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Author Topic: A Question of Survival - AMA  (Read 5248 times)

Swankmotron

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #60 on: 01 August 2022, 17:51:11 »
Ok- you asked  >:D...

1) Do these Falcons still have access to the gene banks?

After that fight with the Bears, I can see a few of them having their genes used for the next set of Sibko's.

2) What will Jiyu do when the Dragoons gift him some of Alaric's sibkids?  (Yes, I know, read and find out when its in a published work)  ;D

1 - I think they're looking into that still. I think they have access to something, but how much is anyone's guess at this point.

2 - Kick some ass and take some names

Swankmotron

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #61 on: 01 August 2022, 17:56:05 »
i have a question about writing big stories in an established universe:

is it more challenging to A) plan and write a novel in general or B) to seat the story elements within both extant canon and the planned plot arcs?

I think the problem with novels is that you never just learn how to write novels. Every time you sit down to write a book, you have to relearn how to write that book. And I love the challenge of puzzling together the canon world and the planned arcs and making those elements my own. When Ray came to me with this idea out of Tamar Rising, I really relished the challenge to take a story that people would already know a part of and then do my best to make sure it was exciting, even for those who knew what would be happening or how it might end. Like, I wanted the characters to be interesting enough that you cared about their journey, even if you'd already read the sourcebook.

So, in my view, both are challenging in different ways, but both are my ideas of fun, so... maybe I'm just a weirdo.

Swankmotron

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #62 on: 01 August 2022, 17:56:46 »
Where are Jiyu's descendants?  Did they go to Terra or have his genes not been used in the breeding program?

We'll definitely need to see about that, won't we?

nckestrel

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #63 on: 01 August 2022, 18:49:21 »
Do you feel bad about making all these great Rasalhague Dominion characters...?
And then stealing them away and/or killing them?  :)
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Jellico

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #64 on: 01 August 2022, 19:24:27 »
Do you feel bad about making all these great Rasalhague Dominion characters...?
And then stealing them away and/or killing them?  :)
Clan Ghost Bear isn't allowed new characters. We ran on veterans from REVIVAL all to 3100. Even the unlikable ones like Jake got taken away. The 3130 characters haven't really had a chance to shine, and the Omega GC got taken by Vwga  ^-^

Swankmotron

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #65 on: 01 August 2022, 20:10:04 »
Do you feel bad about making all these great Rasalhague Dominion characters...?
And then stealing them away and/or killing them?  :)
Is that... a thing? Am I supposed to?

Charbok

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #66 on: 01 August 2022, 20:44:55 »
I just finished your book today,  and I absolutely loved it.  Hall and Chistu felt very much like products of their respective societies,  flaws and all.  Jiyi Chistu reminds me a little of Terry Pratchett's Moist Von Lipwig in some ways,  he's a bit of a fraud who didn't fit with the way things used to be, but suddenly finds himself out of his depth and forced to do more and be more than he had ever expected before.

Marco Hall is the tragedy of the Dominion.  He blindly adheres to Clan tradition in lots of ways and never stops to ponder how it looks to the sibkos he's gambling with who buy into the "family" rhetoric of the Bears.  He's the guy who watched the world without perceiving the change all around him.

Chistu is the man for the moment, Hall is the man who didn't keep up with the times.

Kudos for making the Falcons a faction that I'm actually pulling for,  something no other writer has ever done before.   They've always been the second most fun faction to shoot at,  just behind the Cappellans.

I'm looking forward more books from you in the future.

Swankmotron

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #67 on: 01 August 2022, 20:50:54 »
I just finished your book today,  and I absolutely loved it.  Hall and Chistu felt very much like products of their respective societies,  flaws and all.  Jiyi Chistu reminds me a little of Terry Pratchett's Moist Von Lipwig in some ways,  he's a bit of a fraud who didn't fit with the way things used to be, but suddenly finds himself out of his depth and forced to do more and be more than he had ever expected before.

Marco Hall is the tragedy of the Dominion.  He blindly adheres to Clan tradition in lots of ways and never stops to ponder how it looks to the sibkos he's gambling with who buy into the "family" rhetoric of the Bears.  He's the guy who watched the world without perceiving the change all around him.

Chistu is the man for the moment, Hall is the man who didn't keep up with the times.

Kudos for making the Falcons a faction that I'm actually pulling for,  something no other writer has ever done before.   They've always been the second most fun faction to shoot at,  just behind the Cappellans.

I'm looking forward more books from you in the future.

Thank you so much for saying so! And if you were to drop that in an Amazon review or something, it would do me a world of good in doing more books.

Charbok

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #68 on: 01 August 2022, 20:53:38 »
Consider it done.  :) 

MoneyLovinOgre4Hire

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #69 on: 01 August 2022, 20:58:33 »
What was Christu's rank before he found himself Khan?
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Jal Phoenix

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #70 on: 01 August 2022, 21:13:17 »
What was Christu's rank before he found himself Khan?

Star Captain. He was also the highest ranking officer left to the Sudeten Falcons, and their only Bloodnamed warrior.

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #71 on: 01 August 2022, 21:27:33 »
I knew the latter two, I just couldn't remember whether he was a Star Captain or had somehow made it to Star Colonel.
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Grahad

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #72 on: 02 August 2022, 04:13:56 »
The first existing reference in my knowledge about Jiyi Chistu is from his pilot datacard from the Wizkid clickmech era :
"For a trueborn warrior of Clan Jade Falcon, Jiyi Chistu is uncharacteristically humble and reserved. Though he speaks softly, however, this warrior is an accomplished marksman and personal weapons specialist whose actions speak far more loudly than words. Chistu is also a brilliant strategist, both in the martial arts and on the political landscape of the Jade Falcon. He is apparently so well versed in diplomacy that he has advanced his career without once committing himself to any unreliable, longstanding allies. Such political acumen has many of his comrades silently deriding him as a possible descendant of some manipulative Snow Raven Clan Bloodline—the Clan that completely subverted the Outworlds Alliance government during the Jihad. Even more puzzling is that Chistu has not spoken to these accusations, which would have any other Falcon immediately screaming for a Trial of Grievance."

The fact he's a very good pilot can be seen in this book as well when he basically crushes Star Colonel Emilio during their duel, basically he's kind of a maverick more in line with the old ways of the Falcons.
« Last Edit: 02 August 2022, 04:16:51 by Grahad »

bobthecoward

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #73 on: 02 August 2022, 09:34:19 »
Does this book have the thing from Tamar Rising with the hologram generators and the portable fusion plants hooked up to dropship weapons?

Jal Phoenix

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #74 on: 02 August 2022, 10:01:18 »
The first existing reference in my knowledge about Jiyi Chistu is from his pilot datacard from the Wizkid clickmech era :
"For a trueborn warrior of Clan Jade Falcon, Jiyi Chistu is uncharacteristically humble and reserved. Though he speaks softly, however, this warrior is an accomplished marksman and personal weapons specialist whose actions speak far more loudly than words. Chistu is also a brilliant strategist, both in the martial arts and on the political landscape of the Jade Falcon. He is apparently so well versed in diplomacy that he has advanced his career without once committing himself to any unreliable, longstanding allies. Such political acumen has many of his comrades silently deriding him as a possible descendant of some manipulative Snow Raven Clan Bloodline—the Clan that completely subverted the Outworlds Alliance government during the Jihad. Even more puzzling is that Chistu has not spoken to these accusations, which would have any other Falcon immediately screaming for a Trial of Grievance."

The fact he's a very good pilot can be seen in this book as well when he basically crushes Star Colonel Emilio during their duel, basically he's kind of a maverick more in line with the old ways of the Falcons.

When writing Tamar Rising, I had more or less free reign to create the new Falcon khan. I wanted to try to use an established character instead of some random ass-pull superhero to come from nowhere and save the Clan. I dug through the old MWDA dossiers first, and Jiyi Chistu turned out to be exactly what I wanted. His political acumen and level headed temperament were perfect. I wrote him along those lines, and Bryan captured and expanded on what I intended more or less perfectly. This is the Clan Jade Falcon to watch!

Fat Guy

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #75 on: 02 August 2022, 11:29:14 »
Does this book have the thing from Tamar Rising with the hologram generators and the portable fusion plants hooked up to dropship weapons?

No.
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wantec

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #76 on: 02 August 2022, 11:52:38 »
Does this book have the thing from Tamar Rising with the hologram generators and the portable fusion plants hooked up to dropship weapons?
This covers the "Growing Talons" section of Tamar Rising
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mikecj

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #77 on: 02 August 2022, 12:26:24 »
We'll definitely need to see about that, won't we?

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Generic Clanner 24601

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #78 on: 02 August 2022, 13:18:12 »

My newest BattleTech book, A Question of Survival, is out now on Amazon in both print and digital!

I'm excited for you all to check out the book and am happy to answer questions about it as you read!

Since it's out and it has some explosive surprises, just be sure to use spoiler tags for anything ridiculous!

Just finished and thought it was great. Alaric's refusal of the vote took me by surprise. Perfect for a man whose arrogance is quickly leading him to disaster. I gotta say I wasn't expecting the Khan to be quite so cheerful. I was also surprised by the apparent start of a Ghost Bear civil war which I guess I shouldn't be since the new book is called Dominion Divided. But I just assumed the Ravens were more likely to go civil war since I suspect the Outworlds Alliance will much more inclined to reject the Star League than the Rasalhauge Republic.

I have also noticed a recent pattern in the last couple of books where the Clan antagonist would probably have been happier being taken bondsman by the opposing force. Othar would have quickly adapted to goal of making Alaric suffer in the Dragoons and Hall would have been happier as a Falcon than the first one dead in a civil war.

I do have some questions:

Are we going to learn about the four former Bearclaws and what happens after the Hell's Horses invasion?

And I just realized that the rest of my questions got answered already since others asked.


But I think that was intentional. Hall had all the signs of Main Character Syndrome, from his "I think deep thoughts" musings on civics to his "I will adapt my tactics to counter their stereotypical tactics! They'll never see it coming!" planning for the Trial. But he wasn't in that kind of a story, and it cost him everything. He's a great example of a self-satisfied warrior in a self-satisfied society that hasn't seen much in the way of turmoil in generations. He's as much an example of the rot in Ghost Bear society as Rand or the Den Mother, just in a different, less obvious way.

Eh. He was more wrong about which one of them was the main character.

at least in the falcon case it wouldn't be warriors in their prime for the most part compare to the wolf empire as Malvina took everyone.  We are going to have to wait for when the Khan of the terra falcon contact of the khan in sudenten and if either group we willing to merge.  I suspect the answer to that question will be No so we shall have Jade Falcon in exile gorup.  which one hold that moniker is anyone guess.

My guess it will be more Black Watch Falcon and Reborn Falcons or something like that.

Bryan’s core, local Falcon/Bear plot is solid, his characterizations are done well, and his storytelling approach harkens back to some of the best of the original BT novels.  My only concern/complaint is with the believability of the drivers in the larger ilClan arc that bookends Bryan’s story.  Specifically, it’s hard to see the Rasalhague Dominion — a nation composed of some of the most independence-minded Spheroids and some of the most insular inward-looking Clanners — voting to join the ilClan in the first place.  And it seems even more unlikely that the Clan that has built its society around a model of close-knit family ties would instigate a civil war over an external, faraway, and foreign issue like Alaric’s loyalty/purity vote/test.  To be clear, I have no issue with the Dominion descending into civil war.  But given the defining characteristics of the Rasalhague and Bear populations, the cause of the civil war does not make sense and makes it hard to suspend disbelief about this part of the ilClan arc.  A more believable approach might have built on canon and had Alaric leverage/subvert/convert the “care bears” in Omega Galaxy, the one subfaction that has historically broken with Bear leadership to get the Bears involved beyond their borders.  I’m sure other approaches to this part of the ilClan arc could have been devised that were not diametrically at odds with Rasalhagian and Bear society.  Hopefully there will be some explanation in Dominions Divided that reconciles these contradictions.  FWIW... my 2 Kerenskies... YMMV.

The vote does make sense to me. The Bears may be insular, but the idea of the ilClan is heavily ingrained in their society. As far as the civies, I think the woman at the beginning of the novel is probably the leading reason why they voted. They simply see it as the safest path. Better to be a part of the ilClan than at war with it (and presumably all the other Clans).

The first existing reference in my knowledge about Jiyi Chistu is from his pilot datacard from the Wizkid clickmech era :
"For a trueborn warrior of Clan Jade Falcon, Jiyi Chistu is uncharacteristically humble and reserved. Though he speaks softly, however, this warrior is an accomplished marksman and personal weapons specialist whose actions speak far more loudly than words. Chistu is also a brilliant strategist, both in the martial arts and on the political landscape of the Jade Falcon. He is apparently so well versed in diplomacy that he has advanced his career without once committing himself to any unreliable, longstanding allies. Such political acumen has many of his comrades silently deriding him as a possible descendant of some manipulative Snow Raven Clan Bloodline—the Clan that completely subverted the Outworlds Alliance government during the Jihad. Even more puzzling is that Chistu has not spoken to these accusations, which would have any other Falcon immediately screaming for a Trial of Grievance."

The fact he's a very good pilot can be seen in this book as well when he basically crushes Star Colonel Emilio during their duel, basically he's kind of a maverick more in line with the old ways of the Falcons.

As a Snow Raven fan, I support the idea that Chitsu has Raven genes.

Swankmotron

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #79 on: 02 August 2022, 14:55:31 »
Just finished and thought it was great.

I do have some questions:

Are we going to learn about the four former Bearclaws and what happens after the Hell's Horses invasion?


I sure hope so. I have plans and ideas, it really is up to the powers that be to let me get them into print in a way that fits in with their objectives and mine. So...  tell CGl...  I tell people the easiest way to see more of what you want is to drop those asks in Amazon reviews and send them an email.

Grahad

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #80 on: 02 August 2022, 15:00:06 »
I would like to add that I enjoyed the book a lot ( and I mean it) especially as an old guard Jade Falcon; both Jiyi and Hasara give me a lot of hope for the future.

Thumbs up!

Swankmotron

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #81 on: 02 August 2022, 18:17:53 »
I would like to add that I enjoyed the book a lot ( and I mean it) especially as an old guard Jade Falcon; both Jiyi and Hasara give me a lot of hope for the future.

Thumbs up!

Thank you so much!

Elmoth

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #82 on: 10 August 2022, 09:07:06 »
I am far from a clan fan (i would delete them form the setting if i could) but i have to say that this book endeared me to the new falcons and was a very enjoyable read.

I found the den mother + daniel vs freeborn alexis story arc the weakest of them (i think going for her being a refuser and they being outspoken joiners would have worked better here) but in general I liked the characters and the described situation. I was expecting chistu to have some doubts at some point, but hey. And I hope to see star captain Alexis and star colonel Dawn in the future again.

One of the most enjoyable BT books I have read recently.

Cheers
Xavi

Swankmotron

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #83 on: 10 August 2022, 11:59:52 »
I am far from a clan fan (i would delete them form the setting if i could) but i have to say that this book endeared me to the new falcons and was a very enjoyable read.

I found the den mother + daniel vs freeborn alexis story arc the weakest of them (i think going for her being a refuser and they being outspoken joiners would have worked better here) but in general I liked the characters and the described situation. I was expecting chistu to have some doubts at some point, but hey. And I hope to see star captain Alexis and star colonel Dawn in the future again.

One of the most enjoyable BT books I have read recently.

Another new Falcons fan!
Thanks for saying so and I hope you enjoy the next one even more!

Kos

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #84 on: 12 August 2022, 10:08:14 »
When writing Tamar Rising, I had more or less free reign to create the new Falcon khan. I wanted to try to use an established character instead of some random ass-pull superhero to come from nowhere and save the Clan. I dug through the old MWDA dossiers first, and Jiyi Chistu turned out to be exactly what I wanted. His political acumen and level headed temperament were perfect. I wrote him along those lines, and Bryan captured and expanded on what I intended more or less perfectly. This is the Clan Jade Falcon to watch!

Did not know that... Great spot, great character, great job tying in old sources. I have really been enjoying these new books. It has been a great time to be a BT fan. So, thanks to all the creators for that. Top rate stuff, really brilliant.

Geg

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #85 on: 28 August 2022, 22:07:57 »
Star Captain. He was also the highest ranking officer left to the Sudeten Falcons, and their only Bloodnamed warrior.

How did his ascension to the Khanship work?   Did he unanimously vote himself into the position?

It's sort of weird to see him seize power when Othar and Rikkard hold onto their original titles.

Jal Phoenix

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #86 on: 28 August 2022, 22:21:04 »
That's covered in Tamar Rising, p51. He assembled all of his remaining warriors, as well as the lower caste leadership on Sudeten, and they held a council to decide their future. They chose to continue as Clan Jade Falcon, and elected him their Khan.

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #87 on: 28 August 2022, 23:31:32 »
How did his ascension to the Khanship work?   Did he unanimously vote himself into the position?

It's sort of weird to see him seize power when Othar and Rikkard hold onto their original titles.

Othar believed that Alaric was eventually going to come back the the Wolf Empire and pat him on the head and tell him he was a good boy.

Jiyi had no belief in Malvina.
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Geg

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #88 on: 29 August 2022, 12:42:50 »
Othar believed that Alaric was eventually going to come back the the Wolf Empire and pat him on the head and tell him he was a good boy.

Jiyi had no belief in Malvina.

Othar doesn't have the benefits of an omniscient narrator foreshadowing events.     ^-^

It will be fun to see what happens when the Stephanie Chistu heralds hit Sudeten and Alyina.    The fate of the Falcons is the ilClan thread that has best captured my interest.   It's such a novel situation for the setting, without a set of expectations to be met or subverted.

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Re: A Question of Survival - AMA
« Reply #89 on: 29 August 2022, 13:04:07 »
I finished reading this book about a week ago, and I have to say I'm somewhat conflicted about what I think of it. Full disclosure, I am not a huge Falcon fan, but I AM a big RasDom fan. I'm sure that makes it at least slightly unpleasant for me to see my favorite team getting their butts kicked, but I like reading about a good battle story even when the folks I am rooting for don't win. So, why am I not sure if I liked the book or not? I'm still not 100% sure, and there wasn't some glaring thing that I can point to. The best I can do is to say that there were a larger than normal number of scenes where I found myself thinking, "That's odd.", at a characters behavior.

Before I dig into that, there was a lot that I liked about the books. I like big stompy robots blowing stuff up, and this book did a good job with describing the action, and making the strategy and tactics plausible. I didn't really feel like anyone won a fight through hand-waving or miraculous skill/stupidity. Getting the battles right is very important to me, and I think this book did well with them. I also liked that the book delved a little more deeply into what it really means for the Clan and Civilian structures to co-exist through several examples where the Clan way and the Inner Sphere way were in conflict and how those sort of situations got resolved without driving the two factions apart. I actually thought it was nice that the big split in the Dominion wasn't Clan vs. Inner Sphere, since it made it feel like the two groups really had integrated to the point where there biggest differences no longer fell along those lines.

So, on to things that I didn't love so much. I'm not sure I can put it succinctly, so I'm just going to give a few examples that didn't sit right with me. The den mother is a tyrant and blatantly playing favorites to the detriment of the sibko's performance...and none of the other trainers challenge her to a trial over it. They just stay in the background like there is nothing they can do about it, but they are Clan and they could absolutely step up and challenge her to a trial for making stupid decisions that hurt the sibko's performance in the games. Another one is the very end of Hall's story. His hard-line joiner subordinates hating him for his failure and wanting to replace him? Yep, makes sense. Ignoring orders and heading out to try to stop the Falcons? Sure, I buy that. Up and murdering him rather than demanding a trial? Uh, what? That just isn't how hardline clanners do things. If you want to kill your superior, you do it in a circle of equals. I have no problem with Hall dying, and in fact i expected it, but the WAY in which it happened didn't feel right to me. Another thing that just felt off was the duel between Hall and Chistu. So, Chistu is in a Gyrfalcon and Hall is in an Ursus II. Hall is jumping all over the place to spoil Halls aim and outmaneuver him. The thing is, Hall also has jump jets, and can jump almost as far as the Gyrfalcon can, and has enough extra heat sinks to cool off just as well as the Gyrfalcon with its wing can. Unless I wasn't paying attention (which is always possible) Hall just stays on the ground and walks around trying to keep Chistu out of his back, when he could just as easily have jumped around himself  and been just as maneuverable as the Gyrfalcon. I honestly wondered if I had skipped a line somewhere and Hall's jump jets were offline and I just didn't know it. This was the only fight where the tactics didn't make sense to me. I admit the two mechs would have been very closely matched, and pilot skill would have determined the outcome. I just felt like the Ursus II would have been perfectly capable of jumping all over the place right along with the Gyrfalcon and it wouldn't really have been an advantage. There were other bits, but these were some examples that stuck with me.

This book also gave me my first literary experience where pronouns confused me. There is one minor character who I'm fairly certain was given non-binary pronouns and were referred to as 'they'. At one point, there is a trial of position being fought which includes this character as well as another character who is telling the story from their point of view. Both of them are piloting identical mechs, and the warriors they are facing are also piloting the same mechs if I recall correctly. In this one scene, when the narrator uses the word 'they', I found myself having a hard time intuitively knowing if it referred to the other MechWarrior, the pair of the two together, or the group of warriors they were fighting. I was having to re-read some sentences to make sure I was getting the context correct when figuring out which 'they' was being referred to. It wasn't a huge hardship or anything, it was just the first time I remember it happening. The character shows up in a battle later in the book, but they are in a more unique mech, and I didn't have any issues distinguishing which 'they' the text was referring to. It was just the one scene where everyone is in the same mechs, and the narrator, the non-binary character, and the opposing warrior could all have been conceivably shooting at each other that made it confusing. This wasn't a big problem, it was just notable to me as the first time novel pronoun usage has tripped me up. Next time, if you are going to write a free-for-all, don't give everyone the same mech!

Lastly, (and this isn't even really the books fault) I'm a bit exhausted with political strife at the moment. I fully understand that real-world problems are very often explored in science fiction, and I don't think the discord over 'the vote' in the Dominion was poorly done or anything like that. I'm just exhausted from hearing those same sorts of themes in daily life and it hurt the escapism and fun for me having to read about that same sort of strife yet again. Now, I don't think it was inappropriate to include this conflict in the book, and I think it was executed believably. This internal strife has clearly been in the works for a while and this was just adding some detail and meat to it in exactly the time and place when it should be seen according to the overall story. It's just unfortunate that it came at a time where conflict over voting is the absolute last thing I wanted to read about when I am looking to enjoy my free time. I would equate this to trying to re-watch the movie Independence Day in late September of 2001. Seeing a building in New York get blown up was perfectly reasonable in that movie, but at that particular time it was not something I wanted to see. I'd seen that movie plenty of times before, but in September of 2001, the last thing I wanted to see when i was trying to relax was buildings exploding in New York. That wasn't the movie's fault, but for a while there I stopped watching it because the real world was making it not fun. I expect political intrigue and strife in BattleTech, but the real world sucked the fun out of reading about 'the vote' for me. I don't fault the author or CGL for that though...I blame social media!

TLDR; I did like the book overall, but there were a number of small issues that added up to make it less fun than I was hoping it would be.
« Last Edit: 29 August 2022, 13:07:35 by sadlerbw »

 

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