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Potential OR Unapologetic Rule of Cool

By Rhodeworks, author of Not All Heroes

Jun 12, 2018: When I review a lot of serials, I do a bit of preliminary investigation into the author. Sometimes it helps to know if, for example, English isn’t their first language. The Zone is a story where I’m going to softball my usual close reading review style given that the author is, apparently, young and this is their first attempt at a story for others to read. On one hand, I want to adjust for age and inflate the score. On the other, as per usual, I don’t think anyone learns if they don’t get the truth (or, at least, some of it). So, here goes.

The Zone is a sci-fi story rendered in a first-person perspective. It doesn’t commit to it as thoroughly as it should. The prose is pretty low on detail and high on telling us about the setting as opposed to letting us experience it. This first-person perspective also creates moments where it feels like the story comes to a stop so Daniel can look into the camera and tell us about bits and pieces of the world. What a Builder is, or a Fighter, or a tag, etc. Sometimes it’s even to explain what Daniel says. The setting is certainly imaginative, even if there’s very little thought given to the implications of some elements*.

Daniel himself is a fairly rough character. He’s not very pleasant or relatable. Part of this because he’s a cyborg packed full of implants that make him superhuman and doesn’t appear to have any weaknesses or concerns. He’s kind of a smirking badass who is edgy enough that you might get cut if you stare at the prose for too long. His ‘small floating house’ has enough firepower to ‘blow an entire Omega* to hell’, for example. His thought process is also strange, to say the least, given that at the threat of being captured by pirates his thought is that it would make him late for school and it would take an ‘unknown amount of time to escape’ (and not the threat of execution he mentions a few lines earlier). It’s like . . . slow down, let this guy have some flaws—some real flaws.

Really, at this point, I think you know where I’ll be going, so, let’s swerve.

Let’s be clear. I’d say every single author on WFG has written something like The Zone. I know I did. Typist Kid, however, has the bravery to put this work up and show it to the world. I also think you can see a clear thread of progression of improvement from the first chapters to the most recent updates, which is something I found very surprising. It’s still a pretty rough story with all the baggage of being a youthful first attempt at writing a longform story, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve seen. The spelling and grammar put some other serials to shame.

Adjusting for age—well, guess I’m doing it—I think The Zone is somewhat impressive if colored by age and, therefore, simplicity. But if Typist Kid keeps writing and reading and learning and honing, well, he might have some pretty interesting stuff to show off in a couple of years.

This story isn’t for everyone, as it is seemingly motivated by Typist Kid’s belief in what’s cool (which I can get behind), and I’d wager most people are going to bounce off it. However, I think it’s an impressive proof of work and hope that Typist Kid can see this through to the end and hone those skills. If I had to pick a word for The Zone, it’d be: potential. If you think you can handle the enthusiastic roughness of The Zone, then you should at least give it a cursory check.

*Note: Omegas are planet-sized battleships. Scale is an issue. This is absolutely not a thinking man’s sci-fi.

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