Luminosity (Twilight story)

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Title: Luminosity (A Re-imagining of Twilight)
Author(s): Alicorn
Length: 213,818 words
Genre: Rational Fanfiction, Alternate Universe, Het, Gen
Fandom: Twilight
External Links: luminous.elcenia, AO3,

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Luminosity is a novel-length fanfiction by Alicorn, where Bella Swan is a "rational self-awareness-junkie with a penchant for writing down everything that crosses her mind in a notebook."[1] The work is part of a wave of rational fanfiction that came about in response to Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (HPMOR). The author explicitly acknowledges a connection between the two fanworks.[1]

The author wrote a sequel (Radiance) of similar length.[2] Alicorn also wrote a series of short stories (collectively called Flashes) and a roleplay alternate universe called Effulgence.[3]

Similar to HPMOR, Luminosity has inspired a polarized response[4] and a fandom of its own. Luminosity has fan translations, recursive fanfiction, and the author links to a forum to discuss the work.[5]

Reactions and Reviews

[Kit on Goodreads] "For all her flaws, particularly her habit of ruining other people's lives, I absolutely adore this incarnation of Bella. She's an interesting, engaging narrator and reading her words doesn't make me look down on her, it makes me appreciate the intelligence that never shone in the original series. I loved how she dealt with James - not so much with the Volturi, but we got there in the end - and after Luminosity and Radiance I don't think I'll be able to go back to Twilight.
I don't think this should be thought of as a Twilight fanfic. Independent of its source material, it retains all its qualities. There are no painful coincidences, overly dramatic surprises or random plot twists. Everything is logical and streamlined: it's all a direct consequence of an earlier action, and this quality makes it incredibly satisfying to read. You can truly say that the characters brought things on themselves and it even gives you a little bit of pleasure to watch them reap what they sow."[4]

[GVR on Goodreads] "Yes, Alicorn's writing is better than Meyer's on a technical level. However, I actually find Meyer's writing superior, for the simple reason that it's more captivating. Yes, it's weak, but at least it puts you in the story. Meyer's writing has the clunky but well-balanced simplicity of a novel absolutely BEGGING to be made into a movie. Luminosity, on the other hand, simply drones along through the ins and outs of Bella's mental processes. Many inexperienced writers go in for scenery-chewing, but in Luminosity's case there's actually a dearth of descriptive detail (apart from things Bella observes so the author can show how observant and aware she is), which leads to a complete lack of narrative atmosphere - something Twilight actually establishes reasonably well. Meanwhile Luminosity goes in heavily for paragraph after paragraph of mental-exposition chewing. The sentences are more complex than Meyer's sentences, both conceptually and linguistically, but there's no spark in the writing."

"I feel like in an attempt to have Bella react to Edward in a more feminist approved way, Luminosity tends to go overboard. When Edward looks at Bella like he's furious with her in Biology class, Bella immediately becomes "scared out of [her] wits." She begins "trembling" with fear, describes him as "terrifying," and rationalizing that because he appears furious he is therefore dangerous and very possibly a violent threat. Now if I were, say, riding the scarcely populated night bus home at 3 a.m. and a full grown, male fellow passenger looked at me like he hated me, I would probably react with...about half as much fear as Bella reacts with, there in her crowded 11th grade biology classroom."[4]

[kgmps2 on AO3] "I discovered this story in 2012, during the beginning of my senior year, and I don't know how many times I've reread it since then. it's easily one of my favorite works of fiction and I'm so glad there's an Ao3 mirror so I can finally let you know what this story means to me!"

"this chapter has some of my favorite examples of Bella's thought processes in the entire story - the way she walks Edward through his faulty logic by first pointing out that his premises are flawed, then calling him out on moving the goalposts, and then in forcing him to apply the souls thing (which is ultimately just a front for his own self-loathing) to someone he loves and doesn't believe to be worthy of the harshness he directs at himself. it's also nice how there's a little... fallout, I wanna say, from when Bella initially uses Esme as an example, and how Bella takes it into consideration when she's trying to puzzle out the mechanics of Edward being mated to her.

speaking of which, I adore Bella's aromantic spectrum behavior here. the way "am I personally into Edward?" ranks so low on her list of questions to ask herself before she starts dating him, and the way the first expression of her being personally attracted to Edward (rather than finding him appealing in a general/sexual sense on the basis of him being rich, good-looking, and charismatic) is wishing she was already in love with/mated to him - good stuff!"[6]

[thinker6 on AO3] "I read this on your website and enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm amazed this doesn't have more hits/kudo/comments here! The characters, the way they think and interact, strategizing about social interactions and using powers, thinking through moral conflicts to find common ground, the plotline and the way that well-laid plans that work well in many ways can still turn out wrong in others...they're all excellent. It was part of the inspiration for my own Worm fanfic, Weaver Nine.[7]

[Chaelie on AO3] "Hi! So, I think this story is really interesting. I like how Bella thinks things through, and considers the consequences of her actions. I think she's a good character- you keep her consistent, and her personality is certainly unique.

Ummm. I don't really find her likeable, though. Or even relateable. While I can relate to her considering all her options, rather than just blindly following Edward, I find her rather...cold. And manipulative. I like that she doesn't lead on Jacob, and that she carefully calculates when to become a vampire. But...

She's just so RUDE. I'm all for being honest in her interactions, but she seems to lack empathy. She takes offense at the slightest things, like 'interruptions', yet behaves rather appallingly, at times. Someone getting excited and interrupting her doesn't seem nearly as offensive as some of the things she does. She involves herself in things and insists that she's helping, without truly realizing what she's doing.[7]

[Annabella_lector on AO3] "It was really really really good till everything went illogically stupid somewhere in the 90% mark of the fic.

Through out the fic we've been shown how Bella outsmarts and plans ahead for so many things but then SUDDENLY she is girl next door / soccer mom???"[8]

Luminosity is also a good one. It's a reimagining of Twilight, where the events begin fairly close to canon but begin to diverge more and more. It's a bit of an exploration of "what would happen if these powers were taken to their logical conclusion". Knowledge of Twilight optional.[9]

Inspired Works

Fannish Links


  1. ^ a b Author's About, Archived version (Accessed May 30, 2020)
  2. ^ Radiance on AO3 (Accessed May 30 2020)
  3. ^ How to read Effulgence by belltower on dreamwidth. (Accessed May 30, 2020)
  4. ^ a b c Goodreads (Luminosity) (Accessed May 30, 2020)
  5. ^ Alicornutopia Forum
  6. ^ Comments on full work at AO3 (Accessed June 17, 2020)
  7. ^ a b Page 2 of comments on AO3 (Accessed June 17, 2020)
  8. ^ Page 3 of comments on AO3 (Accessed June 17, 2020)
  9. ^ "Comment on The Best Fanfic You've Ever Read post to r/fantasy on Nov 21, 2018". Archived from the original on 2022-06-19.