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The Pita

Worthwhile Online Fiction

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90% of what's out there is crap. The numbers go even higher for free stuff you can find on the internet. For the good stuff that remains, I'm posting this thread. Paying for stuff is so '99.


Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker is free on his website. I happen to think it's his best book (and also one of his only standalones) so you should go read it. He's got some other stuff too.


But the real reason I'm posting this thread is to recommend Worm.


First off, a warning: Worm has been posting two or more 8000 word updates every week for the past few years. This puts it above most series in word count. Don't start it unless you're looking for a big project.


Secondly, another warning: Worm starts off as "mildly uncomfortable to read" and slowly descends into "complete and utter nihilism." If Joe Abercrombie decided he's taking the kiddie gloves off, it would read somewhat like Worm does. But Abercrombie is funnier.


That said:


In Worm's world, people with powers exist. Some people can, through extreme mental stress or emotional duress, develop powers. This leads to a very noticeable minority of people with severe psychological issues and powerful abilities.


This is what happened to Taylor Hebert. She was locked into a locker filled with used tampons by someone she thought was her best friend. Everyone around her knew what was happening, and no one stepped in. And, in her own little hell, she discovered the ability to control bugs.


She starts going out at night, and is recruited by a small group of villains, known as the Undersiders.


This isn't a normal superhero story. There's no wish fulfillment here. It's not about people who enjoy their powers.


Now for the recommendation: There are a few things Worm does amazingly. It's incredibly easy to read, written in the first person with a few third person "interludes" from the perspective of other characters. The powers showcased in it are very original, meaning that in my experience of the superhero genre (superhero movies and Wild Cards, pretty much) I've seen little or nothing that is similar. The action scenes are some of the best I've read, and the story is full of them. The author is ludicrously creative with the powers with limits, and ridiculously so with the ones without. One of the recurring villains has the ability to tinker with someone's biology. This results in some seriously disturbing descriptions. The characterization here is top notch. The main character and the characters close to her (the Undersiders and some of the heroes) are great characters, of course, but also the side characters are fleshed out and distinct. I haven't really seen characterization this good in many places other than ASOIAF, and for a first-time author writing a first-person story, that's somewhat incredible. Even if the author does cheat with the interlude chapters, which show us either what's happening to other characters during the main plot or reveals things we didn't know about the world.


It's an engaging, smart, and incredibly powerful story.


Not much more I can say about Worm, but the author needs the publicity, and fully deserves it.


Also, I need more stuff to read as I am currently on number Idon'tknowwhat reread of The Heroes and I'm on a low budget.


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If you like short stories, there's an awful lot of great stuff free online. Clarkesworld, Tor.com, Lightspeed Magazine - just to name a few of the top venues.


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I would argue that Worm,despite the fact that it is grindingly despair inducing,is never nihilistic,as things and actions matter.(while on the subject,its also not grimdark because good things can happen,and good and effective characters exist).



Funny how,despite that,it manages to be darker than some nihilistic or grimdark stories,though.


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Yep, Worm is brilliant. Since finishing that, the author has written the complete serial Pact (dark urban fantasy where the protagonist wakes up to discover they're the heir to a diabolist, along with seven generations worth of karmic debt), and started on a third serial, Twig. There's good stuff in the followups, too, but IMAO they're not as compelling as Worm.


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http://thedarkmagazine.com/swords-names/


This When Swords Had Names story by Stephen Graham Jones is really good. I think the author mainly writes crime fic with a literary bent, but he tried his hand at some dark fantasy in the vein of Abercrombie, Morgan, Bakker, etc for this piece. I haven't had a chance to read much more from the Dark Magazine website, but I do intend to if this story is any indication of the rest of it's stuff.

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Does anybody know a site that summarises the chapters of Worm? I read like 30 chapters a while back but the idea of just jumping back in seems a bit daunting.

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If you want free stuff, much of it high-quality, check out my thread on literature of the fantastic which is over 100 years old (and hence public domain).


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