A History of Roswell Fanfic

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Re: A History of Roswell Fanfic

Post by Aurorabee » Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:50 pm

Kath, thanks so much. I'd never read fanfic until this, so it's absolutely fascinating to get your impressions on its evolution.

I'm also relatively new to the whole Roswell universe. I received the DVDs as a gift from my mother-in-law not even two years ago. She had rented them on Netflix and got totally hooked. My husband and I sped through the series way too fast and then I was lost -- here I had found characters I completely loved (and subsequently survived the atrocities inflicted upon them by TPTB) and then it was over. Luckily, my MIL also pointed me here and voila! a new obsession was born.

I am a diehard dreamer and those are the fics I've naturally gravitated to, but recently I discovered StargazerUK's Gazer fics and I wanted to echo your praise. His Alex & Isabel really captured my interest in a way that surprised and thrilled me. He also typically includes the other CCs too and he understands *all* of them so well, writing them in a way that rings so true to me. I've gobbled up all I could from him and because of him, I'll be branching out more.

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Re: A History of Roswell Fanfic

Post by cardinalgirl » Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:32 pm

Kath, I read this when you originally posted it, but have enjoyed rereading. The only "trend" I can think of that you didn't address directly (maybe because it was really starting to get an upswing around the time you were writing this) is the "Redeeming Tess" trend, where writers either ignore the bad stuff Tess did and focused on the cute Tess (who we saw in VLV, for example), or they did their best to at least explain why Tess did what she did.

I think I can mainly attribute the former to the contingency of writers who consider themselves primarily Stargazers and Lamptrimmers, along with being general CC supporters. In some ways I'd say Stargazers are the sweethearts of the fandom, because they like to make everybody happy CC-wise, which I think can also be attributed to StargazerUK's example of always including a happy Dreamer and Candy ending. Because most canon-based Gazer takes off before Alex was killed on the show (obviously) it follows suit that it takes off before Tess is revealed to be his murderer, so while a few Gazer stories have Tess outed anyways and then taken out (I'm thinking particularly of Jenny Vardy's Forgiven stories), many instead opt to erase her wrongs and put her safely with Kyle where so many people had wanted her to end up.

The latter have been around ever since the Crashdown, especially in one-parter perspectives where we got looks into Tess' past and miserable life growing up with Nasedo, but those were generally pre-Alex, and don't really cover her S2 crimes. Some truly beautiful ones have been written lately, especially jbangelo's I Could Have Loved You. These fics don't absolve Tess of the things she's done, but are honest and heart-wrenching acknowledgments that this was a character we (and usually Kyle) loved, who betrayed our trust, and at the same time they present us with a Tess who, like the show hinted, was in over her head and had no way out.

A third faction of Tess-redeeming fics that are really only just now appearing, are stories which present Tess on the precipice of following through with Nasedo's plan and the steps that would ultimately lead to Alex's death, but instead we see Tess choosing not to follow through. Dreamerlaure's Before You Leave is the first example of this I can point to, along with Drogyn's WIP, Shattered Illusions. These stories are fascinating because they really examine Tess' strengths and weaknesses, and by showing her struggling to do the right thing, we can understand more clearly why she did what she did on the show in the first place.

Actually, several other, smaller characters who in earlier years were consistently given a pretty bad spin in most fic have lately been dealt with in more fair and surprising ways as well. I'd say this was spear-headed by Kath herself, in using characters like Grant (in Born of the Stars), Nicholas (in Between the Sand and Stone) and Sean (in the Sins Series) in new and eye-opening ways. The other example I would have to point to would be Jesse in Midwest Max's Son Series, where it is impossible for even a die-hard Stargazer like myself to dislike him.

The thing that amazes me about the Roswell fandom, which has not proven true for me in the other fandoms I've experimented in, (though admittedly Roswell is the only fandom where I don't read specifically for one character/ship, so I can't really justify that) is that more often than not, there is always a writer who is willing and capable of showing us characters in a light we never would have expected to see them in, from simply watching the show.

ETA: This is of course partially due to the fact that the fandom has been going strong for long enough that most of the righteous indignation viewers felt towards certain characters has been worked out of us in a lot of ways. Outrage has turned to fascination, and fascination to acceptance, at least in some cases. It interests me that while in many ways the bad guys presented to us on the show were either disappointing (Khivar) or too-easily dealt with (Pierce, and nearly everyone else), it's rare to see a wholly original character as a bad guy nowadays (this was obviously different back before we knew who the bad guys were :wink:), but as Kath said, the more unsatisfactory the writers of the show did something, the more extensively it's explored in fanfic, and in the same sense, Tess and many other minor characters were never explored or explained to our satisfaction, which is where fanfic writers have (rather expertly) taken hold of the reigns.

P.S. Misha, Roswell Elementary is still available online, archived here. :wink:
Last edited by cardinalgirl on Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A History of Roswell Fanfic

Post by Misha » Tue Feb 19, 2008 8:54 pm

wow! I had found the original link down so many times I truly believed it was gone! It's sooooooo good to see it's still out there! ggaaahhhh this brings so many memories :mrgreen:

On a semi-related topic, I once read a post that stated that we should thank our show writers for all the plot holes and unanswered questions, since without them, Roswell fanfiction world wouldn't be so huge :shock: It made me laugh, but it might actually have a point...
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Re: A History of Roswell Fanfic

Post by April » Tue Feb 19, 2008 10:47 pm

Wow, awesome insight into the fic world, Kath! I think I started reading fic during late season two or something, and I first started writing it after the show was over. I think. I can't remember!

I've never ever read a Dreamer fic in my life (which I know puts me in a staggering minority on this board!) Actually, I don't think I've ever read a Stargazer fic or a Lamptrimmer one, either. I've noticed, though, that a lot of the Candy fics include Stargazer or Lamptrimmer subplots. Not to say that candies are anti-Dreamer or anything. The one huge trend I've noticed, though, is that a lot of Candies (myself included) love Tess and hate how her character ended up in the show. Which makes sense. Tess didn't disrupt Michael and Maria, she disrupted Max and Liz.

I agree that Polar is probably definitely the largest UC ship. Again, from the Candy perspective, though . . . Candies HATE polar! It seems like GZ is a bit more kosher, but Polar is just unthinkable. Personally, I don't care what happens along the way as long as I get my sweet and spicey ending. :wink:

I think the biggest misconception with Candy fic is that there's no plot, that it's all PWP/smut stuff. And it's not. There's a lot of great Candy authors (DocPaul is like our Jesus) who are able to incorporate adult-rated material into very intense, plot-driven/character-driven fics. If you're interested in reading some great Candy fics, CID is the place to be. "The Lost Child" by Mag and Angel is great, along with "Different Stars" by misty, "Wandering Star" by Lysee. Really, some seriously great ones that are just getting started and that, luckily, we're getting frequent updates for.

I think the biggest misconception about Stargazer fics seems to be that they can't possibly be adult-rated, as though they don't have hot chemistry or something. And let me just say, I've been working on a Gazer music video, going through some of their scenes together, and I was BLOWN AWAY at all the chemistry they have. Some of their scenes were my favorite on Roswell. One of these days, I'm going to read a Gazer fic, because I have a feeling I'd love it. I just have to get less busy with school. :)

What you said about the big boom of AU fics, Kath, is spot on. :D I personally love my AU. It's the chance to delve into a whole new world, and it's often astounding what writers come up with. And I like that people explore issues in fics. I wrote a short little fic-let about a school shooting once (which I think only, like, two people read, but whatev.) I had somebody come to my high school with a gun (no shots fired, thank God) but it was terrifying and so emotionally unsettling, and fanfic was a way to release some of the tension that had bottled up. It was a unique but effective form of therapy.

I know there aren't a lot of Candy fics on this board, but I still come here anyway because, not to sound cheesy or anything, but there's some really nice people here, really loyal readers who leave insightful feedback. And like I said, I haven't ever read a Dreamer fic, but I've read portions here and there, and I must say, the quality of writing over here is just mind-blowing.

It's funny. I can remember the names/authors of Roswell fics with no problem, but when it comes to remembering real-life literature . . . "My Antonia" by Willa Cather is probably one of the most famous books in the United States, and I don't remember a word of it. But I can dialogue entire lines of Roswell fics. :lol: They're just way more interesting!


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Re: A History of Roswell Fanfic

Post by Kath7 » Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:14 pm

Hi everyone!

Thanks for your insightful comments, particular cardinalgirl re: Tess (whom we all know I mostly adore these days - a couple of my fics (coughSinsoftheFathercough) notwithstanding) and April re: Candy (Yay! Finally some Candy commentary! I was looking for it last time and never got it). I found the point that the Candies are vehemently opposed to Polarism really interesting. Just goes to show that every ship has its point of view. I find it interesting that of the Polars I know (or knew) well, there never seemed to be as much antipathy towards Maria as there was towards Max. It's all so interesting to reflect and what led to all of it.

Finally, April:
It's funny. I can remember the names/authors of Roswell fics with no problem, but when it comes to remembering real-life literature . . . "My Antonia" by Willa Cather is probably one of the most famous books in the United States, and I don't remember a word of it. But I can dialogue entire lines of Roswell fics. They're just way more interesting!
This totally cracked me up. Hee. Because it's so true.

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Re: A History of Roswell Fanfic

Post by Tears_of_Mercury » Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:30 pm

Heavenli24 wrote:
LairaBehr4 wrote:Kath - thank you for sharing this! As someone who only started reading fanfic two years ago, almost four years after the show went off the air, it was so interesting to read this short but brilliant assessment of the history and future of Roswell fanfic. Thank you!
Ditto for me too - I discovered Roswell fic towards the end of 2004 and I've always felt that I missed out by not being around to experience the older fic as it was being written or the reaction of authors to the events of the show as they happened.

Is there any chance of including links for some of the stories mentioned? There are some that I've never read and would really like to if possible (I've been looking for new fics to read :) ).
I second this! I'd absolutely love to be pointed towards any of those "fixing The Balance" fics. :)

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Re: A History of Roswell Fanfic

Post by behrlyliz » Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:36 pm

Misha wrote:
Heavenli24 wrote:Is there any chance of including links for some of the stories mentioned? There are some that I've never read and would really like to if possible (I've been looking for new fics to read :) ).
Of all the fics mentioned, I have the entire Roswell Elementary series (which is no longer online), The Future Arc and The Home Series (which are both at http://www.roswellunderground.com under the author's names) and Innocent.

Just PM your e-mail and I'll happily send whichever you are missing :)

Here's a working link for the Roswell Elementary Series.
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Re: A History of Roswell Fanfic

Post by hauntedd » Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:29 am

I think this is interesting to read, even if it feels like a long walk down memory lane. I'm coming from this with an extremely different point of view than most, as I'm pretty exclusively UC and more likely to frequent PA than fanatics, but I figure I'd add a bit to the polarism history as I do know a good deal about it (I might also do a bit on Tess, but I've been putting off working out for a while already.)

Polarism, when the show was on, started small (like any UC on any show) and grew larger as the series progressed, and continues to grow years after the show ended, probably because more dreamers/candies, just like anyone else, have gotten over the initial eww of their OTP being split up. I think the first fic, and definitely the first influential fic of note, was The Polar Novel. TPN was great because it followed the show and made a secret romance between Michael and Liz believable and forced a lot of dreamers to "look closer" and examine some of the subtext that was happening between Michael and Liz. And, I may be biased, but there was a lot of subtext.

I think the first wave of polarism tended to follow this trend -- fics that started with that line in missing -- "thank you for giving me another reason to envy Max Evans" and gave their own spin/what if scenarios. This was pretty much par for the course in season 1 up to and through Destiny and important writers during this period included people like Gaudicia, DMartinez, White Otter (obviously), Bennie and the Three Amigos -- Belinda, Lee and Polarist. I'm sure there were others, but I'm bad with names both online and irl, so I apologize.

Somewhere along the line, the first PA (which was on ezboard) was created and was a small place for polarists to congregate. Most fic at this point was pretty smutty (not unlike the vast majority of rosfic in general), fluffy and pretty short.

The summer after Destiny, polarism continued to grow -- there were a few "Liz is Michael's destiny" fics (Gaudy and Belinda were two of the first with this trend), but most of them were built off of the hug in MTTM and there was a larger number of true AU fics that came out that summer -- etoile1 was one of the many au writers that started making herself known during this period.

After EOTW, polarism began to explode. Most of the people who converted to polarism during this period were former dreamers (more aptly, probably, Liz fans) who were disgusted by Max's behavior following EOTW (and later on, the Tess sex) and were basically done with him. Stories about Liz losing her virginity to Michael and then realizing that she loved him were pretty common -- and following the Rath/Liz kiss, there was a whole subset of Rath/Liz that spun out of polarism. Maria was also beginning to take over for Tess as the "default baddie" in polar-fic, but since there were so many ex-dreamers Tess was still public enemy #1 in polar fic (again, not unlike the vast majority of rosfic at this point).

A common trend in season 2 (and onward), was the simultaneous unrequited desire that both Liz and Michael had for one another. It would come up randomly -- Liz always having a thing for Michael and Michael wishing he had been the one to save Liz. But they'd never act on it until some serendipitous moment where it all came together.

Another trend that came to fruition during season 2 was Max bashing. I think some of the one of the more illustrative moments included having him dismembered rather graphically (something I take credit for), and highighting some of the "darker" sides of Max's personality -- his controlling nature growing into Max being abusive to Liz/Michael. Brendanfehrobsessed, Lucky Star82, Stormybear30, and I started writing during this period.

VLV and the Tex storyline were great pieces of fodder for polarism -- Gaudy's After Vegas is definitely one that I remember rather vividly. Obviously, Departure gave birth to the successor to White Otter's legacy in Polar fandom -- Peachykin's Memory of Her. Darkvixen who is the most prolific polar writer (with over 50 stories to her name) began to write at this point, bringing a great deal of angst and insight into Michael. JadaLyn and Lauren began writing as well.

Season 3 was more of the same -- great writing, great exploration of subtext. Trends that started during this period included: Liz doesn't get back with Max after Departure (basically telling Max to take his spawn and shove it), Liz and Michael after BTM, and Liz and Michael go further during TOTP. I'm pretty sure that Robyn (2x4) and Queenie started writing during this period.

After the show ended, unlike mainstream Rosfandom, there was a great deal of post-Grad fics. Most of them featured dark!Max growing more sinister as things spin further and further out of control, trouble in paradise for M/L, Michael and Liz bonding over being unable to communicate with their SOs. Some great polar writers that started following the show's end include irish2002, Dimensia, joianoel, Ladygloria, and muse.

In the summer of 2003, PA moved to polarattraction.com and the polar mafia formed, which was a nickname created b/c of the barter system and ihatemyself's challenges which the inspiration for a lot of fic that came out in the early days of PA. The polar mafia was basically a group of writers/active polarists that were both well established and just starting out who got together and chatted about basically everything and anything. They later became the mods and admin of PA and created and continue to utilize a barter system to encourage more polar fic. I think the best thing that came out of the polar mafia (and definitely the most well known contribution of the pm), was Point of Origin, a round robin style fic that I am fairly certain was the largest collaborative effort of writers in Rosfandom.

Trends that started with the move (and have withstood the test of time) include the "epic" update. This was another Peachykin original, but the standard update for a polar fic is about 10 pages or so in word.

Polarism continues today and there are a good number of writers, both new and old, that frequent PA.

Other couples in Polarism

By FAR the most common "other" couple in polar fic. Popularized by Peachykin and Dimensia this couple was en vogue in polar fic before it became en vogue to like them in rosfandom overall. I think because there was/is less KH hate in polarism than in the larger fandom.

It happened in polarism, especially prior to ITLAITB but it never was that common. Probably because again, a lot of polarists came to the "light" (haha) via significant distaste of the Max/Tess storyline on the show. However, this was probably the most common max pairing in polar fic (perhaps Max/Maria, but a lot of polarists like to joke and say "I would never punish [insert female character] with Max"), because most polarists would rather Max not be a part of the story, period. This has changed some recently, but Max is usually the bad guy in polar fic.

During season 2, a lot of polarists fell for Kyle/Tess hardcore (and changed their opinion of Tess). This was not really the case in what I witnessed with other sub-sects of Rosfandom, (with the possible exception of Candies), so we had a few Rebels, lamptrimmers and Tess fans come to polarism because it was the largest UC ship and was sort of a "big tent" for people who wanted something different.

Obviously. What strikes me is that it isn't as common as you'd think, but when it's done it's done well. Ladygloria's Phoenix Rising is a good example of this.

Another ship that I think was accepted in polarism before it was talked about in the larger context of rosfandom. I honestly think it stems from there being more Tess acceptance prior to Departure and less love for Alex than in the greater roswell universe.

There is a large Liz/Khivar polarist contingent -- Gaudy wrote the first Liz/Khivar fics I think in record, obviously Littlebit's Khivar fic is well loved, and Cinder's Pledge of Honor are examples I can think of.

Again, lots of love for Jensen/Alec in polarism. As I've never really spent a lot of time watching Dark Angel, I don't know that much about it, but Littlebit and 2x4 I know were big fans of DA.

A new trend, definitely, but I like to think it's growing. Or maybe I'm biased, because that's the way that my own roswell writing has gone. It's at least well received by people at PA, so there is that :D

Anyway, I hope this was informative, and if it's not appropriate I can delete it.
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Re: A History of Roswell Fanfic

Post by Tears_of_Mercury » Mon Feb 25, 2008 3:03 pm

Hauntedd, thanks so much for the history of Polarism! One of the first fanfics I read was actually Finding Ulysses, so while I'm not what you would call an avid polarist, I definitely have a healthy respect for the ship. Although I won't go so far as to compare Polar to Cliffhanger, I did always get the feeling that the writers were never quite sure what they were trying to do with the spare Michael/Liz interaction - Jonathan Frakes even make a comment on the BTM commentary about Shiri and Brendan's great chemistry, but said they didn't get many scenes together because they were their best friend's SO. There was subtext, although the feeling that I got was always that it was meant to make people say "WHAT?! ROFL!" instead of making them examine things too closely. Stupid writers.

I think that it's fair to say, though, that dreamers that love Michael usually tend to have a pull to some sort of Michael/Liz relationship - be it "past lives", "pre fic", or a brother/sister or best friends deal.

So again, thanks for all the interesting info - and I had no idea that polars were the first to really sanction InCrowders!

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Re: A History of Roswell Fanfic

Post by xmag » Fri Feb 29, 2008 8:35 am

Is there an history of the stargazer fanfics ?

Michael : From day one, I knew you were the girl for me, I never wanted anyone else.

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