Worm audiobook, the first episode of the Parahumans series and a self-published web serial by John C. “Wildbow” McCrae, is renowned for playing with and subverting superhero fiction’s common themes and tropes.
Worm audiobook – one of the most successful web serial
The fictional “Earth Bet” alternate universe is the setting for Worm audiobook. Earth Bet’s events closely mirror those of Earth proper until 1982, when a golden, nude man known as Scion appears over the ocean. Since his debut, some people have developed superpowers in response to traumatic or stressful situations—a scenario referred to in-story as a “trigger event”—that affect humans.
In Worm audiobook, people with special abilities are formally referred to as “parahumans” and colloquially as “capes,” a reference to the common practice of parahumans to create an alter ego and go out in costume (with or without literal “capes”).
A major physical or psychological trauma must occur as a trigger event for the acquisition of a power in Worm audiobook. The type of threat the person faces and their current state of mind have an impact on the power’s characteristics. Some parahumans have the ability to trigger a second time, developing and enhancing their abilities to improve their chances of surviving, when subjected to extreme stress that is similar to or greater than their first trigger event.
Taylor is the main character of Worm audiobook, a shy teenage girl with an unusual superpower, dresses up to escape her incredibly boring and frustrating civilian life. Her first attempt to defeat a supervillain results in her being mistaken for one, launching her into the politics, unspoken norms, and murky morality of the local “cape” scene. Taylor is faced with the challenge of having to make the wrong decisions for the right reasons as she puts her life in danger.
The action wisely but continuously picks up steam. After every battle, Worm audiobook just ups the ante and stakes. Every win has a drawback, and every setback has a benefit. I wondered several times during how Taylor and the Undersiders could possibly have the slightest chance of winning. The powers are some of the most inventive I’ve ever seen, and the idea is that someone with skill and cunning can accomplish more with a weak power than someone who just coasts along with what they’ve been given. You wouldn’t think Taylor would be a very good superpowered “cape” with a power like bug manipulation, but this is unquestionably her story rather than the story of her watching other capes battle it out.
Throughout, interlude chapters that are told from the perspective of a different character provide additional background information. These could be about something Taylor missed, an event we recently read about from a different perspective, or even the beginnings and early years of other capes discovering their abilities.
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