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Author Topic: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel  (Read 8801 times)

Lorcan Nagle

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #90 on: 26 June 2021, 03:26:07 »
And is the "old man" someone we know from the classic era?  Like, should I dig into whatever happened to ole Tormano Liao? ;-) hahaha

Died during Black May.  His son was killed fighting Blakists in 3070
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Mendrugo

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #91 on: 26 June 2021, 05:16:48 »
Do you actually think that Daoshen is going to live a 'few' decades more?

Technically, Sun-Tzu is still alive…in the fridge, so….anything’s possible.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Paul

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #92 on: 26 June 2021, 06:26:37 »
This is a good thread: any writer really looks forward to people reacting to their stories. First time writers more so.
Could I provoke some people to do a broader review of each story? My motives are selfish, but benefit from incidental altruism once you review other people’s materials as well. ;)

five_corparty

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #93 on: 27 June 2021, 13:39:14 »
This is a good thread: any writer really looks forward to people reacting to their stories. First time writers more so.
Could I provoke some people to do a broader review of each story? My motives are selfish, but benefit from incidental altruism once you review other people’s materials as well. ;)

I dunno, I'll rave about ones that speak to my heart and I love talking about stories when prodded, but not every author wants a "full" review, you know?  More than that, a lot of authors haven't gotten their thick skin yet- saying "I liked it, but..." can really hurt to hear.

I dunno, just my thoughts.  Which one was yours?

Mendrugo

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #94 on: 27 June 2021, 15:42:44 »
This is a good thread: any writer really looks forward to people reacting to their stories. First time writers more so.
Could I provoke some people to do a broader review of each story? My motives are selfish, but benefit from incidental altruism once you review other people’s materials as well. ;)

Per your request:

Ghosts:  Very well written - good rotation through the assorted roles assumed by the Ghost Knight, nice use of legacy LosTech.  Lance’s stories are always very well researched.  It gives a compelling backstory to an underdeveloped MWDA bit player, and gives a rare look at the post-Jihad transition to the Pax Republica.  I felt that the old spymaster had strong similarities to the Agent in Serenity - using unethical methods to create a paradise that had no room for monsters like him.  Second appearance in print of the Guard.  I tried using it in a game - legs kept getting comically shot off by infantry with field guns.

Voices of the Sphere: an interesting look at views on how the Clan invasion changed what would have been.  I was reminded of the “Fifth Succession War” column from MechForce  Quarterly, also in the “what might have been” category.  I liked that Chris worked in a cultural profile for a previously blank slate dot on the star map for Vikindu.

Black Boxes: Daniel took a good framing approach to finally close the loop on the “whatabout…” problem that undercut the Blackout from the get go.  Having a viable alternative FTL communications technology meant that the HPG crash meant less.  This answers the question without needing to delve into the murky and oft contradictory ins and outs of hyperspace mechanics, and restores suspension of disbelief for the impacts of the Blackout.

Piece by Piece: Matt did a great job of building on his Touring the Stars for Manassas, bringing the setting to life with a gritty, edge-of-failure merc unit at the mercy of the cutthroat political maneuvers of the jaded nobility.  Most of the FedSuns fiction has focused on external military campaigns or the civil war, so a look at internal politics that don’t involve House Davion was refreshing.

Crusader: A good sample of a RecGuide style entry for the Crusader.  Nice to see its Lyran ties emphasized, and the link to the record sheet was appreciated.

Fox Patrol: This series has both engaging characterization and good combat scenes.  The LosTech “mad max” vibe came through, though it makes me wonder how they’ll have the resources to do anything with their new salvaged ‘Mechs that the Jerangle Raiders couldn’t.

Servitors: Recused due to lack of impartiality

Auld Acquaintance: A good wrap up to the Kell Hound serial.  When I read “Not the way the smart money bets,” I wondered what happened to Morgan’s paramour, Veronica Matova, since she was long out of the picture by the Warrior Trilogy.  This fills in that story gap.

SMGs: adds some nice variety to what PCs can get their hands on in AToW.  Haven’t used it myself, so I’m not sure how they work out in actual gameplay.

Shadows of the Past: Lots of emotion poured into this story, but I would have liked more details on the context for the backstory, just so I could judge how important it was to keep the Blakists from getting ahold of them.

Kandersteg: an unusual founding story, leading to a fun mix of naming conventions.  Interesting secondary planets as well.  I liked the detail on their attitude towards the Clans and their new role as a merc hub.  Makes them a good hiring hall for that region.

SM5: A rare Spheroid Omni-vehicle, and a suitable ride for Callandre now that she’s no longer lone-wolfing it.

An Ice Cold Dish:  I really liked seeing the Temptown assault from the anti-Dragoon perspective.  Wayne has for a long time been portrayed as a joke, but this shows what his motivation was and that he wasn’t just a Blakist puppet.  He went out on his own terms, and I can respect that.

Alekseyevka Academy:  this adds a nice element of “how” that had previously been mostly lacking from anti-Mech attack descriptions - such incidents in fiction having fallen by the wayside with the introduction of battle armor.

Breach: A good First Succession War story, though I was surprised that the world had regressed from FWL contact and authority only 20 years into the war, though the world is one that fell off the map.  One wonders how many “dead” worlds actually died, and how many were just abandoned and are still chugging along at Tech Level D?

« Last Edit: 27 June 2021, 16:06:01 by Mendrugo »
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Paul

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #95 on: 27 June 2021, 15:49:12 »
I dunno, I'll rave about ones that speak to my heart and I love talking about stories when prodded, but not every author wants a "full" review, you know?  More than that, a lot of authors haven't gotten their thick skin yet- saying "I liked it, but..." can really hurt to hear.

Character building exercises! ;)


Quote
I dunno, just my thoughts.  Which one was yours?

The ice cold dish.


Per your request:

Thanks, very thorough, appreciate the effort to find something positive to say about each one!


Blacknova

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #96 on: 27 June 2021, 18:49:36 »
Nice review of all the stories there, thanks. Still chugging through with what little spare time I have, but thanks to this, I now have a list of things I really want to get to in the read.
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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #97 on: 27 June 2021, 23:20:47 »
I wouldn't give a bad review to a short story unless it was gawdaful and none of these were which is why i didn't take the time and review it.  Short story are by the nature short so they only give is glimpst of a unit or a group.  Cause of there nature they often have to leave out key points that alonger novel length story will need.  Take for an example Fox Patrol.  Here is a very good short story.  We get our young hero with 2 new employee.  In a Novel, we may get on who these two employee are and how their relantionship effect her.  We may even get there own perspective at being boss around by someone far younger then them and who has no exp landing anything.  yet they let her be in charge on top of that we don't know if they are like her.  Just a couple of boys who happen upon there mechs or they had time spent in an academy.  We don't even know if they are local kid or Stray from a units that was disbanded in world after a bad contract. 

All these thing would have to be look at if you were writing a novel length story.  In short story.  You can skip all that and just focus on the meat.  Fox Patrol deliver on that so i have no issue just my own speculation on their future. 

so in conclusion.  don't expect me to give a review beyond a few words unless someone took a dump on my mag. 

DarkISI

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #98 on: 28 June 2021, 08:47:41 »
Black Boxes: Daniel took a good framing approach to finally close the loop on the “whatabout…” problem that undercut the Blackout from the get go.  Having a viable alternative FTL communications technology meant that the HPG crash meant less.  This answers the question without needing to delve into the murky and oft contradictory ins and outs of hyperspace mechanics, and restores suspension of disbelief for the impacts of the Blackout.

Thank you.
I am really glad Ray gave me his blessing to implement this solution. It bugged me for a long time Wizkidz simply decided to ignore this issue all together. With Catalyst on the wheel and Shrapnel being an ideal vessel for all kind of things, we finally had the platform to do something about it.
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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #99 on: 28 June 2021, 23:13:11 »
It gives a compelling backstory to an underdeveloped MWDA bit player

Was that a character that had shown up previously? I didn't recognize them.


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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #100 on: 29 June 2021, 05:23:14 »
Was that a character that had shown up previously? I didn't recognize them.

The Ghost Paladin from the early MWDA books.  Some of the Ghost Knights report to him in a few scenes.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

five_corparty

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #101 on: 27 July 2021, 12:00:41 »
Things have been kinda nuts here in RL, so I -finally- was able to pick up Shrapnel 5 again and finish it!  Well, except for Stackpole's: once I saw that it was going to be a 4-parter, I skipped his in every book.  So, this week I'll be going back and reading the all four in one sitting.

As mentioned, I -really- liked Ghosts.  I'm a sucker for a good one-shot with super spies and SF troopers.  Not a SERIES, because they can get a little plot-armored.  but a well-written one-shot? hits me in my happy spot.  :)

Piece by Piece, as I mentioned above, was SOOO good.  I dig stories like this, a tiny little lance in the middle of nowhere almost broke, partially because I personally feel like I'm not that great at writing them?  I dunno- I just take a different approach in my writing, but that's one of what makes the universe 9and this magazine) so much fun: there's room for small stories as well as bigger ones!

Fox Patrol- I liked it, but not as much as the first.  The problem is, possibly, that Piece by Piece was in a similar vein, and I just liked that one better?  I think that's more the problem than anything with the story, they were just too alike in my poor brain?  but still, a solid story!

An Ice Cold Dish: now, this was intresting.  A look at ole Wayne Waco, and his motivations?  I dig it.  I had a soft spot for the Rangers after the first Merc Handbook, and I kinda hated how they became "bad guys," or worse, a joke.  Seeing this kinda redeemed him- I still think he died a jerk, but I get it.  A well done piece!

Breach.  Wow, what a quiet little wonder to end the issue on.  Just a wonderful little piece, i like that it ties in (sorta) with the ongoing ELH series (not that I'm plugging that or anything!)(I -tooootally am!  Read it, y'all, they're good! ;-)  But, I -LOVE- the "why's the water that color?" and it's because it's GORGEOUS and has WHALES and, wow.  I think the fact none of the pirates ejected made the story a little pat and wrap up a bit too nicely?  But, honestly, that was a complaint I had after I put the book down and walked away: when I FINISHED the story, I was totally satisfied and slid Shrapnel 5 next to its mates on my shelf with a nice smile on my face.

So, kudos to Phil for organizing the fiction well, and to all the writers who turned in products ranging from "good stuff!" to "HOLY CRAP THIS IS AWESOME." :-)

(oh, the TRO stuff and world breakdown and stuff is ALL GOOD, TOO!  Just a damn good magazine from front cover to back!! :-)

Lyran Wolf

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #102 on: 18 August 2021, 10:04:10 »
Loving the feedback people are giving.  Loving the shrapnel entries and seeing new names.

I will also echo the call to have people willing give reviews by story.  Again self-serving if anyone wants to jump back to issue #4 and earlier. ;D
At least for myself I know hearing excitement or opportunities to improve would keep me motivated to write and submit more.
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Author - The Weight of a Name (Shrapnel #4)

five_corparty

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #103 on: 18 August 2021, 14:35:56 »
Loving the feedback people are giving.  Loving the shrapnel entries and seeing new names.

I will also echo the call to have people willing give reviews by story.  Again self-serving if anyone wants to jump back to issue #4 and earlier. ;D
At least for myself I know hearing excitement or opportunities to improve would keep me motivated to write and submit more.

heh, well, my quick reviews are different from constructive criticism, my friend.  Be careful whatchu wish for!  ;)

(which one was yours?  I can give it a quick glance "soon," but I'll leave a full #4 review for another day.)

Lyran Wolf

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #104 on: 18 August 2021, 15:51:29 »
I need to get thick skin eventually if I want to keep writing.  I figure it can’t be an unmitigated disaster if it made it in.  (I may be mistaken.). And no way to improve or get better without some feedback on what didn’t work.

Mine was “The Weight of a Name”.  No rush or expectation but would be happy to hear feedback.

Thanks for bringing some to the thread.  I know I keep meaning to be better about leaving reviews and feedback for books.  Especially since I was hoping/looking for some myself.
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Author - The Weight of a Name (Shrapnel #4)

Daryk

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #105 on: 18 August 2021, 17:35:52 »
If it made it in, it's by definition NOT a disaster.  Just because some people may not like it doesn't mean it wasn't a success.

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #106 on: 18 August 2021, 19:40:20 »
If it made it in, it's by definition NOT a disaster.  Just because some people may not like it doesn't mean it wasn't a success.

THIS.

We -all- have our personal tastes, but if it's in Shrapnel, it's 1) technically a good story, which IS A TOUGH BAR TO CLEAR.  A lot of journeyman writers are terrible at grammar or punctuation or a million other little things that are technical in nature, and make a story unacceptable.  No matter how good the plot, if the story is a technical mess, it's not gonna make it in and 2) a Shrapnel story adds something to the universe.  No one wants to read anyone's personal unit's adventures, or their self insertion story, or their Katherine and Omi erotica fan-fic.*

More than that, there has to be character in it.  Too many stories in the fanfic forum (which I only skim now and again, because I don't want to be accused of plagiarizing an idea or whatever) are just BATTLE.  A Timberwolf does this and a Vulcan does THAT and WHO GIVES A CRAP?  BattleTech fiction is about the CHARACTERS and what moves them THROUGH the universe.  If your story is in Shrapnel, congratulations!! You are a writer.  You have cleared a technical bar 50% or more can't clear, and you understand and wrote within the BattleTech "vibe," which is well-written characters in a universe at war.

For "Weight of a name," I -really- dig stories like this.  We have a character that wants to be loremaster, which is cool and crazy and totally nerdy enough that all us nerds dig it, and how she plans to get there is a obscure rule that fleshes out the BattleTech universe in a new way.  Good Stuff.  :)


* By "no one wants to read" I mean you can totally PM me that Katherine/Omi erotica...  ;)

Daryk

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #107 on: 18 August 2021, 19:43:02 »
If you're only skimming the Fan Fiction forum, I can't recommend Drakensis' or Cannonshop's stuff enough.  They both go WELL beyond "battle".

DarkISI

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #108 on: 19 August 2021, 07:41:58 »
BattleTech fiction is about the CHARACTERS and what moves them THROUGH the universe.

I can't underscore that enough.
Fight scenes are great. But they are just that: fight scenes.
They are background, nice to have. But Battletech works without. A good Battletech story needs more.
A point I am going to make shortly. ;)
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DarkISI

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #109 on: 14 September 2021, 09:04:41 »
So, to get back to wait I said lat: Battletech needs more than fight scenes. Did Failings in Teaching achieve the goal to point that out?

Also, someone interested in giving Moving Forward from Shrapnel 6 an in depth review? There are great fight scenes in it ;)
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BaachicLitNerd

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #110 on: 14 September 2021, 10:32:42 »

Also, someone interested in giving Moving Forward from Shrapnel 6 an in depth review? There are great fight scenes in it ;)

Yes, I'll admit to being very curious to hear people's reactions to my pieces too.

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #111 on: 15 September 2021, 22:45:14 »
So, to get back to wait I said lat: Battletech needs more than fight scenes. Did Failings in Teaching achieve the goal to point that out?

Definitely, and the reason I wouldn't object to another Blood Avatar type novel (as flawed as I've heard it is). For me at least, 24 years of 'Mech on 'Mech scenes have them tending to blur into one another now. Although I'm more interested in the BT universe and characters so I suspect my opinion is in the minority.
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five_corparty

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #112 on: 16 September 2021, 22:10:10 »
Definitely, and the reason I wouldn't object to another Blood Avatar type novel (as flawed as I've heard it is). For me at least, 24 years of 'Mech on 'Mech scenes have them tending to blur into one another now. Although I'm more interested in the BT universe and characters so I suspect my opinion is in the minority.

One of the things I love about the Shrapnel series is, pound for pound, there's a LOT less fighting in the stories than the novels.

(I get my copy tomorrow, excited!! :-)