Nov. 26th, 2011

templemarker: generation kill: two soldiers watching artie rain on a city (when the world ends)
Hello to people who've come looking for an introduction to Generation Kill! I am very pleased to have incepted you thus far.



Generation Kill fandom is sourced originally from the 2008 HBO miniseries, produced by Ed Burns and David Simon (of The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street fame) as well as Evan Wright, author of the book Generation Kill which inspired the series, and in turn was developed from a feature article Wright wrote for Rolling Stone in 2003 after his time embedding with a team of men from the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion of the United States Marine Corps.

The miniseries is comprised of seven hour-long episodes and is arguably one of the best contemporary fictional(ish) treatments of the Iraq invasion and subsequent war, and military life during the early period of American warfare in the last decade. While its source material has been subject to some controversy, the general attitude of most towards the miniseries is positive, particularly for its accuracy and detailed perspective on the spring of 2003 in Iraq.

The fandom sprung to life in short order after the miniseries premiered, and slowly grew from a handful of stories in 2008 to a bustling, much-beloved fandom by the miniseries' one year anniversary in 2009. Now, in 2011, it has been disqualified from Yuletide due to its size, and despite the limitations of closed canon the fandom is still enthusiastic and producing wonderful stories.

I personally think it helps to be a fan of the military in general to fall in love with Generation Kill and our erudite, researched fanworks, but that is most certainly not a deal-breaker. My goal here is to give you all the links and material you need to get going, so without further ado:

The [info]generation_kill community is bar none the key linchpin of the fandom; the vast majority of fanworks are located on LJ, but there are some resources available on DW as well. [info]generation_kill has an excellent list of resources once you start jonesing for more. (Most posts in this community are locked, and you need to be a member of the community to view them. I don't think membership is moderated, however, and I promise you it's worth the extra clicks. There's a funny relationship this fandom has with real people--we skirt but don't quite cross the line of RPS, primarily because the miniseries is a fictional rendering of real people. Don't let this deter you. That's why the comm locks things.)

The community periodically hosts a rewatch of the miniseries, and to facilitate that there is a comprehensive resource post specifically devoted to helping you watch this program, though the DVDs are inexpensive on Amazon and are also available on their instant video service. Frustratingly you can't stream it from Netflix, but they do have hard copies in their service. And if none of that works, shoot me a PM and I'll point you in the right direction.

I'm not going to front: this is often not easy to watch, particularly if you're uncomfortable with realistic depictions of violent scenarios. But I can't stress how worth it the program is. There's humour, and there's heartbreak, and it's cinematically gorgeous. The actors were basically put through boot camp by several of the actual Marines they are portraying, and they filmed in Northern Africa to try and render the story as fully and realistically as possible. They did so.

Maureen Ryan at the Chicago Tribune wrote a fantastic overview/review of Generation Kill when it was being aired in July 2008. If you're new to the miniseries, I would suggest reading this alongside watching to help understand what the hell is happening. It is very, very handy.

Once you've seen the miniseries, or before you've seen the miniseries, there are a couple of great books that are must-reads for the fandom (I told you we had a booklist):

"The Killer Elite" by Evan Wright (Rolling Stone 2003); I apologise for the terrible punctuation on this. I'll replace it with a better copy if I come across one. This is the original feature Evan (Reporter) wrote for Rolling Stone, and is a strong, relatively quick introduction to the story we work with.

Generation Kill by Evan Wright; after the feature, the article was optioned into a book. Evan's meticulous note-taking and long embed with Bravo Two offered ample material to flesh out the story from just before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 to the Battalion's regrouping in late April.

One Bullet Away by Nate Fick; this is Nate's autobiography of his life becoming a Marine, and his version of the story that Evan tells. Nate and Evan became friendly during the course of Evan's embed, and after Nate separated from the USMC they became good friends. Evan helped Nate with the book, though I don't believe Nate needed any help getting it published. It was one of the early (by which I mean pre-2005) memoirs of an active duty officer who had seen action in Afghanistan and Iraq, and holds a place of significance outside of providing more canon for the fangirl machine. (Not that it's relevant or anything.)

All pdf's, for universal use.

The thing is, this is a pretty confusing story, especially if you have limited familiarity with military jargon or, you know, the military and warfare in general. Fandom, especially this fandom and especially the dynamo that is [personal profile] oxoniensis, stepped in to help you there. After Action Report is a comprehensive website to help you figure out what happened when, who the fuck everyone is, and what the hell they said that one time at the bridge.

And so, the fanfiction. There's a lot of it. We've all been writing relentlessly for nearly three years, and the quality of fanworks is staggeringly great. (Have your tissues handy, people, you're going to need them.) [livejournal.com profile] alethialia, who holds a somewhat fixed place in my heart due to her epic awesome, has done legwork for you, me, and everyone by putting together a comprehensive GK recs list: Part I | Part II. I believe this was last updated in late 2010, so while there's a lot of wonderful stories that have shown up in the last year, this is an excellent starting point to take you through fandom's greatest hits.

I also encourage you to check out [info]yagkyas, or You Ain't Generation Kill, You Ain't Shit--which is our plucky fandom's annual winter fanwork challenge. We're gearing up for our third year running, but there's a hundred stories in there begging for your attention, and they're all amazing.

Another excellent place where you should read everything is Get Some, a porn skirmish (variation on the Porn Battle but just for GK) that was held in 2009 when the fandom was really hitting a peak. There's some wonderful, hot as shit stories in there in a hundred different combinations (or at least a couple of dozen). I still go there for prompts when I need something to trick me into writing.

And if you want a low bar of entry, first of all, you get a gold star for reading this far (no actual star available), so thank you for that. Here's five stories I unremittingly love; these are not necessarily the most epically best stories in the fandom. They're just the ones I love that I think you'll love too.

Managing Expectations by [livejournal.com profile] alethialia -- I mentioned this one on Slash Report, so hopefully you're already keen to read it. Alethia is a smashing writer with a real talent for drawing profound character observations out of a handful of words. This story, though it came out in the past week, reminds me so much of the first heady months of Generation Kill, when everything was still fresh and the fanon hadn't formed. Wonderful.

Rudy's Guide to Auras and Fair Game Play by [livejournal.com profile] sparky77 -- It is no secret to anyone who's talked to me for five minutes that I am the most ardent lover of Rudy Reyes ever there was. This story is fucking hilarious, and so spot-on for characterization and voices. I loved this story so much that as soon as I finished it, I asked for permission to podfic it. You can hear me laughing in the podfic. It's tragically amazing.

Patience by [livejournal.com profile] kaneko -- Unf, so hot. This is like all the sex possibilities of Brad and Nate rolled into one slice of heat and fire.

Strength and Guile by [livejournal.com profile] shoshannagold -- This is really a story about Brad, more than anything, and about fucking with Brad's world, which is one of my favorite things ever. For context, real!Brad's next assignment after returning from Iraq was training Royal Marines in the UK, where they don't have a pesky little thing called Don't Ask Don't Tell. (AND NEITHER DO WE ANYMORE FUCKING FINALLY.)

Just One Life by [livejournal.com profile] queeniegalore -- I, quite literally, read this story four times a year. It is permanently placed on my iPad and any other device I could ever happen to be reading on. It is one of the most truthful stories about the person that's left behind in a military relationship I've ever read, and continues to inpire me to write more, and write better. Ray/Walt, fucking wonderful.

Every Marine a Wolfbrother by [personal profile] dira -- Dira has only recently come into GK fandom, but for me, personally, she saved my writing relationship with this fandom. After three years I thought I'd done everything I came to do; but then I read this and learned that I was very, very wrong. Unlike anything else you'll read in this fandom; a magical realism alternate universe that takes military culture and turns it up to eleven, which I did not even know was possible in this fandom.

Okay, that was six, but here's a bonus just because, well. Just becuase.

The Care and Keeping of the Iceman, by Ray Person, Cpl. USMC by [livejournal.com profile] romanticalgirl and [livejournal.com profile] bijoux -- I actually hurt myself laughing. Best read immediately after the series.

So there you go. Everything you need to start your own love affair with Generation Kill. This is a permanent fandom home for me; I am never very far away. And because no intro post is complete without some form of a plug, here's my mostly up to date contribution to the fandom as well. Comment if you have any questions, or if you just want to capslock your glee at me. Picspams also welcome. Stay frosty, kids.

ETA:

Some picspams for the reference and the pretty and the incepting!

1. The glory of Brad Colbert.
2. Pic by pic introduction of the characters and show.
3. Some gorgeous caps and a lot of the amazing lines in the show.
4. Ugh, I could stare at these all day.
5. Handy Gen Kill walkthrough.

Some recs for additional pairings as well.

Also, Brad was totally scammed by the dragon and the sword:

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