Judges Comments for Assignment # 1 Alien Landscape
Location, Location, Location
I will be honest: The first time I read this, I missed it entirely.
I thought it was pointless. But then, I havent played Monopoly since I was in school. That was a long time ago
The second time through, the light went on. I could envision myself on the board. It is a neat concept; it reminds me of an old episode of The Twilight Zone, where a man and a woman find themselves stuck in a childs play set.
After I got it, I enjoyed the piece. The problem, though, is that not everyone plays Monopoly. I think that limits the potential to appreciate the work.
What I like:
The assignment was to create an alien landscape, and this author chose to place a character on a Monopoly board. Interesting. Risky. Rather fabulous, really. Theres also a clear conversational voice here, and the narrator is directly addressing the reader, which I think helps draw us into the narrative. I also appreciate that the author chose to drop the readers into the alien landscape with the narrator, creating a sense of dislocation and frustration that is finally relieved when we realize where we are, and that were essentially part of a clever joke. I love that the narrator, despite this bizarre and inexplicable dislocation from reality, still feels the need to assert their fiduciary responsibilities. Too funny.
What Id like to see more of:
I think its important to remember that when a narrative explicitly poses a question to its audience, that audience will feel a level of frustration and impatience if they dont know the answer. Again, I think the authors instinct to jump straight into the alien world was a good one, and what Id like to see in future assignments is more of the same creativity and risk-taking, and further attention to sensual details other than sight-lines.
Questions (not necessarily to answer, but to think about):
1. What does this alien world smell like? Any sounds?
2. How do you feel when youre reading a narrative that poses questions you dont know the answers to?
3. How might ending on an image, rather than with dialogue, change the way readers experience this story?
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