Monthly Archives: November 2013

Audio Books for Authors, Interview With Robbie MacNiven


Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a comment

November 24, 2013 · 8:14 pm

A Critical Military Analysis of Star Wars or Why Hoth Should Have Gone Up in Flames


I do love a bit of Star Wars. I’m not a fanboy. I mean, like, I’ve not seen any of the Episodes more than 10 times. I only own one of the dvds. I don’t really have a hat in the “old or new” debate (the old eps are best? Sure, why not!). I don’t really know any of the background beyond the films, and the awesome Clone Wars animated series (gooooo Ashoka!).

But Episode V was on tv on Saturday, and I ended up watching it, all cozy-like with my flatmate. The opening segment on Hoth with all the snoweyness and the pew-pew lazors and the big walkers was awesome. There remained, however, one teeny tiny problem. I’m a history student hoping to do a postgraduate degree in War Studies. I also grew up reading pretty hardcore military sci fi (think Dan Abnett, hallowed be his name evermore). And from a tough, no nonsense military science fiction point of view, the battle for Hoth shouldn’t have happened the way it did. At all.

If I’d been writing Hoth here’s how it would have gone down;

Firstly, combined Arms. The basis of all military strategy revolves around using the many different types of killy stuff you have available – airforce, infantry, armour, artillery, ect. The Empire committed a massive, basic tactical mistake right at the start of the attack on Hoth’s shield generator – they only used armour, namely the huge AT-AT walkers.

This makes no military sense whatsoever. Unsupported the AT-ATs are vulnerable to infantry attack, as proven when Luke takes one out single-handedly with a grenade, and air assault, which is the main cause of their downfall (he he he). They’re too big, too slow, and to be honest don’t even pack a particularly great punch when it comes to firepower – having everything aiming forward leaves their flanks and rear totally open and they’re much too cumbersome to turn easily.

Admittedly at one point a single AT-ST walker is spotted assisting the assault. Smaller, lighter and faster, AT-STs should be the perfect accompaniment to the big AT-ATs. There should still have been a large compliment of ground-pounding Stormtroopers going in with that attack though. We see them later with Vader once the base has been penetrated, but where are they on approach? Certainly not in close combat spread around the walkers.


We’ve had this base long enough to construct large laser turrets… but let’s not dig anything deeper than a slit trench, boys!

And don’t get me started on the air support! Rebel air superiority was a major reason for the high price the Empire paid to crack the Hoth base open. TIE fighters should have seen to that. Even allowing for the fact that maybe the fleet’s compliment of fighters had been kept “upstairs” to help blockade the escaping rebel ships, that doesn’t explain the absence of the TIE bombers (which we see in action minutes later in the asteroid field) which would have been perfect for demolishing the rebel’s hasty slit-trenches, or perhaps even taking out the shield generator itself. TIE interceptors would also have made quick work of those rebel snow speeders. It’s true that the fleet may not have possessed any, but if not then why not? The whole force had been personally requisitioned by Vader with the objective of hunting down and destroying the rebel base. A good compliment of TIEs would have been essential.

All of this would have seen the Hoth base overrun in a matter of minutes, Luke dead (provided the Stormtroopers actually managed to hit something… so probably not) and Han and Leia captured or dead. The number of escaped rebel ships could also have been halved.


F**k your X-Wings, give me a squadron of these bad boys.

But apparently the Empire’s admiralty never went to fightin’ school. Or it could all be Vader’s fault  – this is the guy, after all, who ordered his cronies to disable the Millenium Falcon’s hyperdrive rather than just, y’know, disabling the whole engine system so they couldn’t take off in the first place.

But now I’m being harsh. Star Wars is awesome, and it’s a comfort to know that even if the Galactic Empire mounted an invasion of Earth tomorrow we could probably still wipe the stars with them.


Filed under Uncategorized

Paper Vultures – A SITREP (Part 8)

Well-well-well, what ‘av we here? Only Paper Vultures episode 8, Past the Point of No ReMidterm! Yes, I’m more than halfway through University Year 4’s first semester, which means I should, should have just enough time to do a little bit of blogging before Essay Wave # 2 begins battering down the door and breaking in through the windows. And I just got them repaired after Wave # 1…

You may be forgiven for thinking that with the full-time troglodyte-student existence having reasserted itself the writing front would have been a quiet one of late. Not so citizens! Just this morning I got an email from Dr Faulkner, who regular readers will know is basically like the Professor X of my life – a masterful, benevolent yet distant character who occasionally appears to briefly bestow power and wisdom in equal measure, before returning to matters too great for my young history undergrad mind to comprehend. On this occasion he’s vetted the non-fiction article I submitted to Military History Monthly at the end of summer. To see the blessed changes his editorial acolytes have brought to my own writing warms the cockles of my apprentice-historian heart. Hopefully it’ll be hitting print in one of the the spring editions.

The second development I’ll have to be shamefully coy about, because the chances are nothing will come of it and speaking of it openly may jeopardise my hopes in the great cosmos of Random Luck Allocation. Suffice to say I was headhunted last month by someone who needs some writing done, and the only reason she found me was because of my online writing platform. See! It is important! Don’t skimp on that self-made Facebook fan page with the badly photoshopped header photo and the wannabe-author sepia profile picture! Seriously!

Thirdly, someone was recently very kind to me. Big woop you may say, but let it be known that that someone was in fact Anneque G. Malchien, a rather splendid writer, bloghost and podcaster. As we Scots say, gae check her oot! Not least of all because my first ever published work, Heavenbloom, was reviewed on her podcast last friday. It made me so happy I went and made a badly photoshopped sepia picture! I’m still blushing.

This makes me a real author, right?

Fourthly, Ironfang. Always Ironfang, right? It’s attracted some very helpful critiques on Scribophile and, even better, has brought a number of fellow-writerlings into the Robbie blogfold. Welcome! The water’s cold, it’s Scotland in November! Jump in anyway! Beyond the critting the 2nd draft is coming along swimmingly. With the essays sharpening their knives and loitering on my doorstep I may not quite get it finished by the year’s end, but I’m hoping the final drafts will be done before the buds bloom (which, this being the Frozen North, may be a very long time away indeed…).

Fifthy, congrats for reading this far! You’re a star! Here, have the last bit of news. Last week this rolled in through my door – the hard copy of the latest anthology featuring my work, The Black Wind’s Whispers. I may be biased, but this anthology’s cover art is my favourite – props to Mr Maneul Mesones for that hauntingly creepy young madam. ImageImage

That’s all for now, but fear thee notte – I’ll be sniffing around your blogs, writings, and fooling around in Scribophile aplenty until I next check in. Arrivederci! 


1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

32 Signs Your Spouse Is A Werewolf

A few of the characters from Ironfang could do with a post like this…


Filed under Uncategorized