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View Full Version : Is there a curse on Simon Furman?


relak
2012-04-15, 09:16 AM
Thanks to Transformers, i have sort of developed a taste for Simon Furman's style of writing.
I love how he slowly sets up a plot, the build up, teasing the reader with big reveals and more to come, yet keeping enough hidden to stir the air of mystery.


So i dug into his past non-transformers works and i came to realise this: EVERYTHING he has done so far has fallen victim to pre-mature cancellation!!

So i suspect there is some sort of Curse on Furman
-Everything he works on will be cancelled before the plot is fully developed hence forcing a hasty and ultimately disappointing (at best) conclusion.
-Disappointing conclusions tend to go totally "off the rocker".

Let me list them (and their disappointing off rocker conclusions)

DragonClaws - cancelled at 10 (cliffhanger ending)
Death's Head - cancelled at 10 (after duking it out with the FF4 and a crazy alternate future iron man, almost like a parody)
Robocop - cancelled at 23 (Robocop battles a crazy Aztec Priest dude)
Terminator (Dynamite) - cancelled at 12 (after John Connor travels to the present, meets himself and destroys a giant Dog terminator)

Another thing i realised is that those stories were actually JUST GETTING GOOD until they announced that the series will be cancelled soon. Then suddenly everything goes off the rocker after that announcement (like Robocop vs Aztec dude) as if Furman didnt give a crap anymore.

And i dont blame him if he didnt give a crap.
Why is all his works suddenly cancelled JUST WHEN THE STORY WAS GETTING GOOD?!?!?!?

Denyer
2012-04-15, 11:00 AM
Well, a large part of it is failure to include resolution as he goes along, probably with a certain amount of hope that not wrapping things up would lead to a stay of execution. He shouldn't get a pass for that.

Going into G2, it was very clear that the book had been commissioned for twelve issues. The earlier Marvel TF stuff (as a toy tie-in book) wasn't respected in the industry, but sales of comics in general were healthier and there wasn't great pressure to axe the titles as long as (in the UK in particular, where the comic was heavy on reprints) costs could be controlled.

Since then, he's moved over to decompressed writing, which either has to be exceptional or have a lot of audience inertia to succeed. It's at odds with the work that got him established, which had short page counts and had to be more self-contained... that industry doesn't really exist any more. But even where decompression is a norm, the writing style of the -Ations for Transformers quickly got complacent, assuming that it's okay to not edit vigorously for filler and that the page space will be made available to bring everything together later.

And frankly, there are better and more experienced writers out there. His bio bits in books mention properties he's been allowed to touch, but tend to omit the fact that involvement was very short-lived in most cases... and it's mostly past glory. The majority of his output over the years has almost certainly been bread-and-butter non-comics work.

Cliffjumper
2012-04-15, 11:53 AM
Arno Stark's no parody; he was the adversary in the Machine Man limited series set in 2020, which ran as a back-up in TFUK. This led to Arno ending up with a cult following in the UK (he's also made occasional US reappearances; as the villain in a Spider-Man annual also reprinted by TFUK by popular demand, and there was a rather awful mid-1990s one-shot which filed all the edges off the character and made you wonder why they bothered), hence DH.

As much as I'm not adverse to a bit of ribbing Furman, there're extraneous circumstances to some of those. DH and Dragon's Claws both failed because there simply wasn't a market for the books; Marvel UK's brief history is a continued tale of over-reaching itself in a generally indifferent market. A couple of successful licenced titles (of which TF was probably the biggest) papered over the cracks for years, but the failures are legion.

He did, however, manage the amazing feat of getting a mutant book cancelled by Marvel in 1994. Okay, so it was only Alpha Flight and it had always been pretty unpopular, but that still took some work at around the time people were buying Cable and the raped corpse of Excalibur was still happily juddering along.

But yeh, he's just not a generally superb comics writer - he's good at TFs and not much else (I include DH in that, a character that went very generic once he stepped into his own comic). There's nothing in his other Marvel work to distinguish it from the jobsworths who also worked on similar mid-ranking titles - a couple of his What Ifs? aren't bad, but then a fair few What Ifs? aren't bad; the quality is dictated by the scenario and the amount of hilarious deaths.

And his conclusions have always been a bit iffy, cancellation or no - Space Pirates, Time Wars, Target 2006. It's especially obvious in limited series where he knew what the score was - both completed TF:WW minis spend ages on set-up and then just sort of stop towards the end, and his Armada arcs are terrible for "OH MY ****ING GOD! IT'S THE LAST ISSUE! HAVE SKYBLAST SHOOT AT SOMETHING IMPORTANT!!!!". And IDW gave him - what - forty issues, which he frittered away with complete stylistic schizophrenia and pointless side-tracking. He's lucky they stayed the course with him as long as they did, bluntly.

relak
2012-04-15, 02:11 PM
Well, true that.

It is his set ups that i enjoy most.
But i always thought it is not that he can't end a story right, but that the story is always cancelled or made to end by the bosses before Furman could complete his set-up.

I dont really count stuff like War Within or the -tion series as "miniseries" since Dreamwave and IDW made it clear that there would be a followup.

Hence Furman was writing War Witin 1 with the full knowledge that he could expand his story into WW:Dark Ages. Same with the -tion series.

I mean, if i knew there would be a book 2 anyway, why would i want to jam pack all my good ideas into book 1.

Cliffjumper
2012-04-15, 02:40 PM
Because if you've been stringing along readers for five issues it's nice to have something in the 6th? The problem is that none of the examples I can think of are for that reason; they just have shit conclusions because Furman can't space manage. Devastation, for example, does have a conclusion. It's just incredibly, insultingly, mind-bogglingly bad.

As Denyer said, I have no sympathy with any complaints about cancellation or compacting of any of Furman's storylines leaving them without clear conclusions because it's the guy's fault for being incapable of keeping to the point. Think how many pages he wasted in the IDW stuff.

Cyberstrike nTo
2012-04-15, 03:35 PM
I don't think Furman is that great at "writing for trade" he tends to be great at one-shots and huge 20+ issues storylines (which he rarely gets to end) sure he has written some great arcs like Target: 2006 and Matrix Quest but he pretty much started those and knew how much time he had and he was able to end them.

The stuff he wrote for IDW were mini-series followed by another mini-series and a bunch of one-shots thrown in every once in a while. Now maybe if (and the keywords here are: MAYBE IF) IDW had done Stormbringer has either #1 or #7 of a monthly ongoing series his work might have been better, but then again they may had been worse. Who can tell?

Frankly after reading his last two storylines IDW Revelation and Maximum Dinobots I would be happy if Furman stayed away from the IDW G1 Universe because those two series are the 2 worse comic book stories I've ever read. I mean not just Transformers related but comic books in general and I've read some bad comics in my time but none that made me physically ill like those two turds did.

inflatable dalek
2012-04-15, 07:22 PM
The curse of Furman: Male pattern baldness.

Skyquake87
2012-04-15, 08:22 PM
I'd forgotten Furman's run on Alpha Flight. Never read it, but don't think its cancellation was solely down to Furman. This was, lest we forget, a comic that tried to churn up interest by 'outing' Northstar as gay ... in the middle of a fight scene.

I'd like to agree with Cyberstrike, but can't. In this age of writing for the trade, Furman has struggled with 'decompressed' (or empty, as i like to call it) storytelling. He should have stuck to writing to his strengths and not try and write against his usual style. It certainly hasn't harmed James Roberts whos TF work is old-school and all the better for it. I like reading comics where something happens month in month out, f**k all this dragging it out bull. Transformers is something that demands to be visceral! Not slow and ploddy. To totally rain on my own argument, I did really like Infiltration and Escalation. If an editor had reined him in and ordered him to keep to Earth based shenanigans, I think we'd have been onto a winner. That and disposing of limited series format. A limited series, by its very nature, has to be concise, tight and have a beginning, middle and end. I blame Dark Horse for this horrible 'series of miniseries that form an ongoing'.

I think his earlier stuff stands up well because there is some kind of editorial control on him. His stories build on each other naturally and snowball into something else. I'd agree that some of his conclusions are a bit weak, but its also somewhat unfair to judge them as 'complete' stories in and of themselves (at least so far as Transformers is concerned). The UK arcs weren't designed to be split neatly into trades, but as part of an ongoing narrative. The same is true of his US run - which does actually have a great conclusion in #75 but rumbles on as cancellation wasn't anticiapted. He does like long arcs, but is capable of shorter ones - he just needs a firm hand (or necessity)telling him so. Incidentally, what is it with Matrix Quest? I find it tedious guff. The film pastiches where thin very quickly and the arc doesn't function as a five part story at all.

@ Cliffy - did Death's Head become generic? I think DH and Dragons Claws still stand up very well. DH moreso as there is some stamp of personality on the character, certainly in comparison to DH II who is indeed horifically generic (but then he would be, written as he was by Dan 'hatchet job' Abnett). Both books deliberately mine similar territory to 2000AD and the like to make them an easy sell to a UK audience. I didn't think Death's Head was particularly toned down for his own series, he seems to be as brutal and efficient as always. I think there's a conscious attempt to tell different stories to stop him becoming a robotic Punisher though. Whatever Furman did, he did enough to ensure the character had longevity and is remembered, unlike the rest of Marvel UK's characters - including his many sequels (along with Revelations and Maximium Dinobots, 1994's Death Metal limited series ranks as a stinker too, but I did feel as though this was Marvel Uk just tossing Furman some crumbs for coming up with their most bankable non-licensed character - someone must have read What If #53, one of his best bits of writing ever, that...).

It'd be interesting to find out how those books were sold and distributed. I remember Furman & Hitch did tour comic shops to garner interest which shows Marvel UK did the sensible thing and got them into the Direct Market as well as UK newsstands, but I can't think that Marvel US did much to assist with stateside sales and promotion.

Cliffjumper
2012-04-15, 09:48 PM
DH becomes very, very Saturday morning Wolverine in his solo series. Always banging on about how he's a complete shit, but what do you know, he ends up doing The Right Thing every single time, but just grumbling like a tit the whole time about how it's "bad for business, yes?" as he saves Franklin Richards or whatever.

The What If's alright, but suffers from typical faults of the series - such as the bit where the heroes all attack the DHII thing without harm, then try again and are butchered in four seconds flat in hilariously implausible ways (Namor's death especially is a real level-breaker - IIRC it even had a comedy "shonk" sound effect, which is exactly the noise a head being cleaved off a body makes). The Iron Man one he did (again with art by Geoffire Senior; 64/65 ish, "What If Iron Man Sold Out?") is much better, though amusingly they didn't actually bother crediting either of them.

Agree with Furman basically betraying himself since about 2002. The problem is he himself doesn't believe in the IDW stuff; Infiltration is one of the most transparently derivative comics I've ever read. It's a cheap audition for something better, one last attempt to show Marvel or whoever that he can do modern comics, so please give him a ring so he can do The Ultimates or anything, please. Of course, it was shite so then we go the backtracking - the craven insurance policy Stormbringer ("No people, promise, because I can't write people!") and then Nightbeat, Shockwave, Hot Rod, Grimlock and whoever exactly the ****ing same as they were twenty years ago - whatever it takes to reassure Transformers fans that he still loves them the most and could they please keep loving him, because if they stop he is never, ever going to work again.

As you say, Roberts has shown there's a different way to go than trying to ape whatever's hip this month.

The absolute kicker with Furman and IDW is that he had everything any writer could possibly want. Hasbro left him to it, IDW gave him - what - two years of patience to let him do whatever the Hell he wanted, he had a whole universe to build from the bottom up without having to be held hostage by Mad Bob or Pat Lee. Very few comic writers full-stop get that. And he completely blew it of his own accord, long before anyone at IDW even knew who Chippy McCarthy was.

Knightdramon
2012-04-15, 09:55 PM
Frankly, I'm not surprised. I've only read his IDW work, DW work and some marvel material [transformers related].

The guy reuses the same phrases all over the place. The guy gets too much credit in the IDW universe for reasons that don't make sense to me. Really, Maximum Dinobots is among the worst IDW has put out [including Heart of Darkness]. It's at the top of the worst list. He managed to take an independent story with free character reign, with just ONE shared element on the mainline TF title [the aftermath of Sunstreaker's and Hunter's surgery] and he crammed so many bots and plot elements in, he didn't even do that scene properly!

Generally, the guy, or at least his solicitations promise so much and deliver so little it's tragic. Devastation comes out...we were promised a complete, total all out world that will threaten the earth and change everything forever...Jazz loses an arm, Runabout and Runamuck die. Spotlight Sideswipe comes out, we're promised the end all conclusion...not much happens. Maximum Dinobots comes out, we're promised mayhem, dinobots, betrayal, mini spotlights on each dinobot, sunstreaker, hot rod...and if I finish this sentence I will literally cry.

Much like Paul Anderson and his Resident evil movies, there's no curse on Simon Furman. He's just not that good into what he's doing.

relak
2012-04-16, 01:32 AM
Because if you've been stringing along readers for five issues it's nice to have something in the 6th? The problem is that none of the examples I can think of are for that reason; they just have shit conclusions because Furman can't space manage. Devastation, for example, does have a conclusion. It's just incredibly, insultingly, mind-bogglingly bad.

As Denyer said, I have no sympathy with any complaints about cancellation or compacting of any of Furman's storylines leaving them without clear conclusions because it's the guy's fault for being incapable of keeping to the point. Think how many pages he wasted in the IDW stuff.
There always was something by the 6th. Even in dEvastation.
BEcause for each of the -tion series, a new -tion series had already been greenlit by the time Furman was on issue 4 or 5.
So, knowing that there will be a followup, why cram all the revelations into issue 6??

Furthermore, remember that IDW was going for a parallel storytelling. (THe earth based Machination saga covered in -tion and the space based dead universe saga covered in Stormbringer and the spotlights.). Of course if you read Devastation alone, the conclusion would make no sense if you did not tie it into the spotlights.

Cliffjumper
2012-04-16, 06:45 AM
So, knowing that there will be a followup, why cram all the revelations into issue 6??

That isn't what I said. It's not about revelations per se, but basic storytelling skills and discipline. Furman pissed away pages on Arcee, on Wheelie, on the ****ing ridiculous Ironhide sub-plot, on showing us Jubilee's MySpace skills when she'd be basically ignored five issues later, etc.

Skyquake87
2012-04-16, 08:28 AM
the parallel storytelling just allowed Furman to set up too many ongoing threads - pulling that lot together would have taken a plethora of writers some doing, let alone someone of Furman's ability.

IDW f**ked up when they allowed the spotlight series to form part of the ongoing minis they were doing. For a character spotlight story, you need the story to be swift and self contained. The Spotlights should have functioned along similar lines to Marvel Comics Presents.

Devastation is a key example of where it all goes wrong (that's what, only 12 issues into the ongoing Earth arc?) - too much introduced, too much going on and nowhere near enough pages to include all that Reapers cobblers. He should have just stuck to having Ironhide rescued and have Sixshot show up later. The Machination arc introduced here also has no room to resolve itself - again, not qualities that should be associated with a MINI SERIES. If it was going to end anywhere - the stuff with Jimmy and Verity getting gassed should have been a cliffhanger conclusion if you are going to throw that in there.

Cliffjumper
2012-04-16, 08:42 AM
IDW f**ked up when they allowed the spotlight series to form part of the ongoing minis they were doing. For a character spotlight story, you need the story to be swift and self contained. The Spotlights should have functioned along similar lines to Marvel Comics Presents.

Yeh, lack of editorial control is probably the biggest problem. There really, really should have been someone sitting over Furman's shoulder going "Okay, where's this plot thread tying in? Where's this one going? Where are you going to have the space to follow this up? Are you sure you want to crack open this plot thread when there are six more still danging?".

Furman doesn't work well with freedom, his best work has been under some sort of duress - the Marvel UK stuff where he had to keep half an eye on what Bob was doing; the Marvel US stuff where there was always the threat of the axe; the G2 stuff where he knew there would only be 12 issues barring a miracle.

The problem is a lot of comics, TF or non-TF, have an overall rolling storyline split across numerous minis or smaller arcs with an eye on TPBs. However, very few of these fail to produce issues or - at worst - arcs that can be read in isolation and have some basic story structure in themselves. The IDW stuff really doesn't - you can't pick up Devastation and read it if you've never read anything else from the title because it's pretty much all 'middle'. Furman got lazy and just assumed 1) that everybody reading was reading everything he was putting out and 2) that IDW would have the elastic patience to just wait another 2-3 years while he continued to map out his take on the universe.

Skyquake87
2012-04-16, 08:49 AM
all this has reminded me i need to get my remaining IDW trades on ebay...

...sigh. do you know, i once looked forward to reading Transformers. James Roberts , bless him, is doing his best to swim against the tide of bullsh*t, but even now there's a sense of impending doom about anything IDW do.

:(

Cliffjumper
2012-04-16, 09:05 AM
Eh, I'm not reading the Roberts stuff. Nothing against him at all, but I simply do not trust IDW not to **** it up in the most idiotic fashion, so this time I'm keeping well clear.

relak
2012-04-16, 02:04 PM
the parallel storytelling just allowed Furman to set up too many ongoing threads - pulling that lot together would have taken a plethora of writers some doing, let alone someone of Furman's ability.

IDW f**ked up when they allowed the spotlight series to form part of the ongoing minis they were doing. For a character spotlight story, you need the story to be swift and self contained. The Spotlights should have functioned along similar lines to Marvel Comics Presents.

Devastation is a key example of where it all goes wrong (that's what, only 12 issues into the ongoing Earth arc?) - too much introduced, too much going on and nowhere near enough pages to include all that Reapers cobblers. He should have just stuck to having Ironhide rescued and have Sixshot show up later. The Machination arc introduced here also has no room to resolve itself - again, not qualities that should be associated with a MINI SERIES. If it was going to end anywhere - the stuff with Jimmy and Verity getting gassed should have been a cliffhanger conclusion if you are going to throw that in there.
I actually found the parallel storyline to be quite common in comics nowadays. But ya, the spotlights were meant to get into the head of the featured character with the ongoing tale only as backdrop. I think right around spotlight Optimus prime did the editorial control slip and it became more of "dead universe saga" told in first person

inflatable dalek
2012-04-16, 07:09 PM
IDW f**ked up when they allowed the spotlight series to form part of the ongoing minis they were doing. For a character spotlight story, you need the story to be swift and self contained. The Spotlights should have functioned along similar lines to Marvel Comics Presents.

Yeah, the earlier The End... OR IS IT?!?!? style stuff wasn't so bad, but once they began to interlink hugely a large apart of the dip in and out appeal was thrown out the window.

Devastation is a key example of where it all goes wrong (that's what, only 12 issues into the ongoing Earth arc?) - too much introduced, too much going on and nowhere near enough pages to include all that Reapers cobblers. He should have just stuck to having Ironhide rescued and have Sixshot show up later. The Machination arc introduced here also has no room to resolve itself - again, not qualities that should be associated with a MINI SERIES. If it was going to end anywhere - the stuff with Jimmy and Verity getting gassed should have been a cliffhanger conclusion if you are going to throw that in there.


Yep. I still say it should have been Hound's Autobots who showed up to attack the Decepticon base, that would have worked on lots of levels (including an irony one of them bringing Megs and Starscream back together) and been much better structurally than "Hound, come to Earth... no, on second thoughts go away".

Eh, I'm not reading the Roberts stuff. Nothing against him at all, but I simply do not trust IDW not to **** it up in the most idiotic fashion, so this time I'm keeping well clear.

At least each issue can be read in isolation fairly easily, it's basically Lost In Space (which is what I thought Roberts meant when he said it was Lost in space)/Quantum Leap, a self contained story with the pre-credits sequence of the next episode stuck on the end to create a cliffhanger.

Was listening to an Underbase podcast from a few weeks ago earlier, apparently Regeneration One is going to have the Wreckers (including Rack'N'Ruin[/i]) in it. Says it all really.

relak
2012-04-16, 11:23 PM
Someone mentioned the structure of a miniseries. Yet it struck me as if furman were writing an ongoing. Maybe the blame goes to the editor then

Red Dave Prime
2012-04-16, 11:43 PM
Never minded Furmans work - some things worked very well, some things not at all. I wouldnt rate him as a top comic book writer but he somethings gets more of a slagging than I think is fair.

For example, a lot of people complain that the spotlights started failing when they tied it to the dead universe plot - but it was always leading into other plotlines, and mainly the dead universe one.

Look at the first ten issues -

Shockwave - Sets up Earth as the energy supplier for Nemisis primes plan. Also establishes Shockwave and the Dynobots on Earth.

NightBeat - Nightbeat actually encounters the dead universe

Hot Rod - Although it does focus on Hot Rod it also sets up the Map of the Universe thing which is essential to the Autobots stopping the Dead Universe (and yes, it was the most face-palming moment in Furmans run)

Ultra Magnus - Sets up Scorponok going to Earth and damaged, also hints at his first attempts at bonding with an organic creature.

Sixshot - Introduces the Reapers (sigh...)

Soundwave - Follows up on the Shockwave spotlight, also gives insight into how Bludgeon got knowledge of ore-13

Galvatron - Full on Dead Universe Incursion

Optimus Prime - Prime investigates his encounter with the presence of Nemisis Prime, also encounters Jiaxhus experiment and the realises Novas philosophy.

We also get Kup and Ramjet which feel much more like what people wanted the Spotlights to be. But overall, the first Spotlights very much were tied into Furmans arcs, albeit through individual characters viewpoints.

For me, furmans main problem is building too big a web and somewhat losing track of what was important. Too many strands are added when they didnt need to be - the Hound crew idea mentioned above is a perfect example of how a much simpler and obvious solution would have worked much better.

I'll always feel that Furmans failure with his run, whether it was his own or a lack of strong direction from the editor, is a real missed chance to establish a well thought out universe. I liked the idea that he had lots of small strands set up to build future arcs, but he kept bringing them all together so often that once the dead universe arc had ended, he had nowhere else to go anyway.

relak
2012-04-17, 02:17 AM
Red Dave>>> Thats basically why i was pretty ok with him taking a long time to establish plot points and such. He was building a universe from the ground up.
I'm sure IDW was envisioning the new TF comics to be like Marvel's ULTIMATE comics. With multiple series running parallel to each other and crossing over once in a while. (kinda like what they are doing now with RID and MTMTE) Rather than like previous TF comics which were pretty much a single story or multiple stories set in different times.

But somewhere during Devastation and Spotlight Optimus Prime, the editors decided to bring everything into a single storyline again instead of having 2 parallel stories.

The issue about the spotlights is that earlier spotlights always focused ON THE CHARACTER with the Dead universe arc as solely a backdrop. Slowly and slowly, it devolved into just the DEad universe arc told from a first person POV.

Personally i was hoping for 3 lines of TF comics.
- The Earth based "Machination arc" to be covered in -tion series
- THe spotlights
- THe Dead Universe arc covered in a "storm" series (Building on stormbringer)

Skyquake87
2012-04-17, 07:32 AM
I just wished we'd never had the Dead Universe at all. Terrible concept. And it was a re-heat of Necrowar.

relak
2012-04-17, 08:30 AM
I just wished we'd never had the Dead Universe at all. Terrible concept. And it was a re-heat of Necrowar.

Never heard of that miniseries.

WAs it a TF:UK arc??

Cliffjumper
2012-04-17, 12:32 PM
Non-TF mini-series by Furman for DW that managed to get cancelled mid-run without anyone really caring. Even Ver Furm didn't seem that bothered.

Top link in Google is a TF store going "Hey, by fan-favourite Furman!", blithely unaware that if it doesn't have a Hasbro copyright notice in it, TF fans don't give a **** who it's by.
http://cyberstore.decepticon-matrix.com/morecomicsnecrowar.html
(http://cyberstore.decepticon-matrix.com/morecomicsnecrowar.html)

inflatable dalek
2012-04-17, 06:51 PM
I've got that somewhere.... IIRC Dreamwave promoted it hard on the "Digital" colouring. Which mainly made it impossible to tell one character from another.

Cyberstrike nTo
2012-04-17, 11:09 PM
I've got that somewhere.... IIRC Dreamwave promoted it hard on the "Digital" colouring. Which mainly made it impossible to tell one character from another.

I thought it was digital paint artwork because it's Adi Granov who was the same artist that did the art work on the Warren Ellis-written Iron Man: Extremis storyline.

relak
2012-04-18, 01:00 AM
I thought it was digital paint artwork because it's Adi Granov who was the same artist that did the art work on the Warren Ellis-written Iron Man: Extremis storyline.

I KNEW that name sounds familiar.

Thats it, im getting me NECROWAR

Cyberstrike nTo
2012-04-18, 07:14 PM
I KNEW that name sounds familiar.

Thats it, im getting me NECROWAR

Trust me you're not missing much.

Skyquake87
2012-04-19, 08:27 AM
...and you've already read it in Furman's Dead Universe stuff.

relak
2012-04-20, 12:08 AM
...and you've already read it in Furman's Dead Universe stuff.

Yea, well i was expecting the Dead universe stuff to be something "smarter". It certainly seemed to be heading in that direction for a while.

read here to see what i expected (http://tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=50942)