What’s the Longest Book?
As an avid reader growing up there were times where I often wondered what the longest book ever was. When I was in high school, it seemed like the longest non-encyclopedia book my school had was either the Bible or Les Miserables. However, little did I know that there already existed a work out there that was in the process of becoming one of the longest ever written, and I was already frequenting the website where it was hosted.
The Subspace Emissary’s Worlds Conquest is a Super Smash Brothers fanfiction that is over 4,100,000 words long and contained in a current 221 chapters. For the record that’s more than 6.25 Les Miserables! There are arguments if this is the longest piece of fiction ever, and for a time it was, however other pieces have surpassed it in length in the past handful of years, especially since the author hasn’t updated since 2018 (though he claims it is not finished). For example, there is a fanfiction for the animated series The Loud House which has apparently passed 6 million words and another fanfiction for Kantai Collection sitting at 4.5 million words. Additionally, Wikipedia’s list of the longest novels lists the Urdu published Devta as the longest at over 11 million. However, The Subspace Emissary’s Worlds Conquest is listed as the longest in a lot of places due to it being top for a while and these sources never being updated.
The author of this monster of a piece is Christian (known online as AuraChannelerChris) and I’m way more willing to cut him some slack on some writing errors since I found out he started writing it as a way to improve his English skills. That’s awesome! I have to give him props for finding a creative outlet to do that. The fic has been running since March 2008, with its most recent chapter being in June 2018. The chapters are grouped into “discs” of about 100 apiece (disc 3 holding 21 chapters at time of writing) like an old RPG that was too big and had to be broken up at key story points.
So, Why are we Here?
I’d always seen people talking about this like it was a great thing to laugh at. One of the longest pieces of writing in the world was a Smash fanfic? Hilarious! However, I had never seen people talk about actually reading it or what it was about, just that it was apparently pretty bad. However, I know that there are people who just see all fanfiction as bad, even if it isn’t. As someone who read fanfiction and still does to this day, I know that there is a wide range out there and I had to find out more.
So, that brings us to here and now. I’d like to look at the beginning of this story together and give you an idea of what the first chapter is about. I’m going to approach this from the idea that you don’t know anything about fanfiction or fanfiction culture, so this might have some redundant information for the already informed, but it’s nice to have us all on the same page. Here we go!
Chapter one opens with an author’s note, a common practice in both old and new fanfiction circles to give readers an update (usually about why a chapter took so long to come out or thanking people for their support). The author note here holds a disclaimer that the writer of this story doesn’t own the characters that they are going to be using. This is an old fanfiction practice that was super common on Fanfiction.net, esspecially by younger users of the site, and was this sort of apparent shield from you getting sued for writing your fanfic. It’s not something you see a lot these days since most fanfiction readers and writers are aware that you’re not going to be taken to court for your fic, but it is interesting from the standpoint of being a marker of a practice from the time the fic was created.
The other part of the author’s note is far more interesting. It’s a note from Christian about the fact that there is an OC (original character) in this story and a plea for the reader to not write off the story because of that. You see, back in the day, and still sometimes now, OCs had a bit of a bad reputation. While any character that you come up with in an original work (such as in a book you’re writing or even a D&D character) is technically your OC, inserting an OC into an already existing world in any role other than the most minor, a doctor the characters briefly go to for example, can be seen by readers as the writer trying to insert themselves into the world. This rubs some readers the wrong way because when you read fanfiction you want to read some interesting idea that the writer had for these characters, not how the writer would be in the world. And there’s also the issue of the inserts of less talented or experienced writers sometimes being a… Mary Sue.
I don’t have the time to go into a huge in depth explanation of Mary Sues/Marty Stus/Gary Stus right now, but I will give you the basics and direct you to this wonderful video about them from Overly Sarcastic Productions on the subject. The long and the short of it is the the Mary Sue is a writing device of the character that causes the world of the story around them to warp. Many may say that it’s a character that’s too good, too perfect, too powerful, or too heroic, but that’s really a oversimplification that has led to characters being unfairly and incorrectly branded as a Mary Sue and led to a lot of argument and hoopla. Really, to be a Sue, the world of the story has to warp in such a way that everything revolves around the Sue and that they are by default the most interesting and important character to the story. Now, the author note specifically states that he has taken precautions against creating this type of a character, so it will be interesting to see if that is the case or not.
Either way, getting into the actual story itself, we start off with Tabuu hanging out in the Subspace after being nearly killed by “the smashers”, by which the story obviously means the cast of Super Smash Bros. In case you’ve forgotten who Tabuu is, it’s this guy, the boss of The Subspace Emissary campaign:
We also learn a little more about what the state of the characters is in the wake of the battle that has left Tabuu near defeated. Roy, Pichu, and Mewtwo are all dead. ROB has sided with Tabuu in the end of the fight, and is now called “the Ancient Minister”. It’s stated that Mr. Game and Watch has been “captured” but it’s unclear which side is meant by this so I guess he’s a bit in limbo now. Tabuu is also said to have one smasher captured, but a name is not given so it could be just about anyone. The two shortly talk about their next course of action. Tabuu intends to defeat and gather other worlds until they take on the biggest threat there is. The Ancient Minister clarifies what this dangerous world with is by saying:
“Oh… you mean the rumored real world…”
This just completely threw me for a loop. I understand that the real world is clearly meant to be one that is separate from the worlds that the smash characters each inhabit, but it just feels strange to have it referred to as “the real world” when for each of these characters, the world they are from would be the real world to them. However, I know it’s not as simple as simply calling the real world Earth, since technically Earthbound takes place on an alternate earth. It’s an odd distinction, but you know what? I’ll allow it, just because it made me giggle.
As the scene ends, though, there are already signs that the Ancient Minister is working against Tabuu. While this little bit of info does deprive us as a potential plot twist later on in the story, I think having it here was a good choice. It gives a little intrigue and makes me interested in us potentially getting some more scenes with the villains later on.
Going to the “Rumored Real World”
A break in the text informs us that we are going to the real world on March 9th, specifically Chris’s house. Here we are introduced to Chris, a sixteen year old Hispanic teen living in Los Angeles, California. It’s easy to say that Chris is a self-insert character for the author, but I want to remind you that is not necessarily an inherently a bad thing. It can be good for a writer to draw inspiration for people around themselves for the characters they create, and that can include themselves. I know every character that I have created always has a little of myself in them, there’s no reason this has to be bad and we should look at some more before judging. After all, this can’t be 100% a self insert since this Chris does live with a Lucario.
It’s explained in a somewhat odd way as for just a small portion of the chapter, the fourth wall is broken for Chris to explain some things about himself and Lucario. It’s a bit of an odd usage of this and after a certain point it entirely stops, but I think this is just something to fill the reader in on the events of what happened in the standalone prequel that establishes Chris and this Lucario. It’s clunky, but I don’t blame a young and new writer for doing it this way. It’s merely a way to get information to the reader in the quickest way possible, but because this only seems to happen here, it comes off as odd. For the record, this happened because Chris’s DS was struck by lightning.
Anyway, once we know all about how the two of them came to know one another, we’re introduced to the fact that Chris has bought a copy of Super Smash Bros Brawl and the two of them are very excited to get to play it for the first time. However, Lucario gets the strange feeling that something is wrong because the game is giving off an evil aura, which Lucario is able to sense (something that is canon to the Pokémon games). However, the two of them brush it off and settle in to play the game anyways. Both choose to play as Lucario and there’s a cute jab at how the alternate color palates for that character kind of suck.
It turns out to be a bad idea as the the Wii makes a strange sound and lights start coming out of it, or more accurately, auras. These Auras go into the video games of Chris’s collection. Chris then has the audacity to blame Lucario for not doing anything, despite the fact that he didn’t attempt to do anything to stop this either, and seems more concerned about the possibility of his games being corrupted. Lucario tries to fix things after the fact, but it seems the auras have somehow gotten away. However, the Wii seems to have the dark aura around it now. Lucario moved to trash everything out of concern and Chris is, of course, scandalized by the mere thought of doing away with his precious Nintendo goods. The disc slot of the Wii shines yellow, frightening them both. Afterwards the Wii now has a blue aura instead.
Chris decides now would be a good time to call Nintendo.
Master Hand and Crazy Hand
Long story short, Master Hand and Crazy Hand materialize from the Wii. The two have blue auras, which supposedly means that they are good and not the villians that they act as in the game. They actually have a bit of a oblivious-idiot and straight-man thing going on between them, which is a nice touch for characters that have never spoken. Moving to the living room, it’s explained that the disc that Chris got just so happened to harbor the Smash Bros universe inside it. Chris thinks this is insane, until Crazy Hand simply points out that he lives with a six foot tall Lucario. Master Hand chalks it all up to destiny.
The Subspace Army is trying to conquer any world they come across with the use of subspace bombs. Chris is “utterly miffed by that truth”. It seems that everything going wrong now stems from the defeat of Tabuu, after which Master hand flung all the smashers back to their own worlds and back in time with their memories of the war erased (because it could throw off the timeline if they remembered).
After a bit more talk, Master Hand explains that he is looking for a human to reunite the team of smashers to take the fight to Tabuu one last time. You might think that he’s about to say that it’s Chris, but NO! He actually thinks that Lucario would be better for the job now that he’s found him. However Lucario is reluctant to leave Chris behind, but it’s alright, Chris is interested in helping and offers to come along. The two of them are an inseparable team. With Master Hand to guide them, they agree to become smashers. Both of them are going to be sent to the worlds of smashers to see to it that they make it to the end of their stories, the world is safe from the subspace armies, and the smasher is ready to join the fight. No telling them their video game characters. No interference in their stories.
Chris’s Wiimote is turned into a key to get between the worlds, able to make portals for them to travel through, and he is given a “Job System”. This leaves Chris able to gain a “job” that makes him into a copy of one of the smashers, though nothing will physically change with his body. But he is going off on his first mission without having a single job yet in order to test him.
The chapter ends with Chris and Lucario jumping into the first portal, though we are not told where they are going. There’s also the implication that they will not return to Chris’s house and instead go to the “Smash Mansion”, which is… something. The last touch is text about a new save file being created with Chris and Lucario being listed as the party members.
Honestly, it’s not that bad for a teenager’s fanfiction, and it actually got a laugh or two out of me, however unintended. The opening to the story really isn’t all that different from your standard isekai anime plot’s first episode. It might not be the greatest thing I have ever read, but I’m intrigued enough to keep going and perhaps share my findings with all of you.