Welcome to my profile! I'm glad you've sought me out. You're probably here for one of two reasons. The first is that you're probably a reader, or former reader, of my work, and right now you must be asking, where are all your stories, Zad? What happened? Well, long story short, I just have not been happy with this website or how it's maintained. So, in a form of non-violent protest, I have opted to no longer post stories on this site. I may come back, but that's only if the admins ever start bothering to take care of the many, many glitches that occur on this site on a regular basis, and I don't mean their typical Band-Aid solutions. I want to see actual updates to this site that fix some of the problems.
But, I digress. If you still want to read my stories, you can find me on Archive of Our Own (AO3):
h t t p s : / / archiveofourown . org / users / Monstradamus / works
I will also occasionally post temporary stories for WA writing challenges. These stories will only remain on this site until the competition has been judged. They will then be moved to AO3 after.
The second reason you've probably come to this profile is probably less pleasant. You're angry about a review I've given you on behalf of the organization Critics United, of which I am a moderator. Please understand, I'm not here to be a "wannabe cop" or to ruin your fun. In fact, I'm on your side. Unfortunately, the admins of this site have laid out some rules that will likely never change in the future, and unless we as writers follow them, we will lose our stories. I don't like to see that happen. So, my comments are meant to be a warning to help you avoid that unpleasantness and maybe try and find a solution to the problem rather than being yet another victim who gets their stories deleted. Please, please, please feel free to ask me any questions regarding these reviews because I want to help you in any way I can.
There are also a select few of you who chose to use the review section on my stories as your personal message board to send me links to rule-violating stories. I have tolerated you up to a point. However, after talking it over with my fellow Critics United members, I realize that what you're doing is a huge insult to me and my work. If you have something to say about a story that violates the rules, it really isn't all that hard to get a throw-away email account and using it to review and use the Tipline on the Critics United forum like everyone else does. So, from here on out, I will no longer listen to your guest reviews if they contain a link to a story. They will be deleted post haste.
These are the reasons why I picked the stories that are on my favorites list. They are also ranked by what I consider my most favorite to the least.
1 - The Golden Voyage by TheGoldenVoyage - Finally an MTG work ends up on my favorites list, but it not only ends up on the list, it blows that list out of the water. This fic won me over in the very first chapter, something which has never happened, and that is the mark of a really great writer. Every sentence in this story is purposeful and gives incredible visuals for the already beautifully designed worlds of MTG. Golden captures the horrific mechanizations of the world of Phyrexia in a stunning display of excellent writing skills. It is at once apparent that the author is a gifted sentence crafter, and has been practicing for some time. My only disappointment is that they have not shared this gift sooner. I still find myself struggling to accept the older descriptions of magic portrayed in the earlier books (i.e. describing magic in terms of color), but I'm getting used to it, and it doesn't take away from this fic. WotC, if you are ever lurking around FFnet, you need to hire this author post haste!
2 - One Thing Leads to Another by katorgator - I believe kator has quite a bit of popularity in the Teen Titans fandom, so I think it goes without saying that this is a good read. For one, the characters feel real, more three-dimensional if you will. True, there are a few small moments where the characters feel a little OOC, but those are few and far between, and I'll forgive them for the sake of what the author was trying to accomplish; that relationships are hard work and never always easy. Second, this work addresses a few questions I've always had about addressing the tragic pasts of our heroes. Not only does kator keep to the pasts within the comic books, but deftly works them into the cannon of the TV show, which is not an easy task. I know I would never want to tackle it.
3 - The Measure of a Titan by General Havoc - While certainly lengthy, this story has warmed a soft spot in my heart. Right away, I can tell how much time and effort Havoc has put into this work. Their ability to enter the minds of each Titan true to form is not only a testament to their devotion as a fan, but also their skills as a writer. Conversations within this story are meaningful and really bring out the best in each Titan. Let's not forget the fantastic writing of their OC, Devastator. Devastator is not too much one way or the other, keeping them in that fine line between Mary Sue and Hood Ornament. Also, because of Devastator's existence, we get to see a new side to episodes we already know. It's not a rehashing that so many authors do that bores me to tears. It's actually a whole new perspective with distinct changes made because of the existence of their OC. Devastator is not some Mary Sue to come in and say all the lines and do all the stuff the other characters did, nor are they a house plant who just stands there and watches everything as we already saw it. Fantastic all the way around, and I highly recommend it.
4 - A Moment of Mercy by MissScorp - If I could give an award for this one, I'd give it a "best personification of death" award, if such existed. This story really took a new perspective on its fandom and really packed a lot of meaning behind that decision. Everything from the mythic references to the very strong narrator voice was just really well done. It's also one of the most creative ways I've seen a writer take on a WA challenge. I mean, I'm ashamed that one of my entries won against something as good as this. It really deserved so much more credit. But, of course, I shouldn't be surprised since MissScorp really is in a league of their own when it comes to their excellent writing skills.
5 - Mosaic by CrystalRei - I've gotten to where I really enjoy collections of one-shots, and this is one of the best I've read. Crystal excels at reader immersion and worldbuilding as these stories help add layers to the Pokemon universe. And don't get me wrong, bite-sized drabbles are fun to read, but these are meaty one-shots that really pack a punch. Even more exciting is that the majority of these stories focus on what happens after the games, which I don't see a lot of in this fandom. It looks at the after game story and picks apart some of the key components of the canon. You'll have to read them for yourself to understand.
6 - In Regret, Always by Igenlode Wordsmith - I don't know why, but I'm always drawn to the dark, nitty-gritty kinds of stories that just open up a wound and stick a finger in it. That sounds disgusting, but that's this kind of story, and it's wonderful for that reason. Every sentence Igenlode writes comes with purpose. Not a word is out of place. It's raw and bleak, yet it captures so many feelings at once. I never reallly thought I would like Phantom of the Opera fanfic just because I was satisfied with the story as it was, but between this and Shadowcrest's story, I'm starting to question that decision.
7 - And Justice For All by darkaccalia520 - I would first like to stress that I never expected to have a story I was fandom-blind to end up on my favorites list. While I know next to nothing about SeaQuest, I find myself pulled in further to this story the more I read. From the get-go, dark draws us in with the almost immediate death of one of the lead canon characters, and builds something much more complex from there. The amount of research that went into making the details of this story really shine shows as we read about the classified experiments of the UEO. Suspense is simply dripping from this story as each chapter makes us question who's really the villain and makes us wonder when the crew of the SeaQuest is going to figure it out. It was all the double-crossing in chapter 13 that earned this story a spot on my favorites list.
8 - Well Spent in Lankhmar by VStarTraveler - I was truly pleased when VStar introduced me to this fandom. Never before have I seen a high fantasy of this caliber before. And if VStar is really doing this fandom justice, then I look forward to reading it for myself. The stories evoke memories of Arthurian legends, Norse myths, and fairy tales all rolled into one. The odd-couple opposites of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser are a fantastic blend on an old cliche. And the adventures they go through are nothing short of fun and exciting. This fic in particular really got several chuckles out of me as it presents a rather humorous tale, not all that unfamiliar from stories I know about the Norse gods Loki and Thor and their antics. I highly recommend any of VStar's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser tales.
9 - Of Love and Flowers by ArkTaisch - Yet another WA challenge piece, and actually the winner of the challenge, makes its way onto this list. Ark is a kindred spirit in their love of mythology, and it clearly shows in this fic. Each segment reads like a little mini-myth, all strung together in one narrative to tell a story about true love and what some would do to have it. At the same time, they have a very clear sense of how myth and folktale represent the inner workings of the psyche, and in this case, showcase the Cupid and Psyche element of facing the unknown. There are not enough words to describe just how pleased I was to read this, so you'll have to read it yourself.
10 - A Child Changes Everything by Sara K M - Honestly, I'm going to call this one a really close tie between this story and Of Love and Flowers. Both deal with high fantasy, fey or fey-like characters, and both excellently capture the genuine feel of the typical "pain of romance" stories in Arthurian literature. What earns Sara a spot on this list has everything to do with her realistic portrayal of characters. True, the setting and the sitaution are very much in the fantasy realm, but the feelings, regrets, and conflicts the characters feel is very real and sometimes very difficult for the average person to think about. I think Sara does a wonderful job with this.
11 - Less is More by SaoirseParisa - I've recently gotten into the DDLC craze. Just love how that game turned the visual novel format upside down. Anyway, when looking for fics in the fandom, though, I kind of want stories that keep to the original tone...or at least the "false" tone of the beginning of the game. I want to know more about the characters as they are before Monika sets all their negative traits up to 10. This story does just that, while still hinting at some of the more serious themes that were brought up in the game. It's a great balance between cute and sweet and serious and gritty...kind of like Natsuki herself. And Saoirse in general is an author who never disappoints. I haven't found a story yet of theirs I didn't like.
12 - Methuselah by baja-king - This was a story that just had it all. It had mystery, political/philosophical statements, intriguing characters, and a heck of an ending. I love how this story ties sci-fi and history together so well with an idea that just really works. Plus, there are so many references to other ideas that keep this story interesting. My only disappointment was that it was only a one-shot. I would have loved to see more.
13 - Rose Blossoms by rebecca-in-blue - I'm always a little wary of stories that feature LGBT characters, not because I have anything against it, but because sometimes they can turn out so wrong and become a gross misrepresentation of our experiences. This story, however, was very far from that. A tale about expectations and what we see in ourselves, this story wonderfully puts together one individual's experience. I simply loved it, and I loved how a trans character was portrayed in this. It felt real and beautiful, and I'm glad to have read it. Of course, rebecca does not disappoint as an author. Her writing is just simply stunning, and I hope you take the time to read some of it.
14 - Feelings by bearhow - What earns bearhow his spot on this list has more to do with the growth and changes that have come to his stories over the course of time. I had the pleasure of reading the original "What Are You Feeling" a while back. I was rather impressed by the story and decent use of his major OCs. In fact, we both came to love each other's OCs. However, bearhow decided to make some major changes, and this end result did not disappoint. Not only has he improved upon the use of the OCs, but has also created a more intricate and complex story as a result. I recommend this and all the Dragon Knight series in his profile.
15 - The Non-existent Quotient by Shadowcrest Nightingale - This would be the second time I pick a story I'm fandom-blind to as a favorite, and the first time I pick an entry to a WA challenge as well. The dystopian, speculative fiction feel of this story is just too good to pass up. Shadowcrest's greatest strength is their ability to show and not tell to express the unique aspects of this setting, which has a very Orwellian feel to it. Second, there's never a dull moment in this story. You want to keep reading to find out what happens next. Finally, not only does it meet the expectations of the challenge it was written for, but exceeds them. It's not just one character we're reevaluating, it's an entire society, and that in of itself is a great accomplishment.
16 - Life is Wonderful by TheCartoonFanatic01 - Short, juicy one-shots are something that can easily sucker me in, and that's the case with this story. My Jungian alarms were going off from the get-go when Cartoon introduces a sense of collective consciousness between their two characters. More importantly, they nail the Mewtwo voice that is philosophical and having an existential crisis quite well. But, it's the surprise ending that wins this story its spot on the list today. I wasn't expecting the turn they took, and I was pleasantly surprised.
17 - When There's Trouble by Obvious Ghost - I can't tell you how much I love this story. Obvious is able to cover a wide range of writing genres and perspectives in each of the famous episodes of the beloved Teen Titans series. Some chapters read like free verse poetry, some like fairy tales, and still some as some killer backstories for some awesome villains. As I said, he uses a lot of character perspectives. Cyborg gets some serious love, and I think that's awesome, considering how little he got in the TV series and here in fanfic. Now, on first glance, you'll notice Obvious commits the grave sin of incredibly long A/N's. However, I think that is what makes this story so great. This was his first time watching the Teen Titans, and getting to hear his perspective and excitement reminds us all of what it was like our first time. These A/N's just enhance this story. It was, however, his chapter on the episode, "The End Pt. 2," that earned his place on my favorites list.
18 - Truths by Kdibs227 - There is a shorter version of this story on Kdibs profile, which you may want to read before diving into this one. The first story felt like an inside glimpse into the secret life of the Teen Titans, and it was delightful. This extension provides a short story for each of those 100 "secrets." Every one of them is just simply adorable, and true to character. Even more, while the secrets feel out of order, they follow an overall story of the lives of the Titans from start to finish. Also, I may not be a big shipper, but if you like BB/Rae stuff, this is the story for you.
19 - Night Terrors by Kevlar Masquerade - This story is a one-shot, but that does not take away from how genuine it feels. Kevlar addresses an aspect of Starfire's past which has always been swept under the rug, and in a classy and sensible way. At the same time, we see how these scars of the past play out through key moments that we all remember from the Teen Titans series. I don't know why, but I enjoy reading this one again and again. Be sure to check it out.
20 - Tamaranean Rhapsody by Saint H - This is my top humor pick. I'm sorry, but I laughed so much reading this. It was not at all what I expected when I first read it, and I was delighted that it wasn't. Also, rarely do we see any stories involving just Cyborg and Starfire, so more power to Saint. Really, if you need a good pick-me-up after a bad day, this is the story for you.
Made-Up Word Challenge:
1- The Price We Paid by dtill359 - Taking the theme and really running with it, dtill really instills meaning into their choice of word. That is not to say that other entrants did not do so, but that dtill finds a rather special way to do so. They make it a ritual, and give real culture, myth, and tradition to it. Furthermore, the story isn't solely about the word, but rather the word is an element of the story. Following the adventures of their characters in just another average day was a real treat.
2 - Captivity and Silence by Venomheart the Dreamer - Chapter two is where the challenge begins. Beautifully stylistic and encapsulating a unique mindset, this story hits a lot of right notes for me. From beginning to end, we are reminded of how the character, who's POV we're in is part of a collective and how they are individual, yet the same. It's this collective conscious which strikes a chord with me, especially from my perspectives in Jungian psychology. Furthermore, how the collective minds feed on love and attention, and also have their own mythos for understanding their world, makes this use of the made up word unique and clever. A must read.
3 - The Ybuwyn Contract by ShockDreemurr - I've read Shock's work before through WA challenges, and one of the things I enjoy about their writing is how they manage to incorporate video game elements to their stories. Typically, when I read fics based on video games, I prefer them to have as little ties to the game elements, but in Shock's case, it adds a certain charm to it. This story is no exception as they incorporate the element of essential text for how to fight creatures. And let's not forget that Shock's able to add in several of the made up words from this challenge, creating a vast setting with a new feel.
4 - The Cazoova Casserole by Starpool2 - An entrant that can make any word taste good, Star makes us want to take a taste of Cazoova. Trying new things is always hard, but their characters help give us a chance to see how that plays out. The fact that each character comes from other countries also means that Star had to add a little extra flavor (pun intended) by working with tricky accents. Yet, they somehow manage to keep it together. Well done!
5 - Mothers by Abbra063 - Chapter 7 is technically the entry, but on the whole, this is a cute story. Exploring the personalities of the mothers of the main characters of this fandom is an interesting concept and is pretty well-done here. As to the actual entry, Abbra takes a rather unique spin on the challenge rules. While never actually expressing what the made up word was, she does explain it as being the creation of a child's imagination. Aww... All the while, she does so while keeping very real and down-to-earth personalities for her characters.