Register Register

Author Topic: Forever Faithfull  (Read 4925 times)

DarkISI

  • Praedonum Dominus
  • Freelance Writer
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7017
  • https://hpgstation.de/?p=9429
    • My Author Website
Forever Faithfull
« on: 09 October 2019, 08:08:12 »
Finished last night and was surprised no one was discussing it yet.

The book was a great read, very well written Characters and I agree with Blaine Pardoe, Stackpole didn't give Trent justice. This novel does and it does so much more.
It also has a small scene that will be very, very interesting once IlClan is released, wasn't expecting that. Very good.
Word of Blake was fun  ;D
What I was missing, though, is the reason why the Fidelis seem to be indebted to Stone later on. There is nothing in there that would explain why they feel a dept to him, to the contrary.
German novelist and part time Battletech writer.


HPG Station - German Battletech News

"if they didn't want to be stomped to death by a psychotic gang of battlemechs, they shouldn't have fallen down" - Liam's Ghost

Marveryn

  • Lieutenant
  • *
  • Posts: 1064
Re: Forever Faithfull
« Reply #1 on: 09 October 2019, 13:55:49 »
agreed completely on all account.  It did show why they went after WOB but it didn't show why they would later remain with stone that may be something for a later story as we haven't had any real story told about stone yet it all has been mostly second hand.

Frabby

  • Major
  • *
  • Posts: 4072
Re: Forever Faithfull
« Reply #2 on: 09 October 2019, 23:54:19 »
Because he gave them a proper planet to live on?
Sarna.net BattleTechWiki Admin
Author of the BattleCorps stories Feather vs. Mountain, Rise and Shine, Proprietary, Trial of Faith & scenario Twins

DarkISI

  • Praedonum Dominus
  • Freelance Writer
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7017
  • https://hpgstation.de/?p=9429
    • My Author Website
Re: Forever Faithfull
« Reply #3 on: 10 October 2019, 02:01:00 »
That was payment for their help against WoB
German novelist and part time Battletech writer.


HPG Station - German Battletech News

"if they didn't want to be stomped to death by a psychotic gang of battlemechs, they shouldn't have fallen down" - Liam's Ghost

Liam's Ghost

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7224
  • Miss Chitty finds your honor rules quaint.
Re: Forever Faithfull
« Reply #4 on: 10 October 2019, 22:15:11 »
I have hesitated to say this, but I really did not like the book. I feel like the characterization was trying too hard to tell me how great Trent was without really showing it, and it seemed almost petty in the way it sniped at prior interpretations of him. I started out not really having any strong feelings about him and ended up hating him out of spite.

(Victor's change of opinion was particularly jarring, as what he was worried about came to pass. The Jaguars did ultimately desert and abandon their oaths).

(Also, I could complain about the whole Victor/Trent dynamic some more, but those complaints should really be aimed at Michael Stackpole, because the entire conflict between the two is due to him forgetting halfway through his own book that Victor wasn't in command of the SLDF at the time. Fotch was. Ultimately, it shouldn't have been Victor's call whether Trent saw action. For that matter, if Fotch got Trent so well, why didn't he make a place for him in the Comguard contingent fighting the Falcons?)

The escape plan was painful to read because it hinged on people forgetting certain well established parts of the universe existed for long periods of time. The garrison had to make a long overland march to get to a distant location because... they forgot dropships existed? Allowing Paul Moon's group to make their heist and Russo Howell's group to ambush them when they could have shuffled their force around in a matter of hours or held a response force in orbit to respond to any attack in a matter of minutes?

The most experienced naval officer in the Inner Sphere responds to reports of unknown contacts by wasting days burning insystem after them rather than remembering he has two warships with lithium fusion batteries which could at the very least jump to a point where he could at least get a clear look at them and cut down his transit time?

It was not a good plan, and it shouldn't have worked at all. And none of the experienced combat officers involved should have expected it to.

Also, on the subject of the plot being moved by the ignorance of the antagonist, l wanna touch on the scene where the Fidelis first encounters the word of blake. The blakists are well informed enough to have tracked sales of exotic components back to this planet (how is not really clear, though I find it hard to believe they could have identified Wayside as a candidate world without knowing about its history), they're well informed enough to recognize the man they meet with as an elemental, this man actually introduces himself as Paul Moon.

So they conclude they're talking to the wolverines? What? None of what they would know would tell them that. Elementals weren't created until the wolverines were already destroyed (for that matter, none of the other equipment Moon's people display was either). Wayside was a known Smoke Jaguar outpost, and Moon is a freaking Smoke Jaguar bloodname. Sure, a guy might not notice some of this, but people who have gone from "someone selling unfamiliar HPG pieces" to "hey, we managed to identify where they're from" would have caught on to enough of that stuff to put the pieces together.

(Also, I think this section was included to torpedo the notion that the Word of Blake and the Wolverines were in cahoots, but I can't be sure, and also it's a hamfisted way to do this)

Also the actual foundations of the fidelis are boiled down to "Trent wrote it all in a book, and we decided it's great, so we did it". No effort was put into actually showing how it was implemented or how these smoke jaguars who literally fled to preserve their culture went through such a radical transition. Their story jumps from the day after Trent died to fifteen years later without so much of a "Hey Paul, can you explain why these radical changes to our society aren't the exact thing we ran away from?"

All in all, it feels like a fix fic by an author who was more interested in puffing up a favored character than concentrating on telling a compelling story. So I'm sorry, but I didn't enjoy it.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

DarkISI

  • Praedonum Dominus
  • Freelance Writer
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7017
  • https://hpgstation.de/?p=9429
    • My Author Website
Re: Forever Faithfull
« Reply #5 on: 11 October 2019, 06:16:38 »
You are allowed to not liking it. Of course, the CGL-Ninjas will now cut off your head, so pleas stay where you are until their arrival ;)

To counter a few of your points:
Moving their force by land: It's a standard way to move the story along in the BTU. It has been done so often, that this kind of stupidity can be accepted as canon. Yeah, still silly, but it's not the first time it has happened — not by a long shot.

Warship: Jumping in system ...  I don't know if that actually works. Can't remember if it was ever mentioned being done in fiction so far.

Word of Blake: Question is, how much do they know about the Clans at that point? Especially: how much does that specific person know? Perhaps there was someone on her staff who would have recognized the name, but not her. Perhaps there was someone who knew Elementals came after the Wolverines left, but not her. Especially since she didn't know she would meet Clan warriors before she actually met them. So yeah, while I also found it strange she thought they were Wolverines, the explanation is quite easy: she didn't know any better, but her staff probably would have, had they been with her.
German novelist and part time Battletech writer.


HPG Station - German Battletech News

"if they didn't want to be stomped to death by a psychotic gang of battlemechs, they shouldn't have fallen down" - Liam's Ghost

Liam's Ghost

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7224
  • Miss Chitty finds your honor rules quaint.
Re: Forever Faithfull
« Reply #6 on: 11 October 2019, 16:29:42 »
Moving their force by land: It's a standard way to move the story along in the BTU. It has been done so often, that this kind of stupidity can be accepted as canon. Yeah, still silly, but it's not the first time it has happened — not by a long shot.

In other stories, there's reasons why an overland march makes more sense. Battles are fought on contested worlds where air superiority is in question (making dropship movement risky), or one side doesn't have enough dropships to maneuver a large force. You can understand why it happens. In this case, the planet is entirely in inner sphere hands and the shear number of dropships available to them is lampshaded repeatedly.

Also, "It's not the first time someone forgot dropships were a thing" isn't really something that makes it any less bad.

Quote
Warship: Jumping in system ...  I don't know if that actually works. Can't remember if it was ever mentioned being done in fiction so far.

Several times. Intrasystem jumps are a staple, and it makes sense based on the established lore of how jumping works. Any jump point closer to huntress would cut time drastically off of his burn and allow him to get eyes on the target and determine that it didn't really exist.

The zenith and nadir points are standard points because they're simple and basically stationary, not because they're the only game in town. Any point beyond a certain distance from the star is valid, allowing a defender to get a look at a planet from virtually any direction. Not only that, but Huntress (and every other planetary body in existence) has a valid jump point close to the L1 Lagrange point. Which, if the point was to get to the other side of Huntress to identify the mystery contact, would be ideal when time was of the essence and you didn't know what you might run into. It takes longer to plot the jump (because the point is moving) but the extra calculation time and difficulty is nothing compared to the time you waste running through the system the long way.

This doesn't mean a dropship heist would be impossible. Just close to it as written. It seems to me the author came up with an idea and never bothered to think about it beyond the most basic concept. It's sloppy.

And once again, even if it happened before, bad writing in the past doesn't excuse bad writing now.

Quote
Word of Blake: Question is, how much do they know about the Clans at that point? Especially: how much does that specific person know? Perhaps there was someone on her staff who would have recognized the name, but not her. Perhaps there was someone who knew Elementals came after the Wolverines left, but not her. Especially since she didn't know she would meet Clan warriors before she actually met them. So yeah, while I also found it strange she thought they were Wolverines, the explanation is quite easy: she didn't know any better, but her staff probably would have, had they been with her.

Counter question, how did they find Wayside in the first place? To even go there, you have to know to go there. Someone has to have identified Wayside as a potential source, which means identifying Wayside at all. And Wayside is already in the historical record as a Smoke Jaguar base and the site of a major battle between the Northwind Highlanders, Nova Cats, and Smoke Jaguars. How do you go from what you should know just to get to that point to "they must be wolverines!". The word of blake isn't stupid, so how did a person who insists "wolverines" when every bit of evidence would have pointed to "smoke jaguars" even get the job in the first place? None of this is explored. It just happens.

And that's I guess what really bothers me about the story. Things just happen, without much thought put into why they happen or even if they would reasonably have happened given the established lore of the universe, they just happen because the author figures he needs them to happen that way to get to the resolution he wants. Heck, the entire transition to the fidelis happens off screen in a fifteen year time skip and I'm honestly wondering if it's because the author didn't want to bother even that much. It's very game of thrones season eight.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

DarkISI

  • Praedonum Dominus
  • Freelance Writer
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7017
  • https://hpgstation.de/?p=9429
    • My Author Website
Re: Forever Faithfull
« Reply #7 on: 11 October 2019, 18:54:10 »
In other stories, there's reasons why an overland march makes more sense. Battles are fought on contested worlds where air superiority is in question (making dropship movement risky), or one side doesn't have enough dropships to maneuver a large force. You can understand why it happens. In this case, the planet is entirely in inner sphere hands and the shear number of dropships available to them is lampshaded repeatedly.

Also, "It's not the first time someone forgot dropships were a thing" isn't really something that makes it any less bad.

I didn't say less bad, I just tried to find something to hang on ;)

Several times. Intrasystem jumps are a staple, and it makes sense based on the established lore of how jumping works. Any jump point closer to huntress would cut time drastically off of his burn and allow him to get eyes on the target and determine that it didn't really exist.

The zenith and nadir points are standard points because they're simple and basically stationary, not because they're the only game in town. Any point beyond a certain distance from the star is valid, allowing a defender to get a look at a planet from virtually any direction. Not only that, but Huntress (and every other planetary body in existence) has a valid jump point close to the L1 Lagrange point. Which, if the point was to get to the other side of Huntress to identify the mystery contact, would be ideal when time was of the essence and you didn't know what you might run into. It takes longer to plot the jump (because the point is moving) but the extra calculation time and difficulty is nothing compared to the time you waste running through the system the long way.

Ah, I really didn't know you could jump inside a system. Good to know, so that reasoning is out the door.
But it would leave him with depleted batteries he could only charge very slowly that far away from the sun. Recharging would probably have taken longer than going back and forth. And since he didn't expect anyone to escape from the planet, but at most from the established jump points, he could have moved in their path even after burning in system. Of course, getting someone who is burning in the opposite direction from you is something very different. It is not something he would have to expect, though. So he didn't need to be prepared for it.

This doesn't mean a dropship heist would be impossible. Just close to it as written. It seems to me the author came up with an idea and never bothered to think about it beyond the most basic concept. It's sloppy.

And once again, even if it happened before, bad writing in the past doesn't excuse bad writing now.

Counter question, how did they find Wayside in the first place? To even go there, you have to know to go there. Someone has to have identified Wayside as a potential source, which means identifying Wayside at all. And Wayside is already in the historical record as a Smoke Jaguar base and the site of a major battle between the Northwind Highlanders, Nova Cats, and Smoke Jaguars. How do you go from what you should know just to get to that point to "they must be wolverines!". The word of blake isn't stupid, so how did a person who insists "wolverines" when every bit of evidence would have pointed to "smoke jaguars" even get the job in the first place? None of this is explored. It just happens.

And that's I guess what really bothers me about the story. Things just happen, without much thought put into why they happen or even if they would reasonably have happened given the established lore of the universe, they just happen because the author figures he needs them to happen that way to get to the resolution he wants. Heck, the entire transition to the fidelis happens off screen in a fifteen year time skip and I'm honestly wondering if it's because the author didn't want to bother even that much. It's very game of thrones season eight.

I feel like you have been expecting something from the novel the novel is not actually set up to fulfill. It is not a story about how exactly the Smoke Jaguars transformed into the Fidelis, but a story about how Trent and Paul Moon redeemed themselves by saving the soul of the Smoke Jaguars. Those Smoke Jaguars then transformed into the Fidelis, yes. But that exact transformation wasn't the point of the story. Also, I think it would have been a boring story. Farming away and training on Wayside V for decades isn't really something I need to read about.
German novelist and part time Battletech writer.


HPG Station - German Battletech News

"if they didn't want to be stomped to death by a psychotic gang of battlemechs, they shouldn't have fallen down" - Liam's Ghost

nckestrel

  • Scientia Bellator
  • Freelance Writer
  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 10585
Re: Forever Faithfull
« Reply #8 on: 11 October 2019, 19:40:31 »
I haven’t read the story, so I’m asking to make sure what we are taking about.  But somebody jumped in to a system, thought there might be somebody way over on the others side of the system, and spent several days burning in system to go find them?
And the proposal is that they had LF batteries, so they could have jumped again, in system, to go after them rather than spend days burning through the system?
Alpha Strike Introduction resources
Left of Center blog - Nashira Campaign for A Game of Armored Combat, TP 3039 Vega Supplemental Record Sheets

Liam's Ghost

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 7224
  • Miss Chitty finds your honor rules quaint.
Re: Forever Faithfull
« Reply #9 on: 11 October 2019, 19:57:05 »
Ah, I really didn't know you could jump inside a system. Good to know, so that reasoning is out the door.
But it would leave him with depleted batteries he could only charge very slowly that far away from the sun. Recharging would probably have taken longer than going back and forth. And since he didn't expect anyone to escape from the planet, but at most from the established jump points, he could have moved in their path even after burning in system. Of course, getting someone who is burning in the opposite direction from you is something very different. It is not something he would have to expect, though. So he didn't need to be prepared for it.

Nope, because both of his warships had lithium fusion batteries, allowing each of them to make a second jump after the first. He could have jumped out, found nothing, then jumped back again. Or jumped out, searched around a bit, then jumped back to the merchant fleet the instant they started acting squirrely. There would be ways to plan around this capability (Beresick only has two warships and each one can only make two jumps, so you have to plan for keeping him moving, maybe a sacrifice play where a few jumpships head to different points to spread him out) but in this case the plan was "assume he doesn't do any of that." It shouldn't have worked.

(Also, this is a little nitpicky, but the shear scale of what they were attempting is part of the problem. what with stealing a huge chunk of material and resources along with a hefty part of the Smoke Jaguar merchant fleet. If the author had gone for a smaller scale operation, a lot of the problems of actually executing it would vanish. Also it would fit better with what had already been established, rather than being a massive event that somehow never got mentioned.)

Quote
I feel like you have been expecting something from the novel the novel is not actually set up to fulfill. It is not a story about how exactly the Smoke Jaguars transformed into the Fidelis, but a story about how Trent and Paul Moon redeemed themselves by saving the soul of the Smoke Jaguars. Those Smoke Jaguars then transformed into the Fidelis, yes. But that exact transformation wasn't the point of the story. Also, I think it would have been a boring story. Farming away and training on Wayside V for decades isn't really something I need to read about.

I didn't really have expectations going in, but a huge theme of the story was preserving the spirit of the Smoke Jaguars in the face of elements trying to force them to abandon that, and when the time came for them to actually accept that they were going to change, we get a time skip. I don't need a whole book about their transformation, but when the theme is about tradition and preservation of culture versus adapting to a new and alien order, I would have expected a few more words about how they adapted to their new and alien order.

I'm not going to begrudge people for enjoying the book, but for me, these are some of the things that just kicked me out of the story and made it an unpleasant read.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

monbvol

  • Lieutenant Colonel
  • *
  • Posts: 12008
  • I said don't look!
Re: Forever Faithfull
« Reply #10 on: 11 May 2022, 16:40:08 »
My thoughts about this book having taken it in during a road trip to watch my Nephew get his BA:

The bad:

Pretty much as Liam's Ghost explains so much just happens.  No setup.  No showing.  Just telling.

Also a lot of the dialogue got repetitive.  This one I'll lay on the editor for not making more notes for how much stuff could have been cut with no loss to make room for something else.

The ugly:

I'm really expected to believe that the Star League is this incompetent at handling transitions of government?  I do get that this was their first real test with a Clan world that had actually been operating under Clan systems for a good chunk of time but considering how much experience everyone there should have or be able to draw upon for all the different cultures and government styles that comprise the Inner Sphere it just comes across as jarring that they handled things so badly and ignored the advice of experts.

I also agree with Liam's Ghost that the plan as presented should never have worked.

The Word of Blake, well see the above criticism about wasted words.  I could accept that maybe the Word could have come to the conclusion that Wayside had been abandoned after the battle and maybe that even now the Wolverines had some supporters from the current Clans if some page space had been spent setting this up.  There are ways to do this.

The good:

I did enjoy that how frankly this book does confirm that Clan Society is setup to ultimately be self defeating.  That any of the Invaders managed to not get ripped apart by the other Clans after their many defeats at the hands of the Inner Sphere is frankly a miracle.

The good: