Home > Clement's Game > Science Fiction Round 46: Homestuck

Science Fiction Round 46: Homestuck


Homestuck is a notable and popular webcomic.  (Here’s the TVTropes page, which may help explaining… stuff.)

It is very complicated.  So complicated, I don’t think I can even do a plot summary justice at this point.  (It’s also very long, and despite having been reading it for over a month, I still haven’t gone through the entire archive.)

I quote the comic:

“CONFUSED YET??  HA HA.  IT ONLY GOES DOWN HILL FROM HERE.”

If you enjoy complex plot, time travel, significant meta, as well as clever flash graphics and rampant destruction of the fourth wall, you may find this comic fun.

(Although, I should add that some parts may not be a good idea for someone who’s epileptic and reacts to flashing lights.)

There are spoilers below, of course, but… there’s so much complexity that if you start reading from the beginning, I suspect that it will be hard to figure out how stuff is spoiled.

This is a thing from Homestuck. From earlier in the story, so it's less of a spoiler. Nonetheless, I'm not even going to bother explaining, beyond yes, those are meteors, and I'm not even sure whether that's supposed to be Skaia in the middle, or just the teleport out thing.

This is a thing from Homestuck.
From earlier in the story, so it’s less of a spoiler.
Nonetheless, I’m not even going to bother explaining, beyond yes, those are meteors, and I’m not even sure whether that’s supposed to be Skaia in the middle, or just the teleport out thing.

Shenanigans

These go up to eleven, and then some.

Video game mechanics that impact reality are only the start.  Teleportation and time travel show up fairly early on, even if you don’t initially realize that they’re there.  Then come the aliens, who were actually there all along, and the parallel realities, and universes spawning universes in turn.

As I said, it’s complicated.

That being said, the comic does try to be consistent.  For instance, there is some primary reality that must happen.  Time travel thus either invokes stable time-loops, which are self-consistent (and well planned in the context of the story), or result in “doomed” time-lines, in which all ends in failure, and thus cannot be “real.”

And then… the Great Retcon happens.  (That’s not a term in the story, but the name seems appropriate.)  The primary timeline is overwritten in a way that was previously thought impossible, touching on events far, far earlier in the story, changing them in subtle ways, to prevent a terrible distaster later on.

The one character who initially attempts to explain that mess uses only one word:

Shenanigans.

Although, I will note that there is one good indicator of “shenanigans” or wibbley-wobbley time travel stuff incoming: If too many important characters die, there’s probably going to be a reset or a jump back from the failed timeline.

Naturally, this is filled with way too much nonsense (including various back-and-forth as to whether magic is real) to even think about trying to treat it as if it had some basis in science.

At least light-speed limits get a nod in passing while all the laws of reality as we know it are warped beyond recognition.

Scale of Epic

The scale of epic spins like a top, whirling from childhood troubles and birthday parties to multiverse spanning doom and back again.

For the most part, the story does a good job of taking you along for the ride.  However, some of the low-epic items — teenage angsting and silly little pointless jokes — get to be a little too much in some sections.

An Explanation for the Human Aliens

At least, sort of.

This includes the rumored trolls, as well as the cherubs that appear later in the story.

In this case, the “human alien” trolls came first.  They created our universe in a way that it essentially inherited its trait from ours, result in our planet being populated by bizarre hornless trolls with monochromatic blood.  There are also some cultural things we borrow from the trolls, such as cotton candy, which are explained in this way.

As for the cherubs, well… let’s just not even get started.

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