The world has long since gone to shit, climate change, air pollution, chronic overpopulation, mass unemployment, political unrest, wealth inequality, soil erosion and political disenfranchisement has taken its toll on its struggling populace.
For the struggling masses, life is bleak, there are no options, prospects or possibilities beyond winning one of the few coveted tickets on the government-administered lottery that promises the winner the chance at a job that will get them out of the slums and into one of the few remaining cities that exist to serve the worlds uber-rich. With such a grim reality, escapism is rife among the underclasses, and of all the chemical and virtual avenues available, BTLs are king.
Better Than Life users are all addicts, addicts with remarkably short lifespans, perpetually strung out between their more fulfilling virtual lives, they inevitably prioritise pursuing virtual fulfilment over trivial pursuits such as food, shelter and water, often racking up vast debts on the black market in order to afford their prized BTL sticks.
This is the world that Frank has grown up in, abandoned by his parents, he has lived his entire life on welfare, growing up on state sponsored infomercials and an archived copy of the internet from centuries past, well before it became prohibitively expensive by the net priority act.
When the news arrives that he has been rejected for the 20th time for a lottery ticket, Frank decides that he has had enough of waiting and that a full virtual life however brief would be better than his alternatives.
Upon entering the virtual world contained within the BTL drive he quickly finds that it is not the utopian paradise promised to him by the BTL dealer, instead, he finds himself surrounded by danger, magic and monsters as he tries his best to live up to his potential in a surprisingly real game world that is not what it seems.
This story exists because I decided to finally write the guilty pleasure that I always wanted to read. You know, ‘be the change you want to see’ that kind of bollocks.
This story updates when I can be bothered with chapters in the 2k mark, I'm aiming for a weekly Sunday release at the bare minimum but I'm making no promises at this point.
This story is also currently being posted on RoyalRoad so if you see it elsewhere do let me know.
Expect swords and sorcery, implied sexual content, (but no graphic depictions of sex) and plenty of swearing, so sorry about that if it’s not your cup of tea.
This story is something that I have been thinking about for a few years, and I sincerely hope that I am able to do it justice. I have too many influences to count but chief among them are the following:
Red Dwarf: Better Than Life
Naked and Afraid