The 5th Annual Contest Longlist!


And it might be for me, because my story is one of the twelve on the longlist for the Friends of the Merril short story contest. All entries are currently anonymous, so you’ll just have to believe me – at least until a decision is made, probably at the end of January…

The Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest

“Trophy” by snaku6763

Thanks everybody for your patience! The semifinal results are now in and the reading team has settled on the finalists in the 5th Annual Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest!

The 12 longlisted stories are*:

A Hole in the Wall
Remembrance of Worlds Past
The Jungle Between
In Her Footsteps
The God Beast of Duolunduo
Listen and You Will See
The Promise of Iron
Pests and Perfection
Old Crow
Two from the Field, Two from the Mill
Memories of Clover

Responses have gone out to all entrants. If you have not heard from us about your submission, please query! The judging panel will now go over the finalists and decide between them who will take home the top three prizes. Good luck to everyone!

* Author names have been omitted to maintain anonymity. Titles provided for entrants to confirm their submission’s status.

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The Lord of Misrule

A brief digression: I entered a little on-line contest in March…

…and didn’t win.

Ah well, what was my loss I will now attempt to make your gain, by presenting failure as entertainment. Five verses, iambic octameter (that means “sixteen syllables per line”, read it duh-duh, duhduh, duh-duh, duh-duh… if you want to).

So. Here, have a rhyme.


The Lord of Misrule


They call the leader of the proud King’s entertainers “Prince of Fools”.
All year he pranks, and jokes, and sings; in nonsense rhyme evinces rules
And regal edicts, tumbling as courtiers mock–and all the while
His majesty laughs on, the bitter bumbling jester wears a smile.

Then when the year comes to a close, that season northerners call Yule,
The king, in action grandiose, names his pet man Lord of Misrule,
And freely gives all symbols of command to this ennobled clown–
But, as he abdicates the throne, he sees no grin beneath the crown.

With bells and costume cast aside, the buffoon makes himself a ghoul
Of retribution for their snide mistreatment. He gives leave for cruel
Fun and much merry-made abuse, his orders prompting howls and squirms:
The King an ass! The priest a whipping boy! The rich crawling like worms!

Then at his signal–as the King crawls, as the courtiers all drool
And fight each other for their turn to ride upon the royal mule–
The entertainers raise the gates, throw all doors wide, let in the world,
And as disorder reigns the banner of new order is unfurled.

This low court desecrates the high and, as his master’s body cools,
The jester contemplates his prize, the crown of gold and precious jewels.
Amidst the corpses, poor folk dance and reel and splash through bloody pools.
Come dawn, the wisest amongst them will kneel and hail him King.

Of fools.


Art is never finished, only abandoned

So said Leonardo da Vinci, which can only mean that my entry in Defenestrationism‘s Flash Suite Contest has been kicked from the moving car of creativity onto the cold, hard streets of public consumption to lie shivering at the corner of Success and Failure.

My piece, a four-part journey into a fractionally changed but increasingly disturbed world future, is really meant to be read all in one go, and fortunately that is now possible by clicking on the following link:

The lines, the trees, the cliffs, the eaves

First of all, I hope you like reading my story. I’ve resisted the temptation to be explicit about what inspired it as I think the clues are there, but perhaps I’ll give just one hint – what would you expect to find in each of those places, and who made them frightening?

Second of all, I hope you’ll vote for it too. There are four official judges plus the public vote as the fifth. Apparently you can vote as many times as you want, but I’ll happily settle for just the one from each of you – and then only if you actually liked it. Call it modesty, call it a championing of the democratic principle, call it establishing an excuse in advance of poor performance… call it whatever you like, just Vote.

There are nine writers in the contest and, of course, it would be nice to win. I’m in with a chance, but it won’t be easy and I wouldn’t want it to be: you’re only as good as your competition, and some of the entries are really good. My favourite (my other favourite, I should say) is Broken Toys by Julie Duffy, who makes suburbia thrilling…

All the completed suites can be viewed here. Best of luck to them, my congratulations to the winner, and a salute once again to Defenestrationism for letting us have our fun.