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A Fish Out of Water by soczab - T - ASOIAF

Discussion in 'Game of Thrones / ASoIaF' started by Halt, May 16, 2020.

  1. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

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    Title: A Fish Out of Water
    Author: soczab
    Rating: T
    Genre: Fantasy
    Status: WIP
    Pairings: N/A
    Summary: An Edmure Tully SI that attempts to be truly realistic.
    Link: Spacebattles | Fanfiction.net

    So despite that rather poor summary, this is genuinely one of the few readable self-insert fics in ASOIAF at the moment. SIs don't get a good rep around these parts, so let me try to sell this a bit better.

    Ahem.

    If you hate canon rehashes, and feel bad for the riverlands, watch what an actually reasonable competent Edmure Tully-OC who has future knowledge can do to save the collective bacon of his people. He balances military strategy and political intrigue in a tightly paced story that has you wondering what will happen next. The author is not afraid to deviate from canon, but always does so in ways that make sense.

    Further, it's not a fix it fic. Challenges do come up and have to be overcome in believable ways. Even with all his victories, the SI faces challengers from the north and sometimes from his own lords.

    The politics is pretty good, if I do say so myself, and there's some occasionally clever worldplay that's a joy to read. It's also quite decently written from a technical standpoint.

    Also, no tech uplifts.

    Solid 4/5 for me.
     
  2. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

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    @Nerox @s0ng2Sing @ronin11 @Niez

    Actually leave comments, you aca-bitches. What did you like? Hate? Should the SI go die in a fire? Is the SI believable? Did you like the changes to canon, or did it cleave to close to home to be really an AU? Was it too predictable? Did you ever find yourself skimming?

    Contribute.
     
  3. InfernoPlato

    InfernoPlato First Year

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    This SI fic is pretty much one of the only ASOIAF SI fics that I can will myself to comment on whenever an update presents itself (the other being soczab's other SI fic which is a different tone).

    I really enjoy a lot about this fic, but in particular I think there are two main highlights that I can talk about: the characters and the story.

    The characters are really good. Edmure is likeable, and he feels like a modern man. He makes slip ups, ignores the feudal contract and whilst he does get to grips with the role, his previous actions have consequences. Nothing major with huge consequences, but it certainly ups the tension when you meet old characters who Edmure has previously annoyed. And isn't that something in a fic like this? Two characters coming into conflict due to the SI's modern actions and attitudes. The good characterisation doesn't end there, with the author making the Frey's likeable and creating distinct personalities for other Lords that don't get book time. You, like Edmure, get to know them and you see how Edmure grows into the role. Importantly, the author doesn't mess up canon characters either. Whenever you see canon characters they feel like they're from the books, and aren't their fanfic counter parts.

    Storywise, this feels like a story. It's not like one of those AH fics where it's a check list of modernisation. No, it feels like this is going somewhere and I'm personally all on board for the ride. Characters develop, and the story is diverting away from canon in a way that feels satisfying because the characters are naturally reacting to the changes being made. There is still a conflict in the story and it could go either way. That for me is a good thing.

    4/5 for me. The one thing preventing a 5 would be the waiting to see how Dany is handled, as well as the following arcs. I’d say currently the easy bit is done. Setting up a decent arc away from the stations of canon will be harder.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
  4. s0ng2Sing

    s0ng2Sing Third Year

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    Very well, I'm a simple man. I see a soczab story, I leave a like and read it. I don't believe there has been a soczab story that I haven't enjoyed in some way.

    The story is well written, no real grammar or punctuation errors that I can speak of. The fic is refreshing in that it isn't a mindless SI wankfest where everything goes the SI's way and they can do no wrong. Edmure makes mistakes, he doesn't win at everything, but through judicious use of meta-knowledge he does manage to seize a somewhat secure position in the War of 5 Kings. A great accomplishment for the Riverlands. The story follows a logical path in that the events that follow make sense (just because a SI is on the scene, everything isn't sunshine and rainbows).

    Also enjoyed how the Frey's were handled. With Edmure using them to good effect and playing off members of House Frey to get some of the things he wants.

    Really, there wasn't anything I didn't like. I suppose the real test is how things shake out next. If the SI can hold onto the Riverlands and keep his position secure, with his meta-knowledge pretty much spent as things have pretty much gone off the rails.

    4/5. Seeing how the SI handles these uncharted waters as canon knowledge is pretty much used up will probably determine future ratings.
     
  5. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    I’ve read this.

    I like the authors other fic better but this one isn’t bad. I got into it while reading it but updates don’t typically draw me back.

    It’s good but not amazing.

    3.5/5 rounding up.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
  6. Drachna

    Drachna Third Year

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    I quite enjoyed this, though as with all SI fics there are a few elements that feel a bit contrived. The action scenes are good, the characters relatively well written while the actual quality of the writing itself is servicable.

    4/5
     
  7. Barzûl

    Barzûl DA Member DLP Supporter DLP Silver Supporter

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    So I just read through this in one sitting and it was very enjoyable.
    As the poster above noted, some things felt quite contrived. The SI has very specific knowledge from the books while seemingly not remembering other similarly specific stuff from the books which feels a bit annoying.

    That said, the character voices are great, I've enjoyed how much the plot moves and breaks from canon and none of the characters feel wooden.

    4/5
    I might move it up to 5/5, if the story were closer to being finished and the daenaerys arc was handled well.
     
  8. Odran

    Odran Fourth Champion

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    It's a neat story. Quite novel too. I don't think I've ever come across such an decision like Edmure
    declaring for Daenerys. I totally get why, but still, it's refreshing to see it from a more pragmatic perspective. If he'd declared for Stannis, eventually he would have to go after the North, and there is no other viable option seeing as how the Riverlands are really one of the most exposed kingdoms in Westeros.

    I enjoy that not everything goes the way the SI plans, that characters outside his immediate sight actually have their own agency, rather than just serve as tools for the author to drive the story to whatever conclusion it may be.

    That said, I still found it very odd that the Northeners would abandon Sansa Stark in King's Landing like that. Did Robb even mention her at all or was that just Catelyn? Also, given how the SI likes to meddle and peddle his 'spies' reports as veritable, I'm perplexed that he didn't try to cast any kind of suspicion on Jeyne Westerling bedding a drugged royal.

    All in all, 3/5. It might rise to 4/5 in the future, but we'll have to wait and see.
     
  9. Golgar

    Golgar Second Year DLP Supporter

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    Read it in almost one go. The SI part is done well, the story is taking a often done theme but finds new and interesting twists. We will however have to see how well the author handles things the further we move away from established canon.

    In terms of world building, there are small issues, there is a charge of horses through burning wagons, which some other readers have pointed out to be unlikely, but it may be possible.

    Small technical things, such as consistently spelling Danaerys wrong, but it's tolerable.

    But overall the author has done a very good job to keep things engaging and believable. Actions have consequences. The characters are interesting and well flashed out. The battle scenes in particular are breathtaking.

    4/5 for now.
     
  10. Gengar

    Gengar Polymagus ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Wait, tech uplifts are considered a bad thing?

    I love that shit in fiction when a modern man goes to a civ further back in the tech tree.

    Someone go write me a Tony Stark in Westeros story now please.
     
  11. GiantMonkeyMan

    GiantMonkeyMan High Inquisitor

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    I'm pretty sure there is a "Tony Stark in Westeros" and it's kinda bad. I mostly agree that the concept of the going back in time and trying to "uplift" a society using future knowledge is a very interesting one. However, I think, at least in ASOIAF fanfiction, there 's a tendency of making the story lose any plot or narrative, any decent character interaction or progression, and become entirely about seed drills, printing presses, or whatever and it becomes a dry list of things instead of an actual story.
     
  12. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

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    They're commonly associated with lack of substance or character, and go up rather predictable tech trees. No one has ever done anything interesting with it, and no one has ever attempted to make the uplift genuinely realistic in the ASOIAF fandom. The closest thing to decent might be a Stellaris crossover where the alien race is trying to uplift Westeros to integrate it into their galactic federation or something, but you could rename it into a Star Trek fanfic given how much it focuses on not-Westeros aspects.
     
  13. Gengar

    Gengar Polymagus ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Predictability is a non-issue for me. You don't need to be unique to be an enjoyable read, but i'll give you lacking in substance or character. A lot of the ones I find in any fandom or just fiction in general are just detailed explanations of the tech trees themselves... focusing little on the struggles with implementing what would probably be considered 'sorcery' in such societies.
     
  14. Golgar

    Golgar Second Year DLP Supporter

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    It can be interesting and it would not stop me from reading, but there are certain tropes that are overdone. At one time, Alternate History had even the "We must build a canal" tag, because it was a popular idea to have a canal across the Neck.

    Would be more interesting to have an industrialization in Westeros but the lot of the peasants is not actually improving, since they have to work *more* hours and in an unsafe, mind numbing factory job that only benefits their Lord.

    In this story it is not an issue either way because everybody is busy with war. And the SI knows Winter is Coming, so it is not likely he would bother, since it cannot be done in time. The "Standing Army" of Riverrun is already a step in that direction and even that was met with a lot of resistance in the early chapters.
     
  15. soczab

    soczab Groundskeeper

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    Hah down the line when i wrap up a couple of ongoing projects I actually have an idea for an SI that's less about tech (maybe some) and more about like a radical extremist marxist gets SI'd in. And sort of have it be about him attempting to start a soviet style red movement. It got a bit too cracky as I was outlining though so its on hold.

    Anyway I fully agree with you on tech uplifts. 100%.

    Cause yeah. Tech uplifts can be entertaining to read I fully agree. Ill often waste an afternoon reading a good one. The problem though tends to be they are completely unrealistic. And im enough of a historian to realize that. There's a host of reasons it can't work like it does in most fanfic.

    1) Just the silliness of having a main character who can do all those things. We're all a bunch of intelligent people. But I bet even with all our modern resources and freaking instruction manuals, 99% of us couldnt create steam engines or gunpowder. People over estimate how easy it is.

    2) More importantly, they tend to wave away cultural reasons why it doesnt just happen. Like... just because you command it, everyone isnt going to just drop what they're doing and change the way theyve done things for centuries. Even putting aside hard limits on your power... evne if you are an absolute monarch (which you are not in Westeros) there are all sorts of soft limits to your power. Like, knights and Lords arent going to sit there and let you have engineers run around their land telling them what to do. Peasants wont all just start digging your canal because you tell them to.

    And more to the point, there are push backs and consequences. Like, look what happened as a result of our OWN industrial revolution. And that was spread over like 150 years. It would be total chaos in Westeros. And frankly probably a disaster as you push all sorts of technology into a society that doesn't have the philosophical underpinnings (that we developed through a lot of trial and error and millions of death) to use that tech responsibly.

    Ohh. And on a side note. If it was that easy to do these tech uplifts, why don't (or didnt in the past) we have individual modern men going to like remote areas of the world and uplifting their whole societies in our *modern* world?

    Heh, a bit of a rant I know. But I tend to get sucked into this debate weekly oddly enough, as folks are always sending me comments demanding I do xyz bit of tech uplift in the story.

    Rant above aside I dont perse have a problem with them, but I think there needs to be a generalized understanding that what you are usually doing is just having a power fantasy not something remotely realistic from a story telling perspective. And if you go in like that, well fine. I mean ive seen fics about Harry being a Lord of the Rings elf in a triple soul bond to ginny weasley. Compared to that, what's a few canals? I think the frustration some have (besides the repetitive nature of these fics) is they often get portrayed as the "This would be completely realistic if it was *me* self inserted, because im a genius bad-ass."

    Aaanywho though. Also thanks to everyone reviewing. Appreciate you all taking the time, and even the couple of constructive comments ive disagreed with (and most I do agree with) have been very helpful in reminding me of things I need to keep in mind and tighten up.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2020
  16. Gengar

    Gengar Polymagus ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Ergo my Tony Stark comment. I don't actually want Iron Man in Westeros, but my fav protagonist in those kinds of fics is some kind of Mechanical Engineer.
     
  17. Strangebloke

    Strangebloke Second Year

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    I like this fic quite well. It features neither the best prose, nor the most astounding characterization or plot, but it is something so many other fics are not: It's funny. And its more honest than the vast majority of SIs as well. The main character has no cheats and makes mistakes,. This is a fic where the enemies are often as smart or smarter than the protagonist, which makes for fun conflict.

    My only complaint is that there isn't any particular.... soul to it. It isn't a fic where anything amazing or glorious happens. Its just a fic where things play out in a pretty reasonable fashion.

    Very workmanlike. Basically a solid story with some good qualities but not anythign really stellar. 3.5/5.