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Not leaving Kudos

I wrote a series of tiny stories about readers Not Leaving Kudos on ArchiveofOurOwn, prompted by a thread over on the ushobwri community. Kept them in a file for a bit and added one when I thought of one, and eventually in a fit of randomness posted them on Ao3.

I woke up this morning to find that 600-word story suddenly has way more kudoses than anything else I'd uploaded there.  I find this hilarious.

It's here.


( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
21st Feb, 2016 09:40 (UTC)
I have of course left kudos!
21st Feb, 2016 12:30 (UTC)
Someone left a comment asking 'is it sarcastic' to which the honest answer is I DON'T EVEN KNOW ANY MORE :-D
21st Feb, 2016 10:41 (UTC)
Oh, I read it already, it was fun! (And I did indeed leave (anon) kudos! It felt terribly ironic as I did so... which I guess was the intent!)
21st Feb, 2016 12:27 (UTC)
Absolutely. You should probably get an extra point for anon kudos, which raises a whole series of further questions: did the reader forget to log in, do they not have an account, is this the first thing they ever read on Ao3, are they paranoid so they turn off cookies, are they deliberately hiding their identity? If so why???

(no subject) - ladyofastolat - 21st Feb, 2016 15:00 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - scripsi - 21st Feb, 2016 22:04 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bunn - 22nd Feb, 2016 08:32 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - scripsi - 23rd Feb, 2016 07:18 (UTC) - Expand
21st Feb, 2016 17:37 (UTC)
What have you done to me?
Because to every story, there is another side.

Arachne was slow to surface. For hours she had been transported, taken to a place where she ran on two legs and wore clothes; a place where she wept, where she laughed, where she loved. With just words, the author had made her become someone else; had shown her marvels.

I must leave kudos, Arachne thought. The author must know...

But how? Pure chance had led her to this word magic. With a random pattering of paws, the mighty Tibbles, nemesis of so many of her kin, had pressed the keys that had opened up this wonder. Tibbles was long gone now, stalking colossal rodents in the vastness of the kitchen. Only a fool would hope for the return of such a terrible beast and its fateful moving paw. No, Arachne was on her own now. If the "leave kudos" button was to be pressed – and it had to be pressed – she had to be the one to do it.

She skittered across the trackpad, but the pressure was as soft as a whisper of silk, and the pointer did not move. She gathered her legs together, one, two, three, but she was crafted for fine work, not brute work like this. Again she tried; again. Her carapace ached with the strain. Must… leave… kudos… she thought. Must...

All her focus was on her task. All her eyes were on the pointer on the screen, as it moved slowly, oh so slowly, towards her goal. She had nothing left to watch for Tibbles, dread in tooth and claw. Even had she seen him, she had no energy left to run. Everything she possessed was hurled into the stupendous effort of pressing that button.

And in the very moment that the jaws closed around her, it was done. I did it, she thought, as the teeth snapped shut. I...

(And in case you're wondering how she managed to scroll down through the story to read it, the answer is that spiders are very slow readers, so this story that transported her to another world for hours on end was actually only 478 words long. They weren't even a very good 478 words, but in the list of the creatures of the earth and the literary appreciation skills thereof, spiders rank fairly low, just behind emus.)
21st Feb, 2016 17:39 (UTC)
This really needs to stop
His eyes were full of dust, and he had long since lost the strength to brush them clean. His legs were pinned beneath fallen pillars, beautifully carved and tangled with dying brambles. The goats were long gone. They had done their damage, felling the fragile aedifice, and scampered on their way.

They laughed at him, sometimes, in his dreams.

He might have given up days ago, he thought, had it not been for The Story. Ah, such a story! Only two fingers remained unbent, unbroken, but two fingers were enough. Enough to nudge the tablet from where it had tumbled from his pack. There was no signal out here, of course, but he had downloaded a long story before he had left for the wilds. Two fingers could open it. Two fingers could keep him reading; could make him weep cleansing tears for the pain of people that had never lived: pain that led to a happy ever after.

He would die here, he thought, but thanks to The Story, he would not die bereft.

He thought it was a fantasy, at first, the rescue. He thought it was the people from his story. He thought it was the goats. He laughed, at first, and then he wept.

"Lie still," they told him, as they loaded him into the helicopter. "You're very badly hurt. Don't move."

"Must…" he gasped. Machines beeped. People said things; sharp, urgent things. They didn't understand. They didn't...

"Lie still!" It was sharp now, almost brutal.

"No," he said. "No!" They were airborne now, taking him to safety. "Got to..." he rasped. "Got signal? Internet…? Need to..."

"No!" They were trying to hold him down, but he fought them. Two fingers were enough. Enough to find the tablet. Enough to see that he was there, he was connected. He could leave kudos! He had to... had to...

The machines were screaming now, but it didn't matter. Nothing mattered. He had left kudos. The author would know.

He let the blackness take him.

There were goats.
21st Feb, 2016 18:04 (UTC)
Re: This really needs to stop
*contemplative silence*

Re: This really needs to stop - bunn - 21st Feb, 2016 18:04 (UTC) - Expand
21st Feb, 2016 17:59 (UTC)
The frazzled grad student considered leaving kudos on Bunn's story about not leaving kudos. "Is it really worth it to try and remember my password for this site and log in?" the grad student wondered to herself, becoming a mite more frazzled at the very thought of trying to remember yet another password.
"BUT," she reminded herself, "you COULD leave anon kudos."
She paused to consider, before deciding, "That's tacky, when you could just log in."
"Yes but then I must recall my password."
"Bunn is your friend and has written this funny and apt story, it's worth it."
"Why are we talking to ourselves now?"
"Ourselves? How many of us are there in here?"
"No matter. KUDOS LEFT. BAM."
21st Feb, 2016 18:06 (UTC)
You had to post this when I had just finished reading ladyofastolat's. I got hiccups. I blame you both.


(no subject) - huinare - 21st Feb, 2016 18:11 (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
22nd Feb, 2016 08:34 (UTC)
Thank you!

I am divided between awe, rage, and helpless laughter at the appeal that story clearly has. Normally I write neurotically over-researched tiny-fandom stories that get an audience of five. :-D
21st Feb, 2016 18:41 (UTC)
*delighted laughter*
21st Feb, 2016 21:01 (UTC)
Somebody I read on Dreamwidth recced it - I read it, laughed, and then went "bunn"? Why did I not know about this? how stupid of me.

So now I've finally subscribed to you, so I don't miss out on these things.

(As for kudos explosion, I'd blame cesperanza ;-D)

22nd Feb, 2016 08:37 (UTC)

Normally I do put things on LJ as well, can't remember why I didn't this time. Possibly interrupted by phonecall 'fly at once, all is known'. :-D

*Mutters darkly about Tumblr, newfangled doohickies etc* :-D
21st Feb, 2016 21:12 (UTC)
This is great. I left kudos. It was my first time on Ao3.
22nd Feb, 2016 08:40 (UTC)
Whoa. That must be such an unusual way to find your way there!

*is proud*

I hope you have fun there!
21st Feb, 2016 21:59 (UTC)
This was so funny and I left both kudos and a review (I'm Dancingsalome on AO3).

I once stumbled over a LJ post that raved over one of my fics, but the person in question had never left a review on the actual fic. Which I found a bit strange.
22nd Feb, 2016 08:52 (UTC)
That's so odd! It was people mentioning experiences like that on ushobwri that got me thinking of reasons people might not hit the button...

I love the fact that several commenters have come up with their own suggestions!

(also, I am noticing that the Leavers of Kudos, even on that story are running at about 2 of every five visits, which amuses me)
(no subject) - scripsi - 23rd Feb, 2016 07:23 (UTC) - Expand
22nd Feb, 2016 09:03 (UTC)
Now this really is getting silly now
"Twelve seconds to impact," intoned the computer.

Kirk leant forward in his chair, sweat beading on his forehead and glistening on the bare shoulder revealed by the shirt that had become inexplicably torn over breakfast. "Come on..." he declaimed under his breath.

"Captain!" Mr Scott's excited voice burst over the radio. "All systems are restored, sir!"

"Eight seconds to impact," intoned the computer.

"Mr Spock!" commanded the captain. No time to thank Scottie, of course, not yet. "You know what to do."

"Indeed," Spock said, but he lied. His fingers dug into the edge of the console. Duty was clear... Oh, but no! Duty was clouded. Alone in his quarters, he had read such things, such sweet, forbidden things! He had been thrilled and deeply moved. He had felt... urges. The writers loved such things, of course: an emotionless being, alone, so alone, learning how to feel. He was no fictional character, but if he were, his writers would be melting in a... a puddle of squee – was that the phrase? – if they could see the emotions that roiled in his heart. He had refrained from leaving kudos, because nobody could be allowed to know. But that was fear talking, and fear was illogical. He was who he was. He had always done his duty. He would...

"Four seconds to annihiliation," intoned the computer.

Thought was instantaneous, but to put them into words took time. They had no time left.

His finger moved, slashing across the console. It pressed.

The computer spoke, impassive as ever. "One sec--"
22nd Feb, 2016 09:08 (UTC)
This. Must. Stop.
Pheidippides sank to the ground, his chest heaving, his muscles screaming.

Voices jabbered all around him. "What news?" they asked him. "Was there a battle? What of the Persians? Tell us? Tell us?"

He coughed, choking on city dust. Hands reached for him, but he batted them away. "Must..." he gasped. "Tell..." He coughed again, and fell forward, pain ripping through his chest. "Tell Aeschylus… Must let him know... Loved... I loved his play."

They grabbed him, took him up, shook him. "But what news of the battle?" It was asked in a dozen voices, in a dozen ways. But quiet and inescapable behind it, someone grumbled, "Isn't Aeschylus with the army? Why didn't the fool tell him then instead of running all the way back here?"

"Oh," said Pheidippides, as the waters of Lethe closed over his head and took him down and away.


Must. Resist. Urge to write the message in a bottle shipwreck one, and How We Brought The Kudos From Aix to Ghent, and the 1001 other ideas that woke me up at five in the morning and kept me awake for hours.

I blame you for this, you know. :-P
22nd Feb, 2016 09:15 (UTC)
Re: This. Must. Stop.
:-DDDD both at the snippet and, frankly, at you*

You've now written more of it than I did!

Shall I add you as a co-author so you can add these as chapter 2, or would that make things worse? :-DDD

*although given that I woke up at 5am to write more Russian Finrod Musical stuff, I really have no right to be laughing at anyone for the weird things their brain insists on doing.

Re: This. Must. Stop. - ladyofastolat - 22nd Feb, 2016 10:24 (UTC) - Expand
Re: This. Must. Stop. - bunn - 22nd Feb, 2016 18:54 (UTC) - Expand
Re: This. Must. Stop. - ladyofastolat - 23rd Feb, 2016 20:09 (UTC) - Expand
Re: This. Must. Stop. - bunn - 23rd Feb, 2016 20:54 (UTC) - Expand
Re: This. Must. Stop. - ladyofastolat - 24th Feb, 2016 08:51 (UTC) - Expand
Re: This. Must. Stop. - bunn - 24th Feb, 2016 10:17 (UTC) - Expand
22nd Feb, 2016 11:07 (UTC)
Kudos duly left. I am, btw, also one of the anonymous readers who did not leave kudos. This is because I first read it on my phone, which doesn't have my password saved on it the way the PC does, so if I'd left kudos then it would have been anon.
22nd Feb, 2016 18:55 (UTC)
I am discovering SO MANY new paths to Reading Without Kudos. This is most educational!
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )

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