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WIP Death By Water by vali - T - HP/The Culture

Discussion in 'Almost Recommended' started by gamarad, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. gamarad

    gamarad Third Year

    Jan 8, 2014
    Title: Death By Water
    Author: vali
    Rating: T
    Genre: Adventure/Humor
    Status: In-Progress
    Library Category: The Alternates
    Pairings: N/A
    Summary: Harry Potter is raised by the Culture. Things get interesting when he returns to attend his first year at Hogwarts.
    Link: https://forums.sufficientvelocity.com/threads/death-by-water-harry-potter-the-culture.44788/reader
    (There's a version on ffn but it's unedited and outdated)

    It’s a crossover with The Culture partly inspired Culture Shock which is another fic with the same crossover that happens to be in the Library. You don’t need to read the Culture in enjoy the story though.

    There are some heavy AU elements that might be polarizing but I found them interesting.

    The author has a good grasp of characterization and most of the cast feels close to their canon selves. Harry is obviously different to his canon self due to a different upbringing but not in a bad way. This Harry is whimsical and childlike in a way that’s appropriate for an eleven year old.

    The humor usually landed for me and there are enough mysteries to keep the plot enthralling. I found the pacing a bit brusque at points but that’s not necessarily a bad thing since it kept the story from ever feeling stagnant.

    Overall I’d rate it a 4/5 right now but if the AU elements pay off it could go higher.
  2. awinarock

    awinarock Fourth Champion

    Dec 10, 2009
    Easily one of the best Harry Potter fics I've read in a while that isn't out of DLP. The humor is spot on, the AU is interesting, and the alien Culture that Harry lives is advanced and allows Harry to live an idyllic life but doesn't make magic inferior or unnecessary. In fact, the AI's of the the Culture treat magic with respect, fear, and caution. The author treats magic and the magical world with respect and does a great job of expanding it with AU bits. Character interactions are great, Quirell is awesome, and Harry isn't some alien enhanced Gary-Stu sex god going around banging every women within a 1000 mile radius.

  3. Drachna

    Drachna First Year

    Jun 22, 2016
    High Score:
    As much as I like the absurdist elements present in the works of Ian M. Banks I must say that the volume of such in this fanfiction left me barely able to read or comprehend it. What I did understand I found amusing however.


    Enjoyable but definitely out there.
  4. Download

    Download Dark Lord DLP Supporter

    Aug 6, 2014
    Adelaide, Australia
    I was enjoying it right up until the goblin interest and exchange speech. Flies right in the face of canon, Hermione in tGoF says something about getting money from her parents to exchange, and they themselves exchange money in tPoA. While more original than the usual goblin tripe it still grated. I'll keep going.
    --- Post automerged ---
    I got bored, skimmed though it, found loads of cringy stuff, and then stopped when the author felt the need to extensively rewrite quiddich (ch7) instead of just glossing over it. I'm not going to read any more. It gets a 2/5 from me. Technically well written, but everything just grates on my nerves.
    --- Post automerged ---
    Actually, not all is lost. I do like the ship minds trying to study magic. That's enjoyable.
    --- Post automerged ---
    I just don't like Harry in this. The minds are fun though, I'm just going to read them.
    --- Post automerged ---
    I change my mind, 3/5 just for the Minds.
    --- Post automerged ---
    Alright, I read to the msot recent chapter, skimming most of the parts where Harry speaks because cringe.

    Neville "dying" felt meaningless even before I knew they were resleeving him. The minds are now straying into indy!Harry territory with talk about health and safety.

    I'm tempted to take my 3/5 back.
  5. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

    Jan 6, 2009
    So this is fun so far. I'm writing this review as I go since it's a fairly long story, I'm not sure how long it will be interesting for, and we really needed another review in here so I can't let myself just read and then not review.

    I haven't read any of the Culture books but I am familiar with them. Not just because of Culture Shock (the fanfic mentioned in the OP) which I read and enjoyed but because they're relatively well known books. It helped knowing a little of what to expect from a crossover but I think you could dive straight into this. The oversimplified explanation is that the culture is a very advanced society with very few taboos. This is shown in a fun way in the story - with Harry flying - and then promptly gets to Harry's letter arriving without wasting a bunch of time.

    You've heard the phrase that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic? That might not be the case in-story, since magic still screws with tech, but the sentiment is accurate as regards the society Harry hails from.

    The initial set-up is that instead of Lily's magic saving Harry it saved him and sent him 'somewhere safe' which just so happened to be a Culture ship in orbit. Fair enough - these initial premises to set up a story I typically just go with.

    Here's a snippet that made me grin, gives you a sample of the writing style, and shows a bit of characterization as well:
    The first thing Harry noticed about the wizard was that he was very old. The Culture had its share of the elderly, but with the exception of the occasional artist or provocateur, citizens of the Culture aged with grace and dignity. Dumbledore, on the other hand, was wizened and ancient looking, wore his silver beard down to his waist, had a nose that looked to have been broken and then not set properly twice, and…

    “What’s that on his face?” Harry whispered to his mom.

    “Special lenses called glasses. He needs them because his eyes don’t work.”

    Harry, who had never met anyone with a dysfunctional body before, couldn’t help but gawk. And yet, despite all his decrepitude, the ancient wizard noticed Harry immediately and gave him a friendly wave, as though he were merely meeting a good friend for tea. Dumbledore checked the small golden watch he was holding, then put it away and strode confidently towards Harry and his parents, a rather severe-looking woman dressed all in black with a tall, pointy hat following behind him.

    “The name’s Dumbledore,” the old wizard said as he took them in. “Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. And this is my Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall.”

    “Good to meet you,” Gaiane said, busily shaking hands. “I’m Gaiane Hersitoffen, this, of course is Harry Potter, and this is my husband Pat-”

    “Supertoys Last All Summer Long,” the ship said firmly. “That’s my name.”

    “An interesting name,” Albus said, his eyes twinkling. “Did you pick it yourself?”

    Regardless it doesn't take long to get Harry back to England in terms of word count, so it's worth reading at least through Chapter 3 or so to see if it tickles your fancy. That's where I am now when I decided to write this, and now I'm going to keep reading.

    It's not perfect and has some minor issues that I'd harp on more in WbA ("Hermione" instead of "Miss Granger" used by a Professor, an analogy that someone wouldn't have known to make, etc.). Minor things.

    Around Chapter 8 or 9 I started to lose a little interest. It's not that it got boring or the writing quality went down, but rather that I am ready for more to happen. The setting and worldbuilding have been established, characters have been established, and I want to have a bit more plot to go with the 'cool crossover' aspects that keep coming.

    It's not a canon-rehash but Harry is mostly going to school right now and I want him to have some sort of goal. In canon it was investigating the stone. That's what's lacking, something for Harry to work towards. Even all the cool added shit is... cool added shit, whether it's from the crossover or not, and not something Harry is actively trying to make happen.

    I've read enough to review. Fairly standard 3.5/5 I think, where many would round up if they're into the crossover aspects and round down otherwise. I'll finish reading it but I doubt I'll want to revisit it, and probably won't follow updates.
  6. Donimo

    Donimo Groundskeeper

    Jul 4, 2015
    It's been dead for more than a year. I was a little excited at your post, I thought perhaps I'd forgotten to follow the fic.

    I think your criticisms are all right on, I'm just a huge fan of Culture which makes this easy to love.
  7. Garden

    Garden Minister of Magic

    Apr 25, 2010
    A fun fic. Not a huge fan of the changes made to the magic system and hints of past glory but they didn't make magic less powerful so I don't mind too much.

  8. Download

    Download Dark Lord DLP Supporter

    Aug 6, 2014
    Adelaide, Australia
    I reread this. My initial review may have been a little harsh.

    It starts off weak, but having skimmed the start I'm finding a few chapters in the story is actually pretty good. The magical world actually feels magical.