Creator / wildbow
(real name John C. McCrae), is a writer of Web Serial Novels
hailing from Canada. Interview.
His works include:
Tropes commonly found in his works
- Alternative Character Interpretation: In-universe a major theme of his works is how people can be viewed completely differently by different people based on their relationships with them, with Pact being the most exemplary due to its karma system.
- Alternate Timeline:
- Worm: Scion and other superpowered individuals start appearing in the early 1980s.
- Twig: During the early 19th Century advances in biotech create a Biopunk based world, and the British Empire manages to become even larger than it's real-world counterpart at its height, including reconquering the United States.
- Bittersweet Ending:
- Both Worm and Pact end on somewhat happy notes for their protagonists, though they lose a lot in the process.
- This is also true of many individual arcs within those works, though there are also arcs whose conclusions are more or less clear wins or losses..
- Canada, Eh?: Wildbow hails from Canada, and Pact is set entirely within it.
- Crapsack World: All of his settings, to an almost ludicrous degree:
- Worm: A Dysfunction Junction of a world where villains outnumber heroes, an amoral secret organization pulls strings behind the scenes, parts of the world are completely uninhabitable thanks to the Endbringers destroying them, and the Big Good is actually an alien being existing across multiple universes whose original purpose was to use the planet to breed young before blowing it up with his mate before she died, and starts doing it ahead of schedule after being convinced to by Jack Slash.
- Pact: The world is being slowly eaten by demons and the Abyss, while an over-legalistic karma system allows horrible people to get off scot-free as long as they have enough good karma to throw at their mistakes. Those with high enough bad karma, whether actually evil or not (And sometimes by virtue of their family's actions), get shat on by the universe, who does its damnedest to kill them.
- Twig: The Crown Empire, a British Empire that controls most of the world, has turned most of the planet into a playground for their nobles, where genetic experimentation is done without the slightest veneer of ethics. What's more, it is later confirmed that many of the places still not under Crown control were simply wholesale destroyed by intentioinally-released horrific plagues and bioweapons.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: It was said before but any Wildbow protagonist is going to go through hell if they want a shot at a good ending
- Enemy Mine: A major theme of his works are shifting alliances and the compromises that must be made for survival. In Worm this was often combined with the Godzilla Threshold.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Bound to show up eventually in any of his works, often at the hands of a Torture Technician.
- Grey and Grey Morality: Wildbow's characters tend to have both positive and negative aspects to them, with very few being unambiguously good or evil. This includes the protagonists, who can have rather unlikable aspects to their personalities while still being overall good.
- Incompatible Orientation:
- In Worm Panacea is gay for Glory Girl, her stepsister, which ends in tragedy after the events of the Slaughterhouse 9 arc.
- In Twig Jamie is gay for Sy, who doesn't reciprocate.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Worm in particular has a lot, though Pact is no slouch either.
- One-Word Title:
- Worm, Pact, and Twig.
- Not to mention "Boil,"note "Face," and "Peer," the titles competing for the slot which Pact eventually won. Averted with the stories that would eventually become Worm, which included titles like "Guts and Glory" and "The Events Leading Up To That Thursday."
- The Social Expert: He uses variations on this character type a lot. Worm had Tattletale and Jack Slash, in Twig the viewpoint character, Sylvester, is designed for this (literally).
- Villain Protagonist:
- Taylor Hebert, the main character of Worm, is part of the villain group known as the Undersiders in Brockton Bay.
- Sylvester aka Sy of Twig is part of a group of child experiments known as the Lambs who work for the amoral Radham Academy.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?:
- The main settings of his works tend to be fictional places in the real world US and Canada.
- Winslow High School is an actual school in Maine.
- Worm is set in Brockton Bay, which is located in the New England area.
- Pact is primarily set in Jacob's Bell, which is somewhere near Toronto in Ontario.
- This is actually a plot point in Pact: Jacob's Bell can't be found on a map because it's been swallowed by the Abyss.
- Twig is set in an alternate history version of North America in which almost all place names have been changed beyond recognition. The only place setting that we can be sure corresponds to a real world city so far is New Amsterdam (New York, NY).