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Thread: What Are You Reading?

  1. #41

    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Or maybe I'm confusing the novel with a JRPG and seeing things that aren't there. Either way, the book's back in "good" territory right now, but no idea if it'll stay there.
    Oh, pointless filler masquerading as character development. Wherever would the likes of Naruto be without you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Okay, I'm overgeneralizing, but it seems so often with military sci-fi in books and movies that fleshing out antagonists has become taboo bar "they're here, time to shoot them." Even an 'evil' faction/species can still be a fleshed out one, but so often in the genre, I'm not even granted that privilige.
    My experience is usually the opposite. Mostly I'm thinking of the Worldwar series by Harry Turtledove, but the aliens or enemy are usually explored, or have a character that acts as a face for the rest of his faction. And then there's the novels where the enemies are just more humans, like in the Honor Harrington series.

    Meanwhile, 'faceless alien hordes' is usually reserved for... um... wot's the word in "Speaker For The Dead" for an alien race that can't be communicated with? An example would be Joe Haldeman's "Forever War", in which finally understanding the alien race is what brings about the end of the war. The aliens being beyond our understanding can be used as an effective trope, and I just have been fortunate enough not to run into many book examples of it being used wrong.
    Starship Troopers might be an example of the latter, as the bugs aren't explored at all and the book is mostly a tour through an idealized militaristic society.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Movie-wise, for every Oblivion and Avatar, there's a Battle: Los Angeles and Battleship. Bookwise, for every War of the Worlds, there's a plenthora of Lost Fleet novels. It seems that in military sci-fi in books and films, there's a predisposition to make it black versus white with aliens being as evil and undeveloped as possible.
    Oh, looked up "Lost Fleet" on TVTropes, and it looks like a series I'd enjoy.
    As for movies, I'd agree that the aliens are more likely to be faceless bugs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    2005? Huh. I still have my old Sonic the Hedgehog books from the 1990s tucked away on my shelves.
    One of these days, I'll get around to reading those Myst novels on my bookshelf. Maybe even play the games too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Um...

    Okay, slight tangent, but I think "grimdark" is a phrase that gets used far too often. "Grimdark" is, IMO, "fiction where the situation is grim and generally unpleasant. What distinguishes grimdark from just plain "gritty" however, is that in grimdark, a requirement of the setting is that the protagonists do not possess the means and/or motives to change the setting for the better, but rather, the best the reader can hope for is a maintenance of the status quo, rather than improving the status quo."
    I agree, mostly because I just read a review that accused Man of Steel of being 'grimdark'. Or maybe it's our definition that needs reworking. After all, TVTropes does list it as a synonym for "Darker and edgier".

    The problem is that, whatever is happening to Halo, I lack the proper word to describe it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Except the Flood has to start off from scratch in both places. So the Covenant is the closest thing to a galaxy-spanning empire, and humanity has its NOVA bombs. It's a smaller conflict, but in terms of 'power level,' it kind of balances each other out.
    I had a huge wall of text here, but it got eaten by the site.
    So, here goes take two. Only it's not a wall of text because I've broken it into paragraphs. Crenelation of text, then.

    The thing is, there's no such thing as "immunity to the Flood". If you're unarmored, you're free game for the infection forms. If you've got power armor, spores and the Flood Super Cell are probably abrasive and corrosive. If you've got shielding, the Flood probably has other tricks up its sleeve. Same principle applies to tanks and ships. All you can do is increase the time and effort the Flood must spend to defeat you.

    Anyhow, we've seen one instance where the Flood was stemmed before it got serious. In the first game, a mixed group of Grunts, Elites, and Jackals accidentally released a lot of infection forms, but managed to lock down the other stasis chambers and possibly eliminate the escaped Flood. They were surprised, but the Flood was in a closed environment with little cover, and the Covenant were armed to the teeth.

    As soon as the Flood escapes into the environment, we've only seen a few ways of dealing with it: Nuke them, glass them, or drop them into a gas giant.
    A NOVA bomb and the armadas that can be fielded by a galaxy-spanning empire will stop a Flood infestation of a planet or a solar system, but I'm not sure about what happens after the Flood get ahold of a slipspace drive. Is the Covenant Armada big enough to defend all of their territory, or pursue the Flood beyond their borders? Can they stop the Flood from reaching a planet, considering that sufficiently advanced slipspace drives can transition in-atmosphere over populated areas?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Eh, don't worry. Honestly, by this point, I was expecting Gradius or Turalyon to come in yelling "wait a minute, how can you criticize the derping of the Flood/Gravemind, yet be okay with the derping of the zerg/Overmind!?" And to that I say...um...
    *Takes notes for future blog post*

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    So yeah, I don't think "hypocrite" is a word that necessitates usage right now. But you did kind of nail it with the whole Flood turning the Forerunners' strengths against them. So with Flood going from "we win because we can use your strengths against you" to "we win because there were all these Precursor artifacts lying around," can they really be called "the Flood" anymore? They're not really 'flooding' their foe, but rather just building dams and whatnot.
    Well, they're still overwhelming with numbers and capturing ships. As far as I understand, the Star Roads are for preventing transition to slipspace and mucking up physics so that the Forerunner can't put up an effective defense.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    I have the same problem as you. In an action series, you have to hate the villain and love the good guys. Hard to do when the bad guys are simply on another side or "just plain evil." From what I can tell though, there's plenty of military sci fi that rises above this, or, if it doesn't, its not really about the combat anyways but more about the effect on the characters.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    On an unrelated side note, I never knew how many space horror books there were. Up until now I had thought that movies like Event Horizon, Pandemonium and games like Dead Space were unique, but, nope, there's books just like them. Go figure. I'm not even sure if Alien or Predator are all that unique anymore, and, if not, I don't even know who I am.
    How about reversing it?
    Hidden Content:


    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling View Post
    What do you think about Halo: The Flood?
    I'm with Hawki. The shortcomings of the novel stem from the fact that Dietz was probably mandated to include novelized portions of the game. Unfortunately, even Dietz's additions to the novelized portions didn't improve it. Reading about Zuka 'Zamamee trying to take revenge upon the Chief was like reading a Wile E Coyote cartoon.

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling View Post
    I think the Kilo-Five novels have a purpose somewhat as they give an explanation about the Covenant Remnants, despite it being the most absurd thing ever. And Halo: The Fall of Reach, well I sadly can't read it anymore as it has been retconned into oblivion by its' game version, Halo: The Retcon of Reach.
    To be honest, this bugged me back then. But now? I'm over it. Washed it over with headcanon and found a way to enjoy Reach and its characters.

    And no, that's not going to happen with Halo 4.

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling View Post
    I am quite sure that the Gravemind is the same Gravemind from the Forerunner war, and I am curious to see how that is achieved. Maybe Flood infection-forms contain a large amount of information, allowing the old Gravemind to transmit data to the Infection Forms, then when a new Gravemind is created, the Infection Forms transmit information to the new Gravemind.
    You mean genetic memory?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    It's technically a retcon, but it was handled well IMO, and certainly the notion of Reach falling over time works far better than confining the game to a far shorter period of time.
    I dunno. Falling in a day seems too short, but a month seems too long. I think you could gut the scale of Halo: Reach to one week, and it would work perfectly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    If there's one thing that's going to get me garotted it's probably this but I'll say it anyway...I like Alien 3.

    Now before the wire reaches my skin,
    Garrote wires? What kind of barbarians do you take us for?
    The thing is, piano wire is to human skin what a dull knife is to a block of American cheese. Messy, sticky, and you're better off using something else. Personally, I'd recommend a thin radiator belt.

    Anyhow, I don't mind Alien3 all that much either, but I haven't seen it in at least seven years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Actually, it was Bungie who carried out the Forerunners aren't humans retcon, and it shows. Halo 3 treats them like they're the same, while the Iris viral campaign and terminals make it clear that they're separate. While I'm not fond of how 343 has put humanity on a pedastal in the setting, or how no distinction is made between the "old" and "new" Covenant, I can't blame them for a retcon Bungie itself carried out.
    Not to mention how Forerunner seem to be listed separately from Reclaimers and Humans in the Beastarium.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    And technically it's a retcon that only occurred during development, rather than retconning stuff that was in the story/lore itself prior to H3, which is where two "proofs" are presented and up until Bungie clarified things, we were left wondering which account was true. It's not so much a retcon as rather two sets of information being presented at the same time.
    We still have two sets of information, really, given "You are Forerunner... but this ring is mine."
    Overall, I'm more comfortable with "Humans =/= Forerunner", because the idea of ancient Humans is one I'm getting tired of. The fact that we once had a galaxy-spanning empire and now we get to reclaim it sounds like entitlement. Like we are having greatness thrust upon us. Like we are growing into an empire that we don't deserve.

    But that's alright, because we aren't really Forerunner. We're just some dumb species that might be distantly related, and some Forerunner have bequeathed what relics they can spare to us.

    Only our ancestors fought a border war with the Forerunner. And apparently, we were so awesome, we were more of a threat than the Flood.

    Sigh...

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling View Post
    Okay, wait. I think I know why humans got retconned from Forerunners into enemies of the Forerunners. Its' so the Covenant could have an excuse to fight humans.
    If that's the reason, it's a pretty crappy one. I can come up with three more right now, not even counting "Jingoistic Inertia".

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling View Post
    If they were the gods they were worshipping, well, you'd have to have the Flood in Halo 4...
    Or various Covenant factions that decided that the Forerunner couldn't be all that holy and mighty if they were the Humans who they'd been exterminating for the past few decades.
    Or Covenant factions who simply refused to believe that Humans are Forerunner.

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling View Post
    No but really wait, how could there be so many Covenant loyalist ships? Aren't Sangheili unable to even farm post-Covenant? And didn't pretty much all their fleet except Shadow of Intent go down at the Ark?
    Not. At all.

    The Covenant suffered massive losses when the Unyielding Heirophant went up, but Jason Jones confirmed that even this catastrophic loss was not enough to hinder the search for Earth or Delta Halo. The reserve fleet guarding High Charity was the largest anyone has ever seen.

    In short, it's pretty safe to assume that the ships in the battle over the Ark were NOT the only ones that the Loyalists or the Separatists had left. They were just the only ones in-system that weren't caught up in the fighting over Earth.

    Until 343i retconned it, I would have guessed that the various Covenant factions have vastly more warships, materiel, and soldiers than the humans do at the end of Halo 3.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    The longest, most interesting discussions always involve things I've never read.
    Now you know how I feel when anybody talks about Game of Thrones. =D

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    Gonna hafta make a big long list of the books I've read, find one someone has read, and then latch on to that
    Was planning to do that myself, really.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    I said Kai Leng made for a servicable antagonist, and that stems from Mass Effect 3. In ME3, the Reapers themselves are the main antagonists. Kai Leng is a servant of them. Ergo, he doesn't need to be fleshed out or complex in the same way Saren was.
    He DOES need boss battles that don't rely on plot armor and cheap tricks, though.

    Will say this, though. Killing him the second time around was hands down the best boss battle I've ever fought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    -There are/were jiralhanae in his faction going by Spartan Assault. Dunno where they were in Halo 4, but meh.
    Oh, where'd you hear that? I'm frackin' starved for information on that game!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Ah yes, Colonial Marines. And Hicks. A case where as fun as it was to play alongside him, I have to admit his survival was, in a word, stupid!.
    Take comfort, for it could have been even more stupid.
    Check your brains at the door, folks, and keep that alcohol handy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    Spark's declaration of "you are Forerunner" is still a sore thumb (and in both H3 and 4, John's reaction seems to be "huh, okay" rather than questioning either Spark or the Librarian)
    First time around is forgivable, since Spark had gone rampant and is about to kill the Cheif.

    Second time around is par for the course. No cease-fire with the Elites? A lot can happen in four years. We're meatpuppets dancing along to the Librarian's tune? Eh. We found another Halo? Well, it wouldn't be a Halo game without it, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    (As an aside, Quirel was right in that in Primordium, it's indeed foreshadowed that the Precursors intend to 'test' humanity in the timeframe as the games. But then I'm left wondering - if the original trilogy was the test, then why does the Gravemind never refer to it as such? And if the 'test' is yet to come in the Reclaimer Trilogy, again, what were the Flood doing back then? Is it a case where the Flood and Precursors are now separate entities? If so...well, I actually like that idea.
    Honestly, I have a hard time reconciling the idea that the Flood are a test with the outbreaks on Alpha Halo, Delta Halo, and the Micro-Mini-Wannabe-Dyson Shell. The outbreaks were too spontaneous to be tests; the original Flood seemed to be deliberately introduced. I think that it's fairly likely that, whatever the Precursors' nefarious plans were, they were aborted by the firing of the Halo Array.

    Here's another thought: what if the Gravemind is not only Precursor, but it the memories and identities of countless sapient individuals assimilated by the Flood? Perhaps after a hundred thousand years of isolation, the Precursors no longer have a full say in the path the Flood takes? Perhaps the Gravemind now exists to perpetuate what was done to it?

    Great. Now I can't stop thinking of these guys:


    Quote Originally Posted by Hawki View Post
    If the Precursors are GLaDOS, the Flood are Chell - silent, deadly, and say "screw you" to testing, we're gonna do our own thing!)
    Actually, I think the Flood are Wheatley. They were built with a purpose, but now they're off the rails, and they're a slave to their design.

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling View Post
    The Flood came out 2 years after Combat Evolved. Fall of Reach came out basically at the same time.
    Wrong, actually. Fall of Reach was released a few weeks before Halo: CE.

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling View Post
    How could they be so religious, if they weren't on High Charity, Delta Halo or a ship surrounding it?
    Wow. That's like asking how the Pashtun or Malaysians could be so devoutly Muslim if they don't live near Mecca.

    In any case, there's plenty of room for apostates, heretics, and splinter denominations that would keep their distance from High Charity, quietly reject the Prophets as spiritual leaders, or not have the money and political pull to get front-row seats on Delta Halo. In fact, it seemed like the Covenant initially believed that they would be swept up onto the Great Journey, regardless of their physical proximity to Delta Halo.

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling View Post
    I couldn't help but laugh when the Arbiter was out-numbered by the pro-Covenant. What the? How in GOD'S NAME do the religious Covenant outnumber the Separatists? Especially when the Separatists wiped out the Covenant fleet that outnumbered them three-to-one and still have Shadow of Intent.
    In one battle.

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling View Post
    Yeah nice, destroy humans' planets for thirty years then bitch about them expanding.
    Bad writing and well-established Elite hypocrisy.

    Right, now that that's all settled, will bring up a new book tomorrow.

  2. #42

    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    The thing is, there's no such thing as "immunity to the Flood". If you're unarmored, you're free game for the infection forms. If you've got power armor, spores and the Flood Super Cell are probably abrasive and corrosive. If you've got shielding, the Flood probably has other tricks up its sleeve. Same principle applies to tanks and ships. All you can do is increase the time and effort the Flood must spend to defeat you.
    Sergeant Johnson and Jenkins say otherwise.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTkqFFeXPTg

    Anyhow, we've seen one instance where the Flood was stemmed before it got serious. In the first game, a mixed group of Grunts, Elites, and Jackals accidentally released a lot of infection forms, but managed to lock down the other stasis chambers and possibly eliminate the escaped Flood. They were surprised, but the Flood was in a closed environment with little cover, and the Covenant were armed to the teeth.
    Nope... The Flood hid from the marines, so they could ambush them. They left the non-Elite Covenant alive on purpose, likely.

    I'm with Hawki. The shortcomings of the novel stem from the fact that Dietz was probably mandated to include novelized portions of the game. Unfortunately, even Dietz's additions to the novelized portions didn't improve it. Reading about Zuka 'Zamamee trying to take revenge upon the Chief was like reading a Wile E Coyote cartoon.
    laughed so hard... Yes, the best part was when a Grunt holds him hostage.

    I dunno. Falling in a day seems too short, but a month seems too long. I think you could gut the scale of Halo: Reach to one week, and it would work perfectly.
    Well, it probably had close to the entire UNSC fleet if you believe the Reach retcons. That and, dozens of Spartans.

    Only our ancestors fought a border war with the Forerunner. And apparently, we were so awesome, we were more of a threat than the Flood.
    And we were in an alliance with the Prophets. What the?

    The Covenant suffered massive losses when the Unyielding Heirophant went up, but Jason Jones confirmed that even this catastrophic loss was not enough to hinder the search for Earth or Delta Halo. The reserve fleet guarding High Charity was the largest anyone has ever seen.

    In short, it's pretty safe to assume that the ships in the battle over the Ark were NOT the only ones that the Loyalists or the Separatists had left. They were just the only ones in-system that weren't caught up in the fighting over Earth.

    Until 343i retconned it, I would have guessed that the various Covenant factions have vastly more warships, materiel, and soldiers than the humans do at the end of Halo 3.
    How about when Regret's fleet was blown up? How about when the Covenant fleets were blowing each other up? How about when High Charity was infested? How about when the Flood infested many ships? How about when Lord Hood managed to destroy all but a few of Truth's fleet? How about when most of the loyalist and separatist fleet got blown up? You're not going to say that most of the Covenant fleet was patrolling a moon when the most pivotal events in their history happened?

    What various factions? You do realize that the UNSC went up against half a dozen races with technology far beyond theirs? Now the UNSC has that technology. And also, Earth was far from the last place the UNSC had. ONI evacuated many industrial centres and various other facilities and resources to other colonies, because everyone knew that Earth was discovered. Admiral Cole retired to a small farming colony. Harvest was still probably under UNSC control. Dozens of inner colonies survived. Many outer colonies survived.

    Also of course, the Spartans trapped on Onyx. They could slaughter the remaining Covenant. Jun, any Spartans or people still on Reach (that weren't picked up by MC).

    The UNSC fought the Covenant when they were unknown to them, and if they had a slightly bigger fleet, would have won without the Separatists help (Lord Hood pretty much wiped out all of Truth's fleet at the cost of his own). Now they know their history, their religion, tactics, et cetera.

    You know what? The UNSC would annihilate the Covenant if the war was a ground-battle. If the UNSC territory were all Halos, then the Covenant wouldn't be able to glass them. They would have to engage in a ground-war and lose. So the UNSC can divide and conquer any religious Covenant.

    Also, the Elites weren't scientists and such. The Covenant gave roles to everyone so that no race could survive alone.

    Wow. That's like asking how the Pashtun or Malaysians could be so devoutly Muslim if they don't live near Mecca.

    In any case, there's plenty of room for apostates, heretics, and splinter denominations that would keep their distance from High Charity, quietly reject the Prophets as spiritual leaders, or not have the money and political pull to get front-row seats on Delta Halo. In fact, it seemed like the Covenant initially believed that they would be swept up onto the Great Journey, regardless of their physical proximity to Delta Halo.
    Yeah, I'm talking about how all the 'religious' Covenant weren't at Delta Halo. Where were they when the genocide of their species was underway? Or the most pivotal events of the whole last thousand years? Patrolling a moon?

    Wrong, actually. Fall of Reach was released a few weeks before Halo: CE.
    Didn't you read what I said? I said that basically, it came out at the same time, compared to The Flood. He said that Halo: The Flood is to promote Combat Evolved, but Reach was the novel that came out around the game. So I was curious why there had to be so many game parts if it came out long afterwards.

  3. #43

    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    A'right, Lester. Seeing as how this has expanded past the original topic of the thread, and people might still want to talk about books, you mind moving this to PMs?

  4. #44

    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Note: Responding with limited connectivity, and with a Mac rather than a PC (boo, hiss). Dividing responses in accordance with subject.

    DC Universe

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    I agree, mostly because I just read a review that accused Man of Steel of being 'grimdark'. Or maybe it's our definition that needs reworking. After all, TVTropes does list it as a synonym for "Darker and edgier".
    Haven't seen Man of Steel, but while it does seem to be going down the "darker and edgier" route (which I can't complain about in itself, after seeing Arrow), it doesn't fit grimdark territory IMO. Zod is defeated, by Superman. The kryptonians are defeated, by Superman. At least some people in the world have a hero to look up to, which, at the end of the day, is what Superman is about IMO (Superman = hope, Batman = justice, Wonder Woman = truth, to quote Linkara). The status quo is salvaged by the actions of the protagonists rather than kept plain grim and static.

    Halo

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling
    How could they be so religious, if they weren't on High Charity, Delta Halo or a ship surrounding it?
    Um, the same way Christians can be religious without living in the Vatican, or Muslims can be religious without visiting Mecca. Or that even in the Covenant itself religion is strong well outside High Charity, as in, pilgrimiges were taken to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling
    I couldn't help but laugh when the Arbiter was out-numbered by the pro-Covenant. What the? How in GOD'S NAME do the religious Covenant outnumber the Separatists? Especially when the Separatists wiped out the Covenant fleet that outnumbered them three-to-one and still have Shadow of Intent.
    Those Covenant aren't necessarily religious, or at least, religion isn't their sole factor of motivation. They can resent him playing nice with the humans for instance - religion isn't the be all and end all of motivation.

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling
    Yeah nice, destroy humans' planets for thirty years then bitch about them expanding.
    As the saying goes, "bad guys don't see themselves as bad guys." Or to put it another way, "we do not see things as they are, we see things as we are." Different cultures hold different regard for different things. As sangheili are a warrior species, they'd hold such expansion as the greater evil because it's anethema to their culture. It's the same reason the UEG sees Innies as the "bad guys" and vice versa, or why in TOS, the klingons and Federation hate each other for doing the same thing in the same way with the same goal, and calling the other side the "bad guys" all the while. Overall, I found Jul's reactions realistic. People get more worked up when things affect them on the personal level than the wider level.

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling
    That makes things utterly ridiculous. Did 343 Industries play Halo 2? Did they play Halo 3?
    Presumably. But Jul's faction is one of many. Their mission statement is that humans have to be stopped, and that the Prophets preached a false version of a true religion. Obviously the Arbiter's faction would resent jiralhanae, and likely the Servants of the Abiding Truth would as well, but Jul's motivations being what they are, he could squeeze in jiralhanae if he wanted to.

    Again, Jul's faction is one of many. It's as I've said, calling it "the Covenant" was stupid because it gives the implication it's THE Covenant rather than one of many factions that formed after the falling of said Covenant.

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krKZekl_2xM

    at 1:17 (ironically).
    Seriously, that's your evidence? Few pointers to consider:

    -The Arbiter is blasted before Spark declares humans to be Forerunners. In single player, the Arbiter is outside the room when that happens, and when the boss fight happens. There's no evidence if he did hear it.

    -If the Arbiter did indeed hear it, it means nothing. The average sangheili only has his word for it. If I claimed to have proof that (insert religion here) was false, how many people would believe me based on my word?

    -Apparently some believe the Arbiter anyway, since he has his own faction. Others, such as those who flock to Jul or Telcam's factions, don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling
    Also to note... In the Halo 3 campaign, Elites say the word Reclaimer around you a lot.
    Sangheili that are part of the Arbiter's faction, and Reclaimer does not equal Forerunner. Again, how many sangheili were on the Ark as opposed to how many sangheili there are in existence?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    A NOVA bomb and the armadas that can be fielded by a galaxy-spanning empire will stop a Flood infestation of a planet or a solar system, but I'm not sure about what happens after the Flood get ahold of a slipspace drive. Is the Covenant Armada big enough to defend all of their territory, or pursue the Flood beyond their borders? Can they stop the Flood from reaching a planet, considering that sufficiently advanced slipspace drives can transition in-atmosphere over populated areas?
    I dunno, but they did a good job at Delta Halo, with only one ship slipping by plus High Charity (and who could stop that?). Point is, humans and Covies have demonstrated means to stop the Flood. Means the Foerunners possessed to the tenth power. In contrast, what we know the Flood don't have nowadays is Precursor tech.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    Overall, I'm more comfortable with "Humans =/= Forerunner", because the idea of ancient Humans is one I'm getting tired of. The fact that we once had a galaxy-spanning empire and now we get to reclaim it sounds like entitlement. Like we are having greatness thrust upon us. Like we are growing into an empire that we don't deserve.
    Ditto.

    [quote=QuirelUntil 343i retconned it, I would have guessed that the various Covenant factions have vastly more warships, materiel, and soldiers than the humans do at the end of Halo 3.[/quote]

    Kinda...but...well, I'll put it this way:

    -Good Handling: Humanity is weak. True, it's got the Infinity and a few ships, but it's bloodied and beaten. The Covenant have more ships and superior ones, but are heavily factionalized, and are generally uninterested in humanity. Jul's got his fleet (which ISN'T named Covenant), but they're one group of many.

    -Bad Handling: Humanity gets magic tech and rebuilding abilities because of reverse-engineering Forerunner tech. Jul's faction is regarded as a reforged Covenant rather than the splinter group it's meant to be. Basically, humanity and the Covenant are at war again, and thanks to humanity's magic buff, is now on the same level.

    Guess which path 343 chose?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    Oh, where'd you hear that? I'm frackin' starved for information on that game!
    They appear in the trailer. Or what looks like them at least.

    The Lost Fleet

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    Oh, looked up "Lost Fleet" on TVTropes, and it looks like a series I'd enjoy.
    Well, more power to you if you do. I personally couldn't get past the first chapter or two before I gave up.

    Myst

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    One of these days, I'll get around to reading those Myst novels on my bookshelf. Maybe even play the games too.
    Having played a bit of Myst, all I can say is, go for the novels. Or at least hope you can find a manual somewhere.

    StarCraft

    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowArchon
    Finally picked up Spectres and started reading.

    God, Ghost was so much better.
    Actually Ghost seems to have followed the general plot, only in Spectres, they cut stuff out. But yeah, I found Spectres to be a letdown. Luckily Kenyon made up for it with The Order.

    Starship Troopers

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    Starship Troopers might be an example of the latter, as the bugs aren't explored at all and the book is mostly a tour through an idealized militaristic society.
    Maybe...while the bugs are faceless, I can understand why they're faceless there - bugs equal commies, idea that soldiers shouldn't question orders, that reasons for war don't matter, etc. While there's not a lot I like or agree with in Starship Troopers, I can't call it outright bad because of those traits. It provokes thought and discussion, and that's worthy of admiration at the end of the day.

    World War

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    My experience is usually the opposite. Mostly I'm thinking of the Worldwar series by Harry Turtledove
    I've read bits and pieces of that. It's true, the Race (apologies if that isn't their actual name) is somewhat fleshed out, and it's interesting as to how and why they operate. But still, it relies on the "humans are special" trope, as in, only humans develop fast enough to jeprodize their colonization plans. Y'know, the same plot point used in the Doom novels, only less fantastical.

    Xenopedia

    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling
    Yeah, what's so grim-dark about the Aliens franchise? Ripley wins and all the aliens die 4/4 out of 4 times. She even survives 3/4 times! She also kills the Queen every movie it appears.
    Quote Originally Posted by LestersPetZergling
    Ordinary woman who's job-experience is sleeping in a tube on a ship. She manages to save Hudson, Hicks et cetera... Then she goes in and solos the Hive. HOW, HOW IS THAT GRIM-DARK?!
    You're citing stories told within the setting rather than the setting itself. By the same logic, the 40K setting isn't grimdark because Black Library novels often have Space Marines winning.

    So, let's look at it. The definition of grimdark is where circumstances are generally unpleasant, and the protagonists have no means to alleviate those circumstances. So, let's look at the examples cited:

    Question: Does the Nostromo incident change anything?

    Answer: No. Weyland-Yutani is never held to account.

    Question: Is the setting of the 22nd century altered by that incident?

    Answer: No. The 22nd century is still a grim place to live. Earth is environmentally ravaged at that point in time. The United Americas and Three World Empire are at each other's throats and the mid-century as the CANC/UNIC cold-war thing, not to mention that W-Y has become so large it has UN representation.

    Question: Does LV-426 change anything?

    Answer: No. W-Y remains in power. Over 300 marines are killed in a cause that ultimately means nothing. W-Y is in the position where the USCMC and W-Y's PMC forces are on relatively equal footing.

    Question: Does the situation get any better?

    Answer: No. By 2209, W-Y basically owns the USCMC. It continues its research, the marines have to perform clean-up duties, which means that everyone from Ripley to Cruz ultimately died for nothing. Then there's that period where Earth is infested by xenomorphs.

    Question: Well, Earth is saved isn't it? Isn't that something?

    Answer: Not when you factor in the Great Deletion, where humanity is reduced to scattered colonies. And by the time the USM comes to power, Earth is a wasteland. Oh, and we had an android genocide in the mix there. Good to know humanity's transcended its boundaries.

    Question: Well, the USM did come to power...and is conducting research on xenomorphs...so...

    Answer: So what? The USM can't control the xenomorphs. And while 24th century lore is sparse in the Xenopedia setting, at the least, the USM is/was in the pocket of the mala'kak.

    Question: But didn't Weyland Yutani fall?

    Answer: Yes. It was bought out by Wal-Mart. The protagonists had nothing to do with it.

    So yeah. I admit, my knowledge of the setting's lore is spread over said setting, and I can't cite every example, but like 40K, while the protagonists can have brief victories, they can never make the setting better for themselves or for others. Oh, and yautja are still hunting their 'ooman prey the entire time. Yay.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist
    I'm not even sure if Alien or Predator are all that unique anymore, and, if not, I don't even know who I am.
    No, they're not. The same way as Jaws isn't that unique as far as monster movies go. Still, it doesn't diminish the effect of the original work historically speaking.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel
    Take comfort, for it could have been even more stupid.
    Check your brains at the door, folks, and keep that alcohol handy.
    Reads pages...

    Y'know what, let the aliens win. It's clear that humanity doesn't have the required dignity to justify continued existance.

  5. #45
    TheEconomist's Avatar Lord of Economics
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    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Well, it's been about four or five months since I last checked in (and this topic died, oooh so prematurely) so here's what I've been up to:

    --- Great ---
    Monster Hunter International - Great action, one of the best books at what it does that I've read. Don't expect too much though and you'll find a great fun thrill ride here.
    Hard Magic - Same as the above, same author, same style, except a steampunk instead of monsters and vampires book.
    Hyperion - Great science fiction, a lot of thought provoking questions and ideas posed, not much in the way of actual self-contained storytelling, in the traditional sense, but I guess that's what the sequels are for. I'm fascinated by the Shrike.
    Before They Are Hanged - Excellent sequel to the Blade Itself. A whole lot better than the first book, and I'm beginning to see why so many people love this author. He's a master of emotional and action packed fight scenes and takes just about every cliche and throws them out the window. His characters are some of the most "different" I've read in a fantasy series in a while.
    Abaddon's Gate - Third book in the Leviathan Wakes series. Great series. One of my favorite. Each book has an awful cliff hanger though, not that that is bad.

    --- Good ---
    Swarm - Decent science fiction book, entertaining, not much else.
    Relic, book 1 of Pendergast series- A detective, monster mystery. Not something interests me much but its the first book in a long line of paranormal mystery novels, not all of them about monsters, so I kind of had to put up with it to get into the series. I still enjoyed it.
    Stormfront, first book of the Harry Dresden series - A book that probably everyone here knows. I had a lot of fun reading it. Lots of humor and action, I plan on continuing this story.
    Drawing of the Three, Book 2 of the Dark Tower series - Great characters, incredibly small world. In fact, it's one of the smallest worlds in a story I've every read. There's like four different locations in the book, but the characters are complex in a Breaking Bad sort of way. Not sure what to make of it though, I do likes mah world builing and complex backstories. The Dark Tower series has always been a series that, on paper, I should really, really enjoy but am never able to really get into. Everyone time I read a review though, it keepd saying, "Get to this book and you're hooked, I was disappointed too but now its my favorite."
    14 - An alright, grown up scooby doo like story about a "gang" of meddling adults who investigate weirdness in their apartment complex, Cthulu-esqueness ensues! Except not really all that great, but definitely entertaining for a fairly short book.


    --- Terrible ---
    1Q84 - Reminds me of everything that has taken me away from Japanese story telling since I began to know better. Read like 500 pages in (less than half of the total), just waiting for something interesting to happen, and, when something, very minor, happened, it hinted at a story I have no interest in continuing. Kept going because I'm a stubborn reader, but it's just not worth it anymore, given its monstrous size.

    -- Reading right now ---
    The Strange Affair of Springed-Heeled Jack - Just started, but it's kind of like a mixture of a detective story, somewhat historically accurate steampunk and a dark rendition of Alice in Wonderland that seems to want to get at the heart of some of the darkest parts of human nature.

    Under The Dome - Monstrous book, had to put to the side for now. Somewhat interesting characters, but more of that "surviving after societal collapse" stuff that I just love so I'll probably continue it someday. It's got its own TV series, which is probably awful, with Hank from Breaking Bad in it.


    --- Plannig to read soon ---
    The Twelve - Sequel to The Passage, a really good post-apocalyptic "vampire" kind of survival story. I make it sound stupid, but it's really great. One of my favorites.
    The Final Empire, Book 1 of the Mistborn trilogy - First audiobook I bought a year ago, kept getting distracted with others. Not sure I want to dig into more Wheel of Time so this seems like another series I could get into.
    The Name of the Wind - Doesn't need an introduction, everyone's talking about it, I hear its great, and it'll probably be my next fantasy book.
    Revelation Space universe, not sure which book - Great big concept science fiction that doesn't mess around with silly little characters. It's all about the big, galactic conflict spanning millions of years. I haven't gotten that far into the universe, but it's where Mass Effect got its story from so I guess it's "Mass Effect done right".
    Halo books - Finaly made the journey back home to mah momma's house and got my Xbox 360 so I can now finally play Halo 4 (which just happned to be on sale for 9$ when I got the Xbox ) which got me into the mood for Halo books. I bought the first one, along with about three StarCraft books in, like, 2004, but got so stuck into Blizzard books that I was never able to get into the Halo books. I don't know where I'll start but probably with the newer stuff since I'm more interested in that right now.
    Last edited by TheEconomist; 11-30-2013 at 12:05 PM.



    Rest In Peace, Old Friend.

  6. #46

    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheEconomist View Post
    Halo books - Finaly made the journey back home to mah momma's house and got my Xbox 360 so I can now finally play Halo 4 (which just happned to be on sale for 9$ when I got the Xbox ) which got me into the mood for Halo books.
    I bought the first one, along with about three StarCraft books in, like, 2004, but got so stuck into Blizzard books that I was never able to get into the Halo books. I don't know where I'll start but probably with the newer stuff since I'm more interested in that right now.
    Start with the new stuff, and the old stuff is going to feel weird. Start with the old stuff, and the new stuff is going to be downright infuriating.
    Or not. Your mileage may vary.

  7. #47
    TheEconomist's Avatar Lord of Economics
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    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Well, I've thoroughly experienced the old stuff, and the new stuff is, well, new and shiny, so I doubt I'll go in order. Any recommendations on where to begin?

    Also, for those that care, I actually decided to go with "The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian" for my next fantasy book. Was in the mood for some action, and fantasy, and I'd had that audiobook for a while so I figure now's the time. Once again, I've somehow talked myself out of The Name of the Wind which I keep promising myself I'll ready but I'm sure I will one day enjoy.



    Rest In Peace, Old Friend.

  8. #48
    Gradius's Avatar Administrator
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    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Leviathan Wakes - One of my favorite books that I've read recently. This book has everything. Big sci fi, vast universe concepts, with lots of action and political intrigue (more greatly expanded upon in the second book). I can't recommend this book enough for the resident StarCraft fans here.
    Read the first 200 pages. Liking the political intrigue and sci-fi concepts. Don't see the similarity to StarCraft though. Does the series ever touch on any alien species at anything more than a superficial level? Still, it's been a while since I read an honest-to-god sci-fi. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I like that it doesn't have too much made-up sci-fi slang, like StarCraft has fringe-squibb, turk, or curve. I hate that crap.
    Last edited by Gradius; 11-30-2013 at 11:05 AM.

  9. #49
    TheEconomist's Avatar Lord of Economics
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    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    Yes, it touches on alien species more towards the end as the proto-molecule assimiliates more biomass and becomes something akin to a fledgling Overmind (have you even heard about the proto-molecule yet? Hope I'm not spoiling anything). In fact, it gets progressively more alien as you get closer to the end. Long sci fi series do so love to drag out the human exposition before they introduce anything alien and The Expanse is currently expected to be about ten books (with a television series coming too). However, it's all worth it, in my opinion. The ending is one of the best action endings I've ever read and reading up until then is worth it just for that. If you enjoyed the Terran/Zerg dynamic of the original StarCraft then you'll enjoy this book more as it progresses. That's why I recommended the series to jaded StarCraft fans but with the caveat that you're not going to get anything of the Protoss/Xel'Naga elements until you start learning about the creators of the molecule in book three. My recommendations to StarCraft fans centers on the disappointing human characters in Wings of Liberty, the overall retardization and demonsterization of the Zerg in StarCraft 2, and even a little bit of the loss of mystery of the races. Book three is interesting in terms of alien species, but you're going to have to go through book two, which if you're expecting more aliens will be a disappointment. That alone may make it no longer the optimal series for you.

    Aftering having talked with you about what you look for in a sci fi series, I'm not sure The Expanse is the right fit. It's everything I said above and I do recommend it to fans of StarCraft, however, I can't really whole heartedly recommend it to you since I know more about what you want personally and I know of a series that I have started that I know would meet your expectations so much better. That series if the revelation space series. It's got plenty of that Terran/Zerg dyanmic that Leviathan Wakes has (even something like an Overmind in there) but it also has the Protoss/Xel'Naga like elements from the very first book. Plus, it goes far beyond that to encompass civilizations far beyond anything in StarCraft, In fact, the Protoss and Xel'Naga look like dumb apes compared to the punk civilizations on the block. Therefore, I'm going to have to say that, if you're specifically looking for something with an alien focus Revelation Space is probably my recommendation to you simply because there's more in there you would want In fact, what I've read on the series focuses almost entirely on aliens with only a small portion dedicated to human civlization. However, what parts of human civilization are touched upon are so advanced and alien that they could easily be said not be human at all. The book itself seems to make major distinctions between the advanced humans and regular humans. These advanced humans being probably the most advanced I've ever heard of humans in a sci fi novel being. Truly, even they are more advanced than the Protoss. That's just the beginning though. There's several races in Revelation Space (even just book one) and each one of interesting and unique.

    The Expanse series is still a great series and I highly recommend it even if you just read book one which is the most well-rounded. I consider it to be crucial sci fi reading, even if book two and three aren't what you're looking for. After Leviathan Wakes, it may be prudent to switch over to Revelation Space. I don't think that'll mess with you too much since Leviathan Wakes is a complete experience in and of itself and I guess you could say the best bang for your time. Book two focuses very heavily on human problems. It's not until book three that you start to return to the larger concepts present in book one. However, book three builds up to a particular moment when the creators of the molecule are supposed to be revealed, but, when it happens, it basically says, "Nope, sorry bud. Gonna hafta wait for book 4." I'm not sure the author can procrastinate anymore given the circumstances under which book three ends. So I entirely expect book four to deliver on that promise, but who knows when that book will be released. Since it seems you're focused more on the alien aspects instead of the human aspects which I found to be the most disappointing part of StarCraft (hence my recommendation) I'd have to recommend Revelation Space to you individually as I can guarantee it has all of these things from the very first book with none of the jerking around in The Expanse series.

    From what I've read some reviews, Iain Bank's Culture series is also something to look into which I may read next after Pandora's Star. It's something you might want to look into as well.


    --- In my neverending quest to search for mind blowing science fiction, I came across this:

    https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/...to_Mass_Effect

    Hope it helps you find something more in tune with your desires.
    Last edited by TheEconomist; 11-30-2013 at 11:05 PM.



    Rest In Peace, Old Friend.

  10. #50

    Default Re: What Are You Reading?

    This is probably going to backfire, but as my usual writing group won't be meeting again until February, I'm out of contact in the market of discussing the sci-fi/fantasy market. Since this thread's been revived, and I can't be accused of necromancy for it, books and graphic novels I've read since the last post include:

    The Excellent

    Dune (1)

    Ender's Game

    The Good

    Borderlands: Origins

    Earth Unaware

    Diablo: Last of His Kind

    Diablo: Sword of Justice

    The Lost Fleet: Dauntless (2)

    The Okay

    The Expanse: Leviathan Wakes

    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

    World of Warcraft: Shadows of the Horde

    Magic: Path of the Planeswalker

    Man of Steel: The Prequel

    Mass Effect: Teach Me! Professor Mordin!

    Mirror's Edge

    Star Citizen: A Human Perspective

    EverQuest: The Last Stand of the Teir'dal

    Divergent

    Assassin's Creed: Forsaken

    The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 19

    The Bad

    Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan

    The Wheel of Time: New Spring (graphic novel)

    Notes

    1: As in, the first part of Dune, which is simply titled "Dune." Haven't read Mua'dib yet for instance

    2: In light of my previous statement of barely being able to start the book earlier, I'll specify when I say "good," I mean, good on its own terms as military sci-fi that drifts towards the "hard" end of the spectrum, and thus stuff I usually avoid. I call it "good" the same way I might call Starship Troopers "good" - good at what it does, but isn't for me.

    Anyway, as for other areas raised:

    Halo

    In all honesty, I'll say this - Bungie Halo and 343i Halo are two different beasts. Quirel is probably right by saying that "start with x, y will be hard to get into" or vice versa. If you're plunging straight into the new and skipping the old, you're probably best off sampling everything post Halo 4 or at H4 itself. For better or worse, H4 ended one era and started a new one.

    The Expanse

    I have a feeling that The Expanse might go the same way as Wheel of Time for me. I found the first 2 WoT books to be "okay." I found the first Expanse book to be "okay." Having started it after Earth Unaware, while it gets points for worldbuilding, it spends far too much time on said worldbuilding on what I find to be a drab setting and bland characters. So whatever promise the protomolecule and the gateway that opens up on the edge of the system holds, I find myself unable to care enough to go straight to book 2. It doesn't help that Holden never learns from his mistakes, and Miller's infatuation with Julie isn't endearing in the slightest.

    The notion of a TV show does hold some promise though, especially as I could see it as "Firefly 2.0." Holden and his crew = Serenity, Inner Planets = Alliance, OPA = Browncoats (sort of), alien stuff equals...stuff...I dunno. Go figure. Figure that a TV show would have less time to spend on worldbuilding and have to focus more on character, so that's another plus for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradius
    I like that it doesn't have too much made-up sci-fi slang, like StarCraft has fringe-squibb, turk, or curve. I hate that crap.
    The frell? Take that back ya son of a hazmot or I'll kick ya in the nivonks!"

    ...yeah, I've been watching Farscape over the past year, which might well have established itself as one of my favourite sci-fi TV series. And the language, just like in StarCraft, is part of the appeal for me.

    Saga of Seven Suns

    This is out of the blue a bit, but I remember sharing my thoughts with TE on the series and if this thread is continuing, curious what you thought. Still never made it past book 1 - while it fits more into the realm of sci-fi that I generally prefer (alien civilizations, FTL travel, aliens and star gods, telepathy, etc.), still couldn't get invested enough in the characters. Still, to each their own.

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