Firstly, congrats to Thalasi for having his work picked for the winning work. That's quite an honor, and you should be very proud of yourself. It's hard to write anything from start to finish, and you did that well.
However, as far as setting out to "Explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no-one has gone before." this pick seems to fall a little short on the part of the developers' choosing.
Star Trek has always been about exploration, not necessarily facts about the world you encounter. As good as Thalasi's writing is at describing the alien people and their society's history, it does little, if any, in the way of actual exploration. Why call a contest "Planet Exploration Contest" when you are not going to give out a prize for "exploration" of a planet?
This is in no way an attack of Thalasi's writing. It's quite good for an LCARS file on the alien species and their planet, but as far as the contest itself is concerned, it doesn't seem appropriate.
For example, here is my entry...
USS Ticonderoga NCC - 1987
Captainís Log Ė Stardate 86544.2
Weíve concluded our survey of planet Omeron Delta V, but each answered question created dozens that remain unexplained. The planetís surface is mostly uninhabitable with frigid deserts spanning across all hemispheres. The red color was consistent with an iron oxide-rich soil, which suggested water on its surface at one point, but none was found today. Anyone would be daft to think that such a world could have sustained life, yet, our deep scans detected pockets of liquid water below the surface of the planet, along with an oxygen rich environment.
After discerning that the atmosphere in the cave systems was tolerable for human life, and surprisingly warm, I assembled an away team, and we beamed down to the caverns. We were stunned by what we saw. As eyes adjusted to the darkness, we became aware that the walls were alight with a soft blue glow. Tricorder readings confirmed that bioluminescent algae were feeding off an unknown mineral in the cave walls and exhaling oxygen as a byproduct.
While two of us stayed behind to gather samples of the algae, my first officer and I made our way deeper into the caves when, suddenly, a splash startled us. Phasers at the ready, we spotted what had caused the disturbance. A clump of the algae had fallen into a pool of water, and continued to sink into its depths. As it sank, we were treated to a spectacular show of animals, each nibbling away as it sank to the bottom of the pool, bubbles rising from its murky depths.
Our other team returned from collecting their samples and, together, the four of us walked deeper into the cave. After more scans and pools, the team came to an enormous vaulted cavern, and pools of water lined with glowing algae. It was beautiful. Stalactites and stalagmites seemed to hold the roof up like pillars in a Roman Temple, lit by the bioluminescent torches of algae. It was then that we spotted something completely unexpected.
It was an obelisk. Tricorder scans dated the tool marks to roughly six million years ago. To think that as our ancestors evolved in the heart of Africa, the obelisk had been crafted on this planet light years away. It was a humbling experience that truly spoke of mankindís youth when compared to the seemingly eternal age of the universe itself. Sadly, as I ran my hands over the massive artifact from a lost civilization, the cave beneath our feet began to shake violently.
Scans explained the bubbles in the pools and the cavesí warmth as heat from geothermal activity, and we were smack dab in the middle of a massive quake. With an emergency beam out we were quickly back onboard the Ticonderoga, but with many questions. Iíve suggested that Starfleet send a proper science vessel to the planet to study it in full. Until then, Iíll be puzzling over the planetís mysteries for a long time.
Now, obviously, I had to cut it a bit short due to the limitations of the contest, and that is readily apparent. However, this piece actually explores the planet in question, and gives it far more intrigue. It gives the planet character, and matches the exploration spirit of seeking out new worlds and civilizations.
Thalasi, your work was excellent. It was straightforward and to the point. And you did an excellent job. So, please don't take these words as an insult to your writing, because they are far from that.
If anything, I believe that the people who chose a winner might not have considered "exploration" as a part of their final votes, in which case, I believe the contest's name was misleading to what they were ultimately looking for.
I appreciate your criticism and I dont take it as an insult but in my defense I didnt give a single thought to an environmentalist slant while I was writing it. I felt that a destroyed moon would be the most likely way in which those asteroids would be there being that no planet in our on solar system has asteroids orbiting it and I also remember no planets in Star Trek with an asteroid field around them. It seemed to me that the best way to approach it would be that their was previously a large conflict in the area. As for the climate changes on the planet itself I believe its accurate to say that the change in disposition of the lunar mass would have wide scale effects on tidal forces which in turn would alter climate. So in short, I felt the effects on the planet were a natural side effect of the destruction of its moon and not an attempt at political correctness. I also felt it worked well in the Star Trek universe as a cautionary tale since most episodes end with a moral and it seemed like the kind of lesson you might learn about in Starfleet Academy.
And again I would like to point out to the people that say its too vague and unrefined and say I gave as much story as I could but I couldnt add any more than I did because of the 500 word limit(mine was 493).
Anyway, to those that liked it, Im really happy you enjoyed it. Ive never shared my writing with anyone other than close friends so Ive been pretty nervous about it. And for those that didnt like it, that's ok. I did my best and it cant please everyone so Im happy with what I did.
Then I stand corrected on my "environmentali" interpretation of your work. My apologies Thalasi. All the best.
Congratulations to the winner! The winning entry was very good and definitely deserved it in my opinion. I hope that there are other contests similar to this one in the future, because I really enjoyed participating in this one!
I would like to congratulate you on your story. I am disappointed as well, not because the story wasn't detailed enough, nor because I didn't like how it was written. I am not upset that I didn't win (I'm Canadian so I accepted that I couldn't win - even though I entered anyway) nor that your story was weighed in one direction or another.
I thought it was well written, and has all the bases to a ST episode. It covers the bases that would need to be included in the outline of a story and leaves an open ended story that can be developed on. What I was missing was the culture, and excitement of another culture. I quickly got over this though because I remember how hard it was for me to get a culture under 500 words, with the explanation of a planet, and its system. I think you handled this problem very well. So in a summary you did a great job, and it is unfortunate that you do not share your writing more often. I hope to read more of your stories -
Now onto some of these responses --
I think that is an overly harsh attitude towards the writer (who you did say you weren't attacking so we will ignore that) and the judges. Cryptic has said that it is developing this game to be like "episodes" so with that in mind re-read the story. I also think that it seems a bit caddy to say that they didn't explain what they wanted clearly enough. This story clearly covers all there requirements and it does so with literary grace. To be honest this sounds like an upset writers tantrum. The environmental consciousness you are talking about is more just a scientific fact that would happen if a moon was exploded.
I know it is hard to read another entry as the winner rather than your own - but don't say the judges cheated you.
I like Caviare. I also thin kit tastes great - and that is from my personal experience. More people may like Caviare then you are aware, it is a desired dish in many countries of the world. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean that everyone else who does is uneducated and hasn't done/tried it before. So I just wanted to say that seems like an odd statement to make.
I agree it is very hard to write a planets detailed history in 500 words most people use 5 000+. Once again good job, and I look forward to reading more stories, entries and posts from you. See you in beta (*crosses fingers* as long as i get in as well )
Hi Zott. In point of fact I did not submit any work. No "writer's tantrum" here. Such a response would be immature and destructive, and serve no useful purpose. However, it is an open forum where we can each express our thoughts and values, and as such, I expressed mine. And I'm sure Thalasi would agree. I certainly appreciate his comments. I don't mean at all to be harsh, but simply honest in a direct way. Just as other critics may express themselves in a subtle and indirect way, I choose to be plain. I do of course respect your opinion. All the best.
I enjoyed the story, because, it was less of a story and more of a history. It was like reading about the past civilizations before us, however this is not true because it is in the future It made me feel like I was part of that future, and that these occurances were real. It was a vidid experience and I thouroghly enjoyed it:p Have a nice time in the Beta dude
Jeez people stop hating on him cuz you didnt win. They said there will be more chances to gain entry to the beta. I submitted a story, which I have now spun off into a book I hope to get published but I am not complaining. If anything I am glad for the contest, it reawakened to writer in me and I couldnt be happier.