thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
March 12 was Best Beloved's birthday, and what she wanted was a recs set. (We know how to give the big, important, expensive gifts in this family.) Specifically, she wanted clichefic, which she is apparently very fond of.

So, okay, this is a little bit late. But it is heartfelt. Best Beloved, happy birthday. You can has cliches!

The One That Shows Us That If You Can't Get Laid in Chicago, You Can at Least Get Great Pizza. Number Eight, by [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

This cliche is a classic. Undercover in a gay bar - I would be surprised if there were not whole challenges and zines dedicated to this one. (I would also be wildly disappointed, for the record.) I would, in fact, be surprised if Kirk and Spock didn't have to go undercover in a gay bar at least once in their extensive non-canonical career. (Oh, my god, I just - I just pictured this. My poor brain. It will never be the same again. Trust me and don't imagine this, okay?) Really, undercover in a gay bar is one of our great media fandom traditions. Probably we should have a holiday to celebrate it. (It could be called Fake It Until You Make Out Day! We could exchange little gifts of glitter and stories! Maybe there could be a ritual of decorating our favorite characters in eyeliner and shiny clothes!)

And the thing is, this story shows, totally and completely, why this cliche works, why it has stayed with us throughout the years, why I'm kind of sad we have fewer law enforcement fandoms these days and thus have fewer opportunities to put our characters in tight pants and make them dance to loud music. See, there's plot and porn, right in the same cliche. You say "undercover in a gay bar" to someone, and right away that person knows that a) there will be gay sex and b) it will be in the interests of justice. It doesn't get much better than that, people. And this story is the perfect example of it. I mean, do I need to summarize? Ray. Fraser. Gay bar. Go.

The One That Proves That You Can Make a Bat Cuddle, with Sufficient Coercion, but You Can't Ever Make Him Good at It. Cold, by [livejournal.com profile] brown_betty. D. C. Universe, gen.

Huddling for warmth. Another classic cliche. There's cold! There's a sincere and honest need to get naked under covers, for genuine life-preserving purposes! What could be better? Of course, when Betty gets her hands on this cliche, things do not go precisely according to tradition. (Like, here's an example: the first people involved in the warmth-huddling in this story are Tim and Alfred.)

But that is why I love this story: it takes a classic and much-loved cliche, shakes it up, turns it inside out, and makes it into something new and shiny. In this case, it's a character study. Actually, it's a study of a class of characters. (Sometimes I think you could summarize 90% of Betty's work as A Short Guide to Batfamily Dysfunctions. It would make an excellent title for an anthology of her work.) Because, you know, this is a perfect example of huddling for warmth and the warmth never...quite...getting there. I love this story because it's so right for each of the characters. And, of course, for the Batfamily as a whole.

I'd say they'll make a therapist rich some day, but in fact all they'll do is drive a whole team of skilled professionals into nervous breakdowns. (Come to think of it, this is probably why we never see shrinks in the Batverse. Bruce broke them all many years ago, back when Albert thought he could be helped, and now they live in a well-funded home for the clinically twitchy.)

The One That Proves That Coping with Extremely Unexpected Transformations Is a Key Pirate Skill. On the Lesser-Known Hazards of Piracy, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. Pirates of the Caribbean. Pairings are, um, complicated. If you need to know, drop a comment and I'll try to sort it all out.

This is bodyswap, otherwise known as one of my favorite cliches in the whole history of ever. It is also, apparently, one of the hazards of piracy they don't teach you in history books. In fact, I think [livejournal.com profile] penknife is the first person ever to identify this as a specifically piracy-linked danger. (Everyone who is now imagining thousands of BitTorrent users suddenly switching bodies, don't fear. I think digital type piracy is still safe, although I will check with [livejournal.com profile] penknife and get back to you.)

Bodyswap is just basically always a wonderful cliche, and again, you can kind of see why: there are certain, uh, built-in opportunities when you've got character A in character B's body. I mean, you have an obligation to take care of whatever body you're inhabiting, right? Even if it's, um, not technically yours, right? And then there's porn!

In this particular story, both of the swapped characters take full and excellent advantage of all those built-in opportunities. And, really, when you're swapped in to Jack Sparrow's body, you've got a lot of potential, there, although it would be reasonable to take some time to worry about what he's doing with yours. And, since I've already mentioned that Jack Sparrow is involved, I assume I don't need to elaborate on the "and then there's porn" part.

The One Where Elizabeth Proves She Totally Did Not Pay Attention in the SGC-Mandated "Being Sensitive to Major Body Alterations in Your Staff" Training. And, Yes, I Am Quite Sure the SGC Does Have Such a Training. Frankly, They Would Be Fools Not To. always should be someone you really love, by [livejournal.com profile] thingswithwings. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

And, from the title alone, the eight people alive who have not already read this story know what this last cliche is: genderswitch. And, oh, I love genderswitch. There was a time when I didn't - a time when I wouldn't even read it - but fortunately due South broke me of that. (It wasn't an inhibition I really needed, after all.) I'm not even sure why I love genderswap so much, unless it's the conversion effect, where you're much much more passionate about something if you disliked it for a while before you started loving it. In any case, the passion is definitely here.

In any case, I love genderswitch. I particularly love when writers play with it a bit - not just the classic scenario of "Hey, you have new parts! They are more compatible with MY parts! What say we get it on?" (Not that there is anything wrong with that.) And I love what [livejournal.com profile] thingswithwings does here; she turns both the guys female, and what happens then says a lot about, you know, deep things: sexual preference, identity, desire versus love. So there is thinkiness and girl-on-girl action. (If only more written works managed to incorporate both of these things. In particular, I can think of some textbooks that would be vastly improved by sex. Although, in all honesty, some of those textbooks could be improved by adjectives, so it's not like the bar is set particularly high, here. Still. I think we can agree that sex improves most things.) In short: this is one of my favorite genderswitch stories, and genderswitch is one of my favorite cliches, so - really, this is a very favorite thing of mine. Read!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
And, frankly, I'm going to need the comfort. I will be spending the next week - seven glorious days! - shut in a very expensive hotel room (five minutes away from where I live) with two large dogs, one of whom does not like new things and howls if you leave him alone for any reason whatsoever, and the other of whom is going to view this as the best thing that has ever happened to her, and also terrify the housekeepers. And who has an unholy ability to manipulate new environments to her advantage.

I - I know I'll get through this. And worse things happen every day, and some of them have even happened to me, and there's a time when we'll all look back on this and laugh. (That time, I predict, will be when we are on massive medication overdoses.) It's just that right now, my near future is looking to be kind of unpleasant, especially given everything I have to do to be ready for this adventure. And there's also the fact that I expect to be hearing bad news no later than this Friday, when I will be already fairly unhappy, on account of, you know, spending a week trapped in a hotel room. With insane dogs.

Seriously. Odds that I will survive this? At least 99%, and I know it, and that's a very good thing. Odds that I will survive this with my dignity and sanity intact? So vanishingly small that I might actually hit the "it's a one-in-a-million shot, but it just might work!" exclusion.

Obviously, the thing to do right now is ignore all the things I have to get done today, not to mention my impending doom, and recommend some happy-making stories. And I don't know about you, but there's nothing that makes me happier than fan fiction cliches put to good use. (I think we all know what I mean by "good use," too. Oh, hush, I do not only think about sex. Just, you know. Sometimes. And one of the stories I'm about to rec is basically gen, so there.)

On to the fan fiction, then. And if anyone has any suggestions for surviving my immediate future - things to read, games that can be played in a hotel room you can't leave (ideally involving two large dogs in a way that will keep them quiet), breathing exercises, pocket universes where time passes more quickly that I could escape to - I'm entirely ready to hear them.

In the meantime, cliches. Which I dig. (And, OMG, someone please send me the link for the Canada shirts - I saw one a week ago, and it was profoundly awesome.)

The One That Reveals at Least Two Great Truths. One of Them Is That in Any Group of Teenagers, You Have More Repressed Sexual Overtones Than You Can Shake a Stick At. The Other I Leave As an Exercise for the Reader. Game Theory, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. X-Men, gen. (And some might question me calling it gen, but, well. This story does indeed have all kinds of subtext, just gallons of it in fact, but so did every variation of this game I ever played. Which was an unfortunate number of them. Oh my god, I am so grateful to be done with adolescence I can't even begin to tell you. I would rather spend the rest of my life trapped in a hotel room bored out of my skull with two even more bored dogs than spend a single week back as a teenager, and I mean that. I mean, given time and the test, I'm sure I can think of lots of fun things to do with complimentary toiletries.)

So. As you will already have gathered, this is about a party game (which means it's also about a form of culturally-mandated torture, in my opinion); the game is Truth or Dare, which is something of a cliche in fan fiction and in real life. As a veteran of it in real life, I can tell you that, in my experience, it takes a maximum of three rounds for the game to get either boring or mean, unless everyone is intoxicated, in which case it gets either silly or mean.

It was kind of inevitable, given the players here - Marie, Jubilee, John, Bobby, Kitty, and Peter (which I initially mistyped as "Petter" - oh, I am going to have to proofread this entry really closely, I can already see that) - that this would go the dangerous route. And it does, in a way that is so perfectly in character and so perfectly adolescent that I seriously cringe in memory every time I read this.

But that's only half of what I love about this story. (Yes, I love the cringing, in this particular case. What's not to love about a story that reminds you of all the reasons you should give thanks every day that you grew up?) The other half is Kitty's perspective. Penknife's Kitty is the smart, observant, and socially, um, limited girl many of us were back in our teen years. Except she quite literally has the ability to sink through the floor. I tell you, there were times, especially in middle school, when I would've sold my soul to be able to do that. Or to turn invisible. Either one. So for me, this is like revisiting my teen years, except that no one is tripping or having sex, everyone has mutant abilities, and I can get out whenever I want to. How could that be other than awesome?

The One That - Well, I'm Not Sure. Either It Proves That a True Bat Will Go to Any Lengths for Useful Knowledge, or It Proves That a True Bat Is a Vaguely Repressed and Very Twisty Fucker. You Make the Call! Things We Have Never Done, by [livejournal.com profile] derryderrydown. D.C. Universe, Dick Grayson/Roy Harper, with minor Garfield Logan/Victor Stone.

Another great party game cliche is Never Have I Ever, also called I Have Never. We all know how this is played (and if you don't, this story explains it, although what you do with that knowledge is of course up to you), and we all know that in a mixed-sex group, if "I have never had sex with a [person of a given sex]" hasn't made its ordained-by-the-petty-minded-gods-of-party-games appearance within three rounds, then everyone playing has some practical experience with bisexuality. Need I explain why this is such a popular concept in slash fiction? No. No, I need not, because you all have brains in your heads. (Also, many of you have been there. Greetings, fellow unfortunate-sexual-decisions-following-drinking-games alumni! The fruit plate is over there.)

But what I do need to explain, maybe, is why I love this cliche so damn much. See, because - you can't just start out the story with the "I have never had sex with [whatever]." Or I guess you can, but I, for one, would feel cheated. Because the great lure here - aside from the sex, which, yes, yay - is the stuff that comes first. I just love seeing what people think of for characters to have done. And not done. (Actually, I love this so much that one of my favorite I Have Never stories on earth is a gen one, if you can believe that, and there are several other stories I love all the way up to the Obligatory Sexual History Reveal.)

Derry does a spectacular job with that, here, coming up with what I think may be one of the meanest "I have never" statements ever devised for the superheroes of the DCU, and also dealing very nicely with the problem of having a player who has done everything, which is quite a challenge in the DCU fandom.*

So, you know, I am a very happy camper (...okay, reader) with this story, even before we get to Dick and Roy and the cocksucking lessons. Which I think is more than a sufficient explanation of why you need to read this story immediately. Party games! Happy campers! Cocksucking lessons! ...Oh my god, I just - I just almost made a terrifying Scouting joke. Save me from myself, people.

The One That Proves That Ancient Technology Is Hard on the Repressed. And Even Harder on Sudden Inexplicable Frogs. Straight As a Circle, by [livejournal.com profile] toomuchplor. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay, John Sheppard/Kate Heightmeyer. (Warning: minor squicks for embarrassment and animal harm. People, I promise you, you won't care. It's that awesome. Also, you'll know when to skim, if need be.)

I'm pretty sure everyone even remotely interested in this fandom has already read this, but I had to recommend it anyway, because this is the most awesome cliche use in the whole history of fandom. John Sheppard wakes up straight. I mean, if that doesn't make you clap your hands and squeal like a little girl, then - hey, there's medication that can help you. Look into it.

It's got everything an SGA fangirl could want: John Sheppard being repressed and very, very gay, Ancient technology being obstreperous and very, very difficult, and native persons being inscrutable and very, very stubborn. Plus Rodney McKay being, you know, Rodney. And also handling a difficult situation with surprising grace, which is something I love about him that doesn't get showcased too often. (Yes, he also fucks up difficult situations sometimes. But it's not like that is rare in this canon.) I think my favorite part of this, though, is - well. Okay. You know how genderswap stories often have, at least in part, a "Hey, human sexuality really is much more of a continuum than I'd previously imagined!" resolution? This totally turns that on its head, and I just love how this whole concept forces John to - well, deal with his issues.

And, yes. I firmly believe it would take a massive lifestyle change, meddling Ancient technology, and a skilled psychiatrist - plus a lot of patience on everyone's part - for him to begin to do that. He's not, as far as I can tell, exactly the "I enjoy processing my issues to achieve a higher state of consciousness" kind of guy. More of a "Let's just repress this and with any luck I'll die before I have to think about it, okay?" guy. And I love that. But I also love the sneaky things fan fiction writers do to get him past that. And this - this is gorgeous sneakiness of a very high and refined order.

The One That Proves That the Key to Drinking with Others Is Knowing When to Flee to a Distant Part of the Bar, and When to Lock Yourself in a Bathroom and Wait for the Climax. So to Speak. Getting off on a Technicality, by [livejournal.com profile] nestra. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall.

If I had to write a list of My Personal Sports Night Canon, some of the entries would probably look like this. (Although, sadly, there would be lots of others. I have Theories. Oh, do I have ever have Theories. Also Opinions.)
  • Danny and Casey are destined to be together. No, really. It is fate. And it is very important. Do not fuck with the Danny and Casey together forever thing.

  • Kim can be evil, but evil can be a force for good. The same can be said of Natalie and Dana, and if that makes you wonder about Aaron Sorkin - um. Probably it should, but that's a whole other list.

  • Jeremy is the world's greatest living example of the innocent bystander. It's like what he was born to be.

  • The people of Sports Night spend about 15 hours a day together, at least five days a week, working under stressful conditions. Alcohol is often involved. If you don't think untoward things happen there from time to time, you may not have a clear understanding of how humans work; some remedial research is indicated.
And, see, I'm not sure if those items would make my list because of my knowledge of canon (and I actually do have some, which is something I'm so proud of you cannot even begin to imagine it), or because of, well, this story.

Because, wow. Nestra hits those notes so beautifully she might as well have written this story because of a future me zooming back in time to force people to write fan fiction that I knew I'd want to read. (And, yes. Given a time machine, I would so totally do that. Don't even claim you wouldn't, either.) Of course, if that's how it happened, Future Me was probably crazed and unwashed and just muttering, "Sports Night! Kissing! Dan! Casey!" And Nestra, alarmed but very much on her game, pulled out something brilliant that she'd already written. Because one thing Future Me has probably forgotten (on account of tragic time-travel-related insanity - or possibly just trapped-in-hotel-room insanity; we have no idea when I'm going to start my jaunt into the past, after all) is that you can't force awesomeness. And this is awesome.

The cliche, by the way, is a dare. (Yes, we started with a dare, and we're ending with one. I think we should take a moment to meditate on the beauty of that, because frankly with my writing actual coherent closure doesn't happen all that often.) And Kim is doing the daring. So, of course, Dan and Casey are fucked. (In all senses of the word.)

-Footnote-

* Although the ultimate challenge there, I think, would be having Methos in an I Have Never game. I mean, Methos says, "I have never died," and everyone at the table protests, and he makes it, "I have never died permanently, then - you all knew what I meant." Of course, nobody drinks.

The next round, Methos can say either, "I have never given birth" or "I have never had children." And if it's an all-Immortal game, no one drinks then, either.

Basically, Methos is the guaranteed pass round of I Have Never, because if he's never done it, neither has anyone else. Oh, I guess at a multi-fandom table you could have him say something like, "I've never been to another planet," at which point John Sheppard, Teal'c, and Clark Kent all drink. But, failing multiple crossovers selected with extreme care, Methos's turn is a built-in opportunity for everyone to sober up just enough to discuss some of the things he did drink on. ("I - with the goat. I didn't think he'd drink there." "You didn't? Fool. But my question - I mean, when in god's name did he detonate a nuclear device?")
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
In the past, I've gone into the concept of the Aliens Make Them Do It story - oh, have I ever - but aliens can't take full responsibility for all the sexing, you know. Even the most assiduously lascivious extra-terrestrial needs a break sometime. But never fear, because anything, properly applied, can get the characters into the appropriately compromising positions. So today I salute the creativity and thoughtfulness and downright old-fashioned gumption of those authors who move beyond mere aliens to embrace a world in which everything makes the characters have sex.

The Story That Demonstrates Just How Embarrassing It Can Be to Have Your Father Take an Active Interest in Your Sex Life. Especially When Your Father Is Famous for Having Sex While Wearing a Swan Costume. (Huh. Does That Make Zeus a Furry?) An Affair to Remember, by Scarlette Sky and Randi DuMois. (Does anyone have LJ names or websites for them?) Hercules: the Legendary Journeys, Hercules/Iolaus. (Note: this story has some formatting issues, but it's so worth it.) Clearly, there's been some discrimination going on; I mean, gods can be just as perverse as any alien you care to name, and yet this is the first story I've ever read in which the Gods Make Them Do It. Which is a pity. Obviously, Hercules should be absolutely full of gods with NC-17 agendas, but according to my Fandom Informer ([livejournal.com profile] marycrawford, and seriously, people - don't ever let her come near you with links unless you just want to spend upwards of a day giggling over a little pig in a Hercules outfit), it isn't. This story makes up for a lot, though, particularly with Hercules's spectacular cluelessness and his seriously inappropriate triumph. (Note for the denser demigods out there: "Take that, Ares!" really isn't appropriate pillow talk.)

And, seriously, do not even tell me you don't know this fandom well enough to read in it, because those Greek myths you read as a kid are all the orientation you need for this story. But, okay, want a summary of it? Ares: war god with anger management issues. Zeus: slut who looks nice on a throne. Hercules: son of Zeus and a mortal woman (I'm not even sure if it's still Alcmene in this canon) who looks heroic in costumes that would make any average mortal despair. Iolaus: witty, scrappy sidekick. Xena: unnaturally fond of leather. Joxer: I haven't a clue - something I have in common with him, judging by this story - but he seems like one of those guys who is bags of fun to have around right up until you have to punch him in the mouth, and sometimes he's still fun after that, especially given how he really doesn't hold it against you. There you go. Now go read this and be inspired to write lots of other stories in which the Gods Make Them Do It. It would be a blight on all of fandom if a handful of old-time myth writers beat us on the perviness score, and yet have I seen the story in which Rodney McKay is seduced by a golden shower? Uh, no. And I don't want to. But the gods are totally fair game.

The Story That Focuses on the Unexpected Bonuses People Get for Being Touched by a Psychic. And, Wow, "Touched by a Psychic" Would Totally Work As an AU Title for This Canon. Walt Bannerman Is Gay, by Tangerine, aka [livejournal.com profile] tangeriner. Dead Zone, Walt Bannerman/Bruce Lewis. You know, I really didn't think a Johnnyless pairing could work in this fandom. The canon is very focused on him, on his visions, his point of view - unusually so for a TV series. (Actually, maybe lots of TV shows do this. But I only know TV shows from fandom, and usually fannish TV shows are about either a duo or an ensemble, and the point of view isn't so locked onto just one character.) So, you know, this story, written from Bruce's point of view and with Johnny only making cameos, has the potential to feel very much out of line, very off. It doesn't, or it doesn't to me. Instead, it's a look at the world surrounding Johnny, this more mundane Cleaves Mills where people just try to do their jobs, sometimes with the help of Johnny's visions, yeah, but never with OMGWTFArmageddon, not to mention a totally malfunctioning brain, looming over them every minute of every day.

And that's what made this pairing work for me. Turns out there's a weird symmetry about it, because these are the two people whose lives have been most warped, but not fundamentally altered, by Johnny's dead zone. In other words, these are the two people who best qualify to have the Psychic Make Them Do It. And there's a twist in that which I am not going to spoil for you, but that twist made me even more happy that I'd gone along for this nearly vision-free ride. Because, yeah, Bruce and Walt are still affected by the Psychic Mojo here, but they're also their own people, and the thing about people is that things never go according to plan once they get involved. Even the psychic can't change that. Maybe it's just my delight in ornery displays of free will talking, but I love that.

The Story in Which Ray and Fraser Prove That It Is Entirely Possible to Die of Stubbornness, and They're Just the Boys to Do It. An Incident Along a Poorly Guarded Border, by [livejournal.com profile] kindkit. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. And from psychics with - well, not specifically needs, more like a mystical imperative, we go to an entirely other kind of mystical imperative. Specifically, here we have the Vaguely Ethnic Spirits of Magical Realism Make Them Do It. Well, so does they weather, but - seriously, sometimes Ray and Fraser get into this place of being total blockheads, and it takes being hit over the head with their impending deaths to get them to kiss. (And this despite the fact that they've already done it in the canon.) This is what happens to them here (hardly surprising, I'm guessing, given that I elected to bring it up in the story summary), and the metaphorical clue-in-the-form-of-a-brick is a snarky Inuit, which I just love beyond the telling of it. I mean, it's bad enough when you need a near death experience and a spiritual intervention to get you together with someone, but when your Big Fat Honking Clue is mocking your denseness, well, it's time to loosen up and fuck right, folks.

Fortunately, Ray and Fraser manage to do just that. And there are so many joys here - seeing Ray and Fraser tag-team on their spiritual advisor is worth the price of admission (well, I mean, it would be if there was a price) all by itself. And it's wonderful to see that Ray and Fraser have standards, because, yeah, okay - it's one thing to initiate sexual relations at the behest of a deceased Inuit, but letting that Inuit watch crosses the line. Frankly, we could all stand to follow their example. (Or at least I could. My lines are not what they once were. And I don't mean when I was wee and innocent; I mean my lines have migrated substantially since this time last week. Fandom: consistently enabling me to achieve new moral lows.)

The Story That Is Going to Give Your Universal Remote a Serious Complex. The Scientific Method, by [livejournal.com profile] cupidsbow. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/A Whole Bunch of Bystanders, Innocent and Otherwise, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. What, you thought I could get all the way through a "by god, something makes them do it" set without bringing SGA into it? Allow me to chortle heartily, because this is the fandom that brings all the inexplicably sex-focused deii ex machina to the yard. (And ceremonial altar and science lab and emergency snow shelter and prison cell and alien brothel and rustic glade.) So here we have that great favorite of mine: Ancient Technology Makes Them Do It, and when I say "them," I mean, well - see the pairing label. Because, you know, maybe Rodney can kill people with his brain. None of us is surprised by that, really. But John can make people come with his brain, totally without meaning to, and that is even less surprising. (Let's face it. If ever there was a man who could have an orgy accidentally, John would be that guy. Hell, is that guy.)

I'm as disturbingly vocal a fan of something-makes-them-do-it stories as you would ever fear to find, but it's actually the little details that make me love this story. I love Exceedingly Competent Rodney demonstrating that all that field experience is good for something. I love the way John and Rodney negotiate one of those embarrassing mess hall scenes with such consummate skill that you'd think they had uncomfortable post-sex conversations all the time. I love, love, love the name Rodney and Zelenka gave the Ancient device in question; I assume it's a tip of the hat to James Randi, and it made me snicker helplessly the first time I read this. All in all, this story is fan fiction equivalent of chocolate ice cream, and I don't mean some newfangled, flash-in-the-pan thing like brownie superfudge chunk; I mean chocolate ice cream: sweet, satisfying, and classic.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, first, a public service advisory: I am having a blast bidding on the folks over at Sweet Charity (and this despite the fact that that site is responsible for the way "Sweet Caroline" keeps boinging through my head, killing brain cells and generally laying waste to my fragile neurochemical makeup as it goes). Mostly, I'm bidding on vidders, 'cause who hasn't wanted a personal vidder? I'd take that over a personal chef any day.

But here's the thing: you people don't want me to win a vidder. It's better for us all if I don't. Because every time I bid on one, I say to myself, "Yes...and if I win her, I will ask for SGA set to The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. That will be my first choice, I think. Yes." And it's a different idea every time I bid, and it's always a terrible idea, and frankly I think you all owe it to the world to go out there and overbid me.

If you don't, I don't want to hear any whining later on.

And now, on to the recommendations. (Yes, I know: actual recommendations. It's a stunning, stunning thing.)

I've been feeling kind of, well, bummed lately. Don't know why. Sometimes the squee just doesn't happen. So when I went to write up this set, I thought to myself: what brings the sunshine back to my fannish day? And the answer was, of course: crack. Crack makes everything better.

So I wandered over to the to-be-recommended crack stories and noticed that there was a set that was not marked rec'd that I really thought I'd already done. Genderswitch and genderfuck stories? Is this ringing anyone's bells? Because it's ringing mine, and yet I can't find the set where I recommended these. So I'm going to assume I'm having some weird posting version of deja vu (I guess that'd be deja...huh. What word do people use in French to describe the act of posting to one's journal or blog?), and just plunge ahead with the posting. Let me know if I'm wrong, though, huh?

The Story That Really Makes a Disturbing Amount of Sense, When You Think About It, and Wow. What Does That Say About SGA? Human Vacillation, by [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. And, okay, I don't want to spoil this one too much, so can I just kind of, I don't know, talk around this story rather than about it? (Yes, fine, go right ahead and say it. "That's what you always do anyway." Thank you very much.) What I can say is that for once we have a minor character changing sexes. (I mean, relatively minor - we're not talking about that Canadian, um, you know, console guy or anything*.) Which is interesting to me because we get the reaction not from the point of view of the character (and, damn, writing this is hard because pronouns just totally suck monkeys in English) who has been genderswapped, but from the bystanders.

This story is also very, very much worth reading from a stylegeek perspective. See, when you start it - or, okay, when I started it the first time I read it - it seems kind of slow, kind of like there are parts missing. (And not just Lorne's parts. Yes, I did have to say that. I did.) And then there's this moment of epiphany, and suddenly it becomes very, very interesting. At which point you can go back and read the beginning part and it won't be dull at all. I've read this story maybe three dozen times to track the reasons why that happens and the things that change meaning, and it's fascinating. To me, anyway.

The Story Featuring Daniel Jackson Among the Women. Going Native, As It Were. This Is the Alternative, by [livejournal.com profile] scrollgirl. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. This is a two-for-the-price-of-one genderswitch story - Jack and Daniel both get switched (and the story doesn't really say how, but after all this time reading SGA, all I could think was, "Oh, those wacky Ancients"). Daniel, of course, views it this as the ultimate anthropological opportunity: he will live among the women and discover their arcane rituals. (And also paint his toenails.) Jack, on the other hand, pulls an Achilles and spends three days sulking in the Colorado Springs equivalent of his tent. (And, yes, then they have sex. You can trust me, people; when I rec a story that should have sex in it, by god, the sex will be there.) Classic genderswitch, my friends, classic. (And I find it interesting, too, that Jack is probably the oldest character I've seen swapped - I mean, biological age, not chronological, 'cause I've seen girl Spike and so on. Gives rise to a lot of gender and age related random geekery that I'll spare y'all.)

So I have, obviously, a whole bucket of love for this story. (I love the Daniel Goodall thing more than words can express. I once even wrote a comment on this story with extracts from his Secret Field Research Journal: "Today, the 'pod' of women has accepted me as its own. Perhaps I will at last be able to divine the mysteries behind the ritual known as the 'chick flick.'" I deleted the comment without posting it, thank god, but I will totally own my dorkishness in just writing it at all.) But I also have love for the other story I see lurking inside it. Because I totally want to see the AU version, where Sam and Teal'c got genderswapped. Because, okay - Teal'c would make a fucking fabulous woman, and Sam would get a good, solid, first-hand look at how much easier things are in her chosen fields - science, the military - when you're male. So, really, this story is not just two genderswaps but also two loves for the price of one. Economical and fun.

The Story That at Last Answers the Burning Question: What Would a Mountie Do If He Was Sent to Buy Panties for His Temporarily Girl-Parts-Enhanced Boyfriend? Girls, Girls, Girls, by [livejournal.com profile] brooklinegirl. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. And this, right here, is why I will always love dS. Because BLG starts off this story with, "for reasons that didn't need exploring at this juncture, Ray had breasts." And every dS fan in the world nods and is just fine with that - thinks, like, "Okay. Probably some kind of Inuit story or magical realism thing in there, but no big deal, no need to explore it at this juncture. Ray has breasts. Fine and dandy." You have to love a fandom in which explanations are totally optional. (I suspect that you could start off a story with, "For reasons that didn't need exploring at this juncture, Ray was a zebra, and he just hoped like Christ he wasn't in the Chicago Zoo, because he was living outdoors now, and it was September, and if Fraser didn't get his ass to this zoo soon, well, Ray didn't want to have to live through a Chicago winter outdoors as a zebra. Far as he could tell, they weren't designed for the cold." And everyone would be like, "Okay, cool, zebra. I can go with that.")

You also have to love a fandom that can produce so much excellent genderfuck in the first place. Because when [livejournal.com profile] ds_flashfiction started the genderfuck challenge, I said: "Not for me." But then people started writing it, so of course I had to read it, and it turned out that I can get down with the random assorted parts swappage. (Just another boundary forever destroyed by fan fiction!) And this, actually, is the story that made it happen. I read the Very Special Note about beta-reading and I had to read the story. And when I was finished with this, I had to go read everything else in this challenge, and then loads of genderfuck in other fandoms. Which led, absolutely and completely, to this post. (Yup, this does mean you should blame [livejournal.com profile] brooklinegirl if you don't like the topic of this post. Not my fault! Hers!)

The Vid That Turns Grey Skies to Blue. Blue Skies Filled with Men in Drag Flying Via Parasol, to Be Precise. Holding out for a Hero, by [livejournal.com profile] marycrawford. Hercules: the Legendary Journeys, and, um. Hercules/the Widow Twanky? Yeah, that's pretty much the pairing, I guess. So, okay. This is a vid, not fan fiction. And you need to download it right now. Don't even try to get out of it by saying you don't like Hercules, or you don't know from Hercules, or you get hives when you watch Holding out for a Hero vids, because, seriously. This vid is the best thing ever. Don't download it for the song, people, or for the characters: download it for the breakdancing demigod and the sequined matador outfit and the giant bitey snake head of doom. (Don't miss the flatly terrified expression on Hercules's face when he's being touched by girls, either.) Most of all, download it for its mood elevating effect, because, seriously, if you tried to score this on the Joy-Inducing Pharmaceuticals Scale, it would end up in the "strictly illegal but seriously fun" category. Get the vid now before the FDA takes it off the market!

Also, I want you to think about this: I'm recommending a vid in a genderfuck set. Which means that there has to be some kind of canonical genderfuckery, since we can't randomly swap parts in and out on the characters in the actual source. (Soon, my pets, soon; the technology just isn't there yet.) And I - I don't know, cannot even imagine what possible rational plotline could have produced the Widow Twanky (or most of the other shots in here), but I don't need to be able to. (There's also canonical speciesfuck, apparently, as Hercules is transformed into a pig in a clip in this vid. English has no words sufficient to express my glee at the pig's little Hercules costume.) I can just watch this and revel in the pure, pure cheesy goodness of it, and also apparently the series from whence it came. (Which - wow. It makes Wisconsin look totally cheeseless. It's like our nation's secret stockpile of truly excellent cheese, stored up for a time when the world is sad and lonely and bereft of dairy goods.) And you should, too. Go forth and download. You'll thank me later.

-Footnote-
* Although that'd be hysterical: all the minor characters on Atlantis change sexes. I can picture the senior staff meeting now:

Weir, looking tense: "Maybe a counseling program? Group therapy?"

Sheppard, looking helpless: "The Marines keep coming to me because we don't have enough regulation bras. What am I supposed to do? And one of them tried to hug me yesterday. A Marine tried to hug me."

McKay, looking like someone who has just solved a challenging crossword puzzle: "You know, I thought something was different around here!"
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
First, let me say that I am not responsible for any insanity that creeps into this post. A bird is. Specifically, the bird that lives somewhere near our back yard and has a message to share with the world. And that message runs as follows:

Bird: Woooo woo-woo.
Bird: Woooo woo-woo.
Neighbor's dogs: Hoooooooooowwwwwl.
Bird: Woooo woo-woo.
Bird: Woooo woo-woo.
[pause in which Bird assesses work to date]
[Bird gives itself a hearty pat on the back for a job well done]
Bird, allegro con brio: Woooo woo-woo.
Neighbor's dogs, crescendo: ArooooooooOOOOOO.
Bird, really cranking up the soul: Woooo woo-woo.
Neighbor's dogs: Ooooooh, for the love of goooooooood, nooooooooot again.
Bird, not to be outdone: Woooooooooo woooooo-wooooo.
TFV: [shrieks, throws hands in air, begins Googling handgun waiting periods]

This has been going on throughout all the daylight hours. For weeks. It's like living next door to a home for fraternity boys tragically transformed into members of the animal kingdom. (No, frat boys are not normally members of the animal kingdom; scientifically speaking, they belong to the Certain Squidgy Sea Creatures, the More Offensive Primates, and Anything Covered in Chitin kingdom.)

Makes it hard to focus. Makes it hard to be filled with loving kindness for nature. Makes it hard to do anything except swear vengeance on our feathered friends. This is how mad scientists come to be, people.

So, you know, FYI: not at my all-time record mental stability, here. Could possibly have some effect on the recommendations. And I say that because I have decided to make this a whole set of stories in which aliens (or other non-human entities) make people have sex. Which, yes, is by definition a good thing, but I can't help thinking it reflects badly on my sanity.

Ah, well. I'm going to blame the Bird. And if that isn't enough, I'll also blame the icon pairing meme. (Which I so shouldn't even have tried; I mean, Batman's Robin/Christopher Robin? I don't wanna go there. And Nagiko from The Pillow Book/Poison Ivy is, if anything, worse.) It put bad thoughts into my head. And they ended here. With aliens. And sex.

Best FF That Gives Some Very Valuable Advice Concerning Giant Warrior Pigs. And Makes It Obvious That There Should Be More Giant Warrior Pigs in Certain Parts of the Multiverse. The One in the Cave, by Anna S., aka [livejournal.com profile] eliade. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander Harris. Look, I refuse to be sorry for recommending Anna all the time. She writes the good crack. I recommend the good crack. It's a functional, healthy relationship, and I'm proud of it - simple as that. (And, no, you may not "just mention that it's a relationship built entirely around gay porn." There is nothing wrong with that, and any argument based on the premise that there is is inherently flawed. And you also may not "point out that you don't actually interact with her, so maybe it can't be called a relationship, per se," because if I let you get all technical about the definition of a relationship, pretty soon I'll have hardly any left. It's better this way.) So. There might be, like, three people who haven't read [livejournal.com profile] eliade's work yet, and if there are, this is their wake-up call. Attention, Anna-Deniers: you'll be happier if you just go read everything she's written. I don't care if it's not in your fandom. Because, like, take this one: there's a guy. And another guy, who is technically dead and evil, but don't let that get to you. And some big baddies conveniently located just off screen are forcing them to have sex. It's a classic plot, people! An archetypal plot, even, right up there with the other classics: man v. man, man v. nature, and man fucking man on the orders of a deus ex machina, but it's okay because secretly they want to! What, you didn't cover that in English class? Well, that's why we have fandom.

Best FF That Proves That the Phrase "It's for Your Own Good" Can, on Occasion, Be Entirely Accurate. Although I Still Wouldn't Advise You to Trust Any Aliens Who Happen to Utter It; Probably They Just Want to Eat You. A Strange but True Story, by [livejournal.com profile] pearl_o. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. I'm going to sing here, and I want you all to join in on the chorus. "It's back, it's back, the dS mojo is back! It's back, it's back, the -" What? No, I don't know what the tune is. Like that would make any difference anyway; I mean, I'm the one doing the singing, here. You just pick whatever tune you like and come in strong on the "mojo is back" part, okay? Because the point, in case you missed it, is that my dS mojo is back. It's still a little fragile - I'm not clicking on random stories in archives just yet, and I'm afraid to so much as think about fanfiction.net, but otherwise, I've got a fully functional dS mojo, here. And thank god for that. I was flirting with brand-new fandoms for a while there: Doctor Who, Dead Zone, Deadwood - basically anything that began with 'D.' But turns out I don't need to. And the proof is my recommendation of this charming little gem. I mean, yes, technically I read it before the whole Mojo Issue, but I re-read it just now, and I enjoyed it heartily. No surprise, either, with the clever inverted storytelling, and also the part that's from Diefenbaker's point of view, and also the worryingly parental aliens. Yes, my friends, dS is indeed a happy place to be. And I? Am there.

Best FF That Proves That If You Don't - Oh My God. I Was About to Make a 'Come Prepared' Joke. Someone Needs to Save Me from Myself. Although It May Already Be Too Late. Objectives, by Shalott, aka [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. I have something of an embarrassment squick, and by that I actually mean an embarrassment squick so severe that when I tried to type out an example for this sentence I had to take a twelve-hour break from writing this post. Seriously. It's bad, people. I'd rather random-browse on fanfiction.net* than read embarrassment fic. What does this mean for my life? Well, yes, it means that I flee from movies intended for the under 21 crowd. But, hey, not like I'm missing much there. Unfortunately, it also means that I sometimes flee from perfectly good pieces of fan fiction. So I have a special notation I put in my shorthand descriptions for stories that could've hit my squick, but didn't. It consists mostly of exclamation points, and this story gets a lot of them for the way Shalott navigates a conversation that had the potential to be hideously painful (well, for people like me) and instead is just wildly funny. (That Shalott, how I love her. She never triggers my embarrassment gag reflex. These days, I don't even stop reading her stories when I realize a potentially embarrassing scene is coming up, because I know she'll handle it with style and grace and no squick at all. I think she might have superpowers or something.) So, basically, in this story, there's humor, and then there's alien-induced sex, and then there's more humor. I can't imagine a world where that would be anything less than delightful.

Best Two Stories That Prove That Pegasus Galaxy Grows Some Truly Excellent Aliens, Even If They Seem to Be Mostly Just Rustic-Village-Oriented on the Show Itself. Advantage AND Abstain, by Resonant, aka [livejournal.com profile] resonant8. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. I actually have three reasons for recommending both of these stories, and I'm bound and determined to write them all down. Just - indulge me, okay? First. I have to acknowledge outstanding achievements in the field of alien-induced sex, and Resonant and Stargate: Atlantis have both been doing amazing things in this arena. Seriously. SGA is, like, the Fandom of Pervy Aliens, and Resonant is - you know what, I don't think I want to finish that sentence. It's better that way. Suffice to say that Res totally deserves some kind of frameable certificate, maybe even a plaque, from grateful aficionados of aliens who make humans have sex for reasons best known to themselves. (I'd certainly chip in, because wow.) Also, second, and more tragically, I know everyone who reads this LJ has already read these two stories. So I had to recommend them, because - because I had to, dammit - but I figured I'd put both of them together. Isn't this the perfect time for a re-read? And, finally, these stories prove that if cliches are fun, twisted cliches are even more fun. Because, like, in Advantage, the aliens aren't making them have sex; they're just making John, well, I guess you could say altruistic. (I'd say "subservient," but he so isn't. Because even when John Sheppard is a willing slave, he's still insubordinate. And that, people, is why I love him.) And in Abstain, the aliens specifically make them not have sex. Which of course causes them to have sex. What can we learn from this? Well, my take-home lesson is that everything leads to McKay and Sheppard getting it on, and it's one that I'm glad to have learned.

Best FF That Proves That Our More Local Aliens Are Very Helpful, But Also Slightly Creepy. What You Want, by The Spike, aka [livejournal.com profile] spike21. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. Okay, let's get the unpleasant part out of the way first: I'm disappointed in you, Smallville fandom. Because, yes, this is a great and wonderful story in which aliens make Clark and Lex have sex, but it's the only one I've yet found in this fandom. And, granted, I haven't exactly delved into the depths of SV FF just yet, but - there should be pervy aliens everywhere in here! I shouldn't be able to click on a link without tripping over two or three stories in which aliens turn out to have needs! (Obviously, I mean aliens in addition to Clark. Because he has needs, yes, but you have to hit him with a kryptonite brick to get him to notice that. I'm just saying - why can't that brick be wielded by aliens?) But - and this is the not-complaining part of the summary, here - if there had to be just one aliens make them do it story in SV, I'm glad it was this one. Because, oh my god, the world needs a story in which a person initiates sex with another person by saying, "You should probably come here and smell me." Or am I the only one who is rendered incoherent with joy - and giggles, yes, but the joy is paramount - by that line? Hmmm. I may actually be the only one. In which case, feel free to tell me what a freak I am. I'm not afraid. Well, I mean, obviously; I just posted a whole recommendations set involving aliens who are apparently closet slashers.

-Footnote-

* I swear this will be the last fanfiction.net dig in this post. It's just - it's funny 'cause it's true! And also, I went there recently, and oh my god, people. You wouldn't believe what fangirls are Mary Sueing these days. It's like wall-to-wall Lady Raventroth of Butterfly-Kitten in there.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Today, I offer you weirdness. In pairs. Think of this sort of like a - fandom poker hand, I guess. (Assuming you can ever play four-card poker, because I don't actually know, and I won't unless some fandom comes along about these guys who, like, go to a lot of different places, and play poker, and have adventures, and they're really funny and so obviously doing it.) Anyway: two pair, people. And what a pair they are.

(You should be ashamed of yourself for laughing at that sentence.)

Best FF That Shows That What You Really Need, in Certain Circumstances, Is Money, Supportive Family, and a Really Big Engine. No, Make That All Circumstances. There in Nine Flat: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four, by [livejournal.com profile] khaleesian. The Fast and the Furious, Dominic Toretto/Brian O'Conner. When you've read this story, assuming you survive reading this story, you'll understand why it was amusing to me that I initially mistyped the fandom as "The Fat and the Furious." In the meantime, let me offer you something that is both a threat and a promise: while reading this story, I spoke out loud to the author via the famed communication medium of computer monitor, which I hardly ever do. (I am afraid the dogs will grow up traumatized. Or, you know, have me committed.) I said, "I hate you. I hate you for doing this to me. I hate you for doing this to me and making me like it." So my threat and promise is - you'll probably feel the same way about this at some point, because [livejournal.com profile] khaleesian does here something I truly never thought I'd see. Something I never wanted to see, and might in fact have paid actual American dollars not to see. And yet she did it so damn well that I read the whole thing, mouth open, totally enthralled. Totally enthralled with - this. And I'm afraid to tell you what it is for fear you won't read it, but - well, I figured it out pretty fast, and I kept reading, so - it's MPreg. It's realistic MPreg, to the extent that that statement can even be made without the sheer internal contradictions of it destroying the universe. And it is so in character and so well written and so fabulous and, OK, it's also MPreg, and nothing's going to change that. But give it a try, just for a couple of pages, OK? And, hey, if you like it, you can curse [livejournal.com profile] khaleesian and me.

Best FF That Demonstrates That Superheroes Should Come with a Warning Label Reading 'Does Not Handle Boredom Particularly Well. Unless You Like That Sort of Thing.' Mpreurgh, by Derry, aka [livejournal.com profile] derryderrydown and Propaganda, aka [livejournal.com profile] notpoetry. D. C. Universe, Batclan, Tim Drake/Bart Allen. And this has, like, the best cover ever, so you should go look at that immediately. The cover actually sums the story up way better than I ever could, although I'm still going to mention specific aspects. Like, for example, that this is, as the title suggests, crack-brained D.C. MPreg (albeit MPreg with a very special difference). And that Batman is the worst enraged father ever, and someone less impulsive (hee!) than Bart would've thought about that before having sex with Tim, and then done whatever was necessary to resist the temptation, up to and including moving to an alternate universe permanently. (And someone less brave than Bart would move to the alternate universe immediately after the sex, because again - Batman is an enraged father with explosives, surveillance equipment, and a seriously imbalanced outlook on life. So, basically, unless Tim goes independent a la Nightwing, he's going to need to pick partners pretty much from the super-powered or terminally brave segments of society. Of course, I'm pretty sure he's already figured that out.) Also, Alfred is the sweetest grandmother-to-be ever, although you don't want to think about that concept too closely, because it'll keep you up nights. Other things you'll probably want to avoid thinking about in any kind of depth: Tim in the throes of hormone-induced hysteria, the booties, and Batman keeping Bart on a leash. But read it anyway. It's wonderful, and it'll do you - well, if not good, then not a whole lot of harm.

Best FF That Shows Us the Real Problem with Hanging out with People Who Don't Care What Other People Think - Namely, That They Will Handle Public Sex Way Better Than You. Proof by Contradiction, by Shalott, aka [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. I think everyone should take a moment to be grateful to me here and now, because I realized while I was picking out this story that I have enough MPreg pieces to fill an entire set. And yet I chose to stop at two, and give you a pair of something else instead. This is restraint, and restraint should be rewarded, yes? So instead we have here that FF cliche that I so very much adore: aliens (or in this case, alien technology) make them do it. This particular plot device has been much on my mind lately. I've been searching out new ones and re-reading old ones and I've pretty much come to the conclusion that this is a golden cliche, a lovely cliche, a cliche that every author should write. A number of times, if at all possible. And I have enough aliens-make-them stories to fill at least two recs sets, and more if you count the ones in the comments for [livejournal.com profile] resonant8's recent post on the topic, which everyone should read immediately. So why did I pick this story for one of the aliens entries in this post? Because it starts after the aliens are finished with the main characters. You begin right off with the reaction, and it's just really fucking funny. Plus, you know how Shalott has this tragic habit of writing stories that suck people into new fandoms so fast there's a loud popping noise from the displaced mass? This is just such a story for SGA; no fandom knowledge required, and it's a perfect way to get to know these guys. And did I mention it's fantastic?

Best FF Featuring Daniel Making Yet Another Unfortunate Translation Error. Unfortunate for Him, Anyway. I Myself Am Strangely Comfortable with It. The Road Between the Walls, by [livejournal.com profile] keiko_kirin. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. So, here we have the other aliens-make-them-do-it story, and where one Stargate is, should not the other be? (Because, hey. If McKay and Sheppard are going to have embarrassing public sex, it's only justice that Jack and Daniel join them. And, um. No one should cry "plot bunny" right now, OK? No. Seriously. Stop that right now.) Here we have a story with all the trimmings, including a pitched battle, an incomprehensible alien culture, and a new and novel use for a stargate. (No. Not as a sex aid. Don't even think it; frankly, I'm sort of sorry I thought it. Also, immediately stop pondering the various bad puns one could make out of "wormhole.") Plus, of course, imperious and perverted aliens. Strange how many of those the universe has produced, but I suppose that's what infinity is all about. And I, for one, am not complaining. No, not even a smidgen, because it leads to brilliant stories like these. See, Keiko has many gifts, and one of them is her ability to turn fandom cliches inside out, shake them vigorously, and build them into something substantial and wondrous to behold, and if my metaphor sort of derailed there, I refuse to care, because it's true. That's just what she does. Here, she gives that treatment to several of them; in addition to the aliens-make-them thing, note her skillful and persuasive handling of the "I'm secretly gay" concept. But most importantly, she gets these characters. And then she gives them to us, on a platter. And an ox-cart. And aliens. And sex. I don't see how any fan could ask for more.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
A long, long, long time ago I promised my beloved [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie a post on FF I'd seen that violated a credo of the genre and yet somehow was still good. There really are such stories out there. We've all read them; stories where, for example, Benton Fraser grows tentacles and gets pregnant, even though he is technically male, by Ray Kowalski, who turns out to be a dragon. And Kowalski can talk to other reptiles, and he defeats Tom Riddle and saves Harry Potter, and Fraser can talk to horses and dogs and brings Sirius Black back from the dead.

OK. I don't have any fics that violate quite that many rules, for the very good reason that so far the Keep Fandom Sane Project has managed to take down people considering writing such fic, using special tracking implants, tranquilizer guns, and, where necessary, complicated memory-alteration devices. We should all be grateful for their efforts.

But there are fics that break a FF rule and yet are somehow really, really good. I've been patiently making a list of them since, um, May. And, at long last, here it is. Even though you've probably forgotten all about this, MMWD, this insanity is all your fault. But I've been saying that since the day I met you.

-The Personal Peeves-

The Best FF That Starts with the Phrase "Master Dick" and Yet Isn't at All Funny or Punnish. Which Is, You'll Grant, Seriously Strange for This Fandom. Not a Heart, Beating, by Brighid, aka [livejournal.com profile] brighidestone. D. C. Universe, Batclan, Batman/Dick Grayson, and I chose to use those names after careful consideration, so don't yell at me about using one hero name and one birth name, OK? This story doesn't so much break a Fanfic Commandment ("Thou Shalt Not, Without a Really, Really Good Reason, Give Psychic Powers to the Canonically Non-Psychic," etc.) as a personal rule. I really, really hate it when people have healing sex. The ultimate case of this is, of course, the healing sex that follows rape, but I'm against other kinds of healing sex, too, because sex doesn't heal. It's fun and it's good and it feels like the best thing ever when you're doing it, but it can't fix you when you're broken. I've tried that, so I know that having sex when you're broken will only make you more broken. Except, of course, in the Batworld, where everyone is always broken, so you have to make certain allowances. This story is possibly the perfect example of why the Bats can have healing sex, and vicious sex, and just about every other kind of rule-breaking sex imaginable. To find out more, you'll just have to go there.

Best FF That Will Make You Want Cheesecake. Well, Actually, That May Not Be So Unusual; So Many Women Have Grown Accustomed to Sublimating Their Desires. So Let Me Instead Call This the Best FF That Will Make You Sure Cheesecake Is Just a Substitute for Sex. A Little Cheesecake, by [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. I just totally hate the false no; I have a whole rant on it that is three pages long that I will, please god please, never make available in a public place. I'm going to try to avoid quoting from said essay in what follows, but I make no promises.

The false no goes like this. A and B are beginning a first-time type sex scene. They've been kissing, maybe, and A starts moving things along by groping a bit.

B moans appreciatively into A's mouth.
A, emboldened, takes things a step further; perhaps he unzips B's jeans, or maybe he takes off B's shirt, or maybe he sucks on B's fingers. Whatever.
B says, "No." Or, "Wait." Or, "On second thought..."
A recoils, wounded, his hopes and dreams dashed to the ground, angst welling up all around him.
B reveals that he just meant, "No, or I'll come." Or possibly, "Wait, we could go to the bedroom now." Something like that.

I just fucking hate when that happens in an otherwise normal sex scene, because people don't do that in first time situations. They're careful of their partner's feelings, and they remember the power that "no" carries. It's only later that people play around with safewords and sexy fake refusals. And, you know, I've pretty much summed up that essay here, so let me try to get back to the story.

Here, the false no works, because it's in the right place, and because Jim and Blair don't know each other very well yet, and because Kass is a genius. I hate the false no, really hate it - it's just a way to crank up the angst unnecessarily, a gimmick, a crutch - but I love it here. It just - works. And since I've already gone on and on and on about this, I'll let you go read the story now.

-The Broken Absolute Laws of Fan Fiction-

Best FF That Should Make All Those Fangirls Who Put Themselves - Only Smarter and Prettier and Better and with Flowing Ebony Hair and Violet Eyes - into Their Stories Deeply Ashamed, but Probably Won't, Because Let's Face It, Those Fangirls Are Likely Dead to Shame. Once and Almost Completely, by [livejournal.com profile] scrunchy. Sports Night, Danny/Scrunchy. Seriously. This is self-insertion het, right here, and yet - somehow it works. I can't say any more than that. [livejournal.com profile] scrunchy gets Danny and Casey. She, like, channels them or something. So even when she's writing about Danny falling in love with, well, her, it works. And there's an important lesson here, for Mary Sue-ists. No, wait, there's at least two. The first one is: the less we hear directly from you, the more we like you. Hearing about Scrunchy through Danny makes it good, somehow; hearing about the perfection of Scrunchy from the author would be intolerable. The second lesson is: less is more. Which I'm trying to put into practice in this rec.

Best FF That Almost Makes Me Wish That the Owie on My Back Wasn't a Burn, but Rather the Development of an Entirely New Body Part Not Generally Found in Mammals, Except Maybe Certain Bats, and I Am Not a Bat. I'm Not Nearly Fucked up Enough to Be a Bat. Unless That's Just DCU Overexposure Talking. Graceless, by [livejournal.com profile] dirty_diana. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. What, you thought we'd get through this set without hearing from both of my trusty Happy Fandoms? More fool you, because when it comes to the scary world of law-breaking fic, I need to go to my happy places. Which is, of course, where I find most of the law-breaking fic, so maybe we shouldn't look too closely at that piece of reasoning. So. Go read this right now. Don't read any further until you've read this story; it's good and it's happy and you'll like it, you will. Honestly. I had my Best Beloved test-read it and everything. So it's safe, and you don't need to know more, so read it now.

All done? OK. Now that you've read it, you know what rule it violates. And, frankly, that's a rule that I don't understand; I mean, why do we even need a covenant stating Thou Shalt Not Write Wingfic? What's this weird attraction for putting wings in non-wing fandoms? It's like having a commandment telling us not to have sex with blue trees under two feet tall while orbiting Pluto. I mean, you want wings, there's fandoms for you - Good Omens, Dogma, X-Men (look, it isn't my fault Warren hasn't appeared in the movies; he's there in the comic books, and he's got palpable wings). Why put wings on Angel? He wouldn't use them, you know; he'd just mope about how someone more deserving than him should've got them. Why put wings on Legolas? You'd just eliminate the last difference between (book canon) elves and angels, and I feel sure Tolkien would've done that if he'd wanted to. Why put wings on Ray Kowalski? Well, as it turns out, so you can have this perfect, wonderful fic, featuring a Ray and a Fraser who are absolutely as I see them, wings or not.

Best FF That Made Me Doubt My Sanity and My Mental Health. Well, No, Because a Lot of FF Does That; It's the Best FF That Made Me Seriously Consider Seeking Therapy. Again. Untitled Sequel to "Aliens Make Ford and Arthur Have Sex", by Katy, aka [livejournal.com profile] imperfectcircle. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent/Ford Prefect. (Note: You should really read the first one in this series before you read this. I've recommended it previously, so if you know it, feel free to charge ahead into truly uncharted waters.) This rec alarms me. Because this is the not even the first time I've recommended MPreg. Do I have some strange, deeply repressed part of me that wants to read MPreg? And if I do, how do I get rid of it?

Those two stories are just fucking fantastic, yes, but on the whole the genre mystifies me. I don't read fic for men doing girl things; I read fic for men doing boy things, generally to other men. (And, no, I don't define "sucking cock" as a strictly boy thing, although I think you'll admit that it helps to have at least one male present for that activity. But pregnancy? That is a girl thing, by god, and I don't want to read about it happening to men. I hope.) If I want a pregnancy fic, I'll look for femslash, dammit. And, um, that probably sounded biased, but it wasn't meant that way. I love you, straight people! I totally want you to breed, provided you don't let the resultant kids kick the back of my seat during showings of R-rated movies after 11:00 p.m.! It's just, well, I have a slash bias when I'm reading fic, and so - you know, this isn't going to come out right, no matter what I say. Stopping now, while only my foot is in mouth.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Let me rephrase that. Fan fiction laws were made so that the common or garden variety writer wouldn't get flamed. But, as I have noted before, the best authors can apparently play fast and loose with any damn rules they please, leaving the rest of us gazing bitterly at their stories and thinking, "You know, I never used to like original characters. What's happened to me?" Today, I salute authors whose law-breaking tendencies have induced in me crises of identity and reading preference.

Best FF That Proves That the Canon Authors Need to Be Banished to an Alternate Universe Immediately, and They Can Take Every Version of Phoenix with Them, Too: Nameless, by C. Elisa. X-Men movies. This is original character fiction, here, folks. And before you gag - this is an original character who is perfectly balanced, perfectly in line with canon, and really and truly original. Not to mention necessary to the storyline. I read this wondering why comic book fans have had to suffer through the One Superhero, Nine Names, Fifteen Costumes problem when there are obviously so many really interesting powers and people still possible in the X-Men universe. I finished this and immediately began forming a radical action group designed to do whatever it takes to get this series out of the hands of the canon authors and into the hands of - well, C. Elisa, for one.

Best FF That the Canon Author Brought on Herself, Frankly: Alive, I and Alive, II, by copperbadge. Harry Potter, Remus Lupin/Sirius Black. Immediately after finishing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, nine million people took deep, angry breaths and became fan fiction writers for the first time. And Rowling has no one but herself to blame. This is a fix-it fic for OotP, and that is wrong wrong wrong. You can't fix canon character death. Except, apparently, when you can. And if that's not enough law-breaking for your felonious little heart, try this: it's also a songfic.

Best "What Happens Afterward?" FF, Sentinel Edition: I Still Believe, by Dasha. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. There's a reason the characters are in the setting they're in, right? We don't want to see Harry Potter in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. We don't want to see Boromir alive and well and living in Paris, c. 1890. (No, we really don't.) And since they went to all the trouble of inventing a whole city for Jim and Blair (Cascade: Seattle, only with more psychos), presumably that city is where they belong, yeah? Only not. "I Still Believe" is how things turn out for Jim and Blair, and I, for one, am totally ready to believe it.

Best FF That Has Every English Teacher on the Planet Calling the Hunt and Baying for Blood: Breathless, by Gloria Mundi. Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack Sparrow/James Norrington. I recommended Breathless, Too back in the early days of this blog (as in, like, weeks ago), but somehow failed to mention the other half of the story. And it needs to be in this set, because - come on. Gloria's not breaking just any laws here, she's breaking the laws of writing and grammar, and I defend those with a ferocity even Wolverine would find over-the-top. This is good even so. Be sure to say soothing things to the English language on your way out of this story, because it's probably got some form of PTSD from the cruelty Gloria's inflicted on it in these two stories.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but with MPreg.

The Only MPreg I'll Ever Like (Please God Please) AND The Sweetest Snake Story Ever Told: Baby Snakes, by Louise Lux. Good Omens, and I suppose you could say Crowley/OMC. When I found myself actually bookmarking an MPREG story, I realized that truly, a strange and terrible event had come to pass. I suppose this time next week I'll be blithely reading, I don't know, an eleven-part WIP Popslash/Lord of the Rings crossover story featuring Justin/Legolas, Britney/Eowyn, Steven Tyler/Arwen, and Aragorn/OFC/OMC. Or something stranger still.

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thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
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