Want to Know

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Want to Know (AKA The Wu Yun Saga) was a collaboratively-written western novella that originated on The Austin Improv Forums.

A photo used to represent Wu Yun in an online meme.
A photo used to represent Wu Yun in an online meme.


The thread began on 4/24/12, when a spambot posted the following text to the "General Discussion" forum (with the topic "want to know"):

Chapter 30 1 ...He looked at Wu Yun, slowly asked: "I find you not to ask you this, I just want to know, you refuse me, drew this picture of that person?"

A few hours later (before moderators could delete the spam), Peter Rogers added a continuation of "Chapter 30", re-contextualizing the original garbled line as a story about a Chinese-American bounty hunter in the Old West.

Ten minutes after that, Brad Hawkins added "Chapter 31", and the thread became a collaborative novella, with AIC members adding subsequent chapters. At one point, Jordan T. Maxwell tasked the Strange Worlds cast with adding chapters to the story. Over time, the story incorporated many new characters and complications, until 2/20/13, when Jordan T. Maxwell posted chapter 70. After that, the thread went dormant.

On 4/1/13, frequent contributors Jordan T. Maxwell, Peter Rogers, Kevin Miller, and Jessie Pascarelli met to plan out the conclusion of the story with a four-chapter arc, but those chapters were not posted until the week of 5/12/14, with its final chapter (number 74) posted on 5/20/14.

On 12/24/14, Kevin completed editing work and released "Want to Know" as an e-book.


Warning: This section contains spoilers.

  • Wu Yun: Bounty hunter hired by Sheriff Brettsdick to capture Jesse. His horse is named Happy Beauty Pony. His gun is named Killer of Bad Personss.
  • Jesse Calhoun: Fugitive from the law who exerts mob-style protection over Mission's End. Thief of some quantity of gold, which he used to lure Wu Yun and McCray.
  • Red Boy: Apache youth who hangs around Jesse, and yet shoots him in the chest when given the chance to split the stolen gold.
  • Cassandra Cleary: Barkeep in Mission's End, Jesse's secret wife who has betrayed him to both Wu Yun and McCray… at Jesse's request.
  • Sheriff Brettsdick: The cowardly sheriff tasked with recovering the missing gold. He hired Wu Yun to do the dirty work.
  • Judge Horatio Dicks: Federal judge. Jesse was his prisoner. Romantic connection to Lien-hua. Shot dead by Chandler Cleary.
  • Audie McCray: Federal marshall hired by Dicks separately to capture or kill his estranged half-brother Jesse. Upon receipt of the package, however, he turns to Jesse's side.
  • Hazel McCray: Audie's lost wife, until recently in the mistreated "employ" of Chandler Cleary. Now on the side of Wu Yun, along with her girls.
  • Addy Windale: Another of Hazel's gang, kidnapped from Mission's End as a young child and sought by Jesse.
  • Lien-hua: Wu Yun's sister, once thought dead, but apparently living as a whore in San Francisco. Abducted by Cassandra's father. Romantically attached to Dicks.
  • Chandler Cleary: Cassandra's father, a Mason, and the shadowy figure who is the source of the gold. Missing his right hand.
  • Doc Jenkins: Solitary doctor to whom Audie brings his wounded brother, Jesse, for treatment.

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