Earth Day Contest Midstream Reviewbysr71plt©
The theme of the Literotica Earth Day Contest, probably more than any of the other contests on the Web site, cries out for an affirmation or a condemnation of or new/clever/humorous alternative to some environmental-related concept or a fresh-perspective look at some other aspect of the "earth." Of all of the contests, it's perhaps the least conducive to just a "how/who I fucked in the woods on a certain calendar day" vignette. There is a readership at Literotica for such vignettes, I think, but I don't think they should expect to be competitive in a money-awarded contest.
Having drafted this introduction to the midstream entries to the Earth Day contest, I initially conceived a discussion of how the second set of entries continued to underwhelm me nearly as much as the early entries did overall. But then the well-written stories with clever twists on the theme started coming in, so I pitched that rant. In addition to some pretty well-developed and delivered stories, the contest is seeing some thoughtful variation and inventiveness in the use of theme.
In reading into the midterm stories, I also continued to be surprised that the quality of writing and presentation is higher across the board than I expected.
Before getting farther into the nitty gritty of story reviews, however, I'll give some category recommendations (all listed in descending order of "goodness" in my opinion) for anyone who is hot to trot off to read a particular type of story from the midterm contest batch.
For most clever/appropriate use of theme, check out "The Tree Hugger," by Fatwa_Morgana, "Golden Lion Tamerins," by hoo_hoo_boo (which I thought was the most clever match of theme to a sex scene), "LST3K EP.07: Tree . . . Hugger," by Darkinaid, "The Gift," by Tarakin, and/or "Initial Infiltration" by manyeyedhydra. Oggbashan's "Saving the Planet Tripletit" is also worthy of mention, as it's a flip-side look at an Earth Day theme—earth isn't involved, but does involve a planet that might suffer some of the same problems Earth Day tries to combat.
Tree hugging seemed to be the concept du jour, but these stories, in particular Fatwa_Morgana's, brought a whole new, erotic perspective to that activity.
If what you want to read is a really well developed and complete story, I recommend "The Tree Hugger" by Fatwa_Morgana, "Frost Heaves" by davidwatts, "Saving the Planet Tripletit" by oggbashan, and/or "The Gift," by Tarakin.
In the mood for a great writer? Try out "The Tree Hugger" by Fatwa_Morgana, "Frost Heaves" by davidwatts, "An Erotic Afternoon in the Woods," by DeliciousVixenTx, and/or "Saving the Planet Tripletit" by oggbashan.
Do you just want to go directly to the stroking? Zip over to "The Tree Hugger," by Fatwa_Morgana, "Another Fishing Trip" TxRad, "Dryad's Knight" by sdhirsch, and/or "The Moose" by softcaress (which might have made another of my "best" lists if I hadn't felt the sex started without enough preparation). (Be sure too to read two that thus far are only represented in segments in the contest: "A Land Far, Far Away" by theMaven and "Pretty Boy Ch.01" by hmmnmm)
This review provides one reader's assessment of the best reads in the midcontest Earth Day offerings. This is the second probably three reviews to be posted within the contest voting period. I have read and voted on 17 of the stories posted (and series completed, with a completed series constituted one entry) between 30 March and 6 April 2008.
I'll go off for a bit on a side discussion on entries in a series here so that how they relate to this review process is quite clear. I will only rate completed stories. Unless there is a note on a story identified as part of a series saying it is a complete story in its own right, I will wait to set it against other, completed entries until I have some notion the story is complete. As of the cutoff date for this review, there were five series entered in the contest and only one completed. The completed series is being assessed in total as a single entry for the purposes of this review. Of the rest, I'll note that so far "Savory? Ch. 01" flamekitten has an interesting use of theme and "A Land Far, Far Away" by theMaven and "Pretty Boy Ch.01" by hmmnmm are both unusually well written and hot to boot (and so worth following as they develop, contest or no contest).
As noted in the initial review, I used the range of scores from 3 to 5 overall in rating the 17 stories this time around as well. As with the earlier review, the story ratings pretty faithfully followed a bell curve: four 5 ratings, eight 4 ratings, and five 3 ratings. (I did, I'll admit, come very close to using a 2 overall this time.)
Since this is a contest and the stories need to be as clearly differentiated from each other as possible, I've stuck closer to the Web site's recently redone rating criteria than I would for a casual read (which makes "3" pretty much the average "good" read point). The criteria for ranking of story entries (in descending order of importance) was (1) Use of/relevance to the Earth Day topic (clever or particularly strong affinity to the topic received extra credit; merely convenient or cursory linking—or hackneyed application—got negative marks); (2) story line/storytelling; (3) writing proficiency; (4) technical presentation. I personally think that, this being an erotica site, stroke quotient should be a criteria too—but there seems to be some disagreement on that as a requirement, so I haven't assessed on that criteria. Farther up in the review I did, however, note which stories I found the most erotic.
If you have looked through my "best of category" recommendations above, it will be no secret that I think that Fatwa_Morgana's "The Tree Hugger," is the best of the midcontest offerings—indeed, I've suggested it's either the best or competing for the best in each and every category. The author gives a whole new meaning to tree hugging and puts both Earth Day and eroticism right in the center of the story in more than one dimension with a very clever, full-blown treatment of theme. Excellent storytelling and writing prowess that probably is only challenged in this set by the uncompleted series segment "A Land Far, Far Away" by theMaven.
Right behind the tree hugging on my top list is oggbashan's "Saving the Planet Tripletit," which not only gives us hugging of a very different sort, and very cleverly and erotically too, but also stands the Earth Day theme on its head—more of an Un-Earth Day theme, where we're given a taste of another planet being threatened with the environmental problems of earth. And, to boot, the writing is light-hearted and fluid and the story is complete and naturally evolves from the theme.
For the "rest of the best" overall read in this set, I'd suggest looking to Tarakin's "The Gift," which I give full marks to for full use of theme and providing a complete story incorporating that theme well, albeit not written quite as elegantly as some of the other stories. Very closely on the heels of "The Gift" is "Frost Heaves" by davidwatts, which I thought was a great story, told extremely well. Where this one didn't hit the top for me was in not really doing anything special with the contest theme.
All in all, there are some really good reads in the Earth Day Contest pile already.
As a final note for this review, I read and commented on one of the entries before it was submitted, Sabb's "The Beloved Children." This story isn't being included in my ranking discussions, but I do recommend it as an on-theme good read.