Transcript: Track 1: Canon fics
Episode 1 posted September 18, 2020
Transcript by EllenofOz
Links to all fics mentioned can be found on the main episode post.
Ellen: Okay, let’s do this!
Ellen: Hi everyone, and welcome to the very first episode of the Mixtape Book Club Podcast. My name’s Ellen. You might know me around the fandom as EllenOfOz. And I’m really pleased to introduce my cohost for the show, MalMuses!
Mal: Hello! I’m Mal. You may have seen me floating around the fandom as MalMuses.
Ellen: We are both huge Supernatural fans, but we’re also fans of fanfiction relating to the show, especially involving the relationship between Dean Winchester and Castiel, otherwise known as Destiel, obviously. If you’re listening to this podcast you’re probably already aware of that! But maybe first, before we start getting into what we’re gonna talk about, we should introduce ourselves and how we relate to our fandom. Mal, do you want to talk about how you came to the fandom?
Mal: Sure! I came to the fandom a little later than most people, I think. It was around the end of season 9. I just remember seeing on TV those shocking moments where we saw Dean wake up as Demon Dean.
Ellen: Oh, yeah!
Mal: And that totally gripped me. I had never been interested in the show before that. So I went on YouTube and started looking up edits, and got everything a little bit backwards, really. Because I was looking at all these really great DeanCas edits— I had never seen the show, so I may have been slightly confused and disappointed when I started watching it and they weren’t the explicit, canon couple that I assumed they were! [laughs]
Ellen: Much to everyone’s sadness.
Mal: Luckily fanfic was there to save me [laughs]
Ellen: Yeah! Awesome. Well, I have a similar kind of a story to that. I was actually probably a couple of years after that—I didn’t start watching it until I think… season 12 was airing. So it’s only been a few years for me, but I didn’t start with the shipping stuff until… I was probably halfway through my binge, and then I went on Pinterest and I saw a bunch of DeanCas edits, as you did, and then I was like, hang on, wait a minute, do they get together at some point? And then I watched the rest of my binge and I’m like, no, they don’t. But anyway [laughter], at the end of that, I started listening to… actually, I got into podcasts—The Road So Far Podcast. I got into the community that was built up around that podcast and they introduced me to fanfic. So I wasn’t really aware of fanfic before that, but then I felt like a new world…many worlds had opened up out of this one world that I knew. And it was all downhill from there, really.
Mal: So both Ellen and I do write our own fics, but we are not here to talk about those. We are here to talk about other people’s stories in the fandom, of which there are many. As of August 2020 there are nearly 230 thousand works of Supernatural fanfiction on Archive of Our Own (ao3) which is probably the biggest fanfiction site these days. By no means the only one, but certainly I think the most popular one. And of those, nearly 88 thousand of them are tagged as the Castiel and Dean pairing, which is about 38% of them. It’s the biggest ship there is represented within the fandom, the second being Wincest at 12% and Sabriel at 6%.
Ellen: There are plenty of other ships too, but the Destiel pairing is the most popular out of all of them.
Mal: And there are actually, even now, still new ships within the fandom turning up all the time. Like recently there has been a lot of Adam/Michael fics turning up, which is something we hadn’t necessarily seen so much of until the last season.
Ellen: Yes! But we’re pretty much going to focus entirely on fics that are tagged as Destiel. Because they’re our OTP and we love them. In our fandom, we’re blessed with some truly brilliant writers, and we are never going to be able to get through all of the fanfics that are in that 38% of the Supernatural works, but we’re gonna do our best. So in effect, this podcast is gonna be our mixtape of some of our favourite Destiel works that we’re going to share with you guys.
Mal: So we’re going to be discussing fic of all types, all genres and all ratings, so we’re definitely going to be discussing adult topics and probably swearing at times, so if you’re under 18 and listening, we can’t, or we won’t tell you not to listen or read, but please take what you read in fanfic with a grain of salt. And if there’s something you (read or) hear us talking about that you don’t understand, please be careful of what you read on the internet. Perhaps ask a trusted human being adult rather than purely relying on what you see in fanfic.
Ellen: And we’re going to invite some guests along to speak with us, some authors, some friends of ours, some people the fandom would like to hear from. We’re going to recommend some fic to you, and celebrate it. We may talk about spoilers in relation to fics, but we’re always gonna warn you if we’re going to talk about spoilers. We’re not going to trash any particular fic ever—we’re going to be positive in our reviews.
Mal: In addition to talking about reading fic, we’ll also sometimes be discussing a whole list of topics to help writers out too. So you can stay tuned for those.
Ellen: And yeah, with the writer topics too, we’d love to hear from you what you’d like us to talk about in relation to writing fic, as well as…we’d love to hear your suggestions for favourite fics that you’d like us to talk about, too. As we mentioned before, we’re going to talk about different tropes and genres, so as they come up each week we’ll be asking probably for suggestions and things that you guys would like to hear about too. So you can email us suggestions—we’ve got… firstname.lastname@example.org is our email address, or we’ve got all of our social media accounts too, so you can get in touch with us lots of different ways. But we’ll cover all of that… You can go to our website and see all of that if you’d like to get in touch with us, the website is mixtapebookclub.com
In this episode, the first episode, we’ve decided for our first topic, our first trope, I guess, that we’re going to discuss…it’s not really a trope, it’s more of a genre, right? I dunno.
Mal: Yeah, I’d say it was a genre.
Ellen: We’re gonna talk about canon fics.
Mal: On this day, September 18th, twelve years ago, Castiel walked into a barn and into our hearts. With fifteen years of material to draw from, twelve of them including Castiel, there’s plenty of opportunity to expand or alter canon events. Destiel is such a long-running non-canon ship, and yet it has so much romantic coding that it’s fuelled this huge volume of fanworks dedicated to it.
Ellen: It has fueled so many fanworks and even right from the very beginning. Like the earliest Destiel fics were pretty much the day following the airing of “Lazarus Rising”. [laughs] The popularity of the ship we firmly believe is owed to the way that the characters have been played by Mr Jensen Ackles and Misha Collins. They did get that best chemistry award for a reason, and maybe not so much at the start, but the writers have leaned into that as the years have gone on. They’ve added more and more tropes that we would perceive as being romantic. And in the last few seasons they really do have that “old married couple” kind of vibe, don’t you think?
Mal: Yeah, and that’s some of my favourite Destiel, the old married couple bickering, the looks, the side-eyes, it’s quality content. I love it.
Ellen: Yes! And I think for that reason, a lot of people already consider them as being canon. Whatever your reading on their relationship, they have a very deep love for each other. They’re always worried about the other one, and… you know, they’ll die for each other, basically. They already have, multiple times. So, their relationship is definitely problematic, they don’t communicate terribly well, they do stuff to protect the other one without their consent, but in the end there are a lot of people out there who really believe that they have a romantic relationship as well.
Mal: Yeah. There are so many romance tropes worked into their relationship in the show. For example, the mixtape. One of the most romantic things you can do for somebody is to make them a mixtape, especially someone from Dean’s era, I think. Someone of his age would immediately recognise that as a romantic gesture. So to give someone a precious gift like that that’s been sitting around in a box in your car for years—a lot of people would say there’s only one way to read that.
Ellen: Uh huh. Hence why we decided to adopt it for the name of our podcast. [laughs] So, the characters themselves in canon… Obviously they’ve both got a boatload of issues [laughs] We’ve got daddy type issues, then we’ve got the really popular reading of Dean as being a repressed bisexual. He’s always hooking up with women—well, not so much anymore, but in the past he hooked up with a lot of women on their travels around the country, but he has been pretty much canonically shown to be at least very flustered by certain men, and obviously that’s where we get our ship from. In fics he… he generally realises at some point in each fic that he’s in love with Cas, or he has been for years already and he has to work through whatever obstacles are in the way, in canon fics especially, in order to work through his mental blocks or whatever, something that’s preventing him from confessing his love for Cas.
Mal: So Cas, likewise, is shown as being in love with Dean, but he’s either confused about his non-angelic feelings, or he feels that he’s not worthy of being loved by Dean, which is often tied into his own self-worth issues and struggles and his overall arc of trying to find a place and a family, and having been kicked out of Heaven, and falling. It gets all kind of tangled up with his relationship with Dean. So the Dean/Cas relationship is often a microcosm of their greater arcs, condensed down to this relationship that they have. And I think Cas has a real problem with being seen as “useful”, as just a tool to Dean and Sam. So when he’s not being useful he doesn’t see his relevance to them, which obviously has a huge influence on his relationship with Dean in canon fics.
Ellen: Something I really love about… A lot of people portray Cas as agender, like he’s a divine, celestial being of light or however he’s described, I’ve forgotten those actual words now.
Mal: Yeah. So he’s not human.
Ellen: He’s not human and he doesn’t identify as a man even though he’s in Jimmy’s body, which now belongs to him. And that means he’s not worried about sexuality at all, ever, but he’s just… he’s just focused on Dean. He just loves Dean. [laughter]
Mal: He’s very Dean-centric. That also makes Cas really good representation for a lot of people in the fandom who really don’t see any kind of representation on-screen up until this point. Of any kind of being to whom gender simply does not apply.
Ellen: We should also mention at this point… We haven’t mentioned Sam yet. We love Sam! I think there are a certain number of people out there in the fandom who don’t want Sam to be around when they’re talking about Destiel, but we love Sam. I’m extremely happy for him to be included in any and all fic that involve Destiel, in fact especially in canon fic, he’s gotta be there. He’s usually the long-suffering brother who needs brain bleach and who’s the one who can see they’re in love, even when they can’t. [laugh]
Mal: We all love a bit of Shipper Sam, I think. Although I’m quite fond of a bit of completely oblivious Sam as well. That’s a different kind of take on Sam that I find very entertaining.
Ellen: Yeah, especially when it all suddenly clicks into place, right?
Mal: Yeah! It’s great. To me, even though Destiel is about Dean and Cas, there is no Destiel without Sam. Like he has to be there, for me. He’s just too much a part of both of their stories to not be included, in my opinion.
Ellen: Yeah, absolutely. I know there are some AUs around where there’s not really a part for him in there, and that’s fine, a lot of those stories are brilliant, but when we’re talking about canon fics especially, he’s gotta be there. He’s a big part of their found family situation anyway, and if he’s not there, there’s something missing.
Mal: Exactly! Somebody has to solve the case while those two idiots are getting their shit together, right?
Ellen: So I guess we need to define what actually is “canon”.
Mal: Yes. What is a canon fic? I suppose the immediate, literal definition is simply that… canon obviously is anything that happens within the show itself, but I think there are some subcategories of canon fic. You have canon fix-it fics, where people are either changing something they didn’t like how the show did it, giving us an alternative way of looking at it, or they’re taking something that happened in the show and making it Destiel, essentially. Then I think there’s also canon-divergent fics, where things will be exactly the same as they were in the show up to a point, and then people will take us off on a different journey, with a different plot working in that ship they love. And then I think there’s a third smaller category, which is maybe something we can look at later on down the line as a separate category, which would be post-canon fics, I would say, which can actually sometimes read a little bit more like AUs I find, depending on which aspects people are including. It’s basically anything that happens in the future after the show has ended.
Ellen: And I’m sure that’ll be coming up very soon. Like, within a few months. [laughter] We’ll have to do another episode where we talk about that.
Mal: There are a lot of those out there.
Ellen: But when the whole show finishes, then everyone will have to jump on and fix whatever they didn’t like about the ending, right?
Mal: Yeah, that’s essentially our job as fanfic writers now, right?
Ellen: Yep, yep. Fix up all the problems. I guess the other thing I love about canon fics, and that I love to do while writing them as well, is to work out what happened in between gaps in episodes. Like even to make everything the same as what’s in the episode, but just to shove in an extra scene where something may happen with our characters that we don’t see on screen but we think may have happened.
Mal: Yes, the famous “fanfic gaps”.
Ellen: Yeah, that we’ve been blessed with so many of in the show. It makes our job easy. [laughter] Anyway, so we’ve got two canon fics that we have read. You said you’ve read them both before, is that right?
Mal: Yeah, a very long time ago. I think these were some of my first fics when I came into the fandom. They were already there, I think. So they already existed and certainly were some of the ones when I was searching out things to quench my DeanCas thirst, when I first started following. They were some of the first ones to come up and, more importantly, they were the ones that stuck in my mind all this time.
Ellen: So the first one we might have a chat about is called A Turn of the Earth by mishcollin (now called microcomets). This one, like you said, was published in 2015, so it’s a few years old now. But it’s 95 thousand words so a middle kind of length, a nice length for getting into the feels, and rated M. So I’ll just read out the summary and then we can have a chat about it:
Dean’s your typical half-orphaned, monster-killing 22-year-old until a trenchcoated stranger crashes into his back windshield one September night, claiming he’s an angel that knows him from the future and that he’s on the run.
(Or, in which Castiel gets stuck in Dean’s timeline preseries and Dean kind of hates it—until he doesn’t.)
Ellen: So this is Castiel travelling through time back to pre-season one. He basically crashes into the Impala when Dean’s driving along [laughs]
Mal: Very literally, like that’s how the fic opens, you’ve got an angel falling out of the sky.
Ellen: Yup, and Dean’s like, “What the hell is going on here?” And it all pretty much goes downhill from there. [laughter]
Mal: So one of the things I thought was most interesting about this particular fic is that although…obviously the Castiel in this is the Castiel we know, and comes from the timeline we’re used to, it is actually starting us off in the past, pre-series with a Dean that’s the same, but also a little bit different.
Ellen: It’s entirely from Dean’s point of view, right? So Cas can’t tell him anything, because he knows that if he tells Dean anything about what’s going to happen in the future, it could change everything. Something is chasing him, and it’s basically eating time, and eventually he knows he’s going to be gone and he’ll never have existed. Dean is falling in love with him anyway as he comes in and out because he keeps disappearing and coming back. So it’s a really interesting take on Dean, I guess in his early twenties. You know, his dad’s not always around, Sam’s gone to college, so it’s around that time period.
Mal: Yeah, and I think a lot of the stuff Dean’s got going on at the time like you said with his dad not being around as much, and Sam being away, and also this whole concept of Castiel running out of time, so each time he crashes into Dean’s life, sometimes quite literally, he’s on a clock that’s ticking down and he knows that when he reaches the present once more he will no longer be around. And it could be quite a depressing concept [laughs], but somehow the fic avoids that.
Ellen: But it is at times.
Mal: It is, and it has moments when they do kind of address that, and look at it, but I still feel like as a whole I found the fic more heartwarming, than depressing by the time you got through it.
Ellen: I mean there were a couple of chapters there in the middle where…Dean is alone for a lot of the time, hunting on his own. So he does seem very depressed during a lot of it. And then obviously really happy to see Cas when he does arrive. I dunno, it gets pretty angsty in the middle there.
Mal: It does.
Ellen: The time travel thing I thought was brilliant. I thought that was really well done. It did diverge at the end, like it wasn’t true canon at the end, so…
Mal: Yeah, like when it hits modern times, I guess, modern times for when the fic was written, so I think that was 2007, 2008, when they started to have him come back, that’s kind of our last date reference point in the fic, and then when he started coming back at those points his visits were getting shorter and more frantic. I actually feel like they represented that quite well in the story. Like the way they were writing it made it feel kind of chaotic and confusing, and you were seeing it as Dean saw it.
Ellen: Yeah, I thought that was really good.
Mal: So I quite liked how they did that.
Ellen: And Dean’s characterisation was great, like he was just completely confused by the whole thing all of the time [laughs]. But he gets the picture, like he knows what’s going on after a while, like he’s smart about it.
Mal: It takes him a little while, though, to get on board with the whole angel thing, the coming from the future thing.
Ellen: Well this is the first time he knows anything about angels, so at first he’s just like, “What do you mean, you’re an angel?” But I did love that when he got in touch with Bobby, and Bobby was working out that he was an angel, and Bobby was like, “Yeah, he’s an angel,” and Dean was all “What’re you talking about? There’s no such thing as angels!” You know? Bobby was on board before Dean was, I think.
Mal: Yeah, and I feel like there was some really good moments of reflecting the canon show, there, where Bobby had all of his angel research, and they were going through it way back when Cas first crashed onto our screens.
Mal: I think this fic’s actually a really good example of, dare I say it, one of the most common tags that we have in Destiel which is “John Winchester’s A+ parenting”.
Ellen: Ah yeah.
Mal: It’s not a universally loved tag. I know that some people fall on the other side of things and they object to it, but I do think it’s one of the most popular tags that you’ll see in Destiel fic in general, and we definitely see some interesting sides to early John, who’s obviously still very much suffering from losing his wife and not dealing with it well in this.
Ellen: That’s right. He’s not in it that much, right? Like he’s mostly just absent. That’s the whole problem.
Mal: He’s mostly absent. Most of what we see of John is actually through Dean’s side of things, so through Dean examining his absence, we actually learn quite a bit about John that way, about how, no matter what, Dean still respects him, but at the same time I think there’s a level of respectful fear there in Dean that we see. Which is quite common in John Winchester’s A+ parenting fics, but I think it was done quite well in this one. At one point they do fight physically. Well I say fight physically, there’s not a lot of fighting going on. Dean does not fight back. But I think it’s really interesting that we don’t see a lot of John but we have a lot of Dean thinking about John and even though he’s not there, he’s still influencing Dean’s actions quite a bit.
Ellen: Yeah. Which is part of Dean’s character growth in the canon show, to be honest. Like from the beginning, to where he is now, I guess, he’s grown past what his father thought of him and that early period is reflected really well here, I thought.
Mal: Yeah, I think it does a really good job of that. It’s interesting to see that, obviously as far as Dean in this story is concerned, Cas has never met his dad, doesn’t know anything about him, but obviously canon Cas knows quite a lot about John Winchester. So it’s this kind of interesting change between the two of them where Cas goes back and seems to instantly dislike this man. Where as far as Dean is concerned, he doesn’t know him at all.
Ellen: Yep, yep. Actually I loved that scene. But we won’t give any spoilers for what happens in that part, because it’s worth reading. [laughs]
Mal: Yeah, it’s great [laughs]
Ellen: So that’s the first fic. I guess we’ll go onto the second one now.
Ellen: The Story of You and Me by the_diggler. This one’s a bit older—it was published way back in 2013, so that’s…I’m gonna say season 9? No, no, I shouldn’t say that, I’ll have to look that up [laughter]. So it’s a bit older. It’s only 55 thousand words so it’s a nice easy read for a night or two, whatever. This one’s actually rated E. You were saying earlier that even though… Like I can’t remember how the sex scene parts are in A Turn of the Earth but it’s only rated M, and yet they do actually have a sex scene.
Mal: Yeah, they have a couple of different… how shall we phrase this? A couple of different activities that occur within that sex scene and I feel like by modern fandom standards, that would be an explicit fic. But that can be a matter of opinion. Like what do you call Mature, and what do you call Explicit? I think by my personal standards I think that A Turn of the Earth would be an explicit fic, ‘cause they are quite blunt about what parts are going where, and who they belong to, and what they’re doing to ‘em. [laughter] So…
Ellen: That would be like a whole other episode if we started talking about… [laughter]
Mel: It would. Which hey, table that one. Could be a good idea!
Ellen: Okay, we’d better write that down! Send us suggestions! No, no.
Ellen: Okay, so The Story of You and Me is our next fic and it is rated Explicit. This one’s a little… it’s a different take on a canon fic in that it involves a djinn. I think a lot of djinn dream fics tend to be more… almost AU-type stories anyway… for part of them at least, because the characters are going into another reality for a little while. But anyway, we’ll class it as canon. So I guess the summary is:
Dean wakes up in bed next to a very human Castiel, and a journal in his own handwriting that tells him it’s two years in the future. The house looks a lot like Bobby’s, and Sam lives there too… He just can’t remember how they got from angels falling in the sky (there you go, so it’s season eight? nine?) – to comfortable domesticity.
While there is much in the journal Dean doesn’t remember, there is much of their story he’s always known. And as he settles into the routine of his new life and relationship with Castiel, it quickly becomes something he doesn’t know how to live without.
Ellen: So, what did you think of this one? You’ve read this one before, as well?
Mal: I did. I read this a long, long time ago and I didn’t recall that much of it. I’ve read so many, many fics over the years that some of them just get crowded out of my brain, I think. But as soon as I picked this one up and started reading again, I was like “Oh, yes, this is it. I remember this.” And I actually ended up reading this one two, two and a half times while we were thinking up this episode. I read it through once, and then, without giving any spoilers, necessarily, I think it’s definitely the type of fic that benefits from being read twice, because there’s so much that you don’t see from Dean’s point of view that suddenly becomes clear at the end. And then it’s very clever how it’s done that you can go back and read it with that new knowledge and everything is…everything is so different.
Ellen: Right, okay. I might have to go back and read it again, then!
Mal: Yeah! It’s really clever how the author did conversations between Cas and Dean that you think mean one thing or can be interpreted one way, and then once you’ve finished the fic, and I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say it’s a djinn fic at all, that’s kind of the appeal of it, really, but once it’s revealed that this is that kind of reality if you go back again and look, you realise that sometimes a lot of what was being said could be interpreted slightly different by Cas than it could be by Dean.
Ellen: Yep, I see what you mean. So I guess this is different to some djinn fics in that, rather than going into some kind of AU, he thinks he’s jumped into the future of the canon world, I guess, just a few years in the future where apparently they’ve stopped hunting and settled down, and he’s with Cas, and everything is so perfect. So if you started reading this fic and you read the tags so you knew this was a djinn fic, or you’re listening to this and I just told you that it was, you start thinking, “Hang on, this is too perfect” [laughter] There’s like this escalating kind of anxiety as you read on, because you know that soon, something’s gonna go wrong!
Mal: Yep, you’re halfway through the fic and you’ve got that rising tension and you’re like “oh, this is too happy, something’s gonna go horribly wrong.”
Ellen: Yeah, and it is so happy, like when they’re all happy it’s just so good. It’s very fluffy. [laughter] In the first part, anyway, until the wheels start coming off a little bit. But yeah, I thought the tension that was created through that was really really good.
Mal: I think it was a really clever choice to have it be so perfect, because we kind of assume that with djinn realities there’s gonna be something slightly wrong, like some kind of clue that things aren’t right, aren’t how they’re meant to be…
Ellen: Like in the episode where they had… oh, I’ve forgotten the name of the episode now—it’s like in season 3 or whatever when Dean goes into that…and he knows, like something makes him click, something was wrong, that’s not how it was supposed to be. But that doesn’t really happen in this one until…like everything’s perfect for so long and it’s not until much later that anything twigs him off as being not quite right.
Mal: Yeah, and I think in most cases, the reader is going to pick up on it slightly before Dean does, just because Dean does start… it’s probably in the tags so it’s fine… Dean does start having these nightmares which, within his reality, he believes are nightmares of Purgatory. Turns out to not quite be the case.
Ellen: I liked how Sam got an original character to be his perfect lady. She was pretty cool. And Dean liked her.
Mal: She was. She was a good character in her own right, which not every author enjoys or is good at working with original characters within the world. But I think Brenda, I think her name is? Is actually very likeable and we want her to end up with Sam, which is great. And I also think it was when Brenda arrived that my spidey senses started tingling with this fic, a little bit. ‘Cause I think the author is very clever in how they introduce characters. For example, when they’re talking about Brenda, when Dean first meets her, because obviously Dean believes that he has amnesia or something like that and can’t remember his life for the last two years, so he has to essentially be re-introduced to this character, and he thinks…there’s just a single line where he categorises her in his mind as a “blonde, Amazonian beauty”, and then thinks, “a bit like Jess.” At the time I didn’t register it until it cropped up again later, with a different character, but I think it’s really interesting how the author took these details, and you kinda get the impression that actually, these original characters that are being created are being created from Dean’s memories of other people.
Ellen: Yep. Yep.
Mal: Because there’s Brenda, there’s a guy who plays a part later where Dean is on a case, trying to hunt down something that doesn’t seem quite right, and he meets a guy and again, thinks “Oh, he reminds me of the ranger I met on the case where Pam died.”
Ellen: That’s right, yep.
Mal: So I just think those little details make this a really interesting and rich djinn world to me.
Ellen: Yeah, very clever. I’m gonna have to read it again, now. I don’t have time to read it again! There’s way too many fics to read! [laughter]
Mal: Do you find that you go back and reread old favourites, that…even though you know you’ve got a near-endless list of marked-for-later fics to get through, you still end up returning to those comfort fics.
Ellen: That’s what my bookmarks are for. If I love a story enough that I think I’m gonna want to come back to it, then it goes in the bookmarks.
Mal: There’s just so much to get through! So much to choose from.
Ellen: Yep. So I guess if you’re into canon fics—it’s not for everyone, a lot of people prefer to just stick with AU, which I find…When I first started reading fanfic I thought the idea of putting, like, characters that we knew into a different universe was just so foreign to me. I was like, “how can you write a whole story about these characters that we know, but in like, a coffee shop or whatever?” I just…my mind boggled when I thought about that. But then when I started reading some of them I realised that it’s the relationships and the situations that these characters get in that transplant really easily to other universes, funnily enough. Very weird.
Mal: Yeah, and it’s people giving themselves the things they won’t get to see.
Ellen: That’s right. I mean, I’m sure Dean goes to coffee shops often enough, but does he ever work in one? No! [laughter] Anyway…
Mal: But we would like to see it, okay?
Ellen: Absolutely. And we’d like to see that handsome, blue-eyed stranger walk in. So I guess if you do love canon fics and you want to read some more, we’ve only given you two here but there’s so, so many. I’m gonna put a big list of these on the website so you can have links to them too, but we might suggest a few extras as well. One of my favourite canon fics that I love to come back to is called Put Up Your Dukes, by saltyfeathers. It’s not a very long fic, it’s only just shorter than 40 thousand words, but it’s in the bunker, and I think it’s after Cas has fallen and he’s now human, but there’s a bit of tension between him and Dean when they’re sparring and they’re getting a bit hot and heavy in the gym, which apparently the bunker now has. I dunno if it actually has a gym, or they just made it up, but who knows? No one knows how big the bunker is really, do they?
Mal: I think the fandom decided a long time ago that the bunker is like the room of requirement, it has whatever you need it to have.
Ellen: Yeah, it’s like the TARDIS, it has any and all rooms inside it. And it’s like a really…it’s hot. It’s good. I like that one. It’s good to come back to. [laughs] So yeah. How about you? Which is one of your favourites?
Mal: I think one of the ones I want to shout out this time… If you like the sound of The Story of You and Me, so the story that it seems like it’s something else and then has that really good twist towards the end of it, I would love to recommend Cakepocalypse! by mittens, mittenwraith on ao3. I’m not gonna give you any spoilers for it, but if you like Dean and Cas, and you like baking, then it’s definitely a fic you should be reading. It keeps you going until the very last minute. It’s great.
Ellen: It does have some really delicious-sounding cake in it! I remember that.
Mal: I get hungry every time I read that fic [laughter]
Ellen: I’m not sure if she’s actually gone so far as to put recipes in there, but they do bake some very nice things.
Mal: Oh yeah. It’s delicious.
Ellen: I was gonna also mention a lot of canon fics are based around cases, just like an episode, i guess, and one of the case fics I really love is called The Tunnel of Love and it’s by xylodemon. It’s only a short fic again at 21 thousand words but they go on…I think it’s a haunted some kind of carnival ride…
Mal: Yes, I have read this one. It’s a haunted love boat.
Ellen: The tension between the two of them is just really good, it’s brilliant. It is really just like an episode but with extra DeanCas spice. [laughs] Any other ones you wanted to shout out?
Mal: Yep, I think it would be almost impossible to talk about canon fics without at least mentioning Northernsparrow. She writes primarily canon fics. I wouldn’t want to go on record to say she’s never written an AU. She’s written a story I know intersects with canon although is not necessarily set in the same world. But that’s as close as she’s come to a full AU that I am aware of. If I was to recommend one of her canon fics, it would be You Can Keep Holding On. It’s an incredibly popular fic in the fandom— destroys people on a regular basis. It is slightly longer, it’s about 350 thousand words, although it certainly does not feel that long while you’re reading it. [laughs] As soon as you get caught up in it, you are gone. It begins post-season after Amara disappeared and we got Mary back. There’s a slight change there in what happened in that scene and then we’re off into the future with an essentially human Castiel and Dean and Sam in the bunker. And that story is quite a ride.
Ellen: Bring tissues?
Mal: Plenty. Boxes and boxes of kleenex [laughs] But, putting it out there straight away, there is a happy ending to that fic, a very happy ending. But you gotta work for that one.
Ellen: Okay. Alright. It’s been on my list for such a long time. But it’s so long.
Mal: Aw, you have to read it. You must read it. It intersects with a few different tropes so maybe we’ll have to bring that one back a bit later so I can make you read it.
Ellen: Okay. I just wanted to mention one…A lot of my favourite type of canon writing is episode codas. So after an episode has aired, a bunch of writers will get on tumblr or wherever they write their short fic and either write a different ending to the episode or extra scenes at the end. I won’t shout out any of those in particular but what you can do after you’ve watched an episode–I mean I know there’s only a few episodes left to do this, but—if you’re interested in past episodes, you can get on tumblr and just search for the episode title, or just “15×10” if you want to find a particular episode. And you’ll find some really amazing… some of them are quite long, even, that people have written in like a few days after the episode aires, but often they’re quite short.
Mal: There’s some really talented and prolific coda writers in this fandom. Within hours, sometimes, something will crop up.
Ellen: Yeah, and you can search for coda in the tags on ao3 as well and you’ll find them.
Mal: Both of the fics we have read for this episode, so A Turn of the Earth and The Story of You and Me, they were both Dean Cas Big Bang fics, one of them from 2015 and one from 2013, so that means they both have really beautiful art pieces embedded within them, so they are definitely worth a look. If you think the fic might not be for you, but you want to see some really good Destiel art, both of these have examples for you.
Ellen: We’re so lucky in our fandom, we’ve got some brilliant authors, but also the artists. I have to say we’ve got some really, really talented artists in the fandom.
Mal: We are spoiled.
Ellen: We are. And We have to say a really big thank you to LizLee, who has created the logo for our podcast for us.
Mal: It’s beautiful! We love it!
Ellen: It’s so nice! Maybe we’ll have to get her on to talk to us about art at some point. We’ll see.
Ellen: So I guess those are the two fics we’re gonna talk about. I think we’re gonna try and get an episode out every two weeks. We’re not going to talk about a writing topic this week because we’ve done all our introductory stuff, but if you want to suggest us a writing topic to talk about, then you’re welcome to send us a message through any of our many channels of communication. I think in the next fortnight we’re gonna be talking about pining fics?
Mal: Yes, mutual pining fics, and we will have our first guest.
Ellen: So that’s all we’ve got for this episode. We hope you’ve enjoyed listening to us so far. We’ve got plenty more to talk about, as well as some cool little events we’ve got up our sleeves to have a go at in the future, but for now, you can contact us…we’ve got mixtapebookclub.com is our website, but we’re also on a bunch of different social media under mixtapebookclub. So feel free to get in touch with us and tell us what you think or send us suggestions on things you’d like us to talk about. We’d love to hear from you. So thank you for listening once again, and we’ll talk to you again soon!
Mal: And remember everybody, the story isn’t over until we say it is.