Living Is a Gamble by [personal profile] telesilla

May. 4th, 2010 05:55 am
torachan: (Default)
[personal profile] torachan posting in [community profile] the_comfy_chair
Living Is a Gamble is an SGA AU written for the recent John/Ronon exchange, [ profile] satedan_grabass. It's only about 3000 words, so if you haven't read it, I highly recommend you do so.

From the summary ("Ten years after the Plague, life's a little like an RPG. Or is it more like a comic book?"), it's clear this is some sort of post-apocalyptic world, but what sort is not immediately clear. The very first sentence ("When John was a teenager, back at the turn of the century and decades before the Plague") places it at some point in the near future, but that's all we get before we're thrown right into the action, which is just the way I like it.

Stories that start off with info dumps always annoy me. It doesn't have to be that way! This handles the exposition pretty well, dropping in hints throughtout the story and only giving us a big chunk towards the end (that could have been worked in a little better, but I'd rather have it there than right at the start slowing things down and not allowing for any surprise).

The first mention of what they're fighting comes just a few paragraphs in: zombies. But what eventually becomes clear as events unfold is that this is no ordinary zombie AU. [personal profile] telesilla has worked in SGA-specific elements such as the Wraith and the Iratus bugs to give the story a uniquely SGA feel.

And not only are these so-called zombies recognisable to anyone who's watched SGA, but the reveal that John himself is someone who was infected but didn't fully turn is a clear reference to his canonical transformation.

The hints that John is not quite normal are there from the beginning. As soon as they drop down in the sewers, he notices a strong smell. "But that was him; Ronon probably didn't smell anything." The references are easy to overlook at first, but it's soon obvious that something is different about John.

Even the idea of a failed supersoldier experiment maps easily onto what we know of the Ancients. While the Wraith have often been called "space vampires", these canonical elements work really well for a zombie AU, too, especially the sort of 28 Days Later "zombies" caused by a plague, rather than the more traditional raised-from-the-dead zombies.

And what's great about this story is that while it's totally self-contained and feels complete as it is, it's also ripe for more stories set within the universe. It's really just a snapshot of this world.
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