(I’m refraining from linking to anyone named in this post because of the fan/slashfic I’ve pasted into the post below.)
Ad Astra con had. Time spent hanging out with other authors, local friends, and friends who came in specifically for the con. Went to some most excellent panels and readings, including those from Matt Moore, Alyx Dellamonica, and Rio Youers. Panelled a fair bit. (Sat at the grown-up editors table on some of those panels, as it were, getting to be on there alongside the likes of Anne Groell, Ed Greenwood, and Doug Smith, among others.) An article written by me (I’m not exactly sure which editorial was being referred to, though it sounded like one of the ones from here, or possibly one of the rants from the CSFL) was cited while I was sitting in the audience of another panel, and I don’t think the panelist who brought it up realized I was in the room, which was quite delightful.
Also recorded a decidedly enjoyable interview/chat with Derek Newman-Stille, so that’ll be floating around at some point later. And I will talk about that further down the road.
But, really, there were two events at this year’s Ad Astra which were the centrepieces of the con (whatever else you may have heard to the contrary): Adam Shaftoe’s Friday night “Podcasting After Dark” panel (hurray for alcohol and unscripted goodness–also it was recorded, so it will eventually be available and you can judge for yourself what level of drunkenness is required to enact such a panel). And of course my own Saturday night “Boozy Fan/Slashfic Group Reading” … panel … thing. Whatever.
And, really, the latter’s what we’re here to talk about (briefly). The story of how it came about is one post back, so I’ll not rehash the story here. For those who were there, you are aware of the most delicious mayhem that ensued. For those who were not, I brought beer to a 10:30 p.m. reading/panel, other attendees brought liquor, we gave away a couple of books via some trivia, many readings were enacted upon the audience, there were breaks for freshening up one’s beverages (or if you were me and beer cans were within reach at the table the partaking was more or less constant), and a ridiculously good time was had by all.
Originally, Derek Künsken and I had planned to read back and forth to start things off, but Derek was unwell and thus unable to attend the panel, so Matt Moore stepped in to pinch hit for him. Matt started things off by reading from The Empire Striketh Back, performing a most excellent rendition of Luke’s soliloquy which opens the piece. I then read the Star Wars/Pacific Rim fan/slashfic I wrote for the event. And after we had heaped utter and absolute shame upon all the properties aforementioned and The Bard as well (incidentally, Matt’s wookie rendition is really rather excellent), there was a pause to head toward the next stage of the event (at which time several people who had wanted to be there for the next stage, and had just come from another panel, joined the fray and an already well-attended room filled somewhat fuller), and we launched into the open mic portion of the evening. Which featured Simon Barry McNeil reading from his own Star Wars/Pacific Rim fanfic written for the event, Adam Shaftoe reading an X-COM fanfic written for the event, and Angela Keeley bringing down the house with a reading of the first four chapters of the really quite aptly infamous (intentionally as appalling as possible, bless it) My Immortal fanfic.
If you do not know what that is then this, my friends, is what Google is for.
And since absolutely bloody nothing was going to be able to follow that, we wrapped and dissolved into further mirth and discourse. And many of us then went trawling about the con hotel to see what else was doing, and where people had gathered. As one does on the Saturday night of a con.
Plans are already underway to do another version of this next year, involving a group reading of some material from The Empire Striketh Back, another group reading of The Skinhead Hamlet (I am here and now calling narrating the stage directions–other people attending can fight it out over what other parts they want :p ), some other things not yet decided on, and something thoroughly unspeakable from Angela Keeley, who will once again be closing the panel down next year. (Because knowing what she’s reading from, nothing will be able to follow it.)
As I said above, that panel was extremely well attended for a reading. (The attendance of a reading fluctuates due to a number of factors, and this was a group reading/open mic which can further affect that, it should be recalled.) I do believe we had near 20 people prior to the additional influx of audience members came 11 p.m. And it’s possible we came up near 30 people at the peak points after, though I don’t think we hit quite that high. Still quite bloody good for a 10:30 pm reading. (For those who are curious, yes, alcohol makes every reading better–this is why the best readings are scheduled in bars or any other establishment where alcohol is readily available.)
In any case, for those who could not attend, but would like to read some horrible fan/slashfic anyway, I have posted the fan/slashfic I wrote for the panel.
Again, you’re welcome.
-Quick notes on the text below: Though I have absolutely no ownership of any of the content, nor any of the trademarked properties in the story that follows, the writing of it is nevertheless attributed to me, and the restriction on use determined by me as well. So there will be absolutely no reposting of this, anywhere, for any reason, unless explicit permission is obtained from me.
The following was written merely to amuse myself and others (pun not intended, but I’m leaving it), was all but literally thrown together in about half an hour after reading up on some aspects of the Star Wars universe that I thought I might want to include, and is probably not good for your health. It stops abruptly because it was written for a live reading, and I knew exactly what note I wanted to end on. Also worth noting that, because of the Pacific Rim content, and how crossover PR slashfic works, yes, the Drift equates to sex in the crossover slashfic. Thus I chose not to write the story from Luke’s perspective, because another aspect of Pacific Rim canon is that the best Drift compatibility exists between family.
Again, you’re welcome for that image.
So I went with what was my first choice in any case: Han as the protagonist.
And, for all those who just realized what that means, again, you’re welcome for that image.
The following will work best if you’re already familiar with Star Wars and Pacific Rim. And contrary to my calling this slashfic, it is, in fact, SFW.-
So, without further ado, I present to you, the following:
Untitled Star Wars/Pacific Rim Crossover Fan/Slashfic Prologue
by Michael Matheson
Han craned his neck up to take in the groaning heap of his Jaeger, last of the Mark 1s. Loose coils of spent negative power couplings Chewie still hadn’t replaced spilled from her titan guts. The rest of her faring no better: The Millennium Falcon’s jumble of plates and replacement parts scavenged from a dozen wrecked units. Her original core intact, but the rest of her a patchwork of solder and durasteel, and even a few plates of beskar salvaged from the hull of a Mandalorian frigate. And a few nastier surprises, too, for those who thought her little more than a rustbucket. Didn’t look like much, but she had it where it counted.
Marshall Organa’s R2 unit whistled at him, and Han waved it away. It booped sadly, set down the orders it had been dispatched to deliver on a nearby crate, and veered off again through the crowded, bustling Shatterdome. The crackle of wires and lit fires of retrofits in progress echoed through the cavernous reaches of the foundry cum factory in the droid’s wake.
Han ignored the handheld display unit on the crate behind him. He already knew what it said: Leia’s kid brother, Luke, was due to arrive from Tatooine on the next transport. Not that Han needed the aggravation of yet another brat pilot still wet behind the ears, no matter how unprecedented his Drift Compatibility scores had been in the academy’s sims. Not now, with the first of the Mark 5s coming off the assembly lines, and a wave of trainees too green to be more than Kaiju fodder to pilot them. Not that Han’s concerns in that regard carried much weight with the admiralty anymore. Not after the fall of Coruscant and the Core Worlds to the Category 4s. Not after he couldn’t hold Corellia—the planet’s surface a scattered graveyard of fallen Mark 3s and the scoured remnants of what had once been home.
In the wake of all they’d lost, and kept losing—what remained of the Rebellion driven back to the Outer Rim—they couldn’t build the Jaegers fast enough. But good pilots to fly them were in short supply. Han didn’t imagine the kid would fare much better. He might be a hotshot pilot in theory, but he’d have a hell of time living up to Leia’s kill count. They all did. Han blew all the air out of his lungs like a bellows. They’d know one way or another soon enough.
Poor bastard had probably never even been offworld before. Let alone seen a Kaiju swim through the deep black between the stars, blotting out the light of the nearest sun and countless distant galaxies. Planet-sized terrors fashioned from the stuff of nightmares.
There were whispers they fed on the Force. If you even believed in that kind of thing. A lot of simple tricks and nonsense. Hokey religions and ancient weapons were no match for the weight of a Jaeger under your feet.
But no, it wasn’t some all-powerful Force controlling everything that had spawned the Kaiju.
That first fluke genetic mutation in the Empire’s clone factories—a byproduct of Imperial tampering with the genetic makeup of the Mandalorian template subject—had doomed them all. But it was the Empire’s choice to breed the inhuman mutation that had sealed their fate. The Kaiju had dismantled the bulk of the Rebellion, only to turn on their Imperial masters. Nothing left now but the backwater planets, furthest from the bright centre of the universe. And only scattered communications and rogue ships to prove that anything still survived heading out toward the Tingel Arm of the galaxy. Most of that Mandalorians coming to regroup and sign up for the Rebellion, under the flag of their Mand’alor, Boba Fett. The Mandalorian tech and battle strategies an overdue addition to the Rebel struggle, but welcome all the same. Especially now, with the Rebellion scrambling to maintain production on their Jaegers and fit them all with the Starkiller Cannons—cobbled together from plans stolen from the Empire’s aborted Death Star program—that were the only thing powerful enough to rip apart a Kaiju. Assuming there was still nothing bigger than a Category 5.
Before the Rebellion had been driven back beyond the Inner Rim, their spies had sent word the Kaiju had started interbreeding in the darkened space that had once been the Deep Core—further mutations showing with each successive generation; monstrous aberrations too twisted to survive long, their meat carrion for the next clutch of Kaiju to spawn. But there were rumours of Kaiju that dwarfed suns in their turn—the mad, or hopefully mad, ravings of pilots who’d spent too long staring into the black until it started looking back.
Han’d fought Category 5s: so massive it was like watching a black hole swim up in front of you; all the light in the world devoured in their continent-size maws. He could barely wrap his mind around those, let alone something larger still.
Only the mismatched weight of the Millennium Falcon towering over him, Han cool in the stretch of her shadow, gave him comfort in the face of that thought. The Falcon had had one foot in the scrapyard longer than Han wanted to think about, but she was still the fastest Jaeger in the galaxy. Built when speed, not size, or armour, had mattered most.
Chewie’s roar from the gangway drew Han’s gaze back and away from the Falcon. And there he was: the runt. And looking it beside Chewie, the kid a golden-haired boy fresh off the moisture farm. Couldn’t have been more than eighteen. So young. They all were. Han and Chewie the only pilots left from the first wave when they’d baptized the Mach 1s in Kaiju blood came planetfall on Geonosis. Before they realized they’d come too late to the clone factories–that the Empire had already unleashed their Kaiju army—and the rout began.
Han still remembered the shock and head-snapping force of that first Drift during the drop. That sudden, terrifying skull-plummet and bonding with the wookie. Too-bright images of Kashyyyk flaring through his skull; the unexpected weight of clawed hands; of the struggle to control the fury within; the constant struggle to resist going madclaw. So much anger. So much rage. So much passion.