and the idea I think people have that aliens are going to be super-wise and like some kind of cosmic arbiters. Humanity is a child looking for a parent figure, for a space parent to come along and tell errant siblings they were the ones in the wrong. It’s the same as religion – a constant human need for our lives to be validated somehow. But what happens if the authorities we appeal to are no wiser than we are?

      1. emgee says:
        x

        Great comments. Thank you for that. The aliens being clueless was my most favorite part of your story, it is sort of moving, I would like to know why and how they are so naive.

        1. B.B. says:
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          That’s my favourite part too – especially the ones that come to the US.

          1. emgee says:
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            Why to the US especially? Did I miss something here?

            1. B.B. says:
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              I liked the satire at that part! The aliens got the impression from the Americans’ documentaries that weren’t any other nations in the world.

      2. malala says:
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        Interesting point of view.

      3. JMWearing says:
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        LOVE THE NOTION OF ALIENS AS PARENTAL FIGURES. Rhys are you familiar with Terror Management Theory??? It is SOOOO fun! It does an excellent job of explaining religion, nationalism, all sorts. (not the licorice).

        1. Rhys Timson says:
          x

          I’d not heard the term but looking it up I see it’s to do with Ernst Becker? I read The Denial of Death a couple of years ago and found it very persuasive, the idea that ideology, religion, art etc. are just ‘immortality projects’. Haven’t read any further on the subject but you’re right, it’s fascinating!

  11. emgee says:
    x

    I guess I didn’t comment on your story Ryan and I apologize for that!
    Being a fan of what’s funny myself, here is the passage that makes me giggle the most (it’s right when Van damsel receives her 650$ Shirley temple from the barkeep):

    ” Van Damsel sips through her mask. She fumbles for her money, then realizes she’s wearing her Ninja Suit without pockets. She’s moneyless. She curses out of embarrassment. Having lost face, she explodes in rage and triple-backflips into the middle of the room. She unleashes a series of punches into the air so fast that it appears she is standing still. The barkeep doesn’t react, so Van Damsel axe-kicks a table into smithereens in an immature display of dominance. Then, having demonstrated her incredible skill, she finds her recently lost face.”

  12. Ryan Power says:
    x

    Wow, the score is close. No matter what happens, Rhys, it’s been a great match!

    1. Rhys Timson says:
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      Close close close! Feel like I’m running out of steam here, but I’m keeping at it. Well played, Ryan.

      1. Ryan Power says:
        x

        Rhys, you are a very worthy opponent!

      2. emgee says:
        x

        Congrats to both of you. I am thankful for this glimpse into your imaginary worlds and for a wonderful battle. I wish you guys all the best in your future steps. I enjoyed being here.

  13. Rhys Timson says:
    x

    Ken Burns versus the Muscles from Brussels. What a boxing match that would be. Good luck, Ryan – great to be here with you.

    1. Ryan Power says:
      x

      Thanks, Rhys. It’s an honour to be in the semifinals with you and Ken. I’ll need all the luck I can get. I hope it’s a great fight!

  14. jenny1453 says:
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    Love the Ken Burns story!

    1. dewi65 says:
      x

      It’s very imaginative

      1. caityb says:
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        Check out the comment threads from 2014-2015. There’s a bizarre conversation from this year with people fishing for up-votes. Look at the dates on the comments.

  15. dewi65 says:
    x

    A fine battle of the aliens

    1. PatriciaL says:
      x

      Yes, quite an exciting contest!

  16. susandop@gmail.com says:
    x

    Very imaginative. well done

  17. susandop@gmail.com says:
    x

    Hi Rhys Love the story 4

  18. dewi65 says:
    x

    Ken Burns v JCVD a heavyweight bout

    1. devious_darren says:
      x

      The battle of imaginations!

      1. jenny1453 says:
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        Yes . My vote goes to Ken Burns. Amazing story.

        1. PatriciaL says:
          x

          I agree—both stories are very imaginative, but I still consider JCVDID to be the “bigger’ story, so Ryan gets my vote for this round.

  19. susandop@gmail.com says:
    x

    ??????going well

  20. susandop@gmail.com says:
    x

    Rhys Timson -Ken Burns ?????

  21. susandop@gmail.com says:
    x

    Good luck

  22. susandop@gmail.com says:
    x

    ☺☺

  23. dloujones says:
    x

    Good luck both 🙂

    1. Ryan Power says:
      x

      Thank you. I find it odd to have to battle against a story I enjoyed so much. But I’m happy JCVDID is still alive.

      1. jenny1453 says:
        x

        I have enjoyed both stories. Good luck to the two of you! I hope all four semi finalists get some recognition for their writing. It s well deserved.

        1. Ryan Power says:
          x

          If I understand the rules correctly all 4 remaining stories will be published in print in BP. 1 winner and 3 finalists! So we’re all winners… But there can be only 1 champion.

          1. jenny1453 says:
            x

            I’m pleased to hear that all four of you will get recognition.

            1. PatriciaL says:
              x

              Me too! All the stories in this round (and in the former rounds) have much to offer.

          2. Rhys Timson says:
            x

            That’s how I understand it too, and it’s a great result by itself. I’d be happy with it.

            1. PatriciaL says:
              x

              Great attitude. Best of luck to all of you. Impressive work!

  24. districtsixtynine says:
    x

    Great story you two! Look forward to seeing the outcome!!

  25. hat-head says:
    x

    I finally made it all the way through Jean Claude Van etc without getting annoyed and giving up on it, and there are actually some things that I like about the story:

    1. The bartender’s love of unicorns – especially the part when he says that unicorns created the earth; it’s all here in this book written by unicorns. I love that.
    2. The setting.
    3. The ending.

    But here are some things that continue to bug me:

    1. Why the puns on Hollywood actors for the names? What is the point of that? How does it relate to the rest of the story? Honest question.
    2. The whole “town whore” thing. It all feels pretty indulgent and gratuitous – like that you just wanted to talk about women and their bodies and throw around the word “whore” so you could later pun on it with Chick Whorris. For example, why does Sienna have a backstory when she is actually someone else in disguise? Is that backstory fake? Is it actually Chick Whorris’ backstory?
    3. With that big imagination of yours, couldn’t you have done better than an iPad?

    1. Ryan Power says:
      x

      Thank you for your honest observations, hat-head. You are right to have concerns. JCVDID is not a perfect story. It never received the usual benefit of passing through the hands of a professional editor. This does not excuse any flaw in the story, it is simply a reason it is still raw in form. It needs a little reworking and tweaking before it is solidified into its final form in print. The questions you have raised will help me during this process.

      I will try my best to address your concerns.

      1. The puns — The theme of the story is reflective of issues I observe in our current society. This is really difficult to see because the symbolism is buried under such a ridiculous plot. The puns are a layer of the reflection of our current culture. The names of Van Damsel and Chick Whorris are obvious because they play on names of living martial artists and the story starts off like a cross between a cheesy Kung-Fu story and a western (although slightly sci-fi with the hover-bikes and such). But music also plays a role in this story. The pun names of famous people are a joke at all the DJ’s and indie bands with pun names breaking into the present music scene. For example Com Truise, Vinyl Richie, Bach Street Boys, etc (there are lots). I was reflecting this trend. In fact, about a month or so after I sent the story into Deathmatch, it came to my attention that Van Damsel is actually the name of an Indie Band. So I guess to answer your question directly, the point of the puns is to echo a current cultural trend. Another clue that the story itself is a parody of our society.

      2. Seinna being a whore is supposed to feel dirty and gratuitous. Whore is a bad word that we’re not supposed to say anymore. It doesn’t sit right with most readers. It is derogatory. Yet Sienna is beautiful. Her soul is rich, as seen in her passionate music. In JCVDID, the Witch (Sienna) is the symbol for nature. Nature is beautiful, yet natural acts such as sex are often seen as dirty. In fact many parts of nature are seen as ‘bad’ by a lot of people (death for example). But the label of ‘bad’ is given by the observer. There is nothing ‘bad’ about sex or death. Sex and death are facts of life. The feeling of ‘bad’ is in the perception these things. The reason Sienna is a whore is to juxtapose her beauty and power with a label seen as filthy and powerless. The word whore is a label, but it is wrong to judge a person solely on their ‘label’. We are all so much more than that. The Chick Whorris pun came to me later as an afterthought. It is a reflection of all the Chuck Norris jokes that were circulating in the real world. The witch is my favourite character in JCVDID and the one I connect with the most. I didn’t want to kill her, but I had to. She is the symbol for nature, and the Aliens are the symbol for technological development. In order for the story to reflect our current global trend, then, because of greed, technological development must kill nature — not that this is always the case and in the future hopefully technology will help save nature, but currently humans use technology to destroy nature faster than ever. As for the backstory, it is both Sienna’s and Chick Whorris’s because they are the same person. But you are right, this is something I need to revisit as a writer to work out the kinks.

      3. I don’t see the problem with the iPad. We have iPads now. I think we’re up to iPad 4. In the future that this story takes place in they are up to iPad 36. Sienna swipes her iPad to drop the Trap beat. I’ve seen some DJ’s use an iPad so that they can get off stage and dance around in the crowd while DJing with the iPad. But I will give this some thought. Maybe there is another device to use to instead of the iPad which would better bring the story to life.

      Thank you for raising these points and giving me something to think about and work with in my future writing.

      1. hat-head says:
        x

        These are great responses, and I will reread the story and think about all of them, but first, yes, the iPad: in 6 years, we have gone from the first generation iPad to the iPad 4. Your story is set roughly 1000 years from now, so I think you could exaggerate even more with what device your characters are using – especially if your story is supposed to be a commentary on technological development. iPad 136? Or even if it’s just 36, how has it changed by the year 3000?

        1. Ryan Power says:
          x

          You are right about the iPad. It should be a higher number. And that G shouldn’t be on the number.

        2. JMWearing says:
          x

          Hat-head I agree with you. I had similar issue with solar powered hover bikes. For something that is supposed to be so imaginative, it seems lacking. And I also deeply commend your patience getting through the whole story.

          1. PatriciaL says:
            x

            Sometimes, if one is interested in delving beneath the easy, surface layers of discourse, it is necessary to exercise a little patience—as difficult as this may sometimes be in our modern ‘instant-gratification’, ‘don’t make make me think too hard’ environment.

            1. Sid says:
              x

              This comment is pretty obnoxious, I must admit. But I guess PatriciaL kind of lost me when she said that Rhys’s story wasn’t global.

              1. PatriciaL says:
                x

                You’re right, Sid. My comment was pretty obnoxious and I apologize. I don’t feel comfortable using a sarcastic tone in my communications, but I think my emotions got the better of me this time. I’ve been following the comments on this match and I finally got fed up with reading JMWearing’s disparaging remarks about JCVCID. If Wearing’s remarks pointed to something more substantial, they would carry more weight for me. Statements such as, “…congratulations on having the patience…”, and, “…Coincidence that Ryan Power wrote a story about human ego…” seem to say nothing meaningful about the writing, but to be personal attacks (which I didn’t think was supposed to be the purpose of these comments). My comment was an (admittedly immature) response to those types of comments. Sorry.

                I am embarrassed about the statement that was made about me having “vast academic experience”. I’m not even sure what that means, but I certainly would never claim to possess such an indescribable attribute — seriously.

                Also, I don’t remember giving a “reading” (crappy or otherwise) in any place in these comments. Rather, I gave my opinion that JCVDID has a greater ‘global’ scope than the Ken Burns story. I did not mean to use the word global in a geographical sense (Rhys has that covered totally). I was referring more to my perception that JCVDID deals with more of a global range of human issues — psychological, religious, and gender as well as the political perspectives.

                I enjoyed reading the Ken Burns story as well. I commented positively on it in the previous round.

              2. Sid says:
                x

                Oh the lay out is weird. I meant that PL’s comment about layers of discourse is obnoxious. And that person who said that she has “vast knowledge within the academic realm” when she gave her crappy reading of Rhys’s story was also obnoxious.

                1. sara says:
                  x

                  Don’t forget to stop by the other match for her insightful feminist analysis of Louisa and Moulting! She’s just trolling all the stories but JCVDID, don’t worry about it.

            2. hat-head says:
              x

              Give me a break. I am currently writing a PhD dissertation in English Literature, and, correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that JMWearing has also recently written a book. We’re just playing the Deathmatch game, PatriciaL! “Step Four: Sound off in the comments.”

              1. PatriciaL says:
                x

                Good to hear that you and JMWearing are just playing a game? Aren’t we all? Hope we’re all having fun and experiencing ample edification. (Also, good to hear that you both have such impeccable qualifications—but I’ not really sure how that connects to ‘patience’.

                1. hat-head says:
                  x

                  I didn’t list those things to tell you my qualifications. I was trying to say that those are projects that require a ton of patience and the desire to think very, very hard.

                  1. hat-head says:
                    x

                    Hahahaha “I’m not sure how writing a book connects to patience.”

                    Speaking of which, I have to write all day, so I’m outta here. Good luck to both stories!

              2. emgee says:
                x

                What is it about? I’m sure that would interest Patricia as she is an english teacher herself!

                1. hat-head says:
                  x

                  This is about PatriciaL making assumptions about people and being unfamiliar with what the Deathmatch is all about.

                  1. hat-head says:
                    x

                    One last defeated ughhh about how this exchange went down. I wasn’t trying to tell anyone that I study English, though I’m very happy for PatriciaL – sounds like a fun job, gf!

                    Okay, bye for real. Gotta get to work. See you in the final!

  26. Norah says:
    x

    Every time I come to vote, the stories are tied. So intense!

    1. Rhys Timson says:
      x

      Thanks, Madeeha! Good luck to you and Andi in Match A.

      1. dewi65 says:
        x

        A very imaginative story Rhys

  27. Ryan Power says:
    x

    Rhys, the final minutes are ticking away and I wanted to say thank you for this match. It was very close and exciting. You’re a very talented writer! I hope you hang out for the finals!

    1. Rhys Timson says:
      x

      Thank you Ryan, and congratulations on your win! That was quite some finish. Good luck in the next round against the great clunking fists of Madeeha Hashmi. You have my axe.

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