What a run! Just dang. More than ten years past the start of the show, and more than five since it ended, and we’ve just gone through a burst of fan fiction activity that’s reminiscent of the Season Three golden age. Things are definitely slowing down now, but still busier than they were a year or two ago. I think two writers are mostly responsible, although as a sort of outsider (a fan but not a writer) I may be missing some other factors. But it looks to me like two writers have boosted a lot of interest and enthusiasm, of the sort that gets others writing. Including writers whose output had slowed down in the last couple years. Readers who are familiar with my favorites list will know I mostly favorite stories rather than writers. Only writers who turn out several stories with a high percentage of really good ones get favorited. Since the first burst of post series stories emerged I have favorited exactly one author (wvonb). Well, earlier this year I added two more.
What I think I’ll do with this post is credit the two who I think started this, then look at one other story that has come along recently.
It seems to have started with Zettel (Kelly Dean Jolley). His first two stories have already been mentioned on this site; Chuck vs the Beautiful Creatures and Cables to Aces are both complete and fun all the way through.
Zettel recently started and finished a third story, Miss Trust. This is a short AU, and obviously based more directly on the writer’s own personal universe. Chuck is a new professor at a Florida college who is immediately smitten with a colleague, Sarah Walker (who else!). A colleague who will go to great lengths to avoid him. The story takes off pretty quickly and has a nice adventure, but the focus is always on the two main characters discovering each other. Its fun and a fast read; maybe four hours and rated PG-13 for some strongly suggested heat and one very disturbing bit of back story.
Zettel has since started another new story, Turned Tables: The Long Story. Yes, there was an earlier one-shot that led to this tale; but its repeated in Chapter One here so no need for a separate link. I was initially only tepid about this set up, but it has really become something special. It starts right at Nemesis (1.10) then goes extremely AU. It seems the whole Intersect project was bogus. Director Graham organized it as a test of his best agent Sarah Walker’s loyalty. He utilized his most unlikely agent, Charles Carmichael, who has a photographic memory but is otherwise disappointing, to memorize relevant mission files then fake the whole flashing thing. That mission ends when Bryce Larkin fails in his attempt to recruit Sarah for Fulcrum. So Graham should be pleased; except now his best agent and his worst agent want to be partners…
I love the way this story works on a couple different levels. Its early on, yet Chuck and Sarah’s missions have been exciting and well written, with more than a little drama. The characters, including the one’s Sarah only thought she knew (like Agent Ellie) are well crafted. The whole second first date thing takes on a different nuance here. And I think my favorite part may be watching Graham’s growing frustration as his worst agent ruins his enforcer; while finishing missions differently than he wanted.
This story would be rated “PG-13” for some violence and language. Currently it would take 5+ hours to read, but I believe its early with a lot of story yet to tell. Zettel’s pace of updating has slowed some too, maybe a couple a week. I liked blazing fast, but I hope our writer hasn’t burned himself out.
The other author I credit with this FF renaissance, and the second one I favorited in short order, is David.Carner. His first story (Chuck vs the Nanny) started prior to Zettel’s writing, but his productivity sky-rocketed about the same time Zettel started. He currently has three AU’s on-going that I really like, plus an assortment of other series and one-shots.
The first I’ll mention is Chuck and Sarah vs the Break-Up. This starts with the Chuck and Sarah discussion at the end of episode 2.03, but that all goes quite different from canon. Now we have Season Two unfolding with Chuck and Sarah making their own rules. I love Chuck fixing Jill up with Morgan… Just wild fun stuff. I’ve often said I didn’t need any changes in Season Two, but it is so much fun watching someone wreck havoc with those well loved story-lines. Unfortunately this seems to be the least favorite of its own writer and it is updating the most slowly.
So far it could be read in a couple hours and contains little objectionable.
Next up is Chuck vs Truffaut Industries. This is a full AU. Chuck was being watched by the CIA as a student at Stanford and Bryce was his primary minder. But when Bryce is called elsewhere for a long weekend another trainee agent, Jenny Burton is sent in to cover for him. Jenny and Chuck take to each other pretty fast, but the weekend comes to end. No, this isn’t a teen version of the story, it jumps ahead a couple years. Chuck has been expelled like canon. But Sarah Walker will never be his handler, because after she got pregnant during training she left the agency. There is no mystery of them reuniting and Chuck getting to know his daughter, that actually happens pretty fast. But this world is another interesting mix-up of canon elements with something very different.
This story is also ongoing. It could be read in three hours so far, I don’t know how long it might get.
The last story I want to draw attention to has really just started. Buy More High School is the most completely AU of the bunch. Chuck and Sarah are teachers at a high school who apparently don’t like each other very much. The first chapter is funny, familiar and different all at once. I look forward to more, chapter one can be devoured in 15 minutes or less. But David.Carner has been writing at a ferocious rate and I expect we’ll be ten chapters in before we know it.
Regular readers here may remember I previously recommended wvonb’s intriguing Chuck vs the Man Who Never Was. This was a double story, Chuck wakes from a coma wondering where Ellie, Sarah and the others are. General Beckman is there to tell him a story of how he has it all wrong, there is no Chuck Bartowski only Agent Charles Carmichael and his memories are all messed up. The story then branches in two different directions; one story where Beckman told the truth, the other where she lied. Both tales are fascinating, although I have a clear favorite! This story is now complete, sort of.
The writer started another branch, Chuck Versus The Man Who Never Was: The Third Arc. The beginning is pretty awful, apparently we got the lying Beckman but TeamB failed to stop her dastardly plot. I’m sure an exciting rescue is in the works, but so far we have a pretty depressing set up with the Intersect Agent being successfully separated from his loved ones. Wvonb always spins an exciting story and I have no doubt this will be fun to see unfold. So far it could be read in less than two hours and would be rated PG.
I think I’ll leave this post at that. Its better if everyone reads the stories and not my lame describing of them! There have been a number of other excellent stories in the last few months, and several old favorites have unexpectedly seen new updates! So be sure to check my favorites list once you’ve run out of the longer recommendations here. If things keep going like this there will be another of these posts before long. What a wonderful surprise this has all been.