Sunday Carapaces Part 49 (4 reviews, 5 stories)

April 28-30

pieces off the board (PM (Slick, WV))

This just doesn’t seem to really support its premise.

This is Jack Noir, and it isn’t.

Except there is no “isn’t”, the whole bandicoot thing is that he’s always Jack Noir. If you were talking about Bec Noir, this would make more sense as an is and isn’t thing, but it’s not like PM never met Jack before his big kill spree. She knows default-state Jack Noir. Getting the two to interact doesn’t just require her to recognize him as not Bec Noir, you also have to explain how Slick has distanced himself from the baseline Jack in a way that’d mean something to her. And a similar issue exists with WV. Not being the particular one who personally slaughtered people in front of them is a start, but you have to show why either of them would feel he’s changed from the baseline in a positive way as well.

Certainly not the Jack Noir who murdered all your friends and nearly killed WV and was probably completely crazy from all the prototyping anyways.

PM was prototyped and doesn’t seem to have gone murdercrazy from it, so she of all people seems like the last person to consider that a factor. And Bec Noir’s attack on Earth was just the last of a list of terrible things Jack Noir did to PM.

Slick is the most different version of Jack we see, so I can believe he’d change from the person PM first meets in his office to acquire more positive traits. And it’s also believable that losing all his friends and then killing Snowman and blowing up the universe would cause a lot more change. But you’re not really showing it, you’re just having her think repeatedly that he’s not actually Bec Noir and writing him as subdued enough he doesn’t do anything himself for her to form any new opinions on him. Slick here feels like he could be anyone, because you’re just telling us what he isn’t – he’s not Bec Noir, isn’t doing crime for some reason, and isn’t stabbing people for some reason. You don’t explain why the latter two things have changed, and you don’t give him any other traits. It ends up feeling like almost any character could be slotted in here (except Bec Noir who she’s clear she still hates, and WV who she already has a connection to), since the arc boils down to she sees him places, she decides to hang out more, she decides she likes him, without any of the detail of what’s actually going on between them that’s making them click so well.

(Part of the problem is probably that there’s no explanation for why Slick is there in the first place – he apparently played no obvious role since he thinks it’s understandable she wouldn’t have noticed him in the final battle, so we’re missing the explanation for why he’s joined up with the group and what he did there, and also have very little idea what the other characters think of him. Even WV’s knowledge of him is just telling PM about the backstory we know about, with no explanation for why he knows it or what he thinks about the events himself.)

and he doesn’t even use his teeth in the kiss (which you were a little afraid of after hearing a few things from WV about Dersite romantic habits)

This seems really out of place. PM’s experiences with WV and AR both suggest Dersites are no more inherently vicious than Prospitians, as does WV’s rebellion as a whole. The only ones that we’ve seen to be aggressive have been Jack and his gang. If she’s worried, it’d make far more sense for it to be lingering concern about his personal behavior and not worry about Dersite behavior as a whole.

The basic idea here was apparently just to give PM a happy ending, which for some reason couldn’t be accomplished by just sticking her with WV?

Even after all this time, this fandom is just so weird with the headcanon and stuff. All sorts of stuff just pops up in fanfic with no explanation, be it backstory or ships or plot points.

Come to think of it, it’s sort of like fanfic of people’s own versions of canon. Not in the usual way. I mean, in fanfic, you have a shared background that everyone accepts as how it works and you don’t have to explain or justify. And I think what’s going on is people are including their own additions handled in that same style. 

There’s likely all sorts of stuff going on here – why WV isn’t a romantic option, justification for Slick’s behavior, how the author sees the two being so perfect for each other – that just never made it into the story, or perhaps there is no reason for it and it’s just thrown in under the assumption that if you don’t need to explain how something works in canon any other additions don’t need explaining either.

Drunken Shuffle (HB, CD (DD, SS))

Placing a hand on his shoulder none too gently, nearly losing balance.

This seems to be incomplete.

Hearts would worry about his accidental Ruffie later.

His what?

If there’s a new speaker, you need to start a new paragraph. Also, try not to repeat the same speech tag twice unless it’s just “said”. If you say Deuce is whining with the first sentence and then write another whiny line right after it, you don’t need to say Deuce is whining a second time.

“You cool with that?” Hearts questioned

Questioned isn’t the all-purpose speech tag for anything with a question mark. It’s particularly distracting here when the guy’s supposed to be horribly drunk and not thinking clearly, so plain stuff like “asked” fits better in every way.

This is cute overall, but HB doesn’t seem quite consistent – he’s collapsing into CD’s bed and pretty out of it, but then he seems to get a lot more coherent for the sex.

Amaurosis Scacchistica (Karkat, PM (SS, John))

whoever it is starts pounding on the door and ringing the doorbell at the same time. It sounds like they are trying to batter the door down.

It’d be more entertaining for Slick to successfully barge in.

You wish you would just fucking troll up and ask John to sleep over sometime. You just don’t really want to fuck this up, after he spent however fucking long protesting he “wasn’t a homosexual,” whatever the hell that even means

This sounds really forced – why would Karkat still be unclear on what homosexual means after John insisted for ages? (Also, it’s even more distracting to be saying he spent ages insisting he wasn’t gay, because that just further begs the question of why he changed his mind.) If you want Karkat being confused about human things – “John had apparently “come out of the closet” which etc etc.” As a bonus, that makes it clear he actually is rather than sounding like Karkat’s just been asking John every five minutes until John learned to tune him out and stop responding.

Jack is angsting. This is not supposed to be a carapace thing. Not a Dersite thing, anyway.

Given the range of behavior we see from Dersites, which seems to be a pretty normal spectrum, compared to the range of behavior we see from Jack, which has a range between angry stabbing and angrier seething about an inability to stab, I really don’t see why you’d be making a point of this being weird for his species, instead of it being weird for him.

Regardless of your like of John, Karkat did have something going on with Terezi, so that should mean he has more than a single experience with romantic feelings. Even more importantly, he really does have all sorts of movie knowledge about romance that he is perfectly happy to treat as if it counts and seems to prefer to keep his own personal life out of it. And we know he gives romantic advice to anything that holds still long enough for the lecture. He shouldn’t just be thinking about one awkward kiss when Slick asked for flushed romance advice.

And why is Slick trying to euphemize around the word fuck? Not only should he not care about blurting that out in front of a kid, but it’s not like Karkat hasn’t already said the word a dozen times in this fic alone.

Karkat also really shouldn’t need it explained that Slick and Snowman were in hate and that this is different than flushed stuff, considering he’s the one giving us the lectures about how totally different the quadrants all are.

“I’m afraid I’ll hurt her!” he bursts out.

I know this is meant to be showing he’s just super in love and all, but it’s really just kind of patronizing sounding. It seems like his real problem would be less thinking he’ll hurt her without meaning to and more not knowing how one goes about the mechanics of non-violent sex. And saying he’s obviously going to want to maul people during sex and should just focus real hard on not doing that by letting her be in charge instead is outright disturbing. Can’t PM just take the lead on the basis she probably has a clue about how to actually have sex the way they want to?

Apparently, Dersites tend to go in for something that’s pretty close to what the trolls call black romance, which seems to involve a lot of fighting and strangling and trying to kill each other in bed.

But remember AR? Their first interaction has him thinking she’s cute. It looks exactly like flushed stuff. Then in the desert he and WV both seem to express interest in her in non-hate manner. There’s really no need to make sweeping statements that Dersites are generally mini-Jacks when WV apparently knows about Jack and the queen’s relationship and could just tell her Jack, as an individual person, sure did seem into the violent murdery stuff.

And why doesn’t PM just ask? Especially when she’s unsure whether or not sex will mean him attacking her because pretty much everyone would consider talking first at that point. If you want to avoid her talking things out, all you have to do is not have her not consider this a huge problem in the first place – all that has to happen is she suggests having sex and he freaks out.

So two of their fics in a row have made a big point about how Jack isn’t terrible as expected, with some additional justifications that Dersites in general suck and how impressive it is he isn’t acting like one.

Like so much cracky stuff, the most frustrating part is really in the execution, where it actually does seem a good idea to have Jack find himself totally baffled by how you have sex without the clawing and blood, but here it seems just a vehicle to remind us that Jack is super great and not a bad guy.

Also dear god I hate popular ships appearing out of nowhere to be background distractions in fic. At least with more random pairings you’ve got the novelty factor. Plus generally random pairs don’t have some existing stumbling block that needs to be explained too, if only because the characters have never even had enough interaction for us to know something might be a problem.

Coffee Date

Got this already.

Alternates (John, Eridan, Karkat, Nepeta, Bec Noir (Vriska, Feferi, Terezi, Equius, PM, Jade))

Actual drabbles! That’s painfully rare these days. The little moments are intriguing as well as prettily written and well enough that even when you didn’t give a name I could tell from rest of the details.

PM (Slick, WV)
Karkat, PM (SS, John)
John (Vriska)
Eridan (Feferi)
Nepeta (Equius)
Bec Noir (PM)
Bec Noir (Jade)

Three of nine.


  1. Rachel says:
    Unrelated, but what’s up with the newest poll?
    1. Farla says:
      Apparently polls are broken! I’m waiting to fix if it’ll unbreak itself as they usually do. If it’s not by the time I need to do the book poll, I’ll find something else.
  2. Ember says:
    “The basic idea here was apparently just to give PM a happy ending,
    which for some reason couldn’t be accomplished by just sticking her with

    If that’s really the case, I would guess it’s because WV isn’t sexy. I mean, some of the rebel women who followed him on the Battlefield certainly thought he was, but no actual human being who reads Homestuck does, and girls who ship PM with the MC tend to be projecting all over her.

    But since everything else they write is so Jack-centric, I have trouble believing it’s not equally or more about giving some version of him a happy ending.

    1. Farla says:
      I think it’s the particularly self-inserty type of projection, which would resolve everything. The fics make so much more sense if you look at it as people wanting to date Jack and for him to like them back, and therefore they want a happy ending with him. Ms Paint is a more recent character and isn’t thin, so she’s not so great to possess even if she is a much better fit on the dating Jack front.
      1. Ember says:
        “I think it’s the particularly self-inserty type of projection, which would resolve everything.”

        It would! And terrible self-insert fic is so much more fun than terrible shipfic! That one Jack/FOC on the Pit was delightful and I desperately wish there were more of that and less MC/not!PM in this fandom.

        1. Farla says:
          And so much easier to untangle. With OCs, you can just focus on how if they want a character to serve X role, they need to take into account Y, rather than staring at it and trying to figure out why PM’s acting like this.

          Truly, fandom’s obsessive hatred of OCs diminishes us all.

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