Let Me Tell You About Homestuck
October 16, 2014 1:14 AM   Subscribe

5 years.
7,000 pages.
13,000 panels.
700,000 words. [Approximately the length of the Bible.]
Over 3 hours of animation.
Over 23 hours of soundtrack.
15 separate games, in 3 unique styles.

PBS once called Homestuck the "Ulysses of the Internet". Its author, Andrew Hussie — who resembles Joyce in his impishness, stylistic maximalism, and fondness for disturbing smut — calls it "a story I've tried to make as much a pure expression of its medium as possible". It has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring proms and dominating Amazon makeup reviews. But most importantly, it's a rollicking good read, equal parts slapstick and epic, bildungsroman and cultural commentary.

What on earth about it makes its fans so overly zealous? And how the hell does one start the daunting process of reading Homestuck? If you're even the remotest bit curious about this Internet phenomenon, the following is a teensy-weensy introduction to just what makes Homestuck so terrific.

As Homestuck is a love letter, in many ways, to the Internet itself, it's only fitting that we start this off with a retro HTML-friendly TABLE OF CONTENTS.


SOME CURATED PLAYLISTS [HSMUSIC00]
for your listening pleasure
==================================

[HSMUSIC01] ...... THE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACKS
[HSMUSIC02] ...... A BIT OF MELLOW JAZZ
[HSMUSIC03] ...... HERE HAVE A SYMPHONY
[HSMUSIC04] ...... BLOOD-PUMPIN’ FIGHT SONGS
[HSMUSIC05] ...... SATURDAY MORNING FAKETOONS


WHAT IS HOMESTUCK? [HSPRIMER00]
start here if you are very confused
==================================

[HSPRIMER01] ...... IN A NUTSHELL
[HSPRIMER02] ...... WHY THE FUCK IS IT SO LONG?
[HSPRIMER03] ...... WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT GOING IN?
[HSPRIMER04] ...... WHY SHOULD I BOTHER?


THE GAME WITHIN THE GAME [HSSBURB00]
"the sims" meets chess meets "fullmetal alchemist"
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[HSSBURB01] ...... AS TOLD BY GAMEFAQS
[HSSBURB02] ...... SERVERS AND CLIENTS
[HSSBURB03] ...... PROTOTYPING
[HSSBURB04] ...... THE OBJECTIVE
[HSSBURB05] ...... AND WHAT IS THE ULTIMATE REWARD?


THE PLOT [HSPLOT00]
here be spoilers
==================================

[HSPLOT00] ...... THE PLOT
[HSPLOT01] ...... RECAPS FROM THE MAN HIMSELF
[HSPLOT02] ...... THE GAME BEGINS
[HSPLOT03] ...... PARADOX SPACE
[HSPLOT04] ...... SCRATCH AND ENGLISH
[HSPLOT05] ...... ALPHA AND OMEGA
[HSPLOT06] ...... AND NOW, A CONVOLUTED TIMELINE.


THE EXTENDED UNIVERSE [HSEXTRAS00]
less a rabbithole than a secret underground world
==================================

[HSEXTRAS01] ...... SWEET BRO AND HELLA JEFF
[HSEXTRAS02] ...... PARADOX SPACE
[HSEXTRAS03] ...... RYANQUEST
[HSEXTRAS04] ...... HOMESTUCK MEETS SCOTT PILGRIM
[HSEXTRAS05] ...... RUFIO FROM THE MOVIE HOOK READS HOMESTUCK
[HSEXTRAS06] ...... GREY DELISLE (AVATAR, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS) DOES VOICES FOR HOMESTUCK
[HSEXTRAS07] ...... TOO MUCH WIKI


Ready? Here we go!


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SOME CURATED PLAYLISTS [HSMUSIC00]
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This guy has a lot of troll pals and their adventures are going to be quite extensive and convoluted, to an even greater degree than one perhaps may be accustomed. He thinks that if you think that we have time to drag out every little gag and expected pattern along the way, you've got another thing coming. He thinks you should cram that sobering understanding in your chitinous windhole, and tamp it down hard with your ugly stupid looking cartilage nub.

—Andrew Hussie, Homestuck
“Extensive and convoluted,” indeed. Here, pick some music before you go any further. Everybody likes music. And there is heck of plenty to go around.


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THE ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACKS [HSMUSIC01]
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There are nine “official” soundtracks to date, ranging up to three hours in length each.

Volumes 1-4 are composed of generally simpler pieces: straightforward video game chiptune tracks (1 2 3 4), as well as songs for solo piano, violin, and bass, and a chorale for kittens and ponies. They also included a number of dreamy, uplifting tone pieces, and several songs hinting at the adventure that was to come.

Volume 5 introduced the Homestuck anthem, and established a number of variations on several major Homestuck themes: Doctor (var 1 2 3 4 5 6 7) and Endless Climb (var 1 2 3 4 5 6 7). It also introduced the “Crystal” theme, which has shown up in Crystalanthemums, Crystalmanthequins, Crystalanthology, and Crystalmethequins. Finally, it introduced one of the most iconic songs in the Homestuck oeuvre to date: aptly-named The Beginning of Something Really Excellent.

Volumes 6 and 7 slimmed down, and vastly increased the diversity and range of their songs. Along with piano ballad 3 In The Morning and lush compositions like Black Rose / Green Sun and Savior of the Dreaming Dead, you get the Nic Cage Song, the theme song to popular magazine GameBro, the wildly majestic Horschestra, and a cover of the classic Armageddon power ballad I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing. For fans of the less-beloved genres, there’s some carnival and elevator music thrown in as well, and yes, those are crucial to the plot, thank you very much.

Volume 8 returned to the epic soundtrack length, but came accompanied with some epic compositions to boot. From opener Calamity to epic 13-minute album closer Cascade, the soundtrack mixes Homestuck’s chiptune, rock, and symphonic ambitions together, resulting in pieces both driving (Unite Synchronization; Arcade Thunder) and evocative (Do You Remem8er Me; Even in Death (T’Morra’s Belly Mix)). It also came with Homestuck’s first a capella cover.

Volume 9, meanwhile, has a little bit of everything. Busting Makes Me Feel Good is the best kind of sample-driven dance track, Minihoof’s Adventure and GameGrl bring the irritation-intensive whimsy, and Lancer is a sparse and satisfying standing bass-heavy jazz bit (contrast with the chiptune-jazz-and-dubstep mixture of Hate You). Pumpkin Party in Sea Hitler’s Water Apocalypse is everything I want a song of that title to be. And the soundtrack ends in the most straightforwardly “epic” composition that Homestuck’s done to date: the ever-building A Taste for Adventure.

(Albums Alternia, AlterniaBound, and Cherubim are also collaborative soundtracks, but you’ve got to draw the line somewhere, and I draw it at “has ‘Volume’ in the title, followed by a number”.)


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A BIT OF MELLOW JAZZ [HSMUSIC02]
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Midnight Drew: Drawing Dead is everything you want to be listening to on a quiet night at three in the morning. For starters, there’s album opener Three in the Morning. Dead Shuffle’s another fan favorite, and I’m partial to the synth-trumpet on Ace of Trump myself.

Related conceptually if not in sound is album The Felt, which is driven more by ambient loops than by jazz instrumentation, but which has a mellow sound to it nonetheless. Swing of the Clock slowly swirls up around a slow 2/2 beat before erupting into sound; Temporal Piano is reminiscent of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and even Steve Reich in its tonally-light variations around a central, repeating piano riff. The (backwards?) cello on Baroqueback Bowtier is another unusual-but-satisfying concoction.


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HERE HAVE A SYMPHONY [HSMUSIC03]
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Symphony Impossible to Play is an orchestral work in four parts, built in part around Homestuck themes and in part around original music by two of Homestuck’s primary composers. It is not, however, Homestuck’s only longer-form composition by any means.

Genesis Frog is an hour-long work composed primarily for orchestral instruments that is particularly playful within its range of instrumentation. Thip of the Tongue is spacious and light in its first half, rambunctious in its second; Buy NAK Sell DOOF progresses with a whimsy that reminds me of Danny Elfman and Carter Burwell, and a love of xylophones that makes me think of Frank Zappa. Genesis Frog also comes with a live chamber performance of its song Pondsquatter.

One Year Older is more overt in its game-music origins; its compositions are more driven by guitars and synth than the other full-length Homestuck orchestrations. But the patient way it approaches and develops its themes does a lot for me. FantasyP’s build upon one of Homestuck’s more memorable melodies is especially nice.

If you’re looking for solo piano — and, I mean, who isn’t looking for solo piano? — album Sburb is nothing but. Creation sounds like an outtake from The Truman Show soundtrack, whereas The Meek reminds me more of Ludovico Einaudi’s solo piano work.


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BLOOD-PUMPIN’ FIGHT SONGS [HSMUSIC04]
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Strife! is… well, it’s called Strife!, okay? Guitars. Drums. Especially angry-sounding synths. Dance of Thorns even has an angry-sounding synth that’s trying to sound like an angry-sounding violin, and there is nothing wrong with that, because it is also satisfying as all hell. Knife’s Edge has the sort of shredding that sounds really great if you know nothing about shredding whatsoever, and that’s me, and it might be you too. Who knows?

Meanwhile, Mobius Trip and Hadron Kaleido is just an unusual mixture all around. It’s got some great funky-sounding lines to it, and a vocalist who you’ll find either incredibly endearing or annoying as all hell. Chain of Prospit’s the one that clicked with me the most quickly, but The Deeper You Go has a beat that’s sexy as all-get-out, and no vocalist to boot. If you can get on board with the vocals, Dawn of Man is a fan favorite, but it is very voice-heavy, so be warned.


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SATURDAY MORNING FAKETOONS [HSMUSIC05]
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Look. Homestuck didn’t need an entire soundtrack devoted to its fake TV show Squiddles. It just didn’t. It didn’t need an overly-cutesy theme song, or an accompanying waltz, samba and march. There’s no reason for it to have a song specifically for Skipper Plumbthroat, a character who is never once mentioned in Homestuck proper. Let alone a second song about Skipper Plumbthroat. Or a harpsichord ditty for also-never-mentioned Princess Berryboo, with an obscure throwaway reference to the terrible Legend of Zelda TV show tossed in to boot. Or a somewhat-disturbing credits song that literally only exists so it can be used in a Lovecraftian plot twist-slash-nightmare fuel.

But Homestuck gave you this soundtrack. Just in case. Because why not.



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WHAT IS HOMESTUCK? [HSPRIMER00]
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Alright. You’re all musicked up. Let’s get this party started proper.


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IN A NUTSHELL [HSPRIMER01]
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Homestuck is a story about 4 children, each approximately 13 years old, who start playing a computer game together and end up having to save the universe.

This story is told through a linear sequence of web pages. The content of these pages changes with every “panel”, but generally it includes some combination of the following:

static images
animated GIFs
Flash animations or interactive games
— A second-person “text prompt”, mimicking the interfaces of interactive fiction games.
IM conversations between the different children. This is almost exclusively how characters speak.

There are two layers of “game” played within Homestuck, which oftentimes intermingle. The first layer is the “interactive fiction” itself, in which commands are issued to the various characters through a text prompt. Each command leads to a new page — in a sense, each “panel” of Homestuck serves to show you the result of a particular action.

The second layer of game is the one which the children play in-game, which is called SBURB. It consists of an elaborate series of mechanics, as well as a mythology so complex it is oftentimes (and humorously) inscrutable. For more information on SBURB, see The Game Within The Game [HSSBURB00].

The narrative of Homestuck is the story of what happens as these children play this game, presented as a game of interactive fiction which you, the reader, are playing. And it is approximately as long as the bible.


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WHY THE FUCK IS IT SO LONG? [HSPRIMER02]
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Frank Herbert’s Dune famously referred to its own Machiavellian plot as one of “wheels within wheels within wheels.” Add two or three more layers of wheels, and you’ve got Homestuck.

On its most fundamental level, Homestuck is divided into seven Acts, with occasional intermissions. Each Act expands the scope of the story being told, often far, far past the point where you’d expect it to keep expanding.

(note: links will contain minor, disconnected, spoilers)

Act 1 (“The Note Desolation Plays”) is primarily focused on protagonist John Egbert’s life before he begins playing.

Act 2 (“Raise of the Conductor’s Baton”) is concerned more with the process of playing SBURB, and begins to show you what playing this game is actually like.

Act 3 (“Insane Corkscrew Haymakers”) gradually starts to show you the extended SBURBan universe. The game’s cosmology gradually begins to emerge.

By the end of Act 4 (“Flight of the Paradox Clones”), however, it becomes clear that what originally seemed like a self-contained game-within-a-game is concealing much, much more than was readily apparent.

Act 5 is bifurcated into two sub-Acts. Act 5 Act 1 (“MOB1US DOUBL3 R34CH4ROUND”, also known as “Hivebent”) essentially abandons the plot of the original four Acts, introducing a new story running in parallel with the original Homestuck story. The two plots are woven together in Act 5 Act 2 (“He is already here.”), culminating in a 15-minute-long animated finale called “Cascade.”

The two Acts 5 are considered “Part 2” of Homestuck (out of three Parts so far). To get a sense of how drastically the plot of Homestuck escalates, Act 5 Act 1 is approximately half the length of Acts 1 through 4 combined. Act 5 Act 2 is three times the length of A5A1.

Act 6, which is still unfinished, is already a third again as long as both halves of Act 5. It has been split into not two but six sub-Acts, of which the sixth and final Act seems to be splitting once more into six sub-sub-Acts.

In other words:

If you’re intimidated by the length of Homestuck, keep in mind that it is incredibly bottom-heavy. The first four Acts are each very fast-paced and readable; it’s only with the second half of Act 5 that Homestuck starts to really feel like the epic that it is. Think of it as a fun, silly, engrossing story that abruptly gets enormous riiiight as you’re starting to feel like you wish it would never end. If you go into it expecting nothing but a lot of fun, you’ll find that “a lot of fun” is pretty much what you’re going to get.


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WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT GOING IN? [HSPRIMER03]
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Depending on what you’re looking for as you first start reading Homestuck, it’s possible that Act 1 might come across as a major turn-off. It doesn’t feel like the beginning of a Moby-Dick-length epic whatsoever, although in fairness neither does the very beginning of Moby-Dick. If you’re wondering whether or not Homestuck is worth the effort, Act 1 might read to you as a firm, emphatic “no”.

Think of Homestuck as a meditative labyrinth. It starts at a single, concentrated point, and then gradually unfolds and unfolds and unfolds until it covers a vast expands of subjects and plots. Act 1 feels relatively inconsequential, but it establishes the kernel of a world that subsequent acts will build upon and develop into a sprawling, compelling universe.

The process of reading Homestuck is a pretty idiosyncratic one, and if you’re wondering whether or not it’ll offer you the sort of entertainment that you’re looking for, here’s a rough map of what sorts of treasures it has to offer you.

ACT 1 — Whimsical, rapid-fire jokes about video games and pop culture and computer programming. Parodies of gaming magazines, lengthy poems of praise to Matthew McConaughey movies, an extended slapstick routine about data structures, a whole lot of pranks and clowns… It’s brilliantly-written and a lot less one-note than your usual humorous Internet nerdgasms, but it’s still pretty much just a romp. Until the ending.

ACT 2 — The stakes are introduced. The cast of characters begins to expand, and a series of mysteries present themselves, all as the kids start to explore the game they suddenly find themselves forced to play. Here’s where the plot begins clicking along, and towards the end a handful of what-the-fuck moments up the suspense so rapidly you’ll think that you were watching LOST, except for the part where this time there’s an answer to everything.

ACT 3 — Equal parts mythology, mystery, character, and whimsy. At this point, enough of the story’s enigmas have been revealed that it can start to answer them, always in incredibly satisfying ways. At the same time, however, you’re still on the cusp of an epic tale which always, always has more to intrigue you with, so with every answer expect 5-10 new questions to arise.

INTERMISSION — A seemingly detached interlude: straightforward, fast-paced, ultra-violent, and as obsessed with complex time shenanigans as Primer or that one episode of Community. If you’re wondering whether or not this thing is really your thing, or if you’re looking for a fun one-off read without making a commitment, try reading through the Intermission standalone. You don’t need to know anything going in, and the whole piece is a quick, breezy introduction to Homestuck’s house style.

ACT 4 — The point at which Homestuck’s epic scope reveals itself. Earlier Acts tease the possibility that something bigger is going on than you could possibly understand, in that wonderful way that makes mythos-driven stories so much fun; Act 4 begins to pay off in major ways, making it one of the few vast, conspiratorial stories which is actually capable of putting its money where its mouth is. But even this is just the end of the beginning.

ACTS 5 AND 6 — Don’t worry about these ones. If you really have a hankerin’ for a spoilin’, skip to [HSPLOT03] for some sense of where things wind up, but if you’re at all curious about this story, you’ll want to go in knowing as little as possible. Suffice it to say there’s a reason these two are so long.


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WHY SHOULD I BOTHER? [HSPRIMER04]
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Okay, so it’s long as hell and does Internetty things using the Internet. Who cares? What’s the point? Don’t fandoms on the Internet have notoriously shitty taste?

In this case, no. Homestuck is pretty fantastic. Leave behind the novelty factor, the experimentalism, the sheer impressiveness of it all. There are some pretty solid reasons for you to get into Homestuck. Here are 5 to get you started out.

It’s all about the story. Homestuck is not a gags comic with a story thrown in. It is first and foremost a narrative work, and boy does it have one hell of a narrative. That ridiculous length? Almost all storytelling and plot development. It’s got next-to-zero filler: on the contrary, it gives Arrested Development a run for its money in the sense that every little detail, every lingering mystery, conceals far more future information than you’ll pick up on even after several rereads. For all its surface hyperkineticism, Homestuck is ultimately an epic, whose plot was designed to patiently, gradually reveal itself across vast expanses of time. In many ways, in fact, its willingness not to jump ahead of itself is what sets it apart.

It is an absolute linguistic delight. Andrew Hussie has a fondness for the quirks and foibles of the English language, and a knack for throwing bewildering turns-of-phrase at you that stick themselves deeply in your craw. What’s more, he has a masterful way with voices — his characters are marvelously distinct from one another, each with a palette and a range that sets them immediately apart.

It’s unbelievably lush. It starts out pretty simple, sure. But, as with the story, its artwork and its music grow richer and richer and richer with time, past the point that you could possibly reasonably expect of it. Orchestras and synthesizers and pianos and metal riffs collide with one another (see [HSMUSIC00]) as the artwork incorporates style after style after style into its tapestry. If you like looking at and hearing things, this is pretty much a thing for you.

It’s the most comprehensive look at modern youth written to date. The children in Homestuck grew up with the Internet; they are accustomed to having friends which you’ve never met, and hobbies which are primarily digital in nature. That they communicate with one another using IM is not a random quirk — it’s a testament to the social medium in which they dwell (see also: the title “Homestuck” itself). As the story goes on, Homestuck becomes an incisive look at how personalities form within the abstractions of the online world, and at how people distinguish themselves from one another when there’s nothing to them but voices.

The whole thing is deeply, deeply in love with culture. All of culture. Every part of it. It loves Betty Crocker and it loves Nicolas Cage and it loves Charles Barkley and it loves Insane Clown Posse and it loves old retro video games and it loves contemporary cutting-edge sitcoms and it loves turn-of-the-century Modernist poetry and it loves RSS feeds and it loves unnecessarily complicated programming languages and it loves… I mean, it loves a lot of different things. And it goes to great lengths to incorporate as many disparate strands of the modern world into its make-up as it possibly can.

It really is something special. 2 million+ Homestuck fans can’t be wrong.

(Well, they could be wrong. But they’re not wrong, this time.)



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THE GAME WITHIN THE GAME [HSSBURB00]
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It’s important to point out that many of these in-game details are essentially SPOILERS, so proceed with caution.


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AS TOLD BY GAMEFAQS [HSSBURB01]
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The canon explanation of SBURB was written by one tentacleTherapist on the popular web site GameFAQs.com. If you’re looking for a self-contained explanation of how this unusual game works, perhaps her explanations may prove to be of service.

[0000] Caveats and Condolences
[A000] An Examination of the Basics
[B100] The Long and Short. The Medium too.
[Z001] some stuff about captcha codes and punch card alchemy
[Z301] Appendix 3 — Screen Captures, pt. 1

If you’re looking for a more detached summary of how SBURB works, proceed below.


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SERVERS AND CLIENTS [HSSBURB02]
(Spoilers for Act 1 follow.)
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Players in SBURB assume one of two initial roles: Servers and Clients. Upon installing SBURB’s server, players are given the ability to manipulate the world surrounding their client player. This manipulation includes moving objects across space with the cursor, deploying a new array of game-specific objects, and — perhaps most crucially — building.

The client player, meanwhile, is concerned with one thing and one thing only: survival. New clients’ locations are seemingly targeted by enormous asteroids, which quickly level their homes and surrounding environs. Only by playing SBURB is it possible for clients to escape this apocalypse in time.

As time goes on, each server player becomes the client player for the next server. This forms a chain of players which concludes when the original client player becomes the final player’s server.


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PROTOTYPING [HSSBURB03]
(Spoilers for Act 2 follow.)
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For each player, an entity known as a kernelsprite is created. These kernelsprites exist initially as a pure ball of transformable energy, into which objects can be placed. When an item is placed into the kernelsprite, the sprite is prototyped with the item in question.

Every sprite has the capacity to be prototyped twice over. The first prototype influences the creatures which are spawned in-game; the nature of the item prototyped with a sprite lends its various attributes to the game’s initially-featureless fauna. As more players prototype their kernelsprites, creatures become increasingly complex.

The second prototyping turns its sprite into a guide for its respective player. Twice-prototyped sprites serve to provide clues to players in-game, as well as assistance in battle.


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THE OBJECTIVE [HSSBURB04]
(Spoilers for Act 4 follow.)
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At the heart of SBURB’s universe is a world known as Skaia (a portmanteau of “Gaia” and “sky”), which somewhat resembles an enormous chessboard. As sprites are prototyped, Skaia expands by an order of magnitude: its dimensions increase, the pieces on both sides expand their hierarchies, and the battle stretching across its expanses grows considerably fiercer.

The war between chess pieces is predestined to be won by the black forces. When they do they initiate a process known as the Reckoning, in which meteors are sent towards Skaia to destroy it. For a while, Skaia protects itself using portals which launch these meteors backwards through time, where they provide the initial Earth-ending apocalypse that drives SBURB’s players forward. These players make their way across various worlds, aided by Skaia’s future survivors gathering in the wastelands of what used to be Earth, as they try to reach Skaia and defeat the black king and queen before Skaia is destroyed altogether.

If players manage to save Skaia before it is utterly destroyed, they receive what is colloquially referred to as THE ULTIMATE REWARD.


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AND WHAT IS THE ULTIMATE REWARD? [HSSBURB05]
(Spoilers for Act 5 follow.)
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The creation of an entirely new universe.

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THE PLOT [HSPLOT00]
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RECAPS FROM THE MAN HIMSELF [HSPLOT01]
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For an extensive and overly meticulous summary of Homestuck’s events, look no further than Andrew Hussie’s own explanations of the various events which have transpired, which collectively cover Acts 1-4 and a substantial portion of Act 5.

Be warned that these recaps are frighteningly long and very scary. More compelling (and less detailed) explanations of what the hell is going on will follow in subsequent sections.

Recap 1: Acts 1-4
Recap 2: the rest of Act 4
Recap 3: Act 5 Part 1, Act 5 Part 2 (unfinished)
Recap 4: NO FUCK THIS.


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THE GAME BEGINS [HSPLOT02]
(Spoilers for Acts 1-4 follow.)
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In its early Acts (see [HSPRIMER02]), Homestuck follows the progress of four children making their way through SBURB for the first time.

John Egbert, our initial protagonist, receives a SBURB client disc in the mail (see [HSSBURB02]). As he starts playing the game, with one of his three closest friends acting as his server, his actions reveal a meteor that’s only minutes away from striking his house. By proceeding with the game’s instructions, he manages to transport him and his house into the Medium, an abstract dimension which obeys all of SBURB’s rules. With the aid of his server player, the overanalytical Rose Lalonde, he begins moving towards the game’s first Gate, which will take him to one of the assorted worlds within the Medium.

Rose’s attempts to help John are cut short by the meteors suddenly striking her region of the United States, and to escape she gets the help of Dave Strider, coolkid extraordinaire. John and Rose slowly realize they are acting with the aid of a band of Exiles, reaching out to them from Earth’s distant future. The Exiles slowly gather their forces, awaiting some unseen objective, while John fights the imps which form the initial wave of SBURBan enemies, Rose seeks shelter from the raging firestorm, and Dave deals with the sadistic tortures of his overly ironic older brother (henceforth known as “Bro”).

Meanwhile, we meet the enigmatic Jade Harley, whose prophetic dreams are linked to the greater SBURBan universe. Harley is the first of the four players to awaken her “dream self”, a second body which dwells one of the two planets near the center of the Medium. Upon awakening their dream selves, players of SBURB can travel to the battlefield at the center of the universe, taking part in the fight for the future of reality itself.


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PARADOX SPACE [HSPLOT03]
(Spoilers for Acts 4-5 follow.)
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As John travels to the first world of the Medium and Rose and Dave enter the Medium in turn, they become aware of a hostile group of aggressors known as the “trolls”. It becomes evident that these trolls are players, too, but from a different instance of SBURB entirely. Their session has become linked to the kids’ by means of a process called Paradox Space, in which multiple universes become interwoven across space and time to such an extent that events in each cause the other to occur (a process known as a Double Möbius Reacharound). The kids’ future actions will cause the trolls to lose their game; the trolls then act in a manner which cause the kids’ game to go wrong as well.

While the kids’ session begins to go horribly awry, we are given a look into the troll universe, which is dominated by an all-powerful empress who subjugates her entire race with the help of a series of elite castes. The trolls’ session is exceptionally convoluted — instead of four players, they have twelve, and their group dynamic is complicated further by the species’ regimented (and racist) social order, a convoluted series of courtship rituals, and — most disturbing of all — the pairing of each troll to a monstrous lusus naturae, a creature who serves as a troll’s guardian, and who in turn makes its troll care for it and give into its demands.

Tensions between the twelve trolls fragment their team even before their game begins; at it progresses, a series of betrayals and manipulations divide them even further, and these cross-purposes spill over into the kids’ session once the trolls begin to interact with them. Further complicating this cross-universal relationship is the fact that the trolls’ timeline does not run parallel to the kids’, and thus the trolls are free to interact with John, Dave, Rose, and Jade along any point in time that they see fit. Each troll charts a different path along this timeline, skipping back and forth at their leisure; this causes Paradox Space to grow increasingly complex and frayed.

Ultimately, an act by a particularly fatalist troll — who reasons that her own actions don’t matter, since their consequences made themselves known before she even took them — results in the creation of an unbeatable final boss within the kids’ universe, who then brings about the destruction of the trolls’ game session as well. By the nature of Paradox Space, this outcome is anticipated by certain players well in advance, who then conspire to reset the game and bring about a new, winnable play session.

But not all is as it seems.


––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
SCRATCH AND ENGLISH [HSPLOT04]
(Spoilers for Act 5 follows.)
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Across every instance of this game within Paradox Space lurks a being who calls himself Lord English. He is an invulnerable creature with the ability to skip across time, and who conspires to bring about the end of every universe ever created, and to ultimately end creation itself.

English operates by means of paradox. He is only summoned into a universe when it is finally destroyed. Yet by the nature of his mastery over time, by the time he is brought into being, he has already arrived and made his influence known.

English’s agent across these two universes is an omniscient entity named Doc Scratch. It was Scratch who engineered the creation of the trolls’ universe in the first place, by means of manipulating a previous set of trolls into making a game-reset maneuver similar to the one which the trolls and children are now attempting to perform. Scratch and English are in control of the troll empress, and have bred the troll species to the point where they have become useful agents in English’s extended game.

Now Scratch manipulates the trolls and kids alike to bring about the ends of their universes, while simultaneously pushing English’s influence into the one which both species have collaborated on creating. As the new universe comes into being, both groups of players take actions to migrate towards it, and English sends his troops to it as well. A new battlefield emerges…


––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
ALPHA AND OMEGA [HSPLOT05]
(Spoilers for Act 6 follows.)
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

The reset of the original universe brings about an uncanny duplicate, with four children who share traits with the four originals, but possess the genetic makeup of relatives of the original kids. John’s grandmother, Rose’s mother, Dave’s bro, and Jade’s grandfather, each of whom had a part to play in the original game session, appear here as 16-year-old versions of themselves, battling hormones and the increasing expectations placed upon their universe as they begin to play a version of SBURB, the alpha playtest to the original kids’ beta.

Converging upon this universe are a number of external sources: the kids and trolls, who arrive after a three-year journey of their own; the trolls’ empress, who operates on Earth under a familiar guise; the undefeatable boss from the original SBURB session; the twelve trolls from the original, never-before-seen universe; and two creatures who masquerade as trolls but are in fact something far stranger: an adolescent Lord English and his twin sister, embarking on a unique game of SBURB which leads to an encounter with a strange but somehow familiar presence.

This is the state in which Homestuck left off; for the last year, it has undergone a lengthy GIGAPAUSE while Andrew Hussie worked on the Homestuck-related video game which he raised $2.5 million for in a Kickstarter two Octobers ago. Now, Homestuck is reportedly on the cusp of re-launching its narrative, so that its final end will make itself known.


––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
AND NOW, A CONVOLUTED TIMELINE. [HSPLOT06]
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Just in case you wanted one.



============================================================
THE EXTENDED UNIVERSE [HSEXTRAS00]
============================================================

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
SWEET BRO AND HELLA JEFF [HSEXTRAS01]
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

The webcomic Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff, which can be read as a separate entity from Homestuck, is a number of different things at once:

— exceptionally shitty
— utterly brilliant
— a comic-within-a-comic written by Homestuck character Dave Strider
— a series of allusions to ongoing Homestuck events
— a source of recurring inside jokes traded by Homestuck characters, all of whom presumably read SBaHJ religiously

Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff is a popular webcomic in its own right, and has spawned a number of memorable strips:

I TOLD YOU MAN
I TOLD YOU ABOUT STAIRS!


where doing it man
where MAKING THIS HAPEN


i HAVE
the car


FUCKIN
NANCHO PARTY

(part 2)
CHAPTER 3 & CHAPATER 4

The strip is available in a gorgeous, gorgeous hardcover edition, which includes coupons to Subway, a nacho scratch n sniff sticker, and a lenticular bookmark. Daaaaamn.


––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
PARADOX SPACE [HSEXTRAS02]
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

As Homestuck has grown as a cultural phenomenon, it has become equal parts original story and fan-based reaction. Which is why, on its fifth anniversary as a comic, Andrew Hussie launched Paradox Space, which houses a wide variety of Homestuck-related created written by a plethora of writers and artists.

Paradox Space launched with this retelling of Homestuck’s very first panels; be warned that most of its stories are relatively inaccessible to non-readers. You can browse all its stories here, if you’re caught up enough to know the cast and the various events.


––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
RYANQUEST [HSEXTRAS03]
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Andrew Hussie and Dinosaur Comics author Ryan North are notorious frenemies. There was that time that Andrew Hussie took Ryan North to an Olive Garden for the first time. There was also that time when they traded credit cards and Ryan North bought things with Andrew Hussie’s credit card and Andrew Hussie bought things with Ryan North’s credit card. What great pals!

Ryanquest commemorates this spectacular friendship with a unique adventure dedicated solely to Hussie’s best[?] bud. It is a less-than-flattering portrayal of the man, but that is perhaps to be expected.


––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
HOMESTUCK MEETS SCOTT PILGRIM [HSEXTRAS04]
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Fans of popular comic Scott Pilgrim vs. the World may be happy to learn that Bryan Lee O’Malley is a devout Homestuck reader. Here is O’Malley’s interview with Hussie.


––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
RUFIO FROM THE MOVIE HOOK READS HOMESTUCK [HSEXTRAS05]
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

The tl;dr of it is, Rufio, from the popular Peter Pan adaptation Hook starring Robin Williams, is also a prominent figure in Homestuck. So Dante Basco, who played Rufio, started reading Homestuck as well. For a while the Homestuck fandom tracked his progress using The Unbelievably Shitty Dante Basco Progress Bar, in case reading about an actor reading a comic that made that actor’s character into a comic character as well is something that remotely interests you.


––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
GREY DELISLE (AVATAR, THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS) DOES VOICES FOR HOMESTUCK [HSEXTRAS06]
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Grey DeLisle, known for voicing Azula on the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender, Mandy on The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, and Vicki on The Fairly Oddparents, has recorded snippets of her voicing two major Homestuck characters: Rose Lalonde and Vriska Serket.

Nothing more needs to be said about this, except that it is awesome.


––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
TOO MUCH WIKI [HSEXTRAS07]
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

In case you’re not tired of obsessive chronicling of this already-obsessive story, the Homestuck Wiki’s got you covered!

Weird Plot ShitLOST had 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42. Homestuck has 413, 612, 1025 (413+612), and 11 11 11.

Mythological Roles — Exploring the overly-patterned structures behind SBURB’s player mechanics. See also the complex relationship between chat handles and DNA base pairings.

Running Gags — There are way, way, way, way, way too many of these.
posted by rorgy (231 comments total) 288 users marked this as a favorite
 
Umm...yeah. No. Life is too short.
*Goes back to reading namesake.*
posted by happyroach at 1:28 AM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Homestuck is how I knew I had transitioned from youth into a "get off my lawn" crotchety old man.
posted by PenDevil at 1:29 AM on October 16, 2014 [12 favorites]


rorgy: "And how the hell does one start the daunting process of reading Homestuck? If you're even the remotest bit curious about this Internet phenomenon, the following is a teensy-weensy introduction to just what makes Homestuck so terrific."

How the hell does one start the daunting process of reading this post? Can someone work up a teensy-weensy introduction to this teensy-weensy introduction?
posted by Bugbread at 1:34 AM on October 16, 2014 [52 favorites]


How the hell does one start the daunting process of reading this post? Can someone work up a teensy-weensy introduction to this teensy-weensy introduction?

1) play some music
2) read the primer
3) THE POWER IS YOURS
posted by rorgy at 1:36 AM on October 16, 2014 [9 favorites]


I don't think the retro-html friendly table of contents works. unless that's part of all this somehow. I don't even know anymore.
posted by namewithoutwords at 1:37 AM on October 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


In classic plaintext-file style, harkening back to the GameFAQs days, every item in the table of contents is accompanied by a unique hash that you can use for navigation. For instance, in the aptly-titled chapter below...
[HSPRIMER02] ...... WHY THE FUCK IS IT SO LONG?
...the "[HSPRIMER02]" hash exists for you to highlight with a double-click, copy, and then ctrl-F ctrl-V to quickly jump to its location. For the most part, each hash has only two locations, one in the table of contents and one in the post itself; the one I've used in this post now has a couple more, and a few others have an extra hashlink elsewhere within the post, but the first two results will always be ToC followed by the chapter location.
posted by rorgy at 1:49 AM on October 16, 2014 [18 favorites]


Every time my SO goes out for sewing circle or game night or whatever, I always threaten to 'break out the absinthe and find out what that Homestuck thing is all about.'

You're feeding my addiction, man.
posted by mikurski at 1:59 AM on October 16, 2014 [10 favorites]


There is definitely more inside! I have come to the conclusion this post is about a web comic that I think someone mentioned on Metafilter previously. I remember the thing about the arms.

Looks like a good thing to start reading at work! Thanks rorgy
posted by asok at 2:00 AM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


For some reason, once you mentioned that the post was structured like a GameFAQ, it became suddenly far less daunting, and has actually gotten me interested in reading Homestuck. So either "thanks" or "what hast thou wrought?!"
posted by Bugbread at 2:03 AM on October 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


I think someone mentioned on Metafilter previously. I remember the thing about the arms.

Dead on.
posted by Iridic at 2:09 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Oh! Maybe the gigapause is over!"

[beat]

"Nope."
posted by evidenceofabsence at 2:13 AM on October 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


evidenceofabsence: There are hints that it ends tomorrow! That's why this post went up today.
posted by rorgy at 2:15 AM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think Hussie figures he's left us hanging long enough.
posted by emmtee at 2:18 AM on October 16, 2014


Cool.
Coolcoolcool.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:22 AM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wait, hang on, its a massive epic that still isn't finished?
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:27 AM on October 16, 2014


Holy smokes.

I stalled in the Act 3/4 Intermission, and it's been so long I'm not sure if I can pick it back up. Homestuck meanders so much that it's hard for me to really track and get invested in, somehow. But on the other hand it is so bursting at the seams creatively that I know I should go back to it.
posted by fleacircus at 2:28 AM on October 16, 2014


I forgot to mention, I love - love - that after a full goddamned year of gigapause, Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff updated last week. Somehow that fact is like a perfect distillation of everything great about Homestuck.
posted by emmtee at 2:29 AM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


One time while walking through the hotel a convention was at, I discovered by accident that you can basically short circuit a cosplayer's brain by asking for the elevator pitch of what Homestuck is about.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 2:32 AM on October 16, 2014 [17 favorites]


It's basically a love story between a puppet and a clown.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:37 AM on October 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


"surly teen decides to ruin it for everybody, less surly teens fight back"
posted by rorgy at 2:40 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


oh and then guy fieri becomes the president
posted by rorgy at 2:48 AM on October 16, 2014


I'm not sure anybody who isn't already a devoted Homestuck fan is going to take the effort to read this.
posted by ardgedee at 3:24 AM on October 16, 2014 [12 favorites]


One of the reasons I've remained a Homestuck fan since first reading it a couple of years ago is that the cast is split almost exactly 50/50 male/female, and that the women characters a) don't have Strong Female Protagonist syndrome, b) aren't obvious copies of author-favourite male characters with a skirt on, c) get to both drive the main plot and have their own arcs, and d) are memorable and hilarious.

Even among my other Favourite Things, that's rare.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:31 AM on October 16, 2014 [12 favorites]


Nice post. Homestuck's characters are fantastic, I just wish there weren't so many of them.
posted by Quilford at 3:35 AM on October 16, 2014


Wow that's a post and a half. Did not know about Homestuck, but it looks intriguing as hell. The question is: do I have time to start this thing? The answer is no, no I do not.

/starts anyway
posted by zardoz at 3:38 AM on October 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


Gosh it'd be nice for there to be a First Watch thread on FanFare for Homestuckers needing a bit of support to get each other through it
posted by Quilford at 3:50 AM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


First of all, holy balls.

Second of all, holy balls, what a post! A fair fit for the maximalist vastness of Homestuck. :P

No joke, Homestuck is just about my favourite piece of fiction. And that's after initially hating it because I saw Hussie as a disaffected shallow ironic hipster jerk. Turns out I was doing both of us a massive disservice though because he's honestly one of the most impressive writers I've ever read.

The reason Homestuck is different and weird isn't just for gimmicks' sake; it practically invents a whole new medium, certainly a new genre (if not several), and pushes it to the limit, deconstructs itself and builds itself up in whole new directions, layers a hundred layers on itself in a hundred different styles...

... all that is impressive enough in a way that makes the Ulysses comparison I think actually quite apt (and Ulysses is one of my other favourite books!). But Homestuck manages to combine that literary/artistic ambition with a cast of characters who are actually likeable, relateable, interesting, unique, and deftly handled, facing their insane, epic, nonsensical challenges and obstacles in a way that's really relatable and compelling. So much so that it's built an insanely vast and energetic fandom, because it drives the teens googly-eyed with fannish enthusiasm in a mostly very endearing way and to an almost terrifying extent.

And even as it accomplishes both of those things at once, even as it does things that I honestly think rival some of the "Great Writers", it does it with a big dumb stupid fucking grin on its face. It's silly! It's funny! Funny in a new, unique way like any of the big new forces in comedy have been funny.

Yeah, it's huge, complicated, lurches wildly around the place, but it always stays tight, taut, purposeful, with every level and detail pointed towards a grand goal. It pretty much never displays any flab or incoherence (even if it sometimes might seem to).

And on and on it goes... I could just sit here praising the damned thing forever, but that doesn't necessarily mean much to a non-reader. All I'd say is, check out some random links in the OP and I bet you'll see something rad. And secondly, just dive in. Yeah, it's huge, but once you get up to speed it just keeps ripping along in an addictive way. It's far, far easier to consume than, say, a big stodgy literary classic. There's pictures, animations, music and shit, it's fun! I periodically re-read the whole thing and it takes maybe a week of spare time.

Hrrrrh. Other than that I just have froth. Read it. Read it. REEEEEEAAAADDD IITTTTTTTTTTTTTTT.
posted by Drexen at 4:04 AM on October 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also hell yes, I would be totally up for, and would compulsively wordsplurge all over, a Fanfare effort for Homestuck.

Did I mention RRRREEEEEEAAAAAAADDDDDIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTT

Also here is a sketchy but lovely little fan-animation about it, Lullaby for the Gods.
posted by Drexen at 4:12 AM on October 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


And a more fiery and inspiring and silly tribute to Homestuck and its fandom in song form!
posted by Drexen at 4:15 AM on October 16, 2014


Which reminds me of this fan animation, which is super cute and hilarious and makes Doc Scratch weirdly endearing for exactly two minutes fifteen seconds.
posted by emmtee at 4:21 AM on October 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


I also credit Homestuck with getting me writing again, after a decade-plus fallow period. Hurrah!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:22 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


And one more thing, a fan-produced 7.5-minute fight sequence animation showing one of the many epic showdowns which, in the story, happen off-screen and are barely even referred to. The story itself usually avoids, reframes or outright ridicules these 'moments of awesome', to avoid being too fawning and anime-ish and power-fantasy towards its characters, but still it's kinda cool and also shows how insanely dedicated the fandom is!
posted by Drexen at 4:25 AM on October 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Sigh, this post reminds me when I made that post to try to make the My Little Pony fandom understandable to outsiders, and it kinda didn't and did go well all at once.

Didn't: Among other things, there was a pretty massive MetaTalk about it which I quickly learned was not a healthy thing for me to read.

Did: I got a good number of MeMails thanking me for making it, who used it as a foothold into the fandom.

This seems like it might be another thing like that. Well, I hope it goes better for you than it did for me, rorgy.
posted by JHarris at 4:27 AM on October 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


Homestuck is a contextual singularity, but in the interests of Internet History here's some more background.

Forum adventure games have been an occasional phenomenon on sites like 4chan and SomethingAwful for years. One of the most important of these precursors is Cyanide & Happiness cartoonist Rob DenBleyker's August 2006 Explosm forum story "My Magical Skiing Adventure." I don't know for certain if it directly inspired Hussie, but it shares certain hallmarks like the RPG metaphors, absurdist tone, and heavy audience participation. Of course, it lasted a mere 100 pages and reached a relatively conventional conclusion.

A month later, Hussie took that baton and rocketed into the next dimension.

It started off small, with the bloody and insane Jailbreak thread on his own webcomic forum. After rejiggering the site into a full-fledged platform for hosting these narratives, he paused Jailbreak and experimented with Bard Quest before launching the next chapter: Problem Sleuth (discussed previously).

It had modest beginnings, a film noir parody in the guise of a graphical text adventure. But it quickly sprawled into something much stranger and more ambitious -- well over 1,000 pages of comical surrealism, madcap metaphysics, and splintering identities on a cosmic scale. It's a grueling yet rewarding read, and a good warm-up for the orders-of-magnitude more complex Homestuck saga, with its multiple multimedia channels and intricate narrative and burgeoning fan community.

And honestly, as someone who completed Problem Sleuth and enjoyed the ride (spoilers!), I just can't get into Homestuck. Maybe it's a sign of aging, but its universe is so deeply, richly, post-post-modernly vast and impenetrable that I can't imagine trying to tackle it from the beginning. The comparisons to Ulysses are apt -- this thing is an intimidatingly brilliant work. I'd like to think it will be seen alongside stuff like ThruYou and Twitch Plays Pokemon as a pioneering example of Internet Art -- an In Search of Lost Time for the 21st century. And in that way, this post is a phenomenal tribute to this phenomenal work. And maybe just the primer I need to at least begin to comprehend it.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:28 AM on October 16, 2014 [19 favorites]


it practically invents a whole new medium

In a shack out in the wastes somewhere, a marketing person who was laughed out of the business for pushing "multimedia" as a thing in the 90s when no one knew what it was, computers and users weren't really ready for it, and it was a torment in the back of the mind—that person is reading Homestuck and screaming, "This is what I meant!"
posted by fleacircus at 4:35 AM on October 16, 2014 [28 favorites]


Great googly moogly, what an awesome post. I've only read a tiny bith of Homestuck -- it's my daughters' thing more than mine -- but it looks like I'll be checking it out again.
posted by Gelatin at 4:40 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


"The little red arm-swingy-dealy thing or whatever it is called is flipped up!

What the hell is that thing called anyway. You do not have time for these semantics. The red flippy-lever thing means you have new mail. And that means the beta might be here! "


Wait, what? The red flag on the mailbox is what you raise to tell the postman you have mail to send. Where does Hussie live that the mailman flips up the flag to tell you that you have mail?
posted by Bugbread at 5:00 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


that person is reading Homestuck and screaming, "This is what I meant!"

And on their sketchpad, a rough drawing of a short, angry, grey-skinned and yellow-horned creature known as Busdog, known for his occasional sweary outbursts, habit of calling his friends "shitfannies", and comical aversion to household mops.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:14 AM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


So... It's that cosplay thing I keep on seeing?
posted by Artw at 5:28 AM on October 16, 2014


Artw: "So... It's that cosplay thing I keep on seeing?"

This is probably my favourite Homestuck cosplay.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:32 AM on October 16, 2014 [12 favorites]


Wait, what? The red flag on the mailbox is what you raise to tell the postman you have mail to send.

What? Really? We don't have these things around here, but I assumed the flag is in fact to notify you about mail. My world is destroyed.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 6:00 AM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I guess I didn't need all of this free time I had anyway.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:08 AM on October 16, 2014


I don't often pine for lost youth but whenever I spot a gaggle of cosplaying trolls in the wild (and that happens at least once a year outside of NYCC and Halloween) my heart aches for the chance to dress up as a gang of vaguely menacing emo monsters.
posted by whuppy at 6:21 AM on October 16, 2014


I followed Problem Sleuth all the way through, and read Homestuck for maybe a year before I became equal parts bored and overwhelmed. It's more impressive than it is enjoyable (For me. I'm glad there is an enthusiastic audience. It's just not me.)

Someone should calculate how much time it requires to "read" through Homestuck from the beginning (including the interactive games and animation). I wouldn't be surprised if it requires a 100+ hour investment.
posted by dgaicun at 6:36 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I honestly had no idea that Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff was related to Homestuck.

I wish I had enough time to crack this. Regardless, I'm honestly glad that people are creating new, exciting, immersive things.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:38 AM on October 16, 2014


So basically a contagious obsessive cognitive disorder of some kind?
posted by Segundus at 6:43 AM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Homestuck is good meta.

... and I really need to extract the soundtrack of the part 5 closing animation.
posted by pan at 6:45 AM on October 16, 2014


Someone should calculate how much time it requires to "read" through Homestuck from the beginning (including the interactive games and animation)

I'd say it's something like 20 hours. That's based on my own experience doing just that several times, and also the following estimation: There are around 7000 pages, and I'd say 10 seconds per page is a reasonable estimate for average reading time, given that many pages don't have any text, and the ones that have loads of text are usually skippable if you wanted. So, that gives us around 18 hours... add on 3-ish for the animations and games, and you've got a bit over 21 hours.

So, comparable to a big book. But more fun to get through, I'd say!
posted by Drexen at 6:46 AM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


pan, you can buy/listen to all the soundtracks here, and that particular track is here!
posted by Drexen at 6:50 AM on October 16, 2014


You forgot to count in the time it takes to learn to read and remember how all the trolls type, as well as going through the recaps to ensure that you're following everything right.

You shouldn't skip any of the chat logs, they're an integral part of the story.

I'm about halfway through, and I love it.
posted by Braeburn at 6:52 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


pan, you can buy/listen to all the soundtracks here, and that particular track is here!

Huzzah!
posted by pan at 6:54 AM on October 16, 2014


ok, shoot, yes, looks like i have to read Homestuck and Dumbing of Age and I still have no time what with binging on Parks and Rec.
posted by rebent at 6:55 AM on October 16, 2014


You shouldn't skip any of the chat logs, they're an integral part of the story.

That's true for the most part, but some of the really crazy-long ones (Kankri's rants, Aranea's explanations, a few other examples) can be skipped over with, I'd say, something close to authorial approval. :P
posted by Drexen at 6:59 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is like the Moby Dick of FPPs - although I hold a special place in my heart for this one. It feels very un-MetaFiltery, which is a good thing - so strangely formatted and so much text and space used with no links. Very impressive, not sure it's reader-friendly more like reader runs screaming, hiding behind the sofa. But I like that it's way strangely different.

Nice one. Question: how long did it take you to compose this?
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:14 AM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


add on 3-ish for the animations and games, and you've got a bit over 21 hours.

The animation alone is 3 hours. The 15 games would be additional time. Thanks for the firsthand input, though.

If anyone does jump in fresh, try and keep track of the time it takes you to make it through, and do let us know. (This thread will stay open for a month, which might be enough time).
posted by dgaicun at 7:30 AM on October 16, 2014


I've started reading it like five times and gotten bored each time. Is there a good starting point that is more interesting than the beginning?
posted by Greg Nog at 7:39 AM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I started reading Homestruck, and spent many hours wading into it before I realised I'd never catch up. And I was fine with that. I'll probably dip in later sometime, but I'm not concerned about finishing it. Mighty fun, though. I admire the effort spent on all the many creations that add up to Homestruck. Wow!

This post, though, is far too long. I started reading it, and just gave up. I hope this length doesn't become more common.
posted by barnacles at 7:40 AM on October 16, 2014


Greg Nog: "I've started reading it like five times and gotten bored each time. Is there a good starting point that is more interesting than the beginning?"

I don't know that I can provide that, but this page has in its chatlog a short poem about being covered in erotic puppets.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:45 AM on October 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


I've not read Homestuck and probably am not going to start anytime soon, because I'm just getting over Clicker Heroes which I sternly told myself I am not going to get hooked on. This is starting to sound like the click game version of a webcomic.
posted by JHarris at 7:53 AM on October 16, 2014



I've started reading it like five times and gotten bored each time.


same, I can't find anything to engage my interest which seems strange because i can get excited about qtips.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:05 AM on October 16, 2014


I've started reading it like five times and gotten bored each time. Is there a good starting point that is more interesting than the beginning?

I'd suggest (over the howls of protest from the fandom) starting with [S] Descend. Watch the animation, then read through to the recap that happens about 20 or 30 pages later. If any of what's happening seems interesting or intriguing, keep reading; you can use the fan wiki to fill in gaps in your knowledge when things get (too) confusing.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:13 AM on October 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Is there a good starting point that is more interesting than the beginning?

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yes it's called the New Brain Shop because YOU NEED A NEW BRAIN!!

Because your brain is stupid.

Because you don't like this.
posted by Drexen at 8:18 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was way into Problem Sleuth and was equally enthused with Homestuck until the point it essentially started over with the trolls as protagonists, at which point I gave up.

I am glad people enjoy Homestuck, and I see it as one of the best examples of something that takes full advantage of the web as a narrative medium. That being said, I feel as though it is going to age very poorly as a literary work.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 9:03 AM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Man, I dunno, Sokka. That's a pretty deep place for someone new to start out. I've been following Homestuck since Problem Sleuth, and that video baffles me.

The thing with Homestuck is, there is so much detail, and details built upon previous details, in layers and layers and layers, that you simply can't start in the middle and have any hope of understanding WTF. Yeah, you could go look up a detail on the wiki, but that page will link you to ten more pages -- it's a wiki black-hole denser than TV Tropes, like fudge is denser than meringue.

If someone is gonna have any hope at all of following the story, imo they need to start at the very beginning and pick up facts as they are presented one at a time. The beginning starts out slow, yes, but it's funny, and it gives you a foundation that is absolutely required to stack the rest of the craziness on top of.

In fact, you know what I recommend? This is going to sound nutty, but I recommend starting with Problem Sleuth. Homestuck is a lot like Problem Sleuth, only inflated exponentially in every dimension in a microcosm/macrocosm sort of way. Problem Sleuth is fairly light and quite funny, and builds into its complexity in the same way Homestuck does, but that complexity is much less complex than what Homestuck becomes. And you can read the whole thing in, oh, three or four hours probably?

If you read Problem Sleuth, and like the style and the humor, not only will you be attuned to the style of the beginning parts of Homestuck (which might otherwise seem weird and boring), but you'll know the general shape of what's to come if not the magnitude. It's like giving someone new to JRPGs Final Fantasy VI to play first, instead of dropping them straight into FF13.
posted by rifflesby at 9:07 AM on October 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


Wow, this post has graduated from 'get your own blog', to 'get your own wiki'.
posted by pwnguin at 9:09 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Mr.Encyclopedia: I was almost you. I heartily recommend giving it another try. It is definitely whiplashy to suddenly have to deal with -- what is it, sixteen? -- new characters and their own stories, but once you find your purchase there is some great stuff happening there, and when the Troll story gets tied back into the original kids, the rollercoaster really begins.
posted by rifflesby at 9:10 AM on October 16, 2014


I feel as though it is going to age very poorly as a literary work.

Whereas I feel that in say 20 years, it will be acknowledged as a crucial piece of the SF/F canon.
posted by Sokka shot first at 9:10 AM on October 16, 2014 [7 favorites]


If indeed it does update tomorrow it's going to go smoothly from 10/16/13 to 10/17/14 and thus in the future to unobservant archive readers it will appear never to have taken a year and a day off. This was clearly the plan all along.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:19 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I followed Homestuck enthusiastically for some time, but I started to get bogged down when the cast of 4 main characters expanded to 16 (with all the trolls becoming viewpoint characters), and then lost the energy to keep track of everything when it expanded again to 32 with the alt-universe versions of all of the above. And that's not even counting all the secondary characters, villains, etc.

Does anyone have a handy cheatsheet that summarizes who each character is in a paragraph or two so I can make an attempt at trying to understand things again?
posted by NMcCoy at 9:29 AM on October 16, 2014


Well, this is definitely a thing.
posted by that's candlepin at 9:44 AM on October 16, 2014


Does anyone have a handy cheatsheet that summarizes who each character is in a paragraph or two so I can make an attempt at trying to understand things again?

AGH this is what I get for cutting a section out of this post because "nobody would POSSIBLY get anything out of a character cheetsheet". I have failed in my duties; I am sorry.

I've started reading it like five times and gotten bored each time. Is there a good starting point that is more interesting than the beginning?

Greg Nog: In my post I recommend starting with the Intermission, which is self-consciously a faster-paced, tighter take on Problem Sleuth, the comic recommended above. I've had Problem Sleuth recommended as a starting point, as well as Descend, so those all seem to be common recommendations.

Personally, however, I think that all of the above are stabs in the dark. The only thing that worked for me, and I made 4-5 serious efforts over the course of 1-2 years, was to just start reading Homestuck, with a friend who'd read it before on IM speeddial for me to vent to until I got over my assorted dislikes of it. I've since offered myself up to friends as that vent-pillowcushion, and it seems to be a useful opening dynamic for new readers to have.

For me, what made things click was the end of Act 2, which — trying to keep things the same level of specifics-free that I did in my post — introduces you to a character who has been looming ominously on the sidelines of the story all act, and abruptly takes a detour into a gloriously whimsical tangent that sets the rest of the story to the side for a satisfying length of time. But then, and here's the clincher, that tangent leads to an act finale that introduces way more mythos-related mystery than had been made apparent before, and in such a confident and rapidfire manner that I was left kind of gaping. Think I watched the finale video three times in a row before moving on.

The thing is, upon reread it is flabbergasting how well-written and -paced Homestuck is. Act 1 is a remarkable piece of writing, once you've read enough of the story to see the ways in which it's establishing mysteries and plot points in the background that, upon first read, you would never imagine are anything other than one-off silly jokes. Really the entire thing is masterfully-written, to the point that up through the end of Act 5, I really can't criticize its pacing at all (which is insane for a work of this magnitude). Act 6 stumbles in a lot of ways, I feel, but it also hasn't ended, and my experience with literally every act so far is that by the time it comes to a close, it turns out Hussie's known what he's doing. So we'll see!

Anyway, yeah. It's remarkable to me that Homestuck, an Internet phenomenon that's semi-famous for updating a dozen times a day with new work, works so well as an assembled piece, but it does. Its biggest challenge as a piece of writing, I feel, is that it's so certain of the scope it's reaching for, and of what it's trying to do, that early on it feels no rush to sell you on where it's going. Not a big problem once you're sold, but it definitely irritated the shit out of me before it clicked, and the "click" wasn't a magic bullet for me so much as it was a decision to trust that all my friends were onto something good.

(I will also say, for what it's worth, that as a standalone piece of writing, Act 5 Act 1 is one of the most incredible tours-de-force that I have encountered as a reader.)
posted by rorgy at 9:54 AM on October 16, 2014 [7 favorites]


NMcCoy: "Does anyone have a handy cheatsheet that summarizes who each character is in a paragraph or two so I can make an attempt at trying to understand things again?"

You could try the TVTropes character pages, which helpfully list some tropes for the characters so you can jog your brain.

MASSIVE SPOILERS, of course, because TVTropes. The most important characters for a beginning or returning reader are:

The original four kids.
The first group of trolls--lowbloods, midbloods, highbloods.

There are many other characters, but those are the ones central to the early story.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:12 AM on October 16, 2014


Personally, however, I think that all of the above are stabs in the dark. The only thing that worked for me, and I made 4-5 serious efforts over the course of 1-2 years, was to just start reading Homestuck, with a friend who'd read it before on IM speeddial for me to vent to until I got over my assorted dislikes of it. I've since offered myself up to friends as that vent-pillowcushion, and it seems to be a useful opening dynamic for new readers to have.

That sounds like a job for FanFare, as an organized kind of venting place for people trying to grok it to the people who've seen it all in its Tremendous Awful Majesty.
posted by JHarris at 10:44 AM on October 16, 2014


If there is a FanFare thread I will certainly hang around it, ready and willing to shed light on Homestuck's many mysteries and horses.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:57 AM on October 16, 2014


Oooh. How would a FanFare readthrough even work? I'd be on board with that.
posted by rorgy at 11:10 AM on October 16, 2014


Well, let it be said the that the size of this post is certainly in proportion to the size of the body of work it's about.

I personally stopped reading about midway through A5A2... I think? In such a huge size of story it's hard to find where I left off.

I'd also second Problem Sleuth as it is a similar style of story but a much more manageable size. In fact, it is entirely contained in dead tree form. There's also an attempt to start putting Homestuck in books as well, but we all know that's not gonna work out well.
posted by Hamusutaa at 11:11 AM on October 16, 2014


Okay, that was magisterial. Majestic. Definitive. Authoritative. I'm standing up and applauding for the post.

As for actually getting into whatever the hell this is about: Nope, no way.

But that teensy weensy introduction was something to see.
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:43 AM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Today is basically my Friday, before I go on vacation, so my head wasn't really into doing any work anyway. After skimming (I mean, come on) the post and first replies, I just started from the beginning. Almost got sidetracked by the in-story links to his previous works before I realized what was going on and came back to Homestuck.

Yeah, it starts off amusing, but really slow, and I questioned how long I'd stick with it. But like I said, I wasn't accomplishing anything else today.

I just reached the end of Act 2. Holy crap. I'm ALL IN. Watched the animation 3 times trying to catch it all.

Thanks, rorgy. I promise to come back and read the full post... at some point. But first, on to Act 3!
posted by Roommate at 12:04 PM on October 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


Ha, and I just noticed your comment about watching that part 3 times as well. Yeah, you kind of have to.
posted by Roommate at 12:08 PM on October 16, 2014


Is this something that I would need an extra hour in the ballpit to understand?
posted by erskelyne at 12:21 PM on October 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ima get to this as soon as I finish Achewood and memorize all those Pokemons
posted by mmrtnt at 12:41 PM on October 16, 2014


mmrtnt: "Ima get to this as soon as I finish Achewood and memorize all those Pokemons"

Gotta hatch 'em all!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:49 PM on October 16, 2014


I was enjoying this just fine (and kudos to this post for compelling me to give it a read) and then I met a seemingly manic-pixie Asian girl named "Jade" and now I am a bit peeved.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:14 PM on October 16, 2014


GIGAPAUSE OVER!

Homestuck literally just updated with the first page in a full year while me and AoK were flicking through the last few from 2013.

...that is one hell of a page.
posted by emmtee at 1:24 PM on October 16, 2014


And then it instantly went to 503 because presumably the internet exploded.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:25 PM on October 16, 2014


Hahaha and now the site is down.
posted by rifflesby at 1:25 PM on October 16, 2014


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
posted by Roommate at 1:28 PM on October 16, 2014


GIGAPAUSE RETURNS NOTHING TO SEE HERE
posted by JHarris at 1:30 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was reading Act 1 and started getting 503 errors, so I thought, hmm. I bet he updated. Sure enough.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:30 PM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I had just started from the beginning! Damn it!
posted by charred husk at 1:30 PM on October 16, 2014


*SUPER* GIGAPAUSE ALL PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS VANISH RETROACTIVE HIATUS
posted by JHarris at 1:31 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


(like I'm one to talk, heh, please pardon my rueful levity)
posted by JHarris at 1:33 PM on October 16, 2014


Going To Maine: "I was enjoying this just fine (and kudos to this post for compelling me to give it a read) and then I met a seemingly manic-pixie Asian girl named "Jade" and now I am a bit peeved."

Jade isn't intended to be Asian-coded; Hussie originally (and fairly blatantly) wrote the first four characters as white kids and later retconned them to "aracial", suggesting that the reader can project their own preferred racial headcanons onto them. It's... not ideal.

There is a longer comment to be written about race in Homestuck, but if I am the one to write it it will be me assembling words other people have written. (It will also be much later, because it is fast approaching get-off-the-computer time here.)
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:33 PM on October 16, 2014


It says something about Homestuck that for... 5 minutes? I assumed the 503 error was part of the story.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:33 PM on October 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


It's working again, slowly.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:35 PM on October 16, 2014


Thanks for posting all this. I keep hearing about Homestuck but was actually under the impression that it was a TV show. I can't get into it right now but am bookmarking this for later. It sounds like a lot of fun.
posted by joannemerriam at 1:42 PM on October 16, 2014


Can anybody remember where I left off? That's where I'd like to start reading from again.
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 1:59 PM on October 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


<humblebrag>I wrote to him and bullied him into letting me set up the varnish cache on that site, so I hope the downtime isn't my fault. In the end, the varnish cache didn't help with the problem -- the cpu wasn't overloaded, the network was.</humblebrag>
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 2:02 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


(I gave up reading at some point but don't remember where)

So this one time I was teaching computer science to a high school kid in Harlem and I mention stacks and explain how they work and she says, "isn't here a comic about that?" And I'm all "um, not that I know of?" And she's all "with captchalogging?" and then I go, "oh! Yes, there is!" I couldn't believe that not only had this kid read (at least the beginning of) the Ulysses of the Internet but also that the data structure joke had stuck with her. It was awesome.

Then there was the time that my friend got into some sort of hate-based romantic relationship based on that of two characters in Homestuck and it ended in tears and accusations of sexual abuse. That was a deeply WTF thing to hear about.
posted by novalis_dt at 2:13 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Imgur page mirror
posted by rorgy at 2:19 PM on October 16, 2014


I basically just came in here to yell about how the site won't work (which, hilariously, is always how I find out that there's been an update.)

Anyway obvs I'm late to the party so.

BACK TO TRYING TO DISTRACT MYSELF!!!!!!!!

But seriously, this afternoon I reread the last chunk of pages that went up before the hiatus, and....you know, I still say that Homestuck is not a comic for everyone, but HOLY WOW is it a comic for me.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:20 PM on October 16, 2014


HOLY SHIT. This post.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:29 PM on October 16, 2014


Two things to read while we're waiting for new pages:

Promstuck: A Homestuck Fan Adventure (With Prom), by Shelby Cragg and Taz Muir. (Originally posted on Tumblr.)

Apothecia, an original SF horror webcomic, ALSO by Shelby Cragg and Taz Muir

I spend a lot of time thinking about how excited I am to see what the thousands of teenaged artists and writers in Homestuck fandom end up doing as they start their professional careers. This kind of stuff is why.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:30 PM on October 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Ironic timing: due to a complex chain of events I was actually literally up to my elbows in soft puppet ass earlier today. Seems fitting, now.
posted by Itaxpica at 3:38 PM on October 16, 2014


TFW you realize homestuck is written by Hal Incandenza.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:16 PM on October 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


(Whoops! Just use the Tumblr link for Promstuck -- the AO3 mirror is unfinished!)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 4:22 PM on October 16, 2014


!!!!
The update showed up in my RSS feed while I was at work (where MSPaint Adventures is blocked, of course). I waited all day to get home...

"Service Unavailable"

I should have seen this coming.
posted by muddgirl at 4:56 PM on October 16, 2014


I tried to read this twice and quit before I caught onto what he was doing, so here's my advice about reading Homestuck: it starts slowly because in the beginning he was taking reader suggestions and effectively acting as a text parser. This stops fairly quickly and the story begins to take shape more coherently. I think it's necessary to get through the first two acts before quitting. If you're not into it by then, it's reasonable to stop (although you're wrong) but that's really when he gets his feet under himself and everything takes off in a huge and less awkward way.

As for the size of it, it's larger than War and Peace, but smaller than reading the entire Harry Potter series, which many people I know have done multiple times.

I honestly think that Homestuck is on par with Alan Moore's Watchmen in terms of its innovations in use of the medium. It is well worth reading, and if you do read it, you need to read all the text (with the possible exception of Kankri's rants - you'll get the flavor and can decide as you go), watch all the animations, and play all the games. The music is also worth checking out.

I have also liked that the cast is almost a 50/50 split in terms of gender, that Hussie makes good discussion of different ideas of norms around sexuality, and his deconstruction of why the typical male hero and strong female character tropes are terrible.

And now I have to stay off tumblr for a while until the page loads and I can read the update.
posted by bile and syntax at 5:31 PM on October 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ok, I'll bite, I'll try reading this. A few dozen pages in, good so far, and... the site is borked. Boo.
posted by arcticwoman at 7:19 PM on October 16, 2014


It's back now, but there's no new page :( He must be looking for alternate hosting.
posted by rifflesby at 8:19 PM on October 16, 2014


double, modz delete this post plz

(kidding, wow what a piece of work this FPP is)
posted by pravit at 8:26 PM on October 16, 2014


Yesterday my 11-year-old daughter was going on about Homestuck, and how great it is, and I googled it, and there was sort of a crudely drawn animated gif webcomic thing. I pontificated about how "homestuck" was a play on the word "homesick," sent her to bed, and promptly forgot about it.

Now I kind of feel like an asshole.
posted by jeoc at 8:49 PM on October 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also, is the post supposed to contain links? Because the TOC doesn't have any links for me.
posted by jeoc at 8:59 PM on October 16, 2014


Nah, it's old school walthrough.txt style navigation - copy the code between brackets and control+F to find the right section.
posted by muddgirl at 9:02 PM on October 16, 2014


I have got to chime in with a link to a Homestuck voiceover project by CoLabHQ. I'd been peripherally aware of Homestuck for a long time before getting around to actually reading it, and when I did, I didn't get too far past Jade's introduction when I stalled out. It's thanks to CoLab (and some lengthy work commuting) that I got through enough of the comic to catch up on my own.

They haven't fully caught up with the comic yet, but they're the furthest along (up to Act 6 Act 2) and they're the most steadily updating of all the other voiceover groups I know of.

Here are some others:
- AlwaysHomestuck, which shares some actors with Colab and also boasts a really slick presentation of Act I.
- The Pesterdub Project, which only covers the lengthy text-only "pesterlogs"
- and Let's Read Genderstuck, which flips everyone's genders

ETA: Also, also... If you chose now to start Homestuck (with the MSPA site being down due to finally getting hammered by folk trying to read the update), then at least the videos on Youtube will help get you on your way.
posted by vaghjar at 9:27 PM on October 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I posted about Homestuck once. Enough time has passed between then and now to get a typical high school education or undergraduate degree—and yet, even back then, people were incredulous that Homestuck was still being updated. At this point, the fact that it's going to be completed, that it will end, deliberately: this is the incredible thing.

Say, I never did get around to trying that dating sim thing he made; how'd that turn out?
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 10:14 PM on October 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


jsnlxndrlv: It was alright. Interesting experiment, glad he/they did it, not missing much if you ignored it.
posted by danb at 10:51 PM on October 16, 2014


jsnlxndrlv: It was visually appealing but rather shallow, which I don't necessarily fault it for because there were way too many characters to create a very long or complicated story (make a visual novel too long, with too many choices, and it's all to easy for a player to get bored and screw up their ending by choosing a different character to pursue). A lot of people only played it for the Homestuck characters (and often enough, just for Davesprite).
posted by vaghjar at 11:29 PM on October 16, 2014


JESUS. CHRIST.

every time i see a headline like this, i think "oh cool, I've wanted to see whats up with homestuck for a while". and then every time i open the link and its a mindfuck impenetrable wall of incomprehensibility, and my brain shuts down in reflexive terror.

ive even made the mistake of asking an acquaintance who is a fan about the show at a party and watched him devolve right in front of me into a distant-eyed homunculus who would NOT LEAVE ME ALONE endlessly spouting gibberish in his efforts to convey his enthusiasm and perhaps indoctrinate me into his weird internet catgirl religion.

at a convention i once got stuck in an elevator filled with identically-wigged homestuck cosplayers. they seemed to be having lots of high-pitched, giggly fun, but it was still a *little* terrifying. like being surrounded by people in medical masks.

so my takeaways have been this: homestuck - interesting. creepy. possibly virulent.
posted by young_son at 11:32 PM on October 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


what...
is...
happening
posted by duffell at 7:07 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


hapening you mean
posted by destrius at 8:04 AM on October 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


ive even made the mistake of asking an acquaintance who is a fan about the show at a party and watched him devolve right in front of me into a distant-eyed homunculus who would NOT LEAVE ME ALONE endlessly spouting gibberish in his efforts to convey his enthusiasm and perhaps indoctrinate me into his weird internet catgirl religion.

This. But not just about Homestuck, there's a certain variety of geek, usually those who are fairly new to geekery and haven't learned to properly contextualize their enthusiasms, who if you stray too close to one of their interests they will suddenly start spouting references to it, in the expectation that you'll get from their scattershot catchphrases what they love about their fetish object, and instantly become a fan yourself.

This happened recently with a real life friend over something called Dragon Ball Z Abridged, which it's dangerous to bring up in his presence. And I probably do it too, I know I've been known to geek out a bit like that over Nethack and They Might Be Giants.

But it's something I've learned that can prove to be standoffish to normals, and even sometimes other geeks, and until one can rein it in a bit and realize others won't just instantly recognize its genius and absorb the secret essence of you love about $PROPERTY through magical osmosis the moment you say its name and its most significant signifier, it's like a permanent -4 to Charisma.
posted by JHarris at 8:05 AM on October 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


Just started reading it. I love the passive-aggressive antagonism between Rose and her mother. Just got to the part with the refrigerator magnets. Dying. Thank you for this.
posted by spacewaitress at 5:16 PM on October 17, 2014 [5 favorites]


Nah, it's old school walthrough.txt style navigation - copy the code between brackets and control+F to find the right section.

Oh duh, it is just for navigating within the post, not for getting to the Homestuck website(s).

For a minute there I thought I was turning into my technically hapless mother in my middle age, and it was like staring into the abyss. But of course I still have no idea what is happen here.
posted by jeoc at 6:24 PM on October 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


As rorgy mentioned above, those codes are used on game info documents on GameFAQs, they help you to quickly to get to the section of the document you're looking for. It'd be better to use anchor tags, but I think MeFi would probably strip those out before posting.
posted by JHarris at 1:09 PM on October 18, 2014


The link indicated that I'd been there before, but I clearly hadn't been sucked in yet.
posted by ocherdraco at 2:23 PM on October 18, 2014




I'd read some MS Paint Adventures before but missed this somehow.

I also missed this FPP until ti got sidebarred, and now I just read through to the end of Act 3. This is INCREDIBLE!

And also very long. WHICH IS AWESOME BECAUSE THAT MEANS THERE'S A LOT OF IT AND IT'S INCREDIBLE LIKE I JUST SAID TWO LINES UP
posted by aubilenon at 11:22 PM on October 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ok, I am VERY MUCH hooked on this. It was slow to get going, but I think that the data structures will be important later and so the extended introduction to how they work will have a payoff at some point. Thanks for this post.
posted by arcticwoman at 9:19 AM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


One of the super-cool things about Homestuck structurally is that as it expands in size, one of the ways in which it maintains order is by riffing on the structures of earlier segments. Every new character introduction comes accompanied by a new type of data structure, which immediately turns foreign new territory into something comfortable and familiar.
posted by rorgy at 10:00 AM on October 19, 2014


So I have a question for non-computer science people: (very mild spoilers) How are the endless data structures jokes working for you?

I've had queues, hashes, and trees burned into my brain for ages, so to me it just makes intuitive sense that characters whose lives are governed by software mechanics would carry their stuff around in data structures. And the jokes about hash collisions and tree rebalancing have a nice nerdy humour to them.

So I'm curious how Homestuck goes for people who didn't already know about data structures. Are the little introductions clear enough? Is this a reason why people have trouble getting into Homestuck?
posted by Banknote of the year at 10:38 AM on October 19, 2014


I'm just starting Act 5 and I'm having some trouble keeping track of the all of the trolls. Is there a somewhere a NON-SPOILERY list of their names, pesterlog handles/styles, zodiac symbols, team affiliation and maybe high blood/low blood status (if that continues to be as important as I suspect it might be)?
posted by Rock Steady at 10:54 AM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


There is an MS Paint Adventures wiki but it's very spoilery.

I made a copy of two helpful charts with spoilery stuff removed as much as possible.
posted by muddgirl at 11:34 AM on October 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


So I just got to the point where one of the trolls says:

> CG: I MEAN, WHEN YOU TROLL SOMEONE YOU JUST SORT OF DO IT. YOU DON'T START DRAWING FLOWCHARTS AND DIAGRAMS AND STUFF.

*sniff* I miss the days before gamergate
posted by aubilenon at 11:44 AM on October 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


That's super helpful, muddgirl. I've been dipping my toes in the wiki as much as I dare, but yeah, many many spoilers. Luckily, the complexity of Homestuck is such that at least I don't understand what any of the spoilers mean at this point.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:38 PM on October 19, 2014


So I have a question for non-computer science people: (very mild spoilers) How are the endless data structures jokes working for you?

I had never heard about data structures before Homestuck, so it was all very new to me. The way the author rolled it out though felt very much like a game tutorial - start simple, repeat the concepts with small variations, preempt my "what if" questions with examples, and make it entertaining. I felt like I learned something from it, and was able to follow along. I didn't get a nerdy in-joke feeling from it (because I am not "in" in this instance) but the physical humour was funny.
posted by arcticwoman at 1:04 PM on October 19, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm watching/listening to CoLabHQ's Let's Read Homestuck and it's actually a really good way to get into the story if you find the usual version super slow. It took me 2 tries to get into Homestuck - the second time I read it in an all-day all-night binge and it still took me two weeks.

I'm currently on Part 7 of Act 4 on LRH and it's been about...24 hours? Not continuously, but way faster than before.
posted by divabat at 5:32 PM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


ahhh Drexen your video was amazing! I've been wanting to see that visualised for so long.

The original inspiration for Yaoi!LE.

Nepeta doesn't get enough respect.
posted by divabat at 7:15 PM on October 19, 2014 [1 favorite]


I guess I should try reading it again. I loved Problem Sleuth (and had many "OMG this guy is a genius, he's going to go places" moments while reading it) so I was really excited for Homestuck when he started it. But it just didn't click with me. I felt like it was winking a bit too much at its own cleverness and as a result just felt dry and unspontaneous. But it seems like it's gone well, well, well past that.
posted by zsazsa at 9:32 PM on October 19, 2014


It's probably the only thing in the world where it gets better once the trolls show up.
posted by divabat at 9:35 PM on October 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


In the absence of a FanFare thread, hopefully someone can answer my question.

(SPOILERS!).

How do the exiles get to where they are? WV, AR, PM, WQ, and Jack Noir are from the Alternia's version of the Battlefield, right? How did they get to post Alpha Kids Earth?

Karkat says that each session has its own Battlefield with its own agents. But it implies that SS (Jack Noir), CD, DD, and HB are the exact same people in both Battlefields? Who travelled where and how?
posted by divabat at 8:57 AM on October 20, 2014


Hm, I don't think your understanding is exactly correct. Every session does indeed have it's own, separate incipitsphere. Prospit and Derse characters may have the same or similar names in different sessions, but they are different instances. HEAVY SPOILERS to follow:

The "pre-scratch" kids (john et. all) have a viable incipitsphere with Prospit, Derse, and Skaia, which contains their white and black courts, including the Derse agents (Jack Noir et all) and the various pawns that become their guides (WV, AR, PM). When Skaia comes under attack, the pawns along with WQ and a few others are sent to future-prescratch-earth through Skaia's warphole defense system. Remember how the paradox babies are sent back to earth through these same warpholes? Same process, different points in time and paradox space.

The Alternia trolls have their own incipitsphere. The exiles in this session are the Derse agents SS (NOT jack noir!), CD, DD, HB, and Snowman who are exiled through Skaia's defense system to a future timepoint on Alternia. There they get up to their Midnight Crew shenanigans.
posted by muddgirl at 9:32 AM on October 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this is another of those threads where people not familiar with the lore could assume people are just making stuff up.
posted by JHarris at 9:47 AM on October 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


I saw the roles of the Prospitian and Derse agents described quite simply, once, and I will attempt to reproduce it here without messing it up.

spoilers!

If you think of each session as being like a video game, then Jack Noir, the Black Queen, PM etc. are like characters in that game. When I play the game the characters have the same starting premises as they do when you play the game, but my actions as a player affect the outcome, and the way those characters develop. They are different instances of the same character, like different video game DVDs.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:00 AM on October 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also I just finished the book I was reading and before I go into the next one I'll probably spend a night or two on fanfic; this thread has basically decided for me that I'll be catching up on Homestuck fic :)
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:08 AM on October 20, 2014


Moar Spoilers

So it's a different version of DD that steals Dave's copy of Sburb and Rose's journals, and a different version of CD that steals the ring? Those two are not the Midnight Crew people?

(I'm rewatching the rest of Homestuck via the Let's Read videos - is it ever explained how DD gets a hold of Dave's stuff?)
posted by divabat at 10:13 AM on October 20, 2014


spoilers!

divabat: "So it's a different version of DD that steals Dave's copy of Sburb and Rose's journals, and a different version of CD that steals the ring? Those two are not the Midnight Crew people?"

They're different people, yes. The Midnight Crew are what Karkat's Derse agents become. The DD and CD in Rose and Dave's session are different versions of the same people, unique to the kids' session, while still being the same character (at least to begin with). Different copies, same game.

If I were to find and run a Sburb client right now, I would have my own Draconian Dignatory, Courtyard Droll, Jack Noir, etc. They would be a new press from the same template as all the others, just the same as my Skaia would be essentially the same as Karkat's Skaia, yet unique to my session.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:25 AM on October 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


(I'm rewatching the rest of Homestuck via the Let's Read videos - is it ever explained how DD gets a hold of Dave's stuff?

You mean how DD gets from Derse to LOHAC? I don't know if it's ever explicitly shown (I looked around a bit but I'd have to do a deep re-read to discover it), but there are several mechanisms for traveling between different points in paradox space - for example, viewing windows (like the ones Jack Noir has in his Derse office) and floor portals that are located on various asteroids and the ruins on the player's planets.
posted by muddgirl at 10:40 AM on October 20, 2014


Oh yeah, also the player's planets, like LOHAC, are actually in the incipitsphere with Skaia, so people can also just fly there, if they have like ships, or flying powers.
posted by muddgirl at 10:49 AM on October 20, 2014


So the Jack Noir that organises the Regisurp with the trolls - whose session is that from?
posted by divabat at 2:57 PM on October 20, 2014


He's from the troll's session, like I talked about before. (I'm sorry if I confused you before when I implied that the Trolls' spade agent wasn't called Jack Noir! The alternate names thing at different points in the timeline is sometimes confusing to me).

Do you see how there are parallels between the kids' session and the trolls' session, but how events don't play out exactly the same way?
posted by muddgirl at 3:04 PM on October 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


(I'm sorry if I confused you before when I implied that the Trolls' spade agent wasn't called Jack Noir! The alternate names thing at different points in the timeline is sometimes confusing to me).

That's where I was getting stuck. Thank you!
posted by divabat at 3:09 PM on October 20, 2014


WAIT IS IT TOO LATE FOR ME TO RUSH IN AND EXPLAIN THINGS

Dammit, I love getting to explain Homestuck nitty-gritties. Next time, I suppose. :<
posted by rorgy at 7:37 PM on October 20, 2014


rorgy: it's never too late to explain stuff! Maybe you can explain The Felt and how are they in post-apocalyptic Alternia and why the Midnight Crew wants them dead. If Caliborn's planets are all billiard balls, are they the consorts?

Doc Scratch says around the first time we meet him that the First Guardian's job is to prep for Lord English. Is that also Bec and GCat's plan?

And WHY does the DNA code for a cat create a dog?! Yes, I know It's because the appearifier is locked on Halley, but why isn't the code BaRkBArK?
posted by divabat at 9:25 PM on October 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


why did I start reading/playing this
oh god
fuuuuuuuuuuuuuu
posted by sixswitch at 9:26 AM on October 21, 2014




I was way into Problem Sleuth and was equally enthused with Homestuck until the point it essentially started over with the trolls as protagonists, at which point I gave up.

I am glad people enjoy Homestuck, and I see it as one of the best examples of something that takes full advantage of the web as a narrative medium. That being said, I feel as though it is going to age very poorly as a literary work.


Thank you for expressing my exact feelings about Homestuck, now please get out of my brain.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:05 AM on October 22, 2014


I was telling my friend about this post and that I was considering reading the strip because of the recommendations herein, but I was surprised that their response was "that's a bad idea because Andrew Hussie is a Bad Person who does non-PC stuff."

I'd never heard this before so - anyone have a take on this?
posted by rebent at 8:50 AM on October 22, 2014


I'd never heard this before so - anyone have a take on this?

Andrew Hussie is a decent guy who's obviously making a good faith effort to do right by people but occasionally messes up. I am friends with people who know him socially, and describe him as a quiet kind of weird guy who's a little freaked out about being at the heart of so much attention. I've never heard about him being anything other than decent to people, and believe me, bad behavior gets around in the incredibly tiny social world of webcomics.

He's at the white-hot center of a Tumblr-based fandom dominated by young teenagers who sometimes lack a certain amount of....perspective. He has made some jokes that I wouldn't make, but nothing nearly as bad as what's happened over at, say, Penny Arcade. Sometimes he pokes fun at fandom through his comic, in a way that I think is obviously affectionate but sometimes pisses people off.

Other folks can come and talk about specific instances, but basically: I get why your friend might say that, but I completely disagree.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:02 AM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Your Fave is Problematic pretty much has it covered in depth. Nothing really rises above the level of "tasteless/tone-deaf joke" which is acceptable to me, but obviously everyone's mileage varies. Plenty of other webcomics in the sea.
posted by muddgirl at 9:09 AM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


It does delve into ableist language that's already been widely discredited ("retarded", "lame") and there have been some criticisms about how he's handled the characters' races in the past. The Kankri character is meant to be a parody of nuanceless Social Justice Warriors but I can see how it could be taken as cruel mockery (even with the foil of Porrim, who is similarly activisty but tends to be more sensible and pragmatic about her work).
posted by divabat at 9:56 AM on October 22, 2014


Yeah, to clarify: I don't think that he's a perfect person or that other readers are ridiculous for having any kind of problem with him.

I just think that talking about him as if he's the webcomics equivalent of Orson Scott Card is going a little overboard. And that if you're making your decisions on what comics to read based on the behavior of the creators, a lot of comics are going to drop off an average person's reading list before MSPA.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:39 AM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


In case anyone is still looking for a troll guide, I'm finding this one to be really helpful.
posted by spacewaitress at 12:18 PM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


spacewaitress: "In case anyone is still looking for a troll guide, I'm finding this one to be really helpful."

BOOKMARK'D.
posted by Rock Steady at 12:36 PM on October 22, 2014


hey sooo uhhh I started reading yesterday mostly because of drexen and rhaomi's comments (and of course this post as well) and I started with the Descend sokka recommended, said "Wuhhhh?" and just started from the beginning and forced myself through. I just now made it back to Descend and then came back to reread this post and all the comments and someone said it's BOTTOM HEAVY, ARE YOU SERIOUS!??!

but really, i'm pretty hooked.
posted by ghostbikes at 3:28 PM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


some misc gripes and comments from a Brand New Reader Who Knows Nothing:
1. the writing occasionally bothers me when it gets gratuitously fancy (not just for Rose's dialogue)
2. I wish I could be 13 reading this, I would have found the humor to be mindblowingly funny when i was a teen
3. the enthusiastic comments here remind me of when i read infinite jest and had my mind blown and was super excited about it for like a month afterward.
4. i also get a few infinite jest like vibes from it mostly in the hugely expansive and deep but actually pretty accessible, many layers and characters and timelines type of aspects
5. i'm so sick of the troll chat logs and find them pretty dumb, i just skim those for important plot points now
6. probably because of 5 i'm pretty confused on a bunch of details at the end of act 4
7. im still debating whether it's worth it for me to go read problem sleuth now or save for later
8. it's a work of art and makes me think about its future preservation, such as webcomics that get published in book form- but this can't really be a book- it would lend itself very well to an app I guess. which is silly, so just web archive forever?!
posted by ghostbikes at 3:44 PM on October 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Speaking of rape triggers: When you reach the journal entries of Mindfang Spinneret (somewhere in Act 5 Act 2 and halfwayish through), it details sexual assault through mind control.
posted by divabat at 4:17 PM on October 22, 2014


The Serkets in general are just awful, awful trolls.

*cough* not that I wrote rose/vriska slashfic or anything *another louder cough*
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 4:24 PM on October 22, 2014


Heh, welcome aboard to all the new readers! Woo!

I just wanna quickly expand on something I wrote earlier, where I said I initially thought Hussie was a "disaffected shallow ironic hipster jerk", but changed my mind.

I hope he'd take it in good humour if I said that's sort of a little bit actually true. But the first thing I realised that regardless of that, he has a deep, warm, and intricate understanding of and, I think it's fair to say love for, people and all the crazy weird uncool dorky foolish etc etc things they do. He handles subjects that he probably thought(/thinks?) are ridiculous in a way that shows an unusual respect and empathy for them without being mawkish or fluffy or pandering. In that way, he reminds me of Chris Onstad.

The second thing I realised is that if he's a disaffected shallow ironic hipster jerk then so am I, because I quickly came to adore the deftness, humour and balance with which he employs irony, cynicism, snark and other tools. I mean, it's fair to say he's like a Grand Master of irony, and once I would have seen that as an insult, but because of Homestuck, now I don't, so. Yeah!

Problem Sleuth is great, but it never made me realise either of the above, I guess mostly because the characters aren't really characters, they're just weird stick figures, puppets of the author and audience (even though they do have personalities of a sort). I think Homestuck is where he's really come into his own... and yet, at the same time, so much of HS is visibly derived from all the dumb silly nonsense he got into in his forum stuff, Problem Sleuth, Bard Quest, etc. :P
posted by Drexen at 5:36 PM on October 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


this can't really be a book

Three volumes published this far.

(you can also get Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff in a limited hardcover edition that includes a commerative coin and a Scratch N Sniff Nacho Sticker That Smells LIke Pizza.)

As for preservation, I'm mostly worried about all the art that's available as Flash only, which is already pretty much dead on mobile devices. Hopefully someone will figure out how to machine-translate that to HTML5 so I don't have to flip open a laptop to read it.
posted by effbot at 8:36 PM on October 22, 2014


I was dedicated enough to my recent reread that I installed flash on my phone, but videos of all of the flashes are on youtube, I think.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:00 PM on October 22, 2014


More WTF Homestuck Rewatch:

Rose only has one dreamself, how was she able to die and revive twice?
posted by divabat at 12:36 AM on October 23, 2014


spoilers!

There are four main ways to die and come back to life in a Sburb/Sgrub session:

1) Be your dreamself, die, and wake up as your regular self; Jade did this saving John. Arguably there is no actual resurrection here since the original self still has continuity. Obviously if your original self is already dead this isn't open to you.

2) Die as your original self, be kissed with a short window, and wake up as your dreamself; Rose did this after being killed by Jack. If your dreamself is dead, this will not work.

3) Die on a quest bed and go god tier. The quest beds on your planet reincarnate you in your dreamself, on the battlefield; John, Jade and Vriska resurrected this way. The quest beds in the heart of your associated moon appear to work on whatever self you lie on them with, and seem to represent kind of an emergency backup plan if you have carelessly died already in one or other of your forms; Rose, Dave and Aradia resurrected like this.

4) Be god tier and die a neutral death, that is, not as a hero or a villain. Given the sort of shenanigans in play, this is the least reliable way of returning to life.

So Rose, for example, dies fighting Jack and loses her original self. John kisses her and she comes back to life in her dreamself. Then her dreamself dies in the explosion at the end of Cascade, but because she and Dave are both standing on their quest beds at the time, they both revive as god tiers.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:17 AM on October 23, 2014 [3 favorites]


Three volumes published this far

okay yeah that was a silly thing for me to say, it obviously *can* be a book, and will, and is! but i mean without a companion cd of flash/gifs/music the printed page is going to be unable to reproduce a lot of the content here. (not that i'm endorsing the concept of the companion cd! ew!)

also i'm finally at the meeting the trolls parts so i'm getting a firehose of all the wacky troll names you guys were talking about, wooo (and can almost maybe sorta visualize ArmyOfKittens' slashfic, double wooo!). although chat logs, bluuuh. has someone made a browser plugin that can summarize them based on what page you're on yet?! gimme it
posted by ghostbikes at 3:52 PM on October 23, 2014


ghostbikes: This isn't exactly what you were asking for, but I found the CoLabHQ Let's Read videos really helpful in parsing the chatlogs. They add a lot more emotion to the text, and also parse the typing quirks for you.
posted by divabat at 7:55 PM on October 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


So, uh, hey, caught-up folks might want to take a look at today's update, is all I'm saying...
posted by emmtee at 11:38 PM on October 24, 2014 [2 favorites]




WTF WTF WTF
posted by divabat at 12:22 AM on October 25, 2014


(youtube link for mobile users)
posted by effbot at 1:18 AM on October 25, 2014


WHAT THE SHIT
posted by rorgy at 7:31 AM on October 25, 2014


I watched the update, went to sleep, woke up, and am still NOT OKAY.

Can we talk about it here or would it be too spoilery?
posted by divabat at 9:01 AM on October 25, 2014


Judging from a quick skim of the YouTube comments, I don't think people who haven't reached that point in the story (like me) will understand that much of a discussion anyway :-)

The action and the soundtrack were pretty great, though.
posted by effbot at 10:07 AM on October 25, 2014


I whizzed through the stages of grief in record time and moved on to (or back to) making fun of Karkat.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:20 PM on October 25, 2014


Man. I stopped reading at ~ 1 year in, figuring it was going to get to be too much of a complicated BLEEAAGH, and now I'm seeing the comments, so I guess maybe I should read 4 years of comics right now, huh.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:31 PM on October 25, 2014


Also noteworthy, from the bottom of today's newspost: "But as of typing this, by my watch, 10/25 isn't over yet, and technically neither is the update day. Hmm."
posted by danb at 3:15 PM on October 25, 2014




oh hey small world ArmyOfKittens I'm creatrixtiara/notyourexrotic
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILER SPOILER SPOILERSSSSSS FOR 10/25/2014 UPDATE
*
*
*
*
*
Ok, so a lot of people are saying that this is obviously a Doomed Timeline, for multiple reasons (conversation between Aranea and Meenah, duality references to the Captors' Doom class, too many important people dying at once). I'm not confident that this is the case, or that even if this is a doomed timeline the alpha timeline would be any better.

It would be too cheap to auto-retcon EVERYTHING. Apparently John has retcon powers (which I need to brush up on), but I feel like this was way too much effort to be all "but this was just a dream". I'm kinda wondering if the retcon will be a Scratch-like thing where everything resets to a world where SBURB is never a thing. (John did take out Caliborn pre-LE, as Aranea wanted - will that affect anything?)

We haven't really seen Heart powers in action, and the Prince of Heart (Dirk) is yet to arrive at the scene. So far the treatment of Heart powers has been in the What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart Anyway territory (based on the expendability of the Leijons), though we have seen him destroy souls (again, something I need to brush up on since I only relearned this by looking up the TVTropes page). Will his powers go into Awesome Mode if he enables "destroy through heart/soul"?

(also WHY PM WHY)
posted by divabat at 7:56 PM on October 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I whizzed through the stages of grief in record time and moved on to (or back to) making fun of Karkat.

You have made everything better for me.
posted by muddgirl at 8:06 PM on October 25, 2014


AFTER VISITING WHO KNOWS HOW MANY DREAM BUBBLES
AND HANGING OUT WITH WHO KNOWS HOW MANY DEAD FRIENDS, AND *COPIES* OF DEAD FRIENDS FROM ALTERNATE TIMELINES...
I START TO WONDER, DOES DEATH EVEN REALLY MEAN ANYTHING?
DID LIFE MEAN ANYTHING, FOR THAT MATTER??
posted by divabat at 9:09 PM on October 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


This post finally got me reading this, and I just got through the end of Act 5, Cascade (which, wow), and the Wayback Machine links here are super enlightening to read after that. It was such a dense animation that some stuff was very easy to miss, especially what exactly happened there with the Green Sun.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:18 PM on October 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


(holding out for the carapaces to save the day, come on Ms Paint)
posted by divabat at 10:19 PM on October 25, 2014


This is probably my favourite Homestuck cosplay.

Is that a for-real picture of real people?? Please say it is.
posted by kenko at 11:49 AM on October 26, 2014




More

cos

play.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:50 PM on October 26, 2014


None of that is an answer to my question!
posted by kenko at 12:52 PM on October 26, 2014


Oh there it is on that blog. That's amazing.
posted by kenko at 12:53 PM on October 26, 2014


Oh right, I read that as rhetorical. Whoops :)
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 12:55 PM on October 26, 2014


the Wayback Machine links here are super enlightening to read after that. It was such a dense animation that some stuff was very easy to miss, especially what exactly happened there with the Green Sun.

I'm glad I'm still checking this thread! Those writeups by Hussie in his Tumblr were super-helpful (I wonder why he deleted them?). I just got to Cascade last night and felt like I mostly got it at the time, but now it's clear to me that I did not undertsand the Green Sun bit AT ALL.
posted by spacewaitress at 1:31 PM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


By the way, my life has been nothing but Homestuck (and going to work) since I read this post.

It seems to me that it's less about all the crazy plot action, and it's more of an extended meditation (with crazy hammers) on mortality and creativity. Like when (spoiler) Jaspersprite tells Rose she needs to learn to play the rain -- partially because of its importance to the game, but mostly because it's something Rose should do to develop as a soul. It's sad to me, her later regret at not fulfilling this part of her quest.
posted by spacewaitress at 1:34 PM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hussie's explanations of his process and the changes in the way he handled reader submissions, use of the forum, etc. were all super interesting at the time; it really is a shame he (a) scattered them over multiple venues (b) deleted them.
posted by kenko at 1:36 PM on October 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I hope the sprites make a return appearance. Davesprite is dead I think? But Nannasprite is still somewhere, and she could do a Jade where she inhabit Jane's (her B2 self) body, or do a Davesprite and have Jane inhabits hers. And then there's Jaspersprite and the troll mashup sprites.

Have we seen the B2 player characters (their versions of WV/PM/AR/WQ) yet?
posted by divabat at 3:15 PM on October 26, 2014


kenko: "Hussie's explanations of his process and the changes in the way he handled reader submissions, use of the forum, etc. were all super interesting at the time; it really is a shame he (a) scattered them over multiple venues (b) deleted them."

Presumably as a consequence of the fandom reaching a certain size and Hussie being of the internet generation and thus having many toes in many social media pies. For the 1% of any fandom that likes constantly to harass creators, having so many ways to a) contact the author and b) find out everything about him by obsessively reading archives it was probably like candy.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:26 PM on October 26, 2014


Sometimes I forget the sheer amount of stuff I like that Andrew Hussie had a hand in. Jandrew Edits!
posted by jason_steakums at 4:42 PM on October 26, 2014


Davesprite's okay! He was alive and hanging out with -Best Character In Homestuck- Arquius* last time we saw him, on Dirk's planet (not one of the ones Aranea and the Condesce used as weapons, thankfully) with Erisol, Jaspers and Nanna.

I'm not sure whether there's a WV, PM etc in the B2 session - I guess there should be, but presumably since all the planets are dead and the battlefield never developed to the point where a war could happen, they'd just be living on Prospit/Derse, doing their thing, with no way to get exiled because there won't be a Reckoning.

*I maintain that Arquius is going to be of e%tremely STRONG importance to one convo100tion of plot or another before this is over. He's integrated in a way none of the other hybrid sprites are/were. They started out as these two profoundly incomplete people/entities; AR gave Equius control, and Equius gave AR passion (admittedly, for sweaty horse dong and milk). They even completed the bow-and-arrow motif! SUPER IMPORTANT BEST CHARACTER 100%.
posted by emmtee at 4:46 PM on October 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


Were there no meteors when the B2 kids entered the Medium?
posted by divabat at 4:51 PM on October 26, 2014


I see a lot has happened since I stopped reading sometime in the fall of 20...11, I guess?
posted by kenko at 5:05 PM on October 26, 2014


Yay.
posted by kenko at 5:06 PM on October 26, 2014


Yeah, there's no meteor when Jane enters (the shadow overhead turns out to be the Condescension), none for Roxy or Dirk (imminent threat is the Miles reaching Earth for them) and Jake is just, like, making out with a disembodied head while a volcano erupts.

I was pretty sure the B2 session didn't generate any meteors at all, but in the middle of the nerdiest Homestuck canon conversation ever I was reminded that's how Frog Temples arrive, and Jake's island definitely had that. The meteors with the babies on them were part of the B1 session's Veil and sent in its reckoning, the meteor that passes through a defence portal and ends up as Callie/Caliborn's home comes from the Alternian troll session, so at least up til now there's just like, this one single meteor with the temple sent from B2 at some point.

Oh, hey, unless the frog temple meteor for B1/B2 was literally the same meteor, portal-switched the way the ones with the babies on were, and was generated and launched in B1 as part of the reckoning. I'm kind of going to believe that (and make it slightly less fake by believing it!) because that way there's no weird single-meteor mini-reckoning in B2. But it's total conjecture, so I'm sure Hussie will shoot it down in some huge story-pivoting way sooner or later.
posted by emmtee at 5:41 PM on October 26, 2014


kenko's link reminded me: DAD WHERE IS DAD IS DAD STILL ALIVE CAN HE SAVE US DAD DAD DAAAAAADDDDD
posted by divabat at 5:55 PM on October 26, 2014


Dad is the one Homestuck character whose existence is not directly explained by the mechanics of ectobiology and paradox space. I keep hoping this means he's a sleeper Important Character whose origins we don't yet understand.

My conspiracy theory, based on Dad's typing style, is that he is somehow Karkat. NO I DON'T KNOW HOW THIS WOULD WORK. I AM SO, SO PROUD OF YOU.
posted by rorgy at 5:37 AM on October 27, 2014


I AM SO, SO PROUD OF YOU. EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE SOMEHOW STILL A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:47 AM on October 27, 2014


Is it weird that the Wayward Vagabond is the character who evokes the biggest emotional response from me?
posted by spacewaitress at 10:04 AM on October 27, 2014


No.
posted by kenko at 11:26 AM on October 27, 2014


Dave would agree with you.
posted by divabat at 11:37 AM on October 27, 2014


Argh, I've been reading and reading and reading and started feeling like things were starting to come to a head and ... oh it's only the end of the second year. And I have another 2000 pages left before the URL I'm reading is the URL of the latest update. So I guess I'm about half-way through?

It feels like it's gonna be forever until I can read this thread without worrying about being spoiled in ways I am not at all equipped to comprehend. Though I guess since that is exactly what is constantly happening to all of the characters... I was going to say "maybe it wouldn't kill me" but ... that's not the lesson I'm getting from the character's use of their foreknowledge.
posted by aubilenon at 3:15 PM on October 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


Honestly I think I'm having more fun reading this thread and random pages on the wiki than I would have had keeping up with the actual comic. I read the summaries and assorted spoilers, imagining I had a handle on at least the broad shape of the weirdness of the past few years, and then I checked Dad's page and discovered the Juggalo Presidency.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:06 PM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


JAKE: I CANT LET YOU EXPLOIT YOUR BAKED GOODS EMPIRE TO MASSACRE THE HUMAN RACE!
JAKE: OVER MY DEAD BODY AM I GONNA LET YOU STICK A PAIR OF STINKIN JUGGALOS IN THE WHITEHOUSE!
DAVE: what
DAVE: juggalos
DAVE: rose is he drunk too
DAVE: what is going on
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:42 PM on October 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


The fact that my name is actually Dave makes that passage all the more entertaining.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:52 AM on October 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


A handy character status chart.
posted by divabat at 11:38 AM on October 28, 2014 [5 favorites]






Update on the Kickstarter game - looks like they're going to emulate Broken Age in parts.
posted by divabat at 1:35 PM on October 30, 2014


Homestuck is why I felt justified in cosplaying Guy Fieri at this year's Dragon Con.
posted by radwolf76 at 1:31 PM on November 4, 2014 [1 favorite]


today's update:

NO
posted by divabat at 10:42 PM on November 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


no
posted by rorgy at 6:10 AM on November 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


divabat: "today's update:

NO
"

I'm helping!

(I'm not helping.)
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:42 AM on November 7, 2014




Geekin' out (Homestuck) ft. Dante Basco

My sister just sent this to me.
posted by rorgy at 5:53 AM on November 9, 2014 [4 favorites]


FUCK YES TEREZI
posted by divabat at 10:20 PM on November 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


That's some quality Red Dwarf reference in today's update.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:57 AM on November 14, 2014


Oh my fucking god we are gonna get to meet a denizen.
posted by rorgy at 8:28 AM on November 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


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