Sunday, December 9, 2018

Diary of a fic-reading challenge, second part

My log of pursuing the "Three Patch Podcast Challenge" -- reading all of the fics in the show notes for their December episode in the month of December -- continues.

December 7

I had a class last night, so I didn't get much reading in. Basically, I'm counting the novel-length A Fold in the Universe as being read in two nights, even though it was seven minutes past midnight when I finished it tonight. darkest_bird is a seriously good writer, and one who has that skill I've always struggled with: making characters earn their pay-offs. We all want to get to the good parts as soon as possible, and as writers, we have that power. Unfortunately, the true force of any fiction is the anticipation. The journey. The "oh boy, I know what's coming next!" (Funny how knowing what's coming next is both the worst thing and the best thing that can happen to a reader . . . it's a wonderful trick to make someone sure something is coming yet tantalize them with it at the same time.)

And while the porn side of two characters with male genitalia doesn't do anything for me, A Fold in the Universe very deftly displayed that romance IS romance. It's twin pairs of Sherlock/John couples had me with very dewey eyes as their love stories culminated at the end of the novel. "Love is love is love" loses a touch of its romance as serving as a viable social action slogan, but the core truth of it is completely romantic: Love is love is love, and an able story-teller can show us the bridge over any of our personal barriers with the right tale.

Ye gods, if enough writers keep up the pace this month, I doubt I'll be able to see Holmes and Watson as anything but lovers come January.

December 8

Back to a shortie or two. Yesterday, I tweeted about how telling anyone you've read one fanfic story will cause four new ones to pop up, and my challenge list is growing, thanks to Twitter. I added (and read "Crossing the Threshold" by janto32 (FaceofMer) a short Omegaverse fic, and now I'm back to "A Beginner's Guide to Apiology." And with that, I'm suffering a bit from the big flaw in this forced pace of fic-reading. Most readers are not going to put down a very action-filled Omegaverse novel and immediately pick up a more slow-moving tale of senior citizen Sherlock and John finding each other, which is probably how I was easily lured over to "Crossing the Threshold" for a time. But all the usual distractions of the weekend are keeping me away from my task well enough.

December 9

Finished "A Beginner's Guide to Apiology." These boys . . . I'm going to have to find some fic of other characters in the pile, lest Sherlock and John just start seeming insanely obsessed with each other, across universes, across time, like one of those Dracula tales where he just can't get his mind off that one woman in his past and always looks for reincarnations of her. It's a big world, full of a wonderful variety of blood-filled people, Vlad-baby! Have a little fun!

I'm not following any order with these and, ironically, I wind up going from old incarnations to young ones. the first of the Celestial Bodies series by songlin, "Tremble."  AAANNNNDDDD, I'm back in Omegaverse fic. Since I'm pulling these for Three Patch's "Fics of Your Heart Roundtable," I'm thinking the Patchers like them some Omegaverse. And I'm good with that.

"Tremble" starts like an Omegaverse Young Sherlock Holmes, but puberty is a thing in that sort of world that has its own issues. Since I first learned about this genre of fic at a 221B Con panel that songlin was a part of, I'm really glad to find that she writes as well as she talks about it. Curious as to where Celestial Bodies goes next, but after taking one novel-length ABO break already, I need to keep sampling and come back later.

WHOA! Big gear shift! "Forever 1895" from the Forever Freeman series by alexxphoenix42 is that mythical beastie I've heard of, the Benedict-Cumberbatch-and-Martin-Freeman-find-love-with-each-other genre. One thing I haven't noted so far is the period setting of so many of these fics -- not period in the story itself, but period in which the tale was written, where the author lacked knowledge of future episodes which is all the past to us now. Worlds without Eurus, or where a bit more Johnlock showed up in the show. This one comes before the Christmas special, with expectations that never played out.

"What To Do When Your Flatmate is Homicidal" by hyacinth_sky747 -- not sure I fully understand what "crack" is at this point in fic-world, but I suspect this might be it? Funny/quirky in that "Sherlock is very different mentally" sort of take. Being a sort who has always related more to Holmes than Watson, it might be mildly offensive to me? I don't know, but it didn't taste right. (Oh, for some reason, I've started referring to my experience of reading through flavor sensations. Not sure if all this fic is rewiring my brain somehow.)

Working the Edges by earlgreytea68 gets me into that first variant-profession Johnlock fic of this challenge, and it's a skating fic.  Big fan of The Cutting Edge, so Sherlock the figure skater and John the hockey player, set at the Winter Olympics, is a comfortable AU for me. Changing their professions always seems to become an exploration of their personalities, like the writers are white-lab-coated scientists dropped their Sherlock and John mice into new environments to see how they respond. Really a good test of a writer's feel for the characters.

Let me tell you, though, I'm starting to feel like I'm in Orphan Black or a certain episode of The Good Place, where all of the characters look like one actor. By the time this challenge is done, I'm going to see everyone as Benedict Cumberbatch Sherlock and Martin Freeman Watson. Which might make . . .  well, we'll leave that thought half-written.

I can understand why some Sherlockians who were once completist, "all Sherlock is good Sherlock" sorts like to pretend the great sea of fan fiction does not exist. Not because they wouldn't enjoy some of it, if they actually got the right stuff -- I mean, you can't read non-Doyle Sherlock without getting into somebody's fanfic eventually, even if it s professionally packaged. But THERE IS JUST SO MUCH OF IT!! I've not even really scraped the surface over the past seven days and I'm starting to feel like a Lovecraft character whose mind is just trying to process the full scope of what his eyes have seen. (Did the old gods create A03? I'm starting to have suspicions.)

Anyway, more to come.

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