One thing with fan fiction output slowed way down, it almost seems like less is going on than actually is. I was surprised the other day when I took a look at my favorites list to realize there were quite a number of stories I’ve favorited in the last year. So I guess that means its time for a new post!
The first story I’ll mention is an interesting concept called “Chuck versus Unforgettable” by fezzywhig. The writer draws inspiration from a book I’m not familiar with, but could be best described as a variation on the cinematic classic “50 First Dates”. Apparently no one can remember Chuck. Everyone who knew him is convinced he was killed in his childhood. Daily he has to remind those around him that he is still with them. Chuck’s resourcefulness is fun even if the premise is more than a little depressing. Since I recommend this you can rest assured it is a Charah story, ultimately sweet and satisfying but with a very odd sort of angst. I would call it a PG-13 only for some occasional language. This can be read in a couple hours.
Next I have an epilogue story. I believe this will always be a popular format, and with good a reason. Canon left things pretty deliberately open ended and just begs for the rest of the story. Rachel Smith Cobleigh offers her version in “Sarah vs the Caveat Emptor“. This starts with Sarah first arriving at the beach and gives us some interesting insight into her state of mind. Her version of Chuck telling “their” story is also unique and interesting. But I think the assumption that makes this version particularly appealing is the idea that Chuck and Sarah will do just fine together if they have the time to talk with no outside pressures. It basically takes a stab at the canon contrivance that these two never get to talk. The writer certainly doesn’t shy away from some of the serious issues they would likely face, and lengthy discussions in chapters 2-4 are alternately funny, sweet and painful. The particular version of the story I’ve linked claims to be “PG-13”, I might consider it more of a soft “R” for the way our favorite couple “reconnects”. Not quite explicit, but plenty of heat. It should take a little over 2 hours to read.
“Chuck vs the Highway” by Tenblood is a complete AU. It has Chuck Bartowski as a Sheriff’s Deputy sent to counseling after the death of his partner. The writer states up top that part of his motivation for this story is to have Chuck deal with some of the deaths that hit close to home for him that were mostly glossed over in canon. The setting was chosen based on the writer’s own areas of expertise. The result is interesting and satisfying. Obviously a little less light hearted than most of the show, but familiar characters are all here and the story plays out in a way that seems consistent for all. I would call it a “PG-13” mostly just for the heavier subject matter. This can be read in three hours or so.
The last complete story I’ll mention is a one-shot by WvonB. “A Plan Story: We’re Not in Arkansas Anymore” is, not surprisingly, an offshoot of this writer’s previous “Chuck vs The Plan” This is just crazy funny. Chuck and Sarah concoct a painfully awkward cover story to throw off a pursuer. There’s not much more to say than that. Its the sort of humor that any fan of Chuck is likely to appreciate. It would be PG-13 for the use of some pretty violent humor and could be read in half an hour.
Next up I have a few works in progress to recommend. As always, it can be fun to read along with a writer as they create, but we readers take on a certain risk the story will not be completed.
First is “Chuck vs The Beautiful Creatures” by Zettel. This is sort of a mash up with a universe I’m not familiar with. But the writer promises no knowledge of “Beautiful Creatures” is required and so far I’ve had no problems following along. This is a magical world, Sarah and Casey are both spell casters working for opposing houses. Chuck is a non-spellcaster who gains some significant powers after reading a magical book known as the Intersect. You can guess where it heads from there! The action has been fun and fast paced. The writer states from the start the story will be lower in angst than canon, which is clearly true even though many of the canon challenges facing Chuck and Sarah are not completely ignored. It would be rated “PG” just for some mild violence and language. Currently it could be read in about three hours but I believe its about a quarter complete. Zettel says he is nearly done with the rough draft, so the likelihood of it being completed and posted seems reasonably high.
Let me update this by saying the story is now complete. It would take maybe ten hours to read, so short novel length? Some of the later story choices really highlight why such a magical setting was chosen. The writer is able to do things with story that were discussed in abstract here. What is Dave rambling about? Read it and you’ll see! Really.
My next recommendation has been a lot of fun, with a very intriguing set-up, even though I admit to not liking the first chapter much! This is “There Are Such Things as Second Chances” by Mh60r. I don’t buy the start one bit, Sarah has left Chuck at the beach and goes back to the CIA. The narrative then tells how this basically leads to the end of the world. So now Sarah, with her memories restored, gets a cosmic second chance to go back in time to when she was an awkward high school student as a do over. I’ll guess many of us have played around with these “if I knew then…” sort of situations. So I loved seeing how an older and wiser Sarah Walker would do things differently. She has been given clear instructions that she can’t change global events (no stopping 9/11) and she can’t meet Chuck any sooner than she did the first time. But she can freely act on her knowledge and experience on a personal level. I have absolutely loved this writer’s ideas on all the things she might have done differently, including helping Chuck in major ways without violating her directives! So far, this could be read in four hours or so and would be rated PG. Updates have been slow and I don’t know how much further it might go, but its gone far enough to be fun and thought provoking even without a single new chapter.
“Chuck vs The Man Who Never Was” by WvonB has an outstanding hook. We are first introduced to Chuck as a comatose patient in the hospital. He awakens to find Diane Beckman waiting for him. Probably not the person he would have hoped for. Worse, he is quickly told there is no such person as Chuck Bartowski. He is Agent Charles Carmichael and has just been involved in a mind altering project known as the Intersect. From here, the story becomes an interesting experiment of sorts. It follows two completely different story directions in alternating chapters; one story where General Beckman told the truth, the other where she lied. Both are fun to follow along with. The “Bartowski” story line is more action packed and aimed at shallow readers like me, while “Carmichael” is more thought provoking and will undoubtedly appeal to readers of more substance. So far it would be rated PG and require about five hours to read. My guess is 2/3s done? WvonB has a good record with finishing stories, but updates are coming slow.
I’ve gone back and forth on putting up this next story or not. But I really, really have enjoyed “Chuck vs The World” by willynilly23. My concern is that, after updating regularly and often to start, we’ve heard nothing for four months. I know she’s worked in bursts before and can only hope she’ll come back to this. It is far enough in for much character growth, but the main plot itself has been left wide open! This a Season 3 alternate that has Chuck and Sarah undercover as a couple for an adventure vacation by a group known as “World Challenge”. The “vacation” is structured like the show “Amazing Race” where teams compete against each other in exotic locations all over the world. I love this sort of globe trotting adventure, and this writer always handles character interactions and growth in an extremely satisfying fashion. I only hesitate to recommend because I’m not sure when or if it may be completed, but for several weeks earlier this year this was my favorite thing going. Currently it would take about five hours to read and would be rated PG-13 for some language and an affectionate Charah.
The last thing I have to mention is really a special treat. Do any of you remember a fan fiction writer named quistie64? Anyone? Well apparently that’s not her real name and she’s recently been published under the name Susan Mann. Her inaugural book is “The Librarian and the Spy” which launches a “Librarian/Spy Escapade” series. The link is to Amazon where the book can be purchased as either a paper back or Kindle edition. The first sequel, “A Covert Affair” is also available now and a third book will be out by the end of the year. Now obviously this isn’t actually Chuck fiction. But this should be familiar in the best sense of the word for Chuck fans. Even more so to those who read and enjoyed Quistie’s “Ninja Librarian” stories. It is easy going action adventure with a sweet romance between two likable and decent characters. The main characters are Quinn Ellington (I think of her as young Jen; Susan says she thinks of Jen as an older aunt we won’t be meeting!) and James Anderson a young spy who
comes to the Buy More meets her at her library. Naturally, Quinn quickly gets sucked into a world of danger, mystery and high adventure. Names and little details abound that will be recognizable to Chuck fans, especially those familiar with Quistie’s fan fiction. Finding Easter Eggs is half the fun!
Now I have to admit to a major hang up, when I saw the first cover I about choked. This is clearly meant for the “romance” section of any book seller. We guys, and women who take themselves too seriously, might have a hard time getting past this. I suggested to Susan she might try for a “plain brown wrapper” edition! She admits the covers are a problem. But seriously, if you’re a Chuck fan you’ve already fallen for one sappy sweet romance. Don’t wuss out on us now, Susan Mann is one of us and she’s written a couple of very enjoyable books. Check these out and be sure to spring for a legit copy! (at $4 it won’t break the bank).
I read the first book in three days… during my work week. So this is an easy, fast read.
As I’ve said before, I have no idea when I might be back with another of these posts. But if all goes well, new fiction will come up and the need will come soon.