prodigy: Stephen Maturin from Master & Commander recovering from a wound. (stephen is ill)
the late, or rather, later Henrik Egerman ([personal profile] prodigy) wrote2016-09-30 11:14 pm
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Yuletide Letter 2016

Hi Yuletide writer! First, thank you so much in advance for writing for me, and I hope you enjoy your Yuletide to the fullest. I haven’t been very active on Dreamwidth for years, but if you’re interested in finding out more about me or my fandom interests, I’m on Tumblr at ourlightsinvain -- or you can feel free to consult my good friend [personal profile] relia/lifecrystals if you have any additional questions.

My AO3 name is prodigy and my previous Yuletide letters can be found here. But honestly, I’m pretty easy, so don’t worry about it!

I like: all ratings; first, second, and third-person POVs; past and present tense; linear and non-linear storytelling; canon divergence AUs; backstory and post-canon fic; humor, even or especially in dark fic; angst and tragedy and darkness (with or without a happy ending); uneven power dynamics; explicit sex and porn in a non-PWP story; families and friendships; imaginative worldbuilding.

I don’t like: PWP; crossovers and fusions; setting-based AUs (college AUs, historical AUs, etc.); fluff.

Other preferences: I love shipfic, especially for the ships I’ve requested, but feel free to include other pairings if I haven’t specifically asked otherwise. I adore interactive fiction and would be delighted to receive it for any of my prompts. For Crueltide: I love darkfic and I think the request of mine that best suits it this year is Ex Machina -- see below if interested. Please don’t feel limited to that fandom, however! If darkness strikes your fancy for any of my prompts, I’d be very happy.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke (Stephen Black, Emma Pole): I adore Stephen and I adore his arc and its endpoint--it was frankly the most satisfying thing to me when I first read the book, years ago, and I come back to it over and over. I’m also tremendously fond of Emma Pole and her uncompromising integrity and determination. I’d love post-canon fic about Emma somehow meeting Stephen--or, in fact, whatever name he chooses or which attaches itself to him after the events of the book--one more time, years later; would she know him? Would he know *her*? What events could possibly bring this about? What would they make of one another, he being so finished with England and her being so finished with magic? NGL, I ship it, but if you’d rather keep it gen I’d be quite happy with that too.

I really think the ending of JS&MN wouldn’t have worked without the way Stephen’s arc resolves, and I don’t think anything like it would have worked with any other character. His is a story of unfair and unasked-for hardship and terror and agonizing decisionmaking culminating in the most bittersweet triumph: triumph at the cost of letting-go, which may or may not be a cost after all, triumph as Stephen for the first time in his life gets to walk away from his burdens. I’m interested in the duality and multidimensionality of this composed, terrified, hyperfunctional, weary, bitter, caring, jaded, tired man, in his life up to now as Sir Walter’s butler but especially in the life he has facing him, as a king in a strange country. I can’t imagine how inutterably alien this is all going to be to him, and how much he has ahead of him--at the same time, I can’t imagine anyone better suited (and neither could the prophecy). How does he feel about his level of agency in his life that’s brought him here--perhaps, again, bittersweetly? What kind of court does he establish for himself? What kind of legend follows him?

Emma Pole is also incredibly near and dear to my heart, as a character who has all the reactions she has every right to have. She hates when people who wrong her deserve hatred; she takes action until action is all but completely robbed from her. It’s easy to see her as a creature of emotion, in the way that privileges those who don’t express it, but I see her as curiously self-possessed and self-directed, in an age and cultural model that doesn’t allow for that. I don’t see the point in comparing her to Stephen--they have such vastly differing levels of privilege and stations in life--or putting them side by side in how they react to their situation with the gentleman; rather, I’m interested in how they interact with each other. We get just a handful of glimpses of them as fellow captives, and that’s definitely a period of their lives that I’m interested in, so if you want to write about that, go ahead. But I love looking to any possible future versions of them, I love thinking about what time might have wrought; I also love invented magic and fairy-related worldbuilding, so anything you want to devise would be a delight to me.

For this fandom - I like Stephen/Emma; I’m also very fond of Strange, Norrell, and Childermass as characters, and am not opposed to any of their inclusion, but I’d prefer if they’re not the focus. I’m not that into Stephen/Gentleman or Stephen/Walter Pole.

Lymond Chronicles - Dorothy Dunnett (Francis Crawford, Richard Crawford): I won’t bury the lede, I am 100% an incest shipper, but if you aren’t interested I am also totally cool with any gen you want to write about these two. Their relationship really charms me, not in the least because it seems to have an uncrackable foundation in the bedrock while also supporting Richard’s ability to believe the worst of Francis at any turn. Richard is such a shitty wonderful older brother. Francis is such a great horrible younger one. Give me pre, during- or post-canon fic about the two of them: how did they get to be this way? What would happen if something went terribly wrong during one of the books?

Ah, man, The Game of Kings. I love Francis and Richard in every book they’re both in, but The Game of Kings is my favorite Lymond book and has such a hilarious, harrowing, depressing, adorable rollercoaster in store for the two of them that I’m almost afraid to reread it. I love Francis’s moments of pure showy peacockery, little asshole flourishes that he really didn’t need to goad his brother and sister-in-law even further, but he indulged in anyway; Richard’s reactions to his brother in this book are pretty terrible but they’re an explicable kind of terrible, thanks to Francis’s elaborate brand of bullshit. I love Francis’s elaborate brand of bullshit as much as I love Richard’s bullheaded, monomaniacal inability to give him the benefit of the doubt. I love how both are completely upended in their miniature hurt/comfort camping trip where Vulnerabillity, Thy Name Is Not Normally Lymond and yet there Francis is, wretched and self-pitying and marinating in his own failures, and there Richard is completely unable to resist taking care of him.

Here I’d be very content with a story that took place during canon, from either of their perspective, or a canon-divergence AU with what-if possibilities; here I confess I’m totally weak to bonding and angst and hurt/comfort tropes, so bring them on. Rescue Francis from the clutches of the horrible things that happen to him in Pawn in Frankincense! Or make them worse! In fact if you just want to write an episode from a Lymond book, just starring Richard Crawford more than in canon, I would be totally stoked. I feel like I should note here, from the pairing perspective, that I am okay with dubcon for this pairing: in the sense that Lymond is his little brother, and there are consent issues there, and I don’t mind having them acknowledged.

For this fandom - I like Richard/Francis, obviously; I also love Francis/Philippa and Philippa in general, and am also fine with Mariotta and Richard/Mariotta. Actually, I ship Francis with a lot of things (Christian Stewart, Robin Stewart, Jerott-ish, Gabriel-ish) that probably won’t make it into your fic. I’m not into Gabriel/Joleta or Jerott/Marthe, if it comes up.

Ex Machina (2015) (Caleb Smith, Nathan Bateman, Ava): The scene where Caleb takes a razor to his arm in paranoia that he’s an android really stuck with me: what if he was? I’d love to read a version of the movie’s storyline, or part of it or its aftermath, where Caleb turns out to be another one of Nathan’s creations. How would that massively change his relationship with Ava? With Nathan? This movie lends itself to violence and abuse, and I’m more than openminded to that in my fic; I’m totally down for noncon or dubcon Nathan/Caleb, and also down for Caleb/Ava (whether with the totally upended dynamic in a robot!Caleb AU, or with Caleb’s pathetic unrequitedness in canon).

The Ex Machina-Bluebeard comparison really interests me, and Caleb as the last of Bluebeard’s wives: I only really wished that the film had really gone there with it and revealed him to be one of the android “wives” after all. It would’ve turned the gender dynamics of the story on their head in a totally interesting way. As it is, I enjoy the minimalist four-actor stage play elements of the movie, the sense of access-based claustrophobia which is literalized in the keycards. The three central characters really fascinate me, as a trio of off-putting people -- our terrible Bluebeard Nathan, who really doesn’t see other people as people, particularly if they’re women and particularly if they’re androids, but not just; Caleb who has a very flawed, self-centered, human (in the most unflattering sense of the word) approach to relating to Ava; and Ava with her own (completely understandable) survival-oriented agenda at all times that colors how she relates to everyone else in the story as well as a completely alien perspective that neither of the men go to much if any trouble to understand. That being said, I do sympathize with Caleb as well as Ava and I understand why each took the actions that they took. I don’t think requited Caleb/Ava could work in a situation with their power imbalance and vastly different perspectives--as the film bears out!--but I’m still interested in their dynamic, including but not limited to the AU I suggested.

So I should say: this is a creepy and fucked up film. Please feel free to write creepy and fucked up fic. In fact that’s just what I’m hoping for. I love psychological and body horror, I love gore and violence and disturbing imagery: if any of those things call to you, go nuts. I like my noncon brutal and unpleasant and degrading, and in this case I’d be delighted to have it perpetrated upon (robot or human) Caleb by Nathan. I also like fics where people talk to dead or hallucinatory versions of other people. If gruesome things don’t appeal to you, though, intrigue and mystery are also a big draw for me in this fandom--I’d be really curious to see the course of this or any AU plot, or even something during or after the canon timeline. The beautiful scenery and atmosphere of the movie also really appeal to me, and I’d be interested to see any other forms of atmosphere you dream up: feel free to do whatever you like!

For this fandom - noncon Nathan/Caleb is obviously my jam, as is unrequited or robot!AU Caleb/Ava. I recognize Nathan/Ava is inherent to the premise of the film, but I’d prefer that abuse implied and offscreened: same with Nathan/Kyoko. I’m not interested in sympathetic treatments of Nathan, generally -- though complicated treatments are entirely welcome. I requested Caleb, Nathan, and Ava, but if you’d like to focus on Caleb & Nathan or Caleb & Ava I’d be more than happy; alternately, if you’d prefer to bring Kyoko into more of a forefront role, I’d also be interested.

トーマの心臓 | Thomas no Shinzou | The Heart of Thomas (Juli Bayhan, Oskar Reiser): Ahh, Juli! Juli, Juli, Juli. I just kept on wringing my hands for him during the whole of The Heart of Thomas, and wanting people to be less clueless and more understanding and wanting him to be happy, and I always felt like Oskar was the best for him. What I really want here is a futurefic Juli/Oskar fix-it, where somehow in spite of the particulars of the ending Juli and Oskar meet again as adults and can be together and be (however bittersweetly) happy. Oskar just cared about him so deeply and Juli wasn’t in any position to consider that. If you don’t ship them, that’s also perfectly fine, I’d just like a story about their friendship -- and/or if you’d rather write about them at school.

So I first read The Heart of Thomas this year and it was absolutely nothing like I expected it to be, in the most interesting and engaging way possible. I loved the slice-of-life meets psychological/quasi-supernatural tone of the story; I really enjoyed the boarding school setting; but what I really got into was Juli as a main character, whom I found incredibly compelling and sympathetic. I really like his not-always-perfect, not-always-saintly reactions to trauma and grief, his difficulty coping with what Thomas did, his lack of self-worth which unfolds over the course of the plot and his character development and also his healing from that. I just found his story terribly poignant and I wanted him to be happy. There are several characters who are fascinated with Juli and while I find them all interesting, I like Oskar the most--underneath his rakish veneer he has a genuine sympathy and affinity for Juli that I totally ship, partly because I think he’s the most mature in his actions towards Juli and partly because they just seem to have a natural chemistry between them. I would’ve loved for them to end up together, but I also really enjoy their relationship as friends and, for a time, roommates.

This is a pairing that I would totally enjoy a lot of ship tropes for: my main interest is futurefic where they meet again as adults and end up together somehow, but don’t let that limit you! Some other tropes I’d be interested in for this pairing are any kind of “trapped together”/”forced partnership” setup, hurt/comfort of most any kind, dreams (whether solo or overlapping), fraught school reunion, ghosts and haunting, or just a straight-up meeting after a long period of time. I’m interested in any historical detail you choose to include--obviously The Heart of Thomas is vaguely ahistorical, but whatever degree you want to preserve or expand upon that is up to you. Feel free to write to your comfort and interest level when it comes to porn or the lack thereof, I would be happy either way.

For this fandom - I mostly ship Juli/Oskar, though I can be sold on Erik/Oskar (and one-sided Erik/Juli). Thomas himself is also omnipresent throughout the manga, obviously, so elements of Thomas/Juli might be inevitable: feel free to include that. In general I like more happy endings and h/c for this fandom, as opposed to straight angst and tragedy.