Spotlight Review: SCP-001, ANOMI-RAM
News & Opinion
Notice: The following review does not contain any spoilers.
Rounderhouse's SCP-001 GOLD Proposal ("Anomi-Ram") hit the SCP wiki last November to great fanfare. This in-depth origin story of the Church of the Broken God extends itself into alternate history and is an origin story for the entire continent of Asia.
When I initially read the GOLD Proposal, I was blown away by it. In my initial comment in the discussion, I called it "the finest work ever uploaded to this site". And returning to it a few months on, I'm no less impressed. Nonetheless, it does demonstrate a shift some in the community are less than happy with.
The GOLD Proposal is, in a word, comprehensive. Unlike the vast majority of 001 proposals and many other works of containment fiction, the plot itself leaves almost nothing to the imagination. It is a clean, cohesive narrative that neatly links together all of its parts.
In this review, I'll be taking a look at the work itself, but also how it fits into both established lore and its relationship to containment fiction as a whole.
The plot of Rounderhouse's work is fantastic. The somewhat complicated lore of Sarkic Cults, Daevites, and the Church of The Broken God are nearly tossed out the window and rebuilt from their origins in a single proposal, while old characters are re-interpreted into a new story. The Sarkic Cults stumble in as some flesh worshipping imbeciles who couldn't achieve anything without divine intervention, and the Daevites are anything but all-powerful. While this seems counter to usual lore, it smoothly opens the door to the concept of the "Abominate", another force, most likely representing either Yaldabaoth (the patron deity of Sarkicism) or some comparable entity.
Altogether, the proposal forges an alternate and thankfully simple history for two factions, The Church and the Sarkics, so often associated with dense and unapproachable legends.
With a neat passage from researchers to leaders, the main characters and their relation to the story are developed cleanly. My only criticism as the plot stands is how obvious the characters' identities were from their introduction, for anyone with even a baseline understanding of either Group of Interest. However, the plot totally satisfies the standards of the Wiki and fulfills its goal of being an entertaining read. I will say that it perhaps oversimplifies the narrative into something that really takes away from Daevite lore, de-emphasizing the historical evils of the Daevites — something also explored recently in SCP-6140 (May 2021) though, and as we all know there is no canon on the SCP Wiki.
The GOLD proposal's nuts-and-bolts (pun intended) composition is also excellent. As is typical for Rounderhouse's works, it is clean of confusing or pretentious language, is digestible, and easily fits the site format, unlike many 001s (such as Ouroboros or When Day Breaks). With this proposal, Rounderhouse continues his trend of more narrative-based works, as opposed to factual reports, creepypastas or the punchline-based stories so popular on the wiki recently. By focusing on people and dialogue, Rounderhouse makes an easy-to-read and simple story out of a long and complex concept.
This brings me to my more overarching view on Rounderhouse's GOLD Proposal. Initially I planned to make this a simple review, however I think that this work serves as a microcosm of the modern dynamics on the SCP wiki. While I loved the work, I do believe it shows a shift that may have negative consequences for the Wiki, and perhaps containment fiction as a whole.
While I found the proposal to be an exceptional work, I must elaborate on why. It is an exceptional work of science fiction, exceptionally entertaining. It is not exceptionally good within the subgenre of containment fiction. The GOLD Proposal absolutely goes against both traditional containment fiction, based on the bureaucratic style, and the established method of SCP Tales- that being lore and world building.
Instead, Rounderhouse furnishes a story using the Hollywood playbook; a simple protagonist with unoriginal flaws, a contrived and predictable twist, and an all-too-simple ending spoon-fed to the reader. And nonetheless, it was more entertaining than half the Hollywood movies I've seen. I congratulate Rounderhouse on making a fantastic piece of entertainment; there is a reason Hollywood movies are profitable — they're entertaining. I had a good time reading it, and maybe that is the goal of writing.
Sadly, if the goal was enriching the community's base of stories or contributing to the lore of these groups of interest, it completely failed. The GOLD Proposal took basic lore, re-invented it, looked at the genre of containment fiction it took it from, and sprinted away with the speed of SCP-096 with a jetpack on. It portrayed the O5 Command as incompetent fools, MTFs as bumbling idiots and the protagonist as "magically blessed", hand-waving away any preposterous plot elements in the way.
So with this work, let us consider what the purpose of creating a piece of containment fiction is. Is it to collaboratively build upon its existing lore? To be adaptable into new tales and works, like almost all SCP articles? If so, Rounderhouse has truly laid an egg with this proposal, missing the point entirely. As it was all too explicit with every plot point thoroughly told and not shown to the reader, as is the premise of the containment fiction genre and format. As a result, future tale adaptations from this proposal will fall victim to the same curse suffered by movie sequels.
Or is the point to entertain the reader? Rounderhouse, then, has written one of the best stories to ever be on the Wiki. Was I not entertained? Of course I was. It was a gripping plot despite its deep flaws.
It is, I might say, the Die Hard of SCP. It's no artistic masterpiece, but it gets the mind relaxed and the adrenaline flowing.
“I have an inch-thick telekill plate in my cranium, you fucking idiot. Kill him."
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Name: Amoni-Ram (Establishing Shot)
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