During my many years in the Mass Effect fandom, I’ve seen many fanfiction authors embrace the “No Reapers AU”, where AU stands for Alternate Universe, marking a departure from canon large enough to affect the entire setting. This may be done for a number of different reasons. The author may dislike the notion of the Reapers and the save-the-world narrative framework; they might want to distance themselves from themes such as indoctrination or ignore the existence of factions like Cerberus; from Shepard as the protagonist and their tired hero’s journey; last but definitely not least, this might be the means to keep favorite characters, like Saren and Nihlus, alive past the timeline of the first game. This comes at the price of effectively deleting much of the official content and usually requires supplementing it with much of one’s own world-building.
Needless to say, all sorts of AUs are possible and “No Reapers” is only an example.
Well, lately I’ve been thinking about a “No Humans AU”.
While excavating the drawers of my former desk, I came across a bunch of developments sketches for Thinker Traitor Soldier Spectre (TTSS), my Mass Effect novel from 2019. It’s mostly maps and scenography plans.
It’s been a while! I regretfully admit that I’ve all but forgotten about this website and my self-imposed obligation to post monthly. Ah, well. It’s happened before, and it will surely happen again. At least this time, I have a decent excuse.
I’ve been working on a story — an original piece — that’s been on my mind a long time now, but lacked a setting till recently. I know that sounds weird — how can you even conceptualize a story without a setting? Well, I totally can! I had some vague ideas but the vagueness was so vast that it was barely discernible from void. And then, pretty much out of nowhere, I knew how to fill that void; this in turn allowed me to start getting things from my head and onto the page.
Five years after I wrote a post with the same title, announcing the move of the community archives of recorded Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer games from their original abode on the Bioware Social Network forums (that were being shut down at the time) to a dedicated website at www.prestaciouschallenges.com, I made my old dream come true and turned those archives into an online database accessible through a website of my own making at mehof.smehur.com.
This project has taken me over half a year (and counting) of daily work, fueled in equal parts by the intractable passion for programming and the undying fandom zeal, and laced with so much fun that I’m sure to remember it fondly forever. I’m so very glad and proud that it’s finally live (although it’s still not 100% done).
I managed to read 26 books in 2020. That’s 6 more than last year and more than twice as many as in 2017. I dare say I’m moving up in the world! As usual, it was a mixed bag: most were good, a few were bad, and one or two were amazing. Here’s the list with short reviews: