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Superpowered children and emotional abuse

By Rhythm, author of Touch

Nov 13, 2017: The first thing I will say, that I need you all to be aware of before you hear my not insignificant criticisms, is that this is an excellent story, and one that carries my recommendations. That being said, it is far from perfect.

The premise is, at a glance, a deconstruction of the silver age comic tropes of old. And while this is certainly present, it is by no means the point of the New Humans. If I were to ascribe a genre to it, I would likely choose to label it conceptual sci-fi in the vein of the old, genuinely imaginative episodes of doctor who. It seems less focused on the plot than the exploration of a new, densely intriguing concept every thousand words or so, and while there certainly is an overarching plot line, the writer seems to be in no hurry to get there. It kicks off about nine chapters in, and while the eight chapters before it are interesting in their own right, it’s a bit of a slog to get there.

Reading this story feels like peeking into the mind of a genius with ADHD. It regularly deviates from the main thrust of a given chapter with little tangents, side notes, and anecdotes, but every one of them that is explored is complex and fascinating enough in its own right to base an entire story on. This is both a good and a bad thing. On the one hand, it means that the reader is likely never to be bored on a moment to moment basis reading The New Humans. On the other hand, however, it also means that the very act of reading it is debilitating; a fact that is in no way helped by the individual lengths of each chapter. The New Humans is, at present, comprised of thirteen chapters, and that may seem rather short, until one realizes that each chapter is roughly two to five times the length of a standard format chapter. I say this without even a shred of hyperbole. Chapter six is over twelve thousand words long. When I copied that chapter into Microsoft word for the purposes of an accurate word count, I discovered that it was forty two pages on its own. While I can say wholeheartedly that it is worth the effort, it is worth noting that an effort is quite definitively what it requires.

This is not a story for binge-reading, and I caution that any attempt to do so may well be unpleasant for anyone who tries it. This is very much a story for people to subscribe to and enjoy update to update. Said updates occur about once every two weeks, and that is more than enough. Individual chapters, consumed on their own, are highly enjoyable, but any density greater than a chapter or two in a single day will likely be highly fatiguing.

All the above aside, there are a few things a prospective reader may be well advised of if they have any curiosity towards this story. The author is possessed of a very dry wit, and demonstrates it in spades with mid-story cut-aways to interesting little factoids at the bottom of every chapter, a narrative tool very reminiscent of Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett. The vast majority of these are rather amusing, and well worth a look, some are layered with redundancy. Secondly, while the story is very well written from a technical standpoint, it is glaringly obvious that several drafts were made, and the editing run failed to pick up on all of the formatting errors. This seems to be a largely temporary flaw, however, as the writer seems to be currently going through and fixing these errors in large part. Thirdly, if you are perceptive, you will likely find that a few of the aspects of this story don’t sit well with you, and may be inclined to stop reading because of it. I advise you to stay the course, as I found the majority of these aspects to be intentional, and eventually integral to the story. Fourth, trigger warnings. This story gets darker than you’d expect.

Plus sides: An excellently written, darkly compelling narrative that only becomes more layered as you progress. An abundance of new ideas that never fail to arouse a conceptual interest. A number of well thought out characters, the majority of whom are remarkably well characterised. A capacity to change tones evenly enough that it never feels exclusively dark or lighthearted.

Down sides: Longwinded, with overly slow pacing in the initial chapters, although that improves with time. It is worth noting that almost every flaw I can find with this work could be remedied by subdivision of chapters. This is a thirty chapter story, in a thirteen chapter format.

Conclusion: It is an exceptional work of speculative and thriller fiction, and is well worth a look, but don’t be fooled into trying to read it in a single sitting, and be prepared for one or two road bumps as the writer comes into his own.

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