Dear Yulegoat Letter, 2018

This year for Yuletide I requested 6 fandoms: The Expanse (TV), Jeremiah (TV), Binti series – Nnedi Okrafor, A Taste of Honey - Kai Ashante Wilson, an inspiring five-minute fandom, 221B Baker Towers, and Rivers of London - Ben Aaronovitch.

Optional details are optional, and I know I'll love anything you write me in any of these fandoms, but if you'd like some further information on how to rock my world for Yuletide, here are some ideas.

The Expanse (TV): Naomi Nagata, Chrisjen Avasarala, Amos Burton, Annushka "Anna" Volovodov

THIS SHOW! All the found family love, distinct and competing cultures on Earth, Mars, and the Belt, issues of class and imperialism, plots that depend on all the people, even when in opposition to each other, being so damn smart. What a fabulous diverse cast. Three seasons in, and I am blown away by the plotting, world-building, and characters.  The science even makes sense!  I haven’t read the books, but if you want to share some insight from them with me as a part of your story, feel free.  

Because this show is such a wonderful ensemble, I had a difficult time deciding which characters to request. Please consider my character request Any of the above, rather than a requirement that they all be in the given fic.  Jim and Alex are good guys, but I’d prefer a story that didn’t focus on them.

DNW: AUs, pregnancy/childbirth, body horror, unhappy endings

·      *   Naomi/Camina.  I think this pairing is canon, but I’m not entirely certain.  These two women are Belter to the core.  They hit my competency kink hard, in all the right ways.  They obviously have a lot of respect for each other, and I can see them figuring out how to be together while still leaving space for each other’s jobs and decisions.  If you’re not feeling like a serious relationship piece, you could write me some fun, messy, zero-g porn with these two gorgeous women, and I would be delighted!  And if you have some fabulous gen idea for Naomi, go for it!

·     *    Chrisjen was born into a position of privilege and wealth. She worked with intelligence, charm, insane ambition, Machiavellian pragmatism, and her uniquely female style of hard-ball politics, until she’s close to running the whole planet.  It seems less a selfish ambition than her not trusting anyone else to be in charge and without fucking things up.  I’m not quite sure what to ask for here.  More Chrisjen, basically. Maybe Chrisjen dealing with the emotional fall-out of some hard decision, certain what she did was necessary?  I can imagine her waking up from a nightmare of the Belter children dying, getting comfort from her husband, looking in on her own children, and then making sure the video evidence is suppressed.

·     *    Amos fascinates me! He’s apparently a former sex worker, former organized crime figure, current mechanic and ship-mate, protecting his people and dedicating himself to a Good Person who will tell him when it’s okay to kill, because he can’t seem to figure out the rules. (He reminds me of Bothari, from the Vorkosigan books, in that sense.)   I’d like to read some of his back story.  Feel free to go very dark with it, as long as there is some happy ending, resolution, or redemption to be found.  You could also show me Amos connecting with someone, whether in his past, present, or future.  That could be sexual, or not.  Naomi, Alex, Anna, Praxidike, someone else - you decide!

·      *   Anna – a lesbian minister, part of an inter-racial relationship, raising a child, a nurse in a clinic that serves undocumented people, and the moral center of an administration.  Wow!  It’s rare to see people of faith positively represented in sci-fi.  There’s a plot line where Anna ignores a man coming to her for pastoral care, caught up in the excitement of the moment, and then realizes that he committed suicide after she turned away.   I would love to read a fic showing her working through the repercussions of that for herself and her faith.  Or examining that difficult transition she made, from a speech-writer to a politician trying to change the world, led by the feeling she had misused her gifts to focus back in on her family, her church, her clinic.  And then back out again years later, tempted by a major donation and the idea that should could do more, be more, change history.  My DNW for unhappy endings and pregnancy will limit your storylines somewhat, but please don’t ignore the existence of her wife and child.

·      *   Tattoos: Naomi gets a traditional Belter tattoo after leaving the Rocinante.  Amos has a whole set of them.  I’d love to read a story showing the how/when/why either or both of them decided to get their tattoos. (Of course, for Amos, it might not have been his decision.)

·      *   World-building: I’m fascinated by what we see of Belter culture, and the Belter language.  I’m not a linguist, but if you have any inclination to explore that, I would be incredibly excited to read what you come up with!  Belter bed-time or ghost stories?  Earth fairy tales transmuted over time, distance, and cultural drift to something that speaks to the Belters? Traditional songs? Write me the heart of the beltalowda.

·     *    History is written by the victors.  Show me the conflicting coverage of some canonical event by different sources – Earth, Mars, and Belter, absolutely.  But what about the pirate broadcasts on Earth, or the OPA party line versus rumor out among the asteroid hoppers?

Jeremiah (TV): Theo
Jeremiah shows us a post-apocalyptic society created by children. That's some serious Lord of the Flies territory, and yet it remains hopeful, less a dystopia than a cloudy sky with hints of light breaking through. I like the essential idealism of the show.

I am fascinated by Theo. The woman is strong, charismatic, and ruthless. Theo gathered other children, resources, and power. She BUILT a town with its own system of law and commerce. She gained power, and lost it, and regained it. In her own way, she is a visionary, and I would love a story that explores that, and her perspective on the world.  I would welcome Erin/Theo, or a gen story.

DNW: pregnancy/birth, kid-fic, or adultery/betrayal

·      *  Theo’s ruthless pragmatism saves the day.

·     *   Erin taking a leap of faith that helps Theo learn to trust her.

·     *    Erin/Theo where they explore their relationship, or a mutual kink, having to develop new words and concepts that were lost when the Big Death wiped out everyone over the age of innocence.

·     *    Backstory!  I would accept some very dark history for Theo.  In a world where everyone lost most of their family and their entire society – that girl’s seen some shit. But if you can include some glimpse of light or happiness for her, I’d appreciate it!

·     *    Theo’s introduction to the Mountain, where she scopes the place out and decides how to best use it to her advantage.

·      *   Theo getting to experience something that brings her true joy, and letting herself relax into it, with someone she trusts at her back.

A   
A Taste of Honey - Kai Ashante Wilson (any)

I read this novella for Yuletide last year, and would love to see some fic for it!   I'm intrigued by what we see of Olorum culture; the tremendous divide between men and women of the upper classes, with an emphasis on hyper-masculinity for men, while literacy, mathematics, physics, medicine and psionics are all restricted to women. The 'gods', whether similar to human or very, very different, manipulating these people and cultures from a distance. The Sybil, possibly another human/other hybrid, and her monstrous desires and prophecies. The varied 'magical' abilities of the Cousins. The twist at the ending floored me.

And Aqib - sweet, kind, loving, self-sacrificing Aqib. Brave not because he is fearless, but because his love and compassion are more powerful than his fear. I adore him. This story's emotional arc is strange, swinging between joy with moments of fear, and sorrow with moments of happiness, all with that subtle undercurrent of horror. Feel free to explore any or all of those emotions in your fic.

DNW: pregnancy/birth; a focus on child-rearing, body horror, non-con, or xeno; unhappy endings in this fandom

·      *  Aqib growing into a stronger, more confident version of himself, rejecting the views of his home culture and family that shamed him for looking and acting different than a 'real man' should.

·      *   Aqib/Lucrio, as they first return to Daluca. I'm fascinated by this m/m 'adoption' tradition they have. It reminds me of a pirate's matelotage. Show me more!

·      *   Aqib's first time with Lucrio, full of body worship, joy, laughter, and tenderness.

·      *   The monstrous Sybil's fragmented view of the many future possibilities and probabilities as she sends Lucrio to Olorum to meet his love, anticipating his bitter tears. This could take experimental forms, from verse to IF. This prompt (and any other IF or multiple timelines fic) is an exception to my DNW unhappy endings, as some of the potential endings can and should be dark and unhappy.

·       *  Aqib, along with several women, all threw themselves into the sea, willing to drown to follow their lovers in the Dalucan ship. It seemed like more than an individual impulse - is this a part of their culture? I am curious about the legend or truth behind it.

·     *   Femysade chose Aqib on the strength of watching him dance the sacred dance like only a woman could, and watching him play with Sabah like a child. She wanted a man who was not a man, and it seems the two of them were close friends and occasional lovers for many years. I would enjoy learning more about their relationship from her perspective.

·     *   The Prophet Adonane didn't just come looking for Femysade. She specifically needed LucretiaAqibFemysade - the Femysade who was wife of Aqib and mother of Lucretia. I wonder why. Perhaps your story can show me.

·     *   World-building of any and all kinds, including OC's, epistolary fic, sacred art and scripture, an introduction to the standard text on the ethics of psionics, or an Ashean's scientific overview of the breeding experiment that is the Sacred Cousins of Olorum. (One possible explanation for why homosexuality is so violently rejected in their engineered society.)

Binti series – Nnedo Okrafor: Binti

This series of Afrofuturism novellas blew my mind. They shatter so many of the expectations and conventions of science-fiction.  This is a truly different imagining of our future, and one that I want to read more of.  Technology based on organics and the mind, used for war, yes, but also for understanding, communication, and peace-making.  Binti is a genius mathematician, a master-harmonizer, a selfish daughter, and a gentle warrior.  She survives horrors and emerges deeply changed, but stronger each time.  And rather than use her new understanding and power to punish those who hurt her, she uses it to make peace. The author’s endless creativity in the truly, radically different aliens she imagines as the scholars of Oomza University is marvelous.  The found family aspect of the stories delights me, as does the deep optimism of it.  This is a story about the power of curiosity and love to overcome any barrier and transform us into our best selves.  

*   Tell me the story hinted at right at the end of book 3, of Binti’s journey to the Falls, with her friends Mwinyi, Okwu, New Fish, Haifa, and the Bear.

*   Binti/ Mwinyi porn, with the two of them exploring her needs and desires, physiologically and emotionally, now that she is not only human. I do love me some tentacle porn, so feel free to have the two of them enjoying her okuoko!

* The Night Masquerade is both a costumed sham, and an expression of a deeper cultural truth.  I’m interested in this – show me more?

*  Binti learns more about another paired ship/person, or one of the many species at Oomza University.

*  In the last book, it is hinted that Okwu might give birth to Binti’s child.  I can suspend my usual pregnancy DNW for an exploration of this intriguing concept.  How does Meduse reproductive biology work?  What about their family structures?  How would Binti’s found family, and her birth family back on Earth, both Himba and Enyi Zinariya, react?  

*  Binti is culturally conditioned, as a woman of the Himba people, not to allow herself to express, or even really feel, anger.  The Meduse seem to spend a lot of their time in a joyous rage, and after Binti’s genetic modifications, that is a part of her emotional make-up.  I’d like more exploration than we got in canon for how she adapts to this, and learns to accept and use that rage.


221b Baker Towers: Sherlock Holmes 

Imagine fandom’s reaction if the next big Holmes adaptation to come along had Holmes and Watson as British, yeah - young black British men, living case to case on a council estate in a dodgy area of London. How fandom would react if Sherlock Holmes didn’t employ street kids and homeless people like trained animals to do his bidding, but instead was part of that invisible underclass; if instead of having his eccentricities tolerated~ by Scotland Yard on account of being the Great White Genius, Sherlock Holmes, BME, school dropout, and sometime addict, was regarded by the police as practically a criminal already, one more thug, one more junkie, one more dealer in the making. If he had to choose between buying the week’s groceries or palming a twenty to a bored constable for the chance to spend five minutes on a crime scene, in the hope that whoever’s under enough pressure to deal with crime rates in the neighbourhood will pay him enough for a perp to feed himself and Watson for a month or two. If the greatest threat to his safety were police brutality, or the prospect of being done for a snitch; if his arch enemy weren’t Moriarty, but the systemic poverty and inequality that has him helping out his oppressors just to get by, and that makes the other side of the law look more tempting to someone with his skills every day.

This is a Tumblr-based, crowd-sourced fan adaptation of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.  You can find some of the fic, art, and meta created for it here: http://221b-baker-towers.tumblr.com .  I desperately want to read more about THIS Sherlock Holmes.  The line between canon and head-canon is nonexistent, in this fandom, and they can be contradictory, so here’s a few of my preferences.  I love John as an immigrant, possibly from Afghanistan or Somalia.  (Remember, 36.7% of London's population is foreign born, 24.5% from outside of Europe.)  I see Sherlock as atypical in some way the system read as needing special education, whether that was ADHD, autism spectrum, dyslexia, or some other difference.  (If that doesn’t make sense to you, feel free to avoid it.)  You can make the relationship between Sherlock and John platonic or romantic, but I would like it to be important to them both. This fandom lends itself to going very dark; I’ll be right there with you if you want to go there.  Police brutality, drugs addiction, poverty, corruption, homophobia, anti-immigrant violence – anything you like.

DNW: This is a weird one, but since this fandom is all about centering the experience of young British people of color, please avoid making any of the main characters white.

·      *   Show me what Sherlock loves about London, and what he hates about it.

·       *  Case fic!  Could be a remix of an original Doyle case into Sherlock’s world, or take some local police blotter detail and show me Sherlock behind the scenes of it.

·       *  Cross-over with Rivers of London, with Sherlock believing the evidence of his senses, but very, very fucking suspicious of PC Grant and some posh DCI in his ends ‘taking an interest’.

*   I see John as part of a large family, who takes care of his younger siblings financially, emotionally, etc.  Sherlock, on the other hand, is very much alone.  How does John balance his responsibilities to his family and his friendship/relationship with Sherlock?  Is his time with Sherlock an escape?  Does he feel guilty for it, or guilty for the time at home, when Sherlock gets himself into all kinds of trouble without John there to look out for him?

*  Harrowing Interactive Fiction or groundhog day style story, with Sherlock just trying to make it through one damn day with himself and John alive and free.  Maybe it’s really happening, maybe he’s blazed and his own powers of deduction are spinning out of control and driving him round the bend – your call.  If I, as the reader, can’t tell, either, more power to you.

*  Sherlock code-switching language and communication style, sometimes honest and sometimes lying his arse off as he deals with different people, trying to blend in, get by, and get one over on the system.

*   Problematic Sherlock/ Moriarty.  They’re black, brown, bent, and bloody brilliant. Moriarty first spotted Sherlock as a promising young gang recruit.  Feel free to creep me out with Moriarty grooming a too-young Sherlock, and Sherlock walking into the relationship with eyes open, eager for the attention and the material benefits of being Moriarty’s boy, as well as the promise of someone who might actually understand him.  It’s mostly over now, but they still fuck sometimes, and have each other’s back when things go bad.  John doesn’t understand it, and doesn’t want to.

Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch (Peter Grant, Sahra Guleed, Molly, Nightingale)

Why did I not read these books until now?!? I adore the magical system, and this very posh, imperial British system being subverted by Nightingale who apparently has an entirely different criteria for who might make a good apprentice.  I lived in London in the early 90’s, and this series re-introduced me to it, in all of its glory and history and ridiculousness, like an old friend.  The bits about how policing has changed, so now they actually prefer to bring in the person who committed the crime over someone random, is hilarious.  But the thing that truly made me fall in love with these books is how the young London constable finds out that there are magical people and beings all around him, and rather than viewing them as threats to be intimidated and put down as necessary, he thinks of them as the community members it’s his duty to protect.

I had a hard time deciding which characters to request.  Please view this as an ANY of the above, rather than an all request.  Gen, het, and slash stories will all delight me equally.  I’m aware that Peter/Nightingale is very popular in this fandom, and I’d be happy with that, so long as Beverly isn’t demonized or disappeared on the way to it. Please avoid focusing on Lesley, although she can be part of the background plot of the fic.  I’m aware that not everyone has read the graphic novels and comics, but I got into the fandom via ‘Night Witch’; feel free to incorporate that part of canon or leave it out.

DNW: pregnancy/birth, kid-fic, partner betrayal, non-magical AU

·       *  Case-fic!  I love the tension of kidnappings, but I have a soft spot for any kind of case-fic.  Peter’s professional ethics and morality are important to me, so if that can somehow be incorporated in the story, I’d be thrilled.

* Community policing in the demi-monde.  How does that work, exactly?  How does Peter earn the trust of people who have spent their lives viewing The Folly, and The Nightingale in particular, as a terrifying occupying force?

·       *  DC Guleed, the ‘Muslim Ninja’.  A story from her POV would be fantastic.  A story of how she chose her dojo, and convinced a teacher to take her on, would be amazing!  Maybe she comes across a case that she realizes is ‘Falcon-related’? How did she learn the rules for what you do, and don’t include in the official documentation of these cases?   Perhaps she accidentally lets something slip to her grandmother, who it turns out was a practitioner herself?

·      *   Molly-centered story.  Feel free to bring the horror, or go for a light-hearted social-media based story.  Or how about that time when there was a full-on attack on the Folly – and Molly took care of it before dinner time.

*   Peter and Dr. Wallid geeking out over some experiment related to magic.

·       *  Peter/Beverly for a night out on the town, from Beverly’s POV.  I’m especially interested in how her identity as a woman, and as a river goddess, overlap and affect her perceptions and reactions.

·       *  The fact that Nightingale and the rest of the Folly were completely, willfully ignorant of all non-European magical traditions is very provocative.  I’d love a story where Peter gets a chance to explore the magical traditions of another culture.  His mother’s people in Sierra Leone?  An ambassador from China?  Perhaps he travels to America to learn from a shaman?

·      *   I was struck, in the books, by Peter’s patient awareness of people’s reaction to him as a black man, and the pragmatic ways he works around it.  I adore the page of the comic where a witness refuses to answer DC Guleed’s questions, demanding a real policeman, and Nightingale shows up, courteously questions him, and then asks how his boat ended up stuck in a tree like that.  I’d be delighted by a story where Peter and Sahra bond over their shared experience of being police and POC, or where Nightingale gets pulled into a conversation about how his own perspective on race has changed over the years.

·      *  Nightingale’s time in the war comes back to haunt him.  This could be a very dark story, with all of the horror of war-time Britain compounded by what Nightingale saw and experienced at Ettersberg.  I’d like to see Molly, Peter, or both doing what they can to help.
 

·      *   How about some magical sex tropes?  Sex pollen or magic-made-them-do-it?  Peter comes across references to the Ritual Sex Magic that’s meant to be part of his education?

·      *   What if Peter comes across a younger version of Nightingale (amnesia, time-travel, who knows) and is less than impressed with him?  How would he and Nightingale work through the repercussions?

·      *   Vestigia fascinates me.  Maybe Peter develops his ability to sense it more accurately, and that reveals something unexpected about Nightingale?

·       *  Show me the magical under-pinning of some real-world event in London.

General Likes
I'm a fan of plotty stories and case fic. I like it when interesting things happen, characters need to do something or figure something out. Even in a story where the sex or relationship is the main focus, I love having some kind of additional conflict, mystery or action going on, something that shows these characters have lives and outside interests. Characters being smart and competent really pleases me, and if some of those characters are women, queer, or people of color, all the better!

I like tight POV's, where I can really get into the narrator's head. I like magical realism and all kinds of world-building. I can get into past or present tense, 3rd or 1st person POV.

I enjoy angst and darkfic, up to and including deathfic, in most of my fandoms. (I've outlined my boundaries for each.) Now, don't feel that you have to go there - I like light, happy stories too! But if your Muse leads you somewhere dark, I'm delighted to go there with you. I like it when a character's dark side and flaws are intimately related to their best qualities. It's not that I enjoy the exploration of evil, per say. More that I'm fascinated by the search for love and redemption in even the darkest of circumstances.

Unreliable narrators are a particular thrill for me. I like original characters and outsider POVs, so feel free. I'm a sucker for fannish tropes like amnesia fic, omegaverse, and soulbonds. Canon-divergence AUs fascinate me. I'm always interested in stories that reveal character backstory, and I love stories about people who know and trust each other working together as a team. If you see potential for an open or poly relationship in canon, I would enjoy reading about it!

General Dislikes
I don't enjoy kid fic, and pregnancy completely squicks me. Plots that depend on characters failing to communicate with each other bug me. Pure romantic fluff with no conflict or other plot doesn't generally work for me, and I'm not a fan of 'These characters are now pirates in the 1700's' alternate setting AUs. I'd rather avoid fics focusing on cheating or infidelity. Gender-bending generally disappoints me, unless there is canonical reason to question or alter the character's gender. No holiday-themed stories, unless you are inventing holidays as part of your world-building, in which case, please carry-on!  Although I admire a well-crafted sentence, I'm not really into poetic or flowery language.

Hot Sex
I read and enjoy lots of G-PG fic, and some of my requests this year are gen. But if you should be in the mood to write porn, yay! I like slash, het, and femme-slash. I'm a fan of intense relationships. People who love each other beyond all reason. Even if you're writing about a hook-up or business transaction, I want it to be in response to some deep need, not just a casual fling. Kink works for me, if you want to go there. You don't have to - one of the hottest stories I ever read never went past a purely vanilla first base. Passionate, nervous first-time kissing. Mmmmm.

My favorite kinks include dirty talk, voyeurism, masturbation, pain, bloodplay, marking, bondage, orgasm denial, and power-imbalances. Mind control can be very, very hot. *licks lips* Most importantly, though, it needs to be in-character, be about these two people, what they want and need. Kinks are all about trust. It doesn't need to be safe or sane, but I want it consensual. That said, the particular flavor of dub-con wherein a character is forced into something they desperately want, but could never reach out and take on their own sets me off like a fire-cracker. (*coughs* omega-verse). I enjoy the build-up and character reveal of kink negotiation, but being thrown right into the middle of an intense scene can also be very powerful and arousing. Both work for me, in very different ways.

I'm not generally into fisting, golden showers, scat-play, clothing-fetishes, DS as a lifestyle, necrophilia, bestiality, or role-playing. But you could probably make me buy into any one of them, if you write it hard and hot enough. One thing that seriously turns me off is fic where the character's kink is because of some childhood trauma, sexual assault, or anything like that. Pregnancy, male or female, is a hard no.


On the subject of mini-challenges: I would be delighted if you wrote me something that fits the Chromatic Yuletide or Misses Clause challenges. I'm a huge fan of porn for Yuletide, so Yuleporn is a go! I enthusiastically welcome artwork, especially for 221b Baker Towers and Rivers of London, that are partly visually based, but also for Binti, because I think some of the scenes described in those novellas would be utterly visually stunning. I'd be interested in Crueltide dark-fic for 221b Baker Towers, and I have some very dark requests in my other fandoms, but unless otherwise specified I'd like some kind of happy or hopeful resolution or redemption. I'm not sure if there's any kind of microfiction challenge this year, but I cut my fannish teeth on drabbles, snippets, and 221bs. I honestly adore tiny, polished gems of fic 300 words and under, so if you are in a mood to treat with short fic, I would welcome them!

In Conclusion
To me, fanfic is all about getting a chance to explore characters in ways that the original source didn't allow. I love these characters, these worlds - show me something I didn't know about them, and that's the best present you can give me.

Your Eager Recipient,

- keerawa

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