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Monday, July 11th, 2016 02:36 pm
So, what with the sheer happy hecticness of RL (did I mention that daughter #2 is getting married?), I managed to miss a rather significant anniversary: April 2nd marks ten years that I have been reccing SG-1 gen fic. That's over 1,000 recs, of which only 27 are not gen. Because, in case you didn't know, SG-1 fandom is pretty awesome. :)

To celebrate, I plan to make ten different posts, re-reccing some personal favorites from each 12-month period. Sadly, many of my personal favorites are no longer available online, whether it's an abandoned personal website or the loss of (sigh). OTOH, many of my favorites have been rescued from 404 limbo (whatever my problems with AO3, it's a great resource in that respect!). If I was intelligent, of course, I would update the links on [personal profile] figs_sg1_rec, but... well.

I hope that I will get all ten posts done during July, but since I have two unfinished series that are still lingering years after their projected date of completion, I would strongly advise anyone against holding their breath.

I hope you all enjoy this stroll down memory lane, and I would be delighted to see extra recs to your favorite gen fics added below - even if the author in question is yourself. :) And if I've messed up any links below, please comment so I can fix it.

Here's a sampling of some recs that were made during my first year of reccing, from April 2006 to March 2007. You will note that there is a very heavy emphasis on Jack and Daniel friendship at this point; that's what first drew me into Stargate, after all. Also, wow was it hard to restrict it to as few as I did. There are 16 fics below, and I had to be ruthless to trim it down. There were months in 2006 when I was reccing over twenty fics at a time! Ah, for the youthful enthusiasm (and energy) of a decade ago...

Lost in Translation, by Vathara (PG). This was actually my first-ever rec. I'm still hugely fond of it, partially because the author is writing from outside the regular fandom pool and is thus highly original, and also because it's just plain fun. :)

From the original rec:

Hilariously funny, everyone delightfully in character despite the rather precarious circumstances, exploring through the Stargate with a solid mythological background and skeletons in the Asgard closet… Really, what’s not to love?

A Goa’uld plots to bring down the Tau’ri with a terrible weapon, but fails to read the directions properly first. The ensuing chaos nearly destroys the SGC; SG-1 manages to save the day, but not before the confectionary sugar goes flying and the team ends up traipsing through the ‘Gate handcuffed to each other out of necessity. By Daniel’s instigation.

The one drawback, looking back at it now, is that the author tends to use Spader as his Daniel template rather than Shanks. There are also multiple usages of "Danny," but the story is such an entertaining romp that I can ignore it.

Weaving free fingers with manacled ones, Colonel O'Neill listened to the others hammer out a plan. Stargate Command. Earth's portal to the stars. First, last, and best line of defense against the scum of the universe.

And they were going to use cookies to lure a bouncing yellow rabbit into a rubber-lined box.

Jack buried his head in his hands. "Okay, kids. It's official. This is a lousy day."

Free Fall, by Eos, parts 1 and 2. Because Daniel doesn't die on Thursdays.

From the original rec:

SG-1 gates to an intriguing planet - well, actually to the man-made satellite above the planet, where the inhabitants of the world retreated when their planet proved geologically unstable. Sam is gleeful about the engineering while Daniel makes the effort to look more deeply into the culture and government. When sudden disaster hits and only half of SG-1 make it back to Earth, it's up to Sam and Teal'c, together with SG-2 and -3, to find and rescue Jack and Daniel before it's too late.

There is fabulous banter, shameless cheating at hangman, and Sam and Teal'c being awesome. Go team!

"Damn it," Jack muttered. He added an arm to the little stick figure on the paper. "I should know better than to play Hangman with a linguist." He did know better, but they both needed the distraction. Hell, they just needed something to do.

"How are you doing?" Daniel asked.

"Three more body parts and I'm toast," Jack said. Daniel reached for his bandaged eyes, and Jack leaned over and knocked his hand away. "No rubbing."

"The bandage isn't going to help," Daniel said.

"It'll keep you from straining your eyes trying to see," Jack said. "G?"

"No," Daniel said. Jack scowled and added an extended middle finger to his stick figure. "And what difference does it make?"

"You don't want to end up blind, do you?"

"We're going to crash into a heavily volcanic planet in something like twenty-four hours. I'm not sure I necessarily want to see that," Daniel said.

"What happened to never dying on a Thursday?" Jack asked.

"I never said anything about never crashing on a Thursday."

Roses in December, by Rheanna (PG). I adore early team fic which is all about meshing together into a single, marvelous unit.

From the original rec:

This story is that most exquisite of treats: a real team fic, with everyone working together to come to a solution.

SG-1 is busy exploring an intriguing, dying world when Jack begins to suffer from amnesia, losing the memory of his earlier years. As the memory loss both deteriorates and accelerates, SG-1 tries to find the cause as well as the solution. The Jack O'Neill they know is quickly vanishing. What will convince this sudden stranger to help them get Jack back?

I love this story for its team dynamics, as each member of SG-1, including Jack himself, show unflagging moral courage in getting to a solution.

Read this for the Jack and Daniel friendship, for the stellar characterization, and the sheer teamy goodness as everyone has a chance to really shine.

"Can I ask you a question?"

Daniel nodded.

"Don't panic or anything... but where do I know you from?"

"Abydos. Do you remember Abydos?"

Jack shook his head. "Tell me about it."

"I, uh... Hot planet. At least, the part we were in. It was the first trip through the Gate. We met the locals, made a few friends, killed their deity, that sort of thing."

"Sounds like a blast."

"It was." Daniel rocked back and forth on his heels. "Jack, are you..."

"I'm scared, Daniel. At this point, I'm getting scared." He rubbed at the side of his neck, fingers locating the small, hard lump which nestled behind his ear. He was tempted to dig it out with his nails, and damn the consequences.

Rock, Toilet Paper, Scissors, by Tallulah Rasa. I love everything this woman writes, and this one is my personal favorite: the team, trapped in a cave off-world with a wounded Daniel, talking about life, the universe, and toilets.

From the original rec:

Nothing much happens, technically; SG-1 are holed up in a cave, chased there by natives after Daniel is shot. It's just the four of them, talking as they assess the situation and determine what to do next. Yet the characterization feels so right that you can practically see the scene unwinding in front of you, and, like Daniel, the reader has no choice but to sit back and enjoy the influences of one thing on another.

I love the way they all just know one another. Teamy goodness at its best.

"No, I don't think it's all about crap, Daniel," he said gently. "And I don't think we've missed the meaning."

"I agree," Teal'c said. "We could not have missed the meaning of our experiences, Daniel Jackson, for we had you with us, to make sure we did not."

"We shall not cease from the exploration," Daniel said.

"No," Teal'c said. "Indeed we shall not."

"And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and to know the place for the first time," Daniel went on.

"Damn lot of work to get nowhere," Jack said.

"Um, Eliot, right?" Sam asked.

Daniel frowned. "No," he said. "I'm pretty sure I'm Daniel." He looked at Jack. "Thought it's…um…you know, that first time we saw the Gate light up – who'd have ever thought…?"

"That some day you'd be spouting poetry in a cave on another planet?" Jack asked. "Yeah, that would have been a tough one to call."

Been There, Done That, by Martha Wilson (PG). I love crossovers that are accessible to readers that aren't necessarily familiar with both fandoms. In this case, it's a crossover with The Less Than Legendary Journeys, of which I know absolutely nothing. This one is an absolute joy, giving both fandoms equal strength without promoting one over the other.

From the original rec:

Jack accidentally intercepts the "blue swirly doorways" that apparently exist in the Legendary Journeys universe and drags Iolaus back through the Stargate's wormhole with him.

There's light humor, everyone perfectly in character, and multiple crises to spice up the situation. Martha puts the mythology that both shows employ to good use, allowing this crossover to make a bizarre kind of sense.

I love Jack's snark and thought processes in this one!

"This isn't your world. That blue light, that was a wormhole, and it took us out of your world--"

"Into this one," he interrupted impatiently, sitting up. "I know what the blue swirly doorways are. They go to other worlds and the places in between. And if you brought me here so Hercules would come after me, you're going to regret it." He gestured in disgust. "You really think you're the first ones to try this? Do you have any idea how often this happens?"

Exasperated, mostly at himself, Jack threw his arms in the air. "Look, in your position, I wouldn't believe me either. You're walking along, decide to help a stranger who's being attacked by a dragon, and then the next thing you know you're sucked through a wormhole and thrown in a cell. I admit that it looks bad. But--"

Stay in Touch, by Tefnut (PG-13). This one is very, very intensely Jack-and-Daniel, struggling to survive off-world in a wholly foreign environment that demands Daniel poison himself just to make any progress.

From the original rec:

While I find the Jack and Daniel half of the story to be the most fascinating, with the underground culture and Daniel's gradual descent into madness, the SGC half of the story is not to be ignored. Lots of teamwork, lots of inspired effort, and an excellent final rescue when Jack and Daniel finally get to the Stargate. The not-quite-entirely-happy ending, with Daniel still facing a weeks-long uphill struggle to relearn how to function as a regular human, feels very real and right.

Yes, there's plenty of "Danny" usage in this one. Eh, I loved it anyway. :)

The linguist was drawn to another part of the room, out of Jack’s reach. His hand had been taken off the wall, and Daniel could hear his guide brushing up the inscriptions with his free hand, looking for something. Finally the sticky fingers led him downwards, so much that he had to kneel down, until once again his hand was in contact with a word. "… me… touch me. Jack, he wants me to touch him!"

"I don’t like that, Danny. You know what Mister Jelly’s skin did to our watches. And to us."

Both men had gotten rid of their useless watches and of Jack's crumbling GDO, throwing them off as far as possible in the lake. The alien substance seemed to destroy electronic systems, and had probably caused the nausea and the fever Daniel and Jack had experienced. There was no proof of that, however. "We only think that it’s because of their skin. It might be the water, the fish. It could be anything!"

"Yeah right."

"Jack, that might be our only chance to get out of here."

"Dammit! Okay, make your peaceful explorer speech and let’s be done with it!"

Daniel nodded, oblivious to the fact that Jack couldn’t see him. The cave dweller was becoming agitated, pressing the man’s hand harder. He was hissing, too, and his companions were definitely gathering around them.

"Let’s go," whispered Daniel to himself.

Numerology, by Random (PG). One of my all-time favorites of Random's wonderful stories, this is a character study of Jack doing a character study of Daniel during S6 and the long, burning realization of what they've lost... and, happily by the time the fic is complete, regained.

from the original rec:

The premise of this fic is technically simple: at the beginning of Redemption, Sam remarks that they've tried ten different replacements for Daniel, and all of them have failed. In Numerology, Random takes us through those ten attempts and SG-1's struggles to find someone who can fit that Daniel-shaped gap. But it's Jack's churning thoughts that make this story so fascinating, as he pins down exactly what Daniel was and why he's so badly missed.

From the reason why the canon Matheson was only part of the team for two hours to Jack's efforts to do what's right for the entire team to Daniel's own uncertainty when he comes back, this story is an absolute treasure.

Took Hagman all of eight days to really screw up, even though he started heading that way right off. Day one, he started second-guessing himself, hesitating over translating local dialects, and then saying he was sure when he wasn't.

Jack knew then just how much SG-1 had been spoilt by what they'd lost. How many times had he heard those words, "I don't know." How many times had that phrase made him want to demand why didn't the guy know, damnit? And it hit him then how few people actually ever said that.

I don't know.

Smart people--except maybe Carter--never admitted that. They started talking in long sentences and kept talking. Anything to impress you with how much they did know. Anything to keep from admitting a weakness. Now Jack saw just how valuable those words were.

I don't know.

That meant I won't give false hope. They came with the implied assurance the guy would not give up until he actually did know--god, didn't he always have to know more? And, crap, but that's what he'd said before he'd gone.

He didn't know where he was going. Didn't know if he'd be back.

Now Jack didn't know what he was going to do.

Eurydice Ascending, by Butterflykiki (at her website) (text version at SG-1 Novels). Non-gen! Another all-time favorite of mine, as Sha'uri survives FIAD and needs to get to Cimmeria so that Thor's Hammer can remove Amaunet. But with Daniel and Sam separated from Sha'uri and the NID breaking down their necks, will the SGC be able to give her enough time?

From the original rec:

The most entertaining aspect of the story is what's busy happening back at the SGC. It becomes clear from the beginning of the story that Sam and Daniel didn't have permission to take Sha're to the Hammer. With Colonel Kennedy of The Enemy Within infamy yapping at their heels, the entire staff of the SGC take matters into their own hands, delaying and obstructing Kennedy's efforts to get the trio back before their mission is completed. At first, the reader assumes that it's only Jack's work; but as the story continues to unfold, it's delightful to realize that everyone, from Makepeace sending his own man AWOL to the techies that deliberately crash the 'gate computers with a multi-player Doom II game, are rooting for Daniel, Sha're, and their happy ending.

I love, love love this one for the joy of competent teamwork, as the entire Stargate Command bands together to give an absolutely awesome, powerful Sha'uri the chance she deserves.

It took every bit of strength I had, *not* to run through that door. Not to just reach out and grab her, pull Sha'uri through. One wrong move, and it could be over. Amonet might push me away, slash Sha'uri's wrists, and I would lose her forever. I stared into her eyes, willing her to remember me, willing her to reach for me, to say my name, anything, to know I loved her, that I wanted to help, but didn't dare reach for her.... Sha'uri-Amonet just shook, her hands clutching that rock, sobbing as she looked at us with tear-blind eyes. I couldn't breathe. I actually couldn't breathe, because it hurt too much.

Orpheus looked back at Eurydice, and she was pulled back to the Underworld. One mistake, and I'd lose Sha'uri.

I didn't reach for her. I whispered, "Ashee tenet vui ero, mesoli." It was what I would say, back on Abydos, when she asked me if I would ever leave her, like the heroes in the stories. ~I rest only in your heart, my wife....~ I held myself still, hoping she would know what that meant. ~ I trust you, Sha'uri. I believe in you. I love you. I never stopped.~

Sha'uri's eyes widened, and her lips drew tight, and then the purest rage I have ever seen on anyone flashed in her eyes. "I. ... want... my life!" She opened her hand, dropping the rock, and then she pitched forward into the doorway of the Hammer.

Ghosts in the Machine, by Surreallis. Dramatic teamy goodness mixed with cyberpunk! Deliciously long, with moments for everyone to shine.

From the original rec:

I love a story that gives us alternate POVs and uses each person's voice and mannerisms to good effect. We're presented with a fully-realized world, including a truly fascinating original character, historical background, intriguing technology, and the gray stagnancy of a disappearing civilization. It's wonderful to watch the perfectly-in-character team work together, each one supporting the others and supplying a crucial factor in their efforts to get home again.

Jack is literally thrown out with the trash, Sam and Daniel don't even know who they are, Teal'c is locked up to be permanently forgotten... and they all come together and survive. It's great stuff.

They lifted her onto the floor, and the flickering lights became more strident. Jack pulled his zat out.

"Jack!" Daniel stared at him, eyes wide.

"It's the way I disconnected you, Daniel. Those metal plates on your head dropped off when I zatted you."

"She's already unconscious! It could kill her."

"Yeah," Jack agreed.

Daniel glared at him.

"Major Carter would not wish to live this way," Teal'c stated quietly. "You know this, Daniel Jackson."

"She's tough," Jack reassured him. "It's the only way we're going to get her out of here and get that thing out of her. It's in her mind, Daniel. If there was no other way out, would you want to live like this?"

Daniel slumped a bit. Of course he wouldn't. The answer was obvious in his eyes. He shuffled back out of the way.

Jack fired.

Folsom Prison Blues, by Eve11 (G). This is the classic "break-out-of-prison again" fic that always leave me smiling. Who can resist un-mattress-like cries?

From the original rec:

When SG-1 gets thrown into an off-world prison - again - there's good-natured griping, the apparently obligatory rating system, and some great teamy goodness to break them out with maximum efficiency and minimum damage to the natives. Oh, and let's not forget the various places for securing GDOs, from boots to sports bras - except for Daniel's, which always seems to get taken.

Everyone plays to their own strengths, yet depends on one another. Doesn't that define teamy goodness?

There was a moment of silence. Jack heard movement next door and tracked his teammates' eyes as they focused on Teal'c. So, the Jaffa was making a show of it at any rate, looking around.

Then, "I must rate this one a five."

Carter let out a breath. "You always say five."

"I have been in many worse prisons, and many better."

"You always say that, too," she said.

"It has not yet been untruthful."

"Be honest." Carter pointed in Teal'c's direction. "If it weren't for that window, you'd have rated it a four."

"Teal'c got a window?"

Almost a Statesman, by Katie M (PG). This is one of my definitive Teal'c character pieces, presenting us with the marvelous dichotomy that is "Teal'c of the Tau'ri": wholly Jaffa, embracing Earth culture.

From the original rec:

Teal'c, as perceived by his son, is simply awesome. The cameos from the rest of SG-1 are wonderfully in character, as are the minor canon characters, like Rak'nor and Ry'ac, and some excellently drawn original ones. This is what I imagined Teal'c would become, once the Jaffa won their freedom – and despite SG-1's temporary loss, I only wish the Jaffa would have had him as their gain.

It's not easy, creating a new freedom where none existed before. Warts and all, this presents Teal'c and his role in shaping the future of the Jaffa.

Tsorak came for him again. Father put him on the ground-the boy was injured by then, even had he been a match for Father when healthy, which he was not-and said, again, "Your death is unnecessary. Desist."

"You reject the challenge?" someone asked.

"I do not. I reject the idea that it must end with death."

"Kytano is dead," someone else said, very clearly. Tsorak, ashamed, was backing away, pride not overcoming his desire to live.

"Kytano was a goa'uld," Father said. "What kind of leader kills his own people?"

"One who knows our ways," the first speaker said, and there was a wave of assent. I looked at Father, and I could see that he looked sickened, for just a moment.

He laid down his weapon and said to them all, "No. I will not do this. You will follow my lead in this matter, or you may select another leader in whatever way you choose, but I will not shed the blood of a warrior barely out of childhood. The world is changing. Our ways must change as well."

"Tau'ri," someone hissed.

Yet Another SG-1 Adventure, by Minnow (PG-13). Jack. S9 Team. Zombies!

From the original rec:

This fic is a real treasure, from Jack's sadly all-too-standard hand gestures to Teal'c's arguments regarding tretonin to the satisfaction of the epilogue, when Jack joins SG-1 on a nostalgic mission through the Gate and ends up "grinning like a fool" while he dashes for safety from - oh, just read it and find out.

Add a Vala cameo for good measure, and this whole romp is sheer GLEE.

From the observation room, they seemed normal enough, maybe a little gray in the face. Carter was hunched over a laptop, typing furiously (if, upon closer observation, a little clumsily), surrounded by books. Occasionally she paused to raise a spoonful from the bowl by her left hand. At a distance, its contents could pass for noodles. Mitchell and Teal’c were talking. Mitchell was saying things like, "The Priors have reversed other irreversible things, so we know their devices can do it, and in the meantime, it’s kind of an adventure!"

Teal’c was saying things like, "Yes, indeed, I am sure all will be well," and "we will exact an appropriate vengeance upon the Ori for this" and "I will consider it a pleasure to crack open their skulls and eat their brains."

Okay, that last one was a bit out of the normal way. Jack winced.

The Undefended Territory, by Julie Fortune (PG-13)

Ooh, this fic hurts. In the good way. Everyone is at their most fantastic, whether they're together as a team or in pairs, in rescue mode. Add a heavy dose of mythology and angst for good measure.

SG-1 gate to an ice planet and plunge, quite literally, into disaster. When what ought to be a routine rescue fails, Sam and Teal'c are forced to retreat to the Gate for help while Jack and Daniel struggle with injuries and hypothermia. With the SGC in lockdown and something deadly waking up beneath the ice, how can Sam and Teal'c get to Jack and Daniel in time?

Tok'ra cold-blooded pragmatism goes head-to-head with SG-1 loyalty and loses miserably; Jack and Daniel make the ultimate emotional sacrifice and give up their most cherished pasts for each other's lives; and the reader comes away from this amazing story with the mental shakes and a burning need to read everything else Julie has ever written.

All of Julie's SG-1 fics are fantastic, but this one is definitely my favorite.

“Dad!” She grabbed for his arm. He turned toward her, and his eyes flared bright. Sam felt a surprised jolt; Selmak usually had more control than to interrupt her father and take him over without warning.

“Release me, Samantha,” he said. “I know your priority is to recover your team members, but that may not be possible now. They have entered the Crematory Ground. We cannot reach them there.”

“What?” She looked at Teal’c, but for once he looked as lost as she felt. “What’s the Crematory Ground?”

“I cannot tell you.”

“You mean won’t.”

She’d finally made him angry; his eyes pulsed white, conveying unmistakable warning. “I say what I mean. Now let us do what we came to do. Stay here.”

Selmak shrugged free of her, but then Teal’c was in his way, not saying anything, just solidly blocking the path. Sam felt a rush of fierce, wild pride. They wouldn’t give up. No matter what the Tok’ra said, or anyone said, they wouldn’t leave Daniel and the colonel out here.

“We’re getting our men back,” Sam said. “And we’re coming with you.”

Meeting of Minds, by SEF (PG). Oh, I love this fic: everyone is intelligent and competent, there's drama and struggle and a twisting of expectations, and it turns canon on its axis while still staying canonical.

from the original rec:

It creates an excellent backstory for an intriguing alien race that we only glimpsed on the show; it challenges our characters with thorny moral dilemmas, a staple of the show at its best; it offers the hint of skeletons in the Asgard closet, which is one of my favorite fic twists for some odd reason; and it's got solid gold teamy goodness, with all four characters working together and displaying true friendship and support under the most trying circumstances.

Off-world exploration, the possibility of major cultural impact on Earth, breathtaking firefights, dramatic and emotional affirmation of SG-1's close bond – what more could you ask for?

…Did I mention that it's one of the best gen Sam fics, ever?

Great Sam voice. Great characterization. Great teamy goodness.

Daniel hadn't moved. His eyes were on Emdurl. "Is this the device you use to capture lives?" he asked.

"A crude portable version," Emdurl said. "Soon after birth, all Gadmeer are implanted with devices that regularly update our life disks. To record your mind now, Daniel, would take several minutes. But, once done, no experience you have ever had will be lost to you, even if time or trauma has obscured your memories. You will know your childhood again, and your sibling-wife, and the path you have taken for the last year. These will never be lost to you again. And, when you die, your people will continue to benefit from all you have learned."

"But you're only offering this to me? Not to Earth?"

"To you, Daniel. That will be enough. For once you have participated in the process, you will soon determine how to reproduce it. You understand these mammals far better than we do. So we will trust you to decide what to do with it."

Eroding Away the Mountains, by Abyssis. This is one of my favorite Sam and Daniel friendship fics, written with loving attention to detail and a deft hand at characterization.

From the original rec:

The story begins when Sam offers to take Daniel hiking, in the first tentative step towards getting to know the legendary Dr. Jackson just a little bit better. Over time, the closeness deepens and strengthens, as we catch glimpses of their innermost thoughts and desires. There's talk of Sha're and Abydos, of the pain both feel at not being able to share their knowledge with the rest of the world, of failure and struggle and hope. We watch Sam and Daniel scale hills and peaks of varying difficulty, even as they cope with the stresses and complications of their lives on SG-1.

I love how much this suits both characters, and the thoughtfulness beyond the entire story.

Daniel sits up, decides the chocolate chip granola bar is acceptable, and stuffs the wrapper into his pocket before taking a bite.

"Do you ever feel like leaving something like that lying around?" she asks, pointing to his pocket. "So some future archaeologist can find it?"

Daniel pulls out the wrapper and examines it, squinting as the silvery foil flashes the sunlight into his eyes. "If they didn't already know English, the words wouldn't help them much. But this much writing on something as simple as a food wrapper implies literacy isn't limited to the upper class. The material is obviously engineered and indicates a degree of technological sophistication. Also, the fact that we have food this processed, this portable, means we've advanced to the point where the act of food gathering doesn't take most of our resources and we can devote time to study and development. But, no, I don't feel like littering so someone can know we had granola bars. There'll be enough saved copies of magazines and commercials for them to know Quaker Oats existed."

Sam loves this about him. She looks at a new artifact and tries to backwards-engineer it, determine what it's made of, how it works, but Daniel looks at something and backwards-engineers the people who made it, the culture it came from. "Do you miss it?" she asks him.

"I miss a lot of things," he says, and she knows he's purposely misunderstanding her.

Once Upon a Time in Egypt, by LJ (PG). This is unconventional and fascinating and compelling: how could the loss of the Stargate, all those centuries ago, be a factor in Moebius!Sam's failure to join the Air Force?

from the original rec:

This fic awes me with its unique approach to the vagaries of time travel and the butterfly effect. Even its tenses and style seem an admission of just how confusing alternate universes can be.

Once Upon a Time in Egypt explains how Sam's death in Egypt of 3000 B.C. and the failed rebellion caused sufficient ripples throughout the centuries to keep Sam out of the Air Force. Lovingly and elegantly, LJ traces fault-lines and what-might-have-beens throughout history, bringing us to a crucial moment in Sam's life and offering what the Carters would surely consider a preferable result.

This needs to be read slowly, thoughtfully. And savored.

Bianca was wooed in Italian. She was greatly moved by the almost religious attention she was given in his Latin poetry, how he likened her to the female martyrs and the mother of Christ, and at the same time the goddesses of old. She felt worshiped. But she was already promised to another, and her father would not break the engagement. All her life, and her daughters greatly noticed this and wondered about it from time to time, she dreamt of the boy from Istria, whose Latin poems had moved her so, and dreamt of what her life would have been like with him. And those yearnings her daughters passed on for five generations, to the daughter sent with colonists to Maryland from England to marry the son of an English nobleman. She, too, wondered how life would have been different if she had stayed in England.

But Bianca was not wooed in Latin. The Istrian boy's words were somehow clunky, ungraceful in Italian and the dialect of his homeland. Only once did she wonder if her life could have been different with him, and this moment passed without audience. In the fifth generation, the girl sent to Maryland did not wonder how life could have been if she'd stayed in England.