For reasons that escape me (and that probably wouldn’t be good to chase down) I found myself over at a rather interesting corner of Reddit last week, which lead to a reading binge of material that might not be the most polished (some of it) but is generally a damn good read. In some cases a very long damn good read.
I speak, of course, of HFY aka the story forum of Humanity, Fuck Yeah! (yes, that is its name), a corner of the intertubes devoted to all things awesome about humans with a particular fondness for humans being anything but the scourge of the environment (although there are some lovely twists on that theme in there as wall).
As one might expect of a place with this theme, there’s no shortage of kick-ass humans stomping evil alien appendages into the dust, but there’s also a heck of a lot of depth, some damn good characterization, and enough hope (of the real, not-purveyed-by-a-skeevy-salesman variety) to wash the bad taste of life out of your mouth.
It’s also one hell of a time sink.
One of the more prominent series has a chapter that clocks in somewhere north of a hundred thousand words. Cleaned up, with extra depth and expansion of some of the sketchier bits… I’d guess it’s over half a million words on the main plot thread by now, and still going. And going well, too. The author hasn’t bogged down anywhere and the characters continue to gain depth as the piece progresses.
For those who are interested, The Deathworlders is worth the lost sleep and lost time. It’s not all that polished, but it’s got plot twists that fit the ‘verse (and I’d guarantee the author was subconsciously foreshadowing them because even though this is going up on HFY a chapter at a time, the twists aren’t “WTF?” territory: they have that “click” feel that a story gets when a plot twist puts everything into the proper perspective), interesting characters – not all of them likeable, but all of them are interesting, and all of them have understandable motives for acting the way they do – humor (at least one section that left me unable to breathe for a while I was laughing so hard), tragedy, and everything in between.
Thus far none of the other series I’ve looked at have shown that level of craftmanship, but a lot of the short works have. And there are a lot of short works. And a lot of series. It’s kind of like discovering a writing club where anything goes as long as the humans are awesome.
They don’t even have to be kick-ass awesome. Or even necessarily exactly human. Just embodying the best things about humanity (or embraining in at least one of the stories I’ve read).
So if the last week or so has left a nasty taste in your mouth, and you want something refreshing even if a little on the cheesy side, go thou forth and sample the wares over at HFY.
I probably won’t be responding: I’m at a testing conference today and tomorrow and I’ve got a very full schedule for it. I suspect that by the time I drag myself back to the hotel, I’m going to be doing well to fall into bed instead of on the floor.