a thread I will bookmark and return to as I listen

Currently somewhere in arc 5 where she’s in with her group and getting deeper in that villain lyfe
Tagging this in

I will block you if you post spoilers while I’m reading this for the first time

And I don’t block anyone usually
Also I think Lung is too powerful

It’s dumb that he’s basically literally unstoppable

But uh... he is definitely coming back in a big way now that Taylor has both rotted off his dick and carved out his eyes?

Wow Taylor


About that being a hero thing...
Also am I supposed to not like Glory Girl?

I really like Glory Girl actually

I very much relate to her at times
I have a harder time relating to Taylor even tho I like her a lot because we have very different personalities

If I were being bullied by those girls the way she is...

Let’s just say bugs would not be required for me to very creatively encourage them to stop
But I can already tell this book is going to trigger me constantly

Given my authority issues and my rage at ineffective bodies in power making bad decisions this book is going to make me want to smite everyone a lot
Okay this seems kinda unlikely but I wonder if the degree to which the other girls (esp. Emma) tortured Taylor was some kind of calculated plan to try to trigger her abilities? Like it's weird that Emma's dad is so in with the capes. Hmmm....
Also the throwaway comment about how Emma became her friend and then turned on her is weird

Like the degree of torture she experiences from those girls is insane even for mean high school standards

I'm actually warming up to this theory
Oh gosh Taylor is dumb

After all this she's not going to take Coil's very reasonable offer?

The "good guys" aren't any better at governance dummy

Embrace it! Go dark! Quit believing stupid and vindictive authority figures
Good girl

It might not work out but that's the right choice
This is the genesis of a major supervillain

Listening to her self-justification

It's textbook

I love this
Super obvious Tattletale was going down to Leviathan when we got her little bio chapter 😢

I’ll miss her, I was hoping it would be Grue who died since he’s pretty boring
Why can’t Taylor control smaller or other creatures than bugs? What is it about bugs specifically that lets her control them? Like she can already do arachnids and insects—why not crustaceans or bacteria? Viruses? Single celled organisms?

So many questions about her power
This whole Leviathan fight is such a fantastic plot device to shake everything up

Take out half the cast, shake up agendas, inject some new emotions with character deaths

Very crafty writer move with lots of drama
It’ll be interesting to see how the alliances fall after this fight
Oh hell yeah!! Tattletale is alive!!

I’m so happy
Ohhh shit and Armsmaster blew her cover

And Sophia is Darkstalker!!! Holy crap

This is getting so good

Man fuck Armsmaster he’s such a douchebag
Oh hell yes

Taylor is gonna make her own superhero group isn’t she

This is SO GOOD
Okay here’s my current theory

I think Taylor’s mom was a cape and her father either didn’t know or kept this from Taylor

I think her death is a cover story and she died fighting

I also think that the other heroes know this and know it’s likely that 2nd gen heroes have powers
The reason Emma and Sophia push Taylor so hard is because they’re trying to trigger her latent powers and it’s vicious because they want her to be good at combat (as triggers are explained in arc 9)

Someone is pulling the strings behind this and it’s not the protectorate
I also think whoever was involved with Taylor’s mom’s death is going to be very powerful (probably impossibly so) and Taylor will want vengeance

Maybe Scion

Maybe a behemoth
Okay so I half remembered this convo but couldn’t remember how it went this is interesting

If Taylor’s power gets stronger (more complex brains) she suddenly becomes a world class hero that can control other heroes by thoughts

She might be the most powerful villain ever
God Taylor’s powers get so cool

She’s getting really creative

Using bugs for mirror image hijinx
Man every time something crazy happens I find myself wondering if it’s a probability split from Coil from the losing POV

I know the author is going to use that as a plot device eventually

It would be silly not to
Also it would be a very cheap Deus Ex Machina to do it more than once

Even once is kinda cheap drama ig
But also a cool trick if you don’t see it coming
Regent’s power is extremely viscerally upsetting in the same way that the Yeerks are

What he does to Shadowstalker is very fucked up

And it’s not even that bad

Like... wow. That’s gonna get real dark at some point I can see it coming. This was a tease.
Also I still maintain that Taylor should end up with a similar power to regent’s but much stronger. Part of why we get this interlude glimpse (in my theory) is to expose us to the moral gray areas she’ll struggle with later.
When Taylor claims the docks and has that moment where she reflects on how what she’s saying and doing is just like what Bakuda was doing but HER reasons are different and not selfish...

*chef’s kiss*

So much fun watching her turn supervillain
And then when she gets exposed to like the rougher, worse sides of humanity. It’s all subtext to her losing faith in people being worth saving.

So good. She’s gonna come into her power right as she stops seeing the good in humanity. Give it time.

She’s already pretty villainy
When she dreams about her dad being Coil... that dream isn’t about any of the things she thinks it is

It’s about how Coil is teaching her and being a mentor to her in the same way a father is to his daughter.

She’s learning brutal pragmatism from him.
Oof when she rescues that girl who recognizes her from high school

Then they talk about how she didn’t help Taylor out of her trapped locker situation

Taylor is going to break because no one is as strong or good as she is

But this means she’s no better than they are either
Omg the author obviously is hinting some things with the client descriptions in the contract they recover but I am NOT doing a word problem so we’ll just slide over this
Hmm idle speculation this one is kinda an out there theory

But what if shadowstalker (Sofia’s) family paid for her powers on the DL

And the reason Emma flipped on Taylor is that she found out and Sofia told her that she too could buy powers if she did 🤔

No evidence for this
No this doesn’t track her mom isn’t rich

Emma’s family is tho 🤔🤔
So there’s a cheap narrative trick that gets used a lot here where time skips forward and stuff happened in between and it gets revealed afterwards and it both heightens mystery and allows new additions without having to write them

Cool trick
Okay I just looked at where I am vs what’s left and I am about to start arc 12.1 after two more interludes

Dear god I’m still only about 1/3 done with the story o.O


There are 30 arcs!!!
OMG Amy is in love with her sister????


Wow did NOT see that coming
Okay so the bad nine villain dudes are in town and if Jack Slash doesn’t die he creates some kind of catalyst that ends the world

Strong suspicion this may have something to do with Taylor herself. My thinking is this would be an appropriately cool arc for her.

Rule of cool.
Wait... so Imp just appears one day working with the Undersiders. Weird but whatever.

But her power is not being noticed and being forgotten when noticed.

Has imp been there from the very beginning and Taylor just didn’t register it until Imp trusted her???
Okay Taylor’s ability to infinitely subdivide her attention will also be useful when she gets past her small brain block and can manipulate a puppet army all at once (which regent struggles to do)
Also why the heck can’t Taylor fly?? You can’t tell me she can’t design a suit with tiny hooks and streamers for the bugs or something

There have to be swarms strong enough to lift a human divided hundreds of ways on silk threads
Okay her fight with Mannequin is funny because every three seconds she's like "I wonder if he was getting annoyed/pissed off at me"

idk Taylor you covered him in web and gummed up his joints and stole his arm and head

yeah he's probably pissed duh
I'm starting to get why this book is nerd bait

Taylor's whole thing is that she manages to slowly make herself more and more awesome just by carefully thinking through her problems and coming up with smart solutions

This is like rationalist catnip--touches standard memes
Without being a Mary Sue she comes up with good solutions to emergent problems and she's quick on her feet

I wish she spent more time thinking about and testing how to creatively use her powers IN ADVANCE of these situations though

Come on Taylor I could do so much better
Like consider: she knows she can control most bugs--why not work up in bug size and find out what her brain complexity/size limit is

Get a big spider

Then a BIGGER spider

Coil could supply her with many large spiders of increasing sizes
When she's maxed out on spider size, find a similar sized mammal and try to map the jump

If it's too foreign, find something closer to an insect and probe it

She needs to experiment and push herself more. Clearly her powers are expansive.
Or like okay, she can control swarms that can carry and locate objects using her swarms and control them all independently

Why can't she make humanoid swarm people and arm them with guns or pilot costumes that hold weapons

She needs to think more creatively--so many options
Dipping the bugs in hot pepper with her stingers was a good start

But why not keep bugs in reserve that are dipped in different kinds of disabling or paralyzing toxins

Or lethal toxins

Bees that administer paralyzing poison

Get a laser gun instead of her baton
She has all these resources and all this potential and she's using 1/100th of her capabilities


You can be SO much more powerful than you are right now
The more I think about it the more that a smart tinker seems like an order of magnitude more useful than any other hero
Lol sometimes Taylor says things like “I drew my bugs around my face as a makeshift mask” and I pause in horror, reflecting that she is covering her face in a writhing mass of bugs

She is so creepy
Okay so Grue’s new power is his shadows give him powers of others inside of it

Bonesaw just explained how powers are stored in special brain growths that work independent of heroes

In theory he could collect these from slain capes and become an Uber villain, many powers
The more I think about Taylor's powers the madder I am that she doesn't get more creative with them (or hasn't yet anyway). There are SO MANY ways to use Coil's resources and other heroes' powers to make her bug powers so much better. Be smarter kids!
There is nothing stopping her from getting a Tinker to outfit her stinging insects with specialized poison-injecting hardware for example.

Or mounting dragonflies with camera equipment.

Tiny bug exoskeletons to make them super strong while still allowing her to control them.
You know, Worm is really just an extended series of trolley problems over and over

They just keep having to make terrible choices about whether to kill or let people die
It drives me crazy that everyone recording the Worm audiobook pronounces "Marquis" as "Marr-quiss"

Didn't anyone notice and tell them? It's irritating
ugh ugh ugh

And she's pronounces "chasm" like "chad" instead of "kasm"

God these are inconsistent
God every chapter with Amy is so emotional

Keeps tugging at my feelings

I have like sympathetic pangs of emotion that have almost made me cry like three times now
Okay I’m toward the end of arc 15 (colony) where Taylor goes with Trickster and Genesis to influence the mayor and fights Triumph and Prism

I want to take a moment for a short digression on Taylor and ethics and her personality

I’ve decided I don’t like or respect her
All along so far, since the beginning, I’ve been kind of rooting for her and empathizing with her frustration about ineffective authorities and the people who bully her

But this scene with the mayor’s family plus her decisions over the last few arcs have lost my respect
Taylor continuously insists that she does what she has to do to protect people, making hard decisions in the moment for the greater good

But every person who causes evil things to occur uses this justification

The ends will justify the means supposedly
And whenever someone protests that she’s on the side of the bad guys, she explains that the good guys aren’t actually good and uses that to justify her morally evil actions

But I think she’s wrong

It’s not like she mostly does the right thing and only hurts people when forced
She makes calls all the time about how much to hurt people and actively harms people trying to protect good people or do the right thing

She schemes against everyone including her own allies (and has since the beginning)

She’s paranoid and always plotting backstabs
She’s upset about people being taken advantage of mostly out of sympathy because of her own bullying, but then turns around and inflicts excruciating torture and horrifying psychological damage on her opponents at every turn
She had numerous opportunities to join the wards and the protectorate, even after her identity and double cross was exposed, and she declines because she doesn’t like that her bully is on the team? That’s some petty BS
Meanwhile she’s actively working as Coil’s pawn to subvert law and order and seize the city instead of offering her talents and knowledge to help the good guys restore peace in an orderly way

She’s accreting power in a very self-serving way
She keeps justifying her actions in service of Coil as being about Dynah and fixates on this one crappy situation she’s directly responsible for while being callous about all the other harm she’s indirectly enabling by helping villains take over the city
From a utilitarian perspective, she’s more bothered by the weight of one child because it happens to be heavy on her conscience versus ALL of the other evil that she’s both actively performing and enabling to assuage her guilt, extremely selfishly
All of her actions since the beginning have been super selfish

She abandons her plan to turn in the villains just because they’re offering her a place where she feels like she has friends

She doesn’t give her father the time of day despite his clear emotional anguish over it
She horrifically disables her opponents and wages psychological warfare on not only her enemies but everyone in the city with her creepy bug threats and disturbing apparitions

She doesn’t flinch away from using violence to achieve whatever end she deems important in the moment
Like I get that she experienced some trauma but the way that she paints herself as being forced into corners where she has to make these choices is a straight up victim mentality

She’s not strong, she’s weak

She’s doing the easy and selfish thing for herself always
And the fact that the more powerful she becomes, the more messed up her tactics get is revealing of her character

She has so much power

She knows Coil is evil

She could flip sides tomorrow and help the good guys win

And she doesn’t

She continues to make selfish choices
She lost me when she started using people’s families to frighten them into submission

There’s no amount of balancing the scales that makes up for the harm she’s causing

Doing the right thing to balance your horrific acts doesn’t make you a good person

Or even an okay person
Actions in the real world matter more than intent, and Taylor has repeatedly chosen harmful and destructive actions that make things more unstable and more terrifying for the people she’s supposedly trying to protect

Her head is not screwed on straight
And her singular focus on doing all this to “help Dynah” even though she has tons of evidence Coil won’t live up to his end of the bargain is a massive cope that helps her assuage her own sense of guilt about her selfish choices—just like how she tries to balance in other ways
Furthermore, I don’t like that she pulls all her punches

She’s willing to be evil but not commit hard enough to that course of action (ends justify means) to actually be effective via overwhelming force much of the time

Another sign of weakness
If she wants to rule by terror and an iron fist, she’s doing it very badly because she can’t commit to that course of action

If she wants to play that game, she needs to step up and commit to being brutal enough that she goes unchallenged

She’s hurting people via hesitation
I wouldn’t support that course of action anyway but she’s doing it BADLY which irritates me even more

I’m really struggling to see how I’m supposed to keep rooting for her when she’s this muddled

Just no respect for her anymore
Omg. Taylor spends all this time fighting allegedly to free Dynah. She guns down Coil. They take the city. And then when things get hot with Noel she starts justifying to herself how Dynah is USEFUL???

Holy hell the HYPOCRISY

She SAYS she doesn’t want to
She has all these justifications for doing exactly what she’s condemning other people for

Cmon Taylor

Be better than this
K it’s been a minute since I updated so lemme catch up on thoughts

I’m past the Coil execution and the Echidna fight and the Alexandria takedown and joining the Chicago wards and meeting the numbers man and the Cauldron heavies and the Behemoth fight.
I find her method of killing Alexandria SUPER unlikely given the amount of preparation and skill demonstrated by the hero elsewhere

I really didn’t expect her to be able to do such an obvious takedown and I’m a little disappointed it worked (for several reasons)
And also it seems uncharacteristic of Taylor to just decide to give up power like she did to submit to authority

Maybe she’s growing as a person but I don’t know what the catalyst was really. Rings false to me. What changed for her?
I’m absolutely baffled that I still have another third of this book to get through

What plot threads are possibly even left? Tattletale’s past I guess? Endbringer origins? The game in Earth Alpha people keep referencing?

I’m mildly suspicious their reality is a VR sim
Still feel like Taylor is under-utilizing her powers and she should be more creative

I can think of a dozen ways I could prep better than her off the top of my head, especially with Tinker support, and it’s kind of disappointing that such a “smart” “strategist” can’t
At a minimum seems like she should be asking Dragon or the other tinkers for help in THINKING UP ideas to enhance her powers

In fact tinkers supporting other heroes by shoring up weaknesses is dramatically underused in general

The Nine are the only ones who do it well
Speaking of the nine, I think Bonesaw is probably my favorite character in the series so far

She’s just such a fascinating mix of horrifying cruelty and childish innocence and curiosity and hellish cleverness

I want her backstory
I also find it strange that the 9 are such a big worldwide threat

You’d think the big heavy hitters would have taken them out by now given the spacing between endbringer attacks

There don’t seem to be many threats on their level
Regarding the fights in general, I’ve noticed I kind of zone out a lot when they’re fighting. I find the battles MUCH less interesting than the characters and the drama surrounding the physical conflicts, as cool as the powers are.
But during some fights (esp Echidna) they just go on too long. I’m like “okay wrap it up let’s get back to interesting plot drama.” Feels like when I saw the first Transformers movie and just fell asleep because I got bored of watching robots hit each other.
I also find the Wards a LOT less compelling than when Taylor was with the Undersiders and I don’t like her new code name of Weaver. I think it’s boring. And I’m mad she didn’t pick “Worm.” Why is this book called Worm?

I hope things pick up soon, this arc is kinda boring.
Okay, so I did grit my way through the book (currently in the middle of arc 30, so almost at the end), and I have to say that I’ve been pretty disappointed by the last half of Worm. Like, no shade to the author, it’s an amazing feat, great characters, cool fights...
And just a massive quantity of prose.

But I just haven’t felt that engaged with it anymore. I think there are a few things that really irk me about how it’s gone ever since the Coil arc ended that I find really irritating:

First, it suffers from DBZ syndrome.
We go from Slaughterhouse Nine to Coil to Echidna to Endbringers to the Slaughterhouse Nine Clones and finally Psion and I feel like a lot of the tension gets sucked away because it’s just a series of bigger and bigger baddies they can knock down to fights the next one.
There’s some good twists and intrigue but I find them dissatisfying because they rely on withholding key information and doing reveals that you didn’t really get many tells for. Like there was no way to predict the whole Psion traveler arc and not enough hints about power origins
It’s obviously well planned and well executed but it lacks much in the way of suspense or stakes beyond “okay is the world gonna end or not”

Which takes me to my next point—the personal stakes get wrecked in the second half of the book which leeches all the drama out.
Injuries don’t really matter anymore because there’s always a healer handy after the mission so unless someone legit dies you know it’s all recoverable (and sometimes even that’s not permanent). This is worse than plot armor.
And because every encounter at this point is like globe-threatening, the only real stake is “does earth get destroyed or not.” Which is kinda boring.

Wildbow really loses the human element in the second half of the book that made the first half so satisfying.
All of the interpersonal drama gives way to these giant power battles and I honestly kind of tune out during them because it’s all samey after a while. The cast is too big, there isn’t enough personal drama among or between characters anymore. You get flashes of it, but not focus
The parts that shine and are interesting for me are the character bits—like exploring dragon and dauntless’s relationship or Panacea’s character change and loyalty to her father

I wish there was a lot more emphasis on that and less on godlike beings tearing the world apart
Because I can’t really relate to these giant power fights with nothing on the line but a vague sense “humanity does if we lose”

It’s like when Tranformers showed me 20 minutes of robot fights and I fell asleep. Its okay I guess—but it was the character drama that sucked me in.
I do feel vindicated that I called Taylor’s eventual power unlock in the first third of the book tho. Good foreshadowing there.

Other stuff I don’t like such as the bullying not being intentionally savage from the other girls to trigger Taylor or never bringing her mom in
I think another HUGE pet peeve for me is things that seem obvious to me that are just these gaping holes in the world building. Lots of the characters are supposed to be so clever and yet miss obvious things that I would do in a heartbeat and one of them should have seen
Like we establish that powers can be modified and augmented and even see it in places and we have heroes with complementary powers team up sometimes but like...

Why does the PRT not have a whole division on this? Bonesaw does this for the SH9
Why is there no team of tinkers and thinkers shoring up every weakness and adding firepower to all the heroes in creative and novel ways? Why are complementary heroes not assigned to move jointly in specialized areas? Why don’t they push harder on power experiments?
It’s annoying because all of these things are teased at or done in limited ways and somehow no one had the very obvious idea to systematize it??? Alexandria can’t be that smart if she didn’t think of this. Taylor is not half as smart as she is presented as being.
Anyway, I’m going to finish it because I’m at the end, but I really wish he had gone a totally different direction with the second half and kept it about interpersonal human drama between superheroes rather than making the biggest bad possible and throwing everyone at it.
It’s far less interesting than what it could have been if he’d continued on with the style the book was in up until Coil died.
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