melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2015-01-13 06:42 pm

Yuletide fandoms

Oh right, Yuletide was a thing that happened, wasn't it.

Let's talk about this week's episodes of The Librarians, shall we? It continues to be gloriously predictable in a very enjoyable way. Also I'm finally starting to get properly fannish feels about the Librarianettes, so yay! I can't believe the season is almost over already? But that's probably good because let's face it this is about as long as I can manage to keep up with a currently-airing TV show these days. Maybe I'll actually pick up Agent Carter next?

So.. Jenkins is Galahad now? Which means Lancelot is his dad? But Du Lac called him "brother." Maybe Dulaque isn't actually Lancelot then, he's a half-brother of Galahad's, or somebody else who's using the name? Maybe he's another adopted kid of the Lady of the Lake?

Anyway I've decided I don't care I still ship it. :P

Also I hope I'm not the only one who wants Baird/Morgana hateshipping now. I'm not the only one, am I? SO MUCH FOE-YAY.

And I'm finally actually feeling the Ezekiel/Cassandra/Jake OT3 vibes, with maybe a stop at Ezekiel/Cassandra along the way. I hope we get enough more show to have time for that to grow. (Also that there is minimal Flynn/Baird in the finale eps. It was okay but so boring compared to Baird/Morgana other stuff they could be developing, right?)

So for yuletide I wrote about the conspiracy of evil Librarians who are trying to keep magic from leaking back into the world. ^_^

Five Times Leavenworth Smedry Was Late Returning A Book (And One Time He Wasn't) (5257 words) by melannen
Chapters: 6/6
Fandom: Alcatraz Series - Brandon Sanderson
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Leavenworth Smedry, Shasta Smedry, Himalaya Smedry, Bastille Broadmoor, Alcatraz Smedry, Kanchenjunga Sarketjåkkå, Attica Smedry
Additional Tags: implied Alcatraz/Bastille, Future Fic, pov: librarian, Libraries, Yuletide 2014, implied Kanchenjunga/Leavenworth, Tentacles, librarian in-jokes, Dinosaurs, Books, Sexual Harassment, 5+1 Things, Lateness, Time Shenanigans
Summary:
Ranganathan's Five Laws of Non-Evil Library Science are:
Books are for use.
Every reader its book.
Every book its reader.
Save the time of the reader.
The library is a growing organism.

Dealing with Smedry talents, however, can make them difficult to remember, even for a Reformed Librarian.





This story has feathered dinosaurs, librarian in-jokes, grandparent shipping, a documentary framework, and a metatastic frist person POV, so basically everything you'd expect in a story by me. You may have seen it without the "(And One Time He Wasn't)" in the title because, of course, Leavenworth was late returning the sixth part, so it didn't get posted until right before reveals.

..so I signed up for that fandom at the last minute because [personal profile] the_rck mentioned that nobody had and her prompts looked fun, and I'd seen it cross the desk at the library and had been meaning to read it. It's just four kids' novels so I figured it would be an easy enough canon to pick up, I can read a longish kids' novel in two hours or so.

I should have remembered - it was right in the title of the books - that libraries are evil. We did have the whole series, but books two and four were only available as e-audiobooks. In a format incompatible with my audio player. So it ended up taking me way longer than it should have to get through canon and there was some mild panic there at a few points.

But I'm glad I offered it! I really enjoyed the series, I had a heck of a lot of fun writing the fic (mild deadline panic aside) and [personal profile] the_rck either didn't hate it or did a really good job hiding her dislike, so I thnk everything turned out ok.

The Alcatraz Smedry Series - for the vast majority of you who have never heard of it - is about a preteen boy in foster care who suddenly encounters a strange old man who claims to be his grandfather. And then a bunch of even stranger cousins, as he is drawn into the long-running war between the forces of the Free Kingdoms and the forces of the Librarians.

I actually didn't like the first book as much as I'd hoped - it portrayed a sad ignorance of what evil librarians actually do all day, the "orphan kid discovers he is special, fights evil despite inherent incompetence" plot is not all that exciting at this point, and the super-self-aware POV tricks were trying WAY too hard to attract the Lemony Snicket audience. And then the second book was literally just a dungeon crawl (a fun dungeon crawl, through the secret underground stacks of the Library of Alexandria, haunted by skeletal curators that will give you any book you want to tell you how to escape any trap if you just sign over your soul, but still - a dungeon crawl.)

I was intrigued by all of the characters we met, though, and the story improves a lot in later books as everything gets exponentially more complex, and the POV becomes less annoyingly "I'm trying to be clever and ironic" and more endearingly "oh, hey, I've established this narrator voice that means I can do WHATEVER stupid writer tricks I want and get away with them, let's just have fun."

Also, the worldbuilding is really intriguingly different than any fantasy I've read before. The Free Kingdoms use a technology based on glass made out of special kinds of sand, called Silimatics, which allows them to do things like store and transfer energy, communicate over a distance, and all sorts of other things. There are also certain people with special abilities called Oculators, who can make lenses held in front of their eyes do all sorts of even more special things, which the Free Kingdomers consider magic.

A long, long time ago, a group of people with access to a lot of oculatory powers decided that the glass technologies were too powerful to be safe, and established territories in which all of the Silimatic technologies and Oculator powers were carefully hidden away and erased from history. These people were Librarians, and the lands they continue to rule are the lands we live in.

Alcatraz gets slowly introduced to the Free Kingdoms - the lands outside the Librarians' conspiracy of silence - via his various Free Kingdomer friends and relations, who are all quite smug about how evil the Librarians are and how much better the Free Kingdoms are in all ways. I got pretty annoyed by this after awhile, because the Free Kingdoms are ruled by an authoritarian nobility that doesn't seem to be that much more devoted to "transparency" than the Librarians are. But as the series went on, it began to be hinted at more and more that maybe things aren't as black and white as they seem, and maybe the Librarians aren't entirely wrong. We'll see what happens in the last book!

Anyway, other than Silimatics and Oculators, the Free Kingdoms also have Smedrys, and Smedrys have Smedry talents. Alcatraz is a Smedry. His Talent is breaking things. His grandfather Leavenworth Smedry's talent is being late to appointments. Other Smedry Talents include tripping, making inappropriate noises, saying very awkward things very loudly at the worst possible times, getting unbelievable amounts of water everywhere while washing dishes, being bad at math, and so on.

These Talents, obviously, make the Smedrys basically unkillable and give a large advantage to the Free Kingdomers side whenever they have a Smedry around.

I kind of want these books to have a large fandom just so I can BS with people about what our Smedry talents are and strategize on how to use them. (Mine is that I can't get laces to stay tied. Since my shoelaces are never tied it has all the advantages of the tripping talent plus I can make other people trip. Also tripwires aren't much trouble and never try to tie me up. If I was in really serious trouble I might even be able to do terrible things to the Threads of Destiny but don't test me on that.)
jadelennox: Porn Librarian: "Librarians Are Sexy" (liberrian: sexy)

[personal profile] jadelennox 2015-01-14 03:14 am (UTC)(link)
It sounds like the books, much like the TV show, posit "librarians" as a word for people who keep knowledge from others. Which, aargh, I'm more fine with in the context of a fantasy series where that's known as evil. It drives me up the wall when it's posited as heroic of librarians to remove knowledge from the world.

Preservation and access, people. That's what we do.

...except at Harvard.
zlabya: two bird-like creatures with a stack of books and text: "Librarians Rule!" (LibrarianGushoshin)

[personal profile] zlabya 2015-01-15 12:58 am (UTC)(link)
Augh, Harvard!! Hideously expensive interlibrary loan fees, among other things. Princeton isn't much better, and they both have amazingly huge collections. 8-(
fay_e: Text: I'm dreaming away, wishing that heroes they truly exist (wishing heroes exist)

[personal profile] fay_e 2015-01-14 09:27 am (UTC)(link)
I already have the real life habit of walking into the corners of tables and door handles and anything that's jutting out of a mostly flat surface and getting epic bruises. (... I sometimes walk into the side of my piano keyboard. Because it's an upright piano so that's the bit that sticks out the most.) So I guess my Smedry talent is making people walk into things. (He ran into my knife ten times a la Chicago?)
fay_e: Text: how she rocks in keds and tube socks (rocks keds and tube socks)

[personal profile] fay_e 2015-01-15 04:58 am (UTC)(link)
Alas I should probably read the books to get a better idea. I am totally down for knocking Unexpectedly Significant Artefacts off shelves, but hopefully the talent comes with just coming away with bruises, otherwise setting off traps prematurely could still be very painful. (Oh! The body gripping trap only got my leg instead of snapping me in half! ... I'll just leave my leg behind shall I)

I bet in the Alcatraz series you could get a university degree in studying Smedry talents.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)

[personal profile] twistedchick 2015-01-14 03:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I thought Morgan said Gaheris, not Galahad. That would put a different spin on things.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2015-01-18 02:04 am (UTC)(link)
I just assumed the captioning was correct. Using Galeas makes viewers work for the information at least a bit, so that it's sort of an Easter egg for those who know Arthuriana. (I admit I didn't recognize it. I went to Wikipedia because I assumed it was important.)

I did really enjoy the Alcatraz story you wrote me. I wasn't sure what I was expecting for five times Leavenworth was late, but you really delivered. I liked all of the details like Alcatraz returning all of his books mangled or otherwise destroyed. He would. I'm also curious about the details of the elided scene with Kanchenjunga. I can see why Shasta would stop there, but it doesn't stop me being interested.

I'm sorry you had so much trouble getting the canon-- For what it's worth, the audiobooks are pretty good.

I'm intrigued by what looks like the end game for book five with Attica as a villain of sorts. Stopping him seems a lot more important than the war with the Librarians. I had wondered why the Librarians didn't raise Alcatraz inside their ranks, even if his gift would have caused chaos. Having a mainline Smedry working for them would have been invaluable, but if Shasta's long game was always a plan to oppose Attica, what she did with Alcatraz makes more sense.