fanfic: the new frontier of science fiction

Analog

I grew up reading “Analog: Science Fiction/Science Fact” and dreamed of someday being published there. I knew I would have to become a great writer first and would have to know science cold. Neither of these things has happened yet.

I did, however, delve into fanfiction purely for the porny aspect of it. The erotica written in fanfic is, for the most part, much better and more interesting than the erotic fiction books I used to spend too much money to buy (especially since I can only read a story about once every few years without feeling like I’m drinking the backwash at the bottom of a Coke bottle). I have slowly become aware, when my baser drives have been satisfied, that fanfic can really be cutting edge science fiction in a legitimate way that I previously only granted to some of the books published in that category and the aforementioned magazine.

How was Phil Coulson resurrected?

I finally consciously realized that fanfic can be just as mind-opening in a science fiction sense with a story about what happened to Agent Phil Coulson. If you watched the movie “The Avengers” (spoiler alert) you know that Loki killed Agent Coulson with a Joss Whedon-wielded spear. And if you have watched “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” you know that Agent Coulson is back (a literary move us Phlint shippers approve of highly). But how did he survive the killing blow of an Asgardian spear?

Tahiti. It’s a magical place.

After reading two different speculative stories about what really happened to Coulson, I suddenly began to think more critically about what’s going on with the plot (even though I knew something was up in the first episode when Agent Hill said “He can never know.”) The official term (is this from comics?) for a possible solution is “Life Model Decoy”, which is an official tag on AO3 and currently yields 23 stories in a search (as of 24 Nov 2013 at 16:41 PDT). There’s even an official AO3 tag for “Life model decoy Phil Coulson”, although that is sadly not used on any stories yet.

life-model-decoy

Is he an android? Or is there some new resurrection method at work here? Perhaps something to do with Phil’s idol, Captain America, and his serum? I don’t know, but I do know that I like the continuous hints in each episode and I like thinking about it even better when it isn’t someone’s list of ideas, like this one is, but instead is presented as a fictional possibility in a lovely story. Everything is more vivid for me when it’s told as a story; I expect that’s probably true of most of us humans.

We don’t yet know what happened to you, Phil. But we’re glad you’re still here.

phil_coulson___agent_of_s_h_i_e_l_d__by_itochosei-little copy

Recs

Here are some stories that have proven particularly edgy and alluring for me as science fiction.

  • _The Lotus Eaters_, by aldora89
    Spirk, Explicit/NC-17, 93594 words, complete
    Spock and Kirk are stranded on a planet. The lifeforms are not quite what we’ve come to expect.
  • _XO_, by MirithGriffin
    johnlock, Explicit/NC-17, 56623 words, sadly not yet complete
    The classic story that we think my Cumberbunny was referring to when he mentioned one fic putting him and John in outerspace handcuffed to a bed by aliens that resemble lava lamps. Silliness aside, it is incredibly inventive and a lovely pastiche/follow-on to _Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions_ (Abbott).
  • “Dreaming Electric,” by jukeboxhound
    Stony, Explicit/NC-17, 47677 words, complete
    It’s been a while since I read this, but I remember being quite impressed by the transhuman ideas and the positive imaging of what it might be like when we’re post-human.

What great scifi fics have you read? What are your favorite scifi themes and speculations? Have you written any yourself?

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