Redemption Road

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Name: Redemption Road
Members: zatnikatel, nanoochka, electricskeptic, jackvelvet, swordofmymouth, tiptoe39, murron, shane_mayhem, nyoka, dotfic, peroxidepest17, darksilvercat, daymarket, squeemonster, and takadainmate
Date(s): 2011-2012
Focus: Destiel
Fandoms: Supernatural
External Links: series at A03 here
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Redemption Road is a fan-generated, large-scale AU project created by members of the Supernatural and Dean/Castiel fandom. It consists of over 24 individual fanworks (or "episodes") written by 17 writers and the entire series runs approximately 650,000 words. In addition, artwork by xxx artists accompanies each episode. Finally, "DVD extras+ are also offered which they define as "outtakes, deleted scenes, missing scenes, and episode tags/codas that take place before, during, or following an aired episode."

Summary:
"With Castiel having set himself up as the new God, drunk on power and volatile as a nuclear reactor, Dean, Sam, and Bobby find themselves on the run from the jealous, capricious monster wearing the face of their friend. Desperate for protection and wary of his brother’s mental state since Castiel unlocked Sam's memories of Hell, Dean knows Castiel must be defused before he can wreak further havoc in Heaven or on Earth. Although Bobby advocates for destroying Castiel by whatever means necessary, Dean is convinced the Cas he once knew still remains, buried somewhere beneath the mass of poisonous souls and calling out for help. Determined to save the angel who once rescued him from Hell and redefined his purpose in life, Dean himself must resist the allure of the false deity vying for his obedience, and come to terms with the knowledge, long-suppressed, that his feelings for Castiel run much deeper than brotherhood. It is this bond, and the dubious distinction of the Righteous Man, that will ultimately grant Dean access to where Castiel’s grace languishes in Purgatory. However, what Dean brings back with him is broken, angry, and only half-angel, certainly not the Castiel he remembers—and nor is it the only thing that returns to Earth with them…"[1]

On The Possibility of A Sequel

In an March 17 2014 tumblr post, one reader of the series asked about a sequel:

"I heard a rumour that there was going to be a sequel series for Redemption Road, but no one seemed to know the source. Is that true? And if so, is it going to be another multi-author thing? ✡ ANONYMOUS ✡"
"Heya Anon: yes, at one point Swordofmymouth and I did have a loose plan to do a sequel (albeit on a much smaller scale), and we seeded ideas for it in the RR finale. But at the same time, we were always pretty okay with where we left them, so we didn’t feel a burning desire to actually get off our asses and do the follow up. I would never say never though… Sword is one of my closest fandom friends, she was a joy and inspiration to write with, and if she ever wanted to do that sequel I would chain myself to her comet with a smile on my face and a song in my heart… "[2]

Table of Contents

Episode SCHEDULE

Episode 1: World Leader Pretend
Written by: zatnikatel
Wordcount: ~10,300
Posting date: October 6, 2011
Summary: Team Free Will is sent reeling as Sam struggles with the aftermath of his time in the cage, and Dean struggles to cope with the loss of his best friend. Meanwhile, Castiel's miracles have unforeseen consequences that may force Bobby's hand…
Add-ons: "Title Card" a video by jackvelvet and "The Road So Far", a video by betaartemis
Art: Chapter banner by smilla02. Digital painting by usarechan


Episode 2: Do Angels Dream of Celestial Sheep?
Written by: nanoochka
Wordcount: ~10,400
Posting date: October 13, 2011
Summary: Dean dreams.
Art: Chapter banner by smilla02. Drawing by danny_sama


Episode 3: Breakdown
Written by: dotfic
Wordcount: ~9,800
Posting date: October 20, 2011
Summary: In the eye of the storm, Sam and Dean tackle a regular old-fashioned monster hunt. But Sam's memories of being in Lucifer's cage aren't done with him yet, while Castiel continues reaching out to Dean in frightening dreams that aren't just dreams...
Art: Chapter banner by geckoholic. Drawings by danny_sama


Episode 4: Lead Us Not
Written by: electricskeptic & zatnikatel
Wordcount: ~14,000
Posting date: October 27, 2011
Summary: The Lord giveth...And the Lord taketh away.
Art: Chapter banner by geckoholic; digital painting by artmetica


DVD Extra: Resist
Written by: jackvelvet
Wordcount: ~6,000
Posting date: November 10, 2011
Summary: Sam starts to deal.


Episode 5: 3:10 to Purgatory
Written by: swordofmymouth & tiptoe39
Wordcount: ~20,000
Posting date: November 3, 2011
Summary: As Castiel erodes beneath the weight of evil, Dean discovers the answer is still where Death told him it would be – in the souls…
Art: Chapter banner by smilla02 (using a font based on Dean's handwriting); digital painting by daggomus_prime


Episode 6: Over the Hills and Far Away
Written by: nyoka
Wordcount: ~24,000
Posting date: November 17, 2011 and November 23, 2011
Summary: Once upon a time there was a little boy who wished for the moon.
Art: Chapter banner by animotus.


Episode 7: Into the Mystic
Written by: murron
Wordcount: ~17,000
Posting date: November 25, 2011
Summary: You realize that no one who tried this has ever succeeded, not even in the old days?
Art: Chapter banner by animotus; cover art by slinkymilinky and comic by made_of_tin


Episode 8: Homeward Rolling Soldier
Written by: shane_mayhem
Wordcount: ~12,000
Posting date: December 1, 2011
Summary: Back in Sioux Falls, Castiel, Bobby, and the Winchesters find themselves in a strange holding pattern. What Castiel is now, after everything, remains to be seen.
Art: Chapter banner base art by orlisroses29, altered with permission; digital painting by usarechan


Episode 9: Sioux Falls
Written by: nyoka & zatnikatel
Wordcount: ~25,000
Posting date: December 8, 2011
Summary: December moves in, inevitable as it is grueling.
Art: Chapter banners by smilla02; digital painting by usarechan


Episode 10: In the Midnight Hour
Written by: electricskeptic & swordofmymouth
Wordcount: ~26,000
Posting date: December 15, 2011
Summary: During a hunt on the Texas Gulf Coast, Team Free Will face their demons as the mass disappearances that span the globe threaten one of their own…
Art: Chapter banner by kasienka_nikki; digital painting(s) by artmetica
DVD Extra: The Magic Faraway Tree
Written by: zatnikatel
Wordcount: ~10,000
Posting date: December 22, 2011
Summary: "You're not alone in the darkness, Cas. Neither of us is…"
DVD Extra: Where the Drifts Get Deeper
Written by: nyoka
Wordcount: ~6,000
Posting date: December 27, 2011
Summary: There's something about this cabin that makes Dean willing to say crazy shit, do crazy shit that he can't imagine doing anywhere else. There's something about this place that makes him braver than he really is.
DVD Extra: If the Fates Allow
Written by: dotfic
Wordcount: ~2,400
Posting date: December 27, 2011
Summary: Christmas at Bobby's.
Episode 11: Back in Black
Written by: takadainmate
Wordcount: ~18,000
Posting date: January 19, 2012
Summary: There are omens spreading out all along the Eastern seaboard, the disappearances in Galveston a tipping point, and Castiel is almost certain his dreams are omens too.
Episode 12: Journey to the West
Written by: peroxidepest17
Wordcount: ~22,000
Posting date: February 4, 2012
Summary: This story is an old story.
Episode 13: The Horse Whisperer
Written by: darksilvercat
Wordcount: ~17,500
Posting date: February 9, 2012
Summary: "I can't even remember the last time we had a straight-up honest-to-god urban-legend-come-to-life hunt like this," Dean says, and he sounds almost childishly giddy at the prospect.
Episode 14: Through the Fire
Written by: dotfic
Wordcount: ~22,000
Posting date: February 16, 2012
Summary: Some memories never fade.
DVD Extra: It Takes a Village (People)
Written by: zatnikatel
Wordcount: ~170
Posting date: July 4, 2012
Summary: "I can't believe that's your ringtone…"
Episode 15: Ghosts
Written by: zatnikatel
Wordcount: ~40,700
Posting date: February 23, 2012 and March 1, 2012
Summary: Bobby casts his vision up again to see Castiel's eyes sparkle cold and calculating, see the angel smile the wolfish smile of a predator…
DVD Extra: Subtext
Written by: zatnikatel
Wordcount: ~250
Posting date: March 3, 2012
Summary: "I don't understand that reference…"
DVD Extra: Who You Gonna Call?
Written by: zatnikatel
Wordcount: ~2,460
Posting date: March 8, 2012
Summary: "You shattered my Shatner…"
DVD Extra: Date Night
Written by: peroxidepest17
Wordcount: ~3,540
Posting date: March 15, 2012
Summary: It's not a date…
Episode 16: Mad World
Written by: nyoka
Wordcount: ~37,500
Posting date: March 25, 2012 and April 2, 2012
Summary: The thought that they could lose any of this – whatever peace and friendship and love they've found – scares Sam more than anything else. The fragility of it is almost too much to bear…
DVD Extra: Interlude
Written by: nyoka
Wordcount: ~3,300
Posting date: May 21, 2012
Summary: Buying Castiel new clothes apparently involves making out in the men's fitting room for half an hour.
DVD Extra: Apt Pupil
Written by: zatnikatel
Wordcount: ~650
Posting date: May 13, 2012
Summary: This game transmutes forty years of horror into something Dean can own and control…
Episode 17: Dreamcatcher
Written by: daymarket
Wordcount: ~15,800
Posting date: April 5, 2012
Summary: Dean closes his eyes, fighting back the whimpers that threaten to claw their way out of his throat. This is a duty, he knows, one that he deserves. This is who he chose to be, he thinks, and it's only when he hears Alastair's laugh that he realizes he spoke aloud…
DVD Extra: The Meaning of Pie
Written by: squeemonster
Wordcount: ~8,300
Posting date: April 12, 2012
Summary: "If we ever get past all this, I think I'd like us to find a house somewhere…"
DVD Extra: In-Laws
Written by: peroxidepest17
Wordcount: ~10,700
Posting date: April 19, 2012
Summary: Cas is just another piece of the puzzle that fits solidly within the lines of the bizarre pattern Bobby's life is turning out to be.
DVD Extra: Give a Little Whistle
Written by: dotfic
Wordcount: ~1,850
Posting date: April 26, 2012
Summary: You don't have to say anything.
Episode 18: Adam
Written by: electricskeptic
Wordcount: ~18,500
Posting date: May 3, 2012
Summary: This thing between Cas and his brother is something huge, incomprehensible, and Sam knows that Dean will be utterly destroyed if all that is snatched away from him now…
Episode 19: The Calm Before the Storm
Written by: murron and nyoka
Wordcount: ~36,150
Posting date: May 24, May 31, and June 8, 2012
Summary: After all the predictions about how the world's going to drown, it's kind of ironic that it hasn't rained in days.
Episode 20: Smoke on the Water
Written by: murron
Wordcount: ~35,400
Posting date: June 14 and June 21, 2012
Summary: Team Free Will travel to Brazil in order to search for an artifact that might help to defeat Cthulhu. Arriving at the Green Coast, the team finds itself clashing with Cthulhu cultists, and Dean has to deal with an unexpected case of jealousy when their local contact, former-priest-turned-hunter Jonas Harper, falls for Cas.
DVD Extra: Small Hours
Written by: murron
Wordcount: ~2,290
Posting date: June 18, 2012
Summary: It's been a while since he's been unbalanced by a handsome face…
DVD Extra: A Book of Days
Written by: zatnikatel, dotfic, peroxidepest17 and squeemonster
Wordcount: ~7,100
Posting date: June 28, 2012
Summary: "Is this the journal of a hunter? Am I a hunter now, or am I still an angel? I don't know…"
Episode 21: The Sprinting Dead
Written by: nyoka
Wordcount: ~54,500
Posting date: September 6, September 13, and September 25, 2012
Summary: The last thing Dean expected on this little misadventure was a paradise of ancient cities, crumbling, towering ruins, wild, misty jungles, and the walking dead…
Episode 22: The Call of Cthulhu
Written by: swordofmymouth and zatnikatel
Wordcount: ~16,000
Posting date: September 27, 2012
Summary: The dreamer has stopped sleeping...
Episode 23: Achilles' Last Stand
Written by: swordofmymouth and zatnikatel
Wordcount: ~15,000
Posting date: September 28, 2012
Summary: "There are things out there...bad things."
Episode 24: Redemption
Written by: swordofmymouth and zatnikatel
Wordcount: ~85,000
Posting date: September 30, October 4 and October 7, 2012
Summary: "Love is stronger than death…"

Reactions/Reviews

"Absolutely brilliant, heart-wrenching, captivating, passionate... beautiful. Thank you."[3]
"The most impressive fan work ever. Utter joy to read, spectacularly beautiful, raw, horrifying in turns. Thank you so much, all of the talented writers and artists, for the massive commitment to the task, the show, the fandom."[3]
"I am commenting on the last chapter, but I assure you, I've read every single on. Holy shit! This is absolutely the best fanfiction... possibly the best STORY... I have ever read. It must have taken you all a great deal of time and energy, and I am so grateful that you saw it through. This was everything that seasons 6 through the end should have been. Thank you so much!! No, I'm serious, this was better than the show."[3]
"I just finished this series after weeks of being completely enthralled by it. I can't even begin to explain how much I loved it. The creativity and the cohesiveness of all the parts despite it's epic size is a feat in an of itself. This was incredibly beautiful and while the slow burn of Dean and Castiel's relationship killed me at first, it was worth it. It was believable, which is where I think most canon destiel misses the mark. And the fact that despite there being many seasons after this, I could totally have believed this as an alternate season! It was very true to the fandom and the steady build of the plot of cthulu through me for a loop. I was intensely curious and on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what was going on! Now I must admit I was never big into HP Lovecraft, so someone more familiar with his work and mythos might have caught on much quicker. I think you all kept everyone very well in character, especially Bobby! I think besides Cas, he was my favorite. I'm sure there was more I wanted to say. I'm very sad it's over and it'll be much like moping after a season is done with no new material to eat up. Amazing job and kudos to every author and amazing artist who were a part of this massive project. You lot are simply brilliant!"[3]
"Stunning, heart-wrenching, daunting, uplifting, and truly impressive work. This series is so cohesive, consistent, and complete in all its layers that at times I found myself just shaking my head at the computer screen over the fact that this marvelous beast of a story exists. You show our heroes in their best light, and you show their mistakes in an achingly honest light, and the weaving in of characters and details from every corner of the series was a joy to read. This series is the gold standard, and though it has been a couple of years now, I hope you still take a moment now and then to congratulate yourselves and each other on the creativity, skill, dedication, time, emotional energy, and pure staying-power you clearly pulled out to make this achievement. Beautifully, beautifully done."[3]
"This fic is a lot to get into, I’ll admit. Total word count (according to AO3) is 652,222. That is a total of 42 Episodes (27 are “full length” and 15 are “DVD extras” - mini stories not vital to the plot train but insightful and highly enjoyable). I have a bit of a life (moderate time commitments, etc) and it took me about a week and a half reading when I could. THIS STORY IS WORTH A WEEK OF YOUR LIFE. I am currently in the process of rereading the story on my Kindle if that is any indication of how I feel about devoting “so much time to a fanfic.” The story takes place after season 6 (right after Cas becomes “god”). This is a story that has a strong Destiel focus, but it is not at all eclipsing to the rest of the story being told - rather it blends seamlessly and organically with the rest of the plot and other characters. To say this story is startlingly well written is a gross understatement. The prose, the dialogue, the feeling for the SPN characters, the character growth/arches, the grand plot, the mini flavor-of-the-week plots… Everything. The folks who wrote this story not only know the characters they are writing but they understand them inside and out and they very clearly LOVE and adore them. They handle Dean’s insecurity and self-doubt perfectly. They paint Sam as the strong, brilliant, significant and IMPORTANT (many Destiel-themed fics will often not give Sam the love and focus that he well deserves). They have SUCH an amazing, perfect feel for who Castiel is and what motivates him as a character."[4]
"After a month of reading, I just finished Redemption Road, and it has ruined me."[5]
"Sometimes I really miss redemption road Like all the hype and waiting for updates and just how fucking amazing it was… Like cas was still a bad ass fallen angel which made so much sense and the ending was happy but in a believable Winchester way, and the bond and the songs of Solomon quote and trueform!cas and love being stronger than the grave, and Missouri, And dean realizing he’s worthy and not just cause of whose vessel he is, and that he doesn’t belong to allistair and Bobby, and cas and dean were perfect, and Sam and dean were perfect, and meg and the freaking fantasy and musical episode and aqqtwdjdienswysdnwnsoska!!! OMG! Like I can’t believe just how talented the entire writing team was for that fic. *sighs* good times."[6]
"…and I though Twist and Shout was an emotionally exhausting and excruciating experience."[7]
"Okay in all seriousness I’m having trouble remembering what’s actually canon and what’s just Redemption Road. It’s making my brain hurt."[8]
"Sometimes I get in the mood for really elaborate fanfiction, and wow, just... wow. This is an incredible AU of Supernatural that is well thought out, deep, and very well written. It takes a long time to read, but it is so worth it. I usually don't read that much fanfiction anymore (i get easily frustrated with bad writing and bad plot) but this was highly recommended to me by almost everyone that has ever logged into Tumblr so I decided to give it a shot and I am so glad that I did! By far my favorite part was all dealing with Cthulu- never thought I would see that in a Supernatural fanfic that was that well thought out, but I was happily surprised. Also, the fan art placed throughout was extraordinary! All in all- one of the best things I have read this year, published and fanfiction."[9]
"Read this over about a month at the end of last year. This is the point were fanfiction becomes genuinely beautiful literature. I continue to read parts of this every now and then because it affects me so deeply. By far the best fic I've ever read along with one of the best works of prose I've ever read."[10]

One fan recorded her reactions to reading each chapter by doodling them into a notebook. She then posted photos of those doodles on her tumblr which can be read here.[11]

Gallery

Each episode is accompanied by a banner along with artwork in many different styles. Below is an example of each, along with the cover art designed for 900+ page PDF/Word/ePub/mobi versions made available for fans to download and read.

Other Inspired FanWorks

In addition to the art and videos that were integrated into the episodes, fans made their own fan art and in some cases videos. Below are a few examples

Videos

Podfic

  • A podfic project[12] was begun by tenoko1 in 2012 but never progressed to completion due to Real Life issues and the complexity of the project[13]

References

  1. ^ spn_redemption: Redemption Road: The Masterpost, Archived version
  2. ^ stranger in a strange land, archivedate =2014-12-13 Archived version}}
  3. ^ a b c d e comments in part 42 of Redemption (Part III) - spnredemption - Supernatural [Archive of Our Own], Archived version
  4. ^ Sucker for a Man in a Trench Coat • Redemption Road, Archived version
  5. ^ Elia Winters, After a month of reading, I just..., Archived version
  6. ^ Sometimes I really miss redemption road, Archived version
  7. ^ i am made of memories, Archived version
  8. ^ Okay in all seriousness...., Archived version
  9. ^ Marianne Weber (Stillwater, OK)'s review of Redemption Road, Archived version
  10. ^ Yasmin De laine (Australia)'s review of Redemption Road, Archived version
  11. ^ oi, watch it, spaceman, Archived version
  12. ^ SPN Redemption Road Podfic Project, Archived version
  13. ^ Honestly I think you are the only one making..., Archived version