Anyone just getting here, I’d like to beg you to read the serial before you read on.  I think it is a law of nature that reading anything an author writes about their work will make you like it less, so you’ll probably get more out of my story if you read it before hearing me out.

It feels very strange to finally write this post.  I started writing The Fifth Defiance in November, 2015.  I finished last week, so I spent approximately four and a half years on this.  It felt both shorter and longer.

I remember vividly how it all started.  I was surfing the internet, and somehow I ended up reading Worm.  I boggled at the whole concept.  It had somehow never occurred to me that you could just…do that.  You could write your own superhero story and put it on a website and people could read it.  There was no one to ask permission from, and if you screwed it up it wasn’t like the internet would run out of space.

All my excuses kind of went away.  There was nothing stopping me, so I googled up how to get a WordPress site, entered my credit card and within a week or two I was off and running.

After that it was simply a matter of posting updates, one after another, and the story wound along like a strange clock, characters appearing, speaking their brief pieces, and then vanishing back into the bin.  It’s genuinely, profoundly strange to see your mind exposed like that.  Dreams that would ordinarily flash past pressed to leave lasting impressions on some digital page.  Some concepts were ennobled by the experience, others got way cringier.

It was even an odd feeling to sit down to write this.  To know that this was it, I was finally going to make my last update, let TFD take on its last shape.  The time’s all blocked out to wrestle with thousands of words, but there’s no need.  This is just me and whatever audience the internet brings my way.

The last thing I wanted to do was thank y’all, so I should probably get on with that.

A huge thanks has to go out to the other web serial writers.  WB, most obviously.  It made me smile to finish up at the same time as the sequel to the thing that started my own work.  AW, EE, DSE, Sharker, all the others.  I’ve always struggled to keep to my own meager update schedule, and watching other people crush much rougher ones was nothing short of inspiring.

Podcasting?  For web fiction writers?  That’s a thing?  I love it.  Rationally Writing, Handsome Voices?  Thanks so much for putting your content out there.

Beyond that, there’s the commenters.  Both those who gave me support, and those who gave me the gears.  It all helped.  The site lets you know that people are visiting, but only discussion, commentary and feedback let me know that folks cared.  Talon, CC, Quae, BV, all the rest.  You rock.

But that’s all prelude.  The real people I have to thank are the great anonymous audience.  You, the ones reading this right now.  You were the purpose of all this, my goal all along.  If you enjoyed this, then I’ve succeeded.  If you didn’t, then, well, no harm no foul?

Force may rule the world, but it never ruled you.

14 thoughts on “Acknowledgements

  1. We’ve talked on Discord before, but just to close it out here, thank you very much for writing and posting this. Still one of the best web fics I’ve ever read, even if it had its rough points. And as you know, it was a point of inspiration for my own web novel, so thanks for that, too!

  2. Thank you for this excellent story! I enjoyed the way you set up the Gifts the characters had, and Haunter’s ability made her a great narrator. I do want to know what happened post-Defiance! …and that means it was time well spent. I wish you well Walter!

  3. I don’t want to say that I hate you, because I’ve been periodically returning to read your story for several years (since end of 2016?), but I can’t believe that you would end it with the cliffhanger size of the mountain. What did the jury choose? What did happen then?

    Good luck with your future endeavors you sadist (I read the last chapter day after release and I was really wondering, what would happen next0

  4. So, is that all? Haunter 12:3 is the end? No closure for any character at all, save the dead? I don’t doubt like Pilgrim. I hate you

  5. Now I have a little more time, I’d like to expand on my previous comment.

    Summary of The Fifth Defiance: “There are superhumans. The most powerful one is unbeatable and rules part of the world, we don’t know why she doesn’t rule it all. Power is all, yet hubris tends to be punished. We will follow five special Ultras, which reluctantly serve the Regime, have a lot of adventures against impossible odds, sometime triumph through wits or luck… only to be, in the end, completely irrelevant because the power in the shadow (not the one in charge) is a truly physical Goddess, unbeatable, immune to surprise or hubris, who suddenly ends the party because yes, she can. Oh, by the way, the author was too lazy to close any story, thread or character. If you like closure, pray your favorite character be dead”

    Really, ANY possible ending would have been better than this. Remover snuffs everybody. Prevailer rends the Earth apart in the process of childbirth. Everybody loses powers, nobody knows why. Worm crossover. Marvel crossover. Heck, *Spongebob* crossover. ANYTHING. You’ve gave me the worst “Epilogue? What Epilogue?” moment since… well, since Rowling, in fact.

    So… thanks you for the chapters up to “Fourth Fist: Cliffhanger”, I suppose. For my part, I will just assume you abandoned the writing there.

  6. Wait, that’s it?

    I’ve read this post before and didn’t realize you were saying the story is over. I was still checking back to read the next installment. I don’t think I seriously considered the possibility that you’d present six potentially interesting endgames and pick NONE of them, as well as leaving every other plot and worldbuilding thread dangling.

    I don’t “hate” you, exactly, as I don’t have any reason to think you wrote this whole thing just to troll us with a shaggy dog story. But I absolutely regret recommending this story to ~15 others while it was still a WIP.

    1. I’m sorry to have disappointed you. I have a tendency to think that things will be really cool and be very wrong about that. (Regime Quest!) I hope you got enough enjoyment from the earlier to stuff to pay you back for the rec.

  7. I’d seen you plug this on SSC a couple times, but didn’t look into it until recently.

    I’m glad I did. That was really great, Walter. Thanks.

  8. Found this through the SSC open thread and loved the story – couldn’t put it down in my free minutes (and other not free minutes WFH ;)) Thanks for writing this Walter – shame I didn’t get to accompany it while writing, would have loved that experience as well. Please keep it up and would love to see a sequel!

    PS: of course also quite disappointed with the open ending…

  9. I started reading your story back in 2018, but caught up fairly quickly – and then forgot to keep up with it. I remembered your story again last year, and finally finished it around November. As I was on my phone I wanted to write up my thoughts when I got to my PC but, predictably, that didn’t work out! So here I am, with almost all of my initial thoughts forgotten.

    But I did want to say thank you for the story. I think a lot of people were disappointed with the ending, but having read your own thoughts on it and why you wrote that ending (with us, the readers, being the jury at the end) was interesting. I’m not sure it’s the ending I wanted to see, but at the end of the day it’s your story and we’re here for the ride. I did start reading the guilder story, but it looked like you put that on hold? I got a few chapters in but there weren’t any more.

    Just regarding the story again though, I think there were a few points I would have liked to have addressed (of which the only one I can remember was asking why Haunter seemed to have a perfectly fit body, it seemed like an odd remark that Prevailer made that ended up having no relevance), but alas, most of them are consigned to oblivion. It was an enjoyable read though, with interesting takes on power mechanics and good prose. I hope you continue writing at some point again.

  10. Thanks a lot for this story. A few years ago I read up the the in-progress point but didn’t keep up with updates. Recently I came back and read the work in it’s entirety. I had intended to skim/skip the chapters I’d already read but ended up reading every word. These characters and your setting will be bouncing around inside my head for a long time.

    I was a bit let down by how Regime Quest ended without any official declaration of it being dead (as far as I saw). I assumed that, because the Quest was being posted as chapters of the main story, it would end up impacting on the main story (and as such felt it was required reading). I’m glad I met Blender and the crew, and it gave some additional setting details which fleshed out both stories, but if I’d known from the start “this Quest won’t impact on the main story and will not be finished” then I might have preferred to skip it.

    I’m thankful to those who contributed plans for the Quest, but also a bit sad that the author was producing all this art only to get one or two comments/suggestions/votes. Such is writing online, I suppose – building a fanbase is a monumental task. Mad props to the author for sticking with it.

    I think I’d have enjoyed reading the story more if there were a tidied up version where Regime Quest was split into a seperate thing and the posts like “no chapter this week” were removed – when reading in real-time those are helpful to have, but less so for folks devouring the completed story. I suppose it could also use a sweep for typos, but that’s not a quick job on a work this size.

    So, that ending! When I first got to it I was mad, but I also had a smile on my face. I vented my frustrations by summarising the ending to my partner, and by the time I’d got done talking through what happened I had talked myself around to enjoying the ending. The details may be left open but the broad strokes of the story had been wrapped up.

    Also, although we readers were the Jury, there’s also a sense in which we were the Entities – the ones who are experiencing all this strife and suffering for our own amusement. So, having the story end as the entities depart is satisfying on that level.

    I really expected an audience vote on the ending, to see what we members of the Jury decided on, followed by some epilogue chapters detailing what happened. From a comment you made it sounds like the intention was to leave it open for fanwork continuations, which is a cool idea too.

    Thanks again for the many hours of free entertainment! I might check out Boxer Quest some time but Ward (and then Pale, if it’s completed by the time I finish Ward) is next on my list for now.

    1. Thank you for commenting, I’m sorry it took me so long to respond.

      Regime Quest was a monumental error on my part. Readership took a nose dive when I started, and never recovered. I kept on writing it because it had questers, and I felt that I had a duty to finish whatever I started. It limped on with 4, then 3, then 2…posters. It finally died when I posted an update and literally no one voted.

      I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the ending initially. My only defense is that, somehow, when I started, I was just so sure that I was going to be Wildbow, you know? I didn’t want to close off the ability of my zillions of fans to write their own conclusion once the final curtain had been pulled aside. It felt ‘right’, to put the readers in the Jury’s shoes and let them give the final answer on behalf of our generation of humanity.

      I’m happy that you pointed out the resemblance to the Entities. I originally wrote in a line for Remover where she made that point pretty explicitly (framing it as Jane having no problem watching a planet blow up in a movie), but took it out as a bit too meta.

      I’m delighted to have entertained you. Boxer Quest and the other stuff I’ve tried to write have basically exploded on the launch pad, but if I can ever muster the attention span again (the internet, in recent years, has shredded my ability to apply myself in a manner that’s honestly embarassing) I will announce whatever I’m writing here (and also everywhere else I can possibly do any shilling, heh).

      I hope you enjoy Ward. It remains my favorite WB story to this day.

  11. Hi Walter,

    I found your story a few years ago, read up to the point where I’d caught up, then forgot about it until a few days ago. Coming back to it, it was very gripping, and I binged from where I recognized the story (early 2018) all the way to the end.

    Your explanation of the power system and the worldbuilding with factions is absolutely stunning, and I love how the characters and story progressed. Each of the 5 members of the Fist were extremely enjoyable to read in their own right, even Condemner, and the world kept getting more interesting the more we learned about it. I think your take on precog powers was truly brilliant, especially since it results in the “unofficial sorority” killing off potential precogs.

    There were so many other brilliant powers as well. Death’s. Psyche’s. Zilla’s. Fisher’s. Haunter’s. So many memorably, unique, and more fascinating than any character in mainstream DC or Marvel. Absolutely fantastic.

    I was a little disappointed with the ending (mainly because the degree to which Remover controlled things really spiked right at the end). I had personally been hoping that [something in the 4th Fist’s power-set, probably Haunter’s reserve] was genuinely jamming precog powers, which gave them a unique opening to take a shot at Remover. With this in mind, Remover having *some sort of protective ability* but have it *not* be a precog power would have been interesting. Since Remover was a special Entity, perhaps other Entities aren’t allowed to act against Remover directly and so all powers fail or misfire if they would cause her permanent (non-Link-controlled) harm.

    That being said, this was a very long story, and you needed to wrap it up, and the way you wrapped it up was interesting in its own right. I really enjoyed reading it, and I wish you the best of luck with future stories.

    P.S. My Jury vote would be for saving the Union, since if the Union falls then the world is likely reset to the Iron Age with a pop in the tens of millions.

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