Thursday, April 29, 2010

Fandom Hopping: Phantom of the Opera, Final Fantasy, and Trek 2009

Your Name: Gondolier

The Fandom: The Phantom of the Opera (POTO), based on the musical/play/movie.

Your One True Pairing (OTP): Erik (The Phantom) / Christine

Your Favorite Fic: The Innocent by The Grasshopper (a modern POTO retelling with a twist ending)

What You Have Written in this Fandom: Fraternité (sequel to POTO), two short horror stories called Locked Door and Nightcaps, and a ballad, The Nacken’s Song.

How Long Have You Been There: Since 2003, off and on

Good Fan Sites/Archives/RecLists: I think most of the forums I used to frequent aren’t very active. Currently, there is, I also loved the Phanwank LJ, though years later, I’m a bit embarrassed by my youthful mean-spiritedness. You live and learn.

How You Got Sucked In:

Way back, when I was a wee lil boat, I adored Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera musical. I still adore it, it’s a guilty pleasure. Years later I read the book, and was surprised to find it so deliciously dark and frightening. Twilight fanfic is pure sugary fluff compared to a lot of POTO fic (phic, oh yes, we replaced F with PH). To draw a parallel, think Bratty_vamp’s Toye. Most phic is dark. If it isn’t, the writer kind of misses the point of POTO. It was delightful to channel the macabre side of creativity. And so many POTO stories are beautifully done—most never crossed lines into gratuitous violence and horror. Anyone who loves Darkward would enjoy Erik.

So, Why This Fandom? (Why This Pairing?)

Christine/Erik—your atypical teacher/pupil forbidden romance. Leroux’s Erik is truly a bat-shit crazy killer. He’s described as a “living corpse,” smells of death, has yellow glowing eyes, slays people with a Punjab lasso (catgut, shudder) for goodness’ sake. Some romantic hero, huh? And yet, he’s a freaking genius. He is a sensitive musician. He’s cultured and well-mannered, and lives and dies for one woman—Christine, the epitome of grace and naivety. It’s odd, because in canon, Christine actually ends up with Raoul in the end of POTO—the handsome, safe, romantic hero. And yet, she is drawn to the darkness and beauty in Erik. Leroux brilliantly parallels the Hades/Persephone myth, which is one of his many subtle allusions. If you’ve never read the original Le Fantôme de l'Opéra, give it a shot. Also, it’s in the public domain, nudge nudge.

As Leroux concludes, we are to pity poor, unhappy Erik, who would have been a great genius, admired worldwide, if not for the horror of his face. Of course, like any good book-to-bosom romance reader, I wanted to “save” Erik from his lonely fate. This fandom (phandom, get it?) has endlessly debated why so many women want the heroine to end up with a manipulative killer when it real life, that’s just asking for domestic abuse and an eventual restraining order. It’s because Erik is such a tragic character and we want to rescue and nurture this bad boy. And he’s brilliant! And strong! And talented! And OMG, tortured and mysterious! He’s a Byronic hero on crack with a bad case of fugly. Poor fugly phantom. So, because he has such a horribly sad ending, most Phantom “phans” want a cathartic resolution to his story. Thus, fanfiction.

Fandom Quirks?

I mentioned the fans/phans, fanfic/phanfic quirk. There are many dudes in the phandom. There also seems to be a particularly large number of Mary Sues with gold-flecked eyes who set about to find the phantom and become his “one true love” after he let his previous “one true love” go. A dear friend wrote a Sue parody called Buds Bursting Into Bloom and intentionally left it incomplete, as so often happens to Sue fics once the OC heroine sexes up the opera ghost.

Other Recced Fics: The Useful Personality by phantomy-cookies, Elainie by The Scorpion, Pomegranate Seeds by Titania of the Fae

Your Name: manyafandom

The Fandom: Final Fantasy; mostly FFX, X-2 and XII. I’m starting to dabble in FFXII as the stories roll in, based on the video games.

Your One True Pairing (OTP): Honestly, I like them all, but my favorites are; FFX, X-2 Auron/Rikku. What? Don’t look at me like that. FFXII Basch/Penelo. Again, don’t look at me like that. I swear it’s not as creepy as it sounds.

Your Favorite Fic:

FFXII: Vængir by sarasa_cat. On FF.
Unfortunately this story is permanently on hold :( Anything by her is great. She can do funny, crack, angst, drama, slash and smut. Borrowed Time & Beauty in the Breakdown by Rhianna-Aurora. Borrowed Time is incomplete, but still very effin’ good.

FFX: Fade With Me by koalababy; Five Steps by ChiCkkie; and Sandstorms and Pyreflies by Rhianna-Aurora

(What) Have Your Written in this Fandom: My first attempt at writing was a Basch centric story with hints of Basch/Penelo. It was so bad that I deleted it after a few weeks.

How Long Have You Been There: Since the games came out; early 2002 for FFX and late 2006 for FFXII. I’ve been reading fanfiction for over a decade, but Final Fantasy XII was the first time I ever actively participated in a fandom.
Good Fan Sites/Archives/RecLists: There aren’t that many good archives outside of and LJ that I’ve found. Here are some of the better LJ comms. Final Fantasy Fanfic Rec, Final fantasy fanfiction , Final Fantasy XII Fanfiction, Basch/Penelo (btw, I made the comm icon.), Balthier/Penelo, Aurriku (its dead though, sigh)

How You Got Sucked In: Hmm…with video games there is a story and back story told amongst all the game play, but it usually only applies to the quest the characters are on and used to move the story/game along. Basically, you’re dropped into this completely foreign world with all this mythology and magic and weird creatures (Moogles, Cauctars, Viera & Chocobos in FF’s case) and only given enough information of who the characters are and what the world is like to get by. That’s not very satisfying in my opinion, especially if there is a character that you like or are intrigued by. So you turn to fanfiction to expand and explore that world and characters more.

Does that sound familiar to anyone? Yeah, I thought so.

But what really got me hooked, was the way the fanfic writers took the world and the characters and made it their own, while still adhering to the rules of that world. It’s canon, but not. As the writers are expanding from known facts and creating detailed and lush back stories and stories based on what little information is available.

Again, sound familiar?

Video game love stories, particularly Final Fantasy, are the epitome of angst and UST. For the most part romance/love is mostly hinted at or vaguely implied. Sigh. In FFXII, I would go as far as saying there is no love story or set canon pairings. Usually the characters don’t admit their feelings until right before they are about to face the final boss, if they do at all. And most times someone ends up dead by the time the game credits roll. That’s not very satisfying.

Through fanfiction, we get to finally see the characters we’ve invested hours and hours (usually 80+ to complete everything) of game play in get their happily ever after or at least some freaking closure.

Also, because of the way video games are played/told there is plenty of room for in-game storytelling in fanfiction. Missing moments, relationship building, alternative pov’s, etc…

So, Why This Fandom? (Why This Pairing?): Why FFX & FFXII and not the other games? Well, I think that these two games are better than the rest. I love the stories, game play, characters and the world it’s set in. Also, the graphics are the pretty.

Now why these two pairings? First, I should state that there is a substantial age difference with both or these pairings; 19 & 20 years. There is a squick factor that is involved. I mean, Basch is 36 and Penelo 17 in game. And Auron is 35 and technically dead and Rikku is 15 in the first game and 17 in the sequel. Umm…yeah, I know. It sounds pedophilic, but the stories aren’t written that way or with that mindset. With that in mind, I tend to look for stories where some time has passed since the game ended and the characters are older or an alternative time line type deal to avoid the squick. I also really like the strictly friendship/mentor stories that abound with these pairings.

Now, back to why. First you have the older, hardened warrior that is all duty and honor and no life outside of that. Then there's the young, full of life optimist, which has had tragedy and struggle in her past and has no reason to be so hopeful and positive. Opposites attract they say. The optimist shows the warrior that there is something worth fighting for besides duty and honor. And the warrior shows the optimist that sometimes you have to sacrifice for the things you believe in. It starts out as annoyance, to mentorship, to friendship and ultimately to something more. They grow and learn from each other, discovering along the way that they’re perfect for each other. Who doesn’t love that?

Fandom Quirks: Hmm…there’s not a lot of smut. Don’t get me wrong, there’s smut, but it’s not common. Because of the loose world information there is hardly any AU going on. Drabbles and under 2k one-shots are the norm, instead of the epically long stories you read in Twific. The fandom is small. If you add up all the Final Fantasy fics on ffnet there are a little over 60k fics from 16 different games. Half of those are from FFVII.

Your Name: Pastiche Pen

The Fandom: Star Trek Reboot/2009/xi - depending whose naming it, based off the Movie

Your One True Pairing (OTP: I like Kirk-centric fics, so normally Kirk/McCoy or Kirk/Spock, and a sprinkling of gen-fic (AKA no romance).

Your Favorite Fic:
Interia or Law(s) of Motion) by cardslash.
Slash, Kirk/Dr. McCoy (Bones), epic-length, NC-17
Prompt/summary: It’s not like Romeo and Juliet because nobody dies and it’s not like a romance novel because nobody’s hair is flying in the wind but somehow or another, Bones and Kirk figure out that they’re in love anyway.
Rec: First, cardslash the best writer I've touched on so far in this fandom, maybe in all fandoms. Metaphor, glorious detail and humor-to-delight shape her stories. Second, they're character-driven, and the amount emotional intelligence going into characterizations is AMAZING. I think of her depiction when I think of canon McCoy. Oh, then there's the part where she writes really hot lemons... and finally, she's not a serial writer who falters have way through the story. The ending had my flipping out, happy and teeheeing over the conclusion.

How Long Have You Been There: Since the SnowApocolypse 2010 kept me inside for a week.

Good Fan Sites/Archives/RecLists: Crackenterprise is my ultimate favorite--for the widest variety of pairings. Great stuff at the USS Cupcake. Then there are the pairing specific communities: kirk/spock, kirk_mccoy, Kirk/Spock archive.

How You Got Sucked In:

Because I went, saw the movie--fucking loved it--and then um... there's the fact that the cast on the movie is probably the hottest cast of any movie this past year. Like, holy cow... Chris Pine, Karl Urban, Zoe Zaldana, Zachary Quinto... ~fans self~ Many months ago I went looking for one-shots on FF, and found one or two funny ones with Spock being all "That would be Logical" to something ridiculously pornuncular--but it wasn't until the snowacolopyse hit in February, and I found myself clicking on a few good rec lists that I went full-on hog wild in my trekkie love.

So, Why This Fandom? (Why This Pairing?)

1. Reboot is HUGE. Like, maybe not Twilight or Harry Potter huge--but HUGE, like the major pairings have a cluster of amazing epic-length fic. This is for two reasons: 1. The prexisting fan base for Star Trek was already established and expansive, and 2. the whopper success of the new movie brought in a huge sweep of new fans. Therefore, there's this wonderful fusion of old and new, and also, if you're addiction is still running wild, there's the added benefit that you can always go back and read The Original Series (TOS) fic, and just imagine your prefered actors as you read along.

2. Amazing slash. Like holy hell amazing. Between the gorgeous perfection of (Kirk) Chris Pine's eyes, the sultry, swarthy grouch of (Dr. McCoy/Bones) Karl Urban (!!!), and the intensity and make-you-shiver baritone of (Spock) Zachary Quinto--it's just a beautiful, beautiful combination of male-flesh, and we haven't even gotten to the side characters...

3. The plots are AWESOME. This fandom is so flexible (and yes, I mean like a contortionist yoga doll). Let's just start by talking about Vulcans. Spock is a Vulcan. Key point. Vulcans, who are supposed to be the epitome of controlled logic--have a mating time (called Pon Farr), which sends them into an animalistic sexing frenzy. ~P claps~ If you've read Harry Potter, this is not unlike veela fic... It is an excellent incentive to dive head first into Kirk/Spock. Second, alien-culture stories are hilarious. Naturally some planets forbid clothing. Other planets are occupied by teddy pair people. Some planets hate blondes. Most of them have monsters and or cannibals intent on eating the crew. Some planets just have tribbles. Oh, and then there's all the cool AU stuff with time-travel, warp physics, and stars exploding. And then for the "all-human" (sorta) type of fic: there's a whole genre of Academy!fic, where Kirk and McCoy are roommates who drink to much; Spock is an instructor; and Uhura learns every language on campus. It's space college with cool subjects.

4. Timing: The next movie comes out in 2011--so this is a fandom that's just going to get bigger and hotter, and possibly rowdier.

Fandom Quirks:

A lot of amazing gen/humor in Trek fic--considering that the original series was so campy, this isn't really a surprise. Moreover, there's a lot of The Original Series (TOS) versus Reboot griping still going on. You don't see much Next Generation stuff anymore--everyone is too excited about Reboot. Finally, because this fandom is so huge--you see the integration of not just the movie and the old TV episodes, but also books based off the series and future descriptions of Klingons from Next Generation, and then there are the old movies--there's just an enormous amount of universe to draw from--but because the ship centers around the five main characters, there's always the same solid story. Oh, and yeah, there's also the Reboot Spock (Zach Quinto) and TOS Spock (Leonard Nimoy)--they call Leonard's character "Spock!prime" as a standard label. There is also Kirk/Spock!Prime fic... ~snort~

Best Intro Fics:

Home by Lanaea
WIP (sorta, I'd say the final chapter is the end of the arc, although it's technically on hiatus), T
A misshap brings the Enterprise back to Earth for a while. Spock has no plans, and Kirk doesn’t want to face his mom alone.
Funny. Sweet. Excellent flow. This is one of those T fics where the characterization and storytelling is so delightful that you don't notice the "T" label, despite all the crazy UST. However, I'd label this more of an PG-13/R rather than a T, to be clear. There is inexplicit sexual content.

Other Recs:

My Rec List for Kirk/Spock and Kirk/Bones.

Past "Hops" to Check Out: Harry Potter: Draco/Harry, Bones (TV), and Dexter (TV), Harry Potter: Snape/Hermione, Star Wars, and The Mortal Instruments (books) and Roswell, Buffy (Spike/Buffy), and The Hunger Games.


  1. There are other FF stories besides Twilight?!?!? ;-)
    I recently became a slash h00r and the Kirk/Spock pairing sounds quite intriguing. I would put it in my queue but that bitch is loooooong as it is. I have yet to tire of B&E, J&A, E/J, E/J/B ... oh you get my point LOL

  2. i love all of these fandoms!!!!! Thanks for doing one with all 3 of these!

  3. Final Fantasy X-2 was my first foray into writing fan fiction. I had just completed X-2, and having gotten to Lenne and Shuyin's HEA, I wondered about their story. Those two characters really appealed to me, and I loved their sad back story, so I decided to expand and explore Zanarkand before it was destroyed. Thus, A Thousand Words was born.

    There was a small response, but I loved it nonetheless. Lenne/Shuyin are my favourite pairing, along with Tidus/Yuna. FF games are so unfair and unjust in the endings they dish out. It's no wonder people go off and read fan fiction!

    So, here's to sharing the Final Fantasy fandom love!

  4. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Phantom of the Opera!

    I never even thought about getting in to that Fandom!

    Thanks for showing me there is more out there then just Twilight!! Haha!

  5. Home (Pastiche's intro rec for Star Trek) is my current favourite fic. I'm in the middle of a re-read. I love it. I have to completely and totally agree with everything she said, and then tell you to go read Home's side-stories (Gossip is my favourite) and to try the kink meme stuff because... well, if you ever want to lose six solid days, that's a good way to go about it.

    STAR TREK FTW! (TOS and reboot and Voyager and TNG - I don't care, but TOS/reboot are my current home. And Kirk/Spock is pretty much canon.)

  6. ...The amazing thing is this came while I'm in my PotO and Star Trek faze....Although, I'm Erik/Meg and all about Spock/Uhura (although I don't mind Spock/Kirk I just think it's more OST...and if I didn't see old Shatner and Nimoy whenever I think about it I'd so be able to read it, working on that).

    But yea, Star Trek is hardcore. I always feel kind of dumb cause they get all scientific on me, even if some of the science isn't really...yea. It's really hard to find a genuinely bad fic in the fandom, which is awesome.

  7. @Sobriquett - isn't Home just wonderful? it's the perfect combination of fluff and ust and something... i just, yeah. love is an appropriate term.

    @kyrene - yeah, it's weird. i sorta freak out when i read a TOS slash fic and it's so close the TV characterization that I can't NOT see Shatner and Nimoy, and then I get freaked out, cuz yeah... I don't find them to be all the er... svelte? I really like Spock/Uhura as a side-pairing to Kirk/McCoy, they're often the "secret" badass couple, which I adore.

  8. @Pastiche I see Shatner and Nimoy anyway. I just can't help it. I have to work hard to see the other two, and while Chris Pine isn't too hard, I just can't hold Zachary Quinto in my head for more than an instant. I found Home from your LJ rec list (which I think I devoured in three days) and owe you a box of cookies or something for it.

    I don't know if you've read this, but I found it on ontd_startrek a couple of days ago -

    It's an AU. Spock left Starfleet after the movie, to return to the colony. Five years later, Kirk finds a very different Spock in San Francisco. It has lots of Bones, and his daughter too.

  9. Phanfic is what I read also. I'm going to check out your recs, Gond.


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