Don't Panic!

Author: Boz4PM

Nominator: Lindelea

2006 Award Category: Times: The Great Years - Honorable Mention

Story Type: Other Fiction  ✧  Length: Epic

Rating: PG-13  ✧  Reason for Rating: Strong language in earlier chapters, especially in chapter four when Penny is extremely upset and angry. However, after that point most chapters are a G-rating.

Summary: Penny is panicking. Where is she? How did she get here? How is she going to get home and whose backside will she kick first when she does? A woman lost in Middle Earth wearing only her pyjamas. This can't be good... This story was a response to a fic-challenge on OSA: "Stuck (Really) in Middle-earth - We've read them before: 21st c. gal is zatted back to Middle-earth. But what would it really be like for a modern person to find herself (or himself) in Middle-earth? Fic should tackle such issues as getting lost, not having appropriate survival skills, craving twinkies and other processed-food treats, having no air conditioning, being surprised by the plumbing (or lack of it) situation, experiencing uncomfortable allergies to dragon scales, etc. The intrepid time-traveller could also answer, once and for all, those niggling questions (do elves wear underwear?) and set the record straight.” It contains angst, but also a lot of humour, indeed it tries to span both the drama/angst and humour categories equally. Please note, this story is not a Mary-Sue.

Read the Story

Reviewed by: Pearl Took  ✧  Score: 10

This story took me totally by surprise. I'm a hobbit writer and reader, I don't read MarySues. But the summary on this story just had to be checked out - a story that had to be what it might *really* be like of a 21st century person went to the Middle Earth of LOTR and the mention that the story was at SOA by invitation of the site managers. This story is just plain awesome. Penny arrives in Middle Earth. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli show up and . . . ["The man, elf and dwarf exchanged a look. “What do you think?” asked Gimli. Legolas shook his head. “No doubt about it.” Aragorn nodded. “My sentiments exactly.” He drew his sword. “Die, Oh Mary- Sue, spawn of Morgoth!” ] And then good ol' Strider lops her head off. Penny awakes from her dream, to find she really *is* in Middle Earth and from that point on we laugh and cry with Penny (Pen-ii to those she ends up taken in by) as she tries to come to grips with a dirty, primative world where she doesn't understand a word spoken by anyone. And that is what makes this tale so enchanting, it *is* much like I think circumstances would unfold for a madern person suddenly thrown into cultures like the ones in LOTR. Even the Elves, though obviously quite advanced, aren't what we would regard as "modern" and sometimes the most that can be said is that they are MUCH cleaner than any other culture. Boz's Elves are wonderful, they are real and humorous, her Rangers rough and gentlemanly, her hobbits charming and warm. A marvelous story!!

Reviewed by: obsidianj  ✧  Score: 9

This story is hilarious and was my first foray into the category of modern girl falls into Middle-earth stories. Once found, Penny is brought to Rivendell and discovers that she arrived at the time the Fellowship assembles. Penny's heroic efforts to accept and learn to live in ME, once she realizes where she is, are hilarious and heartwarming to read. I love the way the author alternates between Penny's pov of judging and rationalizing the behavior of the people around her, and the people of ME looking at her and her actions. Both come to the same result: the other is mad/insane/unreasonable. In the end they come to an understanding, but it is a hard road. In this tale Penny doesn't miraculously speak the languages of ME and has to learn the hard way (without dictionaries or tapes). So, a lot of misunderstandings and agonizing hand signal conversations ensue. I loved Penny's list of suitable skills for ME (very short) and her attempt of explaining the concept of marketing to Gandalf. Poor Gandalf doesn't know what to make of it and it sounds utterly ridicoulous in the setting of Rivendell. I can heartily recommend the story to anyone.

Reviewed by: Bodkin  ✧  Score: 7

This is a hilarious - and very sensible - look at what it must really be like to be landed in an alien world with a bunch of very strange people, none of whom can speak your language. Not to mention the very reasonable take on - er - hygiene issues. It is also a very good set of ideas on the whole butterfly-wing stuff on causality. Penny's horror and disbelief and eventual decision that she has to remain silent in order not to change the future is really the only one she can come up with - particularly if she's seen various Star Trek episodes - the one with Joan Collins. I love your take on various key characters - particularly the Rangers-need-no-onions Halbarad. And the share-my-comb!!??!! Elladan. (Others, too - but those moments just stick in my memory.) I thoroughly enjoyed reading this - and I'm glad I didn't discover it until it was complete because it was such fun to read the whole thing through in one big bite. Good stuff.

Reviewed by: Imhiriel  ✧  Score: 5

Some technical flaws (e.g. with PoV), and inappropriate language for the M-e characters, especially at the beginnning, but an entertaining read nonetheless. Good grasp of historical everyday-living and of canonical details. Penny's situation is explored skilfully, showing both the funny and thrilling aspects of her adventure, as well as the drawbacks that come from her ignorance of a more primitive lifestyle and particularly from her knowledge of the books and the moral dilemma this means (even if she is overly melodramatic at times). The language issue is handled very well. I also liked how many of the hot-debated topics of the fandom are brought up and then elegantly NOT answered *g*.

Reviewed by: Dreamflower  ✧  Score: 5

For once, the "modern girl falls into Middle-earth" type story is dealt with realistically. I *loved* this story--Penny is so clueless at first, and then when she begins to realize when and where she actually is, she literally goes into hysterics. She's just an ordinary modern person. She has no special skills, no special abilities. She doesn't even speak the language--after all, Westron is *not* English. Simply coping with day to day living in M-e is traumatic for her. There is, of course, a lot of the "fish out of water" humor, but there is also a good deal of realistic angst. I highly reccommend this as an excellent read!

Reviewed by: elliska  ✧  Score: 5

I remember when I first read this, I only clicked on it with mild interest. Wow, did it suck me in and I read it all the way through in one sitting. My husband thought I had lost my mind because I was absolutely howling. You did such a good job depicting realistically how a modern girl would react after 'falling' into Middle Earth. Indeed, some of the 'realism' (bunny stew and latrines and other such basic needs problems) are some of the funnies and most clever parts of the story. I also especially remember Penny telling Elrond and crew what she knew. Imagine doing that! This story is incredibly entertainly and cleverly written. Definitely a classic of Lord of the Rings fanfic. Loved it!

Reviewed by: Lindelea  ✧  Score: 3

I approached this with trepidation, considering the reputation of "Mary Sues" in LOTR fanfic. But this does not read at all like a Mary Sue story. For one thing, Middle-earth is not at all sanitized and shiny, but rough and real in the writing. Well done.