alessnox: Aless Nox - A writer (Default)
In Your Name
by Bohemia
Fandom: Merlin
Words: 153,802
Chapters: 38
Location: http://archiveofourown.org/works/554551/chapters/988721

Now, most of the time I stay firmly in the Sherlock fandom, but I will stray into other fandoms, especially if a story is recommended like this one was. I started it, and I fell in love with it. It took a bit of time for me to realize what exactly this story is about. The frame story is obvious, "A modern day Merlin gets interviewed about his relationship with Arthur, Prince of Wales," but the understory is what makes this so compelling to me.

After the end of season five, most of the Merlin fandom was left out in the cold. There was just a promise of a future meeting, and a picture of a bearded Merlin in the modern day. We also have the words, "The once and future king". What exactly does this mean?

In this story, it means reincarnation.

The major characters are reincarnated into an alternate present day England. Uther is King, and a bratty Arthur is hounded by the press. When a chance meeting leads to Merlin saving the prince's life, a rocky romantic relationship is initiated.

I liked the fact that you could almost just make this into a future season of the story. In some parts, the language of the characters is good enough that you can just hear them saying it in your head. Some of the stories are recycled, but in the modern setting, they sound new. As in the original, just hearing the names of characters leads to anticipation of how they will fulfill their role in the story. It is a good read.

CHARACTERS

The main characters are Merlin and Arthur. Merlin is our POV character, and we are unsure of Arthur's feelings for him. As in the original, Merlin hides his magic from him. Merlin is a compelling character, if not a bit 'girly' at times.(Here I mean, blushy, hesitant, prize-like). All of the Royals fall for him for no apparent reason except his humor, engaging conversation and his charming manner. Oh and there is his bravery. I can't believe that it is his looks. I've seen Colin Morgan in a suit, and I did not think that he wore it well. He is an interesting character, however, and you can't always predict him except to know that he will always selflessly try to save Arthur.

Arthur here starts spoilt and rude and progresses to Shy-ish and misunderstood. His "I'm just Arthur" speech really helps explain a person bounded in by expectation who tries very hard to do what is expected of him, but at the cost of his own heart.

Gwen makes a nice confidant, although in this story she has no relationship with Arthur. Lance is brave but not well developed. Gwaine is a treat as the playboy who might just win Merlin for himself. Uthur is, thankfully, mostly a background character, but I feel that he is much more sympathetic than in the show because I get the feeling that he knows more than he is saying about Arthur's love life. Morgana is warm and charming.The playul, warm Morgana from early in the series that we all miss. I wanted her to stay this way and not turn into the evil Morgana, but...well we shall see.

The original characters Owain and Leon are a treat, especially Leon who I wanted to see much more of. I wondered about his relationship with Morgana, and would not be averse to reading a short with his version of the story.

ROMANCE
I think that for the most part, the obstacles to the romance are clearly stated. Most people don't expect a gay crown prince, so they aren't looking for it in their relationship at first. Of course, a coming out is in order if Arthur is turning down marriage prospects because of it.

I found it interesting how Arthur wanted to wait before consummating the union, although I didn't know for what? Marriage? A more private venue? It was sweet in its way.

They have a sweet, angsty, mostly nonexplicit relationship with lots of kisses and sleeping together with sex implied later in the story.For the most part, I could deal with their on again off again love, but near the end I was starting to get tired of it and wanted to say "Just get it over with will ya?"

Episodes were chronological within the frame story of an interview, and most of what happened were never reported to the interviewer who we could tell was not sympathetic to their union.

STORY
I liked many things about this story. I liked the details of the life of Modern Arthur, such as how he would put on ratty clothes to go "slumming" but still had suited bodyguards following him everywhere. I liked how Merlin felt a bit put out that royals seemed to want to appropriate him as their personal (plaything) buddy without even asking a by your leave. I also liked how Morgana was affectionate to Merlin and Arthur and tried to help them find each other.

I also like how perils from the original series, and dialog were tossed in to add continuity and deepen the repeated destiny aspect of it.

I didn't like the abrupt change when the frame story started to move again. It confused me. I wasn't sure of everyone's location. I didn't like how some characters were a bit poorly developed like Owain and Percival (Percy),or how sometimes Arthur seemed very 'one note', but I can't help but be awed at the scope of the work. Retelling the story in modern day from first meeting while trying to keep true to characters and story. It is an awesome undertaking, and for the most part it is done remarkably well, therefore I highly recommend this work.

4.5 out of 5

Check it out!
alessnox: Aless Nox - A writer (Default)
I love podfics, but I must say that they do have their limitations. The porn content being very high, it's hard to find stories that won't lead to extreme mortification if, heaven forbid, the cord should get pulled out so that everyone around you can hear the story. Even a few seconds of some podfics could cause extreme embarrassment if overheard. Many, or perhaps most of them, should only be listened to with ear phones on, and sometimes only when alone in a dark room, but then how can we feed our podfic addiction when around others?

Here are three works which are safe to listen to, even in public.

Almost incendiary eve

A poetic retelling of the Sherlock story. Liner notes include the poem which inspired it.

Curse words: none
Johnlock: none (except to say "The man he loved")

Writer: lbmisscharlie
Reader: the science of obsession

Impression:
Smooth sounding. May get you weird looks because of the artyness of it. Sounds very literary. Dramatic, bit over the top. Nice dramatic music.

Rating:
2.5 out of 5 Mostly because I don't like stories that are too Artsy.


You call me like the moon
Writer: etothepii
Reader: themusecalliope

A Sherlock story where John is a werewolf and was part of the K9 unit in Afghanistan. Sherlock finds out.

Caution: One mention of being naked.

Impression:
A Sherlock/lycanthropy story will probably be weird to most people.

Rating:
3.5 out of 5 Sort of cute, but I think that werewolves and Sherlock are a weird AU mix.



Endgame
Writer: ajhall
Reader: fayjay

Sherlock solves a case involving a domestic murder, a young chess whiz, and an antique chess board.

Caution: Parents/guardians accused of murdering each other.

Impression:
Gotta say I love this one. From the cheesy violin music to Sherlock's snarky comments to the counselor.

Rating:
4.5 out of 5 True to the spirit of the original stories with a surprising ending.
alessnox: Aless Nox - A writer (Default)
Day 12
In your own space, rec at least three fanworks that you think would make a good intro into XYZ fandom. Rec a fandom overview, a introductory picspam, stories that define and shape the fandom. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.


Although I feel my humble efforts are poor faced with the enormity of the genre, I thought that I'd start by expanding on a post that I wrote earlier for a friend writing her first Johnlock story. Here we go...wish me luck.

AN INTRODUCTION TO JOHNLOCK

1. It's Sherlock (Bloody) Holmes!

Who hasn't heard of Sherlock Holmes? The stories of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson have been fan favorites since they first came out in the 19th century, but lately there has been a plethora of stories showing these two characters as being romantically involved. These fan fiction stories are collectively called JOHNLOCK ( an abbreviation of John/Sherlock) and the reason that these stories have exploded recently is because of the new BBC television show SHERLOCK that has a younger Holmes than is normally portrayed, and is set in present day London.



In the first episode, Sherlock Holmes meets retired Army Doctor John Watson and they move in together. Their friendship is rapid. The chemistry is electric, and it is an excellent example of a 21st century Bromance (a close non-sexual relationship between two (or more) men[wikipedia]).

So why the interest in writing John/Sherlock fiction now?

Well first off, the actors are gorgeous. I mean just look at them. Second, John Watson in this show is not written as a complete idiot as he normally is. He is actually quite impressive, a doctor and an ace marksman. Very lickable. It doesn't take long for certain impressionable minds to start to wish for reasons to imagine them with their clothes off.

But the real reason is that the characters as drawn in the show have a certain fragile dependency. They are both introduced as slightly broken men. They are talented, but flawed. When they get together, they make a whole greater than its parts, and considering how great they were before, this is saying something! Their friendship is so compelling that it leaves many people wanting more.

2. Why Johnlock?
The point of JohnLock is simple. Take two complex and beautiful characters and somehow get them into bed with each other. This can be quite challenging as the show is quite clear that they are NOT sleeping with each other and that John is NOT gay. Show canon also says that Sherlock is a virgin, and Arthur Conan Doyle canon says that he is basically asexual, therefore making us believe that they would ever have a sexual relationship is difficult. This is part of what makes this genre so compelling. Only the bravest and best writers can succeed at this task, and when they do. It is wonderful.

Lazy Johnlock authors solve this problem simply by saying that all of the facts above are a lie. Sherlock is often portrayed as promiscuous and John as openly gay. This is cheating, but it is fairly common.

A good Johnlock author must make us believe that either we or the characters themselves are mistaken about these facts. Then, we can get them together. The elaborate dance is one of the greatest joys of Johnlock, and many solutions to this problem have been made, some more successful than others.

3. What in the hell are they talking about?
First lets get some vocabulary out of the way,

FIRST TIME

A first time Johnlock is a story that conveys either a first kiss or a first sexual encounter between the two. This is most of the stories I think. Like I said, this is the hard part. Once you get them together you are mostly home free.

So how is this FIRST TIME usually accomplished?

EXPERIMENT

This is a story where the initiator of the romance is Sherlock. He convinces John to do increasingly more intimate acts by saying that it is an experiment.

WOKE UP GAY or WE'RE NOT GAY; WE JUST LOVE EACH OTHER

These are stories where John realizes that he is NOT as heterosexual as he thought when he starts having sexual thoughts about Sherlock.

Some common plot lines include:

  • UNNATURAL CAUSES These are where John and Sherlock are drawn together by some unnatural event. For example, maybe John is a werewolf or were-velociraptor and Sherlock becomes part of his pack and therefore drawn to him.
  • EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES They are about to die (not that uncommon), and one of them admits feelings for the other. They have sex. They may not both be gay, but they want so much to please the other person that they do it anyway because of their strong feelings for each other.

But most Johnlock begins with the affection that the characters already show for each other in the series. There are enough dangerous situations in their everyday life to push the characters into a confession. Because the two are already friends, their greatest fear is usually that a romantic relationship will ruin their friendship and cause them to separate. This is a real fear, and a good Johnlock writer must make us believe that things are better. Writing good Johnlock is a challenge.

The best JohnLock is slow. It is a war of attrition where their defenses are worn away little by little until they can't help but be together. It is a very specialized and interesting form of romance, and after such a build up, you have to have the sex, or (as Moriarty said) "What is the point of this?"

I lie a bit because there are many CUDDLEFICS out there. In these, John and Sherlock have a romantic relationship, but mostly this is shown through cuddling. Most often cuddlefics are ACE!Sherlock. That is John likes Sherlock romantically, but Sherlock remains asexual so cuddles and kisses are as far as he's going to get. As you will see, the Sherlock fandom is a vast sea.

4. Not that I'm homophobic, but why should I read this?

Because Johnlock has some of the best writing on the internet, hands down. The Sherlock fandom is highly educated. Excellent writers flood this genre, and when you have characters as interesting as John Watson and Sherlock Holmes, it draws them like a moth to a flame. Also, the stories vary from incredibly sweet, to extreme Angst, to stories so hot that you think they'll set the mouse on fire. You don't want to miss this stuff. It's Fantabulous!

5. Johnlock recommendations

Here are some stories to start with.
WARNING! - Johnlock stories often deplict graphic homosexual sex including anal sex. If this shocks you be cautious of this genre.

The Perils of Urban Warfare

by phantomjam

Words: 7300

A WOKE UP GAY, FIRST KISS story in John's point of view.

Podfic:
podfics temporarily down.Archive of our own links.
Mediafire link to mp3: Here (67.64 MB)
Mediafire link to m4b: Here (60.86 MB)
EQUILIBRIUM
by

 

Words:  12,351
FIRST TIME story with EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES. ANGST!

Podfic: mp3  mp4



Alone On the Water

by Madlori
Words: 8,210

Classic JohnLock with existing relationship. Warning: MAJOR CHARACTER DEATH

 Almost Always and Carte Blanche

by Ivy Blossom

Words: 3480 AND Words: 6877 RESPECTIVELY
PODFIC: mp3     mp4
Way lighter than the previous two recommendations. FIRST Romantic KISS (not first sexual encounter).


FIRST NIGHT OUT
BY VERITY BURNS

Words: 3267
PODFIC

Short and cute. Existing relationship. "Coming out" holiday fic.



alessnox: Aless Nox - A writer (Default)
TITLE:   The Quiet Man
FANDOM: Sherlock (BBC)
GENRE: Grief/angst, Johnlock
WORDS:  157369

http://archiveofourown.org/works/322978/chapters/520106

SPOILERS FOLLOW

Reading Sherlock fan fiction, especially Sherlock return stories, is like living in a world of parallel universes. Each story paints an image of a possible future where the smallest choices create different dynamics in the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. One of these stories, The Quiet Man by paints a world with an ending so sweet that we want to close our eyes and let it linger for a moment as Sherlock does in one key point in the story.

This work, an epic at over 157,000 words, tells the story of John Watson enduring the loss of Sherlock Holmes for three years before his eventual return. Needless to say, there is a lot of angst in this work. John Watson spends most of his time feeling lost and horribly depressed. Some of the early chapters are a bit slow as John continues to live in a fantasy world where the image of Sherlock talks with him, and he seems to make no progress forward, but his story picks up again after we meet Mary.

The Sherlock return story is one of tension and expectations. We know that Sherlock will some time come into the picture, and we know that what happens to John during this separation will have a great part in deciding how their reunion will go. Will he marry Mary? Will he commit suicide? Will he tell his therapist his true feelings? Will he learn to hate Sherlock? Each decision affects the outcome.

In this version of the story, John becomes a  writer for The Strand magazine, just as in the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books. He works through his feelings for Sherlock while creating the novelization of his blog as he continues to be haunted by images of Sherlock that he seems to see everywhere. When he finally does encounter Sherlock, we are still left wondering how he will act. Will he be able to accept this sudden change in circumstances?

The story doesn't try to go too fast. It lets us comes to terms with each decision as John does, allowing him a depth of characterization that is underscored by the title "The quiet man".  John now thinks a great deal before he speaks, and we are spectators viewing his thoughts. The story is in first person. We stay deep in John's mind. Like him, we don't know what Sherlock was doing on the rooftop at Barts, and when we meet him, we don't know what he's thinking. It makes everything a bit muffled and uncertain as John is when he goes through the world uncertain of who he is and what he should be doing.

It is mostly a work of mood. it spends its time conveying the sense of loss and mourning that John endures. This makes the story a bit of a downer in parts, but it is alleviated by the interesting experiences and observations that John makes of the world around him.

The story is very well written and beta-edited. The explicit rating comes from some fantasy scenes  and a few sex scenes at the very end of the story, as well as some violence.

At fifty eight chapters, this story is a bit of a commitment, but it is well worth the effort. Although the road of loss is long, ultimately the reunion is beautifully sweet.

June 2017

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