August 31st, 2014

Other Fandom D&D poster

Once Upon a Time Before Bottled Water (or An '80s Fandoms Fanfic Wallow)

I self-indulgently did little with my Labor Day weekend Saturday but read fanfic on the AO3 for dearly remembered ~'80s-shows (mostly Saturday-morning cartoons). I wanted the comfort of, first, stories written for shows I'd personally absorbed with my whole imagination, and second, stories written for sheer love of a canceled show's entirety (not in competitive argument over a still-in-production show's evolving direction), and, finally, not to be poked at too much for time passing.

I happily found such stories. What's in this corner of the AO3 seem to be mostly unasked, unrewarded labors of pure fannish love, and the rest written for Yuletide wishes. (Much of the surviving incompetent fanfic for these series probably sits in spiral notebooks in cardboard boxes in storage units, handwritten in childish but practiced cursive. And I know this because... ~grin~) Collapse )

Mostly, though, I spent my self-indulgent fanfic day inside the unforgettable realm of the cartoon Dungeons and Dragons (1983-1985). That was my show in its day, my turn choosing the channel on Saturday morning. (When I first bought the DVD set, I'd promised to loan it to Abby when I finished watching; I dragged my feet about whether and how to approach the unmade finale "radio show" — I have a thing about "closing" a beloved canon — so I hadn't yet shared when she died, and I'm forever sorry about that.) As I mainlined its fanfic yesterday, I noticed that post-unmade-finale is naturally a large percentage of the stories, a fannish touchstone obviously available only once that script became available.

So directly from that post-unmade-finale subgenre and my reading binge, I'd like to recommend "The Good Life" by [archiveofourown.org profile] Evidence (PG, ~19K words), as a rich, post-series story from Eric's perspective, with the protagonists back in the real world and suffering appropriate levels and manifestations of PTSD after their three-year struggle for survival in a pseudo-medieval fantasy realm dumped them suddenly back not only into the early '80s US, but into their own three-years-prior bodies. (Imagine suddenly being 15 again in the late twentieth century after reaching 18 on Middle Earth!) I would happily have kept reading that story for many thousand words more, seeing every character in his or her home or school, with parents or siblings or friends.

On the other side of the big subgenre divide is ignoring, overwriting or not knowing the unmade finale. There, I'd like to recommend the 8-story series "The Trial by Existence" by [archiveofourown.org profile] astolat (R, ~54K words). It's tagged Venger/Sheila, but if you can give it the leeway of calculating Sheila as at least 18 in the realm by then (otherwise, it's statutory rape on top of everything else; let's be clear and trigger-warned), that element pays off as a full-fledged plot device (not as a mere ship) in an effective, if ingenuous, way (having been responsible for FK's Light Cousins and Faithfuls, I feel that I know an angle like this all too blushingly well). However! That's not the point of the story (or of my recommendation)! What is the point is Eric's growth from cavalier to paladin, from ordinary knight to holy knight. Oh, yes, you can guess how delightfully that pushes my buttons; it is indeed a treat!

Collapse )

One last thing? Among all the cartoon D&D fanfics I read yesterday, two referred to the characters, on coming back to the real world, buying/using bottled water (one from a grocery store, one in the amusement park). Anachronism! :-) In the '80s, in my part of the US, anyway, you got water from drinking fountains. If you paid money, you got soda pop (or maybe milk). Bottled water meant glass bottles that rich, pretentious adults ordered in restaurants on TV shows (if it meant anything at all; I don't think I'd yet heard of bottled water at that time). In the early '80s, for most of us, there wasn't yet any such thing as natural food, remember; everything was heavily processed and made primarily of unpronounceable chemicals, and that was considered very good, because: science!

Comments on Dreamwidth: comment count unavailable