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Old 12-29-2013, 08:41 AM   #1375
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The Crystal of Life
Renegade Puma

Originally reviewed 28 July 2006 Newly completed, and reviewed upon request

1000 years after TSL: The last remaining Jedi finds new purpose

Remember to sight edit, you used recurring (repeating) instead of resounding (loud) thud. Also remember to polish.

You do one thing I ding others on almost constantly; that is having the droid speak or listening to a Wookie talking, but just writing out the sounds made. As I noted in my own Return From Exile, if you have spent enough time around either one, you would have probably learned enough of the language to get by, and we honestly don't need to see the 'beep-boop' to know a conversation is going on. You see this because while the audience doesn't understand, Han knew what Chewwie was saying, and by ROTJ you knew Luke understood pretty much what R2 was saying.

The situation is grim, and I'm only into chapter two. Unless you want a personalized review, I don't have time to read it all for this column.

A Mandalorian Wanted to Cry

Post Order 66: Darman grieves for the loss of his love

A very sorrowful look at this time for him. I had never read the book where Etain died, so I don't know if the black gem is a creation of this author, or of that book, but it is an interesting custom either way,

Well done

Pick of the Week


Ten years post KOTOR: Companion piece to Filling in the Gaps, before leaving for the landing pad, Carth tells his daughter a little more about what had happened.

Again, remember my mantra; reread, edit, repeat, polish until it is smooth.

The piece has that coming home feel to it, and the two side stories, one about a married couple having a partial argument about what endearment is going to be just for her, then a nightmare she isn't willing to discuss, rounds it out.

My ex- had a friend who was constantly complaining because her husband didn't use endearments, so when she suggested maybe calling her honey, he retaliated by spending a few months calling her Bee-barf. Some people...

Distractions of a Battlefield

KOTOR on Kashyyk: Some distractions are helpful

I understand the character's frustration, though I also understand attitude of the Jedi that wrote the disturbing piece. When you write, you tend to have people think in the sex of the main character, which is why David Weber in his Honor Harrington series has his male characters comment about the actions of an officer as 'he' and his main character uses 'she'.

But when you are coming in from the outside, suddenly you wonder as she does, did the male author mean only men are capable of the job?

But first considering Carth a distraction, then using him as one is very choice.

Promised Flower

TSL enroute to Telos: The Author changes one thing...

I wasn't sure what was happening at the start, and it wasn't until the conversation in the berthing area that I figured out why. You see, I was critiquing work for over a year before I got a copy of TSL of my own, and by then the one person I loathed was Mical.

So the first mod I added even before playing was the 'get Brianna as a female character' one. I had not spent a lot of time dealing with stories with her in them, but liked what I had seen so far. So the attack and 'kidnapping' of Kreia (If it is part of the game) never happened. If you have played the game as a male, or using that mod, you get Visas instead for this discussion, and when I wrote my own TSL Novel (posted here; Return From Exile) I used it to wax lyrical about the subject of Force Bonds, and how she is a hole in the Force.

My Visas didn't decide to kiss her, but she likened the woman before her to a chess player, with the crew as her pieces. And that as they fell, she would weep for each piece, not ignore their loss.

I especially liked having Atton immediately expect booby traps, and again, I don't know if that happened in the male version of the game. I have honestly never played it as a male character, or with Mical (Yuck).

What I've Been Up To

ten years post KOTOR: Companion piece to Filling in the Gaps following Anticipating, Emi (Revan) has her own story to tell

The piece fits smoothly, and I loved the kidnapping story because not all adventures are happening out there where Emi had been. There is exactly one flaw:

Technical note, Vibroblade Damage: Lets take three different weapons, a simple broadsword, a vibroblade, and a lightsaber here. With a broadsword you can chop completely through a joint and even through the bone except through even iron armor. How often have you seen a movie where the star swings, and the man flies up with his leg flying even further? A vibroblade is a very narrow metal form that is vibrating at a high rate, like one of those electric carving knives, and to a vibroblade, the bone or armor is only slightly harder to cut. With a lightsaber, except for the idea of cortosis (Which I think was not the right mineral to use, cortosis disrupts the energy of a lightsaber making it shut down, whereas Mandalorian Beskar Iron is resistant to it) wouldn't care what it is, it will cut it eventually.

So what you actually have is a partially blocked hit, which would do the damage you described, rather than a full swing.

Tied for Best of the Week for combined work

Battlefront2: Showdown

Set in Mos Eisley during Battlefront2: Hail, hail, the gang's all here...

I expected silliness, but not this much. Take all of the 'second heavies' (Hollywood parlance for the bad guy who supports the main bad guy) from the first three movies, With Anakin from ROTS and Vader as a second instead of the main bad guy as he was in ANH, and what do you get? Better yet, what do you get if you take four Sith , a cyborg and a pair of Bounty Hunters, all of whom think think they're the biggest dog in the yard?

Well not all. General Grievous ends up in the corner whimpering that he is really scary but no one is paying attention, and the bounty hunters, father and son decide to hit the cantina instead while the Sith duke it out. What's a poor evil emperor to do?

Tied for Best of the Week

For My Behaviour
Vayluh Arwen

KOTOR on Dantooine: While helping Mara (Revan) Carth gets more than he bargained for.

Well written, and portrayed. Everything is believable.

The piece is a good view of what a Jedi Apprentice would probably go through. Like a neophyte wizard in fantasy, there are all sorts of things you might be able to do, and what you first need to do is find these out. It could be funny (The Sorceror's Apprientice comes to mind) it could even be deadly (The Witches of Karres, where using 'klatha' [his version of the force] improperly) can literally burn the person trying to death.

Considering the two options I mentioned above, this one is more middle of the road. Trying to 'see' with the force leading to reading his surface thoughts, with Mara not sure how to stop.

The Prodigal

ten years post KOTOR: Companion piece to Filling in the Gaps following Anticipating and What I've Been Up To, Emi gets a welcome home gift

The piece is a very nicely done time at home for the characters. Carth Remembering the first time his wife fell asleep in his arms, they playful mood they start with, and continue when their daughter is added to the mix, then the ever present 'close your eyes' bit when revealing the gift.

The only thing missing is Emi (Or Carth) taking her up and one of them cadging the line from the end of STIV The Search For Spock, where Kirk on the bridge of Enterprise A saying, 'Let's see what she's got'.

Tied for Best of the Week for combined work

Wishful Thinking

TSL aboard Ebon Hawk: Should he tell her?

The author's first attempt with the story line, and very well done. The author's version of Atton is chilling. There are two kinds of people most common when you find torturers. The worst is not the kind described. It is the ones who see it as either interesting, or merely business. The Nazi doctors who worked in the Concentration camps were merely doctors using unwilling subjects to test their pet ideas, or exploring conditions that the military had to deal with to discover treatments for it. As much as we hate what they did, some of their work in genetics, transplants, treatment on hypothermia and more expanded knowledge and are used today. But their common plea (Not we were only obeying orders) that other nations used prisoners for medical research, was shot down because except for the Soviets, the prisoners were also volunteers.

Here Atton is one of those who enjoyed his work, liked dealing out pain. While more common, they are also the ones who tended to kill their subjects. I can understand why he would not want her to know what he once was. And having Kreia insert the dream to make sure he delays admitting it is perfectly done.

Pick of the Week

Room for Thoughts
Shadows of the Storm

Pre TSL after being Exiled: The newly named Exile remembers her friends who did not return

The piece is interesting because as I have wondered more and more, why did she (Or he) return at all? Every author has proposed draconian punishments for those Jedi who had followed Revan, and the idea that this author's version had done so simply for closure makes as much sense as any other idea I have heard. If the Jedi Council didn't have someone to punish, they might have acted more vigorously against the ones who left, which when you think about it, is the reason for the Jedi Civil War.

The additional character inserted by this author is the middle of the road one. Revan adamant that she is right, Tyla wanting closure, and Aurali in the middle just wanting it to be over.

Well done.

Codename Starkiller: The Early Years

Set in Rebellion BBY: One of Starkiller's first missions

The primary negative I had with the piece was the timing involved. Assuming he was a year old when Vader found him not long after General Order 66 was issued, sixteen years had passed from when Vader took him in, and the mission mentioned. There should have been no old Separatist leaders still trying to rebel. It would be like WWII ending, and a New Nazi regime is planning WWIII in 1960.

The Clone Rebellion

Remember conversation breaks. Think of a story like a river. You have some chop or white water (The actual action you are portraying) but conversation breaks lets the reader know there's more than one person talking. You're adding unnecessary chop here. The piece needs to be edited and polished. The battle scenes are more confusing than the real thing would be, and having to go back to see when who is talking doesn't help.

Technical note, Training: You have Kendal wasting a lot of ammunition. The thing is this, while derived from the DNA of a Bounty Hunter who would be parsimonious with ammunition, Kendal is a line grunt. The first rule of an infantryman is the ammo you can carry is all there is, never assume resupply is right behind you. It is interesting to note that his squad took out one Geonosian with an overabundance of fire, but only he was mentioned when it came to reloading. That could be merely the exuberance of finally facing combat, but he then wastes a three round burst on his second target.

Second rule of infantry combat, if the enemy is down, he may still be alive, but you don't waste ammunition on him. As H. Beam Piper commented in When in the Course..., too many infantry commanders assume ammunition miraculously appears when you pray into your radio.

A rather confusing look at the battle, though Kendal reminds me of the stories about Jim Bowie's earlier life.

The following is a diatribe not against this story, but against the Battlefront series. They use three man 'squads' when in any army I have ever heard of, three men is a 'fire team', and a squad is composed of two fire teams. You have a team that has lost their commander bereft, but in a proper military, there is a clear chain of command. Watch the scene in Starship Troopers when the squad leader freezes in their first action. Rico gives that instruction, and whether having the authority or not, is instantly obeyed.

What the troops need is a firm command voice, and instructions. As a real-world example, Sergeant Audie Murphy did not need a lieutenant to tell him what to do; he continued leading the shattered platoon he was part of without wondering who would be in command when the battle is over.

'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

From the one who brought you;
What we die for...
KOTOR excerpts
Star Wars: The Beginning
Star Wars: Republic Dawn
Return From Exile
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