melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2013-10-17 11:34 pm
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Yuletide letter!

Hi yuletide people!

So my yuletide letters every year are turning more and more into just "these fandoms are amazing they should have a ton of fic written in them!" That is really all I want out of yuletide- for these fandoms to get fic, any fic, written in them. As long as you do that, I will be happy!

The rest of this letter is just for if you want a more specific starting-place or somewhere else to look. :)

General stuff about writing for me: I basically like everything? Crossovers with any fandom are welcome, as are ridiculous AUs or porn or gen or whatever else you want to write. I have no hard 'no's in fic, although for yuletide, I usually ask that you try to write in a spirit of affection for the fandom, and not go significantly darker than canon? (although if your story leads you darker, go ahead.)

Humanx Commonwealth - Alan Dean Foster
Bran Tse-Mallory, Truzenzuzex

Anything about these two, who are my favorite in the series and don't turn up enough - backstory? more fighter pilot adventures? What being one mind in two bodies was like, and what it's like to not have that ever again? the court-martial, or the parting, or meeting again? The Church and why they left it? Family? Them doing SCIENCE? I'd love anything that goes into the two of them learning to navigate each others' worlds, and at least one of them always being the alien no matter where they are, and how they come to define home. And what *is* Personality Chess, anyway? If you want to attempt to figure out how to write them as a sexual relationship, go for it! But I understand if you'd rather just stick with their canon life partners relationship.

The Canon
This is a long series of science fiction books set in the same universe. They're really just good, old-fashioned space opera; the main plotline is about an orphan boy going out in the galaxy to search for the secrets of his parentage accompanied by a telepathic miniature dragon, finding himself and finding a destiny along the way, opposed at every step by evil corporations, shawody conspiracies, and enemy lizard people. They're nothing groundbreaking or incredibly deep, the older ones are notably dated already, but they're fun, if you like that sort of thing. I like the characters, the worldbuilding has that sense of wonder about all the amazing and beautiful things that can exist in the universe, and they do diversity, while not perfectly, better than a lot of SF, even today - Earth isn't the most important planet, America isn't the most important part of Earth, Humans are nothing particularly special in the galaxy, the human characters have all different skin colors and ethnic ancestries, even women sometimes have agency of their own.

There's several interconnected series; the first ones were written in the '70s, but he's still putting them out. To be utterly honest, I have only read the first dozen or so, and would be perfectly happy with fic based entirely on the first novel in the series, "The Tar-Aiym Krang".

After all, that's the only one that Bran Tse-Mallory and Truzenzuzex are main characters in.

Bran and Tru

Bran and Tru are a pair of renegade two-fisted (well, six-fisted - Tru has four hands) anthropologist-historians. Bran is human; Tru is Thranx, from a species of insect-like aliens who are humanity's closest allies. They are a) the best, and b) basically space married. In their youth they were telepathically bonded starfighter copilots who single-handedly (well, six-handedly) saved a planet by disobeying orders; in their old age they wander the galaxy, doing SCIENCE!!! and saving people. They know everyone and everything worth knowing and have won every honor it is possible to win.

I made a DW post a few months back about Bran/Tru OTP so rather than restate stuff I'll just link to that: it includes a transcription of the entire shipbrothers flashback, and also a link to an awful but readable ebook of 'The Tar-Aiym Krang".

More Stuff You Can Write Me If You Want

I think what I like most about this relationship is the way we see it as a mature relationship that has changed- we get that flashback to them as young people completely in tune with each other, and then we see them much later grown into each other, but there's that long stretch in the middle where they voluntarily separated and built separate postwar careers and didn't even see each other for years - and yet when they met again it was as if they'd never been apart. I'd also love anything about young Tru and Bran and how they fit into the rest of their squadron and how a stingship squadron worked in its off-time - I bet even then they weren't quite like the others; were they already playing personality chess? Did they spend more time together than most of the other pairs? Basically, FIGHTER PILOTS yay, write me stuff about shipbrothers hanging out in the break room or making stupid bets or something. (Also if you want to write me a Pacific Rim crossover with these two Drifting, go for it! I couldn't quite figure out how to make it work.) But I'd also love a story about the older them, grown into each other, utterly confident in themselves and each other.

And if Bran and Tru aren't cooperating for you, I also nominated Mother Mastiff and Sylzenzuzex, and I'd love something about either of them, too - Mother Mastiff and the life of the market, what she was like when she was young and pretty, her feelings about the boy she brought up and why; Syl living in the shadow of her famous almost-Uncle, why she made the choices she did, being amazing and having her own adventures and growing into herself.

Lucky Starr - Isaac Asimov
Hector Conway, Augustus Henree

...more SF canon life partners of SCIENCE I'm not sorry. Them raising their kid together? Dealing with having been in David's shadow, and then suddenly losing him, first to Barbara, then forever? Falling in love? (Maybe? If you want to go there?) Combining their careers in the Council with parenting and a relationship? We know nothing about sexuality in this universe, tell me something, is two men raising a kid together common? rare? unheard of? An outsider POV on them maybe? Or their homefront POV on Lucky's shenanigans in Moons of Jupiter? Basically anything about Conway and Henree and who they are to each other.

The Canon
The Adventures of Lucky Starr is a series of six YA space adventure novels from the 1950s. They originated as a concept for a kids' TV show in the early years of television, but when that didn't happen, Asimov just kept writing them. They're fun and adventure-y and full of SCIENCE! (even if a lot of it's out-of-date, a surprising amount of it isn't, and the sheer love of science still comes through.) The main character, Lucky Starr, is a member of the Council of Science, who are basically built on the principle that all scientists are superheroes. He goes out with his sidekick John Bigman Jones and solves problems and discovers things and foils crime on every planet in the solar system from Mercury to Saturn. I have requested Lucky Starr in, if I'm counting right, five out of ten Yuletides so far! Nobody's written any yet. Will you be the first???

My 2011 Yuletide Letter covers this fandom in more detail, and includes a download link for the complete canon, if you would like to know more: everything in it still applies!

Conway and Henree

Hector Conway and Augustus Henree are Lucky Starr's two dads. They raised him together after his parents, their best friends, were killed by space pirates. They are also both Councilmen themselves, with Conway eventually becoming Chief of the Council, and Henree his inseparable partner. The Council is so heavily involved in the Solar System's government that as Chief of the Council, Conway is one of the most powerful men in the galaxy; but they are also always there as family for Lucky, even when they have to balance their love for Lucky with Lucky's tendency to create major intergalatic diplomatic incidents.

More Stuff You Can Write Me If You Want

Lucky's adventures and POV are so foregrounded in canon that we never really get to see anything of them other than in reaction to Lucky's adventures; I would love to see them living their own lives - as Councilmen, as citizens of Earth (which we actually see less of than the other planets in the system), as life partners. Seeing more of them as Lucky's parents would also be great, of course! As would a traditional slash fic about them - you've got the 'sudden acquisition of baby leads to OTP' set-up right there in canon!

If Conway and Henree don't cooperate, though, I'd also love anything that lets us see more of the world that Lucky lives in - what is life like, here, when you *aren't* a hotshot Councilman of Science jetting between crises in your custom superfast space yacht? Any sort of 'daily life' story set on any of the canon planets would be great, and so would any glimpse of the Starr/Jones/Henree/Conway household in downtime.

Arm Joe

I want something that makes this game make sense. Or sort of sense, at least. Give it a storyline. Why are these characters fighting in the street? Why do they have superpowers? Is this a universe where this is normal? Are they part of a secret underclass of superpowered people, fighting in the streets because they have to hide their powers in the day? Is it some kind of bizarre afterlife? Why do they have the powers they do? How did Cosette end up a fighter? What's Eponine's relationship with her parents in this universe? Where did Robojean come from, anyway? How can Marius summon his dead friends when Enjolras is still fighting? How does everyone having bizarre powers change things? Or you could just write road trip fic with everyone that also works.

The Canon

Arm Joe is the independent 2D Fighting Game based on Les Miserables. When asked why he made it, the only answer the developer would give is "because I have no friends." I've read various reviews of it, and people seem to be divided on the question of whether it is a clever and trenchant satire of fighting games, a fan's joyous transmuting of the genre-based absurdities of the book and the musical into the different set of absurdities expected in a fighting game, or just a really, really bad game. Having produced a fair amount of inexplicable fannish crack myself, I see no reason why it can't be all three at once! Anyway, in this game, various character from Les Miserables fight in one-on-one bouts, and they have special powers - ranging from 'normal' video game powers like martial arts and jumping, to energy blasts, to powers vaguely based on their roles in the original (like Eponine's ability to make it rain, or Cosette's summoning her dad to fight for her) to the 'last-ditch' combo moves that are only activated when a character is nearly dead, like Marius calling his dead friends forth to fight for him, or Enjorlas causing a massive pile of old furniture to fall from the sky.

There are also a few 'original' characters, the most interesting of which are Robojean, Jean Valjean's robotic duplicate; Ponpon the bizarre bunny rabbit; and Judgement, a monstrous, overpowered character who serves as the final boss. When you finish a game, the 'win' screen is all of the characters crammed into a tiny car, on a road-trip together. (No, there's nothing in the rest of the game that implies a modern-day AU.)

The game can be downloaded free in several places, including the Arm Joe homepage; it seems to install, more-or-less, on most modern Windows systems, although it might require some fiddling. I haven't succeeded in triggering most of the more complicated combo moves without having a joystick, although rumor has it that some of the moves listed in the manual were never programmed correctly and can't be triggered at all. Anyway, if you'd like to write this, you're probably just as well-off looking on Youtube and Google for the various reviews and playthroughs people have done, and gtranslating the homepage - it's pretty amazing, I promise, and I don't think the homepage is any less explicable for being badly gtranslated.

More Stuff To Write Me

I think I covered most of my ideas for this fandom in my actual request? Basically, this game has no story to go with it. I want people to write me the stories that come from the game. This game generates nothing but questions and I would like you to try to answer at least a few of them! Tell me about Judgement; what's his deal? Whose side is he on? How does the game's world resonate with the themes of the book - how does a message for social justice come through in a world where people shoot chi blasts in the street? Write me a Les Mis character who doesn't appear in the game as the would exist in the game world. What is Grantaire's fighting style? Fauchevelent's? Gavroche's? Explain Ponpon. Have Valjean awkwardly interact with Robojean. Basically. Anything.

I'm not really a big fan of fighting games in general, so don't worry on that score. On the other end, if you don't know other versions of Les Mis, don't worry about that either - I would love to see Arm Joe fic written by somebody who doesn't know Les Mis, based only on what's in the game. That would be *amazing*.

2D Goggles: Or, the Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

These people fascinate me as characters - Lovelace's backstory (and her relationship with Somerville, in this world), Babbage and his... Babbage-ness, Brunel and how he is better than you at everything. I also love the way the canon is so tied in with the actual awesome history of the time - it takes real tech and science and history and turns it up to 11, instead of making things up out of whole cloth - so if you want to pull some neat period info up and make it superpowered and turn it into a story, that would be yay! If the history intimidates you, though, just Lovelace being Lovelace is also good. Or an AU in a different setting. Footnotes of any kind are good. And kittens. And crossovers.

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is a webcomic that takes the original premise of Steampunk, as outline in the book "The Difference Engine", and turns it up to RIDICULOUS AND AWESOME. In the 1830s, Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, the world's first computer, was actually built; and he teams up with Ada Lovelace (daughter of Lord Byron and the world's first computer programmer) to use it to FIGHT EVIL. ....or at least, to fight poetry and street musicians, which if you ask Lovelace and Babbage, are basically the same thing. Various other eminate personages of the time - from Queen Victoria to George Sand - show up to take part in their adventures, and basically, everything is SCIENCE!!!! and History!!!! and Kittens!!!! (the kittens keep the mouse population in the Engine under control. In this pocket universe, computers get exponentially larger as they get more powerful.)

Though the comic's been around for awhile, there isn't all that much canon up, and the ratio of comics to explanatory footnotes is rapidly approaching 1. That's okay though, because the explanatory footnotes, which generally follow the format "guys, I know this comic is ridiculous and awesome, but what these people did in real life is even more ridiculous and awesome, here are links to primary sources" are almost as good as the comics. Because these people really were just that ridiculous and awesome in real life.

More Stuff You Could Write

I think one of my favorite things about this fandom is the way it all ties back into actual science and personalities of the period - so much steampunk tends to get so wrapped up in its fantasy that it loses sight of the fact that actual Victorians were way more over-the-top than anything fiction can get away with. This comic never loses sight of that. Anything you want to write based on taking something out of one of the primary sources would be amazing. (If you want an idea, just take a random chapter from Babbage's autobiography - which is up on Google books - and figure out how it would apply to 2D Goggles World. There is no shortage of crack prompts in Babbage's autobiography.)

One of my other favorite things about it, though, is how completely shamelessly it enjoys its own ridiculousness, so if you'd rather ignore history entirely and just go for giant robots fighting giant monsters or whatever other awesome things you come up with, that is also okay!

My other favorite thing about it, though, is just the personalities and the people. Any sort of character or relationship study about any of these people would be lovely. Or you could bring in other people (real or fictional) from early 19th century Europe and mix them into this universe. Or you could do a crossover or AU that puts this Lovelace and Babbage into a different setting entirely! (anyone who successfully crosses over 2D Goggles and Arm Joe wins all the points, btw.) ps: if you are interested in writing porn in this fandom there is potential for awesome steampunk sex toys and everybody domming Babbage. Just sayin'. There is no pairing I would not want, although I'd prefer any Babbage/Lovelace to be more fwb and less romance.

Paleontology RPF

The nominated characters here basically sort into two pairs, so - if you would like to write me Drinker/Cope, I would like epic hateship. Fighting turning into sex among the bones. You know the sort of thing. If you don't want to write sex that is also okay - write me about their relationship, about how it changed over the decades, about how they felt about each other and their very public feud in the dark mornings at 2AM? If you go for the ladies - really anything! Mary Anning is fascinating and so is her mentor; I would love something about them dealing with the male establishment paleontologists they worked with, or Anning negotiating class differences with Philpot helping, or Philpot's perspective on the younger woman, or just them and SCIENCE! with the exclamation point.) Femslash would be lovely if you want to. And if you can figure out a way to get all four of them in a story together, that would be astounding!

Cope and Marsh

Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh were the two pre-eminent American paleontologists for most of the late 19th century. They are, however, much better known for HOW MUCH THEY HATED EACH OTHER than for anything they did scientifically. They hated each other REALLY A LOT. MORE THAN ANYTHING. They got entire acts of Congress passed just to screw each other over. Basically, this is real life best enemies/hateship, with side orders of Adventure! and Science! and Dinosaurs!

Usually my yuletide fandoms are people I admire wholeheartedly, but I have to admit, I don't particularly... admire these guys? They were very good scientists when they weren't letting their ambition and their hate-ons for each other get in the way, but that happened a lot. Mostly I think they were both reasonably terrible human beings and deserved each other. (...okay, fine, I side with Cope. But if you are a Marsh fan we can probably get along anyway. as long as you aren't also a Yankees fan.) I'm really no expert in their lives, though - I enjoy the mythology of the epic feud while being well aware that it *is* a mythology as much as anything. If you are an expect in their lives, please, go for it! If not, I would be happy if you just picked one version of the story to use as your 'canon' - two good ones might be the Dinosaur Wars episode of American Experience, which streams free online, and the recent(-ish), nonfiction(-ish) graphic novel Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards, if you can find it.

For Drinker and Cope I really want EPIC RIVALRY. If you're a homestuck fan, you know I mean kismesis here (write me a fic where kismesis is an accepted relationship type and they're America's darlings?) If you're not a homestuck fan, pretend you didn't see the previous sentence. But yeah, these are two guys whose hatred for each other was the defining relationship in their lives. Write it sexual if you want - Marsh made an awkward pass in that quarry in New Jersey, Cope turned it down, Marsh decided to make a play for the boneyards to cover up his misstep, Cope decided that plus the Elasmosaurus thing was deliberate humilation because of the failed pass, it degenerated into angry handjobs in the halls of academia and then brutal boning in the bonefields, and the more they hate each other the better the sex gets? OR ANYTHING REALLY that's just the first thing that came to mind okay..

On the other hand if you'd rather not slash 'em that's okay too - just write me something about them hating each other? Or somebody else reacting to their hatred for each other? Or basically anything with these two guys. Also if you want do to the crack route feel free to go AU. Fossil hunting IN SPACE? They aren't desperately collecting bones of fossil giants for SCIENCE, but because they are necromancers and naming a creature from its bones allows them to summon it as a monster to fight for them, and there are Dinosaur/Giant Mammal battles on the National Mall? Heck, a Pokemon AU? Really anything would be amazing as long at it involves fantastic creatures and Marsh and Cope hating each other really a lot. (If you wanted to write AU fic where they don't hate each other, that would be amazing too, I think? I'd love to see how that could work and still be IC, although really it's probably less plausible than the 'summoning giant prehistoric monsters to battle' option.)

Philpot and Anning

Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpot were two of the earliest and greatest paleontologists in Britain, but since they were female in the early 19th century, they get no credit and no epic mythologizing like the above. I'm afraid I don't even have any good recs for things to take as a start for canon - I haven't been able to find any documentaries at all. There were apparently a couple of recent books about them, but I haven't been able to get my hands on them. But they were both really interesting people who deserve to be made into an epic myth! They lived in Lyme Regis, on top of one of the greatest fossil deposits in England. Elizabeth Philpot was comfortably middle-class and made a hobby of collecting and studying fossils. She eventually became something of a mentor for Mary Anning, who was lower-class and turned fossil-hunting into a career, by running the greatest fossil shop in Europe. Both of them were incredibly smart and incredibly good scientists and completely self-taught - the male paleontologists who had the support of the Academies behind them would come to Mary and Elizabeth to ask politely for help, and then go home and publish it under their own names. (Mary, at least, seems to have been quite bitter about this, even as she still maintained friendships.) ETA: Here is a tumblr post that give some idea of how awesome Anning was, thanks, liviapenn!

I'd love anything about these two really, about their relationship or about either of them alone, or about their interactions with the male paleontologists they worked with. I think there's interesting stuff with Anning in particular around issues of class, and monetizing science, and all that tangled mess, but you could also just write me nature porn about walking the cliffs at Lyme Regis, or Mary and Elizabeth being friends, or lovers, or fossil hunting in space, or Anning summoning giant monsters from beyond the grave to attack the Royal Academy in revenge for her stolen ideas, or Pokemon trainers, or them in 2D-Goggles-verse, or really anything.

Otzi the Iceman RPF
Ötzi (RPF)

I feel like Otzi doesn't *need* a prompt, because Otzi's *existence* is a prompt. Just read about what we've learned about him, and his last few days of life, and then turn it into a story for me? I feel like there are a lot of possible stories here, and I want to read all of them. But the just one you decide to write me will be a good start!

The Canon
Otzi the Iceman is the name given to the well-presevered Copper Age body that was found in the Alps in the 1990s, which since then has been the focus of a lot of scientific study and a lot of speculation. He died high up in the mountains, with a bashed-in head and a mortal wound and a quiver full of broken arrows, and as many theories about what led to his death as there are people who have studied him. Basically, we have a many-thousands-of-years-old murder mystery, with amazingly good forensic evidence still waiting, just waiting for intrepid authors to flesh out their favorite theories into stories!

There's been a lot produced about Otzi, and again, I'm not an expert and I don't expect you to know it all, or even most of it, although if you wrote a dissertation or something on him, more power to you! If you'd like starting places, Otzi's official web page has a lot of good information and links, and there's also a NOVA documentary streaming online that's relatively recent - Iceman Murder Mystery - if you wanted to mostly use that as your 'canon', that would be fine with me.

Stuff To Write
So how *did* he die? What did his last days or hours feel like? Were there people with him - what did they do? Did he have family, or loved ones who mourned him, or a position in his home village, or a career? Who shot him and why? What happened to his arrows? What was his life like before he walked up that fatal mountain? Was he trader or a shepherd or a warlord or smith or a time-traveler or a wizard? What afterlife was he expecting, and did he get it? What we know about Otzi is really just a series of story prompts - pick one, and write it for me!

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