selenak: (Malcolm and Vanessa)
[personal profile] chelseagirl asked me for comments on my Penny Dreadful story “Falling Towards Apotheosis”, which you can find in its entirety here. Since it is a lengthy tale, I’ll dissect only one chapter, but before that, a few general words: The title is of course pinched from Babylon 5, and was irresistible to me given Vanessa’s story both in the show and here. This was one of my most ambitious enterprises in fanfiction, since I wanted it to be not just a worthy follow-up to the show which brought the various themes and character arcs to a conclusion more narratively satisfying to me than the finale was without ignoring anything that happened in the finale, or in the seasons preceding it; I wanted it to be the definite Penny Dreadful story. (The reason why I wasn’t as angry about the finale as some when it was broadcast was that I thought it was the perfect set up for the conclusion that immediately occurred to me re: Vanessa, and what could have been her true goal.)

As such, it is an ensemble tale, using both past and present characters and the relationships they’ve formed through the show. (Exceptions: Lily, whom I had wanted to use originally, but there was no way I could have included her in this particular story without a complete emotional detour once Ethan finds out what Victor did; Dorian Grey, because there was neither thematic need nor personal interest on my part.)

On to the second chapter, featuring Malcolm Murray and Vanessa, and later Dr. Seward )
selenak: (Malcolm and Vanessa)
This was the big one, the über-ambitious one, the „I want to write the ULTIMATE Penny Dreadful story" one.

To establish background: like many another watcher, the Penny Dreadful season 3 and show finale left me dissatisfied with our heroine’s fate. However, in my case fannish ire was strangely missing because I immediately saw it as a great set up for what would surely work as the perfect finale, pulling the various themes, dynamics and pot threads the show had established together. Seriously, my immediate reaction to watching was to check when we’d get season 4, because I was so absolutely sure this was the set up, not the pay off. When I found out this was indeed meant as the series finale, I knew I had to write what was in my head, but not at once. I knew it had to be a Yuletide story, and one that while using what I thought Vanessa should do next (yes, next; bless genre shows and their possibilities re: a certain state) as its central arc still also worked as an ensemble story, bring the remaining regulars (with two exceptions, I’ll get to this in a moment) together for a common goal while also exploring their shifting dynamics. Oh, and of course, this being meant as a finale story, it would have to pay homage to the show’s past and gone characters as well.
Now, since the show had established an Egyptian connection from the pilot onwards and had thankfully sent Ferdinand Lyle there in s3, the answer to how to pull all this off to me obvious from the start: use both Egyptian mythology and an Egyptian adventure setting. My one fannish regret was that I couldn’t include Lily, but there was just no way this could have been done without going off into a different story which would have to be about Ethan finding out what happened re: Brona. The other surviving Penny Dreadful regular who’d been there from the start but isn’t in my story is Dorian Grey, but a) he wasn’t needed in any way, b) the ending the show had given him was perfect, down to the, ahem, framing, and c) he’s my unfavourite.

Below you’ll find the result of these ponderings. And I am really proud of it.

Falling Towards Apotheosis (18025 words) by Selena
Chapters: 13/13
Fandom: Penny Dreadful (TV)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Vanessa Ives/Sir Malcolm Murray, Ethan Chandler/Vanessa Ives, Vanessa Ives & Joan Clayton, Mina Harker/Vanessa Ives, Vanessa Ives & Claire Ives, Vanessa Ives & Peter Murray, Caliban & Vanessa Ives, Madame Kali | Evelyn Poole/Sir Malcolm Murray, Ferdinand Lyle & Sir Malcolm Murray, Ethan Chandler & Sir Malcolm Murray, Sir Malcolm Murray & Victor Frankenstein, Ethan Chandler/Hecate Poole, Vanessa Ives/Alexander Sweet | Dracula, Catriona Hartdegen & Sir Malcolm Murray, Sir Malcolm Murray & Dr. Florence Seward
Characters: Vanessa Ives, Sir Malcolm Murray, Ferdinand Lyle, Ethan Chandler, Victor Frankenstein, Caliban | John Clare, Madame Kali | Evelyn Poole, Hecate Poole, Alexander Sweet | Dracula, Catriona Hartdegen, Dr. Florence Seward, Joan Clayton, Claire Ives, Mina Murray, Peter Murray, Kaetenay (Penny Dreadful), Jeanne d'Arc | Joan of Arc, Sir Geoffrey Hawkes
Additional Tags: Epic, Post-Canon, Dysfunctional Family, Team as Family, Friendship/Love, Ancient Egyptian Literature & Mythology, Canon Compliant, Yuletide, Yuletide 2016, Fix-It
Summary:

As Vanessa's true plan to defeat Dracula is revealed, she and her friends find themselves on an epic quest that involves the living and dead alike.


selenak: (Sternennacht - Lefaym)
Dear Yuletide Writer,

thank you so much for writing a story for me! I’m greatly looking forward to it, and hope you’ll enjoy writing it. We share at least one fandom, and hopefully some of my ideas will be of interest to you.
General likes/dislikes: Generally, I’m fond of canon settings. By which I mean: I don’t want to read about the characters in a coffee shop AU, or a high school AU, or in a story where no one evolved beyond their pilot characterization and the plot went totally differently from there.

This isn’t an absolute demand. I’ve come across A U s which I have truly loved, and some had pretty cracky premises. So if you are truly inspired to write about, say, Lily Frankenstein’s adventures in space, fine, go for it. “If possible, canon era setting” is a guideline, no more.

On the other hand: no A/B/O, please. Can’t stand it. Also, no character bashing. By which I don’t mean characters can’t have negative opinions about other characters. But there is a difference between that and story intent. To choose a Black Sails example: Jack Rackham having no good things to say about Eleanor Guthrie post s3 would be in character and more than likely. Flint, otoh, passing judgment on Eleanor on one particular act given what he did to Mr. Gates would be hypocritical, and if the entire story is devoted to all the characters hating on Eleanor and Eleanor getting humiliated by the narrative, we’re definitely in bashing territory, and I want nothing to do with it.

Slash, het, bi, poly: I’m fine with it all, and you can write non-generic sex scenes, more power to you, I’m envious (I tend to go for the discreet cut between scenes not because I’m against explicit writing but because I’m not good at it), but I’d prefer it if the story consists of more than just an extended sex scene.

On to fandom specifics.

Penny Dreadful )

The Americans )

Black Sails )

The Last Kingdom )
selenak: (Vanessa Ives by Sakuraberries)
Having read and written about Catherine de' Medici and her daughters in recent months, I was left with a craving for other recent fictional takes on the Valois, who easily can compete with the their contemporaries the Tudors in sheer soap opera-ness, and seeing that Netflix put up the first two seasons of Reign (meaning I could watch without paying), I finally got around to it. And, well, good lord.

On one level it's exactly as you'd expected a teen aimed CW production to be. The cocktail gowns! The hair! The pop songs in the soundtrack! The utter disconnect from anything resembling historical plausibility! Seriously, the sheer crackiness is awesome. S1, apparantly having decided that Catholics versus Protestants is boring, has this entire subplot about secret pagans, and Mary Stuart, of all the people, spouting such lines as "We're not judging you for your religion". S2 does go for the actual big religious conflict of the era, but doesn't bother with such minor things as actually explaining what the differences are, beyond "no Pope". Young Mary Stuart is still a champion of interfaith tolerance, pleading the Protestants' cause (this is hysterical; also, she'd have been incredibly insulted if anyone had told her back in the day she'd ever been depicted as such), and the only Guise relation of hers to show up, other than her mother, is of course not the leader of the hardcore Catholic party more popular than the Royals but Some Guy Easily Disposed Of. (Don't I wish, says the shade of Catherine de' Medici.) Philip II. of Spain gets married to Elisabeth de Valois in the pilot while Mary Tudor is still alive throughout most of the first season. (Philip was a bad husband to poor Mary, but bigamy he'd have drawn a line at.) The Bourbon brothers, Louis, Prince Condé, and Antoine finally make an appearance in s2, where Louis gets to be Mary's temporary love interest and a possible candidate for Elizabeth I. to marry.) (Imagining how both their historical counterparts would have reacted to that suggestion is hysterical again. Good old Condé's historical wives whom he got, all in all, eleven children are of course non existent.) Reign is one of the few historical fictions to actually use Claude, Catherine's second oldest daughter, as a character, but whereas historically she was the only one of Catherine's kids not to have scandalous rumors attached to her and being her mother's favourite, here she's a a teen version of her sister Margot's popular image as a rebellious good time girl and her mother's unfavourite. (Margot has yet to be mentioned as existing, btw; of the younger kids, we've only seen Charles though the future Henri III. was mentioned in dialogue as well.)

Then there's the part where the French court keeps residing in "the castle", which isn't in Paris but isn't one of the gorgeous Loire chateaus like Chambord, either, instead being near the sea coast and looking grey and gloomy. The English, independent of monarch, are Up To No Good throughout but strangely never use this golden opportunity. In s2 inquisitors and their thuggish helpers, directly employed by the Vatican, roam the countryside to round up the helpless, hailing directly from Hammer Horror movies, but the French court itself, other than the occasional Cardinal visiting from Rome, is strangely cleric-free And so forth and so on. When, in s1, Henry II. in a rare reflective moment mentions having been a hostage as a boy it was an utter shock to this viewer because unlike most of Reign's other events, that actually happened.

If you utterly disconnect the goings on on screen from any historical knowledge of this world and see it as pure fantasy, a la The Enchanted Forest in Once upon a Time, though, it definitely delivers in the "entertaining soap" category, and it offers not one or two but five regular female characters (Mary Stuart, Catherine de' Medici and Mary's ladies, with the sublimely historical names of Lola, Kenna and Greer), whose developments and exploits we're following. Plus recurring female guest stars. The Catherine-Mary relationship starts in classic villainess-heroine manner but turns into something surprisingly complex, and Catherine herself is a great character, giving me fond flashbacks to 80s soap operas where the female antagonists if they stuck around long enough were developing layers and also nearly always got the best lines. As for the girls, their stories are actually quite good variations of "how to survive in a system that's stacked against you" even if they do so in cocktail gowns and blithely unburdened by anything resembling period attitudes. It's not every show, crack history or not, which is a female character turn down her True Love's marriage proposal because she's found she likes being financially independent and on her own better. (As opposed to turning it down because of misunderstandings, because of a rival, because she's pressured etc.)

Also, there's a lot of black humor in the dialogue. Have an example:

Mary and Catherine are in their annual "antagonists teaming up because of shared danger" episode; Catherine draws a stiletto, Mary perks up:

Mary: Poison?
Catherine: You say that so hopefully now.


In conclusion, it's pure crack, but if you have nothing else to do and it's available, go for it. Just don't play any drinking games counting anachronisms and the like, or you're passed out before the first episode is even finished.

Meanwhile, in another fandom:

Penny Dreadful

Apples: Joan and Evelyn backstory, sensual and poetical. Headcanon accepted.
selenak: (Malcolm and Vanessa)
Penny Dreadful, of course. There's at least one idea I really want to write, and more than one I'll request. We should coordinate our efforts, oh flist/circle, to get in more characters. I don't think any of us need to nominate Vanessa, or Ethan, they are a given. Sir Malcolm is not, so he'll be one of my four. I also want Lily, Caliban/John Clare/The Creature, Catriona Hartdegen and Dr. Seward, so if anyone would take one of them among their PDs? Pretty please? I also hope urgently someone will nominate Lyle, but more due to sympathy than to a concrete story idea.

The Americans: I love the show as much as ever, but I won't volunteer to write it this year, because I've ended up as the sole person writing The Americans stories for two years in a row, and I want to try something else. Depending on the prompts and whether I have time enough, I might write a The Americans treat, but for my main assignment, I want another fandom.

Black Sails: Pirates! Someone else will undoubtedly nominate Flint and Silver, and Billy is also popular enough to end up nominated on his own. Ditto Charles Vane, Jack Rackham and Anne Bonny. I'll nominate Madi, Max, Eleanor and Miranda, who aren't shoe-ins. Would be grateful for Mr. Scott, the Queen and Woode Rogers.

Books: I'll nominate the Shardlake mysteries again, not leaving it to accident. Last year someone wrote a beautiful aftermath of Lamentation story; maybe they can be seduced into writing more? Characters: am still hankering after a Guy past or present tale, but other than that, I have only vague ideas. I'd ask for Matthew being Elizabeth's lawyer in the upcoming Thomas Seymor fiasco were it not for the fact that I'm pretty sure Sansom will write that novel if he writes another book, given how Lamentation ends.
selenak: (Malcolm Murray)
Penny Dreadful:

Who the hell can see forever: I spent the majority of s3 being furious with Victor Frankenstein, but that doesn't mean lack of interest. In this story, he confronts, in the aftermath of Big Show End Event, both what he's done and what he's almost done. Moreover, this while being a Victor pov is also an ensemble story, so we see the other characters through his eyes respond to Big Show End Event and try to continue their lives after this. Superb character voices all around. If there had been a season 4 after Spoilery Event, which of course there couldn't have been, this is pretty much how I could see it go.


Immortality: the Creatures meet again. Lily and John Clare/Caliban encounter each other post show and realise they share more than resurrection by Victor. It's exactly the type of non-romantic, but very human exchange I wanted to read.


Star Wars:


By the Lies that I Have Loved (and actions I have hated): Obi-Wan in the months post RotS in the desert, trying (without much success) to come to terms with Recent Events. Intense and messed up, and the way Obi-Wan's Anakin memories (of him as a child, as a teenager, as an adult) are now irrevocably mixed up with the Anakin-as-Vader present, and his vain attempts to divide the two, are drawn expertly.
selenak: (Malcolm and Vanessa)
It will be a while until I’m sure how I feel about this. But here we go.

It is too easy being monsters; let us try to be human )
selenak: (Eva Green)
In which the end of days, err, season, is almost upon us.

Read more... )

Aha!

8 June 2016 07:56
selenak: (Vanessa Ives by Sakuraberries)
As awful as tumblr can be, I just stumbled across an intriguing information re: new character introduced in the recent Penny Dreadful episode.

Spoiler cut for new character and speculation about same. )
selenak: (Malcolm and Vanessa)
In which we wrap up the Western plot, name drop a possible next season plot, get introduced to a new character and see Vanessa not having a moment of deja vue when, alas, she should have.

Read more... )
selenak: (Malcolm Murray)
Once upon a time in America...

Read more... )
selenak: (Vanessa Ives by Sakuraberries)
In which it's the Eva Green and Rory Kinnear acting hour, and it's marvelous.

Read more... )
selenak: (Werewolf by khall_stuff)
In which Victorian travellers make air planes look like suckers in terms of speed, and several people make their pitch.

Read more... )
selenak: (Black Sails by Violateraindrop)
Just because I've currently two mega fandoms (MCU and Star Wars) on the brain, and am trying to stop myself from writing what would basically be a bad issues fic (consisting of Rhodey venting at Steve; self: character A giving character B a "The reasons you suck" speech is just the type of fanfiction you don't like as a reader! Don't do it!), doesn't mean I love my tiny fandoms less.

Black Sails:


Time covers everything: This is the Miranda story I wanted to have for Yuletide, and which someone just happened to write completely unrelatedly, describing her entire adult life. I loved reading it.

The Windmill Knight and the Meditating Emperor: in which tiny Abigail Ashe comes across Lt. James McGraw when he and the Hamiltons visit her father. Funny and touching at the same time, with great glimpses at James, Thomas and Miranda in ye olde days.

Penny Dreadful.

Inevitable Spoilers for season 2 and 3.02. in the story description )
selenak: (Malcolm and Vanessa)
In which there are lot of Bram Stoker homages going on, and also background infos.

Read more... )
selenak: (Malcolm and Vanessa)
My favourite late Victorian multi crossover is back!

Read more... )
selenak: (Vanessa Ives by Sakuraberries)
Fighting rage and depression about rl politics (both on a national and global level), I turn to fandom(s). Rewatching some Penny Dreadful s2 in preparation for s3 which starts in May reminded me that my disgruntlement with aspects of s2 notwithstanding, there were some aspects I adored. Ferdinand Lyle getting fleshed out and becoming a character showing up in every episode, for example. He could so easily have come across as a caricature, but instead both Simon Russell Beale and the writing make you feel for him, adore his flamboyance, his default flirting with the male regulars, his dignity even while being blackmailed. Spoiler for s2 ensues. ) I really must remember to ask for Lyle this Yuletide - how I could I have forgotton?

Meanwhile, a trip to the AO3 introduced me to this great Vanessa character vid:

Opheliac (0 words) by LithiumDoll
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Penny Dreadful (TV)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Mina Harker/Vanessa Ives, Ethan Chandler/Vanessa Ives, Dorian Gray/Vanessa Ives
Characters: Vanessa Ives, Ethan Chandler, Sir Malcolm Murray, Mina Harker, Victor Frankenstein, Joan Clayton, Dorian Gray
Additional Tags: Spiders, so many spiders, Embedded Video, Video
Summary:

How could you possibly think you had the power to know how to keep me breathing

selenak: (Eva Green)
Before I catch the train which I'll be on for the rest of the day, a few links:

Penny Dreadful: Titan Books will do a comics prequel, which on the one hand, yay, on the other, will the medium be able to catch the glorious screwed upness of the Vanessa and Malcolm relationship, which, let's be real, is what I most want from a prequel?

Black Sails: unrelated to yesterday's issue, concise post on another issue, to wit, why my sympathies are entirely with Max (and Eleanor), not Jack, in last episode's development, here.

Tolkien: great essay in the TLS by [personal profile] rozk, here.

Oscars: one of the weirdest moments was when a bunch of people, led by Alejandro Iñárritu, refused to applaud for costume designer Jenny Beavan. Satiric take on that one.
selenak: (Malcolm and Vanessa)
Saturday = Black Sails day! Ah, the joys and torments of open canon. I want to write meta about how the show uses the term "partners " pretty badly, and how nearly all its main characters either seek, confirm or reject partnership to one or several of the other main characters - the notable exceptions are Billy & anyone. There are so many useful quotes - from Max, from Anne, from Jack, from both Hamiltons (both times with Flint as the adressee, of course), from Eleanor - and how Silver's statement to Flint in 3.03 both compares and contrasts with the other examples. Also how that connects to John Silver's overall character development. But with the ongoing season delivering something meaty in terms of character scenes every episode, I think I'll restrain myself until the season is over.

Teaser trailer for season 3 of Penny Dreadful. The second season was a bit uneven, but I am still looking forward to the third one. Reunite the team, John Logan, plan your season arc a bit better, and never stop letting the amazing Eva Green chew up the scenery. Also, the fact there's a shot of the three Pyramids of Gizeh makes me hope again I shall finally get my walking Mummy. And it better be *spoilery character whose s2 fate I'm still disgruntled with*, though fine, I'll take other Mummys, too.


Any horror, no matter how gory, is better than current day reality. See also this article:

How America made Donald Trump Unstoppable: Quote from article, summing up the central argument: Trump found the flaw in the American Death Star. It doesn't know how to turn the cameras off, even when it's filming its own demise.

No kidding. He's getting more coverage than any other candidate, and the idea of him (or any of the other Republican candidates, given their voiced views and record) in the White House scares me almost more than our own right wing nutters on the rise. (Not because they're better, because the US President can do more global damage.)

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