Variations on a Theme, with Tank and GunfireFandom:
~38 000 wordsWarnings:
M for language, occasional sexual situations.Author: servantofclioAuthor's Summary:
Shepard finds herself reliving the last few years, from the beacon on Eden Prime to the battle on Earth. Again, and again, and again. How much can she change? How much should she change?My thoughts:
I think I figured out why I find the Witcher series less compelling than other series. It doesn't inspire me to read fanfiction or ask "what if?" as much as other franchises because:
a) The Witcher 3 is already very fleshed out, as a world. You could
add more to it but it feels like there's less room.
b) Geralt is relatable but based on the games he's not the sort of personality I really want to read novels and novels about. I'm aware the game is based on the books. But Geralt clearly doesn't really want to be IN the world he's in. Same with the supporting cast.
c) The ending is very, very final.
d) Wandering around is kind of a lonely experience and somehow it feels there iisn't THAT much interaction with allies or finding out where they're coming from.
e) The game's given me more than I can handle already. Too much!
Whereas. Well. Looking at the fanfic bookmarks I can see the following characteristics that make a fandom good for writing:
a) Loads and loads of characters of protagonist-of-another-story caliber. Many of whom we actually like. And interactions with them.
b) Juicy what-if implications
c) I like space and sci fi and stuff. And magic. And space magic. All over the place. Yep.
d) Leaves fans craving more: Big dangling unresolved plot point / vague and unsatisfying ending / etc
And if any game ending left me unsatisfied, it was Mass Effect 3.
Anyways the first two chapters of Variations on a Theme with Tank and Gunfire
touch brilliantly on the fourth wall and the video game experience because of the time-travel component.
Her memories from the first time are still the sharpest. She knows there are some little things that are different every time: casual conversations, inconsequential interactions.
And the other 21 chapters? They're pretty excellent too and address things like
- Why is there only ever one squad on the ground?
- Why is there no Mako in ME3?
- How could characters X and Y both survive?
- Why does everyone and their mother have an excuse for not rejoining the crew, even at the very end?
- What is up with the Starchild?
Admittedly none of it is as good as the first two chapters but, well, that was a really high bar. More importantly, the ending of the fic brings back the team building aspect that was missing from the third game (assembled a team? learned to delegate? nope, you're gonna face the end sequences by yourself!
) and if Shepard's plots are execute a bit too smoothly, and the ending is too happy... no. A dozen iterations later, I'm OK with the way the plans were carried out and the fluffiness of the final ending. I always knew that original ending choices were bullshit. This fic fixes everything and makes it all better. It's one of my favourites of all time. On the unwritten Top 5 list, for sure. It just makes me so happy
when I read it. Variations on a Theme, with Tank and Gunfire