The GDP Series
|Title:||The GDP Series|
|Date(s):||(?)1999 – 2004 (the fan comments date back as far as 1999, while the latest publication dates give on the archived website are from 2004. Some stories may have been published later)|
|Genre:||Sentinels and Guides are Known|
|External Links:||Susan Foster's GDP Series (site)|
Susan Foster's GDP Series (ao3)
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The GDP Series is series of Sentinel fiction by Susan Foster, and one of the first popular Sentinels and Guides are Known AUs. "GDP" stands for "Guide Development Program."
It popularized many tropes that are now associated with both the AU as a whole and the related Sentinel AU in other fandoms. The series and its worldbuilding has also generated quite a bit of controversy regarding the fic's depiction of slavery, BDSM, domestic discipline, and the definition of gen.
Fan commentary is one reason why some of the stories are no longer available.
About the Series
From the summary on the first story's page:
This story is set in the near future in an America very different from today, Sentinels are acknowledged and their abilities are used in everyday life in Police Work, Military, and Search and Rescue. Guides are thought of as second class citzens who's only function is to serve their sentinel, they become their property. Some guides turn rogue, and are hunted down by the sinster GDP, who have total power over them.
The TV Tropes description:
The GDP stories by Susan Foster is an alternate universe Sentinel Fan Fic series in which sentinels and guides are common and well-known to the public. Sentinels are widely respected due to their positions as protectors of society, and are given a status which is (largely) above the law. Their empathic guides, however, are treated as property, by the general public, sentinels — and by the sinister Guide Development Program, a Government Agency of Fiction in charge of training, organizing, and policing guides. The series follows Jim, a sentinel who never wanted a guide due to the inherent Unfortunate Implications of the thing, and Blair, who never wanted to be a guide for obvious reasons and who has about two years of serious trauma to work through (including rape and torture, so be warned, although very little actually occurs on-screen), as they try to make the most of their recent empathic bonding, and of their Crapsack World.
It's one of the most influential fics in The Sentinel fandom, having introduced numerous concepts and terms to fanon. Also, it has Loads and Loads of Characters. Loads and loads of them.
Lists and Primers
- the list of GDP stories at Cascade Library; all fics were originally posted online; a few were collected later into some print zines: see Susan's Sentinel Stories.
Some stories are no longer available as the author removed some due to fan discussion.
Influence and Legacy
The GDP Series was very influential in the conception of Sentinels and Guides are Known AUs, as well as the Sentinel AU in other fandoms. Some tropes, vocabulary, and themes are so common that some readers of Sentinel AUs are often under the mistaken impression that these are concepts inherent to The Sentinel as a show.
- Genetically determined Dominance Hierarchies
- Bonding, and a period of isolation for the bond to take
- "After the initial bonding, sentinels and guides require a period of isolation together to confirm and strengthen their bond. This isolation should last a minimum of seven to 14 days, during which time the Sentinel will be particularly protective of his or her guide. The Sentinel will confront anyone who seems to threaten his/her "ownership" of the guide... The sentinel and guide generally settle into their bond and work through their differences during this period."
- Sentinel possessiveness and ownership
- "It is recommended that during this time no one attempt to talk to or touch the guide. He or she is considered by the sentinel to be his or her "property" and at this early stage of the relationship detection of another's scent on the guide could cause a violent reaction. Case history ....."
- Bond reestablishment
- "During their lifetime together, Sentinel and Guide will reaffirm their bond on a regular basis. This is especially so when either Sentinel or Guide is sick or injured."
- Specific 'powers' (and side effects) for Guides themselves.
- "When bonding, the empathic guide completely lowers all the natural barriers that shield him or her from the emotions of the people around them. While this enables them to become sensitised to their sentinel and capable of feeling their emotions, it also leaves the guide totally vulnerable to ambient emotion. A touch from a person not the sentinel can cause extreme pain. Because this pain would be transmitted to the sentinel, whose protective instincts are already on the alert, the sentinel is to be considered very dangerous. There have been cases reported when a bonding sentinel has killed someone who touched the guide, causing pain. When the bond has been sealed, the guide will again raise the emotive barriers and can be safely approached."
- Only a bonded Guide can calm down their Sentinel
- "An enraged, bonded sentinel is genetically programmed to respond only to his or her bonded guide."
- Intense emotional bonding that comes with a warning
The series introduced many terms that have been used in other fanworks.
- Sentinels and Guides are Known
- Senior Sentinel Prime
- Dark Sentinel
- Dark Guide
- Claimed and Marked
- Rogue Guide
- Empathic pathways
- Reaffirming the bond
Fanworks inspired by GDP Series
Despite the fact the series is gen (though some say only nominally), most of the fanworks it has inspired are slash. Both of those are represented in this list, along with responsefic:
- Conforming to Requirements (slash) by Fluterbev ("In a society where Sentinels are prized, and the inferior status of Guides is enshrined in law, Sentinel Jim Ellison doesn't want to Bond. His rental Guide isn't allowed to.") (includes podfic)
- Control Issues (slash) by Litgal ("In a world that knows, loves, respects, but doesn't trust its Sentinels, Jim is determined to hide his abilities. He won't submit to a guardian ad litem having custody of him in a legal system that ranks him on the same level as a child. He will not give up his control, not to anyone.")
- Exile (gen) by Java Head ("A 14-year old Blair is a rogue runaway empath in search of his true Sentinel.")
- Fate's Fallout (slash) by KC ("I've admired Susan Foster's AU GDP series for a long time, and found it refreshingly original, very inspiring. This story is based loosely upon that.")
- stories by Arnie (gen) but just barely
- Sentinel Corps by Rogue
- Planet of the Sentinels by Saul
- Latchstrings by Becky (2003) - according to one review, "This is another in the genre (yes, it's becoming a genre) of fanfic inpired by the GDP series...
- Boot by fingers
Reception & Reactions
I love this series. I. Love. This. Series. What I love about this series is how Susan manages to walk that VERY fine line between smarm and slash. It's damn near impossible to do, but she does it. And she does it well. The series is intense, but then again, the world she's create is intense. Guides are damn near slaves and Sentinels their owners. Until one Sentinel/Guide pair start changing the world to suit them. If you like dark angst, you'll love this series. But a warning, if you try to read this in one sitting, you'll blitz out on it. So, my recommendation? Take day long breaks. Or at least hour, if you can't wait that long!
GEN, but still kind of slashy. This is one of the best AUs I've ever read. Sentinels are known and admired. But the guides are treated as slaves with no rights, controlled by the GDP. But when Sentinel Jim Ellison meets rouge Guide Blair Sandburg things start to change... A long angsty series with many parts. If you're looking for hurt/comfort fics this series is for you.
[Becky's Fanfiction Recommendations]
A huge *huge* favorite series of mine. The author has done things I wish I could and has created an entire universe that is very enthralling (at least to me). I eagerly await each new story and reread older stories quite often. **This is mostly for the main series; the more recent stories aren't as good (IMO) and the Dark Guide subseries is becoming something uncomfortably close to slash fic.**
[AU Recs by Lanta]
This is possibly the most well-known Sentinel AU out there. It's established many cliches of Sentinel fanfiction - bonding, Dark Sentinels, guides (or sentinels) as second-class citizens, etc etc. It's definately gen, but the bond between Jim and Blair is so strong that it generally satisfies even hardcore slashers. It does have its faults, of course, but in general it's a hugely interesting universe, with well-written stories. It's also massive. Each story is pretty long in itself, and I can't begin to count how many stories there are even in the main series, let alone all the spin-offs. Many of Susan's other stories are tied in some way to the GDP - and other writers have also played in her universe. I'm not sure if there's an actual list of all GDP-universe fics anywhere, there are just so many of them. The place to start, though, is Sentinel 101.
[Becky at Best of Sentinel Drama FanFiction]
Susan has created an AU world where Guides are essentially slaves to their Sentinels. Blair is a Guide without a Sentinel and doesn't want one. Jim is a Sentinel without a Guide who doesn't believe that anyone can "own" another person and therefore doesn't want a Guide. However, things change, and the two are forced to bond. Susan writes Jim in a very caring while at the same time very "covert ops" and intense way. Blair is written as both vulnerable and strong. The three stories she has so far (Sentinel 101, Sentinel Primer, and Living with the Past) are filled with h/c, drama, and excellent story-telling. Simon also plays a large part in these stories, and is written very well, which for me, is one more selling point. Wonderful stories in a series that I hope will have more installments to come.[note 1]
[Kathryn A at katspace.com]
A parallel universe series set in a future America where the Sentinel phenomenon is well-known and Guides are treated like slaves. The stories are, so far Sentinel 101, Sentinel Primer, Living With The Past, Outside Looking In, Happy Americas Day, Forget Me Not, Sentinel Sanctuary and Sentinel Conference.
This is one for the h/c fans, definitely. So why did I keep reading? Particularly when there were times when I wanted to throw it down in disgust at what those sick bastards (who deserved to be struck by lightening) were doing. (And a feeling of horror, wondering how any freedom-loving people could have allowed such oppression to happen.) Well, it had a plot. And I admit I like psi things like empathic bonds.
Though the characters of Jim and Blair here are Jim-like and Blair-like, they are only partly the guys we know. This is because (a) Jim is a Dark Sentinel (a product of the author's own take on the Sentinel mythos, which has some aspects that I really Do Not care for - particularly the dominance/submission stuff, and the split-personality - geeze, I know that Sentinels are primitive, but they aren't animals, for goodness sake!) and (b) Blair is an empath, with consequent vulnerabilities.
This universe for some reason, reminds me of the Sime~Gen universe of Jacqueline Litchtenberg, with Sentinels as Channel-Simes, and Guides as Companion-Gens - with the same non-person treatment that Gens got in Sime territories. There's even an offhand reference to a religious sect which feels a bit like the Church of the Purity. However, the Sime~Gen universe is much better.
This author has a weakness of style - she has a tendency to repeat herself - phrases, descriptions - for example, saying that Jim only expressed two emotions, happiness and anger. Perhaps if I hadn't read them all one after another, I wouldn't have noticed. Or perhaps not.
So why did I keep reading? Egged on by hope that there will be a revolution? Not in this lifetime, though. (Another thing that reminds me of Sime~Gen). Though, actually, one gets the impression from the last story that the author is going to ignore the difficulties of the universe she's set up, and make things improve faster than is realistically possible. I've got mixed feelings about that. Anyway, maybe I'm just a sucker for empathic bonds. Or I had a bout of temporary insanity.
[yinkawills at The Slash Slut's Recs]
As a slashaholic i dont read gen fics in the fandoms I like. A reccommendation on the archive for Sentinel slash fic (852 Prospect) made me curious to read Susan Fosters GDP series of stories. I went over to the Sentinel Gen fic archive Guide Posts and started with Sentinel 101.
Set in an AU where Sentinels and Guides are known, and Guides are under the control of the Guide Development Project, treated as slaves, this series is brilliant.
And, Im sorry, but it looks like slash to me.
Guides are empaths, and Sentinels in this AU are rather primal. They link with their Guides via a mental bond that is emotional, requires body contact, and is very intense. Perceived threats to a Guide tip Sentinels straight into an extreme BP mode where they could easily kill. In this series, one of my fave Jim characterisations- PRIMAL JIM!- is central. He's a total hardass, who once bonded reluctantly with Blair - who in this series is one of my less favourite versions, MUCH ABUSED BLAIR- is not above crushing the life out of any threat to him. Literally. The key sense featured in this series seems to be smell, and Jim is way more tactile in this AU regarding Blair and is always sniffing him too. When Sentinels here come across each other they behave like hunting animals vying for dominance. BUt you can gues who turns out the be THE Alpha Male over all the Sentinels in Cascade! This series has great plots, and so much hurt/comfort you, gentle reader will need to take painkillers. And it has Jim angst and Blair angst by the bucketload. There's even a secondary series where the Blair/Jim pairing of centuries ago is revealed, and in that AU, Blair is a kick-ass, trained assassin as well as shaman and healer who is quick to want to carve up anyone who even looks at Jim the wrong way. And I repeat, ladies, ITS SLASH. Even though the author has characters declaim that the Sentinel/Guide relationship is um not sexual, nevertheless, they are described as soulmates, two bodies but one soul, often sleep wrapped up in each others arms, and things are way too intense for all that -we are best friends and brothers -- shit.Definitely a case of DEnial being that river located you know whereSERIOUSLY THIS IS A DAMN FINE SERIES.
[Ophite68 in reply to yinkawills]
I read obsessivly gen and slash I second the motion that this is a great series. It can be read as either gen or slash/preslash. It should also be mentioned that it does include some male rape both accomplished and attempted. Non explicit in the first few stories though. D/S fans will probably like this story. No sex between the two main characters, but LOT'S of D/S. It could be said that the rightness and wrongness of it are the main themes of the story line.
[Immortal_Katharina99 in reply to yinkawills]
I have to agree it's a great story. Actually I like the fact that it's not slash. I normally don't read Gen either, but this series is just so good. In this case I don't see anyway for Jim and Blair to get together without Jim being a complete like total bastard. He has complete control over Blair's life in this Universe and with Blair's history it just doesn't seem right. But I digress. The only thing I didn't like about it was I thought at the end it was a little to much (how many times can one guy get kidnapped for god sake!)But then again it sort of made sense, when someone come alongand disrupts all a societies moral conventions he makes enemies. Historically that's true.
BTW there are also companion pieces in a series called "Learning Curve"
And a new Sequel called "Reflections in the Mirror" which is also great. It's a WIP up to 3 parts last time I checked. It's also a x-over with the District. Don't watch it?? Doesn't matter, Me neither. Doesn't take away from the story. They just kind of borrow a character and throw him into the GDP universe. Just in case you haven't had enough GDP lately.
PS the past life thing is the "Dark Guide" series, I think.
[anonymous at Prospect-L]
the Susan Foster's GDP series is notorious for snagging me. it's like a drug - i *know* it's bad for me, and i *know* it will drive me up the wall, but i read it anyway.
[rhyo at fluterbev's Dreamwidth]
I like the concept of the GDP universe, but lately the writing has left me a bit cold, especially as it tends to run to long "bonding" scenes wherein you have to wonder how they get any work done, what with all that bonding going on. Plus, Susan has an unfortunate tendency to post without any editing of any kind, which really turns me off.
[anonymous at Prospect-L]
Susan Foster is a classic example of an author being praised for mediocre writing. actually, less than mediocre, in a lot of cases. her GDP AU is a great vision, with lots of potential conflict and angst between groups and stories of how things 'got this way'. but her own grasp of grammar and punctuation is so crappy as to be non-existent. i keep getting this urge to take her pieces and use them for punctuation lessons online. the best thing i can say about her - and this one thing probably saves her stories from complete garbage-dom - is that she seems to have an intuitive grasp of which scenes and points of view a story should be told from. but even that can't keep me from banging my head against the wall from time to time.
especially when she decides to drive the AU towards an illogical place. frex: i think her latest installments are trying to set up ellison as the 'Sentinel Prime of North America' - which is utterly rediculous. it's also patently rediculous to have only *one* 'sentinel tribe', in this AU, for a *lot* of reasons. she's basically set up a situation where the current folks are re-enacting, in various degrees and ways, things people did in a 'primitive' (and evidently H:TLJ-type setting) era. the world logic dictates that more than one clan was around then, ergo, more than one clan should be coming into existence in the universe 'present'.
example 2: the 'purity league community', or whatever it was. she mentions it in one story, and then forgets it, despite the fact that a group of survivalists who believe that guides and sentinels are evil evil should provide *great* cannon fodder and angst for the US Govt, and random pairings and ....
ex 3: no internal strife seems to exist in the americas in this AU. the societal setup is so angsty for certain subsets that this is... stupid. the concept of slavery should have been hard-fought against, and more incidents should pop up from the GLA. underground railroads to the south, maybe. certainly, raids on GDP facilities, and computer hacking and the like. more, diversity in attitude must abound across an area twice the size of the old USSR. there's the native americans, who would surely object to the 'second class citizen concept', the canadian outbackers, who can't afford such non-sense, hell, just the difference between urban and rural communities alone should make for the occasional edgy situation.But she doesn't seem to see any of the possibilities. ::sigh:: it's such a great idea, and such *lousy* execution.
[anonymous at Prospect-L]
For me, the most annoying thing about Susan's works (apart from the spelling and grammar, that makes even me, a non-native speaker, wince) is how inconsistent the characterization is. One second, Simon regards Blair almost as a son, the next, he sees him as an amoral, inferior guide out to molest Daryl. Not to mention Jim - on the one hand, he is overprotective of Blair, on the other, he goes out with Carolyn, who despises Blair. There are many, many more examples of this. She is also dropping plotlines all the time. Every time I read the GDP series I try to ignore the poor execution and concentrate on the great idea, but all I really want is to send the story to some capable slash-writers and beg them to rewrite the whole thing. Imagine, GDP written by Em Brunson or Francesca... *drool*
i can forgive that, because this particular milieu has a lot of societal re-inforcement for this sort of behavior. it's obvious that things have 'been this way' since at least as long as jim's been alive - say 40 years, at least. (this makes the timing of milieu historical events somewhat iffy, at best, but that's (yet another) issue.) and i know from personal experience that it's *really hard* to fight ideas that have been substantively reinforced by society during your formative years. the line 'give me a boy of seven and he is mine forever' is nothing less than the truth. that the whole GDP ideology is generally societally accepted and re-inforced is a perfectly good excuse for people who should know better to occasionally act like shits. especially when *they* aren't the ones being hurt by the ideology in question.
i agree the idea is eminently slashable, but i'd be just as happy if a competent gen writer - Susan *Williams* comes to mind since i just finished re-reading masks - took it over and did *anything* with it. like, i don't know - taking up those plotlines? think Foster'd be mad if we were to rewrite her stuff for our own peace of mind? hehe.
She's pretty open to other authors playing in her AU... if you're at all inclined, I'd give heavy odds that she'd respond to queries with "go forth and write!"
What right would she have to be mad? She is taking Petfly's stuff and rewriting it, after all, and I don't think they're to happy about the whole concept of Sentinel slash. (Though they should be, of course). I don't think *any* fanfic-writer has a right to object if another writer plays in her universe.
I'm sorry if I gave the wrong impression here. I don't think that Susan Foster should change her stories in any way to suit my tastes. I also don't think anyone has the right to take Susan's great ideas and claim them as their own. What I wanted to say was: I think we fans have the right to write fanfic to her work, as she writes fanfic to Petfly's work. To such a fic there should be a disclaimer attached stating that this is Susan's AU, and her idea, and we're only playing in her territory.
I truly think any other fanfic author deserves our consideration, but if Susan really objected to anyone playing with her characters (who are and should stay *her* characters) it would be extremely hypocritical in my opinion. I'm sorry if I offended anyone by saying that.
Unfortunately, your opinion doesn't take into account that there is a difference between fanfiction and a tv show.
What you are saying is: Susan writes fanfiction about a TV show, therefore she would be a hypocrite if she objected to people writing fanfiction about her fanfiction.
However, this simply doesn't follow logically, since a person writing fanfiction is *not doing the same thing* as a person writing for a TV show. They're both *writing*, but they're doing it for different reasons, getting different benefits out of it, publishing in different places and in the *context* of a different community, where different expectations, guidelines and rules are the norm. Fanfiction simply isn't the same as TV show canon, and it shouldn't be treated exactly the same way.
- To modify your statement so that it becomes correct: Susan writes fanfiction about a TV show. Therefore if Susan ever became a writer *for a TV show*, and then got upset about people writing fanfiction *about her TV show,* -- well, *then* she would be a hypocrite. Because then she'd be objecting to people doing what she'd done. You see?
[Sally M at gen_fic_crit]
I found the *idea* of the GDP universe was good... the execution lacking. The writer does have some strengths (the original setup showed a lot of imagination, at times *too* much, and most of her her OCs are unusually good, though the baddies do share the melodramatic Victorian villainy that all too many writers indulge in), but she set up a universe of overwhelming harshness and then... seemed to baulk at the logical (indeed inevitable) progressions such a universe entailed.
But one has to say that the idea *has* inspired some very good AUs of its own (some appallingly bad ones, too).Me, I'm simply not keen on the genetic/biological Sentinel/Guide thing anyway, so it's harder for me to get into them.
[the_hobbet at crack_van]
Imagine a universe in which Sentinels are valued for their abilities and feared for their protective, sometimes savage, instincts. To allow Sentinels to remain sane and function in society they are bonded with empathic guides, who become their property. The GDP, Guide Development Project, is a corrupt agency with full authority to find, train, and control empaths.
Blair is an empath who tried to hide his abilities in order to keep his freedom. Jim Ellison is a late-blooming Sentinel who is repulsed by the idea of owning and being dependent on another human being. But Blair is captured, first by psychotic Sentinel Alex Barnes and then by the GDP, who label him rogue and set out to break him. When Jim goes into a life-threatening crisis, the two are thrown together.
The GDP series, along with the associated Learning Curve, Dark Guide, and Dark Sentinel series, are very popular in Sentinel fandom. Nevertheless, I have been uncertain about reccing them. Susan's writing is often rushed and sloppy, riddled with poor grammar, plot holes, and typos (especially when first posted - the older stories have been mostly cleaned up). But she tells such gripping and emotional stories that readers overlook the flaws. The concepts in these stories have inspired many other authors as well, spawning a whole sub-universe of Sentinel fiction. I think it is a good idea for the interested reader to start here, at the beginning.PS. While classified as Gen the bonding scenes are sensual enough to satisfy many slash fans. Enjoy :-)
[anonymous response to the_hobbet]
Susan Foster? BLECH!!!
[the_hobbet response to anonymous]
LOL, I know where you are coming from. To be honest, I stopped reading after awhile. I just couldn't take the sloppiness. Most authors improve with experience. She just seemed to get more rushed and careless. But I recced the series because in spite of the flaws it is significant in the fandom, and I did enjoy the earlier stories.
[other anonymous response anonymous and the_hobbet]
Because her concept was so interesting, I was willing to forgive a lot in this series. But I lost patience a couple of years ago, when the "this is not slash" disclaimers started appearing in all caps. If you're going to write "bonding" scenes with your naked male characters twined around each other, screaming in ecstacy, just admit that you're writing slash and get on with it.
Though I have reservations about Susan Foster's writing, I applaud her willingness to share her universe and her concepts with other writers. The Sentinel fandom is richer for it.
[patk tesponse to the_hobbet]
It's been a while since I read anything in Susan Foster's GDP series. Initially, I found the concept interesting but in the long run I couldn't handle the way she portrayed Blair. It was just not the guy I liked to see and was used to see from the show, not even if thrown into such a world.
Yes, I agree with finding Susan's "bonding scenes" suspiciously close to slash. Okay, in my view it *is* slash - despite Susan insisting upon it's not.
I mean, if an author really doesn't want to give the impression of a slash-scene, he or she should probably avoid terms and descriptions that will likely remind a lot of readers of sex-scenes.
Aside from that, this AU-concept sparked a lot of other stories that play with the idea of a world, where sentinels and guides are known, some of them handling the matter better than Susan does. Again, my opinion, you (generic) might see this different.From this view it's true, Susan's work made an impact on the AU-side of TS-fanfiction that goes beyond the question whether one likes her stories or not.
The AU that has spawned many other AUs. The author is against slash, yet the whole story is full of manly skin on skin bonding, so who cares? Jim is an unbonded sentinel. He must have a guide. However, guides here are completely the property of their sentinels and much abused both within and without the sentinel-guide relationship. Blair is considered a problem guide and has been horribly abused. Will Jim be able to bond with him? Will Blair ever be able to have a semi-normal life? Whole series and sub-series and other stuff on Susan's page.
[jane-elliot at epic-rants]
You can probably tell where my big issue is with these stories. The fact is, fiction in which supposedly sympathetic characters not only accept, but embrace slavery just rubs me the wrong way. Especially when many of those characters are black (frankly, in that case I consider it outright offensive). In the past I've been willing to give these stories a chance, but the idea that Jim and Simon are even remotely willing to accept a person as less than human and thus a slave makes me cringe. It's just so very, very out of character, not to mention character bashing.
Some folks really seem to like seeing Jim and Simon (there are others, but Jim and Simon are usually the biggest offenders) redeemed by their slow realization that Blair is way too awesome to be a slave and therefore slavery must be bad, but even in the best written stories in this genre, the fact that Jim and Simon will initially accept the slavery (and abuse and human trafficking) leaves a bad taste in my mouth, no matter how 'happy' the ending is. Thus I'm passing on these fics from now on. There's plenty of Sentinel fics that have the characters treating each other like human beings to read instead.
[lothy response to jane_elliot]
I disagree with you here simply because I'm exactly the kind of person this type of series is written for. I love slave fics... I run slavefics! However, I accept that there are a lot of fics I like that non-slavefic-lovers are never going to understand, just like there are other kinks that I don't understand (both in terms of sexual kink and plot kink - slavery can be either or both types and for me it's both).
That said there's one point I do semi-agree with you on - making good canon characters agree with slavery and in a non-fantasy-BDSM kind of way (unless it's an institutional-slavery AU done in a really skilled way making them gradually question their beliefs - Lit Gal did that really well with a "Sentinels are semi-slaves" fic where Blair changed).
[magician113 tesponse to jane-elliot]
What bothers me about this rant first of all is that you're not ranting about the source AU (Susan's GDP universe), but the many stories written by others who purport to write in her world. So you have no idea whether these stories are truly representative of the AU or whether they twisted it horribly. You put down what you know of Susan's AU, clearly based on hearsay. And that's okay if you don't want to read Susan's stories because you suspect they will hit your squickmeter. But I still don’t understand why you exclude her stories in your rant.
Second, you carry authority here. So, when the first commenter said (paraphrasing) "Really? Why would anyone stand for that kind of world", you answer with a guess based on virtually no personal knowledge. Surely, you could say "I don't know because I'm not interested in reading in the AU. Perhaps another reader could offer you a perspective". That way, they could get an answer from other people who've actually read and might even like the stories. Since it's an AU that prompts others to write in it, for better or worse, wouldn't it be better to let people decide for themselves?
Next, you make no differentiation between authors who write and enjoy the GDP world and others who write in a "Sentinels Are Known" universe that might look like a GDP story but is significantly different. How could you, since you haven't read Susan's AU? I can't, unless the author credits Susan or they use her OCs. So, in effect, you're condemning stories that might very well be “anti-GDP”. Name some specific authors or stories, so at least we could tell which ones drive you crazy.
Next, there are slavery stories and slavery stories. There are slavery stories where the injustice of slavery is the main theme of the story, such as Uncle Tom's Cabin or Roots, and there are stories that take place against the backdrop of slavery as a way of life, like Gone With the Wind. Those stories would attract very different people. Which might explain why GDP is wildly popular with some readers and totally rejected by others. As to why someone who’s black would accept slavery of another, my only answer is to look at human history. The basic problem with the GDP universe, as someone already pointed out, is that no one really did enough “universe building” to let you understand *how* it came to happen. In any case, it’s an AU, so you can’t apply canon norms to it. In an historical AU, Simon might be a Moorish king with slaves of his own.
[lady_alys at epic-rants]
I'm having Sentinel fandom flashbacks. Especially the series where the author would insist that her stories weren't slash, then include multiple scenes of "intense emotional bonding" that involved Jim and Blair, naked, screaming in ecstasy. Oooookay....
[batgurl10 at sentinelficfinder]
Hehehe. I read that whole series "years and years" ago. Yes, Ive been around for long time. Anyhoot. Its def an intense and not for the faint hearted reading. I swear Ithought it was slash the first time round, but its NOT.
so all those longing intense emotional semi sexual bonding scenes where they lay in each others arms for hours.....yeah--thats TOTALLY HETERO! LOL. All that growling over protective Alpha posturing that he does when anyone comes close to blair, yeah.....totally NOT gay! lol.
having said that, good world building and those GDP officials....(shudders) def a good read if you like HURT and HURT and then Comfort!
[desertrat on Sentinel 101]
This is it. The series that got me reading fanfiction in the first place.
I had dipped a little into some other authors starting with Beauty and the Beast and then on to Sentinel but it was Ophite who sent me to your website and this is the one that got me hooked! I started reading this over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2008 and finished about the second week in December. Then walked around for about a week doing the "great read depression drop" where you WANT more to read because it was soooo good for so long. I have the whole saga saved together as one big .doc file which is 1,039 pages long just called GDP - Susan Foster, sorted in rough chronological order. I then went on to read everything else on the site. No subscribing to an author in those days so I would check into your site every other week to see if anything new was posted.
[sammy madison on Sentinel 101]
I was traumatized when I saw your site had been taken down! I can't say how relieved I am to see you posting your stories here! The universe you have created is so AWESOME, I've read every story over and over. And will again, over and over.
[abolitionist on Sentinel 101]
Oh, yes, the GDP. . .
That paean to human trafficking, which asserts confidently that being trafficked and degraded is quite a glorious thing, so long as you wash up against an owner you can learn to be compatible with.
The worst part of it is, it's not only mislead otherwise clearsighted thinkers into justifying their own control fantasies, it's now spreading and propagating in crossovers to other realms where new and viewers are learning seductively that degradation and objectification can look a lot like Romance and Fulfillment.
Use your critical thinking skills, folks - there are no happy endings in human trafficking and enslavement. No matter what frosting you put on it, this cake's putrid to the core.
Thank you for your feedback on the series, I do take all feedback seriously. This series was written 10 years ago, among my first works. It is no longer an active series and I haven't added to it in seven or eight years. What I wanted to do was take the story from a point of near slavery to the liberation of the guides, with a Guide Prime and a reconstructed GDP. I am taking down some of the stories in this series. Just keeping a few that people have requested.
[Alliemackenzie28 on Sentinel 101]
The whole GDP AU is so well built and well thought out. I am currently writing a Sentinel/Hawaii 5-0 crossover. Eventually in my world, laws are going to get passed that take away guides' rights in some way, but I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to do it yet. So my question is basically: may I fanfic your fanfic? I'd love to write something about how the world got to the place it is in GDP. You would, of course be given full credit for your ideas. If you're not totally ok with this, it's no problem at all, and I certainly won't use your ideas without your permission. Thank you for your consideration and happy writing!
Please feel free to use what ever you want from the GDP series.
I look forward to reading your story when its finished.
- The GDP series on TV Tropes
- Susan Foster's GDP Series
- The Sentinel Primer
- Dark Guide Series
Notes & References
- ^ "Best of Sentinel Drama Fanfiction on the Web". Archived from the original on 1999-10-12.
Website was updated the day before archiving, and The GDP is a new recommendation by the author's own account. The rec wasn't on the list on the prior archiving date in Jan 1999. Review possibly written Oct 11, 1999; definitely written in 1999.
- ^ a b "GDP Stories :: Susan Foster's Site". Archived from the original on 2012-10-02.
- ^ Fan Fic: The GDP Series, see that page for tropes
- ^ "misspaperlilies said: What is this Sentinel/Guide business I keep hearing about?". Archived from the original on 2022-05-15.
- ^ a b c d e "Sentinel Primer: GDP #2". Archived from the original on 2002-06-18.
- ^ Kathryn A: "[gen_fic_crit] Review: Latchstrings (Sentinel)". Archived from the original on 2006-08-29.
- ^ Kathryn Andersen: "Author: Becky". Archived from the original on 2006-09-17.
- ^ "fluterbev Tag: Rec Entries". Archived from the original on 2009-06-26.
- ^ "LA's Sentinel Recs". Archived from the original on 2002-12-01.
- ^ "Sentinel recs". Archived from the original on 2003-04-28.
- ^ "Becky's Fanfiction Recommendations: Drama". Archived from the original on 2007-02-18.
- ^ "AU recs by Lanta". Archived from the original on 2008-01-17.
- ^ Reviewed by Kathryn A on 3rd January 2000 and 3rd October 2000: "Susan Foster". Archived from the original on 2014-04-09.
- ^ a b c Retrieved from http://www.network54.com/Forum/75265/thread/997056480/last-998881372/More+Sentinel+recs Slash Sluts Multifandom Recs Board: More Sentinel recs. August 2001
- ^ comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (January 23, 2003)
- ^ rhyo comment at New TS Fic Recs! post by fluterbev in May 23, 2004. Url not archived https://fluterbev.dreamwidth.org/216629.html#comments
- ^ a b comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (November 13, 2004)
- ^ "[gen_fic_crit] Dasha's 'Imperfections' series". Archived from the original on 2007-09-17.
- ^ "the_hobbet post: Sentinel 101 by Susan Foster (PG-13): crack_van — LiveJournal". Archived from the original on 2022-05-18.
- ^ a b c d "anonymous comment: Sentinel 101 by Susan Foster (PG-13): crack_van — LiveJournal". Archived from the original on 2022-05-18.
- ^ "patk comment: Sentinel 101 by Susan Foster (PG-13): crack_van — LiveJournal". Archived from the original on 2022-05-18.
- ^ "Sentinel AUs: read_mercutio — LiveJournal". Archived from the original on 2022-05-18.
- ^ "jane_elliot post: GDP Universe Stories - Epic Rants -- We Read Fic So You Don't Have To…". Archived from the original on 2022-05-18.
- ^ "lothy comment: GDP Universe Stories - Epic Rants -- We Read Fic So You Don't Have To…". Archived from the original on 2022-05-18.
- ^ "magician113 comment: GDP Universe Stories - Epic Rants -- We Read Fic So You Don't Have To…". Archived from the original on 2022-05-18.
- ^ "sineala comment: Due South shipping meta! - This is quite homoerotic — LiveJournal". Archived from the original on 2022-05-18.
- ^ "lady_alys comment: Where Religion and Fanfic Collide - Epic Rants -- We Read Fic So You …". Archived from the original on 2022-05-18.
- ^ "batgurl10 comment: Requesting Info, Not Fic - Sentinel Fan Fiction Finders — LiveJournal". Archived from the original on 2022-05-18.
- ^ "[desertrat] Comment on Sentinel 101 Archive of Our Own". Archived from the original on 2022-05-18.
- ^ "[sammy madison] Comment on Sentinel 101 Archive of Our Own". Archived from the original on 2022-05-18.
- ^ a b "[abolitionist] Comment on Sentinel 101 Archive of Our Own". Archived from the original on 2022-05-15.
- ^ a b "[Alliemackenzie28] Comment on Sentinel 101 Archive of Our Own". Archived from the original on 2022-05-18.
- ^ "Sentinel Primer: GDP #2". Archived from the original on 2012-10-02.
- ^ "Dark Guide Stories". Archived from the original on 2012-01-28.