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REVIEW: Alchemist Who Survived Now Dreams of a Quiet City Life Novel 2




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John Thacker
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Joined: 28 Oct 2013
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:51 pm Reply with quote
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it does has the vague feel of an isekai story that helps to make those works so popular


Yes, though the way I would put it is that in any fantasy (and many sci-fi) world you have the problem of needing to describe an unfamiliar world to the reader. The most obvious way is the exposition dump (seen taking up the first two episodes of Rokka), but closely behind that is having a protagonist who, due to particular circumstances, needs the world explained and can stand in for the reader. Isekai is the perhaps the easiest way of doing that, but other popular methods include "the isolated farm boy raised far from the main civilization" (DQIV, Wheel of Time, Star Wars), "hero with amnesia" (tons of RPGs, from Tales of the Abyss to Rune Factory), and, as chosen here, "the hero time traveling / trapped in stasis."

All of these work more naturally than the sometimes unfortunately chosen alternative of "having people who should know things have unnatural conversations where they repeat obvious facts that they would never say to one another."

Best of course is if you can present in naturally. On the extreme end is something like William Gibson's Peripheral, where he is so accurate in how people talk that there's a maddening lack of explanation of a fascinating world.
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Fluwm



Joined: 28 Jul 2009
Posts: 269
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:02 pm Reply with quote
Oh, wow. Had no idea the second book would be here so soon. I was pleasantly surprised by the first, and this one sounds just as good. I do have a bit of a bone to pick with the review, however:

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...although it's worth mentioning that there are no levels or other gamespeak involved.


I think this is a pretty superficial understanding of what "gamespeak" is -- it's not so,etching that requires explicit in-game mechanics like stats, experience points, inventory sorting, etc. to be present in the text. (Though it is worth noting that numerical "gameplay" stats do exist in the the first book.) Gamespeak applies more generally, I think, to any and all game-like contrivances--and the fetishistic description of said contrivances. In The Alchemist Who Survived, the gamespeak takes the form of these long, laboriously-written scenes of alchemy. The writer is effectively just narrating the process of navigating menus again and again. Whether the in-universe action involves pressing a button on a menu or dictating to an invisible Alexa, the effect is the same.

And I'd say other contrivances--like grinding monsters, monsters dropping magic "loot," and a giant labyrinth that exists solely to provide generic monsters and loot for grinding, all qualify as gamespeak,
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 1823
Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 2:23 pm Reply with quote
Fluwm wrote:


I think this is a pretty superficial understanding of what "gamespeak" is ...And I'd say other contrivances--like grinding monsters, monsters dropping magic "loot," and a giant labyrinth that exists solely to provide generic monsters and loot for grinding, all qualify as gamespeak,


And once again I get myself into trouble by oversimplifying for expediency! Laughing Yes, you're right - the loot/dungeon/grinding stuff really is textbook gamespeak, so what I meant to say was that there's none of that level/stat stuff that can interrupt a narrative and, in some cases, drag a story down. (I feel like The World's Strongest Rearguard is a good example of that.)
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maximilianjenus



Joined: 29 Apr 2013
Posts: 2044
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2019 4:10 pm Reply with quote
There's one virtual world one, that has one specific thing I love about the concept, the MC has got a regular job so unlike the other VRMMORPG players he only exists in the universe for two hours everyday, that and his character build is totally random/stuff that sounds fun for him; so it gives the plot a very different feeling compared to other game/isekai/high fantasy stories....
But whenever they explain the game/craft mechanics it feels boring AF and I end up skipping those pages.

On the other hand I recently started a nonbiri/slow life one, where it alternatees the happy , slow life scenes of it's mc, with how abd is the rest of the world having it because of the maou.
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