So What's to Like about the Aurora Universe?
Abstracted from a thread at the AURG, Nov. 7, 2003
Tarot Barnes (Alternate Histories):
HavenÕt had a good debate in a while so, since IÕve got a few free minutes (well, considerably more than a few unfortunately :), I thought IÕd start one now.
ItÕs a simple question really; what it is that makes Velorians (or, if your tastes swing that way, Arion or Geheimite) so attractive to you?
Now I realise that there are a lot of obvious answers to this, and if thatÕs your truth, go ahead and say it. IÕm not afraid to admit that itÕs a factor, and since most of us were attracted by the old AU I imagine wholesome thoughts werenÕt at the forefront of our minds.
Personally, erotic aspects aside, I like the idea of protection and sacrifice that they embody. I like that someone whoÕs so powerful is willing to devote their life, often thanklessly, to others weaker and less able than themselves.
ThatÕs my kink, anyone else want to reveal theirs?
That just about does it for me too! I also like these powerful characters in otherworld settings - not just on our contemporary earth.
Brantley Thompson Elkins:
Not much to debate here, alas. IÕm not going to be a hypocrite and pretend that Velorians arenÕt the ultimate sexual turn-on for me because theyÕre incredibly beautiful, powerful, invulnerable and horny as all get-out. It really makes a difference to imagine that those voluptuous models posted by Ultragirl and others are Velorian goddesses, rather than just... models.
But I also love Velorians because theyÕre truly noble, truly GOOD. Not Ōnice,Ķ in the traditional prissy sense, but GOOD. And I think goodness in a woman is a sexual turn-on. I donÕt see anything erotic about evil—what we call ŌnaughtyĶ is only the cheerful violation of those puritanical codes of conduct that never had anything to do with true goodness in the first place. Mae West was Ōnaughty,Ķ but never evil. Velorians appeal to us because they combine beauty and power and goodness. Where else do we find that combination?
Agreed wholeheartedly. In fact I couldnÕt have said it any better myself, if IÕd have thought of it that is. But then again itÕs more than just innate goodness – and as you say, the violation of those wonderfully quaint codes – because we know that inner morality allows them to do things that arenÕt entirely good, such as sacrificing a Protectorate if it means saving a larger number of lives.
I guess it boils down to the human factor; they, like any of us, have the ability to be angels or demons, yet choose to be the former because they know what the world would be like if they didnÕt.
Aside from the un-wholesome parts [which admittedly were a big part of why I started to read these stories], I liked the fact that that the characters [and stories] have more than one dimension.
The main characters are at times humble, arrogant fragile, all powerful, full of life, filled with despair... in short all too human. They can be defeated but the authors never let the stories sink into the immature banality of ŌSuperGirl in BondageĶ. The stories offer up humor, pathos, adventure, day to day slice of life looks both of a human and a superhuman nature and so much more. And most of all I just enjoy reading about the exploits of Sunny and Linith and Lilith and Kara and Cat and...
The fame and the retirement plan looked pretty good. I was promised a blonde, too, but there was a mixup in accounting back in 1998(?). Latest word is sheÕs in the mail. WeÕll see. IÕve become skeptical.
I would add that the original conception of Velorians wasnÕt quite as grand as Richard, AH, Brantley, Amy and others have described. When I got started, I was extremely frustrated by the way DC Comics was handling Supergirl. I saw huge potential in the character, but didnÕt want to repeat the flaws of the comic books.
So the idea came to create an advanced and powerful race of aliens who took bits and pieces of even more alien DNA and spliced together a race of beings for a particular purpose. Their only objective was to replace their lost females to continue their own race. To make a race of Procreaters who could mate with a ÔgodÕ. Obviously, they were pretty successful at making them strong and desirable for very selfish reasons. Of course, things went wrong and the Velorians never became Procreators and instead wound up estranged from the Galen for a very long time. Over time, due to their societyÕs own weakness in splitting into two camps, Enlightenment and Empire, the Velorians, their former Procreators at least, found their own mission... that of becoming Protectors of the weak.
From that modest beginning, a bunch of women ÔdesignedÕ for the single dimension of being the ultimate sexual partners and protective mothers, they grew to become a force that would bring hope and enlightenment across the entire galaxy. Proving as they did that women are capable of so much more than the simple mandate of their biology.
As others have indicated, they arenÕt noble in the comic book sense. My idea was to show them as flawed humans (like all of us), but with incredible beauty and strength. I wanted to explore what it would be like for ordinary men and women to try to live with a Velorian, so the idea was to insert them undercover into the societies of distant worlds. I emphasized the erotic thing, and their occasional loss of control, etc. because I figured that if being wickedly fit was a wild turn on for human women (and their men), then imagine how sexy a woman would feel who had a VelorianÕs looks and fitness level.
The whole idea was to make it ÔrealÕ, not comic-bookish. A serious attempt to protray the emotions, loves, hates, mistakes and triumphs of such a extraordinary woman living on our world.
But the real magic came from all the other writers who joined (many dozens over the last nine years) and who expanded the mythos into a vastly greater plane than I could ever have imagined. The dreams and hearts of so many people have been joined to create what we know of as Velorians today. Everyone has explored another facet of what it means to be Velorian. That is the most amazing and wonderful aspect for me. I may have lit a spark, but you guys and gals made it into the kind of hearth fire (sometimes a bonfire) that you could warm yourself in front of, night after night. A place to warm the feet and the heart as we all wrote and read about each otherÕs dreams.
Now arenÕt you glad you didnÕt succeed in killing it off last April?
Seriously, though, the AU must be something utterly unique in the annals of on-line fiction. ThereÕs all kinds of fan fiction on line inspired by Star Trek, The X-Files, Xena, even soap operas. But, aside from the fact that most of it sucks, it took TV audiences in the millions to provide a base for it.. I doubt that the old AU ever had an audience beyond a few thousand, and even if it began as a variation of the DC Comics universe it soon grew beyond that— if readers were looking for just a sexed-up version of Superman and Lois Lane, they were surely disappointed.
How could such a seemingly marginal genre attract such gifted writers as Toomey Starks, S.T. Mac, Ed Howdershelt, AK, Lisa J. Binkley and Alternate Histories? There is something at least akin to the power of myth working here. It may not be the kind of myth that appeals to large numbers of people, but those that it does appeal to, it appeals to very deeply. And yet, as we have seen already from the discussion here, it appeals to different people in different ways. Somehow, Shadar, you were building better than you knew, and creating a foundation on which others could build further.
One of the neater things about the Net is that it supported the creation of Ômicro-genresÕ like this one. Narrowly focused and participative by its fans. Not insignificantly, a huge number of people have either collected or tweaked picts, or written, or done graphics, you name it. There was always a place for nearly everyone to contribute. I mean, that huge FAQ that used to be up on the AU was one personÕs project for six months, and several of us have carved on it since.
As far as BrantleyÕs comment about killing anything off... canÕt be done. You have to hunt around to find things a bit, but then the AU site was always like some kind of curio shop anyway. You had to open a lot of drawers and stuff to find anything, and nothing was where you expected it. A credit (or not) to my organizational skills.