michelel72 (michelel72) wrote,

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Did these people never play D&D?

I've been trying to read Jo Graham's "Death Game", especially now that "Homecoming" has actually arrived as well, but finding time to read an actual book is nearly impossible. (Over about two weeks I've finally managed to read all seven text-pages of chapter one. Go, me.) But it was the third page that made me stop and say, "Wait, what?" — and the fifth page that made my quibble certain.

Most of what I read nowadays is fanfiction; this is only the second physical book I've (tried to) read in a few years now, and I find myself facing them with the same mindset. That's a demanding mindset, not an insulting one; I've read some amazing fanfiction as well as some bad, and I figure that fanfiction can always do better than canon, since it has (usually) longer deadlines and the significant benefit of community as a resource. That's more applicable here than in the prior book, since this is a tie-in novel.

Now it's possible that canon had the characters stupid in this particular way; I don't remember any such case, but I haven't memorized every episode. But the-Team-plus-Radek is on what seems to be a brand-new planet, with a hacked DHD ... so they leave Rodney at the DHD and drop Radek and Ronon at the Ancient facility on an island?

Let's parse that more closely. They left the expedition's chief science officer, a civilian, alone and unguarded on an unexplored planet with no reliable escape, the primary form of which they know has been tampered with. Do they know the Wraith don't have an outpost here? No. Do they know the locals aren't Wraith worshippers, or Genii bounty hunters, or cannibals? No. Do they know that someone has been tampering with the DHD? Most emphatically. It annoys me when fanfiction has an expedition member go off with locals that haven't yet established full trust, with a gate that is known to work; this scenario is asking for a mission-critical scientist to be kidnapped or killed horribly. As well as for a second mission-critical scientist and mission-important warrior/liaison to be lost or killed, seeing as they're stranded on an island.

What the actual fuck?

And it's not as if they've done their due diligence to make these allocations an acceptable risk — two pages later we learn that even Teyla, who often knows cultures the expedition has not yet met, knows nothing of the people of this planet.

"Don't split the party" is pretty much Rule One of Dungeons & Dragons. You'd think accurate assessment of personnel and their safety would be an important part of military training and expedition planning. (You need to do these investigations now and not after you've adequately determined the planet's safety? Leave a few soldiers, preferably with a jumper, with Rodney at the DHD and stay with Radek and Ronon. Duh.) Sometimes it's unavoidable, but you should never set out to isolate your physically weakest members in any unknown environment. If you're not persuaded, call up the BAU and ask Dr. Spencer Reid how well that works out. Hint: badly, at least for the heroes.

Is it just me, or should any group in these circumstances know far better than to pull this?

I'm also cranky that the book uses "ok" as a word (rather than "OK" or "okay"), but I'm willing to blame that on a copyeditor somewhere along the line. It's cosmetic, not fundamental to the plot or characterization.

Originally posted at Dreamwidth | Comment | comment count unavailable comments
Tags: reviews, reviews:books

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