To Flail Against Infinity (The Stargazer’s War) by J.P. Valentine

Published March 31, 2023

In my mortal existence, I understood only a handful of truths about cultivators. They cherish their hierarchies, despise insolence, and if you abandon one in the vastness of space for a considerable period, they spiral into murderous madness.

There’s an explanation for this. Removed from the gravitational pulls and life-sustaining ecosystems that generate organic energy, the silence of the cosmos reveals an infinite sea of qi, fundamentally incompatible with our own.

I can confirm this. I’ve witnessed it.

The distinction is, I didn’t lose my mind. I was no cultivator. I wasn’t even among the living, technically.

Yet now, I can perceive it. I can interact with it.

I can harness it.

Our protagonist, Cal, is an asteroid miner. When a cultivator arrives in his soul ship, he instantly wreaks havoc, killing everyone aboard the station, including Cal. However, Cal wakes up days later, having experienced the infinite and having it etched on his soul, which also transformed him into a cultivator.

Fast forward, Cal finds himself in a system comprising two planets orbiting a single sun. As the latest cultivator, he’s grouped with young kids for lessons. He’s constantly snubbed, but he remains unaffected, knowing his qi cultivation is distinct from the solar qi the others use. No one can detect his qi, and the authorities are quick to sideline him, deeming him a drain on resources.

The synopsis only grazes the surface of the story. Cal forms bonds with mortals (non-qi users) and connects with other cultivators by sharing his meditation sessions.

The editing is commendable, but it’s the least of what gripped me. Cal’s irreverence (which hardly earns him points) and his defiance of norms kept me captivated. I’m eager to dive into the second installment to discover what lies ahead. There are no stats, but the cultivation element insinuates their presence.

Highly recommended.