The Life of the Lonely/Reader

Originally, I felt like I had to write a review for this webnovel. Spoiler alert: I realized that I could not, too fast. Even now as I do this — whatever this may be, and I’m feeling like its a brain dump of sorts — I am not sure I can properly articulate why I love this webnovel; I do love this webnovel. I’ve included a few quotes from the story, and unfortunately, I did not write down which chapters they were in, when I was reading. I may go back to try to find them, but for now, they will just be quoted.

I suppose we should start with what this webnovel is: The Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint.

These were stories between the stars.

The basic idea is this. Dok-ja has spent 10 years reading Three Ways to Survive a Ruined World by tls123. At first many people read it, but by the time it reached the later chapters in the first 100 block, only Dok-ja was reading it. The webnovel was over 3000 chapters, and Dok-ja was the only reader. One day while Dok-ja is on the subway, the last chapter is posted, the {Epilogue} telling him that it hopes that the person who read the novel could survive the ruined world. And then, like clockwork, the events from the beginning of the webnovel begin IRL for him. He has to survive, with himself and those who he chooses around him. Dok-ja does so, meets the main character, and from there the story goes. He and the others must go through {Scenarios} for the <Star Stream> and the Constellations that watch, so that they too may create Fables of their own.

This was a 500 chapter long webnovel. 551, to be exact. I read it in 4 sleep deprived nights, and I have absolutely no regrets. If I could, I’d read it all over again, right now. I want to. No, I need to. But I honestly have no energy to do so. And because of me knowing that this has high reread value for me, it is at the top of my list for stories I love.

But why?

Dok-ja means many things. I take this from the translation, for I know little about it in truth. But from what I understand, especially from how it’s explained. Dok-ja can mean only child, lonely, and reader. Our main character is all three. He is a lonely only child (bullied, beaten, depressed, etc) who was the sole reader of Three Ways. The web novel saved him and because the web novel saved him he was able to save the main character. The main character, Jung-Hyeok or Joonghyuk depending on the translator, of Three Ways was depressed, searching for a way to end his hell (he’s a regressor, who can go back to the beginning of the scenarios and relive it each time, trying to fix what went wrong before.) Dok-ja becomes his true companion, and best friend. Dok-ja knows everything about him, and with it. He saves the Jung-Hyeok. However both could only be saved because of the author and she saved them both.

There are so many self aware paradoxes. The novel going even so far as to say that it is a novel, and it knows its a novel, and because of that the paradoxes work. The reader accepts them even if the characters do not understand. And its true, I accepted them, because they worked. They worked so the story could work, and I accepted them for the story. ORV, is another novel, written in the course of it’s own novel. Essentially saying that ORV, the story of Dok-ja, is the story written by tls123 (I’m not giving you the name of which character wrote it, in the event you do read) to find Dok-ja at the end of the novel. ORV was spread to multiple worlds, for people to read so that they may spread it to the “reader” who will then return to the world of the characters.

Honestly. I really, don’t know how to explain it. But it is all meta, beautiful, a well worth the read. A novel that is a novel, because it has to be a novel. And I was the reader, loving the novel, being invested in the novel, and wanting to know about the finale as much as anyone. An epilogue that is far from complete because it can only be completed, known, when Dok-ja returns.

The letters within the screen seemed to ripple. Letters wishing to be loved by someone were flowing outside the monitor after forming pairs and groups with each other.

Sentences, that sparkled like the stars.

Some sentences willingly became the darkness for other sentences, while a certain sentence became light only through those dark words. Some sentences existed for the next sentence, while the next sentence gained its meaning because the first sentence existed.

This webnovel discussed loneliness, depression, anger, betrayal, happiness, promises, and relationships. It goes into the idea that sacrificing ones self for everyone, leaves no one happy who was left behind. It speaks on what it means to be the reader. What it means to confront your horrors or to live within them. It speaks on so much hope. Hope for a world that is different. For a path that is changed. For a chance. However it also speaks on how we only have one chance. We only have one time to get what we want. If we regress to the past, we give up on that chance. That we are the reader of this story, and everyone’s story.

And we are dreamers too.

And at this point, I know I’m rambling. I know that for you, who has not read it, this may all seem so confusing. And yet, this webnovel sits at the end of this month book marking August between stories and stars. I began this month with The Starless Sea and I end it with Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint. Both speak on the reader, on the importance of stories. On stories and the stars, fables and readers. On everything I love, and everything I hate, about being a reader.

For to read, is to love. It’s to dream. Its to exist in another world for the smallest of moments. For the most smallest fraction of a life time. However to read, is to reach the end. It is to exist in a world where you are alone, in a way, with so many thoughts and feelings that those around you may never understand. Reading encompasses you, and fills you, leaves breathless and thoughtless. And it means so much to me.

And so I leave you with this:

⸢If this story can really save you… There are three ways to survive in a ruined world. I’ve forgotten a few by now. However, one thing’s for certain. And that is, the you reading these words will get to survive. This story is for just that one reader.⸥ 

Chapter 551

pt 1
pt 2

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