Category Archives: Brain droppings

Need some feedback : Encyclopedia Biotica and ME 2 Piece

I’ve been thinking it’s time to seriously overhaul and expand this thing. Break out each of the five ‘schools’ into more detailed explanations, create more information how biotic powers can be blended, how biotic explosions work, and more biotic and anti-biotic technology.

I’m interested in what YOU want to see in the Encyclopedia. After all if you bother to follow this place you are part of the team that helps OSABC grow.

Or should I focus on finishing ATTWN?

SECOND BIG QUESTION:  I’ve put a poll up on my profile at FF.net (which is not showing, but eventually will) about possible names for the ME2 piece.

The choices are :

That Which Cannot Die
Revengance
Lost Innocence
The Sexual Adventures of Shepard With Naked Thane (only Progman should select this one)

Let me know which one you like.

 

People who don’t get it

I get all kinds of reviews — the majority are on FF.net itself, but some happen other places. Some of the more thought-provoking ones were on completely different backdrops — and many of them were entertaining to read. DLP was a blast, even if they don’t know if they like or hate the work yet, because they do real analysis of it.

Other places are … less entertaining. And one of them infuriated me.

As a rule,  there are three kinds of negative review.

  1. A negative review that hones in some an aspect of the work that is bad, or that they personally dislike. For example, ‘You spell like a moran’, or ‘I think this is too depressing to read’. These are perfectly valid.  Sometimes I alter how I write based on opinion, other times I try to explain my viewpoint, and often times I simply must accept that not everyone is going to be a fan of my work, which is just fine.
  2. A negative review that is a flame, with or without personal attacks, such as ‘I am the Fox Familar, I pretend to be a girl and advocate that wimmz should be barefoot and preggy, and all gheyz must be killed, and ur writing sux.’ I usually laugh heartily at these while sipping wine.
  3. People who complain about something in such a way that illustrates not only do they not know what the fuck they’re talking about, but use evidence to prop up their points that detracts from it. ‘Your races are so evil they could never exist and your make everything too dark and not everyone is that way because canon wasn’t like that.’

The first two are what they are. The last group of people basically infuriate me. And then, of course, I go and look at their fanfic profiles, and their own stories are strewn with unrealistic things, copy-paste right out of canon, and their idea of originality is to do crossovers. Crossovers done MUCH better by other people, BTW.

I don’t mind (or particularly care) if some people dislike grimdark. These people have a tendency to think that SI’s, harems and retelling the same exact story with different people is somehow good writing, and thus we’re not operating on the same wavelength. I like stories filled with melodrama, conspiracy, mystery, and action. Some people don’t.

What bothers me is when a fool who hasn’t even managed to grasp yet that the so-called ‘cultures’ Bioware admitted in several places were simply pastiches of common alien tropes decides to claim that said cultures — of which we have few details, all contradictory — are more realistic than my take on them.

And the logic behind this belief? The person wonders why aliens act stupidly.  And then decides to use HUMAN VIEWPOINTS AND EMOTIONAL RESPONSES to say why ALIENS would not act that way.

I typically don’t get worked up about things like this. It’s a small group of morons who think that Dark Energy is ‘repetitive and boring’, that bash Galaxy at War (despite 3000 reviews) for being ‘off message’, and think Masses to Masses is superior to Fight for the Lost.

These people are fucking crazy.  So, in the interest of education, a few points.

1 ) Society is not inherently good. People are not inherently good.  Suggesting that anything that attempts to suggest that Roddenberry’s view of a bright happy MLP universe is a product of the man’s sheltered life is not heresy. To imply that anything that is grim dark is bad writing is an opinion, one you can hold. To imply that grimdark is, however, something that NEVER happens is to stamp an idiot mark on your own forehead.

2) Aliens are NOT humans colored or shaped slightly different. They don’t have fucking human ethics or morals. A race of beings that reproduces non-penetratively and is collectivist has ZERO goddamned reason not to be promiscuous. That’s called logic. Saying it’s sinful is an appeal to authority, namely ONE human religion. GTFO.

3)  No doubt from the depths of your vast experience with anthropology, the claim that salarian instincts would prevent them from harming their own eggs is countered by the fact there are birds and other egg-laying animals on earth who will , in fact, harm their own eggs. An egg is not guaranteed to hatch, and territoriality is a different response than parental protectiveness. Read Clark and Madson, you sub-literate hacks.

4) Humans wouldn’t give up freedom for security in a world gone mad? ARE YOU COMPLETELY FUCKING BLIND? Have you not looked at the fac….Jesus, I can’t even comprehend how drunk you have to be to believe that bullshit.  ‘Freedom’ is something that people take for granted, and the minute freedom gets a million people killed when a terrorist nutjob blows up Wrigley Field during the World Series, people will ask themselves what cost freedom?

5) The most bombastic thing I read, of course, was the suggestion that anything putting aliens into a negative light was basically somehow wrong because if they don’t it’s just alien-bashing.

Aliens MUST have good motives (even if in FUCKING CANON the Asari hid their own Beacon, the turians lied about a giant fucking bomb, and salarians would rather doom everyone than spare the krogan).

This is the most intolerable shit I have ever beheld, because basically it says the person not only has no braincells, but can’t even comprehend WHY I’m writing the way I write.

On Why the Council is Dumb

The one question I get over and over is ‘Why isn’t anyone seeing what is going to happen?’

It was a question many asked in canon ME, and simply because the Premiseverse is not canon does not mean I have dismissed the very good points Bioware raised in their own storytelling.

And it is important, if you read my work, to understand this, as it is perhaps critical to understanding why things happen the way they do in the Premiseverse.

At the end of the day, there are three things that blind people to seeing what is going on around them, no matter what situation, culture, race, or time period they live in.

The first and most commonly cited reason (or excuse) is institutional arrogance. Or Ahern puts it, assumptions. But the leaders of society are not merely chosen because they are charismatic or able to mobilize money and influence. Most of them — despite what you may think by reading the internet — actually are efficient planners and thinkers, with enough vision to see trends (or else they are swiftly out of office).

More than one person has commented how much more ‘competent’ my Council is over the canon one, and how much more effective Udina is. That’s mostly because the Council members in canon ME were a bad literary device, the Obstructive Bureaucrat. Such people exist in real life, but almost never at the highest levels of political control, because you put people like that in places to block access to those levels, not to make them worthless.

There were other issues (see further below on context) but the bottom line remains that, at least in canon ME, the polticians wanted to be blind as not to have to deal with problems that would make waves.

This isn’t the case in the Premiseverse, because of the ugly fact that most of the Council members are more like puppets. Their only real task is to keep the galaxy from flying apart into open war, and they are very good at it. So our answer as to why people are blind is not merely institutional arrogance.

A second common explanation is that the problem is one of sheer outlandishness. Politics deals with the here and now, and even after seeing a big black ship thing attack you, you may not go ahead and decide that more of them are on the way. The premise shoved down our throats in ME was bad enough, but how TIM somehow linked the disappearance of humans to Reapers in ME2 without any clues whatsoever (that we ever saw) was even stupider.

I cannot think Bioware wrote this badly on anything but deliberate intent. And it should be easy to see why. They were building a story to explain why things happened, but the narrative changed several times, from mysterious cthuloid monsters, to conspiracy laden plots and suicide attempts, to weirdness with dark energy, and finally to whatever the fuck that ending was supposed to mean. You can’t have a coherent story that contradicts itself, and the only way to hide those contradictions was to make everything seem … well, unfeasible.

Shepard HAD no options in Canon ME to do much of anything. The player was railroaded at every step of the process , and the illusions of choice given had very little effect on the final outcome. As such, being dismissed as crazy and having any evidence produced dismissed was not a choice by the people involved but rather the requirements of the text, and can’t even be analyzed.

We’ll leave aside the first two, because while they explain things, my own preferred reason fits better.

No one saw it becuase of one thing, a simple  lack of context.

It is impossible for a medieval culture to know it should be preparing for the cometary strike that is coming if they can’t understand orbital mechanics or the nature of what a comet is.  Even if they knew that ‘the world would end’ on a certain date, what could they feasibly do to prevent that?

Lack of context can be found in both canon ME and PVME. The context is not, as some people assume, Reapers. The context is the scale and scope of the threat,and the political cost to face it.  People sneer at this concept because they have never run for office, or realized that the vast majority of humans (and I can’t see most aliens being much different) are focused on the here and now.

Given the omniscient viewpoint, it is all too easy to simply lambast those in power to being blind as to context. But consider: right now on the Web, there’s a series of articles about the mathematical certainty that a civilization-wrecking cometary or asteroid impact will happen on Earth in the next century. We have the technology to avoid this. We have the resources and knowledge to colonize another world if we research it and push it. The danger is not some pie in the sky imaginary thing — it WILL happen.

Yet nothing is being done to address it, and I doubt it will. The financial cost is too high. People will point to all the other problems we have. It would require sacrifice, it would require a great deal of moving energy and money away from our entertainment, our wars, our self-absorbed internet culture to undertake such a thing.  The danger is real…and yet no one who sees it has access to the levers of power.

If we knew a comet was going to hit us in a century, and had an exact date, perhaps we would be motivated. But we don’t. It will be handled ‘in the future’. Someone else’s problem. No context. We’re too busy wondering what appalling stunt ISIS will pull next, or watching music videos, or reading fan fiction.

In canon ME, the problem was Shepard, despite being a good soldier, was an idiot when it came to being an intelligence agent — which is inexcusable when partnered with a goddamned DETECTIVE. Shepard didn’t make an effort to bring back evidence or proof of her findings, instead relying on the sadly common military mindset of ‘identify the threat, report the threat, and let the chain of command determine how to deal with the threat’.

Without evidence, you can’t have a threat to identify aside from vague reports. Without any form of context, the choices made by the council are suddenly not merely political ass-covering out of arrogance, or even bad storytelling, but the sort of reactions that ANY person in a position of power makes when told something they can’t do anything about.

In the Premiseverse, no one knows when the Reapers will get here, or if they are coming. It could be six years, or six hundred, or six THOUSAND. To prepare for their arrival now would throw the galaxy — already in a state of chaos — into more chaos. And while Shepard had enough evidence to back up her claims of the Reapers being real , what she didn’t have was the context to say “they’re coming in X years.”

Passing the buck is that thing everyone sneers at , and yet everyone has a tendency to do. You’ve done it. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Is it surprising the Council would?

 

Various ranting

A summary of things I didn’t like in canon Me that has been … fixed. Someone told me I was arrogant in thinking I could write better than Bioware. Buddy, at this point, I’m not even having to TRY very hard, given my competition is a comic that everyone I know thought was the dumbest shit since Daikatana.

First, the Alliance not finding the wreckage of the Normandy for two plus years. How in shit is this even possible? Who in hell picked up the life pods?  Fixed.

The goofy comic resolution of how Cerberus got a hold of Shepard’s body. Being fixed.

Feron being replaced with Shields. Fixed. C’mon, really? I read that comic three times and aside from gratuitous ass shots of Liara at every panel, not one word in six made any sense. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, the only good thing in that train wreck was Tazzik.

Fourth, all of ATTWN gave people a reason to care. A reason for Liara to take a risk on trusting TIM.  A reason for the Alliance not to recover the body on their own. A reason for Liara to go batshit insane, Joker and Tali to go batshit depressed, and Garrus to just go…batman.

Fifth, some kind of explanation for why in the HELL the Broker would have or could have gotten a hold of Shepard  — or how , for that matter, the Normandy could have been blown up.

Sixth, Ahern and von Grath pimpage.

Seventh, a framework around how my version of ME2 starts. For reasons that will soon become clear, this mess with Shepard will still get blamed on the geth, and the geth are not the pushovers they were in ME2. It will be war, lots and lots of ships will be built, and the galaxy will be about four or five times as strong as they were by the time even Canon ME2 rolls around, much less ME3.

I’m aware that some spelling, grammar and other mistakes and issues remain. Hell, I haven’t finished editing up OSABC yet and I’m in sight of the end of ATTWN.

But eventually I’ll burn out again, and then I can edit. For now, enjoy the update pace and forget canon. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Unrestrained giggling

Oh, Shepard honey, I’mma kill you so hard.

The absolute best part of writing this fic has to be drawing together all the lines and plots so that it is conceivable that no one could see what is happening without an omniscient view, without it becoming some kind of uber-conspiracy.

The second best part is the slow realization that if Shepard died bad in canon, there is no telling what kinds of atrocity will be inflicted on her in the Premiseverse.

It’s coming, dear readers. And it’s going to be bad. My goal in the next segment of chapters is to reduce even Progman to crying.

Artwork Suggestions

My personal situation is not exactly getting better, as since I make just enough to not qualify for any kind of subsidies, the cost of insurance, prescriptions and just basic living is eating at my savings.

Thus a lot of the highly disposable income I once had is not so disposable anymore. That means, for all of 2015, I will probably only commission one artwork (either from Armesan or NikitaStewart)

It’s a toss up between three choices:

1) The Wedding of Sara and Liara and the Processional of Blades

2) The Final Moment of Benezia

3) A series of colorless sketches for Dragunov, Branson, Tetrimus, and other characters.

 

Interested in people’s thoughts.