‘An Unhappy Man’ is a Life on Mars fic containing some 30,000 words in eight parts. It is a character study of Sam Williams - who is he, and why is he the man he is? The story takes place in the days just before episode 1.01
The story was posted at lifein1973 during the first week of February 2008, in the days leading up to the first broadcast of the follow-up, Ashes to Ashes. All the links below go to the original lifein1973 posts.
Spoiler Warnings: (1) The fic and the notes below contain major spoilers for Series 1 and 2 of Life on Mars. The story goes to the very heart and central premise of the series, so be warned - if you have ambitions to watch any part of either series unspoiled, DO NOT read any further!
(2) Although my notes below do not contain any spoilers for the fic itself, the comments at the end of this post do.
Rating and Genre: Gen, White Cortina, ie nothing to exercise anybody’s sensitivities.
Characters: DCI Sam Williams, DCI Frank Morgan, OC - Pete Martin
Background: After the finale of Life on Mars aired in the UK (on 10th April 2007), I spent some time thinking through what it all meant, then on 16th April 2007 I made this post at TRA (contains spoilers), exploring the idea that only 1973 is real, and that 2006 is just some kind of Utopian vision in Sam’s mind. On 19th May 2007 I started to write Sam Williams’ story, based on the premise that every word Frank Morgan spoke in episode 2.08 was the truth as he knew it.
Warning: For people who are familiar with my usual stuff, I have to advise you that this is NOT my usual stuff. In particular there is no Sam/Gene interaction, and no sex. (I’d still quite like you to read it though...) I’m sorry to say that Gene doesn’t even appear in this fic, although I think it might become clear that he was in my mind at all times while I was writing this.
Disclaimers: I don’t own these characters or their universe. BBC/Kudos do.
Lyrics to “Changes”and “Life on Mars”, both from Hunky Dory and copyright David Bowie, are reproduced here without permission but with no intent to profit or harm.
I have been fortunate enough never to have any contact with Children’s Homes. My impressions and descriptions here are therefore all guesswork and Tracy Beaker, and I don’t mean to cause any distress to anyone who has lived in, or worked in, a Children’s Home. In particular, St Barnabas’ Home for Orphaned Children does not exist.
I have invented Frank Morgan’s computerised activity-logging procedures for the purposes of the story, but I make no guarantee that there were such procedures in effect at the time. It just seemed to fit his character.
Acknowledgements: TRA member Jools, who gave me lots of encouragement and plenty of wonderfully positive feedback in the early (and late!) days of writing this.
m31andy and lozenger8 who were both kind enough to read and make constructive comments when I lost my way and despaired of ever finishing this.
jayb111 and mikes_grrl both earn huge thanks for detailed and insightful beta’ing.
For most of the eight months I spent writing this fic, it didn’t have a title, then one day the words “Carlos Dominguez - An Unhappy Man” popped into my head. It’s a song by Paul Simon, and it languishes somewhere on a reel-to-reel tape in my loft, but it could have been written for Sam Williams.
Links: Monday afternoon to Tuesday morning: Part 1
Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon: Part 2a, Part 2b
Wednesday evening to Thursday morning: Part 3a, Part 3b
Later Thursday morning to Thursday night, Part 4a, Part 4b
Friday morning to Friday night: Part 5
Saturday morning to Saturday night: Part 6
Sunday morning to Sunday night: Part 7a, Part 7b
Monday morning: Part 8
It is my plan that one day there will be a sequel to this story. As yet unnamed, it comprises a number of missing scenes from Episode 2.08. I also have a couple of ideas for other stories in this universe in various states of completion.