thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Best Beloved said no more recs until Friday! And now it's Friday. So: crossovers.

The One in Which We Learn That Jack Harkness Has Apparently Been Spending Some Time in Chat. Think about That for a Bit. Bluebird, by [livejournal.com profile] basingstoke. Torchwood x Addams Family, Ianto Jones/Jack Harkness.

Okay. I have seen the Addams Family movies - um, two of them, anyway. Are there more? But my point is - that was the Addams Family played for camp. And you might think, when you see the fandoms for this story, that that's how it would go here, because, let's face it, camp always seems like such a good fit for Torchwood (or Jack Harkness, anyway).

This story is not camp. If there is a country called Camponia, or Campite, or something like that - this story is located on a different planet than that country. This is the Addams Family taken seriously. And holy fuck it is creepy. If they'd made a movie out of this, people would still be watching it, and then they'd be sleeping with all the lights on. But t isn't horror as we typically think of it - there's no undead serial killer with a need to shove his chainsaw into token minorities and teenaged girls who have had sex. (Yes, I am entirely aware that I am stereotyping the entire genre unfairly, and there's a reason: when I was in high school, I sometimes got dragged to horror movies, and if you don't understand movies as storytelling and are entirely unused to discounting visual scenes of violence, horror movies are hell. I learned that it was better to spend the entire time staring at my own hands. So my experience with the genre is limited and it's never going to get better while I have any say in it. ) It's not even scary. It's just - it's just creepy. I can't put it another way.

And I love it. I love how well this works, how completely and bizarrely this makes sense, and how utterly I believe the last line. This is one of those crossovers that should never have worked, and yet it works so well that I find myself wondering why things are never this awesome in canon.

If that hasn't convinced you, I offer you a major bonus: after you read this story, you will think of your family, no matter how weird it is, as almost shockingly mundane. And you will always be able to tell yourself it could be worse when they come to visit.

The One That Teaches Us That Really Good Lipstick Has Many Uses. Seriously, I Almost Want to Buy Some, Just in Case. I Lie, I Cheat, I Steal (and I Just Don't Get Any Respect), by [livejournal.com profile] fiercelydreamed. White Collar x Leverage. Genish.

There are, in general, two kinds of crossovers for me: the kind that make me wrinkle up my nose in confusion and blink at my screen blankly (sometimes going so far as to say, "Really? Really?"), and the kind that make me do a wiggle dance of glee because SO OBVIOUSLY YES. I have learned, in my time in fandom, that the category a crossover is in does not signify; you get awesomeness in both categories, and both categories bring equal amounts of joy. (The only difference is how you feel if it doesn't work; with the first kind, you feel stupid ("What was I thinking, clicking on that DCU x LotR crossover with the Batman/Legolas pairing? My Bitter Old Fandom Queen raised me better than that!"), but with the second, you feel betrayed ("But it was a SURE THING!").)

This story fits into the SO OBVIOUSLY YES category. (Disappointment doesn't even enter into it, of course.) Because, I mean, totally: Leverage and White Collar. They were BORN to cross tracks. When I saw this story's header, I did the customary wiggle dance, all squeaky and happy. But I didn't anticipate the awesomeness that ensued, although, in all fairness, I'm not sure anyone could.

I mean, this story has so many great parts. I enjoy seeing Neal Caffrey being the Unflappable Hostage as much as the next girl, and of course I love the role-playing the Leverage folks get up to, and naturally I like seeing Elizabeth Burke reveal her fabulousness (in fabulous shoes, to boot). But this story is so much more than the sum of its parts. There is extra wonderfulness hidden in the kerning, I swear.

And then there's Hardison's narration. Dear Fandom: Please write many more stories with Hardison as the viewpoint character. Like, even in totally other fandoms. Because never has there been a character who so totally spoke the fannish, geeky language; you could write a story in which he communicates entirely in quotes from Star Wars to celebrate Star Wars day, and it would be, if anything, only surprising he didn't reprogram all freeway signs to speak in Star Wars quotes, too. And when he's not getting his geek on, he's checking out people's asses. He's one of us, is my point.

And you know you want to read that.

The One Featuring the Most Terrifying Sandwich Ever Made in the United States. China, by [personal profile] torch. Highlander x X-Files, Methos/Fox Mulder.

Okay, there are two ways to do this kind of crossover - there's the way where everyone has secrets (in this case, especially Methos) and the crossover characters don't necessarily know or ever figure out all of each other's secrets, and then there's the way where the author gives all the characters a sealed enveloped containing ep summaries, Wikipedia entries, and headshots. I prefer the first way.

And that is the route Torch goes here. I love stories like this, where you see two characters you know well (or, in my case, only sort of know well, since I read this back when I still thought the X-Files characters were named "Mully" and "Sculder," and since then have progressed all the way to the point where I can even tell you the first name of - okay, one of them, which I had to look up just now, BUT STILL) meeting and trying to figure each other out. And I especially love it when the characters can't figure each other out entirely.

But this is not just some snippet of awesomeness (although I tell you what: Torch's snippets are so reliably awesome that many fans have ascended to a higher plane just reading them). This is a whole story, with, you know, Mulder being Mulder, Scully being Scully, and Methos being whoever he feels like being this decade. There's a small town! There's accusations of witchcraft! No one gets burned at the stake! I just - I really love that it's not just about Methos and Mulder; there's all these other things going on.

And there's Methos, and Methos is never a hardship; I would read Methos is every fandom ever devised - I mean, Methos in Gundam Wing? Sure. Methos/Johnny Weir? Why the hell not? Methos on Sesame Street? I have no idea how it would work, but I'd read it.

Plus, you know, there's the sex. That doesn't hurt. I'm just saying.

The One That Teaches Us That a Giant Alien Robot Best Friend Is Hard on Family Values. Bumblee ex Machina, by [livejournal.com profile] hackthis. Generation Kill x Transformers. Brad Colbert/Nate Fick.

I think I first suspected [livejournal.com profile] hackthis had superpowers when she picked a song for me. If you ever get the chance to do this, take it; she has uncanny gifts. She found a song that was so perfectly me in every particular that I was astonished, and it is still one of my favorites. One of the main reasons that I haunt her LJ is the hope she'll do another song meme.

But, okay, fine, so she has a song-related superpower - that doesn't mean she has powers, plural, right? Except she does. It's so unfair. I'm not even sure what her other superpower is called - TFV Catnip seems awfully specific. Maybe it's just called You Know You Wanna. Whatever the case, I have come to accept that if she plunges into a fandom, I have no choice but to follow her. I resisted her on Entourage for the longest time, and what was the result? I ended up in Entourage anyway, and she laughed at me for waiting. Seriously. I'm done resisting this woman.

I did think, though, that she might have pushed her superpowers too far by crossing Generation Kill with Transformers (although, you know, from what I understand about Michael Bey's profound love for the American military, maybe it does make sense). On the one hand, we have a canon about a bunch of sweaty, mouthy guys in Humvees. On the other hand, we have a canon in which those Humvees would transform into giant alien robots. It doesn't seem like a natural fit, right?

It fits. That's all I'm going to say. It works. And I have a strange soft spot for high school AU Brad and Nate (um, probably that can be blamed on [livejournal.com profile] hackthis, too, but then so many things can be), so this story is like extra joy for me.

Really, I'm not surprised. This woman could cross Justified with Jack and the Beanstalk, and I'd probably end up loving it. And you would, too, so stop resisting and start reading.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. Someone on my friends list linked to the YouTube clip about the T.S. Eliot Equation, and I realized it could be used to prove three things about me:
  1. I won't have any cats in my old age, because zero divided by anything is always zero. This is good, because I am tragically allergic to cats.

  2. I won't live to be old, because some right-thinking citizen will throttle me before then. I can best explain this via a conversation I had upon viewing the YouTube clip.

    Me: But...okay, I get the concept, and yet. Well. Shouldn't the number of exclamation points be an intensifying rather than a mitigating factor?
    BB: What?
    Me: Because if you divide by the number of exclamation points, then that reduces the total number of cats. Whereas obviously more exclamation points should increase the total number of cats, and -
    BB: Are you arguing the terms of an equation from a YouTube comedy clip?
    Me, quietly: I just think it's important to be accurate, and that's obviously inaccurate, because -
    BB, loudly: I said, are you arguing the terms of an equation from a YouTube comedy clip?
    Me, very quietly: Possibly.
    [There is a long silence.]
    BB: Oh my god. Do you hear yourself?
    [There is another long silence in which I reflect upon my life to date.]
    Me: ...Maybe I need a hobby.

  3. I need to post. Yes, I had my usual December quietness, induced by Yuletide + work + seasonal depression, but obviously if I want to live through this year, never mind to a (sadly cat-free) old age, I need a hobby. One that doesn't involve critiquing YouTube math. And, as it turns out, I already have a hobby: fan fiction! It's time to get in touch with my hobby again, ideally before the person who throttles me is Best Beloved.
So, courtesy of the math in some guy's YouTube comedy bit, here I bring you: crossovers.

Yeah. That transition sucked, but in my defense: a) I think you'll find, if you think about it, that there is no possible good transition there, so I can hardly be blamed for not finding it, b) I have to get this post done before I turn into a Crazy Pedant Lady, which is much much worse than a Crazy Cat Lady, and c) I'm sick, so I am excused from having to have smooth transitions and polished prose and stuff. (No, really. I have a note and everything.)

That said, shall we get right to the crossovers?

The One That Features Draco Malfoy in a Cage and Yet Is Somehow Still Gen. Five Have a Magical Time, by [livejournal.com profile] lazy_neutrino. Harry Potter x Enid Blyton's Famous Five, gen.

I - I don't know if other people will react to this one the way I did. (My reaction, for the record, was laughter interspersed with broken sobs, because I was obsessed with the Famous Five books in my youth, people, and they read just like this, and oh my god I've wasted my entire life.) You pretty much need to have spent three years of your childhood hiding in your closet with a flashlight and a stack of Famous Five books.

Yes. I was just that cool as a kid. Fear me.

But I think even if you had a more normal childhood - one featuring light and good literature and a total lack of lashings of ginger beer, a phrase that can still cause my entire right side to cramp up from phantom flashlight-holding pain - you can enjoy this. Just know that [livejournal.com profile] lazy_neutrino has hit the style of the Famous Five so perfectly that I would actually suspect her of being the reincarnation of Enid Blyton if that wasn't such a horrible thing to say about a person who clearly a) is a very talented writer and b) spent much of her childhood in the same kind of thrall I did, and therefore has suffered enough.

And, of course, the Harry Potter elements are perfect. I just - I love this brilliant (smashing!) clash of two subgenres of British children's literature (the magical and the Blyton, and yes, Blyton is entirely deserving of her own subgenre), and the way the Harry Potter world looks through the eyes of the Famous Five, and, well, every flashback-to-my-unfortunate-youth-inducing word of the narrative.

Bonus: after re-reading this, I felt a lot better about my need to argue YouTube math, because obviously I was broken from the start. Which means I can blame my parents. Or, possibly, Enid Blyton. Both are, obviously, excellent choices that take the burden of normalcy off me. And that, my friends, is the key to mental health.

The One That Is Perfectly Timed for Post-Holiday Reading, Since It Will Make You Feel Good About How Functional and Healthy Your Family Is. Really. The Gods Might Offer Gifts, by [livejournal.com profile] iseult_variante. Supernatural x American Gods, gen.

I think it's safe to say you'll enjoy this story if you know either fandom. I don't know Supernatural (well, beyond what I pick up from vids, which is: two brothers, a car, and a woman in plastic wrap taped to the ceiling, plus a lot of scary stuff that means I could never, ever watch the show) at all, but I totally got this. And, going by the comments, people who don't know American Gods also love this story.

Of course, if you love Supernatural, I have to wonder why you don't know American Gods, because you'd probably love it, for the same reason that this crossover is such a fucking brilliant idea. (Brilliantly executed, too, let me just add.) Both canons address similar themes, albeit in a different way, and they are just such a natural fit that I am now wondering where the Dean/Shadow is. Or the John/Loki. (Oh, come on, I can't be the only person thinking that.)

But if there's only going to be one Supernatural x American Gods crossover, I'm glad this was it, because this is so damn perfect. [livejournal.com profile] iseult_variante picked just the right characters, just the right moment, and just the right themes - oh my god, people, this hits my family complications kink so hard that I think it might actually have broken it - and does it all so well that it looks easy. Which it manifestly is not.

Bonus: I'm glad I re-read this one immediately after Five Have a Magical Time, because I now feel better about my childhood. I mean, okay, I was a weird, closet-dwelling (ha ha ha - no, literally), book-obsessed little troll, but obviously that is, in the grand scheme of things, both normal and healthy. (No one should point out that neither of the families in this story are ideal barometers of mental health, okay? Let me be pleased with my newfound normalcy.)

The One That Gives a Whole New Meaning to the Concept of Teyla's People. X, by [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone. Stargate: Atlantis x X-Men, gen.

This one you can definitely follow if you only know one canon or the other, but if you know both, it is so very wonderful that I would recommend acquiring whichever canon you don't know (or, hell, both canons) just so you can obtain full enjoyment of it. [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone does an incredible job of fusing these canons, of mapping the X-verse onto the Gateverse; every time I read this, I experience a vague sense of shock when I finish it and realize, oh, right, this isn't canon. They don't actually have these powers and they aren't actually these people.

But if they were. Oh, god, I would faint from glee. Seriously. I might even die: first ever fannishness-induced implosion. Because it is so right.

If by some chance you haven't read this story (and, really, I don't see how anyone could have missed it, but just in case), I don't want to spoil it for you - the slow reveal is part of the joy of this, figuring out how things fit together and what's going on. I will say, though, that I have special and unholy glee for Zelenka's, um, form in this - the only thing that could have been better is if he'd been Beast. (Oh, god, who is Beast in this universe? Is there anyone awesome enough?)

And now I'm going to shut up, because, really, I am bouncing with eagerness to spoil this whole story for you, all, "And then - and also - and oh my god, you will not even believe but it's so -" Obviously I need to be quiet. Now.

Bonus: I think a few of you know that I am a recovering X-Addict. So many of us went through these little stages in college, and I was not immune. But because I got my sex and drugs and rough-approximation-of-music issues out of the way in high school (a total time-saver, but nonetheless not recommended unless you have excellent mental health coverage), I was left with nothing but geekiness to explore in college. I'd like to say, oh, there was this boy, and it was his fault, and I was totally innocent, but I know damn well I can't shift the blame on this one. It was my inner fan emerging, and she bought every damn comic book that had an X on it. Those of you who have been there will understand what this translates to, in terms of dollars, shame, and square feet of our guest room consumed by long boxes. My point is: this story made it all worth it. It made my heart glad. It also kind of made me want to relapse, but I am stronger than that.

I hope.

The One That Proves That Observer Bias Was Alive and Well and Living in Pseudo-Ancient Greece. Hercules ex Machina, by [livejournal.com profile] falzalot. Hercules: the Legendary Journeys x The Bible, gen.

This one you can read with only a vague knowledge of both canons. Yes, I am actually the only person I know who hasn't read the Bible. It's - I tried, okay? All I remember is that there was a chapter that was a lot like that one chapter of the Iliad that lists all the ships everyone brought: just an endless series of people begetting other people, is what I recall. It broke me. (The potluck chapter of the Iliad - "And Ajax of Salamis brought a tasty casserole that served twelve," or whatever it was - didn't break me, but I was a lot older. Also, it was required reading. That helped. And, um, do I need to mention the extremely motivating slash factor? No. I thought not.)

So. Hercules and the Bible. You can see why I chose this as the fourth perfect-fit crossover, right? Hercules: set in ancient times, all about gods. The Bible: set in ancient times, all about God. And, as far as I can tell, the Hercules canon is all about running roughshod through every god-related story on the planet (plus the occasional disco, for which I have still not found an adequate explanation that doesn't involve illegal chemicals in the drinking water), so why not a run-in with, well, I'm not going to say. The beauty of this story, for me, is the moment when it goes off the rails: you're not expecting a crossover, and then suddenly whoops! You're in the Bible. It's fabulous.

Plus, I love the way Hercules reacts to his situation, which is both very Hercules and very appropriate. And, most of all, I love that none of this really merits a blink. Sure, there's the occasional complaint, but this isn't actually different than your average day in the lives of Hercules and Iolaus, professional monsterbait.

Which is, of course, why it's a perfect crossover.

Not Actually a Bonus: I should never have brought up the Iliad in close conjunction with Hercules. I see this now, but it's too late. I'm already picturing Hercules and Iolaus encountering Achilles and Patroclus. (Which, huh, I guess they pretty much could have. Did they?) My head is ground zero of a very unfortunate crossover that involves a hell of a lot of pouting, people. Yikes.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I've been trying del.icio.us for a while, and I've come to the conclusion - well, it's nice to have all my bookmarks resident on the web. And it's nice to be able to put everything up there. But - well, okay. It makes me not want to do actual recommendations sets, and that's kind of why I have this journal, and it's the thing I love most. So that doesn't seem like such a great idea, basically.

And then I got to thinking - maybe there's a different bookmark system, probably not a social one, that's web-resident. Maybe someone out there knows about it! So, hey, if you do - tell me, okay? Actually, there's a few other things I'd like you to recommend to me.

Find me a find, catch me a catch. )

Anyway. My point is, for those of you who have just read through the cut tag and have thus forgotten what the hell this post is about, even, is: del.icio.us is sapping my will to rec. So I says to myself, says I, "Return to the classics. Crossovers will bring meaning back to your journal!" And then, just to throw in even greater incentive, I lifted my usual stricture on crossovers. I mean, normally I get all on my high horse and say, "There shall be no repeats in any of the crossed over fandoms in a given crossover set." But life is too short, people.

The One That Is a Delightful Blend of Two Tasty Flavors of John. Plus Added Hotness in the Form of Claudia Black, Which Is Just Never a Bad Thing. Flying Low at Night, by [livejournal.com profile] cofax7. Farscape x Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Aeryn Sun. Have you ever found yourself standing in a TV on DVD aisle saying, "Sci Fi channel series about guys named John with special Ancient mojo who are stranded in distant universes. I wonder what the difference is?" Well, okay, first: if you have, don't admit it. You will bring shame on all of fandom. Just read this story and you'll be able to tell real, real well. A quick cheat sheet, though: Farscape has the John whose life kind of defines "out of the frying pan, into the fire." (And almost no one writes stories about his hair.) Whereas Stargate has the John whose life kind of defines "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." (And his hair has about the same number of fans as he does.)

So what I love about this story is that it - no, okay. I need to be honest. I love a lot about this story. I mean, I adore that it starts after the crossover - way after, in fact. We don't worry about how John (Hair-John, as I will be calling him for the rest of this summary, so as to avoid confusion) got to the Farscape end of the universe. He's there, and it's pretty consistent with the way his life has gone thus far, so that's fine. We pick up with him after years in Farscape, in fact, and we get to see what it's done to him. (Basically, it's turned him back into the guy in Antarctica. With about four hundred years' worth of added world weariness.) And then we get to see him cope with the other John's (Can I just call him Crichton? I'm getting kind of lost amongst all the Johns, here.) situation. It's just...wow. But what I was going to say (just re-read the beginning of this paragraph; if I go into it again we'll never get out of here) is that most of all I love the ending. It's hopeful and it's - it's just - god. I want a million more stories telling what happens after this, because I think that part of the universe is in for some very interesting times.

The One in Which Charles Gunn Is Confused about Why Everyone in Pegasus Speaks English. Right There with You, Gunn. Outward Bound, by Hth, aka [livejournal.com profile] hth_the_first. Stargate: Atlantis x Angel the Series, Charles Gunn/Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, Charles Gunn/Ronon Dex. Before, we had a character from SGA sucked into another universe. Now we have a character from another universe sucked into SGA. And this...okay. First, let me just admit that I couldn't face watching any of Angel after season one - frankly, I think it was very brave of me to keep watching after Doyle did his Flying Wallenda - and so I never really got to know Gunn that well. I didn't ever meet Fred, or follow the whole Arc of Incredibly Complex Complexity that characterized Wesley's, um, last few seasons. But I love this story anyway.

Hth makes an excellent point, here - the Angel crew and the SGA crew aren't that different. They're both operating without much of a plan, and sometimes they both fuck up royally. And all the characters in both have kind of grown accustomed to living in greater danger - a higher state of alert, if you will - than most humans even know is possible, from creatures that aren't supposed to exist. So, you know, I wasn't too sure about this concept at first, but then I realized it is perfect. Plus, Gunn and Ronon get it on. Pretty much your ideal universe, right there. Well. If you discount the very high probability of death, and I totally couldn't, but I think Gunn and Ronon have both reached the point where "constant threat of death" equals "situation normal" in their minds.

The One That Explores Humanity's Basic Inability to Follow the Rules. And Isn't That What Makes People Great? The Sound of One Hand Clapping, by Gale, aka [livejournal.com profile] iphignia939. Firefly x Stargate: SG-1, gen. (Ha! I bet you totally thought this would be another SGA crossover. But once again, the hand was quicker than the eye!) Um. I am unfamiliar with Firefly, but I think this story is about a Major Spoiler. Yes. And I'm not sure if it's the kind of thing that everyone in all of fandom knows, or if it's more of a new thing. So I'm going to slip this summary behind a cut, just in case, and can someone please tell me if it's necessary or not? It's also about a Major Spoiler from SG1, but I think everyone knows that one by now. )

The One That Gives a Lot of Depth to a Certain Hair-Bedecked Guy Named John. And, Hey - This Totally Explains That, Too, Come to Think of It. Just As Required, Without Excess, by [livejournal.com profile] liviapenn. Stargate: Atlantis x DCU, gen. (Yep, it's the all Stargate crossover set. If you wish this trend not to continue, check under the first cut tag.) Okay. This story made me swoon with joy. When I tried to write up a description in del.icio.us, I ended up with a lot of exclamation points and random squealing. (Of course you can squeal in print. I'm not saying it's pretty, but it can be done.) I'm not sure if it'll be quite the same orgasmic experience if you don't know the DCU, but if you don't recognize the crossover character, Livia provides a helpful link at the end. And I'm pretty sure it will still work. Just - it's worth learning a bit about the DCU just so you can wave your hands about incoherently right along with me, okay?

You know, we all read (and sometimes write) a lot of stories trying to explain John's weirdness. (No, I can't describe it better than that. If I could, I'd write my own damn story, 'kay?) And this one did it so well. I don't really want to spoil it, and I really don't want to add another damn cut tag to this entry, but - look. This story provides a back story for John that I can absolutely and totally buy into. After you read it, I invite you to reflect upon what it says about the character (and the actor and the writers, maybe) that this had me nodding and saying, "Yeah! Oh my god YES! That so totally works! And also, RODNEY IS TIM AND TEYLA IS BATGIRL." (Lately I've discovered that all my fandoms can be translated into the Batverse. Like, Fraser is Tim and Ray K. is Nightwing and Stella is Oracle and Frannie is Steph and Ray Vecchio is Jason Todd. Um. Not that I've put a lot of thought into this or anything. Really. And I haven't even considered writing a paper about how Batman is the only character that doesn't usually have an analog, possibly because he's too fucked up for there to be more than one of him in the multiverse.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This was going to be a set of stories about the undead, because of Halloween. (Yes, it was started before Halloween. I'm the Pokey Little Poster!) And then it was going to be a vid recs set, because, well, vids. But somehow I got completely sidetracked into crossovers, and I'm not the least bit sorry. I don't think you'll regret it, either (especially when I tell you that there were no zombies in the undead set), because who doesn't love a good crossover? And these are great crossovers.

But, hey. Does anyone know what kind of crossover the first story is? I've been calling it a fusionesque, because it brings elements (but not characters) of one universe into another, but I'd love a proper, dignified term. And obviously nothing I come up with is going to qualify for words like those.

And as long as I'm asking questions - Best Beloved is getting an iPod for an act of devotion above and beyond the call of any marital contract, so obviously it needs to be a good iPod. An exceptional one, even. Those of you who have them - do you like yours? Hate it? What would you buy if you were getting one today? (A video iPod is definitely not what we want here.) Are there accessories I should get, too? Give me advice, people, please. And, if you're feeling especially loving, links. Links would be very nice.

Best FF That Once Again Proves That, in Defiance of All Reason and Logic and Sanity, Snakes Are Sexy. Daemonology, by [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone. Stargate: Atlantis x His Dark Materials, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. So I guess the first question here is, have you read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy? And if not, why not? These are brilliant books, people, and they include one of the best concepts introduced in any book anywhere ever: daemons. If you don't know what those are, [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone has provided a handy guide that will tell you everything you need to know to read this story. Which you should obviously do at once. But after that, well, know that I will weep tragic Victorian-heroine tears if you don't try at least the first book of HDM, The Golden Compass. (And let me just say that daemons are not the only marvelous concept incorporated into this book's universe.) Okay. I'm getting off-track even for me, so enough with the mixed pimping and back to the story. Except - there's not a lot I can say without spoiling this. These are precisely the characters we know and love from SGA; the HDM add-in may even have made them slightly more themselves. And, hey, there's sex, and it is amazingly appropriate, and also weirdly sexy, considering that it mostly involves a lot of mouse-touching. Hmmm. I think I'm doing a terrible job of conveying just how good this story is, and just how much love I have for it, and just exactly how cool the mouse-touching is. (Although I imagine I have now done an excellent job of persuading you that I am sick.) Just read it, okay?

Best FF with More Cops Than the LA Freeways on Three-Day Weekends. Five Homicides Never Investigated, by Samantha, aka [livejournal.com profile] inlovewithnight. Homicide: Life on the Street x Angel x Battlestar Galactica x Firefly x Horatio Hornblower x Stargate: Atlantis, gen. I warn you, I'm not familiar with all of these fandoms - I mean, I can just about spell Firefly and Battlestar Galactica, and that's it - but I still totally get, and love, the point of this story. See, we know who the good guys are, and why what they're doing is right and good and necessary (unless it is totally not, like for example marrying Rowena instead of Rebecca), but - well, in their local universes, the cops usually don't. So, yeah, we all understand why the Mayor on BtVS had to die, but to people who weren't there, it must've looked remarkably like a graduating class going insane, rioting, killing the Mayor (and their own principal), and torching the school. Which is unusual even in California. (Well, in the suburbs, anyway.) I'm usually happy to suspend my disbelief about these things; after all, the alternative would've been for Buffy to turn into a courtroom procedural in its fourth season. (Maybe with Spike as the slouchy, smiling, weirdly scary prosecutor who does all the cross-examining - team him up with Lindsey McDonald for an extra-scary Joss-cross DA team! - and Ethan Rayne as an extremely worrying judge.) But one of the reasons I love FF is that I can find stories that give some much-needed attention to real-world outcomes without having a full season of episodes with titles like "The Process Server Always Rings Twice."

Best FF in Which a Fork Is Used As an Aphrodisiac. No, I'm Not Kidding. And No, It's Not Icky. What, Don't You Trust Me? Thrift, by Te, aka [livejournal.com profile] thete1, and Pares, aka [livejournal.com profile] kormantic. Buffy the Vampire Slayer x The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg/Faith Lehane. Um, yeah, you read that right. I don't usually enjoy crossover pairings that much, and we all know I get seriously bitey, if not downright rabid, when people trifle with my OTPs, but, well, this is an exception. Because Faith works with anyone. She's the super-sexy little black dress of fandom (and if this makes anyone think of pairing her with that other little black dress, John Sheppard - huh. You know, I was going to say don't, but...) and it turns out she looks excellent on Blair. Or all over him. Whatever. But in this story, my greatest joy actually comes from watching Blair Sandburg deal with the assorted oddities of Sunnydale - vampires, mechanical failure, sexy minors with mysterious fork abilities. I won't say he manages with panache, precisely, but when you consider everything that happens to him in this - well, let's just say that life with Jim Ellison is apparently excellent training for dealing with strange with a side order of dangerous. (At this point, Blair could probably write a whole self-help book called Listening to Adrenalin: When to Run, When to Fight, and When to Call for Backup.) And I'm sure Giles will have a fascinating chat with Blair. Once Faith's done with him, of course.

Best FF in Which It Really Is Vasculitis. Evil Vasculitis. Change Is the Only Constant, by Mara, aka [livejournal.com profile] marag. House x DCU, gen. Well. Okay. Some crossovers just don't work. You can, like, find them on some crack-pairing list, and giggle about them, and maybe test your brain's flexibility by imagining them, but the fandoms just don't mesh. You know what I mean: Crossovers That Woman Was Not Meant to Read, Let Alone Write, God Help Her. I would have said that House x DCU is one of those, except that I totally do want you to read this, and furthmore I encourage all kinds of writing like this, because it so totally does work. (Which suggests that any crossover can work in the right hands. I have long suspected this, though no one should write Pride and Prejudice x Backstreet Boys just to prove it.) I'm not spoiling anything when I tell you that the central concept here is Tim Drake = Gregory House. And, wow. That's an equals sign that just has no business at all existing, right? But [livejournal.com profile] marag does a fabulous job of showing how point A gets to point B, which is way the hell out of spandex, without breaking any characters. (As far as I know, I mean. I've read, like, four House stories and seen absolutely zip of the canon, so I'm making no promises there.) And, okay, I should probably mention that this story contains spoilers for Identity Crisis and WTF Games, or whatever the hell those canon clusterfucks were called, but the thing is - it resolves those arcs in a way we probably won't get to see in canon. Plus, this story has Cass, and she always elevates the level of discourse. So - grown-up, snarky Tim. Grown-up Cass. Batfamily guilt trips. Emotional resolution. This story has it all. And did I mention the whacked-out crossover aspect?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm going to be out of town for a few days, and I'm experiencing my usual pre-trip discombobulation as a result. (Actually, I'm mostly wondering why the hell I did this and what I was thinking and how I can avoid ever doing it again. I don't like traveling. Hell, in my ideal universe I wouldn't even have to leave my house.) I'm also doing the so-much-to-do-that-I-can't-do-any-of-it panic. What happens when you combine procrastination and panic and impending separation from the internet? Well, at least in these parts, recommendations sets. In this case, a crossover set, because I have a huge list of fantastic FF in this category that I've shamefully neglected lately. And also because slightly surreal stories are excellent preparation for this trip.

Best FF That Proves That There Are Things You Always Want to Remember, and Things You'd Love to Forget. And You Don't Know What Screwed Means Until You Have a Memory That Falls into Both Categories. The Complication of Memory, by Jennifer-Oksana, aka [livejournal.com profile] jennyo*. Angel x Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (and you'll need to be at least somewhat familiar with both canons for this to work), Wesley Wyndham-Pryce/Lilah Morgan. Yes, het. Canon het. I'm not the least bit sorry. And neither will you be when you read this. That goes even for die-hard slashers, because the sex is so not the point here. The real draw of this story is - well, put it this way: this just may be the archetypal crossover vignette. It blends two universes that you'd think had nothing to say to each other, and does that without changing a thing about either of them. And it makes a point about both canons in the process. I suppose I should mention that this story is an overtaken-by-events AU; I think (I'm not sure, mind you, but wouldn't you be surprised if I was?) the events of the last episode of Angel rendered this story an impossibility. But, hey, who cares? Anyway, this road is probably the better way to go. Although maybe not for Wes.

Best FF That Will Burn into Your Brain a Number of Mental Images You'd Pay Good Money to Get Burned out Again. For Example, Rip Torn and Tommy Lee Jones Perving on Will Smith's Ass. See? Now You Want a Neuralyzer, Don't You? Well, You Won't Get One; I'm Not Going Through This Alone. Decoy, by Julian Lee, aka [livejournal.com profile] julianlee*. Men in Black x Smallville, J/K, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. This crossover makes perfect sense, provided you've been keeping to a regular regime of Disbelief Suspension Mental Yoga, which is pretty much a mandatory practice for reading any crossover. Why does it make sense? Well, consider the facts. Clark Kent: alien! The Men in Black: cope with aliens! Lex Luthor: wears well-tailored suits! The Men in Black: also wear suits, although generally not purple ones! Smallville: regularly ravaged by mutant aggressive weirdos! The Men in Black: suspiciously fond of the oeuvre of Elvis Presley! So what could be more natural than a combination of the two? I mean, besides everything. Because - well, look back up at the pairing list. Yes, you're reading that right - this story involves J and K getting, well, together. And maybe I just failed my slash detection roll - highly unusual for me - but I've never, not even once, thought "they are so doing it" while watching Men in Black. And, frankly, the mere thought of K engaging in acts of...I'm sorry. I can't even write it. Nor can I bring myself to write about Zed, who can arrange an extraterrestrial anal probe at the drop of a hat, taking an unhealthy interest in J's...um. Fortunately for me, though, the sex isn't all that explicit, and in any case the story is amusing enough that it's well worth the occasional unavoidable thought of - you know. Those. Those things we won't discuss anymore, because I want to retain full use of my limited mental faculties, and I'm pretty sure my brain will opt out of further communication with me if I keep subjecting it to these sorts of thoughts.

Best FF That Proves Two Things: First, That Even in Gen No Intelligent Human Can Avoid Wondering About the Relationship Between Jim and Blair, and, Second, That There Actually Are a Few Bad Things That Haven't Yet Happened to Daniel Jackson. In the Canon, I Mean. Lovely, by Martha, aka [livejournal.com profile] soulcake. The Sentinel x Stargate SG-1, gen. There's a lot to love about this story. Lots and lots, and not just the plot and the characterization; this is definitely a case of god being in the details. I knew I was going to like this piece as soon as I saw how Martha handled the meeting of Daniel Jackson and Blair Sandburg. And I knew I was going to love it when the aliens showed up. (No, I don't need to tell you which aliens; you'll definitely know them when you meet them.) And then there's the whole crossover thing - this is another story in which both universes retain all their characteristics without sacrificing realism. And this is, for once, a Stargate crossover that really works. For some reason, that fandom is highly resistant to incursion from other canons; most crossovers involving SG-1 just feel forced. Or maybe unbalanced. But that's not true here, which proves that a) Martha is a great writer and b) Jim and Blair are very flexible and can easily slide in anywhere. (I know, bad pun, but it's true. Half the stories on my crossover list involve The Sentinel.)

Best FF That Proves That Guy Talk Is the Conversational Equivalent of Hilton Hotels: the Same Wherever You Go, and Not Especially Interesting or Fun Unless You Mix in a Lot of Sex. Ego Collision, by [livejournal.com profile] lynnmonster. Due South x Hard Core Logo, Billy Talent/Ray Kowalski/Joe Dick. [livejournal.com profile] lynnmonster has a scary superpower: she can write the unwriteable story. This woman has written great tentacle porn and mpreg wingfic and even feathercock, which last hideous mutant subgenre I had never even known existed until she wrote in it. In short, she is a menace to the sanity of the human race and we should all treasure her. But if you're also scared by her - in which case you're a lot smarter than I am, or a lot closer to the beginning of your Inevitable FF-Related Morals Decline - don't worry. This one isn't quite as improbable or disturbing as the ones I mentioned above; it's just, well, OK. A little weird, maybe. Because we're talking about sex between two characters played by the same actor (plus a third character played by an entirely different actor), for one thing, and then there's what I think of as the Unbearable Weirdness of Hard Core Logo, a film that features animal sacrifice and suicide and rape and yet is still a comedy. But despite all this strangeness, this story is not even slightly crackfic. I totally buy this aged-down version of Ray Kowalski, and the rest of the story is so realistic and right and in-character that...well, I'm not going into any more detail; I'll just say that if you've done your time in the scuzzier kind of club you'll feel right at home with this story, and if you've got knowledge of both canons, you'll feel right at home with the characters.

And that's it for this time. See you all on Wednesday. 'Til then, read a little extra FF for me, OK?

* Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] auster and [livejournal.com profile] flambeau!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Some noms sets just do not want to come together, and I've spent the last two days casually poking at one that is more snarly and resistant than a whole passel of teenagers. Werewolf teenagers.

Well, when in doubt (or severely bitten), run away. And what could be further removed from my usual orbits than the delightful weirdness of crossovers? With luck, a few seasons of this sort of strangeness should enable me to get the Grouchy Teenaged Lycanthrope Recs Set under control - consistency plus love plus a bullwhip is the key, I'm thinking - and if not, well, we'll always have crossovers.

Best FF That Shows That Love of Sharp, Pointy Objects Brings People Together, or at Any Rate Helps People Reconcile the Seemingly Disparate: The Gargantuan Garden, by [livejournal.com profile] yahtzee63*; can anyone tell me what name she uses? The Series of Unfortunate Events x Edward Scissorhands, gen. Yes, The Series of Unfortunate Events x Edward Scissorhands. I am not kidding. Neither is Yahtzee, no matter how much she takes the piss out of everything from LJ to Lemony Snicket to the distressed clothing fad. And, really, this almost makes a certain twisted sense. I mean, if you think about it, the Baudelaire siblings and Edward Scissorhands have a lot in common. They're orphans, they're surrounded by hostile people, their lives are filled with the strange and terrible devices of insane men (Daniel Handler and Tim Burton, respectively). And if there's one positive thing that can be said of The Series of Unfortunate Events, it's that it shows you that, really, there are lots of things worse than moving in with a strange stranger who has an apparent fixation on sharp, sharp blades (which should make anyone due to head off to college feel a lot better about the whole dorm situation). You'll need to have read at least one of Lemony Snicket's books to get the tone of this story, I'm thinking, but no big deal; we're talking about a few hours of your time. More than worth it to appreciate this story, people. And you don't need to have seen Edward Scissorhands; at least, I haven't. Although I spent so much of my adolescence with goths that I could probably test out of the movie at this point.

Best FF That Shows Us How Alligators Can Be Skilled Matchmakers Even Long After They've Ceased, Technically, to Be Alligators: Nice Boots, by Gloria Mundi, aka [livejournal.com profile] viva_gloria, who is probably even now working on a book called Better Writing Through Clinical Insanity. And the thing is, when she finishes it, I'll head out and buy it, and be grateful for the opportunity to do so. Peter Pan x Pirates of the Caribbean (because there's nothing Gloria can't cross with PotC), Captain Hook/Captain Jack Sparrow. Again, we've got characters who have a previously unsuspected amount in common: piracy, madness, travels with British runaway girls, persecution by annoyingly twee and pretty boys. The thing about this story is, by the time I finished it, I was sort of surprised Disney hadn't thought of it, which just shows that you can catch madness from writing if the author is talented enough. (You'll be relieved to hear that eventually I did recover a portion of my senses. However, I'm still searching for my disbelief, which has gone AWOL again.)

Best FF That Shows Us Just How Fortunate We Are That Joss Whedon's Universe Isn't Contagious: Satan Is No Gentleman, by [livejournal.com profile] afrai. Good Omens x Buffy the Vampire Slayer, either gen or Adam/Pepper; I'll entertain arguments either way. I think you'd need to have read Good Omens to appreciate this, but you only need to know the basic premise of Buffy. So. Pepper's a Slayer, and that right there tells you everything you need to know about this story. Except how good it is, and how amazingly right this look at the teenaged Them is, and how perfectly Afrai has got the tone of Good Omens down. And you'll learn those things when you read the story, which you might as well do now. It's only 500 words long (it's a response to Jae Gecko's Secrets Challenge). Yes, Afrai not only did a perfect GO x BtVs, she did it in less words than it would take me to say everything I want to say about her story. Which is why I'm shutting up now; I may not know much, but I know when to yield to my superiors. (My Best Beloved is ordered to stop snickering immediately. I didn't say I did yield, just that I know when I should.)

Best FF That Offers Hope to All Those Living in Tragic, Paralyzing Fear of Takeout Rice Containers: The Watchman, by [livejournal.com profile] madmadharri. The Dark Is Rising x Harry Potter, Will Stanton/Harry Potter, other pairings suggested. This, now, this is one of those crossovers that actually makes a lick of intuitive sense. Which isn't to say I could write one like this, or even imagine one; it's just that I didn't spend thirty seconds staring blankly at the screen when I read the fandom list. So. The war is over. And Harry has a severe case of what we might call magical shellshock. Fortunately, Will Stanton is on the case. Grown up, Will is exactly the kind of man we knew he'd become, if only because he was pretty much already like that at 11. I love, in particular, the way the author builds on Will's canon ability to sidle into difficult situations and take care of them without taking over or taking anything away from anyone. And, yes, I expect the prize for "Most Uses of 'Take' in a Really Unfortunate Sentence" will be on my doorstep tomorrow morning. So I think we can all see that crossovers render me more than usually incoherent, and, really, it's probably better if I move on while I still have some limited control of my verbs and nouns.

-Footnote-

*Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] untrue_accounts!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I associate crossovers very strongly with confusion; in the early days of my fan fiction reading, I didn't know about crossovers. (I was a sweet, innocent lass with a heart of gold, OK?) So I'd be cheerfully reading along, not paying close attention to the story summaries (mistake number one, right there), and suddenly the story would get...weird. And I would get...confused. I'd read through the rest of it wondering if I was supposed to recognize these strange characters from the FBI, or with fangs, or whatever, and wondering why the story had taken such an unusual turn. Basically, just wondering. It probably didn't help that this was when I was a single-fandom girl, so all these crossovers were in LotR, which is not a canon that takes well to incursions from, for example, television shows. ("Ah, Boromir." "Mmmm, Aragorn." "Hi! I'm Spike!" "That is...an unusual leather jerkin, stranger." "Not jerkin' just yet, pet. But I could be persuaded.")

That's probably why I disliked crossovers so much for so long. But I've learned that they, like everything else, can be totally brilliant in the right hands. And, naturally, examples of the right hands follow.

Best FF That Proves I Was Right All Those Years Ago When I Said That Metal Control Was a Fairly Lame Superpower: Curiosities, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. Harry Potter x X-Men movies, Tom Riddle/Magneto, Magneto/Xavier (sort of). This, right here, was the first story I read that made me think crossovers could be more than just a gimmick. Because, well, I never in my whole life so much as wondered what might happen if Tom Riddle met Magneto, or how a battle of HP magicians v. XM mutants might shake down, but I was gripped by this story anyway. The story works, in large part, because Penknife keeps everyone soundly in character and blends a tiny portion of the two universes without breaking either one. Read it and behold the mighty power of the Penknife, which is definitely better than metal control. (And, for the record, if you're ever offered a choice between magnetism and telepathy? Pick telepathy. If you're even tempted to go the metallic route, read this story first.)

Best FF That Proves That Anything Can Happen in the Arctic Circle: Denser Still the Snow, by Jane St. Clair, [livejournal.com profile] 3jane. Due South x Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser/Oz. Well, now, this is a perfect example of what I mean about anything working in the right hands. I looked at the fandoms and the pairing and knew it could not work. Right then, I was ready to write an essay, complete with quotes and possibly even illustrations supporting my thesis that this could not work. And I read it, and even though there was a lengthy period in the middle where I wasn't sure if I wanted to embrace Jane or send my second to her door at dawn, I was just in awe. It works, it works, see how it works.

Best FF That Proves That Zen Is Applicable to All Walks of Life but Not Helpful in All Situations: Zen, by [livejournal.com profile] basingstoke. Due South x Homicide (I think), Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. I read the first part of this story thinking I knew who the, um, mystery detective was. I was wrong. (I Googled his name to find out what fandom he comes from, so if I'm wrong, someone please tell me.) I'd never heard of the guy before reading this, so obviously I can't say that he's in character, or that the two universes are nicely mixed (though, really, cop shows seem to go together pretty well most of the time). But I can say that this guy blends almost eerily well into the due South world. And I can also say that I read "Zen" and suddenly wanted to know much more about this intriguing character. Which demonstrates a major bonus (or flaw, depending on your point of view) of the crossover: a good one can work you into a new fandom effortlessly. Painlessly. Unexpectedly. (I'm proud to report, though, that I've managed to resist the lure of "Homicide." So far.)

Best FF That Proves That It's a Bad Idea to Mess with History If You've Had Too Much to Drink. Well, Especially If You've Had Too Much to Drink.: The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, by [livejournal.com profile] daegaer. Good Omens x The Iliad, Paris/Helen, plus assorted hints of slash. I'm still bitter about Troy, and I haven't even seen the movie; all I had to do to get my hate on was read [livejournal.com profile] cleolinda's Troy in Fifteen Minutes. I got as far as Achilles in bed with two women and I could feel the rant welling up inside. Just as well I didn't see it, really. In any case, I offer this to those of you also nursing resentment; here is Paris as I always knew he was. And an explanation for the whole mess that's really the only believable one if you insist on discounting the gods. Yes, Wolfgang, I'm talking to you. (Can't wait to see what he's going to do to Ender's Game. Actually, no, I can wait. Forever, if necessary.)

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