Shit has been going down in the Critical Role fandom lately, leaving my poor heart battered, confused, and hopeful all at the same time. With the sudden torrential downpour of feelings, I knew immediately after watching the most recent episode that I had to go looking for fic. For fear of spoilers, I can’t reveal much in this beginning paragraph. What I can say, however, is that if you’re looking for a complex dive into the weaving and grieving of different aspects of families, both found and otherwise, look no further than this fic.
Massive spoilers for Critical Role beneath the cut.
It seems in recent years as though a dam has broken and the notion of what is “acceptable content” for a kids or YA show thankfully now has an ever-increasing flow of support. While themes of inclusivity and equality have been a staple of the genre since the early days of Children’s Television Workshop, recent examples like Steven Universe have dealt with gender identity and sexuality in ways that would likely have been vetoed by the networks even a decade ago. One show that, in many ways at least, was at the forefront of that charge is Adventure Time. While by no means perfect, it gives us numerous examples of gender equality and represents a fairly wide range of gender, sexual, and romantic identities that fall outside the heteronormative narratives that many of the genre’s examples, even the best ones, have traditionally retold ad nauseum.
Grab your friends, we’re going to very distant lands. (screengrab from Adventure Time)
While Adventure Time does this in numerous ways and through numerous characters, there is one example that is among the most direct and the most enduringly popular: Fionna and Cake. In looking not only at these characters specifically, but also more broadly at what they show us about the Ice King and toxic masculinity, we can see one of the best examples of these themes being presented in subtle and complex ways that are accessible to the target age group and, ultimately, further that tradition of inclusiveness.
I don’t usually read fic, and in fact, I’ve never written for this column before. I got burned one too many times by bad fic in my youth, and now I won’t touch a story unless someone has recced it to me. Well, boy am I glad that beanpots, an artist I follow on Tumblr, recommended the Yuri!!! On Ice fic The Rules for Lovers by ADreamingSongbird. It’s an arranged marriage AU in which Viktor and Yuuri are princes of their respective countries. Also it’s in an alternate history version of our modern world. Also, there’s magic!
They’re already the princes of our hearts (especially in these outfits), so why not read about them as actual princes? (via fencer-x.tumblr.com)
People in fandom debate fiercely about numerous parts of the Mass Effect narrative and how “good” they are. Yet no one seems to argue about how great the series is at giving its players that found family goodness (and if there’s someone who does argue about it, they’re wrong). Much of this highly prized content come from the protagonist’s krogan squadmates—Wrex, Grunt, and now Drack—but on my way to find the “Shepard bails Grunt out of jail for partying too hard” fic that I wanted, I found another sort of fic which nevertheless embodied so much of what it meant to be part of Commander Shepard’s team on the Normandy. The only problem I had with it was that I read it too early in the day and my emotions weren’t steeled enough to keep me from bawling over my favorite characters.
It’s Asexy April in the world of fandom, and while in past years I’ve had a relatively easy time finding lots of cool fic starring asexual characters, this year has been far harder. I’m not sure if it’s because my fandoms have changed drastically, or if Asexy April just didn’t get good advertising this year, but never fear. I looked back through my bookmarks folder and found a Les Misérables oldie but goodie to rec for today.
In the absence of regular Steven Universeepisodes, I decided to venture into the wide, wide world of its fanworks to fill the gem-shaped emptiness inside me. However, while I do love and support the canonical pairings in the show, I’m not super married to actively shipping anyone, and so I decided to see what I could find in the more gen fic space instead.
I was delighted to stumble upon this particular fic, which examines the sometimes contentious but ultimately loving relationship between Connie and her mother.