SD Alternative

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” - Dr. Seuss


This is a webcomic I started reading thanks to persistent fanart bombing by vikki. It’s 4,107 pages and 326,796 words long (so far). That’s half as long as Atlas Shrugged, only counting page titles and captions.

So yeah, don’t start this one unless you want to read the War and Peace of webcomics.

Granted, the majority of those words show up in chat logs, which are how the characters talk to each other because duh. How else would they communicate while playing a computer game with their geographically dispersed friends, each of whom will eventually (spoiler)preside over a separate, custom-built planet?

Though there is some gimmickry involved, let me just say that the fact that every player has a unique and distinguishable chat-writing style is really pretty impressive. Also, it makes sense to me that (spoiler)the trolls speak the way they type, because trolls – at least the high-caste ones – are raised with a lot of physical space separating them due to their passionately destructive natures, and so the primary way they communicate with each other is through text over the internet. (Well, and also the trolls in the story are the equivalent of troll nerds.)

If I had to sum up the comic, I’d say it is about creation and destruction. The reality-altering computer game the characters are playing revolves around building – building up another player’s physical space and building up your own stats – but with greater power comes greater ability to break stuff, and that’s without counting all the meteors and falling rocks and ticking time bombs and insane homicidal maniacs who now and again will randomly – except that nothing is random in a comic which revolves around prophecies (of doom), time travel (proving you are already doomed), alternate universes (which are doomed), and (spoiler)malevolent omniscient aliens who reside outside the flow of time – destroy all the stuff you just built with your awesome godlike powers.

BTW if you are reading this comic, the end of Act 4 is a good resting point as Act 5 is twice again as long as all of the proceeding acts put together. It’s also the one where the series’ dark themes take center stage, following the trend of the Harry Potter books (or, if you like, ICP’s Dark Carnival).

Speaking of dark themes, it was always clear that this comic was gonna deal in some way with depression, but I really wasn’t expecting (spoiler) to read in-comic chat logs about it. Pretty brave of the author, I think.

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