the alternate universe meme
how to play
1. post with your character, name and canon in the subject line.
2. feel free to mention which aus you’re willing or not willing to play in the body of the comment.
3. tag by rolling for an alternate universe setting using rng.
4. or tag by picking whatever au you’d like to play in most.
5. have fun!
i - all human: in an all human au, characters who are canonically vampires, werewolves or superheroes, are now humans, with corresponding changes to their backstories.
ii - apocalypse: a portmanteau of "apocalypse fic", apocafic is fiction set during or after some sort of apocalypse, or end of the world. some canons carry a built-in apocalypse against which the protagonists are fighting: in apocafic, they lose. for example, apocafic in stargate and x-files is usually set after the alien occupation; supernatural apocafic is set on a demon-controlled earth.
iii - band: an alternate universe in which the characters are members in, or form a band. often, the instruments they plan and their roles in the band are analogous to their canon identities. for example, tony stark might be cast as the fame-hungry lead singer who is also a musical genius, or river tam might be a classically trained pianist who, after a terrible experience at julliard, writes songs for mal reynold's grunge rock band, serenity.
iv - circus: circus aus are a popular trope in fanfic and sometimes fanart. using a circus as a setting means introducing the characters to each other in a close-knit community. that can help break down barriers between them and make them bond together against the outside world which may not understand them as well as the other characters do. it also brings a sense of adventure and the idea that this world may have different rules and everything is possible. a circus can also be a good place for characters to go undercover and meet the love of their lives.
v - coffee shop: the barista au (or coffeeshop au, or the closely related bakery au) is a popular fanfiction trope in livejournal fandoms. in most cases, one half of the main pairing is the barista and the other is or becomes their favorite customer; in some stories the whole cast works at a coffee shop. this trope is especially popular in fandoms where one character is very attached to coffee, either in canon or in fanon, or is frequently stressed.
vi - college/high school: college fic is a popular genre of fanfic (less often a genre of fanart) that places characters together in college or another secondary institution such as the starfleet academy in star trek fic (then called "academy fic"). this can be canon stories, for example backstory if characters have or could have met during college, or college aus, similar to high school aus. in science fiction, historical or fantasy fandoms the present day college au is a popular subgenre of the modern au that puts fantastic or historical characters in more mundane everyday settings.
vii - cop/detective: an alternate universe in which the characters are cast as cops or investigators of some kind. often, the canon villain is also cast as the villain in the story. this might be set in modern times, or in a noir-like environment, complete with gangsters and femme fatales.
viii - daemons: his dark materials is a fantasy trilogy by philip pullman. the trilogy consists of the golden compass (1995; published in the uk as northern lights), the subtle knife (1997), and the amber spyglass (2000). there are currently two companion novellas: lyra's oxford (2003) and once upon a time in the north (2008). a movie adaptation of the first book was released in theatres in late 2007. humans have their souls living outside their body in the form of an animal companion. males have female souls and females have male souls. the animals often correspond to the character’s personality.
ix - fantasy: an alternate universe populated with fantastical characters like elves, dwarves, unicorns, sorcerers, and dragons. canon characters might be cast as analogous races (e.g. clint barton or katniss everdeen as elf archers) or they might be humans in a fantastical setting. characters also might be able to secretly shape-shift into another form, like a dragon, and therefore is related closely to were/vampire/supernatural aus.
x - historical: a historical au is a fanwork which moves characters into a different historical period than their canon setting. typically this involves taking "contemporary" characters (from the late 20th century or 21st century) and putting them in an earlier historical period (such as the 19th century or before). popular settings for historical aus include: pirates, america's old west, britain's regency period, ancient rome, a vague facsimile of medieval england such as robin hood, and many others.
xi - hooker/porn/stripper: hookerfic is a type of fanfic where one or more of the characters is a sex worker. there are many different types of hookerfic, ranging from more realistic depictions to the more common pretty woman-type fantasy of a hooker with a heart of gold, rescued from life on the streets by a client. sex work of all kinds is portrayed—brothels, escorts, street prostitution, "call-girls" as well as strippers and go-go boys.
xii - magic: magic aus are alternate universe fanworks that incorporate magic in fandoms where there is no magic present in canon. (or in some cases, fanworks that make a canon with magic more magical.) they differ from elf aus in that there may be magic without any elves showing up, and are opposites of all human and mundane aus.
xiii - neighbors/roommates: an alternate universe where the canon characters live next-door to one another, or in the same apartment building or complex, or in the same apartment. often, this is also an all-human au, if the canon characters are powered in some way. the forced proximity is usually used to create romantic tension between characters.
xiv - space/sci-fi: a space au is an alternate universe where a source set on earth is transported into space; works are often referred to as "[fandom] in spaaaaaaaaace!" the trope can be a form of crackfic, but often includes surprisingly serious reinterpretations of the most earthbound of sources, particularly historical fiction written or set before space exploration. cyberpunk trappings such as robots, cyborgs and ais are often included.
xv - steampunk: steampunk was originally a term for a sub-genre of speculative fiction that imitated 19th century "scientific romances" like the work of jules verne and h.g. wells. later, the term was applied to a general aesthetic involving styles that would be "futuristic" from the perspective of the 19th century. steampunk appears in fanworks as both a genre and an aesthetic. there are some fandoms for which the canon is steampunk(-ish), e.g. the secret adventures of jules verne, but more often it is found as steampunk alternate universe.
xvi - western: the western is a genre of fiction set in the later half of the 19th century in the western part of north america, especially the united states, but also canada and mexico. sometimes also included in the genre are stories about western-type characters and plots in other settings, e.g. "space westerns" (in science fiction settings) and contemporary westerns (set in the western part of contemporary north america).
xvii - were/vamp/supernatural: a reversal of the all-human, in these fics characters who are normally human are now supernatural creatures of some kind the most common being werewolves or vampires.
xviii - choose your own: self-explanatory! choose your own option.
originally posted by socksmoker on bakerstreet