on Aug 16, 2012
Welcome to the next installment of, “Shamus complains for twenty minutes, starring Shamus and other people who might be trying to get a word in edgewise.”.
So now for commentary on the commentary…
- Protip: If you’re sick of the tutorial because, for example, you’ve done it once times already, the most expedient way to get through this opening section is to park your Spectre buns behind one of the conveniently placed chest-high walls and blind-fire until you have no moar boolitz. End of sequence.
- I maintain that forming a “resistance movement” is ludicrous nonsense. When the enemy out-classes you by this much, you don’t waste human lives hitting it. You hide. You scatter. Not to get all Sun-Tzu on you, but you should never give the Reapers a target to hit. They don’t have morale, supply lines, or other logistical problems. Gather food and ships and never stop moving. Anything else is just pissing away human life. I don’t mind that Anderson stays behind. I just wish the game didn’t pretend he was running around, headbutting Reapers.
- Re: “Humans are special”. The book I’m writing now (60k words and counting) is an attempt to make a sci-fi universe where Humans are NOT special. I don’t know if I’m pulling it off. I’m at the part of the book where I hate everything and want to scrap it. Again. But I’m pressing on. Wish me luck.
- “Anthropocentrism”. Thank you for the very handy vocabulary, Chris. (Seriously: Anyone else notice how Chris knows basically all the words?) I’m glad I’m not the only one who notices this.
Note how the aliens in the galaxy look more like us than the other mammals on our own homeworld. Like Chris said, they even relate to others just like we do. They’re basically re-skinned humans with the occasional quirk. (Most common quirk: Is a guy and is highly attracted to the human-looking Asari.)
I know this is tough to overcome. In a game or movie, you want your aliens to have expressive faces and human-understandable body language, and you don’t want to blow a fortune while your art team tries to rig and animate some crazy scuttling headless thing in a way that the viewer can comprehend.
Even in written fiction, it’s just much easier to give your aliens two eyes, moving eyebrows, a nose, and a laughing, smiling, smirking, frowning mouth. Otherwise every conversation will grind to a halt as you stop to explain how this alien emotes, what motions it’s performing, and how the current POV character understands it. (Just imagine a conversation with a sapient turtle. How do you know if it’s bored or laughing or confused?) That’s great if you want to write a book specifically about the different ways sapients might relate to each other, but if you’re just trying to get from ONCE UPON A TIME to THE END of your spaceventure, then a serious exploration of physiological diversity is going to kill the pacing and make the reader hate you.
“Modak unclamped his mandible, set his shoulder ridge spikes upward, and brought his ears up to three-quarters upright. He held this posture for just a moment before returning his ears to normal and deflating his cheeks. When performed by females this was often a sign that the speaker was mocking your excess bravado, but since Modak was male it meant he was expressing agitati-”
OKAY I GET IT THE GUY IS ANNOYED CAN WE PLEASE MOVE ON.
It’s a tough problem, is what I’m saying. Having said that, I’m really, really disappointed that the Elcor and Volus were basically forgotten. In particular, the Elcor have always been a favorite of mine because of the way they attempted to engage this very problem.
- I’m not even going to get into the many problems with Cerberus. We’ll have LOTS of time to heap shame on them later when they bring out the weapons-grade stupid.
- Watching this again, I see Liara ISN’T wearing four-inch heels. Which makes the hip-swinging walk even more comical.