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Fic: Liminal (McKay/Sheppard, NC-17)

Title: Liminal
Author: viva_gloria
Recipient: cathalin
Pairing: Sheppard/McKay
Rating: NC17
Word Count: ~56,500 words
Summary: AU. England, 1946: the war is over, and John Sheppard has nowhere to go. The new Atlantis community, founded by Mrs Elizabeth Weir out on the bleak east coast, is as good a place as any ...

Liminal

Please note, due the length of this story, it is hosted offsite.

Comments

( 84 comments — Leave a comment )
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cathalin
Dec. 22nd, 2008 10:29 pm (UTC)
I just wanted to say, oh. my. god. I'm about one-tenth of the way through this masterpiece, and I'm seriously speechless. This is beyond my wildest dreams fantastic. I have RL stuff that's going to intrude here in a minute -- they're going to have to rip me away from the laptop*g* -- but I will be back very soon, the second I have a chance to finish this amazing story. These characters, this setting, are already fully alive and haunting me. Wow. Just, wow. What an incredible gift.
viva_gloria
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you, very belatedly! I was worried that something so long, and AU, wouldn't be what you (dear Recipient) wanted to read, and this first comment was so reassuring!
mz_bstone
Dec. 23rd, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC)
This was frelling brilliant.

B
viva_gloria
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:07 pm (UTC)
thank you!
cathalin
Dec. 23rd, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
Brace yourself for a really, really LONG comment. Or two.:)
Okay, first of all, the writing in this story is unbelievable. I went searching for my favorite passages, and it was hopeless, because they are *everywhere*. So, I realized, let's go back to the beginning, which pulled me in and gave me that rush of, "in the hands of a master writer." Check out these for first lines omg:

Everything was different, on the ground.

Major John Sheppard had overflown this stretch of coast more times than he could count. Coming in hot with Luftwaffe fighters on his tail; coming in easy with the sun setting, glorious gold, to his left; coming in at night, the slow waves wrinkled with moonlight and the beaches fringed with white foam. He'd soared northwards, homewards, free.

Now John Sheppard, plain Mister, had no home, and every yard of the long straight road ached in his bones. To his right, snow and straw tweeded a ploughed field. The soil was dark and rich: good farmland. To his left, black birds — crows? — quarrelled and alarmed in the rimy hawthorn hedge. The air glowed pink, and the North Sea stretched like slate to the horizon.


Honestly, I almost felt choked up reading that, because I knew this was going to be something extraordinary, from those first lines.

And it was. I read the early parts of this in spurts, forced to deal with real life in between. Then I stayed up late finishing this *amazing* story last night, riveted and breathless as the truth of what was going on became apparent to me.

But before we get to that, let me talk about the characters: first, Teyla and Ronon. OMG, I adore well-drawn portraits of them, and the sections where they narrated were genius gems. The back stories for each of them were fantastic, and their narration and portrayal omg. (By the way, you have no way of knowing this, but I am a *big* history fan, so Teyla being an escapee from Revolutionary Russia *did* things to me; that was an incredibly awesome idea and beautifully executed). Teyla and Ronon's voices and observations as they narrated were just priceless and totally in character.

So, John and Rodney. John was...perfect. I loved the first glimpse of him, as I noted above, and my love for how you portrayed him just grew and grew... And then, to figure out that he has a special thing going on with the location, with Atlantis, aslfkhdasfldkhfdsl!! I loved the little touches of canon you worked into this, and found the bet with Holland over whether Holland would finish the book before the war was over particularly touching. Also, hee, and I *think* you did this on purpose, lol, he had a BUG ON HIS NECK.*g*

Rodney. Perfection, with his equipment and his leaving his lover behind when he helped with the bomb. Such a beautiful job with the details of his car, lol, and his cluelessness and yet fundamental good-heartedness! And by the way, I loved how you so deftly showed that each of these people didn't quite fit into the world around them, just like the canon characters.

(contd. in next comment...)
cathalin
Dec. 23rd, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Brace yourself for a really, really LONG comment. Or two.:)
I loved all the callbacks to canon in this fic, and I'm sure I'll discover more on a re-read (which definitely will be happening!). The beds fit for only one person, lol (and what great use you made of that, with John and Rodney!), Simon/Wallace lol!, etc.

And then, on top of all that, you gave me the "hot sex" part of my request, but did it in the way I most love: you delivered a beautifully-written and totally engrossing love story between John and Rodney. You built the tension between them masterfully, which I *love*, and then delivered every step of the way. Their encounters were all gorgeous and sweet and yes, hot, in the great way. The oasis in the seedy hotel was wonderful -- hell, all of them were, and I felt like I was right there with them.

Hee, one more thing I have to mention: I'm pretty damn sure you included some things in here as shoutouts to my fic, which, that's just incredible. When I hit the Moonlight Sonata, I decided it was pretty likely you'd read The Price That Life Exacts, and I thought maybe the mentions of the gulls harked back a little to that as well. You seem to also have figured out that I love musical!Rodney, and included music throughout this fic in really awesome ways, including Miko and Zelenka being musicians, which might be another shoutout, or alternately just really cool!

Finally (though don't be surprised if I come back with more comments as this all sinks in, lol), "liminal" and everything it stands for. I looked up the exact meaning of the word after I finished reading, and I am just...awestruck. The way you worked in what is going on in this fic is *amazing*. It felt totally organic, and as I said above, I was breathless by the end.

When I get a chance, I'm reccing this on my journal: if you follow it (and I have a feeling you do *g* ), you'll see it soon. This is truly an amazing, amazing fic, and I feel honored to be its recipient.
le_mot_mo
Dec. 23rd, 2008 08:08 pm (UTC)
This incredibly complex and beautiful fic has left me wordless. I haven't got any idea how to form appropriate feedback, because it's simply better than anything I've read in a really long time. It reads like a novel and to be honest, I'll probably read it again and again, discovering new gems of wordplay along the way. Whoever you are-- you can write like the best of them. You are a true author. :o)
viva_gloria
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you ever so much! I wrote this as my Nanowrimo this year -- found I missed having something to write in November, and wanted to spread out and explore this fic rather than trying to condense it. I'm really glad I did spend that time: not only was it a joy to write but it also seems to have struck a nerve with quite a few readers.
vom_marlowe
Dec. 23rd, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC)
OK, I'm only half done reading this--what a wonderful way to spend an afternoon! It's such a treat to read. Beautiful story. I will come back and finish it after I'm done with my present-wrapping, but I just wanted to leave a bit of feedback when I had the chance. Gorgeous, really beautiful.
viva_gloria
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I hope the ending wasn't a disappointment ...
yasaman
Dec. 23rd, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
I really don't know how to put what I loved about this story into words but--I absolutely loved it. The pacing, the atmosphere, and omg the ending...I definitely foresee this as being a comfort read in the future.
viva_gloria
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad I took the time to write this fic at this length: it was really good to be able to develop themes slowly and work up the sense of place. And happyhappyending is so what they all deserve!
temaris
Dec. 24th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
Wow. This is amazing. The bleakness of the time and place, balanced against their plans and hopes -- and the silver city, just out of reach. The atmosphere is amazing, and the story too, the way they all change and shift (in so many ways!). Engrossing and memorable.
viva_gloria
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
The atmosphere is firmly based on the real location (which doesn't, as far as I know, have a silver city lurking just around the corner of reality: but it could). One of my favourite places and very atmospheric ... I think I put a lot of myself, and quite a bit of family memory, into this. Thank you ever so much for reading, enjoying, commenting!
(no subject) - viva_gloria - Jan. 5th, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
threnodyjones
Dec. 24th, 2008 11:14 pm (UTC)
This was a long, beautiful, wonderful journey. I loved the delicacy and the way you had with words, turns of phrase, the essential characters of the people in the story. Lovely, lovely writing. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it!
viva_gloria
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you for taking the time to comment! I wrote this as my Nanowrimo this year: I wanted to explore the fic at length and build up atmosphere, character etc.
dossier
Dec. 25th, 2008 03:12 am (UTC)
oh. my. Wow.

I love the detail of the world around Atlantis, the rhythms of the seasons, and the stragglers all looking for something more, better, peace wash up on their battered shore (to borrow an Americanism) and find it. The slow mystery of the ghosts, and the city, and the beacon that it becomes for them wanting it, searching for it. Ronon, the city kid, Teyla as the stand in for Anastasia, displaced Royalty, stand out especially in a glittering array of fascinating characters. John and Rodney's relationship, they way that John is so desperate for him is just breathtaking. and yet, as lovely as it is, there's the feel that, even as they're prospering, there's a feeling of marking time, too.

And the siren call of the city, open and welcoming, calling to John, to all of them, the epitome not of escape, but moving forward. utterly fantastic.
viva_gloria
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
Mmmm, you give good comment! From what you say, I achieved pretty much what I set out to write -- they're on the edge, not running away but running towards. Thank you!
mairi_
Dec. 26th, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC)
oh my. I'm just breathless incredible, detailed, engrossing and that ending... incredible is the only word I can find that even comes close.
viva_gloria
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC)
thank you ever so much! I really, really wanted to write a happy ending -- a happy beginning? -- for these versions.
ratcreature
Dec. 26th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
This was awesome. The colony they'd built came across as very real.
viva_gloria
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:21 pm (UTC)
there is a real ... well, it's not called Atlantis, and it's more of a religious community: but I stole a lot of the details of its founding. Though I'm fairly sure they don't get ghosts or a shining city out at sea ...
lovekeller
Dec. 26th, 2008 11:42 pm (UTC)
whoa. This touched me deeply. The idea of misfits finding their way, of coming together to find a way together. That Atlantis would call to them, to accept them. A lovely read. Thank you so much
viva_gloria
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
I hadn't really realised at the outset that my AU versions were even more misfits than the canon characters: but it crept up on me, and I so wanted them to find a proper place that would welcome them.
sheafrotherdon
Dec. 27th, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)
This is really beautiful - beguiling's the word, I think, for how it drew me in and kept me reading so that I'd know what happened to everyone. I love that there's such promise out there, waiting for them, and I'm fascinated by the idea that they aren't just stepping into the future, but could equally have stepped into the past. Gorgeous work!
viva_gloria
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
The quantum thingies were especially vague and hand-wavy in here but I wanted to write about John finding Atlantis wherever, whenever, he was. (I wonder if that Atlantis is the one we'd recognise? Or if the technology they find there attunes itself to their sensibilities so it's Bakelite and valves?)
horridporrid
Dec. 27th, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
I love how this combined scifi and ghost story, and that it was anchored in the gritty reality of post-WWII England. Made for a very compelling read. :)
viva_gloria
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
thank you! I really enjoyed writing it -- and researching like mad! (Realised that although my parents lived through the post-war years and spoke of them, I had no real notion of what life was like.)
mariska_to
Dec. 27th, 2008 11:36 pm (UTC)
This is stunning. What a complex and impressive story! Thank you.
viva_gloria
Jan. 5th, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
thank you for commenting! I had so much I wanted to pack into this story that ... well, any shorter would have been a cheat.
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