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About Werthead

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    Social Justice Robot from the Future
  • Birthday 01/22/1979

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  1. Both B'Elanna and Tom started well, and could have been as well-developed as Kira and Bashir, but both of them ceased all character development at all somewhere early in Season 2 and effectively neither of them did anything else until the end of the series, aside from Tom spending 5 minutes making a badass shuttle for no particular reason (one of approximately 20 storylines that Voyager half-arsed and then BSG did ten times better) and wasting resources on a 1950s holodeck adventure. Both Kira and Bashir started one-note, but they started developing and having more layers added almost immediately (Kira tearing strips off Bashir in the pilot for him treating her devastated homeworld as an exotic frontier adventure is one of the best scenes in it) and over the course of the show built up a colossal amount of depth as characters. The Bashir-O'Brien friendship is probably the greatest, purest friendship in the entire franchise (maybe challenged on a good day by Data/LaForge), and light-years beyond Tom/Harry. The Kira-Odo relationship was a bad idea, granted, but the actors sold the hell out of it for all that. They do, repeatedly, tear this idea down though and the show ends with a mass revolution that brings all the dodgy Ferengi "har sexism" stuff crumbling to the ground. That's something I want to see in Lower Decks and Picard actually, female Ferengi ship captains and merchants out in the galaxy doing stuff well.
  2. BattleTech being disturbingly prescient. "I'm not a parrot."
  3. The Mitchells vs. The Machines on Netflix was a pleasant surprise. Came out of nowhere but it has a stellar cast (Olivia Coleman as the villain is outstanding) and the animation style is excellent. It's made by some of the same team as Into the Spider-Verse. It's nowhere near as stylised as Spider-Verse and the script isn't as sharp, but it's still a very accomplished, witty film with some good gags and a really interesting element of adding 2D elements over the CG animation to create something quite interesting. It's probably a tad on the long side: the end credits are absurdly long so it's not the 2 hours it shows up as, more like 1 hour 45, which is still pushing it for an animated family comedy. The Furby scene they put out in the trailers is probably the best scene in the film though, which is something I wish movies would stop doing.
  4. I know they were a different set of characters, but I would have thought we'd have heard about a Power Pack show or movie by now for the younger slant of the MCU. I guess they were more tied in with the Fantastic Four, so probably won't appear until the F4 movie is out. I don't think we know for sure if Secret Invasion is coming before or after The Marvels; based on them casting and going into pre-production now, presumably to shoot in the summer, it feels like they want to get the show out before the film (which makes me wonder if Ms. Marvel will show up in Secret Invasion as well).
  5. Nice. The City Viewer is back in (I believe Rome was and still is the only game in the whole series to have this) and the old dodge from Barbarian Invasion (do a night battle and the campaign map also goes into "night mode", so you can now view your cities at night) seems to still work. There's also a mod which adds all your military units stationed in the city to the map, so you can see them manning the walls and marching around etc whilst the civilians go about their daily business.
  6. Werthead


    I don't think any of the writers are as good as Abnett (Stackpole at his best is maybe 80% of the way there), or Mitchell or maybe Dembski-Brown and McNeill, except maybe Robert Charette, but Charette only wrote three books (two of which are acclaimed, the last one is regarded with disdain), none of them critically important to the lore. As for the really shit books, the ones to avoid are Far Country (which tried to introduce sentient aliens to the setting and got nuked to oblivion by hardcore fans as a result, and TPTB have never ruled it as being canon) and Starlord (which reads like a deranged MechWarrior RPG campaign), reportedly.
  7. Yes, the TV show's first season covers Book 1 of the Grisha Trilogy and acts as a prequel to Six of Crows.
  8. Cornwall is an inconvenient distance from London, and not very easy to get to by train (depending on the route, it can be over five hours which in the relatively small UK, is kind of insane). By car it's not too bad, maybe four hours, though that's still very long by our standards.
  9. I did one game with a friend where he (as the Empire) became convinced I was in System A, but I was in System B next door. When the Death Star moved adjacent to System A, I launched a last-ditch attack to draw off his fleet and then hit the undefended Death Star with every fighter I had for a lucky trench run. The Death Star blew up, carrying me over the victory line. Epic.
  10. Werthead


    Stackpole's first six books are back in print and generally considered the best entry point to the franchise: The Warrior Trilogy: En Garde, Riposte, Coupe The Blood of Kerensky Trilogy: Lethal Heritage, Blood Legacy, Lost Destiny Warrior takes you through the semi-peaceful period after the Third Succession War ends, through the intensity of the Fourth Succession War, and then into the aftermath. Blood of Kerensky describes the Clan Invasion, then the Twilight of the Clans series (which is a big, multi-author series) does the aftermath of the Clan Invasion (I think it doubles back and fleshes out some incidents from the Invasion as well in greater detail). Natural Selection and Assumption of Risk flesh out the 3055 period in greater detail, followed by Bred for War and Malicious Intent. Then there's the Civil War trilogy (Patriots and Tyrants, Storms of Fate, Endgame), which concludes the "classic BattleTech" era. The Jihad era gets glossed over in fiction, with the Dark Age novel series picking up many decades later, but I get the impression that by Dark Age a lot of people had given up (Stackpole wrote the first Dark Age novel but then checked out of the setting). There are then books which flesh out elements of the setting: Wolves on the Border and Heir to the Dragon flesh out Wolf's Dragoons in the pre-Fourth Succession War period (they're often cited as the best individual BattleTech novels). The Grey Death Legion trilogy is the very first BattleTech trilogy so has Early Instalment Weirdness but is reportedly a solid look at a lower-stakes conflict. The Jade Phoenix Trilogy takes place around the Clan Invasion and fleshes those guys out in a lot of detail (whilst the main invasion books deal with Clan Wolf, I believe). I Am Jade Falcon follows that story arc up a few years later. Of the writers, Michael A. Stackpole is probably the best all-rounder, though he does like "unlikely" coincidences. Robert Thurston is pretty good and Robert Charette is often cited as the best, though he focuses on smaller-scale conflicts rather than big picture stuff. Victor Milan (the Wild Cards writer) is pretty good at writing idiosyncratic stuff that makes diehard fans uncomfortable (one of his main characters hates BattleMechs, for example). Blaine Lee Pardoe isn't bad but he's a Confederate apologist and shoehorns that into the books, often in very jarring ways (and it's unclear why anyone in the 31st Century would give a shit about the Confederacy).
  11. Werthead


    It's definitely a setting that changes and the stories and history march on, and the novels always push forward big events in the timeline, unlike WH40K, where really major and huge events may or may not be novelised and it's a bit of a crapshoot. The setting is also divided into distinct eras: The Third and Fourth Succession Wars, or "Classic BattleTech" (3015-3030): This is the setting for the BattleTech and MechWarrior 5 video games, and the default setting for the franchise as a whole. The Clan Invasion (3049-61): This time period introduces the Clans, a technologically advanced new faction. Most of the prior video games are set in this era. The Civil War (3062-67): This time period focuses on a major civil war within one of the major powers, and is an "updated" default setting incorporating the new technology and factions from the Clans. The Jihad (3068-80): Deals with the fall-out from the Civil War era and introduces religious fundamentalism to the setting (or rather puts it centre-stage). The Republic (3081-3130): A new period of relative stability which is sometimes used as a third default setting of low-intensity conflict with lots of deniable battles going on involve mercenaries. The Dark Age (3131-50): A post-apocalyptic setting created by the collapse of the interstellar FTL communications network, leaving the powers and worlds isolated and with a great deal more logistical problems in handling communications. Not hugely popular with fans. The IlClan Era (3151-present): A reset of the status quo, bringing the setting out of the post-apocalyptic setting and reigniting the Inner Sphere-Clan conflict. There seems to be cautious optimism about this new period. In addition, there have been novels and sourcebooks focusing on earlier time periods. The actual first BattleMech was introduced as early as 2439, so there's a 600-year period before the OG game which is starting to be more explored, particularly the Star League era (when humanity is united by what is effectively the United Federation of Planets) and the Exodus era, when the ancestors of the Clans flee the Inner Sphere for deep space.
  12. Werthead


    God, no. Mainly because I don't have time with the Pratchett reread project, but also the overwhelming majority of BattleTech novels are still out of print. Catalyst have brought back the six classic Stackpoles (the Warrior trilogy and the Blood of Kerensky or Clan Invasion trilogy) and a bunch of others, and then all the new ones you can get, but most of them would involve going to eBay or Amazon Used Sellers. So the current plan is to read the six classic Stackpoles and then hit the big plot beats leading up to the present day. They've just relaunched the fiction line with some new books in a new era. I think if you read The Sword and the Dagger first it makes a bit more sense (although that's not strong enough a novel to act as a jumping on point for new readers): the Capellan Confederation committed an act of war against the Federated Suns, Hanse was just patient and cool-headed enough to give it a few years before retaliating. Also, whilst characters like Melissa are presented as sympathetic (though she's not got any power at this point), Hanse is very much not. He's a relatively nice guy in person, but he's also clearly a super-ruthless political leader when needed. Based on how my American friends identify themselves on the almost-as-tenuous historical links in half that time, I'm not too sure that is weird.
  13. Damn, Richard Halliwell has passed away. He was the co-creator of not only Warhammer but also Dark Future and the monstrously unforgiving Space Hulk, the board game you make your friends play to break their souls.
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