selenak: (Missy by Yamiinsane123)
Ian McShane has been cast as Mr. Wednesday in Bryan Fuller's tv version of American Gods. This is a gift from the casting heavens, and I'm now at the "I WANT IT NOW WHY ISN'T IT 2017 ALREADY" stage about this show.

However, it occurs to me that I should employ spoiler cuts when raving about how this is perfect, because not everyone has read Neil Gaiman's novel. Spoilers for American Gods, the book, ensue. )

Something else the casting reminded me off: someone really needs to write that crossover where Jimmy McGill meets Mr. Wednesday, for all the obvious reasons.

And now for a couple of fanfiction recs:

Doctor Who:

once upon a time in nazi-occupied france:

"He's sitting in a cafe in Vichy France (he was aiming for 2042) and waiting for his lunch when Missy plops down in the chair opposite him." This is a conversation they've had before, it's just the first time they've both been able to consider it.


In which the Twelfth Doctor, post Clara, meets Missy again. This is one of those stories which manages to do justice to the long history between the Doctor and the Master, and to write them specifically in these particular regenerations, not interchangable with earlier ones. It's perfect. (BTW, my favourite details is that Twelve got himself the flame throwing guitar from Mad Max, because he so would.)

Black Sails

Both recs are spoilery for 3.06, so with due deference to those friends on my list whom I've managed to convert into watching the show but who haven't arrived there yet, I shall hide them beneath a cut. )
selenak: (Illyria by Kathyh)
Yesterday, when I had occasion to hunt for quotes, I was reminded of this bit in Lewis' early day memoirs, Surprised by Joy, about his teenage self - already a big fan of Norse mythology - distracting himself of the horror that was English Public School by writing. As one does. (The easiest modern day equivalent for the "Bloods" referred to in the quotes are high school jocks.) Quoth Lewis:

But the Northerness still came first and the only work I completed at this time was a tragedy, Norse in Subject and Greek in form. It was called Loki Bound (...) My Loki was not merely mallicious. He was against Odiin because Odin had created a world though Loki had clearly warned him that this was a wanton cruelty. Why should creatures have the burden of existence forced on them without their consent? The main contrast in my play was between the sad wisdom of Loki and the brutal orthodoxy of Thor. Odin was partly sympathetic; he could at least see what Loki meant and there had been old friendship between those two two before cosmic politics forced them apart. Thor was the real villain, Thor with his hammer and his threats, who was always egging Odin on against Loki an dalways complaining that Loki did not sufficiently respect the major gods, to which Loki replied

I pay respect to wisdom not to strength.

Thor was, in fact, the symbol of the Bloods; though I see that more clearly now than I did at the time. Loki was a projection of myself; he voiced that sense of priggish superiority whereby I was, unfortunately, beginning to compensate myself for my unhappiness.



While Lewis would probably be appalled by Marvel breaking up the Odin/Loki OTP by making them father and son instead of blood brothers and giving the fraternal relationship to Loki and Thor instead, methinks he would recognize the mechanism of (a lot of) current day fanfiction easily enough and be amused.

Incidentally, speaking of brothers forced apart by cosmic politics, the trailer for Ridley Scott's Exodus is out and it looks like this version of the Moses tale will go more into the Prince of Egypt direction than the Ten Commandments one in how Moses and Ramses start not as rivals but as friends. In fact, this looks more like a live action version of Prince of Egypt than anything else. (Incidentally, who first identified the Pharao of the Exodus with Ramses II. and why? Because Ramses II. is actually one of the Pharaos who got to live into a ripe old age and ruled for decades, which you'd think makes him an unsuitable candidate to have perished in the Red Sea. Considering Cecil B. De Mille did a silent movie version of The Ten Commandments first, it might have been his scriptwriters' fault, but maybe they got their ideas somewhere else?) The trailer also makes it look as if the current day moral trickiness of the Plagues, especially the last one where God kills all the first born of Egypt, will be addressed. Then again, Ridley Scott has an uneven record and could produce anything between a dud or something amazing. The visuals are bound to be great, though. Mind you, given that Noah flopped - obvious pun of "sunk" is too obvious -, I'm not sure about the success chance for biblical epics these days. Precisely because the idea of divine punishment sits so uneasily on our shoulders. Now, some of the core elements of the Exodus tale - an enslaved people breaking free, their oppressor vanquished - have guaranteed its adaptability and potential for identification through the ages (there's a reason why so many gospels use it, for example), but I think both presenting Moses as somewhat conflicted between his Egyptian and his Hebrew identity and writing Pharao as someone other than Evil McEvil tyrant and the Egyptians as someone other than Evil McEvil oppressors is a relatively recent (i.e. later part of 20th century and following) development. (One of the most original twists' I've read was Judith Tarr's novel Pillar of Fire in which Moses was in fact Akhenaten who had faked his death and became reborn in the desert, so to speak. I'm not sure she pulled it off successfully, but interesting it was.) Otoh, of course if the enslavement in Egypt isn't truly presented as horrifying, the narrative loses some of its power, and bearing Gladiator in mind, I'm pretty sure Scott will go for brutal oppression in Egypt. Otoh, "character who belongs to the ruling elite discovers he was, in fact, born among the oppressed powerless" is just his type of identity crisis. I didn't watch Noah, but I think I'll watch this one on the big screen.

...and in completely unrelated news: according to his interview with The Guardian, one of the things Edward Snowden currently does is marathoning The Wire. Somehow, this strikes me as very fitting.
selenak: (Claudius by Pixelbee)
Just a sample of the goodness, which, you know, you can find and comment (or kudos) on here.


The Charioteer:

Washing-up, Ward B : Nurse Adrian compares notes with Andrew. Both great as a friendship story and as a direly needed reaction and revelation story.

Greek Mythology:

and wake to start the world again: Wherein Pandora is curious, Prometheus proud, and Athena has a different plan than Zeus. An inventive twist on the myth of Pandora.

Ivanhoe:

Apart Yet Not Afar: In which Rebecca saves Ivanhoe's life (again) some nine years after the novel, he returns the courtesy, and the author actually pulls off Sir Walter Scott's style, which is awesome. Most of the (few) post-Ivanhoe fanfics I've come across were about getting Rebecca and Ivanhoe together; this one decidedly is not.


Star Trek:

Waiting: Saavik during the months between The Search For Spock and The Voyage Home, with flashbacks to her life pre Wrath of Khan. I'm always delighted to come across fanfiction featuring Saavik, and this one does a wonderful job with her, and with the various other characters she deals with, including but not limited to Spock, Kirk, Amanda, T'Pol (from Enterprise), and, best of all, Number One. (The original female first officer from the unaired ST pilot.)


West Wing:

Cast me gently into morning: When Ellie catches Zoey's interview on TV, she is prompted to go up to New Hampshire to see how her sister is really doing. Hooray for sibling interactions, and a great take on Ellie helping Zoey deal with the aftermath of the s4 cliffhanger.
selenak: (Londo and Vir by Ruuger)
Emerging bleary-eyed from a lot of reading, I bring reccomendations. (Well, the first part of them anyway. More to follow.) As for my own stories, both the recipients liked them and wrote lovely things about them at their own journals (their summaries of what the stories are about are better than mine, drat!), which makes me glad, but not too many other people so far bothered to check them out so far, woe. Ah well. Self, you knew this would happen, a rare fandom is a rare fandom, and within rare fandoms, at least in one case you picked a subject you knew maybe only recipient and yourself are interested in. (But I still want other people to read both stories, she sniffles, they mean so much to me this year!)

However, as a reader, I'm in unqualified ecstasy. Have a first bunch of recs (excluding, of course, my gifts which I have already talked about).

History/Hunger Games: The Sticking Place

Yes, you read the fandoms right. Someone wrote an ingenious fusion of the Hunger Games premise with the 15th century. In the Fifth Hunger Games, Lucrezia Borgia, Richard (III.) of York, Marguerite d'Anjou and poor Henry of Lancaster are all tributes. It sounds like crack, but the characters are played, err, written straight, and of course it has to end the way it does.

History: The most pleasant tale of Lady Bessy

Four titles Elizabeth of York never held, and one she did. The "Five Things" format applied to the woman who was the last Planatagenet princess and the first Tudor queen, but rarely gets fictional or biographical attention. This year, she got several stories. This one which applies the "Five Things" format in ingenious ways is my favourite.

A Place of Greater Safety: Parallel or Together

In which Camille Desmoulins tries to bring Robespierre and Danton together. It doesn't work out the way he expected. The characterisations ring very true to Hilary Mantel's novel, and it does something I've been secretly and not so secretly hoping for when reading the actual book, where it didn't but could have. :)

Babylon 5:

The Subtle Arrangement of Stones: the Babylon 5 story I never knew was missing in my life, but retrospectively it so was, and oh, how it wins at Yuletide! Set during the first season. Londo, G'Kar and Delenn are kidnapped by the Homeguard, and it's up to their valiant aides, Vir, Na'Toth and Lennier to rescue them. The characterisations and - as invevitable given the characters in question - the bickering are top notch, the format (Garibaldi interviewing everyone for the security files afterwards) ingenious, and it fits into canon beautifully. I loved this to bits.

The Price of a Favour: Timov in the days of Cartagia. I'm always thrilled to find fic dealing with my favourite B5 one episode character, and this was great.

In Flagrante: three times Londo and G'Kar are caught in the act. One happy, one angry, one sad. Alternatively funny and heartbreaking, as Londo and G'Kar are wont to be.

James Bond: Protégé

M passes on what she learned. Contains two of my favourite things, M backstory and Eve Moneypenny fleshing out. I loved it.

Elementary (which had 21 new stories in Yuletide - hooray!):

Three Anniversaries: A Love Story: Not all great love stories are about romance is the summary the author gives, and this one celebrates the (platonic) friendship between Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson through the years. Present and future fic that feels true to where the characters are now and where they could be through the years, and has that same restraint and understated affection I find appealing on the show.

The Long Summer: this one is an ensemble fic that uses a frustrating case to show Holmes' relationships to Watson, Gregson, Bell and deliver an excellent Holmes character exploration to boot.

Greek Mythology: this year one of the requests was for a story about Ariadne and Icarus growing up together in Crete. This resulted in a dozen or so great tales, and it feels unfair to single one out, but this is my favourite of them all:

Thirteen Views Of A Labyrinth: They are not so very different, Ariadne and Pasiphaë, Icarus and Daedalus, Ariadne and Icarus. This has fantastic world building and awe-inspiring characterisations of everyone, is full of shades of grey and surprising yet sense making twists on the myths. I admire it so much.

The Count of Monte-Cristo: Constant.

It's a rare story which takes one of the source canon's villains - in this case Fernand Mondego, the later Count de Morcerf - and fleshes him out without going the excuse and woobiefication road. This story accomplishes it.

New Tricks: New Tricks for Old Dogs (or Five Alternate Universes Where Sandra Pullman Was Always Awesome)

What the title says. :) Wonderful banter and character voices in every universe.

Prometheus: Satellites: Three events in the life of Peter Weyland. Dysfunctional family relationships are my soft spot, and they rarely come more messed up than with Weyland, Meredith Vickers and David 8. This story gives us some background for this, in a Weyland, Meredith and David pov respectively, and it's fascinating.
selenak: (Father Issues by Raven_annabella)
Well, "worst fathers" would be like shooting fish in a barrell, given how especially American tv loves its daddy issues. So here are some great dads who come to mind:

1.) Mr. Kwon from Lost. Alas, we never find out his first name, but Jin's dad is that rarity on Lost, a genuinenly good parent. He raised Jin as his own despite the fact they're not biologically related, put up with Jin having class issues and being ashamed of him and was still there when a repentant Jin needed comfort and advice. This would make him a great father in any narrative, but on this show? Trust me, it makes him rarer than pink diamonds.

2.) Benjamin Sisko from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. After two shows where the regulars tended to have issues with at least one of their parents, usually the father, and/or with their offspring, Sisko wasn't just the first male lead to get along with his father famously, he also was a single parent raising his son and doing a stellar job of it. Not that he's perfect, but by and large, good old Ben S. s a really great father.

3.) Dexter Morgan from Dexter. He may be a serial killer, plus I think the show sort of lost its moral compass in the last season, but there is no denying it: one thing Dexter has been consistently great with from season 1 onwards is being a father, both in the emotional sense (with Rita's children, Aster and Cody) and in the biological sense (Harrison). Given his, err, impediments, that's all the more unusual.

4.) Keith Mars from Veronica Mars. Does not let the fact he's unsure about the biological factor influence his love for his daughter one bit, does a great job being there for her, does not take his own misery and angst out on her, and is in general a champion. Go Keith!

5.) Aeneas, from Greek and Roman mythology. Look, I'm the first to admit that Virgil's Homer fanfiction the Anaeid suffers by comparison to the two originals, and of course as far as wandering heroes go, the wily Odysseus wins every time. However. Aeneas, as opposed to most fathers in myths (looking at you, Laios, and you, Priam) does not try to get rid of his kid as a baby. He doesn't eat him, either (Tantalus, you had that underworld punishment coming), nor does he kill him to prove how no one should be above the law (looking at you, original Brutus) or to appease the gods (Agamemnon, step forward). Nor does he dump the boy on someone else to care for. (Looking at pretty much everyone.) No, Aeneas when leaving his burning city behind brings both his Aged Parents and his son along, and raises the later through years of questing, divine punishments, ill-fated love affairs, the occasional clash with leftover Greeks from the war and eventually settling and a new marriage. There were earlier mythological single parents, but arguably Aeneas is the first to make a success of raising his son and being a questing hero at the same time instead of giving one up for the other. Clearly a model to the earlier named gentlemen!


Footnote: if you're wondering why Jack Bristow isn't there: Spydaddy is undoubtedly willing to move mountains for his daughter and willing to sacrifice his (and other) life for her at any time, but when it comes to day-to-day parenting, his track record is a bit less stellar. Yes, there are traumatic reasons for that, but the fact of the matter is that when we meet them in season 1, the communication between them is so bad and the issues are so massive that Jack can't bring himself to have dinner with Sydney, prefering instead to sit in his car broodingly in the rain outside the restaurant where she's waiting for him. It gets far better as the show progresses, but my criterium of selection for the fathers wasn't just "fathers willing to die for their children" but "fathers actually good at communicating with and raising their children".
selenak: (Camelot Factor by Kathyh)
Multifandom: In a new interview, Lesley Sharpe (wonderful character actress; if you're a DW fan, you've last seen her in Midnight as Sky Silvestri in a role RTD wrote for her - like Christopher Ecclestone and David Tennant, she had played in previous works of his) reveals she's in a new BBC drama with Christopher Ecclestone and is a Eleven fan, considering Matt Smith sexy, so there is that.:)

For fellow Neil Gaiman fans: every now and then, that rumour about Kripke (boo, hiss! curse his name!) getting to head a tv version of Sandman pops up again and scares me, and I dearly hope and pray it will not happen, but on the other hand I was delighted to hear that American Gods is developed into a HBO series, with Our Neil supposedly writing the pilot. I can see AG really working with the tv series format, HBO is the right network, and provided they get good actors (and no Eric Kripke anywhere near it), this could be splendid.

In other news, I couldn't resist doing the "my top 10 AO3 stories" meme I've seen pop up on my flist.

And the top ten most read stories written by yours truly are... )

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