To our brave Gauntleteers, and everybody else watching out there, thanks for helping launch the Gauntlet in 2016. That’s a wrap for sign-ups, and we enter our first judging period. First Round results to be posted Tuesday, Nov. 1st.
First Challenge: “Times like These”
Your first challenge is to read and review the following article about one of science fiction’s notorious tropes, time travel. The article, “The Foolish Errand of Time Travel” by Colin Dickey, appeared in New Republic on September 19 of this year. It is itself a book review. The piece discusses Time Travel by James Gleick, asking scientific questions, and pulling from most every popular time travel story we’ve heard of. We want to know a) what is your opinion of the article? And b) what do you think of time travel, and how it is used in science fiction?
Article: “The Foolish Errand of Time Travel”
It’s us. We’re back. Thank you for taking the plunge. We don’t think you’ll regret it.
First, a welcome goes out to all of you newcomers passing through Gauntlet City. And a hearty ‘welcome back’ goes out to those of you we’ve seen, and whose work we’ve had the pleasure of reading. Now, noting the sudden influx of entrants (we’re approaching 30), we think it’s time for a spray of bullets.
- (Yes, these kind)
- If you haven’t already, please visit the Gauntleteer Forum! This is your place to hang out, talk trash, post clever memes, and get into impromptu rap battles. [Checks watch] It may be a good time to introduce yourself. Along with right here, the forum is another place where we make announcements, and that’s where we prefer to hear all of your questions.
- Email is another tool at our disposal to answer questions about the Gauntlet, remind you of deadlines, or just prod you in general. We won’t spam you. Our emails often contain a link to posts made over in the forum. We also utilize email to obtain the right info in order to pay finalists money, and review their work.
- The judging make-up of the Gauntlet has undergone some changes as well. We lost two originals, but gained a shiny new judge. Her bio, along with the bios of us all, can be found here. Whatever you glean from it, I can guarantee she will not be easy on you.
- Finally, our webmaster (who rocks it like a hurricane) has just emerged from the winds of Mathew. This may mean that yours truly (an ill-qualified part-time blue dinosaur) may have to step up. I urge you to communicate any problems you may encounter here immediately, either via the contact form, or by posting a message in the forum. And, if you stumble across any glitches in coding or broken links whilst pursuing the site, you may communicate those to us also. But at least communicate them with sarcasm.
Remember, we’re going to be so close over the next couple of months that we’ll practically be family. And you know what they say? Familiarity breeds contempt.
You may win. You may lose. But you’ll remember you were here. All the best.
We’re coming at you once again, Gauntlet style!
That’s right, it’s the event that is not just some writing contest, calling those of you who are not just some writers and critics. 4 rounds of mind-sharpening challenges; tough deadlines, and cash prizes.
If you’ve never been a part of the underground’s tournament of legend, then the time for you is now.
Our first challenge will be announced Saturday, October 15, 2016.
We’d like to present our Gauntlet Champion, Dimitra Nikolaidou, in a little better context. During these past four rounds, she proved to be a well-rounded competitor not to be trifled with. She answered our challenges with the kind of storytelling, criticism, and sense of humor we demand. You should pursue her articles over at Cracked.com, and her short “The Garden of Daedalus V” now posted in the Quantum Shorts competition! You can follow this rising Greek author for updates on Twitter (@D_Nikolaidou). But the best place to start getting to know her lies below.
Here is a sample of her winning entry, written in under two weeks for our Final Round.
(From “Blindness” by Dimitra Nikolaidou)
His foot slipped, and he fell.
But as he fell, among the snowdrops and the flame and his own short gasps, he saw her. And she was everything he had been promised. And he did not scream, even as his back hit the frozen ground and the world went away.
“I had never thought it would be her.”
Plato’s grandfather kept saying the same thing every time they opened the window. He had been blinded early in the days of the new regime, when taking the eyes of artists was more common than the rain, and the violence had taken all his words away. And yet, every time the shutters unlatched, this single sentence was let out, floating in the air between them.
He glanced at his grandfather, then turned towards the small part of the square that was still visible from their apartment among the tall buildings and the weighted clotheslines and the rusted antennae. The statue of the masked woman in its middle was the only shade of white among a sea of dirty concrete.
Almost a thing of beauty.
He laid against the windowsill, looked down. Every woman walking in the street looked exactly the same, the bones of their faces twisted in the exact same shape to form the same flower-like mask. Hands covered under gloves, clothes similarly cut. Not even his own eyes could tell strangers apart.
The policewoman in the corner was a different one again, as far as he could tell by her height and the way her uniform fit, and the apartment opposite them had been vacant for three months now.
No, Grandpa had to mean the statue. Brave Lady Manya, the first one to free herself from the tyranny of beauty that held all women captive before the new regime took over and elevated them, whether they wanted it or not.
“I am going for a walk,” he told his mother, backing into the room. She turned her head around, her hands still on the keyboard. She was worried about him. He felt it in her stance. It had only been three weeks since he had been released. Grandfather’s silence though had seeped through the walls of this house, and she only nodded as he picked up his tiny camera and put on his coat, the slits of her eyes turning back to her screen.
Hello World. It’s the Gauntlet.
After weeks of challenges, writing, critique, of trials and tribulations, we have our winners’ circle. News broke on Twitter, and in our forums the night it happened, but now let’s get it in our News reel. There were 35 warriors of letters this year, and many of them shined.
- Our 2nd Runner-Up for 2015 is Sammi Jenkins, the 2013 Gauntlet Champ, and perennial contender.
- Our First Runner-Up is Daniel Ausema who was strong throughout the competition, both as a writer and reviewer (despite how crazy the challenges got).
- Our Champion is the newcomer, joining us from Greece, Dimitra Nikolaidou. Stay tuned, because we’d like to tell you a bit more about her!
Your Final Challenge is to visit Proverbia (en.proverbia.net) a large cache of philosophy, and use their quote of the day as the inspiration for a short story. However, that quote must also be used as the basis for worldbuilding within your story. You have three days (including today) to choose a proverb, so don’t think you can hold out forever if you don’t like what you see.
This is the two-week finale. Visit our forum for details!
Your challenge is to review the story introduction provided in our forum, but also to speculate on where the story may lead. You cannot simply review the two given paragraphs; there must be a focus on what’s to come, and why you think so. You don’t get to read the whole story until after the deadline is up. That’s when we find out how good you really are.
Your next challenge is to write a story about a cure. It does not have to be a cure for a disease or a misapprehension, though it may be. It does not have to be a story about the discovery of a cure, though it may be. The cure does not even have to be a good thing. Just write a story about a cure. If you see where we’re going with this wild notion, you just might have the constitution for the creative freedoms we are about to grant.
Details in forum!
That’s right, our first round has concluded, and with it, our registration period. That means we turn our attention to those Gauntleteers who remain. You can still sign up as a spectator, which is fortunate, because these contestants will need every one of your well wishes.