eruthros: Delenn building the crystal machine in season 1  of B5, captioned "foreshadowing" (B5 - Delenn incredible foreshadowing)
[personal profile] eruthros
Recently I've been rewatching Star Trek: Voyager, and reading a lot in the Vorkosigan-verse, and the combination of those two things means that I've seen a lot of recs for two particular stories. And it made me think about the stories that get widely recced or read outside of the fandoms for those sources - the stories that many, many people have read with minimal canon knowledge, or without having read any other stories in the fandom, or without caring about the characters, or whatever.

To explain what I mean more clearly, here are some of mine:

1) Vorkosigan-verse, A Deeper Season by [personal profile] lightgetsin and [personal profile] sahiya

When I first read A Deeper Season, I'd read the Vorkosigan books but had absolutely no fandom knowledge - I didn't know where communities or archives or stories were - but basically the instant I told people I'd been reading the books, I got this rec. And I'm pretty sure that many of the people reccing it had only read this one story in the fandom, too, because I would usually get people who said "I don't read in the fandom, but ..." and "I don't even know the canon, but ..."

It is, in fact, an awesome story, and I love it to pieces. But the point here is not really about the story per se, it's about that kind of shared fannish experience without even being in the fandom. I suspect that it's still (one of) the stories people read despite not being in the fandom, because I occasionally see people on my rlist who say "I just read some Vorkosigan, where's the fic?" and there, in the first couple of comments, is "I don't read in the fandom, but A Deeper Season!" (Unless the post is about Ivan, in which case the recs are from a different fandom than the one I usually read in.)

2) Star Trek: Voyager, Talking Stick/Circle series by Macedon and Peg.

I watched the early seasons of Voyager sort of casually, and without much interest in fic, so IIRC I hadn't read much of anything before this story. Like most of the other things on this list, it was recced by someone; in this case, when I was complaining about the way that the Maquis-Starfleet tensions rarely came up on the show, and the way some of the Chakotay episodes made me flinch, somebody ([personal profile] sineala?) said "you know, someone has fixed that," and recced this series. And then I read it, and it was indeed great, and influential, in the sense that I often forget that Macedon's Chakotay backstory is not canon Chakotay's backstory, and then I started doing the same thing: people would say "I've never read any Voyager fic" and I would rec this story and nothing else because I hadn't read much else.

Much later, I read a bunch of other Voyager stories (Janeway/Seven! strange crossovers! Harry/Tom!), but Talking Stick/Circle remained the only thing I'd read in Voyager for two years or so. And now that I'm rewatching Voyager, I still see a ton of recs for it.

3) Harry Potter, A Most Disquieting Tea series by telanu.

This is kind of funny, now, since I've read a ton of Harry Potter fanfiction since, and since HP fandoms are so giant and sprawling and whatever. But back before I knew anything about Harry Potter fandoms, I had just read the books and maybe a couple of Harry/Ron and Harry/Draco stories by authors I'd followed in other fandoms. And then at least two people on my flist recced "A Most Disquieting Tea," and I went and read it, and I went "oh, all right." I think when I was linked to it there were only three or maybe four stories in the series, and I haven't actually read all of the sequels since, but at the time I could talk about it with many, many people who had read no other Harry Potter fanfic. (A couple of years later I went through Walking the Plank with serious dedication, and "A Most Disquieting Tea" is far from the best Harry/Snape story I read then, but it was still a big deal in my circles of not-in-the-fandoms earlier.)

I suspect that for other people, Cassandra Claire's Draco Trilogy was That Story from (a different part of) HP fandom, but I never managed to read more than a couple chapters of it. It was widely recced around me, but I never really got it in the same way.

So the interesting thing about this is, it's basically impossible to think about it for fandoms I was in when I was reading the fic. Like, Stargate Atlantis - I read a million stories, and I followed a bunch of recs, and I watched all the vids, so I have no idea what story or stories were widely read outside of the fandom. Was it one of the early ones, like maybe [personal profile] astolat's A Beautiful Lifetime Event? Was it [personal profile] helenish's Take Clothes Off As Directed? Or maybe [personal profile] cesperanza's epic Written By the Victors? But on the other hand, maybe Written By the Victors requires too much canon knowledge, and Take Clothes Off As Directed is, after all, a bdsm au, which is perhaps not as likely to be widely recced, and who knows which of the season one or two stories would be most popular. Or maybe it's something I didn't even really notice at the time, or something different from the stuff that was widely recced on my rlists. I have no idea.

Anyway! I'd be interested to hear about any of your experiences with that one (or two or three) stories that were widely read and recced by people not in the fandom.

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eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
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