The Eighth Wonder Award was an opportunity for authors take readers on an adventure somewhere new, to break out of the interior focus and look out to what is grand, wonderful, frightening and epic in scope. Let’s recap:
John Falconer’s been one to watch recently. Lothar Lanz combined the vertigo inducing capers of rock climber with some ‘enchanting’ mysticism. But is it enough to claim first place?
Roo led the way to the next chamber. The ground was smooth and the walls had the telltale marks of hammer and chisel. They moved by torchlight, but when the air changed texture Roo lit a flare and tossed it into the darkness.
Lothar choked on his breath.
It’s tough for a writer on début to be crowned winner, but Daryn Govender made a strong case for #1 with The Pizza:
The drones were still deployed at the seabed so we had a visual in theory. In reality there was too much debris and silt moving around you couldn’t make out anything interesting.
As did Jon Marks with his first time effort Finding, Falling:
A shocked half-scream ripped Masud from sleep; the inhalation that followed tore him from the bedroom. Swaying on her feet, tears cascading, white knuckles wrapped around a chair, yet her other hand still clutching the newspaper.
Sophie L. Macdonald took us in search of a peach tree, a quest that came with fatal consequences in Immortality Kills.
“How do you think immortality works?” Jenny had asked. “Like, if I eat the peach and then fall off the mountain, will I survive?”
I’d laughed and waved away the talk of magic peaches. For me it was only about the climb, and I thought it was for Jenny too.
While Tobias Madden took us into the future with the wonderfully coded virtual tourism of The Other Seven, a tale that might have been right at home with the recent Poke The Mango Award shortlist.
With a single tap on his smartphone, a strange buzzing sound fills the air. The whole of Pisa—the tower, everything—turns to white-noise. The crackling whiteness slowly fades to black, and then a new world lurches into view.
Grass. Stone. Sky.
‘Stonehenge,’ Steve says.
Andrew Szemeredy’s Taboo continued to develop classic themes with spirit and humour:
Finally we arrived at paradise. This place had the same look, feel, and atmosphere exactly as it had been first depicted in the Holy Scriptures. So I shan’t go into details describing it; just please read Psalm 32-43, and Hosiaiah’s 49:42-66.
And finally the esteemed Lydia Trethewey combined nature, wonder, politics and disaster in The Devil’s Roar, an adventure worthy of the pulp fiction of old, with a modern twist.
“How long has your village known about this underground city? A thousand years?”
“You do us an injustice with your suspicion,” she replied, her pupils huge in the darkness. “Revolutionaries re-discovered these caverns during the war. It is modern history.”
A close fought contest, with a number of stories jostling for position as the judge scores rolled through, particularly at the point end.
Let’s single out Tobias Madden’s The Other Seven, which snagged a more than deserved second place, only a sliver (0.2 points) from top. Tobias continues to show us humour and pathos in beautifully rendered plots with interesting relatable characters.
That sort of praise is deserved, it also reflects highly on the author (and story) that took out first place this week.
Congratulations to Sophie L. Macdonald! Immortality Kills took the best aspects of the brief and presented them in tightly plotted adventure, tense and engaging. Congratulations Sophie!
Thanks everyone for taking part, and thanks to Abigail and Aaron for stepping in to judge and Charlie for taking on a bit more responsibility on the back end.
Up this week, Part 6 of the To The Nines Award!