Mass Effect Digression

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Kif White
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Re: Mass Effect Digression

Postby Kif White » Sat Dec 18, 2010 3:55 am

The penultimate chapter...

Chapter 19

Dedicated to the memory of Annette White
(1942 - 2010)


Spoiler
- Kenneth White

"Know the conflict within before facing the conflict without."

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Re: Mass Effect Digression

Postby c_nordlander » Fri Jan 14, 2011 7:45 pm

Typoes and grammar nitpicks: “they didn't have a very good reputation, both amongst the human Alliance and the Council races” would more correctly be “neither”; “The cheery and trusting smile that glossed his face upon their first meeting” should be “that had glossed”; “proper developed” should be “properly developed”. Obvious mistake: “like your that much different”. “Talia Ivanova's” shouldn't have an apostrophe, since it's a plural, not a genitive.

For some reason, Lylanya referring to “even more than a century later” seems a bit forced, as if it's there to show that her species live very long. It just seems that it would be more natural for someone to say “after so many years” or similar. (Heck, even “so many decades” would feel more natural, while still showing that she's lived quite a long time.)

Yalo's dialogue is great here at the start. I like Lylanya's characterisation, too.

I like the comment about Lylanya being able to wear a human dress.

Possible continuity issue: you write “Mr.” in this chapter, but earlier you wrote out “Mister”. Sticking to one is probably best.

Lylanya's line about food is hilarious.

All over, this is good. Good dialogue, very dramatic developments. The Illusory Man kind of throws me, but I'm assuming he'll make more sense to the people who've played the game, who are after all your main readership. Not really much to say, this is all good. I'm looking forward to seeing how it ends.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"
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Kif White
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Re: Mass Effect Digression

Postby Kif White » Sat Jan 22, 2011 12:59 am

Chapter 20


Spoiler
- Kenneth White

"Know the conflict within before facing the conflict without."

Now Watching: Babylon 5 - Season 3
Now Playing: Dragon Age Origins: Awakening, Pokemon Heart Gold
Now Reading: Catch 22
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Kif White
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Re: Mass Effect Digression

Postby Kif White » Sat Jan 22, 2011 1:02 am

Chapter 20 cont'd


Spoiler
- Kenneth White

"Know the conflict within before facing the conflict without."

Now Watching: Babylon 5 - Season 3
Now Playing: Dragon Age Origins: Awakening, Pokemon Heart Gold
Now Reading: Catch 22
c_nordlander
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Re: Mass Effect Digression

Postby c_nordlander » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:44 pm

Typo: “they send me” should be “sent”. “Just I just said” is obviously a typo. “who thought it best to things kept quiet for the moment” seems to be missing something, or need a rewrite. Obvious typo: “now hat it was all taken care of”. “enroute” should be “en route”.

“a regrettable sigh” doesn't make sense. It should be “regretful”.

You also capitalise the “the” in “the Council”. I guess it's not exactly incorrect, but it always reads awkwardly to me. Your choice, really.

Lylanya's line ending the penultimate scene of the last chapter is very powerful and insightful.

It's nice to get some backstory about Yalo's relationship with Elli.

Lylanya's parting words to Yalo are very touching, as is his response.

Very satisfactory ending. I'll say no more.

On to the full review of this story.

~

I might as well nail my colours to the mast first thing I do: I've never played "Mass Effect", and accordingly, these are the opinions of someone who approached this fanfic as if it were an original novel.

I enjoyed reading it. The plot is solid and features interesting moral questions. It starts out as a fairly simple journey, but the last few chapters get excellently tense, especially with

Spoiler


The climax is well-written and emotionally involving, and more than a few scenes moved me.

The characterisation of Yalo is where it shines: he is deep, layered, and I found it easy to see the world through his eyes. I suspect it will be easy for other readers as well.

Spoiler


The other characters are flatter. It's probably by necessity, since Yalo is almost the only viewpoint character, but they still felt a bit one-dimensional. I enjoyed Intarr and Haedian, especially Intarr; never cared that much for Lylanya. (Though I'm happy about her actions at the end.) I am, however, quite impressed by Linna: you've managed to give quite a bit of depth and personality to someone who was dead when the story started. In line with your notes at the end, I also find it interesting that you've written a story without any main antagonist. It works well with this plot.

I do like how you focused on alien protagonists, with only a few humans in important roles. Science fiction could do with more of that. And fanfiction could do with more stories based around original characters.

The writing style is decent. It gives a good idea of what is happening and the surroundings, but it felt more workmanlike than anything that could blow me away. Some bits feel a bit void of description, though on the other hand, some are excellently described (such as Yalo's dream, or the duel at the end). You have a tendency to end sentences with "though", which can get a bit grating when used too often. On the other hand, there is no purple prose in this story, which is always a good thing.

As a non-"Mass Effect" fan, I didn't have any big problems grasping anything in the story. It took me a while to figure out what the genophage was, and I still have no idea about the Illusory Man (though in the latter case, his mysteriousness doesn't detract from the story). However, my lack of background may have impeded my understanding of the world: if I'd been given more of an idea as to how horribly the quarians have suffered, I might have found Yalo's plan less monstrous. This isn't a criticism of your story in any way: the vast majority of your readers will be fans of the game, after all.

Basically, I regard this story as a fairly successful space opera with an interesting and sometimes harrowing plot fuelled by a moral dilemma, a well-written and deep protagonist but fairly flat supporting characters, and quite a few touching and even haunting scenes. The style is lacklustre in places, but not bad.

Congratulations on finishing this! I enjoyed reading it.
The noose draws tighter;
This is the end;
I'm a good fighter
But a bad friend;
I've played the traitor
Over and over;
I'm a good hater
But a bad lover.


Elinor Wylie, "Peregrine"

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