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Antsfolk react to all this mammal fiction

Wooded-Forest-Location-Highly-Values-Freedom Hive*, on dint of having the portal open next to them, has rights to 20% of the traded alien fiction, with the remaining 80% going to randomly selected hives across the globe. This is probable to make them very, very rich, so everyone is very excited. 

Aliat, a newly-trained transcriber, is even more exited than most for the opportunity! She gets to see all the alien fiction! It’ll be great! She’ll have so much fun, and be so productive, probably! Hopefully.

What alien books are arriving?

*This is slightly less unwieldy in the original language, using only one scent-meaning and two words.

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There are two works so far from Iie*a, home of the neotenous, monogendered, largely aquatic race which have mostly by accident come to be referred to as the Joeys.

One is a song, apparently for children, about a young Joey who is implanted with a lover (executive-function-boosting symbiote, the more or less literal backbone of their society) and immediately sets out to adventure, leaving his dozen or so fathers behind, because he's desperate to do something interesting, not just make art and have fun as is approved of by society. Unfortunately, he is not very well suited to adventure; fortunately(?), he's self-deluded enough that he manages to convince himself at every turn that whatever disaster has just ensued is what he wanted. He loses his possessions fairly early, but reasons that he wanted to experience the world on his own merits. He makes several friends and drives them away with his terrible luck and inability to own up to mistakes, but convinces himself that they were the cause of whatever disaster latest befell him. Eventually, he falls in battle against a shark he had convinced himself was threatening a nearby village, which is actually a farmer's beloved pet; he goes to his grave convinced that he is a hero dying before his time, and when the spirits of the deeps show him his life and ask his regrets before letting him drift out of reality, he cheerfully claims none. The spirits state that he is the only man who has ever died happy, and that on balance, more people should lie to themselves if they want to enjoy life.

The other is an annotated collection of poems by a fry afflicted by a terminal illness which meant he would not live long enough to be implanted with a lover, and chose to spend his brief existence writing about what life meant to him. It's stylistically shaky, not as polished as one might expect from a professional, but it's certainly more than might be expected of a six-to-ten-year-old equivalent humanoid. His tone shifts almost schizophrenically between bitter sarcasm and raw fear-anger-suffering and appreciating small joys in life, not only between individual poems but between stanzas or lines within the same poem. One of the better-regarded poems swings wildly between apologizing to his fathers for bringing them pain and railing against them for not smashing his eggsac with a rock when they realized the suffering he would experience. The poems deteriorate stylistically as his health declines, until his final poem, which he transcribed through a Morse code equivalent after seizures had taken his speech and motor function: i am filled with words i cannot say i fear the end no end my pain is not your pain beloved fathers love me let me leave you


The ant people are going to have an even worse time than most aliens with the translation of this epic poem, but somebody has determinedly provided them with a copy anyway. It's the same one with the ancient king who does atrocities and the peasant girl who pyrokinetically objects that's been getting sent to every single other alien planet, and in addition to the generic extensive annotations for aliens, someone has gone through and done their best to explain it all in another layer of even more depth in an effort to cross the deeper biological and cultural divide, which means that Aliat is in possession of the sole edition of this poem that actually points out the implicit power dynamics of a king marrying a random peasant whose only distinction is that she set him on fire one time. Whoever wrote the annotations is being very earnest about trying to explain as much context as possible without being condescending about any of it.




Huh! That is very alien alright! Very weird moral though, probably a political commentary? Not much context to go off of. Anyway, it supplies some good information about how aliens work as well! She’ll tag it as Actually Alien, Subversion, and Song Format. She’s not sure what else to tag it as, so she passes it to a coworker.



She’ll. Go. And cuddle her lifepartners. And be sad. And also tag it with every available sad warning she has. And poetry, she supposes. Presumably someone will like this and it wasn’t created as a form of emotional warfare against a rival hive?? Probably??? Does their medical technology transfer at all? Can they exchange medicine?




Ooh! This is really similar to the ever popular hostage-spy stories, but with a very distinctive alien feel! Power dynamics! Messy relationship dynamics! More power dynamics! Fire magic! Aliat is so jealous of fire magic. This will be very popular.


(The Joey who sent over the poetry collection relays that the condition which killed the fry in question has since been cured, at least partly due to a surge in research following the poetry collection's publication. He also relays an apology for the incredible sadness; the project manager collecting works was scrambling for something really good and he kind of forgot about desiderata like "not potentially classifiable as an act of emotional warfare".)

The first two works having been well received (for a given value of "well-received"), more are sent!

Several variants on the theme "two brothers fall in love and have an unhealthily codependent relationship which is obviously kind of terrible for both of them but is equally clearly scratching some kind of itch for the author"! These vary from "comically unhealthy" to "darkly, horrifyingly unhealthy"; several of the latter involve the pair inducing metamorphosis into wights, the next stage of Joey life, which is viewed as approximately the ultimate taboo. These works contain a lot of lovingly described sex, though it's not always lovingly described in a way that makes it hot per se; funny or outright distressing is almost as common, and works often don't have a consistent bias towards one emotional register for sex scenes.

A book centered around the internecine drama of a family of Joeys that really shouldn't be raising a child together! Some of the fathers aren't even speaking to each other, though they present a unified front to the outside world. As their fry grows, the fathers' relationships break down further, and the kid grows up faster than he should; he ends up climactically yelling at them for a while and going off to live on his own until he's old enough to get his lover. (This is seen as incredibly impressive; apparently the executive dysfunction treated by the implantation of a lover is normally so crippling that a Joey without one should not expect to be able to get out of bed most days without the help of his fathers.)

A fantasy series featuring a lovingly designed magic system which this margin is far, far too narrow to contain. The magic-users form secret societies within normal Iie*an society, distinguished by their extensive use of body modifications to alter how they are perceived so they can do different magic. The main plot is that various threats to Iie*a are being fomented by an equivalent secret society of wights, and the good magic-using Joeys must thwart them. Gradually the story grows more and more complex and morally ambiguous, and by the end of the series it's much less pro-Joey anti-wight and much more "people can convince you that things are good or bad for amorphous and meaningless reasons; it's not your job to have a self-consistent moral compass, it's your job to know what people want to get out of convincing you that something is good or bad".




No worries, cultural misunderstandings were bound to happen! Frankly, most everyone would be disappointed if they didn’t! It’s good to hear that a cure has been found!


…huh! This is kind of interesting, and is mostly getting classified under “dysfunctional-terrible-bad-idea-but-enjoyable-to-read-about-relationship,* with fun alien details! These are pretty good! …wow, wights are pretty horrifying, she can see why it’s a terrible-mutual-bad-thing-in-real-life-but-fun-in-fiction!*


Wow! That’s very… alien, yep! And kind of funny? And horrifying? But very clearly alien. Huh, head-friends are also very cool, and Aliat’s a bit jealous of all these fun alien superpowers!

Wow! What a fun magic system, there will definitely be five crossovers by next week! How dramatic! What a good and accurate moral!! Joeys clearly know their literature when given time to calibrate! What good taste!



*this is a two-syllable word



A space opera that makes heavy use of rather nonsensical yet internally consistent technobabble. In it, a spacefaring society is set into six castes based on the ability to integrate quantum brain chips that can do arbitrary calculations by making use of information gathered from possible yet nonexistent timelines. Each caste can utilize an exponentially greater amount of information, and therefore is considered more valuable, as FTL travel requires computations done by a member of the fourth caste or above. As chip potential seems to pass more frequently through the mother’s line (Though it is noted that it has proven impossible to genetically sequence, so this may in fact be false), this society is matriarchal in custom to a rather extreme degree, though seems to have no actual laws, maintaining this state of affairs through social pressure and glass ceilings. Characters struggle with romantic trouble in ways that are internally clear are rather sexist, with most of the plot being high stakes intrigue regarding arranged betrothals that are made clear to the reader are only dubiously consensual on the man’s side of things, which is finally resolved with the main characters fiancé running away to found a new, less sexist colony. The ending implies that the mysterious Empress, the only member of the sixth caste, may be attempting to destroy this attempt.

A fantasy novel that posits a world in which supernatural entities called gods can influence the world through the influence of those who are aware of and worship them, as well as the spread of and proliferation of their domain, usually a single word concept ranging from “Trees” to “Faith in Oneself”, a single word in the original language. The protagonist works for a government agency that censors the names of entities usually or hostile to humanity, such as “Poison” or “Terror”. Eventually, the protagonist comes to the conclusion that hiding the existence of sapient entities out of fear is an atrocity, and dies attempting to reveal the truth to the world. Whether or not he succeeds is left unclear.

A work that might be tentatively classified as fanfiction, but that requires no context of the original works, in which an author writes in epistolary form of her supposed adventures in each after being curse by an evil fairy from the first setting to “never be able to find a home”. As she is torn between world to world, gathering power and resources in each, she grows to that home was never a place at all, but rather wherever she was. As she does this, the curse weakens, and she finally finds herself on the world she was born, and realizes that it isn’t the world that makes the home, but herself. When she does this, the curse shatters, and the book ends on a note saying that  after she recovers from her ordeal, she plans to spread the magic and technology to others for the good of humanity.*

*The word is colloquially used to refer to any bipedal sapient, such as elves or fairies, but not usually aliens. The author included a note mentioning that she was sure that if the protagonist had known non-human sapients existed, they would definitely have been included.


Watchmaker's Heart is considered the genre-ending book in the "creative angst" category.

It is about a young Sky* woman named Amethyst and her craft watchmaking business, which is barely profitable in the modern age despite the level of fine dexterity and mechanical knowledge involved. Watchmaking is Amethyst's lifepath, her passion; however, it doesn't help to support her polycule. Instead the majority of its income is maintained by her Earth, Violet, who works a boring but necessary clerical job in the civil service. Amethyst is sorrowful that she cannot ease Violet's burden of responsibility despite all her skills, and contemplates abandoning watchmaking for a more practical pursuit; however, Violet's other Sky, Oak, who is an archaeologist, encourages Amethyst to continue in her work to honor the past and keep the traditions of watchmaking alive. There is a flint-knapping scene where Amethyst tries and fails to make a stone tool out of chert; this is treated as both a spiritual challenge and a practical one. Most of the events of the book are colored heavily by Amethyst's sense of what is "proper" and "correct", which blurs the line between neurodiversity and spirituality; Amethyst speaks both to a secular therapist and a spiritual leader, and the accounts she gives of her reasoning and motivations differ significantly between the two professionals, neither one able to give a full accounting of the why or what of her condition. Ultimately, Amethyst comes to agree with Oak that the task of preserving the past must fall to someone, and talks to Violet about her worries and her feeling that she's failing her; Violet reassures Amethyst that as an Earth, she loves to come back from work each day to see a smile on Amethyst's face and a disassembled watch on her desk. Amethyst springs back into work, in a sudden creative frenzy that overlays a spiritual montage of significant moments from earlier in the work, and makes a pair of custom watches specifically for her and her Earth. She mounts them on long necklaces, and bashfully presents one to Violet, and asks to be her Kept.** Violet accepts; they kiss, and the novel fades to black. There is an official erotica patch which intersperses several key sex scenes into the novel (between all three members of the polycule, separately and together) and includes the implied sex scene after Violet and Amethyst exchange necklaces. All the erotica is realistic, detailed, and built into the spiritual and emotional journey of the protagonists, though relatively vanilla as this is not primarily a kink work.

*Skies, on Heart, are the majority; they are those who work on passion projects, cannot deal with boring mundane work easily, and are generally supported by their polycule's Earth until their passions mature.

**Heart's population are generally polyamorous, but particularly deep relationships, especially ones with a high degree of commitment and trust, are sometimes recognized as a Keeper and Kept by the exchanging of necklaces. This is generally an unequal but reciprocal relationship, with the Keeper pledging to look after and protect the Kept, who pledges loyalty and service. Most polycules center on a central Keeper/Kept pair.




The plot’s very interesting, but the politics might be a bit too alien for most people’s taste! Very fun… dystopia idea, though? Is that what it is? Hopefully? Space travel’s also a pretty interesting idea, and Aliat can appreciate some good technobabble.


What an interesting piece of moral philosophy! Not fun reading, precisely, but intriguing! Probably there will be lots of fix-it-fics.

This is cute, and fun, and part of an established genre with a fun curse-twist, and distinctly alien while not being incomprehensible! They’ll have to trade for the media referenced.




It’s? Cute? Vaguely? And if aliens share resources between lifepartners and not hives, it makes sense that stressful situations like this one would happen? Although does nobody really want watches? They’d buy the watches, probably. Watches are pretty cool. Cute, definitely.


This is the absolute first piece of fiction the krissan show off. It opens with a lengthy forward, describing how it's the oldest full written work they have preserved. It was written in a personal cipher (very common in cave writings even after the invention of reading). 

(There's a note that the translated work being submitted is a work of fiction expanding on it, though with more of an eye to faithfulness to the original than normal. This is traditional for retellings of this story. Also, the base story is broadly considered untranslatable, because the author's personal cipher was nongrammatical, with individual symbols sometimes referring to entire other stories that have been only shakily reconstructed, and a very complicated network of annotations.) 

The submission, in addition to the translated story, includes high-fidelity pictures of the original novel in the extensive cave system it was written in, high-fidelity images of the symbols directly translated into a two dimensional medium with colors standing in for position on the z axis of the original symbol. (The author seems to have used the natural unevenness of the walls and chiseling as part of the cipher). It also includes a history of the author, as best they can construct from legends, archaeology, and what the author wrote about themselves.

The author lived well before the first permanent structures were created. The cave system in question is only accessible for a few days a year. The author was trapped when the water outside rose early, and survived due to supplies passed over by people from outside (who also repeatedly tried to rescue the author despite the great danger; the author journaled this with a wish that they would stop and an expression of deep gratitude that they continued).

The author also attributes their continued sanity to the people outside, who came to the river bank to sing and dance and call out stories across the divide, and new people traveled from far away as they heard of the author's predicament to bring joys of their own. The author during that year wrote what's almost certainly the first novel, though of course stories existed before this, and they have older, shorter writings preserved still. The story and the author's notes and journals fill nearly every inch of the massive cave system - walls, ceiling, floor, with only a narrow strip to walk in - and the translation itself is well over a million words.


The story can be at its briefest summarized as such:  

The story is written in the style of a fable, about how at first the only things in all existence were the stone people, who spoke only in a slow, endless drone. They told the same history over and over, and they were reborn as they died, and time didn't yet exist. But a reborn stone at some point discovered 'before' and 'after' and therefore grew bored and restless.

They traveled through the currents of history to find the dead stones who lived beneath all other history. They found that the dead had become fire, and spoke to the flames. They expressed a wish for excitement and motion, but angered the fire through rudeness, and so they were cursed to always run. 

The youth becomes the wind, and every time they slow, the fire eats at their feet. They run over the entirety of existence and up and down the histories, destroying the droning histories of the stone people, and from wind's racing mind comes a world of color and motion. Wind grows terrified of stillness and ran ever faster, and the world moved faster with them. Obstacles sometimes appear and force them to slow down briefly, causing great pain. The story goes into detail about the world and the legends they run through, and how the world runs faster with the wind as all things chase it.

The story then introduces a second full character, a youth who runs alongside the wind and tries to warn the wind to slow down. The wind is too afraid, and the youth perishes from trying to keep up, causing the wind to slow down in grief. The wind can't stand the fire, though, and speeds back up - causing the cycle to repeat once, then a second time. For the third youth, the wind slows before the youth can die, even though this burns them.

The youth travels with the wind, and convinces the wind of the value of dreaming as people do. The youth swears to carry the wind while the wind sleeps, so the curse will be satisfied. The wind trusts the youth and sleeps - and slows, and dies in the fire.

The story shifts to the youth, who is revealed to be water, another stone person who went before the fire and wished for rest, and was cursed to burn if they went too fast. Water tricked wind, because water had been too weak to force the world to stillness. The world is both water and wind, so wind going quickly burns the water even if water doesn't run alongside.

Water realizes the world is quiet without wind, and regrets their actions. Water begins to run, speeding up the world until wind can exist again, and then confesses. Wind tries to run away from their emotions about this - again causing water to burn.

They realize they love each other, but neither can stand the other's pace for long, and existing in the middle is a constant agony - as is seeing the other's pain. They begin swinging between speed and stillness in step with each other, the least painful solution.

The story then details the new world birthed from their love. A new people of both stillness and speed arise and run alongside water and wind, offering love and distraction from pain. There's a few just-so stories woven in here, detailing how water and wind create the modern krissan out of the people, granting them twins and the power to dream worlds into being and creating the seasons.

The story then segues into recounting oral histories of the krissan, clearly tied to the cycle of wind and water.


The story ends with the author's present day, and with a signature - "As the wind runs because the wind must, and the water finds stillness because the water must, I write because I must." 


Following the translation is a collection of books on the subsequent history of the novel - the invention of reading as the story of the novel spread and people wished to know it (this is based in legend but believed to be credible), the formation of the Temple of Writing to guard the cave, the development of the Festival-City of Weaving Knowledge first around the Temple and then moving to another location nearby to avoid visitors disturbing the site… Also a massive amount of linguistic notes and archaeological notes and 'how did we reconstruct all these stories anyways' notes. 

All told, there's over three million words worth of things to read. (There's a note that it's very tempting to try to read this in a single month, but the krissan really suggest taking at least three months, unless the aliens are fast readers of course.)

(There's an additional note that they have a lot of shorter works if this one is, uh, way too long to really test if people are into krissan works.)


A working group has been put together to curate a collection of some the Union's most significant or impressive works. These are some of the selections they've made for fiction. (The form of the submission is a box containing paper books, naturally.) Excepting the book of lies, all are certified for accuracy*.

A fantasy novel in which people have physical 'souls' which record their memories, instincts, and parts of their personalities. Moreover, it is possible to 'eat' the soul of a dead person and gain some of their memories and instincts. Since this is transitive, and most souls are eaten after death, some small part of most people lives on for hundreds or thousands of years after their death, although transmission is lossy. The story who follows a young monk and his life in a monastery (which is equal parts academic and spiritual). One day, returning from an errand, he discovers that the entire monastery has been slaughtered by an errant monster. Alarmed, he hastily eats as many of the souls of the dead that he can before they expire, almost one hundred in total. This is many more than most people ever consume, and for the rest of the story he is afflicted by mysterious visions and impulses. In the aftermath of the massacre, he travels to the nearest military outpost to report the attack, only to discover that they too have been overrun. Soon learning that a large group of monsters have penetrated civilization's defensive lines and are now heading inwards, towards populated areas, he sets off for the nearby large city to warn them. Along the way, the intuition borne of the souls he consumed helps him narrowly avert disaster several times, and he comes to trust it. After reaching the city, he helps organize its defense, and distinguishes himself. After the crisis is resolved, he is recognized as an exceptionally wise and resourceful leader, and accepts a position on the city's ruling council.

A memoir written by a woman who grew up as a member of one of the last isolated primitive tribes of the great river forest. When she is a young woman, a group of Hadarite missionaries arrive, bearing gifts. Once they learn the language, they tell stories of faraway lands, vast cities, great wealth, and an incredible amount of knowledge about the natural world. Most of her tribe is skeptical, but she, ever curious, listens to them with rapt attention. After a year, they depart. She chooses to accompany them to the city, leaving her old life and family behind. Over the next several years, she attends a school, and learns a great number of things---the knowledge of more than a thousand years of civilization—very, very fast. The book describes in detail her thoughts and inner experience, and what it was like for her life and view of the world change so much so quickly. She seems to have found it both overwhelming and exhilarating. During her time in the city, she also comes to grips with an entirely foreign culture, and the book recounts various stories of misunderstandings or confusions on her part or on the part of others, not used to people with her background. These events are not only humorous, but also offer a deep look into both cultures, and the unstated assumptions and beliefs that underlie them. (This book is popular in the Union for its rare perspective on Hadarite culture, and the curators expect that, for similar reasons, it will be useful to help other worlds understand that culture.) The increased comfort and security available to her in her new life is also a significant change, although she seems to find this less important than what she's learning. After studying for several years, she returns home to visit. After so long, and dressed in foreign clothing, they do not recognize her at first. When they do, they welcome her back, and ask her about her travels. She struggles to recount the most magnificent things she's seen or learned, but finds it difficult to communicate why they mean so much to her when her audience lacks the background knowledge to understand. In her time away, she has grown accustomed to Hadarite culture, and must make an effort to remember what it was like to be so different, to know so little. Realizing that she cannot go back to the life she once had, she departs for good. It is a bittersweet farewell. She returns to the city, begins a career as a biologist, and (as described by the afterword) eventually makes several significant discoveries and is acclaimed as one of the greatest minds of her era.

This book isn't fiction, precisely, but it's definitely not nonfiction either. The most common religion on Olam, called Hadar, is centrally about truth. A fringe sect (allegedly) believes that the best way to learn truth is to be exposed to lies—the trickier the better—examine them, and learn from them how to overcome illusions. This book, written by a member of that sect, is one of the most acclaimed examples of what are known as 'books of lies'. Not everything is a lie, of course, or else you would be able to reverse them and consistently discover what the author really thinks. Instead, the book is a careful mixture of truths and falsehoods, some more obvious than others. It combines various arguments about philosophy, psychology, sociology, and history into a strangely persuasive theory of everything. This book is clearly labeled as not-reliably-true, and the included advice recommends reading this carefully, treating it as a challenge to discern which parts of it are true and which are false, and avoiding drawing any strong conclusions from the text, even if you're pretty sure you've got it right. The curators have included an 'answer sheet', containing the priesthood's best judgments about which parts are true and where the deceptions lie (although it is strongly cautioned that they could have missed something). It is strongly recommended not to distribute these answers, except to a small group of sanity-checkers who will be in a position to notice if your extra-dimensional civilization has a special vulnerability to any of the deceptions contained herein. If used in accordance with the provided instructions, the curators expect this book to be much more valuable as a learning exercise than it is dangerous.

(There are other books of lies, designed to be deceptive taking into account that you expect to be deceived, those are much more dangerous and the curators thought it best not to send any to other worlds just yet.)

A book of post-post-apocalyptic speculative fiction (set on Olam) in which, in the aftermath of an improbably dangerous plague that killed most of the population, the survivors rebuild civilization. It follows seven characters from all around the world, of various ages, genders, and social roles, over a period of several decades. In this period, substantial recovery and reconstruction takes place, and isolated lands come back into contact with one another. Many decades of separation—and varying consequences of and reactions to the plague and its aftermath—cause the already distinct cultures of these various lands to diverge further. When characters from these separate populations meet, they are struck by the differences between them, and seek to understand each other and draw together despite those differences. The book focuses most on its examination of the cultural and economic consequences of the plague, and contains several appendixes detailing the timeline of events, how the economic and cultural conditions changed over time, and why they changed in those ways. The plot, in comparison, is rather straightforward and unsurprising.

*'Accuracy' in this context, seems to be related to how safe it is to draw conclusions about the world from a work. In the case of fiction, it mainly has to do if the work's implicit or explicit models of psychology, sociology, economics, biology, etc. are accurate.


A crossover fantasy series about a group of 64 young adults from a wide array of settings who wake up in a sapient, magical library-slash-academy and are trapped there. The characters each bring some form of magic or powers from their respective worlds. They are tasked with surviving for four years so they can "graduate" and return to their respective worlds with new and more powerful magic. The academy itself is hostile, and produces a variety of threats both environmental and active each year. However, the primary challenge is the end-of-year exams, which test the students on magical knowledge (in particular, each other's magic systems,) and which pass only the top 50% of the class each year; the bottom half are turned into books by the library. Dead students are treated as having gotten a score of 0, so students are incentivized to kill each other to increase their chances of passing each exam. The magics brought by the various characters are not at all balanced against each other, and the characters also vary greatly in competence, but beyond these factors, it is difficult to tell which characters will die or fail and which will survive; some characters get more screentime than others but there are no clear primary protagonists. A fair amount of sex is implied but it occurs offscreen, and pairbonding is not a focus; everyone is too busy not dying. Death-school-magic-system-analysis-many-setting-crossover-fantasy is a popular enough combination of tropes to constitute its own genre. This series is an exemplar due to the variety of novel magic-and-power-classification systems studied and invented by the characters, a few of which are groundbreaking by Auderan standards and many of which are refinements of popular classification systems, and which have since entered common usage. The settings and characters involved are not actually from other works; the team of authors who worked on this series took great pride in its originality and scope, and there's a perceptible aesthetic that holds across the diverse settings. There are numerous appendices expounding on the settings and their magic systems. At the end of each novel, this information is included for all of the characters who have died, to minimize spoilers in the intended reading experience.

An AU series of the aforementioned death school books where the characters attend a much kinder multiversal institution which lets them gradually learn each other's magics, including many of the noncontagious ones, and after graduation releases them be free to uplift their worlds in exchange for contributing original research. There are still some stakes, as it is possible for a student to drop out early with insufficient magic to solve all the problems they want to solve at home and no ability to visit their friends, but there's much more breathing room for love and pairbonding. In particular, several fan favorites who died early in the original series get a lot more development, and a prominent pair who led opposing factions in the later books of the original end up pairbonded. A lot of the words are straightforwardly indulgent descriptions of precious precious characters bantering and flirting and being happy together and having fun together and making each other happy like they clearly deserve. However, there is still no explicit description of anything more intense than cuddling despite their sex lives not being implied to be dead offscreen. Also, despite all the sunshine and roses, a few of the students are still egregiously terrible people, and prominent plot in the second book involves a faction of students conspiring to sabotage their experimental results so that they drop out early instead of gaining enough power to take over their homeworlds. There's a lot more tangled-up mixing of magics, analysis of their interactions in edge cases, and characters using multiple magic systems together than in the original series. Many details of magic systems previously relegated to appendices are instead discovered organically through diligent experimentation. Due to the greater focus on magical academics, characters helping each other succeed despite severe executive dysfunction is a prominent theme. The series culminates in the fourth year with a few students designing a communicable near-omnipotent powerset by jailbreaking a few key magics with other magic systems that are able to bypass their limitations. The graduating class adopts this powerset and is implied to have an easy time uplifting their own worlds, while the characters who dropped out with less power are left as further spinoff-bait.

A selection of the most popular erotic fanfiction of these series. Fanfiction set in the first version of the death school tends to have sadistic-exploitation, rapey, desperate-comfort, and desperate-indifferent sex. There is little in the way of explicit consent. Fanfiction set in the AU version tends to have more comfy sex, and a few characters ask for consent explicitly before their first time together, if not thereafter. There is also some crossover fanfiction between the universes which tends to take one of two forms: either a more amoral and hostile character from the original series defiles an innocent cozy character from the AU, or a powerful, kind, and safe character from the AU rescues a character from the original series and helps them learn to feel good and be happy during sex again. The sex tends to occur without any preamble, often while one participant is working on something else, or with a focus on the pleasure of only one participant. There is also a lot of casual groping. In some cases the characters in question are alts of the same character. In none of the fanfiction sent over does a character who is pairbonded in either series have sex with someone other than their partner.

A fantasy novel about a young wizard who steals a fallen star and embarks on a journey to return it to the sky. The protagonist is targeted by the setting's magocracy, who want to get the star back and exploit it for its magical properties. The protagonist's primary character traits are his curiosity, impulsiveness, and creativity. The star is sapient, and is depicted as naive, intelligent, alien, and adorable. The deuteragonist is a girl who has run away from a family of genetically modified mercenaries with superhuman physical abilities but drastically shortened lifespans. She joins the protagonist and the star on their journey and lends them her acute tactical intellect, her abilities in combat, and her well-honed paranoia. The deuteragonist never expresses vulnerability in an obvious way, but there is a lot of adorable cuddling and casual handholding. The featured magic system centers around sacrificing knowledge to evoke magical effects: to perform magic, a wizard focus on some area of their understanding of the world and figuratively "burns" it to power the effect. Efficiency of knowledge use scales with specificity, accuracy, and relevance of the knowledge used. Overdrawing on knowledge is easy and potentially disastrous, as it can not only undo years of study, but in extreme cases erase fundamental intuitions about the world that can't be easily relearned, such as a wizard's instinctive understanding of heat or gravity. This is played for horror, and depicted as one of the most awful things that can happen to a person ever. A central element of the setting is that anyone at all with significant scientific knowledge can perform magic, potentially to great destructive effect, and so the magocracy has outlawed literacy and study of the natural world among the populace. The novel ends with somewhat abruptly with the main characters overthrowing the magocracy. The characters dealing with the resulting chaos, implementing a better way to deal with the dangers of magic, studying sufficient astrophysics to return the star to the sky, and studying sufficient biology to save the deuteragonist from dying in her 30s is implied to be the plot of one or more sequels. This novel is notable for having been written by a particularly young author, whose style is a bit unrefined in a way that many Auderan readers find refreshing. It's also an example of a work with less heavy magicbuilding.
A series of relatively short novels about magical girls whose powers each revolve around conjuring and manipulating some class of ordinary manufactured objects, and who must fight monsters that appear in extradimensional fake nightmares to survive. The protagonist's powers are themed around measuring instruments. Her conjures aren't very scary in combat, but each magical girl has a mental power as well, and hers is highly potent: anything she can perceive with her senses, she can perceive with absolute precision, and she can also move her body with perfect precision and imagine distances and motion in space with precision. Early in the story, she is mentored by a magical girl who can conjure springs in arbitrary states of compression or tension. Before meeting the main character, she had been acting conservatively and laying low, but she takes on more monster fights to support the protagonist, as magical girls depend on dream marbles dropped by the monsters for sustenance. In the third chapter of the first book, she dies, and this spurs the main character on to be more self-reliant and agentic despite her offensively weak powers. Besides the necessary conflict with the nightmare monsters, there is a lot of conflict and combat between magical girls over hunting territory and the limited supply of dream marbles. There are around 20 magical girls who are introduced at various points with interesting powers. The most prominent characters besides the protagonist are a sadistic cleaning supplies-themed magical girl who fights with devastating gases and corrosive industrial cleaning agents, a happy-go-lucky balloon-themed magical girl who can conjure arbitrarily pressurized balloons which create pressure explosions, and a recordings-themed magical girl who acts as a mastermind and foil to the protagonist due to her similarly potent mental power. The second book revolves around a conflict with the sadistic cleaning supplies girl, and by the end the protagonist wins her over by outsmarting her in their cat-and-mouse game and begins to pairbond-date her. The third book revolves around the two of them taking care of and training the balloon-themed magical girl, whose power initially appears useless; there are clear parallels with the beginning of the first book. The fourth book is implied to escalate the conflict between the protagonist's party and the recordings girl mastermind, who has been exploiting other magical girls for dream marbles, but it hasn't been released yet. 


The Krissan


This is very cool, but also honestly somewhat boring. She reads through the more interesting parts and skims through the rest, because that’s her job, but mostly this is only interesting for the historical value. 

This probably wouldn’t take someone actually invested even a whole month to read, but she can totally procrastinate doing it per instructions so that it’ll take her three months!




That’s pretty very cool! Very nice adventure story, and the eating memories thing is a fun idea!



…huh! That’s pretty interesting, and the culture shock’s of course fun, but it’s also very sad. It’ll probably at least attract a niche audience, though.

This is vaguely dreadful and following the recommendations and not distributing the book of answers could probably be construed as a form of torture! What the heck! …Nope, she’s passing this off to somebody else, this is not what she signed up for.



YES! Finally! Something fun and appealing that lots of people will want to read! Worldbuilding! Culture shock! Good things! Some more of that gender thingy that people are probably already making weird dystopias about!



This, while very sad, is also very fun and dramatic and interesting! She’ll just tag it with specific character death spoiler tags and be on her way, she supposes! Neat! Worldbuilding’s very good too, people will probably write their own stuff based on that alone.



Ooh! Also very fun! Less terribleness is a bit boring, but the lack of character death is also good.


…neat! Definitely a good variation, too! And fun crossovers!



Well she was bound to run into normal horror sometime. She’ll pass it on to someone with better tolerance, it looks like Elpil, who actually likes horror, is a bit busy.



This is a great magic system! There will be so, so many roleplays/self inserts soon.


Spelldelve is a fantasy tabletop RPG that's widely popular on Auder. Much of its appeal among Auderans comes from its organic exploitability and imperfect balance: the first version was written by a bright, extremely passionate 12-year-old, and the currently most popular version uses the same mechanics but has been edited by an adult to resolve ambiguities and patch only the most gamebreaking exploits. There are three core books, but a few other books have been officially released with additional player options, spells, and monsters. Currently there are around 500 spells total. The game uses a character archetype system as is common among such RPGs, with archetypes for studied-wizards, innate-sorcerers, pacted-diabolists, zealot-paladins, practiced-spellblades, enchanter-minstrels, naturalist-biomancers, and inventor-artificers, as well as numerous subarchetypes, playable species, and other character options. This TTRPG has been so widely played that it started a trend of child-written imperfect TTRPGs which has since blossomed into an entire genre.
A Porter's Guides to the Wishbound World is a series of setting books for the aforementioned TTRPG detailing its most popular setting, the Wishbound World. It was written by a team of adult professional bottom-up worldbuilding specialists based on the mechanics of the magic in the game. They depict a setting that is modern and globalized despite a low technology level and a low percentage of the population using magic. The setting achieves this by leveraging magic intended by the original designer as combatmagic, dungeoneeringmagic, dungeoncrafting magic, and adventuringmagic as potent economicmagic. For example: city-states in the setting use a spell which enchants objects to repeat recorded messages in response to a trigger for computation and long-distance communication; trade guilds use an extradimensional storage item, an extradimensional-mansion-creating spell, and a party-teleportation spell in combination to move massive quantities of goods and people between cities; and the construction industry uses a dispellable stone-to-mud spell intended to be used as crowd control in dungeons as magical concrete. There are hundreds of little tidbits about uses of magic that influence the world's industries, geopolitics, and cultures. It's extremely popular for the sheer number of things that are used in ways due to the diligently bottom-up worldbuilding, which lends the setting a feeling of interconnectedness and not-easily-compressible detail that some Auderans compare to the wonder of the modern world.




This is pretty neat, and a some people set up a group! The magic system is much more popular than the mechanics, and it’s immediately adopted for a variety of other stories, roleplays, and games.


Also very cool! Great ideas! Magical easily-built-with-stone is a staple in fantasy settings*, and this does it very well!


*except for the ones that make it even harder to build in, thereby making big stone buildings even more awesome


The next krissan work translated is classified as a short story - a mere forty thousand words - and is prefaced with warnings for unwilling sex shifts, teenage parenting, child abandonment, intergenerational abuse, and minor character death. (It's also noted as one of the early/ popular/ generally agreed to be well written/ easily translated versions. There's a lot of versions.)


It's a coming of age story, and widely considered one of the classics. It focuses on a teenaged krissan who left home on their Wandering early because of conflicts with their birth pod and twin. The teen doesn't join any of the other pods they meet, and scorns the idea of needing others.

The real plot starts when the teen finds a dying egg-mother in the woods, curled protectively around two nearly-hatched eggs. The egg-mother begs the teen to care for the children and then dies, and the eggs hatch into two healthy but distressed infants. The teen has a panic attack but does fashion a way to carry the infants, and feeds the infants using the remnants of the stuff inside the eggs. The teen buries the egg-mother, with a lot of detail on funerary rites - they engrave an epithet deep into a tree near the head of the grave, and lay plants over the egg-mother before putting in the soil, and then they build a cairn of stone and wood, and they mourn that they can't plant a sapling here. They record where the grave is in their notebook, and then they set out with the infants in a papoose.

As the teen travels, the pheromones released by the infants trigger a sex shift in the teen. The story gets a bit graphic here, describing the way the teen's body changes to lactation-sex, and how distressing the teen finds this. The teen grapples with the necessity of feeding the infants versus the dysphoria they experience, but begins to realize they find feeding the infants rewarding despite the aversiveness of the method.

The teen comes upon a settlement, where they try and fail to find out what happened to the infants' family and the egg-mother's pod. They report the grave to the settlement's main coordinator, who swears to make sure the grave is known and tended to. The coordinator then offers to take the infants and offers medications that would reverse the sex shift. The teen asks for time, and eventually concludes that they feel a responsibility to and love for the infants, and they wish to continue being a parent. The teen joins a supportive pod, and finds fulfillment in caring for the next generation in a way they weren't cared for.

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