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Creator / wildbow

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Wildbow (real name John C. McCrae, born in 1984), is a Canadian writer of Web Serial Novels.

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.
    • Technically, Pact qualifies, though its "divergence point" is the existence of magic.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Both Worm and Pact end on somewhat happy notes for their protagonists, though they lose a lot in the process. Twig is much the same, though the protagonist may only be happy because of the sacrifices he made.
    • 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.
      • Ward naturally also qualifies, due to being set in the same universe after said Big Good begins destroying the planet ahead of schedule.
    • 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.
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    • 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 intentionally-released horrific plagues and bioweapons.
  • Death of Personality: So far, every one of his protagonists have suffered this to some degree.
    • In Worm, Tayor's transformation into Khepri removes all the limiters on her passenger's influence, leading it to strip her of her ability to understand language, majorly influencing her through process, and even speaking directly through her.
    • In Pact, Blake has his humanity stripped away piece by piece by the Abyss, turning him into a boogeyman and eventually a bird.
    • In Twig, Sy's hallucinations gradually become worse and worse until they eventually subsume his personality entirely, leaving the Infante construct in control.
    • In Ward, Victoria went through this before the story even starts, describing her experience in Worm as losing herself, body, heart and mind. She has recovered, but dealing with the residual trauma is a major theme. One can only hope that this means that Wildbow has gotten it out of his system and she won't have to do it again.
  • 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.
  • First-Person Perspective: His stories are always told from a first person perspective, save for the Interludes and chapters focusing on someone who isn't the protagonist, which switch to third person.
  • 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.
    • In Ward Vista is attracted to Capricorn. If Capricorn were just one person, this might not be an issue, but since he is actually a pair of identical twins, one of whom is gay, who triggered while touching and are stuck in the same body, it's never going to work out.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Worm in particular has a lot, though Pact is no slouch either.
  • One-Word Title:
    • All four of his novels so far are titled as a single word with four letters: Worm, Pact, Twig, and Ward.
    • Not to mention Boilnote , 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 chapters of many of his works also happen to have one word titles.
  • 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.
    • Worm is set in Brockton Bay, which is located in the New England area. Ward narrows its location down a bit.
    • Pact is primarily set in Jacob's Bell, which is somewhere near Toronto in Ontario. This is actually a plot point: 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 is New Amsterdam (New York, NY).
    • Ward takes this a step further, being set in about the same place as Brockton Bay, but on an alternate Earth with slightly different geography.

Example of: