With the official Combat Frame XSeed launch fast approaching, I thought it a good time to share some of the feedback offered by one of my keen-eyed beta readers.
A year ago, Brian Niemeier , along with a group of other authors and a group of Mobile Suit Gundam fans realized that modern western mecha scifi has fallen into a trope trap of dour space marines fighting in a galactic hellscape setting or clunky upright tanks; while the established Anime mecha series seemed to be stuck in a narrative loop (“Are you guys ready for the Neo-Neo-Neo-Neo-Zeon War?”). Thus #AGundamForUs was born! The idea being for authors to tap into the Eastern mecha tropes -not necessarily just from Gundam- that Western storytellers had been ignoring, while trying to avoid the narrative loops of the East. A best of both worlds.
Combat Frame XSeed succeeds in spades. You get a nice, tight narrative with plenty of action, revenge plots, espionage, space colonies, agile big robots, large objects falling out of space, and a mystery thread that looks like it will span the series. While fans of series like Mobile Suit Gundam and Armored Trooper Votoms will recognize tropes and inspiration sources, they’ll not get a retread slapdash repaint of those series. The setting is its own thing, with events transpiring based on real life demographic projections pushed further into the future that play into the characters’ motivations and subsequent choices. The preview…where a group of insurgent Earthers raids a village for supplies using some older Combat Frames (the mechs) is tonally spot-on and feels inspired by a village raid by spacer forces in Gundam 08th MS Team. The raid doesn’t transpire in the same way as its Gundam inspiration though and seems to be just a minor action set piece at first…but it has major ramifications for both the main protagonist and the main antagonists by the end.
There are a surprising number of situations like that in the book; where at first it feels like something is minor but it resonates throughout if you pay attention. So not only do you get a fun robot action romp, it’s well thought out as well.
The reader is correct about me and my fellow NewMech authors’ aims. It’s highly gratifying to hear that Combat Frame XSeed has risen to the challenge. And that’s the beta version. Let everyone who submitted helpful corrections and suggestions know that the official Amazon release will be even more polished, with a little more clarity in regard to those seemingly minor elements that snowball into major twists later.
Combat Frame XSeed will officially launch this month. If you’re an Indiegogo backer who wanted to wait and buy the trade paperback from Amazon, but you haven’t subscribed to Nova Frontier yet, sign up via the link in the eBook to get the launch announcement before readers of this blog and even subscribers to my general newsletter. Plus, you get the “Combat Frame XSeed: CY 2 Gaiden” bonus short story for free.
I also ask the respected critics who received advance review copies to kindly abstain from publishing reviews on blogs and social media until after the official release. In addition to being my #AGundam4Us entry, CFXS was devised as an experiment with the Fox/Anspach/Cole launch model that’s been a year in the making. Data purity is paramount, and Amazon’s algorithm needs time to work with the organic sales data.
This is gonna be good.
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