|Reviews for Stranger Aeons: The Thinking Man's Army|
| Van Quatra chapter 17 . 8/16/2011
really really good story, the action was intense and the characters were really interesting. what a great job.
| SirScott chapter 17 . 11/22/2009
Thanks for alerting me that you had completed this story.
I must congratulate you on that, as most stories that I follow on here go unfinished. The action was the highlight of the story, well described. Sometimes, JC sounded like a gun manual, which made him appear to be an expert on the subject but at the sometime was a little tedious for the reader.
Here is my grade for your story.
Action A I remember a chapter where the the wood splintered from the gun fire and went into people. Details like that made it worth the read.
characterization C Their life stories were all too similar. The oppessive boyfriend killing himself was a little predictable. Although, no one really expects a character study in an action story.
The story had the three things that all fiction stories must have action, which was some of the most believable that I ever read; a philosophical point, which came across to me as being pro techno and anti-supersitution; and sex, although, your story came across as being puritanical. Which you protrayed a lot of the sick stuff about sex but said nothing of the more enlighting things about it.
Well, I hope that's a well rounded critque of your work. Thanks for writing.
| Michael Panush chapter 17 . 11/15/2009
The real world sources were something I really liked in SA, and it was cool to see you talk more about them here. I didn't have a problem with the non-state actor thing, but it did seem kind of far fetched in some stories. But overall, I enjoyed this series and I look forward to the next one.
| Michael Panush chapter 16 . 11/15/2009
A nice epilogue, but I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'd prefer a more detailed look at the action rather than the characters actually telling the audience what's going on in their lives. I'd also expect a little more emotional reaction from some of the characters. Paz's ex-boyfriend killed himself and even if he was an annoying jerk, that should still elicit a response beyond 'oh, he was a jerk, too bad, genetic engineering is cool.' Maybe she's hiding her real response or something, which would be cool, but you can't really show it in this format. The same with Hyun and his estranged parents. He's practically hiding from them at this point, that must be hell on his psyche, and yet it's never really dealt with. I guess they may be emotionally dead inside, or they just don't care, but it's really not interesting to read about characters who have bad things happen to them and then ignore it forever. I hope you can create some kind of closure for those sorts of things, but again, that would probably have to use a different format than this 'tell-the-audience-what's-up' thing.
So, is this the end of SA? Or will there be a sequel series coming up?
| Michael Panush chapter 15 . 11/15/2009
This was a good chapter, and I liked the big final battle and showdown with the retrogressors. However, I think this could have used a bit more proofreading before you posted. The differences between the draft you showed me and this one were for the better, but this version still had some problems. There were a lot of typos, and it made some of the fight scenes very confusing. The battles with the Retrogressors were pretty cool, and the one with Renault was quite brutal. However, I wish you went a little deeper than just a blow-by-blow telling of the punches and kicks thrown. Explain their wounds and how JC feels after Renault lands a punch on him. Talk about his arms are refusing to move or how he's tasting blood in his mouth, something like that. Really make me wince and feel the impact of each blow. Otherwise, this was pretty cool. Can't wait to see what's next for SA.
| pinoy1 chapter 14 . 11/10/2009
This comment is in response to Michael's earlier review:
To be fair, I think the author was just doing his best to be "Authentic".
He is simply showing an aspect of the story that needs to be emphasized.
The Parker scenes as well as detailed weapon description actually cater to the tastes of many live-action enthusiasts.
I for one, being a fan of such video games like:Medal of honor,Call of duty, Half-life,Quake, Halo,and other "Military tactical games" appreciate this attempt at authenticity.
Michael, I think that you need to understand that this story is not a traditional "pulp" story,
I think you cant superimpose
a different criterion when critiquing it.
You do make a valid point when you stated that the battles for the mercenaries seem to go too easily.
So, in short,the story is written for the benefit of those who could have a similar inclination to weapons and Parker as the author.
Try to see the chapter from a different angle,you would be surprised about how different it looks.
| Michael Panush chapter 14 . 11/9/2009
This was a good chapter with some exciting action in the middle, but it still had some disapointments. The battle with the gang was cool, but it didn't really have a point, other than to make this story longer and add some action. I mean, the battle was just kind of something they did on the way to do something else, and if it was completely removed, the plot would still progress at the same rate. It would be better if the action, or fight or whatever, came from something more connected to the plot. Still, the melee combat was cool, and it was nice to see the team outnumbered and overwhelmed. The parkour descriptions were also a little annoying. I know you're a big fan of parkour, and it's cool and all, but reading about the details of their climb got pretty monotous after a while. Watching it all happen in a movie (for a quick part of a scene) would be cool, but reading the detailed, blow-by-blow descripton of it just took a long time and again, didn't really add anything to the story. Finally, some of the descriptions were a little off. Their mercneary pal had "jet black hair grown down to the back of his head"? What does that mean? I think another round of editing would have helped with things like that. Otherwse, it was pretty cool, and I look forward to the next one.
| DeepSeaDragon chapter 14 . 11/7/2009
Ah, so here's that parkour chapter you were telling me about! This was pretty cool, and I think you did a good job with the parkour sections. I'm not well read on military thrillers, but the combat scenes felt authentic enough. You seem to know your guns well- at least, a heck of a lot better than I do.
| Voice of the forests chapter 14 . 11/7/2009
Much better than the previous chapter. The lack of adjectives when describing scenes is still noticable though. Still a very good read. I hope the next chapter after this is much longer.
| Voice of the forests chapter 8 . 11/6/2009
This is one of the most "realistic" novels available on this site.
It is far better than most other stories in the action category,which are either juvenile fantasies or unrealistic attempts at
copying Hollywood cinematic fiction.
With a little work, this series could be perfect.
A few very vital issues need to be addressed:First, a lack of character development.
I'm not the first reader to state this fact, after reading your reviews, other people have noticed this deficiency.
Please do not limit character development to the interlude chapters.
Try to explore the hobbies, personal tastes, and individual quirks of each character.
Beyond reading books and music, you never seem to go deeper in developing a characters individual traits.
What does your characters like to eat,what clothes do they favor,
what games do they like to play?
All this can add to a characters unique signature in literature.
Can I also please request that you try and develop the characters of the bad guys in chapter 8?
Who are they?
Second,some of the chapters lack narrative and descriptive text.
Please try to devote more space to adjectives that describe people, places, and events.
Often times, I feel so frustrated because I'm left completely in the dark imagining the circumstances surrounding a scene, do not leave your readers to assume the appearance of the terrain,try to give them an idea of how a place looks.
Also, you can inject more emotion in your characters if you took time to describe the facial expressions they are sporting while speaking.
Thirdly, please do your best to extend the length of the succeeding chapters.
I often find myself gasping for air because the installments are too short.
I hope you will try to address these issues on the next chapter.
| SeeRad chapter 1 . 11/6/2009
Nice introductory chapter. The action sequence of the narrator was getting into place was chopped with background of how he found himself in that situation: interrupted the natural flow just a bit.
Flesh out more of the details surrounding the battle. I'd utilize more similes, metaphors and wax more on minute details to better sketch the experience for the reader. But that's also why I've been stuck mid-chapter on my story for the last few months while you churn out stuff at a prodigious rate.
I loved the Mjolnir weapon, I had an evil laugh at work.
| Michael Panush chapter 13 . 11/4/2009
This was a good chapter, though I think it could have been better. While the stand-off was tense, it never got to a climactic point where they nearly started shooting, which I think would have been really cool and added a lot of excitement. Once again, everything pretty much went off without a hitch. The bit about the Japanese gold also seemed kind of off-putting. After all the cool international intrigue stuff these two teams get up to, the villains just really wanted some treasure hunt? That sounds like it's more suited to some pulp novel than this story. The Japanese woman crying came out of nowhere as well. Was she really emotional, or a good actress or is she just nuts? I think it's the latter, but I think some more examples of her crazy behavior (or not) would have made the crying bit seem a little less out of the blue. Kind of lengthy descriptions of a lot things that didn't really matter to the story, like their hotel room, as well. I'd prefer if you cut those down and spent more time on the meeting. Those are my only gripes, though. Good job and I look forward to the next one.
| Michael Panush chapter 12 . 11/2/2009
This was a decent interlude. I liked how the effects of their missions are taking their toll on the team members, particularly with JC. But I do wish you would show it, maybe by having JC act more erratic, meditating, or something, instead of having him directly tell the reader "yeah, I'm feeling bad about killing those kids." Same for the other ones, where I wished for a more blow-by-blow account of what happened, describing the people involved, instead of a simple first-person summary. The gun stuff too is getting a little worrying. You spent like half a dozen paragraphs, including a conversation, in Paz's segment all based on her getting a new gun. That could have been dealt with in a single sentence, and left more room for developing her character. The gun stuff is interesting, but I don't know what it's really adding to the narrative. I liked the way the Brigade and Stranger Aeons are coming together, and their upcoming meeting is very intriguing. Good job for explaining why they picked 'Stranger Aeons' as a name, though I still didn't quite get the pun. Is 'Aeon' a codeword for a mercenary or something? Anyway, I hope you can overcome those faults in the future and I look forward to seeing what happens next.
| Michael Panush chapter 11 . 10/28/2009
This was a decent chapter, but it retained a few of the issues that have plagued this series. First off, there's that saying that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. But here, the plan not only survives contact, it succeeds with only the smallest of problems. While the planning the attack part was cool, I'd rather things didn't go so well, so there could be a bigger, more exciting climax. The nastiness of the villains is also coming across as more cartoonish than hatred-inspiring. The Macedonian and the Irish guy's antics, raping, shooting families, and such, seem so excessive that they might as well be puppy kicking, and the possibly immoral acts of the heroes, shooting children and teenagers, are glossed over. I'm not saying that the heroes weren't in the right when they gunned down the child soldiers, but it would be nice if there was a bit more moral turpitude involved, instead of it being kind of glossed over and ignored. Once again, I'd recommend the Punisher MAX for an example of how to do that right. In the story 'The Slavers' the Punisher fights a Balkan slaving ring, who are utterly depraved, and must use brutal, awful methods against them. The questions about 'is this violence justified? is the Punisher still human?' aren't really answered over the series, but they're at least asked, and it gives the story and more powerful impact overall. Besides those issues, I am liking the growing conflict between Stranger Aeons and the Brigade, and I think it will be very cool when it comes to a head. Looking forward to reading more.
| Michael Panush chapter 10 . 10/14/2009
This was a pretty good chapter. It had a good set-up, provided decent information about the background, and had plenty of action with some pretty cool scenes. It did have a few problems though, mostly being that the cult and their followers didn't seem to pose any real challenge to our heroes. It got kind of monotonous hearing about them breaching another room, subduing the cultists without a problem, or with only a minor issue, and moving on to the next one. Making it less of a one-sided battle (maybe using those chemical weapons) could have made it a lot more exciting. The cult itself was described pretty well, but I didn't get what the graves for the children were. Was the cult murdering its children all the time? Or did they kill them when they saw the SA coming? (which doesn't make sense because they wouldn't have enough time to make the graves). It would seem to be the former, but that's pretty odd behavior, even for a cult. Another thing that could have used more explanation was how the Australian government was cool about letting a bunch of heavily armed foreigners conduct a military operation on their soil. I guess a Network guy was somewhere within the Australian government, but it still seems a little far-fetched. The only other complaint I can think of (and I guess this goes for the story as a whole) is that the villains seem a little too extreme, too willing to twirl their mustachios and was on about how evil they are. I think it would be better if they appeared more subdued at first, and the depths of their villainy were revealed later. Other than that, this was a good chapter and I look forward to the one in Africa.