X3: Yoshiko, thoughts and questions (Spoilers!)

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amoe
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X3: Yoshiko, thoughts and questions (Spoilers!)

Post by amoe » Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21

Hi! As I just finished reading X3: Yoshiko, and I saw that Nathan Haines hangs out on this forum (and maybe even Helge too), I thought I'd send some thoughts (and some constructive criticism) about the book, along with some questions. I really enjoyed this book -- for my money, it's the best X book yet. I bought it on the Kindle store.

SPOILERS ahead!

As with any sci-fi novel, the initial stretch of introducing the characters can be quite difficult for readers, as they are exposed to a vast array of Proper Nouns that they need to remember. Largely just a property of the medium, but exacerbated by the plot-alternation that occurs between chapters.

The subplot with Iliyana is absolutely great; compelling and dark, it's more adult than I've seen from the X books before, and frequently quite touching. I love the engagement with Yoshiko's drug use, and the 'sisterly' relationship between mother and daughter. It's good to see Yoshiko as a kind of anti-hero, she is very flawed, and sometimes infuriating, but you still end up rooting for her.

The encounter with the CPU ship sometimes veers into territory that's a bit too 'out-there'. It can be difficult for the reader to imagine themself into that space, because there are very few reference points. I found it difficult to get a mental picture of the inside of the ship. This is something that these sections had in common with Nopileos, which had some confusing sections towards the end of the book, although Yoshiko was not as bad as Nopileos for this problem. Some things are difficult to figure out, eg - Why is Marteen Winters there? He didn't seem to fulfil any function. What are the 'black threads'? etc. There's a lot of mysterious mechanics that don't seem to have any real resolution, which would work great in a film, but they seem to inhibit the reading process.

It would have been nice to have more backstory for Ezra Kerp, Iliyana's father. That aspect wasn't explored very much. It would also be cool to have backstory for Yoshiko working as a restrainer for Sendir t'Grrt. There was some dark history hinted at in this direction. The function of a restrainer, while being explored fascinatingly in Nopileos, still remains a bit mysterious to me.

What is the meaning of 'D2-class' ship in terms of X-universe ship classes? Also, what do the ship prefixes "AP" and "FL" mean?

What's the relationship between Ser Alman Jonferson and Jonferco in the game series? Was it ever established that JSDD and Jonferco are the same thing within the game lore? I can't remember if Ser Alman appeared in the games. Also, how does the segment that takes place on Marauder relate to the mission involving Don Marani that takes place in X3: Reunion? (I understood that Julian is Ninu Gardna's son, and he's hinted at briefly in this book as having left Turpentine Station.)

I think that every book should define the Zuran Time sections, because it impedes understanding quite a lot. It's good for flavour, but any human reader has to try to map them onto some rough notion of SI time, which it's very difficult to do with 'inzuras' and 'quazuras'. I use my very basic German to grasp "tazuras" as "Tage", but I don't know enough to do that with the other prefixes.

I found some of the descriptions of the space stations quite difficult to picture mentally. This is not really a flaw of the book, as their complexity makes them quite difficult to describe in general. The consistent use of the word 'bulkhead' is a bit frustrating for me. It's used sometimes to mean 'door', and sometimes to mean 'wall', from what I can see. I would prefer those simpler words.

Why does Iliyana not speak to Cilia Nehla when they meet each other on Fiji? It seems cruel to leave her believing that her sister is dead.

What was the reason for Yoshiko instructing Iliyana to 'trust only Boron' when they were discussing her plan to escape Turpentine?

Will we ever find out why Suzon Parka was killed? A really shockingly dark moment of the book!

Can't wait for the next one!
Dave

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X2-Illuminatus
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Re: X3: Yoshiko, thoughts and questions (Spoilers!)

Post by X2-Illuminatus » Mon, 24. Feb 20, 20:07

I can answer a couple of general things. But I have to admit that I'm a bit weak on the actual story of the books nowadays.
amoe wrote:
Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21
Why is Marteen Winters there?
I don't remember the details of his presence in Yoshiko, but he's featured at least a bit in X3TC in two plots. And he may also make an appearance in the following two X books. There's also some background info encylopdia from the X-Superbox / X Rebirth. So this could have simply been a way to introduce him into the X-Universe.
amoe wrote:
Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21
What is the meaning of 'D2-class' ship in terms of X-universe ship classes? Also, what do the ship prefixes "AP" and "FL" mean?
"D-class" instead of any of the existing clases in the games (M and T) was deliberately used by Helge, so people wouldn't complain in case he would make a mistake while describing the abilities of that ship class.

AP = Argon Prime
FL = Free League of Hatikvah
amoe wrote:
Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21
What's the relationship between Ser Alman Jonferson and Jonferco in the game series?
It's mentioned in the game (X3TC) that Ser Alman Jonferson was the founder of the Jonferson Space Dynamics Division ("JSDD" or just Jonferco).
amoe wrote:
Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21
I think that every book should define the Zuran Time sections, because it impedes understanding quite a lot. It's good for flavour, but any human reader has to try to map them onto some rough notion of SI time, which it's very difficult to do with 'inzuras' and 'quazuras'. I use my very basic German to grasp "tazuras" as "Tage", but I don't know enough to do that with the other prefixes.
As you mentioned, the words used to define zura time basically consist of a prefix losely based on the German word for that time duration and the "zura"-suffix.

In the lore Zura time is based on the circulation period of the Teladi home system Ianamus Zura arounds its star:
  1. Sezura - smallest time unit (approx. 1,7 seconds)
  2. Mizura - 96 Sezuras (163,2 seconds = 2,72 minutes)
  3. Stazura - 96 Mizuras (15667,2 seconds = 261,12 minutes = 4,352 hours)
  4. Tazura - 7 Stazuras (109670,4 seconds = 1827,84 minutes = 30,464 hours = 1,27 days)
  5. Wozura - 7 Tazuras (= 8,89 days)
  6. Mazura - 7 Wozuras (= 62,23 weeks)
  7. Jazura - 8 Mazuras = 56 Wozuras = 392 Tazuras (= 497,84 days = 1,36 years)
  8. Quazura - 22 Mizuras, only used by Teladi (3590,4 seconds = 59,84 minutes)
  9. Inzura - 8 Mizuras, only used by Teladi (1305,6 seconds = 21,76 minutes)
  10. Sonne: same as Jazura, only used by Teladi
In the games, zura times was dropped from X3TC onwards, as it was too confusing for most players.

amoe wrote:
Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21
What was the reason for Yoshiko instructing Iliyana to 'trust only Boron' when they were discussing her plan to escape Turpentine?
Only guessing here: Borons are usually considered the smartest and friendliest of all X races. So when in doubt, you would always tell your kid to go find a Boron for help.
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Die komplette X-Roman-Reihe jetzt als Kindle E-Books! (Farnhams Legende, Nopileos, X3: Yoshiko, X3: Hüter der Tore, X3: Wächter der Erde)

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The official X-novels Farnham's Legend, Nopileos, X3: Yoshiko as Kindle e-books!

nhaines
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Re: X3: Yoshiko, thoughts and questions (Spoilers!)

Post by nhaines » Sat, 4. Apr 20, 03:28

Hi Dave! I'm so glad you enjoyed Nopileos and Yoshiko! And thank you so much for all the lovely feedback. I'll forward it along to Helge to distract him from wondering where the next chapter of Farnham's Legend is. (I was busy working on 3.0 and the DLC.)

I'm not involved in changing anything in the stories (although I did fix one error in each) so any pride I take in your enjoyment is slightly misplaced. I can say that I do not disagree with you on some of the murky plot points! Sometimes Helge fills me in on that when he reviews a translated chapter. Otherwise, I translate as I read, so I'm along for the ride just like everybody else. This is a really fun way to work. I thought Iliyana was characterized very, very well. Not to mention Yoshiko and her drug dependency. I'm glad she rose above it, but I did want to slap her a few times!

As you can see, I don't pop in too often sometimes. X2-Illuminatus was spot on with all of his responses.
amoe wrote:
Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21
There was some dark history hinted at in this direction. The function of a restrainer, while being explored fascinatingly in Nopileos, still remains a bit mysterious to me.
Split Curbs have a special role in Split society, which I knew nothing about while I was translating Nopileos! So when I came across the word Züglerin, it was a puzzle (because it's the female version of Zügler, which doesn't exist). And it doesn't show up in Farnham's Legend But it means someone who zügelns. So I came up with "restrainer," which seemed to fit after a couple pages, so I was happy! Helge didn't mention it. I only learned about Curbs in January when working on Split Vendetta. I'll update the books by the time Farnham's Legend come out. (Nopileos is getting a better edit by me as well, as there was a rush to get it done in time for X4's release!)

The only place I think it's mentioned before is in the X2 webpack:
X2 Webpack wrote: Under Emperor Thuruk and his successors the Split made great technological advances and eventually, after many abortive attempts, managed to develop a crude form of rocketry. These crude rockets enabled them to reach, and colonize their own moons some time around the year 100.

Long after Thuruk came Ghus, another leader of the Split who finally realized that the Split race could be so much more if they’d only curb their aggressiveness. Ghus invented the position of “Curb”: a female Split appointed to important warriors and decision makers, to keep them from acting out their deadly impulses. This proved immensely successful and took the Split a huge step forward in their social evolution. Ghus reigned with a strong hand, but unusual fairness for a Split leader, for a long period; and no Emperor or Patriarch ever managed to fill out the footsteps this great Split had left behind when he was eventually killed. The time of Ghus was the high time of Split civilization – so far.

The position of female Curb was dismantled officially soon after Ghus was killed. Unofficially, some families (e.g. Family Rhonkar) still use Curbs to the present day.
amoe wrote:
Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21
I think that every book should define the Zuran Time sections, because it impedes understanding quite a lot. It's good for flavour, but any human reader has to try to map them onto some rough notion of SI time, which it's very difficult to do with 'inzuras' and 'quazuras'. I use my very basic German to grasp "tazuras" as "Tage", but I don't know enough to do that with the other prefixes.
I'm a little embarrassed that when I started with Nopileos, it's a very hectic chapter, and when I first saw the word Sezura, I was completely stumped as to which German word this was, and it took about an hour to actually find out (because I started by looking in dictionaries for any variation I could think of).

Sezura, mizura, stazura, tazura, wozura, mazura, and jazura correspond to Sekunde, Minute, Stunde, Tage, Woche, Monat, and Jahr. Quazura and inzura I don't remember without looking up, so I just have to write it and trust that Helge knew what he meant! The problem is that since I learned them by using that list as a mnemonic, sometimes I accidentally translate them! Helge's really good at catching that.

Here was a fun bit of trivia: the green F pills (for Freude) became green Js for "joy" in English, but I never did find out what the red Ds stood for! (Deprimieren, is my guess, but it's only that.)
amoe wrote:
Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21
I found some of the descriptions of the space stations quite difficult to picture mentally. This is not really a flaw of the book, as their complexity makes them quite difficult to describe in general. The consistent use of the word 'bulkhead' is a bit frustrating for me. It's used sometimes to mean 'door', and sometimes to mean 'wall', from what I can see. I would prefer those simpler words.
The original uses the word Schott, and "bulkhead" seems to be the preferred word in a lot of sci-fi I read lately. I had the exact same reaction you did, until I got used to it.
amoe wrote:
Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21
Why does Iliyana not speak to Cilia Nehla when they meet each other on Fiji? It seems cruel to leave her believing that her sister is dead.
If I recall correctly, she was still incognito, and with the way Cilia reacts, I'm not sure she had the chance. And once they're starting over, well.... Plus, it might have put Cilia in danger too, if she knew Yoshiko was still alive.
amoe wrote:
Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21
What was the reason for Yoshiko instructing Iliyana to 'trust only Boron' when they were discussing her plan to escape Turpentine?
In addition to Boron being friendly, Yoshiko was worried about spies or a kidnap attempt from Sendir T'Grrt. She couldn't risk Iliyana getting captured.
amoe wrote:
Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21
Will we ever find out why Suzon Parka was killed? A really shockingly dark moment of the book!
I was really shocked as well! I know how Helge feels about the event now, but he didn't mention why specifically. My impression is that she was in a toxic, abusive relationship, and Denphim also had anger issues. It certainly does make things worse for Iliyana, and keeps her on the run, although I doubt it was just done for the sake of the plot.

Thanks so much for the thoughts and questions! I'm really happy you shared them. :)

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Re: X3: Yoshiko, thoughts and questions (Spoilers!)

Post by HelgeK » Wed, 22. Apr 20, 14:15

amoe wrote:
Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21
Hi! As I just finished reading X3: Yoshiko, and I saw that Nathan Haines hangs out on this forum (and maybe even Helge too), I thought I'd send some thoughts (and some constructive criticism) about the book, along with some questions. I really enjoyed this book -- for my money, it's the best X book yet. I bought it on the Kindle store.
Yep, I'm here, checking in once in a blue moon :-) I'm glad you liked the novel. It certainly isn't perfect, and I think I would write a couple of things differently these days. What I'm still very happy with is the relationship between Yoshiko and Iliyana. Yoshiko is flawed and may even have borderline personality disorder (in part caused by the events in her youth), but she nevertheless managed to raise Iliyana with a strong moral compass. Iliyana does not always know exactly what she wants, but she knows without a doubt what she does NOT want. And they do love each other unconditionally despite them being so different.
amoe wrote:
Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21
Why does Iliyana not speak to Cilia Nehla when they meet each other on Fiji? It seems cruel to leave her believing that her sister is dead.
She should have, but was pretty shocked and unable to. You'll meet Cilia again, briefly, in one of the coming books (Wächter der Erde, I think), and she will eventually find out that Yoshiko is still alive and that that strange girl a few years back was her sister's daughter.
amoe wrote:
Tue, 18. Feb 20, 15:21
Will we ever find out why Suzon Parka was killed? A really shockingly dark moment of the book!
I wish that wouldn't have happened; reading it these days really seems way too dark. I was even briefly considering to change it in the e-book edition, but then decided not to. Originally, I included this so Iliyana would know how cruel and unforgiving the universe is, but that she will stay her course regardless. In the end, I think, Iliyana already knew that pretty well at this point, so Suzon's death was probably unnecessary.

The rest of the questions I think were correctly answered by Nathan and X2-Illuminatus. By the way, I stopped mentioning the Zura time system from "Hüter der Tore" onward, because I figured, that ultimately it's too confusing :-)

Also, I'd like to mention that I had a great time working with Nathan. I'm obviously not a native English speaker, but I consume a lot of English media, so I think I can safely say, his translation is as close to the original as it gets, and it's a great read :D

Cheers,
Helge

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