- Traumatising content
NEWS: The majority story has be taken down in preparation to go to kindle. An Old Man's Journey originally started posting in October of 2019 and the final chapter of the draft was posted on June 21st, 2020.
Charles was an old man. A widower. Retired. He spends his days watching old movies and waiting for his kids and grandkids to call. And doing that is all he wanted to do in the short time he has left.
Bert, his long-time friend, offers Charles a chance to play a game: Crossroads. A virtual reality simulation that could give him another way to spend time with his family. So he seeks to find a place within the game, a place for his family to visit.
With a magic stick levels above what any starting player should have, Charles sets out on a journey to find the perfect place to entice his family to visit. But the game and the players have other ideas. Set up as an NPC quest giver to some, and antagonist to others, how will Charles find his place and what will he have to do to get there?
This is a work of fiction, any similarities between etc. etc. etc. Please don't sue me.
Temporary coverart from pixabay.
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This story reads like a fever dream. It's extremely fast paced with a bunch of plots at once.
It's an overall humorous story with an unique main character.
You should read this in one sitting and at as high of a pace you can.
If you do not like the main character in the beginning, you will not enjoy the rest.
If you like world-building, I do not recommend this.
Please don't read below spoiler if you are interested in the story. This story does have its merits and I don't want to poison your perception of a story that should be read as a fun romp.
Like a fever dream, it's confusing and when you stop to think about how you got there, it's even more confusing. I occasionally paused (mistake!) and tried to comprehend the scale of how any of these pieces fit together. Lower world, upper world? Time dilation? Levels are nonsense. Balance is nonsense. Equipment is nonsense. Unique storylines are nonsense. Armies are nonsense. The reincarnation stuff was really the nail in the nonsense coffin for me. At that point, I was only continuing to read because I was begging for a coherent explanation, which I got. Then I kept reading for a coherent explanation on how a duplicate could be so powerful and have such long history in an alternate server when he's only been playing for a short time. There's no internal logic to the world, it's all surface logic: what happens happened only because it would be funny or interesting if it happened. There's no "in-world" explanation.
I assume that some of this is intentional. That it is meant to make no sense because the main character barely knows what's going on and is too stubborn to actually find out on his own, and that these absurdities are built to enhance the humor on how little the MC cares while he struggles with real issues.
The problem is that the "real issue" in the story is a sexual assault right at the start, one that is referenced throughout. It was impossible for me to start with or stay in the state of mind needed to enjoy a story that was so heavy in comedy. On one end, hilarious random, grand, and absurd scenarios are being generated. And on the other, sexual assault, which is one of the most "real" "grounded" events possible in literature.
This contrast may work for others, but for me it grinded away at my interest. My investment in the story was being whiplashed by two contrasting stories, and it snapped somewhere in Vol. 2. I stopped caring about the "real" stuff, the MC, or his house, or the assault, or his family. There was too much absurd for it to be real. And I stopped caring about the "virtual" stuff, the quests, the wars, the time traveling stuff. I kept wondering about its effect on the real-world and the sexual assault.
How can these two worlds coexist and still be so separate? I don't know. I'm not sure what this story is trying to be. If it's trying to be both, then it isn't succeeding.
You should read this in one sitting and at as high of a pace you can. (So important, I said it twice.)
Have read up to chapter 10.
The writing is easy to read. There are some grammar and spelling issues, but nothing too egregious.
The story is fun, old man casually messing with other players and
incidentally creating world-level events.
I really like Bert
twinking him out, giving him so much defense he can be mistaken for an immortal NPC
(which of course is vital to the plot).
Might want to add the Short Story tag, and unless there's a major change in the last few chapters I'm not sure Villainous Lead is appropriate.
The MC is an old man in a sci-fi era. He's lived long and has nothing to prove, only enjoy life.
The satire tag is wrong. It pokes fun at some of the more popular tropes like harems, Rambo wannabes, ascendent warriors fighting armies alone and that kind of stuff, but it's not portrayed in a mean way.
The Game "reads" the players minds and offers them quests suited to their personality. For the MC?
Well, people mistook him for an NPC and he played along. The Game played along as well and allowed him to issue quests ... and it's getting funnier by the minute.
An enjoyable story that falters due to a lack of focus.
The first arc where an old man just wants to settle down and meet his family in a VRMMO is brilliant. The juxtaposition of this simple desire with the outrageous plots the game tries to entice him with is good. Combine that with his deft deference of those plots to other people and a supporting cast of younger more typical VRMMO players as foils for his major skepticism and you've got something great.
Where things start to take a turn is when that supporting cast leaves and new ones start rotating in. They aren't as good as foils towards the MC and they aren't as interesting as characters in their own right. I wish the reincarnation side plot wasn't retconned, it had a lot of promise. It was an interesting twist on my preconceived notions of what a game like that in a genre like this could do. It's the far future, make it how you want to and explain it (predictive AI or whatever) if you like. More importantly it looked to be a fun setup for character hijinks where they know and are unfazed by some things and are flabbergasted by others.
Charles actually does become a dungeon master which is less interesting to me than having him be a fulcrum that chaos spirals around. It's funnier to me when he is less oblivious and more just unimpressed. There's a lot of plot threads in the second half where he's more oblivious than anything else and the story just kind of jumps around.
The originals do come back for closure on their story and it does feel good. Missing hours of climactic action for your scheduled bathroom break is pretty funny. The troll thing I could've taken or left. I would've rather had the squid mess things up and have Charles shake his stick at it providing an opportunity for the people to take it down. It would've made a nice change of pace with him taking action instead of passively reacting to it.
Finally I'd also like to mention something I wish was in the story. Charles uses quests to get rid of his problems and he's usually fairly indifferent about it. When he was with his family I would've loved to have seen him try to lean into that ability to help his grand kids (in a way that the game itself hasn't already done.) Maybe give a rebellious grandkid a quest to fish with their parents that ends up becoming a good memory or a shy grandchild a quest that'll have her come out of her shell a little bit and make some friends.
All said it's still a great read I'd recommend to most people.
Absolutely beautiful. A wonderful comedy that has gotten me into some nice laughing fits.
Tired old man just wants his family to visit him. In trying to get the rest of the world to leave him alone, he creates never ending cycles of get off my lawn and senile rants. Perfection.
Please send comfortable shoes.
really entertaining MC, old man just wants to be left alone but ends up trolling the hell out of everyone he meets. probably one of the more realistic fivr litrpgs I've read yet here on RR.
Its soo hilarious imagining an old man hitting people with a walking stick.
I would like to five Star this story but I can't. It's a fairly decent and semi-realistic story of what a crotchety old man would be like in a video game, and what some crotch of the old men are like in real life.
The ending is highly disappointing. Slightly satisfying in nature but very disappointing from a story standpoint.
This story repeatedly uses the kinds of misunderstandings and misrepresentations that can happen when the elderly deal with the young . And the main character of this story has been doing it for so long that he doesn't care anymore about how misunderstood he gets. In fact he actually perpetuates the misunderstandings.
It does have quite a bit of good old-fashioned slapstick whacking. A lot of sarcastic old man acting like a sarcastic old man. And yes even some of the more detestable tropes being made fun of.
I do not recall whether this story still has the harem tag or not but it shouldn't. The MC does not have a harem in fact he actively breaks up a few and causes many more to fall apart.
All in all this story was a bit of a up and down adventure. It gained and lost my interest two or three times throughout the story but I still finished it. And then when I got to the ending I was disappointed.
Would I read the story again? No.
Am I glad I read this story The first time? Yes.
Knowing what I know now would I still have read the story the first time? Yes.
Enjoy this story for what it is, a fairly decent written wack-stick comedy, an exaggerated story of a crotch of the old man.
Very funny and surprisingly entertaining even if it is sort of slow/slice of lifey.
Ever wondered what you would want your father or grandfather to read on a birthday? Well, this is what you need to read before you have to explain the book.
You get a wish-fulfillment story for an old man. However, this old man is playing a VR game. And this my friend is were things became totally enjoyable.
Just imagine it:
Old man lv 1
Weapon of choice: Stick.
Class: Harem slayer and the honorable guy behind the library.
Attitude: Teachy, doesn't want to hear about the game, grumpy about others messing with his tranquility.
If the above isn't enough to get you to know Charles. Then let me add how he progresses in the story and survives the pokes of the damn system that is made specifically to trouble him... Ok, its a game, the system is made to make the people that enter it play, right? there is nothing wrong with that, right? The old-man a slayer, the system a stalker, and the reader the observer.
And thus, you get a story that deserves a five in every aspect. Since the style and the grammar are well-done enough for that.
Thanks for the story, dear author!