thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This is a recs set with a special purpose: to give some entertainment to [profile] thetankisclean, whose three-year-old son, Gus, has brain cancer. Obviously this is not a thing I can fix or even help with, but kidfic is her happy place. So I am recommending some long, happy kidfics for her; at least this way she'll have something to read on the many sleepless nights in her near future. (So far, by the way, the news on Gus is basically all good, or at least all the news that followed "he has brain cancer." I'm hoping hard that things stay good for Gus. And if you pray, [profile] thetankisclean has asked that people please pray for him to reach ten healthy and strong and relapse-free.)

The Only Fan Fiction Ever to Make Jeweled Teeth Endearing. (Note: Jeweled Teeth Are NOT Endearing.) The Place of That Desire, by [ profile] yekoc. Swimming RPF, Ryan Lochte/Michael Phelps.

For those of you who, like me, were not really paying attention to the 2012 Olympics, let me assure you: Ryan Lochte is an appalling human being. This dude recently picked Auburn to win a college football game between Texas A&M and LSU, so we can see that he is not the brightest brick in the Duplo box. He has a signature word, and it's such an awful one that I refuse to type it here because I might teach my autocorrect terrible habits. He once tweeted "A Qm" (complete, total tweet) and people favorited the hell out of it as vintage Lochte at the very peak of his communications prowess.

And that's not even getting into his - attire issues. I mean, okay, I knew he had some weird thing about jeweled "grills," but I managed to persuade myself that this must merely mean buttons or maybe Elton John type sunglasses until I was in the middle of this story, when I could resist no longer. I googled. And then I bowed my head and WEPT FOR HUMANITY. (Don't google. If you haven't seen it, DON'T GOOGLE. Just know that he wears bejeweled mouthpieces and be grateful that the phenomenon hasn't spread to other sports. Or, if it has already spread to other sports, don't tell me about it.) And then I showed the picture to Best Beloved so we could weep a little more together. (TFV Marriage Tip #121: Spend a little time each day being mutually appalled together.)

But when we were done, I wiped my tears and kept reading, because this story is fantastic. I have a special love for stories that manage to make seriously disastrous people lovable without erasing any of their problematic elements. And I basically worship this story for convincing me that Ryan Lochte, Ryan Lochte, would be adorable with a baby. And good with a baby. And an actual quality parent. And that he's - yeah, okay, lovable.

Frankly, this story is not just sweet and adorable, and it doesn't just have its best scene take place in a pool, it's also deeply inspiring. At least if you are the kind of person (me) who can be inspired by the discovery that even profoundly flawed human beings can still be reasonably awesome ones. And if that's not enough for you, this has perhaps the best coming out scene in all of recorded fan fiction. At least if you like your coming out scenes the way I do. (My impression of coming out was forever warped by my own experience of it, which was notable for the following conversation between my mother and sister:

My sister, cranky because seriously don't talk to her in the morning she's a fuzzy ball of snit until ten: Are we out of milk?
My mother, on the phone to me: Your sister's a lesbian.

If you're going to come out, and you're worried about the response you might get, I encourage you to practice on my sister in the morning. Okay, really any time, but you'll get much more amusing results if you start early.)

Location of the mother: Absent. But, I mean, this is a character who had unprotected sex with Ryan Lochte, so I can't think anyone would be surprised.

The One That Leaves Me Wishing I Could Download All the Adorable Photos Taken During the Story. Whyyyyy Can't I Make Photos Appear with Just the Power of My Brain? I Swear I Would Use My Power Only for Good! Enough to Crush Your Veins, by [personal profile] doctor_denmark. Hockey RPF, Jeff Skinner/Eric Staal.

When this story first came out, I had several late-night arguments with people about it. And that is definitely a sign of a quality story: people, some of whom have CHILDREN and all of whom have to get up in the morning, spending precious sleep time a) reading a story and b) communicating with friends in other locations who are also up way too late reading the same story. (My father, when I was little, used to tell me about a strange time in our country's history when almost everyone watched the SAME TV SHOWS at the SAME TIME. It was like the world's least social party, the way he described it. "That'll never happen again, of course," he said. If he were alive today, I would tell him that it still does happen. Sort of. In the sense of several thousand people all reading the same pornographic fan fiction story at the same time and mutually shrieking about it via email and Twitter. The thing about my dad is that he would probably have found that inspiring proof of humanity's basic amazingness.)

Anyway. So basically this is the story that put nanny AUs in a box marked done for me, because I'm never going to be able to read all the way through another one without taking this one out and reading it again. It is GREAT. It is CLASSIC. And it works for me - well, okay, first it works for me because the toddler OC is an actual toddler. (I cannot read stories featuring alien toddlers from another dimension. Unless of course they are billed that way. Which reminds me: why don't people write Vulcan toddlers more often? WHERE IS THE VULCAN TODDLER FIC?) But mostly it works because it takes an abused, overused plot element (two people who really need to talk to each other and yet don't) and perfects it. This is how that's supposed to be done, is basically what I take away from this story: two people being idiots, yes, but because of reasons! It makes all the difference.

And, oh, there is so much glorious stuff here. I don't want to spoil it for you, but trust me: if this is the kind of thing you like, then you will basically want to wallow in this story, roll around in it, maybe print out a copy so you can put hearts in the margins in some places. Not that I have done any of those things. (Except I do re-read this basically every time I'm sick, which, given that I have my very own germ vector, means I've re-read it at least 20 times since it was posted. In April. One area of raising a toddler where this story does not achieve realism is in the area of constant illness, but I just assume Eric and Jeff and Joey all have superhuman immune systems, which are probably issued to you free through public health care up in Canada.)

Location of the mother: Present (albeit temporarily in another country)! A good parent who is ACTUALLY INVOLVED IN HER CHILD'S LIFE WHAT IS THIS MADNESS.

The One That Confirms My Theory That Airports Were Put in This World to Test Us to Destruction. Don't You Shake Alone, by [personal profile] dira. Generation Kill, Brad Colbert/Nate Fick.

I always feel like I'm cheating when I recommend a story by Dira. Everyone knows she's good by now, right? Everyone who would even consider reading a lengthy Generation Kill based kidfic did so immediately after she posted it, right? It's like: Dira wrote a good story. In other news, Neil deGrasse Tyson is a basically perfect human being and this Labrador Retriever puppy is cute enough to make your teeth hurt.

But in the end, I don't recommend a story based on whether I think there's an English-reading fan anywhere in the solar system who is unaware of it; I recommend a story because a) I want to write about it and b) I want Best Beloved to read it. (She refuses to read stories I go on about at length unless I actually sit down and write about them. This is the motivation for like 90% of the recommendations I've made in the past four years. TFV Marriage Tip #382: Know how to motivate your partner, and then use that knowledge to make her do things she actually wants to do anyway.)

So. This story is incredible. And not just because it's frankly adorable kidfic set against a background of realistic PTSD, which is not something most writers could manage. This story - like, I read this and I cannot believe that Dira doesn't have children, because she depicts, perfectly and clearly, the complete sea change a new baby brings to your life, and how being a new parent is kind of like - well, in birth classes they talk about "pain with a purpose," because the purpose is supposed to make all the difference. As far as labor goes, this is bullshit. Labor pain is pain. (It's pain with an END, which is way more important than a purpose, at least to me.) But being the parent of a new baby actually is pain with a purpose, and the purpose is making you attach so fiercely to a tiny helpless human that you would cheerfully kill hundreds of people to protect the useless larva that has kept you from sleeping or doing any uninterrupted tasks for the past three months. If human beings were intelligently designed, it was by someone with a massively warped sense of humor.

And if there was ever a fandom designed to underscore the warped nature of human reproduction and development, Generation Kill is that fandom. No one gets how fucked up basically everything is like Marines, is what I'm saying. Plus, the fundamentals of baby care involve a lot of sleep deprivation and random bodily fluids. Again, sort of the wheelhouse of the US Marines. (I'd suggest everyone hire a Marine as a babysitter, but it would have a deleterious effect on the vocabulary of the next generation.)

So this story is just fundamentally right. Plus, you know, hot, sweet, gorgeous, perfect - enough said GO READ.

Location of the mother: Planned absence.

The One That Proves That What Every Parent Really Needs Is Superhuman Senses and Magical Powers. I - Find This Unfair. Kindred, by [ profile] maldoror_gw. Naruto, Gaara/Rock Lee.

Yes, okay, technically this is a sequel (although you could read it as a standalone, but why in god's name would you want to?) to Diplomatic Relations. I'm recommending it anyway because:
  1. It is a great story in its own right.

  2. If you haven't read Diplomatic Relations yet, that's a tragedy, and if you want to live a tragedy that is your choice and I can't be held responsible. All I can do is try to show you the light.
So. Either you should go read Diplomatic Relations, stopping off if necessary at my original recommendation of it, or you have already done this task (and thus been fitter, happier, and more productive for the past four years) and are ready to move directly on to Kindred. Either way, let me tell you about Kindred.

My own theory for how [ profile] maldoror_gw decided to write this story is that she was sitting in her home one day, thoughtfully considering Gaara, as you do, and she suddenly realized there was something even more terrifying to contemplate than Gaara in love: Gaara with a CHILD. Parenting a child. Raising a child! (If you have no idea who Gaara is, it shouldn't hold you back from reading this story, by the way. He's a psychopathic, demon-infested ninja whose childhood consisted entirely of trauma and killing. But as an adult he's really much improved, and some optimistic people even believe he might have a facial expression someday. In short: spacetoaster!) It really is the kind of concept to give you nightmares.

But this story is the exact opposite of a nightmare. Yes, that's in part because Rock Lee, whatever his other faults (mostly excessive enthusiasm and sincerity, and if you don't think sincerity can be a fault, obviously you need to read up on Rock Lee), was basically designed to be a good parent (despite having a traumatic childhood; as far as I can tell from my limited exposure to Naruto, the number of ninjas with traumatic childhoods is all of them). But it's also because Gaara is used to working around his faults, and there is no more accurate description of parenthood than that.

This story is funny, fun, and touching, basically all the things good kidfic should be. Plus it features ninjas in love. I'm not sure how things can ever be better than that. (Okay, maybe if you also added robots? I don't know, it might be overkill, but in my experience robots usually make things better.)

Location of the mother: Deceased, but this is Naruto, where like 80% of adults don't make it past 30, or at least that's how it looks to me from my place of total lack of canon knowledge. (To give you some idea, Rock Lee was orphaned at an early age. Gaara's mother died when he was born and his father died later; you could list "Gaara" as the cause of death for both of them with reasonable accuracy.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(For those of you who remember entry 100: there will also be a Slashiest Fandoms post coming up soon. But as it is now a) tragically large and in need of serious editing and b) evidence of an indecisive and possibly deranged mind, I thought I would forge ahead with the regular sets. It's too weird to get a number anyway.)

(Also, this entry might well be subtitled "We Hates the Semagic, Precious," as said client managed to post a very early draft of this entirely without my permission. Does anyone out there have a favorite Windows LJ client to recommend? I'm not entirely sold on Semagic, obviously, and would be interested to hear reports on the others.)

So. The last entry was about families just in general. This one is about a specific kind of family: the kind where you take a (possibly) loving couple (or more, or less), add a baby or child or minor of some description, step well back, and wait for the fun.

Well, I find it fun, anyway. I have a great fondness for kidfic. I know that's weird. But there's something so happy about it! Generally! And also there's lots of humor! Again, generally speaking! Plus, you know, it's just - actually, I'm not sure love of kidfic can be justified. But I do think that the stories below can be enjoyed even by Kidfic Unbelievers. Because, seriously, there is some excellent stuff out there.

Best FF That Suggests a Cure for Supervillainry That Would Really Put a Dent in All Those Battles That Kill Innocent Civilians and Make Property Insurance So Very Expensive (I'm Betting) in Metropolis, Gotham, and Other Likely Battle Ground Zeros. Although I Suspect It Might Have Unanticipated Consequences for the Next Generation. Conflicts of Interest, by Pru, aka [ profile] rageprufrock. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. I think the original show is proving that you can keep a megalomaniac from conquering the world by pitting him against his son; this story takes that one step further. Remember Kon-El? (Kon-El, people. The son of Clark Kent and Lex Luthor. Canonically. Yes, just one more reason you should get yourself to a comic book store today.) Well, now he's in Smallville. Or, rather, a brand-new one is in Smallville: Conner Clark Luthor. And Pru has done a much better job than any canon ever did of creating a kid we can believe is the son of a super alien and a supergenius. (Hey. I love me some Teen Titans Kon, too; I'm not meaning to be down on him or anything; it's just that this kid is more like what you'd fear might come of that.) And then she does the impossible twice before breakfast by giving us a believable Daddy-Lex-Luthor, too, a Lex who was saved from all that tiresome world-ruling villainy by his son. Or, more specifically, by his son's hyperactive brain and hyperactive body. Because it turns out that even a Luthor can only keep up with the world or a child. Not both. And Lex, as we know, tends to make the right choices when it comes to personal loyalties. Wanting a third wonderful, impossible thing? This story is narrated by Conner, a precocious nine-year-old, and he is not annoying and quite believable and actually more funny than the author probably thinks he is. Here you won't find any of those irritating adults in children's bodies that infest original fiction, wandering around being nauseatingly wise and precious and just generally making the reader want to bite something. Although, seriously, if this story isn't original, I'm not sure anything is.

Best FF That Teaches Readers a Helpful Ditty for Interpreting Celsius Temperatures, Thus Improving Canadian-American Relations (Which, Frankly - Every Little Helps These Days) and Demonstrating the All-Round Educational Nature of Fan Fiction. Sunday's Child, by Dira Sudis, aka [ profile] dsudis. Due South, and I'm afraid I need to err on the side of caution here, even to the extent of not giving y'all pairing information. See, Dira's style is so closely tied to the slow reveal these days that I feel guilty even mentioning that this is a kidfic, because I'm afraid I'm destroying some part of the essential experience of reading it. But, well, this story does belong in this set, as Frannie has a baby, after all - a baby who is probably made mostly of orange juice, actually. And I don't want to wait the slow eternity it will take me to assemble another surprise set. So I'm sort of going with the worst of both methods of recommending - I'm putting the story here, but not saying much about it. But, hey, did I mention that there's a kid in this? In the GTO, even, which shows the sincere importance of the kid in question. There's also a gradual build to a very happy ending (which I, for the record, consider to be absolutely mandatory in kidfic). Mostly I love this one for the sheer plausibility of it; I mean, I love improbable dS fic as much as the next raving Mountie-and-cop-fixated loon; our canon welcomes improbability with open arms, after all, so why shouldn't I? But still, I love the realism here; I read it thinking hey, yeah, that could happen, and that's a great feeling, especially when the ending puts god in his heaven and everything right with the world. Bonus: after you read this, you'll be able to dress like a Canadian. Only with less emphasis on the flannel and ear flaps, I would hope.

Best FF That Proves That Wings and a Halo Don't Render You Proof Against the Dreaded Gurgle of Alarming Cuteness. And Neither, It Turns out, Does the Pitchfork. Satan Will Probably Want to Get Right to Work on Patching Forked Tongue 401.2 to Fix That Little Unanticipated Feature. Bundle of Joy, by [ profile] louiselux. Good Omens, gen. Ish. Though I myself believe that the next scene involves some rather breathless exclamations of "Oh my!" and "Merciful Heavens! Surely you didn't have that in the Garden! I would have remembered." Here we have a scene that should be totally vomit-inducing: Aziraphale babysitting and Crowley experiencing firsthand the joys of baby puke. But this was written by Louise Lux, the same woman who scarred me forever by making MPreg not just tolerable but downright touching*. (If you haven't read Baby Snakes, you must. Immediately. No one is excused from reading Baby Snakes, not even those who are afraid of snakes, or demons, or MPreg, or...well, actually, if you're not afraid of those, I imagine you're not afraid of anything. But that's no excuse, either. Read. Right. Now.) So of course there's something curiously amusing and sweet and so very in-character about all this: Aziraphale acting like a daft but doting uncle, Crowley trying to be aloof but once again failing his Resist Angelic Contamination roll. In the name of all that is unholy, Crowley, steer clear of the angel. Or you might end up, you know, liking him. Oh. Well, it isn't too late to prevent you from having a baby with him. Run!

Best FF in Which a (Relatively) Innocent Child Is Scarred for Life, a Noted Sports Anchor Experiences Involuntary Genital Mutilation, and a Precious Work of Art Leaves the World Forever. And We All Giggle Like Geese. Fluff, by Emily Brunson, aka [ profile] janissa11. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. Sports Night kidfics never fail to fascinate (me, anyway); they're not like the ones in other fandoms, because there's an actual canonical kid for authors to write about here. And that kid's relationship with Danny and Casey is, well, interesting. By the time of the series it's really surprisingly close to the same; both of them are the regularly visited and visiting paternal figure who is not a constant presence in Charlie's life. Which means that while in most other fandoms kidfic tends to be about (or at least feature) the relationship of the parents, kidfic here is usually much more about the differences between Danny and Casey. Truly; in the best Charlie and Danny and Casey stories, the guys are sort of the distilled essence of themselves, to the point where I figure if an author can write a good kidfic she's got the SN voices and characters nailed. So. What's in this kidfic? Well, I dirct you to the title of both the story, because it is pure, delightful, guilty-pleasure, depression-lifting fluff, and the entry, because all those things do happen. (The first time I read this, I kept waiting for Casey to say, "Dammit, we just can't have nice things.") So, basically, this story features the guys doing a very clumsy two-step around Charlie's presence in Casey's apartment. Well, Charlie and his new pet, Max. Whose fluffy and adorable exterior conceals vindictiveness and a plot for world domination, starting with an anti-curtain campaign.

Best FF That Reminds Us of Humanity's Most Enduring Traits: Fortitude, Duplicity, and Really Inventive Obscenities. The Dirt of Sowing and Reaping, by Salieri, aka [ profile] troyswann. Stargate SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson/Sam Carter. Remember how I said there would be happiness and buoyancy and just a hint of baby vomit? Well, this doesn't have the baby vomit, but it does have the happy ending; you just have to get through the destruction of the world at the beginning. But you know what? So worth it. I think one of the reasons SG1 writers like to destroy the world/strand their characters/otherwise introduce a downer note is that they like to play with the characters outside the very restrictive trappings of their canonical life. The uniforms are shiny, yes, and so is the naquadah, but it all comes with regulations and ethics and responsibilities and duties. Turns out it's hard to make a happy ending for a relationship without destroying all that first. (Don't take that to mean that world destruction guarantees a happy ending in this fandom, either; I'm only saying that you usually have to go through the pain to get to the pleasure, not that the pleasure isn't sometimes, um, strictly artistic.) So sometimes the world has to take one for the team, or the team have to get off the world, and that is of course tragic and all that. But in this story - well. Remember how I've said I came to FF from SF? One of the reasons I stick with Stargate is that so often I read the stories and think, "That could've been in Analog." Well, this story made me think, "This could've been in The Year's Best Science Fiction," because it is just that good and multi-layered and wonderfully written and science fictiony. Brilliant characterizations, amazingly authentic city and culture and world, descriptions like pictures in your head. Isn't a story like that worth a teeny, offscreen, Goa'uld-intensive apocalypse? No, you say? Well, but Salieri also throws in the world's least likely kid, a kid that could only exist in SG, and then somehow makes him seem so very real. Still not enough? Sam, Jack, and Daniel make marvelous parents, and are so very much themselves. The world ended, but they just got - distilled. And apparently raising a child is one more thing they do best as a team, and raising this child is one more saving-the-world-by-the-skin-of-their-asses challenge that no one could pull off but them. Still not enough? Well, did I mention the sex?


* Louise is also, for the record, the same woman who induced in my Best Beloved a tragic and instantaneous addiction to a carmel-filled substance known as "Tunnocks," which was an act of much-appreciated cruelty, given that we can't get these things in Los Angeles. I mean, I liked them, yes, but for a while I thought Best Beloved was going to leave me for them. (Or, more likely, leave America for them, taking me along because I am cute and fairly handy around the house. Plus, I speak rudimentary British.) So curse those wily Glaswegians and their addicting sweetstuffs! But love on Louise. I'm pretty sure she keeps Aziraphale in her basement.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Run in fear - it's kidfic! Kidfic is the slightly-saner older sibling of MPreg. The men don't get pregnant. They just rear, or care for, a child. And, yes, it can be horrible and desecrating and nauseatingly sweet - diabetics are strongly cautioned - but sometimes it works very well. Of course, I now believe that there's no horrible fan fiction subgenre or theme that can't work in the hands of a sufficiently talented author. (I think I realized this around the time I found myself actually nominating an MPreg story.)

Best FF That Will Make You Think Twice - and Then Three Times, and Then Send You Out on a Drinking Binge - Before You Decide to Be a Foster Parent: With Six You Get Eggroll, by speranza. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser, Stella Kowalski/Ray Vecchio. This, my friends, is the end-all be-all of kidfic; apparently Ray and Fraser just can't do things by halves, because they end up with six kids in about the amount of time it takes me to commit to a toaster. Speranza takes this whole concept three times around the dance floor, in the process introducing us to some of the more realistic kids I've encountered in FF. She also makes some interesting and believable guesses about how these guys would do as parents. In a way, that's actually one of the best things about kidfic; it's similar to AU fic in that it shows us the essence of the characters by changing their circumstances. Please note that some readers may find parts of "Eggroll" a bit sweet. I did myself, actually. But the humor and the situation make it all worthwhile.

Best FF That May Send You Scurrying for Additional Birth Control Options (and, If You Are Male, Induce Some Thoughtful Back-Dating): Another Mode of Belonging, by grit kitty. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. This story fills a need I didn't even realize this canon had. See, the essence of TS is that Jim pretty much co-opts Blair. Seriously. Blair ends up doing Jim's work, living in Jim's house, coping with Jim's senses. And then, in the last episode, Blair loses the last vestiges of his own life. After I read "Belonging," I realized that parity could only be achieved by having some part of Blair's life overtake Jim. And that's exactly what grit kitty has happening here. Best part of this story is definitely Jim's mixed emotions and reactions to the presence of Blair's kid in his life; I don't think this could get any more realistic.

Best FF Featuring a Chase Scene in Which One Party Is Encumbered, Not to Mention Ensmelled, by a Baby: Not My Baby, by [ profile] dsudis. Buffy the Vampire Slayer*, gen. Unfortunate spell hijinks result in a baby version of Dawn. Spike steps in as vampire-dad-for-a-day (well, night, really) and copes with various problems both mundane and, um, smelly. This story will be especially good for those of you who have long believed that people with young children are pretty much undead anyway; you'll be able to see a blood-sucker instead of a zombie in the parent role for a change.

Best FF That Makes Me Want to Send Angry Comments to the Author Deploring Her Apparent Desire to Destroy Every Last Standard I Have Ever Had: Five Things That Never Happened: The World Turned Upside Down, by shalott, aka [ profile] astolat. Master & Commander, Aubrey/Maturin. Did I promise there would be no MPreg in this set? I certainly did not. Though, in fact, this is not technically MPreg. It's genderswitch. After all, the person who gets pregnant is functionally female. The curse of shalott rides again; this is an abhorrent idea and I'm embarrassed I read it, let alone nominated it, but, um, it's, well...good. Look, blame her, OK? I only read what others write. Be aware that in addition to genderswitching, an odd version of MPreg, and a serious AU, this story also contains het. After a fashion. And I flatly refuse to say any more about it; read it, and then we can all pretend this nomination never happened.


* Please note that I am warily dipping my toes in the BtVS fandom yet again. Every previous excursion has ended with me waving my hands around and saying, "How the hell am I supposed to understand this? I don't have time to get a freaking doctorate in Buffylore!" This time, though, my Best Beloved has nobly volunteered to watch the whole series and then teach me the basics. I'm hoping this will, in time, allow me to know the canon and love the fandom**, but right now I've just gotten started and BB is only on season two. So what I'm saying is, essentially, any BtVS I nominate may or may not be in character or in canon, 'cause right now I barely know the names of the major players, and I wouldn't know a canon deviation if it bit Buffy on the neck.

** What is the fandom? Love is the fandom. What is the fandom? The fandom is death. Sorry, sorry, but I couldn't resist.


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