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Old 02-02-2014, 11:05 PM   #1380
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The Legendary Zhuge Liang

NSW Fiction: A hero faces unexpected problems

An interesting look at the genre. The basic problem is you need to find people who are into it. Having seen several of these in my life, they do. My favorite sadly is one I never learned the title of; a judge in Feudal Japan who spends time running around pretending to be a drunken Ronin and using a team of investigators when he comes into the new town on a case. I only saw one episode in Hawaii when I was on vacation, and have wished I could find it here.

Sith's War

Starting on Tatooine AU: Revan goes to become a Jedi

I only read a single chapter into the work. I will not ding you on language, as you are from Singapore, and the day I can write a grammatically correct story in your native tongue, I will consider myself worthy to critique that. However there are several other problems I see.

Technical note, Age at start: Everywhere you look in the SW universe, you have the Jedi either grabbing infants(according to several authors), to refusing to train people above a certain age, which is never defined, except for the fact that Anakin was originally rejected because he was nine, and considered too old. When we see an adult being trained, it is like in KOTOR, a special case, or in Luke Skywalker's case, because he and his sister are the last of those the Jedi can find to teach. In this case we have him starting at 17, and whether his father was an Ex-Jedi or not, at this age, and considering his actions in the chapter, I would have deemed him unsuitable.

In the EU, expanded Universe, there were supposedly only 22 Jedi that had left the order. It was mentioned that Count Dooku was among those. I will submit that statistically Revan's father could have been one of them, but if he had wanted his son raised as a Jedi, he could have sent him a decade earlier.

Technical note, action and reaction: I can understand why the boy at this point would wish to kill the men who murdered his father, but even with Anakin Skywalker's actions in Attack of the Clones, this would stop any right thinking Jedi for enlisting him. Not to mention the fact that HK47 is already there, and whether he built him as Anakin did with C3P0, or had repaired him and not returned him, using a droid to kill someone is not something you would expect of anyone with a Jedi's mentality.

Technical note, Mandalorian bad guys: From what I have read, the Mandalorians were originally mercenaries, but as much as Machievelli painted them as a horror, at the time he wrote the Prince, it was an honorable profession, closer in mind to the Spartans than their later incarnations during the 30 Years War. The author of that book wasn't stating his true purpose. Mercenaries almost always tended to stay loyal to the paymaster, whereas forming an army of your citizens means you have people you can suborn later. And since Tatooine at the time belonged to a corporation, not to the Hutt, having one send someone to collect a debt is just a setting you took from another story. Also as much as we might think badly of mercenaries or soldiers, they are not simple thugs who are going to beg for their lives when suddenly the roles are reversed. A Samurai or Spartan would spit in your eye rather than beg.

Technical note, Location: After several years (I started reviewing back in 2005, and added fanfiction to my list two years ago) I have seen so many stories with the same locations, that I finally wrote an article about why it bugs me. Please read LucasForums > Network > Knights of the Old Republic > Community > Coruscant Entertainment Centre > The Resource Centre > Same old, same old to understand why.

I did like the interplay with Bastila, and having them be at odds is natural.

The Force is Willing

During the Rebellion: Starkiller has been reborn, but he isn't the only one...

The piece is short, and the first thing I did after reading it was check the profile. You do know what some of your problems are, but one statement confused me. You don't know what a beta-reader is?

Think of it as you're doing a report for school, and you ask a friend, parent, whatever to read it and tell you what they think. If the person is honest, they will point at it and say 'you misspelled this, you used the wrong words here and here, and this sentence needs polishing'. A beta-reader is someone who will do that, taking a copy of your work, and returning it corrected, including correcting ideas that are wrong, or at least explaining why they are.

The premise is a bit off the wall, the question is, why is it only the Sith that are being resurrected?

Battle of Coruscant: Brothers in Arms

Six or seven years after ANH: Commandos go to Coruscant for the last battle

The negatives I have are few, and they are all technical.

Technical note, Pre landing inspection: Such an inspection should have been carried out before the ship launched. The reason for this is simple; you are checking that equipment is in working order, and it is easier to swap out damaged or malfunctioning equipment while still aboard ship rather than during a hostile landing. As an example, when the Allies landed at Normandy, the men were mustered and had this inspection before they boarded ship for the trip across the Channel, which was days before the landing itself due to delays in launching the operation. What you show would be like the lieutenant leading a platoon having an inspection in the boat after it has left the ship instead of when they are being mustered to load into the boats, or before they cast off.

Historically, there were a number of men who left some of their equipment behind in the rush to board the LCVPs, but once you've launched to go in, you don't have time to go back and get whatever it was you left behind.

Technical note, landing preparations: Unlike a boat landing on a hostile shore, you would not be standing when the ship lands in this instance unless you're doing the SW equivalent of a parachute drop. If enemy fire were to hit the shuttle, or the landing is too rough, your men would be injured unnecessarily. So they would be strapped in. The best action scene showing what I mean is the Movie Aliens when the Marine ship comes in to drop the squad. The instant they're on the ground, the APC drives out, but everyone is strapped down until the wheels start rolling.

For a scene where you have someone going into attack an enemy position, it is rather well done all told.

Shadows Of The Storm

Pre Mandalorian Wars on Tatooine: When you're captured, there really is nothing to do but bicker...

The piece was a riot to read. The time line (Six days) seems a bit long since all we saw was maybe the last few hours. The entire spat makes me wonder why the Sand People didn't just kill or gag them both to shut them up. We learned a lot about the pair here, and the allusions to other times and that the flirtation between them before was because neither had a clue they were flirting was a lot of fun.

Best of the Week

A Deadly Situation

A year after the destruction of the True Sith: A rescue mission is sent to Dantooine

Technical note, Mercenary combat operations; First, while a group of well trained mercenaries could carry out the operation you started with, they showed a lack of efficiency when the operation went south on them. The perfect example of a well run operation where it didn't go wrong is the Israeli rescue of the hostages at Entebbe Uganda.

But you never assume everything is going to go right. Look at Operation Eagles Claw, the failed attempt to rescue the American Hostages from Iran. That failed at the end because they needed X number of helicopters, and after the crash that also destroyed the C130, didn't have enough to carry it out, so they withdrew. Your mercenaries should have an idea of how much time they have before any relief can arrive, and the first thing a person trained in special operations learns in something is going to go wrong, so plan for it, and be gone before the enemy arrives.

On the whole it was well done. The enemy commander committing suicide was a nice touch, but I wonder why they didn't detect the lie.

Hello, Beautiful

Post KOTOR: The Dark Lord is given one last chance

The only odd note was how Carth could have survived, and how the others had been been saved. I remember a line from the Movie Soapdish when an actor is brought back to play his old role. The writer storms in, shouting about the Bible, which in this case is the collected information about the characters and what had been done to avoid repeating storylines. She screams that he can't come back from the dead because he had been decapitated.

Beyond that I thoroughly enjoyed the work, for a first time, it was very good

Pick of the Week

The Exile's Broken Hearts
A.L. Enna Breyu

Post TSL aboard Ebon Hawk: The Exile has problems with her own feeling, and dealing with the two men willing to do more, even more problems...

It made sense when Carth called her Xeile in discussions with Telos, and since Bao Dur knew her as a General, it makes sense to have him call her that. But while it makes sense for someone who doesn't know her, having her crew call her Exile is not realistic. I commented recently on a story set after the return of the Second Republic where Luke Skywalker couldn't find any record of her under any other name, and I dinged that author as well. While Benedict Arnold did betray his country, his name is still remembered, they don't just call him the Traitor.

Technical note, ship locations: While you are using a map, and on a map you have directions like east and west, a ship moves. By simply lifting off, rotating 90 degrees either left or right, and setting down, you have changed the ground direction. It's like the old Three Stooges bit where Moe complaints after Larry moves to his right, rather than Moe's, and they argue about the direction, each pointing to his right, then with the addition of Curley, now three different directions.

On a ship, an onboard location is set by a specific term instead because in an emergency, you don't want to have someone going in the wrong direction. As an example, port is to the left facing the bow (Front) of the ship. So the berthing compartment (Not bedroom or dorm) you describe is on the starboard side of the ship. When you called the viewport a space window, you reminded me of an old joke.

A new junior officer is on the bridge when a man new to shipboard life finishes his watch, snaps a salute, and says, “Request permission to go downstairs.”

After having heard him say this type of crap for the last week, the officer loses it. “Stand fast!” He storms over, and starts pointing. “That is the bow, not the front of the ship. That is the stern, not the back end. That is port, not left, starboard, not right. That is a hatch, not a door, and when you pass through it you are not going outside, you are going on deck.

“That is not a stairway, it is a ladder, and you go below when walking down, and topside when you are going up. That is the deck, not the floor, and that is the overhead, not the ceiling. So you are ordered to learn all the right ways to say it aboard ship or by god I'm going to throw you through that... little round window thingie.”

Memories of the Past

Follow on to A Deadly Situation one month later: With Revan's memories now gone again, those around him try something drastic

The piece was well done, because as much as doctors believe in being careful, there are times when you have to take a risk. The idea that the new personality is going to fight against the old permeates the entire story arc, since Revan had to do the same to continue when he (Or she) decided to finish the mission against the Star Forge rather than simply turn back to the darkness.

Star Wars The Old Republic

Set in TOR: Two Jedi struggle to save an infant

Your have to remember that some terms mean the same thing. Sweat and perspire mean the same thing, so what you did was repeat the idea.

Technical note, Stormtroopers: I have never played TOR; frankly when I wanted to as a Beta, it would not load even though I had more than enough memory, so I do not know if the term is even used in that game. But Stormtrooper has a specific meaning here on Earth, specifically the men of the old SA and SS during WWII, and in SW it was linked to the troops of the Empire.

Technical note, traffic: Even six months after occupation, traffic would not be back up to even a tithe of what it was before. Look at any German city bombed during WWII, where almost a year after the occupying forces moved in, over 90% of the vehicle traffic was military transports and officers using captured vehicles. Partly it was damage, but it was also travel restrictions; local not being allowed to use their vehicles without permission.

Technical note, Unit size: I know from seeing the Battlefront games that the designers have little or no knowledge of actual combat and unit sizes, since a squad in the game is what would be called an understrength fire team in our world. You call the formations facing the two jedi at the end regiments, but a regiment (In our world) is 1500 men. Using 3,000 men to assist in restraining one, even a Jedi, is like driving finishing nails with a ten kilo sledgehammer.

The basis of the story was a bit confusing. You merged titles from one into the other for example. Having your 'dark jedi' be someone the Jedi knew before made some sense. Had time to only read one chapter, but it was interesting.

Carry On

During the end of the Clone Wars: What if Etain had a premonition of death?

The only negative I had with the story is how well developed the child is. Most children don't start talking until they are almost a year old, yet it would have been next to impossible for them to have concealed the birth (and the several previous months with obvious physical changes) from the Jedi unless they are not only completely clueless, and haven't even bothered to speak directly to her for a year or more.

It was a light piece with just a touch of darkness, the foreboding mellowing into just a couple and their child.


KOTOR AU: What if Revan loves Carth, but he doesn't return the feelings?

The piece is short and sweet, and from the comment at the end, she obviously doesn't know she was Revan before.

The one thing I hate about both of the KOTOR games is the 'you're automatically going to have a love interest'. In fact there is a thriving band of Mods out there creating some beyond the M/Bastila F/Carth ones to include F/Bastila and Revan/Juhani ones. When I wrote my own Genesis of a Jedi I did my own version, having Bastila become a female Revan's wife, but when I did my version of Return from Exile, (With the Get Handmaiden as female) Brianna became not her wife, but her sister of battle, and adopted sister.

Not bad, just too damn short.

Pick of the Week

Diplomacy of a Jedi

Following Memories of the Past: Cade is being judge as to his worthiness as a teacher

The primary problem I had with the piece is the idea that you are going to trust someone to teach, who sees only one way to handle things. The attitude is quoted as 'If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail'. It is attributed to both Abraham Kaplan and Abraham Maslow two years apart, though the Term 'Birmingham Screwdriver', meaning a hammer predates them by a century.

As much as the old saying goes that a good teacher learns from his student, it is not always the case in reality. Many of the academic arguments in sciences boil down to 'it isn't what I want to believe, so it's a lie', which goes both ways. Even when you have proof that your contention is accurate, there are those who still will not believe.

What you have set up is a situation where Cade is going to go to the dark side just to prove his worth. It happens a lot in fiction where you have someone who has a specific skill set (As a warmaster his skill set is obvious) with nothing to do, and being looked down of because of it.

'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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