Seventeen is, in essence, a sort of an Animesque military fiction novel by Colonel Bastard(under a different pen name, of course), featuring, among other things, Humongous Mecha. And Transforming Mecha. And Mini-Mecha. And it tries to make the plot make sense and appear as realistic as possible. While still having Humongous Mecha and protagonists of Improbable Age. And hanging lampshades all over the place.
The story is set in the year 2017 A.D., seventeen years after a meteorite hit the South Pole, turning the whole Antarctica into a Death World incapable of sustaining life, raises sea levels, kills off sea animals, warms up the global climate a bit and throws the world into chaos. And yes, it is called "Second Impact". Over the next month, however, tensions escalated as the world's nations tried to deal with the catastrophe and defend their national interests on the way. They almost succeeded, but, on the 13th of October, 2000 A.D., someone in Pakistan just had to fire off a single nuke. Presto. World War III. The USA invaded Canada and Mexico, the UK launched an invasion on the continent, especially France, Russia sent the tanks and Humongous Mecha back through Eastern Europe and into Germany to party hard(with nukes free), while fending off a Chinese invasion in the Far East, while Imperial Japan(did we mention the Alternate History already?) closed its borders and started to rebuild the damage caused by the Second Impact, while training their sights on the Sakhalin Island and the Koreas. The war, later called the Post-Impact War, lasted for a year and a half before ending, with the sides coming together and signing the Bern Treaty, reestablishing the UN, under the aegis of a mysterious group of organizations that called itself SEELE.
Peace reigned. The world rebulit. Russia made a lot of money by exporting oil, as oil deposits worldwide started to run dry for some reason. The PRC(Taiwan got itself partially submerged and then conquered, sorry) basically instated their economic hegemony in the whole Southeast Asia. The UK reasserted its dominance over what remained of the Commonwealth. Germany returned the EU back, countries laying new grudges aside for the time being. The US started being paranoid again. The ANUBIS Autonomous Peacekeeping Force watched over the world, intervening just in time to prevent another serious(with strategic nukes flying, that is) conflict. GEHIRN Institute sorted out the consequences of the Second Impact and collected xenotech, pieces of Imported Alien Phlebotinum which somehow looks too similar to existing human technologies, and its existence is known by literally everyone and their dog. Technology marched on, turning the world into a Post Cyber Punk one, with a bona fide Cyber Space and functional nanotechnology, albeit not as of yet perfected. A majority of these became available because of the development of Humongous Mecha back in The '80s, the main technologies behind which made Unusual User Interface and highly advanced computers possible. And it also made landships, supercruisers(huge battlecruisers the likes of the Yamato, but with a lot of AA weapons) and superzeppelins pretty much feasible. A second ISS was put into orbit, now with 75% more weapons, especially Frickin' Laser Beams to shoot down ICB Ms, and an enterprising company with a lot of money and a sinister background even started mining asteroids. A pretty nice place to live in, right? Right...
Unfortunately, the story is about someone who couldn't care less. And it is not a Fish out of Water story.
Everyone, meet our hero - Captain Lelouch, who is not your friendly neigborhood Ordinary High-School Student protagonist, even if being the right age. His hair is almost completely white, he misses an eye, covering it with a Eyepatch of Power, and he is an ace mecha pilot for the NERV International Research Institute(two years ago it was still called GEHIRN), which now is a paramilitary force concerning itself with retrieving xenotech, however not for long. And yes, most of his contact with culture at large was through media, which had left him quite Genre Savvy - to unbelievable extent, actually. Besides him, there is his Hot-Blooded Military Maverick twin brother Second, the similarly Hot-Blooded Japanese-American Asuka Langley, their Benevolent Boss and Teen Genius Shinji Ikari, who heads the whole NERV, and his aide, friend, test pilot and mecha otaku Rei Ayanami. As the story progresses, other characters are introduced:
- Admiral Lucia Landlight of ANUBIS 3rd Autonomous Fleet, who does not pride herself on being possibly the youngest admiral in history. Is in a relationship with Lelouch, and they had long since skipped the 'romance' part. Their paths still do rarely cross, however;
- 1st Lieutenant Ikeda Uematsu, 2nd Lieutenant Sagara Washimoto, 2nd Lieutenant Mayu Umishima and the New Meat Sergeant Major Alexander Antonescu, Lelouch's Wingmen in Team Victoria that he leads. Get more characterisation as the story goes. Mayu does, somehow, get herself an unrequited crush on her commander, which he is completely oblivious to. Second has also got himself Wingmen, only with less characterisation as of yet;
- Gendo Ikari, former Director of GEHIRN who literally left it in his son's hands(which resulted in him maturing into a Magnificent Bastard of sorts) to pursue his own agenda, one that involves working together with SEELE, to an as of yet unknown result;
- Sea Tempesty, a Bishōnen mecha pilot-for-hire... or, at least that's he appears to be. Got hired by NERV after a brief showdown with Lelouch under undiscerned circumstances. Probably has a few screws loose in his head and likes to speak in Double Entendres;
- Field Commander Sigillite Ingram Vindicator, SEELE's resident Chessmaster clad in a Badass Longcoat and with a long, silver revolver which he rarely uses, however. Drops his Chessmaster attitudes when off-duty, and doesn't like coffee. Probably does not have a case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, unlike a certain someone who has a similar style;
- Grace Vancouver, a (possibly) SEELE-affilated agent who tries to observe Lelouch and dig out something about his classified past. Apparently Vindicator's old friend and confidante of sorts. Not much is known about her as of yet.
Aside from attempting to tell Lelouch's story from his POV and interjecting paragraphs from other characters' viewpoints, the novel focuses more on the background detail, in particular on the workings behind the Motorized Infantry Suits(MIS for short), the Humongous Mecha used by the world's militaries. Attention is paid to explain how the mecha handle that pesky Square-Cube Law, how they are operated and deployed, although the majority of that has yet to make it into the book. It also has Transforming Mecha, the High-mobility Infantry Suits that look conspiciously like the Valkyries from Macross/Robotech series, and Mini-Mecha, the Empowered Infantry Suits that are also used in civilian occupations; both kinds get detailed upon. The author hopes so, of course.
The entire novel is still work in progress, at some 45% completion, constantly corrected and reworked. Maybe some tropes will be added, but their accordance would, naturally, be disputed due to onesidedness - sadly, what's there of the book is not yet available in English. Anyone who knows Russian, however, would be appreciated to ask for a copy of the latest build.