ext_841: (eliot)
[identity profile] cathexys.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] the_comfy_chair
I've been very interested in the general response to [livejournal.com profile] synecdochic's Freedom, and I wanted to collect my thoughts and hopefully hear some different/opposing interpretations. Some of these ideas are influenced by the comments I read (esp. the author's interchange with [livejournal.com profile] luthien and [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza), some are from comments [livejournal.com profile] synecdochic made directly. I have decided to focus on two (among the myriad of things) that interested me in the story, and I hope it's OK to post them together.

trauma as structural conceit
Many fan stories employ a particular narrative conceit in that they work around a secret, a traumatic memory or loss, which, through the course of the story, gets revealed to the reader. It's an almost mystery-like approach, and, when done well, can be very successful in keeping our suspense and making us decipher the clues along the way. Sometimes, the characters themselves are not aware of the horrific secret (i.e., they have repressed the memory of their childhood abuse, for example, or the horrible things they did while on drugs [[livejournal.com profile] wickedwords's recent story Locusts and Wild Honey would be an example of that] and thus the readers and protagonist share a position of ignorance; sometimes the reader knows more than the characters (I can only think of watching Mysterious Skin last week, but I'm sure there are plenty of fannish examples); other times, the characters know, but the reader is kept in the dark (and somehow I think death stories are the typical example here, where we are shown a loss but cannot figure out where a character is or what happened to him/her, until the story reveals the details; or abuse recovery stories, like [livejournal.com profile] mmmchelle's A Better Fate where confronting the trauma eventually allows us to learn what has been treated with silence before or [livejournal.com profile] auburnnothenna's Legion the Things where the narrative moves back and forth clearly suggesting the central trauma yet not revealing it to us, the reader, until later).

Part of this method of evasion, of circling the trauma without mentioning it is explained both by psychoanalysis and trauma theory. In fact, a lot of trauma studies emphasizes how narrative rarely ever is able to confront the traumatic memory directly but needs to circumscribe the events,sealing them off and approaching them asymptotically at the same time. At times, then, we are given glimpses of knowledge as clues, like in [livejournal.com profile] mmmchelle's Looking Glass, where the first lines put us in Rodney's consciousness and experience, yet for the rest of the story we remain firmly in John's point of view, not knowing what Rodney experienced. We thus are put in the position of the trauma victim, with glimpses of memories and truths without being able to properly contextualize them.

Freedom is really not that kind of story. And yet it is. In fact, I'd argue that we're given two traumatic memories that mirror one another, are interdependent, and that the story offers us visible clues for one when, in fact, much of Rodney's reactions are about the other. The very first lines offer a clear suggestion that John may be dead, and while his name is never mentioned, thus providing the traumatic loss/lack around which the story seems to center, it is made almost certain to the reader that he is indeed dead, that Rodney wears his dogtags and commemorates him with so many of the touching rituals described throughout the story (and their physicality [the shooting, the workouts] stands in interesting juxtaposition to the academic and intellectual work to which Rodney has returned). Except that he hasn't returned to it. Clearly he can publish as we later learn in the story, but he chooses not to. He is hiding on a second rate campus, punishing himself for something that, to me, is the actual secret of the story.

It's not that John's loss isn't visible and permeates the story; it's that it isn't the secret the story centers around; it isn't the driving motivation to Rodney's behavior and the trauma from which he needs to be rescued/which he needs to confront. That trauma is his killing of Atlantis, his using his ability to intersect (like John) to kill someone he respects and is professionally bound to honor (like John in Rising). John thus doubles both for the Atlantis that died and Rodney who killed it, thus connecting the two traumatic events (which clearly are not too far apart temporally either, it seems). As such, I don't want to necessarily suggest that one is more or worse than the other, but that Rodney is dealing with the John portion of it in ways he isn't, at the beginning of the story, dealing with the Atlantis one.

Because it is his killing of Atlantis that remains the central narrative conceit, only to ultimately be fully revealed to us and confronted by the protagonist in his meeting with Zelenka. Before that, he hides his intellectual work, hides himself, punishes himself by not taking comfort in his Atlantis family as punishment for what he must see as a kind of betrayal of what bonds them together,i.e., their love for Atlantis (since they all call her she, after all). The narrative arc thus parallels Rodney's intellectual return, his ability to connect with his students and mentor them, and his ultimate ability to admit to Zelenka what he had done and ask for the forgiveness that isn't needed.

Atlantis is not more important to Rodney as much as it more guilt inducing, of course, but also less inevitable. The last lines (if read in earnest and not as Rodney's denial) where Rodney explains how he went into the relationship with John knowing that John very likely would not reach old age, clearly juxtapose with an Atlantis that survives and waited for thousands of years only for Rodney to destroy its potential for good. Since it is Atlantis that allowed him to finally connect with people and become part of a group (if not on the show all the way yet, most certainly in the extended years that are remembered here), it clearly had to be his connection to people he severs; if Atlantis is the apex of his intellectual curiosity and achievement, it had to be his publications he refused himself.

In fact, I first looked at the story as Rodney returning to the life he might have had/would have had without John. Hiding in the familiar environment of his youth, the clearly delineated lines of academia that somehow exist outside of a real world in their self-referentiality (which, of course, he realizes is an illusion, because the real world can and does intrude), seemed like he ended up living the loveless life he would have had. Except that he has John's memory and he doesn't have the intellectual satisfaction, i.e., his refuge is both more and less than it would have been: knowing and loving John adds the knowledge of love and trust and cameradry at the same time as it makes its absence all the harsher; knowing life outside of the ivory tower makes publishing less crucial at the same time as he begins to realize how central teaching is.

[And I'm just starting to think about this as I'm writing it, but as someone who constantly tries to decide whether she teaches to be able to publish or publishes to be able to teach, this story might have spoken to me in the way it did, because it does confront that dilemma. Whereas old Rodney would never have bothered with students except as a necessary evil, this Rodney has learned (and is (re)learning throughout the story) the importance of teaching, of sharing one's work for others to continue it. And, in turn, his students give him back the desire to publish.]

Not publishing is Rodney's intellectual retreat in a way that not emailing his friends is his emotional retreat. [And it is telling, i think, that the only thing he does publish is John's, an In Memoriam so to speak.] And to me both circle around Atlantis. So, to beat the already dead horse: while both John and Atlantis, doubling one another, are at the center of the narrative, I think for us readers one trauma is almost hiding the other in a weird moment of Deckerinnerung, of screen memory. And this doubling, this simultaneous presence/absence of John is what might give us such varied responses as to Rodney's state of mind. I started off thinking he was scared and shoring what little fragments he had left against the ruins of his memories. I read him as surviving because he had to, as living a life that might at one point have been enough but after loving and being loved couldn't ever be.

But the more I thought about it, I began to realize that this was a slightly melodramatic, a slashy reading where lovers are always already soulmates and only true love can fulfill our lives. As I thought more about Atlantis rather than John being at the center of Rodney's trauma, I started realizing that he was not in mourning for John as much as living with the lack of John [as both living and also with, i.e., he had already mourned him (maybe already before his actual death if the last lines are any indication) and was indeed living and more so than he would have had he never known John].

fannish tropes
Throughout the story, there were moments, sentences, scenes that broke my heart, little throwaway lines that told entire stories. One such line was John's shape behind Rodney helping him hold his gun, another were the dogtags. And then there was the musical instrument that Rodney played in secrecy and John's mathematical article and the hinted at John/Atlantis intersection as well as Rodney's almost getting lost in it. And suddenly I realized that these were all fannish tropes, moments in one or several other stories. Now, fanon is an evil word in the circles I travel, but I am very interested in what I instead call shared interpretations of a given interpretive community. In fact, I've done some work on the way fan stories are always not only intertextual with the source text and culture at large but also with the fantext (i.e., the collective intellectual and artistic creation of a fandom) itself.

At its worst, that means that fanon runs wild, nicknames and one stop characterization and plotting by numbers. At its best, it means an active engagement with fannish tropes, means taking a cliche and twisting it, repeating with a difference and making something entirely new and original out of it. After all, art is always about talking to the past; even outside of fanfic intertextuality is at the core of it, most especially in postmodernism, which I think has a lot in common with fanfiction. At its best, fanfic references the fannish debates and other fan stories and yet doesn't make us feel like we've seen this before or scream because we cannot see that particular scenario (however endearing it may have been at first) ever again.

Case in point: as a former mathematician and married to one, I have quite personal issues with math wizard John. I cringe at the conflation of idiot savantish number abilities with mathematical intuition and ability. And yet when presented in a good enough story with sufficient surrounding supporting characterization, I love me some math!John. Reading Freedom, I immediately flashed back to [livejournal.com profile] astolat's Time in a Bottle where I didn't so much as blink seeing John being taught higher math by Rodney. Likewise (and maybe because this was the story I instinctually plucked in) it didn't bother me in Freedom either. Maybe it was because every one of these references called up a story I really liked, that really worked for me. So [livejournal.com profile] synecdochic's work became hommage rather than fanon use, it evoked other stories, almost effortlessly including them into her narrative.

In so doing, it became canonical fanfic to the fantext as far as I'm concerned, consistent with a variety of stories, so that I could see her Rodney be the Rodney who rescues John from merging with Atlantis and be the Rodney who finds the organ and starts playing again and be the Rodney whom John gives his spare dogtags instead of a more visible symbol and be the Rodney who grows closer to John as they practice again and again until Rodney can hit every single time...and on the one hand, I can name very particular stories, but then there are often more than one (thus the trope :-) and as such it references them all simultaneously, I think.

Now, clearly the concept of the fantext is theoretical only, since we haven't all read the same stories and you may not have read even the ones I reference earlier on let alone the ones I'm thinking of just now. But just like there's mynon which is slightly different but usually overlaps a great deal with a given interpretive community's fanon, so, I think, we can think of a mytext, which overlaps with a give community's fantext. In fact, one may not even have read certain stories to have them make it into their mytext [OK, not word coinage at its best *g* Any better contenders?], because as others talk about it, we pick up certain ideas and interpretations and controversies.

One of the things Freedom does for me and does really well, is acknowledging the fantext, acknowledging that we have created hundreds and thousands of stories about John and Rodney and Atlantis. Freedom builds on these stories and relishes them, commemorates them even as they are mostly absent, because they reference a time of John and Rodney together. One of the biggest fanon offenders are writers who are so certain of their OTP that they don't give us any indication of how they got from snark (or even outright hatred in some pairings and fandoms) to soulmatey love. And the reason the writers have a difficult time not doing so, is that in their minds all this stuff has already been dealt with, i.e., in their interpretive shipper community, all these things are clearly already covered, because aren't their hundreds of stories that have done that? [livejournal.com profile] synecdochic quite consciously employs this method by referencing stories as collective memory for us: Rodney recalls John the same way she makes us recall other stories. Not to shorthand and skip the necessary steps but because this story is clearly not about *that*.

In fact, someone suggested to me yesterday that the story could be read as gen. I found that interesting and as I'm pondering my personal fantext (which is very John/Rodney heavy) and think of the stories I come up with, I could imagine a similar set of stories (maybe not the dogtags and, as [livejournal.com profile] monanotlisa reminds me, Rodney does mention his status as being widowed to a partner of 5 years) that are simply emphasizing their bond, that are about Rodney being part of a team and having a good friend...and that could be enough to change him in the ways we see in Freedom. In other words, maybe the way we read the story is very much dependent on what we fill in for those years in Atlantis. But then again, every story we read is ultimately affected by what we bring to the text, our reading of the source text, our knowledge of Hugh Latimer, as well as what other stories in the fandom we read and write, what discussions we've taken part in, and, of course, our own writing or those who write...not all of us do :-)

Date: 2006-03-13 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rosesandrue.livejournal.com
Wow, this is really thoughtful.

Although I never thought about it as systematically as you do here, looking back I think I considered the other 'unstated fact' at the heart of the story to be not Rodney's silencing of Atlantis (which is eventually described as narrative) but the threat to Atlantis that triggered Rodney's actions. Unless I am missing it, there's never an exact explanation given of what the Earth governments planned to do with Atlantis that was repugnant enough to justify shutting Atlantis down forever. That threat of violence toward the idea of Atlantis (or what it ought to have been) is the actual secret, it seemed to me. Rodney's actions as described are evidence of the unstated horror that sent him into hiding/mourning, but I think they are not the horror itself. He is not ashamed of what he did, but he is afraid of what might have happened (which is never stated) if he had not done it. That lack of active regret would mirror what you describe as Rodney's acceptance of John's death: there is justification for both deaths, and ultimately that acceptance allows the story to point toward the future and Rodney's 'children' with hope.

I'd really like to hear what others think about what the actual impetus was for Rodney's actions.

Rodney's motivation

Date: 2006-03-13 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] millefiori.livejournal.com
I also read this as Rodney 'killing' Atlantis in order to keep her from becoming used for evil. If I read it correctly, Atlantis was able to understand from their connection what it was that Rodney feared would happen and agreed with him that shutting down forever was the best/right thing to do. I interpreted his caution as self-protection rather than shame -- if the government knew he was responsible for Atlantis shutting down, they could force him to try to get her up and running again (and by force, I mean torture, disappearing people, etc. since the implication is that the current powers that be are nasty bunch).

The only problem I have with that reading is that there is no reason to not have that secret be *collective* rather than private, i.e,., why would Rodney shun his friends who share that knowledge?

Again, I might be misreading, but I thought that he was the only one who knew what he'd done. He's avoiding his friends because he doesn't think he can lie well enough to keep it a secret, and spilling the secret both puts them in danger and opens Rodney up to their judgment, rejection, etc. (since they all loved Atlantis, too). I got the feeling that Elizabeth suspects *something* but doesn't want to know, and Radek has guessed, but for the same reasons as Rodney, would never say anything out loud to anyone. (After all, the government bugging Rodney's office is in hope that he'll say something to give them a clue about what happened and what they can do about it, don't you think? What other reason could there be?)

Re: Rodney's motivation

Date: 2006-03-13 11:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marythefan.livejournal.com
I've got a lot more thinking I need to do about this story, but having just given it an intial read over lunch today, this:

I also read this as Rodney 'killing' Atlantis in order to keep her from becoming used for evil.

Struck me as well. I even paused in the reading of it to turn over the idea in my head that it was a mercy killing, a type of euthanasia. Maybe assisted suicide. And I also interpreted his caution as self-protection and continued protection for Atlantis - if the SGC knew how she had been "turned off," what would they do to try to turn her back on? If they knew how she was turned off, that knowledge, in itself, takes them one step closer to knowing what to do to turn her back on - and then do the exact things Rodney and other Atlantis expedition members feared they would do in the first place.

I thought that he was the only one who knew what he'd done. He's avoiding his friends because he doesn't think he can lie well enough to keep it a secret, and spilling the secret both puts them in danger and opens Rodney up to their judgment, rejection, etc.

Yes. This. And even if not their rejection, to having them know that he's the one who exiled them all from their home - even if he was killing that home in order to save it from something worse.

Re: Rodney's motivation

Date: 2006-03-13 11:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marythefan.livejournal.com
Although, to clarify, I do think there's at least regret about what he did and some sense of ... I don't know what I want to call it, although not exactly shame. I think it's telling that "what if it was your mother, would you still?" is the question that finally breaks Carroll down in the ethics seminar and that the breakdown happens after Carroll's already answered that yes, he would still. I think that parallels what Rodney did to Atlantis, and I wonder if Carroll's intense physical reaction isn't supposed to give us some insight into how Rodney feels about what he did. He may feel it was the right decision, or the better decision, but that doesn't mean there's no psychological and emotional backlash involved.

Re: Rodney's motivation

Date: 2006-03-14 02:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marythefan.livejournal.com
Yeah, I was mainly responding to [personal profile] millefiori's use of "shame" there, which is why I posted that clarification - I don't think it's ... I think guilt is a better word than shame for what he probably feels ... I don't think it's guilt that's kept him quiet, I think it's the possibility of what could happen to him, to others and to Atlantis if the military and government find out how he silenced Atlantis. But I suspect he still feels the guilt and that it drives some of his other decisions - running the ethics seminar in the first place, for example.

Re: Rodney's motivation

Date: 2006-03-14 04:30 am (UTC)
fairestcat: Dreadful the cat (Rodney Distractions)
From: [personal profile] fairestcat
combining a couple things you've said and jumping off on a bit of a tangent:

I think it's telling that "what if it was your mother, would you still?" is the question that finally breaks Carroll down in the ethics seminar and that the breakdown happens after Carroll's already answered that yes, he would still. I think that parallels what Rodney did to Atlantis, and I wonder if Carroll's intense physical reaction isn't supposed to give us some insight into how Rodney feels about what he did. He may feel it was the right decision, or the better decision, but that doesn't mean there's no psychological and emotional backlash involved.


But I suspect he still feels the guilt and that it drives some of his other decisions - running the ethics seminar in the first place, for example.

I agree with you totally about this. I think Rodney can recognize and even know on a gut level that killing -- or perhaps setting free -- Atlantis was the only thing he could do, but I think he still feels guilt about it and on some level always will.

And part of that, I think, is because of why that was the only decision he could make. There's the death of John and the death of Atlantis, but there's another death here that we're not talking about and it's the death that led to both of the others, and that is the death of the Wraith.

No matter how valid or necessary their reasoning, the Atlantis expedition successfully exterminated an entire alien race. And it haunts them all. The email from Elizabeth is the real clincher there for me, as is the way it's prefaced in the story: On the morning of the sixth anniversary of the final xenocide of the Wraith...

I think it's the reality of that xenocide that leads to the necessity of "killing" Atlantis and also to Rodney's ethics classes too, in a way. Because all of the survivors, but especially Rodney and Elizabeth, the surviving leaders had to make the decision to go down that path and they have to live with it for the rest of their lives. Rodney's ethics seminar seems to me to be not only about finding where your own lines are but recognizing that moral and ethical lines are permeable, and sometimes you have to cross them altogether, but it's better to do that with your eyes wide open, fully aware.

After making the ultimate ethical sacrifice in order to defeat the Wraith, to then turn around and just sit back while the SGC turned Atlantis into a weapons lab would ultimately have destroyed him, I think. It wasn't an option. In order to be able to live with the choices they'd made in the fight against the Wraith, Rodney had to kill Atlantis, and he'll always have some guilt over both of those things, I think, but I don't think he regrets them in the least.

Re: Rodney's motivation

Date: 2006-03-14 07:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marythefan.livejournal.com

This is one of the points in the story where I stumbled. Because I got the same feeling, that the death of the Wraith was key in this, not just for Rodney, but for the Atlantis expedition as a whole, that it was something that irrevocably altered how they looked at the destructive potential of Atlantis. And the "xenocide anniversary" email absolutely was one of the things that contributed to that impression ...

The problem that I had was ... that felt OOC, to me. It felt like they were acting the way I've wanted them to, rather than the way that they have been, in canon.

Carson is getting twitchy at the end of S2, and Rodney is oddly absent during a considerable bit of the retrovirus-specific scenarios in "Michael" and "Allies," which I've seen fanwanked as discomfort with what's going on - but isn't proven to be. But overall, I just see no real concern among the Atlantis expedition members about the idea of wiping out an entire species - at the same time that I'm flailing around over ethical implications. And so, when I read this story and saw that reaction, I felt as if I was reading a ... wish-fulfillment version. And that made it harder for me to take that reaction and its effects into account, because I'm constantly trying to slot the characters in the story into canon, and that's a place I don't see them fitting, if that makes sense.

But yes, within the reality of the story, I absolutely agree that the issue of destroying the Wraith was another aspect of Rodney's - and the entire expedition's - guilt.

Of course, I've also talked to someone who didn't get that at all and was surprised to hear that I'd read it that way. :g:

Re: Rodney's motivation

Date: 2006-03-14 04:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] millefiori.livejournal.com
I think I may have used the word 'shame' in my comment in reaction to rosesandrue's use of the word 'ashamed' in hers. I totally agree that what Rodney did to Atlantis was traumatic for him, and I think a part of him will always grieve over it. Yet he also seems convinced that it was the only thing to do, and I think that conviction is what makes it bearable for him.

Also, if I'm remembering correctly, Rodney tells Atlantis never to respond to their kind ever again. At first it felt to me like Rodney had doomed Atlantis to an eternity of exile, but on further thought, there could be others who discover her at some point in time, different enough from humans that she would be willing to respond. And, being a galaxy-trotting astrophysicist, Rodney probably thought of that, and if he thought of it, Atlantis would've too, which also could be something that makes having done it more bearable for Rodney.

Re: Rodney's motivation

Date: 2006-03-14 07:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] marythefan.livejournal.com
The thing is, though, where does the ATA gene fit into this? If any others who discover her are "different enough" from (Milky Way) humans, I question whether they have the gentic makeup to to wake her - I question whether she can respond to them. Even most Pegasus Galaxy humans don't seem to have the appropriate genetic makeup. So I think that "we" may be the only ones who can wake her again, and Rodney may be the only specific one of "us" that she may listen to. And I suspect he never, ever intends to be put in a position to wake her. So it is a de facto death sentence for her.

She's Sleeping Beauty, only her prince is never going to come.

Re: Rodney's motivation

Date: 2006-03-14 01:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] millefiori.livejournal.com
I think there are a couple of possibilities. First, it's possible that humanity could evolve in a significant way while still keeping the ATA gene. This would take a long time, of course, but Atlantis was in pretty good shape after 10,000 years so it's possible she could 'live' long enough to see it happen. Another possibility is the Ancients themselves (presuming Ancients and humans are different species--is there any canon on that?). Chaya is still around, and isn't there some Ancient who helped Daniel ascend on SG-1? If there are two, there are probably more somewhere, potentially sharing their ATA gene with other species the same way they originally did with humans. And if there are more, there's also the possibility of an acutal Ancient deciding to return to Atlantis.

I agree that she's Sleeping Beauty now, but I'm not so sure her prince will never come. As long as there's life there's hope/possibility. IMO the only way to be 100% sure would've been to destroy her completely.

Re: Rodney's motivation

Date: 2006-03-14 01:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] millefiori.livejournal.com
I should add, I'm being very practical and pragmatic about the possibilities because that's my RL default, and I'm experiencing this story in a very RL way. I would be more apt to buy into the idea of Atlantis all alone for all eternity if this were a more 'fictional' kind of story, if that makes sense? The way Rodney deals with the aftermath of the expedition, his relationship with John, the trauma and subsequent putting his life back together feels very much like real life to me. I can't watch Rodney survive his losses and tragedies and go on to live again, without giving Atlantis the same benefit of the doubt. It seems inconsistent, as if I'm applying two different sets of 'rules' to the same story. If Rodney had--in a fictionally tragic way--been forever devastated by his losses, I think I'd totally buy Atlantis sleeping forever.

possibly TMI

Date: 2006-03-14 02:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] millefiori.livejournal.com
b/c i was initially reading it in the OTP lost love(r) mindset

I think that's my preferred default fic-reading mindset (not the lost part, but the OTP love(r) part!). I adore the idea of love and romance, one true love that lasts forever, happy/hopeful endings etc. but I don't belive that exists in real life -- at least not that way -- so I get my 'love and romance' fix from fic/fanfic. This story was a lot more like real life to me. There's love, but it's not 'one true love that lasts forever' and there's no happy ending, not because there's no happy, but because (like real life) there's no ending. As long as there's life, life goes on, you know? And (unless there's some sort of mental dysfunction) a human being simply can't sustain epic tragedy in the face of life going on as it does. Time really does heal all wounds (or at least makes them hurt a lot less, and a lot less often). So for me, Rodney got a very realistic, true-to-life 'happy ending' (even if the romantic in my soul was left a little sad and unsatisfied!).

Re: TMI? what's that??? :-)

Date: 2006-03-14 03:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] millefiori.livejournal.com
maybe that's what some people picked up as gen and you described as "realist"?

Now that's an interesting thought! I personally define gen as a story not containing romance, or romance being unimportant/peripheral to the main plot/point. But I think an argument can be made for gen being more realistic and het/slash being more 'unrealistic'.

Or maybe a better way of putting it is that gen can be either realistic or unrealistic in a non-romantic/sexual way, but het/slash is always (usually?) unrealistic? (By unrealistic, I mean that it treats love and romance in ways that don't exist in real life.) Of course, that's viewing the whole thing through my own very biased (and literarily uneducated!) point of view.

But...the whole argument falls down when I remember that there are stories that center on romantic relationships and treat them realistically -- it's just that I hate stories like that! Would you consider 'realistic' het/slash to be part of the genre, or exceptions? It seems that they don't fit the accepted fanfic tropes.

I'm going to stop now, as I've got myself twisted into such a knot that none of this makes sense!

Re: OK, definitely TMI ;-)

From: [identity profile] millefiori.livejournal.com - Date: 2006-03-15 04:17 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2006-03-14 12:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rosesandrue.livejournal.com
Maybe the fear and guilt is indeed internal, if he also fears his own desire to stay in Atlantis and keep the city alive despite the moral implications of what would be done with his work. He's killing his desire for scientific life and his connection to his surrogate family when he shuts down Atlantis, so there's the incredible conflict in that (completely offstage) dilemma.

I think it's completely understandable that Rodney retreats so completely from his friends. There's no way the Atlanteans could have lived as they did before, in daily contact with each other, on Earth with the (necessary) death of Atlantis still hanging over them. Part of it is an emotional reaction to the loss of this whole community (science, discovery, connection, love, family, etc.) and the fact that he had to make this choice... well, now I'm writing myself back around to your original idea.

It's like killing friends before they can be tortured to death-- their deaths are not his fault, but the choice still haunts him. (kind of reminds me of John and Sumner!)

I think there's probably not a one-to-one analogy between all the circumstances of the two secrets, which is part of what makes this such a resonant story. It gives so many possibilities for discussion either way.


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