CONTEST: High Concept # 12, Under the Weather

Tom Russell milos_parker at
Mon Aug 2 22:41:55 PDT 2010

First, thanks to everyone: everyone who voted for me, everyone who
voted for someone else, everyone who has participated and kept these
contests going.  It's surely a great honour to have won another
contest, but it means even more to me that these contests have become,
in Saxon's words, our current play-thing.  It's been over a year since
the first one was announced, and there haven't been signs of it waning
yet.  So, thank you, thank you, thank you, all.

For a couple of weeks in May, I came down with a pretty bad abscess
infection in one of my bottom wisdom teeth (located, of course, right
next to the nerve in the jaw).  Said infection spread to the jaw and
my ear-- thankfully, it was treated before it got to my heart-- and
caused me a tremendous amount of pain; more pain than I've ever been
in my entire life, more pain than I could bear.  I couldn't eat
anything but applesauce, and even then it caused me a great deal of
pain; I was extremely weak, unable to work, to read, to talk, to even
think.  It made me extremely irritable towards my friends and family.
Illness does that to us; pain, as Dr. Beverly (or was it Elliot?)
Mantle put it so memorably in DEAD RINGERS, causes character
distortion.  It upsets our routines and impairs our ability to

And so, I give you High Concept Challenge number twelve: Under the
Weather, in which your hero or heroine, super-powered or otherwise,
finds themselves battling the forces of evil while afflicted with and
recovering from some perfectly ordinary ailment.

By "ordinary", I only mean that it's something that's within the range
of normal human existence, something you or I could conceivably come
down with and recover from-- it can be as mundane or as serious as you
like.  What I'm ruling out are fictional diseases-- alien viruses,
techno-organic future polio, fear gas hallucinations, et cetera-- and
long-term illnesses like cancer, AIDS, or diabetes.  The idea isn't to
write a story about a hero dealing with a disease on a daily basis,
but about something that's explicitly disrupting their daily routine.
Infection, fever, common cold, laryngitis, migraine, rash, broken arm,
sprained ankle-- the possibilities are really quite endless.

So, there's the concept, hope it piques your interest; I'll set the
deadline for three weeks hence-- August 24th.


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