^Intriguing article. Good to get insight into the term from the person who coined it. I have to concede, even she's open to the idea that it's possible for a Mary Sue to be well-done. It's a character whose presence "warps" the other characters around them, causes them to adopt unconventional behavior or roles in reaction to the character, but there are instances where that can be done credibly and justifiably.
Actually she says: "There are now two definitions, and the positive one is: Yes, she's a Mary Sue, but the writer's actually doing it right."
And then her definition of "doing it right" in the following paragraph includes NOT warping the other characters. "... and second, it can't warp any of the other characters. You can't change the characterization of known characters and make them unrecognizable."
This entire discussion is really interesting to me. I've always said that if Piper is a Mary Sue, she's a Mary Sue done right. These books were some of my early favorites.
On the other hand, its been decades since I've read them. I've had both Dreadnaught! and Battlestations! on my "to reread" pile for years now, just to see if they're as good as I remember. This discussion has (once again) made me really want to dig back into them.
So has watching Into Darkness
, because some elements really felt familiar. That made me want to reread Dreadnaught! too, just to see how close the connection is.