melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2011-11-21 03:16 pm

Yuletide Letter 2011

Hi yuletide person! And anyone else who is nosing around.

Sorry if this letter turns out to be a bit late - sign-ups caught me a bit unexpectedly this year.

If you followed the link in your assignment, it should have taken you to my fandom:yuletide tag, which has author letters going back years and years, which is convenient, because vast swaths of this letter are cribbed from previous ones. Nearly everything in my journal is unlocked - feel free to poke around.

First things first: I am not picky at all. I'll read and enjoy pretty much anything, as long as you punctuate your dialogue correctly and double-space between paragraphs, and I only pick yuletide fandoms where I'd be delighted with anything at all in the fandom, so if you don't want any more information, you are encouraged to stop reading now. If you write something you enjoy writing about characters you love, I know I'll enjoy reading it, too.

If you want more advice: I have a list of 101 Near-Bulletproof Narrative Kinks which you are more than welcome to mine for ideas. I am also a sucker for crossovers of all kinds, and no, I don't particularly care if I know the other fandom(s) (though of course that helps.) I've also been rather mooning over AUs of all kinds lately - not sure what that's about, but there it is - so if you have an AU idea, no matter how far out, go for it! Of course if you want to write something perfectly canon-based and sedate that will also make me happy. Slash/het/other/romance/gen; explicit, non-explicit, kinky, vanilla, cracky, realistic, humor, character death: it's all good.

I am also hereby volunteering [personal profile] stellar_dust as my go-between again, if you have questions and don't want to go through the mods.

Here's some more about the fandoms I requested:

Miss Madelyn Mack, Detective: I'd love a Madelyn/Nora story. Or a Madelyn, World Traveller adventure. Or a Madelyn & Nora casefile. Or something with Madelyn and Nora and Thorny, which is fascinatingly complicated. Or anything with Ariel and Jacqueline - femmeslash, backstory, character vignette, suspenseful shenanigans... or a Sherlock Holmes crossover, or a crossover with anything else, or something during the Great War, or something steampunky, or any AU, or, well, anything really.

Miss Madelyn Mack is a genderswapped Sherlock Holmes series written in pre-WWI New York City. Except, as I have scientifically determined, Madelyn is far better than Sherlock Holmes.

If that intrigues you, the entire series is out of copyright and can be downloaded legally in a pretty good ebook from archive.org: The Complete Madelyn Mack. Also, I comment you to the fandom:madelyn mack tag on my journal, which is probably the best source on the internet for Madelyn Mack information. If you aren't familiar with this fandom but are intrigued (or are worried by all my other requests), never fear: I learned about Madelyn a few years ago when she showed up on my yuletide assignment! And look how far we've come.

My suggestions up there are mostly self-explanatory, and you're welcome to pull any ideas out of my previous Madelyn Mack posts as well! I'd really love an Ariel/Jacqueline story, wherein they are awesome, or even just something that explores Jacqueline as a person. Any sort of adventure or casefile story with any of the characters from the series would be great. And I love anything set during WWI or dealing with the aftermath of the war and/or the flu. RE: crossovers: if you like any of the other series about women detectives from this vague time period (Amelia Peabody, Mary Russell, Harriet Vane, Irene Adler, the Alienist, etc and so on.) I would be delighted to have them meet Madelyn & Company, but other crossovers are also good!

I find the Nora/Thorny romance fascinating - it's the obvious parallel to John/Mary in Holmes fandom, and about as well-developed, but the genderswap makes the dynamics so different. I find it believable for all the characters, and Nora might even think that marrying him is her happy-ever-after, but I don't believe for a second that she will be able to settle in to being nothing but a proper housewife (any more than John Watson was able to be nothing but a proper physician and husband.) So a story about how Thorny and Nora and Madelyn come to a new equilibrium, or about Nora coming back to Madelyn in the ashes of her marriage, or anything along those lines could be great.

Of course if you want to ignore Thorny and write me Madelyn/Nora fluff that would also be great!

Or you could write an AU where they're space pirates. Whatever!

The Adventures of Lucky Starr by Isaac Asimov writing as Paul French - I would like Conway/Henree fic, please! It doesn't have to be romantic/sexual (although it would be nifty if it was) but I mostly just want a story about Lucky's two dads and their relationship. Them as working fathers, or their POV while Lucky was with the Sirians in the last book, or Bigman's POV on their relationship, or Conway/Henree/Science, or just a romance vignette, or something about how relationships actually work in that society, or something when they were young with David and Barbara, or anything with them really!

... I don't know why I used the phrase "single fathers" in my request. In my defense I was half-asleep at the time; Conway and Henree are most emphatically not single; they are about as married as it is possible to be without an on-page wedding.

Actually lately I've been kind of describing this to myself as one of those Harry Potter AUs where Sirius and Remus adopt Harry instead, only with more space pirates.

Lucky Starr is a series of juvenile science fiction novels from the early '50s that were originally supposed to introduce a space-adventure TV show for kids about the Space Ranger, but when the show wasn't picked up, Asimov kept writing them anyway. There are six short novels (put all six of them together and you get one modern SF brick) which take Lucky and friends traveling all around the Solar System, fighting evil, and exploring 1950s space science and 1950s sociology- if you're at all into retrofuturism, you'll probably like these books. (if you're not into retrofuturism, you might like them anyway; they're ripping fun adventures with SCIENCE! and there's nothing in them that's any more offensive than stuff that's still getting published today.)

They aren't out of copyright, but here is a .zip of the ebooks anyway, just to supplement the legal copies you probably already own: Lucky Star.zip. ;)

Here is the story of Conway and Henree: they went to Hogwartscollege together with James Potter David Starr, and the three of them were fast friends and always top of their class. After graduation, they all joined the AurorsCouncil of Science together, and David married his true love, LilyBarbara. The two of them had a son, HarryDavid Jr, and were sent off on a mission to the outer planets, but on the way there, their ship was attacked by Voldemortspace pirates, and Barbara and David were killed defending their son, but somehow, miraculously, their son survived, despite being exposed to the killing cursethe radiation of space, which some people think may have given him superpowers. As a result he got the nickname The Boy Who LivedLucky.

Lucky was adopted by David's old friends Sirius BlackAugustus Henree and Remus LupinHector Conway, who raised him up into a hero like his father. Meanwhile they themselves climbed the ranks of the Council of Science, and by the time Lucky himself qualified for the Council, Conway was Chief of the Council (a position everyone knew would have gone to David's father if he'd lived.)

So basically what I want is Sirius/Remus kidfic IN SPACE, except that I was shipping Henree/Conway before Harry was more than a twinkle in Jo Rowling's eye.

Lucky's two dads are really nothing but background figures in the books we have, but they show up frequently, especially at the beginnings and endings of the books, always together and always acting like an old married couple. There's no evidence that they have a romantic relationship, but there's no real evidence that romantic relationships exist at all in their universe, so that's no obstacle.

I would be just as happy if you wrote them as a gay marriage or as platonic life partners, though: it's the "life partners" bit that I'd love to see more about. How did they handle suddenly having a child to raise together? Did they become a partnership because of Lucky, or did they get Lucky because were they a partnership already? How did they feel when David got married and started to move on without them? How did being a couple and having a kid interact with their careers in the Council? How do they deal with Lucky going off all the time and trying to get himself killed?

And we know so little about relationships and families on Earth in their time - the books go out and explore Mars, Venus, Mercury, the asteroids, Jupiter and Saturn, but we never get the equivalent look at the culture where Lucky grew up. Are same-sex relationships accepted? How do marriage and kids fit into a career as a Councilman, and how is it different for Conway and Henree than it was for David and Barbara? Was Lucky a little ball of trouble growing up, or was he an eerily quiet kid who worried everybody?

Or you could just write young!Conway and Henree fighting space pirates.

Or an AU where Henree is a werewolf. :D

(I'm also fascinated by the way that the series concept was originally supposed to be super-hero-y - Lucky has those nebulous radiation-caused superpowers and the magic armor the psychic Martians gave him - but Asimov took it in a hard SF direction as soon as he could. I'd love it if you pulled it back toward the cracky side. Or brought the Martians back into the hard-SF.)

QI RPF - I would like something with Stephen and Sandi being adorable and clever together. Or something where you take a one-off fic-bait comment from one of the episodes and take it seriously. Or an AU that brings everybody into a different setting. Or best of all, I'd like an AU based on that conversation from the Girls and Boys episode where Stephen and Sandi are in a marriage-of-convenience, but honestly, anything would be great.

Quite Interesting is a British comedy panel show. If you aren't familiar with the format, it looks on the surface like it's a trivia game show, except winning doesn't matter, all of the contestants are professionally witty people (mostly comedians), and no-one is expected to get the answers right. The 'game' is mostly an excuse to get the comedians together being funny and flirty with the questions there just to provide conversational topics.

QI is an immensely popular one of these; the questions are general-knowledge, and the gimmick is that they are always interesting, but usually nearly impossible to get right - either incredibly obscure, or with built-in tricks. Panelists get points not for answering correctly, but for answering in interesting and amusing ways, and they lose points if they're both wrong and boring. (Not that anyone understands the scoring system anyway.)

Stephen Fry is the host; Alan Davies is the regular panelist, whose role is to make everyone else look smarter; and the other panelists are a rotating crew of British comedians, BBC people, and anyone else who seem like they might be interesting or know a lot of obscure facts: this is a show that really, really values knowledge, no matter how apparently useless, and learning of all kinds.

If it sounds interesting to you, recent episodes can be watched free and legally on the BBC website if you're in Britain. If not, the entire show is usually up on YouTube at any given time, and the BBC doesn't seem particularly interested in getting it taken down (apparently there are legal issues which means it will probably never be shown on international television.) The YouTube channel to go to at the moment is quite1nteresting.

One of the regular panelists in recent seasons has been Sandi Toksvig, who hosts her own long-running radio panel show (The News Quiz; recent episodes are available region-free on the BBC Radio 4 website). She and Stephen are about the same age, about the same social class, both extremely clever and extremely witty people, and I love watching them interact. They are also of entirely incompatible sexual orientation, and I have no desire to have a writer change that, but as I said in my request, I would love anything with them being adorable together anyway. Maybe commiserating over the travails of being panel show hosts? Maybe Sandi asks to borrow Alan for the News Quiz? Them just being friends? Anything with them really!

Or one where they're married and Sandi brings home stevedores just for Stephen's benefit!

Or you could write an AU where they're all space pirates!

(Or a boarding school AU, which panel show fandoms can never have too many of.)

But there are so many other possibilities: I have done a scientific study that proves that in any given episode of QI, there are a minimum of half a dozen things said that would make amazing fic prompts if you took them that way. So if you're stuck, watch a random episode on YouTube and take somebody's offhand comment literally, and tada! A quite interesting story idea. Also, QI Genesis, the recent making-of special, is full of behind-the-scenes goodness with a lot of the regular panelists.

I like nearly everyone who's been on the show, even John Lloyd, and will love anything you write, AU or not, even if you don't put Sandi and Stephen in. The one thing I'd prefer not to get is a story that's just about Stephen and Alan - I like the slash pairing and certainly wouldn't care if that was a part of the fic, but so much of the existing QI fic focuses entirely on them that I'd quite like it if you expanded the horizons.

19th Century Civic Allegory - This cries out for kinky f/f featuring Justice with her blindfold and sword and Liberty with her shield and shackles. But something fluffy with those two would work, too. Or something with History, who claims to be straight but is bent for Justice. Or Progress, with her spinning ball, who has all the best toys. Or any of this bunch. Something where you bring in political or historical events on Earth would be cool, but so would something that just plays with the personalities and/or femmeslash possibilities.

If you live in a country where they let the Victorians build things, you are probably familiar with white marble statues of allegorical figures like Justice and Liberty and Victory and Truth, shapely, serene young women with classical drapery and interesting accessories.

They pre-date the 19th century of course - many of them go back to the Romans and were quite busy through the Rennaissance - and they continue in use today, but the Victorians were probably their greatest fans and created a lot of the fanon we're still familiar with today.

And even if you don't live in a place where you've seen the statues or murals, you've probably seen the painting of Liberty and Justice kissing, which comes out any time there's a gay rights victory. And is what finally convinced me that this needed to be a fandom with f/f porn in it.

I wanted to write up a proper fandom introduction for this, but it's not going to happen before assignments go out, so I'll just do a very basic version: I want there to be stories where all of these civic virtues and abstract concepts, embodied as semi-divine women with swords, interact with each other and have soap-opera-worthy relationships and lots of hot lesbian sex.

Liberty/Justice is the classic of course, and I'd love either fluff or kinky sex where they use their props (I'm convince that Justice loves having Liberty shackle her, blindfold her, and order her around, but maybe that's just me), but there's tons of other possibilities!

Here is just the beginning of some of places this could go:

Liberty and Justice are by far the most important characters. And they have an epic, kinky, tempestuous love affair, where they're inseparable for decades but then Liberty decides Justice is trying to order her around and Justice says Liberty won't let her be herself, and they have a spat, and then get together again, because neither of them is really complete without the other.

Also, it's an open relationship, because Liberty believes in free love, of course. The two of them have a... complicated thing going with Vigilance, and sometimes her sister Security: there's lots of Liberty/Vigilance hatesex, and Justice usually ends up caught in the middle.

History claims that she's straight, but, well, she's totally bent for Justice, and everybody knows it. Of course she's also a total pushover for Victory, even though Justice tries to tell her that she lets Victory manipulate her too much. Sometimes History tries to be monogamous with Truth for awhile, in fact, but she always ends up cheating on her with Victory.

Truth and Justice are seen around together a lot, too. In fact it's interesting that even though it's Liberty who insists on them being poly, and Justice would go for monogamous marriage in a heartbeat, Justice is the one who does most of the sleeping around.

I wish that somewhere there was a good field guide to these figures - if only because it would be nice to be able to identify them on sight when wandering around 19th century courthouses - but if there is one, I haven't found it yet. Lacking that, my main reference has been the SIRIS Inventory of American Art through the Smithsonian Institution, which is huge database of painting and sculpture which you can browse by subject:allegory or see all the pretty pictures of Lady Justice.

Here's some a very rough list of characters you might want to bring in to the fandom, who show up at least a dozen times or so on that list:

Justice: sometimes she's blindfolded, sometimes not, but she almost always has her sword and her scales. Sleeps around a lot.
Liberty: when she's feeling formal, she wears a rayed crown and drapes; when she's feeling fiery, she wears local peasant garb and a Phrygian cap, but she usually has a shield and some non-locking shackles somewhere nearby, and often a torch.
Victory: carries a palm frond, and often has a crown and wings about her.
Prosperity: Has a cornucopia and usually is to be found among amber waves of grain.
Conquest: carries a sword and sits upon a throne
Wisdom: Wears a veil and reads her book a lot
Discovery: fond of ships and maps: a rudder, globe, cross-staff, sextant. And of course a sword.
Civilization: often carries a book, but instead of Wisdom's veil has a torch of learning
Progress: stands on or holds a cogwheel or winged sphere; or a torch; or a cadeuceus; sometimes has a floating scarf about her; accompanied by a 'star of empire'; strings telegraph wire and railway line behind; drives a chariot; has all the best toys.
Vigilance: Accompanied by a pack of dogs and carries a sword.
Security: carries a strongbox, sword and shield, wears an oaken crown.

...but there are many, many others, if you poke around the databases or google images or your local neoclassical municipal building.

Or you could write them as space pirates!

ETA: Oh, and I should mention that I am very probably going to be AFK around the time the archive opens and/or reveals happen - I will make sure to get on at some point between Christmas and Epiphany, but I might not be on right away! So please don't worry if it's a few days before you hear from me as your recipient.
petra: A man with his arms in the air against a starry background (Keats - Paul Gross Arms)

[personal profile] petra 2011-11-21 08:51 pm (UTC)(link)
I would read the hell out of Stephen and Sandi's arranged marriage in spaaaaace. Or anywhere else. <3
sara: S (Default)

[personal profile] sara 2011-11-22 02:24 am (UTC)(link)
Oh yah, Stephen Fry/Sandi Toksvig sexless arranged diplomatic marriage. Oh, God, on Barrayar. Hee hee hee hee hee.
sara: S (Default)

[personal profile] sara 2011-11-22 03:00 am (UTC)(link)
That would be so awesome.

Dear Melannen's Yulefic Writer: If you want to write this, I will so beta it for you.
ct: a shooting star (Default)

[personal profile] ct 2011-11-21 10:45 pm (UTC)(link)
but so much of the existing QI fic focuses entirely on them

See, this makes me excited, because it implies that there is possibly more fic out there than just the few stories I know about on AO3. Links? Pretty please?
waywren: (Default)

[personal profile] waywren 2011-11-21 11:05 pm (UTC)(link)
...So I missed the yuletide signups, but can I play with these prompts anyway? XD
sara: S (Default)

[personal profile] sara 2011-11-22 02:22 am (UTC)(link)
Lucky has those nebulous radiation-caused superpowers and the magic armor the psychic Martians gave him

...as one does, yeah. *boggles*
sara: S (Default)

[personal profile] sara 2011-11-22 03:01 am (UTC)(link)
*handwaves* Any technology sufficiently advanced, etc. etc. Yeah, I'd feel pretty sheepish about that, too ("It's powered by improbabilium!")
verity: buffy embraces the mid 90s shades (Default)

[personal profile] verity 2011-11-22 05:52 am (UTC)(link)
I wanted to write up a proper fandom introduction for this, but it's not going to happen before assignments go out, so I'll just do a very basic version: I want there to be stories where all of these civic virtues and abstract concepts, embodied as semi-divine women with swords, interact with each other and have soap-opera-worthy relationships and lots of hot lesbian sex.

I WANT THIS SO HARD YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW. OMG.

I mean, ALL of your requests are amazing, but this? GENIUS.

[personal profile] whatistigerbalm 2011-11-22 11:10 am (UTC)(link)
Oh so you're behind the allegory fandom! I died of joy when I saw that listed.