Rebuilding Babel

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Title: Rebuilding Babel
Author(s): fiercelydreamed
Date(s): 18 Sept 2007
Length: ~21,000 words - 1:59:07 (podfic)
Genre: slash, disabilityfic, hurt/comfort
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
External Links: Rebuilding Babel on LiveJournal at SGA Flashfic
Rebuilding Babel at author's website
Rebuilding Babel mp3 at Audiofic Archive
Rebuilding Babel at Ebook Library

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cover art by aesc

Rebuilding Babel is a Stargate Atlantis fanfic by fiercelydreamed. It was written for the "wordless" challenge at SGA Flashfic.

Summary: He wondered if this was how it felt to go crazy — you didn't lose your mind, it just stopped synching up with the world around you. The Pegasus galaxy makes Rodney an expert in what he can survive without.

wintercreek podficced the story[1] and made a podbook of it.[2] aesc made a cover for it.[3]

Rebuilding Babel was the 2007 winner in the category Angst/Drama of the McKay/Sheppard Fan Awards.

McSA07 Rebuilding Babel-Angst.jpg

Recs & Reactions

the fic

  • "[...] I am overwhelmed with love for this story! It was written for sga_flashfic's 'wordless' challenge, and the premise is simple. Rodney loses his words. Not just his voice, but his language. To watch him trying to find new ways to communicate is heartwrenching and you can feel his frustration. Then there is John and the team, and Rodney slowly regaining his ground. I'm not usually a fan of disability-stories, but this grabbed me by the heart and wouldn't let go. I honestly don't know how best to describe the awesomeness of this story. You'll just have to go and read it."[4]
  • "This is a fascinating take on the idea of sense-loss, showing Rodney's journey and adaptation. The Sheppard/McKay interaction is lovely, although strangely I find myself wishing this had been a friendship romance. Very enjoyable."[5]
  • "I nearly didn't read this fic, because stories in which a main character suffers disability of any kind are usually too dark for my taste. But then I followed a rec from stargateficrec and, wow, so glad I did. This was written for the sga_flashfic's wordless challenge: McKay gets poisoned offworld, suffers brain damage and loses his ability to process words. There is no magical reset button, just ways he finally deals with his aphasia, and how that happens is utterly fascinating to read. Also amazing how the_drifter gets into his mind and conveys the wordlessness of his communications. I'm keeping it vague 'cause I don't want to give away any of the plot... which is exciting and original, and really intense. There are so many memorable scenes in this, I can't even say which is my favorite one."[6]
  • "I normally hate hurt/comfort fics. They tend to turn the hurt character into a woobie, and they tend to fix everything back to the status quo by the end. Rebuilding Babel avoids both these pitfalls, and I absolutely love it for that. I love that it's a realistic disability story, and I love how Rodney's character stays essentially the same despite his setbacks. It's not to say he doesn't develop -- it's that he retains what makes Rodney Rodney."[7]
  • "What I truly enjoyed about this story is the simplicity of the premise and the hugeness of the consequences. This is not a story mired in heavy angst, per se. In keeping with Rodney's self-acknowledged emotionally retarded mind set, the story is told with a certain this-then-this-then-this straightforwardness. But interlaced in the narrative is the please make it all right! sense of desperation, so vividly conveyed that you can feel it curling deep into your bones."[8]
  • "This starts out strong and just keeps going, with an injury that makes me shudder and no pat answers, as everyone learns to cope. The story eventually turns into slash, but works for me really strongly on a gen friendship level as well."[9]

the podfic

  • fiercelydreamed: "I had the pleasure of listening to the beta version and really enjoyed it. She really draws the urgency out of the situation, especially the early scenes in the infirmary. Also, you're all going to laugh at me, but it wasn't until I listened to this that I really, fully grasped what it meant that this story has no dialogue. In my head when I was writing it, all the communication by other means filled that niche for me, but hearing it read aloud, the difference really sunk in."[10]
  • "I listened to it, and it was WONDERFUL - your reading was just perfectly emotionally involved, so that all of Rodney's frustrations and moments of elation and setbacks and everything just came through beautifully in your voice. It was a complete blast to listen to - I definitely choked up at the choked-up parts! So, thank you very much for recording it. <3!"[11]
  • "I didn't realise just how *awesome* your reading was until the other day. I thought it was fantastic, and heart breaking and uplifting by turns. All those things which mark something really successful. And then I accidentally stumbled across the text for the first time. I now think you are a podficcing *genius*. It wasn't until I had the text in front of me that I realised that there wasn't anything resembling dialogue in the fic at all (duh, obviously Yeti is slow). You had read the interactions and sequences and exchange of images so successfully that the lack of dialogue really, truly surprised me. And I often *hate* description-only/heavy fics. I end up skimming them and missing things. That you made me *not even notice* is pretty much... wow. I'm seriously in awe of your mad podficcing skills. I feel like you pulled a fantastic magic trick somewhere between my ears and my brain. Just wanted you to know how awesome I think this is."[12]


  1. Rebuilding Babel by fiercelydreamed, read by wintercreek post in SGApodfic, 11 Nov 2008. (Accessed 27 Jan 2012)
  2. Rebuilding Babel at the Audiofic Archive. (Accessed 27 Jan 2012)
  3. .cover art: cesperanza's "Te of John"; fiercelydreamed's "Rebuilding Babel" post by aesc, 4 Sep 2008. (Accessed 27 Jan 2012)
  4. Rebuilding Babel by the_drifter (adult) rec post by zinnith in stargateficrec, 19 Sep 2007. (Accessed 27 Jan 2012)
  5. SGA Del.ici.ous links for rec_room: 21-Sept-2007 post by cupidsbow, 25 Sep 2007. (Accessed 27 Jan 2012)
  6. fic rec & fan art (SGA *surprised gasps in the auditorium*) post by astridv, 29 Sep 2007. (Accessed 27 Jan 2012)
  7. From Fanfc Attic post by hopefulnebula, 1 June 2008 (Accessed 27 Jan 2012)
  8. Rebuilding Babel by Fiercely Dreamed (NC-17) rec post by cathliu in stargateficrec, 16 Jan 2009. (Accessed 27 Jan 2012)
  9. SGA: Rebuilding Babel by the_drifter rec post by Arduinna at fancake, 10 Sep 2011. (Accessed 27 Jan 2012)
  10. And on the subject of podfic ... WHEE! announcement post by fiercelydreamed, 11 Nov 2008. (Accessed 27 Jan 2012)
  11. comment at the podfic announcement post by thingswithwings, 12 Jan 2009. (Accessed 27 Jan 2012)
  12. comment at the podfic announcement post by blueyeti, 24 Sep 2009. (Accessed 27 Jan 2012)