Worm discussion and debate thread

Discussion in 'CW Index' started by OverReactionGuy, Jul 23, 2015.

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  1. toroidallizard

    toroidallizard Making the rounds.

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    That would render the Brockton Bay experiment meaningless. They don't want to test if parahumans can keep a society together with their help, they want to test whether not it's a viable model for a post-Scion world. If they have to support the society for it to survive, the test has failed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2015
  2. volantredx

    volantredx Versed in the lewd.

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    I agree.

    This is I think the biggest failing in Worm.
    Worse, she's in less than two chapters.
     
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  3. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    I find that rather illogical. They want to see if parahumans can keep society together, so they don't let their primary parahuman members take part in the test. That seems counter productive. If it's about finding a way to make themselves unnecessary, then why did they spend the time to gain so much power and influence in the first place?

    That short? Seriously? Wow. That's sad considering her reputation.
     
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  4. volantredx

    volantredx Versed in the lewd.

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    Valefore, Butcher, Accord, Tagg and Alexandria all happen in the same arc. It's very clear on rereads that WB just wanted to move on to Taylor being a hero and blasted through the set up. I've said elsewhere that it reads like someone didn't like how Worm handled those segments and wrote a wank fic and somehow that wank fic is canon. The bad guys are defeated in short order, Taylor is totally out of character, the heroes act like morons, and so on.
     
  5. tertius

    tertius drunken shitposter extraordinaire

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    Oh hey, now I remember what all this reminds me of: Crito.

    Incidentally, Socrates enjoyed the benefits of the social contract until it was turned against him. Taylor.. did not.
     
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  6. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    Wow, my memory of that is shot. I thought they were spread out over 22 and 23.

    Yeah, my biggest gripe with that section (and the reason I refuse to re-read Worm beyond Echidna), is because the entire plot relies on Taylor magically forgetting that she spent the entire plot up to this point learning 'heroes aren't always good people, villains aren't always evil, and sometimes you have to do bad things for the greater good' specifically so Wildbow could throw her into the Wards because... I have no idea. There's not even a reason for it as far as I can tell.

    I actually remember that parable. It's a good example of what Socrates' moral views were, though the concept of the social contract was updated by Thomas Hobbes much later to be more fit to more more modern societies as opposed to the society of ancient Greece.
     
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  7. tertius

    tertius drunken shitposter extraordinaire

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    And he published it as Leviathan. :p

    Eh, it's on my shelf, but I haven't managed to bring myself to read it.
     
  8. toroidallizard

    toroidallizard Making the rounds.

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    They gathered power in order to make heroic triggers to offset the rate of natural villain triggers, to maintain stability as long as they could, to try to stop Scion from rampaging, and to set up the Protectorate as an attempt at parahuman run governance. Parahuman feudalism was another attempt at a stable post-Scion system. Some more details are in Interlude 15 donation #3.
     
  9. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    But they were running to Protectorate. Why not actively influence other projects?
     
  10. volantredx

    volantredx Versed in the lewd.

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    I assume since he's stated the end goal was always Golden Morning that it was all just what was needed to set that up. I've seen someone suggest that the story should have ended on Emma's interlude since it brings Taylor's story full circle, shows that even the character people hate the most had reasons and motives that seemed rational at the time, and leaves room for a sequel.

    For my part the issue with the whole arc is that ultimately revealed a rather telling part of Wildbow's writing. At least in Worm he seems only able to set up one kind of tension. The direct tension of a character being in danger while fighting an antagonist. When the antagonists are presented as non-threatening or stupid like they are in the later arcs of Worm there isn't a lot else to carry the story. Compare how Worm handles post-Levi Brockton Bay with how the fic A Cloudy Path does it. Worm focuses solely on physical threats to create tension. Abstract issues like getting supplies, dealing with people, or even just organizing a massive effort is totally ignored. They're given simple solutions to these complex issues and are handled as if the story is actively trying to avoid having people think about it. A Cloudy Path on the other hand spends chapters detailing the effort that goes into organizing work crews, Taylor is often struggling to keep food flowing in, and the villains are threatening not just because they can fight, but because Taylor is trying create a start up in a crowded market. There's a lot of tension just from watching how things play out even when there isn't active danger. Worm lacks that, and once it ceases to create credible threats for Taylor to face the story lacks any tension. It's why I think people always go back to Lung as a villain even though he plays a really small part in the story. He presents a viable dangerous character which helps build intrigue for the story vs characters like Alexandria that fail to appear at all effective.
     
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  11. toroidallizard

    toroidallizard Making the rounds.

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    They want to test whether or not parahumans feudalism will work after standard government has fallen. They assume that, when standard government has fallen, the Protectorate will cease to exist. Therefore, they can't use the Protectorate to maintain an experiment on whether or not a system will work without the Protectorate being there to help.
     
  12. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    That's actually an amazing analysis. And I see what you mean.

    The sad part is that Taylor is never actually in physical danger from any of the villains she's fighting due to one plot detail Wildbow completely forgot immediately after he wrote it. When Dinah reveals that Jack Slash is going to end the world, she also mentions that no matter what Taylor will be there at the end of the World. He also established that precog are pretty much always treated as correct, especially one as powerful as Dinah. However, this creates a problem. Now that he's made the world deterministic, we have to assume Dinah is right. If Dinah is right, then nothing can possibly prevent her from being there at the end of the world. That means that the rules of the universe now say Taylor cannot possibly die before the end of the world. Ergo, there's zero tension from physical danger either.

    That's not what I meant. I meant why not have other Cauldron assets and members influence and support other potential projects without involving the Protectorate. That way if the Protectorate falls, as they expect, then they still have access and control in the new system.
     
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  13. toroidallizard

    toroidallizard Making the rounds.

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    My understanding was that they don't want control. I thought that they expected their influence to collapse in the wake of Scion, or increasing global instability, or old age. Thus, they can't act as if they will be there to help new societies. I thought that that was why they set up the Protectorate in the first place, to try to set up a system to promote stability after their organisation collapsed.

    Here's the bit where Taylor's showing Tattletale the contingency plans in Cauldron's base.
     
  14. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    That... kind of makes sense. Kind of. But it does raise two questions:

    1) Why would they assume that they're not going to be around to help when the person who makes their plans is explicitly perfect at making them. Fucking Path to Victory.
    2) If they're assuming society is going to break down, then why not make the test run accurate and prevent all outside influence? An experiment is only valid if you keep unintended variables from influencing it. Actively allowing outside variables to influence it constantly is kind of the wrong way to do science.
     
  15. alethiophile

    alethiophile Shadowed Philosopher Administrator

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    Cauldron cannot assume they will always have Contessa-hax to run the world with. If she dies to some proper noun beginning with E, they don't want that to a priori doom everything.

    And about 60% of the difficulty in maintaining a stable social order is in defending it from outside influence. A social system that works fine in complete isolation, but can't defend itself, isn't what they're trying to build.
     
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  16. volantredx

    volantredx Versed in the lewd.

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    I think Dinah was a major misstep in the story, or at least presenting her as more or less perfect in her prediction. Part of that might be my dislike of prophecy in fiction, but having a character that can outright tell people what will happen I think is real hard to pull off at the best of times.
     
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  17. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    Yeah. Dinah's seeming perfection makes most of the story pointless. The problem with predestination in fiction, at least in my opinion, is that once you know where you're going, the journey there is far less interesting. You have no investment in a story that you know how it ends. Which is a pity because having her more flawed and making mistakes, mistakes that could be very costly for the protagonists we're rooting for, would have been far more interesting.
     
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  18. volantredx

    volantredx Versed in the lewd.

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    It could have worked as is if the story was built around something other than life or death fights. Like make it a moral struggle, and a real one. Have Taylor go through a Walter White like fall to the darkside. Where she becomes more obsessed with building a criminal empire for personal reasons. Or have the story be about trying to find a balance between many factions that Taylor can't just swarm with bees. Like an entire arc could be built around her dad forming something of an opposition party against the The Undersiders.
     
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  19. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    That's a really good idea. I think part of the reason everything comes down to fights in canon is that every faction is basically irredeemable. They're all caricatures. The ABB are psychotic criminals who put zero value on other lives assuming their not forced recruits with bombs in their heads, the E88 are neo-Nazis with genocidal plans, Coil's an unrepentant sadist and megalomaniac, the Merchants sell drugs to kids and frequently addict people by force to get more clients, the Protectorate are hypocritical assholes who are completely useless under corrupt leadership, the Teeth are weapon smugglers and total psychopaths. I can just keep going and going. It feels like everyone that Taylor was supposed to fight in canon is specifically written to be so bad that she can never seem worse, even when she has to be brutal and harsh to stop them.
     
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  20. Sapphite

    Sapphite Making the rounds.

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    Saw this post in the NSWF Ideas thread and wanted to comment on it. The thing is, Arsmaster's pretty much in the right in this conversation. Taylor is the one who poisoned Lung, and while it was AM's tranqs that put the villain's life at risk, that's only because AM had no idea Lung was poisoned. Taylor failed to bring it up during their first conversation. It's understandable of course. She's just been through quite a bit when they talk and she's a bit star-struck from Collin, but her carelessness in that regard it what almost cost Lung his life.

    As for "Or the part where he flippantly tells her that she should just hang up her costume because she's not good enough to be a hero when the chance to be a hero is all she has left in life?" he's not exactly wrong there either. It's easy for us to sympathize with Taylor, but from Collin's perspective she ran into a fight that she couldn't win on her first night out, and would've died had it not been for the intervention of others. Then she tries a poorly thought-out undercover operation that she's not remotely able to handle. He doesn't know what's going on in Taylor's life that makes her so desperate to be a hero and yet so hesitant to take the most obvious route. He sees a child who's recklessness has almost gotten herself and a criminal killed, damaged his career, and is trying to ask permission to commit a major crime with no consequence. He's rather justified in telling her to give this up. Remember, Armsmaster was completely right when he said Taylor couldn't handle a sting operation. She joined to group to find out intel on them and turn them into the heroes, but by the time Leviathan came Taylor had decided to give up on the plan and just be a full-time member of the Undersiders. That's pretty much a complete failure on her part as an undercover hero.
     
  21. OverReactionGuy

    OverReactionGuy Verified Sanity

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    Actually I think she was on the outs with them when Levi came. That was when she found out about Dinah wasn't it? She still went back to them though after Levi, but that was also when a hero broke the truce and tried to kill her and killed 2 other villains.

    And that hero's punishment was house arrest and hushed up. For getting people killed.Edit: and the fact that I believe they threatened to cage her when it was her ass on the line for breaking the truce. Yeah, that seems rather fair. She might have actually joined the Wards at that point if that event didn't happen.
     
  22. volantredx

    volantredx Versed in the lewd.

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    No she asked to be Caged. No one else even thinks of it. They say she can either unmask to SS which Taylor rejected or face jail time. She says she'd rather go to the Birdcage than unmask to SS.
     
  23. OverReactionGuy

    OverReactionGuy Verified Sanity

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    Ah, thanks for pointing that out.
     
  24. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    If your analysis of Armsmaster's motives was correct, I'd agree. But it's not. I completely agree that Taylor's plan was stupid and that she wasn't at all prepared or capable of an undercover operation. But that's not why Armsmaster is acting the way he is in this scene. His attitude is coming entirely from his wounded pride. It was not Taylor's fault that Lung almost died. Armsmaster used completely untested highly potent tranquilizers on a man with a super human body that he had no idea how they'd interact with because he was so eager to capture Lung and get the credit for taking down someone so powerful, he made a stupid decision. And he paid the price for that by getting punished for something he actually did.

    My problem with Armsmaster in this scene isn't that he's wrong, because he's not. My problem with Armsmaster in this scene is that he's right for the wrong reason. He knows nothing about Taylor at all, but he's ranting and raving because he fucked up and his ego refuses to allow him to admit that he made a mistake. So he's pushing the blame on Taylor and getting angry, treating her like shit for something that's his fault because he simply does not care. If he hadn't let his ego run his life until Mannequin slapped him upside the head, the entirety of Worm would have been a different story.
     
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  25. Sapphite

    Sapphite Making the rounds.

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    Sorry, you're right. She decided to fully join the Undersiders earlier than that, and only balked after finding out about Dinah. Up until the Dinah reveal though, Taylor was fully committed to giving up on being an hero and being an Undersider instead.

    Armsmaster is overly rude to Taylor because of his pride, yes. That doesn't make him any less right though. Lung almost died (twice) because the tranquilizers prevented his regeneration from being able to handle the poisons Taylor subjected him to. Had Taylor not done so, Lung would've been fine. Had Taylor told AM about the poisons, he could've done something about it beforehand. On their own, the tranquilizers did nothing to endanger Lung's life and blaming AM for that is nonsensical. The problem for Collin is that he can't explain that to anyone, or else his story about taking down Lung singlehandedly would be revealed as a lie. Taylor's lack of communication combined with Collin's gloryhogging has put him in a position where anything he did after Lung started having medical issues would earn him a blackmark on his record. Granted, that is far more Collin's fault than Taylor's, but it's easy to see why someone as prideful as Collin would rather focus on the trouble she caused him. And even then, he's still right. Taylor's in over her head, reckless, and likely to cause more problems then she fixes at that point.
     
  26. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    First, Taylor had no way of knowing what Armsmaster was going to do. He had tranquilized Lung before he even talked to her. That means he jumped to use untested chemicals on a disabled criminal, when he had no idea what had disabled him in the first place, before even talking to the person who did the actual fighting. It's not Taylor's fault if Armsmaster jumps to show off and doesn't bother to understand a situation he's walked into. So yes, it is his fault. He earned that black mark on his record and he deserved it. Also, if Taylor had used any less force on Lung, she'd be dead. You can't blame her for trying not to die when she was trying to protect children she'd never even met from a psychotic gang leader.

    Second, his attitude is the main reason Taylor doesn't listen to him. If he hadn't decided to take his mistake out on her, hadn't treated her like shit because he was mad at himself (which is an incredibly stupid reason treat someone like shit), then the entire plot wouldn't have happened. Taylor shuts down and decides 'fuck this guy' when she realizes that he's blaming her for Lung's condition when his tranquilizers are the reason it happened in the first place.

    Third, his point being valid when both his attitude and his behavior is completely unacceptable does not make him right.
     
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  27. Sapphite

    Sapphite Making the rounds.

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    Armsmaster isn't jumping to show off before he talks to Taylor, he's making sure Lung won't be a problem any more:

    He's not grandstanding here, he's subduing a dangerous criminal with means that would be otherwise perfectly safe. He then asks Taylor to give him a recount of what happened, and she failed to do a proper job of it. The problem isn't that she attacked Lung with poisons, it's that she didn't bother to let anyone know. It's an understandable mistake, seeing that she's a teenager that had a very close brush with death on top of being completely inexperienced, but a mistake nonetheless.

    As for the matter of attitude, Taylor's is no better here. if she could've gotten over her pride and hurt feelings she might've listened to Armsmaster and abandoned her poorly-thought out plan before she committed a major crime. Instead, she acts like an immature child and blows off a truth she doesn't want to hear because the grown-up was mean to her.

    He's right because his point is valid. The fact that he's also a jerk at the time doesn't diminish that at all.
     
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  28. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    Lung was unconscious and subdued already. He was not going to be getting up quickly no matter what. He decided to use his tranquilizers anyway. And Taylor is not a medical professional and she knows less about parahumans that the local head of the government sponsored parahumans. She doesn't know how Lung's regeneration works. This is why she overwhelmed him with venom in the first place. Armsmaster has access to all the of the Protectorate's data on him and all of his insider knowledge of parahuman physiology. He's the one who should be aware already. If something was capable of taking down Lung, he should have asked what it was. If he, the adult who should know what to do in this situation, does not make it clear that it's important, how is Taylor supposed to know to tell him? As far as she can tell, her bugs barely stopped him. She had no reason to think the venom could put his life in danger unless Armsmaster tells her. And he doesn't.

    Her pride gets hurt after Armsmaster starts treating her like shit. She doesn't react well, but it's because of Armsmaster's attitude. Which still makes the outcome of the conversation on his shoulders. If he hadn't been a jerk, he had the chance to talk Taylor out of her stupid stupid plan. Which makes it his fault that the conversation went as badly as it did. Having a valid point and presenting it in the worst way possible means he handled the conversation badly and fucked up. Again.
     
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  29. volantredx

    volantredx Versed in the lewd.

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    Point of order, Taylor's poison did jack shit to Lung prior to the tranquilizers being introduced. Bitch and her dogs were the ones to bring Lung down. They tore him apart, than AM showed up. To him it wouldn't look like Lung fell down from some unknown source. It'd look like he was mauled by a giant dog. AM testing Lung for poison without prompting would be like looking to see if a gun shot victim drowned. Even if that happened it'd make no sense to do since the obvious source of injury is much easier to spot.
     
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  30. kamenhero25

    kamenhero25 The Masked Writer

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    Fair enough, though not asking 'what the hell happened and what did you do' seems like a particularly egregious oversight. It's essentially a crime scene, but he doesn't ask Taylor for any details of what happens. He just hears that the Undersiders were there and never bothers. He knows she's a cape. Why does he not ask what she did against Lung? Knowing what the hell happened in the fight is kind of important, especially since, unless the PRT has really weird procedures, he has to file an incident report and explain himself.