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The V2 Read-o-thon; Olden days
Topic Started: Aug 24 2017, 06:45 PM (7,603 Views)
Dr. Adjective
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Aww heck it, lemme /r/equest one of these wild and crazy kids.
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Dr. Adjective
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And done!
I guess I was lucky to get one of Cyco's, he's a solid writer, though it does seem his best was saved for Bryan. Anyway. Andrew's a perfectly decent character, I didn't much like him at first but he grew on me, and his progression from the skater dork you see in pre-game, to the poor little guy just trying to hold it together, down to his untimely end ultimately wholly not cut out to be the group's sole survivor... it's naturalistic and believable, and I really felt bad for him, not least for his father gruesome demise.

Ratings out of ten are a meme so I'll just conclude with; Andrew Swainson is solid, well written, engaging and brisk enough that he doesn't take super long to finish. Would recommend as one of the stronger parts of V2.

I might come back for another, but don't roll me one just yet.
Edited by Dr. Adjective, Aug 25 2017, 11:20 AM.
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Dr. Adjective
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Oh go on then give me another, hopefully I can steal the King of Gossip™ from Fenris.
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Dr. Adjective
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Prepare for stream of consciousness, I'm going to write this in real time.

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Pregame! He has one thread.


Version 2 proper! The Island!


Okay so, summary.
John's written without much technical skill, I can't really find a delicate way to say that and I doubt the original handler will ever see this to be offended by it. His first post had to be edited from first to third person, which explains why he managed to miss out parts of it and get the weird mix of "he", "I" and "we" in there. As far as characterisation goes, he's nothing special, though he seems to be written as though he is. He reacts to everything that happens with an extremely blasé indifference, showing not the slightest hint of fear having guns or crossbows pointed at him, far outstripping what you'd reasonably expect from his supposed advantages of wisdom and maturity. It feels as though the handler has bought into his own hype and is writing John as this stoic badass who's obviously going to get through everything he encounters, dropping some profound wisdom-bombs along the way. He's then taken over by Mitsuko who does at least spare him the indignity of a Mariavel slaughterhouse, instead sending John out in a literal blaze of glory after a short duel to the death, which I guess does pay some homage to his intended characterisation.

Honest final thoughts; John's not really worth reading. His death isn't even that great, and feels kind of perfunctory from Mitsuko, though I guess she did have a lot of killing to get done, so I can't entirely hold that against her. Points for trying to be a decent person on-island in a version full of psychotic killers and rapists, but at least as many deducted for being a poorly written shonen protagonist cliché. In a word: meh.

But screw it, give me one more.
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Dr. Adjective
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What can I say about Shae Arnav?

Well according to his profile, his only hobbies are reading and research. Okay. Appearance-wise you could be forgiven for thinking that some sort of terrifying cyborg was being described, what with a "cold light" resonating from his "optical orbs". But no he's just a wiry skelly-man, and usually dresses in baggy clothes so people won't be spooked by his skin-and-bones appearance. Supposedly wearing anything branded is against his "core beliefs" though. tl;dr he's average height and super skinny, blond hair, amber eyes, really unhealthy skin, doesn't wear logos. Moving onto the biography, we get more about his appearance; Shae has a moral objection to gluttony and is scared of the Illuminati contaminating his food, so he only eats what he prepares himself, and is super lazy so he doesn't eat very much. Apparently he doesn't skip leg day, instead he skips arm day, so while he has no stamina he can run fast and jump high... this athletics stuff feels like it should be in hobbies and advantages/disadvantages too, but whatever.

Oh good now we get to the good stuff, surprise surprise he has paranoia and schizophrenia, which is why he thinks the government is putting chemicals in the water that turn the friggin frogs gay. Unfortunately the writer doesn't seem to know what schizophrenia is, I'm no expert but I don't think it's this; "while the schizophrenia adds a whole new layer of complication to his emotions. It is essentially the more uncivilized part of him, the disdain for all human life other than his own, the anger at others existence, the lust to slowly peel the flesh from those around him and bathe in their agony." Anyway instead of seeing a therapist he decides to just not have emotions or talk to anyone. Healthy! Also his parents are distant because they work a lot, very sad. Apparently they're spooks though, which is his excuse for being paranoid about the Freemasons or whomever it is that's poisoning his food.

He goes off on a tangent at this point about the pregame murder, obviously he's a super sleuth who worked it all out by getting testimonies from multiple sources despite never talking to anyone because everyone thinks he's a scary emotionless skeleton man. Apparently he respects the killer for their ruthless self-improvement. What?

Anyway Light Yagami's advantages and disadvantages are about what you'd expect. He's wisely suspicious of everything and knows how to go it alone, but hes cuh-rayzee and the stress might push him over the edge. Yawn, I've seen premade psycho killers before. It's a wonder he hasn't already killed someone already, for being a Knights Templar spy or something.

He doesn't have a pregame, because doing all that L detective work for real must've been too much effort, so let's jump to the island's Expressway in the imaginatively titled B51 Start! Shae is an "entity enveloped in thought", yet again reminding us how not human he supposedly is. We're treated to a lengthy first person diatribe about his arrival on the island after successfully faking drinking the tranquilliser water with no repercussions from the terrorists at all. Being a super genius he immediately identifies his weapon not as a weird curved sword but by its proper name, a Da Dao. Guess that's his research hobby coming into play? There is a nice little moment where he sees his designation on the side of his bag, and dwells on how he's just a number to the terrorists, so points for that.

Anyway it seems this oneshot is in parallel with another thread containing some kids he's going to shadow for... safety? Not sure how he figures that's going to work, but let's have a look into You Can Feel What You Don't See... which I'm now finding is actually in the residential area. Was he actually nearby or am I going mad? Does V2 even have a map? Oh, from skimming the early part of the thread I learn that a group just came into the thread from the Expressway too, that must be Shae's so-called Quartet. He doesn't turn up until page 3, after a big fight broke out and Jackie Kovacs died. He just kind of stares at them from a distance, remaining dispassionate about the death and not speaking to anyone, true to his profile's content. Everyone else dutifully ignores him, and they all eventually leave.

Shae contemplates his next move, using lots of big words to show the reader how intelligent he is. He eventually settles on parting ways with the not-a-quartet-any-more and heads towards the Mall in search of shelter from the rain. He also decides to collect some rainwater in hopes of boiling it to drink later (how?) and briefly considers cannibalism because sure that's a sensible option instead of looting rations. He has no real objection to eating people other than that it'll turn on his schizophrenia evil side? What?

Final thread, Cyco now writes Shae at the School Building, appearing on page 3 of 5 of We survive by friendship. He does a good job of it too, even keeps the original handler's grey colour formatting for thoughts, which is nice. Not sure what a textbook example of a drowned rat is supposed to be though. Anyway we start with his journey; all his previous targets are danger zones so he heads east, and winds up following a guy in hopes of taking his gun. Gun guy makes it to a shed outside the school and holes up in there, and Shae decides against trying to attack a guy with a gun in a building with one entrance. So he heads into the school, reasonable, it's still raining and he's skinny and cold. He finds a freshly stabbed corpse and takes solace in the assumption that her killer didn't have a firearm, and goes to check if they're still lurking around before setting up camp. Sensible.

Except instead he then decides, nah, I've got a good viewpoint here, maybe I should carve up the corpse and eat it. So he strips off her jeans, pausing of course for Cyco to make totally unnecessary mention of the dead girl's panties, then tries to saw off a leg with his sword.

Here's where Bryan and friend start to notice the sound of Shae trying to snap through her femur by kicking it, and go out to investigate. Shae eventually succeeds, but feels uncomfortable. It's weird to think of your meat as formerly human, I guess, so he takes off the sock. Then decides he needs to take off the whole foot. Or maybe he should just halve it at the knee. This is written so matter-of-factly it's actually immensely disturbing, and props to Cyco I think that's intentional. Naturally he doesn't hear Bryan and his SPAS-12 en route to check out the noise Butcher Pete is making as he hacks, whacks and chops that meat.

Having gotten two bits of leg, Shae was going to pack up his grisly new rations, but why stop there? Apparently a heart is very nutritious. Thankfully he isn't into fondling corpses and leaves the dead girl's bra on in favour of going up under the ribs. Bryan appears here, still unseen and unheard by Shae, who yanks out the heart with some degree of difficulty, only to hallucinate it still beating.

Then with very little ceremony, Bryan buries a hatchet in Shae's jaw, splitting his head vertically from below and killing him instantly. A bit of an anti-climax after all that gruesome set up.

Conclusion? Shae was a cliched pre-made psycho killer, his handler presumably couldn't convince anyone to let him kill them though, so he goes inactive, Cyco commendably plays along with where his trajectory was clearly going, then very perfunctorily kills him.

Not that bad a read, quite short and sweet, with decent enough prose. The content is generically stoic disaffected automatic player fare, but in this version that's hardly offensive. Just bland. Shae's okay and has a bit of wasted potential, though not much of it. Meh/10, no great loss.
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Dr. Adjective
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We've given everything we can,
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My word, am I going to be one of the last ones standing?

Here goes, Girl 66, Penelope Withers!

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Penny has no pregame, and I'm calling her Penny for short now, so let's move on to...
Version 2, the Island!


Well, here's the summary. Decent prose, poor content. Penelope's only consistent feature is that she's inconsistent, going from poor put-upon woobie one moment to bloodthirsty berserker the next. I won't say I enjoyed reading her, but it wasn't awful either, it passed the time. Like I say the technical writing skill was there, just let down by the subject matter. You can safely skip Penelope, she doesn't really interact with anyone in a meaningful way besides killing one guy and getting killed by another. I hope at least she served a purpose in bringing Elizabeth Ebert down to earth and out of her "it's all a TV show!" schtick. Maybe I'll read Beth later and find out.

All in all, another resounding "meh". And I do believe we're out of kids now.

It's been real guys, thanks Rugga!
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