The Deacon's Tale

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DervMan
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The Deacon's Tale

Post by DervMan » Sat May 24, 2008 9:33 am

I've only read the first two chapters and I like it very much so far. I must redouble my efforts, I want to write this well! Well done!
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Re: The Deacon's Tale

Post by Erinys » Wed May 28, 2008 3:49 am

Many thanks for the kind words. :) I'm glad you're enjoying the novel.

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Re: The Deacon's Tale

Post by The Writer2 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 2:55 am

Aye, it's very nice. I waited to finish the novel before installing the game itself, and I see a lot of connections between the book and the game. It's awesome. (Note, I was really hoping the new thing hinted at in the last chapter wasn't actually in the game; imagine my dismay when I lost a whole ton of my colony ships to the things...ONE MADE IT THROUGH THOUGH!!!)

*spoilers abound*

It's nice, since usually the relationship between two creative mediums is one-way. A book based on a movie. A movie based on a book. Music inspired by a movie. A book based on a game. With The Deacon's Tale and SotS, it's very clear that the two play off each other. Kudos to you whomever created that portrait of that steel-armed Tarka. ;) Can I assume there are other characters depicted in the game's art? (Not to mention, Ishii looks pretty cool in that whirlpool of steel. I think I finally have an understanding of those battlesuits the Liir have.)
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Re: The Deacon's Tale

Post by Bossman » Tue Jul 01, 2008 4:39 pm

The Writer2 wrote:Can I assume there are other characters depicted in the game's art?

One of the Tarka avatars is a human wearing Tarka jewlery, which looks like a grown-up Tor. He's to the right of the Lan avatar. And some loading screens depict scenes from the book, such as Che'zokin pulling out his wings.

Also, Lan Liir'doma is one of the Tarka AI names; he's not happy with me in my current game, which might have something to do with smashing three of his fledgling colonies.
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Re: The Deacon's Tale

Post by The Writer2 » Tue Jul 01, 2008 8:09 pm

Aye, I noticed the loading screens and art on the bonus CD. It's nice to see all that art too since it adds some visual depth to the book. Usually when reading my mind is made-up of a concept-based shadow-play. I don't think very much about the visuals at all. >.<
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Re: The Deacon's Tale

Post by Gakl » Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:10 pm

Bossman wrote:
The Writer2 wrote:Can I assume there are other characters depicted in the game's art?

One of the Tarka avatars is a human wearing Tarka jewlery, which looks like a grown-up Tor. He's to the right of the Lan avatar. And some loading screens depict scenes from the book, such as Che'zokin pulling out his wings.

Also, Lan Liir'doma is one of the Tarka AI names; he's not happy with me in my current game, which might have something to do with smashing three of his fledgling colonies.


So does this an indication that human cultural sugroups get merged into tarkasian society and vice versa? Such that the 'races' cease to be so much races (w/ regard to civilization structure) and that the future structure of the SotS universe has civilizations that aren't split as much on racial lines as on cultural?
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Re: The Deacon's Tale

Post by Bossman » Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:20 pm

There is bit of mingling between the two races in the book, but it's minor. The Catholic church has established a few missions on Tarka colonies and there's trade between the two races, but tensions between them still exist.

*Spoilers ahoy*

Tor's a unique case: he was sold to a Tarkasian merchant as a slave in exchange for food and water. He was bought and presented to Empress Ma'ak, who then had the trader arrested and punished for selling slaves. The trader believed he was within the bounds of the law on the belief that only Tarkas counted as people, prompting a revision of the laws to clear that up. The Empress tried to return Tor to his family, but the Zuul wiped out the colony before they got there. So she chose to raise the boy as part of her own family.
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Re: The Deacon's Tale

Post by ZedF » Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:22 pm

Yes, Mecron has been dropping hints that in SotS 2 we will see faction divisions based not on race but on politics.
Zed's TARs (sample):
Fractious Allies -- Hiver vs. Hiver, with allies
Who Let The Bugs Out -- Hiver vs. Tarka and Zuul
Tarka Ascendant -- Tarka vs. Hiver and Zuul

Strategy & Tactics Forum Archive -- More posts on strategy, tactics, and TARs

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Re: The Deacon's Tale

Post by Red_Machine » Mon Jul 14, 2008 5:50 pm

I just finished it and I have to say, Ms. Dembo, I thought it was brilliant!

The characters were believable and developed well as the story progressed. My personal favourite was Sara, she was very likeable.

Though did you really have to kill the iron lady? When I'm reading a book I tend to visualise characters as people I know or have seen on TV and I imagined Maggie as a girl I'm rather fond of and it wasn't nice to think of her being gutted by a Zuul... :cry: But if your intention was to make us hate them more, it bloody worked!

Kepp it up, and I can't wait for the next one!
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Re: The Deacon's Tale

Post by DervMan » Mon Jul 14, 2008 6:20 pm

Red_Machine wrote:Though did you really have to kill the iron lady? When I'm reading a book I tend to visualise characters as people I know or have seen on TV and I imagined Maggie as a girl I'm rather fond of and it wasn't nice to think of her being gutted by a Zuul... :cry: But if your intention was to make us hate them more, it bloody worked!


And that's the Holy Grail; empathy with characters.

Yeah, she did sound rather swinnng! :wink:
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Re: The Deacon's Tale

Post by Muzzy » Fri Jul 25, 2008 1:28 am

Spoiler Warning

All in all, I quite liked the Deacon's Tale. The characters were introduced in a way that grabbed the attention (particularly with Maggie and Sara, to say nothing of Che'zokin*.) Even having read the teaser chapters posted on the wiki, knowing that Cai Rui was the only one to get out of the Deacon's first trap alive, I was hoping that she would survive somehow.
The events of the battle with the Zuul was truly gripping, and had several crowning moments of awesome, particularly for the Hivers. Cai's interactions with the Deacon were compelling and disturbing. Iishi was pretty cool too.
Now that all the praise is out of the way, I had problems with two parts of the book. The first was the Carebearstare/Mind Hug the Deacon was subjected too. I have a bit of a (okay, a massive) hate on for instant redemption and I felt that it cheapened the Zuul as a whole and the Deacon in particular. Especially in light of this:
Erinys wrote:Zuul identity tends to be constructed along oppositional lines: they define themselves in terms of polarity, of what they are not. The reason that they might gravitate toward Satanism is because the victim from whom the notion was Ripped conceived of Satanism as an opposing set of values to his or her own.

A Zuul would not, in other words, be likely to Rip Satanism from a Satanist. He would be far more likely to construct a Satanic image or ideology for himself because "Satan" = "not slave".

My second (and far less serious) problem was with the assigning blame portion of the council at Ko'Kuuma. It seemed... forced. Although that could have been the fault of Sara Mak'Kona rather than Arinn's.
However, the book manages to finish with another moment of pure awesome with Cai Rui's final exchange with the Director.
I suppose its the high overall quality of the writing is what emphases the few existing flaws to such a degree. Still, all things considered, I devoured the Deacon's Tale with as much relish as I have every other bit of backstory and environment that Arinn has doled out to us, and I feel that having read the Deacon's Tale has improved my overall enjoyment of the game, as it did with Homeworld, Cataclysm and otherwise.


*Actually, forget that last bit. Che'zokin and Ezz'in were pure liquid awesome, right from the get go. From Che'zokin's speech about being someone of little consequence to Ezz'in's last thought, those two were great. The whole bit with the flamethrowers had me sitting up and practically squealing with glee.**
I'll admit that I'm actually a bit worried about their chances of rebirth. Although they died heroes, Che'zokin was disobeying a direct order from the Queen herself at the time. If they were too show up in future writings... *hopeful*

** This passage:
Arrin Dembo wrote:"I am the father of the blazing sun." "My sons cannot hurt me, massaaku. But I? I can hurt you."

In a book full of crowning moments of awesome, this... this is f*ckin' hardcore.
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Re: The Deacon's Tale

Post by Mecron » Fri Jul 25, 2008 1:53 am

yep that was a chill up the spine line for sure.

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Re: The Deacon's Tale

Post by Space Voyager » Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:41 pm

I've read the novel some time ago. I rather not comment a movie or a book right after watching/reading it, I need a minute to actually think about it. But my first two thoughts were definitely "I want some more" and "freaking awesome". They still stand but I too have some things that bothered me.

First "grievance" was the huge power of Church. Ok, let's say people were in such distress after being attacked by Hivers that they clang to whatever there was, however immaterial. That however doesn't explain the vast stupidity of directors excommunication. Church may be a power grabbing organisation but stupid is not among the descriptions I would usually attribute it. Excommunication that calls for war right after one ended and billions were killed - with a chance to actually loose the next one... is not a good move. And it was based on pure speculation, too. No talk, no research, no demands for information, a demand for war out of the blue. A possibility of Human extinction is surely too big a risk. Even if the Tarka actually did erase one colony.

The second one was the ending ceremony, the "human boy show" and the lectures that followed.
The ceremony itself happening seems unlikely and frankly, unneeded. It had no actual point. That such high figures would eventually meet is ok but a common threat seems more of a problem for ministers of war/defence or whatever each race calls its war representatives than highest possible diplomatic figures. The whole show just seemed unnecessary dramatisation to me, something for the movies.
The Tarka diplomat said how Zuul took something from each of the races - and names things that all probably belonged to each of the races (and to Humans definitely throughout history). Which kinda makes Zuul behaviourally ordinary people, perhaps a bit brutal for today's taste.
Bishops outburst at that ceremony is also something highly unlikely. Church is known to have been indifferently watching human suffering through ages (not to mention how often it caused it) and one of its highest representatives bursting out like that before listening to what the Tarka diplomat has to say (when he saw a perfectly healthy child), accusing the hosts of everything imaginable and again risking a new war... is also unlikely.
Naturally, if the Church has concluded that Humans can win an all-out war and it simply wants a holy crusade to start, this would be a nice try - but Cai Rui would think of that, I'm sure.

That's it. These two things are the only ones that started to bug me after a while, otherwise the novel remains hugely awesome. It definitely made me look differently at the game, too. Also I am not used to science fiction being so colourful. Descriptions, scenery etc. are all so beautifully written it was breathtaking. Now I can't decide if that is a more novel-like approach to SF or a woman's touch... Because I don't recall ever reading a woman-written SF before. Perhaps a story in a local magazine.

GREAT work and I WANT MORE.
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Re: The Deacon's Tale

Post by JonathanS » Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:25 pm

I just wanted to say that I got the CE edition of SOTS just today and my brother and I played for 5 hours before he went to bed, I then spent the next four hours reading your book and finished it! Couldn't put it down!

You did superb, Arinn! Look forward to seeing more work from you!
~Jonathan S.

Shh'Ka'Ta of the Hivers

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Re: The Deacon's Tale

Post by Musesoperman » Tue Aug 05, 2008 5:03 pm

Muzzy,
"Now that all the praise is out of the way, I had problems with two parts of the book. The first was the Carebearstare/Mind Hug the Deacon was subjected too. I have a bit of a (okay, a massive) hate on for instant redemption and I felt that it cheapened the Zuul as a whole and the Deacon in particular. Especially in light of this:

Erinys wrote:
Zuul identity tends to be constructed along oppositional lines: they define themselves in terms of polarity, of what they are not. The reason that they might gravitate toward Satanism is because the victim from whom the notion was Ripped conceived of Satanism as an opposing set of values to his or her own.

A Zuul would not, in other words, be likely to Rip Satanism from a Satanist. He would be far more likely to construct a Satanic image or ideology for himself because "Satan" = "not slave"."

Dude..you have COMPLETELY misread what happens to "The Deacon". The quote you are giving as evidence of a clash is the very thing that points to how badly you have misunderstood what happened.
There is no "instant redemption" here in any way, shape, or form. If you define yourself as being a polar opposite of something else then to become that thing is, in all likelihood, your worst fear. Much of the story is themed around this idea. Without going into too much detail the obvious case in point is what "the Deacon" did to Tourneau and the resulting madness - he was forced to be everything he detested (his polar opposite). Creatures of evil never think they are evil...blasting "the Deacon" at a fundamental level with Ishii's epitome of what is love and goodness ( "It is mother. Her name...was Heart's Joy") is equivalent to being shown the most horrific thing you can imagine and then told.."this is what you will become". Hence, "..Please. I will do anything. Please. I will serve you. I will be your son. Do not make me this mother-thing...". Sooooo...if being what you most detest at a fundamental level isnt bad enough....on TOP of this he is ALSO made aware that he is going to forever berrate himself (through Tourneau) for being himself. Basically, he is actually TURNED INTO his personal hell. I can't think of a much worse punishment..hardly "instant redemption" by an infinite margin.

And also with the Tourneau transfer, "....Take his love...Take his pity. Take his shame. Take his fear." Given that the (male) Zuul are hateful, disdainful, without pity or shame and, presumably, disgusted by fear and any lapse of emotional control, I see no conflict that "cheapened the Zuul as a whole" here at all.

EVEN with all this aside....EVEN if he were good and loving to start with...I'd hardly call being turned into a raving, self harming, lunatic (he is sent to work in R+D for an alien race to give information that will help them destroy his own kind i.e. a SLAVE) redemption....man...they must have some SERIOUSLY nasty Catholic priests where you live. :o

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