Ruth's Diary


The PS4 was launched last week and I just...don't care. Like a lot of people, I honestly felt the console and its rival XBox One are being rushed out. I mean, it really doesn't feel like the end of a console's lifecycle. The PS3 had its strongest games this year, with even PS3-exclusive DLC for the The Last of Us coming out sometime soon (after the PS4 release!!!). Usually the available games for a console dry up before the next one comes out. I certainly don't remember many new awesome games coming out for the PS1 before the PS2's launch, and before the PS3 launched, what games did the PS2 have? I remember Bullworth Academy but that was the only game with any sort of credentials. *Checks Wikipedia* Nope, Jak X did not come out in 2006, so my argument is still valid.

So yeah, I'm in no hurry to buy the PS4, my PS3 is still in fantastic condition and I still have games to play. A new friend, Honza, even pointed out something in Spec Ops: The Line that I need to see, so I have even more incentive to play through on FUBAR difficulty (God help me).

Instead I'll review an epic 6-novel long Star Trek/Star Wars crossover fanfiction. I only finally finished it this year. Now, sfdebris' website claims the story is award-winning; it's not that I don't believe him but I would very much like to know what award.

Read it here if you're interested.

I'll try to keep spoilers to a minimum, but there will be some. Now the reason I was even remotely interested in this story is because...well sfdebris wrote it. I love his various videos looking at the highs and lows of various forms of science fiction, highlighting the best and worst stories. So I wondered if, in his own fanfiction, he could correct many of the mistakes that (Star Trek) writers had often committed over the years. In a lot of ways, yes, he did. He made Janeway a lot more believable, Harry Kim a lot more likeable...he really enjoyed torturing Seven though. What was up with that? And I don't mean sadistic enjoyment. She is pretty much the main protagonist throughout all the stories and for whatever reason she's put through torture of various kinds, whether conducted by others or self-inflicted.

Saying that though, there are big flaws. Apart from the final novel, which has 50 chapters, the novels have 40 chapters each. That's not the problem, the problem is that he condenses about 5-8 chapters into the final chapter. Seriously Chuck, why couldn't you just write out the extra chapters chapter-by-chapter? (Charles Sonnenberg is his name btw) So not only are the final chapters always a slog to read through, but they always feel rushed, leaving me with the sense of: 'Wait, what happened? Why? What are they doing? How does this resolve anything?' The final novel at least had a proper ending, with a tone of finality to it. Leading me to the next big flaw, that each novel took place either months, years, or even decades after the previous one. The first few chapters would offer very brief descriptions of how the world - excuse me - two galaxies are, but it usually wasn't until the 2nd or 3rd chapter that I properly understood what the rough year was. Apart from novel 4, the age of a particular character makes it very clear. The final and largest flaw is one inherent in all fanfiction: if the reader is not or only casually aware of the existing fictional universe, then the lack of description or background information makes it difficult for them to jump in. I really don't know very much about the Star Wars universe, so I found it very annoying the way Chuck would just never bother explaining who the various characters are or what the aliens looked like. Yes I'm aware the blue-skinned race with no hair that featured at the end of Revenge of the Sith had a name, but I have no idea what that name was.

I was fully conscious of this flaw when writing my Jak & Daxter fanfic...heh heh... ^^;;

So then, the other flaw is that the cast of characters is just too big. Apart from a key dozen, there are about 50 other extraneous characters across all the novels that I just couldn't care about. I even forgot who they were half the time. It doesn't bode well that after reading novel 4 just before Christmas last year I was so mentally exhausted, I avoided reading this monster again until around my birthday...when I had run out of things to read again. Or write, rather. (I'll get back to that fanfic of mine.)

So was the story good? Well...there were silly typos, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, the likes of which really shouldn't have been done by a teacher (Chuck revealed he works or at least has worked as a teacher when he reviewed My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic...a fan had requested he do it). I'm sure half of these errors were done when he had moved the fanfics to the new website, but still. The story itself is logical, has clever callbacks to earlier plot points that get explained and somehow makes a Star Trek/Star Wars crossover actually work. Saying that though, there is an entire part of the story that dwells on Luke Skywalker and Seven of Nine being completely lovey-dovey towards each other and doing absolutely nothing practical or was very dull. I personally just found all the flaws I listed above get in the way of the story.

Also...did Chuck really have to give in to his inner geek/fanboy? Not only does he have the Doctor from Doctor Who involved in the sidelines (the description matches Tom Baker) but he also has characters jumping dimensions at one point. In essence, you also get crossovers with: Transformers, Spiderman/Fantastic Four, Hellraiser, Halo, Battlestar Galactica, War of the Worlds, Alien, some zombie story (I'm guessing something from Romero).

Reading this turned my face into -_-

If you're wondering why Stargate is missing, Chuck hadn't seen any episodes whatsoever until last year at the earliest, so there you go. As a rule, I really don't enjoy crossovers, crossovers only work well when the universes can properly mesh together. So I'll give him that: he made Star Wars and Star Trek work well together.

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