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Old 02-24-2015, 12:47 AM   #1
MonkeyEpoxy
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Of Sheep and Battle Chicken by LogicalPremise - M - Mass Effect

Title: Of Sheep and Battle Chicken
Author: Logical Premise
Rating: M
Genre: Sci-Fi/Angst
Status: ME1 fic complete, interim fic between 1-2 nearly complete, ME2 portion outlined, rest partially outlined, per author.
Fandom: Mass Effect
Pairings: Shepard (F), Liara t'Soni
Summary: My AU retelling of ME1 in a darker, sinister universe. Much darker and more realistic views of the SA and the Citadel Council, a more dangerous, involved Cerberus, and a more conflicted Saren and Benezia. Changes much of the ME1 dynamic to remove plot holes with more focus on politics, military strategy, and space combat. Pairing is FShep/Liara. Rewritten through Chapter 12 so far.
Link: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8019901...Battle-Chicken

Supplementary Links:

Sequel:
OSABC: And Then There Were None
Supplementary world building:
A Season of Sorrows Unending - The Cerberus Files
The Cerberus Files Addenda: The Systems Alliance
The Encyclopedia Biotica
STG Investigative Report: Sara Shepard
STG Investigative Report: Thorian
OSABC: Lions in Blue and Silver

Note: I'm a Mass Effect nerd. If I was positive everyone else here was, I'd recommend that they read all of the supplementary links first, because they really do augment the codex in a way that is a great intro to LP's universe.

Now, this fic has been bandied about in the Mass Effect Tales thread in Other Fandoms, and it's pretty controversial. It starts off very angsty, but Shepard's character develops past it. The problem is that the first fic is 730,000 words, and it takes a damn long time to get there. The world building is phenomenal and very well thought out. I'd usually say that the fic itself should be self-sustaining enough such that you can gather all of that from it, but the outside text here is very well done, quite dry, but well done and worth reading. Shepard is the typical background of your angstwagon ME fics here, Earthborn/Torfan and fucked up psychologically because of it.

I'm fully aware that this won't be everyone's cup of tea. It is very much a GrimDark fic where no race is likeable. Also weird BDSM stuff. Fair warning there. It's not something I'm a fan of, but I'm able to keep reading. My rating, no matter how badly I want to rate it higher because of my love of Mass Effect and my admiration for the world building here, I give it 4.0 out of 5 stars. It is not as good as Interstitium or Fight For the Lost, but I believe it belongs in the Library.

There is no bashing, and the author prides himself in fleshing out minor characters in a way that fits in his AU, and it really is great most of the time. This author also has inserted some OCs, but none of them send up red flags, and they're all fleshed out in a way that makes sense. I'm not the best judge of technical writing, but there's nothing here that jumps out. Very few typos, very few shit grammar spots.

Some discussion that has already taken place about this fic:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Himuradono
I'll gladly give the author 10/10 for world building alone and for the work he put into his fic. But! The freaking angst is getting tedious. Like MonkeyEpoxy I'd like to say that it toes the line but it doesn't. Just last chapter in the sequel we had Tali as the POV and God above I found myself disliking her self-entitled attitude which she probably isn't even aware of.

Reading it I wanted one of the 'bad' and 'evul' asari engineers to slap her upside her helmet and say:
No you stupid, brat. We aren't going to explain our technology to you. No! We aren't going to revel secrets of tech that is generations ahead of the best Salarian stuff to some quarian kid who got herself a commission with the SA. Forget it.

I actually started disliking Tali after the latest chapter. I don't know if I should congratulate the author or be dismayed.

-

There are other issues with this series. One of the main problems I have with it is that the races are so fucking unsympathetic with all the shit they pull off that I stopped caring if they live or die. The Reapers could invade the next chapter and I'd just shrug and not care one iota about the characters. Yes, the asari, salarians, humans, turians and even the freaking volus are so dirty and crazy and power hungry that I just couldn't care if they lived or died.




The machniations are approaching ridiculous levels of badness and villainy.

I'll probably keep reading it but there are things that could use some work.

Shepard being one of them. She's a mess and her relationship with Liara is crazy, creepy something straight out of a BDSM dungeon turned up to eleven.

It went from rather grim to grimdark raised to the second power.

The author's words that he'll make Warhammer 40k look fluffy by comparison don't inspire much in the way of good feelings about this fic.

But not all is bad and grim and bleak. We have a cadre of characters fleshed so well and with such great care that they make Shepard - yes, her the main character - look rather silly and simple by comparison. Aethyta is just one of them.

We have Jason von Grath who is a human general in the SA and is so badass that Eddard Stark and Robert Baratheon back when they were killing Targ loyalists at the Trident couldn't even apporoach von Grath's level of badassery.

We have Okeer, the scientist who made Grunt in canon. Here he got a whole history about his life, clan, dreams and ambitions.

Jona Sederis, the founder of Eclipse is probably one of the craziest asari to ever live and she makes Wrex uneasy. Take it as you will.

Heck I like LogicalPremise's Udina.
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Old 03-19-2015, 04:05 PM   #2
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Moved based on the rating, despite its lack of reviews.
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Old 03-20-2015, 09:45 AM   #3
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Decided to start this story, just one question. When should I read the supplementary stuff? Before story one, after story one, after a certain chapter, after I finished story one and caught up with the sequel?
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Old 03-20-2015, 09:01 PM   #4
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I'd read the biotic encyclopedia first and the Systems Alliance Order of Battle second, and the rest in between this and the first sequel.

Well really, most of them are very quick reads, it's just the Cerberus Files that are of any real length, and I don't remember many spoilers.
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Old 03-20-2015, 10:29 PM   #5
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I am so glad that Minion posted about moving this to the Bin, otherwise I wouldn't have read this.

I love this story. There is so much going on here, from how the universe works to individual character ticks. I like how in depth the author gets in regards to the changed backstories of each character and the universe at large. It's very similar to the good parts of Mass Effect: Human Revolution and Avatar of Victory.

There are some bad spots, hiccups really, but they pulled me out really quick. Mostly it comes in the form of character interactions; sometimes, some character says something that doesn't jive with how they've been portrayed until now, or they turn the angst machine up to 11 (Shepard is usually the cause of this one). It's rare, but when it happens...

This is worth a read, especially if you enjoy super immersive AU's.

4/5 from me.
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:29 AM   #6
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Am at chapter 30, read four hours into the night yesterday, and I am loving this so far. Probably my favourite thing, as with Dreaming of Sunshine and Victory at Ostagar, are the little touches that make this whole universe feel more alive and real. Things like the internet reactions to Shepard, what with stupid memes and whatnot being created around her because that's the kind of shit that happens when a person reaches such notority.

And I'll admit, I laughed out loud at this

Quote:
A somewhat long-range picture of her talking to an attractive , smiling woman while a guy standing next to her looks nervous. "Your girlfriend cheats on you with Shepard. YOU apologize."
Then there are the interviews, the more fleshed out character backgrounds, a more in-depth universe, seemingly greater and more accurate focus on the whole military aspects, the interactions. And quite frankly, I like the way they build up Shepard in the first few chapters, until it culminated in the relief of the party rescued by her, because her legend and reputation as the Butcher means they are saved.

That said, it does get a little melodramatic at times, with a few too many "I am a monster" speeches by Shepard that I really have only seen in bad fanfics, which is surprising because the rest of the story so far is pretty great.

So, loving it at the moment, but as I said, only 30 chapters or so in, with a hundred to go, but that's still around 100k words into the story

Also, I don't think the background file on Shepard was necessary, as that was a more than a bit bleak and depressing. I think it was kinda obvious that she had a really shitty backstory and less would have been more in that case.

The dialogue is hit and miss. When there is normal talk or conversation, it flows well. But as soon as it comes to the feelings of being a monster or alone or whatever, it becomes an uncomfortable monologue as people just don't talk that way and it becomes jarring and boring. I like this Shepard, most characters, actually, but there are too many "my life sucked and no one can possibly understand being a weapon" speeches.

It also grates because the same stuff is repeated to different people. It makes, sense, true, but still annoying to read the same stuff over and over again, when Shepard tells her past to Ash, Garrus, Liara, Joker and so on and tells them the same thing.
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Old 03-25-2015, 11:59 AM   #7
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Okay, have finished both main stories and have skimmed through some of the additional stuff and my initial review is actually largely indicative for the quality of the story as a whole and I have only a bit to add.

As a whole, the world-building is excellent. We have a new and fresh take on the whole ME universe, with both, good OCs and actually superior takes on the canon characters. Everything is expanded, such as Cerberus, the SA, the Council and its races and what have you. Each race is a faction and within each race, there are more factions and ideologies, which makes this very interesting. As mentioned by others, it can get depressing as each government and organisation is committing atrocious acts in the name of advancement and survival.

The cultural differences also get a bigger focus, as does religion to some respect,albeit not as good or much as I'd like. The differences between the races is evident, in culture, religion and faction and it is ironically the humans where this is the least evident. Maybe it is just me and I have a bit of an unreasonable standard there, but I would have liked to see more from earth, more influence by Chinese and Indian customs, and non Christian religions, but it seems to be still mostly western and Christian dominated.

The military aspects have a much bigger focus, and we see a lot of depth in there. I cannot say if it is accurate, but it certainly sounds and reads good. It is also heavily mixed with politics, as you military officers loyal to various factions and different houses, or those who try to do their job without it. A nice addition are the commissars, which are pretty much the commissars from WH40k, only about loyalty to humanity and not the Emperor and not nearly as xenophobic. The main OC commissar is a pretty good character, entertaining and all.

So, the strengths of the fic are definitely its worldbuilding, its characterizations of OCs and canon characters and their placement in this new world, the fight-scenes, the politicking, the factions, its scope and its length.

Its flaws are that, as I said, as others have said, that in the first story, Shepard monologues way too often about being a monster, and it doesn't help that those monologues are written in a stilted way. It becomes melodramatic whenever someone has a speech like that.

Edit: and most importantly, that too often, the story tells instead of showing it. In the first story, for example, it would have been far better and more rewarding to show that Shepard is more than her file and her reputation indicated with subtlety, with her actions, instead of her giving a speech on how much she hates that she is this empty monster and that happens a lot with some characters, where we get info dumps on motivation and characterisation instead of deducing that for ourselves.

Then, there is this paradigm shift in the first story, where the story changes from sci fi to fantasy when those high level biotic matriarchs such as Liara's mother become end boss sorcerers who need a full party to be defeated. Suddenly, the whole mood changed, as we went from sci fi military fiction to medieval fantasy, where Shepard, upon vanquishing the evil sorceress was raised to nobility alongside her rag-tag group of misfits. It is not quite as bad as it sounds, not really, but it was weird, at least to me. I feel as if that could have been handled better.

The second story though, improves on all of that and introduces a lot of cool things. There is almost no angsty monologuing and what there is is substantially better written. It went back to military fiction, with an even bigger focus on the running of the military as Shepard was raised in rank and has to deal with a lot more of that stuff. It is perhaps the first story of this kind that I've read that included the idea that one needs training to command a fleet of ships if all one did before was shoot at other people with a rifle. The way Shepard was analyzed later on was rewarding to read, especially on how it was build up all the way from the beginning.

It is really remarkable how much planning is there in this story and how it pays off.

The romance with Liara is a weak point for me, not because it is badly written, but because it is built on misery and stuff I don't want to spoil. It's not the BDSM aspects that make it such, but it remains that in a story which is already bleak and depressing at times, with all the ruthless plotting, spying, betraying, sacrificing, violating, murdering and what have you, that the one thing that could bring happiness is not there for you to enjoy but rather to to make you even more uncomfortable.

It is not a grimdark story, (okay, maybe a bit) and it is not true that this makes WH40k look like MLP, but in certain regards it is certainly mean spirited, especially in that aspect. I just hope that with what will happen later on with Shepard will fix that. However, there is a lot of mention of rape, torture, experiments on unwilling sentient beings, death, sacrifice (self and unwilling), slaughter and a lot of truly shitty people. It does, however, still make you laugh at times with sarcastic and/or insulting remarks.

To make it clear, it follows the rough plot of canon, as in, we see the same people, the same planets and what have you, but the people are different and the order is different. The story, if we count both stories as one, is clocking in roughly one million words, not counting the extra stuff and so far we are in the spot between mass effect 1 and mass effect 2.

So, there is still a lot to go.

It has flaws, there are typos and grammar mistakes at times, especially in chapters his beta has not checked. Shepard is, at times, written inconsistently and as mentioned, dialogue can be flawed, and the atmosphere can shit a bit clumsily, but overall, it is a strong piece of fiction that deserves to be in the DLP library as it is among the better ME fics.

4/5
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Old 03-25-2015, 07:28 PM   #8
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I'm up to date with both stories and the additional material he posted. gonna be straight up here and say that, yes, at times I'm very exasperated with this series.

Yes, more than once I considered dropping this series but F found myself returning to it. Rereading it. And waiting for new updates. So there you have it. It's a YMMV. Pure and simple.

As was stated before, the world building is simply amazing and a real joy to explore and get to know this expanded ME verse. The author put a lot of work into fleshing out and building upon what was already stated in the canon or what was only hinted at.

Terminus Systems are actually a viable threat to the galactic stability.

Asari dominate the galaxy and are in constant cold war with the Salarians, a conflict of one-up-manship and viewing for dominance.

Turians are actually the collateral of this conflict. The Hierarchy got shafted by the greys and the blues and very nearly bankrupted. The First Contact War was to help Turians regain their balance and help their economy... to say that it blew in their plated faces is an understatement.

Enter humanity and the Systems Alliance. If you read upon the history of the Alliance you will get to understand that what they did in FCW was damned impressive as hell and that they didn't get pasted by the turians is in fact a small miracle and poof enough how tenacious humanity can be. That they soaked up the losses they did and came out swinging and bloodied the Hierarchy... impressive. Pity it isn't mentioned more often in the fic.

So world building is definitely one of the biggest pros of this fic.

The second being characters and characterization.

I like Udina and the fact that he is competent simply because he has to be competent to play with Tevos, Valern and Sparatus. And we actually get to know the other three councilors and what motivates them and how they act reflects that.

I like Jack Harper(TIM), I simply love every chapter he's in. The man is a joy to read and observe how he dances around and pulls strings.

Heck, I like Kai Leng, who isn't some psycho ninja robot with a psycho bent for a bit of flavor, but a cold, precise man fulfilling a very important role in Cerberus.

Miranda is pretty lulzy, especially when you take into account what we found out about the plans for humanity.

The list of characters goes on and on. They are distinctive, supremely fleshed and individuals who don't get lost in the deluge of characters that pass the readers by while going through this series.

the author expands upon Cerberus, STG, Alliance Intelligence Service, The Shadow Broker and what went on Shanxi during the FCW. From time to time the readers gets to see how the shadow wars fought between the galactic powers pan out and what the species have done to each other.

This isn't a one big happy family type of Council but more of a: what kind of embaressing material can I dig up on the other races. Or, let's see how far we can push them in the shadows.

Humanity, Asari, Salarians and Turians are all diabolical in their own ways and do some crazy shit when no one is looking.

So if you are looking for a fic where it takes more than just one John/Jane Shepard to save the galaxy this is your fic. In this series everyone has a role to play. From Urdnot Wrex, through the various governments and spy agencies and a cadre of other characters to ending on Sara Shepard.

The action is well done and easy to follow and let me tell you: there is a lot of action scenes.

Battles, skirmishes, ambushes and plain old murder is well written and written in such fashion that leaves the reader wanting to see more and what will happen to the characters.

The cons. Shees, the cons.
I'm ambivalent at best when it comes to Sara Shepard and a lot of that has to do with her angst and the woe is me the monster, cold bitch ex-criminal... Seriously, I had enough of that in the first story and it was one of the things that pretty much killed the whole thing for me.

To be completely honest I prefer and read this series for characters like Ahern, Dragunov, Harper, Ashley, the councilors, Jiong and a slew of other types that show up from time to time. And maybe Morinth who looks to be shaping into a really cool character.

Rating this story isn't easy for me. But I'd say that it's a solid 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars, simply because I want to read more of it and that should be credit for this story all of its own.

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Old 03-26-2015, 04:13 AM   #9
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Ahern is maybe the funniest drill instructor that I have seen in anything. Guy curses and talks hilariously. I like him but he was built up to be too much of a badass. He is pretty much a Heroic Spirit rather than a badass normal. I enjoy him but I did not really buy that 4 his deeds, if that makes sense.

I am guessing Kai Leng and Miranda appear more often in the side stories because they only appeared a bit in the main story line. TIM is a more interesting character, I agree, but dunno, he hasn't completely won me over yet. However, I am interested to see this different relationship with Shepard, as the side story with Shepard's file indicates.

As to Shepard, yeah, it really is too much telling rather than showing with her, which is really her biggest flaw. But it has been improved in the second story and the author does get better.

If anything, my biggest concern is the scope. We are at one million words and we haven't even reached the plot of ME2, not really. And he has said in one of the side stories that he is planning for ME4.

Fuck, man, how long is that going to take? How many years would he have to invest in writing this fanfic and can he do it?

Regardless of flaws in writing, checking up on his profile, since 2012, he has written over a 1.5 million words for his ME verse (1 million in main story, 500k in side material). Guy is a machine. That's fucking impressive, but going after his plans, he still has at least 3 stories to go, and I am pretty sure if he is still working on this at that time, he will also have additional side stories and maybe again for the time inbetween the stories. That's just main stuff, there is also the side stuff.

1.5 million words and we are tentatively passing the first third, if anything. And I thought I would be old when Dresden Files is wrapping up. Will probably be in my 40s when that happens.

Don't get me wrong, he has no obligation to finish this. If he were to stop right now, he would have accomplished an impressive feat of writing, and I am not trying to be discouraging but I am going to say that it is probably unlikely that this is going to be finished.

If he does, I'll happily eat those words, though.

Still, puts things in perspective. I do admire him for his ambition.
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Old 03-26-2015, 11:19 PM   #10
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I've been following the dude's author page as the story has progressed, and I generally believe him when it comes to his notes. Like right now, he says that OSABC II : Downfell, is outlined. Back when the original story was nearing the home stretch, And Then There Were None was also labeled outlined, then he started tearing its ass up when OSABC finished.

I also harbor some hope that ATTWN is a harbinger of things to come with trimming bullshit. Like, we all know that OSABC had no business being 730,000 words.
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Old 04-10-2015, 01:44 AM   #11
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Man, updates are really cranking out.

Spoiler alert: P. and Tazzik are badass motherfuckers, and this Aria doesn't fuck around.

Also, this version of Thane, the remembrance dancer, is great.
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Old 04-10-2015, 03:25 PM   #12
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I don't know his writing process, whether he had written the chapters over the weeks before or if he is cranking out over 10k daily, but either way, respect.

If it is the latter, though, then I hate him.

As to the latest chapters, a lot of shit happened, his take on Omega is making Mos Eisley look like a holiday resort for the whole family, and his take on the whole criminal element in the ME universe is certainly interesting, especially when you have figures like Aria who have been ruling over their domain for centuries.

Although, I think it could be said that this version on Omega is a bit too dastardly to ever function, even under Aria's rule. Just don't see people who really have nothing to lose and obeying her orders and rules.

Getting killed on this Omega is not a bad end.

Thane, well, is interesting, true. That said, when a bunch of people are so deadly that it took thousands of krogan to kill them, you no longer have a sci fi military unit, you have a level 20 D&D character.

As such, I just don't believe all that hype and find it a bit too exaggerated.
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Old 04-11-2015, 05:37 AM   #13
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Yeah. The story has kind of emphasized that the difference between the very talented and the rank and file is truly vast, but 4 rememberance dancers defeating 6,000 krogan is pushing it.

Was cool though.

---------- Post automerged at 07:16 PM ---------- Previous post was at 05:50 PM ----------

Per author PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by LogicalPremise
Remembrance Dancers are not badasses in a straight fight, but the Hanar have carefully crafted their reputation through the centuries. (The High Solarch they killed actually faked her own death. I mean, c'mon.) A Dancer uses biotics and stealth to confuse and misdirect, to move their bodies with biotics in a way and fashion that deceives the eye and reflexes. They never strike except from surprise, darkness and confusion, and most of their power is more about cheating rather than the sheer badassery matriarch priestesses can push out.

In the Premisverse, everyone is the ultimate badass, including Conrad Verner, until someone calls you on your shit On a scale of one to oh god no, where one is Traynor plus toothbrush and oh god no is a very angry, drunk Shadow Broker throwing a desk at you, Zombie!Cyber!Pirate!Ninja!Shepard's about an eight, the strongest war priestess a 9, and a Dancer striking from surprise is at least an 8. Without surprise, more like a five. They way they killed the krogan (and let's just point out the hanar exaggerated now many died at Dancer hands) was by being in a situation where the krogan couldn't bring numbers to bear.

As you also see in the chapter, the Dancers didn't end up faring so well.
---------- Post automerged 04-11-2015 at 04:37 AM ---------- Previous post was 04-10-2015 at 07:16 PM ----------

Jesus, another update, and fuck.

Tetrimus is so powerful that I have no idea what the author is going to do with Lair of the Shadow Broker (and we know that's coming from an STG update), given that the yahg is even more powerful, and it's enough to give me a hernia. Like, we have evidence of beings this powerful in the PremiseVerse, like in the Ahern series, but... god. To be honest, it has me excited to see post Lazarus Project "Zombie!Cyber!Ninja" Shepard in action.

And given his "ending," here, I can't fucking wait to see Archangel wreak his vengeance on Omega. And fuck Aria.

Christ, the last handful of chapters of this shit has been money.

Omega has no heart.

God, I hate the Alliance. Long live Cerberus. But at the same time, fuck Cerberus, the Illusive Man is incredibly dangerous. If only the games were this conflicting. God, this doesn't belong in the Recycling Bin.
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Old 04-11-2015, 02:06 PM   #14
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Well, so, the second story is done.

Overall, I stand by my words. The second story is the superior one and his take on the ME universe is refreshing and interesting, albeit a bit dark, so, I can understand why some wouldn't like it. Even I find the onslaught of misery a bit too much at times, as the argument that the Reapers are doing the universe a favour could be easily made, even before introducing Omega.

On that note, fuck Aria, indeed.

Never liked Aria in the games all that much, but here? She needs to die and there are several people who should do that particular killing.

On Cerberus, yeah, TIM at least seems to be, if not decent, at least a tolerable "for the greater good" kind of person. At least his atrocities don't seem petty and needlessly cruel. I like this take on him, I think, if anything it makes more sense, still, he might come across as maybe a bit too god, compared to his canon self. I mean, essentially, all the bad parts of Cerberus were dumped on (what I believe to be) OCs, making him look pretty good in comparison.

You know, as good as the leader and founder of a racist terrorist group can look.

Still, looking forward for more.

Also, the confirmation that he pumps out 10k chapters a day makes me hate the jerk xD That he did so 5 times in a row didn't help... =P
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Old 04-11-2015, 06:57 PM   #15
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https://www.fanfiction.net/s/1117871...ich-Cannot-Die

Boom. The Lazarus Project will proceed as planned probably get fucked up somehow.
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Old 04-12-2015, 04:15 AM   #16
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Well, it certainly sounded science-y and professional enough, although I do doubt the efficiency of a plan involving killing off the leading experts of what's probably best described as scientific necromancy after the project is done. Seems like the sort of people you might need again, at some point.

Then again, I guess the procedure involved is way too costly to bring normal soldiers back. Although, wasn't the biggest problematic the fact that Shepard died really hard? I guess bringing back victims of a broken neck or heart attack and stuff would be significantly easier with that brain re-starter. Ah well, we'll see.

So, supermodiefied Shepard with bio-engineered enhancements to become more cyborg than human, when already baseline shepard was enough to roflstomp 97% of beings in the galaxy is going to wake up in the hands of people who were in the top 3 organizations she distrusted with the knowledge that Liara (and a few others such as Garrus) are dead?

Yeah, that's going to end well.

Arise Shepard, Arise!
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Old 04-13-2015, 12:18 AM   #17
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So congrats Monkey, your words are immortalized in Chapter 3 for all to see. Took me about a day to catch back up from where I left off after Of Sheep and Battle Chicken, but I still am enjoying this even if the Shepard angst gets a little heavy sometimes. Its got better in the second story but I foresee a lot of it return in this new iteration. I give OSABC a 4/5.

ATTWN gets a 5/5 from me. Even knowing Shepard is going to die, even having played it over and over again in ME2, when I read the chapter, I cried. That is the sign of brilliant powerful writing. The last time that happened to me in fanfiction it was in Victory at Ostagar so LogicalPremise is in good authorial company.

I love the Halo references casually tossed in there, and I am waiting eagerly for the giant hula hoop reference. Although I think that may not appear until Shepard and crew get involved with Leviathan if they ever do. Also the rock and sticks line but that made an appearance in the Legacy team story so not sure if it will pop up again.
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Old 04-19-2015, 08:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Himuradono View Post
The cons. Shees, the cons.
I'm ambivalent at best when it comes to Sara Shepard and a lot of that has to do with her angst
ANGST FOR THE ANGST GOD!

As the author of this ongoing train-wreck, I'd like to thank everyone for giving useful and nuanced feedback.

I have tried, where I could, to balance events between what most dismiss as angst and the sort of flat acceptance I found so disturbing in canon ME. Unfortunately, it's not a simple balance.

People like upbeat stories. They like for the good guys to win and be happy, the bad guys to lose and suffer. They want people to 'get over' things without stopping to ask themselves what exactly 'getting over' the events in your life entails, if you have no one to support you.

I don't want my writing to be dismissed as flawed because it gets 'repetitive' in regards to how people as damaged as Shepard act. Because sadly, my Shepard is based on an amalgam of real people, one of whom even after getting married and getting the support he needed still couldn't deal with his past and killed himself.

On the other hand, such things are not easy to read, and the argument made that they don't really advance the story is also true. It's a fine line.

The setting has attracted a lot of attention, mostly because it is not as Roddenberry-esque as the original canon material. As I've said elsewhere, that's by design. I dabble in social anthropology, and the cultures Bioware created (and admitted were trope-laden pastiches of common sci-fi conventions) didn't give me the kind of setting I wanted. I've compared it to 40k, and that is an exaggeration in many ways, but only in terms of SCOPE and SCALE -- billions don't die in the Premiseverse due to rounding errors, but 40k doesn't have the Imperium plotting to reprogram humanity so that they can't deviate at all, either.

I certainly don't want to suggest that much of the criticism here is unfounded. I have more than once pointed out there are areas as a writer where I suck, and then there are areas where I suck badly. Most of what has been put forth as negatives is something I hope ATTWN improved on where OSABC disappointed, and I believe the newest book will improve on ATTWN. At some point I plan to rewrite most of OSABC and address many of its various failings, and retcon a few things since the story has evolved since I started writing.

I'm afraid I don't get much critical feedback in reviews, and the things posted here opened my eyes to more than few weaknesses I had not seen. So by all means, if you have ideas or things that need improving let me know.

But I'm more interested in what aspects I need to avoid when writing up That Which Cannot Die, and I'd really appreciate your thoughts on it.
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Old 04-19-2015, 09:19 PM   #19
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First off, welcome to DLP!

I can understand your point about Shepard not suddenly being happy and functional, and you did show rather well in my opinion the growth of Sara as a character from the beginning of OSABC through the end of AATWN. That said once TWCD started it felt to me that Sara had a giant reset button pushed in her character development. Yes I understand that to her Liara just died and the loss of a bondmate is pretty heavy in universe, but to me it felt like we were back to OSABC chapter 1 Sara when she was reintroduced.

Should there be backslide? Of course there should be, but I felt that it went a little far. After her time with Liara and all the growth she did in the past two books, I feel like she should have a little more solid mental backstop. But that's just my opinion.

Your Garrus and Omega are some of the best developed I have ever seen and I cant wait for more of it. Looking forward to more updates!
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Old 04-21-2015, 01:21 PM   #20
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Welcome to DLP, man.

New chapter, and I quite like the budding friendship with Miranda in this one, and the set up for the recruitment of Garrus and Mordin.

Virgil seems to be playing a bigger role from now on, which is awesome.

So yeah, pretty good chapter.
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