|Fandoms:||Quantum Leap, The Sentinel, Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, Highlander, X-Men, She-Wolf of London|
|URL:||Gardendoor: V5 on GeoCities, V4 on Wayback, LJ|
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T.W. Lewis is a fanwriter.
A Sentinel Fan Comments
So, let me say it loud and clear: Anyone who loves Jim and Blair (or simply enjoys fine writing) needs to read these stories A.S.A.P. They are perfectly crafted, by which I mean none of the seams show, and you just find yourself swept along by the experience, only truly appreciating the skilled writing after several rereadings. They are also nicely original; much as I enjoy exploring some of the tried-and-true themes in this fandom, I also appreciate it when an author finds a new take on the interaction between these characters, especially if it seems natural rather than forced.
Her longest and most complex work is “Kaleidoscope” (and I’m happy to say that she’s begun a sequel to it in her LJ which bids fair to be every bit as intellectually and emotionally challenging and satisfying). I’ve read and appreciated other stories where Blair suffers some sort of physical or emotional injury and loses his memory. But she’s taken that theme and made it a rich character study of both Jim and Blair . . . or, more accurately, many Blairs, since his head trauma results in a fragmenting of memory which means that he wakes up on any given day experiencing himself at a different age from his past. How he and Jim attempt to cope with this situation is nothing short of fascinating; the intersection of a skillfully plotted criminal investigation with the appearance of the different Blairs is so masterfully done that one is left free to focus on the personal development of the characters. And the different incarnations of Blair, all of which continue to grow and change as they build new experiences, give new meaning to the concept “Original Character.” This perfectly named story never descends to gimmickry, retaining its intensity and emotional honesty to the final page . . . and into the intriguing and promising start of the sequel....
Another longer work is “Illusions,” which features a Blair who is kidnapped and forced to work with Alex as an underground team of assassins. Again, the plotting is thoughtful and sophisticated but, again, it appropriately takes second place to the real, painful, ultimately rewarding examination of the impact of how actions affect emotions and shape character, and how character endures. It is painful and brilliant. This was the first piece I read by her, and it was an accurate predictor of how wonderful all her work would be.
When one starts to think of an author as a “favorite,” it’s often because one finds a kind of consistency in one’s response to the work. That doesn’t mean, however, that the author is repetitive or unsurprising. I think I’ve indicated that the consistency I’ve found in her work is a high level of craftsmanship which places the clever plotting secondary to insightful character development and precise, evocative writing style. Thus, her other stories range widely in setting and in mood, but have never failed to delight me. This is certainly true in her “first time” stories, a Sentinel staple. Whether it is the poignant “All In White,” where Jim’s discovery of an unusual article of clothing in Blair’s closet prompts a change in their relationship, or the humorous-turned-hot “Merry Christmas” or the rollicking, farcical “Laws of Murphy,” these trademark qualities shine through.
Normally, I’m not drawn to mpreg, although it can provide some intellectually interesting or sexually burlesque comments on gender roles. However, “Problem, Child” (her second-longest work) uses that device to explore the complex emotional ties between Jim and Blair . . . and the Epilogue reduces me to tears, in the best and most positive way, every single time I read it.
She also puts her own spin on the post-TSbBS relationship of Blair and Naomi in “Happy Birthday, Blair,” the complicated path to trust in “Secrets,” and what to get the person who has it all in the sweet and funny “Gifted.” All different; all well worth the trip.
One of my particular favorites (because they are all my favorites!) is a little story called “Missing You” which is found on her LJ rather than her website; read it here: http://www.livejournal.com/users/gardendoor/19096.html#cutid1. It’s technically an SG1 crossover in that Daniel Jackson appears as an old friend—and lover—of Blair’s, but the core of the story is most definitely the Jim/Blair relationship. Again, this is a character study, set after “Sentinel Too, Two.” This actually is a popular moment for TS authors to explore, but the introduction of the third character allows her to mingle perceptions, thoughts, and voices in a very rewarding fashion. Again, the crafting of the story is superb, so much so that it only became apparent to me after repeated readings and never diminishes the emotional impact, however often I revisit it.You’ll find these beautifully written, deeply felt stories at her website: http://www.geocities.com/gardendoor/. You might want to explore her work in the other fandoms, too, as I’ve begun to do—but (although it may just be my own character preferences at work here), to me, the Sentinel stories reach a level of richness, purity of writing, and emotional resonance which leave the others in the shade. I’m hoping many of my other favorite authors in this fandom will enjoy her work as much as I continue to do.