I've read lots of SCP wiki, and it's kind of hard to recommend it to my friends because there aren't natural starting points. Also, I kind of want to record SCPs I've particularly liked.
Where to start
This one's sorted in a somewhat logical order to read them in, but you can definitely skip the longer ones and you'll still get a good overview of what the SCP wiki is like.
- SCP-1425, Star Signals. Most SCPs I like, and many SCPs in general, aren't all that scary. Instead, they tend to read more like science fiction, kind of like this piece. Good introduction to the Foundation too. Around 6,000 words.
- SCP-1733, Season Opener. One of the shorter SCPs I like, managing to develop a nice horror story in its little space. Around 1,500 words.
- #A quick introduction. If you liked either of the first two SCPs, here's a quick introduction to the SCP universe to provide some more context. You can also read this before the other two SCPs, it doesn't really matter.
- SCP-231, Special Personnel Requirements. Although 231 is good on its own, I think it's mainly worth reading so that you can read SCP-2317, A Door to Another World, which builds on it. 2317 is a format screw, meaning it uses a different format than the usual SCP. Both introduce more about the Foundation itself, and the people who are in it. In total, 231 and 2317 are around 3,500 words.
- Ethics Committee Orientation. This is a tale, some fiction in the SCP universe that is not an SCP itself. Following up on the Ethics Committee in 231, and continuing the theme of developing the foundation, this short tale has excellent use of tone. Around 900 words.
- SCP-093, Red Sea Object. A classic. This is the scariest one in this list, I think. Pretty long, but it escalates well and has a good payoff. Although I tend to like newer SCPs, this one is my favorite among the Series I SCPs. Around 10,000 words.
- SCP-3171, How the Foundation Came to Operate a Phone Sex Hotline. Funniest SCP I've read, hands down. Great example of some of the funny SCPs. Around 1,500 words.
- There Is No Antimemetics Division. Read SCP-055, then There Is No Antimemetics Division. My favorite series of tales on the SCP Wiki, this, along with its continuation Five Five Five Five Five, is among my top favorite pieces of fiction. It's brilliant, with rich characterization and world-building. Around 10,000 words.
- SCP-5002, A Death In Containment. An SCP presented as an intriguing locked-room mystery. Compelling and satisfying to read, this shows the extent to which an SCP can be stretched to other genres. Around 12,000 words.
- Mission Statement. The SCP Foundation isn't evil. In most portrayals, they believe that they're protecting humanity. This tale exemplifies that we die in the dark so you may live in the light feeling. Around 6,000 words.
- SCP-3008, A Perfectly Normal, Regular Old IKEA. Among the better-known SCPs, this one has a light-hearted tone. Animated in the Confinement YouTube series. Around 4,000 words.
- Routine Psychological Evaluations By Dr Glass. The SCP Foundation has a lot of recurring characters with interesting personalities. This one is a great introduction to Dr. Clef and Dr. Gears. Around 1,300 words.
A quick introduction
The SCP Foundation is a secretive, global organization that keeps anomalous items and entities away from the public. The main content in the wiki is formed through SCP files, which are documentation about how to contain these items and their descriptions.
An SCP file has several parts in a fixed order. First, each SCP has an item number. These are organized into series. Series I are numbered 002 to 999, which were written from 2007 to 2011; Series II are numbered 1000 to 1999, from 2011 to 2013; Series III are numbered 2000 to 2999, from 2013 to 2017, and so on. Within a series, numbers are assigned more or less arbitrarily.
Second, each SCP has an object class, a measurement for how hard it is to contain. The most common ones are Safe, Euclid, and Keter. A good way to think about this is the so-called Locked Box Test. Direct quote from the wiki:
- If you lock it in a box, leave it alone, and nothing bad will happen, then it's probably Safe.
- If you lock it in a box, leave it alone, and you're not entirely sure what will happen, then it's probably Euclid.
- If you lock it in a box, leave it alone, and it easily escapes, then it's probably Keter.
The rest of the SCP file is the bulk of its content. Each SCP has Special Containment Procedures, a summary of the steps that need to be taken to make sure the SCP is contained safely. Then there's the Description, which is a description of the SCP itself. Finally, there can be several Supplements, which can be pretty much anything. SCPs tell a story, and the story-telling happens here.
The Foundation has a hierarchy of roles, enforced through security clearance, from Level 0 to 5. Hence why some data is expunged, redacted, or presented as black boxes. The people range from D-Class Personnel, the Foundation's lab rats, whom are referred to only by number. There are researchers and field workers. Above them are Site Directors, who manage several Foundation Sites, places where people do research or where SCPs are contained. And above them are the O5 Command, a group of 13 people, whom are powerful enough to have global influence.
There are lots of vocabulary terms you can look up in, say, Dr. Mackenzie's Glossary of Terms. The important ones to understand are memes and memetics, amnestics, then cognitohazards and infohazards. These appear common enough that they aren't linked to an explanation, and less common terms might.
SCPs I like
Standalone SCPs I can recognize by number, or ones that I think are pretty memorable or have good writing. Although some of these can be classified in multiple categories, each SCP here goes only in one category.
As you can tell from the categories, I tend to like format screws, meta SCPs, and ones that are more light-hearted. I also tend to like longer SCPs, and I don't really like a lot of the scary ones. But there are lots of exceptions.
Sorted by how much I like them. Because I tend to like more meta SCPs, most of these aren't really good starting points. Although once you get a feel for the universe, I'd recommend these thoroughly.
- Pedantique's Proposal, Fishhook. My favorite 001 proposal, and one of my favorite uses of interactive fiction. Somewhat meta.
- SCP-3999, I Am At The Center of Everything That Happens To Me. Controversial. Good reading after a few meta SCPs, this one is a deep, layered SCP. Researcher Talloran cannot leave the Foundation.
- Ouroboros. At around 100,000 words, this is the length of two novels, and it took me three sittings to read through fully, but it's worth it.
- SCP-5002, A Death In Containment. An SCP presented as a locked-room mystery. Compelling and satisfying to read.
- SCP-6001, Avalon. An elegant, simple concept spun into an SCP with hundreds of references to other lore. It almost feels rewarding to read and recognize what's being mentioned.
- SCP-3001, Red Reality. An introduction to Dr. Scranton and reality bending. Probably want to read Reality Benders and You and What The Hell Is A Hume? first.
- SCP-3171, How the Foundation Came to Operate a Phone Sex Hotline. Funniest SCP I've read, hands down.
- SCP-2000, Deus Ex Machina. A classic. It's not something that'll go on the hall of fame for science fiction, but it's a pretty fundamental part of the SCP universe lore.
- SCP-4205, In The Eyes of The Beholder. Excellent format screw. Neat mystery, and well-executed for something so clichéd.
- SCP-3333, Tower. My favorite use of exploration logs to tell a story. There's a mystery, and then there's a satisfying ending.
- SCP-2998, Anomalous Transmission, 2485 MHz. Probably my favorite use of iterations in an SCP, with apologies to 2317.
- SCP-2317, A Door to Another World. Read SCP-231 first, then read this. Good use of iterations, and doubles as an introduction to security clearance levels too.
- SCP-3939, [NUMBER RESERVED; AWAITING RESEARCHER]. Interactive fiction, and meta too! Pretty light-hearted. Several different endings to see.
- SCP-3626, Do not stop reading this document. This one actually made me anxious reading it.
- SCP-3211, There is No Canon. After reading this, make sure to also read the discussion page. Somewhat meta.
- SCP-2786, The Archetype. An iteration-like format screw that ties in pretty well with the SCP. Somewhat meta.
- SCP-5999, This is Where I Died. The format screw sets up the tone very well, and this is one where the mystery is left to the reader to solve. This makes it one of the more layered SCPs, similar to 3999, but this one has has more horror and less meta.
- SCP-2521, ●●|●●●●●|●●|●. For context, this was an entry for a contest for SCPs with as few words as possible, and 2521 has no words, and was pretty innovative at the time, I guess. I think it's okay.
- SCP-3309, Where We Go When We Fade, Fade Away. The prototypical pataphysics SCP, with Researcher Smalls.
- SCP-2718, What Happens After. I think there are two kinds of meta: one that's pataphysics-level "we're in a narrative", and one that's "this is a record in a database". This is a great example of the second kind.
- SCP-5500, Death of the Authors. This one is both meta, and a format screw, and it's interactive, so of course I like it! Connects with a lot of SCP universe lore.
- not_a_seagull's Proposal, The Sky above the Port. Pretty meta proposal, but impressive considering it was written in only 144 hours.
- SCP-2747, As below, so above. One of the meta articles I like more.
- S Andrew Swann's Proposal, The Database. I don't really find it that interesting, but it is a classic.
- SCP-2614, Sometimes I Go Out In Pity For Myself. An SCP that interacts with media.
- SCP-3043, Murphy Law in… Type 3043 — FOR MURDER! A pretty fun format screw, staying faithful to the format it's imitating.
- SCP-2662, cthulhu f'UCK OFF! An accidental cult leader. One of the SCPs that actually made me laugh out loud.
- SCP-2439, [SLOT UNALLOCATED]. Great characterization of D-Class Personnel, and somewhat humorous too.
- SCP-4935, KNIFE. Researcher Smalls again! A pretty humorous SCP written for the Cliché-Con.
- SCP-2258, The Great Escape. Balloons! Pretty light-hearted.
- SCP-4444, Bush v. Gore. This one is so silly that it actually works. I knew little about US politics when I first read it and it was funny, and then I learned more about US politics and it was funnier.
- SCP-999, The Tickle Monster. The orange slime that's actually kinda wholesome.
Other notable SCPs
There are too many of these to sort, so I won't.
- Dr. Clef's Proposal, The Gate Guardian. Classic 001 proposal, and calls back to a lot of Series I lore.
- SCP-049, Plague Doctor. Kinda eh as an SCP, but it's referenced quite a bit, so necessary reading I guess? As a reward, you get to read SCP-049-J.
- SCP-093, Red Sea Object. A classic. This is pretty long, at around 10,000 or so words, but it has a good payoff.
- SCP-140, An Incomplete Chronicle. Covers the Daevites, which are a pretty referenced part of SCP lore.
- SCP-173, The Sculpture. SCP started with this one-off post in 4chan back in 2007. Subsequent SCPs were posted afterward, and only later were these collected in the wiki. So the format for an SCP, object classes, and so on, came after this first SCP was written.
- SCP-231, Special Personnel Requirements. Procedure 110-Montauk is something that's referenced quite a bit too. Then read SCP-2317. See also Fear Alone, SCP-231-J and SCP-2317-J.
- SCP-682, Hard-to-Destroy Reptile. The SCP itself isn't particularly good, but 682 is a meme within the SCP community, so you'll see it mentioned a bunch.
- SCP-963, Immortality. A good introduction to Dr. Bright, probably the most famous recurring doctor in the SCP universe.
- SCP-1425, Star Signals. A pretty good introduction to cognitohazards, and a marked change from the Series I SCPs.
- SCP-1730, What Happened to Site-13? Probably the longest SCP at 27,000 words, but still good at maintaining interest throughout. References a lot of other SCPs.
- SCP-1733, Season Opener. I tend to like longer SCPs, but this is one of the shorter SCPs that I like. Amusing concept.
- SCP-2006, Too Spooky. Seems silly at first, and somewhat meta for a horror fiction site, but has some depth.
- SCP-2935, O, Death. This one has some pretty masterful narrative, making good use of the SCP format.
- SCP-3000, Ananteshesha. One of the few SCPs that actually gave me shivers when I read it. Pretty long, but it's worth it.
- SCP-3008, A Perfectly Normal, Regular Old IKEA. Of the top-rated SCPs of all time, this is the one I think has the best writing. Pretty lighthearted, and among the better-known SCPs.
- SCP-4000, Taboo. Pretty long, but it's a classic. The concept itself isn't that original, but it's executed so well and the narrative is so good that it's worth it.
- SCP-4999, Someone to Watch Over Us. One of my favorite short SCPs out there. Was second in the SCP-4000 contest, which is notable since most contest winners are pretty lengthy.
- SCP-5000, Why? This is how you write an apocalyptic story. It builds up to a good payoff, and you can really feel the escalation through the piece.
- SCP-5001, Sacrosanct. Spiritually feels like SCP-2000 in mechanism and scope. I think it's an excellent follow-up for that.
- SCP-5005, Lamplight. A more philosophical SCP, with well-invested, masterful worldbuilding. Fantasy-like. Pretty long.
Sorted roughly by how much I like them. Meta tales are in a separate section, and I tend to like them less than other tales anyway. (I like meta tales, but not as much as I like meta SCPs.) I also have a soft spot for orientations.
- Transcript of Dr. Clef's seminar, "Reality Benders and You: How to Survive When Existence Doesn't.".
- There Is No Antimemetics Division. Read SCP-055, then There No Antimemetics Division, then SCP-2256, then Five Five Five Five Five. Hands down among my top favorite works of fiction, ever. Around 75,000 words.
- End of Death, Season One.
There are light-hearted SCPs, which are still kinda serious, and then there are actual joke articles. These parody various aspects of the site, so most of them are funnier after you've read several SCPs.
- SCP-TTKU-J, A Thing That Kills You.
- Your Very First SCP. Kinda only makes sense once you've read some of the SCP writing guides. Neat format screw too!
- SCP-666½-J, The Roaring Flames of Hell.
- Daveyoufool's Proposal, KEEP CALM AND APOLLY ON. Kinda only makes sense after you've read a few SCPs.
- The Things Dr Bright Is Not Allowed To Do At The Foundation. Kinda drags around a quarter down the page, but the first quarter is pretty good.
- SCP-309-J, the prime example of what not to do.