thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Keep Hoping Machine Running ([personal profile] thefourthvine) wrote2016-06-05 09:19 pm

All the Ships I've Loved Before 2

The One with the Matchmaking Robots. Pro Tip: Everything Everywhere Is Better with Matchmaking Robots. Nice Work If You Can Get It, by astolat. Mike Donovan/Greg Powell, I, Robot (book).

So. Harriet and Peter set my expectations for het romance. What did it for queer romance? It should have been Jeeves and Wooster. I spent years obsessively collecting everything PG Wodehouse ever wrote, and I read each of his books at least twenty times and giggled helplessly through every reading. But somehow they never tripped the ship circuit in my brain. No. What did that – and this is so stereotypically me I can hardly stand it – was I, Robot.

Specifically, Greg Powell and Mike Donovan. Twelve-year-old me did not understand precisely why she was re-reading the Powell and Donovan stories so obsessively; she just knew she couldn't stop.

But adult me knows why.

The Powell and Donovan stories taught me that fictional queer romance occurs between two people who depend on each other, care about each other, and look after each other, and that there will need to be robots and also me to imagine the kissing part for any kind of consummation to be achieved. So, yeah, thanks, Asimov. You formatted my brain for fic. (And robots. And fic about robots.) In fact, I discovered while writing this rec that one of the things I spent my adult life believing was I, Robot canon is, in fact, actually fic I told myself at the age of 13. Proud of you, teenage me!

Sadly, telling myself fic was for many years the only way to get my fix for this pairing. For mysterious reasons – or, okay, possibly for the entirely understandable reason that it's a book of short stories first published in 1950 – there's not a whole lot of I, Robot fic out there. But what is there comes mostly from Yuletide, and one of those stories was written for me. I love it helplessly.

See, Asimov had many good traits – amazing work ethic, solid scientific knowledge, an entirely reasonable dislike of wide open spaces – but many of his stories are kind of, um. Forever locked in the world of 1950. So I deeply love how this story is so very much an Asimov story – it has the messed-up robots, the frantic problem-solving, and the feel of the canon - but it's also a story with an actual human relationship between actual humans, something Asimov did not always remember to put in his stories. (Fun Asimov fact: at least two of his most human, likable, realistic characters are robots.) And, of course, this story has the kissing that Asimov inexplicably forgot to put in.

Basically, when I read this story ten years ago (holy shit, an actual decade ago), my inner teenager smiled blissfully, finally satisfied. And when I read it now, I feel exactly the same way: all's right with the world. Everything is as I always knew it should be. The ur-ship is manifest at last.

Do you need to know the fandom to read this? Oh my god, so much no. Here's a complete primer: there's these two dudes. They work on robots in remote locations in the solar system. Shit always goes wrong and they always fix it. And they should kiss. There. That's the whole fandom. And this is a before-the-canon story that gives you considerably more background than Asimov ever managed. Go! Read!
niqaeli: cat with arizona flag in the background (Default)

[personal profile] niqaeli 2016-06-06 06:40 am (UTC)(link)
Honestly curious what the bit of fic 13-y/o-you told yourself that you had thought was canon!
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

[personal profile] davidgillon 2016-06-06 07:24 am (UTC)(link)
I grew up loving the Powell and Donovan stories. This is damned near perfect as one. It's also an aspect of their relationship I've never thought of.

12yo me was pretty crap at relationship stuff, so I never noticed how much it was missing.
vamysteryfan: (Default)

[personal profile] vamysteryfan 2016-06-06 01:17 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, lord, I *loooved* those stories. Back then I wasn't big on relationships so I didn't realize what was missing from most of Asimov's stories (except for that one horrible Susan Calvin one). This was perfect - trust Astolat to nail it. Thanks for sharing it.

And now I must go read I, Robot with the slash goggles on.
runpunkrun: chibi rodney mckay hugs a robot and thinks "mine" (robot scientist)

[personal profile] runpunkrun 2016-06-06 05:56 pm (UTC)(link)
but it's also a story with an actual human relationship between actual humans, something Asimov did not always remember to put in his stories

True. So very true.

I'm so happy you're making these ship posts. I always love hearing about fandom from you. <3
kass: white cat; "kass" (Default)

[personal profile] kass 2016-06-06 10:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, I love this story so much. YES.
out_there: B-Day Present '05 (Default)

[personal profile] out_there 2016-06-06 10:53 pm (UTC)(link)
That was lovely. Even for someone who never read Asimov.
everbright: Eclipse of Saturn (Default)

[personal profile] everbright 2016-06-06 11:11 pm (UTC)(link)
OKay, you sold me on reading this ever though I have no knowledge of the canon.
travels_in_time: (Default)

[personal profile] travels_in_time 2016-06-07 02:10 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, can't wait to read this one! Lije Baley/R. Daneel was the ship I didn't realize that I had, at age 11 or so.
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)

[personal profile] cyphomandra 2016-06-10 09:57 am (UTC)(link)
I was just coming here to say this! I am still very fond of them and, in fact, think they're pretty much responsible for why I fell so hard for the same dynamic in Due South...
travels_in_time: (Default)

[personal profile] travels_in_time 2016-06-11 12:20 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, that's a very good point! Now that I think of it, the Kirk/Spock and the Sherlock Holmes/John Watson dynamics could maybe fit into that category too. I wonder what else?
chibimuse: mabel from gravity falls pointing a grappling gun (Default)

[personal profile] chibimuse 2016-06-10 06:41 pm (UTC)(link)
Their interactions were such a good part of i Robot! Imagine my horrible disappointment when the movie wasn't focused on their adorable shenanigans.
So excited to read this!
raven: Karen Gillan as Amy Pond, wearing green and red and looking up (Default)

[personal profile] raven 2016-06-20 09:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh my god. That story has just made my life.
cadenzamuse: Cross-legged girl literally drawing the world around her into being (Default)

[personal profile] cadenzamuse 2016-06-21 03:47 am (UTC)(link)
Ha. I have read this story before, and it's great. I love the "we are different kinds of people, but very competent at our jobs and at taking care of each other" romantic dynamic in both het and slash.