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Abandoned On A Clear Day You Can See Forever by Mark MacKinnon - M - Ranma 1/2/Sailor Moon

Discussion in 'Anime, Cartoons, and Comics' started by mdatot, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. mdatot

    mdatot First Year

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    Title: On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
    Author: Mark MacKinnon
    Rating: M
    Genre: Drama/Supernatural/Suspense
    Status: Most likely abandoned
    Fandom: Nominally a Ranma 1/2 & Sailor Moon crossover, but really, this is so heavily AU that it's more like original fiction with borrowed characters
    Pairings: Ranma/Minako, Minako/Rei, Usagi/Mamoru, Makoto/OC are the main ones

    Summary: All roads look the same when you don't know where you're going, and Ranko Saotome travels roads that most people don't even realize exist. Or rather, he did; now he's become trapped in a strange world, one unlike his own. His path takes a strange turn, though, when he encounters a band of sailor girls who believe he is the avatar to armageddon. Ranko will have to fight not only the enemies without, but his own inner demons as well, and the stakes are higher than his battered soul. The truth behind the mysterious crystal key and the dimensional links it commands is waiting to be wrested from the grasp of shadows, but they will not surrender their prize easily. For the time they have been awaiting is at hand. The key has arrived, and with it the last element they require to extend their dominion over all the worlds...

    Link: http://shadowchronicles.net/
    (you gotta deal with the 90's web design and scroll down a bit)


    This one is probably what one might term a "hard sell". It's the fifth installment in a series of Ranma 1/2 fanfiction called The Shadow Chronicles that was already old in 2001. No news have been heard since 2008, but the author still pays for the domain, so I guess there's a faint hope he might pull a Hearts of Ice some day. Still - hear me out here. I started reading this in... fuck, must've been 2003, and it's stuck with me since then - I still check it for updates occasionally.

    If you want, you can read the first installment (Cast a Long Shadow) to get the backstory for On A Clear Day, but it's pretty easy to sum up. Ranma (sometimes using the name Ranko) has lost his entire world and everyone he knows to interdimensional demons, and because he can't deal with the PTSD he takes a hyperlink key from them, wandering aimlessly among different worlds and universes for years - but now, when the story starts, he's stuck on a world that doesn't seem to have any ways out of it.

    The world he ends up on is an almost entirely original creation, where he runs into the Sailor Senshi. This world is... well. It's got ancient vampires, a pantheon of fickle gods, eldritch horrors, ghost ships, very liberated sexuality, werewolves, succubi, an aether realm that is definitely Not For Humans, an Old City that nobody comes back from, and a very long and complex backstory that is the reason it has no ways back out into the multiverse. Exploring that backstory is very important to the plot. The senshi have personalities that are kiiinda like their canon ones, but they're all grown up here and most of them have pretty traumatic backstories, the gradual reveal of which is another pretty important subplot.

    The world building is definitely the best aspect of the story to me. There's a ton of detail crafted into his original world and trying to guess what happened to cut the hyperlinks off using only the information carefully revealed via the characters is big part of the charm. To add to that, the writing is also really good, both technically and stylistically. All the odd fantasy elements would be kinda ridiculous if he wasn't so good with creating a genuinely unsettling supernatural mood - there are plenty of scenes that still send chills down my spine even a decade and many re-reads later. The characters and their development are also good - again, the sexual plot elements and all the sleeping around would be ridiculous if he wasn't so good at making the characters convincing. Ranma himself is incredibly out of his depth - being from Japan, his views of sexuality really don't mesh well with that of the rest of the author's world, but he's changing and so is everyone else.

    The only thing that kinda jumps at me as being a bit odd stylistically is the choice of writing Ranma's perspective in first person while everyone else is in third person. I don't really mind, though.

    Overall, this is really more of an original, tightly plotted thriller with borrowed characters than it is a Ranma/SM fanfic. For me it works, and I really, really like it.

    4.5/5, rounded up to 5.


    (I hope I did this right)
    edit: nope I did not, the link is not dead, my bad. I can't change it either, can I?
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2016
  2. DvorakQ

    DvorakQ Seventh Year DLP Supporter

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    You had me super excited there. The author had a 5 year break before his last double chapter update. I am hopeful that he'll keep his next update <10 years since we're sitting at around the 8 year mark at the moment.
     
  3. mdatot

    mdatot First Year

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    Sorry for getting your hopes up :(

    I've been thinking I should post this for a while and finally got around to it. I haven't really given up hope either, but, well. Eight years are eight years.
     
  4. Glimmervoid

    Glimmervoid Professor

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    This is one of my all time favourite pieces of fan fiction. I love the characters, the setting and the plot. It is simply excellent. 5/5
     
  5. Calen

    Calen Fourth Year

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    The good old U of K.
    Sorry no update. But trying to get some info. Or at least a place to talk about this with other fans. I mean I was over 10 years younger when this was last updated!

    Does anyone know if this guy is even alive? I mean I hope so not for just this fanfic. But someone has to have digitally stalked this guy, he has family pictures on his site.

    I do think someone else is keeping his site running, but if it is him, at least update saying this is done! Or if not say that too.
     
  6. Zombie

    Zombie Tegridy Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Wow.
     
  7. Glimmervoid

    Glimmervoid Professor

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    His shadowchronicles.net domain was updated 2019-07-20T05:40:09Z, so I'm guessing he's still alive though whether he's active I don't know.
     
  8. Dhaskoi

    Dhaskoi Muggle

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    Oh man, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever. One of the all time great fanfic epics - I was going to say I remember it fondly, but remember isn't quite the right word because I was actually re-reading it recently.

    It's one of those stories where the author just . . . did everything right. It's a masterclass in world building* and writing au's (the Sailor Senshi are very different and yet very much their essential selves while Ranma is recognizably himself, changed though he has been by the things he's been through**), is intricately plotted and gives every member of it's generously sized cast their own distinctive voice and moment to shine. I've been reading it for the first time in a couple of years and I was struck all over again by how good it is. Often if I happen to stumble over a fic I read years ago or look one up after being reminded of it, the story ends up not being as good as I remembered. The plot's not as clever as I thought, the characters flatter than I remember, the writing just not as good.

    Clear Day was better than I remembered. I read it the first time as a teenager when it was still being updated with some regularity (back in 2002, good gods) and reading it now as an adult I have a better appreciation for the sheer quality of the writing and the effort that clearly went in to getting all the details right. It's an epic fantasy adventure packed full great action scenes and an enthralling mystery, but there's also great relationship development. The characters talk to each other and work their shit out like adults and there are lots of sweet domestic moments to go with the action. It's one of those stories where, despite the genuinely spooky and chilling threats the protagonists face (and there is seriously spooky shit happening) there's a warmth and camaraderie that always makes you feel that eventually things will be okay. There are also moments where it's frigging hilarious.

    Okay, so I've gushed a bit. But this is honestly a fine piece of writing and it's nice to talk about it with a few people who get it. I recommend it to almost anyone, unless you're a SM fan who's a slave to canon or a raging prude (there's not actually a lot of onscreen sex, it's more people being frank and casual about sex and attraction in ways that frankly are pretty healthy). Even if you're not familiar with the source material it can be enjoyed as a kind of vaguely technopunk fantasy. It almost doesn't matter that it hasn't updated in 12 years, because it stops on a high note with a lot of subplots resolved and there's plenty to enjoy (roughly 660,000 words). I have read more fic than I care to think about in the last 25 years (I tried to figure it out once and gave up when I realized it was likely in excess of 100 million words) and over tens of thousand of stories and hundreds of fandoms if I could pick one, and only one, story to be finished - this would be it.

    And if anyone has an idea about how to reach the author, just so I can tell him all the stuff I wish I'd said back when he was responding to emails, I'd love to know.


    *It's a world where swat teams have magical support and cops sometimes fight monsters using mecha and basically everyone is polyamorous and/or bisexual but it works, and it works because the author succeeds at making it feel lived in. The details aren't shoved in your face or delivered in infodumps, they're just part of the fabric, taken for granted by the characters as they go about their business. I've seen Clear Day recommended as a good story to read if you're working on your own world building skills and I think that's very true.

    **Another thing that really makes the story work is that Mark MacKinnon understood good characterization doesn't necessarily mean making a carbon copy of canon, so long as the characters act in ways that make sense for the circumstances they're in, according to who they fundamentally are. Context matters.***

    ***Having said that, I do recommend reading at least the first story in the preceding series for background on Ranma as he is in Clear Day. Plus, it's pretty damn good writing itself.
     
  9. tiran

    tiran Muggle

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    Yeah, this is an amazing story, I'm glad to see more people are still reading and enjoying it! I also have gone back to it multiple times over the years, and the writing is just fantastic. I really enjoy the original arc as well. I hope if the author comes back to the story, he continues that thread as well. The world-building and character development is so good in this series. It could be an amazing book series if he could tweak the copyright material. Like the way 50 Shades did, except this is a much better story.

    But yeah, as long as he keeps paying for the domain, I still have hope. I post here hoping that maybe he'll see and know that he still has readers who love his work and hope he's doing well.