First: I finished the Dragon Age story I asked people about (in a locked post), here it is at AO3
and at Fanfic.net
for anyone who doesn't read alias_sqbr
and is curious to see how it ends. Further criticism entirely welcome. I don't know that I'm up to editing the story any further but if necessary can add a note or something.
Anyway: While I can intellectually understand the appeal of modern AUs of non-modern stories they tend to leave me a bit cold(*), but I have encountered quite a few Avatar ones here and there on my travels and found some enjoyable enough.
The thing that bugs me, though, and I was wondering if anyone who seeks the genre out knows of any counterexamples, is that they all seem to be set in the modern U.S
Specifically, none are set in Asia, nor do they have Asian protagonists. Apart from the issues of race and representation etc I just think this is a missed opportunity for potentially interesting stories. That and I find myself wanting to write an AU where they're all Asian Australians or something (and then I remember I suck at AUs) I've often had the idea for drawing them as modern day teenagers from the respective cultures that served as inspiration for the different nations or the adventures of Mai, Tai Lee and Azula as Shoujo schoolgirls but I don't feel up to getting it right. Still. I realise the show itself is from the US, but that just goes to show that writing beyond what you know can be done.
EDIT: I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with any given individual modern U.S. AU. But it just seems a pity that that's all anyone ever seems to write/draw. And for example I get the impression that a moderate number of Merlin AUs (not the ones where they're actually the same characters in the future) written by US writers are set in England because they see the characters as Inherently British. Or maybe there's just more British fans of Merlin than Avatar, idk.
Since I tend to skim over them vaguely I'm not sure if the characters are always white (apart from maybe Sokka and Katara). Zuko does get to keep his scar most of the time at least.
It bugs me a little with Dragon Age as well, but it's not like a modern British AU would be all that different to a modern US one, and it's not subject to the same subtext of cultural and ethnic erasure. And I do understand the "write what you know" thing: when I did my own Dragon Age modern AU
I imagined them as Australians just because why not. Maybe I just need to get into more culturally diverse fandoms...
(*)Unless they're movies, for some reason.