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-SPOILER- Uncompromising Honor - Likes and Don't Likes

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-SPOILER- Uncompromising Honor - Likes and Don't Likes
Post by Sharidann   » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:24 am

Sharidann
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Ok,

what I liked:
- The Alignement having enough of a wicked sense of humor to actually have a non evil Alignement in place on Mesa to totally make the Manties look stupid...
- The Harahap story line, made sense.
- Abigail getting a boyfriend
- Hypatia and the Saganami tradition reminder... In double pack!

what I didn't like:
- Honor being in charge after Beowulf. I don't care if she is the best and most well known commander of the GA, she is so mentally unhinged that you do NOT let her be in charge of the Sol Expedition alone. You send a Duo of Honor and Theisman to make sure she can't blow a fuse. Her mom knows she isn't herself, anybody with a bond to a treecat knows she isn't herself, Raoul screams and cries when he sees her... Not someone you send on a punitive expedition with enough firepower to transform the solar system in a field of ruins many times over.
- The bad guys being too smart for their own good. I don't see the Good guys needing ages to catch them. I know it is a big galaxy, but now that the good guys KNOW there are bad guys and suspicious deaths... well, one usually wonders to whom the crime profits... so one just needs to check out the splinter states spawning after the League splits to begin to have a list of suspects...Unless they plan to take over the League through the new Constitution, of course, but with everybody in high paranoia mode... not that easy...
- Epilogue: The GA disarming that fast... The bad guys are still out there and they want to reduce their military spending ? I know they need to, but still comes off as weird.
- Too many story lines of the previous books not being tied up (not surprised at this one, due to the richness of the tapestry David weaved over the years...).

Overall, enjoyed it, but I think it would have been better for the story if Honor had died at the Battle of Manticore, as originally planned. The story feels constrained since then...

Just my 2 cp, won't stop me buying the HC when it comes out.
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Re: -SPOILER- Uncompromising Honor - Likes and Don't Likes
Post by Star Knight   » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:50 am

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Theisman run away to Trevors Star in frustration. Cant say i blame him, would have done the same if i had just discovered how things are run in the Star Empire. ;)


What was the entire Firebrand subplot about?
Why was Shadow of Victory neccessary?
Still dont get it.
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Re: -SPOILER- Uncompromising Honor - Likes and Don't Likes
Post by kzt   » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:14 am

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So I was rereading the attack on Beowulf and the block ships being effective is dumb.

Assuming that Beowulf system works roughly like the only solar system we understand, all the planets are essentially in the same plane, and the shortest path to a planet from the hyperlimit is going to be in the same plane as the planet.

So the missiles fired at Beowulf are going to be more or less in same orbital plane as Beowulf. So if a missile is aimed at an orbital object and is directly targeting it and missed, what is behind it? Beowulf. So the block ships, which are said to be blocking the most direct path between the fleet and the stations, are blocking missiles that are basically on a collisions course with Beowulf. Even the SLN agrees that hitting Beowulf with a frac C missile would look bad.

So to avoid this you do what the MA did at Manticore. You have the missiles stay say 10,000-20,00 km away from Beowulf (on paths that do not intersect the planet ever) and fire at closest approach to the stations. Which means you have the x-ray lasers coming in from all sides, not where a single 300 km wide wedge will stop them.
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Re: -SPOILER- Uncompromising Honor - Likes and Don't Likes
Post by Star Knight   » Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:15 am

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kzt wrote:So I was rereading the attack on Beowulf and the block ships being effective is dumb.


I still don’t understand why its impossible for guided missiles capable of exploding in a tiny opening between impeller wedges to avoid hitting a planet, even at high speed. The planet is not suddenly going anywhere unexpected, it’s simple geometry problem. Just have them fly on some arc and come in on a vector not directly aimed at the planet.
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Re: -SPOILER- Uncompromising Honor - Likes and Don't Likes
Post by George J. Smith   » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:37 am

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kzt wrote:So I was rereading the attack on Beowulf and the block ships being effective is dumb.

Assuming that Beowulf system works roughly like the only solar system we understand, all the planets are essentially in the same plane, and the shortest path to a planet from the hyperlimit is going to be in the same plane as the planet.

So the missiles fired at Beowulf are going to be more or less in same orbital plane as Beowulf. So if a missile is aimed at an orbital object and is directly targeting it and missed, what is behind it? Beowulf. So the block ships, which are said to be blocking the most direct path between the fleet and the stations, are blocking missiles that are basically on a collisions course with Beowulf. Even the SLN agrees that hitting Beowulf with a frac C missile would look bad.

So to avoid this you do what the MA did at Manticore. You have the missiles stay say 10,000-20,00 km away from Beowulf (on paths that do not intersect the planet ever) and fire at closest approach to the stations. Which means you have the x-ray lasers coming in from all sides, not where a single 300 km wide wedge will stop them.



This is something I have never understood, the hyper limit is a sphere so the distance to the primary is the same no matter where you cross the hyper limit. Unless the planets are on the other side of the primary I would think the differences in distance (given the Honorverse technology) even a 1° deviation would make, although not trivial, would not be that great.
.
T&R
GJS

A man should live forever, or die in the attempt
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Re: -SPOILER- Uncompromising Honor - Likes and Don't Likes
Post by ldwechsler   » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:40 am

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Sharidann wrote:Ok,

what I liked:
- The Alignement having enough of a wicked sense of humor to actually have a non evil Alignement in place on Mesa to totally make the Manties look stupid...
- The Harahap story line, made sense.
- Abigail getting a boyfriend
- Hypatia and the Saganami tradition reminder... In double pack!

what I didn't like:
- Honor being in charge after Beowulf. I don't care if she is the best and most well known commander of the GA, she is so mentally unhinged that you do NOT let her be in charge of the Sol Expedition alone. You send a Duo of Honor and Theisman to make sure she can't blow a fuse. Her mom knows she isn't herself, anybody with a bond to a treecat knows she isn't herself, Raoul screams and cries when he sees her... Not someone you send on a punitive expedition with enough firepower to transform the solar system in a field of ruins many times over.
- The bad guys being too smart for their own good. I don't see the Good guys needing ages to catch them. I know it is a big galaxy, but now that the good guys KNOW there are bad guys and suspicious deaths... well, one usually wonders to whom the crime profits... so one just needs to check out the splinter states spawning after the League splits to begin to have a list of suspects...Unless they plan to take over the League through the new Constitution, of course, but with everybody in high paranoia mode... not that easy...
- Epilogue: The GA disarming that fast... The bad guys are still out there and they want to reduce their military spending ? I know they need to, but still comes off as weird.
- Too many story lines of the previous books not being tied up (not surprised at this one, due to the richness of the tapestry David weaved over the years...).

Overall, enjoyed it, but I think it would have been better for the story if Honor had died at the Battle of Manticore, as originally planned. The story feels constrained since then...

Just my 2 cp, won't stop me buying the HC when it comes out.



Some criticism is warranted but not this far. I doubt any outsiders knew how stressed Honor was. She had already functioned well after losing family. And she had Nimitz. We know about it because we are inside her head.

The problem with "so many characters" is that RFC uses broad brush strokes. So there are a lot of names of people who appear very briefly. No real way around it, short of an artificial device like not actually giving names. Captain of ship and astrogator are mentioned without being given names.
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Re: -SPOILER- Uncompromising Honor - Likes and Don't Likes
Post by kzt   » Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:05 am

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George J. Smith wrote:[
This is something I have never understood, the hyper limit is a sphere so the distance to the primary is the same no matter where you cross the hyper limit. Unless the planets are on the other side of the primary I would think the differences in distance (given the Honorverse technology) even a 1° deviation would make, although not trivial, would not be that great.

They were trying really hard to not hang around for the big party. So a couple of minutes really was important.
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Re: -SPOILER- Uncompromising Honor - Likes and Don't Likes
Post by Norm.bone   » Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:30 pm

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Lieutenant (Senior Grade)

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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:05 pm

Star Knight wrote:What was the entire Firebrand subplot about?
Why was Shadow of Victory neccessary?
Still dont get it.


Seconded. I got about 70% of the way through and started to think, "How is this going to get wound down?"

At 82%, I started looking to see whether UH was a 2 part release or something.

How can this be the last book?!? Is there going to be another Crown of Slaves/Flint novel to follow up Firebrand and Zilwicki?

ARRRGH!
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Re: -SPOILER- Uncompromising Honor - Likes and Don't Likes
Post by ericth   » Fri Apr 06, 2018 2:55 pm

ericth
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Location: USA

Likes:
1) The cleverness of the battle scenes that was a hallmark of early HH books.
2) Wound up a lot of the plot threads.

Many of my dislikes were about details:
1) Lorelei+dazzlers making it impossible to find the original ship signature. Correct me if I'm wrong, but should not the missile know exactly where the original target was, making decoys in other locations less effective?

2) Why did Adm Kotouc launch from only 14 mil KM? I presume it must have been a compromise between accuracy and flight time, but if they had launched from farther out they could have gotten many more salvos off before the SLN salvo reached them.

3) Going for Sol in the end. It kind of left me flat that after spending the war avoiding attacking Sol for fear of inflaming solly public opinion they saw 'screw it' and do it anyway and it seems to be working. The ending also seemed a bit sudden.
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Re: -SPOILER- Uncompromising Honor - Likes and Don't Likes
Post by runsforcelery   » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:07 pm

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I obviously disagree with quite a few of the criticisms being raised, or I wouldn't have written the book the way I did to begin with. :P :lol:

Having said that, I'll certainly concede that anyone who wants to critique is both entitled and welcome to do so. In response to some of the points which have been raised, however, I offer the following humble rebuttal.

As far as the "we should pull her from command" on the part of the rest of the high command, the only people who really realized how emotionally compromised she might be were probably either her immediate subordinates or Elizabeth III (who probably agreed with her). There was no one left at the Admiralty who knew her as well as White Haven, Caparelli, Givens, or any of the other senior flag officers with whom she'd worked. Elizabeth sure as hell wasn't going to tell her she couldn't go. She trusts Honor Harrington the way she trusts gravity. Even if she hadn't had just as much blood in her eye as Honor (and been perfectly capable of her own "take that!" moment) she would have trusted Honor to come through in the end despite any inner demons. Theisman was the only person who might have argued with that decision or been sent in her place, and Theisman did not realize what she was capable of doing in that state because he'd been fortunate enough to never meet the Salamander in an . . . adversarial situation. He knew she could be an unstoppable force of nature; he didn't realize that there was a genuine risk that she wouldn't stop herself. And if anyone had the right to command that operation, it was the in-space commander of the Grand Alliance, who was both Manticore and and Beowulfan.

The person who probably should have considered removing Honor from command of this operation was Honor herself. You can make up your own mind whether she didn't remove herself because deep inside she knew she truly wasn't out of control or because she was so far out of control that she was no longer capable of even that much rational judgment. I have my own view on the subject, apropos of which, see my next paragraph! (It's a very short one) :D


As for Honor's "derangement" syndrome, please! :roll:

Yes, she was in a bad place, and, yes, she later demonstrated that her judgment was impaired. She was nowhere near so mentally compromised as she thought she was, however, as her ultimate response to her own momentary control lapse demonstrated. And most of the people around her realized it. Her mother, for example, wasn't concerned she was off to commit an Eridani violation: she was concerned that she would never recover from the emotional blow she'd taken on a personal level. White Haven, when he discovered she'd been sent off to blowup the Sol System, was frightened for her on two levels. One, which was his weaker fear but the greatest danger, was that her judgment would in fact be so compromised that she would commit a mass-casualty attack of her very own. The possibility of her doing that was minute, and he knew it. What might happen in a confrontation between military units was a different matter, of course, and that was precisely where her judgment did glitch. However, from the perspective of the Eridani Edict, Hamish Alexander-Harrington never thought for a moment that Honor might commit one. His stronger fear was, like Allison Harrington's, for Honor's survival. With what she might do after she'd accomplished her mission, especially if Nimitz suicided thinking Samantha was already dead.

I will concede that she did, in fact, experience her very own "I am out of control" moment with the heavy cruisers, where she wouldn't have aborted the launch without Mercedes' intervention. We've seen her there before, at Blackbird Base. And, as at Blackbird, someone else had to step in to prevent it. You might recall that the Blackbird incident was in the second book in the series, so this side of her character isn't something that I've been unaware of from the very beginning. And one of her strengths is that she has not only surrounded herself with people strong enough to recognize those moments but people who are also strong enough to stop her even if they agree with her emotionally. And note that as damaged as she was, she did abort the launch when Mercedes shook her. She didn't have to. She was in command, not Mercedes and not Rafe Cardones. If she'd really wanted to take those ships out, she could have and she would have.

I thought I'd made it clear that the nature of her damage was that she was so fixed on the destruction of the cruisers when they were legitimate targets that she simply didn't recognize the moment at which they stopped being legitimate targets. She should have. An undamaged Honor would have. This is true, and it is indeed an argument against sending her in command. The time lag between the impeller wedges coming down and the moment at which she aborted the launch, however, was tiny. It may seem longer than it actually was because I jump to the Solarian cruisers' bridge between the moment at which Cardones realizes the wedges are down and the point at which Mercedes tells Honor that they are down. In fact, the entire interval between the point at which the wedges come down and the self-destruct order is authorized is only about 16 seconds. (In case you're curious, I timed it out.) That's the delay of a woman who is damaged but fundamentally under control, not someone who is demented.

As far as the instructions and the warning she gives the cruiser squadron after they surrender, every point of it is absolutely covered by the Deneb Accords. The same is true of the ultimatum she gives the commander of Ganymede Naval Station. At no time — except, arguably, for the delay of the self-destruct order on her initial missile salvo — does Honor Harrington do a single thing which violates even the spirit of the Deneb Accords or the Eridani Edict.

As far as the "the Grand Alliance was stupidly complacent" under the Harrington Doctrine versus the "going after the Sol System all of a sudden is a case of just saying 'screw it,' and it only worked because the author decided it should," I would point out a view things.

First, the Harrington Doctrine was predicated on the fundamental understanding — which Honor and the Grand Alliance had, even if no one else does [that was a snark :P :P :twisted: :lol: ] — that politics drive strategy. You don't fight wars just to fight wars or just to kill as many people as possible. True, the other side will have to give up if you manage to kill everyone on it. That's not a very sound basis for strategy, however, and Honor in her conversation with Captain Peterson puts her finger on precisely what the ultimate object of any war should be. The proponents of the Harrington Doctrine recognized not only that, but also that a military victory would have been frigging useless if it was purchased at the cost of a Solarian League which was both revanchist and intact and that, at that moment, whatever the Mesan Alignment might be capable of, the Solarian League's conventional military forces could not realistically threaten the Grand Alliance's core systems. The disparity in force was simply that great. By the same token, what they did against the Solarian League was unlikely to just make the Alignment go away. They were two separate threats (admittedly, they coalesced at Beowulf) and were regarded as such. The strategy against the Alignment was to protect themselves as much as possible at home while going after the enemy with Tenth Fleet, Victor Cachat, Anton Zilwicki, and now Damien Harahap. The strategy against the Solarian League was the Harrington Doctrine — basically an extension of Lacoön Two's thinking, aimed at three separate but related strategic goals:

(1) crippling the federal government while doing the minimum amount of damage to individual Core Worlds in order to strangle the SLN's war-fighting capability and bring about the central government's collapse

(2) encouraging the secession of additional core systems, like Hypatia, Cachalot, etc. in order to break the League into as many successor states as possible

(3) avoiding revanchism by doing no damage not absolutely unavoidable to the League's infrastructure and, especially, its population.

This strategy was possible only as long as they continued to enjoy an overwhelming tactical advantage. It was a strategy of self-imposed restraint, and because it was self-imposed, its proponents always recognized that the restraint could be abandoned at any point when the changing spectrum of threats made that essential. The steady buildup of the Mycroft defenses would have freed up even more striking power, which was always going to be made available for decisive offensive operations should the situation change in a way which made them necessary. Honor and White Haven and Elizabeth and Theisman and Pritchart were all aware that they ran the risk — as Sonja and Shannon discussed — of having the League produce a "joker" that could tip the military balance against them. They were also aware, however, that if the League survived even the most devastating military defeat imaginable but was not broken up, then the Grand Alliance was doomed. That was actually the hole card the Mandarins had tucked away from the beginning, and they were aware of it, too. The problem they had was that the Harrington Doctrine was working. The central government was about to collapse and — absent the proposed constitutional amendment after the apparent Manticoran atrocity at Mesa — it couldn't get the funding it needed to fight the war without opening a political can of worms which would have doomed the Mandarins and their entire "government by bureaucrat" regime . . . and thereby almost inevitably led to a significant change of policy on the part of the Solarian League. Probably one sufficient to end the war without a whole bunch more people getting killed on either side.

In other words, the Harrington Doctrine emphasized a political victory because a purely military victory was ultimately unsustainable, whatever might be accomplished in the short term. By the same token, the Harrington Doctrine (and the White Haven Admiralty) always recognized that the political aspects of their strategy might fail, in which case they would have no choice but to play the role of Admiral Yamamoto and hope like hell that they could do enough damage to force at least a temporary end to hostilities in which some miracle might arise which would allow them to survive the renewed attack of such an overwhelming behemoth. The odds of that were . . . not real good, shall we say, which was why they were doing everything they could to avoid that option.

What happened after the Beowulf attack was that the entire strategic equation changed.

First, whether the Solarian League was directly complicit in the destruction of the habitats or not, the Alignment had just demonstrated that it was continuing to use the war as cover for mass-casualty attacks. Whether or not it would continue to launch those attacks without the cover of the war was an unknowable; the fact that they were continuing those attacks was a self-apparent fact, just as what was happening on Mesa demonstrated that the Alignment was not going to be rooted out next Tuesday.

Second, the Solarian League had demonstrated in the Hasta that it was beginning to find new approaches and, in the person of Capriotti, coming up with admirals who could — and would — execute very, very well tactically. This was a factor in computing (and sustaining) the tactical superiority which was the central underlying plank of the Harrington Doctrine's restraint.

Third, the Solarian League, whether intentionally or not, had provided the Grand Alliance with an unimpeachable justification for taking the war to the League. They had forty million-plus dead Beowulfan citizens, killed as a direct consequence of the League's unremitting attacks upon the Grand Alliance, its allies, the League's own seceding member systems, or even any neutral star system which dared to trade with the Grand Alliance. And when Honor moved on the Sol System, she made it abundantly — explicitly — clear to every Solarian citizen (via her geosynchronous Hermes buoys) that she and the Grand Alliance were not taking and would not take the life of a single Solarian civilian, despite the murder of millions of its own. And in pressing her ultimatum, she also gave the League an out: arrest the "war criminals" for trial and write a new constitution, and we'll go home without shooting any more of your people and you can deflect the war guilt for allowing millions of civilians to be killed onto someone else. (Who, just coincidentally, deserve it. Always a nice plus when it comes to conscience salving. ;) )

Fourth, as a direct consequence of taking out Ganymede, there were no Solarian military/technological surprises left. The Grand Alliance had it all: the League's complete naval R&D, including systems already deployed, systems awaiting deployment, systems under development, and even systems which were still being blue-skied, plus all of their theoretical research. It's entirely possible that one of the system defense forces or Technodyne's secret labs in Outer Slabovia might have had something cooking away in a back room somewhere that Honor didn't take home with her from Ganymede, but it's kinda unlikely. And all of that material was taken directly to Bolthole, where it was turned over to the team of Sonja & Shannon to be combined with the Grand Alliance's entire joint R&D program. I don't care how big the Solarian League is, with that kind of head start, who's going to win any arms races at any point in the foreseeable future?

So, yeah, the League packed it in. It did it because Honor had demonstrated in conclusive terms that no one could overlook that the League was militarily screwed. She had also demonstrated that despite its previous restraint, the Grand Alliance would take immediate and decisive military action once it deemed it necessary. She had also demonstrated that despite the provocation of the single most murderous attack in the history of the human race, the Grand Alliance would not strike back indiscriminately. And she had shown the League the path out of the disaster the Mandarins had built for it.

In a very real sense, the final attack on the Sol System was a direct extension of the Harrington Doctrine's fundamental concepts. They didn't break the League up; instead, they changed the League into something else and managed to do it without generating League-wide revanchism. No doubt there are quite a few people living inside the Kuiper who feel quite a lot of revanchism at the end of the day; but "inside the Kuiper" thinking isn't going to be controlling Solarian policy for at least the next several decades.

Like I say, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion about what I did here, just as everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion about whether or not I should have wrapped up every single story strand of a series that's run for twenty-five years in a single book – oh, and I should have done that, of course, without infodumps and without letting the word count get out of hand. :roll: :lol:

This book was intended to wrap up the Honor Harrington story line that began with On Basilisk Station. There is no way on God's green earth I could have wrapped up all of the threads in the Honorverse without writing a 17,000-page novel, and I don't believe I ever said anywhere that this book was intended to wrap up the Honorverse.

So if I'm gonna write more novels down the road — and I may — I need to leave myself some plot hooks. And if I decide I'm not gonna write more novels down the road, the plot strands I left unresolved probably aren't going to keep a lot of you awake at night.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
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