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The Cleon Memorial Library For discussion of Traveller fiction, both official and fan-written. Fan-written drafts are explicitly welcome.

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  #31  
Old September 11th, 2017, 02:55 PM
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Everyone can blame flykiller's Events chart for Down A Peg pt. 69. It was the only system I could think of at the moment that was least used or watched that could fail or do a poor job.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 03:55 PM
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Hi Pakkrat;

As per our PM exchange, I guess the only thing I'm finding "flawed", if you can call it that, is that your characters tend to be on the verbose side when speaking. It's actually a very common thing for nearly every writer I've ever read. There's a real desire to clarify things for the reader and/or just make the characters say more than they really need to. It happens with Verne, Bradbury, Asimov, Pournelle, LeGuinn, Stasheff, Eklund, pretty much everyone. With my own screenwriting training from both Jim Kitzes, August Coppola and the guys and gals at his younger brother's forum at Zoetrope, tend to economize dialogue unless you're writing either a rom-com or a heavy drama (romance or court drama), where dialogue can become paramount.

All the pro-screenwriters that Coppola hired for his film program tended to put a few mantras into our head to avoid the such, but that's assuming it's an issue with you. I'm not sure that being verbose is an issue, but I brought it up because like I say, it's something that I often see with authors of all stripes.

I guess my only other critique is that like quite a few other game fiction authors you tend to use game or rules' language for prose description and dialogue. One of the big examples I usually cite or Star Fleet Battles' fiction authors, whether it's stuff in one of the "Captain's Log" publications or fan-fic on some website, those writers, as an example, will use terminology like "Weapons' Status" instead of "Red Alert" or "Condition green" or even "battle stations", all stemming from actual naval lexicon or terminology used in the TV show.

I actually used to get a little worked up about it, but I just shrug my shoulders at it now. Fan fic is, well, fan fic. But if you were actually part of a scout survey team or even an uplifted wolf on a corsair, would you really use "Tech Level" as a term to describe a planet? I think there are some off handed fictional references within official publications, which to me just underscores my point that even the best of us tend to borrow a bit too much from the rules.

You have a more relaxed and intimate approach to the Vargr. To me the Vargr, as officially written up, verge on being a stereotype of themselves, and in this way a possible one-trick pony terms of characterizations, but you've added some conversational dynamics to them.

You're far more considerate to your readers than ever I can be in terms of posting freshly typed prose. I've got a minor dyslexic problem which is another factor why I didn't pursue engineering (forgetting numbers can have lethal consequences), and manifests itself when I go back and read something several times and see not just spelling errors, but dropped words.

In other words your stuff is very clean. Kudos

Anyway, I haven't delved into your novel yet. Those are just some thought I had when I read your preamble chapters.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 04:03 PM
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Haven't read in a while, need to get back to it. I do want to ask about something Blue Ghost mentioned; describing a planet by "Tech Level". While I agree that it seems like something the characters wouldn't say, I have no idea what they would say.

Thoughts on something else to use to describe the native tech level of a planet, ship, or other entity?
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 04:33 PM
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In MWM's Agent of the Imperium novel terms like tech level are indeed 'in universe' speak for the OTU setting.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 05:43 PM
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On verbose characters, I've been told in the past that my fan fiction was not sufficiently explanatory for those not familiar with the world, e.g. Traveller.

I do develop the Vargr past their stereotyped concept. I would do the same for Aslan who are sexually stereotyped.

I read Agent of the Imperium and do try to limit my use of game terms where they detract from story. Too much as the story sounds grognardy or crunchy. Too little and it becomes a space soap opera. Tech Level, Tech-# and Item-# are all used in spoken language by characters in Agent.

I wrote each Part of Down A Peg while at work or while at home, then proofread each. And still, I find bad comma use, definitive use and odd phrasing.

Though us Travellers know all there is to know about the science fiction of a Traveller novel, I write for the reader with no prior lore or Library Data. This is also why I am writing from so deep inside the Vargr Extents. It is so loremasters can't gainsay a topic on Vargr, Vargr culture, Charisma, polities, current affairs and timeline. Know anyone else writing in and about Knoellighz Sector and the recent changes to the TravellerMap there? Being first hath privileges. It also doesn't hurt that I am developing the Sector on the wiki.

Thanks for enjoying Teacher and Trading Shots. Down A Peg has better sine wave moments and low points. I'd like to blame the story on the dice rolls. This was almost a game-driven series of 'encounters'. The story was an exercise in showcasing elements of Traveller5 and how it can write its own story. Down A Peg was an experiment in such.

I don't believe that the Vargr are cookie-cutter sophonts, immune to what we call the human condition. In Traveller, I call it the mortal condition. Sophont condition changes the term too much because of Traveller's definition of the term sophont.
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Old January 2nd, 2018, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leitz View Post
Haven't read in a while, need to get back to it. I do want to ask about something Blue Ghost mentioned; describing a planet by "Tech Level". While I agree that it seems like something the characters wouldn't say, I have no idea what they would say.

Thoughts on something else to use to describe the native tech level of a planet, ship, or other entity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
In MWM's Agent of the Imperium novel terms like tech level are indeed 'in universe' speak for the OTU setting.
Which is unfortunate, because when you grab a Fodors, Lonely Planet, Marco Polo book, or whatever else is out there, they don't describe regions with a universal grading standard. That would, in fact, defeat their purpose of providing insightful (and competitive) information on places of interest and dangerous both.

A lot of the time when I read pre-90s sci-fi there is a kind of assumption that because thing-X or service-Y will exist in "the future" that the author follows a kind of blinders logic of assuming that whatever the dominant entity is in their world/universe, that "it" will provide that thing. And I have to stipulate that it's not a political thing; i.e. they're not trying to push a certain form of society, even though that kind of writing would indicate a certain type of economic and political system; it more or less falls out of their writing naturally by not stopping a moment to think about that specific detail.

A classic example I tend to cite is Franz Joseph's starliner pod from the Star Fleet Technical Manual. Star Fleet itself is an interstellar navy. So why would they be providing a commercial service to Federation citizens? The counter argument is that the starliner pod really isn't what it says it is, but is either used as a troop transport, used for dignitaries, or some other after-thought function (the Star Fleet tug and starliner pod both themselves being afterthoughts). But that's not the case. The truth is Franz Joseph just thought it would be a cool idea to have a luxury "cruise liner" like pod for Star Fleet to use, but drafted up and published the concept without really thinking it all the way through.

So it is with characters using game mechanic speech like Tech Level or Law Level. But, that's just my opinion, and again, as per my previous example, it's a kind of blurring of societal lines made by all scifi authors who write speculative fiction about "the future" (insert mysterious theramin music here). It's the kind of thing that goes back to older scifi like Mike Mars or Johnathan Swift.

But, Traveller is what it is, and I'm not going to change that, and given that the convention has been around since the game first hit paper, it strikes me as almost a necessary evil.

When I write it's a thing I do try to avoid.

Thank you for your understanding.
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Old January 3rd, 2018, 12:46 AM
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True confessions; I did use "standard", "tainted" and "vacuum" to describe atmosphere. Oh well.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 10:19 AM
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I'm reading "Down a Peg", but am curious why you're using "Valkyrie" as a term in the story.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 11:14 AM
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Question Roethoeegaeaegz

The answer you are looking for is found here:

http://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Roethoeegaeaegz_(world)

But the short of it is that Marines from this world, (and its Colony at Nouon) are called valkyries with lower case on purpose.

Law Enforcement ladies of the same worlds are called paladins again in lower case for a reason.

Only the Matron has a rank/title with a capitalized word. Other ranks include squire, priestess, and even agent. It has to do with that world's Recovery.

Now, understand that while we are reading English, these beings are likely using Gvegh as their language which is an ethnic and regional dialect that took the place of Arrghroun the original language of the Vargr.

Keep reading.
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Old January 4th, 2018, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leitz View Post
Haven't read in a while, need to get back to it. I do want to ask about something Blue Ghost mentioned; describing a planet by "Tech Level". While I agree that it seems like something the characters wouldn't say, I have no idea what they would say.

Thoughts on something else to use to describe the native tech level of a planet, ship, or other entity?
Leitz; well, Star Trek had it's "class M" and other "classes" to describe worlds, but the use of those terms was in a kind of military or scientific parlance where information needed to be quantized and conveyed; i.e. a term meaning a lot of data to give the receiver of that information an idea of whatever it is being discussed.

I think just describing a place is what's needed. In a game session it's short hand to use stuff like tech level or law level, but I suspect if you were to really travel to Efate, Regina, Core, Vland, Lair, or whatever, that you would get brief on what you could and couldn't do as well as a more detailed description of the world, as opposed to a Stewardess saying "Welcome to Planet X, the law level is 8, the tech level is 8, and ..." then she runs off on the UWP profile.

UWP or UPP, to me, is meta data mostly, meant for use in game mechanics, but not really for the players characters to use as actual in world terms to convey information.

Think of it this way; whatever the "bad neighborhood" is around your part of the world, do you classify it with a bunch of numbers, or do you say that there's a lot of drugs, crime and guns there? That's kind of how I feel about Traveller and game terms being used in play and fiction.
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