thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Keep Hoping Machine Running ([personal profile] thefourthvine) wrote2012-02-03 08:41 pm

224: This One's for You

I am doing this set so soon after the other one (I know, I know, totally unprecedented and weird and wrong) because I have several stories that I really, really want people to read. I mean, that's why I rec - I will not rest until all of you have read everything I think is wonderful, and that is the simple truth - but these are stories I want everyone to read, yes, and also a specific person. These are targeted recs! Except I am not saying who the targets are. So you should read all these because one of them might be for you.

And even if one isn't, still. Read. I promise you every one of these stories is amazing.

The One That Teaches Us the Nuances of Decorating with Bovine Paraphernalia. It's Complicated, by [ profile] just_katarin. Hockey RPF, Carey Price/PK Subban. (If those names mean nothing to you - hi, me too! - the author has a useful primer.)

One of the things I am learning about hockey via RPF (again, may not actually apply to real hockey) is that the players suck at feelings. I mean, yes, there's all that hugging, and of course the fighting, but basically you're looking at a whole bunch of dudes who were in shooting practice when everyone else was learning to deal with emotion. It's like an entire league filled with John Sheppards, Aeryn Suns, and Batmen. Yeah, I'll give you a minute to sit with the horror. (Or, you know, actually the mental image is kind of - NO WAIT NO it would totally be a horror what am I even saying? The fact that it's hot doesn't mean it wouldn't be a total disaster, this is a thing I have learned in my life.)

Okay, so, while this situation is obviously not ideal for the players, or, you know, anyone around them, it does give rise to a lot of awesome stories. Like this one! And this story displays so many different kinds of failure to get feelings; it's basically the Problems with Feelings opus. There was a point in this story where I said to myself, "These dudes are going to be married and have three kids before they ever figure out they're in love, let alone have a talk about it." (Seriously. That happens in hockey.)

And the thing is, in less skilled hands, this could get annoying. Or it could lead to a lot of yelling at the characters. But in this story, it really doesn't; it's just, one of these dudes seriously doesn't get it, and the other dude doesn't get that, and also both of them would apparently let Alexander Ovechkin dance on them with his skates on before they'd sit down and actually talk. Sometimes life gets complicated when you're like that. But my point is: even though it totally seemed like a possibility, I didn't ever want to strangle the characters in this story. (I did want to lend them my copy of Humans Have Feelings and You're Going to Have to Learn to Deal, the textbook from Remedial Emotion 100. But, well. That is a fairly standard impulse when reading hockey RPF.)

So, you know, this is basically a cavalcade of feelings from guys whose natural emotional status is "none." That alone makes it awesome. But I also loved how this dealt with the pressures and pitfalls of a rookie year, and also with some of the specific bullshit PK Subban gets for being black. (Uh, warning: be prepared to finish this story with some hostile feelings toward Darren Pang. That is fine and as it should be.)

The One That Teaches Us That Black Books, in Very Specific and Unusual Circumstances, Is Romantic. And I'm trying my hardest not to fall, by [personal profile] surexit. Original fiction.

I did say I wouldn't be telling exactly who these recs were aimed at, but I have to say with this one. See, Best Beloved - she is a very intelligent person, really, but also very determined and sometimes her determinedness gets in the way of her intelligence. Such is the case with her consumption of original m/m ebooks. Because, yes, there are some good ones, but let's be honest: most of what you find on Amazon you would back button away from immediately if the characters were named, say, Charles and Erik instead of Cooper and Ethan (note: if these are actual names of characters in some original m/m book somewhere, I'm not referring to it; BB is the one with the exhaustive and honestly worrying knowledge of the genre, not me).

But BB remains convinced that somewhere out there is the motherlode of all excellent published slash, and she's by god going to find it. There is no telling her she's already found it and read it all. So she persistently and bravely buys ebook after ebook, and inevitably we have this conversation:

Me: How's the new original slash?
BB: Not terrible. I mean, it wasn't terrible. And then their penises started talking in couplets, and now -
Me: It's terrible?
BB, sadly: Yes.

Only actually it's generally much worse than talking penises.

So this rec is specifically for BB, to prove to her that there really is great original m/m fiction left for her to read. (It's also for the rest of you, because it's good! And original! And you should read it.) Just, I think perhaps she needs to let the ebooks lie fallow for a while.

Instead, she can read this. Because this is an awesome story about two guys who are the absolute awkwardest meeting and falling in love. And if that doesn't grab you - although in that case I genuinely cannot imagine why you are reading my journal - there's also a lot of great stuff about class in here. Class commentary and gay romance! The best of all possible worlds. (I mean, of course, the best of all possible worlds not featuring robots.)

The One That Teaches Us That Illegal Drugs Lead, Rather Unexpectedly, to Tons of Plot. Twenty-Year Man, by [personal profile] ellen_fremedon. Vorkosigan series, Ivan Vorpatril/Byerly Vorrutyer.

I would love this story anyway, because it is everything I dream of, but in addition to being practically perfect in every way, it triggered a revelation for me, a revelation about the Vorkosigan series. So in addition to expanding the Vorkosigan universe, and shifting the focus of it, and giving me more of it, it also taught me something about it, and about myself. That is everything fan fiction is supposed to do. See why I said it was perfect?

(And, okay, this isn't exactly related to the recommendation, but it feels wrong to mention my revelation and not tell you what it is. As I read this, I wondered why I was so comfortable with Ivan in casefic, when Miles in casefic, or case books, has never been my happy place. And once I asked myself that, I had the answer. I am, it turns out, only interested in Miles when he's becoming something. When he's becoming Admiral Naismith, or becoming a Barrayaran officer, or becoming a [spoiler for Memory], I'm fascinated, I love it. When he's not, I still love him, but I don't want the details. Probably because if he's not overcoming insurmountable odds, he's, um. You know. Miles. So I'm a little sad about that, because as far as I can tell, he's done as a character, which I suspect means I'm done with the series. Bummer.)

So. Back to this story, which I am not at all done with. I love characters who underplay their intelligence, characters who maintain a bland façade while thinking actual thoughts underneath, and Ivan is, arguably, such a character. At least, okay, I'm not sure that's how Bujold meant him, but it is definitely how fan fiction portrays him, and in this case my vote is alllll on the side of fanon. I really love Ivan here, giving up on his whole "anything for a quiet life" strategy in a big way.

And, I mean - there's research! Shenanigans! Politics! Basically everything I love about the canon, but with gay sex! So, yeah, I'll just go back to what I said up there. Perfect. You'll want to read this. (Unless you haven't read the Vorkosigan series, in which case I'm not sure how well this will work for you. But, hey, no problem, just read a couple of books of that first, then this. There. Your weekend is all set.)

The One That Makes Me Yearn, Yearn, for a Cupcake Avalanche App. Semaphore, by [personal profile] devildoll. Avengers, Steve Rogers/Tony Stark.

True fact: I fell asleep thinking about the stories I wanted to rec that fit into this set, wondering which one to end with (I have a lot of things I want people to read, okay?), and dreamed that [personal profile] devildoll was pregnant. With a dragon. If that's not a message from my subconscious saying, "Go with the Steve/Tony one everyone has already read!" I don't know what would be.

So, yeah, odds are good you've already read this, and I am not surprised, because, okay, [personal profile] devildoll is a bad person who made a 300-song playlist for this story and then declined to share the whole thing, but she is also an amazing writer. (Particularly when she's got old people kicking ass in her story. For reasons unknown - and, no, I am not even asking my subconscious; I'll probably dream that she's a German Shepherd or something - senior citizens = good times with [personal profile] devildoll. She's the author I'd most like to listen to learn swing dancing with, basically.)

This story, in addition to the usual terrifying old people and awesome romance, also does something that is kind of weird in fan fiction, which is: the realistic breakup. (No, no, seriously, come back here, it's not like that!) Generally writers either ignore existing relationships, as in that Mitt Romney/sexbot story I totally have not read, or they do fake breakups ("I only left you because you broke up with me!" "I only broke up with you because you were leaving!" [sexytimes]), or they do real breakups that are more like meetings with a matchmaker ("I think we're kind of over, but it's cool, we can still hang out. Um, have you considered Eames at all?"). And, I mean, I read all those stories. I love all those stories. Just, that isn't what's happening here. This breakup is serious, and real, and it kills me a little every time I read it, both for Pepper and for Tony, although, let's face it, Pepper is always going to handle shit better than Tony does. (Others who handle shit better than Tony: Basically the entire population of the planet aside from Bruce Banner and the Joker.)

And then they both move on, and the moving on is glorious and awesome and funny, and also, from time to time, awkward as fuck, because Tony is not good at - you know, given Tony's advantages, it's surprising to me to note this, but it would actually be easier to make a list of things he is good at: technology, fighting in a big metal suit, and snappy comebacks. Everything else he has to pay someone to do. He's just lucky that he has enough money that he can still present himself as sane and functional to anyone who hasn't gotten a close look at his payroll.

Anyway. For some reason my Avengers recs always end up with me rattling on for paragraphs about Tony, which - I guess both Steve and Tony would want it that way, but next time I swear I will spend some time on Captain America. And maybe even on the story, crazy as that is. In the meantime, I'll just say: I know you've already read this (unless you are the target of this rec, of course). Now is the perfect time to read it again.
pocketmouse: pocketmouse default icon: abstract blue (Default)

[personal profile] pocketmouse 2012-02-04 05:07 am (UTC)(link)
When you say 'Black Books,' do you mean the TV show? Does this reference it? Because I would read the shit out of that. If this is just coincidence, I will be horribly disappointed.

Well, I say horribly. What I mean is that I'll just go read Semaphore again instead.

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killing_rose: Abby from NCIS asleep next to a caf-Pow with the text "Goth Genius at Work" (Abby)

[personal profile] killing_rose 2012-02-04 05:40 am (UTC)(link)
It is a long hockey fic. That I can put on my Kindle. I trust you to recommend something that will fascinate me. (This hasn't not-happened in god alone knows how many years.)

Thus, it will be going on as soon as I'm near my Kindle again.

Eeee, yay!

Also. Things that amuse me way too much. (And probably mean I seriously need sleep.) I went off to read the primer and was going, "Scott Gomez. Why am I thinking Scotty Gomez, those damned commercials and--"

Right. Because he graduated from my high school and used to play for the hometown team. And, yes, there were commercials. For like everything under the sun. That's why. ~facepalms at self~
Edited 2012-02-04 05:46 (UTC)

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cellia: (Default)

[personal profile] cellia 2012-02-04 05:55 am (UTC)(link)
Hee! I enjoy you rambling on about Tony (and, well, basically anything your heart desires). I am resisting Hockey RPS so far, but you are making it tough going.
surexit: Two young girls walking away from the camera holding hands. (let's stick together)

[personal profile] surexit 2012-02-04 06:08 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, I am... sort of fluttering around being ridiculously pleased and beaming over here. ♥ Thank you, I'm so happy you enjoyed it, and I hope BB enjoys it if she decides to read.

(Also, can I rec a couple of things to BB? If she's interested in historical m/m, I think Tamara Allen's three books are absolutely excellent, particularly The Only Gold. I also lovelove Dash and Dingo by Cat Ford and Sean Kennedy, and anything Parhelion has ever written, and Lee Rowan's Royal Navy series and Prove A Villain by KC Warwick. And Mel Keegan, possibly, if she's in the mood for something gloriously overwrought and very bodice-ripping (only, m/m, so maybe shirt-ripping?). And Ann Somerville's Darshian Tales if she likes fantasy at all.)

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snarp: small cute androgynous android crossing arms and looking very serious (Default)

[personal profile] snarp 2012-02-04 06:11 am (UTC)(link)
Unsolicited recommendation for your spouse: If she hasn't yet, she should read Wicked Gentlemen, by Ginn Hale. It's sort of like a very good Echo Bazaar AU, in which everything is about forty-five degrees grimmer. (Though it predates EB by several years, so I guess it's possible that EB is, in fact, a cheery WG AU.)

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azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)

[personal profile] azurelunatic 2012-02-04 06:42 am (UTC)(link)
You will be happy to hear that the Next Vorkosigan Book seems to be basically Ivan casefic.

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staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)

[personal profile] staranise 2012-02-04 06:55 am (UTC)(link)
This post brings JOY to my HEART.

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paxpinnae: Inara Serra,being more awesome than you. (Default)

[personal profile] paxpinnae 2012-02-04 07:31 am (UTC)(link)
It's like an entire league filled with John Sheppards, Aeryn Suns, and Batmen. Yeah, I'll give you a minute to sit with the horror.

Horror is not my reaction there. GLEE. Glee is my reaction there. An entire fandom of people whose emotional development was halted at the age of twelve! THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS. (Also, do you have any Tazer/Kaner recs planned for the future? Apparently they are the pairing of my heart in this fandom, because I am a sucker for All The Responsibility/All the Immaturity.)

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torachan: (Default)

[personal profile] torachan 2012-02-04 09:28 am (UTC)(link)
You forgot the most common type of fic breakup, the ever-popular "girlfriend/wife is a horrible bitch and of course he had to leave her for his true love. Because girls are icky. And bitches. And did I mention bitches?" :|

Anyway, I am mainly commenting to say that just days after telling you I never see celebs, I saw John Sheppard at the Apple Store today. XD

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pandarus: (Default)

[personal profile] pandarus 2012-02-04 10:06 am (UTC)(link)
I love you. Just fyi. These posts are a source of unalloyed delight.

&hearts _ &hearts
juliandarling: (Default)

[personal profile] juliandarling 2012-02-04 10:30 am (UTC)(link)
Great set of recs as usual, although I'm excited about HOCKEY and AVENGERS in the same post! It's like Christmas come early or something.
ratherbe4gotten: (Default)

[personal profile] ratherbe4gotten 2012-02-04 12:11 pm (UTC)(link)
 I'm married to a Canadian, so hockey is kind of a constant... and I always liked it, but all of a sudden there's this whole other side that it never occurred to me to notice! (although I did wonder about the Sidney Crosby/Mario Lemieux living arrangements at the time)

...the only problem now is that I'm hooked! What would I have to beg/borrow/steal to convince you to do a hockey focused post (or at least to post more recs soon)? :D

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devildoll: (tony jet setter)

[personal profile] devildoll 2012-02-04 12:18 pm (UTC)(link)
Okay, while there are many, MANY things in this post I could address (....with a dragon?) or maybe just sheepishly choose not to address (*cough* playlist *cough*) the main purpose of this comment is to direct you to this comment thread in my LiveJournal, where I have been told there may eventually be a Cupcake Avalanche app for Android. (!!!) (no, really: !!!!)

And also, thank you for the wonderful and hilarious rec. <3 <3

pun: (Jeter/A-Rod)

[personal profile] pun 2012-02-04 01:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Do you not understand that I already watch too much sports as it is?! STOP TRYING TO MAKE ME GET INTO HOCKEY!!!!

(except don't stop. these stories are amazing!!)
greenygal: (Default)

[personal profile] greenygal 2012-02-04 02:42 pm (UTC)(link)
[personal profile] surexit already recced Parhelion and Lee Rowan, which let me second, but I also really like JB McDonald.

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princessofgeeks: Darren from Slings and Arrows, with the text, I might go to Berlin; they understand me there. (Berlin by Curtana)

[personal profile] princessofgeeks 2012-02-04 03:20 pm (UTC)(link)

And I don't even KNOW anything about hockey. I went to a minor league game once!

Impertinence is awesome. I'll follow her over any cliff.

ellen_fremedon: overlapping pages from Beowulf manuscript, one with a large rubric, on a maroon ground (Default)

[personal profile] ellen_fremedon 2012-02-04 03:45 pm (UTC)(link)
I wondered why the sudden spate of kudos this morning! Thank you for the amazing rec (and the amazing recs, which should keep my occupied for the rest of the weekend.)
brownbetty: (Default)

[personal profile] brownbetty 2012-02-04 03:54 pm (UTC)(link)
I am telling you this because I am not sure who else to tell: I was reading the hockey RPF from your last entry and it was all good (I mean, a little confusing,, because I somehow had the idea there was going to be a robot in it, and there kept on not being a robot, but my poor reading comprehension is no one's fault but my own) and then bam! Out of nowhere, there is Mario Lemieux! AUGH AUGH HELP THERE IS A REAL PERSON IN MY SLASH HELP! So I read very quickly and it was brief, but apparently Mario Lemieux is too much hockey player for me.
marginaliana: Buddy the dog carries Bobo the toy (Default)

[personal profile] marginaliana 2012-02-04 04:19 pm (UTC)(link)
I just read Twenty-Year Man for the first time a few days ago and it really is superbly awesome.
runpunkrun: combat boot, pizza, camo pants = punk  (Default)

[personal profile] runpunkrun 2012-02-04 08:29 pm (UTC)(link)
I love reading your recs. <3
aderam: (Luongo Wins)

[personal profile] aderam 2012-02-04 08:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Hockey RPF and I have a fraught relationship - especially considering I haven't read any of it.

On the one hand I love hockey! I am Canadian and have played since I was 8, and watch as many games as I can because it's awesome. And there is not nearly enough stories about hockey in any kind of fiction. Baseball and American Football get a massive amount of movies and TV shows and all that. We get Mighty Ducks (which was awesome) and a bad CBC tv show about puck bunnies. It's a tragedy.

On the other hand though - I really just can't handle RPF. Historical stuff is okay because they're pretty much characters rather than real people at this point. But when it's real folk, it squicks me out.

And I realize that this is somewhat contradictory - but it also seems like all the RPF is about the Capitals and the Blackhawks (with a few exceptions - hello Habs rec!), and I'm a Canucks fan. But no one writes fic for the Canucks. We've got Swedish Twins! An emotional Italian-French-Canadian Goaltender! Kesler being naked and Bieksa asking if he was photoshoped! More Gingers than you can shake a stick at! (And everyone hates us despite the fact that Boston broke two players' backs in the playoffs and didn't even get a wrist slap.)

Can't we just have more hockey AUs? I think I may have read all the ones which currently exist...

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deuces: (Default)

[personal profile] deuces 2012-02-05 12:08 am (UTC)(link)
I read Semaphore recently, and it was thoroughly enjoyable! Er, also, hello! /pops up out of nowhere
soc_puppet: You found kitten! (Robot, heart, kitten) Way to go, robot! (You found kitten!  Way to go robot!)

[personal profile] soc_puppet 2012-02-05 06:04 am (UTC)(link)
Adding another rec for your Best Beloved: The God Eaters by Jesse Hajicek. Sorta-fantasy with magic/psychic powers set in pseudo-old west with ultra conservative Christian-analogue overlords generally oppressing people everywhere and keeping the other gods down with eventual happy ending. (I think you might be interested in the theological aspects of it (How people become gods! What they do with their power and how they get it! Incarnation into the general population! People eating gods!), but I'm pretty sure the book also brushes a couple of your squicks, so. Don't read it before she clears it for you, I guess I'm saying.)

Speaking of books that are available for free! In case anyone hasn't heard and is digging through the comments here, the entire(?) Vorkosigan Saga is available for free, legitimately, here (more details here). Yay, free! So the acquiring and reading of a few of the books in question should hopefully be easier now.

For once, I have actually read that Steve/Tony fic, but only because I spent the last two weeks reading every decent sounding Steve/Tony fic I could get my hands on. I should quite like to know where the sudden craving came from, as it distracted me from what had been my 'main' fandom and also quite a few more RL responsibilities than I would like to admit. I'm currently irrationally grumpy because I've 'run out' of fics to read from the rec list I was looking through, but I daren't look for more on pain of Not Getting Shit Done, so it's probably just as well.
out_there: B-Day Present '05 (Default)

[personal profile] out_there 2012-02-06 12:32 am (UTC)(link)
Class commentary and gay romance! The best of all possible worlds. (I mean, of course, the best of all possible worlds not featuring robots.)

And that, right there, is why I love your recs. I know you hae your priorities right when it comes to what makes a *fantastic* story.
birggitt: Batman silohuette (Batman)

[personal profile] birggitt 2012-02-06 11:30 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, seriously? Awesome original m/m story? *opens new tab* I need to read that one.
And, hey! There's always time for re-reading Semaphore :P

Also, this: Others who handle shit better than Tony: Basically the entire population of the planet aside from Bruce Banner and the Joker. So true" *dies laughing*

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