Reviews for The Six Degrees of Separation
V-rcingetorix chapter 3 . 6/7/2014
Good plot development! Having EDI learn how to process emotions is a difficult task, but you seem to be doing all right at it!

There are a few style issues, however. In the C-Sec announcement, it is stated:"All is good." The usual tradition is to say, "All is *well.*" Granted, an alien civilization is probably not going to get everything right, but after Sovereigns' attack, humans have been predominant in the C-Sec offices.

The second bit is in the Dream Sequence; the paragraph beginning, "His hands twisted in my vision." I was a little confused where EDI's thoughts left off and Shepards thoughts continued; specifically: "He told me that I had the hands of a healer ..." That sentence should be italicized, I believe.

I'm keeping myself from reading another chapter, so I have something to review when I catch your next post on Review Tag. But it's hard, lol.
V-rcingetorix chapter 2 . 6/4/2014
A good chapter! I have only a few technical comments, if you will indulge me.

Just as an aside, I was wondering if you'd mention Asimov. the only other author-cameo that would make it perfect is Jules Verne, the Father of Science Fiction.

The dialogue is very smooth. Jeff/EDI have a believable interaction, and the Job character sounds kind of like the batarian preacher on Omega ("Repent, the End is nigh! Humans are a blight!" etc)
However, one sort of jarring dialogue was the dream-Anderson. I don't know if you were intending this, but he sounds like a machine; he doesn't use contractions, and is very precise about his phrasing. While the English are slightly more precise, Anderson has exhibited a somewhat less "english" lingistic style. Liara (in ME1) uses very few contractions, but that can be attributed to her being non-human, and a scientist as well. I've known a few scientists that believe abbreviating speech to be one of the unwritten Cardinal Sins, lol.

So, race riots, eh? Humans have a lot of experience with those. I imagine EDI won't be able to stand back, although Joker will probably try to talk her out if it. From the sound of it, Job is going to go the way of William Lloyd Garrison (1831). Is he going to use human history to support his claim? He probably isn't going to be using the Pillars of the batarian faith ... if the batarian slavers are any indication.

Out of curiosity, why is EDI unable to feel Joker touch her back? As an upgraded tactical platform, wouldn't it almost be a requirement to have some form of tactile interface for all surfaces? Humans use the sense of touch to gauge weight distribution, detect air-movements, minute differences in temperature or contact ... it's a highly useful sense.

Overall, very good.
V-rcingetorix chapter 1 . 6/3/2014
A good read, EDI is one of the under-utilized characters in the Mass Effect series, methinks.

Having EDI talk with Joker (or so I assume) in public, then realize public discussion was not the appropriate forum was a good move. To EDI, I can imagine the original Normandy was a fairly open place, since she had a lot of discussions with Shepard et al pretty much everywhere.

I was a little puzzled by the last segment, which I will tentatively classify as a good thing. Was EDI dreaming (probably)? Why would she be dreaming of Shepard (Synthesis option possible)?

Good rule btw; "Vexation over a relationship should be a private affair, not a public one." That is very machine-like, having rules like that. organics have to learn the rules by copying their elders and reading etiquette manuals, but machines have to go through a list of options/guidelines every time.

The emotional timbre of this chapter was interesting. The strength of Jokers' reaction was compelling, although the lack of Vrolik's Syndrome tells made his identity a little shaky. Using the first-person perspective from a machines' point-of-view also limits what emotional stress you can bring to bear, which could be both good and bad. From what I've read, I think it's good.

Good chapter, well done :)
Orifiel chapter 2 . 10/22/2013
You still do an excellent job with EDI's voice and thought patterns. I like her disorientation and reaction to Shepard's memories, and you painted that scene very well with abundant descriptions. Joker's voice sounded a bit on the formal side, but it's clear how much he cares about her.

It's also nice to see how the galaxy is faring after the war, and I enjoyed reading about EDI and Joker in a domestic setting. I really liked your take on EDI's ability to eat food and the accompanying explanation. It's feasible as a secondary energy source so she doesn't have to recharge as a station as often.

I thought the geth protester was an interesting character, and that scene gave some awesome insight on how synthetics are settling into a predominantly organic post-war world. It's like every other ethnic group and social class fighting for equal rights, complete with its own set of radical activists. A very good touch to add to this chapter.

And finally, I liked the Shepard memory at the end. It shows us the type of person this incarnation of John Shepard was earlier in his career. I'm curious to know how EDI reacts to this memory now that she knows she can experience them in dreams. This was another great chapter!
Orifiel chapter 1 . 10/17/2013
What an awesome idea! Synthetics in this universe are still finding their place, and I like how you chose to focus on EDI for the September contest. Her curiosity and willingness to learn about the way organics work has always been one of the defining and best points of her character, and your application of it here in her relationship with Joker was brilliant.

The voice you gave her was spot on; I could practically hear EDI as she confronted Joker about dreaming and about her worries regarding the solidity of their relationship. She had a clear note of concern and apprehension in the way you wrote her, which is a commendable job in writing a synthetic. I also like how you portrayed Joker's dismay and disgruntlement at her inquiries while they were out in public. The small clashes between them really shows the normalcy of their relationship and humanizes EDI in a way I think even she doesn't realize.

And wow, that last section! It answered not only her original question, but also provided a powerful impact for the reader. I really like how you walked us through her experience, bringing us in with her confusion in the "vision," and revealing at the end that it had actually been a dream. That was a beautiful example of showing. And the content of the dream itself was fantastic, and a very interesting take on the parameters of the contest.

I saw no errors whatsoever; your prose and grammar were all pristine. This is a very solid start to the story, and I'm looking forward to reading how EDI responds to the realization that she can, indeed, dream. Excellent work!
MizDirected chapter 4 . 10/4/2013
A very interesting look at what it would be to be synthetic after the control ending, and technology advancing. Very interesting indeed. A compelling idea.

I love how EDI used the things shown to her by the dreams, and the choices she makes. Gandhi goes synthetic.

There are some muddled tenses and some sentences that confused me. At one point breakfast entered the room on it's own, and the way the sentence was phrased, I wondered if Joker was just making so much food that it was spilling into the next room.

A good story well worth a heavy go through to make it as succinct and clearly written as possible, Also, taking out as much passive voice (the was's, were's, is's etc.) would really help immersion.

Thanks so much for sharing this vision with us. It was an enjoyable one.
Kendoka Girl chapter 1 . 9/30/2013
As always, you write a very deep and multi-layered story. The emotions and thoughts are very subtle and tone of EDI's awareness is well done with just the right intensity. The dream sequence is intriguing and really draws the reader in as well.
Osage chapter 3 . 9/29/2013
They finally meet! Wow, it's incredible for Shep and EDI to have such a powerful connection. Man and machine are so close to understanding eachother, it's beautiful in an anxious way because there is literally so much they could discuss at this point.
As always, your characterizations of Joker and EDI are rich and engaging. My only comment is that EDI sounds a little too organic. She's feeling emotions and seems to act like a normal person in love. This is fine if you want to show that she's embracing her humanity, or if Shepard's emotions are having an effect, but if not then you're glossing over her more robotic tendencies. Not that it's a bad thing, just thought I'd mention it.

As for grammar there was only one thing I noticed:
"The geth prime we had witnessed speaking out yesterday had been shot outside the dead quarian's by Citadel Security"-this sentence needs to be revised.

Looking forward to the powerful conclusion!
JLake4 chapter 4 . 9/28/2013
I have to say, this story is unique among the stories I've read in that it explores in-depth the questions posed by the game but never answered regarding AI.

I've always thought that Joker would be a difficult character to write as, and so I've never really tried much. Either he came off too dull or like he was doing straight stand up comedy, neither of which is really true to the character. You seem to do it pretty well, though.

The story reads to me like a series of dialogues between EDI and others. I guess one could say EDI is, in your universe, the synthetic Socrates, asking the hard questions of people and getting answers through dialogue. Which is a totally interesting way to do it, and like I said before, totally unique in my experience. Keep up the good work!
Lady Amiee chapter 2 . 9/28/2013
"Common, I bet the ship is a beauty. I can't wait to look at her," *** I think "C'mon," rather than common.

Another fascinating chapter. I really liked the part where she almost grumbles about being in a separate room, reading silently only to have Jeff say he was still woken. It's so .. couply, it makes me laugh.

Seeing Shepards memories really intrigue me, and the way you describe it in short sharp bursts make the impact even sharper. I really enjoy EDI's thoughts, and you have given her great voice. It's not identical to the game, more fluid, showing her growth from after the events of ME3. She is a fascinating creature and you make her even more so for me, well done!
Lady Amiee chapter 1 . 9/28/2013
Jeff never talked about what he had gained though, only the prices we had paid for it.***This line is stunning, It really hit me in the feel bones.

I adore EDI as you know and this is brilliantly done, capturing her personality perfectly. I adore her interaction with Jeff, the way she questions as she did in the game but in a totally different way. I also love the relationship angle, the way you caught the bickering couple vibe.

Is the vision Shepard's past? That's a really interesting idea, the thought of Shep's memories touching EDI is a great one and I can't wait to read more, well done!
bluekrishna chapter 1 . 9/27/2013
"His wiry smile" wry?

"I will always be here for you John, never . . . " missing a comma between 'you' and 'john'. also one missing later when his dad is speaking to him.

"Happy Birthday, dear John Shepard." 'shepard' stood out to me because it's addition is odd in context. i know you want to push the strangeness here: EDI dreaming and more, dreaming she's shepard, but no one sings the last name in this song. it almost took me out of the story. it's too obviously a marionette string, dear author. i'd take out 'shepard' and let the mystery stretch for just a bit longer. it gets resolved only a few sentences away anyway.

well anyway, tiny editing errors aside, i have to say i enjoyed this beginning. edi and her irrepressible needling. and relationship troubles with joker already? the blush is certainly off the rose. I really like the purpley-ness of the prose, but sometimes it came off as stuffy instead of inspiring. like it was being forced into a mold. being pushed too hard in one direction. the crafting could be more . . . invisible or seem more effortless. besides all that, it was clean, nothing was out of order enough to break the suspension of my disbelief.

i look forward to reading the rest!
The Urban Spaceman chapter 4 . 9/27/2013
Aww, I wish you'd had more time, as the ending feels a little rushed after the marvellous build-up, but I'm glad the ending wasn't black or white. Shades of grey leave more to think about than absolutes.

I hadn't considered the possibility that Shepard's consciousness would be sacrificed to provide the basis for another AI, but it's a plausible twist to the tale, and I think you showed off all of the characters very well.

G'luck in the contest!
Inkess chapter 1 . 9/26/2013
Are you an android? You've got EDI's voice and thought process so good I was amazed! I loved being in her head. She's all logical and procedural, but at the same time worries about Joker and their relationship. It's sweet to see her have all those doubts and concerns. Makes her more human than she realizes. And of course she has to deal with those assholes who can't accept that someone has different expectations from love than they do.

Liked the dream sequence, too (at least, that's what I guess it was). It was interesting to see it from the perspective of someone who has never experienced it before. "My mind was stuck on rails: there was only one direction I could follow and that was of the creator's intent. Yet who had created this facade?" This part was especially beautiful. The fact that she somehow saw Shepard's memories is very intriguing. I can't wait to see where you're going with this!
The Urban Spaceman chapter 3 . 9/24/2013
Ooh, and so we come to Shepard at last! Sounds almost as if EDI's been dragged into his dreams and memories by accident. One thing that confuses me though:

"The geth prime we had witnessed speaking out yesterday had been shot outside the dead quarian's by Citadel Security. Without a trial or a conservation, the geth had been shot and killed for the 'murder' of the salarian."

So... is it a quarian who's been killed, or a salarian? That paragraph doesn't make it clear.

Looking forward to the last chapter!
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