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SERAPH'S GAMBIT

Some Solid Sci-Fi Shenanigans

By Megajoule, author of The Warlock Ruthless

Dec 3, 2018: A small disclaimer: I have a work hosted by the same site as this serial, but I always try to be honest.

Overall: Seraph’s Gambit is a fun and interesting read, enjoyable if you’re a fan of Firefly’s mashup of rusty western and Star Trek sci-fi. I’ve given Seraph 4/5 stars, which according to Web Fiction Guide is a "solid" serial, and that’s what I find Seraph’s Gambit to be. It’s a solid sci-fi story with some enjoyable characters.

Synopsis: Seraph’s Gambit follows Captain Ariana and her crew as they do a job delivering an alien passenger. She just wants to cash the check, but there may be more than she bargained for as she tries to navigate a harsh and sometimes violent galaxy with a ragtag crew ranging from veterans to inexperienced adventurers.

If I have gripes, they are minor. Sometimes the dialogue tags are a little sparse so it’s occasionally hard to tell which character may be speaking, especially if conversations get a little longer or feature more than one character (and with an ensemble cast that happens often) but this is not an egregious issue, just a nitpick.

The characters themselves are interesting even if a few of them can seem somewhat like stock characters or tropes. Even with that in mind each one still has a lot of screen time and thought put into them, and the author doesn’t simply rely on the tropes that inform the characters but allows them to grow and stretch. Particularly I liked Noah, Olivia, and Squee.

As I said, overall, it’s a solid, enjoyable read, especially for fans of stuff like Firefly. I recommend it if you want an ensemble sci-fi read about a ragtag group of adventurers trying to survive in a harsh ‘verse.

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CHOSEN SHACKLES

The internet’s out and we ate all the Ramen

By Admiralmonkeyman, author of Fuji

Oct 17, 2018: Best read at 4 a.m with a 90¢ cup o’ noodles in hand. Overall score, 4.7/5.

Reading chosen shackles has been a trip for me, starting off with the benign task of finding a running noodle vendor, to slowly building up the suspense and rot lurking beneath the city.

chosen shackles biggest quality is in its aesthetics and characters, the way that the protagonist interacts with the world improves upon its immersion tenfold.

The antagonist’s of this world take their merry time to show, leaving Frode to wander the city in more realistic pursuits, rather than saving the world.

But this story isn’t all about Frode, the supporting characters all feel three dimensional, with their own desires, motives, and emotions without being pulled along by the protagonist, unlike some other serials.

The biggest hurdle to go around is in Chosen shackles pacing. Although the story is top notch in building suspense and tension, Chosen shackles doesn’t force feed you what happened in between chapters like other serials. instead, it leaves you to tie some of the links yourself. I would say that this is neither good nor bad, but could be confusing for some readers.

I think Chosen shackle’s smaller chapters actually work in its favor. It leaves every entry into small, bite-sized bits of story and aesthetic. Making it perfect for reading between shifts at work or whatever break you may have.

In conclusion, Chosen shackles is one of the best Cyberpunk serials out there, and does its setting perfectly. It well deserves its high ratings, and it’s characters that make the setting feel so like so much more, having these people written in such a realistic and meaningful way, then putting them in this living nightmare of a city brings you so much deeper in.

Shaeor has hooked me once again, good work, man.

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CHOSEN SHACKLES

<Part of the System>

By Kraken Attacken, member

Aug 10, 2018: Atmosphere . . . Adrenaline . . . Amphetamines . . . Augments . . . 

Cerebral-immersion . . . Cyberization . . . Chemical Enhancement . . . 

Downloads . . . Digital Environments . . . Decryption . . . Demons . . . 

Signals . . . Static . . .  . . .  . . . .Spicy Noodles . . . 

As I sat before my darkly-lit screen, drinking in the imaginings of electronic vapour and dystopia, these words played across my mind and consciousness. Cyberpunk, dystopian stories, and Grungy digital futures have always been thrilling to me, especially when they deliver on the core aesthetics. I have to say that Shaeor’s work has delivered on this front, and in a way that feels both foreboding and satisfying.

It has become my tradition to give a bit of metaphor, but I fail to see how I can get any more metaphorical than what this story presents. I’ll try my darnedest nonetheless.


In the end, like a famous bald guy in sun-glasses once said, there’s always that rabbit hole for us to lose ourselves in. In a digital age where friends are pixels away, where we look with as much fascination at effects laden videos as we do at the stars above, where rampant criminality can be pursued from a single device, there is yet still further for us to go.

We usually live our ordinary (and sometimes a bit extra-ordinary) lives from day to day, indulging in various activities while we make ends meet and seek fulfilment. Sometimes however, the corner of the page is peeled back, the tiny door to the murky unknown is left ajar, and for those of us who are unafraid of the dark . . . what do we do?

 . . . we take a step closer, and peek.


I think my favourite thing about many a favourite cyber-punk story that I have read or watched, is that average joe we find ourselves following. Not necessarily a regular joe who turns super joe by happenstance, but a someone who stumbles upon something, something which instigates undeniable change in their life, but for the rest of the world . . . it’s just Monday.

The world is made of uncountable layers, and average joe’s struggle is likely to make some waves, but most of those layers will remain unaffected, or at least the effects on the world won’t be sudden and jarring.

Chosen Shackles is a cyber-punk story you can drool over, with all the right tropes in all the right places. Tech is ubiquitous, it’s hard to make ends meet for most, if you aren’t careful you’ll end up as someone’s test-subject, and big brother is always watching. Yet for all of this, it isn’t just the depths that this story manages to reach with short chapters and evocative, sometimes allegorical words, it’s also how ordinary it all seems from the perspective of those within it.

This is life, this is what we know and who we are. Chosen Shackles uses inference and hints to make the extraordinary ordinary in a fascinating and whimsical manner. Frode isn’t some especially woke individual who’s diving down into the core of "the system", especially since we can infer that everything is known at some level. No, Frode just happens to have been chosen by happenstance, in the right (or wrong) places at the right (you get the idea . . . ) times.

It makes the story feel alive, and well lived to boot. I am not Frode, and I don’t share allot of his characteristics, but in spite of the fact that he belongs in some distant future, where dreamers play games and dance in wondrous digitised worlds, I can see myself in Frode, I can see myself in his world. I can breath it, taste it, touch it, and feel its digital haptic buzz.

Sometimes the prose can become heavy and the nomenclature and metaphor jarring, but the narrative, and the texture and mood of the writing, makes up for such signal interference.

If you, like me, are a lover of the rich street-level lore in a digital dystopian age, then Plug-in, Boot-up, breath deep . . . 

 . . . and listen to the static . . . 

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