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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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fandom in review - 2008
bored
seperis
Earlier review years are here.

It wasn't what anyone sane would call the best of times, but it could have been worse. There could have been hentai. I'm just saying, I was getting kind of frantic around August. There were new fandoms and there were old fandoms. I embraced my growing attraction to crossovers by writing two. Two! No one changed gender, there wasn't much torture, and I think this year the body count was a lot lower.

...actually, I just went to check. History of Violence 3 had the neutral zone wiped out to the tune of a lot of people. So. Dammit.



The Past, in Plural, The Sarah Conner Chronicles, Cameron

My first fic of 2008. Reading it now, I still like it, though it's clunkier than I thought it was and there's some things I wish I could have expanded. However, at the time, since I wrote it like, the day after the pilot aired, there wasn't all that much to expand.

I liked the concept, though; I like time expressed like pages of a book. Flip one, look at what could-have-been and almost-was and never-happened. The different versions of the same person with different choices, and all the ways things can both go wrong and go right.

And I liked this:

Once, it's a girl.

"John," she says when the girl looks up, needle dropping from one shaking hand, black-lined, bloodshot eyes hazy and inhumanly blank, so like John that she reaches for her without thinking. "John."

"Sarah," the girl says, limp meat in Cameron's hands, head rolling back as her eyes flutter closed. "My dad was John." She laughs a little brokenly, hands plucking weakly at Cameron's sleeve. "Bugfuck crazy. Killed himself."

Cameron thinks of the world and John Connor; she thinks of the futures she's walked and the one she has yet to search, and this one that's encased in flesh so fragile that Cameron could destroy it in the blink of an eye. There's nothing of John in her face, her voice, but she carries her heritage in her body like a promise, so bright Cameron can feel it like the heat of her skin.

This isn't the right one, but it's *a* right one.

"The future is what you make of it," John Connor whispers in her mind, and she presses her lips to the girl's ear and says, "Listen to me. They lied. He wasn't crazy. You are going to save the world."

*****

She still wonders what her future was. She hopes it was a good one.


I carry that around with me, look at it, and wonder if I could write it.




A History of Violence: Balancing, Stargate: Atlantis, Lorne, Sheppard/McKay implied

Crimes Against Humanity continues to be my sickest, guiltiest pleasure, and I still have this huge, horrible blind spot for sociopaths being practical, which is why I love Lorne ridiculously. He's normal and practical and really nice, and he's still utterly, utterly evil.

Actually, the Lorne fic make me more uncomfortable, in a lot of ways, than the actual story. Crimes Against Humanity practically rolls around in it's own evil and OTTness and darkness; Lorne's calm, practical view of life on Atlantis is a lot more unsettling because it's mostly so normal. It's not even him committing genocide in the zone (and later, I came back to that and thought about it and flinched when I realized how many people Lorne wiped out in revenge for them betraying Sheppard; at the time, I was enjoying torturing Cameron too much); it's sitting with Ford while they get the kid addicted to new and exciting drugs in an effort to replicate and change SGC conditioned behavior and instituting slavery.

It's weird. Rodney's nuts and utterly egocentric, and John's completely in his own charismatic crazyplace, but Lorne--isn't. Sheppard's walking, breathing chaos and Pegasus' nightmare, but Lorne's the one who schedules chaos and handles his logistics, and does it very, very well.




Feel You Breathe, Stargate Atlantis, Sheppard/Ronon

Outcast was, at least for me, the cumulative moment I could see John/Ronon, which I hadn't quite been able to before (though Sunday was another one), because it's one thing to think they are hot together, but another to see them as more than buddies and comrades and fellow soldiers. Sheppard taking Ronon in felt too unbalanced for me to work with at first, but two years later, they've grown into more than commander and subordinate; they're friends. They work together and play together and when Ronon casually joined John by the gate to go with him to his father's funeral, it was like a click--yes, this. This is what I was waiting for. That Ronon could offer comfort to John, to know he was needed and be there for him, like John has been there for him.

Ronon on earth fascinated me; one of the problems I ran across is trying to get across is the alieness of earth is not in it's technology, since Ronon came from a world that was highly technological, but it's peace would be unsettling.

(And fine, yes, I got burned out really fast by the classism implied in the John/Rodney relationship that tended to place an emphasis on Rodney being in a higher social class and monetary class than John and stories with Rodney angsting over his lower class boyfriend and John awed by Rodney buying him planes and islands and I could go on, but that goes into my own problematic issues in how slash sometimes gets really attracted to using class like a mallet.)

There's a lot about this story I loved; I loved Ronon understanding John's distance and knowing when to push and when to let him have his space to grieve. Dave was much more interesting; Dave's canon reaction to Ronon, not to mention John's estrangement from his father, made it reasonable he'd see Ronon at first as just another way for John to rebel. Even if Ronon couldn't tell him what John was doing, he was able to give Dave what John couldn't, let him know his brother found a place he was happy and that his work was important, that his brother had people who cared about him. And that if John died, there would be someone to speak for him.

I love this pairing.




As Wide as The Sky, Stargate:Atlantis, John/Rodney, AU

Okay, the funny thing is, I wrote this for Surfacing well before the election, or before I'd even thought about it too much back in mid-2006. So releasing it in an election year felt, at best, to be tricky, not because it was particularly original or interesting in political issues, but because I wasn't sure if the fic I dashed off would accidentally hit a current political nerve.

I overthink things.

The thing that attracted me to the idea was more than just John running for president, though God knows, he's pretty much the white male platonic ideal of the presidential candidate; all he needed was a wife and two blonde kids to make it perfect. Rodney the political consultant, though....that was just painfully attractive. He'd be good at a job where being tactless was an advantage, and browbeating political operatives (and John) into submission to his vision was just so him.

John's growth from reluctant candidate because that's what he's supposed to do and want, to an activist was, at least to me, the most challenging part of the story. Transforming John from a guy getting the job because he happens to fit the mold into someone who breaks the mold, who finds out there is something he wants to do with the job, that he has something to offer the world, who wants to make the world better, who is willing to risk a near-sure victory for the sake of becoming someone worthy of the office--I've always said in the end, most fic I write can be summarized by the idea that a single choice can change everything. John's speech in Wisconsin was when John made the choice to be someone extraordinary, and risk everything for it. That attracts me like whoa.

….seriously. Look at my fic. How many are all about a five second choice made that makes up the entire climax? Yeah. I am all about the free will thing.




Stronger Than Time, Stargate: Atlantis, John/Ronon

Oh my God that episode. Gah. John's need to change history, and Ronon's realization of why, and what it means for them both was pretty much my entire reason for writing it. Yes, it did take John a few hundred years in stasis to get with the program, but Ronon's patient. And it surprised me, because unlike Feel You Breathe that I wrote from an established relationship place, this one I got to build from first time, and I enjoyed that.




Always Summer, remix of panisdead's Shimmer, Stargate: Atlantis, John/Rodney

My love of post-Earth Atlantis, hardship, and striving to overcome it. Add a fetish for silk and porn and my life is complete. This one is in the Spent a Lot of Time Contemplating Sensory Details category.




And That's For Remembrance, Stargate:Atlantis/The Bourne Identity movies, John Sheppard/Jason Bourne

I loved those movies ridiculously, and sure, that's where I came from when I wrote this, but that's not where it started.

In Star Trek: Voyager, there was this supernovel, To Tell the Truth by Melanie, where Tom Paris turns out to be a super sekrit sleeper operative for a secret Federation group that's kind of like the CIA and ruled the Federation behind the scenes. Okay, the story was never finished, but I don't care because it was damn good. I loved that story. And though it's been nine years since I read it, I never really got over how cool that was.

So flash forward to early 2008, and all that speculation on John's unusual skillsets, and Treadstone, and suddenly, I thought, now wouldn't that be fun to do?

Oddly, at least for me, this worked better than any canon explanation of John's past. I enjoyed exploring Jason through John and vice versus, both the people they were and the people they became, and the journey they took between those two. Both made a conscious choice to become something, someone better than they were before, and both had to give up everything, even themselves, to claim it.

You see what I mean about the choice thing? It's not like I'm not predictable.




The World of Women, The Bourne Identity, Marie Kreutz, Jason Bourne/Marie Kreutz

I really wanted Marie-fic. And I wanted Jason and Marie fic, because God dammit, I loved them together, and I loved her and it hurt to watch her die. However, that's not the reason I wrote this one. I wrote this one because I was thinking of women and their stories, and I was thinking about hers, and how The Bourne Identity is so different when filtered through her. I wanted to see what she'd become.




Surface, Dr. Who, Rose Tyler, Rose/Ten

…okay, so maybe I was getting itchy with all the anti-Rose meta going around.




The Rules of Attraction, Stargate: Atlantis, various

I can't talk about this one yet.




Teacher's Pet 10

One day, miss_porcupine, after almost a year, asked if it was okay if she went ahead and posted hers. And I felt so guilty I opened this one up, tripled the length, and posted it. Because hers is worth reading. This one was, at best, a transition to what her fic epitomizes--what John keeps, what he discards, and everything he will be when his memories come back.

Read hers.




The Three Second Answer, Due South, Fraser/Kowalski

Because my God, come on. What does not kick ass about Ray Kowalski being kidnapped and not even knowing it? Nothing, that's what.




Where the Story Changes, Due South, Fraser/Kowalksi

I'm still ambivalent on this one. It's not that I don't like it. I just think it was too long.




Acts of Creation, Supernatural, Castiel

An angel came to earth after two thousand years of exile. I am sorry, I am not strong enough to not love that. Also, he is hot.

Castiel and Dean in canon rub each other dramatically the wrong way. They have these huge swathes of common ground, but their common ground is on two different planes of existence.

I will say this; they're so much alike it's ridiculous. And it's funny, because their reasons are the same, but the barrier is the concept of faith. Dean's a Jesuit without a religious avocation at the best of times. Seeing a reflection of his own ruthlessness and compassion in religious form is kind of terrifying. I wish I could give him more cookies.




Off the Clock, Chuck, Chuck/John Casey

I--don't know. I watched the show and suddenly, I had to write this right now. I mean, Chuck is hot and freakishly adorably dorky and Casey is--wow. I mean, wow. I have a type. The tall, gangly ones and the tall armed ones. It's not like this is new.

Casey's voice though…..

I'd wanted to do this from Chuck's pov, because frankly, Chuck's far more natural to me, but Casey's complicated, and I was curious what I'd write if it were him.

I love this show so much.




Rosemary, Stargate:Atlantis, gen, John Sheppard, Jack O'Neill, Rodney McKay, Marshal Sumner

In my wip folder is a two-thirds done sequel to And That's for Remembrance, and this was part of it.

I love that story, but at forty-one thousand words, three points of view, and three timeframes, it felt okay right up until I read backward and realized anyone reading it would either have to take good notes or read a few times to keep up with three sections that are all action, all the time. This was the easiest to remove and the least relevant to that storyline, but absolutely required to the universe. I pulled it out, pasted it into Word, and started rewrites. Then I stuck it in a folder and forgot it for six months.

I loved this, though. I love Jack and John and I loved playing with why they were so much alike. And taking John from angsty sociopath to human being through his own sheer desperation to not be a killer, to be a person, was the most fun I've had in a while. The Asgard blocks are John's training wheels, giving him a way to solidify the person he wants to be, but all the heavy lifting was done by the time he met Sumner.

I loved writing Sumner here, smart and thoughtful and practical, who wants John not for what he is so much as what he wants to be. While the skillsets are great and what a great idea to take a highly trained weapon with him to a galaxy filled with unknowns, the guy Sumner wants is the one who will do anything to be a better person, a guy who has no idea what right is but wants to so badly he'll turn himself inside out to do it.

And I loved Jack, who believed above all things that John had the right to self-determination.




As the Driven Snow, Supernatural, Castiel/Lucifer, Dean/Castiel, Dean/f

Writing this was unsettling, though I don't know why. Reading it was so much more so. Dean's past as a demon and torturer for Hell is something I desperately wish would be covered more by canon, because come on. He's a hunter. If there was ever a profession that prepped you for becoming a demonic torturer, that would be it. Twisted, wrong, and consistent.

Castiel's role as witness for all of humanity's failings was the part that bothered me. I didn't know what I was writing until I got to second draft, when I cut about a third of earlier and later scenes out and realized I wasn't writing about Castiel being tempted, though he was, because for him, it wasn't a real temptation to change sides. When he talks about God's art in the creation of humankind, that struck me as his greatest vulnerability, as well as his strength. Unlike Uriel, he sees them as God's greatest work, and corrupting that, being forced to feel how humankind can be debased by proxy, living in flesh that responded to Dean's torture--in comments, I talked about what I was thinking while writing. It wasn't about sex being in itself an evil act; it was the debasement of what should be intimate or friendly or fun, turned into a weapon. And for Castiel, who had not been in flesh, never went to the freshman seminar on rape and how the body responds to it.

...I could actually go on about this one for a while. I've never written rape before, I don't think, and this was more or less rape for both characters. Which could explain why I was so unsettled.



Hmm. And that is 2008.


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Oh my God, I haven't seen most of these and now I want to read them so badly! They sound awesome. Particularly the John, Jack, Sumner piece, the Jason/Marie piece, the John for president fic, and the second John/Ronon story (I'd read the first and loved it, for lo, I am obsessed with "Outcast"). Bookmarking and will read once spreadsheets are done.

Why do I not have a John/Ronon icon?

I'm having fun re-reading your stories. I don't generally buy into John/Ronon but happily will suspend my disbelief for Feel You Breathe, and Rosemary reminds me that I need to watch the Bourne Trilogy, stat.

FYI: in case no one else pointed it out, the link to Jarhead (McKay, Lorne, Sheppard) PG John and the Marines just brings the reader back around to http://seperis.illuminatedtext.com/sga/teacherspet.html and not to Jarhead.

Argh. I'll fix that. Thanks!

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