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11 October 2016 @ 11:16 am
Story 269: "The Lambs" by so kiss me goodbye  
This novel was nominated back in September 2015 by rainatlas. It was a WIP at the time and I've been burned enough times that I'm wary of WIPs. I'm allergic to fanfic about William. Despite my reservations, I trust rainatlas's judgement. I read the two sections that had been posted and agreed it was a fic worth our time. On September 24, 2016, Lamia (so kiss me goodbye) at long last completed the epic. And here we go...

"The Lambs"
Author: so kiss me goodbye
Summary: Mulder and Scully kidnap William.
Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Family - [F. Mulder, D. Scully] William - Chapters: 44 - Words: 189,372

Author's Note: "This is a colonization adventure told from a child's perspective (excluding the prologue), and includes strong language, violence and gore, and themes that may upset."

Please leave feedback for the author. Love it, hate it, or "it's complicated," we'd love to hear your thoughts about "The Lambs." Remember, the nomination post is always open for your suggestions.

EDIT: I found a comment in the spam folder for this post that wasn't spam. It provided a link to this story at AO3. The Lambs.

 
 
 
MoSinging1986: Scully - scoremosinging1986 on October 11th, 2016 07:26 pm (UTC)
OOO, colonization! I've never heard of this one before. I will have to give it a try. (As soon as I put it on my ereader!)

Oh, bummer. The FF.net phone app Search feature is USELESS! It's not finding the story, even though the link on the computer works fine.

And on the site itself, isn't there any way to view more than one chapter at a time, in order to save the whole story in one shot? This thing as 44 chapters! It'll take forever to save chapters one by one!

Bah!

Edited at 2016-10-11 11:00 pm (UTC)
All the letters I can write: I'm meltingwendelah1 on October 12th, 2016 01:40 am (UTC)
I wish I could help you. I only read fic on a computer. At FF.net, I don't see a way to view the entire story the way there is at AO3. You can play with the font, width, etc. but not what you need.

You could leave Lamia a comment and ask her to post it at AO3 if that's easier for you and other people who read on alternate devices. It's worth a shot.
MoSinging1986: Mulder - that's so crazymosinging1986 on October 12th, 2016 02:33 am (UTC)
I'll figure it out, thanks. I used to read long fics on the computer. But these days my eyes can't take it.

If I can just find it on the phone app, that would be perfect. Weirdness!
(Anonymous) on October 12th, 2016 07:54 pm (UTC)
I've been a lurker here for years, no live journal account, not much of a poster on any board. But I'm definitely a reader, and just wanted to share that the story is available at AO3 but the author has a different name there.

It's under author name bluelamia, and this is the link.

http://archiveofourown.org/works/8147528/chapters/18672257

I've read some of it, and it's well written. Hope to finish it eventually -- it's long!

JF
All the letters I can writewendelah1 on January 11th, 2017 06:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm sorry I didn't see this at the time. Your comment went into the spam folder with the porn blogs because of the helpful link. The LJ spambot killer can't tell the difference. I will edit this into the post immediately.
zinnia03: Halloweenzinnia03 on October 14th, 2016 10:20 pm (UTC)
I'm working on it, but it's loooooong. :-)

Enjoying it so far. Up to about Ch. 17.
All the letters I can writewendelah1 on October 16th, 2016 05:16 pm (UTC)
It is long but I thought it was a pretty fast read, all in all.
zinnia03: Halloweenzinnia03 on October 16th, 2016 02:32 am (UTC)
My thoughts (spoilers if you haven't read)
Finished it! I liked it very much. I was on the edge of my seat a couple of times; there were a few good twists in it. Of course, I'm not the best at figuring things out ahead of time -- I caught a few things but my tendency is to let the story sort of flow over me unless it's something really obvious.

I liked that the author stuck to one POV. We only get to know what Liam knows and it's kind of a fresh take on M&S and other familiar characters.

I felt there was a good use of known characters - especially Gibson - and some good original ones. Liam's adoptive parents are handled well. Having Esther Nairn as Mulder "informant" was a very cool idea.

There were a couple of opportunities (or maybe red herrings) that were not completely explored, such as the "flu" that went around the compound, and a somewhat thrown away remark that people who got the virus that turned them into super-soldiers would not realize that it was anything other than the flu until it was too late. I think it might have been interesting for that to go a little farther.

How the invasion played out was pretty good, and I wasn't certain of the outcome -- though I had the sense that this author wasn't going to turn it into something too bleak, I wasn't certain who would survive.

All in all I would call it an absorbing read. I left a review on FF.net and already got a PM from the author, which was very nice. I can't PM her back yet because I just got a new account but I will respond to some of the things she said in response to my review, which were very interesting.
All the letters I can writewendelah1 on October 16th, 2016 06:05 pm (UTC)
Re: My thoughts (spoilers if you haven't read)
I liked that the author stuck to Liam's POV, too, although there were a couple of times where I wished she'd trusted the reader more and hadn't had Liam spend so much time lurking about eavesdropping. I've only read the first two sections twice, and section three once all the way through so I'd have to go back in order to find those sections.

Was it entirely third person limited or did she occasionally switch to omniscient? The use of similes and metaphors suggests she must be switching because no eleven-year-old boy, no matter how special, would think something like this scene from chapter three where Liam and Mulder are breaking into the house in Wamsutter:

"Like a bucket of icy lake water tipped over his head, Liam remembered where he was."

He's not just waking up--he's wide awake, standing in the threshold, and the writer wants us to think he's literally forgotten what's happening? That simile can't be in his brain, that's got to be the author, right? How can we believe for one second that any child could forget he and his parents been held at gunpoint and kidnapped. Come on. There are other scenes like that which stretch credulity past the breaking point for me. I don't understand what the purpose of this brief bout of denial is in the narrative either.

I didn't pick up on Esther being Esther Nairn, and the source of the mysterious messages, the first time around but yes, that was very cool. Did Lamia mean us to think that somehow Gibson had also been uploaded into the net, too? It wasn't clear to me. I also wondered what would happen to her consciousness if everything electrical was fried by nuclear weapons being exploded into the atmosphere the way a lot apocalyptic novels begin. But that wasn't the premise in this case, so it didn't matter.

I wondered about that flu, too. It did feel like a dropped plot thread, didn't it? I have to go back and reread that section but it does get mentioned on and off during the story.

I also wondered about the fate of the super soldiers and of the little girl who went missing from her parents.

"I will find you, Eliie, I will."

Maybe Lamia was setting up the possibility, though not the necessity, of a sequel with that somewhat ambiguous ending. If there is supposed to be a parallel being drawn between Mulder's search for his sister and Liam's future search for Ellie, I am not buying it. The emotional connection between Liam and Ellie seems much more tenuous to me. Mulder felt irrationally responsible for what happened to Samantha, but she was his younger sister, and his parents did seem to focus blame on him. Why would Liam feel responsible for Ellie? His parents wouldn't blame him nor would hers. It feels forced and artificial. Maybe more time should have been spent on Liam's connection to her. Should we know who she is? Did she and her parents already appeared in canon in season eight or nine? Or is she an OC?

I haven't left feedback on the third part yet. I need to go back and reread the entire thing first.

I agree that it was an absorbing read. I wanted to know what was going to happen next after every chapter. That cliffhanger at the end of part two where Liam gets abducted was terrific even though I kinda saw that one coming.

Edited at 2016-10-16 06:07 pm (UTC)
zinnia03: Halloweenzinnia03 on October 17th, 2016 09:33 pm (UTC)
Re: My thoughts (spoilers if you haven't read)
Was it entirely third person limited or did she occasionally switch to omniscient?

I'll concede the point. I'm an emotional reader first and a critical reader second, though I do tend to notice typos and horrible grammar! I've only read it through once so far, though I expect I'll revisit it.

Did Lamia mean us to think that somehow Gibson had also been uploaded into the net, too? It wasn't clear to me.

I think so. Not sure how it was achieved via being "absorbed" into the ship, but maybe Esther somehow had a hand in it. Maybe the nanocites allowed him to be connected in some way.

I also wondered about the fate of the super soldiers and of the little girl who went missing from her parents.

"I will find you, Eliie, I will."


I don't think Ellie or her parents are from anywhere in the series. I confess I didn't like her much -- she seemed like a little bit of a vehicle for Liam to be "bad" since she was much less concerned about obeying the rules than Liam was. Maybe everyone needs permission to act out now and then. I thought maybe Lamia was gearing up for a sequel but when she PM'd me (and from her notes at the end of the story), she indicated that she was pretty much done with the fandom. I kind of hope not -- I'd like to see more of her writing.

I do wonder about the super soldiers' fates. It seems that Doggett is trying to overcome his infection and he had help with the anti-virals I guess, but it wasn't clear that the other soldiers had that benefit -- though I guess some could have been infected by the super soldier who was helping Liam on the ship?

It sounds like if Liam decided to, he could summon and command the SS that were released when he did what he did on the ship.

Speaking of, another thread is Jeremiah Smith going to the other ships and trying to free his brethren. One wonders if it would be noticeable one way or the other on Earth -- or it it matters. Since the people on Earth are now perhaps more trouble than they are worth, and the impression I have is the millenia they spent trying to "cultivate" people might be an eyeblink to them, maybe it doesn't matter to them. Easy pickings, great. If not, let's move on, shall we?

I did enjoy the very tense exchange when Gibson was trying to read Jeremiah, and Jeremiah's rather chilling description of the "little gods" and the fact that not only do they not understand people on Earth, they don't really care. I see a little bit of a parallel with Liam's musings about the farm and the "use" of animals there and the need for some of them to die for the benefit or others (or for the humans). Not a perfect parallel, but it does appear that the Grays (and maybe most aliens in most scifi stories and movies) think of Earthlings as chattel and beneath notice as sentient beings. Just resources to be used.

The idea of the grays searching for something that they've lost, and the hope that Liam can help them -- and his sympathy for that when he understands -- was also an interesting thought. I need to think more on that, though, and maybe read that passage again.

Edited at 2016-10-17 09:35 pm (UTC)
bmerb on October 26th, 2016 01:03 am (UTC)
RE: Re: My thoughts (spoilers if you haven't read)
I think there are better reviews here than I'm going to manage, but I certainly did find the story gripping and wanted to keep reading at the end of each chapter. I really enjoyed the way Liam's parents were handled. No dumping the adoptive family, no emotionally suddenly replacing them with M&S. That read as realistic to me, and writing I enjoyed. I too didn't much care for Ellie, and honestly it seems like Gibson noted that in many ways Liam didn't care much for her either. I also don't totally buy the Liam-will-now-quest-for-Ellie thing either.

That said, it seems like the Ellie plot line is/was ripe for further exploration. Sure seemed like they were inside that buried ship with the infectious black oil crawling all over them. Ok sure it leaves Liam alone since he is (maybe??) considered one of them, the grays, somehow, as well as the SS commander (SS? Very nazi reminiscent). BUT. Ellie had the oily goop all over her face and screamed and then went totally silent, then acted "normal." And then disappeared later. I'm highly suspicious of either implied oilien takeover or, well, just a dropped thread.

I think maybe I got a little lost or confused about the last few chapters, but overall I really was taken into the whole story and enjoyed how it unfolded. I'll admit to getting pulled out of the story more and more as it went along by UK English phrasing, and ironically I haven't found that an issue in other fics where other readers have commented. Not sure if I was just being picky or what... Maybe I just found it hard to stay in the voice of a 10/11 yr old Wyoming farm kid using British English
Alleyalleynyc on December 4th, 2016 04:02 am (UTC)
Weighing in months late as usual. I'm at chapter 14 and losing interest but based on your reviews I'll keep going. Hope all are well!
All the letters I can writewendelah1 on December 5th, 2016 05:57 am (UTC)
I'm well. My husband is recovering from pneumonia, however.
(Anonymous) on December 5th, 2016 04:24 am (UTC)
Review of the Lambs by So Kiss Me Goodbye
I loved this story because of its drama and action. I am also a sucker for really good "William" stories which help me deal with the poor treatment of his storyline by CC. The William POV gave this story a different perspective. At times it read like an action movie. Despite it being a WIP for such a long time, I found it engrossing and hoped eventually it would have a satisfying ending and it did not disappoint. There were still some unanswered questions or situations I did not completely understand which was probably a result of the story being a WIP so it lost some continuity. Overall I was satisfied with the ending of this story and give kudos to the author for completing it and attempting to tie up all loose ends.

Speaking of William stories, there are a few I would like to nominate. How do I do that?
MGM
All the letters I can writewendelah1 on December 5th, 2016 05:57 am (UTC)
Re: Review of the Lambs by So Kiss Me Goodbye
Welcome. You can sign in with Twitter or Facebook or make a LJ account to jparticipate. If you join the community, your comments post unscreened, but whatever makes you comfortable is fine with me. If you decide to join, send me a private message so I know who you are.

You can post your nomination in the nomination queue: http://xf-book-club.livejournal.com/689.html.

I agree with you. The story was successful, apart from a few continuity issues. It did leave some loose ends, what with Liam vowing to find Ellie, and Jeremiah Smith trying to free his people, and oh yes, those pesky, nearly immortal supersoldiers.

I'd hoped she had a sequel planned but I heard somewhere that she was done with the fandom. You never know with TXF writers.