Today, let us talk about AU fic. By which I don't mean the canon AU variety -- what if Sirius didn't go to Azkaban, what if Romana survived the Time War -- but rather the sorts of AUs where John is a rainbow or Rodney is an android or Gwen's the lead singer for the Europop disco band Torchwood* or Dean's a spaceship mechanic or Arthur's the Prince of Wales.
*admittedly that one only exists in my head, though the rest are real stories. But seriously, Torchwood the trashy synthesiser band! There's nothing not to love about that. Somebody should write it for me.
See, these latter sorts of AUs aren't especially ones I'm used to, because they don't exist very much in Doctor Who or Harry Potter, though I can think of a few Remus/Sirius non-magical AUs in this vein. I think that different canons give rise to hugely different amounts of these sorts of stories - the best example is probably the fact there are tons and tons of Supernatural RPS AUs, but far fewer AU stories involving the canon characters. Jared and Jensen are essentially themselves in a whole variety of situations that would be fun to read about, and the same goes for the SGA team or the members of any of the bandom bands. On the other hand, it seems like the Doctor isn't really the Doctor if he doesn't have the TARDIS, that Harry Potter isn't really himself if he's not a wizard. The canon universe plays a much more central role in some fandoms than it does in others.
Personally, I particularly like AUs in RPF fandoms because it adds an additional degree of fictionalisation that makes it easier for me to read, and I can't not love all of the SGA AUs, which between them offer everything you could possibly wish for.
As you may have guessed, this post was inspired in part by rageprufrock's Drastically Redefining Protocol [Merlin; Merlin/Arthur; NC-17; ~46K]. Because, okay, I'd put Merlin firmly in the category where I wasn't especially interested in non-canon AUs, particularly modern day ones. And then I realised that here we have a story that makes me infinitely happy on two levels - first, Arthur is still a bit of a royal prat, Merlin is still a bit magic, Morgana is still a bit prophetic, Gwen is still a lot awesome. Second, if there were a young and famously handsome Prince of Wales in the UK right now who became openly in a gay relationship? This is exactly how it would go, down to the last ONTD screencap, and the verisimilitude is almost alarming at times. Forget the fact I would so, so happily read original fiction on just this premise if it was done this well, it was a sad moment after I finished the story and realised it didn't actually happen.
So you should go read that, it's wonderful. You should also talk to me about the AU scenarios you like and don't like, what you think these things need to work. I may or may not be considering going AU for thelittlebang, you see. Which, knowing me, will probably involve a) space, b) robots, c) an apocalypse of some description, or d) a combination of the above.
... Yeah, I've really got to wonder how I managed not to watch BSG for so long.