by Sir Nil
- Traumatising content
Declan was but a teenager when he was invited to Gaia. It wasn't some popular VRMMO like the ones his friend keeps recommending, nor was it a 'game' in the traditional sense. Gaia was the stopgap to Indiri, a living breathing world, the final creation of a dead genius. Invited to this world by Eve, the overseer and an AI light-years greater than any that came before her, Declan was given a choice.
To join or not to join?
Well, why the hell not?
Hello, this is a pretty basic VR story which I started writing out of boredom, don't expect anything too great here, it's a somewhat unique setting but with mostly slice of life comedy shenanigans with no real 'plot' since I can't reliably include stakes in a world where respawning is a thing. I'll try to upload at least once every other week but real life stuff may get in the way occasionally.
**WARNING** Protagonist comes with an inbuilt wizard hat. Also, any mentions of chapter titles shall be met with falling rocks TPK.
**ACTUAL WARNING** Story may or may not read like the fever dream of an eclectic sasquatch with internet connection.
Do be warned, that this story has extremely slow pacing by design.
Laugh at my empty Patreon!!
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It's well made, as of chapter 2.0, and contains no small amount of, very specifically, cabbage puns. The main character hasn't had a lot of time to flesh out, but so far seems more than one-dimensional. Hope it turns into something great.
"More holes than swiss cheese." Nil demanded. And me? Well, I was happy to comply.
This seems to be a trend recently. Authors asking me for nitpicky and critical reviews instead of, you know, just reviews. But, I will deliver to the best of my abilities. Do note that this review is formed from my subjective opinion and attempts to stay objective, and measures this story by RoyalRoad standards. As such, take it with a grain of salt.
I will focusing on that good and the bad, and may spend more time on the bad and critique than usual, as per author request. I do not say what I say out of soite or mailce, but to help Nil further his authoring career. And with that, enjoy.
I'll ge brutally honest here, Nil. The story took up to over a hundred pages to interest me. It's not that it was bad or truly lacking, but it was outside of what subjectively interested me, and many of the small things I wanted from a story was missing.
I know the premise of a mushroom-man metagaming and being an annoying and unkillable little shit sounds great to many people, but as a more critical reader, it stumbled for me early on. You had what felt more like events happening than a tightly-woven plot. Now, this may not have been what you actually intended, but again, my tastes and all that.
There was minimal character development and backstory in the first two hundred pages, with just enough to form outlines of the main cast. The plot itself is a wee bit lacking in a driving force (no real goals or antagonists so far) and some plotlines were just left behind or forgotten about (the rats inciting PvP).
The story was whacky at times, and this felt like a goal, but it was oftentimes random and spontaneous with no foreshadowing or pauses to look around the location the characters. Some parts of it were well-done, yes. But overall, it could use some reworking, tightening or touching up. The extremely long first few chapters, while having a great twist or two, dragged a little for me. (As mentioned above, VRMMO is usually not my thing.)
That not to say the story was unsalvageable or truly bad. It wasn't. It was just..average to me. It had it's moments, but the better parts found later on likely won't be seen by the readers who left because of the comparitively weak and long first half.
This is my take on how you can rework it somewhat if rewriting or incirporating this when moving forward.
- Tighten the plot early on. Add plot points, goals beyond 'play this game' an antagonist to move against. Insert character interaction, backstory, growth, quirks, etc.
- Streamline and break down some of the longer processes, like lore and info being dumped on the reader. These are points where the story hits large snags, especially when blocks take up the entire screen.
- Simplify things for the reader to understand. Remember, you aren't building an extensive and comprehensive rulebook for a tabletop game, you're writing a story for an audience with 20k other fics to possible read. Keep them entertained and keep theplot moving.
- Sell the actual sales point. To me, that point was shroomboi being a status effect arsehole who's tough to kill. I'm seeing minimal amounts of that.
This is a bit above decent, in my own opinion. Doesn't bungle up anything, but isn't exactly stellar either. Could stand to improve, especially in some critical areas.
Dialogue: This story often treats dialogue as simply an exchange of information, or as filler. Properly user, speech can give insight to a character, what words they use, how advanced their vocabulary is, what topics they keep coming back to, etc. It could also flow smoother and be more natural, in my opinion.
Battles: This was perhaps the biggest offender. Battles should be fast, tense and chaotic/at least easy to visualize. Instead, the story often slowed down in the middle of a fight scene, multiple times even, to instead dump a paragraph or two of exposition. This killed the meaning of said battles for me, honestly. Keep descriptions soley to the combatants and their surrounding area, not thought monologues.
Descriptions: Speeking of which, this was a hell of an offender. Descriptions here are minimal, and a world readers can't visualise is just words on a screen. You don't need to go overboard, as the reader's imagination is your greatest tool, but you severely undercut hete, Nil. Take Declan, for instance. He's a mushroom humanoid, right?
How come I never felt that? Him being essentially top heavy ar was never described, nor was him having any difficukty navigating enviroments built for humans, having a natural umbrella to light. Where were his eyes located? How did it feel to be moving inside an alien lifeform?
Matt as well. I only recently found out what a tiefling was, and without that, I woukd have no way to visualise Matt as other than a 'horned purple dude' the story provided. Does he have feet or hooves? I he taller than most people? These are the sort of details the story is heavily lacking.
Passing marks. Not truly colorful, as prose could be more varied and lack of comma placing at times causes the story to stumble in my over-critical eyes, but it's on the right path and I can't complain about it.
Just one instance to explain in the mistakes thst keep coming up. Now, I used a dialogue example, and this may not apply as dialogue is unique in that it can ignore most grammar rules, but I feel this applies outside of dialogue as well.
"Yellow jump up there!"
The correct version would be:
"Yellow, jump up there!"
Again, Nimbus complains on and on. The cast is decent, and I feel like I've said the bulk of my complaints above, but I'll go through them again.
You did a good job of selling the MC as a veteran gamer to whom this isn't his first rodeo and knows how to handle himself, as well as effectively meta-game and handle himself when the going gets tough.
Dustin and crew are likeable at times, whacky at others, serious when the situation calls for it. A decent crew you'll find in decent stories. But are they truly memorable? Sadly, not really, IMO. Don't feel discouraged, since I've read and seen a truly staggering amount of characters over the years, so take all my musings with a grain of salt.
They neeed backstories, badly. Even if it's not epic stuff and a bit mundane, this helps humanize the characters for the audience to better invest in them. Some of this does appear later on, but in the starting chapters is where it's needed the most.
They need quirks for the audience to latch on to, more descriptions for the readers to better picture them in minds-eye, goals for the audience to root for and antagonists to strive against. They need to grow more as characters and possibly contrast each other in different ways (far more than is already in the story). In short, they need to be fleshed out. The quicker this happens when a story is started, the better.
The jorney is dust and rubbish without people to connect it to. Remember that.
So, this was a bit of a hard review, as the story itself was outside of what I prefer to read, but I tried to be fair and follow the author's wishes. Mycology needs to tighten itself up somewhat early on, and focus on it's selling point. Shroomboi status effecter tough to kill little shit. Once you have that firmly introduced and implemented, then we can start getting to the rest.
And with this, I'm done.
Phew. That took quite a bit of time, honestly. Just hope it was worth the wait. All the best to you, Nil.
Ok, i'll try to be succinct to keep this review readable.
Starting this review with author's comment, I cherrypicked some of Sir Nil's words in the afterword of the prologue (chapter after 4.23) which are relevant in an accurate (as of chapter 4.23) portrayal of Mycology, and they are the following:
"The purpose of this story thus far, is to be purposeless, to not have a point..."
"A realistic story isn’t about consequences for your actions..."
"...a thousand events, happening outside your control."
This existential nihilism and purposelessness defines the prologue. Despite the relatively speaking quite grimdark world, both in and out of virtual reality, the story could not be accurately called grimdark as rather than focusing on the tradgedy and strife that suffuses life, Mycology sets the spotlight on the joy, fun, and general emotion which is felt in spite of a grimdark scenario without shunning it entirely. This story is probably the slowest slow burn I've read so if you dislike frankly absurd amounts of meandering this one probably isn't for you, although I emplore you to read the first 20 chapters and make your own decision.
I cannot point out any definitive flaws with the style, in fact I think it quite marvellous in how it fits so well with both the story and the MCs' personalities, but there could definitely be improvements regarding combat in big encounters. I do however understand that writing large-scale fights using text is extremely difficult without introducing monotony or having tunnelvision as a part of the scene, so this can mostly be excused in the main problem case for combat. Other than that the dialogue is used well to convey emotion or the lack thereof in some interactions, and the world is built and described in a good compromise of both breadth and depth. Being entirely objective I would probably give style a 4/5 stars, but the good far outweighs the bad in my opinion, hence 4.5/5 stars for style.
Story, as noted in the cherrypicked quotes above, is maybe kinda sorta lacking just a tad in Mycology as of 4.23, although that is noted to probably change in said prologue afterword. Plot is not entirely absent, however, as events do occur around the MCs and they do react to it, they just do not pursue the threads of said plot as one would expect in a story. A great subversion of expectations in this regard gives the story a 3.5/5 stars for story, as even without an overarching plot, plot still appears. The main detrement to this score would be the pacing, but the results are worth it in my opinion.
Mycology has exemplary grammatical structures which are not always present in stories on most webnovel sites, thus 5/5 stars.
Character score is probably the least objective in terms of my review, as I just 'feel' these characters and could see them being people I know with ease, thus 5/5 stars. The characters, both side and main, are sometimes hyperrealistic to the point that it is kinda uncanny, although this isn't always portrayed in the shorter interactions. Some characters are kinda two-dimensional, but it is explainable in the 'path' (levelling system terminology) they follow, i.e. a god of history is focused primarily on history.
Overall, this gets a big ol' 5/5 stars from me because as while the average of Style, Story, Grammar, and Character scores is 4.5, the positives definitely outweigh the detrimental bits. Again, this is a very slow burn so if you arent hooked by the first 20 chapters it is probable you wont be hooked for a while longer. Keep up the great writing, Sir Nil, we appreciate it.
[EDIT: upon re-reading could not locate unnecessary comma previously noted in grammar section, thus mention of it removed from review]
This is one of the best stories I have read here on RR. The writing style, the story plot (both in game and out), the character development, and the grammar/spelling are all top notch.
This is fantasy game-based far-future sci-fi Earth storyline so you get the best of both the medieval setting while in game and the best of Earth-centric sci-fi (no aliens mentioned thus far but high-tech) in one read. It appears as though the Author is an Aussie as there are references relating the character to that area although there is not as much slang/specific word choices one would expect from someone native to that area. Although, there are a few UK spelling choices for words that Yanks like myself might be able to catch.
This is on my Follow list and will be staying there as long the author does not drop it or go on a really long hiatus.
Reviewed at: interlude part 5
normaly i would not do this but i believe i should this time (english is not my first language)
Personally i believe this story to be a potential and unique masterpiece in the making while i really have to point out that all the small side stories are frankly annoying in how they are made and placed the rest are something special.
The way this story is made is frankly something i have never seen or heard of before and while most would consider this a bad thing in this story it's a wonderfull thing, why it is so i will not tell as that would be a down right shame to do as it is something for you to understand and appreciate.
the vast majority of you who read this will read a bit and leave it aside forever and forget it's existance just like throwing away an uncut diamond as it's just another stone.
For those of you who are determined or just like to use your brain a bit to much like me this is a story i hope you will give a long and serious read as thats truly what it deservs.
Well thats enough out of me to you all and the last bit is for sir nil.
What you have written here contains more than even you seem to realise yourself it contains many things only the best writers in this world have been able to contain in their books.
While you are sadly not on their level how close you come is frankly frightening and you can come closer still as you have already sowed the seeds of their possibility, the reason why i won't say them is beacuse you are so close that if i do it will all go down the drain therefore i wish you luck and i truly from the bottom of my heart hope you will turn this into a masterpiece just as this story deservs to be.
As the author said, this is definitely a slow burn book, so if that doesn't interest you, turn back.
Also, while I feel it is a good story so far, there hasn't been much mystery or thought provoking content. Something for us to be questioning along the lines of "Why did X happen? Where did Y come from?" Maybe that'll change later, but for now I feel its kinda one track.
Besides that though, I only have a couple nitpicks, everything else is well put together and well worth some time reading it! I felt quite immersed! And also I have a bias toward Mushroomish characters, so maybe that's why this piqued my interest!
I felt compelled to review this as it has none currently. I can’t tell what makes a good book or a bad book but what I can tell you is that this entertains me and I want more.
I am and a sucker for unique and weird things and as it turns out mushrooms.
Give this a try yeah.
Interesting racial design, real world feel advanced but from a natural progression as opposed to near magic science. Gotta love characters not afraid to say fuck you too. Warning: Puns. That is all
All in all enjoyable light read
Story that doesn't take itself seriously (not in a bad way)
Seems that the characters will have some dimension to them
Enjoyable writing style so far I dont remember anything super annoying that pulled from reading this
this is legit one of the best stories on this site, it deserves a lot more fame tho, and you deserve to read it