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WARD

There should be aWards for Webfiction like this

By G.S. Williams, author of No Man An Island

Dec 12, 2017: First some background:

My name is G.S. Williams. Once upon a time I was an editor on the Web Fiction Guide in the founding group, and a writer on "No Man an Island" and then "The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin". My involvement began to slow around the time my twin sons were born in 2012, which is when I first read Wildbow’s "Worm." I stopped being an editor around then, and stopped writing not long after just because life is very busy with five kids and as the minister at two churches (I’m a theology student).

"Worm" was a reinvention of my childhood love, comic books. In and of himself, Wildbow was more creative with powers, names and characters than even the legendary Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He subverted old tropes, invented new ones, and hit a level of creative intensity that is rarely seen. I was an English Literature major and I maintain Wildbow’s writing is as good as anyone’s, and often better.

As if to prove that he wasn’t a one hit wonder, Wildbow diverged from Worm with the supernatural horror adventure Pact, and then proved he had learned about multiple characters, humour, tragedy and big picture world building yet again with the alternate history, science fiction, biological horror drama Twig, which in my opinion surpassed Worm and Pact combined in artistry. While none of the genres of Pact or Twig are as culturally dominant as superheroes are right now in the gestalt, these works are more than worth reading. They are amazing.

Now, with "Ward," Wildbow returns to deal with the aftermath of Worm. What happens next? How do people deal with the events? Without spoilers, as Worm is required reading, Ward returns readers to an engaging, deep world with even more layers now perhaps than before. The protagonist Wildbow has chosen thus far might be the best guide along this new journey, as they must resolve the emotions and memories of their past in this new setting—moving forward while still carrying their baggage. It is a textured, nuanced approach, only possible in a sequel, and with the potential to surpass the original—a rare feat in any medium.

History shows me that Wildbow learns as he writes, improving every time. This should, based on that past experience, be his best work yet.

I was recently watching "The Great Beyond," a documentary of Jim Carrey’s portrayal of Andy Kaufman in "Man on the Moon." He was so deeply into character as Andy and Tony Clifton it sometimes seemed Jim would disappear. Bob Zmuda, Andy’s writing partner, would sometimes portray Clifton for Andy and even Jim, to make people think they could be in two places at once. Andy Dick saw Tony Clifton at a Playboy mansion party during the filming and said "If Jim Carrey is this good at acting, I kind of hate him a little now." Because he couldn’t tell who it was. He was jealous of the talent at work.

Being out of the game, I look at what Wildbow is doing and stand in that kind of awe. He’s doing some of the things I wanted to do and I believe doing it better. He’s surpassing even his own brilliance. The sky is the limit with his talent, and I think everyone should read him. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. As a reader I love his work, and look forward to every new book and every new chapter. As a writer I want to find the time to buckle down and learn from his excellence. As a parent I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to read his work. By then, who knows what he will have wrought?

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