facetofcathy: multicoloured faceted shapes (Prism)
facetofcathy ([personal profile] facetofcathy) wrote in [community profile] facetsoftext2011-08-07 12:36 pm

SPN J2 Big Bang 2011 Part VII

Now that I can access LJ to get the links, here's the last four stories I read before taking a well timed week off from reading.

Please note, one of these stories depicts non-consensual acts of various kinds and I discuss that and the author's portrayal of this.

Windfall For the Non-believer by [livejournal.com profile] glovered

Dean/Sam - 35,000 words - rated R

On LJ in multiple parts in site scheme with a downloadable PDF available.

Pretend couple casefic. This one has a realistic premise and an interesting casefic. The setting is mid-season six and I enjoyed getting a chance to read those versions of Sam and Dean.

The neighbours are extraordinarily gendered clich├ęs and Dean plays right along with those heternormative roles by casting himself as the "husband" while Sam is the "wife" who does all the girly things like, er, talk to the neighbours.

The real relationship that builds behind closed doors is much more interesting than the offensive public portrayal of a gay couple this Dean Winchester thinks is realistic. Mostly because the story never deals with the way their public roles clash with their private partnership--or the expected fanfic slash dynamic. In order for Dean to embody an infantalized sitcom male persona, he ends up acting OOC--lazy, indifferent to the case and not focused on business.

The twist reveal at the end about the neighbours did not work at all. The gun was never on the mantelpiece in the first act.

Good banter, realistic relationship discussion and good casefic, underneath some unpleasant and not in character trappings.

The Price of Renovation by [livejournal.com profile] st_salieri

Gen - 22,000 words - PG-13
On LJ only in multiple parts in site scheme with downloadable PDF available.

Sam wakes up and no one knows who this Dean guy is. Great premise, interesting at first with the encounter with the older man, but the twist reveal was unsatisfying.

The story never really looks at who Sam is if his relationships with everyone else and his view of himself aren't mediated through Dean. It made the exercise of getting to the resolution pointless.

A Place to Rest My Spirit by Miss 'Drea

Dean/Sam OMC/OFC and OMC/OMC - NC-17 - 21,000 words

On LJ only not in site scheme. Downloadable PDF available.

Warning: this story deals explicitely with non-consensual possession of bodies and sexual relations using those bodies while the individual is aware and explicitly not consenting. One side pairing is a lesbian who is forced via possession to have sex with a man.

Yeah, so, no warnings of any kind on the story and no real indication in the header that the content is almost exclusively non-consensual. The aftermath scene, which conveniently skips a great deal of time is not realistic, barely even pays lip service to the fact that these guys just experienced rape and forced incest and is (at least I thought at the time) the most misplaced attempt at a happy ending so far.

The plot is about an amulet that allows soul mates from the past to experience six months of life again by possessing people in the present who are soul mates. Two lovers from a purple-prosed gay historical dive into Sam and Dean and then use their bodies to do nothing but fuck for six months.

The idea is actually interesting but the execution is not up to the standard of the ideas. The story has some good parts to it, and the pacing and flow are okay, but the deeper you get into the more it reads like rape is okay as long as they liked it and it gets the OTP together. The lovers from the past make up the bulk of the story, and the other pairing who serve to introduce the concept the other major section. Sam and Dean occupy the background until the improbable epilogue.

I could have enjoyed both other pairings if the concept had recognized the genuinely horrible cost of the past lovers using this form of possession. It might have been interesting to make some kind of connection between how selfish they are and how self-centred that kind of co-dependant relationship is in the first place.

The Allegory of the Cave by Jay Tryfanstone

Dean/Sam - R - 36,000 words

On linked site in an easy to read black on white format, in another version that includes the art, and in downloadable PDF and ePub formats.

I enjoyed a great deal about this story. The story is a case that takes Sam and Dean to New York and forces them to confront a few issues about how they see each other.

The examination of layers of identity, the questions about whether the view someone has of anyone is ever real and the way that played into the season six issues was particularly good. It almost made me wish it was RPF, for that extra layer, but in a way the story is about all the things that make RPF interesting as a form to me, so perhaps that would have been redundant?

I enjoyed the settting--it's awesome to get Sam and Dean in a city--and the OCs were all good. I'm not so sure about the "underground" lesbian bar though. I would expect underground bars in NYC to be the home of hipsters pretending to be the Ratpack in this day and age. The case, which unabashedly exists to illustrate the themes, was also interesting.

There is one very ill-timed bit at a climactic scene that reads to me like a Cricket reference that is utterly out of place. There are also some scenes that read very opaque to me. In what seems like an attempt to portray realistic dialogue where people intuit each other's meaning rather than it getting all as you know, Bob, some things are not spelled out clearly and I felt left out of a few scenes. Other than that, the voices and setting seemed authentic, interesting and individual vibrant.

However and but and except. The angst is dialled really high between Sam and Dean as they come to terms with their sexual attraction to each other, and that just doesn't work for me. This fic strongly reminds me of a couple of candlebeck's stories that also require you to believe in a sustained high level of gut-churning emotionalism over this issue. I'm inclined to believe a lot more in denial, repression and the slipperly slope of just getting used to one more thing that's horrible or wrong or evil or bizarre and that the civilians won't understand. Particularly given the season six setting.

This is a lovely evocative, visually interesting story with complex prose and interesting characters. So hardly a hardship to read it when it was a little outside my take on the characters.