I was lucky enough to go to Reno for WorldCon in August, and one of the panels I was involve in was the Iron Chef Flash Fiction Challenge.
This consisted of 3 panelists – myself, Hugo-nominee Eric James Stone, and short story scribe Dale Ivan Smith. Lawrence M. Schoen was the moderator.
The aim of the game was to write a short story in less than 5 minutes. The moderator would give the panelists a subject to write about, and after 5 minutes we’d read out our masterpieces and let the audience decide the winner, before heading into the next challenge.
Three rounds were planned, but we ended up having four. I won the first round by a considerable landslide. I (quite rightly) lost round 2 to Dale, and round 3 was a tie between Me and Eric. We therefore had a 4th round to determine the overall winner (no, I know the maths don’t quite work out correctly, but it was just a bit of fun). Eric won the 4th round (and therefore the competition) with quite a brilliant pun.
Anyway, for the sake of posterity, I present my 4 pieces, below. When reading them, do keep in mind that these were all written in less than 5 minutes, on a stage, with a couple of hundred people watching. So, no pressure, then…
It was impossible to decide which was worse – the medical condition which prevented him from using the restroom properly, or his inability to keep his trousers on when in polite company. The visit to the doctor helped. The tablets had a profound effect on his bathroom breaks to such an extent that it was important that he was now never able to remain more than 20 meters from any public convenience.
He visited a mall with his partner, and soon found himself immediately in need of a quick dash to the loo. He ran. He screamed. She followed.
What happened next has been oft documented. She left the bathroom in a sorry state. The relationship was over. He had shatner.
The committee was convinced of the importance of keeping the organisation alive with the incumbent chairman. Genre fiction in the US was counting on it.
It was easy to take the decision to clone the chairman, and so it came to pass. Fourteen Scalzis were grown and stored for future generations. All that was needed to activate them was for the seed pod to be split, allowing oxygen to sweep through and the Chair to begin the process of breathing.
Oh, sorry – I thought you said SFWA-pod…
Themes: Serendipity and Sword & Sorcery
TV is a tough gig. Never easy to make a basic living, ever harder to rise to the top of your profession and rule the airwaves.
So many people had come and gone on his show, so many people had helped him earn his millions.
When his esteemed competition decided to quit (or was made to – who can tell?) he was in just the right place at just the right time.
Never were the stars more perfectly aligned. He would take over the job. He would rule, not just the evening slot, but the network completely. He was so successful his competitors crashed and burned. He became known as The Destroyer.
And so did Conan prevail.
Themes: Tea and The Singularity
The A.I. pondered. The pondering took almost 4 millionths of a second, which is pretty slow for a level seven. Was it better to provide the remaining humans with what they needed, or what they desired?
The decision was made. The chance of the few making it to the end of the journey was minimal. Tea it would be. A presecence had been set. The die had been cast. The tea would be served. The humans would die, but die with the taste of boiled leaves in their mouths. I don’t know where I’m going with this. At this point I’m pretty much just typing random words. Let’s say Eric has won, shall we?
So, that’s 4 things, each written in less than 5 minutes. And that’s my excuse, ok? And if you have 5 minutes, it’s worth having a go, yourself. Pick a word at random from the dictionary, and write for 5 minutes (remember it should be a complete story, and have a proper ending).
If you have any passing interest in anything I’ve written that wasn’t created under laboratory conditions, though, you can read my short story Twisted in the Voices from the Past anthology (available for the Kindle from Amazon) or You Always Remember Your First from the Sepulchre anthology (published by Anarchy Books on December 1st).
Automatically cross-posted from my new home at www.LeeAHarris.com