melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
melannen ([personal profile] melannen) wrote2015-10-28 05:10 pm

Yuletide letter

Do you ever sit down to just, like, look up a few old entries, and next thing you know it's three days later and you're in the middle of re-reading a four-year-old kinkmeme?


Anyway, the fandom:yuletide tag on this journal should now be up to date with all my old yuletide posts and all posts relevant to this year's requests! So if you came here from my YT request, you can backread in the tag and find stuff about what I like in yuletide. And I can link it more easily in my letter.

Oh yeah I should do a letter I guess shouldn't I. Although last year I didn't and that worked out wonderfully, I got an amazing story and two amazing treats, so if you'd rather not bother with the letter, yt writer, everything you actually needed was in the request, the rest of this is just to indulge my own desire to ramble about these fandoms, so you are welcome to ignore.

Here's my requests:

19th Century Paleontology RPF
Edward Drinker Cope
Othniel Charles Marsh

I would like Shenanigans, please. Cope/Marsh hatesex in the boneyards is fine. AU where they can summon the spirits of the creatures they have Named and make them fight duels for them is fine. Rap battles in the Academy of Sciences are fine. Sent back in time by steampunk contraption and forced to work together to survive the Jurassic is fine. The Feud gets out of control until they are two mad scientists battling to rule the world is fine. Basically if it's over-the-top and tropey and about Cope and Marsh's epic hatemance, it is fine. (You can also write something historically accurate and meticulously researched, I wouldn't turn it down.)

Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh were two preeminent American paleontologists for most of the late 19th century. Between the two of them they discovered most of the famous dinosaurs of the American West, and Cope also did a lot of other important biological work.

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. Cope left his skull to science so it could finally be proven once and for all that he had the bigger brain of the two. Basically, this is real life Nemeses, 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 they let it get in the way a lot. Mostly I think they were both reasonably terrible human beings and deserved each other. (They also had no-better-that-you'd-expect views on race, gender, imperialism, etc.) 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 expert 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 short ones might be the Dinosaur Wars episode of American Experience, which streams free online, and the nonfiction(-ish) graphic novel Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards, if you can find it. Or there's always wikipedia.

I spitballed out some sufficiently ridic ideas in the signup, but if none of those appeal, I also requested this in a couple years ago, and all previous Cope/Marsh ideas are still in play. Or really. Anything, as long as it's tropey and/or hateshippy and/or has lots of SCIENCE!!-with-at-least-two-exclamation-points.

Wants/DNWs : kinky pwp is a-ok for me here, as is noncon/dubcon, and you can get dark if you want. But silly gen or UST or even happy-ever-after fluffy romance is also fine. I would prefer you didn't take sides, though - please write them as both terrible/awesome, don't bash one at the expense of the other. Also, if you are including dinosaurs, please make them either reasonable extrapolations from cutting edge modern science, or reasonable extrapolations from 19th century science - none of that Jurassic Park 'feathers aren't scary enough' nonsense. (Unless you send them on a universe-traveling tour of famous pop-culture dino reconstructions. Which would be awesome. In that case they can go to Jurassic Park.

James Asher Vampire Series - Barbara Hambly
Any Character

If you write me James and Lydia and Simon, I really really need a story where James and Lydia finally have to acknowledge that James and Simon love each other just as much as Lydia and Simon do. If you don't want to write that, you can write me gen backstory for any of the three before they met, or gen or relationship fic about literally any other pair of characters in canon, I would love any of that too because all the characters in this series are so great and have such fascinating relationships with each other. I just can't take any more J/L/S where one leg of the triangle is missing, canon is hurting me on purpose, so if you write me any part of that 'ship please write me all of it.

I have a long paean about why I love Ashers from last year, so rather than rewrite it all, I will just link it here.

The short version: The Asher novels are a series of vampire stories set in the lead-up to WWI. They star a British married couple, James and Lydia Asher, and the vampire who they are in love with (and who is in love with them), Simon Ysidro. James is a mild-mannered folklore and linguistics professor who spent a decade as a top secret agent before he quit out of revulsion at what the work had turned him into. Lydia is a research pathologist and fashionable heiress who was disinherited when she insisted on going to medical school, and then got unexpectedly re-inherited after she married James, and rescues James from peril a lot. Don Simon is The Oldest Vampire In Europe and mostly just wants to stay out of trouble and feed his cats, but keeps having to team up with the Ashers to prevent vampirism from becoming yet another pawn of the European powers in their pointless vicious wars.

The most recent volume, Darkness on his Bones, just came out, but it wasn't my favorite; I recommend either the first one, Those Who Hunt the Night (Immortal Blood in Europe) with is reasonably easy to get used, or the next-most-recent, The Book of the Kindred of Darkness.

There are more prompts from last year's Ashers request and also on the post linked above, if you need more ideas. But once again basically I would like anything for this fandom about any characters at any point. Anything. I am going on about the main OT3 a lot but I really would enjoy fic about anything else in this canon too, I promise, there's prompts for other stuff I would really like in the other posts, but I'm actually having trouble prompting for other characters because I want ALL the other characters in ALL the fic and can't narrow it down. :/

Wants/DNWs: Sex is fine, kink is fine, darkfic is fine, fluff is fine, gen is fine, etc. If you are writing sex w/vampires, please stick with the canon of vampires not experiencing human desire/sexuality (although working in vampires' version of love and erotics etc. is A-OK, obviously). Also, please don't give them a shortcut solution to vampires being murderers and damned; keep the wrenching ethical stuff in there, no magic potions that let you live on rat's blood forever, no James and Lydia being turned and everyone being happy with this outcome. (James and Lydia being turned by someone other than Simon and everything being terrible could be amazing though, if you can find a way to convince them that they have to let it happen, which would be hard.) (And if you want to write a fluff OT3 AU where Simon is not a vampire, that's fine too! Just no fluffy vampires. Unless it's black comedy.) Also please don't break up James and Lydia (or kill one to make the other one single).

And I said this above, but seriously, after the new book I cannot take any more of James and Lydia pretending that a) Simon does not love both of them and b) James didn't fall in love with him before Lydia even met him, so if that is not the dynamic you see for them, please write me something else...though if you just want to write me 1000 words that is just Simon cracking and trying in increasingly blatant ways to point this out to them and them remaining unbelievably oblivious that would make my yuletide.

Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie
Any Character

I haven't read Ancillary Mercy as of writing this letter, but I will by reveals, so if you want to go with something from Mercy please do, I am sure I will love it, I just don't know how to prompt it yet. Other than that: I would love fic about Ships' relationships with their captains or crew from the POV of anyone (including OCs) but Breq; I would love Anaander Miaanaai backstory or POV of any kind whatsoever; I would love anything about the process of Radchaaization from one of the characters who is trying to navigate between Radchaai and the culture she was part of before the Radch came; I would also love anything else you write about any of the many characters who were nominated.

Imperial Radch is a hard SF trilogy, Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, and Ancillary Mercy, which just came out last month, and I'm not allowed to buy it until I've finished all my library books, and this is paining me, because the first two were amazing and blew my mind.

It takes place in the Radch, the empire of Anaander Mianaai, which has persisted for thousands of years by continuously expanding, pillaging conquered systems and then assimilating them into the Radch. Anaander Mianaai rules it alone by being one immortal person in many bodies: they have the technology to transfer minds to new bodies, and also to copy a mind into several bodies and keep them linked together, so Anaander Mianaai can have a personal presence on every world of the Radch and still be one autocrat. Except it's not as simple as one mind in many bodies, and things are starting to break down...

The technology is also used on warships, allowing the artificial intelligence that controls a warship to inhabit dozens to thousands of semi-autonomous "ancillary" human bodies. Our main character, Breq, was once part of a Radch warship's self, but a lot of stuff has happened since then, and Breq is doing things that Ships have never done before. And also really really wants Anaander Mianaai dead.

If you like books about space battles and galactic empires or books about ships that are in love with their captains, or books that are about looking really hard and questions of personhood and identity - both from a tranhumanist POV and a postcolonial POV - you should read these books.

In my first reaction post to the Radch I said "So if you took Lord of Light, Sutcliff's Dolphin Ring cycle, The Left Hand of Darkness, the Alternian Empire from Homestuck, and most of Anne McCaffrey's FSP books, put them in a blender, skimmed off all of my favorite bits, and then reshaped them into something entirely new and wonderful, that would sort of begin to explain how I enjoyed Ancillary Justice," and I was not wrong.

So it is really hard for me to do any specific canon-based prompts without knowing how it ends, so I just want to say that from the little non-spoilery stuff I have read about Mercy, I suspect that anything you write me based on what's in Mercy would be excellent. I have some Radch headcanons here, which have probably all been proved wrong, but if they aren't you are welcome to run with any of them. I also requested & didn't get Imperial Radch Lost Library stuff, and those requests are also still in play. And, as usual, I love all the characters, I love the world but I would also enjoy silly tropey AUs. Or space pirates. And ships/their captains and crews is my OTP of OTPs way back to when I was a tiny fangirl shipping Kirk/Enterprise, so put even a tiny bit of that in and my heart will go pitter-pat.

Wants/DNWs: I mentioned in one of the linked posts that I'm not really into Breq/Seivarden, but I have come around to it since, so go for it if that's where your heart leads. My main dnw request here is for you to please keep Radchaai characters' gender Radchaai - stick with canon pronouns, don't try to write them as 'men' or 'women'; if you write about somebody who's working from a binary gender paradigm you can have them misgender in their POV but I would prefer if they stay confused by Radchaai characters' gender, or stick with the characters' pronouns of choice, rather than "figuring it out" into binariness. If you write a mundane AU you can use different pronouns but please still make them all nonbinary. And if you write pantsbusiness involving Radchaai, please to also talk about the stuff in their pants from a nonbinary POV - they clearly have the biotech to do whatever they want with it, so physically nonbinary stuff would be great, but even with someone like Breq who is likely to have manufacturer-standard parts I'd prefer if they don't gender physical traits. (You don't have to write pantsbusiness but there is a tragic, tragic lack of explicit fic in this fandom.)

Adrienne Ashe
Raven Xingtao

I am reading this in trades so I'm behind, but mostly I really need Adrienne/Raven slash? So bad. Age them up a bit and have Adrienne suddenly realize that Raven SOO did not want to be sisters. And then adventures + kissing. Yes? Yes. If you don't feel the Adrienne/Raven I would also love anything at all about Adrienne's mother and/or brother, or about Raven off adventuring on her own.

Princeless is a comic about Princess Adrienne Ashe, who decided she was not interested in being rescued from a tower, and instead teamed up with the dragon who was guarding it and set off with a suit of armor and a sword to free all the other trapped princesses too.

If that sounds like a simplistic candy-colored girl-power fantasy aimed at 10-years, you are correct, and it is AWESOME and so much fun. It's a currently ongoing series; the trades are pretty easy to find in libraries in the US and the individual issues can be bought from you friendly local comics provider. It also has a tumblr, [ profile] princeless, with links to some free online previews and teasers of the comics.

Adrienne eventually picks up a half-dwarf smith girl named Bedelia as a sidekick, and all of her sisters get their own stories, as well as her parents and her twin brother Devin (who prefers dressmaking to swordfighting). There's also starting to be a background critique of authoritarian monarchy as a universal political system, which I am eating up with a spoon.

In Volume 3 of the trade Adrienne 'rescues' Raven Xingtao, the Pirate Princess, who was stuck in a tower as part of a political play in the Pirate King's Court, and meets her match when Raven immediately hijacks her dragon to go get revenge for her incarceration.

And then the two of them get every single slash/romance cliche you can think of, and it ends when Raven goes off to finish her quest on her own and Adrienne swears they will be like sisters even though their fathers are enemies and Raven really obviously has not been thinking sisterly thoughts about Adrienne. At all.

I scanned some of the relevant panels and hopefully will have a link to them here soon.

Raven has her own spinoff now, which I haven't managed to read yet, but I understand it is also very good.

Yeah. so. I would love a story about Bedelia, especially about her relationship with her dad and her craft and being multiracial, or how she feels about her decision to go off with Adrienne, or having her own adventures. I'd also love basically anything from Sparky's POV. Or anything about Adrienne's parents, where they're slowly playing that story out in dribs and drabs and I just want to know more. Or Devin, what he thinks about what his sister's doing, or his relationship with his father, or him making his own plans to forge his own way the way she's doing. And I haven't read any of Raven's comic but I would love anything about what she is doing on her own, or about her hitting on girls less oblivious than Adrienne.

...and I would love to get the payoff of all the UST with Adrienne and Raven. If you do this you just need to write me a ship fic, okay, y'all know how cliche shipfic works by now, right? If you want something more specific I have been pondering scenarios where it becomes relevant that Raven was supposed to marry whoever rescued her. The possibilities for fake dating/arranged marriage scenarios are many, from unbreakable binding spells to asshole dads who see political advantage in it, it could be so great.

Want/DNW: I am not super-interested darkfic for this fandom. Or in anything that tries to subvert the themes or whatever, I am just really enjoying it for what it is. And I'm not too excited about different-setting AUs, although if a modern day college AU is the way you see to getting me epic Raven/Adrienne in lesbians with each other, please do not let me stop you.

Theophile Gautier's Cats RPF
Any Character

Hi this is your safety fandom, just find "My Private Menagerie" in Google Books and read the chapter about the cats and write me a thousand words about the Black Dynasty. (although animal harm warning, they do all die eventually, as they are cats who lived a century ago.) Mostly I would like anything at all from their POV. What did Enjolras actually do out on the streets all day? What did Gavroche's alley-cat friends think of him? What did Eponine think of her brothers, or of being left with only her new paramour, or being prevented from eating at the table like a person when there were guests over?

You don't even have to google it, here is a tumblr post with the entire canon: My Private Menagerie - Gautier’s Les Miserables Cats.

I would try to summarize it but it would probably be faster to just read the original. Though I will warn you that there's one line where he tries to be anti-racist and fails horribly. And also some of the cats die in the sort of ways that outdoor cats die, so if that will devastate you, be careful?

Gautier was one of the group of mid-19th-century French writers who was super-fannish about Victor Hugo, so of course he named his cats after Les Mis characters. And then wrote a really good memoir about them, so that they've become part of the canon of Famous Literary Cats: they are even in Murphy's Cattage.

Please just write me a story starring these cats. I enjoy them so much.

If you are in Les Mis fandom of course I would love it if you mixed it up with their namesakes, but if you aren't, skip this paragraph and just write cute cats. I mentioned reincarnation- mostly because, oh gosh, reading about Eponine getting treated like a lady and having all the food she wants legit made me tear up, but the boys are really good personality matches too, ENJOLRAS WITH A LION CUT, you guys, Gavroche adopting street kittens! - but there are so many other possibilities. Cats can see ghosts! Cats can travel in time! Cats can lead rebellions on the streets of Paris! Or you could do like Gautier and just retell a scene of the Brick verbatim except swap the cats in for their namesakes.

DNW: Not particularly interested in explicit sex for this fandom, sorry. Also AUs are fine - cats in space! Young Wizards crossovers! Zeppelin cats! - but please keep them cats, no human!AUs? (other than remembering their past lives as humans who died on the barricade. if that's your thing.) Deathfic is OK but pls make it suitably epic deathfic. I only nommed the Black Dynasty but if the White Dynasty appeals to you more, or you want to bring in any of the other animals in Gautier's house, go for it.

Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage
Any Characters

Please write me something about Lovelace and/or Babbage and/or Brunel and/or anyone else from canon or anywhere else in canon period being ridiculously awesome and awesomely ridiculous, thank you. If you are stuck for ideas, pick a page at random from Babbage's memoirs, or something from the notes that didn't get expanded in canon, and work it into the comic's pocket universe.

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is a sort of a webcomic in that there is an occasional comic in among the glorious historical footnotes. There is also a printed book that came out earlier this year which has equally glorious footnotes. And some comics. Most of the comics (and footnotes) are available free on the web; if you can't get the book, there's nothing in the book that's not on the web that's necessary to write in this fandom, although the book is definitely worth it.

Anyway. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is about Charles Babbage, 19th century genius mathematician, eccentric raconteur, and inventor of a fully mechanical Turing-complete computer; and Augusta Ada Byron King, Countess Lovelace, the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron, who was raised on a steady diet of mathematics in order to prevent her from falling to the evils of poetry like her father did, and was the first person to realize that what Babbage had designed was a computer and the first person to write computer code for it.

All of that is actual history. The comic is set in an AU where Babbage actually built the computer instead of just working on blueprint after blueprint and grousing about how nobody would fund him, and Lady Lovelace didn't die of cancer far too young, and instead they use the Difference Engine to Fight Crime! Or possibly poetry and street musicians.

The world take the already OTT nature of 19th century engineering and turns it up to FIFTEEN, but what makes it great instead of just fun is how it's always fully grounded in primary sources - she'll find some little tidbit in a diary or newspaper and go 'yes but what if we took that just a bit FARTHER'. And then cites it in a footnote.

I babbled on about Babbage and Lovelace and my thoughts on steampunk recently, and I also have a previous <href=>YT request for Lovelace & Babbage; everything in those posts is valid. Instead of putting prompts here I really do propose just picking a random page in Babbage's public domain autobiography or the canon footnotes because it is all golden. Or something from either of the linked entries. Or some other 1830s primary source - there's lots of fun stuff once you start wandering around in Google Books or

Wants/DNW: If you write explicit sex please make it explicit sex w/SCIENCE!!! Preferably ridiculous steampunk sex toys. Thnx. If you write an AU please make it an AU with SCIENCE!!! That is really it.

So. I like crossovers? Kind of a lot? If you would like to write a crossover for any of these please, go for it. If you would like to cross over two of these, that would be kind of amazing?

Ashers is kin of a gimme because Ysidro is immortal and likes to travel so there's no reason he couldn't pop up in any of the historical rpf-ish fandoms (also he likes science and cats, so it wouldn't even be a stretch. Ysidro + Lovelace would be kind of. Amazing. Vampire dinosaurs?) Princeless might be a little harder, but there are canon vampires, and also James is a folklorist, dropping a scholarly folklorist into Princeless-verse could be greatness. And there's no reason Ysidro couldn't last all the way to the Radch, right? I wonder how Hambly vampires would manage in a Dyson sphere (or on a Station), and how their mind powers would interact with ancillary tech, and what kind of peace they have made with that Empire.

Radch AU for some of the others might be a bit harder, but the Black Dynasty as Ship's cats would be so great. As would paleontologists in SPACE. How would Lovelace's opinions on poetry and tendency to spend weeks in the innards of computers translate to Lovelace as Radchaai aristocracy - and how would growing up without femaleness as a constraint change her? Princeless + Radchaai is kind of breaking my brain, I admit, but if you wanted Justice of Toren to suddenly appear in the sky as herald of invasion or something... it might break my brain the good way.

Lovelace & Babbage, the Black Dynasty, and the Bone Wars all sort of roughly overlap in the realm of Victorian arts & sciences. The cats visiting the Engine would be fun! Bone Wars in Babbage-verse would be fun! I wrote cats + dinosaurs in a previous YT so I know it would work. And putting AU version of any of them into Princeless could also be fun. Dragonbone Wars? Black Cats? Princess Lovelace trapped in a tower that she has filled with a giant mechanical computer?

...I feel like doing this for six requests takes far more than twice as long as doing it for three...but be proud of me, I only offered 1% of the fandoms this year.

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