No Limit to Survival: Discussing “My Post-Apocalyptic Shelter Levels Up Infinitely”

An MTL (Machine Translation) web novel format gives you the chance to read the works of amateur and talented authors alike based in non-English-speaking countries. Due to the nature of how machine translation works, novels of this kind are usually published online (only) and are freely accessible. Take the post-apocalyptic web novel “My Post-Apocalyptic Shelter Levels Up Infinitely” as an example; it is originally in Chinese, but you can read every new chapter in English as soon as it comes out. You don’t have to wait for an “official” translation of any sort.

As for the book itself, the story doesn’t stray too far from the typical Chinese post-apocalyptic fantasy narrative, where a handsome main male character conquers the world with all his ingenuity and seemingly endless supply of blind luck. There are some struggles, but they’re nothing in the face of an overpowered protagonist.

First, The Blurb

A disaster of an unprecedented scale is about to come. Some survivors, including Su Mo – the main character, got lucky for they are transferred to another world before the catastrophe strikes. Our hero comes to realize before long that he is now in a virtual world where he must play along with a weird game of life and death to, well, survive. There is no comfort here given the ceaseless natural disasters, acid rain, and radiation, except for a mediocre protection inside a meager shelter. It is a world of relentless threats, so the only way to stay alive for any considerable period is by making constant improvements to the shelters.

Su Mo is lucky enough to come across a power known as the Doomsday Survival System, which allows him to upgrade his shelter infinitely. When everyone else is having difficulties maintaining a livable condition in their shelters, Su Mo enjoys a living that others can only dream of. His walls are meters thick, and he actually has the comfort of electricity.

The Basic Plot

The first chapter can actually represent the basic plot of the entire novel. Su Mo’s story begins with some kind of basic rules that should guide him through a journey of survival.

– The series of catastrophes will refresh on a continuous cycle. The good thing is that he (and all other survivors/players) should receive a warning seven days before every refresh.

– He needs to make careful considerations before deciding where to build a safe house because some locations are more prone to destruction than others. Once it is placed, there’s no way to move it.

– With every danger comes an opportunity to improve chances of prolonged survival. Everyone can find supplies in the wilderness, but there are monsters lurking around.

– The key to survival is inventory management. At the same time, hoarders tend to be more prepared for any situation.

– You’re not alone in this world. There are other survivors with whom you can trade commodities and form an alliance. You’re also allowed to steal from them if you think you can handle the consequences.

– Children and the elderly of your family in another world are the least of your concerns. You’ll be reunited with them if you live long enough to see that day.

– Last but not least, there’s a digital game panel that you can access simply by focusing your mind on it.

There are indeed many different disasters, challenges, and additional characters along the way, but the general plotline remains the same throughout the web novel.

To help him prepare for the potentially arduous struggle, Su Mo even has access to a survival manual for a brief period before it gets suddenly replaced by a set of armor. The story then makes a flashback to the original world with a tiny bit of information about the disaster. It turns out that the Mayan prophecy about the end of time has always been true, only 10 years too soon. Instead of happening in December 2012, the doomsday strikes in December 2022. An asteroid hits the Earth and solar flares consume everything in their path. Su Mo is knocked unconscious and wakes up in this strange game-arena.

One of the most interesting elements of the story is Su Mo’s somewhat realistic dose of hero complex. He has the heart to be the savior and bring peace to everyone, but he also knows that risking his own life for others might not be worth the long-term result. Keep in mind that “My Post-Apocalyptic Shelter Levels Up Infinitely” offers a passionate view of how the Chinese people are far superior to their Japanese and Western counterparts. References to the comparison are unapologetic.

We think “My Post-Apocalyptic Shelter Levels Up Infinitely” is, without a shred of doubt, a unique take on the subgenre. The real world has been destroyed to oblivion like the Mayans predicted, but there’s hope for survival if you’re transported to a game beforehand. The delivery itself is not bad, and in case you like strategy games with a lot of building and upgrading inventories, it might be another cup of your tea.

Do you think “My Post-Apocalyptic Shelter Levels Up Infinitely” belongs to the sci-fi or fantasy genre? Is there an actual game with a similar premise? We’d love to hear from you.

 Other Things You Might Want to Know

How is MTL different from official translation?

An MTL web novel is translated by machine, with little-to-no manual work involved. Think of running a very long text through a translation software. On the other hand, a manual translation can involve software, but the result is reviewed and refined by a real person who actually knows both languages and is skilled in translation.

Is it common for Chinese novels to include an intense take on national pride?

The idea of nationalism in novels is nothing new. Many authors from various countries use similar references as a reminder of how great their nations are. With that in mind, “My Post-Apocalyptic Shelter Levels Up Infinitely” seems to be an exception for how intensely it executes this theme.

Web novels similar to “My Post-Apocalyptic Shelter Levels Up Infinitely”:

– “Solo Leveling”

– “I Have a Mansion in a Post-Apocalyptic World”

– “God and Devil World”

– “The World After the Fall”

– “The World Turned into a Game After I Woke Up”

– “Epoch of Twilight”

– “Doomsday Lord”

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