meishali (meishali) wrote in epic_recs,

Written by the Victors by Speranza (NC-17)

Title: Written by the Victors
Fandom: SGA
Pairing: John/Rodney, John/Teyla
Category: An epic tale of important events in Atlantean history
Length: epic
Warnings: hard to categorize; please see review section

Author on LJ: cesperanza
Website: Speranza's Fiction

Author's Summary:
    Caroll, Franklin R. Atlantis Revisited. New York and London, Routledge, 2011.
    Chapman, Denise. Several Kinds of Genius: The Life of Rodney McKay. NY: Harper Perennial, 2015.
    Croft, Rosalind. City of Spires: A Memoir. Toronto: The Mercury Press, 2009.
    Dugan, Paul. A Political History of Atlantis. Oxford: OUP, 2012.

    This story has been recced everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to convince the last few who haven't read this story yet.

The premise:
    Atlantis declares independence. The new citizens of Atlantis now have to survive on their own, hold off SGC, fight the Wraith, and eventually become the most powerful empire in the Pegasus Galaxy.

What I liked about the story:
    The unique narrative style and the historical ambiguity. I love history, and any lover of history would know that history is always ambiguous. A well-known Chinese author once said, Chinese history is written in twenty-year portions. What he was really trying to explain is the fragility of accurate perception. The political environment, people's beliefs, and societal norms change very rapidly. Therefore, people can, at most, somewhat accurately account for events that happened within their life-time (i.e. the 20 yrs of their prime, between being too young to understand and too old to give a shit). And even then, people's perceptions are shaped by the society they are situated in. In short, non of the historians that later wrote of the events of the Atlantean separation or the people involved had no clue what actually happened. They rely heavily on documents originated from that time period and interviews of people involved, but we've all heard about how reliable a witness is 20 min after any given accident. However, the author also gave us a chance to see the real events as they happen (and have them juxtaposed to accounts written later on) and interpret them ourselves.

Well, I didn't like my interpretation.

What I didn't like about the story:
    First, I must clarify that, to me, a good story doesn't necessarily have to have likable main characters. Anyway, I doubt very many others had the same problem I did with the story; it's just one of my pet peeves.


    I could understand (and still not like) why John had to marry Teyla. Yes, yes, lie back and think of England, or Atlantis, in this case. I couldn't believe that after all of their efforts, John still took the easy way out! Lucky for him that Rodney was so "understanding". Yet I couldn't help but feel sad for Rodney. He ran away from music, ran away from home, ran away from academia, and eventually ran away from earth (see Vol. 3, section 6, Jeanne Miller's account) because he didn't fit-in, didn't feel loved. I was sad that this Rodney had to learn to compromise, had to settle for the love he could attain. A major reason for the Atlantean separation was they wouldn't be forced to do things they didn't want to. If John still couldn't announce his true love to the world and marry him like any decent man should have, then, WHAT'S THE WHOLE POINT!!!
    I am in no way suggesting this is a flaw in story-telling or plot construction, but what I got from the story was "shit happens so you better learn to deal with it", and that just left me feeling sad and a bit cold inside.
    As we know, what victory really entails is defined by the the participants. Was it worth it? Was happiness part of that victory? The characters in the story had asked and answered the same question. And now we must make our own conclusions.

    Written by the Victors is a very well-written story with exceptional narration and characterization. This story has fascinating plot, political intrigue, complex interpersonal relationships, and many other things you may or may not (but happen in life regardless) like to see in a story. Since this isn't a romance-focused story and they did win in the end (& with no actual unrequited love), I'm putting this one in the "happy-ending" category. Highly recommended.

Written by the Victors

Art and literary work sinspired by Written by the Victors:
Victorsverse Art and Artifacts
Archive: Ars Atlantiadae
Tags: fandom: stargate atlantis, genre: au, genre: drama, genre: science fiction, length: epic, pairing: mckay/sheppard, recs by meishali

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