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By Syphax, author of Stone Burners

Feb 22, 2016: I like to consider myself a patient person. I try not to review a work until it has a decent chunk available, instead waiting to see how things pan out. However, while Shelf Life only has about five updates, I felt spurred to action when the author left himself a five star review with a short paragraph lavishing praise upon his story.

So what exactly is going on, you may ask. Well, our main character, Jack Vanatis, is a former experiment gone rogue. We start with him trying to find an apartment, I think. There’s no real reason why he’s ranting about the death of gods when there’s no way in hell that will get him the apartment, but whatever. He’s somewhat on the run, that’s what’s important. And unfortunately, that’s all there is so far.

The story is almost entirely exposition. Sometimes that exposition is background information, would have been intriguing had its length ben cut in half. Sometimes the exposition is what is happening. There are very few character actions but lots of explanation of what characters are doing, in a telling over show kind of way.

At one point, Jack uses telekinesis on himself to get from point A to point B. Cool, but then that simple action is followed up with a paragraph of explaining exactly why he’s doing it, bogging down the action and making me not care. That paragraph ended up being a significant portion of that chapter. After the intro chapter, the few other chapters that are there range from about three to ten paragraphs. Not big ones either, just average length. This review will end up almost as long as the typical update.

This is where I normally talk about characters, but so far there’s only one: Jack. And he’s alright. While I may have bitched about the sheer amount of exposition earlier, when it’s used for description of the scene it does serve to highlight his lack of focus. He’s cocky, and while that could easily spiral into self assured smugness, he hasn’t descended nearly to that point.

Excess exposition aside, it’s not incompetently written. Sentences sometimes run a little long, but that’s the extent of it. Annoyingly enough, the Table of Contents page, while there is a link to it at the top of the site, doesn’t actually exist, but that’s a quick and easy fix.

At the end of the day, I wouldn’t recommend this. It’s almost lifeless. It could go a thousand different directions, and there are some cool ideas present, but their presentation is lacking.

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