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Author Topic: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...  (Read 489 times)

Sartris

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So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« on: 09 January 2021, 13:22:22 »
Colt had the au-damn-dacity to suggest that I take one for the team and make some summaries for this... commented upon trilogy (the Sarna summary sections are stubs so I may just)

Honestly I’ve never read them so I just go along with the joke. Well until now anyway. I started A Silence in the Heavens last night and got through the first 70 pages or so (about all I’m good for in one sitting before my Dog-From-Up-ADHD kicks in and I have to chase after something else)

What makes these novels widely regarded as stinkers? I mean the prose is less than elegant... the shift between four clause sentences and super choppy short ones is jarring but survivable. The writing duo does do that thing I hate (Stackpole did this too in the bok novels) where the POV character has two paragraphs of internal monologue in the middle of a conversation. Also that there are two whole mechs on northwind is hilariously absurd. But I don’t consider these kinds of things to be fatal flaws that relegate books to be near the very worst. The characters are ok - the novel so far meets my critical threshold of not being annoyed by the main characters in the first quarter of the book.

So what’s the deal? Don’t worry about spoilers. I don’t care. Beyond the action of the characters themselves I already know the contours of the story. My professional training is as a historian where we blow any sense of suspense in the introduction anyway  ;D

FaithBomb

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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #1 on: 09 January 2021, 16:57:54 »











I think I might have to go back and re-read the whole trilogy, as it has been years since I've read them.








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DarkISI

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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #2 on: 09 January 2021, 17:34:15 »
Just wait for the Mechs to perform handstands, run hot from moving the little toe and dance waltz. Not kidding here (at least not by much).
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Sharpnel

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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #3 on: 10 January 2021, 05:31:48 »
After 'Ruins of Paper', this trilogy are the three worst books written about the Dark Age. Even Mike Moscoe's book is better.
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hf22

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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #4 on: 10 January 2021, 05:44:09 »
Its, ah, not actually that bad?

Overheating 'Mechs after a brisk walk and general dislike of the Clickytech setting seems to drive most of the dislike for the early Dark Age novels. Plus they tended to be longer than the classic novels, which probably didn't help.

vaderi

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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #5 on: 11 January 2021, 23:33:39 »
The first book is fine, nothing special, not great writing and bog average quality. The problems really become obnoxious in the second book with major character shifts with no buildup and other issues.

Also there is about 1 good battle and its in the first book I think. Its been a while since I read these. At least there is less mech Gymnastics than a Grey Death Legion book.
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DarkISI

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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #6 on: 12 January 2021, 15:57:35 »
I would not say less, but the original GDL books can defend themselves with "early installment weirdness". Proving Grounds cannot ;)
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Lorcan Nagle

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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #7 on: 12 January 2021, 17:51:40 »
It's the handstand, and that's about it.  One page out of three novels, and they're derided as the worst books ever.

That isn't to say they're good, because they're not - but they're mediocre rather than offensively bad, there are far worse novels in the Dark Age line.  I think a big part of their bad rep is that relatively few hardcore fans have read the Dark Age books, and the early ones got a disproportionate amount of attention and therefore more ire than later ones.

(for the record, I'd put The Ruins of Power and Phadera WeldonIlsa Bick's Dragon's Fury books as worse than the Proving Grounds trilogy without a moment's thought)
« Last Edit: 13 January 2021, 11:25:47 by Lorcan Nagle »
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roosterboy

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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #8 on: 12 January 2021, 17:54:41 »
Phadera Weldon's Dragon's Fury

Ilsa Bick's

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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #9 on: 12 January 2021, 18:27:47 »
It's the handstand, and that's about it.  One page out of three novels, and they're derided as the worst books ever.

that Pack Hunter is doing way more than just one handstand. But it doesn't stop there.
Mechs get overbearingly hot by moving a single foot, which is taking the whole heat thing to 15.
But even if you ignore that: Terra is only defended by ... nothing, I think? Not a single Battlemech? Just ... nothing.
That's really what screws the pooch for me. You can invade Terra with a single Lance and if the Highlanders don't come to the rescue, you could win!
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Lorcan Nagle

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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #10 on: 12 January 2021, 18:31:09 »
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Sartris

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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #11 on: 15 January 2021, 11:26:21 »
i'm up to part 4 (where the steel wolves land on northwind). kerensky sucks as a character - she's just a bundle of all the tired clan + bad girl tropes. also seeing TASSA KAY every other page cheapens the value of the alter ego... especially when the primary difference between the two sides appears to be bar clothes

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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #12 on: 15 January 2021, 17:44:10 »
And yet, I still enjoyed them more than Hour of the Wolf
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Sartris

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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #13 on: 15 January 2021, 18:19:29 »
you've mentioned that you didn't like it, yeah

DarkISI

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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #14 on: 16 January 2021, 02:59:54 »
This thread is not about Hour of the Elf, though. So let's stay focused on the books it's actually about :)
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Re: So the Proving Grounds Trilogy...
« Reply #15 on: 16 January 2021, 03:11:07 »
It's the handstand, and that's about it.  One page out of three novels, and they're derided as the worst books ever.

That isn't to say they're good, because they're not - but they're mediocre rather than offensively bad, there are far worse novels in the Dark Age line.  I think a big part of their bad rep is that relatively few hardcore fans have read the Dark Age books, and the early ones got a disproportionate amount of attention and therefore more ire than later ones.

(for the record, I'd put The Ruins of Power and Phadera WeldonIlsa Bick's Dragon's Fury books as worse than the Proving Grounds trilogy without a moment's thought)

I genuinely wished Ruins of Power was better. I like the concept and setup of a power hungry legate and the propaganda minister deciding to manipulate the media and throw off the Republic.
Unfortunately, it’s some of the worst writing ever.


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