Originally Posted by Terrastuck? More like Terra-SUCK: An inarguably accurate assessment by Wolfhead & FriendsAllow me to start this essay by saying exactly what is expected of me: I’ve been a fan of Homestuck since the very beginning.
I started reading MSPaint Adventures at the end of Problem Sleuth, and stuck around because I knew the next story would be even better. It totally was, and what little contact I had with other fans only made the experience more enjoyable. At the risk of sounding far more bitter than I am, being a member of the MSPaint Adventures fandom was perfectly acceptable (If indeed such a thing can be said to have existed at that time). When Act Five began, and the scope of the story zoomed way out, we knew things were getting serious and changing for good. Of course, this effect was present in the readership and fan community as well. I won’t pretend I know enough psychology lingo to say what about the Troll Arc was so attractive to so many people, or what underlying characteristics of this influx of readership I don’t like very much. All I know is that there are many elements of what became the Homestuck Fandom that I don’t like, that relatively few of them were present before Act Five, and that they have been getting worse and more prominent over time. It has gotten to the point where my friends and I make games out of deliberately finding things people have done that we agree are objectively wrong or bad, and use them to enrich the accuracy and/or acceptability of our own creative endeavors and appreciation of Homestuck. You know one of these games, we call it Trollslum.
For what it’s worth, this is the one and only time I will speak about the Homestuck Fandom in general. I still enjoy being a part of it, in the open as well as from behind this alias. If you feel offended, please believe me when I say that, individually speaking, I would probably say you are an Okay Person. The entire purpose of this passage has been to make it clear that, when it comes to bad things done by the Homestuck Fandom, I have a fairly good idea of what I’m talking about, and the entire purpose of that point is to give weight to the following statement:
Terrastuck is the one I find the most infuriating.
Terrastuck is what is known as a forum adventure, a story told in the same reader-input-driven manner as Problem Sleuth and parts of Homestuck, through use of the official MSPA forums. Of note are the relatively high rates of productivity and reader input/discussion present in its thread. It is also worth noting that every reference to Terrastuck I have discovered outside of the MSPA Forums has been in agreement with my opinions.
ponytailArtist, the writer and illustrator of Terrastuck, is a menace. His idea of storytelling is to smash multiple characters from multiple existing canons together, with minimal regard for continuity and accurate characterization. He offers “cameo appearances” in his story to people who can guess which anime he has taken a particular character from, as though it is some kind of reward that a rational being would desire. He refers to any plot development that does not involve lesbian relationship issues as “Filler”, consistently. He demands fan art periodically, suggesting that he thinks its generation should be connected to the fact that he “tried” rather than the audience’s appreciation and the quality of his work. (A wise move, but for the wrong reasons.*) He practices favoritism, obeys the will of his audience far more closely than any storyteller should, and has a dumb ponytail. I don’t like him.
Stick around, I swear this is an actual quote, for which I will later provide context.
I know it’s probably not going to happen, but I would pay good money to read an in-depth reaction to Terrastuck from Andrew himself. We can only guess at what diabolically ingenious things he would have to say on the subject of this insult to his creative work, and of its perpetrator.
But I think I know how he’d start.
Somewhere between the emergence of fanfiction as a cultural concept and the point we find ourselves at today, something went wrong. Somewhere down the line people decided that simply slapping together characters created by others and from vastly different settings, without the permission or consent of the original authors, is an acceptable practice, and that anyone who is capable of doing so with little trouble is to be revered. This is not the case.
Terrastuck isn’t just disrespectfully inaccurate, it’s downright creepy. Don’t just take our words for it, though, consider these scenes and judge for yourself. Terrastuck cannot go two pages without having Vriska remove her urine-soaked underwear in front of Jade (who she soon afterwards makes out with), five pages without tossing in random characters from animes (with no warning, reason, or explanation), or seven pages without introducing a character whose sole function is to “romantically” assault any Homestuck characters it encounters. Don’t believe me? Here are the scenes themselves. Viewer discretion advised.Originally Posted by Operator“OK, so let’s talk about fan fiction.
Yes, it can be OK. Our main area of interest on Slumtroller is fan characters and all that they entail. And you know what? That’s OK. In a setting like Homestuck, where the author has confirmed that there are hundreds of potential game sessions of terrestrial origin, there’s not much of an argument against it. Telling a new story within an existing writer’s framework certainly isn’t the same as writing your own story, but it’s respectful to the original work. We mainly stick to pointing out bad character design, and of course, fantrolls that stray closer to the domain of a much more nefarious type of fan fiction.
That would be revisionist fan fiction, and it covers a large chunk of fan fiction as a whole. Everything bad you’ve heard about fanfiction probably falls under this category. Every OTP, every canon character’s long-lost-cousin, every what-if scenario is a culprit here. And Terrastuck is a nasty offender.
This kind of fan fiction smacks of the “I know the real story is x, but I wanted it to be y, so I’m going to write y and pretend that’s what really happened.” And if it’s not immediately apparent why that’s wrong, allow me to explain.
Every story worth telling had a hell of a lot of thought go into it. Every character introduced, every conflict, every triumph, every tragedy, every panel, every word is there for a reason. The greatest works of fiction make the audience care about the characters, to share their joys and sadness. Great fiction can evoke great responses in its audience, that’s why it’s called great fiction. And whether or not you believe a story should evoke so-called bad feelings, you can’t deny that it’s the story the author wanted to tell. To deny a part of that, to supply your own patched up “better” version of a story, is the equivalent of covering your ears and singing to avoid acknowledging something you don’t like, and it’s immensely disrespectful to the original story and the artist.
You can’t do that in real life, what makes you think you can just because it’s a work of fiction?”
Oh, sorry, did I say “introducing a character. . ?” I meant stealing. Yeah, the robot that ends up raping Kanaya and Aradia was totally lifted from another low-quality forum adventure, one that I will hopefully get around to dealing with some time soon.
Of course, it isn’t particularly difficult to fill a mere seven pages when you have a minor fanbase offering suggestions, speculating on developments, and praising the story, and the fact that Terrastuck has one is almost certainly a war crime against literature. Anyone brave or foolish enough to attempt reading Terrastuck will, at the time of this writing, be faced with the task of slogging through over 90 pages.
Click this thumbnail, and suffer the consequences.
*[Ed: I could say that this attitude is indicative of the current disintegration of Western society, but that makes me a hipster.]