"I-L-A-S-C" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by on 21st December 1999 (1)

This is an alternative universe series (or should I say parallel universe?). It is really good. What if Jim and Blair were Australians? Well, the Australian-ness doesn't matter so much (if Jim were really Australian he'd say "mate" a lot, he's that kind of guy, but he doesn't here, he's just Jim) not so much as having a change of setting. Jim and Blair (and Simon for that matter) have different backstories (and different frontstories) and that does affect how they react to things, but they are the same characters we know and love. And boy, does this have a lot of Blair angst! (Poor baby). (Blair definitely needs health insurance) But the most important thing is that this is well-written, with care taken of the characters (not just Jim and Blair) of the plot, and of the setting. The series so far:

- Inchoate - Deception - Denial - Acceptance - Understanding

Go off and read it, right now. Then bug the author to write the next part. (grin)

Addendum: I think the reason why this works for me, despite the really awful things that happen to Blair (and his reactions to them), is that because it is a parallel/alternative universe, I'm willing to accept the darker tone of it all, whereas if it wasn't A/U, I would be saying "Blair wouldn't react like that!" But the backstory makes it plausible.

Another addendum: this series was nominated in the 2000 Cascade Times Awards in the "Alternative Universe series" category.

Addendum (August 2002): After this author went off the air and took her stories down, I'm glad to say she's back. This series is being revised, and the first story is already up.

(1) "Inchoate" (Sentinel)

Reviewed by on 10th September 2002 (1)

Now that this story is back on the air and has been revised, I thought I'd review it again, though it was so long since I read it, I can't really tell what's changed (except the name of the university). But it's still good to look at it again, now after I've read so many other Sentinel stories (and even so many other Sentinel AU stories in which Jim and Blair are not in the same set of circumstances as in canon).

When I first read this story, I was blown away by the descriptions of Jim's senses, and the idea of a Sentinel AU like this was fresh and new. Coming at it again three years later, I'm more aware of other aspects of this story. This is one for the angst-lovers; there's not a touch of smarm anywhere. The Jim here is an asshole -- his fear makes him push people away. But then he was rather like that in "Switchman" (though not quite this bad). Blair here is not in a good place (in more than one sense of the word). He is surrounded by darkness even if he is not dark himself; ugly things bubble beneath the surface, hints of things to come.