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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
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Hello again chaps.... Just remind those of you who are interested in submitting a short-story for this month's G-t-A, that you have another two (or three days) to go!

I appreciate that people are busy with real-life burdens and demands, but please register given the new email if you are interested.

NEW EMAIL: gtaaac [@] aol [dot] co [dot] uk.
 
Mar 14, 2003
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Just another reminder that the deadline for submissions is tomorrow. If you have the time and inclination to write an article for this month's G-t-A thread, please let me know that you are at least considering to do so - esp. if you need an extra day to complete your submission.

Email is in the above post.

Thanks
 
Mar 14, 2003
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Firstly, let me put out the mother-of-gratitudes to the authors who submitted this time round. W/o your hard work and dedication.

And so... it be time fer a new rowd o' entrants! T'ut twice-coated one (that'd be me) apolergises for his tardiness.... it be a dog-tired, hard week of toil and grafting in tut' fields. But enuff of tut' grumbing! Without further ado, lets get critiquing on the TWO entries accepted this month.

Damn... that two is a damn fine number if you ask me!


Just to remind ye folks, the topic this time around was COUNTDOWN.
Furthermore, as per The Yogi's instructions

"From this round on, since there have been no opinions voiced to the contrary, I'll be picking the piece to send on to the AARlander based on which one I think has recieved the most interesting critique. You're still encouraged to pick a favourite."

'Deadline for critique is July 30th!

Gentlemen, I give you:'

Let the COUNTDOWN begin.....
 
Last edited:
Mar 14, 2003
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AUTHOR #1


Saturday, May 11th

They say the war is almost over. Germany has been defeated and now the British and Americans will bring their full might to bear on Japan. There’s even talk that the Russians might join the war. Surely, they whisper, Japan won’t hold out much longer? Peace must come soon and things will be better.

I don’t care. I just want Ken to come home to me. It’s been over a year since I last saw him and his letters stopped coming months ago. I lie awake at night, dreading what might have happened to him. Years ago, when I first learned he was to serve in the navy, I was relieved. Relieved that he didn’t have to be a soldier, like my father. My father, the Marine, the hero, who bravely charged a machine gun nest and saved his comrades. He won a big medal for that and important officers came to visit us, to tell mother and me how proud we should be of him. We weren’t proud: we just wished he were still alive.

And now I haven’t heard from Ken in ages. I have long since learned that the navy isn’t any safer than the army – almost every day, there are stories. Ships hitting mines, ships torpedoed by submarines, ships sunk by airplanes…

But I must not think that way. Ken will come home to me: this he promised me so long ago. And then, we’ll get married and I’ll have a family once more. And I will be happy again.


Friday, June 15th

I feel terrible! Today started as a nice day, but then it turned out really bad. The summer rain let up, so I went for a walk with my best friend Gina. We walked over the hills into the city – it’s always surprising to me that such a large city can be so close by. Aunt and Uncle’s house is a nice, quiet farm, but walk just a few minutes and you’re in the heart of the city. I marveled at the state of the city: there’s no damage at all! I was evacuated from my home town after an unusually intense bombardment long ago, sent to live with Aunt and Uncle. They evacuated a lot of people, but my mother had to stay, since she was a nurse. She died a few weeks later in another air raid.

But that was long ago. And I was talking about my walk with Gina. We sat down and had lunch in a park along the river, enjoying the warm sun. Gina knew I was worried about Ken, so she had promised to ask her father. Her father works at the Army headquarters in town. Second Army headquarters, Gina tells me – as if that matters at all!

Anyway, after lunch Gina had news about Ken. Bad news. According to her father, his ship was struck by an airplane off Okinawa and almost sunk. It had limped back to port and only returned a few days ago. Many crewmen had died and many more were injured. Gina’s father did not know what had happened to Ken. I cried all the way home, with Gina trying to console me. She said it would be alright, that Ken was surely okay, but how could she know? When she dropped me off at Aunt and Uncle’s, I begged her to find out more information and let me know as soon as possible. Then I collapsed in my bed.


Friday, June 29th

Oh happy day! Exactly two weeks after she brought me terrible news, Gina brings great tidings! Her father has found out that Ken is still alive! He was wounded in the attack on his ship, quite seriously, but he is still alive! And he is recuperating in a hospital nearby! Gina says he should be well enough to write again soon! I can’t wait!


Friday, July 6th

Earlier today, the radio said the Japanese have been driven off the Philippines, but I have yet to hear anything from Ken. Has his recovery stalled? Are his doctors not allowing him to write? What if he can’t write, because his hands are crippled… Or worse…

No, I shall not think like that. I must have faith and be patient.


Wednesday, July 11th

Still no word from Ken… Was Gina wrong? But she spoke with such certainty… I’m torn between delirious hope and terrible gloom…


Wednesday, July 11th

I wrote too soon! A letter from Ken arrived today! ‘I am okay. I will see you very soon.’

Two wonderful lines! It’s a very short letter, it is true, and Ken’s handwriting is very weak, but he is okay and we’ll meet again before long!

Sunday, July 29th

Today was the most perfect day of my life! In many respects it was a mirror image of the day that Gina told me that Ken’s ship had been attacked, which started well and ended horribly.

I had been inside all day, waiting for the rain to lift, listening to the radio. The newsreader had just announced that the Japanese government had rejected the Potsdam Declaration. It made me sad to think how many more soldiers would have to die before there would be peace, so I went out on the front porch to calm down. That’s when I noticed him coming down the lane…

A frail man with a cane was shuffling towards the house, slowly but determined. At first, I didn’t recognize him, but when he got closer I realized it was Ken! I rushed towards him, nearly knocking him over. His arm and leg are a mess and he is still very weak, but he is alive, he is here and… I can hardly believe it…

He asked me to marry him! Just as he promised so long ago! Of course I said yes! Aunt and uncle smiled and said my parents would have been very happy for me.

Ken asked if I wanted to wait for the war to end before we got married. I told him that, as far as I’m concerned, the war already is over. It was the war that kept us apart and now we are together again. There will be no more fighting, not for Ken: he will never walk without a cane. So, I said, we can wait for the final flames to die down - and waste our time. Or we can ignore the war and get on with our life, start our future. In fact, I told Ken, I wanted to get married as soon as possible. We wouldn’t need a big ceremony: all the family I have left is right here and Ken was raised in an orphanage.

Everyone agreed. Uncle even offered to help Ken make all necessary arrangements, seeing as Ken is too weak to do it all by himself.


Sunday, August 5th

The week has been a whirlwind, a wonderful whirlwind! Uncle just came back to the farm with news that he has found a priest who can perform the ceremony first thing tomorrow! We’ll be wed in the same riverside park where Gina and I had our lunch over a month ago. So much has changed in just a little time. Back then, I thought I would always remember that park and the city as the place were my dreams ended. Now I know that Hiroshima is the place where my life shall truly begin.
 
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Mar 14, 2003
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Author # 2

Limp

Soldiers clad in dark blue uniforms looked on from both sides of the bridge, rigid stiff, discipline finally drilled into their head. They stood at attention, observing the center, guns at the ready just in case. A wooden platform stood wobbling dangerously where the drop down into the river was the deepest. There was a band behind the soldiers, no doubt they were here to practice and didn’t care about the planned execution. Indeed, when the carriage carrying the prisoner arrived, the musicians kept their eyes fixed on the conductor.

A lieutenant got out of the carriage, lifted the prisoner from the wooden back, and set him down roughly on the dusty ground. A puff of sediments arose. The lieutenant annoyingly wiped the dust from his eyes, and a tear started to form. Luckily for the lieutenant, the prisoner didn’t see it as he was blindfolded and handcuffed, while the captain, who the lieutenant had been riding with, stood at the platform. The prisoner sat crossed-legged on the floor awaiting the doom that was imminent.

“C’mon you dirty ole cur,” the lieutenant barked in his distinguishable Irish accent. The prisoner didn’t move, and stayed put. “Did you not hear me? I said ‘C’mon’,” after a brutal kick to the stomach the lieutenant hooked his arm and yanked him to his feet. In a stupor, the prisoner tried to steady himself, but the lieutenant had to help him lest he fell again.

“Lieutenant Sullivan, stop socializing with the enemy and bring him here now.” The captain’s words were final, so the lieutenant near dragged him onto the railroad tracks and towards his death. Meanwhile the band started to play the Battle Hymn of the Republic, which provoked pitiful laughter from the prisoner. He was shut by a forceful shove by the lieutenant. The captain saw this and cocked a somewhat lighter attitude. “You know lieutenant; I would love for you to hurry up so that someday we can finish this God forbidden war and maybe see my family.” The lieutenant grunted and continued on.

On any other day the scene would have been beautiful. The trees would be green and budding. The cascading water would calm the most restless mind. The bridge would seem majestic spanning over the bountiful valley. However on this gray day, everything lost its touch, and the blue foreigners in their ignorance couldn’t see the beauty for what it was worth. Even the blindfolded prisoner could observe this.

The lieutenant and his baggage arrived at the platform. Then the captain handed him sturdy rope that was doubly tied to the platform to prevent any mishaps. Not wasting a second, he started forming the noose. First he shaped the rope into an N and kept wrapping coils around it until there was more than enough. Finally he tucked the end through the top eye and he made sure it was secure.

The prisoner was greeted with a noose being thrown over his head. His heart quickened, anytime he could be pushed over and his life ended. Who would take care of his wife and kids now that he’s dead? He had joined the confederacy to protect his way of life, but he had lost his life in the process. Though he was strangely tranquil at the moment, his bandage across his eyes could contest otherwise, being witness to countless nights cried asleep.

Then the captain and the lieutenant assisted him onto the platform. They double checked everything afore proceeding. Satisfied, both of them stepped back off the platform. The captain nodded to the band and it went silent except for a drummer.

“Any last word, sir?” the captain said, “We will countdown from 10, and at the end we will push you off edge. You will die of strangulation.”

The prisoner didn’t have any last words. His mind was blank and his body was numb. He couldn’t feel the noose anymore, or any other part of his body. In fact, he didn’t know if he was breathing. A certain serene state took over, and his body was out of his control. His mind conjured up him already in heaven and he was flying amongst the clouds.

The captain nodded to the drummer and the countdown began, “10…9…8…7…6…5...4”

All of a sudden the lieutenant was over taken by a sudden urge of anger and kicked the prisoner over the edge. The hanged man fell almost gracefully, his body limp. The rope became taunt and still he didn’t move. At once the drumming and the countdown stopped. A feeling of disgust was displayed on the captain’s face as he walked back to the carriage. The band left now that practice was over, leaving only the lieutenant to watch the man in butternut die peacefully.
 
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Peter Ebbesen

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2Coats - any chance you can use the normal font/fontsize for the entries (unless the author has chosen otherwise).
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Sure - what is it and what is the size? My eyes are old and grey and I cant differenciate 2well.
Looks like it is solely because of lack of a terminator. You change font for the "Author #X", but don't close it. Just add a /FONT command to the end of the headline of each entry.


abcefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
LIKE THIS
abcefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
 

coz1

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Fixed. ;) It's easier to read.
 

comagoosie

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Hey I am finally able to critique, is that because I have more time, or two entries?

Author 1: Interesting choice of counting down. You chose to do it from a long-term perspective of one lover counting the days until the other one returns. As much as I love to read pieces dealing with love, this one was missing...something. For some reason it was a little hard to put myself into a dairy point of view. It seemed to be a balance between factual details and emotion, and normally balance is a good thing, but in this case, I didn't find it so. Not to mention I thought this story a bit predictable, like all Hollywood love story, the couple reunite and they get married. There are many different cookie shapes you can cut out of dough, but once baked, cookie A tastes like cookie B. But I am a sucker for love stories and those that end happily.

Author 2: This is a classic countdown writing. You did have me guessing throughout what was going to happen to the prisoner, but now that I think about it, your lack of variety gave away the ending. Because the prisoners name was never mentioned, I'm not associating him as the main character, instead it seems that Lieutenant Sullivan is the main character. I did like what you did at the end with Sullivan kicking the prisoner off the bridge...I kinda imagined it 300 style, to be honest. Though you never explicitly say where and when this happening, I am assuming this takes place in mid-1860 and in the south of the USA. In fact this uncanny like a short story that my class had to read this year.

Saying that I couldn't discern what point of view you were taking in this. You were doing a good job telling it from an action point of perspective, but that 'in fact' in the third to last paragraph made me lose the mood. I then started to read it as a lecture. Are you telling me something or showing it to me?

The Best: Author #1 for their creative countdown and love story.
 

Stuckenschmidt

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I wasn`t sure if I should write something or not, but I`m bored right now, so why not.


Rank 2: Author 1 "Pearl Harbor Redux"

Comagoosie already said something about the Hollywood-style of this story. And I`m mentioning Pearl Harbor, because it`s a perfect example for what happens, when people sacrifice historical accuracy (or any accuracy at all) and concentrate on drama.

And now imagine the following movie:

An american-style farmhouse (with front porch, you know, a house like that shown in Private Ryan), entrance female leading role played by Cameron Diaz, shortly after accompanied by her italo-american friend Gina (played by Salma Hayek). Finally entrance of Ken (let`s make it Matt Damon). A lovestory, the whole cinema is crying, because the Happy-End is coming. And suddenly, in the last scene, it gets unfold, that all locations and characters are supposed to be japanese.

Well


Rank 1: Author 2 "I didn`t get the point"

No, really, I didn`t get it. That`s not the Author`s fault. It`s just my darn sub-average english. Could please anyone tell me, what this

the man in butternut

is supposed to mean? I bet, there is a great twist in this story, but I don`t understand it.
 
Last edited:

Rensslaer

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That thought had occurred to me, Stuckenschmidt. But I'm still not convinced. Still not sure entirely what to make of Author 1's entry.

It's a good and interesting story. Just complicated, and I'm trying to fit pieces-parts together... :)

Renss
 

Ciryandor

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For some reason, the names are a bit too contrived in Author 1's writing, seeing that it is a sudden change, and the implied tragedy at the ending feels anticlimactic, although I might be the first person to actually notice it. :D

Author 2 has a lack of focus on who should be of primacy in the story, as it should have been an interaction between the prisoner and the Lieutenant, which I felt came off half-baked as the story progressed. Could have been better with less description and more exposition, but that's just meh.
 

Avernite

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Author 1's thing reads very much like a good life turned VERY bad, except...

I see not a SINGLE clue except the last line that the story is not told from a British/allied perspective, and all the other lines hint strongly at an allied perspective. Sure, it may seem one way, but it feels slightly forced if the story is actually about Japanese people and there is no seeming about the other way.

The idea is nice, sure, but the story would need less clues towards the allied perspective to seem realistic (even if it may well be that, in reality, it could be exactly like this). Though, I must admit, reading with the explicit knowledge of Japan being involved does link slightly more logically with the air-raided city and the ship hit off the Philippines (British cities would fit the bombed bit more closely, but I'd more expect American/Australian ships to be hit outside the Philippines).


As to author 2, the story seems quite clean and logical, but opposite to the first story it seems to have missed the drama while saving the logic. I just don't see any drama, from moment 1 it's clear the prisoner is gonna die, and he does. The 4 seconds hardly matter, as there's no clue the prisoner was gonna say anything.

Some of the sentences, like the 'lieutenant overcome with anger' one read a bit weirdly to me, but I don't know how to fix it; if the author is native-English I may well be the one who is wrong, but if not I would suggest a bit more editing after writing.
If the author is non-native English, I still may be wrong, but the only way to improve it then would be simply to write, read and talk more English.
 

Jos de trol

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there are several clues, the end is the big one though

in the first lines it says "they whisper" which they wouldn't have to if they were anglo saxon, this is something I figured only after reading the whole story though

then the big one is she talks about having to flee the city and of very intensive and prolonged bombing, which pretty much excludes all nationalities in the pacific theatre save one
 

Rensslaer

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Thanks for getting this moving again, Jos!

I actually do mean to give feedback, I've just been under a mountain of work on HOI 3 and haven't been able to find an excuse to spend time on optional threads.

It occurs to me that 2Coats may have announced he's either on vacation or busy with a project, and he may not have time to come back and finish this round. Let's wait and see if he shows up... :)

Until then, you know what this means....

ScrewLimit.jpg


...okay, maybe not. But no time limit for comments, at least! :D

Rensslaer
 
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unmerged(83622)

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*peeks in*

*looks around, quizzically*

Anybody here?

*looks around once again*

*shrugs, sits down in a corner to await activity*
 

Peter Ebbesen

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*peeks in*
Old fighting rules apply. The first person to resurrect the thread after an existence failure gets to choose a new topic and take care of managing the thread. :D

Congratulations on your elevation, Snugglie.
 
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