Mar 23, 2013

They're Made Out of Meat (Nebula Award winning short. Worth the couple minute read.)

By Terry Bisson

DISCLAIMER: This is not Original Inkistani Material, it is merely copied from All credits are due to the original writer for this fine piece of work.

Mar 16, 2013

The Search

By Fatema Shabbir

“The place is a maze,” James huffed, “we’ll never find the key. And even if we do how will we get back to the gate?”

It was one hour and ten minutes to midnight. James and Cora were trapped in a maze rigged to blow up at midnight and if they didn’t escape by then they would be part of the fireworks.

“This is a sick game,” Cora cried out disgusted.

When they woke up and recovered from the effects of the drug Cora found the note pinned to the grey iron gate.

Find the key before midnight and get out or be roasted, it read.

They got up from the pile of broken bones and rotting flesh that line that floors of the maze and resisted the urge to vomit.

The place had no lights. In the distance an owl hooted. The moon had hidden behind grey and heavy clouds that threatened to rain down, denying them any ease in their task.

Suddenly they heart leaves rustling and twigs cracking. They jumped and turned to face the noise. Nothing. There was nothing there.

At forty minutes to midnight they saw something silver glistening in the distance. Despite their condition they broke into a smile. They ran for the key. When they reached the bush, they looked around and to their horror the entire row of bushed was lined with glistening silver keys; some broken, some rusted, some small, some big. They stood there for a moment dumbstruck.

“Which one?” James asked.

Silence engulfed them as precious seconds trickled by.

“418! 418!” Cora exclaimed “That was the number on the door!”

They nodded and split up. If the key was there they had to find it soon; they only had thirty minutes to go. They had covered nearly half the path when a shrill voice from behind laughed. Instinctively they ran to each other.

“I don’t think it’s here.”

“Me neither,” James sighed.

They left the path and moved to the next one, then the next one. They were running out of time. Just when they were about to give in they reached the heart of the maze. There lay a pristine white almost glowing slab of marble, on it was the key.

“It’s too easy,” James whispered but Cora had already made a run for it.

She almost tripped on a skull with its mouth hanging open. She hesitated as she heard feet shuffling nearby, when she stopped to look there was nothing.

She felt the key calling out to her, mesmerized she ran to it again. When she reached it she picked it up without hesitating.

From about her she heard a faint crackle. That was the last thing she heard. The chopping block came fast and there was no time to react. Her blood sprayed onto the horrified James as her head rolled over to the other rotting remains on the pathway. The key fell from her hand and slinked again the white marble.

“59… 58… 57,” a robotic voice from the distant speaker began the countdown.

James grabbed the key and dashed for the gate. Fear for his life has helped him remember the exact way. He wasted no time.

When he reached the door and turned the key it got stuck. Jammed, the door only creaked. James shook it with everything in him, but to no avail.

“3… 2… 1,” the voice dies out as James pushed harder and harder.

A loud band, that was the last thing he heard as a cloud of fire erupted from the heart of the maze, quickly making its way to all corners.

James closed his eyes ready for the blow.

Mar 15, 2013

The Africa Passage

By Hiba Fatima

The given passage seems to be an excerpt from a travelogue. The writer attempts to break the stereotypes that Europeans have created about Africa. They see Africans as "disease-stricken people", as "hordes of walking skeletons", but the writer presents Africa in a new light. He admires the resilience of the Africans, and convinces the readers to do so too.

The writer talks about the harshness of the African weather, compared with the gentle "politesse" of the European weather. The writer deliberately does this so that later, he can impress the readers with the resilience of the Africans who survive the "pounding" heat.

The Sun is personified as an evil, intimidating predator who "leaps" and "ambushes the night". The Sun is also alluded to Cyclops, a mythical giant who would eat men. The writer believes that the Sun is no less than a violent, contemptuous monster, as evident by the alliteration in line 6. The Sun, the "ready made ball of solid", "catapults directly", like a weapon. This creates a mood of fear.

The writer then wistfully compares the African sunrise to the European sunrise. Here, longer sentences create a dreamy tone. The repetition of "no" and "none" in the second paragraph show that the writer's tone is harsh as he establishes a contrast between the African and European dawn. The latter is personified as the perfect English lady of calm demeanour, while the former has "no appreciation of the subtleties of temperature". This poses a question to the Europeans- will you be able to survive the fierce African climate?
The cruelty of the Sun is further developed upon in the third and fourth paragraphs.The emphatic use of "No." in line 17 establishes a sense of finality and conveys that the writer has accepted the fierceness of the African Sun. The simile in line 18 shows just how frightening it is. It is also merciless and relentless, "it will suck the ground dry of water, dew or damp to deny the tree". This alliteration emphasizes the power and dominance of the Sun. The readers sympathize with the Africans,who are deprived even of shade as the Sun "eliminates" it.

A transition takes place in the fifth paragraph. The writer talks about, how, in spite of the fierceness of the Sun, the Africans, rather than succumbing to the heat, have been moulded by it. The repetition of the word "still" emphasizes the African's strength. Their survival seems all the more impressive to the reader after the writer has deliberately created an inflated exaggeration of the Sun. The brevity of sentences, such as in line 25, convey the writer's awe towards them.

The writer breaks the stereotype that Africans are like "hordes of walking skeletons" in the sixth paragraph. He contrasts the European and African lifestyles by comparing each of their gaits. He praises the "poise" of the Africans and criticizes the clumsiness of the Europeans by piling up adjectives in line 33. The gait of the African women is then specified upon. They walk in a seductive and hypnotic manner, with their "hips propelling them forward". They are alluded to beautiful black Statues of Liberty, to show their charm and independence. The writer uses the similes "ballerinas" and "models" to convey the delicacy of the African women. The list in lines 36 to 37 shows the writer's awe as the women carry these "improbable weights" with ease.

The lone man who stands tall and proud symbolises all the Africans who survive the "impotent" Sun with grace and beauty. The writer lists the diverse topography of Africa, then refers to it as the "most beautiful place in our world".

Finally, the writer clears the misconceptions people have about Africa, creating a mood of admiration. He blames the readers for looking at Africa from "the dark side" of their mind and neglecting all the positive aspects of the continent listed in lines 52 to 54. In the final line of the passage, Africa is called the "luminous continent", which harkens back to the Sun that is now a complement to the Africans.

Directed Writing: 
The currents of the Indonesian Sea do not nibble gently at the coast. No, not today. Today, the Sea is volatile. The waves, dark and heavy, leap forward and crash against the shore. They devour and destroy anything and everything in their path. The Sea is a vacuum, a black hole, or, simply put, the Bermuda Triangle of Jakarta.
Yet still, a serenity cloaks the city. An olive-skinned fisherman articulately throws a bait into the waters that kiss his feet. Multitudes of people meander rhythmically through the streets of Jakarta. Swaying. Beaming. Smiling.

No, Jakarta is not the city that crumbles under the weight of the Indonesian Sea every year. It is the city of colour. It is the city of beauty. It is the city of kindness.