New and Improved! Fan Fiction Reviews

Yes, I’ll call this anything to get some attention…

I’m not sure if this will be the last go around for reviews before the show returns October 28th.  But I do know there’s always some fun stuff we can talk about.  This remains a mostly slow summer for new fan fiction, but the quality of what is being published remains high.  So this time I will look at a mix of old and new offerings.

My last post at ChuckThis was a review of Phase 3.  That post generated some discussion about alternate endings, especially if more long term consequences would have been a good idea.  Although I remain firmly convinced the ending we saw was the best possible one, I have seen some alternate takes that are interesting and fun.  A recent attempt is called “Chuck versus Phase Two and a Half” by Shipper-For-Life.  In this story Chuck has lost all of his memories since he downloaded the original Intersect, before he is rescued at the end of “Phase Three”.  The story does present itself primarily as a romance, so the main focus is going to be that Chuck no longer knows Sarah.  It is so far four chapters long and could be read in less than an hour.  The author ranks it a “T”, which corresponds to about a PG-13; so far there is nothing objectionable, and while it doesn’t seem likely to get violent it may get moderately steamy in later chapters.

Another darker and more intense exploration of this theme is “Sarah Vs Phase Three” by SicklyRaven.  In this story, the team is way too late, and Chuck has apparently had all his personality and memories stripped away leaving only a living Intersect.  So this starts with Chuck in protective custody at Castle and Sarah distraught (and alone) at home.  In short, the beginning is complete desolation.  When Sarah hears the government has decided Chuck is now a hopeless case and dangerous, and therefore to be terminated; she shakes herself from her funk to try and fix things.  This presents a very difficult journey, far darker than anything they would actually do on the show; but ultimately interesting and satisfying in its own way.  I’ll spill it right here, this story ends hopeful, but all is not right yet.  For those who wanted to explore some of the more difficult and challenging possibilities “Phase Three” presented this story is an excellent effort.  This story would be rated PG, not for any specific content, just for some difficult subject matter.  It will take a little more than an hour to read.

Next up I’d like to look at a real oldie.  Now for the record, I started reading fan fiction between S2 and S3, so I tend to regard anything finished at the time I started reading as an oldie!  So when I’m talking about a story finished before S2 even started I call it a “real oldie!”  There is so much background and back-story that wasn’t known to us yet, it is sometimes challenging to read older works and remember how much the writers didn’t know at the time.  But I always think it also makes some of the vision and passion these writers had at such an early stage that much more remarkable.  So the story I’m recommending today is “Only Two Options” by LeeCan.  Those who are familiar with LeeCan will know he was one of the early heavy angst writers in the fandom.  If you’re thinking “I’m surprised Dave would recommend something by LeeCan” I’d say you’re almost right.  But keep in mind a couple things; for starters, I do give most stories a chance to catch my interest (sometimes that chance doesn’t go very far!) and LeeCan is a very good writer.  Secondly, LeeCan pointedly describes this story as having “a little less angst” than is usual for him.  It will still get pretty tense in places, but this really is a pretty relaxed and sentimental look at a developing relationship between Chuck and Sarah set sometime after Marlin.  The writer makes some assumptions about Sarah, like her coming from a respectable family well used to sacrificing for the greater good, that are directly contrary to what we later learned in cannon.  And its a lot of fun to read such an early epic.  We get a fun story with a good mix of humor, action and romance.  In addition, its sort of a time capsule for fan attitudes way back before S2 even started.  This story would be rated PG-13 for a mix of moderately violent and sexual situations.  It can be read in about four hours.

For a one-shot I’ll recommend something kind of different.  Jaytoyz is a newer writer to the fandom, he’s been active for less than a year.  He has a sort of comic rambling style.  Some of his longer works are amusing, and clearly not burdened by a detailed outline.  But he’s written a few one-shots that really highlight his strengths.  These are a series featuring “Mr. Grumpy Pants.” The stories are all based in jaytoyz own AU known as the “Swimmerverse.”  Without going into too much detail, let’s just say its AU from the very start as Chuck and Sarah end up engaged and expecting twins almost as soon as they meet.  If you can’t guess, “Mr Grumpy Pants” is the name used by the Bartowski twins for their frequent babysitter, John Casey. The main story is fun in its own way, and features many eccentric twists like Carina Miller finding that Morgan is her true love.  But for today, I’m just going to recommend two of the funnier Mr Grumpy Pants tales; “Mr Grumpy Pants Comes to Breakfast” and “Mr Grumpy Pants Goes to the Movies.”  Each can be read in 15 or 20 minutes, and would be rated PG for some mild language and innuendo.

Several stories I’ve recommended before have been updating. Billatwork’s epic “The Long Road Back” updates weekly at least.

Ersk4’s S2 AU “Chuck vs The Jill Ride” has been both fun and tense, and is now clearly nearing the end.  Chapter 9 was particularly satisfying.

A big surprise recently was a new chapter in Tynianrex’s “Chuck vs The Pond” after many months of inactivity.  This may well be the darkest story I ever loved.

You all know Uplink2, his story “Chuck vs Life, Love & Lies” has been updating once a week or more.  It has been exciting and a lot of fun.  It is an AU of S3, which I’m sure you all realize I see the need for!  So far Chuck is still confined to training in a bunker, separated from Sarah and Casey.  But he’s starting to figure out how the Intersect works.  This story looks like it will have lots of good intrigue and adventure, and a Chuck and Sarah who clearly know what they want from each other!

Last time I recommended “Chuck vs The Sound of Music” by Quistie64.  Well I’m going to recommend it again because this piece is wonderful!  If you aren’t reading it yet, get started now!!!   I think this may be the most appealing depiction of Sarah Walker in all fan fiction (something about being all mama bear for Chuck AND seven children), and the story remains fun and funny.  The most recent chapter introduced Jill as the Baroness;  except I think the original Baroness was a much more sympathetic figure!

Well this was fun, we’ll do it again sometime, I promise.  As always, all these recommendations and many more can be found by clicking “atcDave/favorites.”

 ~ Dave

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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31 Responses to New and Improved! Fan Fiction Reviews

  1. thinkling says:

    As always, Dave, thanks for my online card catalog of Chuck reads. If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t know where to start, and I’d probably just give up. 🙂

  2. Nervert says:

    Great recommendations, Dave. I’d also say ninjaVanish’s “Chuck vs the Sunken Treasure” has also been a great read. Oh, and KateMcK’s “A Common Spy Problem” is about to update with a very nice chapter that finishes the “vs the Santa Claus” episode.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I agree with both of those Nervert. I recommended “Sunken Treasure” last time, but the updates seem to have slowed way down now.
      I’m excited to hear more “Common Spy Problem” is coming; that one has been a lot of fun, but again, very slow output recently.
      Kind of like “Revenge of the Bartowski”. Some slackers just aren’t keeping up with us voracious readers very well!

      • Nervert says:

        Yeah, I know. It’s just, every time I get an idea and start writing, something comes up ten minutes later. I have gotten about 3000 words out but this chapter is going to be Frea-sized so it still has a while to go. This weekend I’m going to be a bachelor while my wife is away at a conference so hopefully I can get close to finishing. On the upside, the chapters following this one will roll out pretty quickly.

      • atcDave says:

        Well you know I was just having fun with you! But I am excited that more should be coming. Between you, Kate McK, fogh and NinjaVanish several of the better writers have been working awfully slowly lately (I’d add Lucky47 to that list, but I think she’s always worked slow!)

      • joe says:

        Hum…
        A new unit of measurement, known as the “Standard Frea”. According to Webster’s, it’s “…the number of chapters required to a complete, fully developed story with complete, fully developed characters. It’s current value is still being investigated.”

      • To me, Frea sized means 5’4″ in Chucks and 5’4.5″ in work shoes. 😉 And I too am in the same boat: this chapter coming up, while it may not be “Frea-sized,” is the last hurdle to cross before the chapters start rolling out easily again. Maybe.

      • Nervert says:

        Here’s to getting past tricky chapters.

        Cheers.

  3. TomM says:

    I ran into a story a couple of weeks ago that I found intriguing. The author is Timewalker05 and the title is Chuck versus the Buy More Bomber. What I found interesting is that at the end of the story Chuck inherits the Buy More corporation. When he visits the sub-basement in the headquarters of his new business empire he finds that the previous CEO, a former Mossad agent, has been running his own private spy company as well. It read almost like a lead in for Chuck season 5 to me.

    • atcDave says:

      “Buy More Bomber” is a very fun story, definitely on my favorites list. I think timewalker05 managed that very difficult thing of getting the humor just right while still having an exciting adventure and good drama. It reads very much like a Chuck episode, and yeah very funny now that Chuck actually does own the Buy More in cannon (although the way he gets it is completely different!)

  4. Fogh says:

    Chuck vs The Sound of Music is so much fun, my favourite story currently going. Was really glad when I saw The Pond was updated, really thought that was done for.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I’d written Pond off too; that was a great and pleasant surprise.
      I think part of what’s so much fun about Sound of Music is its such an odd idea, and yet Quistie takes it seriously enough to be really good writing. Its not only really good, its unexpectedly good.

      Of course you’ve delivered quite a few outstanding moments in fan fiction yourself! I sure look forward to seeing more of Rome Assignment at some point…

      • Fogh says:

        Very true Dave, another thing that I really love about what Quistie is doing are those clever little references to the movie. Things like Christopher the Plumber are just amazing little references, subtle yet so clever. Also love how she made things more contemporate, but still is keeping very true to both the heart of the show we all love watching, and one of my personal all time favourite movies.

        Thanks, I do hope to update soon. Been sort of stuck, so I took to writing a little for a new story, which is no help for Rome I know, but it’s helped me get the fun back in writing so that’s good.

      • atcDave says:

        And you didn’t mention it was a WWII story; bonus!

  5. atcDave says:

    Just another comment I have to add about Quistie’s Sound of Music after reading the latest chapter that posted on 10/6. It is fascinating to me how well certain aspects of the original translate into a Chuck story. In particular, Sarah’s struggles with duty, commitment, sacrifice and purpose are almost eerily parallel to Maria’s. So it turns out, a CIA agent could have a lot in common with a nun!

    • BDaddyDL says:

      no doubt sir, if you have never read this story, you need to. Its an amazing story. You are right though, part of her brilliance is realizing how great this would work.

      • atcDave says:

        I felt so unworthy when she reached that point, I didn’t see it coming or get the parallel until it was right in my face!

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        And you’ll wake up on Thursdays signing Julie Andrews.

        Or is that just me?

    • AgentInWaiting says:

      If you haven’t read Chapter 10 yet, then spoilers ahead:

      Sarah’s and Maria’s journeys have the same destination, but they’re coming to it from opposite directions. Maria is giving up her cloistered life for the outside world while Sarah is giving up her worldly, globe-trotting lifestyle for something more intimate and sheltered. The challenges and obstacles they face are very similar, as you pointed out. And, very awesomely, the lyrics to “Something Good” fit Sarah better than they fit Maria!

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah AiW, I know you’ve done the beta work on it and shoulder some of the blame for the original concept; really an outstanding project! I think I was aware of those obvious differences from the very start (partly because of what an unlikely nun Sarah would make; but also as you say, a globetrotting spy seems like a direct opposite to a cloistered nun). But I’d sort of missed the striking parallels until the end of Chapter 9, when it sort of hit me all at once (might have been because the parallels were so obvious a moron like me could see them!)

        When I get a chance later tonight I’ll add a new post for this; but Sound of Music and Jill Ride both had excellent updates the last couple days (and strangely parallel in their own way!)

  6. Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

    Also, since I can’t seem to stop rambling this evening, I have been enjoying Uplink’s Life, Love and Lies. I can’t wait to see how Chuck contacts Sarah next time.

    However he seems to be “telegraghing” his villain a bit too much, since it is totally obvious to me that Mitchell is Shaw’s boyfriend. 😉

    • Verkan_Vall says:

      “Mitchell is Shaw’s boyfriend”

      Say what? Ok, move that story to the top of the list. Or should I read the Sound of Music first?

      Oh, bugger.

      • atcDave says:

        Both are excellent choices VV! Uplink’s is an AU of S3 that has been a perfect ‘shipper’s re-write. While Sound of Music is the sort of AU that’s so bizarre you expect it to be really weird, right up until you realize it’s inspired.

      • Nervert says:

        I agree with Quistie’s being inspired. There was a moment in one of the early chapters when I went from thinking “this is fun” to “this is … really good”.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        OK, I’ve read them both now, and you’re both right.

        Inspired indeed.

      • atcDave says:

        Wow that was quick VV! Even though total output is slower than it was a couple years ago, there’s so much awesome stuff being written; and I like the way the writers support each other, I think its raising all of their games up a notch.

  7. Amron says:

    I have to confess I hadn’t watched The Sound of Music, but since I started reading Quistie, I have to admit I’m a little bit interested. But this, also, give me other perspective: I can say first hand Quistie’s story is great even if you, like me, didn’t knew what is the movie. You just have to search the chapters song in YouTube and it’s like a charm: you start laughing as a crazy people. Oh! And I can totally see Chuck taking care of the Woodcomb’s children… every character is in character, even in that crazy AU.

    • atcDave says:

      That is an awesome insight Amron! Thank you so much for that! Its like the project is truly greater than its parts.

      You do need to watch Sound of Music though. Its old and cheesy in many ways; but also beautiful, classy, and important (and mostly a true story!)

  8. Lola says:

    Great recomendations as always Dave!

    It wan’t try!!! uhhh!!! (Sorry as I write this i’m watching Pumas vs All Blacks at the RWC2011 and wow! our guys are really leaving everything on the field! (I’m talking about Los Pumas 🙂

    Anyway, as per your suggestion, I’ve read “The sound of music” and now I’m hooked. Someone above said they found it funny in the begining and along the reading found it was inspired. I agree. It’s really well written and wow, I wish I have that power to mush things up.

    Well… I’m returning my complete foucus to the game! VamosPumas!

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