‘Worm’ — A Complete Web Serial

Warning: The story we’re linking to is NOT intended for children or anyone sensitive to triggers. It contains graphic language, adult situations (albeit “offscreen” ones), and detailed descriptions of violence.

I recently finished reading Worm, which is a dark, very long web serial written by John “Wildbow” McCrae between June 11th, 2011 and November 19th, 2013.

It follows the story of an introverted “parahuman” girl named Taylor Hebert, who tries to use her unusual (and surprisingly useful) superpower — i.e. complete control over all bugs within a several-block radius — for good, but discovers it isn’t always so easy. The story starts with her being bullied in school and escalates all the way to unimaginably large crises. Along the way she meets a wide variety of heroes, villains, and everything in between, each with their own concerns, struggles, politics, and desires. It’s become one of my favorite stories ever written, and it was almost impossible to put down while reading.

When I say “long”, I mean it: The complete story contains nearly 1.7 million words, or about the equivalent of 26 typical novels (or 10–11 very thick ones). For comparison, the entire Harry Potter series contains just under 1.1 million. The “dark” descriptor is also no joke (one example in the story being a group of superpowered serial killers called the Slaughterhouse Nine), so definitely don’t hand this to a kid to read, no matter how much they love superhero stuff.

The serial is entirely free to read at parahumans.wordpress.com, and starts here if you want to get into it right away.

Wildbow is working on editing the entire series to produce a polished print/ebook release. In the meantime, it is possible to find fan-made, downloadable ebook versions on the web for offline reading — I won’t link them here, as that would be against the author’s wishes — and I recommend supporting his work here because writing is now his full-time job, plus I’d like to see a Worm 2 serial someday 😉

  • If you’re into audiobooks more than reading, the fan-made Worm Audiobook Project just completed earlier this week, after two years of work.