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Name: speranza, User:Speranza
Alias(es): cesperanza, Cesca, Ces, Francesca
Type: fanwriter, vidder, moderator
Fandoms: C6D, due South, M*A*S*H, QAF UK, Stargate Atlantis, The Dead Zone, The Sentinel, The West Wing, Sherlock (BBC), True Blood, Fringe, Person of Interest, Avengers/Thor, MCU
Communities: sga_flashfic, sga_noticeboard, sherlock_flashfic
Other: Speranza's Fiction (see wiki page Speranza's Fiction)
URL: Speranza at AO3
Cesperanza at Dreamwidth
cesperanza at LiveJournal
Cesperanza at Pillowfort
Cesperanza at Tumblr
CesSperanza at Twitter
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A prolific writer in multiple fandoms, Speranza has most recently been active in the MCU, particularly Captain America. She spent several years in the 2000s primarily writing fic and making vids in the Stargate Atlantis fandom. She wrote in due South fandom beginning in 2001 and migrated to SGA in 2005, with a number of other ex-Sentinel dS writers. Anything for Love, a 2012 Vividcon vid she made with astolat, can be read as part fannish autobiography, showing how astolat seduced Speranza into a succession of fandoms that Speranza had previously insisted she would never be interested in.

She used to mod the SGA flashfiction LiveJournal community [1], the SGA noticeboard LJ community [2], and the Sherlock flashfic Dreamwidth community [3].

She currently serves as the archivist of the Due South Archive [4], and is also the moderator of the dS mailing lists DSX and DIEF. She was a moderator of LJ communities DSReporter and DSNoticeboard, modded the dS flashfiction community from its inception until 2007, and founded the community dS flashback.

In addition to her community-infrastructure work in her current and past fandoms, she has also run several multifandom writing challenges, most notably the Canadian Shack Challenge, the Inappropriate Elf Challenge, and the Tax Shelters Challenge.

In 2007, her post Dear Fandom: Could You Please Stop Saying That? called for fandom to stop saying that fanfic was illegal when it wasn't; in her response to that post, astolat made the first call for "An Archive of Our Own." Later, Speranza made the rallying cry for fandom "to own the goddamned servers".

Speranza: "No, I haven’t actually [written in every fandom]! You know I always used to joke that I’m the person who goes into a fandom and builds like the post office and the town hall and a subway. I go in and I live there for ten years and build infrastructure. I’m not on the cutting edge … But when I leave a town, it is built, my friend!" [1]


Francesca / Speranza / Cesca / Cesperanza / Ces

Speranza first gained fannish fame in The Sentinel fandom under the name Francesca. When she first entered Due South, she wrote under a new name, Speranza, and made no reference to her Sentinel stories, perhaps wanting to see how her stories would be received if read on their own merits rather than through the lenses of already knowing and liking her work. Alternatively, she may have wanted to avoid the persistent Sentinel fans who kept asking her to continue updating The Nature Series.[2] In 2014, Speranza said: "It also had something to do with the fact that there's already character called Francesca in DS, Francesca Vecchio. The name meant different in DS." [3]

Regarding the origin of her fan name, Speranza said in 2016: "... it’s actually an Oscar Wilde reference; Lady Jane Francesca ‘Speranza’ Wilde was Oscar Wilde’s mother. She’s like a wealth of cool names – but Speranza was her literary pseud, so I took it for mine. She also claimed to be related to Dante – a total lie, but you have to love her for trying. Cesperanza is just the variant I came up with when Speranza was taken on social media." [4]

Speranza's LiveJournal user name is Cesperanza, and she also goes by the nicknames "Ces" and "Cesca". For many years, her LJ was subtitled "Like Men, Only Better," a phrase which has been taken up in some parts of fandom and acafandom as a way of explaining slash fiction in particular.

All these aliases account for the perplexing file structure of her website, Fanfiction by Speranza.

A fan in 2012 wrote: "Speranza has a very particular and identifiable voice when she writes - which was why it was a secret for like 5 minutes when she tried to write under a new pseud even in a new fandom back in the day...." [5]

Writing Style

mamaffy in ds_profiles says about Ces's due South writing:

"She is just a wonderful storyteller. She can take an unusual idea (like Fraser, the criminal mastermind) and develops a detailed and convincing scenario that is true to canon, yet stretches it into something new. Her stories often have a complex overall plot with enough detail to make it unforeseeable. It's like watching the show sometimes, or reading a very good book with beloved characters. She involves crimes, action scenes, backstories, the bullpen, quirky events, and full-fledged OCs. Slash is plentiful and special but not always front and center. Every story has something different to it, and it's worth to read them all." [6]

Fan Comments

Unknown Date

I'm aware that recommending Francesca falls into the "yes, indeed the sky is blue" realm of the obvious, but it still needs to be said. She is the undisputed master of quirky, which is so suited to this particular pairing. Most everything at her website is worth reading, and I cannot say enough good things about her last few tales; she's at the top of her game in those. (Many rave about her Nature Series; I'm not as fond of those stories as I am of her stand-alones, as I find them to be naggingly unfinished — essentially the literary equivalent of a backed-up sneeze. However, the underlying premise of the series is intriguing, and the stories are worth a read, particularly the early ones.) [7]

Francesca's best-known works in this fandom are certainly her "Nature Series" and its continuation, "Cycles", but this story has all what her novels have as well - a strong bond between Sentinel and Guide, and a friendship that survives the new intimacy thrust upon it. In fact, I prefer "The Object of my Erections", for here, Jim and Blair may be forced to re-evaluate their relationship due to a new obstacle raised by Jim's Sentinel senses, but their coming together is still less fraught by tension than in the "Nature Series". Francesca writes unbelievably well and has a very good grip of the characters, and soon successfully applied her writing skills to other fandoms. [8]


I've had a recurring discussion with a few people lately, namely, trying to pick a favorite Francesca story. I can't remember what they decided, and I can't quite remember what I decided, but I do know that every time I have that discussion I keep mentioning "that story with the plumbing," which, as it turns out, is called I love you, and "that story that is like one long run-on sentence," otherwise known as Tahiti. Oh, and then there's the "banana in a nutshell" story: Nothing on.[9]

[Sentinel: J/B] The thing about Francesca is that nobody ever agrees on what her best story is. There's widespread agreement that she's extremely good, though, and each story is usually some combination of funny, deep, intelligent and sexy. The Nature series is her magnum opus, and of the standalones I personally love No Lothario, for clever twists, Pretty Boy for emotional impact, and Sestina for its quiet beauty... although I reserve the right to pick any other three on any other day.

I also adore each and every one of the Eye of the Beholder stories - all strong, distinct and intriguing stories, and if there's a hint of agreement on her best story, it's probably Keyhole. But really, there's no point me telling you which stories to read. Read them all and make up your own mind. [10]


It's hard to believe that these are Speranza's first due South stories because they're already so good. Enjoy the sense of humor, gift for dialogue and characterization, dead-on usage of the rest of the cast, and hot sex that abound in them. Ray and Fraser sound just the way they should, spark all over the place, and talk like the couple they are, while the supporting cast is in character and gets a great deal of play too. "Anatomically Correct" is hot, atmospheric, and almost explains curling for me. It's not your usual seduction moment either. "Merry Go Round" opens with a conversation that could be right out of the show as the 27th tries to figure out which of many unnamed places is where they want to get their food from and keeps on with the bizarre slice-of-dS-life. It could almost be an actual episode, if actual episodes would include Ray getting seductive while eating a banana and our boys getting down to it at home. Hey, I wish they would. Kudos for Fraser deciding he likes Chicago. But my favorite Speranza story has to be "Interrogation." Fraser gets death threats and can't figure out which of the many crooked people whose noses he put out in the past two months or so is behind it. Ray, understandably, is livid. Here's a particularly good Ray moment:

>> "Gorka knows it was you," Ray said tightly, and it occurred to Fraser that solidity wasn't Ray's weapon of choice. He fought with his edginess, flicking at him with his words and his body, whip-like. <<

>>"Gorka knows," Ray repeated, and Ray was grabbing his jacket again, fisting the fabric, clenching and unclenching his hands. "Not like I know. But he knows. You think guys like that forgive and forget? You have any idea what kind of an animal that guy is?" <<

>> Ray's hands were skittering across his shoulders now, fingers jerking, twitching. Fraser stood stock still, frozen; it was like being attacked by some sort of creeping spider. <<

Speranza also captures the way Ray and Fraser can both be speaking English but might as well be speaking different languages. Ray's disco/punk/new wave metaphor is right on but right over Fraser's head. And I love this line from Fraser: "I don't need sweaters. Well, I mean, I do--to the extent that everyone needs sweaters. But I need so much more than sweaters, Ray." [11]



Let me start by noting that, in the world of The Sentinel, she is known as Francesca. For old hands, that’s no doubt sufficient. Newer fans, as I learned, have an amazing treat in store when they first encounter her work....

Some TS authors are intriguing because they have provide a very consistent characterization of Jim and Blair, and the fascination comes from the placement of those stable characters in different circumstances facing different options. Francesca, like many TS authors, presents a number of “first time” stories, but in these she explores the interactions of a number of different Jims and Blairs, all plausible, but each bringing new perspectives and distinctive reactions which shape the situations in unique ways. All satisfying, all different: try “No Lothario,” “Nothing On,” “The Object of My Erections,” “Armchair,” “Legacy,” “Mia,” “Cheap,” “The Night Sandburg Graduated From the Academy,” “The Thought that Counts”—oh, try any of them! (For example, in one story Blair might be comfortably gay or bisexual, whereas in another he might be completely in denial or straight. Some Jims are reluctantly drawn to Blair; others know what they want but just aren’t sure it’s safe/wise/practical to reach for it. Warning: "The Fire" might disturb some readers because of age-of-character issues.) Then, if you are game for five fascinating character studies which she developed around the theme of voyeurism, try the “In the Eye of the Beholder” set. It’s not surprising that she won a number of awards in the early years of TS fandom, including, appropriately, one for “Best Use of a Sex Scene for Character Development.” If you want to settle down for a novel-length experience, check out the “Nature” series; I hunted her down online after reading eliade’s high praise of this in her set of TS recs which started me off in this fandom. After a wonderful, painful opening, these chapters develop a solid relationship between two strong, complementary individuals. She’s a wonderful, sensual, talented writer whose craft is so well-honed that it isn’t even noticeable—only the impact is. No wonder she has such a solid reputation—I know I re-read her work often.

cesperanza is yet another in the group of TS and BtVS writers who have sucked me into this new universe of Stargate Atlantis. If you don’t want to start with her two most recent longer works, “MVP” or “Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead,” you can begin with the shorter “Rodney’s Last Message” to get a feel for her work in this new fandom. I enjoyed all of these; I will admit that the “Haldoria” fantasy is the least satisfying to me, so I wouldn’t recommend starting with that one, though you might find it fun. Again, she demonstrates her skill as a stylist, a master of dialogue, and a writer of steamy, relationship-building sex. Who could ask for more!

I have to admit that I haven’t yet had a chance to delve into her writing in other fandoms, but I’m looking forward to it; sort of like having a stash of goodies waiting for that moment when you need something you know will be wonderful. The “Due South” stories alone should keep one busy for weeks.

So I’d strongly urge newcomers to Sentinel fandom to discover this early TS writer; you won’t be disappointed. (But you might find yourself suddenly reading about Rodney McKay and John Sheppard on Atlantis without being exactly sure how you left Cascade . . . ) [12]

Influential Works

due South

  • Kowalski Is Bleeding (Vecchio, Fraser/Kowalski, ~40,000 words). Vecchio rushes to be on Fraser's side when Kowalski goes missing. It's very angsty, has beautiful Fraser-Vecchio friendship, and great Vecchio POV. There is also a DVD commentary for this story that explains some of the decisions behind this fic; for example, the slightly unusual format.
  • Ping (Fraser/Kowalski, ~6,900 words). One of her shorter stories, it's hilarious and much fun to read. Fraser pings on another man and Kowalski is not amused.


Essays & Meta