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Jan. 29th, 2012

fresian

boogieshoes

Holding post for LJ activity

Also posting a holding post on library_alex, because I haven't been able to do so much with this guy, either.  so many dreams, so little time...

-bs

Jul. 17th, 2010

fresian

boogieshoes

post so this thing won't be deleted

because i have plans for it.  but they're not happening yet. :-p

-bs
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Oct. 3rd, 2007

fresian

boogieshoes

beggar's ride, by inkling

Well, RL sort of burped a crisis at me, but i'm trying to get back into the swing of things.  i've been thinking about reviewing 'beggar's ride', by inkling, for a long time now.  here it is.

Title: Beggar's Ride
Author: Inkling
Fandom: The Sentinel
Length: Novel
Status: Complete
Available at: http://tslibrary.skeeter63.org/authors/auth-inkling.htm
Genre:  This is a mystery piece, and the topics it touches on are pretty angsty.  It's 'Gen', as in, no sex involved, but it's definately a mature-themes piece.

Summary:

(Quoting from the author's summary, here, because she did a good job.)  Late March, 1998 and things are a bit slow in Cascade for the guys. Between dreams and late night phone calls, Blair's beauty sleep is suffering. Jim is digging through old files looking for a case to solve, and no one is surprised when his trek through Cascade P.D.'s archives turns up a bit more than dust bunnies.  


Sep. 17th, 2007

fresian

boogieshoes

Gil Hale's Unforgotten

Title: Unforgotten
Author: Gil Hale
Fandom: Magnificent 7 
Length: Novella
Status: Complete, Standalone
Available At: in full at http://www.thebrowsery.us/gilhale/m7-fiction/unforgotten.shtml
or in parts at http://www.thebrowsery.us/gilhale/m7-fiction/unforgotten1.shtml
Genre: Action/ Adventure, this takes place in the ATF AU in Magnificent Seven fandom
 
Summary:
Chris Larabee, the leader of ATF Team 7, has been missing for months.  Team 7 is devastated by the loss, and is slowly, but surely breaking apart, even as they try to continue with their respective lives.  In one last-ditch effort, Vin Tanner and Ezra Standish find a slim lead, and decide to follow it, a decision which leads to the discovery of an old evil nesting right under their noses.  And with each step further along their path lies more danger for them, for Chris, and for several unfortunate innocents, swept up in the tides of fortune.

Analysis: 
A mild introduction is in order for those of you who don't follow Magnificent 7 fandom.  Magnificent 7 has gone through a lot of incarnations in the movies, and sometime around the late 80's/ early 90's it was made into a tv series starring Micheal Biehn, Eric Close, Ron Pearlman, Andrew Kavovit, Dale Midkiff, Anthony Starke, and Rick Worthy as the title characters.  I am not a fan of western movies, but I expect I will acquire some of the original movies just for comparison purposes - it's really interesting how the characterizations evolve through different directors, media, and cultures (Magnificent 7 is a rip-off of the Japanese tale of the Seven Samurai).

With that in mind, and added to the tendency of fanfic authors to re-imagine characters in various settings, it should come as no surprise that one of the authors within the tv fandom, MOG, re-imagined the 7 in the present day, as ATF agents based in Denver.   This is one of the most popular AUs I've ever seen, and it's easy to see why:  we need heros today, and the Magnificent 7 are the sort of heros we need.  One of the things about Magnificent 7 fandom is that AUs are often left 'open' to other authors, ie, although MOG came up with this idea, she has no qualms about other people writing in this universe, provided she's credited with the original idea.  This is something of a brilliant idea - it is by no means original to Mag7 or MOG, but nonetheless, the creativity it invites is stunning.

And thus we come to this story:  Gil Hale has written a(nother) stunning work in the ATF AU in the Magnificent 7 fandom.  It opens with a quick, gut-wrenching hook: we see through the eyes of an amnesiac, and we wonder with him who he is.  The reason this hook works so well is that it plays on one of our basic fears, and basic questions:  who we are is an essential part of are lives, and we all fear not knowing that answer, we all fear the feeling of helplessness and being adrift that that entails.  More, we've all done enough soul-searching that we understand, a little bit, that greater fear.

The story unfolds that the amnesiac is Chris Larabee, and he has been missing for several months.  4 of his agents, Josiah, Nathan, JD, and Buck struggle to continue life, not believing he is dead, but unable to remain focused on what might amount to a lost cause as the other two, Vin and Ezra, do.  Vin and Ezra, instead of moving on, have been obsessing over finding Chris, chasing every lead, no matter how slim, or how much trouble they get into.  Orrin Travis has covered for them all he can, but must suspend them due to their insubordination and increasingly rough handling of just about everything and everyone involved in any lead they chase.  In addition, Orrin is thinking of disbanding the team due to circumstances. 

Unforgotten is told in 3rd person limited - we can see in to the heads of all the characters, but we only learn the story as they do.  There are at least three different threads playing on the theme of being unforgotten:  Chris, and his struggle to regain himself in the hospital; Vin and Ezra, and their struggle to find Chris; and the main bad guy's struggle to remember his heritage, and his ethos and morality.

One of the key things to remember in a piece told with several different viewpoints is to limit how many viewpoints you use to those that are absolutely necessary to get the point across.  Gil Hale does this skillfully, and with style and grace.  She weaves the plot subtly, so that you get glimpses of, bits and hints of what's really going on, and when you know the truth, it's still horrifying, even as it shouldn't be.

Gil Hale is one of my favorite writers, and reading this story is one of the best examples why.  

-bs

Aug. 28th, 2007

fresian

boogieshoes

oh, the funny!

And because I needed a laugh today, and thought others might also, i'm posting this bit:

Title: The Book of Fanfic
Author: Manna
Length: Short
Available At: Re-printed in Whole
Genre: Meta Humor in Fanfic



Aug. 22nd, 2007

fresian

boogieshoes

Better Late Than Never - Unsung, by Legion

I had wanted to post this yesterday, but I had a little tummy problem which led to me being in bed most of the day, feeling cr*ppy.  The hope going forward is that on Tuesday, I post a fanfic review, and Thursday I post a published fic review.

Title: Unsung
Author: Legion (not sure of LJ name)
Fandom: The Sentinel
Length: Short
Status: Stand-Alone
Available At: http://mymongoose.populli.net/msol3/legtxt.htm
Genre: Action/ Adventure, Drama, Disaster Story, Marking this AU since it is a disaster story.


Summary:

There are so many ways to summarize this story, but I think possibly the best way is that this story is about when to take things on faith.  When do you stop questioning every little thing, as fascinating as they are, and go with your instincts, despite the fact that you really don't have good, concrete reasons to do so?  In this piece, Jim senses something awful in the wind, and Blair encourages him to go with it.  It's difficult not to give too much away here, for those who haven't read it, because the type and style of disaster is essential to the plotline.  But the main thing is, Jim's instincts are right on the money on this one, and the result is that things wind up much better than they could have been.



Analysis:

Beautiful.  That's one of the best words to describe this piece.  The best thing about this story is that it showcases the very best a sentinel and guide pair can be.  It's an uplifting piece, even out of context with the source text or the rest of Sentinel fanfiction.  In context, it's even more impactful.  

The Sentinel source canon describes a sentinel who is broken, for all intents and purposes, who is struggling with his senses, and what they mean to him as a person, as a cop, and is especially struggling with how to integrate those senses into his life without that life imploding on him.  Blair, as Jim's Guide, is equally non-functional, in the beginning.  He doesn't know what he's doing, really, he's not confident of his own gifts and uniqueness, and he's missing the point of his own brass ring.  A large part of Sentinel canon is the story of how these two misfits come into their own, and how they learn to depend on each other, despite social taboos that say they shouldn't, and how they learn to use their gifts, which modern-day scientific wisdom says is all a bunch of hooey.

Sentinel fanfic AUs often build on that broken-ness.  I can name 3 AUs off the top of my head where the sentinel-guide relationship is stretched and distorted due to circumstance.  Where the struggle is just to have a life one can live with, never mind such concepts as functioning appropriately or being efficient and good at what you do.  And then there's things like Virg Vaughn's Damned, which, while good (incredible, excellent!), carries this bitter glass metaphor to the horrific extreme.

In this context, Unsung reminds me somewhat of 'The Two Trees' sung by Loreena McKinnot - which describes two states of mind using trees as metaphors.  The bitter glass's image is of a tree dying and in pain, with crows in it's branches cawing and mocking passers-by cruelly.  The picture is one of the heart's despair.  Unsung, however, is the second tree, the second image.  Unsung 'gaze(s) no more into the bitter glass'.  Instead, the tree shown is bright and green with leaves.  Squirells play in the branches, and children enjoy the shade.  Unsung is an AU potraying the sentinel and his guide as they was meant to be: at the top of their game, working efficiently and effectively together as a *team*, warning their tribe of disaster, and making the disaster as minimally painful as possible.

The main thing that doesn't work for me about this story is more of a nitpick issue than a huge one.  More of an 'well, if I wrote this, I would have done it this way...' thing.  And that is the slash relationship peeking through at the end of the story.  There's enough drama here, enough story here, that it's completely un-necessary to have that bit.  Seriously, you could have completely taken it out, and the story would still be just as beautiful.  On the other hand, it's not an *intrusive* thing.  The minor slashy introduction doesn't detract from the main story line at all.  It's just that as an artistic choice, I would have written it as a missing scene adjunct to the main piece.

-bs

Aug. 17th, 2007

fresian

boogieshoes

hurricane's a-coming!

due to the upcoming hurricane (dean), this spot may be quiet for a while, although other community members may feel free to post and discuss as they wish.  i will try to post tonight a couple of pieces i've been meaning to discuss, but don't hold your breath.

i will also be sure to keep everyone informed of my status.

-bs, mod hat on

EDIT 8/20/2007:  Yay, the 'cane's going to Mexico!  well, not yay for the mexicans, but my books are safe, at least.
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Aug. 8th, 2007

fresian

boogieshoes

Library Open for Business

Ok, the two grand opening posts - 1 for fiction and 1 for fanfiction - are up.  I now invite my community members to post their own reading experiences.  Fanfic, Pro-fic, as long as it's tagged appropriately, have at.

One thing I'd like some help on - does anyone have any icons I can use for this community?  Specifically, I'd like a moderator icon.

-bs, in the moderator hat
Tags:
fresian

boogieshoes

Grand Opening - Published Fiction

Title: Moon Called
Author: Patricia Briggs
Fandom:
N/A, Pro-fic
Length:
Novel
Status:
Standalone, complete
Available At:  
your local bookstore, or Amazon.com
Genre:  
SF/F, urban fantasy

Summary:

Mercy Thompson lives in a little Oregon backwater where not all is as it seems.  There are werewolves and vampire mafia, and fae, and on a good day, Mercy only has to deal with her Alpha werewolf neighbor.  But it's been a bad week for Mercy, what with baby werewolves showing up on the doorstep to her auto repair shop,  her neighbor being set up to be murdered, and his daughter being kidnapped.  It's a good thing Mercy is a skinwalker, a being who can change into a coyote at will, because she'll need all the advantages she can get to get everything back to normal.

Analysis:

If the Harry Dresden series is a darker, gritter version of the Anita Blake stuff sans sex, then the Mercy Thompson books are a bit lighter.  Not fluffy, or even fluffier, but Mercy's angst is told through a subtle, self-deprecating sense of humor.  The story is told from Mercy's POV, first person.  What I like about Mercy's personality is that unlike Anita, she doesn't angst about sex or killing people or all the stuff you want to just slap Anita for.  She angsts about normal things, in a normal way.  What I like about this universe is that, despite the serious subject matters covered and touched on, there's a slight sense of the rediculous - you get the sense that Mercy is viewing the supernatural world as though it's full of a bunch of keystone cops.  I also like how the werewolves are presented in this book - there's a lot in the werewolf dynamics that punch buttons fully developed by slash fanfiction. 

So, is there anything I didn't like about this book?  No, actually, I like it all, except that it ended too early.  It's very tightly written, and there's nothing in there that doesn't need to be in there.  It makes for a smaller novel than I'm used to reading by about 50-75 pages or so, but I have this thing about gratuitous junk in my entertainment, so I'm willing to make the trade for smaller books given a tighter write.  I've already read the second book in the series, Blood Bound, and I can't wait till book number 3 comes out this fall.

-bs

Aug. 2nd, 2007

fresian

boogieshoes

Grand Opening - Fanfiction


Title: Magical Cage
Author: lit_gal
Fandom: SG-1, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Crossover
Length: Novella
Status: Standalone, complete
Available At:   http://www.litgal.org/ficsg1.htm
Genre:  
Action/ Adventure



Summary:

Travel via Stargate is old hat to Col. Jack O'Niell by now: stumble out the other side, say hello to quixotic humanoids, trade a few baubles, and hope the Jaffa don't show up.  Except that this time, it's not.  After a particularly rough gate ride, Jack stumbles onto another dimension with not only his team (Daniel, Sam, and Teal'c), but also three kids right behind him.  Only this isn't just another planet, this is another dimension, and these aren't just any kids, but experts at saving the world from demons and vampires and other creepy-crawlies that go bump in the night.

Analysis:


I really liked this piece.  Ensemble pieces are very difficult for any author to do because handling that many different characters can get very confusing for both reader and writer.  The more primary characters a piece has, the more quirky and unique each one has to be so the audience can tell them apart.  Lit_gal handles this very well by telling the story through Jack's point of view.  In this manner, we see a very strong characterization of the Stargate characters.  What Jack notices about his teammates, and how he reacts to them shows the reader both the important personality characteristics of Sam, Daniel, and Teal'c, while allowing the reader to glean from his commentary the important characteristics of Jack's personality. 

The new characters being introduced - namely Spike, Xander, and Willow - are under Jack's close surveillance.  Both the reader and Jack are introduced to these characters in a very natural, effortless manner, because Jack's behavior of close scrutiny is not only completely natural for him, it's also a totally appropriate  response to the situation.  This is another reason  that choosing Jack as the viewpoint character was a good idea: it is completely within Jack's character to be so completely aware of the others around him that describing them does not come off as awkward.  It is possible that Teal'c would also be a choice person for the point of view character, except that I suspect what he considers important would make the story turn from an action/adventure into a character study.

What didn't work for me was the deus ex machina in the end.  It's true, the Stargate universe is sort of built for the deus ex machina technique, and probably uses it to the fullest possible extent.  But having yet another all-powerful character show up and save our heroes' collective butts was just too much.  I think Willow should have been able to do an appropriate spell, and/or Sam should have whipped up something, and Daniel should have died while Teal'c and Jack save the world, Spike and Xander discover Daniel miraculously healed, and they all get home in the nick of time.  Now that I write that all out, I realize how silly it sounds... and yet, it would have been much more true to the tone of the story, and tone of both shows, I think.

This piece works because there is little to no exposition, and you don't have to be familiar with either universe to get what's going on.  It's definitely good for a fun little ride.

-bs

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