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13 April 2004 @ 08:49 pm
Slashy Nominations 23: Captain, We Seem to Have Entered Another Dimension  
For a long time I hated AU stories. I didn't understand why someone would go to all the trouble of writing fan fiction and then change one of the most integral parts. What was the point? What was the challenge?

Yeah. I assume I had some kind of vitamin deficiency or something. People who are taking their RDA of B6 know that AU stories are wonderful. In many ways they are the perfect expression of the FF writer's art (yes, I did just say that - this time next year, I'll probably be writing a damn dissertation on FF); an AU story must retain the essence of the canon, even when almost everything is changed. This can't be easy to write, and when it doesn't work, it's a disaster, but when it does work - oh, my.

Best FF That Should Become a Continuing Series, Preferably with Movies, Novels, and Suitable Fast Food Merchandising Tie-ins: Five Things That Never Happened: All the Wonder, by shalott. Master & Commander, Aubrey/Maturin. This is Aubrey and Maturin in space. I know, I know. It sounds silly. But this is also the story that converted me to AUs, because shalott gets everything just right - the language, the setting, the characters, the dialog. This story is what O'Brian would've written in an alternate universe. I read this and was dying for more; when I re-read it, I have to restrain myself from sending shalott bitter reader comments demanding that she turn this into a novel.

Best FF That Gets All Snarky About Superhero Spelling Issues: Drawing in a Mirror, by C. Elisa. X-Men movies, Xavier/Erik, Scott/Jean. I know, I know, I just keep babbling about my affection for C. Elisa, but seriously - her stories are wonderful. This one's a powerswitch, and the characters are different and yet so much themselves. It's remarkable. I especially love the power Scott has in this, but then I have long adored The Once and Future King. OK, OK, I need to end this nomination summary before I run out of synonyms for "love."

Best FF That Explains Sports, Male Interaction, and Small Group Behavior in Terms of Sex (and That Actually Makes a Lot of Sense, Doesn't It?): Hot Sky Blue, by Livia, Julad, and Calico. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. Maybe it's just the secret anthropology geek in me, but I read this story again and again for the way Blair integrates small group behavior into his sexual fantasies. I mean, c'mon, there's the sign of a man with his mind consistently on his work, yes? Or, now that I think about it, perhaps not. In any case, there are many reasons this story shouldn't be any good; it's AU, essentially PWP, the work of a committee. But it's actually fantastic, in no small part because we get a look at Blair as a person; too many Sentinel writers make him bouncy and garrulous and forget that he has, you know, an actual personality, too. These women don't, and I salute them.

Best FF That Isn't Just One AU, but Many: One of a Thousand Roads, by shalott. Gladiator, Maximus/Commodus. That shalott, she has a way with alternate universes. Especially those involving Russell Crowe, apparently. This story is far better than the movie was, which should not surprise anyone. I can't say much more about it without spoiling it. Go read this. I've seen the movie, but if you haven't, I think you could still enjoy this story.
Two boats and a helicopter.azarias on April 13th, 2004 11:43 pm (UTC)
I've seen the movie, but if you haven't, I think you could still enjoy this story.

You certainly can. I've seen about ten minutes of the movie-- five of them the same music video shalott watched-- and the story worked for me.
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on April 14th, 2004 01:43 am (UTC)
Excellent news. I can now force people to read "One of a Thousand Roads" with a clear conscience. ("But I've never seen the movie!" "Doesn't matter." "But I hate Russell Crowe!" "Doesn't matter." "But I'm a librarian! I have a sacred duty to uphold copyright law!" "Shut up and read.")

Yes, Azarias, I am indeed thrilled to hear this. People who know me may be less so, but, as I've always said, you can't make an obsessive fan fiction reader without breaking a few minds.
(Anonymous) on April 16th, 2004 08:35 am (UTC)
But what if I love the movie?
As one of the few (we few, we happy few) who really adore Gladiator, will I like the story also? (I refuse to apologise for my Gladiator-love. Refuse!) If it's worksafe, I'll scamper off and read it right this second. It blows not having internet access at home.
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on April 16th, 2004 12:20 pm (UTC)
Re: But what if I love the movie?
I think it'd work pretty darn well for those who love the movie, too; in fact, because you've probably seen the movie more often and more recently than I have, you may get something out of it I didn't.

As for work-safe, well, if you consider my LJ work-safe then the story is, too. No naughty pictures, in other words, and not too many naughty words.

If you do read it, I'd love to know what you think of it.
(Anonymous) on April 17th, 2004 02:29 pm (UTC)
Re: But what if I love the movie?
Just read it, and although it's a good story, I don't think I can buy that Maximus as in character, and I have a few problems with how Commodus is used, as well - simultaneously too sympathetic and too unsympathetic, I suppose. I like the story, but it takes a big mental stretch for me, and I have to consider it AU to the point where the fundamental natures of the characters are pretty different. Not like Summer's Men, where although I had never pictured things playing out like that, Will and Bram were so in character that it all worked.

This and the above were both me, Siena from Fametracker (and genibee.diaryland.com, for that matter.) Rude not to sign, but I keep forgetting to, since I don't have a livejournal.
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on April 21st, 2004 06:36 am (UTC)
Re: But what if I love the movie?
Interesting. See, I thought that that version of Commodus was fascinating - truly god-touched, as opposed to merely crazy; in other words, an acceptable level of variation for an AU story. And I had no problems with this portrayal of Maximus. But I'll cheerfully bow to your superior knowledge - I saw the movie once when it was first released, so my memory of it is bound to be fuzzy.

Got links to any Gladiator fic that works for you? I think shalott's stuff is all I've seen in that fandom.

And I don't know about you, but I am missing the Fametracker forums. Sigh.
(Anonymous) on April 22nd, 2004 10:57 am (UTC)
Re: But what if I love the movie?
I could buy the idea of Commodus being truly god-touched as a concept, but I guess I didn't see it enough in the fic...but then, it was a fairly brief story that only had time to set out the premise and then go forward with it and the implications. I never even knew there was Gladiator fic out there, because I tend to read fic in fandoms where there's a lot of scope for untold stories, like X-Files and Anita Blake. It took me a long time to even wrap my mind around Lord of the Rings fic, because the story seems so complete within itself, and Gladiator has that same feeling of "story is told" to it. But then, I have to stretch much further than you do to accept a lot of fic, because slash doesn't do very much for me, and I'm easily outraged. You have no idea what a great leap forward Summer's Men was for me *g* Maybe I'll poke around for Gladiator fic and see if there's any I like.

I am also constantly sitting at my desk, mumbling, "Surely the Fametracker forums are back up. It hurts, man, it hurts! I need my fix!"