Written by the Victors (Stargate Atlantis podfic)

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Podfic
Title: Written by the Victors (Podfic)
Podfic Artist(s): lim et. al.
Cover Artist: lim
Date(s): December 4, 2007
Length: 5:27:41
File:
Based On: Written by the Victors
Author: Speranza
Fandom: SGA
External Links: download at sga_podfic,
Speranza's podfic page,
or the Audiofic Archive page for the series (includes the main podfic as well as affiliated works)
Cover art by lim

Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The podfic for Speranza's SGA story Written by the Victors, a 55,000-word John/Rodney fandom classic, must be one of the most ambitious collaborative fan productions ever.

36 speakers from several countries read parts of the script (archived version), which was then collected, produced and edited into a remarkably seamless whole by Lim.[1] The resulting podfic is almost five and a half hours long (5:27:41 to be exact!).

The multitude of readers portray the many conflicting narrators in the story, and also literalize the reading that the story's quibbling historians reflect fandom. Zoetrope gives voice to the story's main narration.

The cover is from lim's fake Amazon.co.uk page for the story. [2]

Cast

The full Victors cast, and the roles they play, are listed here (link offline) and include: RivkaT, Shrewreader, Ponceflower, Cathexys, Lim, Fleur Rochard, The_Oscar_Cat, Yin, Speranza, Anatsuno, Thingswithwings, Trinity_Clare, Thisissirius, Emelerin, Cat_Latin, Druidspell, Sapote3, Sheafrotherdon, Aesc, Kass, Toft_Froggy, Busaikko, Chr0me_kitten, Cayendi, Twocats, Indybaggins, Zabira, Loreleif, Dajaje, Rachael Sabotini, Indy_Go, Tropes, Jinjurly, Celtic_Tigress, Fox, and Zoetrope as the voice of the book.

From the Narrator, the Voice of the Book

From zoetrope, on the eve of the podfic's release:

... something wonderful is happening online, because Lim has just posted the podfic she's been nurturing for months, and it is wonderful.

Download, and listen, and wonder at all her hard work, at in fact the hard work of loads of people in fandom:

Written by the Victors, by Speranza, The Podfic Project

I downloaded and have been listening to it, and it is wonderful, not only because of the great story that is at its core, but because it feels like something... huge. Like we, fandom as a whole, has taken a deep breath and vocalised our passion for each other and the show and the characters.

There were 36 people involved in the project - myself included - and hearing those voices come together really has brought an added dimension to fandom for me.

I honestly can't urge you strongly enough. Go read, and tell Speranza and Lim how wonderful they are for putting this project together. [3]

Comments About the Podfic by the Story's Original Author

Comments by Speranza, the day after the podfic was released:

zoetrope needs special singling out as the voice of the Book, carrying a truly herculean load of Speranzian verbiage (and, I think, all the sex!) but seriously, the voices! They're all so good! And the thing is, it's an absolutely international cast--fans of all stripes and nations! or ok, a whole LOT of nations!--and that's just so much of what the story is about. Because zoetrope is English, "reality" goes kind of default-UK, and I'm pretty sure Sam Carter is Dutch, and Tina Eber is German, and like, okay, here's the thing: one of the things that fanfiction does that I love so much is allow us to cross boundaries: we blur television and literature, male/femaleness, age, class, nation. It's all a kind of drag, you know? and like drag, it tells the truth; it's true. So I loved the "translation" of Victors into a UK-default idiom, because it was like a reflection of the story's own thematic interest in multi-and other-culturalism! The whole thing kind of talks back to a kind of selfish U.S.-centrism, if you understand what I mean. The international cast does just AMAZING things for the story and its themes. It just makes me so happy!

The other big shout out I have to make is to lim, who--<3 <3 <3--all my heart, Lim! Lim really produced this show, like really; check out her truly terrifying audio production notes if you just want to know, just on a technical level, how you get 36 people on different microphones to sound like they belong in the same universe, let alone the same story, but also?--check out the editing on the "wheat!" conversation! Check out the skillful use of music throughout! Check out the sound effects when John's in the chair! So much love!! [4]

Process

Instructions to Voice Actors

The script for Written by the Victors divided up the text of the story into sections from different narrators. Each of these was hyperlinked so that the speakers could find and jump to their parts next to their Livejournal handle. The script was prefaced by these directions:

How to Play

  1. Find your character, your LJ name is listed underneath it.
  2. Click through your parts and rehearse them. Read out the citation. Do not read out any part numbers.
  3. Record each part separately as a .wav file. If you can't make a .wav then it's ok to make a .mp3.
  4. Name the files following this scheme:
    • surname_a.wav
    • surname_b.wav
    • surname_c.wav

    and so on in order. The surname should be the surname of the character, not your own surname.

  5. Upload your files to your webserver, or a free filehost like sendspace, and send the links to lim: [email redacted].

Resources

If you're on dialup, download this script by going to, in your browser, File > Save Page As and saving as an html document to read offline. You can open it in your browser and it will work just the same.

If you need to check a pronunciation, cooldictionary.com can help.

Please do not compress or process your audio. Just send it to me.

Production Notes

lim published extensive production notes about her process for assembling and editing the podfic on kekkai.org (now offline but archived on the Wayback Machine), entitled 'How I Made Our Podfic'. Collectively, they provide a fascinating insight into the mechanics of such an enormous undertaking. Some excerpts:

I edited Written by the Victors almost exclusively in Soundtrack Pro 1.1

I marked up the original HTML document of the story (which I had just coded like, the day before so I knew my way around it) as a script for everybody and got them to send in their parts following a strict naming structure, so actually knowing what went where was dead easy.

Tips for Recording

(Best practice gleaned from 108 submissions)

  • Record at the highest quality and least compression you can (compress after editing)
  • Leave at least 20 seconds of 'silence' on your take, to give you an ambient noise print.
  • Don't try to get it all done in one perfect take; if you stumble, click your fingers, pause, and reread the line.
  • Listen to your recording in a different room, so you can separate the noise on the recording from the ambient noise in the room.

Workflow (Soundtrack)

For each volume I made a six track multitrack project:

  1. Music 0db 0 (center)
  2. Voice of the Book 0db 0 (center)
  3. Readers Left 0db -25 (left)
  4. Readers Right 0db 25 (right)
  5. Overdubs -0.5db 0 (center)
  6. Ambient Noise (pink noise loop) -44db 0 (center)
Using my script reference, I navigated to the Victorpod>Volume>READINGS audio file repository and laid down the tracks in order. I alternated the voices over the left and right channels, to give a sensation of conversation, of people talking across the listener (this is more for headphones), and laid John, and the Voice of the Book (zoetrope, who's extremely good) down the center, or, in your head, if you think about it.
Ambient noise is a weird thing because mainly you hear it when it's not there. That's how come podcasts sometimes sound unnatural and *pulls hands in and out* windy—they've cut out all the ambient noise in between the speech and replaced it with total silence. Once the noise varies, it impinges on your consciousness, so it's better (aurally cleaner) to try to keep an even background noise than to attempt to eliminate it altogether. I actually added pink noise to the multitrack in the end, to soften the transitions between fan-sounds.
Once I got to the end, I slapped on the music, exported to AIFF at 44.1, and jumped in the batmobile, away! I used AudioBook Builder to make the m4b files and it's just a case of dragging the files on and hitting Build.

Reception

Written by the Victors is itself an extremely well-regarded fic, and the podfic adaptation of it is no less so. It is widely recced and widely-acclaimed, with fans expressing delight over the experience of listening to it, particularly the sheer variety of voice actors, the quality and care put into the production, and the way that it brings an already beloved story to life.

2007

So... usually I don't even listen to audiobooks at all, much less fan-produced fanfic audiobooks based on series that I've never even seen. So, yeah. Having said that, I have definitely been following the vast wave of creativity that seems to have been sparked by cesperanza's Stargate Atlantis story, Written By the Victors. Following it in a stunned and awe-inspired sort of way that makes me keep asking myself why my fandoms aren't this creative and literary.

Now I discover that there is an audiobook version too. An audiobook that is nearly five and a half hours long and has an all-star cast of thirty-six people, including rivkat who will be familiar to many X-Files fans as the co-author of "Iolokus." The whole thing was edited together by lim, the vidder who did "Us"... why am I not surprised?

To cut a long story short, I have downloaded the thing. Tomorrow I am going down to Boston to pick loneraven at the airport, so hopefully I will be able to listen to some of it on the way. Generally I am awful at listening to things, but what little I have sampled so far sounds really lovely and potentially fascinating. I mean, I even found the cast list an interesting listen. The voice of zoetrope, the main narrator, is wonderfully mellifluous.

Perhaps I shall offer a more objective and less randomly enthusiastic review once I have listened to the thing. Perhaps not.

Why doesn't X-Files fandom do more audiobooks? [5]
Written by the Victors is the most creative endeavor of any fandom. The fic spawned a universe. It spawned a vid (which actually reinvents the source so that it illustrates the fic!) And I've been awaiting the podfic since the project was announced. SO much love for Victors, so much love. [6]
If you haven't already seen -- the podfic of Written By The Victors, with a cast of 36 and cat-herding and audio editing by lim, has been posted on sgapodfic. It is amazing amazing stuff. All these voices! I teared up just listening to everyone reading their names at the beginning. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ [7]
it is an AMAZING recording. [...] Every reader is fantastic, the editing is wonderful, I'm just stunned. Incredible job. [8]
it was amazing, and beautiful, and i almost can't wait to start the whole thing over again, and listen to it AGAIN because the voices were perfect in every way. [...] plus it was so fun to listen to the huge variety of accents brought to bear on a single project. so amazing. [9]

2008

I dl'd this last night, and spent the entire day listening. Honestly, I've been in fandom for a decade, and this was one of my top fandom experiences ever :D I'm amazed, nearly speechless. I laughed, blushed, cried at the ending, and may have generally made a fool of myself at work, but who the hell cares. [10]
This is amazing, people. I just finished listening to it, and the story is excellent, layered and inventive, creating a real world of its own, and the reading is outstanding, capturing the many voices of the characters and perspectives with outstanding vocal variation and emotion. [11]
I especially liked how you took the story and ran with it, not just expressing the words on the page, but also adding the music and the... collage of texts (as it were) at the end which gave a great depth of history to it. [12]

2009

This story itself is mythic, epic and awe inspiring. This collaborative reading project is just jaw dropping. [...] It is impossible to put into words how many different levels of amazing this is. The readings lending a different voice to each historian remind me of documentaries I watched as a kid, or listening to Ken Burns tapes. It's so very believable and realistic, that added depth of the auditory onto an already complex and fantastic story. You guys ROCK!! [13]

2010

All of you reading spoke so beautifully and eloquently, the castings for each character was just spot on! I listen to so many 'professional' audio books, but to me, this was better than 'professional,' everything just flowed so beautifully. [14]
[...] although zoetrope was fantastic and felt like the glue holding all this together, it was the mix of so many voices that made it special. I was actually a bit surprised to find myself liking every single one. Just, voices, man. So cool. And each person put a unique spin on their sections, which, combined together, made this story so much fuller and greater than it would have been with a single reader. The music was cool and worked well. And the *epilogue*, the way it sounded all foreign and alien and different in tone from the earth historian sections. Just, as a whole piece, this came together so well. I understand why this is so widely recced, now, and will add my voice to the many already singing its praises. [15]
Written by the Victors is so far and away a different animal from any other podfic that came out in 2007 that it broke molds, shifted paradigms, re-wrote rulebooks. THE quintessential multi-reader fic, and of a fic that lent itself incredibly well to that format, "Victors" is AN EXPERIENCE that begs to be enjoyed on its own, not as mere background for the events of the day. [...] remains a podfic achievement that is unparalleled in so many ways. [16]
cesperanza's amazingly epic Written by the Victors was made into an equally epic podfic, with thirty-six, count 'em, THIRTY-FUCKING-SIX, wonderful podficcers providing their prodigious talents to the production of this five-hour aural orgasm. [17]
[...] OH MY FUCKING GOD, THIS PODFIC IS A THING OF AWE AND WONDER WHICH MAKES THE WORLD A SHINIER PLACE!!! Really, this was a revelation for me, when I downloaded it - I'd read the text version, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but hearing it read by multiple voices, and getting a rush of fannish connection as each new person whispered into my ear as I went about my business...I don't think I can really explain how very touched I was by this, or how tangible and immediate it made fandom feel. [...] also my first encounter with cover art and use of music, and the whole thing felt so professional, and such a labour of love - really, it filled my heart to bursting [18]

2011

This podfic gets recced all over the place, for good reason. I'm not in SGA fandom at all - I've seen maybe three episodes of the show - but I found I didn't need a lot of familiarity to really enjoy this podfic. It's a beautiful, epic story, and the production on the podfic is amazing. If you love podfic, I don't care what your preferred fandoms are - you have to listen to this. [19]

2014

I know, it’s not like I have to rec this one to anyone who:

# loves podfic, and/or

# Stargate Atlantis

…but damn. I’ve been relistening to it on the bus to and from work this month, and it just keeps getting better. I’ve only seen one or two SGA episodes, and I still love this pod to pieces. It’s such an impressive feat, too! Something like 35+ readers? Yeah, basically, if you haven’t listened to it yet, even if you’re not an SGA person at all, you should run not walk :)[20]

Other Fanworks Inspired by the Original Story

Ces collected and gathered related fanworks at Victorsverse Art and Artifacts with the introduction:
Author's Notes: This all still kind of makes me cry, ya'll; I've never had anything happen quite like this. Anyway--buck up, Ces! This is the page for art, artwork, remixes, songs, vids, translations, and other creative transformations of my story Written By The Victors, which is itself a creative transformation of Stargate: Atlantis. If you've made something new out of my story, I'd love to know about it and will host/link to it here. My remix philosophy is credit, not permission; i.e. have fun, throw a nod my way, and if you please, tell me about it, but just because it makes me happy!

References

  1. ^ Lim's production notes for the Victors podfic. Archived on the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ archive link
  3. ^ From my bed; archive link (December 4, 2007)
  4. ^ (no subject); archive link with expanded comments (December 5, 2007)
  5. ^ comment by Emily Shore at An SGA Audiobook; archive link, with expanded comments (December 6, 2007)
  6. ^ comment by Kimberly FDR at An SGA Audiobook; archive link, with expanded comments (December 6, 2007)
  7. ^ written by the victors podfic! by astolat via LiveJournal, published December 4, 2007 (Accessed April 5, 2021).
  8. ^ From comments at the podfic announcement post, comment by labellementeuse, 8 Dec 2007. (Accessed 14 Dec 2011)
  9. ^ From comments at the podfic announcement post, comment by blackpapertiger, 12 Dec 2007. (Accessed 14 Dec 2011)
  10. ^ From comments at the podfic announcement post, comment by sadiane, 5 Jan 2008. (Accessed 14 Dec 2011)
  11. ^ From comments at the podfic announcement post, comment by chloe_tambell, 23 Feb 2008. (Accessed 14 Dec 2011)
  12. ^ From comments at the podfic announcement post, comment by neth_dugan, 24 Feb 2008. (Accessed 14 Dec 2011)
  13. ^ From comments at the podfic announcement post, comment by rhea314, 15 July 2009. (Accessed 14 Dec 2011)
  14. ^ From comments at the podfic announcement post, comment by justqueenie, 14 April 2010. (Accessed 14 Dec 2011)
  15. ^ From comments at the podfic announcement post, comment by brimtoast, 22 Jan 2010. (Accessed 14 Dec 2011)
  16. ^ From Amplirecathon For January 30th - Greatest Hits of 2007 post by cookiemom6067 for the 2010 Amplirecathon challenge, 30 Jan 2010. (Accessed 14 Dec 2011)
  17. ^ rec for the podfic by lolitakun in Epic Recs, 14 Feb 2010. (Accessed 14 Dec 2011)
  18. ^ From comments at the podfic announcement post, comment by FayJay, 13 Mar 2010. (Accessed 14 Dec 2011)
  19. ^ From Podfic Recs, Whitman Sampler Style post by nickelmountain for the 2011 Amplirecathon challenge at Amplificathon, 24 March 2011. (Accessed 14 Dec 2011)
  20. ^ Podfic rec: Written By the Victors, by Speranza, Posted March 9, 2014 (Accessed February 27, 2021).