ETA2: Finally, time and keyboard access at one and the same moment. Let's get this show on the road:
By normal standards, this letter is going to look very odd; I'm giving the usual sections out of their usual order owing to the circumstances of this year's exchange, my very late signup, and the fact that I'm getting this posted late as well.
First, since the odds are about 99% in favor of one particular match, let's cover that:Austin/Murry-O'Keefe families (L'Engle)
• Adam, Polly, Zachary, Kali, Canon Tallis
As this character grouping may indicate, I am very fond of Arm of the Starfish
-- I think I actually read that one before encountering A Wrinkle in Time
. I have remained fond of that corner of L'Engle's universe ever since -- in particular, I regret not seeing more light thrillers in the vein of Starfish
and Young Unicorns
-- and have long wished in particular for more of several of those characters than she chose to give us. Kali's story in particular has long seemed unfinished to me, and I'd have liked to see more of Canon Tallis, even as I recognize that he often works better as a mentor and backup player than he might as an actual protagonist. We did, of course, get a bit of Adam's later career -- and though L'Engle (and I) are content to pair him romantically with Vicki Austin, I can't help thinking that it would be fun to see how his interactions with Polly evolve as both of them grow into maturity. And then there's Zachary, perhaps one of L'Engle's most complicated characters. I have requested -- and written -- Zachary before, as I really like to think his redemption in An Acceptable Time
may finally stick. But there are a lot of ways that could go, and I wouldn't mind seeing a further speculation in that direction (particularly involving Canon Tallis, whom I don't think he actually meets in canon, or Adam, who strikes me as the hardest to convince of Zachary's genuine 'reform', such as it may be).
The foregoing does not say much about Polly and Kali -- except that that's actually telling, because Starfish
makes it clear that the two girls will certainly be thrown together while Kali is being treated on Gaea, and nothing in any of Polly's later memoirs says a single word about what came of that. Which is fascinating, and in some ways hints that the treatment did not go as well as I would like to think it did.
At any rate, a story about any one of these characters will make me a very happy camper, and putting just about any combination of them together is likely to cause long bursts of delighted squee when the exchange goes live. The one thing I'll note here is that for all that I believe the best of Zachary after An Acceptable Time
, I think L'Engle makes it clear that he and Polly are not a workable romantic pairing (and that both of them know it).
###General Likes & Dislikes
Pluses for me include strong characterization, well-written dialogue, wit/banter/snark, clever use of canon, well-developed AUs, UST (heavy on both the U and the T), and more. I'm neutral when it comes to matters of gen, slash, and the like -- if the pairing is well-developed, I'll read with an open mind. I'm not into noncon, incest, or adult/child kinks, but have few other outright squicks as long as the relationship is age- and canon-appropriate; OTOH, I mostly don't read fanfic for sexual content -- and only one or two of these requests include characters I'd anticipate seeing paired romantically.
I will note in particular that I am a sucker for the clever and well-executed crossover -- not because I expect one (Optional Details Being Optional, and such things being well beyond the call of either duty or necessity), but because in one or two of these cases, the potential amusement/entertainment value would be particularly high if your writerly imagination should happen to wander in that direction.
Where I have listed several (or "any") characters for a given fandom, I will be pleased and satisfied with a story focused on whichever particular character on whom we've actually matched. At the same time, neither a single-character request nor a list should be taken to exclude a character or characters you think it's important to include in your story.
Now let's get to the rest of the specific requests, in case anyone is contemplating treats:Young Wizards (Duane) •
Harry Callahan, Irina Mladen, Nelaid ke Seriv, Robert Millman
This is a really oddball character list; what I find in the wake of Games Wizards Play
, though, is that I'm more and more intrigued by the interaction between wizardly life and traditional family life, and the effects it has on wizards and non-wizards alike. Thus I am interested in how Dairine's and Roshaun's fathers interact with one another (as we finally start to see in this latest book), how Irina's job as Planetary complicates and complements her life as a mother, and how Mr. Millman as a non-wizard helps keep things glued together for everyone involved. (I've seen a couple of very good Millman stories, but I don't think I've yet seen one that tosses Irina into his orbit; likewise, I am particularly curious about how Irina and Harry might interact given some time with one another -- although I emphasize that I do not want to unduly tamper with Irina's home life, to the degree that we know about it.)
Diana Winthrop series ("Chambers")
Planet Builders series ("Tallis")
These are two of my ongoing micro- to nano-fandoms in the teen/YA category -- well-nigh unmatchable in the present context, and both long OP and relatively hard to find. If you happen to be in the small group of folks who read either series, you know why I like these -- strong plotting, engaging ensemble casts, and genre-savvy in the way-above-average category.
The Winthrop books are a teen-sleuth series (six slim paperbacks from the mid-'80s) set mostly in New York and New England, with "Kate Chambers" being a pen name for versatile writer Norma Johnston -- a fact I didn't learn till much later. The individual mysteries are dedicated to (and often plotted in the style of) various classic and then-famous mystery authors, and the characterizations are much more nuanced than is usual for this category.
The "Planet Builders" books were a 10-book paperback series (also from the '80s) involving a large teen cast on a colony world with ongoing mysteries involving psi powers, mysterious native aliens, and light interplanetary intrigue. "Robyn Tallis" was a combine with authors including Sherwood Smith, Bruce Coville, Mary Frances Zambreno, and collaborators Debra Doyle & James Macdonald. The overall tone was akin to classic Andre Norton space opera with modern sensibilities and a touch of Tom Swift (not unlike A. C. Crispin's Starbridge series), and character-driven humor was skillfully integrated to keep the tone fairly light. Also, while the teens are the stars, there are well-characterized grownups in the mix as well -- an unusual touch for this genre.
And that, as they say, is a wrap!