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Ozymandias

Watchmen Short Story Fanfiction Percy Shelley

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#1 Offline L'Etranger

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Posted Jul 20 2013 - 09:06 PM

[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]-Ozymandias-[/font]
 
[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]“Disillusioned, but determined, to complete my odyssey, I followed his corpse to its resting place in Alexandria. The night before returning to America, I wandered into the desert and ate a ball of hashish I'd been given in Tibet. The ensuing vision transformed me. [/font]
 
[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Wading through powdered history, I heard dead kings walking underground, heard fanfares through human skulls. Alexander had merely resurrected an age of Pharaohs, their wisdom, truly immortal, now inspired me. What intellectual magnificence their system encouraged.. Ptolemy seeking the universe's pivot from his light-house at Pharos, Eratosthenes, measuring the world using only shadows… their greatest secrets entrusted to their servants, buried alive with them in sand-flooded chambers. [/font]
 
[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Adopting Ramses the Second's Greek name and Alexander's free-booting style, I resolved to apply antiquity's teachings to today's world. Thus began my path to conquest… conquest not of men. But of evils that beset them. Today, that conquest becomes assured, in which your questioning assistance has proven invaluable. [/font][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Do you comprehend the triumph which you have contributed, the secret glory that it affords? Do you understand my shame at so inadequate a reward?”[/font]
 
[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]-Alan Moore, Watchmen[/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]A single bitter tear drips down my cheek, falling to the polished stone floor with a half-hearted plop.  [/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]I am unsure, my normally concrete determination unsettled by inklings of doubt. Has my will weakened so soon? Have I surrendered to uncertainty so quickly?[/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]The screens roar the news of an entire planet, urging me to hark everything they desperately yell, to observe the pixels they so desperately want me to see. To my right, a reporter yells over the sound of gunfire, to my left, a droning voice reads information concerning the social tumult of  the all-important United States, even when their own country is in political turmoil.[/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]Turning from the screens, I observe the glass displays that line my Antarctic abode, filled with relics and artifacts whose very existence is unknown to the world. The centerpiece of my collection instantly attracts my eyes, its blade gleaming in the natural, soothing crimson light of fire.[/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]The sword of Alexander of Macedonia. Not only once the ruler of a sizeable portion of the world, but ruler of what most considered a controlled, orderly world. Yet it was not a perfect world. There was needless death, there was ego-driven war between his and other nations. [/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]For so many years, I worshiped that man. I thought of him as a god, whose history was the story of the world’s greatest and smartest man.[/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]I find myself incapable of worshiping anyone now, least of all myself. Me, a hero styled after Alexander the Great, my name the Greek name adopted by Ramses the Second. It was not so long ago that my body was controlled not by my mind, but my ego, which drove me to worthless and unimportant activities.[/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]It was during those years that I met Edward Blake. He was a brute of a man, but he said something to me that will always change me. He told me how I was, like the rest of this world, doomed to be ashes when the thermonuclear weaponry of this world’s nations descended upon the earth. He made me realize that I would not be left miraculously standing when others were little but cinders. [/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]It was then that I resolved to do what Alexander could not. It was then that I began to plan, to plot, to harden my heart.[/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]Now, the conclusion of my plan is at hand. Now, a masterstroke is about to be dealt onto an unsuspecting world. Now, the balance of the world is in my hands.[/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]Now, I sacrifice the lives of millions, for the lives of an entire world.[/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]*  *  *[/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]Silent, I watch the monitors as the reporters flounder with confusion at what has occurred. Beyond the microphone-holding bringers of news to millions, I see humans in agony. Crying, weeping and screaming obscenities to the skies, they walk the broken and shattered streets as if dazed, staring glass-eyed at the world around them.[/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]In the distance, I hear footsteps. Shutting the screens off, I turn, and begin to walk away. In a moment I am seated at my table, a prepared meal set before me, now cold and tasteless, though I doubt I would find it anymore appealing if it were not.[/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]Kovacs and Dreiberg are approaching now, from behind; they think themselves stealthy, no doubt. I chew my food slowly, hating the taste of it.[/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]I steel myself for what is to come. I have made the sacrifice already; I have endured the pain, not for my profit, but for the profit of an entire planet. I created order from chaos, I brought forth light from darkness.[/font]
 
[font="'courier new', courier, monospace;"]I am Ozymandias, king of kings. I have conquered the evils that beset man, through the immortal wisdom of the Pharaohs. I am the world’s smartest man. [/font]
 
[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:[/font]
[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"[/font]
[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Nothing beside remains. Round the decay[/font]
[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare[/font]
[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]The lone and level sands stretch far away.[/font]
[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]-Percy Bysshe Shelley[/font]

Edited by Jon Osterman, Jul 20 2013 - 09:21 PM.

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#2 Offline Nuile the Paracosmic Tulpa

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Posted Jul 27 2013 - 10:50 PM

[color=rgb(0,128,0);][font="'times new roman', times, serif;"]I heard a rumor that somebody here requested an SSCC review. So, I thought I'd oblige. (Orders have nothing to do with it. Threats might. But forget about that. I digress.)Starting with style—because I always do—your prose is beautiful and flows pleasantly. The all-important descriptions are subtle, elegant, and strong. And you even avoided any typographical errors. Granted, this was a short piece, but I will always applaud a grammatically sound story, of any length. Well done.[/color][/font]

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=rgb(0,128,0);][color=rgb(0,128,0);]Also, that’s a beautiful passage you chose for an epigraph, and it fits the story perfectly (or, perhaps more accurately, the story fits it perfectly). Who cares if it’s long? It’s a nice accent. The quote you end on is another excellent choice; ah, Shelley![/color]Story. The theme is a personal favorite and something I’d read all day long. In fact, I would have liked to read more—and I mean both positively and negatively. Yes, you left me hungry for more; but yes, you left me hungry.[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=rgb(0,128,0);]Beautiful as it was, there’s nothing to sink my teeth into. It wasn’t filling. It consists chiefly of descriptions, abstract ideas and not much else. You set the scene, you present your character, and then—what? The second scene was vague. Ozymandias did something—what? Kovacs and Dreiberg—who are they? Suddenly I don’t know what’s going on, and I can’t possibly guess. It gives me the feeling that I’m missing something the writer’s not telling me, which can be bothersome.Now, I think vagueness was your intention. I can understand leaving the story open to the mind of the reader. (Pulling names out of thin air is a bad way of doing this, but anyway—) But that’s a risky business. It could make your reader think or yawn, it all depends on how you control their mind with your writing.Now, here’s an interesting point. At first, I wanted to know what Ozymandias did to “conquer the evils that beset man.” What did he do? What was his solution to prevent the supposed atomic armageddon? As a critic, I was thinking, “These questions should be answer.” But then I looked as a reader, and I said, “I don’t really care. It’s good enough.” And then I was content. So you contented the reader, but here’s the thing. The reader wasn’t elated, he was just contented, because he “didn’t really care.” See what I’m saying?That can be the problem with this sort of vagueness. I’ll grant you, it is an achievement just to palliate the reader, but far better to stick your neck out and elate them. Personally, from the standpoint of a critic and a writer, when dealing with abstract ideas I try to make them tangible and practical; otherwise I’m just playing with fancies that will mean nothing to the reader. What would have made this story stand out was giving it an original twist.Instead, you told nothing new. In your elegant style, yes, in a philosophical strain, yes, you told a hackneyed story without adding anything to the plot. I could rewrite Jane and Dick into a novel with melodic prose and beautiful descriptions, but unless I add to the plot it’s going to be a bomb.(Oh, notice what I did there? I made an abstract idea better by grounding it—in this case, with an example. Just putting that in there.)So, in the end? Reader Nuile is satisfied and content. Critic Nuile says Good job, it’s a nice piece but insubstantial. All things considered this was an enjoyable meal, if not a filling and memorable one. Thank you for writing, sharing, and for choosing the SSCC![/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=rgb(0,128,0);]Keep writing,[/color][/font]

 

[font="'times new roman', times, serif;"][color=rgb(0,128,0);]Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith :smilemirunu:[/color][/font]


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