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Subject: "Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"     Previous Topic | Next Topic
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Mercutio
Member since May-26-13
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Apr-01-16, 11:55 PM (EDT)
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"Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
 
   Guess who's back? And guess who brought words with'im? So many words.

(I have my reasons for an absence of a year and a half. They're not precisely good ones; it's a combination of me fucking up and then residual guilt over said fuckup. I may post in the introduction sub-forum; this isn't the proper venue.)

Anyway. NXE: Apotheosis Now has its anniversary today! I bring with me a gift of sorts; an in-depth retrospective of the piece.

Well, it sort of has its anniversary today. The actual anniversary is May 16th; it'll be thirteen that day. Old enough to see most Marvel movies without an accompanying parent! But April 1st, 2016, is the day that it putatively begins in-universe. (The future has... really overtaken the Evangelion franchise, hasn't it?)

Apotheosis Now is one of the big, famous pieces in the EPU Canon, right up there with Day of Infamy, Wounded Rose, and Twilight as significant watershed moments of this venerable institution. Though NXE has since re-launched, Apotheosis Now represented something very, very new at the time; EPU actually finishing and closing out one of its sub-universes.

NXE began production in the late nineties. Really, you could make an argument for mid-nineties; Exodus 1.1 was published in 1997. There are parts of Hopelessly Lost that are newer than it is, and some of the major works of the Exile, such as Wilderness, had not yet been written. Golden Age was still a going concern. Larry Mann and Kris Overstreet were still active and prolific contributors.

For period of three years, from the initial publication of Exodus 1.1 in 1997 to the completion of Exodus 3.9 in early 2000, it was the premiere work of EPU. In those three years they published almost nothing but NXE. Twilight was in there, which is important, and a couple random side works, but this was more or less an all-Eva all-the-time production house; UF basically lapsed into a coma.

In 1998, EPU published nothing but NXE; no works in any other of its various shared universes were produced in that calendar year.

This, by the way, was a reflection of anime fandom as a whole at the time. Evangelion is one of the classic series at this point, renowned as a piece of art and considered required viewing for those who take the history of the genre seriously, but at the time it was simply the newest hottest newest thing. This was in the days before torrents, when getting hold of episodes required cobbling shit together from USENET posts (if you had the bandwidth; this was back when if you had a 36.6 modem you were a god amongst men) and recompiling it, or getting your hands on VHS fansubs from the sketchy as hell source of your choice. It was a major coup when Otakon '98 managed to score a copy of End of Evangelion and air it semi-officially to attendees in a crowded ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City.

Which is to say, EPU's fixation on Evangelion at the time wasn't weirdly atypical; it was simply representative of the zeitgeist. Had the forums been around at the time, they'd likely have reflected that; if you care to dig up the old rec.arts.anime.misc archives (this will require a lot of creative googling and use of the wayback machine) they sure as hell do. Stuff got vicious, yo. I'll leave it at that.

After Exodus 3.9 came out, though... well, the "movie" was in planning stages, but a focus shift hit. EPU in general and UF in particular underwent what I regard as its first major creative and tonal transition period (we're currently in the middle of the second; this is purely my own taxonomy and is in no way official) and energy shifted to the new 400lb gorilla, what is and remains the flagship series of the house, Symphony of the Sword.

From 2000 to 2003 was the great flowering of that work. Those years also saw the publication of the meaty parts of Warriors of the Outer Rim, Day of Infamy, and the superbly excellent but now-deprecated Fables of the Reconstruction, which would presage the still-ongoing Cybertron Reloaded.

It was a heady time, is what I'm saying. The forums also came into existence in there somewhere, in early 2001.

But NXE still wasn't complete. There was a final chapter to be written, and frankly I'm really damn impressed it came out and put a period to the whole saga.

NXE occupies a sub-genre of Evangelion fanfiction that has a lot of twisted, burning wrecks in it; namely, "reboot the series from the begginning with different premises and proceed from there." This happens a lot. And I mean a lot a lot. And usually the works begun thus peter out after a bit, because it turns out actually re-writing the entire series is a long, exhausting process. Not a lot of people who have attempted this have completed it, but Apotheosis Now represented doing just that; a completion.

I was never a huge fan of NXE, nor of DJ Croft. I wrote critically of it at the time and continue to do so. It's not bad, per se, but there are some very, very bad individual components in it and it's a deeply flawed work in many ways.

I am however, an enormous fan of the source materiel, with the possible exception of the last two episodes of the TV series. I'm one of the very few people here, I think, who can both say that and doesn't feel a need to qualify it extensively. I'm also an enormous fan of EPU, which did a lot of work shaping me into the person I am today with regard to how I engage with what are now called "transformative works."

So with that engagement in mind, let's take another look at Apotheosis Now, with a distance of nearly a decade and a half between publication date and current day. The good, the bad, the noteworthy, points in-between.

> this project is dedicated to
> RACHAEL L. MAYO
> artist - fan - friend
> 1983.11.15 - 2003.03.01

Never let it be said the production team doesn't cherish their fans.

> 1947: A vehicle believed to be an alien spacecraft crashes at
> Roswell, New Mexico.

The timeline is interesting and informative, and importantly it recognizes that, for reader comprehension, such a timeline is probably necessary. Assembling it was a good call.

That said, the fact that it was necessary probably indicates that the story was starting to collapse under its own weight. Stuff like this should be ancillary materiel, in my opinion, included in interesting side documents (like "More Than Meets The Eye: A Complete History of Cybertron," still one of my favorite pieces; I'd really like to see what "formally trained History Major" Ben could do with it today, as opposed to what "raw talent and determination" Ben did with it) rather than needing to be front-and centered.

> APOTHEOSIS NOW
>
> Written by Benjamin D. Hutchins, Anne Cross,
> Larry Mann, MegaZone, and John Trussell

The only one on that list still active is Ben, I think. (Maybe Anne?) The times, they do change.

> BAIKONUR COSMODROME, KAZAKHSTAN, USSR
> SATURDAY 2 APRIL 2016
> 04:11 LOCAL TIME

The Russians as a whole I have extended thoughts on.

They aren't new characters precisely, but they were bit players when they showed up before and their presence in the movie doesn't serve an enormous narrative role beyond making the entire thing bigger and more-er.

The entire establishing scene with them was very Tom Clancy, and I mean that in the best possible way; classic Clancy, before he went off the deep end and started writing tomes about how only a renegade band of torturing vigilantes who fund themselves via bank fraud are bad enough dudes to save 'Murica. It feels like the opener of any one of a million techno-thrillers, and that sounds like a dig but mastering that sort of storytelling and not being dull about it is legit hard.

And it's interesting to me as a historical artifact. The whole Neo-Soviet thing was something I saw a lot of people do in the 90s, but as time wears on it seems a bit... I don't want to say silly, but dated. Like, present-day Russia is basically a kleptocracy with an economy the size of Italy that we only sort of take seriously as a "world power" because they still have nukes. The Russian Navy is kind of a joke, and to the extent it isn't a joke it's because they pour money they can't afford to spend into small numbers of toys they can't afford to lose. Their aerospace engineering is a bit less of a joke, but compared to cutting-edge western designs that aren't the F-35 Migs and Stukois no longer measure up.

They lack the grandeur of the terrifying authoritarianism of the Soviet years, is what I'm saying. It's a smaller, messier, much more banal kind of oppression. Vladimir Putin is no Joe Stalin. He's not even a Yuri Andropov. He's the kind of guy who, had he been alive in a previous epoch, would have been the dude who Stalin sent to fetch his cigarettes.

So the Neo-Soviet stuff is neat, but it is also a little bit "Really? Okay."

I would ordinarily also have words about the borderline fridging of Marina's mom, but this is Evangelion, and the first rule of Evangelion is "nobody is allowed to have a mom. In the event of a mom, they're not allowed to have a dad."

> "Shinji, this is Professor Nikolai Ivanovich Kirishatov, the
> greatest scientist in the Eastern Hemisphere," said Ikari.
> "My son, Shinji Ikari."

Gendo only gets away with saying this because Fuyutsuki hasn't yet arrived, and so the laws of dramatic irony cannot cause his old mentor to be standing right behind him at the time to challenge the notion of who, precisely, is the greatest scientist in the Eastern Hemisphere. :)

> Langley looked remarkably like a girl with a bad hangover,
> slouched and hunched in a definitive leave-me-alone posture
> and glaring red-eyed from behind the upturned collar of her
> unbuttoned blue peacoat. Under it, she wore jeans and a t-
> shirt that read "Küß mich, ich bin Deutsch" in black, red and
> yellow letters.

I've said this before and will again; Ben excels at physical description via apparel rather than physicality, which frankly he's a bit blah at. (Pretty sure this was a Ben sequence, anyway.)

Also, does anyone not look good in a peacoat? They always class a person up. Always.

> "The Raiden has evolved quite a bit since it started out as
> a Western clone of the Firefox."
>
> "Perhaps," said Marina in a tone that indicated she didn't
> believe it for a minute, but was letting it pass in the
> interests of friendly relations.

I think this might be a subtle joke I missed the first time; there was a propaganda thing the Soviets used to do where they'd try and claim credit, either directly or obliquely, for nearly all cultural and technological innovations important to the Western world. This is invoking that, I believe.

Or not. I could be reaching.

> They still had their common heritage, their common ground,
> even their bonds of friendship; but the common structure on
> which they had built themselves into an effective combat force
> with a powerful esprit de corps was lost, and without it, they
>wandered in their own separate orbits, no longer part of a
> whole.

Annnnd my first real "ugh" of the piece.

It's not that I have a problem with "the kids take two steps forward in dealing with their problems, and then one step back" method of storytelling. But NXE had gone to this well so, so many times before that just about everything in Apotheosis Now that invoked it produced a "been there, done that" reaction in me. Especially Jon fuckin' Ellison, who, straight up, was simply annoying to read nearly every time he moped his way across the page. This is also not the first time the story played the "DJ is the glue holding these people together" card.

I should approve of these sorts of plotlines, because the kids are child soldiers with some crazy bad cases of PTSD, but I just feel it wasn't pulled off. Asuka yelling at God especially seemed like the sort of thing an edgy teen circa 1995 would have thought was oh-so-awesome and instead just looks tantrumy.

Although it was nice for somebody in the story to at least glimpse the terrifying nature of the In Nomine cosmology and react badly to it and its absentee landlord instead of just treating it like an interesting epistemological-slash-engineering problem.

> This was why there was no aiming device on the weapon itself;
> its operator was the aiming device, and aiming a Blaster
> Launcher was not so simple as pointing and shooting.

The entire Blaster Launcher sequence was very well-done. I could see an original flava X-Com battlescape with waypoints on it open up in front of me while I was reading it.

> "After all," he added modestly, leaning deliberately on
> his usually-light German accent, "zis ist meine 'hood."

... no.

Just no.

> Professor Kozo Fuyutsuki had been extremely surprised to
> receive a telegram from his old student, Gendou Ikari, and
> even more surprised when that telegram was apologetic and
> conciliatory.

I liked that Fuyutsyuki was back; I feel like his absence from the main series was a weakness, because the character is more complex and subtle than people give him credit for.

Downside, he doesn't really do much that's necessary.

> As it was, he was the chair of the hyperphysics department at
> Tokyo University

Hyperphysics? Really?

Okay, the department chairs got together sometime in the early aughts, got blitzed on Suntory, and decided to see just what ridiculous names they could get approved, right? "I don't like 'Dean of Arts.' How about 'Dean of Forbidden Colors?'" "Only if you co-sign my memo to get me made 'Chair of Inadvisably Applied Engineering.'" "Sir, you are a gentleman and a scholar."

> Anyway, long story short, they did. After a lot -more-
> wrangling, Lucifer's temporarily regained his seat on the
> Council in absentia, and Tabriel's sitting in it until the
> Lightbringer can complete his Ascension."

Because after running a cosmic torture pit and unleashing your demonic minions to torment mankind for a few thousand years, all you gotta do is toss a few mea culpas skyward and you get your old job back, am I right?

I keep going back and forth on Lucifer's treatment in NXE. I love the Devil as a character, just in general. And I certainly have no objection to portrayals of him as something other than a cackling, pitchfork-wielding caricature. But the narrative here in NXE has always treated him like some cool desperado who occasionally drops in to help out DJ and who has been hard done by the universe. It never really confronts the fact that he did a lot of bad shit and sort of walked out from under it.

The flip side of that is that this is In Nomine, where the universe really is that badly run and it's entirely possible that yeah, you can commit horrible cosmic crimes and just skate on them by saying the proper words to the council of assholes who rule the afterlife. But NXE never really confronts that head-on either.

> "Ici Xerxes. Pour célébrer la Grande Ouverture de la
> cantine du fort Défi, ce soir on vous offre la Nuit de Tacos.
> Apportez vos appétits pour la saveur du frontier sud et vos
> sens de l'aventure. Le toofoo épicé sera disponible pour
> notre personnel végétarien."

This was legitimately hilarious. Jokes of this nature are never not funny.

I also respect the dedication of the production team in typing out all those diacritical marks. Those keyboard shortcuts are tricky.

> San sat at the table, alone in the interrogation room, and
> toyed idly with the pretzel sticks she'd been given while she
> waited for her hot cocoa to cool enough to drink.

They gave her pretzels but no mustard?

These people are animals.

> Christmas, I suppose... and you passed it up, she reminded
> herself. And now both of the men who would have accepted you
> with -this- thing are gone.

Ah, yes, the grown-ass woman mooning over the fifteen-year-old.

That hasn't gotten less annoying.

> "No, I don't," San replied. "There's a couple of things it
> could mean. It could mean, 'Are you trying to recruit him
> back to SEELE's side of the war?' which is -stupid-, or it
> could mean, 'Do you want to take him to bed?' which is none
> of -your- fucking business."

San is wrong on her latter point here (Shinji is Jon's friend, which very much makes his personal relationships Jon's business; that's how friendship works) but I enjoyed watching her yell at him.

The entire scene just works on a very basic level. Very good work.

> When they'd turned up among the attacking troops during the
> Hidden War, what X-COM and the world had taken for aliens,
> they'd acquired an instant reputation as the Enemy's deadliest
> infantry -

Aww, poor Chryssalids. They get no respect.

> She glared at him quite hard on that last point, and after a
> moment of staring Jon finally put two and two together.
> "You... attuned yourself... to -me-," sounding somewhere
> between shocked and repulsed by the mere notion.

I really very much like this as a concept; I think it could have been executed better than just San walking up and telling it to Jon point-blank, tho. It's very tell-y, not very show-y. It passes up the chance for some sweet inside-the-head action where San actually undergoes the attunement against her will. That would have been neat.

> Getting into the US itself was a bit tense, but not hard.
> Gendou could still -pretend- to be a mature, authoritative
> grown-up when the need was upon him, and he talked them across
> the border with ease.

You know, in a story about giant cosmic war machines fighting out a literal biblical war here on earth, this one part is actually the thing I have the most trouble believing. :)

I cross the border three, four times a year and those guys don't fuck around. I'm envisioning trying to bullshit my way across with completely inadequate ID in an old van with three minor children while on multiple terrorist watch lists, and my brain is going "nnnnnnnnnnope."

(Sidebar: my headcanon is that the first time they stopped for gas and to stretch their legs, Rachael somehow managed to airbrush an entire mural onto the side of that van. Something involving unicorns and wizards fighting in space. After the war, Gendo ripped it off as an album cover for his experimental transcendental space rock band, Tenacious G.)

> That was expected; after all, why would the occupation forces
> keep an eye on their old apartment building? It wasn't as if
> any of the NERV escapees were ever coming back to Worcester,
> right, and even if they DID, what would they go back to their
> old apartments for?

> "They must have had one of my brothers search this place,"
> said Jon, looking around. "It has all the hallmarks. Who
> else would consider knocking over a bookcase a thorough
> search?"

Natlateth is one of the most appallingly incompetent villains in the entire EPU extended canon. There's a reason she doesn't even make my top ten list. Roger Tremayne is better at evilling than she is.

> The mysterious presence within EVA-01 - Natlateth has her
> suspicions as to what it is, you know, but not enough hard
> data to back it up, and until -you- showed up I'd been very
> careful - the mysterious presence within EVA-01 suddenly
> awakening after weeks of stubborn immobility to help NERV
> agents escape the compound? They would dismantle me to my -
> bones-.

They honestly should have done that anyway.

I haven't re-read the entire story in quite some time, but I recall always being vaguely unclear as to just why Natlateth needed Unit-01 at all. The thing has demonstrated a lot of troubling independence and mysterious powers, and she has all the production models and clone pilots she can lay her hands on. Dicking around with the thing seems like way more risk than it is worth, especially if she has any suspicion at all what is dwelling inside it. She should have had the thing dismantled.

Like I said. Incompetent.

> "Get aboard this," Asuka's voice instructed her confederates
> as EVA-01 lowered the plug even with the platform where they
> stood.

It's been thirteen years, but I still recall going, when I first read this, "Oh! It's one of THESE! I love ones of these!"

And I still do.

> "You're not - planning - to run - clear to - Canada - are
> you?" Jon inquired painfully as the stolen entry plug jostled
> violently, clutched in one of the sprinting EVA's pumping
> fists.
>
> "Of course not," Asuka replied. "We're heading for the
> airport. I'll hold off whatever AP units they mobilize while
> you steal us an airplane."

Initial thought: "That's idiotic, Natlateth will have called in a CAP over Worcester the second the alarms sounded back at the base, and if she didn't do it then she'd have done it once you made a beeline for the airport. Cranking your core up and running clear to Canada actually is probably your better exit plan; the production models likely aren't as fast and with your AT field up anything conventional short of a nuke isn't going to stop you."

Later thought: "My GOD Natlateth is dumber than a box of rocks."

(I'm not going to stop slagging on her. That's just... that's going to be a thing.)

> "Hello, Prototype!" said the Ellison in charge. "We haven't
> met. My name is David, and I'm your superior in every
> perceptible way."

Headcanon: David practiced that speech in the mirror. Like, a lot.

> As he shifted himself for true battle, David Ellison made a
> sad mental note that the quality of enemy-status intel around
> here was on a definite downslope.

Oh, I like him.

> "Look, we can't -both- be Eliza," Durandal grumbled.

This line? Still plays, even after all these years.

> "This morning at 0100, SEELE Evangelions destroyed both of the
> Manhattan Flood Relief Pumping Stations, then attacked the
> seawall. The island was inundated by 0500. There was no
> warning and no time for an evacuation. The death toll is
> currently estimated at 9.75 million. It may go higher."

I loved this as a callback, because way back when the state of New York City was first detailed, it didn't come off as a land mine laying in wait, it just came off as a neat bit of worldbuilding.

Nicely executed.

> Their coordinates remained locked, their countdowns
> continuing, as the launcher prepared to rain ten-megaton N2
> charges on most of Nova Scotia.

Natlateth really should have considered compromising the conventional nuclear arsenal of the U.S. NERV wouldn't be able to do much against thirty or forty MIRVs.

> Gabriel's Horn had originally been built more for
> striking power than range, though one obviously depended from the
> other.

This is the only attempt I'm going to make in this whole retrospective at grammar or spelling; I can't parse this sentence. Well, I can, but it seems wrong. Is the word "depended" actually supposed to be there? Shouldn't it be "descended?"

> Despite the situation, she felt herself choking up a little bit
> and wishing she knew the words.

The Soviet State Anthem has that effect on people.

Then they actually do learn the words, and discover that they're both extraordinarily banal, and, to anyone with a sense of history, massively insulting.

But the music is solid.

> "They have GOT to be kidding. Those are the stupidest-looking
> things I have -ever- seen," said Asuka.

Asuka is wrong. The flying production models are fuckin' terrifying. Their mouths alone, my god.

> With that, Dan Ellison left the room. Bacon stared after him
> for a moment, then shrugged.

And that's the last we ever see of Danny Boy.

I like to think that he's either a major power player down in Hell, or that sometime in 2021, an X-Com Skyranger will land in front of him, an MIB will emerge, and politely inquire if he's interested in further employment as an Evangelion pilot.

> Mathieu went stiff as a board, only his heels and the back of
> his head touching the floor, his eyes staring wildly at
> nothing; then everything about him relaxed and he slumped to
> the floor. His expression changed to a curiously peaceful
> little smile, his glassy eyes half-lidded.

This Marches scene is potentially my favorite scene in this whole story. It's quiet, understated, oddly peaceful. Elegaic in a way. It's an interesting counterpoint to the all the ridiculously over-the-top military-sci-fi stuff happening the rest of the piece. I like it very much. It's the sort of thing that could have been played by either Neil Gaiman's or Mike Carey's Lucifer.

I always felt real bad for Mat, and not just because we share a name. He was something of a brutal thug, but he acquitted himself well in a bad situation. I like to think he made it out of the war okay eventually.

> "I've had enough of this," she declared. "Message to all
> missile carriers: Prepare for immediate nuclear launch."

... jesus god, woman, you had more nukes and you've just been sitting on them? Why?

You are bad at this and you should feel bad.

> A commtech turned to look at her. "Should I issue a recall
> order for our forces?"
>
> "No," Natla replied coldly.
>
> The commtech considered that for a half-second, turned, and
> issued the command.

That said, this exchange has stuck in my head for many years, because it doesn't mess around. We don't get some extraneous dolly-zoom action into the nameless techs head where we see them make the split-second calculation "Do I feel like being murdered in my chair today? I do not" that doubtlessly occurred. That half-a-second of consideration is doing a lot of work in very little time, doing it well, and I appreciate it.

> "You are not fit to look upon my face, Princess of Betrayal,"
> replied Lucifer flatly. "My mask of battle will be the last
> thing you ever see."

Eh. She did kill you once, dude. If there's a purer expression of the Word you probably gave her, I'm not sure what it is. Jackie is kind of an idiot but she achieved the ultimate backstab, you gotta give her some props for that.

> Shinji's hands tingled and that strange music he'd heard on a
> few other occasions in his life leaked into his consciousness.

Subtle. I love it.

> "I have waited for this chance since you killed me, Natlateth,"
> SHODAN went on. "Quietly. Patiently. It's what my kind do.
> We stand silent and bear witness to history. We are the
> Watchers."

I simultaneously love this and think it was... not fully exploited.

Maybe Shinji gets to do something with this in the sequel.

> "I take you, Jon Ellison, as my servitor. I give to you your
> celestial name, and with that name bind you to me! I call upon
> the power you hold unknowing in your right hand!"

I feel the same way about this. It's some Hellboy shit, is what it is, and that's pretty awesome, but it's a bit late in the day for another secret source of cosmic power.

> To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
> Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.
>
> Valete,
> Durandal

You know, Durandal is a clever bastard, but if he thinks he can just plant himself on the vacant throne of Hell... well, I wish him luck.

(I always liked Malphas for Lucifer's successor. I figure he buys off Asmodeus and gets Kronos on-side, and everyone accepts him as a compromise candidate.)

And... that's the complete text!

This son of a bitch is long. The entire thing clocks in at a shade under 90,000 words, which I believe makes it competitive for the title of "longest single standalone work in the EPU Canon." I haven't checked the entire archive but most works that long or longer are broken into chapters.

And this one really should have been as well.

Structurally speaking, Apotheosis Now is a bit of a mess. It has to do a lot of heavy lifting to get where it wants to go. Oddly enough, I feel like the story is simultaneously doing too much and not enough.

This "Motion Picture" really wants to be Exodus 4. You can tell that just by looking at it. (And in fact it is being treated precisely that way by Ben.) It's huge. It's sprawling. The scope is epic, as are the events. It doesn't function well as a coda, in the same way End of Evangelion did to the source materiel. It wants to be a multi-part sequential work, in the say the previous three Books of Exodus were. It's trying to pack too much into a single piece of work...

... and because of that, it gives short shrift to a lot of plotlines and sequences that demand more breathing room. It's incredibly information-dense at times, telling rather than showing us what's going on because it has just so damn much to show us it doesn't know any better way to do it. A lot of important events get a lick and a promise and then recede quickly into the rearview mirror as we barrel by them. There's a ton of wasted potential here. Halifax never breathes as a setting the same way Worcester-3 does, for example. The Russians are just sort of... there. So is Fuyutsuki.

I don't like Natlateth as a villain. She had a lot of potential, the concept is rock goddamn solid, but my making fun of her idiocy is only partially in jest; she emerges suddenly as a force majeur late in Exodus 3, kicks our heroes out of their home, and then just sort of twiddles her thumbs and lets them dust themselves off and become powerful enough to defeat her before she moves on them.

(This is an ongoing problem with most EPU villains since Largo, frankly. It seems to be something the production team is working past, though; Akio is finally starting to fulfill his potential as a villain who actually isn't dumb and is also allowed to succeed.)

The very strongest parts of this pieces are the military sci-fi bits and some of the sequences involving San and Lucifer. San, by the way, does an awful lot by herself to salvage some of the plotlines surrounding the Children. She done good as a character. They've got some interesting punch to them.

The weakest parts are all the weird cosmic shit. It just doesn't gel properly. This is a problem with NXE as a whole, which suddenly starts demanding an awful lot of In Nomine knowledge very late in the game, while simultaneously never making good use of that settings various conceits. The Seraphim Council are just this collection of weird dudes if you don't already know who they are; it seems like we should have been shown Tabriel heading back to the Silver City and dealing with their interrogation, as a means of establishing characterization if nothing else.

Especially since this isn't just In Nomine fanfic, it is custom In Nomine fanfic, with important movers and shakers present who don't, to my recollection, actually exist in the game itself.

Lucifer getting off basically scot-free, as well as God showing up well after his help could really have been used, has always stuck in my craw. Laurence was an idiotic traitor who got a lot of dudes killed, but he was not, entirely, without a point.

I encourage other to share their thoughts! NXE is back, you guys. Let's look back while simultaneously looking forward.

(Oh! It's good to be back.)

-Merc
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Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective [View All] Mercutio Apr-01-16 TOP
  RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective drakensis Apr-02-16 1
     RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Verbena Apr-02-16 2
     RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Mercutio Apr-02-16 3
         RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective pjmoyermoderator Apr-02-16 4
         RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Gryphonadmin Apr-02-16 5
             RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Mercutio Apr-02-16 6
                 RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective BZArchermoderator Apr-02-16 7
                     RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Mercutio Apr-02-16 9
                         RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective BZArchermoderator Apr-02-16 10
                         RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Gryphonadmin Apr-02-16 11
                             RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Mercutio Apr-02-16 12
                                 RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Gryphonadmin Apr-02-16 13
                 RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Proginoskes Apr-02-16 8
                 RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Vorticity Apr-03-16 14
                     RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Nathan Apr-03-16 15
                         RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Vorticity Apr-03-16 24
                             RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Gryphonadmin Apr-03-16 25
                                 RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Vorticity Apr-05-16 39
                     RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Mercutio Apr-03-16 16
                         RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Gryphonadmin Apr-03-16 17
                             RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Mercutio Apr-03-16 18
                                 RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Gryphonadmin Apr-03-16 19
                                     RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Mercutio Apr-03-16 21
                                         RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Gryphonadmin Apr-03-16 22
                                             RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Mercutio Apr-03-16 23
                         RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective pjmoyermoderator Apr-03-16 20
                             RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Vorticity Apr-03-16 28
                         RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Nathan Apr-03-16 29
  RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Peter Eng Apr-03-16 26
     RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Gryphonadmin Apr-03-16 27
     RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Mercutio Apr-03-16 30
         RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective SilenRevered Apr-04-16 31
             RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective BZArchermoderator Apr-04-16 32
                 RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective ebony14 Apr-04-16 33
                     RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective dbrandon Apr-04-16 35
                 RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Nova Floresca Apr-04-16 34
                     RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective BZArchermoderator Apr-04-16 36
         RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Peter Eng Apr-04-16 37
             RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective StClair Apr-05-16 38
                 RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Mercutio Apr-05-16 40
  RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective junipermoderator Jun-14-16 41
     RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective Gryphonadmin Jun-14-16 42

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drakensis
Member since Dec-20-06
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Apr-02-16, 03:51 AM (EDT)
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1. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #0
 
   On the subject of redemption (and god, I may be opening a can of worms here) the objectives of punishment are surely:
1. To bring the sinner to the point they sincerely say they regret their sin and will not repeat it
2. To deter others from doing the same

Given that the Seraphim Council can literally see Lucifer's soul it seems likely that they can determine that point 1 is concluded. Lucifer has been punishing _himself_ for eons.

On the second point, Lucifer spent eons in hell. He rose to the grandest power and position there and held it for all that time. And yet he is walking away and submitting himself to his enemies. A grander statement of _this shit ain't worth it_ is hard to conceive.

Extending forgiveness and reinstatement under these conditions seems to have merit on three grounds:
1. As a matter of practicality, it may lead to other demons seeking redemption for their sins.
2. Putting Lucifer back on the Seraphim Council is putting him back to work. He's not lazing on a cloud for eternity being adored, whatever some of the footsoldiers think being on the Council is like.
3. Further punishment would essentially be hurting Lucifer for the sake of gratifying the vengeful. One hopes the Seraphim Council are above that.

D.


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Verbena
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Apr-02-16, 09:17 AM (EDT)
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2. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #1
 
   It's been a while, but I believe there was a mention of a good amount of time ("the Ambivalence", I believe) where Lucifer simply wasn't being the head honcho of evil. I think that time frame is what made some angels, and possibly God, examine his behavior and see what exactly changed.

------
Fearless creatures, we all learn to fight the Reaper
Can't defeat Her, so instead I'll have to be Her


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Mercutio
Member since May-26-13
939 posts
Apr-02-16, 12:11 PM (EDT)
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3. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #1
 
   >On the subject of redemption (and god, I may be opening a can of worms
>here) the objectives of punishment are surely:
>1. To bring the sinner to the point they sincerely say they regret
>their sin and will not repeat it
>2. To deter others from doing the same

There's also the matter of making restitution for your wrongs.

>Given that the Seraphim Council can literally see Lucifer's soul it
>seems likely that they can determine that point 1 is concluded.
>Lucifer has been punishing _himself_ for eons.

Oh, he's been punishing himself. Well! I'm sure that's of great comfort to the friends and loved ones of the people he and his goons slew in the war, and to the millions of people being harvested of their forces in Hell. When Lucifer was sitting on his infernal throne, surrounded by courtiers, crowning new Demon Princes, approving plans for violating and tormenting humanity, and being feted by the most vile beings in the cosmos. But it's okay, because while all that was happening he felt bad.

>On the second point, Lucifer spent eons in hell. He rose to the
>grandest power and position there and held it for all that time. And
>yet he is walking away and submitting himself to his enemies. A
>grander statement of _this shit ain't worth it_ is hard to conceive.

That is, indeed, a grand statement.

It's also a beginning, not an ending.

It might also be nice if he demonstrated some humility over what he'd done. And I don't mean like, five minutes of "mea culpas" in Antarctica either. I mean maybe not always acting like the smartest, most important person in the room, always ready with a quip or a one-liner or a reason why his plans, reasoning, and motivations are much better than the ones you have, usually accompanied by a put-down. Because the last time he thought he was smarter and better than everyone around him, he sort of founded Hell, so maybe don't be so full of yourself.

>Extending forgiveness and reinstatement under these conditions seems
>to have merit on three grounds:
>1. As a matter of practicality, it may lead to other demons seeking
>redemption for their sins.

I'm not sure if it counts as redemption if Demons are only considering it because they know they'll slot right back into a position of precisely equal power and authority in Heaven.

Also as a matter of practicality, it seems like that would be real demoralizing to the Angels who, you know, didn't decide to spend eons committing vast atrocities. Those guys work hard and get punished, sometimes severely, if they step out of line! They're often put into situations on Earth where they have to pick between "fail the tasks set by their Superiors" or "gain a bunch of Discord because that's what is required to see their missions through", and then no matter which one they pick they often get looked down for being either 1) failures, or 2) having betrayed their Celestial natures.

Those dudes seem like they'd resent the King of Hell being placed over them just because he decided he was sorry, and rightfully so.

>2. Putting Lucifer back on the Seraphim Council is putting him back to
>work. He's not lazing on a cloud for eternity being adored, whatever
>some of the footsoldiers think being on the Council is like.

"Putting him back to work" is sort of understating it. It's a bit like making Bernie Madoff or Secretary of the Treasury or Benedict Arnold Secretary of War, as long as they're really, truly sorry for what they've done.

And it's like... no. Those jobs are hard, but they're also powerful and prestigious and carry with them staggering remuneration. It's the same way with being an Archangel. Lucifer gets a palace. He gets Servitors who have to leap and obey his every whim, the ability to hand out Words, the power and right to punish and reward, a large degree of authority even over those who aren't his direct underlings. That's not the same as "being put back to work."

Dude wants to come back? That's cool. He starts at the bottom. He starts as a Vassal, under Gabriel or someone. He can work his way back up to Archangel, a whole bunch of members of the Council did precisely that.

And if that's not good enough for him, maybe he isn't really all that sorry. Or not sorry enough to give up his powers and perquisites.

-Merc
Keep Rat


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pjmoyermoderator
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Apr-02-16, 02:26 PM (EDT)
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4. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #3
 
   Surprisingly, I think there's a relatively applicable parallel in storytelling that exists now that didn't when AN was originally released:

IDW Megatron from the IDW transformers comics.

Dude started out with noble intentions, rallied supporters, things went south after the initial attempt, and then 4-million-years of atrocities (and unlike original G1, IDW Megatron and the Decepticons were fully active during that time). Dude comes back, undergoes tribulations, realizes that he really DID fuck up, and submitted himself for punishment while feeling remorse -- and then through circumstance does NOT immediately get offlined, but put in charge of an expedition to find the people who can legitimately judge him (putting him in a position of power and "respect" over other Autobots). And during that comes to realizations that leads to TRUE remorse and a shift in his thinking (while wrestling with his nature and 4-million-years of habits all the while).

All that stuff up there you just said? I think you just summarized Getaway's position on the whole deal. :) And I don't doubt some angels are thinking the same thing.

*shrug*

I do admit that a flaw in our writing as a collective is that we assume that the worse case physical/emotional scenarios DO NOT HAPPEN if they are not EXPLICITLY stated in the text, because our writing tends to be focused more on the "Non-Nihilistic" aspect and "Better angels of our natures" and we don't want to wallow in angst and think about those cases. And of course we become surprised and dismayed/defensive when not all of our readers think the same way. :/

But anyway.

(In the past few years of reading fiction on other forums, I've noticed this trend of readers poking a lot of holes and worst-casing things, which on the one hand indicates a high level of engagement and investment in the story being told, which is good? But I can also feel for the authors frustrations of "I just want to tell the story, I don't want it ripped to shreds or turn into a pile of suck." ^_-;;; )

--- Philip






Philip J. Moyer
Contributing Writer, Editor and Artist (and Moderator) -- Eyrie Productions, Unlimited
CEO of MTS, High Poobah Of Artwork, and High Priest Of the Church Of Aerianne -- Magnetic Terrapin Studios
"Insert Pithy Comment Here"
Fandoms -- Fanart -- Fan Meta Discussions


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Gryphonadmin
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Apr-02-16, 03:05 PM (EDT)
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5. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #3
 
   LAST EDITED ON Apr-02-16 AT 05:28 PM (EDT)
 
I dunno what to tell you, dude. The possibility of Lucifer admitting he was wrong and returning to Heaven is a super-standard thing in Bible fanfic. It's in Milton. OTOH Milton didn't have a website.

Anyway, welcome back, we missed you. Wasn't really expecting you to make your re-entrance by punking something as old as this, but hey. Whatever works for you. :)

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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Mercutio
Member since May-26-13
939 posts
Apr-02-16, 03:55 PM (EDT)
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6. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #5
 
   LAST EDITED ON Apr-02-16 AT 03:57 PM (EDT)
 
>I dunno what to tell you, dude. The possibility of Lucifer admitting
>he was wrong and returning to Heaven is a super-standard thing in
>Bible fanfic. It's in Milton. OTOH Milton didn't have a website.

Oh, the idea is rock solid. I mean, super solid. The Devil abandoning Hell, either to go renegade or to actually repent? There's so much stuff to be mined from that. A lot of people have told a lot of amazing stories based on that idea.

I just sort of have issues with "returns to Heaven in power and glory to stand again as one of the most beloved and important members of the Heavenly Host. All that bad shit he did? Water under the bridge." It rubs me the wrong way, especially also in the context of "the people who think this is a bullshit way of proceeding are the real bad guys here."

I've been wanting to come back for months, but I felt like I needed to do something special. I know, of course, that you lot would have been perfectly happy if I'd simply wandered back in and been like "'sup guys, want to talk about X-Com?"

But I felt obligated. For me, and the sort of person who tries to talk about art that I want to be.

(That's not weird, right? Or pretentious?)

But then you brought back NXE, which I'd made my bones throwing rocks at back in the day, and I checked the calendar and saw there was an important AN milestone coming up, and it was like "Yes. Yes, this will do nicely."

In hindsight it may have been a mistake. This thing is SO LONG. And I had to read it three times; once to refresh my memory, once to make sure I didn't miss anything, and then again to decide what parts to comment on.

I mean. I'm sure writing it took much longer. But this is novel-length, not something you can just skim on your lunch break.

-Merc
Keep Rat


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BZArchermoderator
Member since Nov-9-05
1672 posts
Apr-02-16, 05:07 PM (EDT)
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7. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #6
 
   For the record, we remain quite happy to talk about X-COM!

But, more seriously, it's great to see you back, and I am genuinely curious what you think of a few of the things we've loosed into the world during your sabbatical. :)

---------------------------
Matt "BZArcher" Wagner
@BZArcher / bzarcher at gmail
"Here's an itemized list of 30
years of disagreements!"


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Mercutio
Member since May-26-13
939 posts
Apr-02-16, 09:28 PM (EDT)
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9. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #7
 
   >For the record, we remain quite happy to talk about X-COM!

The reaction on this board surprises me, since the sequel is demonstrably superior to the original in nearly every way.

>But, more seriously, it's great to see you back,

Us Matt's have to stick together!

> and I am genuinely curious what you think of a few of the things we've
> loosed into the world during your sabbatical. :)

I should give Our Witches At War another look; it left me real cold when it first started coming out. Which is weird as hell, considering how involved I was in the Fly Girls stuff, but.

I regret deeply not being around for Taken By Storm, otherwise known as "production team finally lets Akio be Akio." (The number of people assigning credit to Surtur and/or predicting this will simply lead to a crushing beatdown seems... surprising.)

-Merc
Keep Rat


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BZArchermoderator
Member since Nov-9-05
1672 posts
Apr-02-16, 09:58 PM (EDT)
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10. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #9
 
   >>For the record, we remain quite happy to talk about X-COM!
>
>The reaction on this board surprises me, since the sequel is
>demonstrably superior to the original in nearly every way.

I still like it a lot! But the learning curve was a bit shocking - as was the fact that it makes me put more thought and effort into time management than my actual job.

>
>I should give Our Witches At War another look; it left me real
>cold when it first started coming out. Which is weird as hell,
>considering how involved I was in the Fly Girls stuff, but.

Well, do give it another look!

>
>I regret deeply not being around for Taken By Storm, otherwise
>known as "production team finally lets Akio be Akio." (The number of
>people assigning credit to Surtur and/or predicting this will simply
>lead to a crushing beatdown seems... surprising.)

I would greatly enjoy your review - and all I will say is that quite a few things are in motion.

---------------------------
Matt "BZArcher" Wagner
@BZArcher / bzarcher at gmail
"Here's an itemized list of 30
years of disagreements!"


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Gryphonadmin
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19684 posts
Apr-02-16, 10:18 PM (EDT)
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11. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #9
 
   >>For the record, we remain quite happy to talk about X-COM!
>
>The reaction on this board surprises me, since the sequel is
>demonstrably superior to the original in nearly every way.

It was kind of them to come right out and include a severe head injury in the player character's origin story. Neatly explains why XCOM is being run the way I run it in a game with a stupidly hard lowest difficulty setting. :)

>I regret deeply not being around for Taken By Storm, otherwise
>known as "production team finally lets Akio be Akio."

Oh, how I have missed the backhandedness of your compliments.

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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Mercutio
Member since May-26-13
939 posts
Apr-02-16, 11:01 PM (EDT)
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12. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #11
 
   >>>For the record, we remain quite happy to talk about X-COM!
>>
>>The reaction on this board surprises me, since the sequel is
>>demonstrably superior to the original in nearly every way.
>
>It was kind of them to come right out and include a severe head injury
>in the player character's origin story. Neatly explains why XCOM is
>being run the way I run it in a game with a stupidly hard lowest
>difficulty setting. :)

In my headcanon, David Bradford is X-Com C-in-C, and I'm simply playing some sort of Rain Man-esque tactical savant with delusions of grandeur who they humor when it comes to running the rest of the war.

>>I regret deeply not being around for Taken By Storm, otherwise
>>known as "production team finally lets Akio be Akio."
>
>Oh, how I have missed the backhandedness of your compliments.

I was told just last week by one of the fine gentlemen in the field of small horse fanfiction I pre-read for that I really put the "ass" back in "passive aggressive."

I should get business cards made.

-Merc
Keep Rat


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Gryphonadmin
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Apr-02-16, 11:20 PM (EDT)
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13. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #12
 
   >I was told just last week by one of the fine gentlemen in the field of
>small horse fanfiction I pre-read for that I really put the "ass" back
>in "passive aggressive."

snrk, that reminds me of one of the network guys at WPI, who proudly maintained that he put the anal back in analyst.

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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Proginoskes
Member since Dec-3-09
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Apr-02-16, 08:34 PM (EDT)
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8. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #6
 
   >(That's not weird, right? Or pretentious?)

It's pretentious only in the sense of "having pretensions of X", which I tend to take as being at least faintly positive.


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Vorticity
Member since Feb-6-12
90 posts
Apr-03-16, 03:30 AM (EDT)
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14. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #6
 
   > I just sort of have issues with "returns to Heaven in power and glory
> to stand again as one of the most beloved and important members of the
> Heavenly Host. All that bad shit he did? Water under the bridge." It
> rubs me the wrong way, especially also in the context of "the people
> who think this is a bullshit way of proceeding are the real bad guys here."

You've been doing a lot of quoting of In Nomine (which I don't really know much about), but you seem to be lacking in understanding of basic Christian theology. This is about grace. Of course Lucifer doesn't deserve to go back to heaven. Under common Christian thought, none of us deserves admission. In the absence of God's grace, every last one of us deserves to go to Hell -- you, me, and even D.J. But he was forgiven with divine grace, and restored to his authority.

If you have a hard time accepting that as something the godhead would do, just ask yourself WWUD? What would (Usagi|Utena) do? They're very good at the forgiveness thing, and they're very powerful because of it. (Unless you're one of those "Moon Healing Escalation is brainwashing" truthers, in which case you're already lost to us.) That is the kind of person the Christian God is, as Paul would describe him.

If you were to look at the Apocalypse of Peter, Lucifer would almost certainly be saved, but I suppose I should stick to the canon. The Parable of the Prodigal Son certainly could apply in this situation -- the evil one who repents is truly to be held in high esteem. Either way, EPU presented a good story and a theologically viable one.

> (I have my reasons for an absence of a year and a half. They're not
> precisely good ones; it's a combination of me fucking up and then
> residual guilt over said fuckup. I may post in the introduction
> sub-forum; this isn't the proper venue.)
> ...
> I've been wanting to come back for months, but I felt like I needed to do
> something special. I know, of course, that you lot would have been perfectly
> happy if I'd simply wandered back in and been like "'sup guys, want to talk
> about X-Com?"
> But I felt obligated. For me, and the sort of person who tries to talk about
> art that I want to be.
> (That's not weird, right? Or pretentious?)

No, it's not weird. It's a little sad, really. You don't need to feel guilt. You don't need to deserve to come back, and especially so when you know you'll be welcomed. That's what grace and forgiveness are, and you don't need to feel bad about accepting it. I kind of feel bad about saying anything about this, but it really feels like it's related to your criticism of NXE above.

Thanks for the post, it was fun. Welcome back!

-- ∇×V


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Nathan
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Apr-03-16, 08:23 AM (EDT)
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15. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #14
 
   >You've been doing a lot of quoting of In Nomine (which I don't really
>know much about), but you seem to be lacking in understanding of basic
>Christian theology. This is about grace. Of course Lucifer
>doesn't deserve to go back to heaven. Under common Christian thought,
>none of us deserves admission. In the absence of God's grace, every
>last one of us deserves to go to Hell -- you, me, and even D.J. But
>he was forgiven with divine grace, and restored to his authority.

Thank you for saying as much; this had occurred to me as the key thing that was going on, but I couldn't come up with a way to explain it without tripping over my own raging issues with Christianity.

-----

The most wonderful thing about BBs
Is BBs are wonderful things
Their sides are made out of iron
Their guns are made out of pain
They're crashy smashy bashy flashy fun-fun-fun-fun-fun
But the most wonderful thing about BBs
Is there is more than one
The~re is more than one!


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Vorticity
Member since Feb-6-12
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Apr-03-16, 07:05 PM (EDT)
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24. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #15
 
   You're welcome. I don't have so much have a problem with Christianity as I do with the people preaching it. It's always the same, unable to see their own hypocrisy. I do give Pope Francis credit for the course correction he's making in his church, which will probably last for generations unlike radical change. He's one of the finest political minds in our generation, at the least.

My issues with Islam, on the other hand, are much deeper. Starting with the word islam itself. But that's a story for another day.


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Gryphonadmin
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Apr-03-16, 07:20 PM (EDT)
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25. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #24
 
   >My issues with Islam, on the other hand, are much deeper. Starting
>with the word islam itself. But that's a story for another
>day.

... and another website, one hopes.

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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Vorticity
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39. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #25
 
   Nope! This website.

I mean, take "Sad Lisa" -- is a slow, full octave gliss supposed to be original? C'mon man. And it's not the size of the boat that counts, it's how you use it. Anyway, I'm not jumping aboard that peace train.


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Mercutio
Member since May-26-13
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16. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #14
 
   LAST EDITED ON Apr-03-16 AT 11:17 AM (EDT)
 
>You've been doing a lot of quoting of In Nomine (which I don't really
>know much about), but you seem to be lacking in understanding of basic
>Christian theology.

Except NXE doesn't take place in a world where basic Christian theology applies. It takes place in the context of In Nomine.

In Nomine is a world where one of the worlds major religions was founded by a rogue angel because of a political spat between her and her colleagues. It's a world where people can end up in Hell on accident because Heaven either fucked up or didn't care. It's a world where the archangels who are putatively on the side of good and the nearest beings to divine grace we're ever likely to encounter are neither smarter, nor wiser, nor particularly more enlightened than regular human beings. It's a world where a nontrivial number of the other angels are racist assholes who regard humans with disdain and think our creation might have been a huge mistake, where God is an extremely absentee landlord who has outsourced a lot of running of the war on earth to this pack of crazy people, and where Archangels can commit acts of horrific genocide and the worst thing that happens to'em is they get recalled to the higher heavens.

That's the world we are dealing with. It bears only a passing resemblance to traditional Christian theology.

>This is about grace. Of course Lucifer
>doesn't deserve to go back to heaven. Under common Christian thought,
>none of us deserves admission. In the absence of God's grace, every
>last one of us deserves to go to Hell -- you, me, and even D.J. But
>he was forgiven with divine grace, and restored to his authority.

This is true, but just because something is common doesn't make it universal. The modern conception of Hell and what you have to do to avoid it, especially under a lot of incredibly toxic American Protestant hermeneutics, has almost no basis in actual scripture and would be regarded with a mixture of amusement and horror by many Christian thinkers in times past.

That said, even if you accept this as true, the concept of a God who has pre-emptively decided we're all going to suffer horribly for eternity unless we jump through his hoops says uncomplimentary and horrifying things about said God.

-Merc
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Gryphonadmin
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17. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #16
 
   Speaking as a trained historian and a member in good standing of Phi Alpha Theta, the international history honor society, I'm calling it there; we need a Godwin's Law cognate for uses of the word hermeneutics. It is blatant sesquipedalianism and has never, at any time, contributed anything material to anyone's understanding of anything. :)

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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Mercutio
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18. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #17
 
   >Speaking as a trained historian and a member in good standing of Phi
>Alpha Theta, the international history honor society, I'm calling it
>there; we need a Godwin's Law cognate for uses of the word
>hermeneutics. It is blatant sesquipedalianism and has never,
>at any time, contributed anything material to anyone's understanding
>of anything. :)

But what's your feeling about uses of the word eschatology? :)

-Merc
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Gryphonadmin
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19. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #18
 
   >>Speaking as a trained historian and a member in good standing of Phi
>>Alpha Theta, the international history honor society, I'm calling it
>>there; we need a Godwin's Law cognate for uses of the word
>>hermeneutics. It is blatant sesquipedalianism and has never,
>>at any time, contributed anything material to anyone's understanding
>>of anything. :)
>
>But what's your feeling about uses of the word eschatology? :)

At least it actually means something. In an academic context, "hermeneutic" is just intellectual line noise. Code for "look how smart I am." Admittedly, there are a lot of codes for that in academia.

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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Mercutio
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21. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #19
 
  
>At least it actually means something. In an academic context,
>"hermeneutic" is just intellectual line noise. Code for "look how
>smart I am." Admittedly, there are a lot of codes for that in
>academia.

Speaking for myself, I like it as a word and find it useful, but I would never use it outside of the context of the interpretation of specifically religious texts. Ditto for "exegesis." Technically speaking, both words can be used in a wider context; as a practical matter, I find doing so to be deeply unhelpful and confusing.

You can, in my opinion, expand the usage to philosophical writing only if they're specifically religious philosophers. I can see situations where I'd use the word hermeneutic when talking about Aquinas or Augustine, but not about Voltaire.

(Amusing sidebar: the forum spellchecker wants to make hermeneutic into "hermetic." That's kind of hilarious.)

-Merc
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Gryphonadmin
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22. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #21
 
   >(Amusing sidebar: the forum spellchecker wants to make hermeneutic
>into "hermetic." That's kind of hilarious.)

I think that's a browser-side thing, not the Forum doing anything, but I could be wrong. Like the Talmud and Belv ownership, DCForum contains ever-deeper mysteries.

Also, neither term should be confused with hermioneutics, which is practiced by that branch of the Harry Potter fandom that reprints the books so all of Hermione's dialogue is in red.

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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Mercutio
Member since May-26-13
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23. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #22
 
  
>Also, neither term should be confused with hermioneutics, which
>is practiced by that branch of the Harry Potter fandom that reprints
>the books so all of Hermione's dialogue is in red.

God, I missed this place.

-Merc
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pjmoyermoderator
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20. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #16
 
   LAST EDITED ON Apr-03-16 AT 01:16 PM (EDT)
 
>>You've been doing a lot of quoting of In Nomine (which I don't really
>>know much about), but you seem to be lacking in understanding of basic
>>Christian theology.
>
>Except NXE doesn't take place in a world where basic Christian
>theology applies. It takes place in the context of In Nomine.
>
(Dark In Nomine setting interpretation here)
>
>That's the world we are dealing with. It bears only a passing
>resemblance to traditional Christian theology.

In Nomine as a game has a very high variability of grimness, depending on the whims of the GM. There is not a "canonical" level of Brightness/Darkness to the setting, save for the overall 'average' on the middle road presented in the main rulebook (which mentions at least four initial styles of play - "Realistic", "Dark", "Humorous", and "Mythic" - and an inspiration for one in the opening credits - "Don't play this game Backwards"). In fact, there's at least one supplement, the GM's guide, which addresses how to implement these gaming variations, while another addresses anime and scifi interpretations. It would appear that you are leaning towards the "Dark Realistic" interpretation which is assuming the worst of everybody, while EPU has taken a more "Bright Mythic" interpretation of the overall setting where the net outcome is positive for our heroes, both Mortal and Celestial.

TL/DR: the In Nomine version implemented here is a homebrew interpretation of the core rules where the "Brightness" and "Contrast" are turned way up on the positive end. If you want the more "Dark Low Contrast" interpretation, pick a different GM, 'cause this one isn't changing his rules anytime soon. ^_-; ;)

--- Philip
(seriously, none of us are Garth Ennis, nor do we want to be. :P )





Philip J. Moyer
Contributing Writer, Editor and Artist (and Moderator) -- Eyrie Productions, Unlimited
CEO of MTS, High Poobah Of Artwork, and High Priest Of the Church Of Aerianne -- Magnetic Terrapin Studios
"Insert Pithy Comment Here"
Fandoms -- Fanart -- Fan Meta Discussions


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Vorticity
Member since Feb-6-12
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Apr-03-16, 07:54 PM (EDT)
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28. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #20
 
   LAST EDITED ON Apr-03-16 AT 08:03 PM (EDT) by pjmoyer (moderator)
 
And thank goodness for that!

>> (Dark In Nomine setting interpretation here)
>> (( in which we assume that crossover fanfic is going to stick to one opinion of original flavor ))

I'm going to go ahead and argue that, in spite of every crappy thing in that version of the setting, divine grace still wins. Because classical liberalism is an Elder God. (Warning, this is much longer than OP, but shorter than Hobbes.) I'm going to outsource my argument to Scott here, even though he has a very secular idea of what divine grace is. It doesn't matter how the dark and stupid the world is; cold hard reality itself stacks the cards in favor of reconciliation.

You might argue that Scott's post on Moloch would be the one that is more applicable, but it's not. At some point in a society of people with mostly good values, liberalism would take hold else they would lose the war forever. "Moloch is the demon god of Carthage. And there is only one thing we say to Carthage: 'Carthago delenda est.'"

-- ∇×V


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Nathan
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29. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #16
 
   LAST EDITED ON Apr-03-16 AT 09:12 PM (EDT)
 
>That said, even if you accept this as true, the concept of a God who
>has pre-emptively decided we're all going to suffer horribly for
>eternity unless we jump through his hoops says uncomplimentary and
>horrifying things about said God.

Being fair, what it says isn't anything a person willing to be honest with themselves couldn't've concluded from the notion that He signed off on the existence of Sacculina, botflies, screwworms, Onchocerca volvulus, and every wasp of every kind ever.

...If you don't recognize one or more of those, don't Google them. You'll sleep better.

-----

The most wonderful thing about BBs
Is BBs are wonderful things
Their sides are made out of iron
Their guns are made out of pain
They're crashy smashy bashy flashy fun-fun-fun-fun-fun
But the most wonderful thing about BBs
Is there is more than one
The~re is more than one!


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Peter Eng
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26. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #0
 
   > > San sat at the table, alone in the interrogation room, and
> > toyed idly with the pretzel sticks she'd been given while she
> > waited for her hot cocoa to cool enough to drink.
>
> They gave her pretzels but no mustard?
>
> These people are animals.

Pretzel sticks are to pretzels what tortilla chips are to tortillas. (Well, except most people consider salsa a necessary companion to a tortilla chip, whereas pretzel sticks generally stand on their own.)

> Aww, poor Chryssalids. They get no respect.

Maybe there aren't any Chryssalids in the NXE universe?

>
> > Gendou could still -pretend- to be a mature, authoritative
> > grown-up when the need was upon him, and he talked them across
> > the border with ease.
>
> You know, in a story about giant cosmic war machines fighting out
> a literal biblical war here on earth, this one part is actually the
> thing I have the most trouble believing. :)
>

Remember, NXE has a severe divergence from real-world history. I imagine that border crossings more closely resemble ones made circa 1997, because the continued survival of humanity made the idea of flying airliners into civilian buildings for the purposes of terrorism seem a little less important.

Peter Eng
--
Insert humorous comment here.


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Gryphonadmin
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27. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #26
 
   >> > Gendou could still -pretend- to be a mature, authoritative
>> > grown-up when the need was upon him, and he talked them across
>> > the border with ease.
>>
>> You know, in a story about giant cosmic war machines fighting out
>> a literal biblical war here on earth, this one part is actually the
>> thing I have the most trouble believing. :)
>>
>Remember, NXE has a severe divergence from real-world history. I
>imagine that border crossings more closely resemble ones made circa
>1997, because the continued survival of humanity made the idea of
>flying airliners into civilian buildings for the purposes of terrorism
>seem a little less important.

Also, they crossed at Calais, Maine, which is not exactly the international arrivals terminal at JFK.

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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Mercutio
Member since May-26-13
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Apr-03-16, 10:32 PM (EDT)
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30. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #26
 
  
>Remember, NXE has a severe divergence from real-world history. I
>imagine that border crossings more closely resemble ones made circa
>1997, because the continued survival of humanity made the idea of
>flying airliners into civilian buildings for the purposes of terrorism
>seem a little less important.

True, but they did undergo an actual apocalypse and a bunch of wars.

Then again, their progress through the information age does appear to have been arrested somewhat as well. The technology to hit the face of everyone with a high-fidelity camera and do recognition matching, as well as to link every podunk border post to a central database of wanted assholes, may just flat out not exist.

1997-2003 saw a lot of interesting changes here in the real world. The VCR had a stake put through its heart. Cell phones went from "giant brick" to "quirky little flip phones." Broadband penetration grew at triple-digit rates through much of the developed world. It was a weird time.

It's... still a weird time, really. We're approaching the tail end of what I call the smartphone revolution; they've stopped getting bigger and containing more "wow" features and entered the "incremental upgrade" part of their lifecycle. The iPhone 7 and the latest iterations of the Galaxy can't really get bigger; any bigger and they become tablets. Interface responsiveness is high, LTE networks are broadband level and can stream HD video without a lot of trouble... so we've reached the point where anyone who can save up a few hundred bucks can slap an immensely powerful computer-slash-telecommunications interface into their pocket.

The next phase will be them becoming more affordable, but I think we've reached the end of the "new phone! This one is bigger and faster and responds better!" yearly upgrades because they can't get bigger and faster and respond better anymore.

And that's just our phones.

... I went off on a tangent there, didn't I.

NXE was written at a weird time, set in a weird time, and we here in the real world have reached another, different kind of weird time.

The future is awesome, but it can give you a headache.

-Merc
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SilenRevered
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31. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #30
 
   LAST EDITED ON Apr-04-16 AT 01:01 AM (EDT)
 
The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it was going to be. -with apologies to Paul Valéry


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BZArchermoderator
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32. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #31
 
   I was promised.

Flying.

CARS.

---------------------------
Matt "BZArcher" Wagner
@BZArcher / bzarcher at gmail
"Here's an itemized list of 30
years of disagreements!"


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ebony14
Member since Jul-11-11
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33. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #32
 
   >I was promised.
>
>Flying.
>
>CARS.

Me too. Jetpacks as well. But seriously, if you look at how people drive these days, do you really want that chaos to extend in to third dimension?

Ebony the Black Dragon

"Life is like an anole. Sometimes it's green. Sometimes it's brown. But it's always a small Caribbean lizard."


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dbrandon
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35. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #33
 
   As I now do almost any time anyone mentions jetpacks, especially in this sort of context, I take you to Reporter in the Field, Pete Phillpott (apb Robert Webb).

https://youtu.be/vDIojhOkV4w

dbrandon


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Nova Floresca
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34. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #32
 
   Apologies, but also relevant: Three Panel Soul

"This is probably a stupid question, but . . ."


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BZArchermoderator
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36. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #34
 
   True enough, but with all respect to Ian and Matt, I was mostly riffing on the old Avery Brooks IBM commercial anyway. :)

---------------------------
Matt "BZArcher" Wagner
@BZArcher / bzarcher at gmail
"Here's an itemized list of 30
years of disagreements!"


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Peter Eng
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37. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #30
 
   >
>>Remember, NXE has a severe divergence from real-world history. I
>>imagine that border crossings more closely resemble ones made circa
>>1997, because the continued survival of humanity made the idea of
>>flying airliners into civilian buildings for the purposes of terrorism
>>seem a little less important.
>
>True, but they did undergo an actual apocalypse and a bunch of wars.
>

Well, yes, but the apocalypse and the Angel wars reset the concern scale. Nobody's going to be focusing on border security when the likely threat is expected to be six stories tall, shaped like What The Holy FUCK Is That, and visible from a half mile away at all hours.

>
>Then again, their progress through the information age does appear to
>have been arrested somewhat as well. The technology to hit the face of
>everyone with a high-fidelity camera and do recognition matching, as
>well as to link every podunk border post to a central database of
>wanted assholes, may just flat out not exist.
>

The classic problem of writing about the future; it's virtually impossible to get it right without being more vague about dates. You'll notice we don't have AT fields or artificial Angel hearts, in spite of Neon Genesis Evangelion's being dated roughly around this time.

NXE wasn't written as "NGE with updated tech," as much as it was "NGE with additional fictional tech," so expecting realistic technology predictions out of it seems a little on the nitpicky side.

>
>NXE was written at a weird time, set in a weird time,
>and we here in the real world have reached another, different
>kind of weird time.
>

Yes, indeed. So the expectation that our weirdness should automatically paste into NXE's weirdness, when the story was written according to a timetable it didn't create, and written twelve years before the fictional events would have started...more than a little weird.

Peter Eng
--
At least we aren't arguing about the pretzel sticks.


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StClair
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38. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #37
 
   > a little on the nitpicky side.

"That's what he does! That's all he does!"


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Mercutio
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40. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #38
 
   Nothing can kill the Grimace.

-Merc
Keep Rat


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junipermoderator
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41. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #0
 
   I"m still here, I'm just sickeningly busy in the real world. (And also, Gryph's writing a lot of stuff that links to fandoms I'm not familiar with, so I'm not that much help there.) WOR and SOS are more my balliwick than the Witches and so forth.

It was an interesting piece to write. There are always flaws. There comes a point when you have to just say, "Ah, heck with it," and turn the piece loose into the outer world.


Juniper
Rampaging Karateka Crypto-Kwavu'b Contributing Editor (and Moderator)
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited
Because why be ordinary in your choice of hobbies?


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Gryphonadmin
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42. "RE: Apotheosis Now: Anniversary Retrospective"
In response to message #41
 
   >It was an interesting piece to write. There are always flaws. There
>comes a point when you have to just say, "Ah, heck with it," and turn
>the piece loose into the outer world.

Leonardo da Vinci is purported to have said once that art is never finished, merely abandoned; but then, Leonardo was notorious for not finishing pieces, including pieces people had paid him for, so that could be read as self-serving rhetoric. :)

--G.
-><-
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.


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