Fans Tear New Mass Effect Book to Shreds

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Fans Tear New Mass Effect Book to Shreds

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The novel Mass Effect: Deception is getting torn to shreds by fans who have found multiple errors and inconsistencies.

Book tie-ins to popular videogame franchises are hardly a new fad. In fact, I recall checking out S.D. Perry's Resident Evil adaptation a few years back and finding it to be a decent read. Unfortunately, book tie-ins don't always do justice to their source material, as proven with the most recent and apparently error-filled Mass Effect book tie-in, Mass Effect: Deception.

Fans of the series have gone through the novel very thoroughly and complied a massive Google Doc detailing the dozens of issues present in the book, ranging from timeline inconsistencies related to other ME novels, inaccuracies with how technology works in ME, to simple plotholes in the story. There are so many mistakes that one ME fan even went so far as to set his copy on fire out of frustration.

Here are a few (remarkably thorough) examples of mistakes found by fans:

10. Batarian pirates slave-raid on the turian homeworld of Palaven - while not impossible, this is incredibly unlikely due to the militaristic nature of turian society, one consequence of which is possession of one of the largest military fleets in the galaxy. And even if there had been a raid on Palaven, the turians would have likely responded with overwhelming military force. [Error: Lore]

27. Two volus are described as wearing masks that don't completely cover their faces - This would result in instant death for a volus, as they must wear completely sealed environmental suits that provide both the ammonia atmosphere and high pressure they require to survive, and keep them isolated from the oxygen-nitrogen mixture breathed by other species, which is poisonous to them. [Error: Lore]

4. Hand Weapons that fire at "relativistic speeds" - for those who don't know it the term, relativistic speed means close or apprising the speed of light. The term is usually used when talking about speeds higher than 10% of C - considering that a sand corn fired of those speeds will have the impact of 90 kg TNT and also that a main gun on a Everest class dreadnought only fires at 1.3% of C I would say that relativistic speeds might be a bit high. [Error: Technology]

Unlike the previous novels, which were written by Mass Effect's Lead Writer Drew Karpyshyn, Deception is written by William C. Dietz. A veteran author of several original sci-fi novels and many others based off Halo, Starcraft, and Resistance: Fall of Man, Deception marks his first foray into the Mass Effect universe. Sadly though, it doesn't look like anyone at at EA or BioWare did much proof-reading of Dietz's novel, let alone provide him with a guidebook on how the ME universe works... Like the comprehensive codex found right in the games.

Source: Kotaku

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These people have waaaaaay to much time on their hands.
And thats coming from someone who spent the last 4 hours making orogami seals.

Spent the last few days of my time compiling a list of everything that's wrong in a half-baked video game tie-in novel. [Error: Life]

I can understand the frustration of said tie-in books being so poor quality, and setting it on fire is pretty funny, but the list seems pretty far. That said, however they deal with it is up to them.

If you establish some sort of rules in your universe (lore, physics, etc), make sure you follow them. Kudos to the guys who catalogued the errors.

I didn't even know a new book came out and I have read all the previous ones and all the comics. Guess it goes to show you how much faith in this product they had if a ME-nut like me didn't even notice its existence.

Btw, how the fuck did they get away with someone other than Drew writing an ME novel in the first place. I have always thought his prose was rather bland, but his understanding of the ME universe made up for that. For shame Bioware.

Dietz's novel was the weakest in the Halo series, but at least he didn't majorly muck up the lore (mostly due to the fact the book was based off the first game)

I'm increasingly beginning to wonder how such shoddy books can get by with risk to tarnishing the good name of the franchise. First that horrible Elder Scrolls book, and now Mass Effect looks like it has a bad egg too. Authors should be required to study all the source material before writing a novel based on something else.

The first three Mass Effect books weren't necessarily literary works of art (what video-game based novels are?), but this fourth book sounds atrocious. i read through half of that Google doc, and my GOD. if you are going to write for an established genre, at least, PLEASE, do your freaking homework and get the lore right. There are so many fanfiction writers, who are level headed and write very well that Bioware could have hired (for probably less than this guy) and it would have sold more and made fans happy.

I don;t get Bioware's laziness lately. it's so depressing to see the makers of Baldur's Gate, KotOR and DA:O turn into a steaming pile of lazy --.

Just goes to show that fans are the untimate proof-readers.

If i ever get into the position of greenlighting a novel based on a game series, ill be handing advanced copies to hardcore fans of the series to make sure everything is in line.

Erm, point 4, I don't think you can make assumptions of the "science" behind ME, considering their magical crystal are "Element Zero".

For those of us who apparently don't know what science is, elements in the periodic table are numbered by the number of protons they've got in their nucleus. So, Element 1 (Hydrogen) has a single proton in the nucleus, while element 13 (aluminium) has 13. Element 0 isn't something that's physically impossible, it's literally nothing! You can't have nothing as your magical crystals!

And it's not like it's just called "Element Zero", but it's something else entirely, they go out of their way to say that's exactly what it is! I'm pretty sure this is the first thing you learn in chemistry classes these days!

Besides, I thought the whole point of the guns in ME was that the projectiles where part of a solid ammunition core that was broken off in minuscule amounts (say, less than a nanogram), and accelerated to speeds close to the speed of light to cause an equivalent amount of destruction to a conventional firearm. Yeah, if you accelerate something like an apple to relativistic speeds, it's gonna blow up half a major city (hand-wavy physics here! don't correct me by saying it'll only blow up a few blocks =p ), but obviously at a microscopic level, there's no nearly as much destructive potential. (think about it, light travels at the speed of light, but each photon that hits the earth doesn't wipe out everything, does it?)

(In case you think I'm suddenly applauding their ability to write good sci-fi, I should point out this is blatantly plagiarized from Wh40k's shuriken weapons =p )

That is why a writer MUST be learned in the lores of things people love BEFORE writing the books. I have to say, I have never read any of Deitz's works, but I'm surprised that someone so seasoned made this mistake. He has been around.

Hahaha, thats nothing. These people have clearly never read anything by C.S. Goto. His work has been declared purgatis hereticus extremis in 5 sectors.

I just recently read the first three novels and was looking forward to this but I won't waste my money on it after hearing what some have said about it. No matter how well written or interesting a book is, I hate inconsistencies. They always aggravate me and it gets really hard for me to read the book or take it seriously.
Maybe the book wouldn't be bad if I wasn't a Mass Effect fan, I haven't read anything by Dietz but I doubt that I'll start with this book.

The saddest thing is that Casey Hudson himself said, that the book is good (link). I know he can't just publicly say the book is shit but he shouldn't get peoples hopes up.

A shame that it wasn't written by Drew Karpyshyn as well.

And the thing is, as someone who read a 55 page excerpt of the novel, the errors are glaring at times. Some on that list are nitpicky, but others are simple facts. Example:

- Two characters are now 18 when they were 12/13 at the end of ME1, which is said to have taken place two years prior
- One of those characters was also Autistic, now they aren't
- Biotics are now suddenly ranked by power level and can level up if they gain enough experience
- A character who was dead is now alive
- A character who is known as a racist and was introduced to us by talking about how much he hates the Asari now thinks Asari are hot
- Many others (Just look how long that list is!)

Believe me, the list also ignores the simply amateurish writing (Characters getting killed by a sharpened toothbrush, another character stealing cereal to prove how much of a badass he is). It takes actual effort to have this many errors. You have to intentionally ignore the source material when it's staring you in the face.

There's hitting the mark, missing the mark, and shooting yourself in the foot. This book picks the third option.

I just read the whole doc. God damn. I am not going to touch that travesty with a 12-foot pole.

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Ah yes "fact checking". The act of checking factual assertions in a text intended for publication to determine the veracity and correctness of statements made there in. The job requires general knowledge and the ability to conduct quick and accurate research.
We have discontinued this practice

I read half of the Google Doc and WOW. Where was the editor during all this? And why didn't the author study the lore?

Daverson:
Besides, I thought the whole point of the guns in ME was that the projectiles where part of a solid ammunition core that was broken off in minuscule amounts (say, less than a nanogram), and accelerated to speeds close to the speed of light to cause an equivalent amount of destruction to a conventional firearm. Yeah, if you accelerate something like an apple to relativistic speeds, it's gonna blow up half a major city (hand-wavy physics here! don't correct me by saying it'll only blow up a few blocks =p ), but obviously at a microscopic level, there's no nearly as much destructive potential. (think about it, light travels at the speed of light, but each photon that hits the earth doesn't wipe out everything, does it?)

The guns of Mass Effect operate by shaving off a piece of metal (Said to be the size of a grain of sand) and firing it at supersonic speeds. Certainly not "relativistic" as the novel implied and certainly not "less than a nanogram" as a grain of sand would at least weigh a few micrograms.

These facts come from the Mass Effect Wiki BTW, the same one Mac Walters said was "one of the best sources of information on Mass Effect". Too bad Dietz didn't think of using it.

Even I'm pissed off by this book and I haven't read any of the Mass Effect books yet!, but I've read every single nook and cranny that the codex offers for both Mass Effects.

Why did I chose not to play ME3?...

DVS BSTrD:

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"Ah yes 'fact checking'. The act of checking factual assertions in a text intended for publication to determine the veracity and correctness of statements made there in. The job requires general knowledge and the ability to conduct quick and accurate research. We have discontinued this practice"

image

What is that human saying? "A little education is a troublesome thing."

imnotparanoid:
These people have waaaaaay to much time on their hands.
And thats coming from someone who spent the last 4 hours making orogami seals.

not at all. i know the ME lore to the point i understand all the errors they pointed out, and all i did was play the 2 games. furthermore, reading thru the book once and noting where the errors are as i read takes little time.

His Halo book was the weakest of the series for me, this isn't surprising.

draythefingerless:

imnotparanoid:
These people have waaaaaay to much time on their hands.
And thats coming from someone who spent the last 4 hours making orogami seals.

not at all. i know the ME lore to the point i understand all the errors they pointed out, and all i did was play the 2 games. furthermore, reading thru the book once and noting where the errors are as i read takes little time.

I know what you mean, but at the end of the day they wrote a list of mistakes in a fictional book, based of a fictional game. :P

Hey, can't blame the fans. If you're going to write a book based on a series with a well established lore, do some research before it. I mean, light-speed bullets is one of those things that I don't understand how he made the mistake. Even from just playing the games, I can safely say that not a single weapon fired at that speed.

Aside from the continuity issues, it even sounds bad that the guy kills a few of the well-loved side characters and brushes it off like it's nothing. I'm sure anyone would be annoyed if one of their favourite characters died and it was treated really casually but three is going deep.

Daverson:
Erm, point 4, I don't think you can make assumptions of the "science" behind ME, considering their magical crystal are "Element Zero".

For those of us who apparently don't know what science is, elements in the periodic table are numbered by the number of protons they've got in their nucleus. So, Element 1 (Hydrogen) has a single proton in the nucleus, while element 13 (aluminium) has 13. Element 0 isn't something that's physically impossible, it's literally nothing! You can't have nothing as your magical crystals!

And it's not like it's just called "Element Zero", but it's something else entirely, they go out of their way to say that's exactly what it is! I'm pretty sure this is the first thing you learn in chemistry classes these days!

Besides, I thought the whole point of the guns in ME was that the projectiles where part of a solid ammunition core that was broken off in minuscule amounts (say, less than a nanogram), and accelerated to speeds close to the speed of light to cause an equivalent amount of destruction to a conventional firearm. Yeah, if you accelerate something like an apple to relativistic speeds, it's gonna blow up half a major city (hand-wavy physics here! don't correct me by saying it'll only blow up a few blocks =p ), but obviously at a microscopic level, there's no nearly as much destructive potential. (think about it, light travels at the speed of light, but each photon that hits the earth doesn't wipe out everything, does it?)

(In case you think I'm suddenly applauding their ability to write good sci-fi, I should point out this is blatantly plagiarized from Wh40k's shuriken weapons =p )

:P For the record, and I'm not claiming to be an expert on ME science, but I'm pretty sure that element 0 isn't meant to be an actual element on the periodic table, or for that matter if it is then it likely just stands for "generic deus ex machina" element, the same as "chemical x" or something. I could be wrong as I haven't read anything outside of what's presented in the game. I thought it was more of some kind of complex chemical compound, if anything, that was prone to accidental explosions over human colonies.

That possibly incorrect argument aside, in regards to the projectiles it does indeed say in the first game that ammo is really just tiny chunks of metal shaved off and fired through a "mass accelerator" but in the games they never said "fired at nearly the speed of light" they just said "fired through a mass accelerator at speeds that would mimic the impact of traditional ballistics". Beyond that, the guns aren't firing sub-atomic particles, they're firing solids (very tiny solids, but solids none the less). In ME 2 when you first land on the Citidel there's even an NPC conversation going on in which a human sgt. is berating the gunners of some battlecruiser because they apparently missed a shot, reminding them that the tiny shell (I forget the weight he says) fired from the main cannon (which DOES accelerate to relativistic speeds) will have an impact with an effect x times greater than the nuke dropped on Hiroshima. So once fired, some day somewhere it is going to ensure that someone has a very bad day.

That said, yes, all the "science" in this game is fictional based off of fictional technology. HOLY SHIT! Maybe THAT'S why they call it sci-fi!!! Point is that even though sci-fi is built off of fictional science, that "science" is established for that universe the sci-fi story takes place in and as such should remain consistent. Try telling a Star Trek nerd the wrong energy output for the Enterprise's main weapons system and they'll instantly correct you with the canonical number and then bite your head off. :P

Edit: P.S. Now that I think about it, that's why all the Star Wars fans hated the concept of Midichlorians. It was screwing with the already established "science" that The Force was some mysterious mystical energy that fills all living things and some people could tap into that energy. Now it's just a bunch of symbiotes living inside you and if you have enough you can perform magic tricks.

Stalydan:
Hey, can't blame the fans. If you're going to write a book based on a series with a well established lore, do some research before it. I mean, light-speed bullets is one of those things that I don't understand how he made the mistake. Even from just playing the games, I can safely say that not a single weapon fired at that speed.

Aside from the continuity issues, it even sounds bad that the guy kills a few of the well-loved side characters and brushes it off like it's nothing. I'm sure anyone would be annoyed if one of their favourite characters died and it was treated really casually but three is going deep.

It's not even that they were loved characters, it's that the deaths are meaningless. They're glossed over quickly and the characters move on. Karpyshyn's novels had been building up this story, not a fantastic story, but a good addition to the universe and in one fell swoop it's wiped away. It's a low quality, low effort cop-out at best. Nothing is accomplished by the end of this book except three characters are erased from the ME universe.

Well, that and...

"Then, having placed a wireless tap under the comm console, he was done. Or should have been done. But Leng was something of an adrenaline junkie and enjoyed being where he was. That's why he checked the cupboards, located some cereal, and had breakfast before putting everything back exactly as it had been."

Kai Leng, badass character reduced to cereal thievery (and pissing in vases, but I don't have that quote on hand)

Kinver:

Daverson:
Besides, I thought the whole point of the guns in ME was that the projectiles where part of a solid ammunition core that was broken off in minuscule amounts (say, less than a nanogram), and accelerated to speeds close to the speed of light to cause an equivalent amount of destruction to a conventional firearm. Yeah, if you accelerate something like an apple to relativistic speeds, it's gonna blow up half a major city (hand-wavy physics here! don't correct me by saying it'll only blow up a few blocks =p ), but obviously at a microscopic level, there's no nearly as much destructive potential. (think about it, light travels at the speed of light, but each photon that hits the earth doesn't wipe out everything, does it?)

The guns of Mass Effect operate by shaving off a piece of metal (Said to be the size of a grain of sand) and firing it at supersonic speeds. Certainly not "relativistic" as the novel implied and certainly not "less than a nanogram" as a grain of sand would at least weigh a few micrograms.

These facts come from the Mass Effect Wiki BTW, the same one Mac Walters said was "one of the best sources of information on Mass Effect". Too bad Dietz didn't think of using it.

According to some website I found on google, the mass of a grain of sand is anywhere from a few tens of a microgram to a milligram, (so I was way off, sue me, still in the same order of magnitude of orders of magnitude, that's close enough for hand wavy science), realistically speaking, even if that were somehow travelling at the speed of light (ie, ignoring relativistic effects, to account for using the lowest likely mass of a grain of sand) the muzzle energy of such a weapon could be a few kilojoules, about the same as most rifles. (source)

SCIENCE!

RJ 17:
:P For the record, and I'm not claiming to be an expert on ME science, but I'm pretty sure that element 0 isn't meant to be an actual element on the periodic table, or for that matter if it is then it likely just stands for "generic deus ex machina" element, the same as "chemical x" or something. I could be wrong as I haven't read anything outside of what's presented in the game. I thought it was more of some kind of complex chemical compound, if anything, that was prone to accidental explosions over human colonies.

I looked it up the wiki, it is. "Atomic Number 0", those are their exact words. I'll agree it's just magic rocks (kinda like Star Trek's Dilithium), but it just peeved me that they came up with this idea of what this fantasy element is, how it works and whatnot, then give it the dumbest explanation of what it actually is that could ever exist. Why not just say it's a stable isotope of an element that doesn't occur naturally? Any of them with a higher atomic number than Uranium would do. (case in point, XCom's Elerium-115)

WMDogma:
The novel Mass Effect: Deception is getting torn to shreds by fans who have found multiple errors and inconsistencies.

Simple solution: don't consider the novel canon. I tend to avoid tie-in books for precisely that reason - better to stick to the core texts (in this case, the actual game trilogy).

AstylahAthrys:
Dietz's novel was the weakest in the Halo series, but at least he didn't majorly muck up the lore (mostly due to the fact the book was based off the first game)

I'm increasingly beginning to wonder how such shoddy books can get by with risk to tarnishing the good name of the franchise. First that horrible Elder Scrolls book, and now Mass Effect looks like it has a bad egg too. Authors should be required to study all the source material before writing a novel based on something else.

You should ask Blizzard that. They keep hiring one of the worst authors I know about after all and that guy is infamous for fucking up everything he touches in more ways than one.

On Topic: I'm not surprised that there was a shitty tie in book to mass effect. Given the stuff that keeps flying around it lately, I was kind of expecting this to happen. While I hope the franchise can recover, I'm not entirely sure. It'll come down to how the third game goes. Now if only ME3 didn't require installing spyware...

Not that im surprised that a game related tie in book is sucky.. but did anyone at Bioware even read the thing? Why would they hire someone, and okay that book when its quite obvious the guy knows nothing about the game or the universe.

I'm writing a 7 page story at the moment. It's just under 1500 words, and I've already had to detail 3 pages worth of important facts just to set the story straight. Including two allusions to other books and an entire cosmology of how the afterlife "works".

If you're going to do fandom; factchecking is FAR more important than grammar, spelling or even English.

Look at Twilight; with its sentient semen, flexible diamond skin and accidental spine breaking - what really gets people annoyed is the Sparkling because VAMPIRES DON'T SPARKLE.

Learn. Facts are All to Fandom. ;)

AstylahAthrys:
Dietz's novel was the weakest in the Halo series

FUCK! And I just bought that book too. God damn

Have to be a bit more careful next time.

Diana Kingston-Gabai:

WMDogma:
The novel Mass Effect: Deception is getting torn to shreds by fans who have found multiple errors and inconsistencies.

Simple solution: don't consider the novel canon. I tend to avoid tie-in books for precisely that reason - better to stick to the core texts (in this case, the actual game trilogy).

So the 'George Lucas' approach eh?

Kinver:

Stalydan:
Snip

It's not even that they were loved characters, it's that the deaths are meaningless. They're glossed over quickly and the characters move on. Karpyshyn's novels had been building up this story, not a fantastic story, but a good addition to the universe and in one fell swoop it's wiped away. It's a low quality, low effort cop-out at best. Nothing is accomplished by the end of this book except three characters are erased from the ME universe.

Well, that and...

"Then, having placed a wireless tap under the comm console, he was done. Or should have been done. But Leng was something of an adrenaline junkie and enjoyed being where he was. That's why he checked the cupboards, located some cereal, and had breakfast before putting everything back exactly as it had been."

Kai Leng, badass character reduced to cereal thievery (and pissing in vases, but I don't have that quote on hand)

...I am so sorry but I am actually trying to refrain from bursting out into a fit of laughter xD That's an actual quote?! Jesus Christ! That's just... that's so many levels of bad. It doesn't even transcend into "so bad that it's good" but really stupid off-hand lines about add nothing to a character other than make him seem like a giddy child who likes being naughty.

Pissing in a vase though it weird. I would have thought from the way he's set up there as some kind of spy that doesn't like drawing attention to himself (but steals Fred's pebbles) that doing something like that is even more out of character than Batman squeeling like a four year old when a rat touches him.

On the main topic though, I do hope that the previous author is brought on to do another book that would write this one out of canon. It seems like a discredit to Mass Effect fans everywhere that something that a lot of people apparently quite liked is just ruined in one fell swoop by somebody who didn't seem to know what he was doing. Hell, I think some of the RPs I've been in have actually had better quality writing than that one quote you posted.

I haven't read any of the mass effect novels and I have only played the two games. But some of these errors are in the codex in both games. How do you write a novel about such well established lore and not take the time to research the basics of it.

Daverson:
Element 0 isn't something that's physically impossible, it's literally nothing! You can't have nothing as your magical crystals!

Okay, can't quite believe I'm getting into this, but that isn't exactly right. The atomic number refers to an element's number of protons, not the total mass of the nucleus. So Element Zero would just be an atom with no protons (cf neutron stars). It still doesn't make perfect sense, but it's better than, well, nothing :)

On topic... GOOD GRIEF. I spend an indecent amount of time keeping track of Mass Effect canon in my head (particularly how things would be changed by what happened in my playthrough), and I'm also an amateur author. Something like this just hurts...

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