What Goes Around, Reviews Around: Part Two

22 Jun

Welcome back to the web series with the terrible name: What Goes Around, Reviews Around! This is where we take a look at the terrible science fiction short story I wrote, Brighter Future, and mock- I mean, “review” it!

I like to think of it as a form of penance. I hate everything else till it’s nothing more but a blob of hate filled mucous, so it’s only fair that somebody does the same to me.

THE STORY SO FAR: Our nameless protagonist tried desperately to hammer comic relief in to the apocalypse, he got chased by a bunch of ill-thought out monsters, and amnesia doesn’t work that way.

According to Google Images, THIS is how amnesia works! Wait, what?


“I woke up with a start, thinking a million thoughts a minute before I managed to slow down and give myself a proper inventory.”

And… do you feel like sharing those million thoughts with us?

No? You’re not in the mood for character development?


Okay. Carry on.

“I’m awake. That’s good. I’m alive. That’s even better. I’m completely naked. That’s not so good. I’m handcuffed to a chair. That’s pretty bad.”

Also on the list of “things that are pretty bad” is “your sentence structure”.

“I looked around the room, trying to see where I was. It was bare and steel, with one door. The door is probably locked, but it won’t be a problem ’till I manage to figure out a way to disintegrate metal handcuffs.”

Yeah, it turns out that this guys superpower is “Being Able To Judge Whether Or Not Things Are Locked From Across The Room”.

It rarely, if ever, comes in handy.

“The door opened in the middle of my ingenious escape plan (that mostly consisted of sitting perfectly still in the middle of the room) and 3 rock people walked in.”

‘Rock people’? That’s racist.

“One was SOL, who still looked angry, Jane, who was trying desperately not to laugh, and a man, who looked like the literal interpretation of the phrase “rocky road”.”

Is… is that actually a phrase people say? Or did you just feel like name dropping an ice cream flavour?

“If Jane looked smooth and SOL looked blocky, this man looked like a statue that somebody had trodden on. Half his bottom jaw was missing, his face had chunks missing here and there and he was missing his left hand.

He stood there, looking me up and down for a few moments before speaking.

“Why doesn’t he have any pants?”

I burst out laughing and Jane’s face darkened as she looked away, embarrassed.”

Look, if laughing at your own jokes is bad form, having your characters do it is castration worthy.

Ooh, I’m going to regret saying that.

“Hee hee hee.”

“The man shook his head a few times before speaking again. “You are human.” 

“Yes, I am. And you guys are rock people, the world’s a wasteland and I have amnesia. A little help, please!””


““I am sorry, I didn’t realize. My name is Collins, and I am an elder here.” said the man. “This is Jane and this is Sol.”

“Wait. Her name is actually Sol?”

“Yes. Why?” asked Collins.

“That’s what I’ve been calling her in my internal monologue.””

And in my internal monologue, I’ve been calling you “[Insert Inarticulate Rage Here]”.

““Internal what?”

“Never mind.””

Asshole, you can’t just back-out of your crummy jokes.

(Trust me, I know.)

Backing out of ill thought out jokes is A Very Strange Place tradition!

“Collins sighed before continuing his story. “The world underwent a calamity. A bomb or a missile or hell, maybe it was magic.” He lent against a wall and looked tired, worn down and very, very old.

“It destroyed the land, and perverted all life. Almost nothing is the same. All humans have been changed or killed. Us, we became like rock. We call ourselves Golems.”

Collins gestured to Sol. “Some become tougher and larger. Some, like myself, became brittle and warped. Some, like Jane, became-”

“Nubile and sexy?” I suggested. Jane covered her mouth as she tried not to laugh.”

(Actually, a little behind the scenes info: The “calamity”? Was going to be a terraforming device gone wrong, hooked up to the main character. That’s why he got amnesia: He actually DIDN’T, it’s just that when the device recreated the world, it did everything that he wanted to… including make a new version of himself, who is whom we’re following right now. No amnesia, the world just didn’t exist until the beginning of this story.)

(And later on, he’d meet the older version of himself who set the terraforming device off, and discover that he was a jackass. Well, more of a jackass. And the old one made this one to be his ideal version.)

(So… this guy? Yeah, he’s basically an “in-universe” Mary Sue.)

(Suddenly my intense hatred of him makes sense.)

Urgh, I feel so dirty now.

Collins frowned, causing dust to rain from his forehead, as he leaned in close.

“We have been in war with the Packlings since day one. Supplies are low and monsters attack us from within the camp itself everyday.” He whispered in my ear.

“And then a human shows up. Maybe the last one. Why should I let you live?”

And then I realized that, despite his missing hands and crackling skin, this man was a threat.

A serious one.”

No. No he is not. You cannot make a serious threat out of an old man who crumbles when he frowns. You might as well introduce the new bad guy, “Captain NoBones”.

““You know,” I whispered back. “I think much easier when I don’t have some old crumbling man spreading dust on my penis.””

Really? Damn, because you really seem in to that.

“Collins shot back, with rage on his face.”

Ooh, is he shooting now? Me, oh my, bloody Christmas has come early!

““What was that about monsters?” I asked him brightly. “I could help with that.”

Collins turned to leave. “Kill him.””

Wait, lemme get popcorn first!

““Wait!” I shouted at him. “I would honestly prefer not to die.”

Collins froze at the doorway.”

Is that seriously all it takes to get somebody not to murder you? Damn it, I should try that.

I… I make a lot of enemies.

“Jane turned towards him at the same time. “I would honestly prefer not to shoot him.”

“How about you, Sol?” I asked her.

“I’m good either way.”

“Gee. Thanks.”

Collins turned towards me again. “So, you still haven’t answered my question. Why should I let you live?””

You shouldn’t. Can we go yet?

“My mouth began to talk without actually checking in with my brain. “You said monsters were attacking from within the camp. Guns probably aren’t working, otherwise Jane probably would have solved the problem by now.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence.” said Jane as she twirled her revolver.

“You’d get a bigger vote if I still had my pants.” I turned back to Collins. “Guns aren’t working, so you need brains. I have brains, so you can send me to fix the problem. Even if I die, you won’t have lost any of your people.”

Collins stood and thought for a moment.

“I like that plan. I’m glad I came up with it. Jane? Unlock the handcuffs. And get him some pants.””

Full Disclosure: This was the exact moment I realized I hadn’t actually come up with a plot yet.

First drafts? What’s that?!

This is the kind of thing I write drunk.

“One hour later, I was walking through town square, almost entirely less naked. The guards had managed to save my pants from the Packlings, including a pocket watch I didn’t even know I had, but I prefer not to look a gift horse in the mouth. Even better, Jane had given me her “formal” dark blue duster. When I asked why, she said “It’s not bulletproof. In fact, I think it even speeds up bullets”.”

And by “pocket watch you didn’t even know you had”, you mean “the writer suddenly made it up on the spot”.

“The town was named Quarry, which Jane told me was ironic. It was comprised of tents, mobile homes and anything else the Golems could scavenge. It had around 100 people and was getting bigger every day.”


“While Jane was telling me this, I was enjoying a delicious Packling sandwich, which was apparently made of the one that tried to kill me last night. And, let me tell you, NOTHING is more delicious then the barbequed flesh of something that just tried to kill you. It is vengeance-licious.”

Don’t ask me how I know that.

““Hey, Jane?” I asked between mouthfuls. “What’s this problem?”

“It’s at the base of the mountain, I’ll have the Sargent explain it.”

“Why? Does he know more than you?”

“No. I’m just lazy and I don’t want to tell you.””


Sorry, I just have an allergy reaction to terrible writing.

Suddenly, gunfire sounded from the mountain base and we broke in to a run.”

Hey look! The plot!

“A line of soldiers stood in front of a sloping cave, leading down in to the earth. The Sargent that Jane had spoken of was fairly obvious, as he was the one with the kick ass beret. Keep that in mind: all authority figures can be determined by their fancy hats.

“With obvious exceptions.” I muttered, looking at Jane and, in specific, her hat.”

Okay, I actually like this part.

““Hush. Violence happening now. Talk latter.” she said without looking at me.”

I take that back. ‘Talk latter‘? Fuck you, spell check!

“And violence was indeed happening. Out of the cave came a creature, shambling and crawling toward the line. It could hypothetically be called a “human” if it had any skin. It wore a blue jump suit and that’s all I managed to see before it disappeared under a hail of bullets.

“God, was it wearing a jump suit? Who would ever wear one of those tacky things?” asked Jane. She had switched out her jump suit from the previous night for leather body armour, which completely ruined the joke I was about to make.”

And here I was thinking that the “least likeable character” awards were all wrapped up, but Jane is making a valiant effort nonetheless!

““Ah, Jane and Fleshy Guy! I heard you were coming.” said the Sargent. He, as with all of the soldiers in the line, wore heavy black body armour. I ignored him and ran up to examine the corpse. It was definitely human, but it was wrong. It was… sticky?

“Better back up. It’s melting.”

And it was. Not only was the fleshy and bone melting, the suit was as well.

That… shouldn’t happen.”

Why, thank you, [Insert Inarticulate Rage Here], nobody here was aware that BONES DO NOT MELT.

You’re taking a brilliant stand in the field of DUH.

“I looked up to tell Jane this when another monster ran up towards me. I heard it rasping at me as it leaned forward to strike me.”

I’d really preferred if he was rapping instead.

“Suddenly it’s head rocked back as a bullet ripped through it’s skull. It fell to the ground, twitching for a moment or two before dying.

“Hah!” yelled Jane. “Saved your life again!””

You know, this story has so many options of killing this fucker, and it’s not taking advantage of any of them!

“I ignored her and went up to the second corpse. I examined it as much as I could before it melted away, just the same as the last one. I stood up and walked towards Jane and the blocky Sargent as they discussed their personal lives. “We have a problem.” I said as the rest of the line shot another monster that came from the depths.”

I smell a ploooooot point!

““This monsters- okay, wait a second.” I sighed. “Sargent, what do you call these things? I am getting really damn tired of just referring to these things as monsters.”

“What do you mean? You’ve only referred to them once.” asked Jane quizzically.

“I mean in my inner monologue.””


“Wait. What?!”

“Shut up! What do you call them!”

“We call them Zombies.” said the Sargent as he looked back at the cave. “It seemed fitting.”

“Well, you better start calling them Legion, for they are many.” I said with a grimace.”

Sweet pretentious literary reference, Batman!

“Jane arched an eyebrow. “So you can’t remember your name, but you can remember a Bible verse?””

Preach it, sister.

““Look!” I waved my arms in an attempt to seem more serious. “I checked both, and they have the exact same skeletal structure and jumpsuit. They are the same, and I’m betting that’s the same with all the other ones that came out of there.””

Yes, now our amnesiac protagonist can now preform an autopsy.

I’m going to assume you know why that is stupid and just move on.

“The Sargent opened his mouth but I cut him off again.

“Wait, there’s more. These guys are all the same, AND they melt when they die. Not only that, so do their clothes. Something or someone is down there, making these things in one piece, clothes and all.”

A moment of silence passed.

Jane spoke up. “Somewhere down that cave is an unknown amount of Legions, with more coming everyday.”

I finished her thought. “And if we don’t stop them, they will swarm out, get bitten by the Packlings, and the Packling hoards will increase infinitely. The world will be over run until there are too many to sustain and the Earth will be dead, for real this time.”

We looked back down in to the cave. Back in to the shadows. Back in to the hoard.

After a moment passed, the Sargent said “That’s not very good.””

Jesus, you can almost hear the fade out to the commercial break.




10 Responses to “What Goes Around, Reviews Around: Part Two”

  1. Tim Hurley June 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    Come for the story / critiques, stay for the old school Juicy Fruit commercial!

    Seriously though, just from Parts One & Two, I’ve got you beat (easily) for preposterous premises and terrible plotting in some of my old stuff, so much so that it’ll never see the light of day. In fact, I’d destroy it myself, if I wasn’t so fond of reminders on how bad I can be.

    • averystrangeplace June 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      Aww, where’s the fun in HIDING your old shame? You have to share it with the world! And yes, I’m only saying that so I can read it and then make fun of it.

      Hey, I’m just looking out for you!

      • Tim Hurley June 23, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

        I appreciate your concern, but… um… well,…. NO!

      • averystrangeplace June 23, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

        Damn yooooou!
        Actually, now that I think about it, that’s not a half bad idea: Reviewing websites and internet based content.

      • Tim Hurley June 23, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

        Hey… Hey, you can’t do th… Ah, damn internet. Damn public forums. 🙂

      • averystrangeplace June 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

        Hee hee hee! You can’t stop me!


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