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Culf's answers - Writers On Mars
Culf's answers
I'm posting so early because I'm grabbing any excuse I can for not studying for my exam.
Canon Questions

1. What was about Life on Mars that grabbed your attention enough to make you want to tune in that first time? What made you want to keep coming back for more?

My friends list was what made me fall in love. It used to consist of only Top Gear fans, and several of them did lots of John Simm picspams at a certain time. They made me curious (okay, the truth is, I melted when I saw a picture of him smiling), and so I decided to check out this “Life on Mars” they were going on about. I found a youtube clip of Sam going back in time, and thought it looked extraordinary pretty, even though I didn’t quite understand what was happening. Then one day last summer, I went to London to visit my sister, who was spending a month over there for a class, and found season one for sale in HMV. I bought it, brought it back to my sister’s room and we watched it on her computer. We’d watched four episodes, I think, when we decided to see Simm play Elling. There was much squeeing, even if we’d only seen a few episodes. The fact that the play is Norwegian, and all the props were, had us squeeing over getting in-jokes no one else got as well.

2. At what point did you realise that you had “fallen in love” with Life on Mars?

I think I fell in love before I saw the show. Just that clip of Sam going back in time was enough to sell me. We didn’t even see the car accident, just the close up of Sam’s face, the flashes, the woods and then waking up on the bomb site. I was so taken by the beautiful filming that I knew it was going to be good. Then I started watching, and my sister had to be very firm with me, telling me I couldn’t have more than two episodes a day.
I watched season 1 a second time a few days after seeing it with my sister. This time, I saw it with friends in Denmark. If you see the first season of a show twice in little over a week, you know you’re in love. You’re also very bitter because you didn’t buy season 2 straight away, and have to ask your sister to do so, which means you have to wait another week before you get to see it.

3. Which character has earned a special place in your heart above all others and why?

It’s sort of like Animal Farm, really. All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. I love Sam and Gene equally, but I love Gene a bit more equally.
All my friends think I’m crazy for it, and has repeatedly told me I have the worst taste in men ever, but what do they know? Stupid Hugh Grant-lovers. (And I’m talking about Hugh Grant in Nothing Hill, not the slightly cooler one in Bridget Jones.)

It does, however, disturb me when I read articles written by female journalists on why we find Gene attractive. I don’t love him because I need someone to take care of me or make my decisions for me. The one who wrote that nonsense should be committed. I would never let Gene make my decisions, as I think he’s the sort of person that might need some guiding, and should only get to guide others on a few selected areas.
I don’t love him because he can take care of me, weak little girl I am, desperately in need of protection. I love Gene because he may seem ruthless, but at least he does what he does for the right reasons. He doesn’t fit people up because he’s lazy, and he doesn’t beat people up just because he enjoys beating people up. He does it because he thinks it’s the right thing to do. He’d rather fake the evidence to lock up someone he knows did a bad thing in order to protect his community, and he beats people up because he’s disgusted at what they’ve done. I’m not saying that I condone his actions, because I don’t, but at least he has an honorable reason for doing them. He’s trying to protect his city.

I also love the way he doesn’t glamorize being a copper. He doesn’t think it makes him a hero, he isn’t in it for the glory, like people like Litton. He’s doing it to keep people safe, and in order to do so, he has to walk through the dregs of society. He does what he does because he thinks it’s necessary, but because it’s honorable.

4. Which character do you feel did not get the attention and development in Canon that they deserved and why? What would YOU have done with this character in the Canon ‘verse if you’d had the control?

What, I like Litton!
I would have loved to see him being forced to rise above being the sewer rat he is, preferably in a situation involving him and Sam. Somehow, he’d had to do the right thing for once, not what would gain him public recognition, and in the process he might have saved Sam, forcing Gene to respect him, just a tiny bit. Then he’d go back to being a sewer rat, of course.
(Am I the only one who thinks Litton sort of resembles Jimmy Carr?)
And there should have been more TCG! (The season 1 version, of course.) We never got to know what her purpose was, if she was evil or not, and why the girl from the Test Card would be haunting Sam. Also, they should have mentioned her relationship with The Stig

5. Are there any other aspects of the show you feel weren’t touched upon enough?

Well, I am a bit sad that they cut out all the scenes where Sam and Gene have sex, obviously. Isn’t it about time they released the extended edition of the show? Even my non-slasher friends says they were obviously having sex between scenes, so it’s about time those clips were added back in.

Also, I know the show was supposed to just be Sam’s POV, but I would have loved to see the other characters by themselves. See who they are when they’re not with Sam. I think Ray, for example, would be a bit more pleasant if we ever got to see him when he didn’t have to hang around someone he hated.

6. Mad, in a coma, or back in time? What do YOU think is going on with the Sam In 1973 Mystery? Are you happy with Matthew Graham’s explanation, or do you have a theory of you own that you prefer?

My thoughts on that is as ambiguous as the show’s ending. I like to think that there’s a sort of mix, where he’s both in a coma and back in time. In my little fantasy world, he’ll explain everything to his mother as an old man, so he gets to be the one to inform her of his own suicide, explaining that he just went somewhere, and has had a long and happy life since. I don’t want to deal with the possibility that Gene might not be real. (And how sad is that, to be unable to deal with a fictional character possibly being fiction within the fiction?)

I never read Matthew Graham’s explanation. I’ve heard enough to know the basics, and have decided that I don’t care.
Usually, when I get into shows, I dig up as much information about it as possible. I listen to commentary tracks, I check out every single bit of DVD extras, I read interviews… I haven’t done anything like that for Life on Mars. I haven’t seen a single bit of the extras on the DVDs, which is something I’ve never done before. I’ve not read anything the creators have said about it, and don’t want to. I love John Simm as an actor, but I don’t care about his opinion of Sam Tyler. I don’t know why, but I don’t. For once, I don’t need to know everything surrounding a show, I just love it for what it is.

7. To someone unfamiliar with the show, which specific scenes would you show them as a way of defining exactly what each central character (Sam, Gene, and Annie) is about? Only one scene for each character.

Sam: The first time he’s talking to the TV, I think. The way it portrays his desperation at returning to 2006 makes us understand how much of a situation he’s in, and we get to see him cry, which is always a big plus. Mostly because Sam crying is a pretty good representation of Sam as a character. You wouldn’t say he was weak, despite doing something considered weak. Just like you wouldn’t say he was creepy despite doing things that are considered creepy, or completely insane, despite doing insane things. He gets away with doing a lot of things without having them define him.

Gene: Part of me wants to choose the bit when he first slams Sam against a filing cabinet, because he’s every bit the magnificent bastard I love in that clip. You know what, I choose that one. Whoever sees it will be so taken by his manly glory and animal attraction that they’ll have to watch the show, and then they’ll see the post-coitalfight conversation in the hospital, Gene telling Warren off for humiliating Sam and the Harry Altway-scene anyway.

Annie: The scene in Sam’s flat in the first episode. Sam goes on about crazy stuff and then fondles her breast feels her heartbeat. Most people would have slapped him by then and filed a restraining order, but Annie takes it all in stride, even if she obviously thinks he’s crazy. This is pretty much how she acts around him for the entire show, with a few exceptions.

8. What episode, as a whole, stands out to you above the rest and why?

Don’t do this to me! How am I supposed to choose?
I like them all. Can I say that?
Okay, I might prefer the episode with Warren. Warren is a wonderful character, particularly as a plot device, and we get to see Gene standing up for Sam, telling Warren to lay off his officers, not knowing that Sam hears the whole thing. I made several embarrassing, high pitched noises while flailing my arms around the first time I saw that scene.

Fanfiction Questions

(reading related)

1. What was the first piece of Life on Mars fanfiction that you read?

It was That’s Life, on Cars, a LoM/Top Gear crossover by fiandyfic. I read it back when I dabbled in TGS, and didn’t know it was based on a show until after I’d finished it. I had never heard of anything called Life on Mars. I loved the fic, though, and remembered it when I got into the show.

2. You are going to be stranded on a desert island. Which three pieces of Life on Mars fanfiction would you take with you? You can only select three.

I’d take Steady As She Goes by dakfinv,of course. The entire verse counts as one fic, right? Because I want the spin-offs as well, even if the make me cry. Dak already knows that I love all her fics, but the daily updates on this very lengthy fic made it a part of my life, somehow, and that’s why it has a special place in my heart, even if I might love some of her other stories even more.

Then there’s sytaxia's Jabberwocky, which is mind blowing, as everyone should know. I’m currently re-reading that, and am amazed that the person who wrote this is actually as nice as she is in real life. (Sorry, hun, but it’s scary as hell!)

And of course dorcas_gustine's All These Editions of You which I can never stop re-reading. I may be a bad person, but I absolutely love it when Gene opens the boot of that car (but only because it’s fixed later on).
We’re all want to go to our own funerals to hear what people will say about us, to see how people react, and this story hits that kink (not a sexual one this time) in a rather splendid way.

3. Have you ever read a piece of Life on Mars fanfiction that you think should be officially Canon?

Yes! I’d give so, so much to have No by wolfy_writing be canon. It touches upon a subject I think the show should have mentioned, and does so in a wonderful, subtle way. I think the fact that the show never dealt with Joni drugging Sam and having sex with him as rape is what annoys me most about the show. It would have been so much better if they’d added a scene like this into the show.

Also, four year old brain damage!Sam should have had several episodes, and we should all worship dakfinvfor bestowing him upon us.

4. What type of genre do you enjoy reading the best?

I love both angst and fluff and most things in between, but if you really want to get me, go for the H/C.

5. What pairing, if any, do you enjoy reading for the most?

Sam/Gene. Was there ever any question? I love their relationship, even though I would never want to be in one like it myself, and I love their chemistry. Besides, they look far too hot together to not be, you know, together. *is shallow*

6. Do you have any pairings that you consider a “guilty pleasure”? Are there any “rare” pairings that you would like to see more fanfiction for?

What, you mean apart from TCG/The Stig. Sometimes I wish I was just joking when I say I ship this, but I actually do think they’d make a lovely couple.
Can someone please, please, please write me fic for it? (Preferably not porn, please.)

7. Do you have any specific “kinks” that you secretly love to see in fanfiction?

Well, I do have a slight restraint-kink.

If we’re talking non-sexual kinks, then there are several:
Sam OD’ing and Gene finds him.
Gene taking care of Sam, who for some reason can’t take care of himself.
Sam crying.
Gene taking care of Sam, who for some reason can’t take care of himself again, because it deserved a second mention.
Kidnapping. Why aren’t there more “Sam is kidnapped” fics?

(writing related)

1. What was the first piece of Life on Mars fanfiction that you published?

Sleeping-fucking-beauty. I wrote it after having seen all the way up to episode 2x07. I wanted to write my take on the ending before watching the actual ending. Back then I wrote it as a Sam/Annie, but with hints of unrequited Sam/Gene. I’d never written proper slash in my life before joining this fandom, even if I’d read lot’s. With the exception of a tiny Top Gear-drabble that was written on a request, it was my first try at writing anything remotely slashy. I’ve come quite a way since then, when it comes to the man love.

2. What inspired you to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) that very first time?

If you’re asking about my first fanfic, then I’m shamed to admit it was a Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings/Star Wars fic, and I was completely serious when writing it. I even committed such deadly sins as adding author’s notes in the middle of a story. I am properly embarrassed to admit to this.
If you’re talking about Life on Mars, then it was the need to write down what I imagined might be the ending before seeing the actual ending and have it taint my original vision. (I like the original ending better.)

3. What pairing, if any, do you enjoy writing for the most? Why?

Sam/Gene. I just don’t like the thought of them being without each other, so I will do my very best to force them together.
You know how there are couples that should never be apart, like Han/Leia or Nick Frost/Simon Pegg? Sam and Gene are such a couple.

4. What genre of fanfiction, if any, do you enjoy writing the most?

I usually enjoy writing whatever I can think of, but I do admit to being a bit of a drama queen. I used to go for the tears and the drama. Writing for Life on Mars has been a very good way of curing that, because Gene kicks the crap out of me every time I try to make him cry.
I do enjoy writing a bit of angst, though, as might have been noticeable the last week, although fluff and crack can be fun too. The crack is the most terrifying, though, because it usually only works if it’s in character, and I struggle so much with keeping everyone in character.

5. What piece of your own fanfiction would you love to see officially turned into an actual episode for television?

Apart from the almost smutty ones? Well, I’d actually like to see the text fic I sent dakfinv and it’s sequels. (Yes, there will probably be more.)

If I’d ever finished the “Sam is kidnapped by Warren” at the bottom of this post, I would have loved to see that as a story arch for half a season or so. (I did mention my kidnapping-kink, right?)

6. What fanfiction piece of your own are you the most proud of?

I keep thinking that it’s something I haven’t written yet.
To be perfectly honest, I’m not terribly proud of any of them, but if I had to choose, I’d probably go with The Mind is Willing. It’s probably the only fic I’ve ever written where I didn’t doubt my characterization too much.

7. What fanfiction piece of your own gave you the most grief during the writing process?

Tits in a Jumper!
I wrote about 7 pages, hated it and left it for dead. Then, a month or two later, someone requested a genderbending fic, and I though “Well, I do have one,” and did some editing, completely rewriting the ending. Then I showed it to Dak, and cut the last paragraph thanks to her suggestion. It turned out better than I’d hoped, particularly because I hated it for such a long time.

8. What character do you find easiest to write?

Gene is both the easiest and hardest to write. Easiest, because he writes himself, and hardest, because he writes himself, and refuses to do what the writer tells him to.

9. What character do you find the most difficult to write?

See question above.
But I suppose Annie as well, because even if I like her, I have no interest in writing her, which means she doesn’t get mentioned as often as she should.

10. Are there any characters that you’re guilty of neglecting in your own pieces?

I’m neglecting Annie an awful lot. I don’t have any interest in writing her, but I’m trying to change. She will be a part of my next fic, although not a major part. It’s mainly Sam/Gene. (Surprise, Surprise!)

11. Is there anything that you are actually scared to write, but would like to if you had the courage?

Yes, I’m scared of writing porn, and I want to change that. Every time I try to write porn, I chicken out and write either fade out-sex or just a hand job. I’m a big coward.
I’m trying to change that, though, by writing a rentboy!Sam PWP. Let’s see if I have the courage to finish it.

12. How do you write? Are you a writer who likes to carefully plan and outline, or do you just let nature take its course? Talk a little about your own writing process.

I need to have a general outline of what’s going to happen, or I’m going to write myself into a corner. I’m also one of those that have to write in a chronological order.
I also have lots of problems with characterization, and will sometimes have to watch a few minutes of LoM to get into the minds of the characters.
And then there’s the fact that I’ve never finished a story that’s longer than 7 pages. I’ve written longer, but never finished. I’m going to have to fix that, and I’m trying, I really am trying.

A Little Off Topic

1. How did you come to find the Life on Mars online fan community? What prompted you to seek it out?

I love fanfic, but the only lj comm I was a member of was TGS, so I decided to check out the Pit of Voles for fic. I quickly worked my way through the interesting summaries of the 50 fics that existed there at that time. There’s one there that’s actually worth reading, as far as I know. I can’t remember exactly how I found lifein1973, but I sure am glad I did! I love the fics and the members!

2. What other Canons, if any, do you enjoy?

I used to be into Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Buffy. Although I still love those things, they’re not as important to me as they once were. My current favorites are Firefly, Doctor Who, Torchwood, House MD, Avatar, Starsky and Hutch and probably a few more that I can’t remember right now, but I rarely read fics about them anymore. (Okay, I occasionally read som S&H ones).

3. Are you involved in any other fandoms?

I’ve been active in several fandoms, like Star Wars, Buffy, Harry Potter, House MD, Firefly, Top Gear and even Lord of the Rings, but LoM is the only one I’m regularly active in anymore, unless I’m crossing it over with something. I love crossovers.

4. Tell people a few other facts about yourself that you don’t mind sharing.

I think I’m known as the Norwegian with the funny hat to most of you. For those who know Firefly, I’m known as the Norwegian with the Jayne-hat.
I’m a 21 year old girl who studies Media Production, and will hopefully study Movie Production in London next year. I hope to one day become a Director/Script Writer/Author, but my main ambition in life is to publish a book. Being Joss Whedon wouldn’t be too bad either.
I have a dalek to watch over me when I sleep, and dream of one day living in 23 Meteor Street.


10 comments or Leave a comment
dorsetgirl From: dorsetgirl Date: May 31st, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Gene is both the easiest and hardest to write. Easiest, because he writes himself, and hardest, because he writes himself, and refuses to do what the writer tells him to.

Yes, that is absolutely Gene! I've never understood how it's possible.

Sorry, I'm a bit kid-ridden atm, so just a quick qu for now, for you and anyone who writes in other fandoms - do other characters do this? Does a canon have to have an incredibly strong character like Gene to be worth writing in? Is there always one who writes himself? Or is it just Gene?
lozenger8 From: lozenger8 Date: June 1st, 2008 02:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't write this way, but I know that in due South fandom, a lot of people say Ray Kowalski writes himself as well. I think it's a generally accepted thing that happens to certain writers.
culf From: culf Date: June 3rd, 2008 08:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I've never come across another character that writes themselves to such an extent as Gene does, but I'm sure they exist.
talkingtothesky From: talkingtothesky Date: May 31st, 2008 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for also giving me a distraction from my 'terminal' maths exam. :P

Completely agree with you about Gene doing things for the right reasons. It's the layers again, isn't it.

You were much more organised than me when you watched the show! You actually saw Series One first! :)

He gets away with doing a lot of things without having them define him. That's a really good point there. Makes me wonder whether it'd be possible to sum up his character in three words. 'Driven', I suppose. In the way that he is in his job and the way he reacts to the people around him. 'Angsty', definitely. 'Naive', too. I'm still missing off loads about him, though.

The Sam/Gene love is forever. :)
culf From: culf Date: June 3rd, 2008 08:44 am (UTC) (Link)
If Gene had been a bastard for the sake of being a bastard, he wouldn't have been as interesting.

I like to compare Sam to Donna, actually. Both cry rather often, but you'd never dare call any of them weak or even cry babies. Somehow, they wriggle out of the judgement their actions would usually cause.
lozenger8 From: lozenger8 Date: June 1st, 2008 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)
I don’t love him because he can take care of me, weak little girl I am, desperately in need of protection. I love Gene because he may seem ruthless, but at least he does what he does for the right reasons.

I love you for this. I am exactly the same. I feel quite sickened at the people who suggest the only reason women like Gene is that they want to feel protected.

Um. No? I love Gene's protective streak, but it's not the be-all and end-all of why I think he's a powerful character, and I don't especially have damsel-in-distress syndrome.

Thanks for these, great answers!
culf From: culf Date: June 3rd, 2008 08:47 am (UTC) (Link)
I love Gene's protective streak as well, but you wouldn't want to be with someone for that reason only, would you? I value his loyalty far more, for example.
sytaxia From: sytaxia Date: June 1st, 2008 06:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Great answers, and I love both your ideas on Gene and your idea for more Litton fic! The world definitely needs more Litton fic....

Also - moi? Scary? Mwahahaha! Hopefully, there will be more to Jabberwocky posted by the time you finish your re-read *fingers crossed*

Yes, I’m scared of writing porn, and I want to change that.
It really is an interesting genre to go into: there's so much to learn about the possibilities of gay sex, and it's so difficult to keep the characters in character when writing them in a sex scene, at least in my opinion... Bring on the rentboy!Sam!
culf From: culf Date: June 3rd, 2008 08:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

Why is there no Litton fic in fandom? He was awesome!

I'll try to bring the rent boy!Sam, but I really am the worlds biggest chicken when it comes to writing porn.

PS: Yes, you are scary when you read Jabberwocky. Not so much when you're just chatting.
bistokids From: bistokids Date: June 11th, 2008 11:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Lovely insightful answers.

It does, however, disturb me when I read articles written by female journalists on why we find Gene attractive.
Totally. What I don't quite get is that I know a LOT of LoM fans, both online and in RL, and the vast majority either lust after Gene or fully understand why you would but are too busy lusting after Sam! Yet, to my knowledge, I've never spoken to anyone who likes him for this reason. It seems an incredibly archaic way of seeing things, not to mention missing the point outrageously. Ah well.

Also, definitely there should have been more on the TCG in canon. Like with Nelson, I was waiting throughout for her presence to be explained properly at some point, but it never happened.
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