In Pink Floyd's The Wall, the worms represented knowledge, reality, life, and death (and there are more interpretations). In The Trial, Pink is forced by the worms to confront the world as it really is, without his wall. There are multiple references to the worms throughout the two disc album - they are usually regarded as a fearsome thing.

Knowledge is power - it can be used for good or evil. Nothing can defy nature. If, like Pink, we choose to ignore reality, we won't be able to deal with it when it finally breaks through our wall.
working as designed = W = wormhole

worm n.

[from `tapeworm' in John Brunner's novel "The Shockwave Rider", via XEROX PARC] A program that propagates itself over a network, reproducing itself as it goes. Compare virus. Nowadays the term has negative connotations, as it is assumed that only crackers write worms. Perhaps the best-known example was Robert T. Morris's Great Worm of 1988, a `benign' one that got out of control and hogged hundreds of Suns and VAXen across the U.S. See also cracker, RTM, Trojan horse, ice.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

A WORM device is a type of backing store. WORM stands for Write Once, Read Many. An example of a WORM device is a CD-ROM. Once it's burnt, its then read over and over again. Punch-cards were an example of this in the olden days. In contrast, a hard disk is not a WORM device because it is constantly re-written and changed.

WORM devices tend to be quite cheap, because no-one wants to pay a lot for a device they can only write to once. This especially applies to CD-ROMs, which are so cheap because the process of burning them is a one-way ride. CD-RWs are more expensive because they carry the capability to be written more times.


To worm out ; to obtain the knowledge of a secret by craft, also to undermine or supplant.

He is gone to the diet of worms ; he is dead and buried, or gone to Rothisbone.

The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

Superhero fiction seems pretty popular on this site. I find this interesting because prose really isn't the super hero's native medium. Super heroes since action comics one have always been a spectacle with brightly colored skin tight body suits, flashy powers, and super model bodies. So imagine my surprise when I discover that the number one serial web novel is about caped crusaders.

Warning, this write up contains minor spoilers for the first few chapters.

Worm focuses on the life and times of Taylor Herbert, a skinny, introverted, fifteen year old girl recently gifted with control over bugs. At the story's start Taylor is nursing dreams of becoming a cape while cutting school to avoid a vicious campaign of bullying. After weeks of preparation she dawns a spider silk costume and goes on her first patrol. By the end of it she's nearly been burnt to death, stopped a major super villain, and decided to join a team of teenage super villains called the Undersiders as an undercover agent in the hopes of discovering who's really in control of the city's underworld. Before too long Taylor is in way, way over her head, participating in a bank robbery, forming real friendships with members of the Undersiders, and earning a name in the villain community. As the story progresses the Undersiders beat rival gangs, publicly humiliate the Protectorate, and make tons of cash in the process. Through a convoluted series of events Taylor comes to understand the heroes are as politically motivated as anyone running for office and she might just be able to do more good working from the shadows.

I've described maybe the first quarter of the story. Worm's plot has more twists in it than a bag of pretzels. As far as fiction goes it's the setting as much as the characters that makes Worm work. Aside from the obviously fictional city of Brockton Bay and the capes the Wormverse is surprisingly close to reality. The worlds of Marvel and DC run on a lot of suspension of disbelief. They both involve Earth in numerous alien invasions, time travel shenanigans occur all over the place, and Star Trek technology is disturbingly common place for those with powers or secret underground bases but never seems to trickle down to the man on the street. I have no idea what a post visitation world with time travel and teleporters would look like but I doubt it would look anything like today's world. With Worm the differences all stem from one basic point of divergence; in 1982 a cruise liner spotted a golden man floating in the air. After fleeting contact with this strange being a few of the passengers discover that they have experienced miraculous cures. The golden man, dubbed Scion, continued to appear around the world stopping natural disasters and being a beacon of hope. Soon after Scion's appearance people begin developing powers following Trigger Events. The old dream of super heroes and super villains became reality and life became a whole lot more interesting. Jumping forward to 2011, parahumans are an accepted part of life. The Protectorate is a stable, publicly funded, foundation that unites the super heroes of the western world. It provides training, tools, PR, marketing, and stable income for heroes. Sadly, two thirds of parahumans pursue lives of crime. An ugly consequence of nearly every parahuman having a tragic origin.

All of this reflects the stories larger trend of populating the world with genuine characters rather than plot devices. Many of the heroes are ruthless, some of the villains have strong codes of ethics, and everyone has there own story; many of which are touched on. The Wormverse has many believable elements come out such as the unspoken rules among capes (don't unmask super heroes/villains so they still have something to lose), a legal system that more or less openly uses different standards for parahumans, and a slew of other minor details that make the world feel real and alive.

Worm is classed as rational fiction along side Methods of Rationality and sam512's own Fine Structure and Ra. Characters win fights with cleverness as often as powers. Preparation and clear thinking are shown and rewarded. If all of that sounds like your kind of story I'll offer you a few warnings. Worm is long. Really long. Three hundred five chapters, 1,680,000 words long. The plot somehow avoids dragging anywhere and if anything it's overflowing with subplots and details that are only significant in hindsight. It's also pretty graphically violent through out. If you're squeamish you might want to give this a pass. Worm can be found in its entirety here. Subreddit here.

Worm is a web-published serial novel, written by wildbow. It is avaialble here.

First, a few disclaimers: I didn't read the whole thing. I read to arc nine (88 chapters), which I think gives me plenty enough to critique the work, but it is possible that things may change up after this point. Also, I am not a big superhero person, and as this story is primarily composed of an endless chain of superheroes duking it out, my review is tinged with a bit of battle fatigue; this is apparently not the usual response, and I admit that for the first 20 or so battles it was pretty cool.

In fact, if you like young adult fiction and superheroes, this story is definitely worth reading; you might also stop reading before the end (it is very long), but there are points where you can stop without feeling that you are ignoring too many open arcs.

However, I read this work only because it was said to be a good piece of rational fiction. A lot of trustworthy people told me this, repeatedly. They were wrong. They were wrong even given that 'rational fiction' is a very poorly defined genre, and even given that the people who define the genre also seem to view this work as rationalist fiction. So maybe I am wrong... but I can't see how. Let me explain, at length.

Oh, and from this point on, there are Spoilers.

The protagonist has a good backstory; once she discovered that she had a superpower she moved slowly, carefully making her costume out of super-strong materials, planning her arsenal, and filling a notebook with data on the exact scope of her power. Then, the story starts, and this all falls by the wayside.

She learns that certain mental and physical states appear to make her power stronger, and that certain drugs (anesthesia) have hinted at very significant gains in her power; she pretty much ignores this. Not just "I don't want to play around with drugs", but just completely ignores it -- no meditation, no concentration exercises, no practice.

Likewise, she knows that the edges of her power are fuzzy -- not only does she control bugs, but also crabs -- but even when fighting an underwater foe, she does not for a second think about crabs, shrimp, or other useful aquatic creatures. And yes, at that point a school of shrimp would have helped save lives. To be clear, we do not know that she hasn't already thought of shrimp etc., found that she cannot influence them, and so ignored them in the heat of battle. But the author does not tell us this, and gives us no reason to assume this.

She is given a free weapons upgrade by a mysterious benefactor. He will buy her pretty much anything she wants. She buys a billy club and a knife. This is explained away as her wanting to avoid anything lethal, but her teammate has just finished explaining how useful a taser is. Likewise, she has found pepper spray to be very useful, but does not consider an upgrade to a more powerful spray or a more powerful sprayer. Future chapters make it apparent that this is a matter of the author picking the weapons she needs for her plot, but that's not what we want from rationalist fiction.

She has a clear and actionable plan to manufacture armor, and ignores it. One of her friends gets hurt because she ignored her plan, so she continues to ignore her plan. Yes, she's busy. That doesn't excuse it.

And so it goes. Her shortfalls range from not telling her father some things that she probably should -- like, "I'm not dead" -- to not communicating clearly with other heroes, despite her being at risk for dying.

End spoilers.

And all of this is no worse than any other character in any other book. But that's the point -- a character that doesn't outperform the average simply does not qualify as a rationalist hero. I know, of course, that a lot of what I've read is foreshadowing, and at some point the protagonist will pick up some dropped threads, take a bit more control, and make some directed personal growth. But I just read the equivalent of four books consisting entirely of teenagers beating each-other up... I'm too rational to go for another four.

Worm (w&ucir;rm), n. [OE. worm, wurm, AS. wyrm; akin to D. worm, OS. & G. wurm, Icel. ormr, Sw. & Dan. orm, Goth. wa�xa3;rms, L. vermis, Gr. a wood worm. Cf. Vermicelli, Vermilion, Vermin.]


A creeping or a crawling animal of any kind or size, as a serpent, caterpillar, snail, or the like.


There came a viper out of the heat, and leapt on his hand. When the men of the country saw the worm hang on his hand, they said, This man must needs be a murderer. Tyndale (Acts xxviii. 3, 4).

'T is slander, Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue Outvenoms all the worms of Nile. Shak.

When Cerberus perceived us, the great worm, His mouth he opened and displayed his tusks. Longfellow.


Any small creeping animal or reptile, either entirely without feet, or with very short ones, including a great variety of animals; as, an earthworm; the blindworm.

Specifically: Zool. (a)

Any helminth; an entozoon.


Any annelid.


An insect larva.

(d) pl.

Same as Vermes.


An internal tormentor; something that gnaws or afflicts one's mind with remorse.

The worm of conscience still begnaw thy soul! Shak.


A being debased and despised.

I am a worm, and no man. Ps. xxii. 6.


Anything spiral, vermiculated, or resembling a worm

; as: (a)

The thread of a screw.

The threads of screws, when bigger than can be made in screw plates, are called worms. Moxon.


A spiral instrument or screw, often like a double corkscrew, used for drawing balls from firearms.

(c) Anat.

A certain muscular band in the tongue of some animals, as the dog; the lytta. See Lytta.


The condensing tube of a still, often curved and wound to economize space. See Illust. of Still.

(e) Mach.

A short revolving screw, the threads of which drive, or are driven by, a worm wheel by gearing into its teeth or cogs. See Illust. of Worm gearing, below.

Worm abscess Med., an abscess produced by the irritation resulting from the lodgment of a worm in some part of the body. -- Worm fence. See under Fence. -- Worm gear. Mach. (a) A worm wheel. (b) Worm gearing. -- Worm gearing, gearing consisting of a worm and worm wheel working together. -- Worm grass. Bot. (a) See Pinkroot, 2 (a). (b) The white stonecrop (Sedum album) reputed to have qualities as a vermifuge. Dr. Prior. -- Worm oil Med., an anthelmintic consisting of oil obtained from the seeds of Chenopodium anthelminticum. -- Worm powder Med., an anthelmintic powder. -- Worm snake. Zool. See Thunder snake (b), under Thunder. -- Worm tea Med., an anthelmintic tea or tisane. -- Worm tincture Med., a tincture prepared from dried earthworms, oil of tartar, spirit of wine, etc. [Obs.] -- Worm wheel, a cogwheel having teeth formed to fit into the spiral spaces of a screw called a worm, so that the wheel may be turned by, or may turn, the worm; -- called also worm gear, and sometimes tangent wheel. See Illust. of Worm gearing, above.


© Webster 1913.

Worm (?), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Wormed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Worming.]

To work slowly, gradually, and secretly.

When debates and fretting jealousy Did worm and work within you more and more, Your color faded. Herbert.


© Webster 1913.

Worm, v. t.


To effect, remove, drive, draw, or the like, by slow and secret means; -- often followed by out.

They find themselves wormed out of all power. Swift.

They . . . wormed things out of me that I had no desire to tell. Dickens.


To clean by means of a worm; to draw a wad or cartridge from, as a firearm. See Worm, n. 5 (b).


To cut the worm, or lytta, from under the tongue of, as a dog, for the purpose of checking a disposition to gnaw. The operation was formerly supposed to guard against canine madness.

The men assisted the laird in his sporting parties, wormed his dogs, and cut the ears of his terrier puppies. Sir W. Scott.

4. Naut.

To wind rope, yarn, or other material, spirally round, between the strands of, as a cable; to wind with spun yarn, as a small rope.

Ropes . . . are generally wormed before they are served. Totten.

<-- 5. to treat [an animal] with a medicine to eliminate parasitic worms -->

To worm one's self into, to enter into gradually by arts and insinuations; as, to worm one's self into favor.


© Webster 1913.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.