Your Cowboy Days Are Over

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Title: Your Cowboy Days Are Over (Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)
Author(s): M. (Samdonne)
Date(s): June 8, 2006
Length: ~59,100 words / 5:55:56 (podfic)
Genre: gen, kidfic, amnesia
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
External Links: Your Cowboy Days Are Over (Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys) Samdonne/M's LJ and website have both gone, but the fic is still accessible through the Wayback machine
Ycdao cover.jpg

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Your Cowboy Days Are Over (Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys) is a notable SGA (mostly) gen fic that focuses on John Sheppard written by M. (samdonne).

It starts in media res, the backstory is gradually revealed, the plot is intricate and satisfying, and it is technically adept as well as emotionally wrenching. Although the story focuses on John (and his young son), Teyla gets good screentime as well, and the story offers an unusually sympathetic portrayal of Kolya.

The author wrote two additional stories set in the same universe:

There are two DVD commentaries for the story:

A podfic of the story was recorded by general_jinjur in 2008; it is hosted at the Audiofic Archive.

Sample Recs and Reviews

  • "I don't think, even to the author, I've really been able to articulate why this story is right now my favorite, bar none, in any fandom. A lot of it is the worldbuilding, which is extraordinarily rich and detailed, that she made familiar and real so fast it's hard to believe it's not canon. A lot of it is the range of characters used--from Ekaterin and Ben--God, *Ben*--to Kolya, whose extraordinary characterization and utilization still leaves me breathless and a little sad that canon would never take this path. The sheer quality of the writing is a given."[1]
  • "[...]a sort of trancendence of genre, in which the world of the story is utterly original, surpassing canon, yet reasonably derived from it. [...] I remember being confused by the combination of "gen" as a descriptor with NC17 as a rating. After reading the story, I have to agree that this story is essentially gen. However, it is most definitely about relationships: John's friendship with Teyla, his somewhat off-balance relationship with his case officer Ekatarin, his prickly detente with other characters I shall not mention here, and most of all the fierce love between John and his son."[2]
  • "Short version: the best fanfic that I've ever read. [...] This is a John that makes sense to me, which is actually a fairly rare experience for me in reading SGA fic. And even more satisfying, it's a Pegasus galaxy that makes sense to me, which never happens when I watch the show. And it's just so brazenly smart and cruel, which is probably the common thread running through so much of the fic that I like best."[3]
  • "[...]there was a lot of neat stuff, and it held my interest enough that I made it to the end (59,000 words!) without skimming. [...] The thing I loved best was the Bajan civilisation. Wow. This was an awesome planet and I really wish it had been focused on more. To me it felt wasted in this story, because it was just a backdrop (though a very well-fleshed out one) for John's emoing [...] that's really what this story is about, so while I liked various details, the main plot just totally didn't interest me at all here."[4]
  • "Why this must be read: This story is great science fiction. It showcases characters making some very hard choices, against a backdrop of a rich alien culture, with interesting plot, angst, H/c, and multiple layers of theme. (One of my big literary kinks) This story is great fan fiction, delving into who John Sheppard is and exploring the Stargate universe, assembling bits and pieces of canon (such as the episode 'Allies' and the on-going genetics storylines) and extrapolating from them to create much more than the sum of its parts. This story is future fic, raw and uncompromising in its conclusions, full of resonant emotional intensity. It's a novel, and I sank into the story as I read it, walking away with something approaching an emotional hangover when I was done. Though of course, everyone's mileage on the reading experience will vary." [5]


  1. ^ rec by seperis, 20 September 2006. (Accessed 9 May 2011)
  2. ^ sga rec: Your Cowboy Days Are Over by M.(samdonne) by isiscolo, 25 November 2006. (Accessed 9 May 2011)
  3. ^ Reading "Your Cowboy Days Are Over" by cryptoxin, 6 March 2008, (Accessed 9 May 2011)
  4. ^ Fic reviews: SGA by kanata/kyuuketsukirui, 20 October 2008. (Accessed 9 May 2011)
  5. ^ rec at Crack Van, June 2006