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Author Topic: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel  (Read 11764 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  Unpublished.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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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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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!! :-)

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #113 on: 19 September 2021, 00:50:29 »
This is daunting for me, but here I go. First, I admit that while I enjoy all content that Shrapnel offers, my main interest is in the fan stories written by new writers. That's the sole reason I'm invested in this magazine. So I will share my unprofessional non-writer opinion on some of the stories I've read. Second, I warn you that I'm not a overly critical reader. As long as the story is coherent and entertaining, I will likely enjoy it. I apologize if my "reviews" come off too positive. I'll try to refrain from just saying the story is good. I will also refrain from spoiling significant plot details. Read without fear. Ok. Let's begin.

PAPER TIGERS by Mark Hill

Straight out the gate as the first story of Issue #6, is Paper Tigers. I can see why it was made the first story. It's a straight forward plot, but the strong dialogue and humor laced within brings it up a notch. We're introduced to the main protagonist, his past, and where he is in the present in just three paragraphs. Not only is that efficient writing, it's conveyed in a interesting way. There are several jokes and references peppered throughout that I was very exited I caught. The 'Mech combat is short and sweet. Nothing too fancy and I liked the focus on lights. It feels appropriate for the scale of the  story and the era. If there was someone who knew nothing about BattleTech and wanted to get into the fiction, this is the short story I would show them.

ALMOSTS SOUNDS LIKE THE GUNS THEMSLEVES by E. Clark Avery

Boy oh boy. When I saw the location and time stamp of this story I was giddy with excitement. I'm a fan of Harebrained Scheme's BATTLETECH and when I see any reference that brings the Aurigan Coalition more into canon, it makes me happy. Thank you E. Clark Avery. However, this story is one of the more somber ones in BattleTech fiction. The main protagonist is veteran of the Aurigan Civil War and left the military's behind only to still be haunted mentally by the combat he experienced. The writer nailed the atmosphere of story. The brief glimpses of combat emphasizes the horrors of war and specifically 'Mech combat. The protagonist wrestles with dark thoughts not only from the past, but also of the future. There's a silver lining at the end, but it comes at price.

This story is dense. Dense in character development, worldbuilding, and themes. I don't know if this is the first story E. Clark Avery has ever written or if this is just their (yes, I'm one of those) first BattleTech story. If it's the former, then I applaud you. I can image the number sourcebooks and technical readouts you researched while writing this story. It's on par with Jason Schmetzer if I do say so myself. Keep writing, I want to see more from you.

TALES FROM THE CRACKED CANOPY: THE DEVIL'S LUCK by Alexander J. Roth

Have you heard this joke before, "A old grizzled MechWarrior walks into bar."? Feels timeless and familiar doesn't it. That's basically how this story starts and I admit that I wasn't too impressed with the first sentence. But sometimes you can't judge a story by how it starts. So I kept reading. I become passively intrigue by the conversation between the old grizzled MechWarrior and the bartender. The MechWarrior is explaining what real Devil's Luck is. We start learning about his past. All the way up until his unit gets in trouble with some clanners.

At this point I'm think this is a okay story, but I'm still not impressed. The MechWarrior is in a bad spot, but in my arrogance I'm thinking: Okay, he's going to pull some crazy maneuver and take out a Star of OmniMechs in one shot and manage to escape to fight another day. The bartender will cry foul and MechWarrior with leave his memento with the  reader wondering if the outlandish story is true.

Then the story takes a turn. I'm taken aback. My mouth is gaped. If you've read the story, you know the part I'm talking about. As a Quentin Tarantino villain once said, "Gentlemen, you had my curiosity. Now you have attention." The story keeps going and going and realization of what this MechWarrior has been through washes over me in waves. The MechWarrior finishes his tale and we return to the Cracked Canopy. He leaves his memento and leaves to end his journey.

Going back to that first sentence I realize that its perfect. It's vague and invocative at the same time. I would be lying if I said I didn't have a complete mental picture of what this old grizzled MechWarrior likes like. Even though he's never described. It fits with the story. The Devil's Luck feels like the archetypal Tales From the Cracked Canopy story.

DIAMANDIS' DOGS by M. W. Hayden

I'm certain I'm not the only one who thought of Metal Gear Solid when they saw the title of this story. Diamandis' Dogs is another dense story of novel quality. Similar to E. Clark Avery's story in terms of excellence. The story begins with the titular unit retreating which ends in tragedy right before transitioning to a time-jump. A very effective opening. I won't go any further with story, except to say there's possibly one or more vendettas brewing, a up close look at some political strife, and a impossible situation the protagonists face.

Did I say protagonists as in plural? Yes, I did. I would like to praise the number of point-of-view characters in this short story. They're all well written and the plot feels balanced. The story takes place over a number of years, but doesn't feel stretched beyond its limit. It felt like I was reading a sample of a novel. One last note, I enjoyed the callsigns for the 'Mechs and other combat vehicles more than I should have. 

ACE DARWIN AND THE SIDEWINDER CANYON by James Bixby

This is my favorite new writer story in Issue #6. Not necessarily because I think it is the best written or has the best plot. It's simply the most I've enjoyed out of all the stories. I was skeptical at first when Philp A. Lee described the story as a "amusing yarn". I was even more skeptical at the pulpy title. Then I got to it and started reading. I don't how, I don't know why, but words flowed easily for me and I could hear the distinct voice of the protagonist in my head. The way the writer expressed the protagonist's personality stood out more than any other story for me. I had a good time and I was sad when it was over.


Unfortunately, there's one more story I will like to talk about. This one is not from a new writer.

MOVING FOWARD by Daniel Isberner

I flipped straight to Moving Forward after it was mentioned in the Commander's Call. I was excited to see what was going on in the Scorpion Empire. I was disappointed. This was the most disappointed short story in Issue #6. This is the most disappointing BattleTech short story I ever read. I won't get into spoilers. The plot of Moving Forward warrants a novella at the least. It does not work as a short story. The stakes are too high. The mussels, too delectably interesting to get so little screen time. If TPTB are reading this and if Daniel Isberner is willing, I implore that this story be greatly expanded upon. Moving Forward in its current state is a disservice to Clan Goliah Scorpian. That is all.
"My mother told me to never throw stones at Davions. But my father told me, aim for their heads." - Daoshen Liao

DarkISI

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #114 on: 19 September 2021, 05:07:41 »
Unfortunately, there's one more story I will like to talk about. This one is not from a new writer.

MOVING FOWARD by Daniel Isberner

I flipped straight to Moving Forward after it was mentioned in the Commander's Call. I was excited to see what was going on in the Scorpion Empire. I was disappointed. This was the most disappointed short story in Issue #6. This is the most disappointing BattleTech short story I ever read. I won't get into spoilers. The plot of Moving Forward warrants a novella at the least. It does not work as a short story. The stakes are too high. The mussels, too delectably interesting to get so little screen time. If TPTB are reading this and if Daniel Isberner is willing, I implore that this story be greatly expanded upon. Moving Forward in its current state is a disservice to Clan Goliah Scorpian. That is all.

An interesting takeaway from the story.
If you haven't read it yet, I think you should take a look at this:
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=de&tl=en&u=https://hpgstation.de/2021/09/11/fuer-die-eridani-light-horses-schreiben-spoilergefahr/

Original link (google free):
https://hpgstation.de/2021/09/11/fuer-die-eridani-light-horses-schreiben-spoilergefahr/

But a few additional words: the Scorpion Empire isn't center stage right now. It is way out in the Deep Periphery. That means, there are two possible ways this story was going to happen: as a short story in Shrapnel, or not at all.
Right now, the focus lies elsewhere and novellas and novels require a lot more work during all stages of the process. That would take away precious time from other products more important to the general state of the story. The Scorpion Empire is already getting a lot of screen time with all the little products Geoff has in the queue right now. He put time and effort in to turn the Scorpions into what they are. But that also means they are already binding resources. There are only so many resources justifiable to throw at them.
A novel or even a novella isn't in the cards right now. We did include a lot of possible story hooks in that one. The reestablishment of Göttingen alone can be full blown novel, in theory. But again, that would bind too many resources. So, instead, it is a really nice plot hook for fans to play a campaign on.
Right now, a short story is really the best that could be done to move the Scorpion Empire into the ilClan era.
I tried to put as much exposition into it as possible without tripping that invisible line of too much exposition and too little time for the story. For you, I think I crossed the line into the wrong direction. I am sorry for that, but it is a fine line to walk on and I did the best I could with the situation in front of me.
Still, the fact that you want more and actually would like me to be the one to do it, means, to me, it wasn't my writing or the story (at least not directly) but an understandable dissatisfaction with the what is doable right now. I scratch that one down on the plus side on my part. As far as your dissatisfaction goes, I scratch that one down on the negative side. Seems like a fair way to deal with it.
German novelist and part time Battletech writer.


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"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

Hotham

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #115 on: 19 September 2021, 12:39:23 »
I understand. Time and resources being what they are while BattleTech is booming again. I did not mean to sound too harsh. It is not a bad story. It just seemed like a compilation of the the most critical scenes from larger plot. I'm interested in reading more when there is time to tell it.
"My mother told me to never throw stones at Davions. But my father told me, aim for their heads." - Daoshen Liao

DarkISI

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #116 on: 19 September 2021, 12:51:52 »
I understand. Time and resources being what they are while BattleTech is booming again. I did not mean to sound too harsh. It is not a bad story. It just seemed like a compilation of the the most critical scenes from larger plot. I'm interested in reading more when there is time to tell it.

You weren't too harsh. I understand where you came from.
Also, who am I to tell people what they are to like and not to like? Even if you hated the story from the bottom of your heart, it would be fair. Because taste is totally subjective.
I just wanted to point out why the story is written the way it is written. :)
German novelist and part time Battletech writer.


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"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

five_corparty

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #117 on: 19 September 2021, 21:57:19 »
I've only read half the book so far, and I -tend- to not review the "not-fiction," so i apologize up-front to all the world writers and stuff because, overall, that has been GREAT as well, and enjoyable!

Paper Tiger
Okay, like the above review, I think this is a quintessential BattleTech story.  It captures everything about the universe while making it easy for a new reader to get in.  Seriously, TPTB could do a lot worse than to make THIS story the one that goes in the IS box set, it's simply that good.  One thing I love: the BAR.  This story SHOWS this is a SCI FI UNIVERSE, with a mech arm decorating the bar.  I'm as guilty as MANY writers, I forget to enhance the other-worldliness of space a LOT, so I LOVE it when it's shown and shown well.

Point of view
I'm at odds and ends on this one, probably solely because it followed Paper Tiger, which was SO damn good.  I liked this story, but also thought nothing jumped out at me about it?
that SAID: as a WRITER, I'm going to go back and tear it apart.  Schmetzer does a FANTASTIC job of maintaining the POVs, you know EXACTLTY where everyone is at every moment, the "camera" stays on the action- THIS is, on a TECHNINICAL level, one of the best written stories in the book.  While the plot didn't make me jump up and down, personally (and that's okl) the writing is worth studying if you're a journeyman (like me) and want to keep getting better at the trade.

Victor C
GAWD, a great mech and fun write up.  more, plz!

Almost Sounds like the guns themselves
Whoooo.  This one was deep, and well done.  Again, it emphasized the other-worldliness of the universe: random civil wars, nobles, ship-breaking a SPACESHIP (dropship) and then, PTSD.  Something we don't see a lot of in BattleTech these days- and I get it.  The original novels were written with Vietnam / cold war in mind, and have that 70s-early 90's pulp Milsci-fic vibe to them, while modern stuff is influenced by the forever war.  However, all of that said, the BattleTech universe is one of constant WAR, and the consequences make great fiction occasionally, but aren't the main course.  like a soup you don't eat very often - wedding, or minestrone.  Great when you encounter it, would be lousy for everyday.
I also, personally, feel it's too easy to do PTSD WRONG, which is why I'm leery of stories that tackle it, but this one knocks it out of the park.  I'm not going to lie and say it's my favorite of the book - I do read these Magazines to be entertained, after all! ha ha - but it's a bloody well-written story, and well worth the read.

I AM confused by house arrano (sp?)  I don't play the game, so i couldn't put these worlds on the map if you spotted me the Great House!  I'm happy for the fans that love it, but I wish TPTB will decide if they're canon or not, and if so, crank out a few more products about them.  I'm just really on the fence about it- I want to embrace it, but I've seen too many units /people capture a world/space-station/whatever and then get granted "faction" status only to see them wiped off the map a year later.  I dunno.  just my take.  Darn good read, ignore my rant.  :-)

One Door Closes
Hmm, another one I'm on the fence about.  As I've put in other reviews, we've seen the cliché "let's put a band together and start a merc unit" story done a million times before, and, personally, unless there's something new about it, I kinda glaze over.   that SAID, BLP hits all the familiar beats PERFECTLY?  Characters we care about, insight about Terra just after the battle, intel-intrigue (which I LOVED)- it's like watching a really good Netflix heist movie.  it's nothing you haven't seen before, but you can appreciate it and the craftsmanship in it for what it is.  Again, just my take, a LOT of people love these kinds of stories, so if you do, you're in for an enjoyable ride.

Devil's Due
Whoo, talk about another heavy one.  SUCH a good story that I didn't have high hopes for in the beginning, but once the narrator settled in and started his tale, it just FLOWED (I guess it was the difference in writing third person POV and 1st for the author?  he could HEAR the narrator better in first person, is my guess)  And MAN, I thought I knew where this was going, another clichéd last survivor story and it WAS but it WASN'T and that makes me HAPPY, when an author takes my expectation and then kinda... bends it.  VERY GOOD STUFF.

Diamandis' Dogs
Halfway through, I had to doublecheck and make sure this wasn't a "Hammer's Slammers" story, that's the vibe of this story, and I mean that as a compliment in the best way possible!  A story that starts out with a tragedy, and THEN, in something we don't see often enough, the woman turns BITTER.  A lot of nobles in the BattleTech universe start scheming or using their power to undermine their leader, and HERE, we get something DIFFERENT. A noble woman who just says, "no.  the Steiners did me dirty, so they can kiss my noble butt."  It's another story that emphasizes the otherworldliness of the universe, talking about palaces and castles and things we just don't live in that often here on Terra these days, and then wrapped all up in a BRUTAL David Drake style "fight our way out" story.  GOOD STUFF. THEN: I'm expecting the kid to keep it going, to keep the rage in her heart and she JUST WALKS AWAY.  her dad brought her up right and SHE SELLS HER Mech! which we forget, can buy you a whole new life in those days!  I LOVE IT.  A "it's time to let the hate go" story?? You NEVER see that!! WELL DONE!

Battlecorps burned me too many times, so i don't read stories until the whole series is out, now.  So, craig's story will have to wait!

Moving Forward
Like above, I think my biggest complaint about this story is I wish it had been LONGER.  This story, the one about the MechWarrior claiming the Kell bloodname a shrapnel or two ago: it's like, these are HUGE stories that have big effects on the universe, and they're "blink and you miss it" gone.  that SAID, I have ZERO complaints about the story!  love the setting, the characters, EVERYTHING about it except the forced tempo which, as the author said, wasn't fully on him.  So, i'll take this as a WIN: when I get a story i love, written by an author I like, and my biggest complaint is I want MORE? yeah: that's not a bad spot to be in.   :)

I'll post more as I finish it up, but overall, super happy with this issue.  and the COVER?? OHMYGAWD.  STUNNING.  and the art on page 150?  I'm working on something and I'm required to send in art notes and I, like, want to say "PLZ PLZ PLZ have whoever drew that picture draw this!"  I dunno WHY I love it so much, it just has a retro vibe while still being a technically amazing piece, i guess!

Anywhoo, until next time!

Mendrugo

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #118 on: 19 September 2021, 22:24:18 »

Victor C
GAWD, a great mech and fun write up.  more, plz!

The Victor C given to the second notable pilot (after he lost his Highlander) is the one from the cover of CityTech 2nd Edition (reused for the new TacOps), which shows it being captured by Clan Wolf.
« Last Edit: 20 September 2021, 02:55:58 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.

FenderSaxbey

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Re: My thoughts on the latest issue of Shrapnel
« Reply #119 on: 19 September 2021, 22:53:16 »
I've been watching that artist on the BattleTech Reddit for a while and cannot echo five's excitement enough. They are killing it with the new art in a style you could swear you saw in the 1987 Mercenaries Handbook. Just can't get enough of that.