Katalepsis

by Hungry

Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Sexual Content
  • Traumatising content

Nightmares and hallucinations have plagued Heather Morell all her life.

 

Diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child after the loss of her twin – a sister who never really existed – now struggling with her mental health at university, Heather teeters on the verge of giving up on life. A chance meeting ends in a revelation: she is not crazy, her visions are all too real, and probably want to eat her soul.

Embroiled with a crippled, bad-tempered magician and her self-proclaimed ‘bodyguard’, Heather rapidly descends into a world of terrifying magic and otherworldly monsters, in an effort to stay sane, bring back the dead, and maybe, just maybe, make out with cool older girls.

 

Katalepsis is a Ancient Greek word which means ‘comprehension’, or perhaps more accurately, ‘insight’.Katalepsis is a serial web novel about cosmic horror and human fragility, urban fantasy and lesbian romance, set in a sleepy English university town.

New chapters are currently posted once a week, on Saturdays.

This is a Royal Road mirror of Katalepsis' own website, located here, currently updated at the same time with a new chapter every Saturday.

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Hungry

Hungry

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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
mind; correlating - 1.1 ago
mind; correlating - 1.2 ago
mind; correlating - 1.3 ago
mind; correlating - 1.4 ago
mind; correlating - 1.5 ago
providence or atoms - 2.1 ago
providence or atoms - 2.2 ago
providence or atoms - 2.3 ago
providence or atoms - 2.4 ago
providence or atoms - 2.5 ago
providence or atoms - 2.6 ago
providence or atoms - 2.7 ago
providence or atoms - 2.8 ago
providence or atoms - 2.9 ago
providence or atoms - 2.10 ago
providence or atoms - 2.11 ago
providence or atoms - 2.12 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.1 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.2 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.3 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.4 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.5 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.6 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.7 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.8 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.9 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.10 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.11 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.12 ago
conditions of absolute reality - 3.13 ago
the other side of nowhere - 4.1 ago
the other side of nowhere - 4.2 ago
the other side of nowhere - 4.3 ago
the other side of nowhere - 4.4 ago
the other side of nowhere - 4.5 ago
the other side of nowhere - 4.6 ago
the other side of nowhere - 4.7 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.1 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.2 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.3 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.4 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.5 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.6 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.7 ago
no nook of english ground - 5.8 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.1 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.2 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.3 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.4 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.5 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.6 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.7 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.8 ago
and less pleasant places - 6.9 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.1 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.2 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.3 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.4 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.5 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.6 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.7 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.8 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.9 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.10 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.11 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.12 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.13 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.14 ago
that which you cannot put down - 7.15 ago
covenants without the sword - 8.1 ago
covenants without the sword - 8.2 ago
covenants without the sword – 8.3 ago
covenants without the sword – 8.4 ago
covenants without the sword – 8.5 ago
covenants without the sword – 8.6 ago
nostalgia for infinity - 9.1 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.2 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.3 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.4 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.5 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.6 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.7 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.8 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.9 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.10 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.11 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.12 ago
nostalgia for infinity – 9.13 ago
by this art you may contemplate - 10.1 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.2 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.3 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.4 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.5 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.6 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.7 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.8 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.9 ago
by this art you may contemplate – 10.10 ago
nothing more impotent - 11.1 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.2 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.3 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.4 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.5 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.6 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.7 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.8 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.9 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.10 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.11 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.12 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.13 ago
nothing more impotent – 11.14 ago
water of the womb - 12.1 ago
water of the womb – 12.2 ago
water of the womb – 12.3 ago
water of the womb – 12.4 ago
water of the womb – 12.5 ago
water of the womb – 12.6 ago
a very great mischief – 13.1 ago
a very great mischief – 13.2 ago
a very great mischief – 13.3 ago

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Reviews
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lulol
Overall

I read it all on the author website. It's dark, it's not grimdark, it's cool, it's cute, it's full of feelings.

I just zoned out for 3 hours, messing my sleep schedules to get to the end of an arc.

It's well writen. All characters are interesting.
I'll follow this.

CinnamonPie
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Incredible story easily in my top 3 best storys on this website. The characters all have tons of personality, insecurities and faults.

The story is very interesting and unique, but it can sometimes be a bit slow.

Cosmic horror and romance are a weird combination, it makes the whole story les bleak. This makes the story feel more like adventure than horror. In my opinion it just works really well.

Sereminar
Overall
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 Easily one of the best fictions on this website.  The style is clear and flows well. The characters are all painfully real and well fleshed out. The dialogue feels natural and every character has their own clear voice. The romance is sloppy and fumbling in the best way.  If you are looking for a thrill then this story is for you.

ishner
Overall
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A masterwork of broken people rebuilding

Reviewed at: that which you cannot put down - 7.2
This is a story of people who, when faced with horrors beyond proper imagining, have been broken by what they saw. Such is the core of cosmic horror.

BUT, there is more. It is also a story of human resiliency, of picking up the ruined shards of one's soul and carrying on though the shattered edges are sharp enough to cut to the bone.

This story is a masterwork, and there is nothing more to be said.

Filipzajac
Overall

Incredible story.   Love the atmosphere, the characters and especially lozzie. I recommend reading it to anyone searching for something dark but light, scary yet sweet.  I give this recipe 10/10

Gtocjma
Overall
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Up their with practical guide to evil

Reviewed at: mind; correlating - 1.1

     I read this a few months back on the website and I can honestly say it's up thier with the zombie knight or practical guide to evil, in quality.it admittedly has a very different tone that is (shocker) real reminiscent of something more horror oriented.

     My only real issue with it is I genuinely have no clue what going on when the more complicated bits start popping up, making me reread chapters. However this is probably the intent or maybe is just my dyslexic ass coming undone either way check this one out it's worth your time

TheRuisu
Overall

An excellent take in Lovecraftian/Elder God Horror

Reviewed at: that which you cannot put down - 7.11

I'm pretty glad to have found Katalepsis because I love it.

 

You don't find a lot of content with this kind of horror and have it be this good. It's a fast-paced horror drama that makes you enter the head of the 'crazy person' Heather and experience what she sees through her daily life and how she deals with the horrific notion that that is and how to get better.

tkayo
Overall
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Character

(NOTE: this review was originally posted on WebFictionGuide)

SHORT VERSION:

spooky eldritch shit but without a lot of the bullshit you usually get attached to that, and also good as shit and non-creepy lesbians. go read it.

LONG VERSION:

Katalepsis falls somewhere in-between the genres of urban fantasy and eldritch horror – more of the vibe of the former but the content of the latter, if I had to try and pin it down like that. My first thought for comparison was The Laundry Files by Charles Stross, except, you know. Good.

Heather Morell sees things. Monsters, abominations, fake versions of reality. Diagnosed with severe schizo-affective disorder, she’s struggling through an empty university life, with medication that doesn’t work and horrors she can’t ignore. Right up until she runs into a girl on the street, and starts to figure out that maybe the reason the medications weren’t working is that the things that she’s seeing are actually there.

Right off the bat, it’s important to note that Heather’s misdiagnosis is explicitly that, a misdiagnosis. Sometimes with stories like these, you get a situation where the disability is actually just super special secret magic powers (cough cough Percy Jackson cough cough) which . . . kinda sucks. Thankfully, Katalepsis doesn’t go that route – it’s not trying to say that every schizophrenic person is actually seeing Lovecraftian abominations in the street, but also doesn’t treat Heather like she’s suddenly been ‘cured’ or deserving of more respect or worth as a person because she’s not actually schizophrenic. The issue of disability, both mental and physical, is handled with care and respect, which sadly shouldn’t be as unusual as it is, but is nice regardless.

I don’t usually go for horror, because I’m a big baby, but I didn’t really have much trouble reading Katalepsis. What horror there is is more of the existential sort, not much in terms of gore or body horror, so depending on where you’re at it could be less scary than average or significantly scarier. For me, though, the tone was not the kind of overwhelmingly terrifying nihilism that you usually get with the more eldritch stories – there’s a nice throughline of warmth and humanity throughout the entire story, and a rejection of that kind of attitude at one point that had me punching the air in satisfaction. Heather in particular is someone who has every right to be beaten down and bitter but still manages to be incredibly warm and caring while still having a spine, which I found very endearing.

As mentioned above, all of the primary cast of Katalepsis so far are some form of gay, and that too is handled well. It’s not exclusively a romance, but romance plays a big part in the story, and it’s very cute and authentically-written. Heather is . . . incredibly horny, but it’s not fetishised or treated weirdly. Her relationship with Raine, one of the other protagonists, is also nice in that it’s allowed to veer close to being unhealthy without passing some massive judgement or making it A Thing. When people say ‘let women and queers be messy’, this is what it should mean (as opposed to what it normally means, which is ‘don’t persecute me for being a pedophile’, but that’s a whole other thing). The cast is very small, but delightful charming in almost every aspect, varied in personality and vibes. I’m having trouble picking a favourite, which is unusual for me, but if you put a gun to my head I’d have to go with Evelyn, the shitty, bitchy, haughty mage of the group, but Twil, the chavvy teenage swearwolf, would probably come in a close second.

On the subject of characters, though, the one thing I would say about Katalepsis is that it is a very white story. I’m not entirely sure there’s been a single non-white character in the entire story, and if there has, they were minor enough that I completely missed their appearance. Considering that Katalepsis is very good about other kinds of rep, it’s a bit disappointing. It’s not justification to rain fire down on it from above or anything, but as someone who was otherwise quite catered to by the story, it sucks. Unfortunately, though, getting used to that particular bugbear is something you have to do a lot in the modern media environment, so it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story too much (even though I kind of wish I was spoiled for choice enough that it did).


(EDIT: as of April 2020, there is now at least one major character of colour, as well as a sort of iffy edge case. Said major character is an antagonist and fairly nasty person, though, and the edge case is... complicated. It's not much, but it is progress, I suppose.)

Regardless, Katalepsis is still an excellent story, with lengthy and consistent updates, and definitely worth your time, unless you’re gonna be weird about lesbians in which case go away.

zarper
Overall

Good shit

The first few chapters made me feel a lot, which is normally hard.

It delivers on the horror, and in the romance too.

Just give it a try

Penicillin Namesake
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Stumbling across decent urban fantasy on RR is a rare occurrence for me.

I wouldn’t put the fault with the writers, as I’m well aware of the fact that I have peculiar tastes.

The heart of the matter is: in most readings, I find myself disliking the same things over and over. Too often, I’ve ended up dropping a book for frustratingly predictable reasons such as “this villain is just a token bad guy”, “that character is going to die”, “this battle will last exactly two chapters”, “this villain will escape and come back to haunt the hero”, or the good ol’ “overconfident boasting villain will die pathetically two pages later”.

Simply put, most of these books don’t dare to experiment. The author usually has a very precise idea of the direction the story will take, and that comes at the price of predictability and determinism in the narrative. I understand that many people may disagree with this, but basically, most urban fantasy I’ve read (and YA fantasy/sci-fi in general) tends to be really uniform.

Katalepsis, although not perfect, is a great example of why just occasionally straying from the beaten paths change a good book into an excellent one. It’s far from flawless. And actually, it bears a few of the flaws I mentioned earlier, but it doesn’t rely on them. Without spoiling anything, this book does contain a cocky villain or two, and it can also be quite predictable at times. But it’s always balanced by something. Whether it be crazy plot twists or the unexpectedly deep personality of some characters, Katalepsis always has something you didn’t see coming.

 

As for the contents of the book:

The story is solid, albeit a bit slow to start. There are a few kinks here and there, the introduction of some of the villains is a little bit too… melodramatic for me, but it quickly gets way better.

The pacing is good and matches the MC’s (mostly psychological) evolution reasonably well.

The worldbuilding is stellar; I never thought I’d find myself so enthralled in the descriptions of the cosmic eldritchness that is the ‘Outside’. The approach to the magic system is very rational, and I enjoy it immensely. It’s not ‘rational’ in the sense that everything ties together nicely, but in the way that characters don’t take things for granted; They try to understand it with an approach that very much reminds me of the scientific method.

The grammar is very good, although I don’t usually care about it too much, nor am I the best at judging that.

The style is fine, not much to say about it. 

The atmosphere is dark but not depressing. It’s not edgy, but it doesn’t sugar-coat anything, which I very much appreciate.

Finally, the characters. This is where this book excels. I could spend hours detailing how great I find the depiction of Heather’s alleged schizophrenia and how unbelievably… believable her self-doubt is. Without spoiling anything, there is no single main character in this book that hasn’t surprised me at least once. And that’s quite something. All in all, all of them are fully three-dimensional—even the dullest ones.

 

In conclusion, Katalepsis is a brilliant book that tackles serious issues in a confrontational way I very much enjoy while still depicting an incredible adventure with deep and interesting characters.

Easily one of my favorites on this website.