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A Forlorn Hope

 
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hboff
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 5:18 pm    Post subject: A Forlorn Hope Reply with quote

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A Forlorn Hope
Posted by Arthur Wellesley (arthur_wellesly@hotmail.com)
13 June 2008, 5:14 am

http://halosn.bungie.org/fanfic/?story=Arthur_Welle0613080514351.html
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Azrael
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You now have a problem. I expect excellent work from you every time. Fortunately, you have never failed to deliver great stuff time after time.

The character I found most interesting was the city itself. You talked about it so much, the effect its presence had on the world, the kinds of people who inhabited it, the conflicts of others because of it, that it really became the most important part of the story for me. I thought you gave it great detail and attention, and while I thought your characters were good, I was really interested in the setting.

Bravo to this piece.
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kr1
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is excellent work, Arthur. Like Az said, you have an incredible setting you've established, and you just scratched the surface with this. You've got a great original premise for a story, too. This is the first fic I've heard of about a cop, and the post-war situation hasn't been touched on much, either. This could make an excellent series if that wasn't already the plan. Smile
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MC's Cousin
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aweful, just plain aweful. Wes... I don't know what to say. You should, quite frankly, be most ashamed of yourself.

...

Nah. I'm just kidding.

Now seriously: My only real complaint would be that some of your sentences were a bit long winded. Not run-on, just lengthy. And since I am very much focused the flow of writing, that stood out to me. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't anything halting, just something that slowed me down a small bit.

Otherwise, however, I thought this a very good piece. You used a technical vocabulary that one doesn't see too often here, and that was a plus for me. Also, you did good at weaving a nice plot, creating a very believable setting. The results of a second hand war ravaged planet - very compelling.

Keep it coming, Arthur.
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Azathoth
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm. I must have missed this one. Although I didn't really pay much attention to this week's update, another look revealed this one, a diamond in the rough that was INFILTRATION OF THE IMPRECATION OF THE INFESTATION OF THE INUNDATION OF THE WHATTHEFUCKINGEVER, CHAPTERS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6 again, 7 and 18. You know I really like your ability to capture emotion, Art, and this one really got me for some reason. But a few things bounced off me the wrong way...

You wrote:
The colony of Corsini had a longer history than most, though it was not any more remarkable for it. Founded soon after the maiden colonization of Reach...


And wrote:
The young and ambitious got their chance to see the galaxy when the Covenant came. Even before the conscription...


And wrote:
This change of heart was not limited to the people of Corsini. As the Outer Colonies were reduced to a memory...


And wrote:
When the ever-tightening ring of fire enveloped Reach, Corsini despaired its surely imminent destruction. Yet the Covenant bypassed the planet...


And wrote:
The outskirts of Badajoz, once known as Peacefield by the locals, was transformed in an instant...


See what I'm getting at here? I know that an understanding of the history of Corsini is obviously important to an understanding of the Militiamen, but seriously, you just wrote six hundred words of textbook material. You did it well, and it's informative, and it even fits nicely with the tone and flow of the story. But it's not necessary. You do not need to make all this explicit. All you need to do is get across a few major ideas: Corsini used to be a nice backwater; the war didn't directly hit it but f*cked it up nicely anyway; now people are mad. You do this same thing with different concepts more than once throughout the story, and each time I found myself appreciating the thoughts expressed but wondering if they really contributed to the story. I think an implicit approach to this might have been better. No chaos and anarchy spelled out can possibly be as depressingly regressive as what the human mind cooks up individually.

You wrote:
The Covenant had not glassed Corsini, but they had launched a rear-action against the planet's meager naval facilities in the respite between the First and Second Battles of Earth. Badajoz had been mostly spared, but the Cape had taken a pummeling from the alien bombers. If Corsini had any hope of absorbing the massive influx of refugees, it was undone by the wanton destruction of much of the planet's key economic infrastructure.


This...doesn't quite sound like the Covenant. They don't seem like the type to launch rear-actions; their military tactics and strategies are pitiful compared to ours (you don't need skill and finesse when you have a bigger gun). But what's more, they don't go by halves. They wouldn't just 'sort of bomb' a planet full of infidel heretic aliens. They'd either bypass it entirely or burn it down to the f*cking bedrock and keep burning.

You wrote:
Parish felt inside the man's pocket and retrieved a small hypodermic injector. [snip]
Parish injected the substance into the man's neck. At once the man's back arched and his eyes widened. His breaths became faster and sharper, and then slow and rasping.


I don't know, maybe I misinterpreted the character, but that seemed to me a little off-kilter for who you've just established Parish to be. He didn't seem to me like the type of guy to mercy-kill. He seemed more interested in redeeming the Cape than destroying it, and I sort of expected him to take a similar tack with this guy.

That's just my take on the character though, maybe I'm overthinking it.

Anyway, a very good example of Halo fanfic with no necessary connection to Halo that is still brilliant. You did a wonderful job of showing interpersonal relationships here - Parish/Mantega, Cops/Militia, etc. - and an equally wonderful job of establishing Parish as a "return to normalcy" type of guy. Ifwhen humanity gets its sh*t back together, he'll probably run for President. Very Happy

Nice job.
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SeverianofUrth
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hah, I wish I could be as analytical as Azathoth. All I could say about the story is that it was great, and I loved reading it.
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Arthur Wellesley
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Az. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks to you, kr. No, I'm not planning on making it a series. I might revisit it sometime, but I'm don't really expect to.

I appreciate it, MC's cousin. Yea, I know what you mean about the long-winded sentences. It likely stems from the over-exposition alluded to elsewhere...

And thanks once more, Sev, in addition to your already plenty insightful comments in your review. Smile

Now Azathoth: en garde!

But seriously, I expositioned the shit out of Corsini because, as Az said, it is the main character of this piece. This is not a story about Parish and Mantega, nor the cops and the Militia. It's a story about the planet and its people, about how devastating war can be without a shot fired, and about how physical decay begets moral decay. When an economy collapses and there's nothing left, can people afford to be "moral?" And does that make morality a luxury? The people of the Cape are unbalancing an already delicate situation by their very existence, yet they are only themselves victims of human nature reacting to a horrific situation. Do people retain their intrinsic value as human beings in times of such desperation, or do they simply become barriers to progress?

What to do about the Cape?

To deal with all these ideas in a realistic way, I found it necessary to really set the scene. The characters were secondary to that. Through Parish's musings, you get some sense that Mantega's opinions are based on guilt, while Parish's own opinions are based on the fact that he is older and more conservative. But mostly, they simply are the way they are. In that sense, I did the opposite of what you say: I made the setting explicit, and the characters implicit. That's because the characters simply serve as vehicles of perspective to reveal the setting, with a "day in the life" incident to illustrate the exposition. Usually the setting serves as context for the characters; here, the characters serve as context for the setting.

Perhaps I still over-did it. But that's why, anyhow.

Quote:
This...doesn't quite sound like the Covenant. They don't seem like the type to launch rear-actions; their military tactics and strategies are pitiful compared to ours (you don't need skill and finesse when you have a bigger gun). But what's more, they don't go by halves. They wouldn't just 'sort of bomb' a planet full of infidel heretic aliens. They'd either bypass it entirely or burn it down to the f*cking bedrock and keep burning.


Canon and I don't get along. It's not out of the realm of possibility since the battles for Earth were so rushed, and it was necessary for the story.

Quote:
I don't know, maybe I misinterpreted the character, but that seemed to me a little off-kilter for who you've just established Parish to be. He didn't seem to me like the type of guy to mercy-kill. He seemed more interested in redeeming the Cape than destroying it, and I sort of expected him to take a similar tack with this guy.


There was nothing he could do for him. There were no medical supplies, and the hospital wouldn't bother with him. Don't forget, also, that Parish was none too gentle with him after he was shot.

By the way, I put in a totally goober "easter egg." Andrew Corsini is the Patron Saint to be invoked against civil disorder. Andrew Parish is of Corsini... could he thus be right?

Oh, me.

- Arthur
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MC's Cousin
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the light of this explanation I would like to go more in depth on a couple things (don't worry, this is more positive than negative):

As far as the Covenant are concerned, I understand completely where Azathoth was coming from with his words on that subject. However, suspension of disbelief is something necessary to fully enjoy a story. Even with my in-depth understanding and appreciation of Halo-verse 'Cannon, I was able to rationalize that with the numbers lost in the attack on Reach, the destruction of the Unyielding Hyrophant, and stifled attack towards Earth (plus the forces lost via the Elite rebellion and all, depending on the time frame of your story) that the Covenant might have been forced to change their traditional tactics to retain the mass of their remaining forces.

Additionally, when it comes to the subject of your main character (Human main character, that is), I didn't find his actions towards the later parts of the piece obtuse in their context. Perhaps my viewpoint was not what you intended, but I got the gist that while he had a unique view of the situation, he was beginning to grow a a bit apathetic towards the small-scale morality of the situation (ie: that one particular man, who had just shot his partner).

So to sum up both of the previous paragraphs: While some elements were perhaps a small bit out of place from one point of view, I felt that the other elements of the story - supportive and otherwise - produced an atmosphere of believability.


Now. Onto the slightly critical. I'll expound on that long-winded-ness a bit:

I, personally, did not have a problem with your in-depth coverage of the city itself. I thought it was appropriate for the context. I feel that part of what Azathoth noticed was the same as I - the long winded nature of some of that exposition. I do not think it was the amount of information so much as the presentation, which, as you know, can make all the difference in the world.

That's my take, at least.


Still, good stuff, and a brilliant story, Wes. This is a wonderfully deep and relatively untouched topic basis, and it's nice to see someone touch upon it so in depth. While you have already stated that a sequel will not be in the works - and while I doubt you need to hear the following - please do keep in consideration for the future the inclusion of a similar topic, even to the extent of references to this particular tale.

Anyway. Keep it coming.
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russ687
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first several paragraphs I thought were especially well written. It wasn't emotional, or character-building, but it was just a great example of how an author can set up the story by delving into a bit of the story's history. Like Az said, your descriptions of the city, and the ensuing flood of refugees, was written very well.

You wrote:
The outskirts of Badajoz, once known as Peacefield by the locals, was transformed in an instant into a muddy wasteland upon which millions of refugees struggled just to keep on living.


I think that was the most descriptive-impelling sentence of your opening paragraphs. The complete paragraph also was great, setting up just how this place had gone from a once attractive, peaceful city to a filthy, mud-churned mess.

You wrote:
To return from the war to find their houses seized by squatters or by the state to accommodate the massive rush, to see their beautiful city reduced to a refugee camp—it must have broken their hearts and boiled their blood.


That, coupled with the "flimsy houses," painted a vivid picture for me. Nicely done.

You wrote:
But to Andrew Parish, it was a return to normalcy, albeit in its greatest extremity. He had been on the force for thirty-eight years.


Damn he's an old fart.

The last third of the story was very captivating. You did a great job describing everything from arriving at the hotel to them rushing out to meet the paramedics. How you described Parish's ignorance of this failing city was great as well. In some points I felt that there were abrupt character changes—that being, I felt that they sort of went out-of-character—but it wasn't enough to distract me. While this short-story lacked a significant storyline (understandably, of course), it was inundated with elaborate descriptions and great word usage. Nice job.
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Arthur Wellesley
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was a very thoughtful review from a newcomer. Have you written any of your own stuff... what was your name again... russ something?

Wow. Good to see you back, though I've had my own embarrassingly long hiatus. So it goes. Now I'm back in school. So it goes on.

Hope you stick around, man. You were greatly missed, certainly by me and no doubt Az. And to those newer members who don't know you, this is one of the greats.

See you round, whenever I can.

- Arthur
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