Review: "The Last Turanga II: Going Native"

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Gulliver63
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Review: "The Last Turanga II: Going Native"

Postby Gulliver63 » Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:04 am

I was digging through my thumb drive the other day and I realized that I hadn’t shared parts two or three of “The Last Turanga” with you guys. Two years ago I discussed with a friend about what it would be like if the first season Leela had found her cyclops homeworld; on a flight to Los Angeles I laid the foundation for my first story of “The Last Turanga.” It’s been nearly two years since I’ve penned these, so here is a short synopsis of what I’d written: This is an alternate series of stories written in a dramatic vein, and they are set a few years in the future of the show after the Professor has passed away and a giant corporation named Desoxo has bought up Planet Express. Fry and Leela are married with two children, and Amy and Kif have a daughter named Annie. In the first story, after nearly being killed in a space accident, Turanga Leela stumbles across her cyclops homeworld. She finds out that she is not only from this planet, but is indeed from one of the most influential families there. Furthermore, she discovers that she is the last living member of the Turanga clan. While this is wonderful on some levels, it also causes other problems for her. In this second story, “Going Native,” Leela finds herself at odds with the corporation, and has become somewhat of a renegade in her attempts to stand up for her people. This is also the story of Leela’s daughter Sara, who is struggling with her mother’s new identity and infamy with the company. These last two stories bring back a familiar foe in the form of Morgan Proctor, who is now a company woman for the Desoxo Corporation. In the final story, “Having Faith,” we see a conclusion of Leela’s war against the corporation, and we see the first shots fired in a corporate war against the standing government of the Stellar Union.
There are only a few homages in this second story. I’ve got two homages to old Star Trek episodes in the form of place names. My late father used to tell me, “Don’t take your dog to that fight,” which became a Fry line early in the story.

My friend who I originally shared the concept with, sadly passed away last November, and never got to see either the second or third stories. Bobby Whittlow, these are dedicated to you.

It’s my hope that you’ll enjoy the whole trilogy of the warrior woman, Turanga Leela.
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"I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: 'Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.' I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have - When he gives everything that is in him to do the job he has before him. That is all you can ask of him and that is what I have tried to do."
Harry S Truman

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Re: Review: "The Last Turanga II: Going Native"

Postby Just Chris » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:39 pm

Typo: you're missing a space after "mystic warrior" (within quotes) in the first paragraph; "that you’ve done to my friends and I" should be "me" (though it's dialogue, so that might be Leela's own grammar mistake), same with "a shuttle for my travelling companions and I"; "drug" isn't the past tense of "drag" (it should be "dragged"); "pony tail" should be one word; "that s" needs an apostrophe; "She’d no sooner left her mother’s side when" should be "than"; "She jammed the shot into Morgan’s leg, who responded with a yell" makes it sound like Morgan's leg responded; "he told he crewmember"

Not really an error, but I noticed that Sara said that the surgery would give her two working eyes, given that Leela's operation in "The Cyber House Rules" didn't actually give her two functioning eyes, it was just cosmetic. But then, this story is set twenty years in the future from the show's timeline, so it makes sense that the medical science is more advanced.

The plot of this really sucked me in. The bit at the hospital is the kind of scary storyline I like. It slowed down a bit after
Spoiler
but perhaps that's natural. The ending works well as a cliffhanger (but not too much so) and makes me very interested in what's going to happen next. I've noticed that several of your fanfics tend to lose my interest at the end, because you end with some sort of joke scene after the plot has been resolved, but that's certainly not the case here. Seeing Leela and her daughter bond was pretty heartwarming.

Spoiler


You manage to bring in quite a bit of information about Cyclon without infodumping in the slightest. I like how you revealed more about the "Cyclon effect", fixing some plotholes in the first part. It's a very interesting idea.

The writing style might be slightly colourless, but it's still above-average and flows well. All places get enough description to give me a clear view of things. While the emphasis clearly wasn't on comedy, you have a couple of funny lines. I especially like Phil Jr. ribbing Sara at the party.

The regulars are mostly in character (see below for some problems I had with characterisation). I'm getting a bit tired of Futurama fanfics using Morgan as a villain (obviously that's not your fault), but she's used well here, with quite a bit of characterisation and some moral qualms. As for the new characters, Sara gets a nice amount of development. She feels a bit immature for someone old enough to start university, but I guess some kids are like that. Her disagreement with Leela feels a bit heavy-handed at the start, though you develop it well later. Her interaction with Annie is also good. It was nice to see Kirth helping Leela out.

Unfortunately, I also have some big problems with this story. The main one is that Leela is, frankly, terrifying. I obviously can't fault her for fighting back against the people who are trying to kill or imprison her, but
Spoiler
That's just a dick move. I know you explain it a bit by bringing in the
Spoiler
Then when the merchant helps her later on, she doesn't even thank him.

I would be great with this if Leela's behaviour was treated as abnormal within the story, but pretty much everyone (apart from Sara and the bad guys) applauds her actions and tells her that her opponent had it coming. She's even told that she's a warrior of discernment and discipline, right after she almost kills a guy for a very tiny provocation. It is rather similar to your old "Stress Management" story, if not worse: Leela acts like a complete jerk (only now she's starting fights with people, not just shouting at them), but she's still treated as being in her right, and her victims are treated as if they're the ones who antagonised her.

In addition, the way she expresses her anger feels rather out of character. Sure, it makes sense that she would defend her species' honour when the nurse acts racist towards her, but bragging about her family line while beating someone up? I really can't see the Leela on the show doing that.

The problem with Leela's character ties in with a problem with Cyclon as a whole. It's not as bad here as in "The Fire Priestess", but it still feels like the planet is too idealised. Only misguided people or racist bad guys have anything against Cyclon; everyone else thinks it's the best thing since sliced bread.
Spoiler


On the upside, I think the little storyline about Sara wanting surgery was handled reasonably even-handedly. I like that you gave arguments both for and against, and it doesn't get sledgehammery. If anything, I think that storyline could have done with even more space, but it's good as it is.

The title card is pretty nice, though something about Leela's face looks a bit off. I like the design for Sara, though.

To sum up, the story suffers a bit from Leela being a jerk and never getting called on it, and the slight creepiness of what happens to Sara. Still, it's a riveting read (especially the first half), and quite well written. B
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Re: Review: "The Last Turanga II: Going Native"

Postby Gulliver63 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:36 pm

Thanks again for reading and enjoying my story. It is a funny place that I swam into in this series...my characters seem almost more at home in "Dune" then they seem on a comedy cartoon. I guess I didn't explain very well what the word garataka means to her people - a garataka is a serious offence typically meant to provoke some sort of combat. I sort of see it resembling some of the family violence we see in "Romeo and Juliette." I do use the word again, if I ever get my novelette finished. It is an offence that is either to be dropped and forgotten, or some sort of violence will ensue. In Los Angeles (or most other big cities) all it takes is displaying a wrong gang symbol with your hands to get you shot. The serious mistake that Solat made was
Spoiler
I'm more than willing to admit that I went too far with it, but the idea of an automatic response just interested me. And that the whole issue was about family honor was huge...a samurai in feudal Japan wouldn't have wasted a minute to lob someone's head off for a similar reason. The main thing I fault myself on was
Spoiler
As always, I do need to hear how others see the stories...Robert Stewart is never afraid to let me have it when he thinks I deserve it. BTW, he gave me badly needed input on the fight/action scenes.
I'm glad that Sara got to be a believeable character...my daughter Holly was this same age when I wrote this...and I could just imagine how aggravated she'd be at me or her mother if we suddenly became royalty in Ireland ::chuckles:: I've always loved the friendship she has with Annie Kroker, and the whole idea of what a strange upbringing they would have had at Planet Express.
Spoiler
Another one of my problems in this series, if not the main one, is to assume that the readers know everything that I do - viva description! I'm gettin' there...slowly but surely...I'm gettin' there. Robert has had to endure endless read-throughs, but I think they are a necessary part of the writing process. Thanks again! ;D
"I always remember an epitaph which is in the cemetery at Tombstone, Arizona. It says: 'Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest.' I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have - When he gives everything that is in him to do the job he has before him. That is all you can ask of him and that is what I have tried to do."
Harry S Truman


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