2009 Award Category: Genres: Crossover
Story Type: Story ✧ Length: Ficlet
Rating: General ✧ Reason for Rating: N/A
Summary: A good commander is always willing to listen to advice, even if the advisor is a curiosity in himself.
Reviewed by: Tanaqui ✧ Score: 10
In this short story, AmandaK uses a crossover with a present-day military fandom to shine a light on Faramir's personality. The piece is very much a character vignette -- don't look for an explanation of how the crossover occurs and how a US Marine serving in Iraq lands in Middle-earth -- but it succeeeds brilliantly on those terms: AmandaK manages to pack in commentary on a surprising number of aspects of Faramir's character given this is such a short piece. For instance, she explores Faramir's lack of prejudice towards other races as he accepts the contributions of the stranger, a US marine of latino descent whose physical appearance closely resembles that of the Southron enemy. We also see Faramir's strategc and tactical acumen as the two men discuss battle plans, and evaluate the suggestions made by others, and his broader intellectual curiosity as AmandaK hints that his interest in the stranger and his culture extends beyond understanding the powerful, if now useless, weapon he carries. While it isn't necessary to know anything about the other universe in this crossover, apart from having a general understanding of the implications of being a, as someone who does know the other fandom, I can attest that AmandaK's characterization of Jake Mendez is equally spot on. All of this is wrapped in her usual gorgeous, economical prose, with every word contributing to build a sense of place and character as she describes Faramir's command tent, provides us with his perspective on Jake, and explores the challenges of waging war on the borders of Gondor.
Reviewed by: Raksha the Demon ✧ Score: 8
I have no idea who Jake Mendez, the crossover character visiting Faramir in this well-written ficlet is; but it isn't necessary to have knowledge of him and the milieu from which he comes. Amanda K writes a crossover where the modern American visitor to Middle-earth is not attacked or misunderstood by the Fellowship and who does not feel totally out of place in Tolkien's world. Mendez and Faramir have a fascinating discussion of military tactics and the importance of guerilla warfare - made more interesting because both are veterans of such tactics, and thoroughly understand them and each other's needs and experiences. There is little culture shock; Faramir accepts the newcomer as a warrior; they share the camaraderie of soldiers. And Faramir, ever curious is quick to utilize the stranger-friend as a military resource. I would like to see her expand on this meeting; but it works fine as it is. It is easy to see that Faramir is still a careful strategian and tactician after the Ring War; and knows how to get the best from people.
Reviewed by: Thundera Tiger ✧ Score: 8
I'm unfamiliar with ["The Kill Point"], but in my experience with good crossovers, the familiar fandom will eventually explain the salient points of the unfamiliar fandom. And that was exactly what happened here. A Marine in Middle-earth, particularly one armed with a semi-automatic who appears in the midst of a battle, would make for quite the culture clash. And Faramir seems more than up to challenge of handling such a culture clash. Even better, he seems be enjoying it. I love that this crossover is taking place with an established working relationship between Faramir and Jake. There's a clear feeling of camaraderie between the two, and it gives Faramir the opportunity to reflect back on when it's good to ask for more details and when a request for an explanation will make even less sense, such as when Jake mentions suicide bombers. I would love to be there if Faramir ever did figure out what made the semi-automatic tick. I can only imagine what he would do with the knowledge. Or what he might not do. Faramir's wise enough to see where such knowledge could lead. A very interesting point to ponder.
Reviewed by: Larner ✧ Score: 4
Ah--a perfect moment as one familiar with guerilla tactics speaks with another, and the two of them look at turning the environment to their own purposes instead of allowing the enemy to do so for himself. One wonders precisely what conflict Jake took part in and how he managed to find himself in the midst of a battle between the Haradrim and Gondor's troops led by Faramir; but that's among the vagaries of magic, I suppose. Most interesting might-have-been.