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Season Two Short Story Category Winner Announcement!
A story about a reasonable request made in the midst of mankind's collapse.
Congratulations to, our Lunar Award winner for her short story, “Amicus Memorandum:“! You may remember Amy’s honorable mention from season one, and we’re thrilled that she offered up another fantastic tale for us to consider. Let’s discuss Amy’s story, and our two honorable mentions, which all provide us with multi-layered narratives. Many thanks to , who fulfilled the duties as an editorial reader with smashing success.
One of the mistakes we can make as storytellers is to give our imaginative ideas free rein with no fences. The cities we construct grow beyond their original intent as environments to feed a narrative, and before we know it, universes are built with a vast mythology. The characters that once served a singular purpose are turned into people (or beings) with richly detailed backstories and lineage. As exciting as it is to the author, in the short story this can work against the reader.
The trick is to create a short story that exists on multiple layers, but doesn’t require an exposition dump to reveal the core themes, leaving in place an equal weight of mystery and detail to propel it forward. Amy’s story, “Amicus Memorandum”, accomplishes this feat, all while remaining on the shorter side of a short story. It also uses a tactic in the form of a letter (or memorandum) to trick us into believing the first-person narrator is the protagonist, but we soon learn the real protagonist is all of humanity, or at least those who bear a certain mark.
On the surface, the story is about an android representative requesting reprieve for an automated workforce. We are led to believe the mechanical employees experience fatigue when executing their duties, which borders on the absurd. It’s difficult to empathize with the machines, even if there are hints of intelligence, but quickly another layer is revealed, and we are left with a lingering hope that the formal request will be answered with positive results, for all of our sakes. I don’t want to spoil the plot, and I encourage you to read the short story for yourself.
The pulling back of a curtain to reveal the truth behind the truth is difficult to accomplish, and it requires a delicate touch. Amy’s story does this masterfully. If it’s too heavy, the reader is left feeling like a congregant, preached at, exposed to some orthodoxy. If it’s too light, the reader is left scratching their head, disappointed for investing time that only led to confusion.
In Olivia’s story, “Ones and Zeroes”, the deeper truth is revealed primarily through dialogue, where words are uttered carefully against the backdrop of desolation. In ReddOscarWrites’ story, “Our Sable Moon”, the deeper truth is revealed slowly with each subsequent journal entry. In both cases, relationships between characters are central to unfolding events and we’re pulled deeper into the narrative as a result.
As you read through our winning story, honorable mentions or participants, be sure to let them know if you enjoyed their work by liking and commenting. It goes a long way toward encouraging an author. Thank you to everyone who entered. I look forward to our next season!
The winner of the First Chapter category will be announced in another week. Thank you for your patience and for inviting us to experience much larger epics.
In the story “Ones and Zeroes”, written by, two scavengers travel the wastelands and recognize the fragility of their partnership.
In the story “Our Sable Moon”, written by, the sky opens up and swallows the stars and a fair bit of humanity.
(In no particular order.)
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"Scarred Memories" by