Thursday, March 17, 2016

I am Graalnak of the Vroon Empire, Destroyer of Galaxies, Supreme Overlord of the Planet Earth. Ask Me Anything, by Laura Pearlman

(SF Humor) Graalnak, alien conqueror of Earth,  does an ask-me-anything session on Reddit. (992 words)

Rating: 3, Average

"," by appeared in the April 2016 issue of Flash Fiction Online (Issue 19), published .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: The concept of an alien conqueror chatting with ordinary people on Reddit is amusing all by itself. The side-joke with Kleeptor nagging the Supreme Overlord is pretty funny too.

Underneath it all, though, it's the story of "deliciouskoolaid" (and others) trying to find something to use against the invaders--and succeeding.

Con: It's very short and very, very silly.

8 comments (may contain spoilers):

  1. Hmmm, I think that this demonstrates the difficulties of evaluating both flash fiction and humour against longer, more serious works. I read this, I chuckled, my day was a little brighter. Job done - the author has achieved their aim. But how can that stand against 5k words exploring an idea in depth?
    I don't really have an answer, but it's something that this story along with ones like Cat Pictures Please or have been making me wonder.
    (I would also say that I think there is technically a proper story in there, albeit very truncated - there's an alien overlord oppressing the earth, we get some back story, and then the alien problem is resolved. Very simple, but technically there)

  2. Yeah, we don't really have a category for "recommended for a laugh but not to be taken seriously."

    "Cat Pictures, Please," had a lot more substance to it than this one. I do see your argument (which would make this a 3-star story). I'll think about it. It may be that I just need entirely different rules for short-shorts.

    However, if someone is looking for things to read for the purpose of making a Hugo Nomination, then the story is definitely not recommended. That makes the circle hard to square.

  3. Okay, after reading it over again, I upped it from 2 to 3 stars.

  4. Well, as long as the purpose is to evaluate works for the Hugos, and the Hugos set 1k word stories vs 5k words, you can only judge works against the rest of their category.
    I've been wondering how to judge stories that achieve what they want within a short span vs those that take on more and so need more words, but don't really have an answer. The same about humour - it's difficult to do right, so how should I judge something I consider "lighthearted fun"?

    1. Personally, I don't really go to the Hugos for "light fun." You can do it really really well, but can you do "light fun" exceptionally?

      An exceptional humor piece, IMHO, needs to be exceptional in some way. It might be exceptionally insightful, or exceptionally innovative, or or exceptionally joyous, or... something.

      "I chuckled, my day was a little brighter" is awesome. But I've got lots of things that make me chuckle and brighten my day, including cat gifs and Dilbert comics. Brightening my day is GREAT, but not Hugo-worthy in and of itself. Hugo-worthy means it does something most chuckle-inducing things don't (just as in non-humor, I want Hugo-worthy books that do things most books don't).

  5. Proposing a short-short category for the Hugos might be a tough sell, given that there already seem to be too many categories.

  6. If only we had the option to give moons instead of stars. Then we could use the moon scale for unserious stories. But Google Structured Data won't support that . . .

  7. Oh, I'm _definitely_ not advocating for any category changes, can o' worms and all that.