The Question

100 word stories. Post all you like, maybe we'll dip in and use yours?
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eric_marsh
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The Question

Post by eric_marsh » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:05 am

They were the gatekeepers to the netherworld, spirits who weighed the souls of the departed.

He had been a good man in his day. A philanthropist and a man of letters. Under normal circumstances they would have sent him to the afterlife of his faith. Buddhists to Nirvana, Christians to Heaven and so forth. But since he was an atheist their task was to create an afterlife tailored to his desires.

They asked him one question. "What are your favorite fantasies?"

Given the circumstances, perhaps his answer was ill considered. He replied, "Oh that's easy. Those written by H.P. Lovecraft."
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Re: The Question

Post by ROU Killing Time » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:11 am

Hmmm, be careful what you wish for.

Oh, you wrote, "neither-world" would that be "nether-world?"
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Re: The Question

Post by eric_marsh » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:12 am

Yes it would be - I let the spelling checker put that one in there for me.

Thanks
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Re: The Question

Post by dreamrock » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:39 am

:lol: Even being an HPL fan, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want an HPL afterlife.

And even though I probably should have been expecting that ending, I wasn't so that's a win all around.
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Re: The Question

Post by Phenopath » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:45 am

"Well, I have this recurring dream about Tetris"
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Re: The Question

Post by eric_marsh » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:53 am

I think there was a disconnect between the question that they asked and the one that he answered.
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Re: The Question

Post by Algernon Sydney is Dead » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:56 am

eric_marsh wrote:They asked him one question. "What are your favorite fantasies?"
I'd be so, uh, screwed. (He ¿after-lived? with a smile on his face?!) :D

Fine drabble... Tight, thought provoking...

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Re: The Question

Post by eric_marsh » Wed Dec 23, 2009 12:57 am

Thanks :D
Life is a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy to those who think. - Horace Walpole
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Re: The Question

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:54 am

This reminds me of the movie "What Dreams May Come." Everybody gets to be a little god in the own play world. It kind of blew my mind that the movie considered such a scenario to be good.

This is similar to the extent that everyone gets an eternity of their own design. I think that would make for a lot of unhappy peeps.
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Re: The Question

Post by ROU Killing Time » Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:56 am

Mr. Tweedy wrote:This reminds me of the movie "What Dreams May Come." Everybody gets to be a little god in the own play world. It kind of blew my mind that the movie considered such a scenario to be good.

This is similar to the extent that everyone gets an eternity of their own design. I think that would make for a lot of unhappy peeps.
I found that movie depressing too.
Eric has done a fine job of illustrating why that wouldn't be such a good thing. Hmm unless the protagonist had an after-life designed where he actually got to be Cthulu. Hmmm, Tentacles.
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Re: The Question

Post by eric_marsh » Thu Dec 24, 2009 2:04 pm

Well, my intent here is not that the protagonist wanted an H.P. Lovecraft afterlife but that he misunderstood the question. The gatekeepers were asking him what he fantasized about but being an academic he thought that they were asking him what his favorite fantasy literature is. A subtle distinction but in this case one that makes all the difference.

My sense is that this story, where a the protagonist's academic interests lead him to a really bad end, has a certain kind of a Lovecraftean irony to it.
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Re: The Question

Post by dreamrock » Thu Dec 24, 2009 3:48 pm

Hahaha, I can totally get behind that.

I'm not sure if we're all a little dense here at the moment (totally understandable given the season, haha) or if there's something that could be done to make the impending doom he faces a bit more obvious, so I guess my critique isn't that helpful at the moment. D:

What Dreams May Come is a little bit depressing, but it's one of the most gorgeous movies I've ever seen and even though it seems simple from a plot perspective, it has amazing depths. Or I'm reading too much into it. Example of possibly reading too much into it: his daughter becomes ... err, hm, now do I spoiler tag?

Don't select this text unless you've seen What Dreams May Come:

His daughter becomes a stewardess because he said the stewardess was hot, his son became Cuba Gooding Jr for a reason no more deep ... because they are immature and not yet comfortable with who they are with themselves. Chris Nielson stays Chris Nielson because everyone paid to see a Robin Williams movie, but more importantly because he's comfortable with who he is. Even though the kids are in heaven, I can totally see themselves going back to Earth at some point because in a sense they're incomplete.

I disliked the way they dealt with the suicide issue because lots of people never learn to make themselves content. Why are suicides singled out aside from "we needed a plot"?


Anyway, I love it.
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Re: The Question

Post by eric_marsh » Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:31 pm

When I read it to Janet she caught it but it took a moment. She said that it might be a little subtle but then again I didn't want it to be too obvious. Pointing at the critical juncture with the title wasn't enough, I guess.
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Re: The Question

Post by ROU Killing Time » Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:35 pm

I think it all came through clearly. If you think it needs to be expressed somewhat differently, well that's what re-writes are for.

I still think the possibility he ended up as Cthulu would be cool-u.
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Re: The Question

Post by eric_marsh » Thu Dec 24, 2009 4:39 pm

Good - I wasn't sure that was the case. But I'm happy with it as it stands.
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Re: The Question

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:02 pm

I thought the kids became other people as a plot expedient. The writers wanted Robin to be reunited with the kids, but they wanted to save the reunion moment for the end of the movie for pacing's sake. Given the way the afterworld was constructed, having them done disguises was the only way for that to happen.

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Re: The Question

Post by ROU Killing Time » Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:56 pm

Mr. Tweedy wrote:I thought the kids became other people as a plot expedient. The writers wanted Robin to be reunited with the kids, but they wanted to save the reunion moment for the end of the movie for pacing's sake. Given the way the afterworld was constructed, having them done disguises was the only way for that to happen.

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Re: The Question

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Wed Dec 30, 2009 9:36 pm

:|
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Re: The Question

Post by TheJebi » Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:33 am

I'm catching up on some drabbles that I missed, and I really like this one. Made me wonder while reading it what afterlife he would get, and HPL was a perfect fit.
The only thing that did not strike me as "true" when reading this was their question, it just seems like it would be phrased differently, but then your cool ending would not have worked as well as it did.
I also thought while reading it that you might throw a bit in there about how it's not just somebody's faith that decides where they end up, but also how they view themselves in context to that faith, i.e. Hell.
And an HPL afterlife does seem sort of like a hell for atheists... maybe I'll end up there myself, doesn't really seem all that bad, depending on the specific story...

And dreamrock, props on the nifty hidden text.
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Re: The Question

Post by dreamrock » Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:10 am

Hm, I wonder what kind of afterlife HPL himself would get in a universe like this one.
Mr. Tweedy wrote:Yes, I am cynical. :D
:lol: Well, possibly. But you're probably right. That's the fun thing about cynics. You can hate them for being cynical, or you can hate them for being right ... but they're still often right. :twisted:
TheJebi wrote:And dreamrock, props on the nifty hidden text.
Thanks, man.
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