catlarks: Shalnark from Hunter x Hunter grinning against a red background. (Default)
Lira ([personal profile] catlarks) wrote2016-02-07 05:11 am

Dear Authors Present and Future: Let's Talk AUs

One of my favorite things to read in fic is AUs because I love seeing canon characters translated into different settings. I love seeing how familiar individuals might change, while remaining fundamentally the same at their cores. To this end, I've decided to make a comprehensive post detailing the AUs I like best, and mentioning the ones I'm not so fond of, or find to be overdone.

AUs That I Love

-Harry Potter AU; show me cross-house friendships and romances, inter-house politics, the ways sorting affects and shapes personality. Show me what a character's patronus would be, what amortentia smells like to them, what their best subjects are and what their worst subject is, show me what their blood is like and their wizarding family histories, show me blood politics and show me characters acting as adults in the wizarding world.

-Pokemon AU; show me relationships between characters and their pokemon! What types do they favor, what pokemon are in their party, what was their very first pokemon, how did they meet the pokemon they caught? Show me trainers and gym leaders, but also show me evil teams, show me breeders, show me police officers and nurses, show me what ordinary life is like in the pokemon world for these characters from another canon.

-Pacific Rim AU; I'm particularly interested in seeing characters on the "science side" of things or looking into kaiju biology, and in seeing "unlikely" drift compatibility, or seemingly-perfectly compatible characters not being so, or characters struggling with a lack of compatibility overall. I'd also love to see fic about the bureaucracy side of things, show me how the administration and leadership gets things done.

-Cyberpunk AU; show me virtual reality, show me meldings of technology and biology, show me the dangers of tech, show me hackers and antiheroes, show me shadowy corporations. If you know the genre, you know what the good stuff is. Bonus points for technobabble informed by an actual math or science background (but not required).

-Space Opera AU; give me the sweeping sci-fi of galactic federations and trade organizations and planet-spanning militaries, where a profusion of different alien races mingle at central hubs and adventure is always around the corner. Give me space ships and cultural differences and the joy of exploration.

-Military Sci-Fi AU; I'm not really a fan of war plots in the real world, but sci-fi gives military settings a palatable level of removal. I love the rank-and-file, the hierarchy, the life-and-death danger, the negotiations, tactics, strategy, doing things for the greater good and making sacrifices that are difficult.

-Future Fantasy AU; not everyone is good at hard science. I also love sci-fi AUs where the technology is so foreign it might as well be magical. Give me that good blend of science-fiction and fantasy.

-Other Sci-Fi AUs; give me the hard science if you've got it! I really love sci-fi in general, so while I feel breaking it down into sub-genres is useful for giving specific suggestions of sci-fi AUs I like, pretty much anything that fits under the "Sci-Fi" umbrella will delight me.

-Fight Club AU; specifically give me an AU of the Fight Club book/movie, I love seeing characters transposed on the dichotomy of Tyler Durden and the narrator. But also give me any old fight club AU, show me boxers, or mixed-martial artists, or underground fight rings, show me combat masochism and twisted-up notions of honor and a fighter's moral code.

-Mafia or Yakuza AU; give me an AU where the characters are criminals. I'll take it both ways, with the focus on honor and family traditionally associated with yakuza, or with a more western feel of a mob AU. Show me how the organization works, the hierarchy of power with its members, their ordinary lives, conflicts, encounters with other gangs. If you want to go the mafia member/undercover cop route that too is loved.

-Law Enforcement AU; show me any area of law enforcement. Investigating homicides, or theft, or gang activity. Show me the cop who's been chasing a serial criminal for years and is close on their tail. Show me bad people brought to justice. Show me long hours and the strain that puts on relationships. Show me how technology integrates with manpower.

-Law Practice AU; show me daily life within a law firm. Show me the inter-office politics, the hierarchy between the partners and the junior members of the firm, show me what it looks like when they take a case. Show me debates in court. Show me lawyers having personal lives. Show me the infrastructure, the secretaries and paralegals and less "glamorous" jobs.

-Kemonomimi and Shapeshifters AU; while I don't like werewolves, I really love xenobiology and animal traits. Show me what the culture is like for people whose animal instincts affect socialization, show me how biology is different besides just "having ears and a tail." Kemonomimi and shapeshifters can be mutually exclusive or in combination; with shapeshifters I love to see cultural things, ritual, superstitions, and prefer for the shifting to be entirely voluntary rather than dictated by something like the moon.

-Psychic Abilities AU; telepathy is the go-to but there's also telekinesis, astral projection, psychometry, empathy, pyrokinesis, cryokinesis, probably a few others. I prefer a focus on mental abilities rather than something too much like X-Men, and love the possibilities for mindgames and societal changes when everyone is known to have these abilities.

-Mythology AUs; whatever culture's mythology you want to draw on is fair game, cast characters into the roles of gods, or cast them as mortals interacting with them. Greek and Roman and Norse mythology is most familiar but I'd love to see less commonly used myths worked into stories. I love good research.

-Urban or Modern Fantasy AUs; show me magic that's worked into the very bones of cities, show me adventure juxtaposed with the mundane, show me hedge witches and spirits and mythology worked into the modern day.

-Magical Realism AUs; show me magic that's ordinary, that creeps into the rational world and is juxtaposed against it. Show me surrealism and uncanny things and that feeling of shivers up the back of your neck. Show me uncertainty with the world and disorientation in the details.

-Fairytale AUs; either well-known fairy tales reimagined as fanfic, or simply a story in the format of a fairytale, both will be well-loved by me. I'm equally interested in the Hans Christian Anderson / Brothers Grimm canon of fairytales and in fairytales from other cultures that I might be less familiar with.

-Arranged Marriage AU; I'm not a fan of marriage in modern day settings but I love it in a fantasy or science fiction setting, I love the negotiations and the interpersonal politics and the cultural norms involved in navigating such a situation. I love relationships of duty and learning to love someone you didn't choose.

AUs to Avoid

-Vampires and Werewolves; I just really hate these. I'm not a huge fan of the mythology to start with and virtually everything that can be done with it has been done to death. Please, please, please don't give me any more bloodsuckers or lycanthropes.

-High School or College AUs; especially with fandoms not set in modern day, I find these excessively boring. They're done to death and high school and college weren't really exciting times for me, so I'd prefer such settings be avoided outside of canons that are already set in school.

-Idyllic Soul Mate AUs; while I'm interested in stories that talk about the problems inherent to the idea of a "soulmate," please avoid writing me any story that embraces these concepts at face value. For me, the entire concept of soulmates requires a fundamental loss of free will on the part of the characters and I find it pretty uncomfortable and upsetting to see that portrayed as a no-questions happy thing.

-Marriage, Settling Down, Starting a Family AU; I don't like pregnancy and I don't like kidfic so it should almost go without saying that this kind of setting will sketch me out. I'm saying it anyway. I'm not even particularly a fan of AUs where a character is a wedding planner, or a nanny, or a kindergarten teacher, or basically anything to do with marriage, pregnancy, or child-rearing, even if the connection seems tenuous.

-Historical AUs; these are just really hit or miss with me in general. There are a few time periods I enjoy but there are a lot of other ones that leave me horrifically bored, and with every time period, research is everything. If you have a historical idea you're excited about, this isn't a firm "no," but please, please, please: do your research.

-Angels and Demons; this is another combination that's been done to death. I'm not really a fan of (Christian) religious mythos, so I've never been a fan of angels in that context. I'm also not really into the concept of a "guardian angel" and while some stories about demons, no angels, are interesting to me, fair warning that it's content that's hit or miss with me.