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Dear yuletide writer,

Wow, thank you so much for offering to write a story in one of my crazy canons! Feel free to ignore these words — I love seeing how other people think about my favorite fandoms, and I love seeing interpretations that are different from mine (some of my favorite fics are the ones that made me look at things in a new way).



Preiddeu Annwn (Any) - I have loved this Welsh poem since I was a kid. I love the enigmatic and elliptical references, the sonorous refrain: Three fullnesses of Prydwen we went into it. Except seven, none rose up from the Fortress… Arthurian mythology, Welsh mythology, epic battles, bardic arrogance, elegiac poetry, mysterious allusions, and haunting refrains -- this poem has got it all.

So: tell me a story about what's going on! Explain some of these lines to me! Tell me why they're in Annwn, or how it came to be that only seven escaped, or what happened afterwards, or why there are all these different caers/fortresses in the poem, or what Taliesin's role was. Or how they used the cauldron. Or whatever takes your fancy! Anything you want to bring in from Arthurian and/or Welsh lit/myth is fair game, of course, and will delight me, though is certainly not necessary at all.

The best online translation I am aware of, complete with translation notes, is here.

Note: I grew up with the Robert Graves mistranslation (scroll down the page), and as a kid totally bought in to the Patricia Kenneally-Morrison epic about interstellar "Kelts" that basically is a six-volume crackfic explaining the Graves version, which I love to bits and pieces in its idtastic tropey crackfic explanatory glory — what I'm trying to get at here is that, although I would completely and absolutely adore if you used the correct translation and Welsh mythology and triads and what-have-you, if you wanted to go the route where you explained the mistranslated "spite" of Pwyll and Pryderi, and/or set it in SPAAACE! or a -- I dunno -- corporate AU where none but seven return from the corporate takeover, and/or downplayed the Welsh mythological connections, and/or used this poem as a starting place for a multi-universe joyride, and/or I don't even know what, I would totally love that too! I would really love anything that you enjoyed writing and that was based on this poem; I'm requesting it because I would love to see your interpretation :)

Church Going - Larkin (Any) - I find this poem (here is a link to the poem) really interesting. In particular, I'm interested in the future he paints in the second half of the poem. What kind of future is this? And what remains when disbelief has gone?

I also really love these lines:
In whose blent air all our compulsions meet,
Are recognized, and robed as destinies.


You could tell a story about someone who is "surprising a hunger in himself to be more serious" (or herself, geez), or about Larkin's "representative," or about the dubious women and superstition dying, or what comes when disbelief has gone… Really, I am throwing this out there because I know there's a great fic in this poem but I don't know what it is! I want to know what strikes your fancy, I want to know what sparks this poem makes for you, what fic is inspired by this poem for you. Straight worldbuilding, OC's… it's all good. I think I'd prefer fic set in the (near-ish?) future for this, what I would think of as a "non-AU" version of the poem setting — post-apocalyptic would count as "canon setting" too -- but if you have an AU that's burning a hole in your paper, heck, why not?

I would very much request that you not unilaterally trash-talk either religious or non-religious people as a whole — much like the poem itself does not, and I have to believe that you wouldn't be offering to write this poem if that was your attitude :) (This does not, of course, mean you cannot think about religion in both positive and negative ways, as Larkin does, or that you can't acknowledge that many good things and many bad things come along with both religious and non-religious thought or even religious accoutrements. Is it actually a good thing for our compulsions to be robed as destinies? Just be thoughtful about it, is all I'm asking.)

Cordwainer Smith (Any) - If we matched on this I am first of all stunned that you offered to write this at all (which sounds very difficult to me!), so thank you for that! What I would really, really love to get is essentially a new Cordwainer Smith story, but write me what you would like. If you need prompts — tell me more about the Lords and Ladies of the Instrumentality. How did Santuna become the Lady Alice More, and what does that even mean? The Lords Jestocost one through six, how did they lay the foundation for the seventh of that name? Or tell me about the underpeople: more about the eagle people, and E'Telekeli? What is the mystery and the power of Space3? Or tell me about the exploits of Dita of the Great South House after she became the greatest of the Go-Captains! What happened to the cat-people that Sudzal made? There are hints CS was going to do something with the robots — how do the robots fit in into the Rediscovery of Man?

And then there are all the tantalizing throwaway lines… what was the great cat scandal referenced in "Golden the Ship Was"? If you've read the later "On the [X] Planet" stories (and if you haven't that's fine, I don't like them as well anyway), what did the Robot, the Rat, and the Copt find in Space3, and how does the Old Strong Religion of the God Nailed High relate to CS's mythology? If it's not clear, a story with original characters would be totally wonderful, and so would a story with one of the established characters -- I purposely didn't nominate any characters to give you full choice.

In general: I absolutely adore the far-flung, totally-imaginative, across-the-stars-and-time, so-over-the-top-it-comes-back-around mythology that gathers up humans and underpeople and robots and I-don't-even-know-what in its nets; I love the way these stories evoke this amazing sense of a destiny for all of us that reaches across space and time; I love the way he examines questions of happiness and free will and equality; I love all the allusions and callbacks; I love the way his prose is almost more poetry than it is prose. Anything that can speak to some of that, even the tiniest part of it, would be SO AWESOME.

(I'm not totally in love with Casher O'Neill or with Norstrilia-the-planet (or the novel) in general, or with the pinlighters, and I'd rather not have AU for this one, but hey, if that's where your muse takes you, I will love to see what you come up with!)

I have more thoughts about these books here.

General: Things I love (I don't expect all of these by any means, this is just a random sampling of Things I Like): I love worldbuilding fic and plotty fic because I can't write it myself, but by the same token I know it is hard to write and I certainly don't expect it. I love character-driven fic that thinks hard about the ramifications of characters' choices. I love for there to be some sort of character arc or characters (and/or the reader) coming to a greater understanding of something or someone during a fic. I love and adore friendship/partnerships, especially platonic ones, of all gender-variety. I love it when all the characters are understandable rather than straight-out villainous or malicious, or where expectations of malice are subverted. I am more a fan of gen than anything else, but I'm open to het/slash/femslash. My canons seem to be a little male-heavy this year -- which is fine, but also I would totally not mind if you put in more women in these canons (for example, for Preiddeu Annwn, there are lots of canonical Arthurian-myth and Welsh-myth women who could fit in nicely even if they're not explicitly mentioned in the poem); either way.

Things I don't like: graphic gratuitous violence or gratuitous character death. (Character death that is logical is just fine, and these canons are likely to have quite a lot of that.) I'm not a huge fan of anything above PG-13 and will probably skim over anything really explicit unless something about the explicitness itself plays into character or plot development, in which case all bets are off :) Darkfic is totally fine for these fandoms, although for Cordwainer Smith I would like some element of hope, even if most of the story is dark (as in canon). I posted these fandoms at Crueltide, but I also like happy endings and hope, don't get me wrong :)

Consuming canon: I have two small-canon poem fandoms this year: "Church Going" and Preiddeu Annwn." Either of these would take about five minutes to consume. Cordwainer Smith are short stories, and just a couple of them would probably suffice to get the general idea, but they are certainly quite a bit harder to find. I'd very much recommend We the Underpeople as the best introduction that's easily available in the US and cheap. If you happen to be in the UK, my favorite Smith anthology is The Rediscovery of Man. (I'd recommend "The Dead Lady of Clown Town," "Under Old Earth," "Alpha Ralpha Boulevard," and "The Ballad of Lost C'Mell," or some subset thereof, to get a sense of it.)

(Edited 10-30-14 because I really do like all gender-variety of friendships, and to say happy endings and dark endings are both great!)

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