Author has written 5 stories for Mass Effect.
Welcome to my narcissistic 'safe space.' Lol
Me: Physics background & currently working in lab (not doing physics though).
I always wanted to write, but never had much time for it. I still don't have much time - and probably not much talent also, judging by the amount of work I have to put in what I write just to make it readable. The result is that I'm exceedingly slow (my current story is being updated with a new chapter about once every 3 months).
For now, I'm interested mostly in Mass Effect (RPG game by Bioware). There are so many interesting characters and possible subplots in that story and 'universe.' All of this despite the incredibly stupid and underwhelming space-magic-and-other-nonsense ending to ME3 (the third game in the trilogy - see down below after my "writer's blog" for some of my thoughts on ME3 ). As anybody can tell by looking at my writings, Tali (the quarian) is my favorite character in the whole Mass Effect series.
Some links for fellow Tali fans:
My writer's blog (sort of):
July 6: Virmire is a big deal. Chapter 20 is still in the planning phase, but the setting is already set: in or around the Salarian camp, just after Shepard has dealt with Wrex. I replayed that episode yesterday: what a tense moment! Of course, there are lots of problems with the Virmire mission, a good pretext for a lengthy discussion in the author's note (brace yourself!).
June 28: Chapter 19 (Quarian with a Shotgun) was published minutes ago. Accidents happen on the job, and Garrus gets a taste of it. It's another of those small incidents on the Normandy that never made it into the game! Lol. The setting of chapter 20 will be: the beaches of Virmire. As usual, it will probably take close to three months before it's ready for publication.
June 22: Publication (of chapter 19, 'Quarian with a Shotgun') is delayed to this coming Sunday (June 28). I thought it was ready and hoped to publish yesterday, but my beta reader raised a series of very good points and (I may exaggerate a bit) accused me of mistreating the chapter's main character. The result is that I will tweak the offending passages during the next few days in order to reduce their 'offensiveness.' Thank heavens for beta readers!
June 15: Beta-reading is ongoing on Chapter 19 (Quarian with a Shotgun). Serious planning for chapter 20 has started and I quickly realized the setting I had chosen would not be suitable for a cute Tali scene that's been on my mind for a while. I'm currently toying with the idea of writing a whole new chapter just to deal with that specific Tali scene. This would result in two separate chapters (chapters 20 and 21) happening on Virmire, while another (chapter 22) will deal with Virmire's aftermath. That's a lot of Virmire, but it's totally worthwhile considering the complexity of what happens on that planet and the significance of these events on the whole ME trilogy. I'll get to it as soon as Chapter 19 is published, which could be this coming weekend.
June 8: Chapter 19 (Quarian with a Shotgun) has been sent to beta-reading. It is mostly a prelude to Virmire, which will be the setting of Chapter 20.
June 1st: I was off the grid for a little more than a week, driving around and hiking on Vancouver island (British Columbia, Canada). What a great week: outdoor activities early in the day, followed later on by quieter activities including (sea)food, beer and culture. Another good thing is that I was able to write practically every day and Chapter 19 (Quarian with a Shotgun) is mostly done. There will be a couple rounds of re-read/re-write this week, then the text shall be submitted to my beta-reader. If everything goes according to plan, there should be no problem in publishing it before the end of June.
May 19: Practically no writing in the last week. Two reasons: 1) work has been so brutal I had to bring some of it back home with me on evenings and the weekend and 2) I committed myself to beta read a Tali story by a soon-to-be new author. It turns out beta reading is much more time consuming than I thought it would be - I now have a better appreciation of everything my own beta reader did for me (tipping of my hat to Vocarin). I'm not sure I'll continue to beta-read: it takes too much of the little free time I have. On the bright side: starting yesterday, I'm on vacation for a couple of weeks and my objective is to have a workable draft of Chapter 19 (Quarian with a Shotgun) by the end of said vacation time. Taking my (un)natural slowness into account, a reasonable publication date for chapter 19 would be near the end of June.
May 11: Not much writing done this past week, mostly because of my work - as usual. Starting this coming Friday, I'll be off work for a couple of weeks. Vacation time always gets my creative juices flowing and this will be the perfect opportunity to write Chapter 19 (Quarian with a Shotgun) which only has one page written up to now. My ideas are pretty much set however: the chapter will have two scenes and will pave the way for the mission on Virmire (which will be the setting of chapter 20).
May 4: Four words: "brutal week at work." I didn't write at all. But I'm starting tonight on chapter 19 (Quarian with a Shotgun). No kidding. Cheers!
April 30: I don't get it. Apparently, fanfiction.net messed up the information I provided as I set up 'Of Aunts & Nieces' for publication. The cover image is all wrong (my avatar instead of the other image I had selected), and most of the other information (characters, etc.) is missing. I've just re-entered all the parameters again in the hope that they're going to stick this time around and actually show on the public listing. Ugh.
April 29 (11 PM, Mountain time): I just published 'Of Aunts & Nieces.' Now I can get serious with chapter 19 of 'Quarian with a Shotgun.' Fortunately, I've got some vacation coming in three weeks. My objective is to have the chapter written (good enough for beta reading) by the end of this short period off work. Seems reasonable. ;)
April 27: The one-shot (Of Aunts & Nieces) is almost ready. Planning is ongoing for chapter 19 (Quarian with a Shotgun): It's going to be in Garrus' point of view and all the action will be in the Normandy's Cargo hold while the ship is on course for Virmire.
April 20: The one-shot 'Of Aunts & Nieces' has been submitted to beta reading. I'm optimistic: I think it's a solid little piece, but my opinion may change depending on what the beta reader will say (!). It could take a couple of weeks before publication. Meanwhile, it's back to Chapter 19 (of the main story: 'Quarian with a Shotgun'): I haven't written a word yet - this needs to change! Lol. Then again, I may not be able to do anything this week: it's tax time in Canada and I till have to do the paperwork. Darn! :(
April 12: There will be a small delay in the one-shot (Of Aunts & Nieces). This is due to extensive re-writing in order to give the correct attitude to Shala'Raan. She's a hard military woman, and also a politician, and I want this to be clear in her interaction with Tali. The short story looks much better already, but it still needs some work before I venture it to beta-reading.
April 6: Currently working on 'Of Aunts & Nieces', a one-shot story that will fit right in with the rest of my Talimancer work. It's coming along nicely: the draft version was completed this past week-end and it only needs a few cycles of re-read/re-writes before I submit it to the beta-reading process. Other than that, chapter 19 (Quarian with a Shotgun) is still in the planning phase. I think I've got the right idea already, but I won't start working on it seriously until I'm done with the one-shot.
March 29: Chapter 18 (Quarian with a Shotgun) has just been published. I'm happy with it: it's a good 'Talimancer' chapter. It's a bit long (only two other chapters are longer), but it has a fair amount of dialogue, which makes it easier to read. In the coming couple of weeks, I'll be working on my one-shot while I come up with a good idea for chapter 19, which will be kind of a 'filler' chapter in preparation for Chapter 20, which will be about Virmire.
March 23: The beta-reading is ongoing on Chapter 18 (Quarian with a Shotgun). If everything goes according to plan (fingers crossed, touching wood, praying, etc.), maybe it could be published this coming week-end. XD
March 16: Ugh. Last week at work was as brutal as the previous. But I still managed to go through chapter 18 (Quarian with a Shotgun) another time and bring some improvements. I sent it to the beta-reader (Vocarin) last evening, and the current objective is to have it published by the end of March. I'm still working on it at the same time: the grammar&spelling needs to be re-checked and the ending could be more humorous.
March 9: Ugh, last week at work was brutal. However, despite the lack of time and the exhaustion, I was able to go through one cycle of re-read/re-write on Chapter 18 (Quarian with a Shotgun) - that's how dedicated I am! (XD). The chapter seems pretty good, but I still have trouble with the ending. I'll go trough another cycle this week. If the result is good enough, I'll send it to the beta-reader, which means it could be published near the end of March. Yay for optimism!
March 2: A lot of what I said in the last post is wrong. I've been working mostly on Chapter 18 (Quarian with a Shotgun) and haven't touched my half-finished one-shot. Also, I really thought I had found a way to connect Chapter 18 with the 'Mass Effect: Homeworlds 2' comic book, but after looking into the matter more seriously, I realized that the comic book contradicts the canon version in a way that I just can't reconcile. That's unfortunate, but not surprising considering Bioware's track record in terms of storyline consistency (there are minor problems in ME3 mainly due to some retconning, but this is nothing in comparison with the utter garbage that is the fourth paperback book titled 'Mass Effect: Deception'). Chapter 18 is currently undergoing some re-writing and coming along nicely, but it's a slow process especially now that I'm back at work (vacations are always too short!). I'm not sure anymore which of the one-shot or Chapter 18 will be published next, but rest assured however that both will be published in due course!
Feb 23: Wow - creative juices were flowing last week, and the draft version of Chapter 18 (Quarian with a Shotgun) is essentially finished. At this point, the chapter has 4 separate scenes. Much still has to be done in terms of improvements to tighten the writing, but the flow of the story seems to make sense and I believe the chapter is as consistent with canon as I can make it - I've even managed to connect my story with Bioware's graphic novel 'Homeworld 2,' which describes how Tali found the evidence against Saren. The creative juices were in fact strong enough last week that I've written more than half of a 'post-ME3' one-shot about the moment where Tali reveals the extent of her involvement with Shepard to her aunt Shala'Raan. The title will be 'Of Aunts and Nieces.' I can't commit to publication dates for now, but the one-shot likely will be published before Chapter 18, as one-shots are more self-contained and easier to write. Cheers!
Feb 16: The draft version of Chapter 18 (Quarian with a Shotgun) is already 4 pages long. The objective for the rest of this week is to write one page per day. It's great to be off work and by myself for a whole freaking week! XD
Feb 9: Officially, I'm off work this week and next. As usual however, I had to bring some stuff home to complete - as soon as this is done, I'll really be able to (almost) forget about work and put some heart into my writing. I'm about to start for real on Chapter 18 (Quarian with a Shotgun), maybe later today or tomorrow. Cheers.
Feb 2: That was a busy week-end. However, despite having to bring some work home, I still managed to replay the missions in ME1 that are related to Cerberus, in preparation for the writing of Chapter 18 (Quarian with a Shotgun). There is still work to do on the scenario, but it's getting clearer. In retrospect, it's surprising how little interaction Shepard has with Cerberus in ME1, but this is still enough to sustain the 'beast' that Cerberus becomes in ME2 and ME3.
Jan 26: One week went by with no writing. Too busy at work. Chapter 18 (Quarian with a Shotgun) is still at the planning stage. It probably will be in three separate parts and will include some fighting (with Tali saving the day!). I have a couple of weeks off in February, and this likely is when the writing will take place.
Jan 17: There. Chapter 17 (Quarian with a Shotgun) has been published minutes ago. Yay. Now I can start working on chapter 18, which will be in Tali's POV. There should be more action, but also more mental torture for Tali (that's how she likes it, apparently). I've got some time off in Februay, so I hope to take less than my usual three months to come up with a new chapter. We'll see.
Jan 12: The beta-reading (by Vocarin) is ongoing, as well as my own corrections & re-writes. I'll be working on it during the week and the current objective is to have chapter 17 of "Quarian with a Shotgun" published this coming week-end (? Sunday). Cheers!
Jan 5: Chapter 17 (Quarian with a Shotgun) looks good and has been sent to my beta-reader. I'm sure some issues will be found, but that will only make it better. Meanwhile, I'll continue with a few cycles of re-read & re-write in parallel with the beta-reading. Publication likely in 1 to 2 weeks. Chapter 18 is already on my mind - likely in Tali's POV, featuring more action!
A critique of Mass Effect 3:
Having played through ME3 thrice up to now, here are a few reflections:
1- The shroud mission on Tuchanka. Parts of the mission are really badly written. Shepard and his/her convoy are stopped by some 'hole' in the road and can't reach the shroud in time. Then, the turian fighter crafts that were supposed to provide air support (as part of a diversion to draw the reaper away so that Shepard can infiltrate the shroud tower) can't abort their flight plan because their 'approach is locked,' which is completely idiotic - don't tell me there is no override button or something. Then of course a turian fighter gets shot down and falls directly on the krogan convoy (yeah, what were the odds of that happening!). For some reason, at that point the hole in the road is not so important anymore and the only two tomkah that are left standing just continue ahead, which makes the road crumble some more. Then comes the worst part. Kalros (the mother of all tresher maws) is very territorial and will pursue relentlessly the krogan tomkahs. Even if Kalros probably is able to 'feel' a tomkah from a distance of several kilometers, apparently it can't 'feel' the 160 meter high reaper destroyer stomping around the nearby shroud building. In fact, Kalros is so dumb that you actually have to summon it to the shroud proper so that it can notice the huge reaper. A reviewer (of my story 'Quarian with a Shotgun') argued (long argument through PMs) that maybe Kalros (as an apex predator) knew about the reaper but was just not too sure about attacking it (the reaper is big!), and that's why it needed the vibrations of the big hammer (some kind of challenge for Kalros) to finally make its decision. That could work, I suppose, if the game gave some hints about that. But it does not and, in the end, this confirms what I said: parts of the mission are badly written.
2- Legion's death. Because there is an error in the reaper code that it's trying to upload to the rest of the geth collective, Legion dies as it needs to 'personally disseminate itself.' WTF?! Have I missed something? Aren't geth supposed to be pure software? Tali reiterates that fact (which has been repeated all along the story) when she discusses how the geth are helping quarians adapt to Rannoch after the geth/quarian war is ended; geth are pure software and are supposed to be able to get into any device with sufficient computational power. I don't understand why Legion couldn't just copy itself and send these copies abroad. This 'dying' thing was just a ploy for dramatic purposes; I don't think it makes any sense (to 'kill' software, in my understanding, you need to erase all its copies or destroy the physical support of all the copies) and it contradicts what the game tells us about the nature of the geth up to that point. It's just bad writing. I have nothing against making Legion 'die' in a dramatic situation, but it should make actual sense.
3- The geth as Pinocchio. This is an issue that I found on AssaultSloth's profile (AssaultSloth is the author of 'Interstitium,' one of my favorite stories). The idea of the geth as a collective of interacting but independent software units, as developed in ME1 and ME2 was original and interesting, an altogether novel concept. In ME3 however, the geth were dumbed-down to wanting to become individual fully sentient units. Hence the comparison with Pinocchio, who had one main desire: to become a real little boy. It's as if the writer(s) of ME3 wanted to streamline the geth (a diffuse, immaterial collection of independent but cooperating software units) into a group of conventional robots of the usual variety, as seen for decades in science fiction: one single physical robotic chassis = one single sentient synthetic 'person' like Bender in Futurama, Marvin (the paranoid android) in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or even something like EDI in mass effect. This is all very disappointing as the original idea of the geth could have been preserved easily, without much change to the rest of ME3's plot.
4- ME3's ending (from the final run to the beam and thereafter). Most of it is badly written. The bad part begins when your two teammates need to be evacuated. Shepard calls the Normandy for evac in a (very) hot zone; I mean there's a huge reaper shooting beams at them, killing everybody and tossing APCs around like toys! I had to laugh at that point: if it was so easy to evac people using a big ass frigate like the Normandy, why did so many people have to die to reach the beam in a wasteful ground offensive... I mean the Normandy could have flown right to the beam and dropped a Mako like on Ilos in the first game, or a freakin' regiment of soldiers (or just Chuck Norris, lol)... This evac is so stupid!
5- Synthetics life vs Organic life: Really? The catalyst states that A) the fundamental conflict between synthetics and organics originates from the fact that synthetics do not fully understand organics. It also states that B) it is inevitable for synthetic life to eventually wipe out all organic life (which is just another variant of a very common misconception that machines are inherently superior to biological organisms in absolutely all functions). I don't know about you, but the more I think about these two concepts, the more I feel they are bunk: they're not convincing and make for a poor background to the ME (or any other) story. I have issues with both of the catalyst's statements:
6- The 'three choices ending device'. This is another disappointing element of the ending to ME3. It is a problem that is separate from the dubious 'synthetic vs organic' idea, also introduced at the end. The 'three choices device' is a simple and cheap (lazy) way to end a story and could be applied to any story you may think of.
7- 'Synthesis': why it's utter bullshit. The 'three choices ending device' is a stupid way of ending a story (see discussion in point 5 above). But then again, it would not be that bad if the choices made sense; unfortunately that is not the case in ME3. Of the three choices, two ('destroy' and 'control') are somewhat understandable in terms of our ability to conceptualize what happens, but the third ('synthesis') really stands out on many levels and my contention is that it is completely unacceptable in terms of the usual suspension of disbelief that characterizes science-fiction stories. In other words, my contention is that 'synthesis' is a bad bad bad idea (utter bullshit) and makes for bad bad bad (utterly shitty) science fiction.
8- Leviathan DLC: retconning the reapers and buttressing the 'synthetics vs organics' idea.