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Primer for Reading SGA Fanfic [Jun. 22nd, 2006|05:11 pm]
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cupidsbow's Primer for Reading SGA Fanfic
(when you haven't seen a single episode of the show)

for transcendancing

thefourthvine has written a charming overview, Fandoms I Have Loved 10: Stargate: Atlantis, which will tell you everything you need to know about the background of this series in order to dive into the fic.

She also gives five starting recs, which are good, but not the ones I'd choose. So here's my alternate selection:

  1. The Rising by miss_porcupine (No Pairing, PG)
    This offers a well-characterised re-telling of the start of the Atlantis story, introducing all the major characters and giving a good feel for the general background. This author is prolific and highly readable.

  2. Retrograde Series by ltlj (No Pairing, PG-13; final chapter McKay/Sheppard/Emmagan, R)
    Another long, plotty mostly-gen story that gives an excellent feel for the Stargate universe. Again, the author is prolific and very readable.

    ETA: See, I was sick when I wrote this up and I forgot to mention something. I picked this story as number 2 because it crosses over with the SG1 team (which means the story has some AU elements, as that hasn't happened in canon). So it's a great introduction to Atlantis if you're at all familiar with the original Stargate series. If you're not, move on to the next story, and come back to this once you've finished the list. Okay? Okay.

  3. Intersections by kaneko (McKay/Sheppard, NC-17)
    This one is a fantastic introduction to the main slash pairing of the fandom (in fact the main pairing full stop): John Sheppard and Rodney McKay. It's set right at the start of the series, so it doesn't require canon knowledge, and it's long and detailed and beautifully written.

  4. Small Primes and Square Roots: Part 1, Part 2 by liviapenn (McKay/Sheppard, R)
    AUs are a good introduction to a fandom, because they don't rely too heavily on canon knowledge, but still give the reader a grounding in the characters. This is possibly the most adorable AU in the whole fandom.

  5. Hindsight by rageprufrock (McKay/Sheppard, R)
    This is one of the most influential AUs written in the fandom to date. Pru is another prolific, highly readable author.

  6. No Refunds or Exchanges by astolat (McKay/Sheppard, NC-17)
    This is slightly AU, so it can be enjoyed whether you know canon or not. It's a wonderful riff on the marriage of convenience idea, and was written for the influential Harlequin Challenge over on sga_flashfic. This author is one of the biggest names in the fandom, and her stuff is hugely entertaining.

  7. Care in the Holding by laceymcbain (McKay/Sheppard, R)
    This is not AU or gen, but by now you should be able to follow the broad strokes of the canon. I've picked this one because it's character-driven and focuses on the dynamics of the mission team as they go about their business within the city of Atlantis. It's also a favourite of mine.

  8. Looking for Lamour by trinityofone (McKay/Sheppard, PG)
    Technically, this fits in with canon, but as it's a beautiful roadtrip set on earth, the canon isn't very important. trinityofone is another prolific, readable author. She has a real talent for writing amazing sf in this fandom.

  9. Scenes From A Lesser War: One, Two, Three by amireal (McKay/Sheppard, NC-17)
    A classic of the post-Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell genre. amireal specializes in long, plotty stories, and they're all very enjoyable.

  10. Freedom's Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose: One, Two by synecdochic (McKay/Sheppard implied, PG-13)
    This is probably the most famous story in the fandom, and it's beautiful.

    ETA: jssangel points out that, I think a new fan might end up being cheated by reading [Freedom] too early. Part of why it was so moving to me was the depth of "history" I have with John and Rodney and all the different possible permutations of their relationship, which I think, in hindsight, is a good point. So if you'd like to hold off a little, and save this story up, here is an alternate rec:

  11. Eurydice Turns Left: one, two, three, four, five by vee_fic (No Pairing, PG-13)
    This is a long, beautifully written mission-gone-bad story with a really strong Ronon (who doesn't feature much in the stories I've listed above, as he only arrived on the show in Season 2). It's a relatively recent story, and a new favourite of mine.

Okay, by now you should have a feel for the characters, so here are some more of the fandom classics:

ceteramisto has put together a love listing which includes links to many of the most famous stories in the fandom.

Now that you've read those, you can start in on the huge backlog of fantastic stuff.

thefourthvine's SGA recs are all worth a read, and there are many.

You can find a heap of recs for both SG-1 and Atlantis (mainly Atlantis) in the memories of rec_room. You can also search for just the Atlantis recs via tags. ETA: rec_room has moved to delicious now, so you'll find more recent recs there.

And once you've worked through those, you can start going through my list of reccers. The notes beside each link will tell you if they rec SGA.

You can find new stuff at sga_newsletter, which gives links to nearly everything published each day. There's also a Newbie Guide, which is chock to the brim with links to various SGA communities.

There's also the archives: Wraithbait, and Area 52.

Happy reading!

ETA: I've started a trend!

[User Picture]From: archerlass
2006-06-22 06:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the links! I managed to watch both seasons within a months time (yay Limewire), but I'm still relatively new to the fiction. Posts like this are pure gold to me. I know I've read #4,9,10, and I'm not sure about a few of the others. Now all I need is something like 12 uninterrupted hours a day, everyday, to catch up with all the incredible talent that is out there.
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[User Picture]From: cupidsbow
2006-06-23 09:11 am (UTC)
SGA is so enormous, and there is so much fantastic fic. It's really hard to narrow down to just a handful or so. I kind of envy you, though, because you have so much enjoyable reading ahead of you!
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[User Picture]From: liviapenn
2006-06-22 08:14 pm (UTC)

Thanks for the rec! :) It's so funny because I don't think I've ever written anything that could be nominated for "most adorable" ANYTHING before. I blame, as always, the Harlequin challenge. *G*
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[User Picture]From: cupidsbow
2006-06-23 09:13 am (UTC)
You're very welcome. I don't think I fangirled you when I read it, but I've re-read Small Primes several times. It's a favourite, and it really is adorable. I, for one, am very glad of the Harlequin Challenge :)
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[User Picture]From: liviapenn
2006-06-25 04:31 pm (UTC)

*g* Thank you! :)
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[User Picture]From: archerlass
2006-06-23 02:06 pm (UTC)
I don't think I fb'd Small Primes and Square Roots when I first read it, probably not as I print a LOT of fic for bedtime reading, then forget to fb. That story is one of my favorites and I have read it several times as it is one of my designated "comfort" stories. So, thank you very much! :)
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[User Picture]From: liviapenn
2006-06-25 04:31 pm (UTC)

Aw, that's sweet. Thanks! :D
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[User Picture]From: jssangel
2006-06-22 08:28 pm (UTC)


This is a great list! All fics that I love.

Here's my two cents about one thing though -

Freedom... is a fantastic beautifully written, haunting story that captures Rodney in an amazing way. I had a lump - not even in my throat, more like my whole chest - the first time I read it. I read it 3 or 4 times in a row when it first came out; I remember it vividly, and thinking about it still moves me.

So clearly I think that everyone SHOULD read it....but I might not recommend it as part of a primer.

I think a new fan might end up being cheated by reading it too early. Part of why it was so moving to me was the depth of "history" I have with John and Rodney and all the different possible permutations of their relationship. I had something concrete to mourn along with Rodney - a very clear picture of what he is missing.

Just a thought ;^)

The list is great - and the idea of making something like this for new readers is very generous. A+ to you!
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[User Picture]From: cupidsbow
2006-06-23 09:17 am (UTC)

Re: hmm

Thank you for that feedback.

I put Freedom at the end of the list because it's been so influential, and I wanted people to read it before they could get spoiled in any way, but *after* they'd read a good number of the fandom classics.

You make a good point, though, so I'm going to add a note to the rec, quoting some of what you say here (if you don't mind?), and adding in an alternate rec.

That way, if people have already read some Atlantis fic, they can go ahead and read Freedom, and if they really are rank newcomers, they can choose to wait a while and save it up.
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[User Picture]From: jssangel
2006-06-23 05:19 pm (UTC)

Re: hmm

I'm going to add a note to the rec, quoting some of what you say here (if you don't mind?), and adding in an alternate rec.

hee! Sure - go ahead!
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[User Picture]From: amy13
2006-11-13 03:37 am (UTC)

Re: hmm

I followed the link you provided on storyfinders, and saw this so I thought I'd throw in my $.02.

The first fic I read in this fandom, before even seeing an ep, was Beautiful Lifetime Event. The second fic I read in this fandom was Freedom's Just Another Word...

And while, yes, re-reading it post-canon knowledge altered the effect and made it a more emotional read the second time around, I also think it's written in such a way and so clearly characterized with just enough background dangled to make you hurt for Rodney, that I don't feel like I miss ed out on anything by reading it early.

Great list!! I even found a few I haven't read yet!
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[User Picture]From: cupidsbow
2006-11-24 09:17 am (UTC)

Re: hmm

Glad you found the Primer useful. :)

I take your point about Freedom; I just wanted to give people the option, because as you say, it's a slightly different story if you've read a lot than if you come to it cold. Not better or worse, necessarily, just different.
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From: zoniduck
2006-06-22 10:19 pm (UTC)
OMG, I think I love you. Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: cupidsbow
2006-06-23 09:13 am (UTC)
You're very welcome! You have so much happy reading ahead of you :)
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From: zoniduck
2006-08-17 08:16 am (UTC)
Hey there! I just read "Eurydice Turns Left" today (productivity? what productivity?), and I wanted to thank you for reccing it. I don't really read much gen fic, but I love all of your other recs, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. It was fabulous! I'll be leaving the author fb and reccing it in my own LJ. So thanks!
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[User Picture]From: cupidsbow
2006-08-17 08:30 am (UTC)
Isn't it fantastic? I'm really glad you enjoyed it so much; thanks for letting me know.
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[User Picture]From: amireal
2006-06-23 03:17 pm (UTC)
WOOHOO! Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: cupidsbow
2006-06-24 06:00 am (UTC)
You're very welcome. Thank *you* for writing so much enjoyable fic!
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[User Picture]From: coffeegirl18
2007-05-01 04:38 am (UTC)
Oh you're definitely made of win! *bounces* Thanks for pointing me over here.
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