Saika: It’s been about a month now, and it’s still hard for me to believe that Homestuck is over. I came to the fandom in 2013, when the story was already deep in the throes of Act 6 and its multiple sub- and sub-sub-acts, but it feels like I’ve been part of this wacky and oft-maligned group for longer than that. However, the fact stands that Homestuck has ended, so Syng and I have teamed up to hit you with our thoughts on said ending.
Syng: In this retrospective, we’re going to look back on both of our journeys with Homestuck, as well as reflect on the end of the story and what it means for us as fans moving forward. Spoilers for all of Homestuck (since we now have all of it; this is so weird) below!
“Do you honestly think he hasn’t figured it out by now?”
Karkat looks pointedly at Egbert, who’s talking animatedly to Roxy on the other side of the clearing. With the light filtering prettily through the leaves, they look a picture of heterosexual bliss. It’s the final shot of dozens of Karkat’s terrible Rom-coms, a textbook “happily ever after” pose with the couple giggling contentedly at each other’s jokes. Knowing those two they’re probably dirty jokes, shit you’d never say in polite company, but somehow that’s even more perfect. You want that. You want to sit with Karkat’s head in your lap and talk about bullshit until the sun sets, but you can’t because you’re a fucking coward.
It’s been a week since the dust of creation finally settled over your new paradise, and you still haven’t had ‘the talk’ with John. The ‘I like dudes as well as ladies, and that information is kinda pretty relevant since I’ve been dating Karkat over a year’ talk. A part of you wishes Egbert had the social skills to put two and two together and come up with the bright-red number four that’s been under his nose this whole time, but he obviously hasn’t. Even though you practically haven’t let Karkat out of your sight for the whole time you’ve been here, he just. Doesn’t. Get it.
“Are you kidding me?” You reply, flopping backward in a show of frustration. “Unless we start making out right in front of him, he’s not gonna notice a damn thing. He honest to God gave me a noogie yesterday and was all:
‘Jimeny jillikers, Dave! It’s great that you and Karkat are such awesome pals! I’m sorry I’ve been spending so much time with Roxy, but I’ll come hang out with you guys soon and we can have a bropalfriendfest and build a pillow fort’ or some equally dumb charming bullshit.”
You sigh, brushing your fringe out of your eyes and wondering how long the stupid victory message is going to be branded onto the sky.
“I have no idea how he’d feel if he knew what kind of shenanigans usually go down in one of our pillow forts, but I sincerely doubt he’d want to join in.”
When I went looking for a Homestuck fic to write about this week, I was just hoping to find something good. I wasn’t expecting to find one that hit me quite as personally as this one did.
Multiverse theory says that there’s an untold quantity of universes out there, and each one might be different based on a single choice that one person made. There’s a universe out there where, for example, I live in outer space, because the Library of Alexandria never burned down and the advancement of human knowledge wasn’t set back by centuries. If you had the opportunity to fix this, would you? That’s a pretty huge reset, so it’s hard to begin to imagine the ramifications of doing so. What about, say, going back three hours to create a timeline in which your friend’s pet isn’t murdered and your godfather doesn’t receive the Dementor’s Kiss? This presumably creates a better future, as it results in Sirius living, which gives Harry access to Grimmauld Place, which gives him access to Kreacher and the story of Regulus, etc. As an author, resetting the timeline is something you should only do in the worst possible circumstances, and even then, it’s hard to argue that retconning a given set of circumstances that are bad for your characters is worth retconning an entire universe for.
I learned while writing this post that ‘retcon’ is a portmanteau of ‘retroactive continuity’.
This month has been exhausting. Black History Month always brings pushback: talk of a Black Spider-Man has resurfaced with all the associated bigotry, and current events have been as bad as always. It’s been really emotionally taxing, so I want to talk about something a little lighter and upbeat: nerd-inspired music. (Occasional NSFW language follows.)
There’s a slow but exciting change occurring in popular media, these days: lots of creators are finally beginning to show female friendships in their works. That’s not to say that there have never been friendships between ladies in the public eye before the last few years—Wicked comes to mind, among other things—but the message seems to finally have gotten out to the world at large. We want more than one lady in things, and we want those ladies to understand each other, not for them to antagonize each other.
GT: if i marry him won’t that make me your stepdad??
TG: youre planning on marrying my bro
GT: i don’t fucking know!!
GT: we’re dating, so it’s kind of a possibility????
TG: is he aware youre already thinking about marriage
GT: dude, shut up!
TG: nah man i think we need to get our calendars out and see about booking a minister
TG: ill draw up the invitations
TG: sweet bro and hella jeff cordially invite you to the unholy union of egbert and strider
GT: auuuugh no i don’t want to be my best friend’s stepdad!!!!!!
TG: think the word youre really lookin for here is stepbro
GT: you’re in so much denial holy shit. no wonder rose psychologically dissects you all the time.
—The Ace Thing, Chapter Six
It’s been 84 years…
After a year-long hiatus, the unorthodox webcomic Homestuck has resumed to its semi-erratic updating schedule. Although I’m definitely not as into the series as I used to be, I’m super excited to see how the series ends—ie: hopefully without all the characters dying—and more than willing to celebrate its triumphant site-breaking return with a fic recommendation. In light of this and in light of Asexual Awareness Week, today’s fic delves not only back into the Homestuck universe, but also focuses solely on a perfectly healthy relationship between a character that is asexual and a character who is, self-admittedly, not asexual at all. Continue reading →
Positive racial representation is so, so important in our popular media. This is not news—it’s something we talk about at least weekly on this site. But what about situations where a character’s race is never stated? Some media, by their nature, don’t include physical descriptors of their characters: what, if anything, can these raceless characters do for racial representation?
Theoretically, leaving a character’s racial identity open to fan interpretation should allow fans to invent a diverse variety of different designs for that character. It should be a goldmine of racial representation, because leaving a character raceless should allow people of any race to identify with that character. The truth of it is, though, that characters with no assigned race often end up white in the majority of fan renderings. Much like the heterosexist idea that everyone is straight until proven otherwise, when a character’s race is not explicitly stated, the bulk of a fandom will fall back on the idea that white is the default, “normal” race and assign whiteness to the character or characters in question.
White privilege is present in every part of our lives, and part of that privilege is seeing oneself in media without ever having to look. In fact, people are so socialized into believing that all main characters are white people that we often visualize characters as white even when they’re not described as such. For example, did you know that Harry Potter is never assigned a race in the books? He’s got messy black hair and great skin, but the actual color of his skin is never brought up. And yet it’s only recently that I’ve seen people making an active effort to introduce biracial Harry headcanons into the fandom. We do this because we’ve been taught over and over again that white is the norm. While it’s not wrong to imagine a character as white, it is something to be aware of, and to challenge in ourselves as critical consumers of media. What subconsciously led us to whiteness, and why did we choose that over a PoC design?
Magic and science are generally considered antithetical. You have one or the other, and never the twain shall meet. That’s why one of them is the realm of fantasy and one is the realm of science fiction. Even within science fiction, powers like telepathy are explained using science, and in fantasy, technology like long-distance communication or transport is the stuff of magic. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, I think that a society where magic and science exist in some sort of relationship with each other is much more interesting.
Time passes by in a tipsy haze of sunlight and rainbows. Rose talks to Kanaya until she can no longer keep her eyes open, and then some, because when she can immerse her friend in such meaningless discussion she does not have to think about the little monstrosities creeping through her grey matter, prodding and whispering and reminding her that she is not free yet.
Even still, sleep comes difficult when she knows that she’ll find herself on Derse, in close range of the Outer Ring. Just sitting in her tower she imagines tendrils wrapped around her mind so thickly she can barely see straight. She is afraid that she will wake up dark again, identity and conscience eaten away.
I originally encountered this Homestuck story back in February, when I was looking for gen fics to rec on Valentine’s Day. Although it focuses more on Rose’s struggle to come to terms with her sexuality, I ended up disqualifying it as a gen fic since it still did have romantic content. Today, however, I have no such restrictions and I’m happy to share Show the Lights with you.
Show the Lights begins during Act 5 Act 2 with Rose’s descent into grimdarkness, but rapidly diverges from canon after that. Dave, Aradia, and Jade quickly interfere in Rose and Jack’s duel, and transport Rose back to LOLAR. In the original comic, Rose’s grimdark berserker rage is stopped abruptly when she’s killed by Jack. (She gets better.) In this fic, her recovery is not so easy. Trapped in her trance but encouraged by the distant soothing of a voice that turns out to be Kanaya’s, Rose manages to use her planet’s power to escape her grimdarkness—enough to regain conscious control of her body, at least. However, the process of withdrawal from Horrorterror power is akin to quitting a powerful drug cold turkey, and equally as unpleasant.
Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. It is often mistakenly assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will. In fact, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to do so.
From Tony Stark’s alcoholism to Sherlock Holmes’s 7% solution, geek media is rife with portrayals of addiction and substance abuse. As someone who has watched close friends and family members struggle with real addiction, I have a very personal stake in these fictional portrayals. It means a lot to me if a show that includes an addict among its characters takes the time to treat addiction as the complex problem it is. And because of this, I am tremendously turned off by shows that act like an addiction is something that can easily be gotten rid of.