Better Than Life

by Foolish Luke

Original ONGOING Action Adventure Drama Fantasy Grimdark High Fantasy LitRPG Magic Male Lead Portal Fantasy / Isekai Strategy
Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Traumatising content

By the 23rd century, Earth has long since gone to shit, climate change, air pollution, chronic overpopulation and mass unemployment has taken its toll on its struggling populace.

For the teeming masses of humanity, life is bleak, there are no options, prospects or possibilities beyond winning one of the few coveted tickets on the government-administered lottery that promises the winner the chance at a job servicing the whims the worlds uber-rich. With such a grim reality, escapism is rife among the underclasses, and of all the chemical and virtual avenues available, BTL's are king.    

Better Than Life users are all addicts, addicts with remarkably short lifespans, perpetually strung out between their more fulfilling virtual lives, they inevitably prioritise pursuing virtual fulfilment over trivial pursuits such as food, shelter and water,  racking up vast debts on the black market in order to finance their prized BTL sticks and their recovery after hard often lethal comedowns.

This is the world that Frank has grown up in, abandoned by his parents, he has lived his entire life on welfare, educated by a smattering of state sponsored infomercials and an archived copy of the internet from centuries past.

When the news arrives that he has been rejected for the 20th time for a lottery ticket, Frank decides that he has had enough of waiting and that it's time to live his life, regardless of how real the reality.

Upon entering the virtual world contained within the BTL drive he quickly finds that it is not the utopian paradise promised to him by the BTL dealer, instead, he finds himself surrounded by danger, magic and monsters as he tries his best to survive in a surprisingly real game world that is not what it seems.

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Author
Foolish Luke

Foolish Luke

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tarakis
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Foolish Luke has got a very Good story here and major props for putting himself out there. 

Frank our MC is a really good character IMHO, the other characters give good support to the story. It can be a bit tedious but it does keep you on the edge of your seat. 

Style is good, Grammar and such could use a little polish. It is definitely worth your time to read.

 

:D CHEERS (c)

Blankk
  • Overall Score

Great Story so far, want MOAR

Reviewed at: Chapter 006 - Left For Dead

A brilliantly written grim dark story that is most definatly worth the time to read

Selihg
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This story is fresh new on RR and very promising.

Only 12 chapters has been online but we can already see characters development. The MC go from désespérance to "happy".

You need you try this story !!!

 

I hope the author will continue his great work.

 

Thanks you, and wash you're hands.

bob925
  • Overall Score

Very fun and entertaining book.  MC so far seems to be reasonable and realistic.  World definitely fits the grim-dark tag, but not so much that I don't want to be reading about it. 

Only significant detractor is that there are a non-negligble amount of editing issues; extra words, missing words, etc.  Not a major detractor, but an extra editing pass would probably be helpful in th long run.  

Looking forward to more!

Csuite
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Highly engaging but needs more thought

Reviewed at: Chapter 011 - Walking In Circles

Better Than Life follows Frank, one of the unlucky millions living in a dystopian hellscape where the few uber-rich have everything and most others can expect to die by 40. It's no wonder he turns to solace in BTL, the illegal wonder-drug promising decades of better life in a fictional world at the cost of death in the real one. However, being subjected to indentured servitude as a peasant was not quite what he had in mind.

This story is one of the more engaging LitRPGs I've seen out there. I found myself quickly invested in Frank and his journey. Starting out as a humble peasant might not sound exciting, but Better Than Life is adept at showing that even the lowliest classes can pack a mighty punch. It's an underdog story and a satisfying hook. I will be happily continuing with this one going forwards to find out what happens. 

It should come as no surprise then that engagement is where Better Than Life excels. For one thing, it has a fascinating plot. Not only does the main character come from an interesting world, but we quickly find out that the 'game' he enters attracts players from many other worlds as well. Are these other 'extra-planar' players real? Or are they generated by the game world? Is the world itself truly a game? Or is it a real place full of real people? This is just one of the mysteries the story promises to address. My favourite is another character thrown into indentured servitude along with Frank who suffers from deep-seated PTSD from giant mole attacks. It's a memorable, hilarious and sympathetic character quirk. Ultimately, the thing that most sells me on a story is how entertaining and engaging it is, so this is a massive plus.

The LitRPG system is a satisfying one, too. It stays simple - a good thing - and focuses on just a few core skills and stats. This keeps it easy to follow. The skill tree branches are all interesting, viable-seeming options, and Frank's thought process on how to progress is entertaining, relatable and rewarding. There's a lot of discussion on this aspect of the story and it's never dry - on the contrary, I loved reading about it. No complaints here and I'm eager to find out more.

The grammar needs a lot of work, mainly in regards to punctuation. The most common issues I spotted were incorrect use of possessive apostrophes (or a lack of them); commas being used incorrectly to split sentences where they should have been full stops; capitalisation after quote marks; full stops or missing punctuation before closing quote marks; and a lack of commas where there should have been some. But these were by no means the only issues, and they were frequent. In this case I would suggest a brush-up on the rules of punctuation and a complete edit of the story to fix as many of the issues as possible. If I had to pick just one to focus on, it would be the overuse of commas to replace sentence breaks with full stops, which was pretty much constant. Fixing this would make a big difference. 

That said, the story is easy enough to read that I found it simple to overlook the punctuation. 

The bigger issue was that I kept running across events, actions or descriptions that were poorly-explained. Sometimes it was an apparent lack of internal consistency with the system as described earlier in the story. Sometimes it was poor decision-making on Frank's part at odds with what his stats indicated he should be capable of... or just poor decision-making in general reflecting badly on his character.

I kept running across elements which didn't make sense, especially after the first few chapters. Sometimes this came across as the scenario being poorly thought out. Other times, it seemed like the reader was simply missing the critical information required to make sense of the characters' motives. And sometimes it was just odd, like when Frank wondered why a doctor was wearing plain, practical clothes while treating patients instead of something fancy and expensive. Most of these could be fixed with better communication of the underlying rationale to the reader and adding in that additional missing information. (Perhaps Frank's world expects doctors to be dressed in their finest for cultural reasons, for example. But without that information being communicated to the reader, it can be confusing at best and indicative of plot holes at worst.)

I'm pretty tired of seeing the unilateral sexual objectification of women in stories and I know I'm not alone, so a heads-up there's some of that in here too. It'd be great to see more equal gender treatment in future. (As I often say, it's only fair to objectify the men, too!) Or better yet, to leave the objectification at the door. This would normally put me off a story completely, so it's a mark of how engaging this one is that I'm planning on continuing. Signs are it will get better and I have high hopes.

All in all, I do recommend Better Than Life. When it comes right down to it, its sheer fun entertainment factor outweighs its shortcomings. And if it improves down the track, then all the better!

Nomad1791
  • Overall Score

i like it and I can't wait to see where it goes. 

king_s
  • Overall Score

If you like any of the top ranked stories then you'll like this. Refreshingly good. Hopefully the author realised how good he is and doesn't randomly quit halfway because of low self esteem.

 

seriously, this is top tier stuff with a lot of potential. A lot of originality too. And still room to grow. Love it.