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Control Issues by LitGal (NC-17)

Title: Control Issues
Fandom: The Sentinel
Pairing: Jim/Blair
Categories: AU, angst, bonding!fic, slave!fic (sorta)
Length: (holy crap that's) Epic (~175,000 words)
Warnings: rape (not graphic)

Author on LJ:[info]lit_gal
Author Website: http://litgal.org/

So I had originally planned on starting this rec with a rant about the problems I have with modern slave!fic, from the lack of plausible historical background (the US fought a *civil war* to stop slavery; the only way it would make sense to have modern Sentinel slaves is if African-Americans were still slaves as well) to the fact that most slave!fic is gratuitously brutal (it's the torture porn of fanfic). But then I realized that I put part of that rant in every single slave!fic rec I make and the horse, she is dead. Plus, there's only so much bitching that a single post can sustain.

With that in mind, on to the accolades! Like most modern slave!fic that I recommend, this isn't (strictly speaking) slave!fic. Instead, Sentinels are legislated for their own good, and thanks to some historical background (yay!), you can understand how they've been exploited to the point that the goverment's current Sentinel regulations (which are very similar to current real-life regulations for the mentally ill) came about. Jim, who isn't impressed with the idea of being placed under the care of a 'guardian' and having most of his choices dictated to him, is on the run from the government. Unfortunately, he's captured in Cascade, just before he was about to escape to Canada. The man who captures him: Blair Sandburg, working with the Sentinel division of the CPD.

One of my bigger issues with Sentinel slave!fic is the way one (usually Jim) or two (usually Simon) of the main characters buy into society's insistence on on turning part of their population (usually guides) into slaves. Since in the majority of these fics it means continual inhumane treatment of Blair, Jim and/or Simon come off as extraordinarily callous (and, consequently, exceedingly unlikeable). In Control Issues, however, it's *Blair* who buys into the government's propaganda and, because he's Blair, he helps capture Sentinels with the absolute best intentions and with a bone-deep desire to help protect them any way he can. Unfortunately, he doesn't have all of the facts, but it doesn't take long for him to come around (and, unlike Jim or Simon, Blair has an honest-to-goodness chance at making real, sweeping changes in his society).

Before this rec gets any freaking longer, I'll sum it up: Great characterizations of Jim and Blair, a well thought out and plausible universe, bonding mythology that is essential to the plot without being over-the-top, and an ending that manages to be happy without being absurd. A brilliant fic.

Control Issues (note: link to first part -- subsequent chapters are available from this page)


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 30th, 2007 10:07 am (UTC)
Amen to what you say about slave!fic. Otoh it's a kink for many people and perhaps one shouldn't judge kink!fic by the same standards as fic that is meant as a literary endeavour. Although some fics fit both categories, obviously.

Here, I had absolute difficulties with the chastity belt situation for the same reasons as your objections to unexplained slavery in fic: according to the author they were meant to protect the sentinels, but they were so flimsy that you could remove them with a nail cutter -> illogical. So it was obvious that they served no purpose other than to push somebody's buttons which is always a big squick for me. I like my buttons pushed as well as anyone else, but I don't like to see the button nor the pusher. ;-)
Aug. 30th, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC)
Hm. I'm not sure I agree re: kink!fic, but that's probably because I've read plenty of kink!fic has some kind of literary merit. OTOH, I'm a pretty live and let live kind of author -- I'm not going to go about and pick on someone who's written slave!fic when I know going in that there's a good chance that I'm not going to like the story simply because of the premise.

And, crap, I'd forgotten about the chastity belt thing (primarily because I had to skim those sections, ick). I've seen worse (and flimsier), but that was a squick for me as well.
Aug. 31st, 2007 10:28 am (UTC)
Well, I was not expressing a firm opinion here, you know. It was just a thought or even a question. Should one judge kink!fic and all those specialty!fics (like extreme h/c, D/s, Mpreg or others) by the same standards as what I call "literary fic" or not? I'm not sure myself. I mean, obviously they do work for many people and perhaps it depends on *why* you are reading at exactly the moment you read it? If you just read to get your buttons pushed and the fic in question manages that extremely well for you, then perhaps it's just at that time not so important whether the fic has any literary merits?

Oh, glad to know I'm not alone re chastity belts... :-) And yes, there is far worse out there, but I was surprised to see LitGal fall victim to this bad!fic trope.
Nov. 8th, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC)
The link doesn't seem to be working. It could be a temporary thing, but here's an alternative link:
Nov. 8th, 2007 04:47 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's really odd. I used the 852 Prospect link because I prefer stories all in one part -- I wonder what happened.

Thanks for pointing this out! I'll update the link right away.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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