graycardinal: Rufus (from Kim Possible) (Rufus)
2017-09-19 01:13 pm
Entry tags:

And in other non-news....

[eyes rec post]

[eyes shopping post]

[shakes head bemusedly]

At least now we know what people are reading the journal for....


Oh, I know, it's not a valid comparison -- with story posts, such response as there is shows up on the story page (or is supposed to, at any rate).  Nonetheless, I am amused to observe that the Thinkgeek post represents the most comment traffic on a single entry that this journal has had in <i>years</i>.  Clearly I need to re-think my posting strategy.
graycardinal: Shadow on asphalt (Default)
2017-09-17 06:41 pm

Rec: The Super Genius Caper (Remix Revival 2017)

Remix Revival is live!  I can't tell you what I wrote yet (anonymity, you know), but I can tell you that I was remixed by a Super Genius (probably not the actual Wile E. Coyote, but one can't be too sure nowadays).  The work below takes a bit of whimsy I put together for "Into A Bar" a couple of rounds back, and cranks both the crack-o-meter and the hey-this-is-good-o-meter up to C-11. 

[puzzled reader voice] "C-11"?
[Foghorn Leghorn voice] "That's a joke, son!" 
Which you will totally get if you read the story.

Needless to say, I am delighted.  And have been chuckling all day.

The Super Genius Caper (The "Left Turn at Albuquerque Caper" Remix) (7650 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Castle, Gargoyles (TV), Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?, Looney Tunes | Merrie Melodies
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Words: ~7650
Relationships: Kate Beckett/Richard Castle
Characters: Victoria Gates, Richard Castle, Carmen Sandiego, Kate Beckett, Wile E. Coyote, Zack (Carmen Sandiego), Goliath (Gargoyles), Elisa Maza, The Chief (Carmen Sandiego)
Additional Tags: Crossover

As he hung suspended from an ACME branded rope, Castle's first thought was to hope it was something Carmen had stolen from the detective agency... and not one of the coyote's oft ill-fated purchases. (Seriously, did ole Wiley never read Consumer Reports? Or Amazon reviews? Or the Darwin Awards?) His second thought, as the Gargoyle's stone skin began to crack in the fading light, was to wonder how he'd ever explain this to Beckett.
graycardinal: Shadow on asphalt (Default)
2017-09-17 06:18 pm

Root beer, A&W, cold....

Being a properly qualified member of geekdom, I have on a handful of occasions ordered things from ThinkGeek.  Most notably, I ordered one of the "con edition" Bags of Holding almost instantly after their initial release, and it's still in my regular rotation of messenger-like bags.

And then, early last week, I got email from ThinkGeek announcing their first Oregon store.  On one hand, it's in a shopping center all the way over on the opposite side of the metro area from my abode (which is somewhat less centrally located than it was at this time last year).  On the other hand, the grand opening was on one of my days off, and this was after all ThinkGeek....

By bus and light rail, this turned out to be a trip of a bit under two hours.  And there was an actual line to get in (the crowd being good-sized, and the store's square footage relatively modest).  But there were also Imperial stormtroopers, and some other cosplayers, and small bits of swag, and interesting geeky things to look at.  And I may now have a set of coasters that look like Star Trek transporter pads, complete with blinky lights and sound effects.  (Fortunately, there's a mode for "blinky lights only"; otherwise, your glass makes transporter noises every time you pick it up and put it down.)  Now if the next release will just include a working replicator function, so it will actually refill the glass of root beer on demand....

The trip was also justified by the discovery that the B&N at the other end of the mall had significant markdowns on a large selection of their genre DVDs...and I have a B&N membership/discount card.  Thus, among other things, I now have the first season complete-series set for Class, the Doctor Who spinoff, in my stack of things to get around to watching eventually.

graycardinal: Carmen Sandiego (carmen sandiego)
2017-07-30 10:35 am

Crossovering 2017: Dear Crosser-Overer

First of all, thank you. This exchange is easily one of the most complicated fic challenges out there, and yet continues to produce some of the niftiest and most purely amazing stories I see over the course of a fannish year.  As a practitioner of the crossover art myself, I am invariably impressed both by the quality of stories that show up here in general – and by the ones that are written for me in particular.  I have no doubt that whatever I receive when the reveal goes live will be wondrous, and for that I am profoundly and unreservedly grateful.

Now, then.  This will be in four, count them four, parts this year, because the pre-exchange brainstorming and rules tweaks this year suggest that the reasons we’re here are more varied than I might have thought.  So what you’ll get first is the “why I’m here” spiel, followed by likes and dislikes, followed by canon-specific notes, followed by notes on my actual request-clusters.

But first you get a cut, because this is long


graycardinal: Shadow on asphalt (Default)
2017-07-14 11:37 pm

[Fic] NPT 2017: An Oblique Approach (Iron Man, MCU)

Not Prime Time reveals are in, and I can now report what I wrote for this year's exchange -- a story I had a lot of fun developing, for a recipient I've written for before.  (I'll be back later to edit a bit for formatting -- I'm still learning how my new Bluetooth tablet keyboard  works -- but this will get the word out.

An Oblique Approach
Fandom: Iron Man (Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Words: ~5300
Relationships: Pepper Potts/Tony Stark, Pepper Potts & Natasha Romanov
Characters: Pepper Potts, Tony Stark, Jarvis (Iron Man movies), Natasha Romanov (Marvel)
Additional Tags: Extremis Pepper Potts, POV Pepper Potts, terrible horrible no good very bad days, Footnotes

“Oh, Tony. Trust me, the very last thing I want to do is go out and shoot fire at things with stupid numbers of people watching. Also, I’m pretty sure ‘Human Torch’ is trademarked already.”

Tony sighed theatrically. “I get it,” he said. “But trust me, you don’t know what you’re missing.”

graycardinal: Alexis Castle, thoughtful (Alexis (thoughtful))
2017-06-28 04:34 pm

UPDATED: Fic Corner 2017: Dear Scribbler, With Content

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!

graycardinal: Alexis Castle, smiling (Alexis (smiling))
2017-06-28 04:10 pm

[Fic] Holmestice, Summer 2017: Written & Received

Holmestice reveals are up, and I once again wrote a story that everyone immediately pegged as mine. (One of these rounds I will succeed at being sneakier.) I am amused and pleased that the story has been applauded both by those familiar with both obscure Holmes fandoms and by those familiar with neither.  I have not done a tally yet, but I also maintained a solid record of entertainingly wrong guesses about who'd written what.  Others did much, much better than I did at guessing this session.

So this one was my gift to [personal profile] language_escapes:

Charlotte Holmes in the 22nd Century
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century (Cartoon), Charlotte Holmes Series - Brittany Cavallaro, Sherlock Holmes & Related Fandoms
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
No Archive Warnings Apply.
Presumes general knowledge of the two Cavallaro books published to date while avoiding plot-specific spoilers; extrapolates (sometimes sharply) from there.
Words: ~5800
Characters: Beth Lestrade, Charlotte Holmes, Martin Fenwick, Original Characters
Additional Tags: Alternate Universe - Fusion, Crossover

One hundred forty-seven years.
Too long, I thought, and not nearly long enough. “I don’t imagine you’ve woken me just to chat about our respective ancestors. And the Yard has always had trouble with really creative criminals. Still—”

“We had hardly any criminals, period, for over fifty years,” Lestrade interjected. “Then about three months ago, things changed.


And I was gifted with a positively brilliant story focusing on a little-examined aspect of the Holmes-vs.-Moriarty conflict (no, [personal profile] trobadora , you are never going to stop blushing!).

The Question
Author: Trobadora
Fandom: Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Words: ~2000
Relationships: Sherlock Holmes & James Moriarty
Characters: Sherlock Holmes, James Moriarty
Additional Tags: appearances by Lestrade & Watson & Moran, Story: The Final Problem, Story: The Adventure of the Empty House

Of all the unanswered questions I had collected over the course of my career, none weighed upon me as much as that posed by the inexplicable inaction of Professor Moriarty.

graycardinal: Rufus (from Kim Possible) (Rufus)
2017-04-30 07:31 pm

Dear NPT Writer: Now With Actual Content

Aaaaand here we go again!

I signed up at the tail end of the window for this, but I am as enthusiastic as I've ever been, and will be as grateful for New Stuff To Read as these exchanges invariably make me.  So much wonderful material comes out of all of these, and having a bit of it be particularly for me is an ongoing source of delight.  So thank you for taking part, and let's get to the good stuff....

General Notes

Feel free to wander backward through this journal and my fic on AO3 (linked to your left) to get an idea of my interests; what I write is very much also what I like to read -- and has, over time, added up to rather a variety of fandoms. My past letters for various exchanges are tagged "dear santa" herein; see also "exchange: not prime time" if you like. To summarize, though: text-driven pluses for me include effective use of wit (aka banter aka snark, etc.), as well as strong characterization & dialogue. I value both respect for and clever use of canon (including well-developed AUs -- the plot-driven kind, not the baristas/highschoolers/alt-species kind). I thrive on UST (heavy on both U and T), and am neutral where gen/het/slash is concerned; if the pairing is well-developed, I'll read with an open mind.

I am also a sucker for the well-executed crossover, whether via oblique allusion or head-on fandom collision. Optional Details Being Optional, I have absolutely no expectations along this line -- and the openings for such this year aren't what they might be, given the focus on requesting relationships vs. individual characters in this year's exchange. But if your muse's musings wander into crossover territory on their own initiative, feel free to encourage them.

None of my requests call specifically for mature/explicit content. This doesn't mean I don't appreciate sizzling erotica/smut/porn; it's just that my fanfic-reading interests and my e/s/p-reading interests mostly don't tend to intersect. That said, if your muse takes you into explicit territory as you're plotting, I'm willing to follow along for the ride. I have few outright personal squicks save for noncon, incest, or adult/child kinks so long as a given relationship is age- and canon-appropriate. [See the requests for canon-specific notes.]

As regards characters not mentioned in the requests -- relationship request structure notwithstanding, I am always and happily open to inclusion of additional canon characters relevant to a given story.  I'm also not opposed to original characters, so long as they fit into the story in context and don't unduly take it over.

Batman BeyondRa's & Talia; Talia & Bruce (**optional**: Barbara & Terry)

The family al-Ghul turned up in just one episode of Batman Beyond (see, I'm making the canon review simple!), but oh what an episode it was.  I have been hoping for years that someone will eventually write the story of what *really* happened between Ra's and Talia when Ra's did what he says he did in "Out of the Past".  As you can perhaps tell, I tend to suspect that things did not go quite the way Ra's says they did onscreen, at least not without one unholy hell of a fight.  I am also being deliberately oblique -- if you've seen the episode, you know what I'm talking about, but if you haven't, the twist in question is one I don't want to spoil for you.

If that particular episode doesn't interest your muse, here's a wholly optional alternative (because the relationship tag in question was unfortunately left out of the tag set).  We saw a lot of the evolving relationship between Terry and Bruce in the three seasons of BB's run; by contrast, we didn't -- to my mind -- see nearly enough of the evolving relationship between Terry and police commissioner Barbara Gordon (who seems not to have been Oracle at all in this iteration of the DCU).  I would be fascinated and intrigued by a story exploring the Barbara/Terry dynamic as it develops (or doesn't) during Terry's tenure as Batman.

Gargoyles (TV)
Macbeth & Elisa; Macbeth & Demona; Macbeth & Xanatos; Demona & Xanatos; Puck | Owen Burnett & Xanatos

While none of the listed relationships are romantic as such, I don't deny that Demona in particular occasionally uses romantic overtures for her own purposes, particularly where Macbeth is concerned (although that particular episode struck me as very odd in some respects).  As this set of relationship tags suggests, I am very much a fan of Macbeth at pretty much all stages of his extremely long life, and convinced that there's a lot of dimension to him that we just didn't get a chance to see onscreen.  Of the relationships listed, clearly the Macbeth-&-Elisa dynamic is the one with almost no canon to look toward (which is one of the things that fascinates me about it, because their relationships to law and justice strike me as grounds for developing a bond).  I'm also curious about the ways in which Macbeth and Xanatos may have crossed paths in the modern business world, both before and after the Awakening,  In the case of the two relationships involving Demona, feel very free to introduce and make use of the Weird Sisters as catalysts or manipulators of events.  And where Owen and Xanatos are's never boring when both your players are the smartest person in the room, even if one of them is deliberately playing the straight man.  It's kind of scary to contemplate what they might try were they to truly collaborate on some particular project....

Kim Possible (Cartoon)
Kim & Ron; Ron & Yori; Kim & Yori; Kim/Ron/Yori

If you think you see a pattern here-- why yes, I am intrigued by Yori and her relationships with Kim and Ron, and yes, I *did* suggest the prospect of a stable triad up there  -- although as far as I could tell when I looked, even though that tag is AO3-canonical, I don't think anyone's actually written fic that uses that tag in that way.  If that idea intrigues you, too, I absolutely encourage you to show me how Our Heroes get there.  As the non-romantic version of that triad isn't AO3-canonical, I couldn't formally request it, but *if* you'd prefer to look at the trio that way, I'm equally happy with that iteration.  I should make it clear here that I *like* Yori, even and especially when she's calling Kim out, and I hope that any story featuring the two will treat both characters with appropriate respect. (Which is to say: no bashing either Kim or Yori here, if you please.)  Do not hesitate to bring in additional characters where they fit; in particular, I have said before that I think putting Shego and Yori together (whether as adversaries or temporary allies) might be a recipe for comedy gold, high-powered kung fu, or possibly both at once.

An aside here: as much as I like Yori, I am not wholly fond of the Monkey Fist/Hana story arcs in Season 4 -- and indeed, there are still bits of Season 4 I haven't properly seen, having fallen into KP fandom while mostly cable-deprived.  If you prefer to head in AU directions that don't include Season 4, I am right there with you (and of course, that stable-triad thing is almost certainly AU in itself).  Note that the preceding isn't an objection to Monkey Fist in general, just to the way the writers took things in Season 4.

Iron Man (Movies)

I have a long-standing interest in AI characters inside and outside of fanfic, and JARVIS is no exception.  Also, having been a longtime DC fan, I am highly amused at the way the Iron Man franchise took pages of the JARVIS-and-Tony relationship straight from the Alfred-and-Bruce Bat-playbook.  (The meta geek in me is convinced that JARVIS has read/seen a lot of Batman material; I would dearly love to see this confirmed and flipped inside out in fic.)

As far as other prompts are concerned, the most obvious one may be slightly outside official source (since the relevant continuity point happens in Age of Ultron): I am deeply annoyed with the MCU movie franchise for writing JARVIS out in the process of bringing in Vision.  It's not that I dislike having Vision around; it's just that between backups and AI-level strategic thinking, I don't see why we can't have *both* JARVIS and the Vision around.  So feel free to write me the story in which Tony and JARVIS find their way back to each other after the whole Ultron thing has blown over.
graycardinal: Anya from "Anastasia"; "What was that title again?" (title)
2017-04-20 07:53 am
Entry tags:

Meme: 15 Movies

Borrowed from

[personal profile] sharpest_asp, because of course I ought to be working up a couple of exchange signups:

Here are 15 quotes; your job is to guess the movies from which they come.  (For extra style points, identify the actor or character who's speaking.)  A couple of notes on this list, which may or may not be of help: purely for amusement value, I sorted the list alphabetically by film title.  The films date from 1965 to 2015; five are musicals, two are Westerns, and three are Disney movies (by which I mean originated by Disney proper, not from franchises acquired by Disney over time).  All were theatrical releases, although one in particular was an indie project with a narrow distribution window in its initial run.  OTOH, that one also had a couple of other lives on cable and DVD (I bought my disc at a local supermarket/dept. store chain), so it's not hopelessly obscure, only partially so (and worth looking up, IMO).

#1: “I guess a curse just ain’t what it used to be, huh, sir?”


#2: “Throwing insults into the mix will not do anyone any good.”

#4: “There goes the 12:20.”
      “At 12:20.  What a terrible time to break a perfect record.”

#5: “He’s altogether a marvelous man.  And he understands the Irish.”

#6 “...there’s a big ostrich-looking dragon chewing on the Chrysler Building, and every tree in Central Park is eating people!”

#7: “You can’t be a leprechaun; you’re too tall!”

#9: “This entire band is under arrest.  You’re confined to quarters until further notice.”

#11: “...there had been abuse in my family, but it was mostly musical in nature.  My father used to lock me away in a room with nothing but the Percy Faith recording of Bim Bam Boom, and then send me to bed with nothing but dessert.”

#13: “Four. The only permissible recorded music shall be the following: Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, Jack Jones, the marches of John Philip Sousa or The Star-Spangled Banner.”

#14 “Dave, you should run.”

#15: “How do you think people responded to the prospect of imminent doom? They gobbled it up like a chocolate eclair! They didn't fear their demise, they repackaged it!”

## Solved ##


XX - [personal profile] sharpest_asp (Batman) • #3: “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”

XX - [personal profile] malkingrey  (The Great Muppet Caper) • #8: “It’s exposition, dear; it has to go somewhere.”

XX - [personal profile] sharpest_asp  (Maverick)  • #10: “Now I’ll bet I can change your mind.  I promise that I will lose for at least an hour.”


XX - [personal profile] sanguinity   (Murder By Decree) • #12: “You squashed my pea.”


graycardinal: Alexis Castle, thoughtful (Alexis (thoughtful))
2017-04-04 10:33 am
Entry tags:

LiveJournal side: new ToS

A degree of fuss shows up, not surprisingly, as LJ updates its terms of service with new language [specifically, Russian(!)].  As I observed last time around, I am not inclined to panic unduly about that in itself, although I admit to a degree of startlement at having to agree to be bound by an agreement in a language I don't understand and can't read.

However, one observer points out a clause that makes my writer-persona's eyebrows go up:

If User participates in any rankings or if User’s Content is used in any editorial projects of the Service, User provides to the Administration an additional authorisation to modify, shorten and amend his/her Content, to add images, a preamble, comments or any clarifications to his/her Content while using it, and in certain cases based on the Service functions, an authorisation to use User’s Content anonymously.

Essentially, their observation (which I think is valid) is that this amounts to a license  not just to re-use anything one has posted to one's LJ account,  but to rewrite and alter it as they see fit without permission or credit to the original writer -- including fanfic, for instance.  Now, ToS agreements often include a non-exclusive license to republish content, but the rewrite-and-modify aspects of the language are rather more sweeping than I've seen in most ToS language...and also, this is written under Russian law, and I wouldn't want to bet on Russian copyright protection being as robust as it is in the US and UK, for instance.

I would very much like to see the OTW legal team comment on this provision. In the interval -- on one hand, I'm not leaving LJ *yet*, and I don't intend to delete anything I've posted to LJ as yet (I don't think it's likely that the Russian Overlords will reach backward into LJ's archives for drabbles).  But I do not think that, under the new ToS, I'm going to be willing to post or crosspost new fanfic on the LiveJournal side, and I would encourage others to think carefully before doing so.  (Holmestice participants, I am definitely looking at you!)

graycardinal: Alexis Castle, smiling (Alexis (smiling))
2017-03-23 07:23 am

By popular demand, this is that post....

Well, for relative values of "popular", anyway.  At any rate, some observations on the new live-action iteration of Disney's Beauty & the Beast:

First and foremost, this is very much its own movie -- although it's spun from the same root, the fabric of this narrative is distinct from what you've seen in the animated version and/or stage production.  (I have seen the stage version -- specifically, the first national touring production, which inherited some of its cast from the original Broadway run.  I also own the Broadway cast album for the show, as well as a set of CDs including not just the animated soundtrack, but additional developmental material by Ashman and Menken.)

Think of it this way: the animated feature is essentially Belle's story -- she is the primary focus around whom everyone else orbits.  It's the closest of the three to a pure romance, and the one of the three that really acknowledges the passage of time as the central relationship develops (compare "Something There" in each version, and you'll see what I mean).  By contrast, in the stage version, it's Lumiere who's at the center of things -- it's his musical presence and status as nominal host that focuses the action, particularly in the second half of the show, driven in part by the expanded attention given to the Beast's houseful of transformed servants (notably in the long number surrounding "Human Again").

This shifts again in the live-action movie: this time, it's Gaston who's chief catalyst and motivator.  It's Gaston, much more of a direct threat much earlier on than we've previously seen, who propels Belle and Maurice into the events that lead them to the Beast's castle.  In this version, what happens to Maurice and to Belle is in significant part driven by Gaston's active antagonism, and likewise the Beast's actions are driven in part -- if less overtly -- by Gaston's influence.  This is an altogether nastier, darker, more knowingly Evil Gaston than he's been before, and the whole movie is colored by that difference.

Which is not to say that all is dark and grim and moody, because it's not.   "Be Our Guest" and the post-climax grand ball are still spectacular, the banter between Lumiere and Cogsworth is still delicious, and Kevin Kline injects some wonderfully dry wit into Maurice's character.  Indeed, this is a more character-driven film than either of its prior counterparts -- we get more back story for all of the principals, including additional songs for Maurice and the Beast (in fact, very little music is borrowed from the stage musical).  There is also some further context for the spell and its effects, with ramifications that are likely to generate a good deal of fanfic.

All in all, I liked the movie a great deal.  Ironically, the one area where it doesn't quite sparkle is the singing, which just can't quite compete with the iconic performances from the animated original (although the live version of "Gaston" comes close).  Don't get me wrong -- it's mostly very good, just not really at the level of either of its predecessors.

graycardinal: Rufus (from Kim Possible) (Rufus)
2017-03-19 11:06 pm

There has to be a story here....

 I  had originally planned to see Skull Island today, but matinee showtimes worked out to make Beauty & the Beast a better fit. (I definitely recommend the new version, but this is not that post.)

No, this is the post about the trip home again on the bus, and the trio of teenagers who occupied  the seats across from  mine. There were two girls, one with dark hair and washed-to-almost-white denim jeans, the other not quite blonde with a black skirt  and top plus white sweater.  Their companion was a young man with neatly waved wheaten hair and pale grey jeans. All in all, not quite clean-cut enough to be Mormons on mission, but considerably more tame of dress than one tends to see in the weekend bus-riding teen population out here in the burbs....

...except that one of them was carrying  a small rectangular shopping bag clearly labeled and striped as coming from...

...wait for  it...

Victoria's Secret.

And it wasn't either of the girls.

And what I realized only just now: there is no Victoria's Secret  in the shopping center where we all boarded that bus.

Clearly there's a story here, but I am not at all sure what it is.
graycardinal: Shadow on asphalt (Default)
2016-12-31 10:37 pm

Fic (Yuletide 2016): The Secrets of Isis

And now the reveal has gone live, and it's time to talk about what I wrote for Yuletide this year:

The Secrets of Isis
Fandom: Amelia Peabody - Elizabeth Peters
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: None for triggers.  Spoilers for Peters' novel Guardians of the Horizon (the second Lost Oasis adventure).
Words: ~1400
Characters: Nefret Forth Emerson, Daria (Amelia Peabody)
Additional Tags: Misses Clause Challenge, Isis is a perfectly respectable goddess, Lost Oasis, Footnotes

As the Emersons prepare to leave the Holy Mountain for the second time, one Priestess of Isis passes her mantle to another.

This was an interesting project. The prompt specifically asked for a focus on Nefret, and although I initially considered looking at her time in Switzerland and/or medical school (and thus essentially on her own) I found I couldn't resist the call of the Lost Oasis.  That immediately made me think of Daria, who really doesn't get enough of the right kind of screen time in Guardians of the Horizon, and of using Daria's perspective to supply a different angle on Nefret's character.  In the end, the story is really pretty much evenly balanced between the two young women, which is not precisely what the prompt had called for, but the recipient seems to like the story and I'm reasonably satisfied with it.

I should mention that the bit of whimsy underlying the second footnote was a fortuitous happenstance.  I had typed in the title for the piece late in one writing session, and only realized what I'd done when I looked at it again on reopening the document the following day.  At which point I asked myself "Do I really want to go there?", to which the obvious answer was "Whyever not?"  (Mostly we should all be grateful that Sethos never got hold of the item in question.)

graycardinal: NW Coast Thunderbird (thunderbird)
2016-12-30 10:43 am

I hear the Russians are coming....

A quick note relative to current developments on the LiveJournal side (specifically, concerns about LJ's servers being migrated to Darkest Russia):

This journal has for some time been mirrored on both DW (where I write most/all of the posts) and LJ (where I started), and I read my friends-lists/circles regularly on both sides of that mirror.  I expect to continue to do just that for as long as the lights are on.  Any content I post will be available on the DW side if the lights go off on LJ, and given that this is almost purely a fannish journal, I see little likelihood that Koschei the Deathless et al will choose to come after me.

Having said that: I do encourage anyone on the LJ side who is concerned to create a DW presence (there are tools whereby one can import an existing LJ over to DW essentially intact, thereby preserving the content), to add me to your DW reading page, and/or to let me know if you have a non-mirrored DW account to which I ought to connect.  The DW visual interface is as highly customizable as LJ's is (being built from the same base code), and though the vocabulary is a little different, the underlying structure is much the same.  At the moment, one need not have an invite code to create a DW account; if that changes (which it might if there's a mass exodus), any spare invite codes I happen to acquire will be mentioned here and available by request.

graycardinal: Shadow on asphalt (Default)
2016-12-30 09:16 am

Gift Fic (Yuletide 2016): Oz & Faerun (yes, I got two)!!!

An especially joyful Yuletide this year for me: I had been morally certain that the count showing two Yuletide stories for me was a system bug (the second showed up right after the restore of all those accidentally purged assignments), but lo and behold I discovered two stories under my virtual tree when the archive opened. And both of them are seriously nifty....

First we have Oz (well, technically, mostly Philadelphia with an eventual excursion ending up in Mo), featuring a really thoughtful and engaging look at two of my favorite characters, a very neat interpolation between several relatively obscure parts of Baum canon, and just exactly the right amount of emotional subtext between our protagonists.  I have certain suspicions about the authorship of this one....

Twin Properties
Written by: ??
Fandom: Oz - L. Frank Baum
Characters: Button-Bright, Polychrome
Rating: General Audiences
Words: ~4900
Warnings: none
Additional Tags: Reunions, Pre-ship, (if you want to read it like that)

When Polly gets lost in the US, she seeks out her only mortal (actually, only in general) friend.

AKA How Button-Bright ended up in that popcorn snowdrift.



And then we have an equally entertaining tale of my very favorite Forgotten Realms characters -- this one mostly sorcery rather than swordsmanship, with deviously complicated magic and a cleverly executed meeting between arch-wizard and arch-rogue that catches both characters very well indeed.  I have absolutely no idea who may have written this one, but I'm extremely happy to have gotten it.

The Amethyst Gate
Written by: ??
Fandom: Forgotten Realms, Songs & Swords - Elaine Cunningham
Rating: General Audiences
Words: ~4500
Warnings: none
Characters: Arilyn Moonblade, Danilo Thann, Elaith Craulnober, Khelben Arunsun

It's an ordinary-looking magical portal - but when Danilo steps through, it collapses in on itself, leaving Arilyn with a mystery that even the Archmage of Waterdeep and a guardian of Evermeet may not be able to fully unravel.
graycardinal: Anya from "Anastasia"; "What was that title again?" (anya)
2016-12-30 09:00 am

Fic (Holmestice, Winter 2016): A Policeman's Lot Is Not A Happy One

And here's the story I wrote for this latest round: hologram!Moriarty several years on, not where (or who) you'd expect him to be. I did a good deal of chuckling with evil glee when I was writing this one.

A Policeman's Lot Is Not A Happy One
Fandoms: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Professor Moriarty Series - Michael Kurland, Sherlock Holmes & Related Fandoms
Rating: General Audiences
Characters: James Moriarty, Madeleine Verlaine, Katherine Pulaski
Warnings: None for triggersSignificant spoilers for ST:TNG episodes “Ship in a Bottle” and “Elementary, Dear Data”.
Words: ~2200
Additional Tags: Holodeck Character, Sherlock Holmes References, For Science!

"I must say, Professor, you've come a long way since we first met. I daresay nowadays you sound more like Sherlock Holmes himself than you do an evil mastermind."

"As it happens," Moriarty said, "there's a reason for that, but it will probably confuse you."

graycardinal: Anya from "Anastasia"; "What was that title again?" (title)
2016-12-30 08:50 am

Gift Fic (Holmestice, Winter 2016): The Design of the Four

Playing catch-up: the story written for me in this season's Holmestice exchange was a delight -- all the cheerful roguery of the movie from which it's derived, plus bonus "Mary Morstan" and several cartons of canonical Easter eggs. 

The Design of the Four
Written by: SCFrankles
Fandom: Without a Clue (1988)
Rating: General Audiences
Characters: Reginald "Sherlock Holmes" Kincaid, John Watson, Lily "Mary Morstan" Aspinall (OC)
Words: ~7800
Warnings: none
Additional Tags: Humor, Community: holmestice

Having recovered from the shock of Dr. Watson being the true detective and ‘Sherlock Holmes’ being an actor, Watson’s publisher has become more enthusiastic about the fictional aspect of the stories and is insisting Watson insert some romance by finding himself a temporary fiancée.

Luckily Kincaid has an old friend he believes is perfect for the job, and so ‘Miss Mary Morstan’ makes her entrance. True love does not ensue, but she does turn out to be most useful in the work that they do.


graycardinal: Yuletide warning flag (Yuletide Crossing)
2016-10-09 12:42 am

2016: Dear Yule-Writer

Note: A good deal of this text has been ported straight from last year’s letter, including a couple of recurring requests.  Things have been kind of hectic around here in recent weeks – and also, I find I actually rather like this particular introductory paragraph.

Greetings, O YuleScrivener, and welcome!  And also, thank you!  Where Yuletide is concerned, I am nothing if not a Requester Of The Seriously Obscure.  Thus I am always amazed when the technomancy of the matching process succeeds in finding a writer who shares my appreciation for said obscurity, and delighted on Christmas morning when a wonderful and wondrous story from that writer's (metaphorical) pen lands in my AO3 gift-folder.  We may just be setting out on this year's journey, but I know there's a happy ending to come, and I am grateful for it already.  Your work is (and will be) appreciated and valued, and I look forward to seeing its fruits.

These letters aren't getting any shorter, so while I've got detailed material farther down, I think it's only fair to give you the list of fandom requests up front.  So, those would be:

* Forgotten Realms: Songs & Swords – Elaine Cunningham (Arilyn)
* Legend (TV 1995) (Janos Bartok)
* The Ice Ghosts Mystery - Jane Louise Curry (any)
* Oz - L. Frank Baum (any)
* Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? (Ivy)
* Young Wizards - Diane Duane (Carmela, Dairine)

General likes and dislikes

Feel free to wander backward through this journal and my fic on AO3 (linked to your left) to get an idea of my interests; what I write is very much also what I like to read -- and has, over time, added up to rather a variety of fandoms. My past Yuletide letters (and those for other exchanges) are tagged "dear santa" herein; see the "Yuletide" tag too, if you like.

To summarize, though: text-driven pluses for me include effective use of wit (aka banter aka snark, etc.), as well as strong characterization & dialogue. I value both respect for and clever use of canon (including well-developed AUs -- the plot-driven kind, not the baristas/highschoolers/alt-species kind). I thrive on UST (heavy on both U and T), and am neutral where gen/het/slash is concerned; if the pairing is well-developed, I'll read with an open mind.

I am also a sucker for the well-executed crossover, whether via oblique allusion or head-on fandom collision. Yuletide being Yuletide and Optional Details Being Optional, I have absolutely no expectations along this line...but if your muse's musings should happen to run in such a direction on their own initiative, feel free to encourage them. Again: the key word here is Optional.

None of my requests call specifically for mature/explicit content.  This doesn't mean I don't appreciate sizzling erotica/smut/porn; it's just that my fanfic-reading interests and my e/s/p-reading interests mostly don't tend to intersect.  That said, if your muse happens to take you into explicit territory in the context of one of these requests, I'm totally willing to follow along for the ride.  I have few outright personal squicks save for noncon, incest, or adult/child kinks so long as a given relationship is age- and canon-appropriate.  [See the requests for canon-specific notes.]

Character matching and prompts

Most often in exchanges, I request single characters.  This is not because I'm opposed to relationship-fic or multi-character stories – far from it. My goal is to give you greater flexibility in introducing additional characters, whether from those nominated or from wider canon. Even where I supply relatively specific prompts in a request, I want you to be able to shape the story; my suggestions are meant as springboards, not outlines.

Where I've requested multiple characters, I've given a specific note in each request as to whether it's an "either/or" request or not (different fandoms, different answers to that question).  As above, you're absolutely encouraged to bring in any additional canon characters (or OCs) you feel should be involved given the demands of your plot.

In a couple of cases here, I've left the character selection blank (there being no "Any" button on the offer side of the signup).  Any is pretty much still Any, though, and I've framed the prompts accordingly.


A note first: in past years, I've added a few additional notes to the text pasted from "Optional Details" in the signup form.  This year, I've gone the other way: all of the Optional Detail notes are included in the signup form proper, and what's here exactly reprises that content.  (It seems safer that way, and ensures that my officially matched writer sees all those notes.)

* Forgotten Realms: Songs & Swords – Elaine Cunningham (Arilyn)

It’s been some time since I’ve reread these, but they remain among my very favorite Forgotten Realms novels (and I've read fairly widely in that canon).  Even when matters become emotionally or physically challenging, Cunningham imbues these books with a degree of underlying optimism that makes the books fun to read.  (I recently came across the term "noblebright", coined as a counter-category to "grimdark"; I think maybe that's applicable here.)  Along with the wonderfully drawn characters, one of the things I like about this series is the magic: Arilyn’s moonblade, Dan’s eccentric uses for illusion, and so forth.  I’d love to see a tale in which untangling a magical problem or puzzle is the focus.

Two observations here in addition to the commentary from the request proper.  First: While we've matched specifically on Arilyn, I absolutely encourage you to bring in additional characters, nominated and otherwise, to fill out and complement your story.  Although this is Very Optional, since he's not in the tag set, I'd be especially happy to see Khelben Arunsen onstage.  I find I've somehow missed the moment in the larger Realms continuity when his status...changed, and I always found his role in this series enjoyable and provocative.  Second: having made the above comment, I'll note that as much as I like Arilyn and Danilo as a couple, we get enough of that relationship in canon that what I'm hoping for here is a somewhat different focus.  I don't mean to discourage you from bring Dan onstage; I'm just looking for something other than romance in this request.

* Legend (TV 1995) (Janos Bartok)

On one hand, much of the fun of this series is watching Our Heroes fence with one another, and I don't want to lose sight of that.  But I think here I'd like to see the Professor spread his own wings a little, purely to prove that he *can*.   There are depths to Janos Bartok that we didn't have time to plumb onscreen; let's explore that here -- though please do keep the tone light enough that we don't lose the roguish charm that makes this series what it is.

For Extremely Optional Bonus Points: one just knows that Bartok and a certain Prof. Wickwire of a certain other alt!Western universe must have or have had a long-standing professional rivalry....

* The Ice Ghosts Mystery - Jane Louise Curry (any)

This book is such an ensemble piece that I've not tried to pick among the available characters.  Just give me a solid "further adventures" story -- whether of foiling another Evil Science Plot, coping with school/academic politics, or simply wreaking cheerful familial havoc on some unsuspecting foreign metropolis.  Romance between Oriole and Gabriel is definitely on the table, too.

For Extremely Optional Bonus Points
: I've always regarded the Birds as a deliberate homage to L'Engle's Austin and O'Keefe families, if in a slightly lighter vein.  What sort of conference and/or diabolical scheme might toss the two sets of characters into one another's orbit?

* Oz - L. Frank Baum (Button Bright, Polychrome)

[NOTE: I will be happy with a story featuring either *or* both of the selected characters.]

While I'm not at all opposed to revisionist or sideways looks at Ozian canon (I am, for instance, a huge admirer of Ryk Spoor's recent
Polychrome), in the present context I think I'm looking for more traditional Oziana.  Keep Baum and the Famous Forty (I've read many but not all of these) in mind and you'll make me a happy reader.  That said, while I wouldn't be opposed to a story in which the above two characters develop into a couple, that's not at *all* why I picked them, and I'd be just as happy with a story where romance is wholly absent.  I'm fascinated on one hand by Button Bright's general disregard for magic (even when he has access to it), and by Polychrome's status as a being of almost pure magic, who seems sometimes a physical being and sometimes a nearly intangible one.   Neither character flusters easily, and I think it would be fun to see them confront a magical challenge together purely as a study in contrasts.

* Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? (Ivy)

I've picked Ivy this year not because I'm not fond of Carmen (quite the contrary), but because Carmen takes up so much space in the admittedly small body of fic in this fandom -- and I'd like to see a little more from the ACME side of things in general, as well as from Ivy's perspective in particular.  I've also remarked before that one of my great fascinations with this series is the bond that develops between Carmen and the detectives as the show progresses; at times there's what I'd call a slightly maternal quality to Carmen's interest in Our Heroes, and I'd enjoy seeing that idea considered from Ivy's point of view.  I also can't help thinking that it's interesting that canon gives us essentially no information about Ivy's and Zack's parents...which might be because they're utterly ordinary, but could also have to do with some tragic past event -- or that fact that technically, Ivy and Zack are computer-generated avatars.

OTOH, if deep familial musings aren't your cup of tea, I will also be greatly pleased with rapid-fire casefic (infoscans optional) or a straightforward snark-and-action encounter.  One thing, though: I'd prefer strongly *not* to see a Carmen/Ivy romantic pairing; that one pushes a button for me.

* Young Wizards - Diane Duane (Carmela, Dairine)

[NOTE: I would strongly prefer a story featuring both characters, but a story featuring either one will satisfy this request.]

I chose Carmela and Dairine both because I like them individually and because canon gives us so very little that puts them together with one another -- which I find surprising, even granting the age difference.  I would very much like to see how they interact given an excuse and/or opportunity.  Additional characters welcome; suitably brain-bending crossovers totally welcome but emphatically not required.

With WIZARDS IN PLAY out, we have many of the answers we've wanted relative to Dairine and Roshaun, so I'm no longer deeply worried about excessive angst arising from that quarter.  It does occur to me that Dairine might find it easier to talk to Carmela about Roshaun than to have the same conversations with Nita, perhaps especially now that his situation's been resolved.  (Or you could set such a tete-a-tete earlier in canon, while things are still unsettled....)

Other possible tacks: Dairine getting one up on Nita with Carmela’s help, or the girls and the Alien Study Group having an adventure (I’ve seen a fair bit of fic in this line set in the Crossings, not so much here on Earth).  I would also be very much on board for quality father-daughter bonding -- no matter which father/mentor figure(s) is/are involved.

[Canon notes: I'm equally at home in the original and New Millennium timelines, and have read all the shorter and e-only material up through WHEN WIZARDS PLAY (except for THE BIG MEOW and the latest post-PLAY ebook).]

graycardinal: Anya from "Anastasia"; "What was that title again?" (anya)
2016-09-09 01:39 am

Gift Fic: You Can Do That in Fanfiction

A little late (real life has been...entertaining lately, in the may-you-live-in-interesting-times sense), but no less worth mentioning: as it turns out, You Can Do That In Fanfiction was a sufficiently small exchange that (1) my recipient and I were matched with each other in both directions, and (2) the stories we wrote each other were both in the same fandom -- specifically, Power Rangers Time Force.  This is in no way either a complaint or a criticism; it's something that can and will happen naturally, particularly in a smaller multi-fandom exchange wherein the fandoms themselves are small to start with.  If anything, I'm benignly amused by the happenstance and very much satisfied with both stories.

Here's the one written for me:

Changing Isn't Easy
Fandom: Power Rangers Time Force
Written by: [personal profile] rivulet027 
Characters: Nadira (Power Rangers), Lucas Kendall, Katie Walker
Rating: T / gen
Additional Tags: Redemption, Friendship
Warnings: none
Words: ~1,100

Nadira's having a difficult time adjusting to life back in the year 3000. Katie and Lucas help.

I like the character work here, and there's a good deal of thoughtful worldbuilding-by-implication lurking in the background.  Nadira is among the most interesting antagonists in the whole Rangerverse, and this story does a very good job of thinking through the characterization we were given.


And here's what I wrote:

Red is the Color
Fandom: Power Rangers Time Force
Written by: [ profile] Gray_Cardinal 
Characters/Relationships: Wesley Collins, Jennifer (Jen) Scotts, Circuit; Wes/Jen
Rating: G • F/M
Additional Tags: Time Travel, Temporal Paradox
Warnings: none
Words: ~2,000

“I’ve been doing some thinking since you guys left," said Wes. "Also, I got Dr. Zaskin at Dad’s lab to run a couple of tests. But I knew what they were going to tell me before the results came back – and so should you, if you think about it.”

The underlying premise of this story occurred to me almost at once after the assignment landed, but I couldn't arm-wrestle the AU that would logically follow from that premise into a story compact enough to be writeable in the time frame I had to work with.  So here it's purely a what-if, but one that still has a critical impact on our two lead Rangers.

graycardinal: Carmen Sandiego (carmen sandiego)
2016-08-25 11:46 am

Meme: 15 Characters (Answers, Part the Second)

From [ profile] astrogirl2

Mary Russell, Sarah Jane Smith, and Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart are stranded at sea in a tiny lifeboat. Do they easily survive to be rescued, perish horribly at sea, or find themselves resorting to cannibalism by day five?

All three are much too civilized to resort to cannibalism and much too experienced at surviving difficult circumstances to be severely challenged by this one. Also, between Sherlock Holmes, the Doctor, and Sarah Jane’s own various allies, someone will show up to bail them out well before the end of day two.

Why is Sherlock Holmes trying to kill Dairine Callahan, and how likely is he to succeed?


The only way this even begins to be possible is for Holmes to have been really well brainwashed, and that just about has to mean that some incarnation of the Master is involved. Which is actually possible, given that it’s established in canon that the Doctor exists in the Young Wizards universe. Since that appearance involved Five, we can further extrapolate that it’s Anthony Ainley’s Master, who is probably trying to co-opt Dairine’s planet of silicon life forms for his own ends. However, like all of the Master’s plots, this one is doomed to failure – in this case because he really doesn’t quite get the degree to which wizardry is rather more than a weird scientific sub-discipline.

Peggy Carter has become a vampire! Does she angst about it endlessly, or wholeheartedly embrace her creature-of-the-night status?

Peggy only does serious angst if it involves Captain America, and since he obviously wasn’t the one who turned her, there will be no angst at this table. If Howard Stark or the SSR can’t find some way to turn her back (very possible, though not guaranteed), she’ll adapt with no great difficulty, though she may have to get very stern with a few people about how much blood they’re willing to donate to her cause. And eventually Stephen Strange will probably find a way to unvamp her, several generations down the line.

Richard Castle, Victoria “Victory Anna” Cogsworth, and Severus Snape are having a movie night. Who brings the snacks, who loses the remote control, and how hard do they fight over what to watch?


Castle brings the snacks (because he doesn’t trust Torrey’s culinary skills and because snack-bringing isn’t in Snape’s vocabulary). Torrey does not lose the remote, she merely borrows it, and somehow its parts end up scattered among two ray guns, a teleportation device, and a pair of rocket skates. There is actually very little fighting over the movie, Torrey will watch just about anything in the name of learning more about her present dimension, and Snape is there less for the movie than to try and figure out what diabolical scheme has prompted Castle to set up the event. Since Castle is screening the new Nebula-9 feature film (produced after the events of S5 episode “Final Frontier”), both his guests end up more confused than ever....

From [ profile] lost_spook:

Vala and David Xanatos are stuck in a lift! Will they escape, meekly wait till the fire brigade gets there or kill each other?

Knowing Xanatos, he secretly caused the elevator to get stuck in order to plot an ingenious caper of some kind in which Vala will be a key player. Knowing Vala, the odds are dead even as to whether she’ll go along with the scheme whole-heartedly or play along just long enough to (at least attempt to) pull the rug out from under him at the last minute.

Mary Russell has been murdered. Cat Grant is the detective, Xanatos is her faithful sidekick and Victoria Cogsworth is the plodding police ally. Why is Rupert Giles a red herring, and who actually dunnit and why?


This one is so full of improbables that one hardly knows where to start. David Xanatos is so definitionally a mastermind (if not precisely an evil one) that he’s difficult to envision as a sidekick. Victory Anna? Absolutely Does Not “Plod”; she may not be quite the loose cannon she often appears, but she is a woman of action and intuition. And of course, despite the title of her latest adventure being The Murder of Mary Russell (how’s that for a scary coincidence) it’s difficult to contemplate one of the world’s premier sleuths (alongside her more famous husband) actually getting herself killed.

Which leads me to believe that the whole thing must be part of a party game set up by someone with really good superpowers in order to generate this particular guest list. On this list, that looks like Dairine, though it could also be Xanatos’ aide Owen Burnett in his alternate Puckish persona, or just possibly one of the most recent Doctors. That being the case, Giles is a red herring because that’s the game-card he drew, and in all probability the in-game mastermind will turn out to be (ta-da!) Sherlock Holmes himself, who will reveal in the climax that of course Mary Russell has not actually been murdered after all.

Will Riker and Severus Snape are going camping in the woods! Fun holiday or complete disaster?

On the one hand, Riker’s woodcraft skills are impeccable (and he’s known to be an avid fisherman). On the other, a situation in which Riker would invite Snape on a camping trip – and Snape would accept – is difficult to conceive, unless perhaps Snape needs to go out in search of potion components in the wild and someone in authority has insisted that he needs not to go by himself per the relevant wilderness-safety regulations. (Where and how he comes up with Riker as a campmate is left as an exercise for the student of improbable time travel.) My guess is that the trip would start out reasonably enough, but that by two or three days in, the two men would rapidly figure out that they’re catastrophically incompatible, mostly because Riker would be having fun and Snape is, if not constitutionally incapable of experiencing fun for its own sake, at best deeply uncomfortable with the concept.