Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Schrodinger's Heroes: Fanfic (Part 1)

The initial canon content of the apocryphal television show Schrodinger's Heroes   soon led to fan content. This includes not just fanfiction but fanart, scripts, podcasts, videos, animation, and other materials. Because of the show's unusual breakdown of aired, unaired, scripted, and napkin episodes there are many layers of fan content depending on what a given fan has seen or likes. Some of the best made and most widely known examples are described below.


"Applied Physicists, and Friends" -- This poem was written during the June 7, 2011 Poetry Fishbowl and describes the core cast of Schrodinger's Heroes.  

"The Farkendorker Effect" -- The controller of a parallel Schrodinger team, in a dimension where Alex has less money, decides to cut funding for the project. As a result, the heroes run short on supplies and power, leaving them unable to repel the initial invasion from another dimension. They barely manage to scrape up enough resources to retake the Teferact and quash the invasion.

One of the first pieces of fanfic, this is still widely considered among the best. This story established the use of "Mr. Farkendorker" as a name for some human agent of disaster, particularly through reckless or negligent means. The phrase "The Farkendorker Effect" refers to a project going wrong, often through administrative jerkitude; or to the kind of person who causes such derailments.

"Flatlined" -- This fan video is done entirely in traditional 2D cel animation, without special effects or computer-generated graphics. Alex receives a transmissions from a group of 2D scientists wanting to prove that a third dimension is possible. Our heroes venture thorugh the Teferact to explore a two-dimensional version of Earth. The scientists are impressed by Alex's 2D drawing of a cube, until she starts trying to draw a tesseract and they decide she must be crazy. A pleasant scientific collaboration devolves into a chase scene as the heroes flee back to the Core dimension.

From this came a wide array of other animated fanfic, along with static cartoon strips, commonly called "the 2D adventures."

"Hall of Mirrors" -- A horror-flavored shaggy dog story, this begins with core!Alex getting kidnapped and replaced by an alter evil!Alex. All of core!Alex's greatest strengths and virtues are warped into monstrous flaws. Interestingly, evil!Alex comes with white!Schrodinger; core!Schrodinger hates evil!Alex while white!Schrodinger hates core!Alex. The real catch is that there's an andervector for evil. Imagine Star Trek's "Mirror, Mirror" extended into a whole hall of mirrors, hence the title. Each newly arriving alter!Alex is more diabolical than the last. Core!Alex must somehow escape from (rather elaborate and graphically described) bondage and thwart her alters.

The evil andervector quickly became popular as a source of villains, though not all fan writers have displayed the same precision in refracting virtues into flaws. Its existence was implied in "A Thorn in the Foot" with the appearance of evil!Midge. (Special thanks to [personal profile] bethany_lauren for a discussion leading to this idea.)

"In a Nutshell" -- The earliest fanfic grew out of the five aired episodes, but this story came from an author who only got to see the two-part pilot. It features Alex, Ash, Bailey, Kay, Morgan, Pat, and Quinn sitting around a table brainstorming what could happen next and how to respond. Some of the themes actually match those raised in unaired or scripted episodes, such as aliens, multiple versions of characters, sexual hijinks, and invasions.

Memorable lines:
Ash: "If horny aliens come through the Teferact, I am not having the sex."
Quinn: "I assure you that no matter how different the history in another dimension, someone will still get crushed under its wheels."

"In a Yellow Wood" -- Inspired by "Time, Like an Ever-Flowing Stream," this story shows the characters viewing many alternate dimensions to see what happens when their alters make different decisions at major life junctures. Examples include Alex teaching happily at MIT, Ash as a depressed single mother on a reservation, Bailey as a computer repair technician, Kay killed in action, Morgan as a leading visionary at NASA, Quinn as a wealthy but bored executive, and Pat running a day care center.

Interestingly, a couple of different studio writers have indicated that they had similar ideas for a followup episode to "Time, Like an Ever-Flowing Stream," examining brighter and darker variations on the characters' lives.

"Lightbulb Joke" -- A 3-panel cartoon strip inspired by the advance ad "Kay and Quinn in the Office," and commentary by DW user Bethany_lauren.

Frame 1: Quinn has inserted a lightbulb where the sun don't shine, and is licking a battery to see if this will make the bulb light up.
Frame 2: A very quizzical Ash asks, "Is this normal behavior for you sexuals?" Frame 3: Morgan rolls her eyes and replies, "No. No, it is not."

"Like Squid Deglazing Doorknobs" -- Originally a skit during a costume contest at a convention, this involves Tim trying to explain tentacle monster reproduction to each of the main characters in turn (Alex, Ash, Bailey, Kay, and Pat). A script is later transcribed from the video taken of that event, and eventually expands into a short story.

This sets up the custom of using the most bizarre combinations of words or objects as analogies for the reproduction of tentacle monsters. Variations of "X Times Tim Tried to Explain Sex, and One He Didn't" are also popular.

"Lost in the Woods" -- After "Last Woman Standing" tackles some aspects of sexism and various scripted episodes confront racism, this story deals with classism. The whole team gets dumped into a very low-tech dimension where higher education is less use than plain old horse sense. It falls to Ash, Kay, and Chris to keep everyone else alive. Alex and Morgan are all but helpless. Poorskillz for the win!

Memorable lines:
Chris: "Okay, this bush is the men's room and that boulder is the women's room."
Quinn: "What about me?"
Chris: "Figure out something on your own. You always do."

"Make Them Do It" -- During the first "Make Them Do It" fic fest for Schrodinger's Heroes, someone posted a full-page cartoon featuring ace!Alex and ace!Ash with a fanboy attempting to mash them together so he can watch the hot lesbian action. Frames 1-2 fill the first row, frames 3-5 fill the second row, and frames 6-7 fill the bottom row.

Frame 1 (horizontal rectangle): A copy of the MTDI banner with a tangle of scantily-clad bodies under the headline text.
Frame 2: Fanboy typing madly at his computer, text appearing onscreen.
Frame 3: Fanboy pushing Alex toward the right side of the frame, Alex digging in her heels. Fanboy: "You wanna kiss the girl!" Alex: "No! I don't wanna!"
Frame 4: Fanboy pushing Ash toward the left side of the frame, Ash holding onto door frame. Fanboy: "Aw, come on! It'll be awesome!" Ash: "No, it will not!"
Frame 5: Alex and Ash clad only in their underwear, Alex fleeing leftward and Ash fleeing rightward.
Frame 6: Fanboy sitting in front of his computer, its screen blank. Fanboy: "Huh?"
Frame 7 (horizontal rectangle): Fanboy stares in horror as black smoke pours from his computer and tiny skulls dance around it. White letters inside the smoke repeatedly spell out: tʼááłáʼí   naaki   tááʼ  (the numbers 1, 2, 3 in Navajo) in various combinations.

This fanart draws on Ash's canonical asexuality and adds Alex as a match, one of the first examples of Ash/Alex for sufficiently flexible definitions of /. It also highlights Ash's epic computer skills and the fact that she designed her sophisticated computer language with Dinè (Navajo) influence.

"The Manifold Fan" -- This early piece of fanfic involves a fan of the show, who is a quantum physicist, doing an experiment of his own that throws him into the heroes' universe. But it doesn't just do that once; subsequent versions of him appear every so often, and all of them are different ages. Then the same thing starts happening to the other characters, as extra versions of them appear. The fan attempts to get involved with first Alex and then Ash, but neither responds. Tim tries, unsuccessfully, to warn the fan that meddling with the manifold can be hazardous. Eventually Alex manages to refold reality correctly and send the fan back home. And she yells through the Tef, before severing the connection: "Nobody told you not to be a plumber!"

Although the revelation of this builds slowly, Alex and Ash are in a close yet nonsexual relationship. So are Morgan and Tim. Kay and Pat are a heterosexual couple.

Schrodinger's Heroes  also has a menu post.

Tags: ethnic studies, gender studies, reading, schrodinger's heroes, science fiction, weblit, writing

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