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Reviews Comments: Wasted Potential The Salvation War film/book review by Sea Bee

The notion that the human race has grown more powerful than its gods is an interesting theme. I wish that Slade had chosen to explore that instead of churning out a badly written piece of masturbatory warporn.

Armageddon is poorly written from a technical perspective. Slade utterly fails to inject any sense of drama in his story or build up any tension (that is partly attributable to the premise). Furthermore, the characters are flat and fail to be anything other than devices to convey the plot. Add in shoddy dialogue that fails to distinguish the characters and the problem becomes clear: the author’s grasp of the craft of fiction is comparable to that of a marginally talented fanfic writer.

I occasionally see the “documentary” defense in response to criticism about the failures of basic craft. This doesn’t hold water; the foremost concern of a work of fiction is to be interesting and compelling. Realistic technoporn and diamond-hard science are gimmicks, and do not make up for bad writing. While there are clearly people who enjoyed Armageddon as written, it is quite likely that people who would have enjoyed the story’s technical accuracy and action were turned off by the poor craftsmanship.

The “Fuck God Dead!” theme has been done numerous times, and I feel confident saying that Armageddon is not an exemplar of the genre. The premise that God is evil and colluding with Satan is not masturbatory. The premise that the legions of hell would get steamrollered by modern warfighting technology and tactics is not masturbatory. I have little doubt that a bronze age army, no matter how massive in scale, would get massacred by modern forces. What I find masturbatory is that Slade felt it appropriate to take these premises turn them into a novel of epic proportions. There is perhaps enough material here for a novella; if the story had ended with the defeat of the initial demonic incursions the premises might have worked. As is, anyone not interested in miltech porn or a cack-handed treatment of religion gets to slog through a book where it is clear from the beginning that the protagonists will win handily. While we could infer their victory from our meta-knowledge of literature, a decent piece of writing allows the reader to suspend that knowledge and ride along with the heroes’ struggles and imagine that they might fail or suffer for their victory.


  • DontKillBugs
  • 5th Feb 11
You keep using that word. I do not think you know what it means.
  • 5th Feb 11
Sorry, but the standards of good writing have changed.
  • Harpagornis
  • 11th Feb 11
In this kind of "reviews" its always the same thing: "we don't mind that our god is evil, we mind that you right awfully".

That would not be a problem, if not for the fact that in every scenario in which your religion is offended is declared as "badly written". Even an illeterate moron can tell His Dark Materials is literature on par with Narnia, yet this excuse is constantly used.

If you get butthurt over the portrayal of your religion, speak outloud and clear. Don't hide behind stupid excuses.
  • Lhipenwhe
  • 2nd Mar 11
So... do you have any actual counters to his review? Armageddon was plodding and lacked any sense of drama, as well as making quite a few elementary grammer slip-ups. Slade might be knowledgeable about military equipment and strategy, but he's a average writer at best.
  • ChrisWWII
  • 4th Mar 11
I would argue that Pantheocide was MUCH more dramatic simply because so much of it was from the Angel's POV. Yeah, we know the humans are gonna come in, kick ass take names, etc. etc. (Which, you have to admit...Slade KNOWS his military hardware. Some of those battlescenes are pure epicness). YMMV on that of course, but it's a nice thing to read if you want to see some awesome battle scenes. I'll be the first to admit that in Armageddon??? I liked to skip to the battle scenes.

But back on topic, because we get so much more focus in Pantheocide on Michael, we actually get drama. Will he overthrow Yaweh? Will his plans succeed? What's going to happen? Those questions create suspense, and in my opinion break away from the 'techwanking' the reviewer is accusing this story of. Yes, there is still lots of 'we have a weapon that can do x and x', but that's no longer the main story. Michael is the main character, and his plot is the story. While in Armageddon??? I skipped to battle scenes, Pantheocide had me reading the whole story, and enjoying it as a story.
  • Alhazred
  • 11th Aug 12
Pretty much my exact thoughts on the story. I initially discovered it through this page and immediately hit a link, excited by the premise, only to be disappointing by the execution. The author is well and truly terrible, writing prose that's easily on the level of 50 Shades of Gray. The story is a constant exercise in telling instead of showing, never exploring the characters in any depth or following any sense of cohesion.

The third comment here is downright bizarre; at no point does the review ever suggest the reviewer is offended because the story treats religion as a joke. I'm a hardcore atheist and I still recognize this story is bad, so the idea that only religious nutjobs who can't take a joke would dare to dislike it doesn't really fly. Bad writing is bad writing no matter how much potential the premise holds.
  • Zaptech
  • 3rd Sep 12
Slade has gone on record saying that he didn't write to be dramatic, he wrote to be realistic. Ultimately, Armaggeddon was simply a very long example of Reality Ensues exploring a hypothetical conflict. He's not the best writer, but I think it was more of an exploration of ideas over an actual dramatic work. Pantheocide is much better as a drama and better written, but yeah, Slade's writing style needs a lot of work. He's got good concepts and a fascinating world, but poor execution.
  • TheMalignancy
  • 13th Dec 12
For me it's less the lack of drama and more that it's just one long overly simplified "FUCK YEAH, HUMANITY!". If the premise of your story is the combined forces of the world fighting angels and gods and demons, it sort of fall down when they turn out to be slightly more powerful mortals and humanity's alliance occurs with exactly zero infighting or religious hesitation.

Except by that rascally North Korea, obviously, because everyone knows they cant be trusted. Ugh.

Look. Reality ensuing is all well and good, but this is a setting with alternate dimensions and not-quite-divine angels and the single most simplified alliance in the history of the world. You can have reality, or you can have fantasy. You can even apply reality to fantasy elements. But this isn't reality. It isn't even decent fantasy. It's fallacy that refuses to accept the possibility that humanity couldn't beat an omnipotent being, and then has to bring that omnipotent down to being a slightly larger and powereful-in-unpecified-ways mortal so it can throw fancy-ass military equipment at him and show off about knowing technical detail. It betrays its own premise.

The fanfic comparison is an extremely good one; Slade knows everything about the military, but he can't write people and has a grand total of zero creative discipline.

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