At the Violet Hour

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Title: At the Violet Hour
Author(s): linaerys
Date(s): 2006
Length: ~3400 words
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
External Links: online here

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At the Violet Hour is a Stargate Atlantis John/Rodney story by linaerys.

Reactions and Reviews

Genderfucked: John - What if John turned into a girl and nobody noticed? So much genderswap deals with men being transformed into almost stereotypically feminine body types, large breasts, curving hips and such and I'm good with that; I have just such a body type myself, so I can hardly complain. All the same, I find this fic refreshing for the more androgynous form John's transformation takes. By turning John into a woman but having him now "pass" as a man, linaerys has written a story that is as much about gender and perception as it is about the traditional genderswapped sexual experimentation. [1]

I like that Lin explores gender in an unusual way in this story, even for genderswap fic. John doesn't become all that different, really, and it's great that the change is so unremarkable that it goes unnoticed. I also love the way Lin delineates the small alterations with a fine hand for detail; I adore that she mentions, for instance, that woman!John can run longer and just as fast with Ronon. I can well imagine, too, that female grooming would totally daunt most men---both as a gender issue, and simply as an intimidating and painful experience---so I think it's very realistic that John shies away from the idea.

It strikes me as totally reasonable that the first order of business when one has been accidentally genderswapped is to experiment a bit with one's new body---I know I would. So, I sympathized with John's journey of discovery, and found his trials and conclusions interesting. It's particularly intriguing the way Lin writes the difference between visceral and cerebral desires; part of John's mind still follows the same paths it did when he was a man, but there's another part with a whole new set of instincts and drives. I find that an interesting and thoughtful touch to add, and watching the ways these parts of John conflict or agree is enjoyably fascinating.

I also really liked that Rodney totally doesn't mind that woman!John isn't very feminine. Even though John thinks about Rodney's type and worries about shaggy pubic hair and such like, Rodney just thinks John's beautiful. Rodney's clearly so honored to be the partner with whom John chooses to try sex, and so sad and worried that there won't be another chance--but even so, he puts that aside and reminds John that they should find out what happened and how to reverse it. I love that characterization, and the unconditional sweetness of that relationship.

Also, using the title of Richard Greenberg's play "The Violet Hour" adds a certain sense of foreboding and sadness when I think of John's eventual decision whether to stay female or change back. As does the protagonist of Greenberg's play, John will have to choose to lose either his friend or his lover; he cannot keep both. It's somehow even sadder that John's friend and his lover are one and the same, and yet compartmentalized and separate in that way that relationships so often seem to demand. I think it's very effective to end the story where Lin does, with those questions still looming like rain clouds on the horizon.

Oh, and last, but not least: how much do I love Lin for bringing up Tiresias' story? Full classical geek points for that one! [2]


  1. ^ comment by fairestcat, March 28, 2007, Genderfuck Recs
  2. ^ comment at Sga talk by lyrstzha at Discussion of At the Violet Hour by linaerys, August 16, 2009