Wednesday, May 30, 2012

One Sentence Story, or #1ss

Though brevity is the soul of wit, long-winded is my middle name.

It all started with a story I wrote called Infinite Variety which I sent to Alex Shvartsman for a critique.

While reading it, he tweeted:

Dude there is a 90-word sentence in your story. I had to go find a snack in the middle so that I could get through it! :)
And, in the critique I got later:
This is an enormous run on were-sentence that makes me want to go out and find stakes, and garlic, and whatever else kills were-run-on sentences. 
Which I then Tweeted.

There was much speculation as to exactly what kind of sentence would warrant termination with prejudice, and as a result,  #1ss was born-- The One-Sentence Story Contest. 

Look for the #1ss hashtag on Twitter for details (and keep in mind it probably means something different in other languages) - in the meantime, here is my 242-word entry.

Good Thing I Did Not Tell Them About The Dirty Knife

by Anatoly Belilovsky

While it is true that most people believed in space aliens long before there was any compelling evidence of their existence, and many thought such features as empathy and sense of humor might turn out to be universal to all sentient beings who achieve spaceflight-capable technology; while many wondered what bands of the electromagnetic spectrum such aliens might monitor from afar to gain an understanding of Earth culture and human psychology, and what conclusions they might reach from their exposure to, inter alia, Hitler’s speeches, the dead parrot sketch, and “boldly go where no man has gone before;” while waves of frenzied speculation inundated all informational channels and filled all Terran minds with awe of one kind or another in the weeks after the alien spacecraft, retros blasting incandescent across the vacuum of space, was detected as it crossed the orbit of Saturn and tracked the entire way to its rendez-vous with history -- with all that has been said and written and considered in preparation for first contact between mankind and extraterrestrial civilizations -- it did, nevertheless, render the hand-picked, all-star, international reception committee dumbstruck and speechless when, upon landing on a dry lake bed in the New Mexico desert, the alien exited his ship and, facing an enormous, silent crowd, produced a battered volume marked “Hungarian-English Phrasebook,” peered into it intently, and intoned, in English but with a faux-Eastern European accent: “I will not buy this record, it is scratched!”

The End

And, yes, I did reuse the punchline.

PS:  Here is the latest link farm for the contest:
  •   AB

Monday, May 28, 2012

Epic Win: #1ss number 3 - recycled ending

Epic Win
by Anatoly Belilovsky

A small private smile played on Cleopatra’s lips as she waved to the departing Roman quinquereme bearing Caesar home to the Eternal City; first, in Egyptian, she delivered, for the benefit of the gathered crowd, a wayfarer’s benediction honoring the ancient gods, and then, in Caesar’s honor switching to Latin, she whispered: “Vidi, Vici, Veni...”

Saturday, May 26, 2012

#1ss Installment II: a REALLY epic one-sentence story

De Gustibus Non Disputandum Est

289 words

As the distant roar of the volcanic eruption drowned out screams of animals and people trapped on the shore in front of Porta Marina and the hissing splashes made by gobs of molten lava falling all around his madly racing trireme propelled across the Bay of Neapolis by dozens of terrified oarsmen, and as a cloud of ash descended to the foot of Mount Vesuvius to shroud the dying metropolis in a roiling gray mound that would become a mass burial ground for thousands of inhabitants of the soon to be forgotten city of Pompeii, Marcus Pontius Gladiolus took another sip of a mediocre vintage of Falernian that would have been quite drinkable but for the dust that fell into the wine cup during his escape, looked about for his wine steward before remembering he’s left the boy at the villa to guard the family heirlooms of the Pontii clan from looters and other plebeians, emptied the krater overboard with a sigh, walked across the deck to refill it from the half-empty amphora tied to the mast, raised it, poured a libation, splashing his steersman’s feet with wine and drawing from the stalwart sailor a muffled malediction, and drank deep as he wondered just how much he would miss his twice weekly visits to the Lupanarium and whether the ladies of pleasure in its Neapolitan sister establishment were as good as the hetairae (well, pornae, actually, but, as they say, De mortuis nihil nisi bonum, and it’s not like they could charge an extra as after a posthumous promotion) of Pompeii, and if so, how much of a volume discount he would be able to negotiate in Neapolis for services of copulatory nature.