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Monocled Falcon
Oct 30, 2011


From my Sufficient Velocity/Space Battles days, I recall Technological primitivism is a really common Trope in Sci Fi.
I can see how Weber could have written it for more clarity, 'Grayson missiles are so stupid our natural stealth reduces the odds of hitting to .001% and using ECM to set a subtle tarp for them just adds another coin flip to the chance of them hitting'

In the board game terms the series devolved into, I can practically write the weapon description.
'Obsolete Sensors: target may not roll any D6s for ECM but Attacker must roll 3d6s to hit target and discard the 2 highest.'

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PupsOfWar
Dec 6, 2013



weber probably does think in board-game logic, but there's no way said logic is streamlined enough to run on d6s

Kchama
Jul 25, 2007





Gnoman posted:

First, regarding the Wolcott incident, I suspect that this is sloppiness in revision. Nothing I've seen from Weber anywhere else indicates that he'd see it as less severe than you are, and it is more serious than anything else we see from Graysons that I can recall, and is never mentioned again. I mentioned before that the later books seem to retcon Grayson's sexism to a lower level, and I suspect that this may be what happened here. Weber clearly intended Grayson to be Good Guys for the rest of the series even while writing this book, decided to walk back some of their behavior, and missed this one.

Second, what I think is supposed to be implied here is that most of the female crew who had bad experiences was keeping quiet about it, because The Captain was taking even more poo poo than any of them and bearing up. So after hearing about Wolcott, her "full investigation" was bringing in every crewmember and ordering them to duvulge any since incidents they experienced or witnessed.

As for why so much focus is on Honor herself, there's a few things going on here besides Protagonist Focus. First, there's a strong tendency to conflate a captain and the ship they command, both in history and ficton. You talk about James Kirk when you mean the USS Enterprise, John Paul Jones when you mean the Bonhomme Richard, or Horatio Nelson instead of HMS Victory. So the indignities suffered by the women in this task force get focused entirely on the commander in charge - one Honor Harrington. The other thing is that, when you talk about a group of victimized people, there's a tendency to use the most prominent among them as the "icon". Sometimes this is an individual thing, the way Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, or Frederick Douglass stand in for the millions of American slaves. (there is no intent to equivocate scale or severity here, merely an attempt to find an example that will be familiar to almost everyone) Other times, it is a single group, the way the crew of the USS Arizona represent those killed at Pearl Harbor. This often happens within the group in question - I've seen more than a few workplaces where barely-disguised collective punishments were imposed by management, but everybody focused on how badly one particular employee was hurt.

quote:


But the problem is that this isn't outside people talking about a group collectively. It's HONOR talking about how the problem is that the Graysons shittalked her behind her back, and not even mentioning the fact that apparently her crew had been sexually assaulted she had united the captains in the righteous crusade against those who had insulted her whereas her crew's indignities, that she supposedly cares about, is completely ignored. But it's baffling from the start because Wolcott starts off with 'Is Honor running away?' as her big complaint, and her FINAL one is 'He sexually assaulted me'. That's a hell of a gently caress-up in revision. He also missed the whole part about Graysons beating their wives and how Yanakov excusing it with 'they were angry, they grew up with beating their wives'.

Also the fact that Wolcott is literally not allowed to question Honor's credibility is pretty messed up. Like, she very obviously ran away and honestly the only one who seems to care even the slightest is Honor and she blames Grayson for it more than anything.

[quote]

This is clearly hyperbole. Any emitter powerful enough to do that would be a pretty serviceable energy weapon itself.

You don't need an energy weapon to damage someone's equipment through overloading it. Like it likely wouldn't LITERALLY melt it but it'd do severe damage, and come off as like an attack. Which seems born out by the next sentence where the ship started an alert and resulted in the order to engage.


[quote]The LAC laser is very weak by "modern" standards, and still managed to inflict significant damage with a single hit. As for the missiles, a nuclear warhead is a nuclear warhead, and the difference in tech levels doesn't matter that much. Grayson/Masadan missiles are "so crappy as to be basically useless" because they have no standoff range, are very slow, and can't easily see through jamming. This means that they have almost no ability to get through up-to-date missile defenses. When this set of missiles was fired, the targets were far enough away that those defenses could be employed, if only barely - only the last line of defense had time to engage, which was enough. Had McKeon not spooked the Masadans into firing when they did, it would have been too late to bring up any defenses at all, and all thirty-nine missiles would have gotten through unopposed.

The 'far enough away' was more or less point blank range already. Apparently to do any damage they'd have to be literally on top of them. Like I know Masadan LACs suck but it doesn't seem like they'd fair that much better compared to a real warship, since their issues would be magnified by not having an ambush attack.

quote:

The "too stupid to fool" concept has some theoretical reality in RW electronic warfare. Early missile seekers could only distinguish targets by the size of the radar/heat signature, so chaff and simple flares giving off a brighter return were enough to fool them, as was pure white-noise jamming. More advanced missiles have onboard software to filter out such crude options, so you need more sophisticated decoys and electronic warfare. This book was written right around the time the US military was starting to publicly discuss the need to transition from a US V. Russia rematch of the Battle of The Atlantic mindset to dealing with smaller nations using obsolescent weapons. I distinctly remember reading an article in Popular Mechanics or a similar publication that such powers might be able to sneak hits in because the sophisticated defenses meant to stop Soviet super-missiles wouldn't fool the simple-minded 1950s-vintage missiles used by nations such as Iraq or North Korea.

Was it? The only thing I can find on the subject was from mid-80s where it seems like the subject was dropped after it turned out that 'too stupid to fool' wasn't really anything that mattered since the first Gulf War (which took place before this book came out) probably put an end to such an idea.


quote:

Keep in mind that these LACs were built by the same people who built the Masadan hyper-capable fleet, and that a single Manticoran destroyer was able to handle most of that fleet's missile firepower until Thunder of God and Principality opened fire. This was a wholly unequal fight, and isn't a fair comparison to what would happen with a Grayson squadron instead of a Manticoran one.

It's questionable why Haven thought that the Masadans could handle any sort of Manticoreans, since it was stated that they'd be coming, all things considered.

Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


Quote tags are broken.

quote:

But it's baffling from the start because Wolcott starts off with 'Is Honor running away?' as her big complaint, and her FINAL one is 'He sexually assaulted me'. That's a hell of a gently caress-up in revision. He also missed the whole part about Graysons beating their wives and how Yanakov excusing it with 'they were angry, they grew up with beating their wives'.

Also the fact that Wolcott is literally not allowed to question Honor's credibility is pretty messed up. Like, she very obviously ran away and honestly the only one who seems to care even the slightest is Honor and she blames Grayson for it more than anything.
First, accusing your commanding officer of cowardice is a pretty big no-no in any military setting. Leading with that is clearly the result of panic, because she's making a very, very serious accusation - both in this universe and in the Royal Navy that Weber is using as a model, "cowardice in the face of the enemy" is a capital offense.

Second, describing what is happening as Honor "running away" is extremely dubious. Personally escorting the convoy is within her prerogative as commander of the naval detachment, and she did so only after consulting with her nominally-civilian superior about the diplomatic and tactical situation, on the basis that she was proving to be an active hindrance to the diplomatic mission - which was a discussed possibility from the very beginning. A basis that was proven to be entirely correct, because Courvosier and Yanakov made huge strides in her absence. The only reason that her actions didn't result in extreme success is that the Masadans not only attacked, but did so with powerful modern units, the existence of which was completely unsuspected by anybody. By any standard that isn't "I hate this character and will view her every action in the worst possible way", making a temporary departure from the system is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.


Kchama posted:

You don't need an energy weapon to damage someone's equipment through overloading it. Like it likely wouldn't LITERALLY melt it but it'd do severe damage, and come off as like an attack. Which seems born out by the next sentence where the ship started an alert and resulted in the order to engage.

Active sensors are very hard to overload, in any universe. The radar on an AWACS or AEGIS cruiser (which are among the most powerful radars on the planet, not counting the strategic ones designed to pick up incoming ICBMs) will not fry the systems aboard close-flying fighters. Actually overloading and damaging sensors with an EM pulse takes something along the lines of a near distance nuclear explosion. We see later that it takes exactly this to induce actual sensor damage. The depiction is hyperbole - just as you might describe a searchlight pointed at your face as "searing" or "blinding" despite no actual damage being done.

The Masadans reacted by opening fire because they were already about to open fire - they interpreted the sensor sweep not as the intended "HEY, rear end in a top hat, WAKE UP AND GET OUT OF THE WAY", but as a fire control system about to engage them. Had they not already been about to shoot, this wouldn't have made them open fire.



quote:

The 'far enough away' was more or less point blank range already. Apparently to do any damage they'd have to be literally on top of them. Like I know Masadan LACs suck but it doesn't seem like they'd fair that much better compared to a real warship, since their issues would be magnified by not having an ambush attack.

The problem here isn't that they're LACs, it is that they're Masadan, and Masadan missiles have effectively no chance of getting through Manticoran (or Havenite) defenses. If a three-ship modern US task force took on a pair of Komar missile boats, the antiquated SS-N-2 Styx missiles would have a very hard time getting through the defenses except at very close range with surprise. If the missiles did get through, however, the US ships would be destroyed. Against a group of 1950s US warships, the boats would not need to be so close, and would have a pretty fair chance. Similarly, the Masadan LACs would have done fairly well against Grayson units that didn't have missile defenses designed to stop much better weapons.


quote:

Was it? The only thing I can find on the subject was from mid-80s where it seems like the subject was dropped after it turned out that 'too stupid to fool' wasn't really anything that mattered since the first Gulf War (which took place before this book came out) probably put an end to such an idea.
In some ways, the Gulf War helped fuel the concern, because there was a lot of public discussion over the steamrolling of Iraq (possible primarily because the Iraqi military, despite the impressive size, had been ground down to near uselessness during the Iran-Iraq war) giving the US military false confidence.

quote:

It's questionable why Haven thought that the Masadans could handle any sort of Manticoreans, since it was stated that they'd be coming, all things considered.

The only times the Haven "immigrants" express confidence in crushing the Manticorans, that confidence is based on the overwhelming power of Thunder Of God and Principality. Nowhere does the Masadan navy play a great role in their thoughts, and the few times that the Masadan units are mentioned, it is in the context of "got to give them a few pats to save their pride" according to internal dialogue.

Kchama
Jul 25, 2007





Gnoman posted:

Quote tags are broken.

Augh I always do that.

quote:

First, accusing your commanding officer of cowardice is a pretty big no-no in any military setting. Leading with that is clearly the result of panic, because she's making a very, very serious accusation - both in this universe and in the Royal Navy that Weber is using as a model, "cowardice in the face of the enemy" is a capital offense.

Second, describing what is happening as Honor "running away" is extremely dubious. Personally escorting the convoy is within her prerogative as commander of the naval detachment, and she did so only after consulting with her nominally-civilian superior about the diplomatic and tactical situation, on the basis that she was proving to be an active hindrance to the diplomatic mission - which was a discussed possibility from the very beginning. A basis that was proven to be entirely correct, because Courvosier and Yanakov made huge strides in her absence. The only reason that her actions didn't result in extreme success is that the Masadans not only attacked, but did so with powerful modern units, the existence of which was completely unsuspected by anybody. By any standard that isn't "I hate this character and will view her every action in the worst possible way", making a temporary departure from the system is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

I uh... don't see why Grayson would be considered the enemy, so I doubt it'd be considered 'cowardice in the face of the enemy'. It'd be more like 'abandoning one's station', though she'd likely be clear of any actual crime since Raoul signed off on it.

However, it's absolutely running away from her duty because her duty was to make a show of force and BE THERE. Begging your superior to let you gently caress off (that he only agrees with because your his favorite student) from your duty and do something else is entirely running away. Raoul even said that it was a bad idea and he wasn't really for it but since it was her he went along with it. It seems entirely against the point of having her there front and center to show off that they have women commanders and you have to respect it if you're immediately going to have them leave at the first sign of trouble. Like, I hammer on this because I feel like it's one of her greatest failures and it's pretty well glossed over, just like the sexual assault got glossed over.

Only one of because I haven't gotten to the literal war crimes she commits later on, in a few books.

And it's not like Honor leaving helped much, since according to Wolcott the reason why the Graysons were being so lovely was explicitly because Honor was fleeing.

Also I'm roughly 100% certain that Yanakov and Raoul would have hit it off either way, and having Honor there in their time of need would have likely meant that less people would have died. In the next chapters Yu talks about how the only reason their surprise attack on the Madrigal succeeded is because the Madrigal was literally using all of its point defense to protect the Grayson fleet as well as itself, and otherwise could have fended off both the Masadan and Haven combined fleet for quite a while. He specifies that 'eventually' they would have beaten the Madrigal's point defense, but that he had been shocked about how ironclad those defenses had been.

Having a Heavy Cruiser at the least there with the destroyer would have definitely changed how things played out.


quote:

Active sensors are very hard to overload, in any universe. The radar on an AWACS or AEGIS cruiser (which are among the most powerful radars on the planet, not counting the strategic ones designed to pick up incoming ICBMs) will not fry the systems aboard close-flying fighters. Actually overloading and damaging sensors with an EM pulse takes something along the lines of a near distance nuclear explosion. We see later that it takes exactly this to induce actual sensor damage. The depiction is hyperbole - just as you might describe a searchlight pointed at your face as "searing" or "blinding" despite no actual damage being done.

The Masadans reacted by opening fire because they were already about to open fire - they interpreted the sensor sweep not as the intended "HEY, rear end in a top hat, WAKE UP AND GET OUT OF THE WAY", but as a fire control system about to engage them. Had they not already been about to shoot, this wouldn't have made them open fire.

Actually this isn't true. It's actually not that hard to overload active sensors in the real world. They may not cause immediate or serious damage, but a regular radar ping done the wrong way can overload and damage a radar, like for example pinging too close. It's just that those radar pings aren't being done in a stupid way like this seems to intentionally be.

quote:

The problem here isn't that they're LACs, it is that they're Masadan, and Masadan missiles have effectively no chance of getting through Manticoran (or Havenite) defenses. If a three-ship modern US task force took on a pair of Komar missile boats, the antiquated SS-N-2 Styx missiles would have a very hard time getting through the defenses except at very close range with surprise. If the missiles did get through, however, the US ships would be destroyed. Against a group of 1950s US warships, the boats would not need to be so close, and would have a pretty fair chance. Similarly, the Masadan LACs would have done fairly well against Grayson units that didn't have missile defenses designed to stop much better weapons.

In some ways, the Gulf War helped fuel the concern, because there was a lot of public discussion over the steamrolling of Iraq (possible primarily because the Iraqi military, despite the impressive size, had been ground down to near uselessness during the Iran-Iraq war) giving the US military false confidence.


The whole 'false confidence' thing was a really stupid thing and was just one of those things that defense contractors loved shouting about because it convinced people to buy more and more weapons. Honestly, the Solarian League should be having people like this shouting constantly, unrelatedly.


quote:

The only times the Haven "immigrants" express confidence in crushing the Manticorans, that confidence is based on the overwhelming power of Thunder Of God and Principality. Nowhere does the Masadan navy play a great role in their thoughts, and the few times that the Masadan units are mentioned, it is in the context of "got to give them a few pats to save their pride" according to internal dialogue.

I more mean the entire idea of this op basically rests entirely on Haven's ability to work with the Masadans to defeat the Manticorean forces and the next few chapters make it very clear that Haven is in an incredibly bad way when they're horrified (and pissed) about a destroyer making them look bad to the Masadans. So they really shouldn't have had confidence in themselves, much less the idea that the Masadans could complete any of their goals with the Manticoreans around. Since the Masadans succeeding in some form was the whole point, as otherwise it potentially blows their cover.

Kchama fucked around with this message at 04:16 on May 19, 2020

Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


Kchama posted:

I uh... don't see why Grayson would be considered the enemy, so I doubt it'd be considered 'cowardice in the face of the enemy'. It'd be more like 'abandoning one's station', though she'd likely be clear of any actual crime since Raoul signed off on it.

It would not qualify, but that only places the accusation on the level of "well, Trump isn't technically a traitor because we are not at war with Russia". The insult is the same either way.

quote:

However, it's absolutely running away from her duty because her duty was to make a show of force and BE THERE. Begging your superior to let you gently caress off (that he only agrees with because your his favorite student) from your duty and do something else is entirely running away. Raoul even said that it was a bad idea and he wasn't really for it but since it was her he went along with it. It seems entirely against the point of having her there front and center to show off that they have women commanders and you have to respect it if you're immediately going to have them leave at the first sign of trouble. Like, I hammer on this because I feel like it's one of her greatest failures and it's pretty well glossed over, just like the sexual assault got glossed over.
Her duty was to support Raoul and ensure that they came back home with a signed treaty. That's all. She was specifically chosen to lead the mission for the other reasons, but that wasn't her duty.


quote:

Having a Heavy Cruiser at the least there with the destroyer would have definitely changed how things played out.

It certainly would have. The issue is that they had no reason to expect to be fighting a state-of-the-art battlecruiser or even destroyer at all. You can't blame somebody for not taking a threat into account if there is literally no indication that the threat exists.


quote:

Actually this isn't true. It's actually not that hard to overload active sensors in the real world. They may not cause immediate or serious damage, but a regular radar ping done the wrong way can overload and damage a radar, like for example pinging too close. It's just that those radar pings aren't being done in a stupid way like this seems to intentionally be.

If this was true, then fleets would use radar alone to take out incoming missiles (which rely heavily on onboard sensors). The fact that this is not done is proof that you can't knock out a radar simply by scanning with a radar.

quote:

I more mean the entire idea of this op basically rests entirely on Haven's ability to work with the Masadans to defeat the Manticorean forces and the next few chapters make it very clear that Haven is in an incredibly bad way when they're horrified (and pissed) about a destroyer making them look bad to the Masadans. So they really shouldn't have had confidence in themselves, much less the idea that the Masadans could complete any of their goals with the Manticoreans around. Since the Masadans succeeding in some form was the whole point, as otherwise it potentially blows their cover.

The Havenites are clear from the beginning that all they really needed to do was send Thunder and Principality in guns blazing, destroy the entire Grayson navy along with any RMN ships that deigned to interfere, then proclaim conquest in the name of Masada. The rest of the book confirms that this would have worked (we'll get to that later), and the reason that they are upset about Madrigal making them look bad is that it is preventing the Masadans from realizing how powerful the new ships really are. It is literally a "we would have won this war with the first stroke if you would just let us" situation, not a "the Manticorans are powerful enough to stop us" one.

FuturePastNow
May 19, 2014



College Slice

Imagine you're flying a plane with a variety of missile defenses- electronic countermeasures, chaff, flares. Now imagine your enemy predicts exactly where you're going to be and dumb fires an unguided rocket at that point. You can dodge it, obviously, but if you just try to distract it with countermeasures you will be hit, as it won't even see them. There, a weapon too stupid to fool. Hard skew port.

Aerdan
Apr 14, 2012

ACTUALLY, DID YOU KNOW IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO LOSE WEIGHT AND BEING GIGANTIC DOESN'T CAUSE ANY HEALTH PROBLEMS? IT'S EITHER THAT OR I'M AN IDIOT!


Good threat models do take into consideration threats that are unlikely but possible, but a threat that you can't foresee is not a threat you can account for. Please stop demanding clairvoyance.

Kchama
Jul 25, 2007





Aerdan posted:

Good threat models do take into consideration threats that are unlikely but possible, but a threat that you can't foresee is not a threat you can account for. Please stop demanding clairvoyance.

I'm not sure who is demanding clairvoyance here.


FuturePastNow posted:

Imagine you're flying a plane with a variety of missile defenses- electronic countermeasures, chaff, flares. Now imagine your enemy predicts exactly where you're going to be and dumb fires an unguided rocket at that point. You can dodge it, obviously, but if you just try to distract it with countermeasures you will be hit, as it won't even see them. There, a weapon too stupid to fool. Hard skew port.

I'm not sure if that counts because being unguided it means there's nothing to fool. These are guided missiles anyways.


Gnoman posted:

It would not qualify, but that only places the accusation on the level of "well, Trump isn't technically a traitor because we are not at war with Russia". The insult is the same either way.

Her duty was to support Raoul and ensure that they came back home with a signed treaty. That's all. She was specifically chosen to lead the mission for the other reasons, but that wasn't her duty.


It certainly would have. The issue is that they had no reason to expect to be fighting a state-of-the-art battlecruiser or even destroyer at all. You can't blame somebody for not taking a threat into account if there is literally no indication that the threat exists.

I mean, 'you can't expect to be fighting' is something that wouldn't have flown in the Royal Navy that Manticore's navy is based off of. One guy got cashiered because the French snuck about his ship while they were on a routine delivery of wood and water and he surrendered when he discovered that they all had guns and his men had nothing readied. There was no reason to be expecting to be fighting the French where he was, but he was cashiered all the same. Apparently the British Royal Navy demanded clairvoyance if you weren't ready to fight to the death.

Now the only question is if a captain could be held responsible for not being there when another ship was destroyed by a surprise attack for even perfectly fine reasons.

Honestly, from what I remember of Manticore's naval crime laws, probably not, unless you're name is Pavel Young or something.

quote:

If this was true, then fleets would use radar alone to take out incoming missiles (which rely heavily on onboard sensors). The fact that this is not done is proof that you can't knock out a radar simply by scanning with a radar.

There's a huge difference between "can can shoot down incoming missiles" and "can overload and/or damage a radar". There was an incident a few years ago where a signal overloaded an air traffic control's radar and knocked it out temporarily and they had to guide everyone in without it, and that wasn't even on purpose. It turned out that someone was testing their radar improperly and blinded the air traffic control's radar miles away.

quote:

The Havenites are clear from the beginning that all they really needed to do was send Thunder and Principality in guns blazing, destroy the entire Grayson navy along with any RMN ships that deigned to interfere, then proclaim conquest in the name of Masada. The rest of the book confirms that this would have worked (we'll get to that later), and the reason that they are upset about Madrigal making them look bad is that it is preventing the Masadans from realizing how powerful the new ships really are. It is literally a "we would have won this war with the first stroke if you would just let us" situation, not a "the Manticorans are powerful enough to stop us" one.

Yeah, the Masadans are indeed loving idiots who, just like Havens in the first book, have an extremely overcomplicated plan that snatches victory from them. And it would have indeed worked after they had destroyed the Manticorean destroyer. Haven going along with Masada's plan really screwed up everything (though it was their fault for making it so they had to go along with their dumb plan).

Libluini
May 18, 2012

Did I predict the future?


Grimey Drawer

Kchama, did David Weber break into your house and rearrange your furniture?

The more you defend your mockery like it was some sort of objective truth, the more it looks like you have some personal beef with Weber.

Is there something you're not telling us?

PupsOfWar
Dec 6, 2013



Libluini posted:

Kchama, did David Weber break into your house and rearrange your furniture?

The more you defend your mockery like it was some sort of objective truth, the more it looks like you have some personal beef with Weber.

Is there something you're not telling us?

tbh im still mad about how force beams were nerfed in the 2nd edition of Starfire and onward

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



We're all angry about that Pups but we have to dig deep and somehow carry on with our lives.

Kchama
Jul 25, 2007





Libluini posted:

Kchama, did David Weber break into your house and rearrange your furniture?

The more you defend your mockery like it was some sort of objective truth, the more it looks like you have some personal beef with Weber.

Is there something you're not telling us?

He did it TWICE the FUCKER.

Nah, I just had to live with being told by a bunch of people that these books were a holy grail and Honor is awesome and the perfect protagonist.

Like, several someones told me Weber was a great author. I'm allowed to be mad after reading 15-ish books that he never came close to even being /good/.

Also, it's fun.

Kchama fucked around with this message at 18:11 on May 20, 2020

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



Btw General Battuta can I just say how much I'm enjoying your Mission of Honor: Retold.

General Battuta
Feb 7, 2011

This is how you communicate with a fellow intelligence: you hurt it, you keep on hurting it, until you can distinguish the posts from the screams.

Thanks! I'll plug it again here as soon as the epilogue's up. Went shockingly fast for a nearly 200,000 word rewrite.

blackmongoose
Mar 31, 2011

DARK INFERNO ROOK!


General Battuta posted:

Thanks! I'll plug it again here as soon as the epilogue's up. Went shockingly fast for a nearly 200,000 word rewrite.

Why is Victor Cachat a treecat now? (He used the phrase "hands of hands" to mean a large number in his scene which is a treecat thing) Are you going for the twist grand treecat conspiracy reveal?

Edit: Also, thanks for alep band - I appreciated that one.

blackmongoose fucked around with this message at 04:05 on May 21, 2020

General Battuta
Feb 7, 2011

This is how you communicate with a fellow intelligence: you hurt it, you keep on hurting it, until you can distinguish the posts from the screams.

He has had a lot of strokes.

General Battuta
Feb 7, 2011

This is how you communicate with a fellow intelligence: you hurt it, you keep on hurting it, until you can distinguish the posts from the screams.

Mission of Honor: Retold is complete! Everything is ruined! We're all going to die! I actively cannot believe the effect even one relativistic impactor has on a planet, poo poo's hosed up.

Peel
Dec 3, 2007



All the old vs. debates tended to end up with a thin scaffolding of rationalisation around a whirling planet-killing apocalypse machine because the numbers just get so ridiculous if you want to go anywhere or do anything in space in a timely fashion.

The general task of MilSF is to hammer and shoehorn something (cool mid-C20-esque naval and ground battles) into a box it absolutely does not fit (the inhuman space, time and energy scales of outer space). It's good at its job if the elaborate scheme of rationalisations used is more interesting than it is ridiculous.

mllaneza
Apr 28, 2007


Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952





General Battuta posted:

Mission of Honor: Retold is complete! Everything is ruined! We're all going to die! I actively cannot believe the effect even one relativistic impactor has on a planet, poo poo's hosed up.

And it was glorious !

Ferrosol
Nov 8, 2010

Notorious J.A.M


General Battuta posted:

Mission of Honor: Retold is complete! Everything is ruined! We're all going to die! I actively cannot believe the effect even one relativistic impactor has on a planet, poo poo's hosed up.

That was a great read. See that's the frustration with Weber's writing. If he was just another hack you could enjoy it and then move on to the next author but there's glimmers of much better stuff there he just really needs a competent editor who can say "no".

C.M. Kruger
Oct 28, 2013


quantumfoam posted:

CM Kruger.......thinking you might need to dive into the Sten Chronicles series just like Kchama to experience something truly bad yet kind of enjoyable at times.

Going back to this, you ever read the Deathstalker series by Simon R. Greene? Started reading the first one the other day and it feels very similar in pulp level.

Kchama
Jul 25, 2007





Ferrosol posted:

That was a great read. See that's the frustration with Weber's writing. If he was just another hack you could enjoy it and then move on to the next author but there's glimmers of much better stuff there he just really needs a competent editor who can say "no".

You mean, had an editor at all. Otherwise, how else does he get away with repeating the same chapter in back to back books.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013



Kchama posted:

You mean, had an editor at all. Otherwise, how else does he get away with repeating the same chapter in back to back books.

I've always called it Clancy Syndrome. But you could substitute King/Rowling/GRRM/or a dozen other authors syndrome.

You get successful enough, sell enough books, and your prose suddenly becomes untouchable. You're the Goose that lays the Golden Eggs and a mere editor no longer dares to offer criticism or advise cuts. After all you might take offence and move to another publisher who will treat every word that you, the golden god, the artiste, writes with the respect it deserves.

Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


Weber's always praised his editors, as far as I know. I've read some of his stuff in ARC, and there's a lot of screwups that didn't make it to the final version.

Kchama
Jul 25, 2007





Gnoman posted:

Weber's always praised his editors, as far as I know. I've read some of his stuff in ARC, and there's a lot of screwups that didn't make it to the final version.

I mean I suppose he has one but I'd prefer to believe he doesn't considering some of the stuff he actually has in the books.

General Battuta
Feb 7, 2011

This is how you communicate with a fellow intelligence: you hurt it, you keep on hurting it, until you can distinguish the posts from the screams.

Gnoman posted:

Weber's always praised his editors, as far as I know. I've read some of his stuff in ARC, and there's a lot of screwups that didn't make it to the final version.

At some point his editor needed to tell him 'your books cannot be an endless series of meetings in which you check in on all your characters reacting to something that happened in another book.'

Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


Nah, they needed to give him an instruction on linear writing. The last few books playing "how many times will we go backwards before we move past this plot point?" was absurd, and contributed little.

Kchama
Jul 25, 2007





Gnoman posted:

Nah, they needed to give him an instruction on linear writing. The last few books playing "how many times will we go backwards before we move past this plot point?" was absurd, and contributed little.

To be fair, Weber does have a problem with ENDLESS MEETINGs. Like that was the worst thing about Rising Thunder where every chapter was just some people people having a meeting.

Also I'll probably post the next chapter tomorrow or the day after. I've just been horribly tired from work lately.

FuturePastNow
May 19, 2014



College Slice

Running a government, and especially running a war, basically is endless meetings. It just doesn't make a very compelling space opera

Khizan
Jul 30, 2013



I think one of the major problems Weber ran into in the later books was the old classic "he overpromoted all his characters to the point where they can't do anything". None of his established characters were in a place where it was at all reasonable to have them running around doing adventure things, so the 'main series' books devolved into chapter after chapter of endless lovely politics and meetings. It was bad enough that he tried to write a side series to introduce some characters who would actually be in a position to launch missiles at things, and then he immediately tied those books up in meeting hell as well.

Honestly, what I'd liked to have seen is a variant where Honor never makes flag rank due to her political enemies and social ineptitude, so that she ends up spending the entire war as a heavy cruiser captain out on the fringes, maybe eventually getting up to battlecruiser but stalling out there. It would keep the scale smaller and avoid the missile-bukkake fleet actions, and it would keep the main characters at a rank that's low enough that they can actually go out and do adventure things. It would also allow for the thing where she's constantly involved in small-scale battles that have a vastly disproportionate effect on the overall course of the war.

Gnoman
Feb 11, 2014


Khizan posted:

I think one of the major problems Weber ran into in the later books was the old classic "he overpromoted all his characters to the point where they can't do anything". None of his established characters were in a place where it was at all reasonable to have them running around doing adventure things, so the 'main series' books devolved into chapter after chapter of endless lovely politics and meetings. It was bad enough that he tried to write a side series to introduce some characters who would actually be in a position to launch missiles at things, and then he immediately tied those books up in meeting hell as well.

Honestly, what I'd liked to have seen is a variant where Honor never makes flag rank due to her political enemies and social ineptitude, so that she ends up spending the entire war as a heavy cruiser captain out on the fringes, maybe eventually getting up to battlecruiser but stalling out there. It would keep the scale smaller and avoid the missile-bukkake fleet actions, and it would keep the main characters at a rank that's low enough that they can actually go out and do adventure things. It would also allow for the thing where she's constantly involved in small-scale battles that have a vastly disproportionate effect on the overall course of the war.

That's exactly correct. Harrington was supposed to be killed off, and the series continued after a time skip (you can see the seams in At All Costs where he changed it - She was modeled on Horatio Nelson in several ways, and that book was supposed to end in her Trafalgar) with her children in the lead roles as Fresh Out Of The Academy rookies. Some changes to the sequence by another author made the timeskip impractical, so she didn't get killed, and he launched a subseries with a bunch of other shiny new rookies to serve the purpose her children would have. Probably would have been better to kick her upstairs and focus only on the new characters, but fans would have complained.

Kchama
Jul 25, 2007





Gnoman posted:

That's exactly correct. Harrington was supposed to be killed off, and the series continued after a time skip (you can see the seams in At All Costs where he changed it - She was modeled on Horatio Nelson in several ways, and that book was supposed to end in her Trafalgar) with her children in the lead roles as Fresh Out Of The Academy rookies. Some changes to the sequence by another author made the timeskip impractical, so she didn't get killed, and he launched a subseries with a bunch of other shiny new rookies to serve the purpose her children would have. Probably would have been better to kick her upstairs and focus only on the new characters, but fans would have complained.

I do feel like blaming Eric Flint for this entirely isn't really correct since Weber would have had to approve of the changes himself at the time. It's not like he snuck it in.

But yeah in Weber's haste to give Honor all the awards and win all the time he kind of made it where she can't do anything interesting.

And this is kind of also a flaw in his 'let's do the Age of Sail super exactly' so the actual big fleet fights couldn't ever really be terribly satisfying which is why I guess he invented missile pods so they could be very decisive and then they weren't satisfying because they were now boring and one-sided.

jng2058
Jul 17, 2010

We have the tools, we have the talent!


And then he arguably changed models again to Carrier Warfare with LACs, complete with a Pearl Harbor analogue when the Mesans nuke the Manticore shipyards. Except he din't go all the way and let the enemy have carriers too, so instead of 1941-45 Pacific Theater IN SPACE, we get Hunt the Bismark and Taranto and Prince of Wales/Repulse...all one sided curbstomps where it just shows that if one side has carriers and the other doesn't, the side without is hosed.

Which manages to be even LESS interesting than Age of Sail Redux and ALL THE MISSILES that he'd had before.

PupsOfWar
Dec 6, 2013



jng2058 posted:

And then he arguably changed models again to Carrier Warfare with LACs, complete with a Pearl Harbor analogue when the Mesans nuke the Manticore shipyards. Except he din't go all the way and let the enemy have carriers too, so instead of 1941-45 Pacific Theater IN SPACE, we get Hunt the Bismark and Taranto and Prince of Wales/Repulse...all one sided curbstomps where it just shows that if one side has carriers and the other doesn't, the side without is hosed.

Which manages to be even LESS interesting than Age of Sail Redux and ALL THE MISSILES that he'd had before.

tbf there is a pretty brief window where LACs are relevant against capital ships

later we go back to Missile Spam as the chief arbiter of combat and LACs are mostly just a missile defense tool

Polikarpov
Jun 1, 2013

STICK TO BUILDING TRACTORS, KHARKOVITE SCUM

Khizan posted:

I think one of the major problems Weber ran into in the later books was the old classic "he overpromoted all his characters to the point where they can't do anything". None of his established characters were in a place where it was at all reasonable to have them running around doing adventure things, so the 'main series' books devolved into chapter after chapter of endless lovely politics and meetings. It was bad enough that he tried to write a side series to introduce some characters who would actually be in a position to launch missiles at things, and then he immediately tied those books up in meeting hell as well.

Honestly, what I'd liked to have seen is a variant where Honor never makes flag rank due to her political enemies and social ineptitude, so that she ends up spending the entire war as a heavy cruiser captain out on the fringes, maybe eventually getting up to battlecruiser but stalling out there. It would keep the scale smaller and avoid the missile-bukkake fleet actions, and it would keep the main characters at a rank that's low enough that they can actually go out and do adventure things. It would also allow for the thing where she's constantly involved in small-scale battles that have a vastly disproportionate effect on the overall course of the war.

This is basically the career arc of Jack Aubrey in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series. He's a brilliant captain but is constantly undermined- by his own flaws, by his father's incredibly poor political and financial instincts, by his own incredibly poor political and financial instincts, etc etc. He's even framed and drummed out of the navy for several books, which leads to some interesting missions as a privateer/deniable asset for the Foreign Office. Eventually he finally rises through the ranks with a bit of luck and a lot of inertia, commanding a few squadrons and the like.

Its the only way to make a character arc work for 21 books.

PupsOfWar
Dec 6, 2013



General Battuta posted:

I really do think pods ruined everything in Honor Harrington.

He wanted to do age of sail combat, so he had ships launching missiles from their broadsides like cannonballs. This is good because it implies that the missiles require a 'gun' to launch them (the fig leaf of the mass driver and reactor required to get the missiles powered and up to speed). And as long as the gun is more important than the missile, you need ships to carry the guns.

But for the sake of one scene in the third book he made a horrible mistake—he allowed missiles to be launched from pods, basically 'boxes of guns' towed behind ships. Once you can do this, and missiles no longer have to come from the broadsides of warships, all bets are off. Everything is ruined. You've given cannonballs the ability to fire themselves, like they're some kind of Harry Potter bludgers.

From there you inevitably escalate to the scene in book 11, where the Haven ships are towing pods, which are all towing pods, which are all towing pods, so they can shoot 500,000 missiles in one volley. And then the battles in later books where freighters just dump bazillions of pods and warships do nothing but manage and target them.

I guess Weber probably grew up on Lensman so this level of escalation is probably nostalgic.

Honestly I think the MDM is the one true culprit here.

Pods...I think you could still have had tense, meaningful engagements between fleets with pods, or even with podnoughts. They'd be a different sort of fight - maneuvering to maximize your alpha-strike or bait the enemy into wasting theirs, maneuvering to try and get proximity kills on enemy pods while denying them prox kills on yours, trying to figure out pod dispersal patterns, etc - but they'd be fights

like, the period (mostly the Trevor's Star campaign) where both the Manticorans and Havenites were equally utilizing towed pods was fine

however, this can only happen if both sides have to enter each others' engagement range

it is the MDM and its ability to strike from arbitrary ranges beyond the opponent's engagement window that really removed all tension from the stories forever

Moreover, pods at least have a sort of natural progression...

You can trace the path from
"LACs and defense platforms can throw disproportionately large salvoes through their use of single-shot box launchers"
"Capital ships can tow some similar box launchers along with them to make their first salvo stronger" (a concept Weber had already used with EO racks in Starfire, anyway)
"Boy, a freighter could carry a lot of missile boxes, that could be a good way to sucker-punch enemies in some situations"
"Hell, we could give capital ships this capability, now that I think of it"

the MDM in comparison is not grounded or motivated in this way

the MDM is just a galaxy-changing superweapon that emerges ex nihilo, motivated only by the assumption that the capitalist-royalist-militarist merchant-utopia of Manticore must have better tech than everyone else, better enough to fit 3 missile drives into the space everyone else needs for 1 missile drive

Apollo is its own kettle of fish, but it's honestly redundant through the last 4 books

Apollo and Keyhole were briefly needed as a means to neutralize Haven's giant podnought fleet (which itself existed only to dunk on political positions Weber dislikes), but the SLN would have just as hapless against a Buttercup-era fleet firing the original Mk 23 MDM

PupsOfWar fucked around with this message at 14:43 on May 26, 2020

Kchama
Jul 25, 2007





Polikarpov posted:

This is basically the career arc of Jack Aubrey in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series. He's a brilliant captain but is constantly undermined- by his own flaws, by his father's incredibly poor political and financial instincts, by his own incredibly poor political and financial instincts, etc etc. He's even framed and drummed out of the navy for several books, which leads to some interesting missions as a privateer/deniable asset for the Foreign Office. Eventually he finally rises through the ranks with a bit of luck and a lot of inertia, commanding a few squadrons and the like.

Its the only way to make a character arc work for 21 books.

Weber goes through the motions of that in Honor's arc, but she never ends up truly undermined by her flaws and they all gradually go away or become irrelevant. She's suppose to be bad at politics but it never really hampers her, and when she faces consequences it's largely because of other people's issues, and often these consequences end up providing benefits. Like she loses her position in the House of Lords and the Navy for a time because she had to duel Pavel Young and kill him, but she just ends up heading to Grayson and becoming a super rich CEO and also a ruler of her own small state. Nation?

And it just leads to her shooting up through the ranks again which means that she's soon an admiral and in command of the boring ships.

Farmer Crack-Ass
Jan 2, 2001

~this is me posting irl~


Polikarpov posted:

This is basically the career arc of Jack Aubrey in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series. He's a brilliant captain but is constantly undermined- by his own flaws, by his father's incredibly poor political and financial instincts, by his own incredibly poor political and financial instincts, etc etc. He's even framed and drummed out of the navy for several books, which leads to some interesting missions as a privateer/deniable asset for the Foreign Office. Eventually he finally rises through the ranks with a bit of luck and a lot of inertia, commanding a few squadrons and the like.

Its the only way to make a character arc work for 21 books.

Aubrey's good but even he acknowledges that a lot of his successes came down to luck, and he'll be quick to point out that he's no Nelson. Like near the end of HMS Surprise where someone said of his defense of the Indiamen that it had "the Nelson touch" and he instantly responds "no, there you're wrong; Nelson would have taken the Marengo!"

Harrington, on the other hand, seems to be the greatest officer to have ever lived in... whatever that setting is called.

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General Battuta
Feb 7, 2011

This is how you communicate with a fellow intelligence: you hurt it, you keep on hurting it, until you can distinguish the posts from the screams.

The Aristocrats! The Honorverse!

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