Stargate is one of my favourite shows of all time. It’s action packed, it’s funny, it’s smart, it almost never fails to entertain me (that said, I hated the Ori saga the first time round, but the second time, it wasn’t so bad. It was still recongisibly SG1, and it had a few really good episodes).
But some things just don’t sit right with me. Yep, it’s ‘first world white guy making a list of things he doesn’t agree with’ o’clock! (there’s gotta be a shorter way of saying that)
- DHDs. Dial Home Devices allow gate travellers to dial home, like ET did, except obviously it opens up the Stargate back to Earth. Except there’s one serious design flaw, one that I can’t believe the Ancients wouldn’t have missed. See, a DHD doesn’t store the most recent addresses in order. Think about that for a sec. These advanced space wizards could make the Stargates, the space ships the Goa’uld use, hyper drives, energy shields, all that… but they couldn’t make a simple log book function in the Stargates’ DHD? That stretches my suspension of disbelief quite a bit.
- The Iris. For a wormhole to fully form, it does the big ‘kawoosh’ thing. Which incinerates anything standing there. Rock, human, anything. You’d think that would mean the iris, too. But they always have the iris closed, and then incoming wormholes don’t punch a hole in the metal they use. Unless I’ve missed something in two entire marathons, the iris would be a smoking wreck every time they dial in to Earth, on account of it being always closed as part of the protocol to stop alien attacks (the code devices deactivate the iris when accepted).
- The Asgard can’t use simple weapons. Okay, they’re a delicate clone race and they have weapons the likes of which humanity was, at the time, a thousand or more years away from (being generous). They can’t however point a gun and pull a trigger. It’s “too simple” for them. They can no longer think in simple terms. All that brain power and they can’t conceive of ballistics? I don’t believe that.
- Replicators with feelings. Need I say more?
- The damn obsession with apostrophe names! ARGH!
- In Atlantis and Universe: Stargates in orbit and remote controls. Okay, orbiting Stargates first. Say you’re one of the Ethosians and you want to go through the Stargate. If you don’t know what’s on the other side, how do you know it’s safe? That’s the whole point of the MALPs in SG1. You could be stepping through to high orbit for all you know (and many gates are in high orbit). The Ethosians and their allies who use the gate network must have some kind of device they use. A device that was never even once mentioned or inquired about. They’d need their own MALP-type devices to check the other side. They’re a simple people who have access to a cigarette lighter kind of thing, so it’s not too far of a stretch to assume they have something. But it’s never once mentioned. They have DHDs in Pegasus, which is good – except there are none on planets where the Stargate is in space. Without a ship, they could never dial another world until they get to a space-age tech level. Universe has a whole heap of remote DHDs only a little smaller than a Tablet PC. These store gate addresses, yes – but not in sequence. See point 1. And teams are given a grand total of one DHD per mission. In one episode, a character is left stranded on an alien planet, and can’t dial out on his own. Would be great if there were some sort of dialing-home device to get him back to Destiny, wouldn’t it.
So in conclusion (as much as a conclusion can be gleaned from my angrily shaking my fist at the stars) Stargate, while great fun, suffers from some pretty glaring oversights. And now you can’t un-read this post.
Tonight I got the joy of three players and myself enjoying a good ol game of D&D together. Alas one member had something come up. Shame, as we would have had the magical and mythical 4 players that D&D works best with. But we had fun, and part of that was probably to do with my asking the players to describe how they want to do things, like attacking, which in our group often goes like this: Character hits monster for x damage. Monster hits character for y damage. Player is dead.
That’s a slight exaggeration, but with descriptions – flavour text – things go a lot more fun-ly. Jokes were made, too, though they didn’t derail the journey too much. One character hit it off with a vampire girl. One player wanted to jump inside a bag of holding and come out when called upon, like a Pokemon. He also wanted to pour water from a flask of eternal water into a bag of holding and pierce the bag with a sword for reasons I forget.
That’s the kind of wackiness that ensues when you have a funny group. There were smiles everywhere. It was definitely the best session in years.
I don’t mean to brag, but I might have some interviews coming up. Two of them. Author interviews. And just now I thought “Oh man, I hope I’m allowed to say that.” I can never tell what I’m allowed to say and not, but I’m learning to check first, because it will probably ruin someone else’s announcement. But this is a goal achievement. And I’m all about the news along the road of my journey. I’ll say no more though.
I’ve finally done it. They called me mad. Or something. But I’ve finalised the print version of my book. You can also get the ebook.
http://tiny.cc/cofprint is the print version.
http://tiny.cc/cof2e is the ebook.
Get at it!
Continuing on from Age of Iron, Clash finds the characters at war. An early clash of armies says that this won’t be a boring book, that there’ll be action still. See, a lot of time the second book in a fantasy trilogy is just setting things up for book 3, where the good stuff happens.
This book, while kinda doing that, is a good book in its own right. The characters you know and love are back in black. The evil druid is back, and this time he’s with the Romans. One character, who was naively idealistic, watches his mentor die at said evil druid’s hands (well, orders). And then he finds himself on the side of the Romans. Odd, but actually, they have a lot of civilisation points they can offer the British people, and he comes to see them as the saviors needed. This is a complex book, and it’s not going to sugar coat things. It’s a gut-punch of a book, and heroes die, villains get away with evil, and the whole world kinda sucks.
There’s more intrigue, more betrayal, more bloody battle. If you like your fantasy grim and gritty, this is for you.
I don’t want to give too much away, and I’m finding my memory failing me, but I will say this: the way they won the day (spoiler alert – but they always win the day in fantasy stories, don’t they?) is truly heroic. And there’s some areas where it gets truly disturbing, so you’ve been warned.
I tried to put this book down, I really did. But then it just kept dragging me back. I put it down for a while, but like a cursed object it found itself right back in my hands again the next day. Weird. But wonderful.
Age of Iron is a gritty fantasy book I won as a prize of sorts (I was on a writers holiday with my writing group, and I won the ‘closest % to goal’ prize; and we simply took whatever books we thought looked good from the pool, and this looked decent).
Boy am I glad I took it.
Dug is a Warrior. He’s a simple man who misses his wife and daughter.
Lowa is also a warrior, betrayed by her commanding officer and on the run.
Spring is a little girl with a gift.
Together, these three characters must overcome monsters and evil lords. It’s fantasy as its core, and it does it so well. Each of these characters will, in time, be harmed. Severely. See, this is a gritty and realistic book, and the stakes are always high. Even powers won’t always save them, since magic in this world (it’s a fantasy version of 60AD-ish Europe) is barely magic at all. It’s only ever “just about”, and therefore isn’t exactly understood easily. It’s subtle, it’s barely more than “talented” and it won’t always save the day. It’s not so much restricted by rules as it is by what’s actually possible.
I won’t spoil the most crucial part about the magic – the cost – but it’s a good one, from a writing point of view.
This book made me feel like a dirt-covered peasant. The characters make mistakes and have flaws. The bad guys are especially cruel. All up, one great fantasy debut.