The Last Human

The Last Human

by PSHoffman

ALL HUMANKIND died thousands of years ago...

…but the xenos still worship them as GODS.

Today, hundreds of alien civilizations thrive in the gods’ lost cities and fallen megastructures. One Empire has learned to harness the remains of humanity's forgotten technology to reconnect the distant worlds... and dominate them.

Eolh is an old, jaded, avian thief who lives in the dark underbelly of a conquered city. When the Empire first opened the gate between worlds, they stormed his home, killed his gang, and burned everything he held dear.

But that was a long time ago.

Now, the resistance is dead. No one dreams of fighting back—for the Empire wields the weapons of the gods: warships that fly, robotic constructs that hunt, and rare mysteries scavenged from the tombs of the gods. Eolh lives a half-life, thieving, running jobs, and selling his services as a freelance listener for the last gangs of Lowtown. He trusts no one, and only looks out for himself.

When an unusual heist takes a deadly turn, Eolh must bargain with an overzealous android who carries an impossible secret—one that will shake the foundations of the universe.

There is one last hope for salvation. For his people, or maybe just for himself…

Read this series if you love Dune, Star Wars, or stories about prophecies and long-forgotten technology.

Take a journey across far-flung worlds filled with alien cultures and impossible technology. This epic Space Opera mixes elements of science fiction and fantasy, and features a cast of underdog characters who find untold strength as they awaken the ancient wonders buried by time.

All this was foretold... One day, a human god will return.

Now a Published Novel!

Buy a Copy Here or keep reading on RoyalRoad :)

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PSHoffman

PSHoffman

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Table of Contents
153 Chapters
Chapter Name Release Date
1 - The Very Last One ago
2 - Followed ago
3 - The Cranes of Midcity ago
4 - The Green Doctor ago
5 - The Coward Queen ago
6 - Most Faithful Construct ago
7 - What Lies Below ago
8 - The End of All Things ago
9 - Awake ago
10 - Wrong ago
11 - Flight of the Coward ago
12 - The Scar in the Sky ago
13 - The Ebon Library ago
14 - The One Who Ate the Others ago
15 - Remains ago
16 - The Traitor and the Thief ago
17 - The Grand Sahaat ago
18 - Silverblood ago
19 - The Way Up ago
20 - The Lords of the Veneratian ago
21 - Into the Cauldron ago
22 - The Test ago
23 - Respite ago
24 - Marsim ago
25 - The Offer ago
26 - Everything, Undone ago
27 - The Beginning of the End ago
28 - Wandering the Crush ago
29 - The Blasphemy of Poire ago
30 - The Price of Salvation ago
31 - One Last Debt ago
32 - Falling, Not Floating ago
33 - The Pylon Inside the Tower ago
34 - The Oracle ago
35 - Feather, Metal, and Flesh ago
36 - The Ballad of Scallion ago
37 - The Plan ago
38 - The Rescue ago
Part 39 - The Beginning ago
40 - The Light-Soaked City ago
41 - Surrender ago
42 - Divine ago
43 - The Listener's Peace ago
44 - Epilogue ago
Part 45 - The Change ago
Part 46 - When A Savior Comes ago
Part 47 - The Queen's Request ago
Part 48 - Out of Your Depth ago
Part 49 - Agraneia ago
50 - Welcome to Witch Patrol ago
51 - Out of Your Depth ago
52 - Cracks in the Sky ago
53 - See How the Other Half Lives ago
54 - Blood and Thunder ago
55 - Success ago
56 - The Grand City ago
57 - The City With No Wings ago
58 - Statue of Himself ago
59 - The Emperor ago
60 - A World with No Name ago
61 - Scrap Metal Masterpiece ago
62 - The Stone ago
63 - Dream and Delusion ago
64 - Scouting Mission ago
65 - The Templelands ago
66 - Blackmouths ago
67 - Across the Ocean Black ago
68 - The City Made of Sand ago
69 - Enemy Territory ago
70 - The Xeno Slums of Cyre ago
71 - Cracking the Void ago
72 - The Power to Change ago
73 - Inside the Gate Walker ago
74 - The Queen of Almost Everything ago
75 - Voices in the Air ago
76 - First Steps on Thrass ago
77 - The Liar's Truth ago
78 - Slow Corps ago
79 - "Stick to the Plan" ago
80 - The Printer ago
81 - Prisoner, Guest, and God ago
82 - In Chains ago
83 - Flies ago
84 - What Lies in the Mist ago
85 - The Prisoner ago
86 - A Machine for Death ago
87 - An Unbelievable Story ago
88 - One Last Attempt ago
89 - The Cloud Wastes ago
90 - The Heart of the Old Grid ago
91 - "I Am the Storm" ago
92 - The Silence of Discovery ago
93 - Easier Than It Looks ago
94 - The Injustice ago
95 - Grim Fortune ago
96 - The Break ago
97 - Friends ago
98 - Death, Impending ago
99 - Surety of Purpose ago
100 - Open ago
101 - A Song for the Old Gods ago
102 - EPILOGUE (Book #2) ago
103 - PROLOGUE (Book #3) ago
104 - The People of Gaiam ago
105 - Asaiyam's Soaring Temple ago
106 - The Backup and the Vault ago
107 - Destroyer and Executioner ago
108 - The First Prophet ago
109 - Orphan Labor ago
110 - Junkyard of the Gods ago
111 - Help ago
112 - Negotiation I ago
113 - Negotiation II ago
114 - The Machines of a God ago
115 - Through the Elder Gate ago
116 - The World that Belonged to Her ago
117 - A Change of Tides ago
118 - Tython's Own Daughter ago
119 - Not That Kind of Engineer ago
120 - Domination Politics ago
121 - Sen's World ago
122 - Sen's World II ago
123 - Doubt and Daylight ago
124 - The Witch of the Wires ago
125 - Rotting on the Vine ago
126 - Overkill Engineering ago
127 - The Curse of Confidence ago
128 - Dreams of Past and Future ago
129 - The Name of the Emperor ago
130 - The Memory Witch ago
131 - The Way Down ago
132 - The Emperor's Iron Grip ago
133 - The Lake of Light ago
134 - Visions of Grandeur ago
135 - In the Shadow of the Light ago
136 - The God Who Seeks ago
137 - The Truth ago
138 - The Living Mountain ago
139 - The Flesh is Weak ago
140 - The Mirror ago
141 - Revelations According to Sen ago
142 - No Greater Burden ago
143 - The God Machine ago
144 - Together and Alone ago
145 - Sweeter than Life ago
146 - His Glorious Return ago
147 - Tremble and Quake ago
148 - The Swarm ago
149 - A Glimpse of the Future ago
150 - No More Debts to Be Paid ago
151 - Eolh's Way ago
152 - The Word of the Savior ago
153 - EPILOGUE for Book #3 ago

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Reviews
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dscuol
Overall

It's Good, but (Mildly) Frustrating

Reviewed at: Part 20 - The Way Up

All the other reviews do a good job of laying out the prose and well-written aspects of the story. The world feels rich and very much alive, and the story has a unique way of weaving together the current society while showing the vestiges of previous Humanity. There are multiple threads of mystery to unspool that keep the story moving along, and the characters are all (with a large exception) well-written and "real".


The reason why I struggle to follow the series despite all the praise above is because one of the main titular character - "the last human" - is simply not enjoyable to read. I understand the idea behind how and why the character is presented, but an unpleasant character to read and follow is just... unpleasant. Compound that unpleasantness over multiple chapters and I've struggled to keep reading.

Redcoat
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Standing on the shoulders of giants.

Reviewed at: Part 21 - The Lords of the Veneratian

A deep sense of age seeps into every part of The Last Human. The story is set in a city built upon ruin after ruin, whose richest inhabitants are still poor compared to what came before them.

Contrary to what the title may suggest, the main character is not, in fact, the last human. Instead, the story follows Eolh, a sapient avian thief struggling to make a living in the slums of a city occupied by a brutal and arrogant empire. The setting is seen through Eolh's eyes, and his familiarity with it helps to emphasise the awe he feels at the mysteries he sees.

This lends the story an incredibly engaging atmosphere, one that blends religion and technology to create a keen sense of something far greater than Eolh could ever comprehend. It's a slow burn, lasting eight chapters before even describing the colour of Eolh's plumage, which only further helps build up the incredible style of this story.

Overall, I wholeheartedly recommend The Last Human. The characters are rich and engaging, and the story limits itself to a very small cast so you'll never get overwhelmed. The plot itself is an engaging odyssey throughout fascinating and fantastical environments, all tied together by a cohesive style that really helps bring across the reality that Eolh and his entire civilisation are standing on the shoulders of giants.

Brian Murphy
Overall

This book is well-written, well edited, and well planned and executed.

It is dark. Relentlessly dark. Soul-grindingly dark. Never a hint of lightening up, a moment when something horrible doesn't happen, or anything less than a neverending grind of pain and failure for everyone involved.

I love science fiction, and I am well familiar with Dark future concept, but this book takes that concept and runs with it into the darkness in a never ending tale of relentless depression and constant conflict.

The thing is, most of these books end after four or five hundred pages with the denouement. This, though, just keeps going relentlessly, never a hint of comic relief or even a moment for the heroes to relax. No big reveals, no final victory or defeat, just more grinding pain heaped on a smoking bonfire of corruption and death. The titular character is a useless, unheroic, brainless bundle of angst and constant stupidity that is impossible to empathise with. He's supposed to be 16 but acts like he's a 7 year old, and is flat-out unpleasant to read about.

That review? That's exactly what reading this feels like, the whole time. I will give the book 5 stars for technique, and pull away a star for being an endless grind that makes you feel filthy for even trying to follow the plot and for having absolutely no redeeming characters or characteristics besides it's complicated worldbuilding. This kind of relentless evil might have made a big name for scifi writers in the 60's, but today there's little to recommend it.

SubmersedMushroom
Overall

The novel starts fine but ends up feeling rushed and simple. Every relationship is impossibly quick to form and develop, and every character never stops to just breathe. Multiple times I had to stop and question myself as to when this relationship happened? Did I miss some important scene? So I would go back, and no I had missed nothing. I feel as if the author is trying to make us feel how the characters feel, but instead it just comes off as contrived.

Never once stopping, even just for a moment, to let things settle. There is no sinking in, which makes every story beat feel shallow. The world has some obvious thought put into it but we are never allowed to "smell the roses" so to speak. A shame really because there is potential here. A three star here because it is better quality for this site, but anywhere else would be a 1 star rating.

ali_master
Overall

The story has an interesting idea

It's got a acceptable style and writing 

Also The pace is decent too.

But characters were... um I don't know how to put it... they made me uncomfortable. For the lack of a better word. I'm not saying it's bad, but I can't forge a connecting with them. Anyway maybe it's just me.

But overall I would recommend that you give this story a chance.

precinctomega
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

The Last Human is an imaginative tour de force.  It strikes a perfect balance between exploring a deep and engaging new world, excavating the enigmatic history of that world and doggerly pursuing a plot.  I rate it comfortably among the best works currently on Royal Road.

It should come as no surprise that the author makes his living teaching people like you and I how to make a living doing this.

Style Score

The novel is tightly composed with barely a wasted word, but enough detail to give the reader a strong sense of place and environment.  The only thing I could think to ding this whole thing from a perfect score (other than the fact it's not finished yet) is that, maybe, there could afford to be a little bit more detail to paint in the picture of the world.  Individual scenes are beautifully composed, but the gestalt is still a little blurry at the edges.  Some of that, of course, is deliberate, because part of the joy in the story is the unfolding discovery, but... Just a smidgen more detail would be great.

Grammar Score

Unsurprisingly the author isn't merely - as far as I can tell - perfect in his use of vocabulary, spelling and grammar, but imaginative and innovative.  I have wee, tiny twitch at the word "Veneratian" but I think it's more a "I'd love to discuss his word choice over a beer" than a "that's a terrible neologism".

Story Score

Zero complaints.  None.  The author sets up the components of the plot quite beautifully.  Because of the title of the novel, we know what's in the box and the author doesn't waste time playing coy, instead setting up the motivations of the characters - sometimes with throwaway lines the significance of which won't become apparent until later.  It's a voyage of discovery for every major character and the reader as well.  It really makes you feel like part of the narrative.

Character Score

Eolh is our protagonist and his motivations are well mapped out.  Every now and then I catch myself wondering if his motivations and actions are aligned in a given scene, and every time it's like the author has anticipated my doubting as there's something there to reinforce why Eolh makes the decisions he does.

I think Ryke is my favourite character, though, because of the personal sacrifices she made which make her deeply sympathetic.

Poire is a bit of a whiny kid.  But the author is at pains to make his whininess both understandable and sympathetic, and even though his loss and confusion are overwhelming, the author is careful to give him both the intelligence and agency to illustrate his potential.

Summary

Obviously, I really like this story.  It's a follow.  It's a fave.  If you're just here for harem LitRPG, you'll hate it.  But if you are interested in not only a great adventure/mystery but also a masterclass in how to write popular speculative fiction, you'll love it.

todd
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Fantastic sci-fi of an aged universe

Reviewed at: Part 21 - The Lords of the Veneratian

Some of my favorite science fiction stories are set in the ruins of ancient advanced societies, ones so old that little remains beyond the barest fragments of their glory. This is set in the ashes of humanity, as numerous alien species struggle to survive underneath the crushing boot of an empire that has hoarded the artifacts of humanity's technology, things so advanced that they might as well be magic. Miracles and medieval tech side by side, while crude robots pull carts down streets alongside floating palanquins. It all pulls together to create an incredible blend of an arcane universe, with everyone scrabbling at the crumbs of long-dead giants.

Style: Well written with a solid voice. For those familiar with it, the story captures some aspect of the tone that makes Hyperion such a great read. There's a narrative weight as each character is slowly swept up by events of legend and carried forward. Small people backlit against a vast universe.

Grammar: Solid, with few (if any) errors.

Story: Believable and lived in. It's a grungy world, with the grandeur of what humanity had once wrought woven through the civilizations that they built in its ruins. The sense of age is almost palpable and makes for a world that feels lived in. The bones of the story are familiar, with an oppressive and xenophobic empire, a widespread prophecy regarding the return of a human savior, and the allies drawn into his wake. But it's written in such a way that it feels fresh. The story (as of yet) doesn't worship the Chosen One but develops them as someone lost in time. There hasn't been much development regarding the overarching plot, but the hook has definitely been set.

Characters: Each one is solid, though we've only seen through four perspectives. The first and arguably main perspective, Eolh, makes a great lens. He's solidly practical, jaded, and finds himself caught up in something that he no longer understands. The rest of the cast is unique and fleshed out, each with their own voice and their own goals. It would be easy to make them sycophants or caricatures, but the Chosen One aspect of the story has been well-handled so far. The prophecied human is more lost than any of them and trying to make sense of a world vastly different from what he remembered. Even better, all of their actions and reactions feel real when set against their history and experiences.

Overall, this all comes together to make for a fantastic jaunt of science fiction that has the bones of grand adventure buried inside. It's still early in the story, but I can't wait to see what comes next. Easily recommended for fans of sci-fi or adventure fantasy.

QZTK
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A story I always wanted to read.

Reviewed at: Part 37 - Hell, It's About Time

I've had an idea bouncing around in my head for near a decade now about a human waking up to a post-apocalyptic, post-human world where there are no more humans, but plenty of primitive trans-humans.  Plenty of technology that might as well be magic.  Probably as a ttrpg, as I'm not an author.

Which is why I'm so happy to read this story.  This is something I've wanted for years and years, and it's so well done.

The worldbuilding is stylish and slick, but full of that delicious feeling of that weight of ages.  The plot is gripping.  The pacing is well done, fast, but not rushed, and the story has time to breathe, but it doesn't get slow. 

The characters are good, solid, but I can't call them great.  They lack a degree of pizaaz or weight.  Their foundations are very good, but I'd recommend showing a bit more of their background, and looping it into the story more.  Eolh's history as an urchin turned revolutionary, and Poire's ancient recent history as a whateverisgoingonthere is great stuff.  Eolh in particular could use more hinting and foreshadowing as to his fiery past in the earlier chapters.

I never noticed any grammar problems, and that's all I really need out of grammar.  

I've truly enjoyed this story.

Andre Scott
Overall

I quit when I did for two reasons, the protagonists have no agency and I dislike multiple POVs, especially as many as this one has. I get what the author is trying to do, fish out of water, traumatized and all that, but it just goes on way too long. And there are far too many characters that get chapters. I just didn't care. My opinion. To each their own.

AstralTempest
Overall

Initially, the title gave me the impression of a zombie survival reincarnation story like some that have been going around, but boy was I wrong. Only a few chapters in and a I can see oodles of potential oozing from the story.

The characters/groups are interesting and vary greatly with in appearance and culture even early on. There is a sense of realistic selfishness to them that we see in materialistic societies. Many of them seem to only want what is best for them at the expense of the people around them, much like our modern society.

The setting is intriguing, giving a sense of age to the world, almost in a hopeless sort of way. It makes the appearance of the last human in this world so intriguing.

Too early to say much about plot. Seems to be going in a good direction, though.

May edit later if I remember. Maybe not. Back to reading.