thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This entry is dedicated to Best Beloved, who has dragged me back to my old system for organizing stories to rec. It's very inspiring, and I'm not sure why I've been putting it off for, um, three years or so. (Let this be a lesson to those of you who are likely to engage in a battle of wills with Best Beloved: she is implacable when determined. It is better just to give in now.)

Anyway, there may be some crazy amounts of recommending as we work through the new (old) system. If it reaches spammination levels, that would be Best Beloved's fault. (If you like it, of course, that's totally to her credit.)

Today: gen!

The One with the Best Damn Trial Scene in the History of Creation. Almost No One Makes It Out, by [personal profile] atrata. Iron Man.

When I was going through that phase of role-playing gaming where you have to try every system ever devised, I created several characters using someone or other's superhero system, where you rolled percentile dice (which, for you non-gamers out there, gives you a result from 1 - 100, or rather, from 01 - 00) on a chart to determine your Super Special Powers (mutant or otherwise - things like being really, really smart were on there, too). If you got 00, you got TWO powers.

I love this story, first and foremost, because it makes it very, very clear that Tony Stark rolled 00 on that table. He is not just a mechanical genius; he is also rich. Richness is a superpower all in itself. And if you take that superpower away from him, as [personal profile] atrata does in this story, you end up with a very different person. Richness insulates him from a lot of things: the consequences of his actions, the real world, his inability to deal with people. Richness also gets him lots of things: equipment, security, people to solve his problems, special privileges, and attention. And I just cannot get over how amazing it is that [personal profile] atrata took that away from him and still kept him the Tony Stark we all know and, um, probably feel vaguely conflicted about loving quite so much, because he is, in all honesty, a total asshole.

And I also love Pepper in this story. I simultaneously long for Iron Man fan fiction and avoid reading most of it, and at least half the reason is that I fear for what will happen to Pepper. It's deeply important to me that she remain independent of Tony even as she's managing him, and that she stay competent and smart, and I worry worry worry that in Tony/Pepper stories she will be reduced to helpless weeping. Plus, okay, I admit it; my actual ideal pairing for Tony Stark is some kind of complicated sex machine that he builds himself:

"Pepper! I've perfected my greatest invention, and now I don't need women!"

"Oh, really. Does that include me?"

"Don't be ridiculous. Hey, watch this."

"Oh my god no. I'll be upstairs. If you need me to dial 911, tell Jarvis." And then she calls Rhodey and they bond for a while over the Impossibility of Tony Stark, and I think it is now obvious to everyone that one of the reasons I don't read much Iron Man fan fiction is that I am already writing it in my head.

(And now that I've totally fallen in love with this story, I - well. You all know how Dark Agenda is having the Racebending Revenge Ficathon, right? Where people make a white character not white? I want someone to make Tony Stark's skin much, much darker and see what happens. I cannot even tell you how much I want that.)

The One That Can Double as a Portland Guidebook, If You Ever Find Yourself in Oregon and Wondering What Jim Kirk Would Do. Graduate Vulcan for Fun and Profit, by [livejournal.com profile] lazulisong. Star Trek Reboot.

Someone on my friends list (sorry, I can no longer remember who, but if it was you, fess up - it was [profile] brown_betty!) was talking a while back about her Secret Smarts kink, about how she loves stories where a character who is, you know, kiiiiiiind of a doof in the canon is revealed to have believable hidden skills or competence or brains. And I agree with her. It's a rare thing to see it done well, but when it is - oh my god I love it so. And this story is the exemplar of the genre.

For one thing, it is obvious to me that Reboot Kirk must have Secret Smarts. And not because of Pike's whole "genius-level" comment (many is the character I've been told was a genius, and usually I have a hard time believing it), but because I have seen TOS, and I tell you what, Original Kirk is no one's fool. (Okay, he's Spock's, if Spock needs one, because he is whatever Spock needs, but otherwise, no.) So it works for me that Reboot Kirk, in the process of becoming all tarnished and bruised, learned to hide his intelligence.

And I love the background [livejournal.com profile] lazulisong gives him here; it adds some complications and depth back to the Misunderstood Hero deal that Abrams went with. I mean, I love a Misunderstood Hero as much as the next girl - which is good, because otherwise I would have to move to a small island without electricity or any kind of communication with the outside world and read nothing but cruise ship brochures - but I love it most when the Misunderstood Hero has some other stuff going on. I like to add a few adjectives to his archetype, is what I guess I'm saying. And this story so perfectly does that, without in any way making him less perfectly Reboot Kirk.

As if all that wasn't enough to make me love this story, there is also an incredible OC in it. He's - he is everything I want in a Vulcan: he's smart, he's tricky, he's so stubborn that redwoods everywhere just give up and move on when faced with him, and he's just barely emotional, just enough to remind us all that Vulcans could be the masters of melodrama if they wanted to be but they choose not to be. (I tell you what, the Federation is lucky there isn't an inhibition-loosening drug that Vulcans use a lot, because it'd be fucking scary: 90% of the time, they're the living definitions of flat affect, but the other 10% of the time, humans everywhere are saying, "Dude, just - just calm down. And please, please, please - stop singing.")

The One That Proves, Once and for All, That John Sheppard Will Not Thank You for Doing Him Any Favors. Earth 2, by Martha Wilson. Stargate: Atlantis.

If there is one thing that we all learned from Gateverse canon (or, okay, that you all learned from the actual canon, and I learned from reading your ep summaries and meta), it's that Pangloss was right, after all: this is the best of all possible worlds. Which, okay, gives me some pause, because - seriously? Especially when you throw in the Goa'uld and all? These are the ideal initial conditions? But apparently there is no change that could possibly improve things. It's all downhill from here. (I am pretty sure that the Gateverse folks did not realize how inherently depressing this is. Try not to think about it, that's my advice.)

In this story, we get to see John Sheppard learn that very thing; he gets to travel to one of those other, less wonderful universes. But not just any of them. (I'm going to try to talk about this without any spoilers, but, seriously, you should just go read the story right now.) And not just any John Sheppard - it's the original, pre-Atlantis John Sheppard, and here is how we know how fucked up John is: Atlantis was actually therapeutic for him. As in, he got more emotionally healthy in an environment of constant stress, danger, and insanity. (I suspect Kate Heightmeyer had an unfinished paper on this very subject, talking about how John and Rodney, pretty much alone in the expedition, somehow got better from it.) As it happens, I have a sneaking fondness for early John Sheppard, so I love this story.

And this story also hits my competence (and smartness!) kink - here we get to see John (plus a couple of other people, naming no names) being surprisingly good at things, given that he is utterly clueless. (Something John should be used to, of course. Good But Clueless is pretty much his middle name.) And also there is a plot, which notice how I am determinedly not spoiling it.

...Actually, I had better shut up about this story right now, while that's still more or less true.

The One in Which We Learn That One of the Major Risks of Time Travel Is That You Might End up Being Schooled by Yourself. Klein Bottle, by [livejournal.com profile] basingstoke. Torchwood.

For most fandoms - television fandoms, anyway, and any fandom that has a lot of fan fiction in it - I find, sooner or later, that I've divided the fan fiction into eras, based not on when the story was posted, but when the story is set in the canon. And usually somewhere in there, there's the Nostalgia Point, the setting I miss most once canon (and therefore most stories) has moved past it. I re-read stories in the Nostalgia Point a lot, especially if the canon progresses to the point where I don't want to read new stories in it very much at all.

This story is set squarely in my Torchwood Nostalgia Point. I'm not sure when it is in actual Torchwood canon, since I've never seen any of it and have only a vague sense of the progression of events, but I know what I need the story to be set after. And, definitely definitely, set before. This is a twisty and blissful little story; it's filled with the complications of being Jack Harkness, his emo and his majesty, but it's also in the relatively innocent period of Torchwood, and I love that.

But that is not why I love this story. I love it because it's a time travel story, and time travel has always been one of my biggest narrative kinks, and here it is so very perfectly done. And [livejournal.com profile] basingstoke handles one of the difficulties of writing about time travel - if there are multiple versions of character X in the room, but they are from different times and therefore are different people, how do you deal with that? - as well as I've ever seen it done, here. And there has never been a better reason to use second person. (Plus, second person is the only way it's really possible for me to believe what I'm told about Jack's thoughts, because he's so shifty I firmly believe he could lie to an omniscient narrator if he wanted to.)

So: great story, great writing, great nostalgia. I really do not see what you could possibly be waiting for, here.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
My apologies to people who saw an unfinished version of this on their friends list. Um, it's been a while since I did this; I've lost the knack.

And it really has been a while. But, in my defense, I had a baby. And babies are not so conducive to prolonged sessions of typing, I find. But the earthling is older, and I'm hoping to get back to a more regular recommendations posting schedule. (At this point, once every blue moon, as opposed to every other, would qualify as more regular. But with dedication, I believe I can achieve once every full moon, maybe!)

The One That Made Me Want a Crossover Between Hikaru no Go and SG1. Teal'c v. Touya Meijin! Fine, Fine. I Accept That I Am the Only Person on the Planet Who Wants That. But I Want It Enough for Everyone. Teal'c's Five Favorite Board Games, by [livejournal.com profile] paian. Stargate SG-1.

I love the corners of people's personal canon - love it when someone, for example, reveals in a story that she firmly believes that Rodney McKay knows how to knit. (He learned during one long summer month spent in his own personal hell, a cottage by the sea with only a few books and a TV that didn't even get cable; his parents told him to they were all there to relax, but in fact they spent the entire month fighting, and Rodney couldn't sleep with the sea noise and the constant whirring of his understimulated brain, until he finally picked up one of the books - a crafting book from the 1970s with a terrifying picture on the cover - and taught himself to knit. They don't have yarn and needles in Atlantis, and he's always too busy, until the day he gets an eye injury on a mission and is forbidden to read or look at a computer for two weeks. But that's another story.) I love it, basically, when fan fiction writers fill in the details that make people people - the little idiosyncrasies that make them real.

And that's exactly what this story is. The thing is, I never thought of Teal'c in connection with board games until I read this story. And now these five games are a part of my personal Teal'c canon, because they make so much sense and they're so very real and right. And, let's face it, Teal'c isn't necessarily overexplored by the canon writers of SG1, so this really works. I find the Snakes and Ladders one particularly moving, for some reason, but they are all so very perfect.

And there are pictures. Oh my god, do not miss the pictures.

The One That Made Me Want to Send a Letter of Complaint to the Author: "Please Write Less Well. I Need to Sleep. Love and Kisses!" The Kids Aren't All Right, by [livejournal.com profile] samdonne. Iron Man.

First and foremost: I love this story for getting the title right. I don't care what The Who thinks, "all right" is two words and ever shall be, and do not speak to me of popular usage. In this case, if everyone is doing it, then everyone is just wrong. (You may be thinking that this is where TFV gets unreasonable, and all I have to say to that is: wait until you hear me talk about the use of "presently.")

Except that's not actually what I love most about this story. (Those of you who don't know me very well are now saying to yourselves, "Oh good, she's sane." Those of you who do know me are staring at the screen in absolute disbelief and saying, "That isn't what she loves best? I...is this the same TFV? Is she feeling okay? Maybe I should call her." You totally should call me, for the record, but I am fine. The story is just so good that it transcends mere considerations of good grammar and correct spelling. And, wow, I feel like a stranger to myself, writing that.) What I love most about it is - well, everything. This is so good that I actually stayed up late to finish it the day it was posted, which seems like faint praise indeed until you consider that I had a two-week-old baby at that point and was so sleep deprived I couldn't consistently remember his name. (This is actually an ongoing problem. For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, we have taken to calling him Squishy, although that is in no way his name. If you ever want to do a comprehensive study of peculiar looks, try calling your new baby Squishy in public.) And yet. I had to finish this.

Why? Well, okay, it's a brilliant example of what might actually happen after the events of the movie, and I'm kind of a sucker for that sort of coming out story, where people don't get to piddle around with secret identities and pretending to be normal and convenient phone booths; I like it when exceptional people have to face the consequences of being exceptional. I am almost faint with love for this story, because it acknowledges that there is likely to be some fallout from, you know, giant mecha duking it out over Los Angeles. (Bad traffic jams, for one. And if you don't think that's a serious consequence meriting a Congressional investigation, you don't live here, that's all.) But this story is also brilliant meta, brilliant commentary on the movie and on our current political climate. And it's done in authentic Vanity Fair style, a classic example of document fan fiction.

I could not love this story more. And I know nearly everyone in fandom has read it, but I'm speaking to the two lone holdouts: read this. Even if you haven't seen the movie. Read it.

The One That Makes Written Sword Fights Compelling. This Is Akin to Making Tax Law Compelling, and Suggests That the Author Can Achieve the Impossible. Gogmagog, Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four, by Sylvia Volk, aka [livejournal.com profile] sylviavolk2000. Highlander.

Okay, I need to say something right up front: if you know anything about archeology (and certainly if you spent a semester painstakingly digging up eensy teeny fragments of shells from a trashheap, and when I say "painstakingly," I mean that you can still feel it in your lower back when the wind blows from the southwest), you will scream during the first part of this story. Be strong. Power through it. The rest of the story is worth it. (And some day I am doing a poll about this, about the things we know that make it harder for us to read stories or watch shows or whatever. Like, Best Beloved will shriek and flail and pause a lot during any scene involving bad management - you could seriously run an entire management class just by having the students gather round her while she watched season one of SGA. Although they would have to be froth-resistant students. And people who know me flinch any time a psychiatrist shows up on screen, because - well. You'd think, with all the time they apparently spend in therapy, that writers could write an ethical therapist occasionally. (Yes, I do have a mental list of Good Therapists in Fiction. It is short but detailed.) And I just think it's fascinating, the lenses through which we consume our entertainment, and the knowledge we can't suspend even during happy fun playtime.)

So. That was a tangent. My point is: this story is like settling down with a novel. It's long, it's involving, and you don't need to know the characters or the world in advance, or at least not beyond what you'd get from the back of a book. And, in fact, this story is one of the ones that inspired me to watch Highlander, and also kind of ruined me for it; I was like, "But I want the long, plotty, multilayered, well-researched stories! Oh...right. You can't do that on television." So, if you've got, you know, a vacation or anything coming up, I totally recommend taking this, printing it out, and bringing it along. You could put it between the covers of Ethan Fromme if you don't want anyone to know you're reading fan fiction; no one has ever voluntarily opened that novel. (Except Best Beloved, but she's learned the error of her ways.)

And even if you don't have a vacation coming up, read this. It's fun.

The One That Makes Me Want to Find the "What Is the Shape of Your Left Foot?" Quiz. And Take It. Truly, This Story Is a Dangerous Weapon of Mass Distraction. I Friend You, You Friend Him, by [livejournal.com profile] roga. Hercules.

So true it hurts, that's all I have to say about this story.

I sincerely hope you're laughing at that sentence, because of course I have several thousand more words of analysis. (I will attempt to spare you most of them, but it's always a close-run thing.) But the essential message here is that this is in fact so true it hurts, and the specific pain it inflicts is in your abdominal and face muscles, because you have to laugh and laugh and laugh.

And you may be saying to yourself, "But I don't know anything about this fandom!" Fine, whatever. I don't care. You know who Hercules is, yes? (Demigod. All burly and shiny and stuff. Rights wrongs. Fights injustice. Cleans stables.) Well, he has a friend named Iolaus, and together they fight crime, where "crime" usually means gods acting up and monsters getting out of line. There. You have a full education in everything you need to know to read this story.

Or, okay, you need to know one other thing to read this, but, well. If you're reading this, you already know about social networking, and that's what this story is really about. Anyone with a LiveJournal (or Facebook, or MySpace, or, hell, an account on a knitting-based social networking site) needs to read this. It's an important cautionary tale! That will make you laugh until you are flailing weakly in front of the computer and seriously considering calling for emergency rescue. ("9-1-1, what is your emergency?" "Dead. From. Funny.") And if you happen to be relatively new to the social networking scene, this can teach you valuable lessons. Probably the most important one is "stay away from social networking unless you want to destroy your village," but, well, it's too late for most of us on that one. (And if it isn't too late for you, may I interest you in a LiveJournal account? You'll have lots of fun while you're village is falling apart, I promise!")

Bonus: The Art That Will Show You Who the Real Heroes of Pegasus Are. SGA-1? Pfffft. Final Images, by [livejournal.com profile] astridv. Stargate: Atlantis.

Poor, poor MALPs. They lead a hard life. And, going by this art, I suspect they also lead rather short lives. John Sheppard? Ronon Dex? Hah. Their so-called "heroism" is built on the backs of the oppressed, and by "the oppressed", I mean MALPs. MALPs are the ones who actually boldly go where no one has gone before! And do they ever get thanked? No. They don't even get any screen time. But [livejournal.com profile] astridv has managed to correct that. People, please go inspect these heart-rending final images sent back by five brave, doomed MALPs. And then won't you join the Campaign for MALP Rights? Together, we can fight the injustice inflicted on our MALPy friends across two galaxies.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Hi. So, I think you know I love fan fiction, right? And I would hate to lose any of it. Ever.

And I think fandom as a whole is pretty damn special, too.

Which is why I'm following the discussions at [livejournal.com profile] fanarchive with incredible interest. And I know you've been hearing this a lot lately, but just in case one of you hasn't: it would mean a lot to me if you went to check out that community, see what it's about, maybe spread the word. Because I want us all to represented there. I want it to be for all of us.

So, to learn more:

There's a summary of the last few weeks. There's an Organizational Structure post, which tells you what we (as in, you know, fandom - I am not affiliated with the project and I don't speak for it or anything) are trying to do. And there's the Willingness to Serve post, which tells you how you can get involved. (There are lots of ways, people, seriously. Something for everyone!) You don't have to be a slasher or a LJ member or a fan fiction writer to be a part of this. You just have to be a fan.

And, since this is the best way I know to remind you of why it is such an awesomely wonderful idea to have an archive of our own, I'm going to recommend some fan fiction. But, because I'm contrary (Sad as it is to say, I think my motto may be: "Give the people what I want. Eventually, they'll learn to like it. I hope."), I'm going to go with gen - hurty gen, for the most part. But never fear; there's a great big squishy hug coming at the end. Come for the pain, stay for the hugs! (And, oh my god, that sounded like the summary for almost every Starsky and Hutch vid I've ever seen.)

So, here are some reasons why we need to keep our fan fiction around:

Because Sometimes We Need to Face the Big Bad Wolf Through Our Characters. Red, by [livejournal.com profile] big_pink. Supernatural, gen. (Note: I don't consider this an animal harm story. You might think so, from the description, but - well, I just don't. If you disagree, let me know and I'll slap a warning up here.)

First, let me say up front that I do not know from Supernatural. To me, this is a fantastic story, but it could be wildly out of character and out of canon for all I know. I really doubt it, but even if it is, I totally don't care. It is a fusion of Little Red Riding Hood and Supernatural, people. How could that be other than awesome?

It couldn't be. Or, well, not in this writer's hands, anyway.

And, see, I was never a big fan of the story of Little Red Whiny Hood. For one thing, I pretty much hated her, and I wasn't that fond of her grandmother, and I definitely despised the hunter. I always wanted the wolf to win. He seemed like the only person in the story whose motives I could really get behind, you know?

Oh, how this story cured me of that.

Well, okay. I guess technically it didn't. I mean, I still want the wolf to win in the original fairytale. But this version of it made me like the hunter(s), which - wow. You people who know me, you know how extremely unlikely that is. And it made me fear the wolf. I mean, maybe the Brothers Grimm said that the wolf was big and bad, but [livejournal.com profile] big_pink made me believe that he was.

And this is a story that I think could not work in the format of the canon. It had to be written, not filmed. (Two reasons, just as examples: first, in a TV episode, the awesome detail about treeplanters and logging and so forth just wouldn't make the cut. And, second, wolf-human things always look laughable and sort of pathetic on film. You just cannot make a decent wolfman in live action, and, frankly, I really wish people would stop trying.) Which is why we need fan fiction: to tell the stories the canon can't tell.

Because Sometimes We Need to Know What Would Have Happened If. Dysmas, by Salieri, aka [livejournal.com profile] troyswann. Due South, gen.

I don't want to say too much about this story, because I don't want to spoil it. Also, I don't want to scare you off, because the fact is, this story is like being shot in the back and not having it miss your spine. (And, yes, it is a Victoria's Secret AU. And, no, the spine thing, that's not the AU. I think that'd actually be - you know what, no. I said I didn't want to scare you off, and, um, I'm not exactly exerting myself to the fullest capacity to achieve my goal there, am I? Oh, hell. It turns out my teachers were right about me after all.)

But, you know, despite the, well, somewhat uncomfortable nature of this story, there is an ending to this, and it satisfied me, made me remember this story with pleasure instead of thinking, "Oh, right, that's the story where Salieri decided it would be fun to rip my heart out one tiny piece at a time and feed it to gulls." Not that she didn't obviously decide that that would be fun, but at the end, she gives me my heart back, and if it's not quite like new - well, trust me. It wasn't in mint condition before, and a few more little nicks only add to its patina. (I believe I have just metaphorically turned my own heart into a piece from Restoration Hardware. Oh, this does not bode well for this set, people. Courage!)

I view this story with utter awe. Because this is fan fiction at its very best: an uncompromising, totally perfect, totally right exploration of how something could have gone. Would have gone, with just one small change to the canon. Had to go. And you know what? I'm so happy this story exists, but it could never be canon. Which is why we need fan fiction: to take us to places the canon could never go. (And to a place that, in this case, I really am glad canon couldn't go. Wow, so very much glad.)

Because Sometimes We Need to See a Beloved Character in a Different Light. Or, You Know, in Total Darkness. A Time Ago, by [livejournal.com profile] brown_betty. D.C. Universe, gen.

This story is so damn plausible, and so damn brilliant, and it's such a fantastic synthesis of the canon (Or, really, canons, because anyone who thinks that DC is still working with just one canon has read one lone issue of Batman. Or has a severe case of amnesia. Either, really.) and something else, something I can't tell you about without killing it. In fact, I can't tell you anything about this story without spoiling it.

Normally, I'd fill the space where I am ostentatiously Not Spoiling the Story with character squee, but I can't even do that. (Seriously, Betty. Did you have to cover all the bases so well? It makes it really hard to write a useful summary, you know. Fortunately, I have a solution: a useless summary!) So instead I'll squee about the story's structure. (When in doubt, be a stylegeek. That motto saved me in many an English class - seriously, lots of times I had nothing to say about the story, but I always had something to say about how it was written, and it turns out your average English professor is really tired of reading the same eight things about the story and will welcome, say, an obsessive discussion of comma use instead. I know. Really, there are several English professors who are massively to blame for my current style; they encouraged me, and I will give you their names if you'd like to complain.)

I love the slow reveal here, the way the reader's progress through the story matches the main character's. And I love the way this is written. The first time I read it, I was mostly focused on the actual story (and on, let it be said, the kick to the gut that is the ending, because oh, Batfamily, how are you so fucked up?), but the second time through, I was entranced by the writing itself. This story had to be written precisely the way it is. And I love that, love reading it and seeing all the places the writer did it exactly right. It never fails to make me happy. Which is good, because something about this story has to be an emotional boost. You know the character is in trouble when he starts out in the dark, and cold, and at the end of the story you sort of wish he could go back there.

And right now I am conscientiously objecting to this canon, but I still love the characters so much. Which is why we need fan fiction: because sometimes, we need a good story, and the canon just isn't providing it, goddamn it.

Because Sometimes We Need to Explain What an Episode of the Canon Really Meant. Triptych, by [livejournal.com profile] mad_maudlin. Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: SG-1, gen.

This is based on - okay, inspired by - Moebius, an episode of SG1. And I have never seen a single second of that show, except in vids. Also, to be honest, I don't have the foggiest idea what Moebius is even about. (ETA: There's a helpful summary of Moebius, with spoilers, provided by [livejournal.com profile] loriel_eris in the comments.) See, I love reverse-engineering television canon; it's so much easier to triangulate back to canon from the fan fiction than it is to watch the shows, and it's also just the ultimate puzzle kick. And I did an awesome job on SG1, if I do say so myself, so much so that sometimes I'll watch a vid and shriek, "Oh my god, this is from [episode name]!" (And Best Beloved will say, "The sad part is, if you'd actually seen the episode, you wouldn't know that." Which is entirely true.)

But Moebius defeated my back-engineering skills utterly. I read dozens of stories set in and around it, and the best I could do as a summary is, "Something very confusing with time travel happens. Probably. And there is a lot of sand." I even tried looking at spoilers, but the thing is, you people don't write spoiler posts for people who haven't seen the show, so spoiler posts tend to contain a lot of exclamation points and relatively few neat, tidy explanations of precisely what the hell was up with all that sand.

My point is: this is based on Moebius, and I think explicates something that happened in Moebius, but you don't need to have seen the episode (or, most assuredly, understood it) to love this. Because this is, quite simply, the many universes theory with a side of time travel, and it - oh my god. At the beginning, I was happy. By the end, I was gasping like a landed fish, but I was totally in love. I mean - oh, the internal references, and the textual cues, and just - there is so much awesomeness in this story that it's stunning. Which is why I'm not telling you any more. You'll thank me for not spoiling it later. (Or you won't; feel free to yell. The point is, you should read it. Now.)

This story is like a great science fiction story. But it's not one. It's a great fan fiction story, because this just could not exist outside the context of fan fiction; if the author hadn't been able to assume our shared knowledge of the universe, build on our existing familiarity with the characters, work inside fanonical and canonical themes, she couldn't have made this incredible work. Which is why we need fan fiction: it's a genre with a unique combination of freedoms and restrictions that leads to works of art that couldn't exist any other way.

And:

Because Sometimes We All Need a Group Hug. (Oh, Don't Even Try to Deny It. After Those Stories, It's Okay to Need a Hug!) Friendly Competition, by [livejournal.com profile] siegeofangels. Stargate: Atlantis, gen.

This story made me grin like a loon the first time I read it. And, because I am a scientist, I had to study that response, see if it was a reproducible result. Guess what? It totally is. I re-read it for maybe the dozenth time just now, because I was writing this post, and I still just beamed helplessly. I won't bother to tell you why, except to say that I totally think there is a game suggestion in here for the next Muskrat Jamboree. (And if you play it, oh my god, I want video.)

And, see, this is part of what I love about fan fiction. I would pay cash money to see what happens in this story happen in an actual episode - and make no mistake, this could totally happen in one - except. Except. I think I'm actually happier with it this way, on the page and in my mind. Sometimes it's better when it's not canon. Which is - you're getting the refrain now, right? - why we need fan fiction.

For me, this story, all these stories - these are great examples of what fan fiction is about: exploring the unmapped territories, seeing what could have happened, finding stories hidden in the niches and cracks and subtext and hints and our own crazed imaginations. Fan fiction, to me, is about loving something so much that you make it even more, even better.

And just as we all love our canons that way, I love fandom that way. Which is why I want the [livejournal.com profile] fanarchive project to fly: because it's a way of preserving everything we love, and I also believe it's a way of making fandom itself even more. And even better. So - go take a look, won't you?

Thank you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
First, thank you so very much, kind anonymous gift-leaver and equally kind non-anonymous gift-leaver. ([livejournal.com profile] maygra, you are wonderful.) It makes me ludicrously thrilled to see the prettiness on my user info page right now.

So, I spent the last week frantically acquiring data and then writing a whole bunch of crap about anime music vids, and the feedback thereof. And as I did this, I was getting presents, and getting love anonymously, and it made me a happy data mistress, let me tell you. So I was trying to think of a way to say thank you to you sweet and wonderful people. All of you, I mean. Yes, even including you. (And I was also thinking, oh god, I cannot wait to get back to talking about something I actually know something about. Like, anything. You'd think, with what I do for a living, I'd be better at writing in a total knowledge vacuum, but it's still hard.) And it is the time and the season for loving, even if I'm a little behind the times with that.

So I put all those things together - Valentine's gifts for me! Love for all friendkind! Fan fiction! - and came up with the obvious answer. Which is that I should rec some gen.

(Later: stories containing actual sex. I haven't forgotten that the word "porn" is right in the mission statement of this LJ, I swear.)

The One That Proves That You Can't Trust a Man Who Can't Trust a Herring. The Colbert Report - Lost Episode - December 2006, by [livejournal.com profile] scrunchy. The Colbert Report, gen.

Okay. Here's the thing, and I want certain people out there on my friends list to take a deep, deep breath, because I know what I'm about to say will upset them. I've never seen an episode of the Colbert Report. Or the Daily Show, for that matter. We don't have cable - we don't even have broadcast television - and I understand these magical works appear on a thing called the "comedy channel," which is a cable dealywhop. So, while I approve of the concept, I won't be experiencing it directly any time soon.

However. I have seen some clips from both shows on YouTube, that great leveler of - well, basically all playing fields, until we're all frolicking about in knee-deep pixel mud on a infinite plain filled mostly with shaky webcam footage. But my point is, YouTube makes it possible for those of us without cable to see small snippets of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart doing that thing they do. (At least, it used to be possible. If it isn't anymore, then Viacom has a personal hate note coming from me.) So I know just enough to know that the shows can be quite funny.

But I don't think they can possibly be as funny as [livejournal.com profile] scrunchy's script for a lost episode. No show could consistently be this good and awesome and grand and not cause spontaneous deaths from joy in viewers. I mean, the FDA would be looking into the Colbert Report if it was as good as this. There's Jon Stewart! Stephen Colbert! Furry crabs! David Duchovny! And just - really, I cannot convey in words how wonderful this transcript is, except that I want to read several dozen more of these, right now, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get them. (Oh, by the way - does anyone know how to feed and care for the wild [livejournal.com profile] scrunchy when she is removed from her native habitat? I'm, um. Asking purely out of curiosity.) And I am speaking as someone who normally reads script format works only if a) they are written by Tom Stoppard or b) I'm being paid to read them. And yet - well, I guess I have to add a third category to my list, because I love this, and I love it in part because of the script format. It is delightful, gleaming perfection. With crabs.

The One That Should Be Subtitled "And Teen Angst Is the Same Every Damn Where." Singapore Standard Time Is the Same as Australian Western Standard Time, by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. Katamari Damacy, gen.

Oh, the Prince. You have a father who is simultaneously awesome and totally insane. You are only two centimeters tall, but the weight of the universe rests on your tiny green - well, you don't seem to have actual shoulders. Your tiny green cylindrical head, then. No wonder you have angst.

Really, I'm surprised you haven't already formed an emo band called Katamari Sadnessy.

In this story, Punk manages to convey - no, to capture, as if on archival quality film - the Trauma of Being the Prince, and she does it so very perfectly that I want to hug her. (Truth be told, I want to hug the Prince, too. But I'd squish him, and anyway he seems to be in something of a mood right now. Getting stuck under that dresser will do that to you. And those damn pencils. They can cost you critical seconds, I'm here to tell you.) See, it turns out that the Prince is Everyteen.

I tell you, I cannot wait for the inevitable sequel, in which the Prince is sent to earth to roll up enough family therapists to create a Therapy Katamari, which will then help the Prince and the King (and the Queen) work through their issues, probably by saying things like, "And how does that make you feel?" and "But what is the origin of your need for crabs?" and "I feel it! I feel the Cosmos!"

The One That Makes Me Want to Write a Dissertation on the Anthropology of Board Games. (And Pretty Much Proves That Daniel Jackson Already Has.) Teal'c's Five Favorite Board Games, by Komos, aka [livejournal.com profile] paian. Stargate: SG-1, gen.

I love this so very, very much. I mean, we all know of my unhealthy love of Five Things stories. And some of you know of my entirely healthy and balanced love of Teal'c. I think a few of you may even know of my profound love of board games, although in that case I will have to look at you squintily and ask why, precisely, you've been poking through my closets. But even so, I could never have predicted that the combination of the three would be this wonderful.

One tiny warning, though: after you read this, you will never look at the classic board games of your childhood the same way again. Like, I enjoyed Life when I was a kid. (Although, you know, the signs of how I would turn out were there even then; I always insisted on having two blue pegs or two pink pegs as my married couple. In other words, I slashed plastic pegs at the age of six. Obviously, I was Born to Slash, and should consider getting that tattooed on my bicep.)

(Slightly more disturbing is that I also tended to bite the heads off the little pegs, rendering them no longer miniature people substitutes but rather sad, truncated sticks with a squished part at one end. That is a little less easy to interpret, at least in terms that will keep me out of a mental hospital, but I want you to know: I haven't bitten anyone's head off. Yet.) Anyway, my point is, I loved the game. But after reading this story, well, I love it even more, but I think that if I ever play it again, I'll probably get a severe case of the sniffles.

But the one of this set that kills me (in the good way, the way that has absolutely nothing to do with biting off my little plastic head) is the last one. I won't even name what game it is, for fear of spoiling you, but I will say: if you miss this - well, I will pity you. (And I won't let you play any of my board games. So there. Nyah nyah nyah.)

The One That Could Easily Replace Three Full Units of Psych 101. Although, in All Honesty, That Might Be Harder on the Students Than Just Reading about the Milgram Experiments Again. Matter, Form, and Privation, by Domenika Marzione, aka [livejournal.com profile] miss_porcupine. Stargate: Atlantis, gen.

I've been waiting a long time to recommend this one, because I wanted to do it justice. I wanted to tell you how beautiful it was, how perfect, how utterly inevitable, how necessary.

But I've come to the conclusion that I'll never write well enough to do that, to explain to you why you should read this story. I'll never write well enough to do give it the summary it deserves. So instead I will just say - read this. Read it even if you don't read SGA. Read it even if you think original female characters are a sure sign of bad fan fiction. (And if you can read this (and my other surefire disproof of that faulty theorem) and still say that, well, you may wish to check your ability to read English.) Read it even if you think, from this recommendation, that it sounds depressing.

Yeah, okay, it is depressing. But it's also a story that I wish could be canon, that I wish the SGA writers had the balls to write, because this is what life in Pegasus must actually be like. (And for me, that provides a whole key to understanding Teyla and Ronon, and how they must view the people from earth - So lucky! So innocent! So very much in need of protection! - but that's a whole other essay that I am quite sure you don't want to read, so I will stop this summary here and spare you. No, really, no need for thanks - the look of silent wonder on your shining faces is enough)

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Last night, Best Beloved said to me, "Hey, remember when you used to rec fic?"

Of course, I immediately snapped, "I still do rec fic." And I was entirely correct. But it seems that some actual recommending of actual fan fiction might go a long way toward proving that.

And, possibly because it's been long enough that I have forgotten a hard-earned lesson, I've decided to start with everyone's favorite thing: an extra-long set of shorter gen stories!

Um. I don't hear any actual cheers. Or even any polite clapping.

That's - no, that's perfectly all right. I'll settle for a "Well, it's better than nothing." Can I get one of those, at any rate?

Fine. See if I care. I'm going to do it anyway. Let me just see if I can ... hmm. You, um, press some buttons, right? It's kind of been a while. But I'm sure it's like riding a bicycle. Although, of course, I can't actually do that.

Ah, well; unlike riding a bike - which, seriously, I have never understood how you're supposed to learn that, since you have to be able to do it just to sit on the damn thing - it's probably best to learn by doing. Shall we begin?

The One That Reminds Us That Batman Is Not Just a Mysteriously Sexy and Seriously Broken Crimefighter in Need of Several Successive Lifetimes of Therapy. He's Also a Skilled Nurturer of Those Qualities in Others! Squandered My Resistance, by Petra, aka [livejournal.com profile] petronelle. DCU.

Perspective is a major kink of mine, and this story hits my kink just about as well as anything ever has. (Okay. Except An Instance of the Fingerpost, which hit my kink for something like 500 densely printed pages and still left me wanting more.) The perspective, in this case, is Jim Gordon's, and if you know anything about the Batman canon (and I do mean anything - like, if you know who the Robins are, and how the first two retired, that's enough), you know more than he does here - only a bit more, though, because the man's no idiot. So it's not like we're learning any new plot in this one; the change in perspective is the story. And it's amazing what that change can do.

Jim Gordon is a good man. But he accepts the unacceptable, or what should be unacceptable, because, see - Robins, whatever else they are, are kids. (Dick Greyson was age 12 when he started as Robin, as you'll know if you're even vaguely familiar with All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder (and if you have a sense of humor at all, click on that link, people - you don't need to know anything about comics to marvel at this truly stunning train wreck), also known as Who the Fuck Are These People in the Batman and Robin Costumes and How Did They Get out of Arkham Asylum?) Hands up everyone who thinks that it's a good idea to put kids in spandex and send them out to fight vicious criminals and psychotics, often in the company of someone only marginally saner than said opponents. All right. Frank Miller, seriously, put that hand down. And, oh my god, do not even tell me where you have your other hand. Okay. Anyone else have a hand up? No. And Jim Gordon's hand wouldn't be up, either. But he still accepts it - and not only that; he uses it, uses the Robins. And this story explains that. Which you will grant is amazing.

The other amazing thing about this story is that it's interstitial. All the action takes place off the page; it's like this is the text that happens in the space between the panels of a comic book. So, really, all we see is a series of conversations. But you don't need to know a thing about the canon to understand what's happening all around these conversations. This is the written equivalent of the kind of play where you hear the shots and the body fall, but you never see anything on stage but the characters' reactions. Except that in this story, we don't hear the shots. But it's impossible not to hear the body fall.

No, wait, I was wrong. There's a third thing that's amazing about this story, and that thing is Jim Gordon himself. Because on the Worst Jobs in Fiction list, Police Commissioner of Gotham has to rank in the top 50. And Commissioner Gordon is just a guy, a decent guy in an awful job he does because he can. That, to my mind, makes him as interesting as Batman, but it's rare that anyone, canon or fan fiction, actually shows that. Petra does. And that? Is totally amazing, and I love her for it.

The One That May Actually Make You Grateful for Adolescence. Who Knew That Was Even Possible? Slouching, Forever, by Torch, aka [livejournal.com profile] flambeau. Good Omens.

And now let us speak briefly of Torch, who has evidently recently ascended to the next level in her mystical pursuit of fictional perfection; in fact, I suspect she may be close to achieving union with the fictional godhead. If you cruise by her house, I bet you'll find her all swathed in robes and sitting in a lotus position, meditating. And then, once in a while, she'll leap up and go over to her computer and type stories like this. She calls them snippets, but oh my god. In almost all of them, she's turned the canon inside out, shaken out its pockets, and found a whole new universe inside, and I - I'm kind of scared of her, actually. What if she has other powers? What if she can change the universe or something?

I'm just saying, maybe we should wonder if there's a reason that Lance Bass came out recently.

Anyway. This story is maybe, maybe my favorite of all the "snippets" she's done recently, although it's kind of locked in a three-way tie with Over the Hills and Far Away and Suburban Consumption Rituals. (Which was written for meeeeee! And that just proves that Torch has mystical powers, because, as anyone who has ever gotten one will tell you, I give the shittiest fic prompts in all the universe. Only a very few, highly cherished writers have ever managed to make one of mine work. And yet - Torch took one of my prompts - and did - well, this.)

Of course, I've spent all this time talking about Torch because I can't really tell you anything about Slouching, Forever, except that you need to have read Good Omens to get the story. (But, well, you need to have read Good Omens, period, no exceptions, so I'm hoping all of you have.) If you have, get clicking. (The other two snippets, by the way, are SGA, and I can't tell you anything but that about either, except that they are just fucking amazing, so if by some chance you haven't read Good Omens yet, head for the other ones. And then get your butt to a library or bookstore and do some light reading about Armageddon.)

The One That Proves (Yet Again) That the Ancients Are Not Our Friends. In Fact, Just As a General Rule, I Think It's Best Not to Trust Those Who Think That Superior Power Makes Them Superior Beings. Uncanny Valley, by Sarah T., aka [livejournal.com profile] harriet_spy. Stargate: Atlantis.

I. Here's the thing. I secretly kind of believe this story. I've seen dozens of fictional explanations for Why John Is Weird (But We Love Him Anyway), and many of them made me want to do highly intimate things with the author. And most of them really worked. But this one works maybe the most of all of them, and - well, it doesn't make me want to do highly intimate things with Sarah T. It makes me want to take her hostage until she writes a fix-it sequel to this. Because the fix is hinted at, and I believe it's coming, but I want more. I want an ending with puppies and sparkles and love and very probably some pie. In general, I need stories with explicit happy endings way more than I need or even want stories with explicit sex, and for this one - well. I want "And they lived happily ever after" in writing. Signed by the author. And notarized. (Doesn't have to be in her own blood or anything, though. I'm no fanatic.)

You know, I'm kind of amused that I'm writing this whole "This gutted me but in a good way" writeup for a story in which no one dies and no one is, like, raped or tortured or drained by the Wraith or just anything like that. All that really happens is that two people eat breakfast. But, you know, in fiction, especially when it comes to making people honestly ache for a character, less is more. You really want to turn the knife? Don't give me star-crossed lovers killing themselves because they each think the other's dead. Don't give me all the death, loss, torment, and abuse you can pack into 57 chapters. Give me one loss, one loss of something essential, and then make the characters - and me - live with it.

(I'm also amused that I didn't rec the other SGA gen story that seemed to fit in this set because I was like, "Nah. Don't want people to think all gen is depressing." But, really. It's not! Even this story isn't, actually! It's just - it hurts. But there's a happy ending on the far horizon, and - okay, screw it, that's never going to work. How's this: the last story in this set is the perfect antidote. I'm offering the pain and the cure, people. What more can I do?)

The One That Proves That You Really Can Get Used to Anything. But You Might Not Want To. All His Funerals (Back in Black Remix 2006), by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. X-Files.

This is such a small story in terms of word count. And it's in a fandom that I, despite all my efforts, still don't understand at all. But it doesn't matter - you can read this no matter what you know about the canon, as long as you know something about serial fiction. Because this is, yes, a gorgeous story about how one person gets used to a very particular kind of loss, but it's also a great meta commentary, because we've all been through this, I think, in one canon or another.

(I realized this at the end of X2, which I saw with my mother and Best Beloved. My mother knows nothing about comic books and had never heard of the X-Men before the first movie. And my mother is, by the way, the queen of being spoiler-free. As in, she saw The Phantom Menace and had no idea that Anakin was going to grow up to be - spoiler warning, people! - Darth Vader. And that Darth was Luke's father. Anyway, at the end of X2, she was all upset, and Best Beloved and I were stunned that anyone could be upset by that ending. Because knowing comics mean you develop the same attitude that Scully has in this story.

And, wait. Did I just spoil the story (or X2) or not? I can't tell. Um. If I did, someone let me know so I can cut-tag it; even if it is a spoiler, I don't think it'll have any effect on your enjoyment of either, but I aim to be polite. My mama - okay, she didn't give a shit about my manners, but my internet mama raised me right. Admittedly, my internet mama was Usenet, so she mostly did it via a constant stream of very clear examples of what not to do, but still.)

But here is the coolest part of this story - cooler even than the meta commentary. This is Punk remixing one of her own stories, and how insanely excellent is that? I would so love it if other folks who have been writing a while did this, because I've read the original of this story, and it is just. Um. Not the same. At all. Whereas the remix is brilliance. So the two stories together are the most perfect example in the world of how Punk has changed as a writer, and I would love to see that same demonstration for other people. So if any of y'all are, you know, bored or anything - well, just don't say I never give activity suggestions along with my recs.

The One That Gives a Whole New Meaning to the Phrase 'Body Dysmorphic Disorder.' The Kingdom of Heaven, by [livejournal.com profile] c_elisa. X-Men comicsverse.

This story contains spoilers for a certain development in at least one iteration of the X-Men, uh, "plotline," for lack of a better word. (Sorry, but I have no idea how many X-Men books/movies/universes/parallel dimensions/other assorted thingies have this development, and I lack the software equivalent of the TARDIS crossed with Hal, which is what it would take for me figure that out.) I'm not at all sure I can discuss the story without mentioning that same spoiler. So I'm cut tagging this. )

The One That Proves That, Looking at It from a Technical Perspective, the Wizard of Oz Should Have Been a Zombie Story. Big Damn Zombies, Sir, by [livejournal.com profile] shrift. Firefly.

This is another fandom I don't know from Adam, Eve, or in fact the entire garden of eden. I mean, Jayne - that's the guy with the hat, right? I see him in vids, acting dim or showing the ethics-free brand of cunning. He's generally comic relief in vids, except he also occasionally seems to do the thing that no one else could quite manage to, even though it really needed to be done. But, hey, I don't know him at all, so I could be totally wrong there.

My point is that obviously you don't need to know diddly-squat about Jayne or Firefly to enjoy this story. Because, see, what happens here is that Jayne turns into a zombie, and mirth ensues.

Now, wait. You need to understand just how weird it is that I am recommending a story about zombies as comic relief. Because, okay, I admit it - I'm afraid of zombies. I was not the happiest person in all of fandom when zombie stories got popular for a while there, because I'd be reading a story quite happily and then suddenly Daniel Jackson would be lurching around calling for brains. (But I never did see, say, zombie Aragorn, so I have much to be thankful for. Believe me, I'm quite aware of it.) And I would have to flee the story, or possibly the room, for a while.

But this story is funny even to a certified zombiephobe, because - I just, I can't explain it. It just is. I avoided it, for obvious title reasons, for quite a while, and I so should not have, because Shrift proves that zombies can, in fact, be entertaining to have around, providing they are made from the right sort of character. Or, more specifically, providing that the right sort of characters are standing around commenting on the zombie, because it is the dialog that makes this story. And that includes, but is not limited to, the dialog that goes, "Braaaaaaaains."

(I do feel the need to state, just for the record, that there is nothing amusing about zombies. They are a major imaginary scourge against which our planet has no defenses. Garlic does not work on zombies, people. Think about it. And in the next election, make yours a vote against the zombie menace. And don't forget to ask your politician of choice what he's doing to prevent the zombie takeover!)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
As you all know, this is a date of Serious Romantical Significance. So I thought I'd rec some gen.

Yeah, I don't exactly get the connection, either. But far be it from me to argue with inspiration. (I mean, seriously, far be it from me. Inspiration fights mean.)

Best FF That Involves a Major Character Turning Into a Cricket as a Side Note. Seriously. It's Not Even Remotely Central to the Plot. I Just Cannot Tell You How Much I Love That. So Long, Farewell, See You Around, by Tallulah Rasa. Stargate: SG-1. Actually, this is seven related but unconnected stories, seven alternate versions of Jack leaving SG-1. (That's the whole summary, people. Feel free to go read it now and skip the rest of this, which is just me getting in touch with my feelings.) Okay. So. First thing first: these are not sad stories. (In fact, one of them made me sincerely, joyfully happy. That was the one featuring, um, major character death. But it's happy major character death, people! And, really, the fact that I even typed that sentence, never mind the fact that I sincerely mean it, should be sufficient to convince you to read this.) Really, not sad.

But I still teared up reading them. I have two theories about this (three if you count, you know, Wildcat Hormone Attack). First theory: this story forced me out of my denial about SG-1 ending. Because, really, it did; now we have a whole new show, featuring new people and new crack. (No one even try to explain those photos of the Merlin guy to me, okay? I prefer a world in which I can pretend they were just a wacky welcome-to-the-show prank played on Ben Browder.) And, okay, technically I have never actually seen the show, but I am still very attached to it. As it was. With, you know, Jack. And Sam. And Old Glow-Eyes. And I really don't accept change very well. Second theory: this story reads like the writer's farewell to the series. Now, I'm sure it isn't. I'm sure Tallulah has many excellent stories about SG-1 still to come. (She'd better. I don't want to have to read West Wing, but that's the only other fandom she writes in.) But it reads that way. And I got to thinking - I know some people are sad when they leave fandoms behind, but I'm only really sad when authors I love do that. Because - okay, odds are good I'll follow them into whatever new fandoms they find. But still. Their versions of those characters are gone for good. So my second theory is that, while reading this, I had to contemplate a world without Tallulah's Jack and Daniel and Sam and Teal'c. And that? That would really be worth tears.

Best FF That Makes Me Want to Roll up All My Love for the Writer and Use It to Make Stars That Spell Her Name. And in This Fandom, That's Pretty Much Canon, People. Why Tycho Quit Drinking, by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. Katamari Damacy. Yes. You heard me. This is fan fiction for that highly addictive video game in which you roll a sticky ball around and pick up coins and erasers and flowers and cars and cows and stuff. (And this is going a little outside my mission statement, here, but if you haven't played this game, play it. Play it for the King, play it for the soundtrack, play it for the mutant satisfaction of making a giant ball of every last thing in level 8. Play it so you can read this story. It's worth not just the cost of the game, but the cost of the Playstation, too.) Anyone who has played Katamari Damacy knows that one of its many pleasures is the King of All Cosmos. He's just - well, I cannot even begin to describe him. Only the real thing can even come close. Which is why it's so amazing (and highly suspect) that Punk has his, um, characteristic and unique voice down this well. I believe she may have a secret identity. I believe it may involve tights and a flowing cape and a big ruffled neck thing. (He's like - he's like Clark in a Superman costume, after Lex's interior designer mistakes him for decor. And that's just his looks, people. Really, you have to meet the King to believe him.) I mean, she could be the King of All Cosmos. (For one thing, it would be just like him to have a secret identity that writes gay porn, let me tell you.) That would explain how she got the details of the night the King went out drinking and accidentally destroyed all the stars, details that were previously known only to Vice Duke of Underpants and the Queen, neither of whom would ever tell. But Punk, Punk has revealed all. At last, the truth is out there.

Best FF That Teaches Us Important Lessons About True Love, and Self-Defense, and That Glorious Area Where They Intersect for Everyone's Good. The Wind Will Not Subside, by [livejournal.com profile] shrift. Samurai Champloo. This is a perfect - and perfectly believable - look at Fuu, Jin, and Mugen, and how they fare after the series. And, yes, okay, Mugen technically does not appear in the story. He's still very much present, and that's the whole point, really: these are three people who got stuck together by fate (in the form of a teashop, a gang of louts, and one very corrupt politician; sometimes fate chooses strange emissaries) and who cannot get unstuck no matter how much they try to fly apart. You kind of have to love that. At least, I do. Plus, I mean: Jin! Mugen! Fuu! Random gratuitous squirrel character whose narrative function I still have not entirely grasped! This is a recipe for happiness, people, and so you should see the canon. You should also read this story. It makes my heart go pitter-pat with sheer love for all of them, and that's before I come to the last four lines, which happen to be basically the most perfect last four lines ever found anywhere, and also the clearest, most wonderful expression of love and friendship that I have ever read. (Keep in mind who you're talking to, though: I'm the person who got into Highlander, and specifically Duncan/Methos, solely because Methos shoots Duncan in a sincerely loving and romantic way. This is the same kind of thing. Except no guns, no immortals, and no romance, so...not really even all that similar. But the last four lines of this story punch the same one of my buttons that Methos shooting Duncan did. And if I had to guess, I would say that that button is probably labeled something like, "Schmoopy bodily harm." No, really, I don't even want to know why. My depths disturb me.)

Best FF That Suggests That an Ancient Gene Is the Pegasus Galaxy's Version of a 'Kick Me' Sign Glued to Your Ass. The Pegasus Galaxy Presents: George Romero's Alice in Wonderland, by Domenika Marzione, aka [livejournal.com profile] miss_porcupine. Stargate: Atlantis. There are many reasons I love Domenika. For example, her LJ name, which always makes me think of a particularly excellent poem by Dorothy Parker (Parable for a Certain Virgin - um, no offense intended toward our Porcupine). And her titles - this is, after all, the person who wrote The Jenny Code, which left me pondering in some confusion for half the story, and then smiling blissfully for the last half, and I think you'll all agree that this title is also, um, let's go with 'gorgeously evocative.' But most of all, I love her for the authenticity she gives to the Stargate universe.

See, okay, our people? In the canon? Do not always act so much like, for example, military officers, or stern-willed diplomats (or actual medical doctors with actual medical ethics, but that, my friends, is a rant for a different day). Domenika takes those same characters, and without changing their personalities or their actions, makes them act like what we've been told they are. It is an amazing transformation, and, seriously, I'd read her stories for that alone. But she also throws in action and humor and actual plot, which means I'm pretty much riveted to my monitor. (And, uh. That phrase paints a somewhat disturbing picture, so how about we say I'm riveted to my chair instead? And, hey - new computer chair! Comfy! Sleek! Entirely unlikely to dump me on my ass on the floor at random intervals! And it is all thanks to you, f-list. I love you so.) And in this one, she gives some very believable Sheppard backstory - with nary a Ferris wheel in sight, no less! - and Sheppard doing paperwork, which just makes my heart burst with (only mildly malicious) joy.

Best FF That Teaches Us the Importance of Kindness to Others. Specifically, Extremely Weird Others of Indeterminant Gender and Alarmingly Good Intentions. Fellow Traveler, by [livejournal.com profile] ltlj. Stargate: Atlantis. I'm going to be recommending two SGA stories in most sets for - well, basically for as long as I feel compelled to. Which I do. This is not my fault, people! SGA appears to be courting some weird fandom version of singularity; the good fan fiction is doubling at an ever faster pace, and at some point soon I expect it to transcend the boundaries of the internet. After that, if Vinge and Kurzweil know what they're talking about, fandom should alter in ways we cannot possibly imagine, let alone anticipate. (Not to worry. This is fandom, so it has an inherent self-correcting mechanism - fannish attention span - and an external correction mechanism - in SGA's case, the stupidity of television executives.) My point is, I can't keep up. I mean, I can never keep up with the good FF in any fandom, or at least any fandom that doesn't qualify for Yuletide, but SGA is taking my recommendation gap to new and frightening levels. Two stories per set seems like the least I can do in return.

So, anyway, um. Getting back to the story (to save you the trouble of scrolling up: I'm talking about Fellow Traveler, here, or at least I'm supposed to be). See, this story has plot and action and all kinds of good things. (Like banter, and humor, and a hive-ship hoedown, and just - look, it's got good stuff in good quantities, okay?) But I kind of expect that from [livejournal.com profile] ltlj. What constantly surprises me about her writing is her original characters, which are just - well. Like take the original character in this one. He's a strangely lovable crossdressing alien misfit with memory problems, and really, I haven't even started with the adjectives I could use for him. You have to adore a writer who can make a character of that description work. And adore her I do. (And if it also makes me want to try creating a character from six random descriptives pulled out of a hat, well, that's my issue, and I'm working on it, okay? I have a sincere desire to change, anyway, and they tell me that's half the battle.)

And, finally, a poll. Influence the future! A very small part of it! Right here!

[Poll #673274]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm finding it increasingly hard to assemble gen sets. I'm sure, back in the days when Kirk/Spock and slash meant roughly the same thing, it was fairly easy to know if you were reading (or writing) slash. If there was the vaguest overtone of male homosexuality, there you go - slash.

It's a little tougher these days. We've got gay-in-canon characters and gay canons and gay pants all over the place. What do I call a story that makes a reference to Angel's past relationship with Spike? What do I call a story involving any of the Ultimate universes (apparent editorial slogan: "Stan Lee is dead. Bring on the gay!")? What am I supposed to call Beecher/Keller stories? No one is happier than I am that people are finally trying to put homosexuality where it belongs, squarely in the canon, but it makes it tough to classify stories.

So, for the record, let me explain what I am going to mean by these terms in the future. Only behind the cut, so people don't have to see it unless they enjoy mincing words. )

Best FF That Proves That a Really Good FF Writer Can Make Me Interested in Any Character, No Matter How Repellent or Dull That Person Is in the Canon. Damn It. Four Ways of Coming out of the Cold, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. X-Men. Storm has, in my opinion, not been well served by either the movies or the comic books; it's like no one knows what to do with her or how to make her entirely three-dimensional. Ironic, really, when you consider that a main theme of the whole universe is that mutants are people, too. Penknife does an excellent job of giving Storm some actual humanity, and I'm trying not to resent it. (I like disliking some characters, OK? Soon I'm going to like every damn character in the world. And then, if trends continue, the canon writers will feel obliged kill everyone off.) So, anyway, here we have four ways Storm's first encounter with Xavier could have happened. If Storm makes you gag, you should read this anyway, because it's also about Xavier, about who he is and who he could be. This story is an example of what I meant about tough-to-classify fic, because there's a hint of Xavier/Magneto in one of these vignettes, but, frankly, there was a hint of that in the canon, too. If it bothers you - assuming there are people left who still have problems with non-explicit m/m relationships - just remember their history of friendship and betrayal and hope and betrayal (and oh my god I never thought of the similarities between Xavier/Magneto and Beecher/Keller before, and I never want to again) and let it go at that.

Best FF That Makes Me Want to Dig up C.S. Lewis, a Man I Have Always Admired, So That I Can Punch Him in the Mouth. Although by This Time I'd Really Just Be Punching Him in the Mandible, Which Frankly Would Not Be Sufficient. The Queen in Exile, by LindaMarie, aka [livejournal.com profile] lm. The Chronicles of Narnia. This is one of those I-can't-warn-you-but-I-need-to situations, so let me say that "The Queen in Exile" is absolutely brutal, and it is not for people who are taking psychoactive medications, seeing visions, or having a bad day. But it is so worth reading, and so totally, totally right. Before I encountered Narnia fan fiction, my feelings about Lucy were just vaguely uncomfortable, but some great authors have showed me the light. Or, in this case, the darkness. Because how hard did you search for Narnia when you were little, when you half believed that you only had to open the right door to find a world that was made for bookish little kids like you? So how much harder would you look if you were Lucy, if you'd been there, grown up there, loved there, lived your life there, and then lost it? No, that's not quite right. Had it taken away from you by someone you worshiped and served and never once let down.

Best FF That Heals the Wounds Left by Painful Canon Without in Any Way Being Canon Repair. TV Camp, by [livejournal.com profile] shrift. Sports Night. What, you thought I could only rec SN slash? Well, you are so wrong, because this is gen, my friends. It is even cheerful gen. (I do have a lethally wonderful gen story for this fandom, too, but I didn't think I could handle re-reading it right after "The Queen in Exile." There's a limit to my ability to handle even the very best killing blow type stories.) This story makes me increasingly happy as I tentatively poke at the second season of Sports Night, because in that season Danny goes out on a ledge and over the edge. He's unstable in a way he just wasn't in the first season, in ways that weren't even suggested then; I think it's 'cause Sorkin needed to express his own instability, and he sure wasn't going to use Casey as a self-insertion. (But let's not get into that, or I'll be here all day.) This story lets me remember my favorite kind of Danny: the guy who listens and remembers and is just irresistibly charming, even to the self-absorbed, the neurotic, and the deliberately abrasive. As in, for example, Sam Donovan, who I also love because he is so damn competent. (The man could rule the world if he wanted to; really, the network types should count their blessings that all he wants to do is improve ratings, because if he wanted to eat their hearts, he would.) Here Sam, the world-conqueror, succumbs to Danny's water-on-stone method of making friends, and it is just really wonderful. I love it.

Best FF That Reminds Us That You Can Overcome Your History, Yes, but It's Far More Likely That You Won't. A Small Truce, by Marina Frants, aka [livejournal.com profile] marinarusalka. Harry Potter. I honestly cannot believe I didn't rec this story long, long ago; it's been in my database forever, and I truly love it, and I thought I'd recommended it, but it isn't marked, so - here. Go read this. Why? Well, first, because it starts like a typical slash story and then goes in an unexpected direction - a direction that is far more in keeping with the canon than it would have been had it been slash. (Which isn't to say I don't love that kind of slash, because I totally do; you know that. It's just that JKR has never let either Sirius or Snape overcome the past or let go of hatred, so continuing to fail to do it is highly in character for them.) I think of this story as Harry Potter for grown-ups, Harry Potter the way JKR might make it if she was writing for an adult audience. Which we all are. Or had better be, because the next set is, believe you me, taking us right back to smutland.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm not exactly sure why gen is called gen. I mean, yes, I know it's short for "general," which I assume is, in turn, short for "general interest," because as we all know good stories are interesting to everyone, whereas smut is only interesting to a few dissolute perverts. It's just, you know, strange that, given that gen is of such general interest, so many writers seem to be writing exclusively for the perverts.

Or maybe it isn't so strange. Because, yes, it's tough to write sex, or at least tough to do so in a way that prevents your readers from falling to the floor either laughing (the strong and the brave) or out cold (weaker people such as myself), but it's even harder to write a story without sex in it. Without the smut, you've only got character, plot, dialog, and narrative to entertain your readers. And those are, you know, fairly challenging.

In other words, today I'm saluting those writers who managed to make me love a story without any shiny, happy smut. Be impressed with them. I am.

Best FF That Grabbed Me, Threw Me Against a Wall, and Bent Me to Its Nefarious Will. And Has Me Begging for More. Scars, Luck, and Slush, by [livejournal.com profile] katallison. Due South. I'm not sure these are intended to be a series, but to me they are and always will be; I think of it as the "Ray Vecchio Doesn't Live Here Anymore" series, but I'm sure that's just me. Series or not, they're thematically related and progressive. Plus I can't read one without reading all three and wishing desperately for the other ones, the stories I sort of sense around the edges of these three, which Kat should clearly buckle down and write immediately, even if I'm the only one that thinks those non-existent stories are there. These delusions of series-hood and additional stories to come pretty much forced me to rec these together. And even if you don't like Vecchio or you don't like gen or you don't read dS, you should read them. See, I got into this fandom via happy Kowalski/Fraser smut. (And, believe me, I have no complaints about that.) So to me, Vecchio was just this Italian guy that left, but still occasionally served as a FF plot point, especially in the angstier stories. In other words, he was a placeholder for Kowalski. These stories changed that, and they did that, oddly enough, by destroying the Real Ray Vecchio. Because in these, Vecchio's gone. And he's never coming back. Instead, there's this amalgam, this Raymondo Vangoustini person, who fits nowhere and is no one person. This quasi-series is fantastic fiction, fan or otherwise - perfect, biting, real.

Best FF That Fulfills the Craving for a Lost TV Series. And Yet Somehow Also Makes That Craving So, So Much Worse. Those Stories Plus, by Luna, aka [livejournal.com profile] tangleofthorns, and Jess, aka [livejournal.com profile] circusgirl**. Sports Night. My secret goal with this recs set is to give you all fiction-induced whiplash. And here's my first sudden sharp switch. Because this story is perfect, and yet perfect in a totally different way than the last rec. This story essentially is Sports Night. Seriously, the episodes are just like this, only with added amusing facial expressions and body language. And if you've watched a few episodes, you'll be able to supply those yourself when you read this. (Mandatory Pimping Note: so if you like this story, you should definitely see the show.) This is another story you can and should read even if you know nothing of the fandom or the canon; the joy of it is in the dialog, the banter, the relationships, and I think that all comes through even if you've never met the characters before. (Second Mandatory Pimping Note*: but, really, you should meet these characters. For one thing, I'm not going to stop recommending SN stories until you do.)

Best FF That Is Never Going to Function as a Recruiting Point for the Police Force. Daddy's Girl, by Shannon, and does anyone have a link for her? Homicide: Life on the Streets. (Warning: this contains disturbing content. A lot of it.) And it's another sharp, sharp turn into this story, which you should read despite the vague formatting problems, because this is the Questing Beast of FF: a rich, plotty, in-character piece of gen. I'd say it's a mystery, and it sort of is - there's dead bodies, there's detectives, there's evidence and clues and so on - but it also sort of isn't. It's fairly obvious from the start what happened in both cases, neither of which are genteel, body-in-the-library type mysteries. What isn't obvious is how the detectives are going to go from knowing what happened to being able to convince a jury of it. I don't know how well this story mimics the style of the show, but I do know that it mimics the way real-life murder cases go. There's recalcitrant witnesses, mistakes, mess, danger, and a lot of shouting. And, as in real life, the good guys can't make anything better, and they don't always win. This is yet another one that you can and should read whether you know the show or not. It's also a perfect explanation of why I prefer gen in this fandom; you couldn't add sex to this story. You just couldn't. It'd be sacrilege.

Best FF That Proves That Parents Who Think They Can Control Their Children Are Delusional. And That's True Even When That Child Hasn't Successfully Led a Double Life for Years and Doesn't Know More About Psychological Operations Than the Entire U.S. Military. Visit, by [livejournal.com profile] jamjar. Teen Titans. I'm putting this story last 'cause I want you to read it last; I like happy endings so much I want them even in this LJ. And if the foregoing grit got to you, well, this should cheer you right up, because it is basically the living definition of a woobie story - it's got comfort without hurt, hugs without kisses, and lots of fattening foods. So why I am recommending it? Well, OK, yes, it's partly because of my sad obsession with post-Robin Tim Drake, which I am now prepared to admit to in public. (Yes, a 12-step meeting is what comes next, except that I don't think there is a Tim Anonymous, and even if there is, I'm happy with my addiction, and I will fight to the death anyone who tries to take it from me.) But I'm mostly recommending this story because it makes a point I think some of the post-Robin fic is missing, namely that Jack Drake is in way over his head. Seriously. On the one hand, we have a father so clueless that he didn't notice the injuries, the personality changes, or even that his son no longer really lived in his house. On the other, we have Tim, who can fight crime and manipulate psychotic villains and heroes alike, and who is so analytical and intelligent that he makes Oracle look like she has ADHD. He used to have all the bad guys in the world as a focus for that brain and those skills. Now it's all going to be directed at his father. Who is going to cave like a house of cards and is never even going to know it. Good luck, Jack, and goodbye. It wasn't so nice knowing you, but I'm sure you'll be a much better person after your son is done with you.

-Footnote-

* And now this post meets the Procurator General's recommended daily allowance of pimping! Never say this LJ does not enhance the mental health and well-being of its readers.

** Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] tangleofthorns!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
"But it's the best part of everything!" I hear you crying. Well, in most cases, you're right. Certainly when it comes to fan fiction, you're right. But there are exceptions to almost every rule, and this nominations set is made up of such exceptions.

Why am I posting a smut-free set? Well, first, it's part of my ongoing effort to prove to myself that I'm not totally subsumed by perversion. (Results: inconclusive. Try again later.) Second, it's my attempt to praise those authors who realize their stories don't need sex, and then don't force the story to feature sex. They are few, but, I hope, proud. Because I'd rather read one absolutely in character, plot-appropriate, truly hot sex scene than four sex scenes composed entirely of wet cardboard and recycled verbs and pasted into a story that just isn't in the mood.

Best FF Involving the Astronomy Tower and Nighttime and Snape Admitting to Being a Sadist and Still No Sex: A Little Night Air, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. Harry Potter. Severus Snape is one of the most widely fanwanked characters in existence, possibly because J.K. Rowling has, shall we say, left ample room for fan interpretation in the canon view of him. So when I read this, my heart swelled with joy. This is my Snape! Snape as I see him! He's snarky, difficult, brilliant - Snape of the evening, wonderful Snape. If I had a tail, I would wag it every time I read this story. Alas, I do not, so all I can do is rec it. And re-read it. And snicker.

Best FF That Will Give You Vaguely Nervous Feelings Every Time You Look at a Packet of Seeds for the Next Year: Bound, by Mary Borsellino. Lord of the Rings domestic blend. This is an AU in which Frodo took the ring, and it is creepy as are all good the-One-Ring-prevails fics. (I've said it before and I'll say it again: there's nothing as menacing as something small and pretty that should be totally harmless and yet turns out to want your soul.) The movies, in my opinion, really enhance the whole Evil Frodo concept; it's so easy to imagine Elijah Wood's Frodo turning. He'd be small and cute and have big blue eyes and he'd be so evil your heart would melt into your shoes every time you saw him. Or, as in "Bound," (See? I always get back to the story eventually), every time you got a letter from him. I suppose this entry just goes to show that I fear evil most when it comes in small and pretty packages. There's probably some childhood trauma that accounts for that, but lord, I don't want to know what it is.

Best FF That Reminds Us All That Batman Doesn't Play Well with Others and Doesn't Like to Share His Toys: Testimone, by Domenika Marzione. DC Universe. Who doesn't love the deeply dysfunctional Batclan, full as it is of angsty goodness (not to mention angsty moral ambiguity), blue tones, general darkness, and dead parents? Well, sometimes I don't. There are times when I get tired of Batman's unwavering belief that a) he knows what he knows, and that includes what's right for everyone b) he has cornered the world's supply of sorrow and c) by god, it's his way or it's the highway, on foot, in four-inch heels and a hobble skirt. So for me, the real value of "Testimone" is the view it gives us of the Batclan from outside. Because I do not know from the Huntress. For all I know, she could be an Amazon stalking the Gotham streets searching for men to enslave, or the current incarnation of Artemis, or a cyborg programmed to destroy everything with a pulse. But I didn't have to know her to love this story. And neither do you.

Best FF That Drives Me to the Kind of Lame Philosophy That Sounds Really Cool to Stoned College Freshmen Who Have Posters of Kafka on Their Dorm Room Walls: Normal, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife, who has an astonishing way with gen. X-Men movies. I love Cyclops FF, because in it he's everything he should be but isn't in the canon. The first time I read a fic about Cyclops, I was just astonished; turns out there's a person behind that visor! This is one of my favorite Cyclops stories, because it shows him doing his anal-retentive thing - planning, thinking, obsessing - so that you really understand why he's like that. And it asks a question we've all had to answer at some point: how much of yourself would you give up to be normal? And how do you even figure out what normal is, when it's a mirage, when it vanishes every time you think you have it in focus?

Whoa. OK, good reason for me not to do too many gen sets; evidently they bring out the third-rate philosopher in me. Luckily, it's hard to get all intense and pseudo-profound about smut; I like the way sex brings out the shallow in me. And I will be returning to glorious, smutty shallowness next entry, I promise you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Yup, gen. I'm sorry. It's a wasting disease or something - maybe Pervasive Genfic Disorder. But smut-addicts out there need not fear; I've got that wasting disease, too.

Best FF That Makes Human and Real a Character Who Was, in All Seriousness, Called Wormtail by People Who Were Purportedly His Friends: Reasons, by the redoubtable [livejournal.com profile] penknife. Harry Potter. Look, Peter never had a chance. From the moment he got that nickname and that animal form, he might as well have had a sign on his back reading "My name is Peter and I'll be turning evil at a strategic moment in the very near future. Betrayal is my specialty! See me about group rates!" Gee, I hope I didn't spoil that for anyone. Rowling's been content to keep Peter a cipher, a sort of generic bad guy. Naturally our beloved fan fiction writers could not allow that to continue. So here it is, folks: what I consider the definitive reasons that the worm turned. 'Cause I don't think Rowling can do any better than this.

Best FF That Contains Possibly the Strangest Reason for Living I've Ever Seen, and I've Seen Some Doozies: Measured Out in Coffee Spoons, by David Hines, aka [livejournal.com profile] hradzka. Batman. Those who think that gen might as well mean gentle are invited to read this marvelous, marvelous story. I don't want to give too much away - you'll figure it out for yourself if you know anything about any Batman canon (as in, you've read plot summaries for the movies), and I don't want to deny you the experience. So let me just say that this is FF at its best. It's a character study, it's absolutely in canon, it's well-crafted, and it's better than anything we've seen from the canon authors lately. Plus the title references the greatest poem of all time. I just don't see how it can get any better than this.

Best FF That Should Have Quoted Prufrock but Is Excellent Even Without That: The End of the Summer, by [livejournal.com profile] ashkitty. The Dark Is Rising. Bran grows old. Will returns. Those of you who have been cringing at the thought of slash in this canon have no need to fear this story. It's not slash; it's just a wonderful picture of what could have happened. I particularly like the glimpses of Will we get here - he's a very believable watcher, doing what we all knew he'd do: the right thing. I love how the author invests this mundane setting with majesty, and good lord, if I keep up with this summary I'm going to start using phrases like "richly textured" and "perfectly realized" and "achingly poignant." And then I would be forced to punish myself with at least 50 randomly selected titles from fanfiction.net, and then my eyeballs would bleed. So I'm quitting now, while I'm ahead.

Best FF That Reminds Why We Should Ask "Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?": Vigilance, by Victoria P., aka [livejournal.com profile] musesfool. Lord of the Rings movies. I'm a sucker for Boromir. I admit it. There's something so human about him, for one thing, which is not something you can say for any of the other main characters, not even in the movies. And, hey, so maybe I have a slightly unhealthy interest in the doomed. We all have problems, and if I ever set out to fix mine, there's no way I'm starting with that; it's not even a contender for the top 100. In the meantime, for those who share this fixation, here's a lovely little character study of Boromir. The last line of this story is particularly good; as always with this guy, we get to see his strengths turned to weaknesses by the One Ring, which is remarkably skilled at turning a knife in the back for something that's so small and shiny and round. Fear the small and shiny and round, people.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Run in fear! It's smutless stories! And bittersweet smutless stories at that - stories that catch at the throat instead of somewhere considerably lower. I realize I'm destroying my own hard-won perverted reputation here, but I can't help myself. Next entry, there'll be a return to my customary all-smut format. In the meantime, read these, because they're fantastic; they grabbed me despite my inherent resistance to G-rated FF.

Best FF That Manages to Be More Touching Than Every Word Tolkien Ever Wrote: Love, All Alike, by Sheila. The Lord of the Rings. We spend so much time thinking about those who sailed into the west. What happened to the ones who were left behind? Tolkien never seemed too interested in those that stayed in Middle Earth; Sheila fixes his lapse with this wonderful snapshot of Merry and Pippin at the end.

Best FF That Is Excellent Therapy for People Still Upset about Order of the Phoenix: Say His Name, by [livejournal.com profile] jjtaylor. Harry Potter. (I suppose technically you could consider this pre-slash or implied slash, but in that case you could consider the canon to be implied Remus/Sirius slash.) OotP introduced us to a brand new Harry Potter sub-genre, which I think of as five stages of grieving fic. I'd say this lovely little story is firmly rooted in stage four, depression. I suppose we'll have to wait for the next book to see acceptance fics.

Best FF That Demonstrates Why You Should Always Have a Martian Handy: Stillpoint, by Sarah T. Justice League animated series, and you don't need to know anything about the canon to enjoy this story. An extraterrestrial alien seeks a human alien on reservation land - hell, there's enough marginalized and excluded people in this story to start a union. It's no surprise, then, that this fic is all about belonging.

Best FF That Made Me Absolutely Detest C. S. Lewis for Several Minutes: Girls Grow Quicker Than Books, by Kyra Cullinan. Narnia series. This story deserves every superlative at my command. It isn't just FF; it's biting commentary on the Narnia books and on Lewis' treatment of his female characters. The only other story I've seen that did this kind of thing is Jane Yolen's "Lost Girls," which won a Nebula award. And "Girls Grow Quicker Than Books" is better than "Lost Girls." Read this - it's short, it's wonderful, and it will completely change the way you think of Narnia and Aslan.

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