I have been reading back over the past comics and have a really much better understanding of what is going on right now than I did this morning. I have been reading Wapsi Square for about 9 years now and can honestly say I have enjoyed it immensely but when you read a story over this length of time you tend to forget things. I am truly impressed with your writing Paul the way that you have drawn out the story over such a long time is masterful beyond belief. The answers to many of our questions are all to be found in the previous comics going back, as far back as, to before they even went to the CM, that is over 18 months ago. Think of it dropping clues here and there, sprinkling them into the story along the way but never so obvious that when we get to the end of the story all of us are going, “Well of course who didn’t see that coming”, it is just brilliant. You are now without a doubt one of my favorite authors.
Here is one for you.
Fixing the CM wasn’t the answer. It says in this comic that Brandi fixed the CM. If the CM was fixed why was everything reset? How many times did they fix the CM and something still wasn’t right? Does 56 times sound right to anyone? So that means that Shelly was going to the tree realm to fix something else or looking for something else.
I think you misunderstood what they meant. The Brandi they are talking about figured out a plan to fix the calendar machine, but it was too late to implement it herself. She recorded the plan in her book and got demons and apparently Nudge involved, but the plan wasn’t put into action until after the calendar machine reset.
The “it” that Bud is referring to is just the plan that Shelly said is being hidden from another secret plan.
I guess I should have clarified that “fix” meant remove it from our realm entirely. It couldn’t function in the demon realm.
I guess my point here is that we are not in a separate story arc from the calendar machine. We are going to conclude things with the CM story shortly when Shellinx explains why the Shelly’s kept appearing time after time in the Tree Realm because that is part of the CM story. Do you agree with me that Paul had this part of the story planned out months, if not years ago? In my opinion that is what makes this a great story, the care and detail that he put into this to make us all read it anxiously every day.
@jjs56thiteration: I don’t know when Paul figures things out. I think a lot of it is figuring out how to integrate new stuff with what he has already done. But he obviously has ideas early on that he carries forward or takes advantage of later. But sometimes his ideas don’t ever get fleshed out. (We still don’t know what Monica said to Orion about ten years ago, and I don’t know that we ever will know.)
I think people think the Shellys were all trying to fix the calendar machine because Shelly said, “I need,…the calendar” just before she died. I don’t particularly agree with that. I’m not sure that she didn’t regard the relic as the calendar that she was after. I’m also not sure that she wasn’t trying to fix Jin, just like the current Shelly is.
I tend to agree with the idea that Shelly #1 was there to try and help Jin…and the calendar comment as she died might have been something else entirely. After all, if she was the very first Shelly, how would she know that the Calendar Machine needed to be fixed? Time hadn’t looped yet, so no one would know.
@Julie: I think most people have decided that Shelly #1 never went. Apparently only 56 of 57 Shellys showed up there and people are selecting the first as the one who didn’t go. The 56 comes from what the sphinx says at the very bottom here: http://wapsisquare.com/comic/so-fragile/. But if you don’t make a big deal out of the fact that the sphinx said “You’ve” instead of “We’ve” at the top, Ozymandous will be all over you for not understanding the subtlety of the difference. 😉
Here is one from 8 months ago who are wondering what the relic is for.
You can read my links from earlier comments above about what the relic is meant to be. The one is from 8 months ago the other one ties it together.
So all it took for Shellinx to forget the Pixie with the Rack was several millenia of solitude?
Didn’t she have creepy girl to keep her company? Or did she leave her conscience behind in order to be OK with watching herself die 56 times?
Her transformation into a sphinx may have had something to do with her tolerance of both death and time.
Surely there is something altered mentally as well as physically with that change.
Ah ah ah, watch out! Ozymandous will tear you a new one if you claim she’s there physically…
Ozymandous’ argument will sink or swim on whether or not Shelly is still a sphinx after having returned.
Presently she is in human form, but if Phix was in the room she would be too.
Also Shelly’s longer hair is an argument against Ozymandous’ thesis.
I’ve been trying to get some clarification on what’s going on with the relics. I’m not sure if the relics are traveling with the Shellys or not. Either a bunch of them have been accumulating in the Sacred Forest or the Shellys have been leaving them behind when they go. However, if the relics aren’t traveling with them, how did the Shelly that just died arrive with one and what would be the point of putting the plutonium in the relic if it would be left behind by the sphinx?
Also, how could any of the Shellys have hidden the hilt with the marker in a graveyard on Earth and have it be there for Amanda to notice a picture of it? Why wouldn’t the resets of the calendar have reverted any changes to the graveyard if a Shelly other than the current one had done it?
Txmystic already posed to a new thread for visibility a little higher up, but I replied in a new thread simply because I screwed up. 🙄 BTW, his acknowledgement of my earlier comment hadn’t appeared yet.
It’s been 81200 years. Maybe she simply misplaced hers.
Also it would appear that all the things about hiding the hilt and everything must have happened during this cycle since, as you say, everything reverts every reset. Of course, from the forest’s POV this cycle would have been the first cycle to have occured there. This is odd as well since sphinx-Shelly said she didn’t catch on for a few cycles. So how would she know to do that stuff on the first cycle?
Well the other thing is how could she have? She said that she was trapped. I think it would have had to have been one of the intermediate Shellys, but I can’t imagine how they could have done it, either. Maybe at some point they fired up the relic and used it as a time machine or something. 😆
Unless it disappeared before Shelly #56 showed up, I cannot see a way there wouldn’t be two relics in existence in the sacred forest at some point…
if she really did take it into that forest then technically there could be a wall of numerous relics there.
maybe the forest can be entered through a graveyard.
you can get to the library through a door on the street
why not the forest thorough a gravestone *shrugs*
would explain the tree on the gravestone marker.
A good point actually, and one I considered until I saw that Shelly #1 had the relic. So I extrapolated that all 56 Shellys had to enter the realm the same way–with the relic…
Right. A lot more could be going on than what we have seen. The sphinx just talked about number of Shellys. There could have been other visitors. At some point, someone must have created the technology used by the sacred timekeeping forest and set it up. That may have happened a long time before Shelly showed up, but somehow she learned what the forest was. Or at least, she seemed to think she did.
But as far as using the graveyard goes, it sounds as if the relic was intended to found there, so there wouldn’t have been a need for another door or anything like that there.
BTW, I wonder if this will ever tie into the issue with Shelly being frozen by ah chotski doll. Did they have an effect on her because she had already become a sphinx? Or is Shelly just naturally more in tune with things like the relic and the dolls so they work on her differently than with other people?
I think that the hilt part of the relic is necessary to leave, and that some of the Shellys might have left alive. Also, if the hilt has anything to do with the Time Forest or the Calendar Machine, it could operate separate from the loops, and therefore not disappear at a reset.
*shrugs* That’s the best I’ve got for now. 🙂
“I think that the hilt part of the relic is necessary to leave”
I’m sorry, but I don’t understand why you said that. I thought the hilt and the relic were exactly the same thing. Am I wrong? Did you mean the plutonium? Or do you think that this was the first time that someone managed to arrive carrying the relic?
“Also, if the hilt has anything to do with the Time Forest or the Calendar Machine, it could operate separate from the loops, and therefore not disappear at a reset.”
Yes, I thought about that, but the marker (a gravestone with the name Yggdrasil), which is what was in the picture, probably would be affected. Either that or maybe the gravestone is a bit of Lanthian technology that is immune, too. That sounds like one darned overbuilt gravestone, though.
Sorry! 🙂 I separated the hilt from the relic in my wording since I’m now thinking of the relic as a cohesive unit that includes its handy plutonium battery. 🙂
I’m still unclear about her statement about she (sphinx-Shelly) was the last of 56. That seems to me she regenerated every cycle and that seems to conflict with the sphinx being the same physical “person” who left Monica’s this cycle (our Shelly).
Maybe it’s “last to enter this realm” , but time running backwards, makes her meet the first to enter.
Ugh..forget it. I am getting lost again.
I just take all on face-value from now-on. 😛
I think she meant that she was the last of 56 Shellys to leave the Earth for the Sacred Forest realm (going by Earth time). I don’t think the resets apply to the Sacred Forest, just as they didn’t apply to the library. To the sphinx Shelly, a cycle was just a length of time, equivalent to 1450 years. There wouldn’t have been any need for her to regenerate.
Ah, that could be. Good points. So then she was the last of 56 to go, but the first to appear in the tree realm, becoming the sphinx who met all the rest of the 56 in reverse order. She would know how many were coming since she knew the number of resets. Works for me, thanks.
Yay! I was *sort of* right!
Yippeee! I am so happy for you.
you do realise that if you keep being right we will start to read your comments and quoting you as 2ndry-law-after-paul.
no pressure 🙂
Yea, it already happened…i’ve accepted it.. XD
and in all honesty I don’t want that. I want everybody to keep thinking for themselves. Paul does too, which is why he drops hints, not answers in our speculation…
No, I am sorry but the job is yours until you have seen 56 of my theories publicly shot to hell…I’d like to claim that it’ll take about 81200 years, but at the rate I’m going, should be about 81.2 minutes… 😀
Honestly, I kind of liked your idea of reversing everything back. It had some nice symmetry to it. The reason I didn’t buy it was because it would have undone too much character development.
One major problem is that it would have changed the relationship between the GGGs and Monica. Monica’s suicide was what gave them freedom of choice, which allowed them to escape from Tepoz’s control. We would have gained Tina 1.0 as a character, but lost Tina 2.5 and CLG. I couldn’t see Paul giving them up.
We need to see Tina’s responce to the changed Shelly. Demons apparently have an instinctive ability to recognize a sphinx.
And I can’t wait to see Nudge’s face when she meets the ‘new’ Shelly! Bet it is something along the lines of ‘That’s not fair!’
Well, they should be pretty much face-to-face right now.
I just want to say that there were almost 200 comments by the time I looked at this comment this morning, and here it is 4:20 pm, and I’m the 365th comment. This is just amazing response!
Might one say that Paul has hit a veritable nerve?
One might…and seeing as how we’re about to hit 400 comments now that I’ve finally finished reading everyone else’s and posting my own thoughts (and reading replies to my thoughts), it was a MASSIVE nerve. 😛
Something about such a massive character changing plot point, who’s ripples will certainly spread far and wide in the waspi-world, seeing it first hand, having that insight on a monumental change in a character you’ve read about for so long. Seems to really get people going.
Hellz yeah, I can see this gem being resolved however it will in the current scene, but then Shelly’s Sphinx-ness not come up until a really awesome moment…such as an intimate moment with officer tightbuns…
Well, if you want to to wait for that, you had better hope that Shelly isn’t thinking about how long it’s been since she has eaten, because Tina should be standing directly in front of her right now. 😆
Uh. Wow. Uhm. Yeah.
And here we were, all those years ago on BLC’s forums, complaining when Paul would grind the gears on the tranny of storytelling.
Now, he’s essentially taking us all on a nosedive into a wormhole at warp speed.
I’m the one in front screaming YEEEEEEAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! with my arms in the air…
So okay, now that we know which Shelly pops back into our main continuity, maybe we can sort the timeline stuff out a bit more. We have two frames of reference: the main one, and the one where the trees and Shellinx were.
The Calendar machine looped 56 times, and the Shelly we’ve known is Shelly #57. Shellynx is Shelly #1. Shelly #57 dies, Shellynx (aka Shelly #1) pops out 80,000odd years older, with sphinx powers, a slight character redesign, and (apparently) a more relaxed attitude about appearing topless in the comic.
FR#2 (Time goes backward,) Shellynx is the first one in, since she sees all the subsequent Shellies come in (and die). But in what order? There are several things to consider.
First, each loop of time has been subtly different, and each one has left clues for the subsequent loop, thus allowing our heroines to finally destroy the calendar machine on loop 57, restoring time to its more normal, linear flow. The loops are effecting each other.
Consider for a moment that to be in the tree timeline, Shelly has to be functioning in two timelines at once. In the previous 56 cycles of the calendar machine, she was with the crew when they failed to fix the calendar machine and were thrown outside time, stuck forever (if memory serves).
What if, instead of simply looping, the calendar machine was recursing? What this would mean is that instead of going back to the beginning of time on the same timeline, the existing timeline stops, and a new timeline, starting from the beginning, is instantiated.
Those who are stuck outside time are simply stuck in the previous timeline. They’re there, but no time is elapsing for them.
Now when Shellynx goes in, she goes in on cycle 57, but her timeline is a straight line (having not paused) from timeline #1. She dives all the way to the bottom of the recursion.
When the calendar machine is destroyed, however, things get interesting. The previous timelines are resumed, one at a time, and their contents are suddenly in flowing time again. Thus, the next Shelly that Shellynx sees is Shelly 56, then 55, and so on, until Shelly #1, our Shelly, comes through, and the events we’ve seen occur.
Thus, the following assertions: The 80-odd thousand years that Shellinx has been in the tree timeline occurred as the recursive dive through time loops /ended/ – in other words, between the time Monica et al closed the gate and destroyed the calendar machine, and when t-shirt-and-bikini grabbed the artifact.
How all the timelines get merged back together after the recursive dive, I have no freakin’ clue. It’s possible the recursion is only happening on the interface with the tree timeline rather than the whole universe, or it’s possible that the “current” timeline (#57) simply absorbs all the stuff and people from the previous ones, and everyone’s left with strange dreams and half-remembered lives of things that didn’t happen.
Some more than others. CF: Jin.
You also need to look to see if the author wrote anything in the comments before you go to all that effort. 😉
The Shelly standing there now is the one that left in the first place.
So Shelly #57 didn’t die.
The story continues to whipsaw around the bends of this Pike’s Peak Race. Are we heading for the summit, or careening toward the bottom of the mountain, brakes gone, hanging on for dear life? I don’t know, but I’ll bet there’s a cushy pillow at the end. And that pillow, of course, will blow apart and then we’ll go airborne on some other wild arc.
t-shirt and bikini Shelly grabbed.
FR #2=Frame of Reference #2. The tree timeline. Sheesh, I gotta write this stuff in a word processor from now on.
So is Sphinx-Shelly going to merge or replace Naked-Shelly?
Nope, it was a straight transfer. She never moved to anyone else in the room.
If you need more explanation than that, read everything above this post and then come back and ask more questions in an hour or so.
I was wondering what the rest of you thought about this. Do you think that Shellinx was trapped in Tree Realm because the CM was destroyed? If she was trapped because it was destroyed in her timeline is it possible that the other Shelly’s could have left and returned to their timeline since it wasn’t destroyed? That is if they were able to survive their time in Tree Realm.
My current thought about that is that she was stuck there to undo all the damage the loping did to Jin, and somehow a plutonium-fueled relic is the culmination of that, but I think there’s much more than that to fixing Jin.
for example, whatever happened to Tina 1.0’s notebook that was written in shorthand but that Monica thought might be glyph language?
Wish I could provide a couple of links, but I need a lull at work to go thru the archive and bookmark a few…
Well it helps if you think to search for “shorthand”. 😉 It’s in the title of the page after this one.
Searching for “help” found this, which is a good place to start. Jin specifically mentions Tina’s diaries about 4 pages later.
That’s all I’m going to do. Paul hasn’t forgotten that the the diaries exist, but he hasn’t seemed all that interested in using them, except as a red herring, so far. Maybe he knows what’s written there and it’s something else.
@jjs56thiteration: I don’t know why Shelly was trapped. Your idea doesn’t feel right, though, because it doesn’t seem to explain why she is no longer trapped now, but was still trapped a cycle ago.
The sphinx said that at least one Shelly hid stuff in a graveyard on Earth, but I don’t know if that Shelly left the forest realm to go do that.
For all I know, someone, like whoever runs the library might have done it for some strange reason.
“For all I know, someone, like whoever runs the library might have done it for some strange reason.”
Well, that was vague! 🙄 I meant trap Shelly. There seems to be something unusual about Shelly. Not just her strength, but the way she reacted to the chotski doll when she was young and the damage she suffered on the vision quest. I don’t now if that fit into someone’s plans somehow or what.
The statement of in this comic that the title is based from, “Holy crap the relic blew her clothes off!”, both intrigue me. The fact bud says it like that, is as if she was never gone. Its like she closed her eyes, then BAM and was instantly back, but her cloths got blown off. As if that’s all that happened when she concentrated. This means that within a matter of a second from Bud’s perspective (and I’m guessing everyone’s), this happened.
I CANNOT HANDLE JUST A COMIC A DAY!!!!! Oh this is the best character plotline EVER!!! Poor Shelly!!!
Be glad you are not as wound up over one of the strips that update once a week, or less…
And, yeah, poor Shelly. I’m still having trouble imagining what kind of hell that must have been for her. It’s a terrible echo of her words here…
I was elated when I finally decided that ‘our’ Shelly lived through it all, but I’m still nervous to see how she’ll be. Even with her being my favorite knuckle-head, she’s going to so different…
I’m looking forward to meeting her, though.
I’m almost wishing I could fall into a stasis chamber for a year or so, and have a year’s worth of Wapsi to read all at once. Waiting for more is so hard…
I agree with you, Old Wolf, but can’t hardly stand waiting until 14 HOURS after it’s posted to read it…(current situation sucks on that)
If Mon., Tues. and Wed. were like this…
What the eff is Friday going to be like?
I dunno… I bet Paul has something mind blowingly simple planned though. Something that ties a lot together but at the same time make us say WTF?
Just gunna say it before it updates…
Bud looks like a velociraptor.
that is all.
Do you all notice that Shelly getting nekked has had as many posts as getting killed off last Friday?
Aaaaaand suddenly Shelly is many thousands of years older.
I hope this doesn’t like, drastically and COMPLETELY alter her character forever….
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