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09 May 2009 @ 05:12 pm
Eight Days of Happiness: Alternate Universes  
I love alternate universes. Good ones, that is. I just got finished trying to read an original fiction author's hideous, horrible attempt to write an AU of her own (published) work, and it made me appreciate fandom even more than I usually do.

You people have a deft hand with the AU, and I love you for it. It's not just that I could count on virtually every author I love to get a supernormal powers AU (the kind the published author failed failed failed at) exactly right; it's that most of you have already gotten it right, and then graduated to things like random inanimate objects or apocalypses or everyone is one inch high and lives in the walls of a castle AUs.

So here I celebrate two of my very favorite kinds of AUs: the kind where someone is a robot, and the kind where they all have different jobs. Yay AUs! That are written by people who know how to write them!

The One with Baby Robots. Baaaaaaaby Robots. Why Is There Not a Community Dedicated to Pictures of Baaaaaaaby Robots? Muscle and Blood and Skin and Bones, by Leah, one half of leahwoof. Stargate: Atlantis, mostly gen with background John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

I have a well-documented, possibly unholy fondness for robots. Particularly for turning characters into robots. Not like the Buffybot, though. No. More just like - what if John Sheppard was really a robot? What if Rodney McKay was? (And, huh. I don't think I've seen any Rodney is a robot stories. Am I just forgetting some? He has a brain like a computer! What if it WAS a computer?) So, of course, I've already recommended Male Enhancement (The Soul and the Company Store Remix). And this story is a sequel to that one.

But, oh, it's so much more. Because this is the story of how John and Cameron grew from little bitty boxes with treads to be, you know, Real Boys. I love Lorne in this, I love the background of it, and I just insanely love the Johnbot and the Cambot. I actually re-read this story far more often than I re-read The Soul and the Company Store, because it makes my heart swell with happiness.

And, see, I never really wanted to see John Sheppard or Cameron Mitchell as human babies. But as robot babies, they are so insanely cute that I just cannot even deal with it. (Possibly this says something bad about me, that I find robot babies cuter than human babies. But I would submit, in my defense, that a) that's not true in all cases - I find the earthling indescribably cute - and b) I'm pretty sure John WAS a robot baby, so I'm just going with what nature intended.)

The One Featuring an Uther Pendragon Who Is Clearly Closely Related to Lionel Luthor, and, Wow, Isn't That a Terrifying Crossover Waiting to Happen? We're a Storm in Somebody Else's Teacup, by paperclipbitch. Merlin, Merlin/Arthur Pendragon.

So, I know that all of Merlin fandom was asquee about this story, but I found it totally randomly. I saw the link from the Merlin newsletter while I was looking for stories to Kindle, clicked through, and saw this line:

Merlin meets Morgana Le Fay at a support group for People With Freaky Unnatural Powers.

And I thought, yeah, I'd like to read that.

This turned out to be one of my more fortunate snap decisions, because this is - I don't know how to describe it, even. It's utterly addicting - I read it on my Kindle while the earthling was nursing, and I found myself desperately hoping he would eat for just a few more minutes, because I had to know what happened next. (I think, if I'd been reading this as it was posted, the wait would have killed me.) I was entirely caught up! I cared immensely about these characters and their lives and their decisions and their hair and their coffee table books!

It was a total immersion story experience. I loved it.

This was one of the earliest stories I read in the fandom, and I'm just lucky that it didn't set my expectations so high that I spent the next month reading Merlin stories with an expression of spoiled disappointment on my face.

Anyway. This is a modern Merlin AU. (Side note: why do modern Merlin AUs so frequently feature a Merlin hitting the coffee so hard you expect his eyebrows to zing off his face? Is this canon or something? I mean, they have tomatoes. I guess they could have coffee. Although that's veering perilously close to, like, Post-It notes and Gaius as a first generation hacker with punch cards and - wait. Is there a Merlin hacker AU? If not, why not?) There are powers! There is drama! There are action sequences and love scenes! But that's all beside the point. The fact is, each sentence is laced with undetectable but extremely savory and instantly addictive glee. Read it.
cold_poet on May 10th, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
I had totally missed both of these, so I am dashing off to go read them yay!

(Also, I am going to read you just on DW since you're regularly crossposting...you seem to be making the move/crossposting permanent? Yes? I am hoping to get it to where if I can't ditch LJ altogether I can at least be reading different posts on each. :)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on May 10th, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)

(I'm not crossposting absolutely everything, but I am at least trying to post notices on the other site when I post on just one. Feel free to reduce the redundancy of your friends list! Although if you defriend me I will of course cry and possibly start some wank.)
cold_poet on May 10th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC)
Well if you're going to be THAT WAY ABOUT IT. GOD.


(See? This is why I CHECKED FIRST.)


(Also, Happy Mommy's Day!)
Shine: merlin can you walk on your kneesshinetheway on May 10th, 2009 01:06 am (UTC)
There IS a Merlin hacker AU, it's a WIP and it's utterly fabulous so far. First two parts available here and here
macey musemacey_muse on May 10th, 2009 01:45 am (UTC)

tried to eat the safe banana: TFV brownthefourthvine on May 10th, 2009 06:34 pm (UTC)
Eeeee yay! But woe, because I don't read works in progress! (I have this thing where if I read a WiP, I sort of write the ending in my head, and then I think it's finished and I don't read the rest of it, and then I go back later and am all, "But that's not how it ended!" To save confusion, I have to wait until stories are done to read them.) But at least I can wait with extreme hopefulness for it to be finished, and I can rest secure in the knowledge that this important AU is indeed being written. Thank you!
Shineshinetheway on May 10th, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)
Hee. Well, if it's any consolation, apparently this author doesn't usually post works in progress, either. I think the author's note for the first part said she was trying the WIP format to force herself to write more linearly, as a writing exercise. Normally I don't read them either, but this is an exception I'm allowing myself, mostly because it's so darn funny, and the plot is so obscure so far that I can't really wonder too hard about where it'll end up.
I'm not fluent in your dialect of crazy: SGA muppet john - astridvdine on May 10th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC)
dude! the baby robot AU is awesome, and I tend to prefer it to the original also.
I totally agree that there's a crying need for a community featuring Baaaaaaaby Robots! and that John was *obviously* a baby robot - I mean, how could anyone doubt think otherwise?

macey muse: Sai ^_^ - hikagomacey_muse on May 10th, 2009 01:44 am (UTC)
You know, I always feel unreasonably smug when I've read all the fics you rec. And then I remember that this means nothing new to read, and the smug gets all confused. XD

Yeah. You know who's Queen of AUs? astolat is Queen of AUs. I mean, clearly you already know that, but. Duende. Madrigals & Misadventures. Looking Glass Country (which, ok, is arguably an internal crossover of some kind because DCU is just like that).

\o/ AUs! I love them so much! (and write nothing but them, poor Akira. a maths professor, an oboist, a soccer player, a student of magic~)

um. in conclusion: glee! and babblage, but I've been studying database query languages for - five hours now? goodness - far too long, anyways, and am thus rendered Willow-ish, apparantly.

you know what? *cuts self off*
lipsum on May 10th, 2009 02:35 am (UTC)
Baaaaaaaaaaaaby robots! \o/ My favorite part is the "sing twinkle twinkle little star" bit.
Glenn: inappropriatehypertwink on May 10th, 2009 02:43 am (UTC)
I love the Teacup-verse. Everything about it, even the villains. I was going to tell you about another Merlin AU but I haven't read it. I also can't find the link which is too bad since it looked interesting. If Teacup was more Heroes, this would be more Watchmen. If I find it, I'll send you the link.
wrong but wromantic: Fandom Prettysally_maria on May 10th, 2009 08:57 am (UTC)
It's From Where I Stand, You're In My Sky, also by paperclipbitch and it's marvellous.

Arthur is confused, Merlin has a secret identity and Morgana is awesome. :-)
can't find my drink or pants: colin with coffee by rainchildgeeklite on May 10th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC)
I wish I had something to say but I am just posting so I can use my Colin Morgan drinking coffee icon.
strawfyrestrawfyre on May 10th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)
John as a baby Robot is extremely cute :)

Robot Rodney

korilian: asgardkorilian on May 10th, 2009 12:33 pm (UTC)
No place like home might qualify for Robot Rodney. He's the robot from Wizard of Oz in that one (but not really) http://smiley.zonezine.net/html/29440.html
London Clockworkpolaris_starz on May 10th, 2009 05:10 am (UTC)
Have you read the one that copperbadge wrote where John is a robot? It was pretty awesome.
miscellanny on May 10th, 2009 07:15 am (UTC)
Ooooooh, Merlin should meet Pratchett's Hex! *starry eyes*
Ruricruric on May 10th, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I had plans for doing *stuff* around the house this morning. Stuff ended up having to wait as the first story ate me up (Though I started with the remix) and then how could I resist going on to read baaaaaaby robots and the two sequels. Especially as there was Lorne! Heh.

I have bookmarked Merlin for dueing the week!
Stories by Leah & Stories by Leah & Springwoof: McKay in Halftoneleahwoof on May 11th, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
I just wanted to thank you beyond measure for your wonderful, wonderful recs of this story and The Soul and the Company Store Remix. You've made my heart swell with happiness, too. :D


Edited at 2009-05-11 03:16 am (UTC)
Sv.: Therapybadesquisse on May 11th, 2009 10:47 am (UTC)
Was going to recommend Stargazing by lovely lavvyan but some enterprising soul already did that. Well, that story is totally worth recommending twice.

About Teacup story. I'm beginning to think that I should stick to modern day AU only (and gen, too, says me, forever slasher, because I get bad goose bumps down my spine and my jaw hurts from grinding when I read how that master/servant relationship transfers into sexual situations - mind you, usually transfers, and God bless astolat for once again writing more or less bedroom equals in defiance to all fandom). So, modern day AUs. Why? paperclipbitch wrote Next Time, I Will Remember This And I Will Say 'No', and it is good. astolat wrote a dozen stories, and they are good, especially The Crown of the Summer Court. But. None of them give me that wonderful magical old days feeling that the show does. I know that the show is anachronistic as hell, and language there isn't exactly old English. But somehow I want that all from non-AU Merlin fic. It's sad, really. Am I justified in being whiny little edjit? The only consoling thing is, Lady Paperclip writes both modern AUs and not so top Arthur.

I've wanted to ask you an off-topic question for some time. I've looked through your SGA recs and didn't see fiercelydreamed's stories. Now, there're three reasons for that: you didn't like them, you haven't read them, you didn't have time yet to rec them. As I'm at this time debating with myself on who is my favourite SGA author is, rheanna27 or fiercelydreamed, I'd really like some contra argument if it's the first option. If it's the second, OMG go read them now. If it's the third, well, all things will come in their time.
themadpokerthemadpoker on May 16th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
There is a Merlin hacker AU! At least I think it's a hacker AU. I only read a little of it and then I got distracted. Let me see if I can hunt it down.

Found it! http://little-giddy.livejournal.com/91931.html

Alas, it is not about hackers at all. I was deceived by the presence of computers in the beginning. Instead it is somehow based of The Incredible Hulk.