Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 464
# 141
03-16-2013, 06:46 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by superhombre777 View Post
Are there any British science fiction authors that have influenced your writing style?
This set me off musing about my Literary Influences, which, considering I've been devouring the printed word in all its forms for (coughs and mutters somewhat) years, would make for a pretty long list of Influences.

And of course they're not all British, or science fiction... I'm a big fan of reading widely, because you never know what might strike a chord, and anyway it doesn't hurt either to get in touch with the origins of one's own literary tradition, or to get a nodding acquaintance with the basis of others.

Even confining myself to British SF writers... well, my first introduction was via Arthur C. Clarke, who led me on to the other Big Ideas Man, Olaf Stapledon; John Wyndham and the "cosy catastrophe" genre; H. G. Wells, naturally enough. They're all writers with different merits; Clarke and Stapledon are strong on the cosmic concepts and the sense of wonder, Wyndham on the human reactions of ordinary people to extraordinary things, Wells is notable for sharp characterization and sharper social realism.

Others... whatever you may think of C. S. Lewis's theology, his evocation of alien environments in the "Cosmic" trilogy is hard to beat. I keep on trying with David Lindsey's dense and allegorical A Voyage to Arcturus, though I'm convinced I haven't understood half of what it's trying to say. Moving to the other extreme, I'm a huge fan of Brian Stableford, with his tightly-constructed plots, convincing scientific detail and deadpan-snarker anti-heroes.

More recent writers... Stephen Baxter has moved up to be the next Big Ideas Man, Alastair Reynolds is doing well in the sort of SF extravagance that Brian Aldiss called the "widescreen baroque".... I guess Aldiss rates a mention himself, what with his delicate literary sensibilities; so does the other big lit-crit darling of the time, J. G. Ballard.

Speaking of lit-crit darlings, I've been a fan of Iain Banks ever since The Wasp Factory, so I chortled with glee when this acknowledged Bold New Voice In British Literature came out with his first Culture novel, Consider Phlebas, an absolutely unabashed space opera. Banks has had a huge positive influence on the genre. So has Christopher Priest - I don't care to play his games with the "unreliable narrator", but his lucid and unpretentious style has a lot to commend it, as have his ideas. I can still remember the way my head felt, when the incredibly convoluted story of The Affirmation finally clicked and made sense. Priest can be a lot of work, but he's worth it.

There are others... and there are a lot more outside Britain, or the SF genre, or both. But I suspect that's more than enough to be going on with!
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 106
# 142
03-16-2013, 10:51 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ironphoenix113 View Post
Poor Azera. Sounds like her love life is even more unlucky than Bryan's. Especially considering something has, on multiple occasions, almost seperated them for one reason or another. Hmmm...that gives me an idea for a future entry. Maybe I could...Where was I? OH! Right. Great work!
Thanks! I'll look forward to reading about his romantic misadventures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sander233 View Post
Great stuff! I once dated a girl a lot like Auslaz...

I really enjoyed your Andorians as well. The way you constructed their relationship was rather brilliant.

Man, I feel bad for Azera. I've started reading your past LCs and your Personal Logs thread - it seems like nothing ever goes her way. But so much the better to reveal her true character.
I'm glad you liked it! Auslaz might be the character I relate to most: put me in a situation that involves talking to people and I spaz out every bit as much. Even getting tells freaks me out a little...

That's a good point - these last LC's really have been pretty rough for Azera. Her next big story's going to be a hard one too, so maybe she needs some unabashed victories to balance things out. Still, I do love exploring her character, and like you said, the way she handles these kinds of situations says so much about her, such as how quickly she puts aside her own disappointment in this one to be happy for her friends.

Now, for story thoughts!

@cmdrscarlet: You know, the thought of a male Deltan has somehow never crossed my mind. It's fun to see how the men are every bit the irresistible sirens as the women, and while some of the character details may have gone over my head (I'm definitely curious about what marcus meant about mirror universe Daikar), it's still a very concisely told, emotional story.

@gulberat: I like your first-person narrative style, and how smoothly you work observations about the world around Alyosha into his thoughts as he tells the story. And it's the return of Marcus Kane! This is a surprisingly dark take on the Federation (which makes setting it on DS9 a nice thematic touch), but one that gives lots of insight into both their characters.

@sander233: Your story really dramatizes STO's mechanics: I can envision the battle happening just as it would in the game, right down to the explosions. The split between the turbolift and the bridge is a little puzzling (it feels like there should be something to foreshadow it, like a shipwide red alert), but the background on each of the characters is fascinating to read.

More reading and commenting to come.

Last edited by sparklysoldier; 03-16-2013 at 10:54 AM.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 878
# 143
03-16-2013, 08:49 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklysoldier View Post
@gulberat: I like your first-person narrative style, and how smoothly you work observations about the world around Alyosha into his thoughts as he tells the story. And it's the return of Marcus Kane! This is a surprisingly dark take on the Federation (which makes setting it on DS9 a nice thematic touch), but one that gives lots of insight into both their characters.
Thanks! I don't always take the kindest view of the Federation, and when Marcus told me about that incident that happened to his character, it only reinforced my impressions.

I would also add that in canon the Academy was involved in a lot of shady business during the time frame when Alyosha was there. You had two super-elite units allowed to run amok and get so full of themselves that they got people killed or did serious damage: Nova Squadron and Red Squad. And you had the commandant of the Academy soon involved in sending cadets on a mission to the front lines, during the Dominion War (Valiant), from a unit already disgraced after the attempted coup on Earth.

So to judge from DS9, something was really rotten at Starfleet Academy, which made me think the commandant was just a flat out tool. That's why I wrote him that way.

You may have noticed Lieutenant Quinn's discomfort, though. I thought that having witnessed that incident--and being very uncomfortable with the way Chaxx was acting (and maybe regretting not taking a more direct role in stopping it) would explain why Admiral Quinn, by 2409, demonstrates a trusting, mentoring attitude towards Alyosha rather than a prejudiced one. Why he accepts Alyosha on his merits.

As for Kane--well, marcusdkane deserves the lion's share of the credit for that.
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Do you like story-based Foundry missions? If so, please check out my mission, "Finding Lascaux."

Career Officer
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,762
# 144
03-16-2013, 08:55 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklysoldier View Post
@sander233: Your story really dramatizes STO's mechanics: I can envision the battle happening just as it would in the game, right down to the explosions. The split between the turbolift and the bridge is a little puzzling (it feels like there should be something to foreshadow it, like a shipwide red alert), but the background on each of the characters is fascinating to read.
Thanks for your notes!

That transition is supposed to be a bit abrupt, as Jesu and Rusty are walking in on the middle of a combat exercise for the bridge crew. I apologize if I didn't make that clear. I tried to emphasize at the beginning and end of the battle scene that it was just a simulation.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 106
# 145
03-16-2013, 10:20 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by gulberat View Post
Thanks! I don't always take the kindest view of the Federation, and when Marcus told me about that incident that happened to his character, it only reinforced my impressions.

I would also add that in canon the Academy was involved in a lot of shady business during the time frame when Alyosha was there. You had two super-elite units allowed to run amok and get so full of themselves that they got people killed or did serious damage: Nova Squadron and Red Squad. And you had the commandant of the Academy soon involved in sending cadets on a mission to the front lines, during the Dominion War (Valiant), from a unit already disgraced after the attempted coup on Earth.

So to judge from DS9, something was really rotten at Starfleet Academy, which made me think the commandant was just a flat out tool. That's why I wrote him that way.

You may have noticed Lieutenant Quinn's discomfort, though. I thought that having witnessed that incident--and being very uncomfortable with the way Chaxx was acting (and maybe regretting not taking a more direct role in stopping it) would explain why Admiral Quinn, by 2409, demonstrates a trusting, mentoring attitude towards Alyosha rather than a prejudiced one. Why he accepts Alyosha on his merits.

As for Kane--well, marcusdkane deserves the lion's share of the credit for that.
Oh agreed, DS9 took a very dark view of what war does to the Federation, and I really like the idea that the mistakes of the Dominion War led to admirals like Quinn, who saw it firsthand, making better choices. Then again, we've got people like Drake running around so maybe some things never change...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sander233 View Post
Thanks for your notes!

That transition is supposed to be a bit abrupt, as Jesu and Rusty are walking in on the middle of a combat exercise for the bridge crew. I apologize if I didn't make that clear. I tried to emphasize at the beginning and end of the battle scene that it was just a simulation.
Gah, I somehow didn't register that, even though, upon rereading it, you make it pretty clear! I take it back, the confusing abruptness and calm of everyone upon fighting multiple Borg cubes is perfect.
Captain
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 878
# 146
03-16-2013, 11:36 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparklysoldier View Post
Oh agreed, DS9 took a very dark view of what war does to the Federation, and I really like the idea that the mistakes of the Dominion War led to admirals like Quinn, who saw it firsthand, making better choices. Then again, we've got people like Drake running around so maybe some things never change...
Yeah...and Alyosha has made it pretty clear what will happen if he ever catches up with Drake again.

The thing with the Academy, though, was that IMHO the institution was corrupt before the war began. TNG's "The First Duty" (which is our first look into Academy corruption) occurred before the war. I find myself thinking of these schools in our time, to include military academies, where there are secret societies, authorities turning a blind eye to hazing and abuse, and similar things. I suspect the Academy to be the same thing.

I also think Alyosha's experiences there are an additional reason he chose the science track. He saw that the worst of the corruption was focused on what was back then the command track (as opposed to STO's tactical track). He wanted nothing to do with things like Nova Squadron or Red Squad.

I think a culture change happened in Starfleet, though, sometime on the Path to 2409 ( ). I wish we'd seen more about it, but it seems that Starfleet eventually realized that commanders of many backgrounds could be capable starship commanders, and allowed them to keep their department colors even in the big chair. Have I missed where that's addressed in STO's lore? I would be curious to see it if it has.
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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 106
# 147
03-17-2013, 03:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by gulberat View Post
Yeah...and Alyosha has made it pretty clear what will happen if he ever catches up with Drake again.

The thing with the Academy, though, was that IMHO the institution was corrupt before the war began. TNG's "The First Duty" (which is our first look into Academy corruption) occurred before the war. I find myself thinking of these schools in our time, to include military academies, where there are secret societies, authorities turning a blind eye to hazing and abuse, and similar things. I suspect the Academy to be the same thing.

I also think Alyosha's experiences there are an additional reason he chose the science track. He saw that the worst of the corruption was focused on what was back then the command track (as opposed to STO's tactical track). He wanted nothing to do with things like Nova Squadron or Red Squad.

I think a culture change happened in Starfleet, though, sometime on the Path to 2409 ( ). I wish we'd seen more about it, but it seems that Starfleet eventually realized that commanders of many backgrounds could be capable starship commanders, and allowed them to keep their department colors even in the big chair. Have I missed where that's addressed in STO's lore? I would be curious to see it if it has.
That's a good point about the Academy having its own frat-like societies, and how dissolving the command track could have helped break their hold on Starfleet's culture. I wonder if Voyager was an early step in that direction, and the inspiration for that mechanic in STO: the show emphasized Janeway having been a science officer, and they described Voyager itself as a science ship (and, in the same time frame, the Defiant as a tactical ship), as opposed to the Enterprise as a ship-of-all-trades.

It's easy to imagine how, with that sort of specialization already emerging and with command cliques like Nova Squadron causing disastrous scandals, and with the Federation already moving toward a more versatile culture with the dual citizenship program and flexible uniform requirements (for more Zen shop costu... I mean, to reflect a greater tolerance for different cultures ), the decision to let any career track segue into a command role based on merit alone would become the norm.

More reading done...

@jonsills: Talk about your motley crew! Very colorful dialogue, I love how Grunt and Vovenek poke fun at their own cultural stereotypes, and the running gag of our low-level captains always getting the oldest and most itty-bitty ships in the fleet. With the title I was worried they wouldn't make it out alive at all - I'm glad they did, since Grunt and the gang sound like fun!

@designationxr377: Barclay, the Next-Next Generation! Cute, funny, great punchline at the end about practically every crew in the quadrant being disguised now, and very in the spirit of the original Reg. There's so much focus in Trek on the Iconian gateways that I'd forgotten about the virus aspect, and your story made a nice use of it to explain the chaos Amanda unleashed.

@marcusdkane: Some surprisingly mature marital issues presented, it's great to see Seven's return, and the Vulcan cultural touches are so authentic as to leave us humans feeling a little like outsiders. The climax is very exciting and cleverly resolved - and ha, there are sonic screwdrivers in the Federation according to Memory Alpha! You learn something new every day...

Last edited by sparklysoldier; 03-17-2013 at 03:19 PM.
Commander
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 415
# 148
03-17-2013, 04:39 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by shevet View Post
Speaking of lit-crit darlings, I've been a fan of Iain Banks ever since The Wasp Factory, so I chortled with glee when this acknowledged Bold New Voice In British Literature came out with his first Culture novel, Consider Phlebas, an absolutely unabashed space opera. Banks has had a huge positive influence on the genre. So has Christopher Priest - I don't care to play his games with the "unreliable narrator", but his lucid and unpretentious style has a lot to commend it, as have his ideas. I can still remember the way my head felt, when the incredibly convoluted story of The Affirmation finally clicked and made sense. Priest can be a lot of work, but he's worth it.
I'll be honest, I've only read one thing of Banks'-- Matter-- and I think I stopped halfway through before I got distracted by China Mieville. His writing style isn't bad, but in all honesty, some of his descriptions-- particularly on the Culture half of the novel-- confused the hell out of me.

Quote:
I think a culture change happened in Starfleet, though, sometime on the Path to 2409 ( ). I wish we'd seen more about it, but it seems that Starfleet eventually realized that commanders of many backgrounds could be capable starship commanders, and allowed them to keep their department colors even in the big chair. Have I missed where that's addressed in STO's lore? I would be curious to see it if it has.
That sounds like as good an explanation as any to me. Although as has already been pointed out, there's such a large gulf of time between Voyager and Star Trek Online, so there's probably quite a lot that we're missing. I strongly suspect, however, that a lot may be tied in to some of the Star Trek novels that have been set post-Voyager. The fact that Peter David's Mackenzie Calhoun has made a cameo is a good indication that the writers of STO paid attention to the novels, at least.

Anyway, got more reading done:

@khayuang: You've enticed us all with a great intro to your story. I'm still waiting for the rest of it, though.

@sparklysoldier: And yet another lengthy but satisfying piece from you! I like your use of flashbacks to establish the relationship between Nyzoph and Corspa, and like the further exploration you made of Azera and the relationships she has with her crew. Although, like everyone else, I was a little confused by a Bajoran joining in a telepathic conversation. Still, great job!

@marcusdkane: Finally got around to reading yours, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Aside from my surprise at certain cameo appearances, the pacing and action were both handled quite well. Though now, between your story and GulBerat's, you're making me imagine more and more what an assimilated Highlander-style immortal would be like...

@cmdrscarlet: Not much that I feel I can say, given how short your piece was. Still, it was a very nice "introduction" to your Captain and ship, so I liked it.

@jonsills: That is it. I demand more adventures of Captain Grunt and his crew. I love the idea of the unluckiest/greediest Captain in all of Starfleet, and the way he seems to bend Starfleet rules to his advantage.

@designation377x: Amanda Barclay actually reminded me a lot of someone I know in real life, who is just as hyperactive and stuttery. I actually had to force myself to superimpose Reginald Barclay's own awkwardness in there instead to weaken that association. Very nicely written, and it makes me oddly happy to see that the Barclay line is still giving Starfleet a headache several decades later.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 106
# 149
03-17-2013, 04:59 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ambassadormolari View Post
@sparklysoldier: And yet another lengthy but satisfying piece from you! I like your use of flashbacks to establish the relationship between Nyzoph and Corspa, and like the further exploration you made of Azera and the relationships she has with her crew. Although, like everyone else, I was a little confused by a Bajoran joining in a telepathic conversation. Still, great job!
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! I've rewritten that part of the story now, just enough to remove Kwam from the conversation. The alternative, trying to explain the logic of it, would bog down the dialogue way too much, and I actually prefer him just standing there confused while Azera does the talking.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 147
# 150
03-17-2013, 08:04 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by shevet View Post
This set me off musing about my Literary Influences, which, considering I've been devouring the printed word in all its forms for (coughs and mutters somewhat) years, would make for a pretty long list of Influences.
Thanks for the list. I finished reading Alastair Reynolds' House of Suns last week and it was great. Now I'm taking a sci fi break to read about Abraham Lincoln and some comics.

I'm not sure what to think of C.S. Lewis' trilogy - I liked them a few years ago but I just don't have a desire to re-read them.
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