Here is the thirteenth of the submissions, posted here in no particular order. Please remember that this is the opinion of one editor. There will be others who agree, but there will also be those who disagree. In the end, what you do with your story is up to you; it’s your call.
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For the next few days I’m stuck on Earth. The place is an oddity. Their species have just two sexes, male and female as they call them. While there are a few other scattered places like this, almost everywhere else there are three sexes.
Normal planets have randos, sproils and lackos. My name is Jek, I’m a lacko. The rando is sort of like an Earth female, the sproil a male, except the sproil sex organ is not self-supporting. That’s where lackos come in; we act as a kind of bridge between rando and sproil. I will get no more graphic. The intergalactic web has millions of videos showing the details to anyone curious.
We landed here two days ago, after almost an Earth year in space. My crew is just a rando and me. Not that it would have been wild if we did have a third. My co-pilot is married. When three entities find each other and agree to wed, that’s serious. Cheating is pretty rare. It takes us too long to find our two soul mates.
Me? No commitment anytime soon. I just want to see the universe and have some fun.
There doesn’t seem to be many off-Earth entities where I’m at, a city called Shanghai. Space travel is very long so entities don’t just flock here. In fact, Earth is a fluke destination for me. I doubt I’ll ever be back, so I’m in my hotel’s bar looking at tourism holo-disks of sights I can see.
We observed Earth for a long time, but it’s been less than one hundred Earth years since we introduced ourselves, so there is still some catching up to do on technology. The disks are the old kind, like my grandparents had. You have to place them flat, touch to power up, and then manually scroll the images.
This piece has no title, but I’m wondering if the Third Wheel in the middle is the title. I’ve copied it exactly as the entry came in, but the Third Wheel in the middle doesn’t seem to belong there.
OK, the general.
I hate talking about show vs tell. It’s vague terminology, it’s overused and isn’t as important as some people make it out to be.
That said, I think my main problem with this story excerpt is that it’s all told. We have an alien narrator who lectures at us in the same way I could imagine a teenager in the US would write an introductory letter to another teenager in China as part of a correspondence program (remember those?).
The problem with that type of narrative is that it’s not very interesting. This piece touches on too many things too briefly. We don’t see the start of a story. There is no tension.