thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Those of you who were on the earthling filter way back when he was still leasing space in my body may remember that I suffer from a very severe case of Familial Lyrics Disorder, as did my father and my grandmother before me. (Some of our incorrect songs have been handed down through three generations!) It's not just that I mishear and misremember lyrics, it's that my brain hardwires the wrong things in and will not admit any correction. (It's worse with traditional songs that you mostly sing rather than hear. Never sing these with me. Ever.)

So. Recently, thanks to a certain Star Trek: TOS YouTube vid, I have been listening to Justin Timberlake's Sexyback from time to time. And. Well. There's a portion of the lyrics that goes like this (and I am copying these from a lyrics site, because god knows you shouldn't trust my brain on this one):

Come here girl
Go ahead, be gone with it
Come to the back
Go ahead, be gone with it
Go ahead, be gone with it
Drinks on me
Go ahead, be gone with it
Let me see what you're working with
Go ahead, be gone with it
Look at those hips
Go ahead, be gone with it
You make me smile
Go ahead, be gone with it

...And then my brain just INSISTS that the next line is:

Julia Child
Go ahead, be gone with it

Now. Best Beloved (and the aforementioned lyrics site) has pointed out to me many times that he is actually saying GO AHEAD, child, but my brain of course cannot possibly believe this. Every time I hear the song, I find myself singing about Julia Child.

Which means that my brain now believes it to be canon that Julia Child is pretty much Justin Timberlake's ideal woman. (He tells her to get her sexy on!) It just does. Nothing can convince it otherwise. And so I will be driving in my car and thinking about how sad their true love is, what with her being married and, you know, dead and stuff. I picture him secretly owning the complete Julia Child collection, including the extremely rare early public access shows, and saying to his bandmates (and I don't even remember which band he's from, which I know will get me soundly scorned in fandom, but probably not nearly as much as pairing Justin Timberlake with Julia Child), "No, guys, go ahead, I have - uh, some stuff I need to do here."

And then he puts on a DVD - ooo, forcemeat! - and sighs wistfully at the screen, thinking, Man, they don't make them like this anymore. And then later he does a perfect Julia Child imitation, and everyone laughs, and he smiles too, but inside he's dying, of course.

A long time ago (11 internet millennia), Bone told me that sooner or later, I'd find the RPF fandom that would drag me in. I considered it a promise. Ever since then, I have tried to read one story in every RPF fandom that came down the pike, always hoping that this would be the magical one that broke whatever it is in my brain that can't deal with RPF. And now I'm afraid I have, and the fandom in question is Justin Timberlake/Julia Child. I mean, what if this is the only RPF pairing my brain will ever accept? It's too weird even for Yuletide! No one else anywhere is interested in this pairing! It's just me and my defective brain!

It's very sad. And yet I experience such joy every time I hear Justin Timberlake say "look at those hips" and my brain pictures Julia Child. (Try it! You'll like it!) So really I have no regrets.

Now. Obviously, with a lead in like that, I have no choice but to offer you rare pairings. (And I would offer you Justin Timberlake/Julia Child, but unfortunately the entire archive is located in my head.)

The One That Features Very Serious Neckcloth Hurt/Comfort. Ascots and Ties May Wish to Skip This One. Clean Linen, by [personal profile] cimorene. Georgette Heyer novels, Claud Darracott/Felix Hethersett. (And, yes, even if you have read every Heyer novel ever, you may be sort of groping through your mind for who these people are. That's why they are a rare pairing! (Which I just almost wrote as rairing. OH GOD NO.) And if you've never read any Heyer, you may be thinking you shouldn't read this. Go right ahead! You don't need to know the canon, and it will allow you to see if you like Heyer's style, since this is basically Heyer, but with gay sex.)

So. One of the weird things about Heyer for me is that - okay, sometimes, reading older books, I have the sense that the author is sneaking gay people into the margins - leaving clues for people who know but not saying anything so as not to scare the horses. And generally I assume I'm right. I suspect Dorothy Sayers was really doing that, for example. But with Heyer I know I can't be. I learned this from one of her detective novels, which features a canonically gay character. Heyer was not the woman you wanted to be writing those, turns out. Her coded-as-gay characters are much, much more realistic than her ham-handed attempt to write an actual gay man. Also, she appears to have believed, in all seriousness, that homosexuality could be caused by childhood asthma. (Wait - I had childhood asthma! And I'm a lesbian! SHE WAS ON TO SOMETHING, PEOPLE.)

And yet. With so many of her male characters - often including the ones who end up, you know, married and all that - she seems to be standing on a rooftop shrieking, "GAAAAAAAAY. They are ALL GAY. MY MALE CHARACTERS LOVVVVVVE COCK!"

Cimorene appears to have been hearing something similar. And, wow, she does this up right. She gives the character an actual gay life, appropriate to the times and the country in question, in addition to Heyer's apparently unconsciously inserted (but nonetheless very clear) desire for cock.

So, here are the reasons to read this story:
  1. A secret gay Regency lifestyle!
  2. Hijinks and shenanigans!
  3. It's awesome!
  4. It's like it was written by a Georgette Heyer who owned her intense interest in gay men. So, basically, a healthier, happier Heyer. Who doesn't want that?

The One That Suggests That the Holidays Will Be More Interesting Than Ever in the Kirk Household This Year. Common Bond, by florahart. Star Trek Reboot (with TOS references, as one does). Winona Kirk/Sarek.

For reasons that do not need exploring at this juncture, it took a lot of temptation on the part of fan fiction writers before I could face up to reading Winona Kirk stories. (It will not surprise you to hear that this story was my gateway drug.) But I've started to love stories about her. Partly that's just because it's really rare in any canon to see the mother of a hero treated like a person. (Her most typical role is as a gravestone, and in any case, she exists primarily to give him interesting issues. Which is perfectly fine; that's the price you pay for having a hero, lady! Next time, have an accountant. They probably remember their mothers' birthdays.) And partly it's because I love the things authors in this fandom do with her, and how she, more often than George, gets to be the source of the Kirkiness in Jim's gene pool. (I firmly believe she was, even if in the movie all she really did was, you know, the actual action of becoming a mother.)

But this story is unusual even among the Winona Kirk stories, because it's about her in the canon now, as opposed to when she was young and crazy. (And I think the entire fandom is in agreement that to produce someone like James Tiberius Kirk, you probably have to be crazy.) This is an incredibly rare beast in fan fiction: it is a story about romance between adults.

In this story, Sarek and Winona both have jobs and grown-up (if only in the numerical sense) kids, and they've both had relationships before. And I don't mean "She'd been married before, of course, but she realized as she gazed into his eyes - sorry, I probably mean searing cerulean orbs - that she had never truly known what love was before this moment." I mean, I love a true first time as much as the next girl - more, actually, in most cases - but it is so refreshing to me that this first time isn't First Love or Best Love, it's just, you know, the first time for Sarek and Winona. They don't sit around ranking their relationships by total trueness of love, with the clear understanding that there can be only one! (Beheading the also-rans is optional. In some cases.) They know what they want and are comfortable with it! Or, you know, are pretty sure wanting is against the teachings of Surak but willing to take it anyway. (Vulcans, in some cases, are starting from well behind the line in the grown-up races.) They're confident in bed! They have to clear their calendars to get to bed! It's just - it's weird, is all. And awesome. I'm not used to reading fan fiction about people who are more mature than I am.

And yet they're not all dignified and shit. I don't even know how [personal profile] florahart did this. It's like they're real people!

The One Featuring a Novel Means of Accomplishing MPreg That Is Really Never Going to Be Popular in Fan Fiction. I Hope. Please God No No NO. Ahras Huitwalassis, by [ profile] frostfire_17. Historical, Mita/Lakan.

This story is a historical gay romance. And the historical site in question - this would not surprise anyone who had ever spent more than about ten minutes with [ profile] frostfire_17, although it's going to come out of left field for everyone else - is Hatti.

Now, possibly you are thinking to yourself, "I don't want to read about Hittites." Possibly you didn't even know Hatti meant Hittites until just a sentence ago. (I didn't, until I started listening to [ profile] frostfire_17. She is extremely compelling on the subject, and after you spend a few hours talking to her, you switch from not really caring at all about Hittites to wondering if you could find an authentic recipe for the thick bread.) But this story is wonderful. I promise you, even if your interest in Hittites is mathematically indistinguishable from zero, you will love this story. For serious. I went into it all, "Hmm. Hittites? Well, Frost is usually reliable, so -" and came out of it thinking that really she should write a whole book series set in this period. (I would read it! Hittite mystery novels, for example, would be excellent.)

It's just - this is incredible. I love the characters, I love the rich details of the setting - there is so much incredible worldbuilding. Which sounds strange to say about a historical period, so perhaps instead I should call it historybuilding. I love the progression of this romance. I basically love everything about the story except that it ends. (Every time I read it, it takes all of my willpower not to send Frost an unhappy email indicating that this story is not over until Mita and Lakan die of extreme old age, in their bed, surrounded by sorrowing great-grandnieces and nephews.)

And if that was not enough: I am not kidding about the MPreg, which you will be relieved to hear is not part of the actual story. It's a myth, and it's a real one, and it proves that fan fiction writers have nothing on the religion builders of old. You need to read this myth. Most of all, you need to read Mita's reaction to the myth, which will be familiar to everyone who has ever, to her astonishment, found herself reading MPreg for the first time.

The One That Proves That Canon Writers Should Not Make a "Secret Swinger" Joke, Unless of Course They Want Us to Take Them up on It. Wear a Moonlit Face, by [personal profile] gloss. DCU Silver Age, Barry Allen/Iris Allen/Bruce Wayne. (Don't worry if you have no idea who some of those people are. I will explain in a moment why you're probably better off that way.)

Comics are hard. Perhaps once upon a time they were light-hearted entertainment for children, but now you need a bank of computers and several dedicated data analysts to be able to figure out what's canon. (The good part about this is that when everything's canon, nothing is. You can pick and choose! Want a character who is at this moment dead to be alive in your story? If he's alive at any point in the canon, you can do that. Want two characters who have never met to fuck? Well, it's not like you can trace anyone's whereabouts through the entire continuity; the continuity doubles back, twists around itself, dives through a wormhole, and explodes, so just pick a time when the character is not actually in a panel. After all, anyone who wants to call you on it is going to need those dedicated data analysts, too.)

I bring all this up for three reasons:
  1. The only Flash I know anything about is Wally West. This story is about Barry Allen, so I went to Wikipedia to try to get myself up to speed (Ha! Oh, I slay myself sometimes) on the character. I'm going to give you the link, but take my advice and do not click until after you've read the story. (It will make a nice aperitif, provided you like your cocktails with gin, bitters, nitroglycerin, and just a hint of LSD.) That page is hysterical, because it's an attempt to summarize and explain something that cannot possibly be understood.
  2. This story does not require you to know any of that shit. Seriously, all you need is in the author's notes and the two panels (or the transcript of them) offered in the story itself.
  3. Everyone should read this story just for those two panels alone. I seriously think comics canon gets so complicated that even the writers don't hear themselves, because I do not know any way to interpret those panels besides the one [personal profile] gloss went with here.
This is a story about Iris, Barry, and Bruce having sex. And I'm using the Flash's and Batman's secret identities - their actual people names - deliberately. This whole story, to me, is about exactly how much a secret identity can fuck you up. (It should be required reading for Pa Kent over in Smallville, who honestly appears to believe that keeping secrets will be heathier for Clark.)

In this story, Barry doesn't fit inside his own skin. Bruce is playing the Asshole Playboy with his customary single-minded dedication. And the thing is - okay, I always have just assumed that Bruce was the three-dimensional equivalent of a cardboard cutout propped in the mansion window. But of course he wouldn't let that happen: Bruce would have a role, and he'd play it perfectly. And I am not at all surprised that he'd be kind of a dick. I cannot imagine Batman ever managing to pull off the role of cuddlebunny.

So what I love about this story is the way it shows what secret identities really mean. Which is, in this case, that Iris Allen is fucking two men who aren't real and aren't exactly there. Seriously, guys, a suggestion: therapy. Also, consider ditching the masks. They are not healthy.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
March 12 was Best Beloved's birthday, and what she wanted was a recs set. (We know how to give the big, important, expensive gifts in this family.) Specifically, she wanted clichefic, which she is apparently very fond of.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In any case, I love genderswitch. I particularly love when writers play with it a bit - not just the classic scenario of "Hey, you have new parts! They are more compatible with MY parts! What say we get it on?" (Not that there is anything wrong with that.) And I love what [ profile] thingswithwings does here; she turns both the guys female, and what happens then says a lot about, you know, deep things: sexual preference, identity, desire versus love. So there is thinkiness and girl-on-girl action. (If only more written works managed to incorporate both of these things. In particular, I can think of some textbooks that would be vastly improved by sex. Although, in all honesty, some of those textbooks could be improved by adjectives, so it's not like the bar is set particularly high, here. Still. I think we can agree that sex improves most things.) In short: this is one of my favorite genderswitch stories, and genderswitch is one of my favorite cliches, so - really, this is a very favorite thing of mine. Read!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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.


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 [ 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 [ 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)
And, frankly, I'm going to need the comfort. I will be spending the next week - seven glorious days! - shut in a very expensive hotel room (five minutes away from where I live) with two large dogs, one of whom does not like new things and howls if you leave him alone for any reason whatsoever, and the other of whom is going to view this as the best thing that has ever happened to her, and also terrify the housekeepers. And who has an unholy ability to manipulate new environments to her advantage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Basically, Methos is the guaranteed pass round of I Have Never, because if he's never done it, neither has anyone else. Oh, I guess at a multi-fandom table you could have him say something like, "I've never been to another planet," at which point John Sheppard, Teal'c, and Clark Kent all drink. But, failing multiple crossovers selected with extreme care, Methos's turn is a built-in opportunity for everyone to sober up just enough to discuss some of the things he did drink on. ("I - with the goat. I didn't think he'd drink there." "You didn't? Fool. But my question - I mean, when in god's name did he detonate a nuclear device?")

156: LOL!

Nov. 19th, 2006 10:16 am
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Hey. You guys know everything, so: does anyone out there know about tea? Specifically, I'm looking for loose-leaf tea that I can buy online that is very, very tasty. Like, a nice assortment of it, maybe. Like, if you were going to get loose-leaf tea as a present, what specific teas would you want?

In return for any help you can give me in this (important!) matter, I offer you an assortment of amusing stories. Not actually written by me, no. But hand-selected by me! With artisan story summaries!

(Also, hey: check out my cool, be-snowified default icon, originally by [ profile] makesmewannadie and modified by [ profile] slodwick, who brings the seasonal cheer in buckets. Of course, this is the only snow I'll see this winter, because I live in LA and it's like forty billion degrees here every fucking day, but that just makes the snowy icon more precious. Thanks, Slod!)

The Funniest Joke Is the One That's on the Joker. Revenge, by [ profile] astolat. Smallville(ish), Clark Kent/Lex Luthor.

(Note: I say "Smallvilleish" because this is Shalott's special version of Smallville: set in the future, mixed with special elements of comics canon, and whipped into a delightful, frothy blend. And, really, I would love to read more stories like that, and I know there was a challenge to mix comics and TV canon there a while back. Anyone have a link?)

You've got to love the Joker. He wants nothing more than what we all want - to make people laugh, and rejoice, and be gay. Which is (obviously) why I'm starting the set with this story; it's got the Joker in all his glory, and who could be a better mascot for a humor set than him? (Do not, at this point, attempt to picture the Joker in one of those unfortunate sports-team mascot suits - I'm guessing it would be for, like, the Gotham Bats - prancing around and leading the crowd in cheers. You will go to a bad place in your head, and you might not come back. This is how people end up in Arkham rooming with Poison Ivy, thinking about things like that.)

And, in fact, the Joker does succeed here, in that I laughed. Except I was partly laughing at him, and I'm not sure that was his purpose. But I was also partly laughing at Clark and Lex, so that should make him happy. (Oh, boys, just give up and fuck each other already; unresolved sexual tension is un-American.)

The Funniest Joke Is One That Involves Baaaaaaaaby Animals. Two-Color Dog Happiness, by [ profile] lcsbanana. Stargate: Atlantis, gen.

(Note: if you followed along in [ profile] lcsbanana's LJ when she was writing this, you'll still want to click on the link, which has a special epilogue.)

Okay. I know there are people out there who do not enjoy thinking about various characters being turned into baaaaaaaaby animals. You people run along to the next recommendation, because I warn you that here there will be unabashed use of terms like "cute" and "adorable" and, well, "baaaaaaaaby animals."

Go. Go on. There's a special alternative to this story coming up for you.

And now that they've moved on, I think those of us who are left can acknowledge that we feel very, very sorry for them, yes? Because there is a certain pure and ecstatic beauty to turning characters into baby animals. I don't think I even need to sell you on the concept - I mean, funny! Cute! Baby animals! What else is there to say? - so I'll just register a formal complaint that this is not a thriving subgenre of fan fiction on at least the level of MPreg. We live in a world where male pregnancy is more common than random pandafication, and even though I can (and have) gone for a good MPreg, that is just sad. Where is the story in which Daniel Jackson is turned into a fuzzy, blinking alpaca? In which Sam Winchester is turned into a gazelle? In which Fraser finds a ferret breaking into the front door of the Consulate one evening? I have done my share; I've turned Ray Kowalski into a zebra and Tim Drake into a wombat. Have you done yours? (Because, hey, if you have, I need links.)


The Funniest Joke Is One That Involves the Leader of the Free World Having Indecent Relations with a Rabbit. (Note: Not Actually As Scarring As It Sounds.) Wabbit Hunting, by [ profile] supacat. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor (ish). (I refuse to apologize for the fandom duplication here. I am totally unrepentant, thanks.)

Yes, this is the story for the people who couldn't take the baaaaaaaaby animals. Yes, there is, um, another animal transformation here. But it's Clark Kent, people, and he's the pet of Lex Luthor. Tell me that doesn't appeal. Tell me that's not, like, the plot of 3,500 stories, at least 30 of which you have saved to your hard drive.

Just, usually Clark isn't small and furry at the time. Is all. Very minor difference!

But I think even people who would, if given the option, take torture and death over widdle furry animals will find this story appealing. Why? Because Lex Luthor gets his awful revenge on Clark Kent at long, long last.

By naming him "Bunnykins." And scratching behind his ears.

I'm sorry, but if you don't see the joy inherent in that, you aren't even human.

The Funniest Joke Is One with Sound Effects and a Theme Song (Performed a Capella and in Slow Motion). My Observed Holiday, by [ profile] stoney321. Scrubs, gen.

There is not a single animal in this one, unless you count Rowdy. No mention of baaaaaaaaby animals at all. So if you've got tragic textual fur allergies, you can tune back in now.

Instead, we have a simple message of love, of individuality, of finding celebration and meaning in this cold cruel world of ours, of the beauty of some TV show I've never heard of. (But that doesn't mean I don't love it, people! I totally do! I'm just - a little confused. Is it seriously about a man whose skin comes off his arms so you can see the muscles underneath? Like, they made a show about the Visible Man thing that we used in elementary school for our "science" classes, where "science" means "passing around a plastic liver and listening to your classmates make EWWW GROSS noises"? Because if so, I see that drugs have been a problem in the entertainment industry and a threat to our nation's mental health for much longer than I'd thought.)

In this story, J.D. and Turk teach us the importance of making and observing our own traditions. In these crazy times, we need cultural touchstones. And, frankly, sometimes the existing ones don't cut it. So what do you do? Do you continue to celebrate Arbor Day even though you're allergic to trees? Or do you choose to celebrate the magic of one Steve Austin instead?

I know what I'm picking. Won't you all join me in February for Baaaaaaaaby Animal Transmogrification Day? (Yeah, I totally lied about there being no mention of baaaaaaaaby animals here.) There will be themed snacks! I have cookie cutters and I'm not afraid to deploy them adorably! Or obscenely, as necessary!

The Funniest Joke Is One with Lots of Towels. Although, Sadly, This Is Very Hard on the Towels. Poor Towels. Five Times Arthur Dent Lost His Towel, by [ profile] makesmewannadie. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent/Ford Prefect.

The Five Things meme always fills my heart with joy. People can do amazing things within the framework of "Five Times They Boogied Until They Just Couldn't Boogie No More" and "Five Things You Really Didn't Want to Know That Fraser Is Going to Tell You Anyway." Sometimes you can even request these. Admittedly, I never have any good ideas - or by the time I do the person in question has 55 requests already and is considering fleeing to a new country and taking up a life as an itinerant mouseworker - but it's always fun seeing what other people come up with.

And it's a lot of fun to see what the actual writers do with these prompts. (Although, really, do I just miss all the multi-fandom prompts? The ones I've seen tend to be, like, "Five Songs That Tim Listens to That Batman Secretly Likes, Even If He Would Die Before Admitting That" and less along the lines of "Five Tattoos That Aren't Canon but Totally Should Be." Possibly multi-fandom prompts are harder. Or possibly this is just further evidence of me sucking at prompts.)

Anyway. Um. I kind of got carried away with the love for the meme and failed to talk about my love for this particular story. Which is - well. There's Arthur. There's towel abuse and carnage. There's intergalactic slang. I just - do I need to say any more to get you to read this? Because if so - wow. You are a tough sell, and you should totally write me a list of five things I could say to get you to read a really excellent story, so next time I can start there. (Suggested example: "Read this story or the baby animal gets it." What, you thought I could let the baby animals go?)

The Funniest Jokes Are Ones That Feature Extremely Humorous Nicknames That You Will Inevitably Think of at a Very Inappropriate Moment in the Near Future, and Then Have an Unfortunate Fit of the Giggles. So Skip This One If the Fate of the Free World Usually Depends on You, Okay? Eight Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Ward Sidekick Partner: or Dude you sound like a NAMBLA member, by [ profile] brown_betty. D. C. Universe, Robin/Superboy.

I think we can all agree that the worst possible in-law in the whole history of ever is Batman. Oh, you may think that people who married into the Borgia family had it tough, but that was before state-of-the-art surveillance. Also, probably the Borgias like to have a laugh from time to time. Probably they hugged and stuff, too.

Just try to imagine hugging Batman. Yeah, I know. My mind goes to a bad place with restraints and blood tests and special Bat-shaped anti-hug guards, too.

Plus, Batman tends to be slightly, um. Protective of his Robins. I mean, sure, he can't keep track of each fallen Robin - notice how Steph STILL does not have a memorial Case of Angsty Batness - but he has standards. I think Betty's done an excellent job of delineating these standards here. The first one, for example, is "Don't." Batman probably has several stilted, abbreviated conversations with Robin along those lines, never getting any further than, "Robin. Don't." And then he gives up and goes to talk to Superboy instead. It's hard to date a Bat, man.

And yet Tim is obviously very tempting.

Poor Kon.

(If you were waiting for a baby animal reference: they are BATS and ROBINS, people. The animal references come built-in! Although Tim as an actual wee Robin would be - really, really disturbing, actually. "Quick, Robin! To the Batcage!" Yikes.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
First, an announcement.

Does anyone remember the 20 Questions game online? You know, the one where you played against a program. Well, it has new versions that are still in the learning phase, and I've had a delightful time teaching the movie and TV edition to be fannish. I added a bunch of my favorite characters to the database and have been patiently playing through them over and over until the program learns to guess them. Add yours today! (Rare fandoms only at this point, I'd think.)

But here's the thing - I added John Sheppard. But I didn't have to add Rodney McKay. The database didn't know anything about Stargate: Atlantis - or most of my other fandoms, when I first got there - but it knew Rodney McKay.

Am I the only one who finds that amusing? Am I the only one who sort of suspects Rodney of adding himself, in some weird AU-twisty kind of way?

Anyway. Today's theme is near-death experiences. In fan fiction, I mean; I'm not going to, like, hold your head under water or anything. You want an actual near-death experience, you can pay to attend a management seminar, just like everyone else has to.

(P.S. [ profile] lithium_doll just celebrated her 1000th entry. So, if you get a chance, go over here and leave a comment, to help her get to 1000 comments on her 1000th entry. You can request a vidlet, too, while you're there.)

You Know, a Lot of Men Claim That the Only Woman for Them Is an Indestructible Bisexual Amazon Goddess with Magical Rope, but When Batman Says It, I Kind of Believe Him. Aspire to Touch the Sky, by [ profile] brown_betty. DC Universe, Diana/Bruce Wayne, Diana/Batman. (Yes, the pairing information is entirely accurate. It's not my fault Bruce has issues, people. Or, okay, let me put it this way: it's not my fault Bruce Wayne is batshit crazy. Blame - I don't know. DC, I guess.)

[ profile] brown_betty describes this as a Lord King Bad Fic, and, frankly, I resent that. Or, rather, I did resent it (entirely on the story's behalf, let me assure you); I have since decided it's okay. Because, see, the key to the Lord King Bad designation is, as far as I can tell, to use all your talent, skill, passion, and belief to pursue an idea that you would totally have loved when you were 13. You let your inner adolescent write a story or make a vid, now that you actually have the ability to, you know, do it well. So, really, when Betty calls this a Lord King Bad Fic, she's just saying, "When I was 13, I would have read with pleasure any story in which Bruce Wayne and Diana entered into an arranged marriage. But I had to wait until now to be able to write it."

My only argument now is - who wouldn't read with pleasure a story in which Bruce Wayne and Diana enter into an arranged marriage? I just cannot believe there could be some sad, deranged soul out there who doesn't read that description and immediately say, "The only thing that could be better than that is a DC genderfuck pirate AU." (Seriously. If you don't want to read about Bruce Wayne + Diana = marriage of convenience, you just - well. I'm sure you have your reasons. But please don't tell me about them, because I want to retain some faith in humanity, thanks.)

Anyway. This is a fabulous story; an arranged marriage with a side order of near-death experience, gods, Amazons, hot sparring sequences, sarcastic Robins, and, best of all, fabulous Diana narrative, so perfectly in character that I would suspect Betty of being her, except that would break the fourth wall so thoroughly that we'd all end up in the fourth dimension, like those poor characters in the really clever kind of modern novel that you end up having to read because a friend or relation wrote it. (And, of course, now I'm wondering - if Wonder Woman was in fandom, what fandom would it be? And would she be exclusively femslash, or would she ruthlessly bring all characters together regardless of gender, or would she completely ignore sex in favor of writing lengthy gen stories featuring a lot of fighting and rope play? I have no idea, but I can say that whichever of the options she chose, I would be entirely in favor of it.)

The One in Which John Sheppard Racks up More Near-Death Experiences Than All the Other Characters in This Recs Set Combined, and No One Is Really Surprised. MVP, by [ profile] cesperanza. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

Lately, I've been trying to avoid the, "But everyone already knows about that one" line of reasoning. I mean, I assumed that everyone on earth knew about the vid Atlantis!, and it turned out several poor unfortunate souls did not. Imagine if I hadn't recommended it. They'd be condemned to a wretched, tragic existence, endlessly searching for something to fill the gaping hole in their lives, sort of like those ghosts that wander around sucking people's lifeforces and wailing and rattling chains. And in those situations, do people ever think of systematically watching all the vids in the world until they find the problem? No. They turn to drugs and sex and then, in the fullness of time, therapy. So, really, I was saving souls when I recommended that vid. Or at least a lot mental health co-pays.

And that's what I'm attempting to do here. Because it is just possible - just barely within the margins of possibility - that someone has not read this story, and, well. Did anyone ever read "The Little Match Girl"? Yeah. It could turn out like that. I can't take that risk.

Because, see, I think that maybe, just maybe, this is my favorite of all Speranza's SGA stories to date. (I know, I know, tough call. And I'll probably make a different decision tomorrow. But at the moment of typing it, that was a true statement.) It has a simple plot, really. Rodney is tempted by forbidden knowledge and then learns that snooping doesn't pay. No, wait, wrong - I think Milton wrote that one. In this one, Rodney learns that snooping totally does pay, in hot gay sex. And, frankly, I think we're all better people for observing his learning process.

John, on the other hand, once again demonstrates his amazing abilities to defy death and confuse the fuck out of everyone. (And I don't just mean everyone on Atlantis. Half the attraction of this canon, I suspect, is that the fans can stare at John, totally mesmerized by his intensely weird suite of behaviors, and then try to make up explanations for them. The current leading explanation, I believe, is that he's the reincarnation of Elvis, but it's neck-and-neck with the shapechanging robot from the future theory.) And did I mention the hot gay sex? (I find, upon review, that I did. But, hey, it's worth a second mention, right?)

The One in Which Death Is Proven to Be a Minor Obstacle, All Things Considered, in the Search for the Divine Hand. Well, the Canon Proved That, So Let's Just Say This Story Provides a Meaningful Underscore. Bloodstone, by K. Stonham, aka [ profile] sakon76. Hikaru no Go, gen. (If you're looking for the manga, you can find it here, a chapter at a time, or I'll be happy to upload it in larger sets for you. If you're looking for the anime, you can download it at

There is, actually, a near-death experience in this, but it comes rather late in the story. The predominant plot is actually about what we might call a trans-death experience. You know they say - and by "they," I mean "a bunch of people I can't call to mind, only some of whom are imaginary" - that you can't call it a fandom until it has a vampire story? Well, this is Hikaru no Go's vampire story. (It's actually based on one of those extra pieces of canon art that you find with manga - a Hallween picture with Hikaru as a vampire. And I would totally link to it for you, but I can't find it. If you've downloaded all the manga, you'll find the vampire picture somewhere in there.)

Despite the presence of a ghost in the canon, I have to say "Hikaru no Go vampire story" was not high on my list of obvious stories for someone to write. It's just - Go. Vampires. They don't seem like a good fit. But they are, and I am so glad. And not just because I crave good Hikaru no Go stories (although, hey, if anyone ever wants to make me happy, that's how) but because it works so surprisingly well. And it mostly does that by focusing on what really matters.

Because, okay, yes, Hikaru's a vampire, and, yes, that does cause certain problems - sensitivity to light, need to drink blood, living death - which lead to other problems, like a certain amount of difficulty getting to scheduled matches. But that's just minor stuff, really. Totally irrelevant, in fact, because Go is what matters.

In this story, Hikaru and Akira have the same laser-like focus on Go, and on each other, that they do in the canon. (The first real game they play against each other, Akira says he's been waiting for two years and four months. And then they play lightning-fast, because they can't hold back - they've been waiting too long and wanting each other too much. Seriously, the Go is sex in this canon.) And Akira won't let anything, including a minor case of death, get in the way of Go, and neither will Hikaru, and I just - I love them for it. *sniffle*

The Story That Is Going to Make Me Feel Like a Total Wimp the Next Time I Whine About Not Wanting to Go to Home Depot. Sinner's Grove, by Martha, aka [ profile] saffronhouse. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. (You know, it's just occured to me that if SG1 fandom was starting up now, in this modern era of unfortunate pairing names, this pairing would be called JackJack. Unless - wait. It's not actually already called that somewhere, right?)

So, first and foremost: disturbing themes, folks. I mean this. I'm going to try not to spoil this here, but - well, as the author says, if you've got places you'd rather not go in your fan fiction, read the warnings on her index page. (There's a link at the top of the page.) I will also be offering an alternate near-death experience SG1 story, so you can still get your fix if you need to give this a miss.

And I would not in any way blame you for skipping this, but you would be missing out in a big way. When I first read this, I was horrified and absolutely transfixed; I could not move away from the computer until I was done. This story is way, way outside my comfort zone, dealing with a topic that I basically never want to read in my fan fiction, and yet it is so perfectly done that I regularly re-read this out of pure admiration. I'm not even sure why it works the way it does - surely the contrast of the mundane and the horrible helps, as does the way the story is told; she doesn't hit you with it, but lets you figure it out, and she builds the comfort right alongside the hurt. I get all that. I still can't quite see why this works this well. I'm guessing the secret ingredient is genius. (Or tea. Could be tea.)

I do think, though, that it'd be damned near impossible to tell this story with different characters. This story comes close to defining SG1 for me, because - yeah, this is what they do. They live through the pain, the horror, the suffering, the near-death (and real death) experiences: they live to fight another day, only they do it without any of that pansy retreating and regrouping stuff. It's pretty much damn the religion-associated evil aliens, light speed ahead for this team. (And if you want one of them to take a vacation, you either have to kill him or drive him to Minnesota, which, as I'm sure you know, is basically the same thing.)

My point is - I believe, or this story makes me believe, that Jack and Daniel could go through this and survive. I know I couldn't; I would have given up before I gated out (my motto is: no science fiction devices that defy all known laws of physics near my component atoms, thank you). Even the toughest of characters would likely have given up somewhere in the middle of this story. And yet Jack and Daniel (oh my god, that's hideous pairing name for them that must already be in use: Jack Daniel's, or bourbon for short) live to have bickering arguments - and visit Home Depot - another day.

The One That Proves That Daniel Jackson Cannot Stop for Death. And If Death Kindly Stops for Him, It Will Just End up Regretting It.* Post Hoc: After This, by Otter, aka [ profile] agentotter. (I very nearly mistyped her LJ name as [ profile] agenthotter, which is a whole other deal.) Stargate: SG1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. (You could also call them Jack'D, you know. My god. I think I've got some kind of pairing name disease. Send help.)

This story is just as good as the Sinner's Grove, but, you know, totally different, with a bare minimum of disturbing themes. (Unless you consider Jack, Daniel, or near-death experiences disturbing, in which case SG1 is really not the fandom for you. It's not the canon for you, either.)

I love this story for many reasons, not the least of which is Daniel's casual ability to defy the odds and his absolute belief that the odds don't apply to him. (Hint, Daniel: that attitude may have something to do with why you die all the time.) But I will always love it most and best for the exchange when Jack says, "Landmine" and Daniel says, "Pants?" Because, okay - that's Daniel. He files away every single attempt at communication, and if something doesn't make sense to him, he puzzles it over, and it's right there in his head when the same thing comes up later.

He's totally willing to try communication without understanding, too. His response in this story reads to me as though he is attempting to divine the customs of the alien tribe Jack O'Neill, and he's heard that "Pants" is the right response in some O'Neillian situations, so he'll try it out. If it works, he'll write a paper about it. (Of course, given that he works for the SGC, only four people will read the paper, and only three of them will understand it. And then later there will probably be a briefing that lasts a really long time and never actually gets to the "Pants" item on the agenda because everyone is too busy arguing about pastries. I know what it is to work for the government, people.)

This is, for me, a fantastic SG1 comfort story. Pure fluff doesn't work for me in this fandom; it has to be something like this, where, okay, sure, there's some pain, but there's never any doubt that everyone will be okay, and then at the end there's pain medication and cuddling. I'm not sure if that's attributable to me or the fandom, but I'm going to hope it's the fandom.


* Am I the only one who immediately thought Daniel Jackson/Death OTP here? I am? Okay. Um. Let's just, you know, forget I ever said anything.
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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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)
You all will be pleased to hear that nascent plans for the third consecutive Things That Never Happened set were scotched by a wedding, followed by a right bastard of a cold picked up at the wedding, like it was a very novel favor or something. I’ve now reached the stage where I’m no longer actively wanting to die just to spite the damned rhinovirus convention happening in my upper respiratory system (“Hah. Try making me miserable when I’m dead, you snotwads.”), and I can’t remember what stories the set was supposed to have had. TTNH haters, you are saved! Although it was through my suffering, so I hope you feel soul-crushingly guilty.

Instead of TTNH, today’s subject is - okay, I call this category “long,” but really the stories are somewhere between short stories and novellas in length. Basically, if it would take more than one LJ post to get the whole thing up, then it’s long. (If it would take more than five LJ posts, then it has moved into the territory of “very long.” I am so rigorous in my classification schemes that someday I will rule the world through quantitative analysis. Although there’s a major kink in this system - and notice, SGA fans, that I did not capitalize “major,” and thus I am not referring to first-season Sheppard’s well known fetish for long fiction - in that a lot of long stories don’t get posted to LJ. Researchers continue to study this problem round the clock at the famed TFV Fan Fiction Laboratory, so please view this as a merely interim story classification method.)

My point is, sometimes you need longer fiction. Today, I need longer fiction, and, well, as long as I was looking the stuff up anyway . . .

The One in Which We Learn Why Touya Akira Needed Shindou Hikaru: Because Every Almost Immoveable Object Needs an Irresistible Force. Inertia, by [ profile] rageprufrock. Hikaru no Go, Akira/Other, Hikaru/Other, Akira/Hikaru.

Okay. Here’s the thing. I didn’t actually want to rec this until I’d uploaded all the manga, because this is a story set well after the canon and so it spoils almost all of it. Then it occurred to me that I could rec this and upload all the canon, because - well, here’s a long story by [ profile] rageprufrock; what’s more tempting than that? So, first, here’s links for the complete scanned and translated manga: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Let me know if any of these time out or are broken or what have you.

So now my only problem is - what can I say about this story? Because, well. Okay. See, I’ve been reading Go websites. (It has nothing to do with my sudden interest in Hikaru no Go; I’m just, um . . . fine. I admit it. I’m obsessed. And, to be honest, I find it much scarier, as far as tragic proof of the kind of addiction that my loved ones should be scheduling an intervention for, that I’ve been reading stories blind at And here’s the thing. Sometimes I get embarrassed for fandom, all, oh my god, people, please stop being on my side. Because we do have our moments of shame. So it makes me feel much better to note that Go fans are just like us: they too can get wank out of a stone. (Or, rather, out of 361 of them. Oh, I slay myself sometimes.) And Go wank is - um, special. (Like, there’s this one relatively recent wank that was instigated in large part by the Chinese press. Say what you will about our wank, at least it isn’t often started by New York Times headlines reading “For 41st Year in a Row, Fan Fiction Feedback Inadequate, Officials Say. Also, Real Person Slash ‘Totally Gross. Boyband Members Aren’t Gay!’”)

So I was going to write up this story talking about the yin/yang themes running all through this, and that’s totally appropriate to Go, of course, because . . . and then I thought I’d better make sure that I was right about the white and black stones having something to do with yin and yang. A short visit to Sensei’s Library later, I had learned that a) white was totally yin b) white was totally yang c) black was definitely female by default d) black was definitely male by default and, finally, e) Go players also obey the law of conservation of understanding. (“A debate continues until an equal distribution of understanding is achieved. Thus, given the general population of the internet, an open internet debate proceeds until no one understands anything.” And I just made that up, so I can’t source it for you, but you can’t deny that it’s true. Nor can you deny the corollary: “The introduction of one new person who believes he or she knows the right answer will begin the entire debate again, so that it can once again find understanding equilibrium (i.e., complete lack of understanding). This process can continue indefinitely. And almost certainly will. Thus, bringing up Nazis is really an act of mercy.”)

So I will avoid the whole attempt at literary analysis. It was bound to end badly anyway. Instead, I will say that this story is excellent, and it shows Akira being acted upon and Hikaru acting upon him, and it is totally how I am now convinced they end up after the canon. Also, there is sex. You want to read this right now. And you also want to read Hikaru no Go; trust me on this. Seriously. Just by downloading and reading one of those files (for clarity’s sake, it should be the first one), you can make me happier than I’ve been in months.

Don’t make me bring out the Doe Eyes of Pining, people. Read the manga. And then read the story. And then everyone wins.

The One in Which Lex Shows Us the True Meaning of Multiculturalism, and Clark Shows Us the True Purpose of Harem Pants. Moving On, by [ profile] astolat. Smallville fused with DCU to make a delightfully frothy confection. Clark Kent/Lex Luthor.

It’s an excellent idea to get Lex Luthor off the planet, am I right? I mean, why should earth have all the fun? This is the reasoning that a number of people apply in this story, only to realize much too late that they are a) stupid and, also, b) really really stupid. (Except Batman, who stands in the background, being grimly and mercilessly right. The only reason his fellow Justice League members haven’t killed him by now out of sheer irritation is that they know in their hearts that Batman would stop them and then shake his head, say, “I knew it,” and walk off exuding an aura of I’m Too Sexy to Be This Right All the Time, but by God I’ll Have to Until Someone Else with a Brain Shows Up. No, Tim, I Don’t Mean You.) Lex, meanwhile, gets to take the party to the whole universe. Given that this is Lex, the party involves a lot of deep strategy, a number of hostile mergers, and gay, gay outfits. (If Lex ruled earth, Wall Street would be just the same, except that traders would be required to wear fabulous purple outfits, and also they would routinely assassinate each other right there on the trading floor. I would so buy season tickets.)

Clark, of course, tries to save the universe from Lex. And now pause with me and say, “Oh, Clark. When will you just accept who you are and stop with all these superfights? Blowjobs are so much less damaging to the country’s [galaxy’s, universe’s] infrastructure.” Eventually, there is a happy ending. Plus, of course, more excellently weird costumes. Do not miss, by the way, the unspeakably wonderful Lex Paper Doll Set, by [ profile] mutecornett. I mean, if Lex gets to wear fabulous outfits, shouldn’t you be able to take them off him?

The One in Which We Discover That It Does, in Fact, Take the Threat of Death to Get a Certain Cop to Clear His Paperwork. And We Totally Fail to Be Surprised. That Good Night, by Dira Sudis, aka [ profile] dsudis. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

One of my major problems with recommending dS these days is that I’m not, um, always the most careful person in the world about marking what I’ve already recommended in my database, which is in any case a total mess thanks to (and also to my prize-winning laziness). So a lot of the stories I’ve loved forever I look at and say, “I’ve rec’d this, right? I mean, I’d be a fool not to have rec’d it. But, well, let’s just say foolishness isn’t totally out of character for me, so . . .” But I’ve decided not to get all obsessive about this crap, so I’m damn well recommending this one anyway. My promise to you: anyone who can point to the slashy set where I’ve already recommended a story gets - um. My thanks? I don’t really have a lot else to offer. But I will offer you another story recommendation. You can even pick the fandom, within the limits of what I’ve got to hand.

See, sometimes there are these little signs that, um, maybe we need to sit down and reassess our goals, our purposes, our lives. For example, if we spend a lot of nights getting drunk. Or if we cannot remember the last time we touched another human being. Or if we stay up late into the night solving tsumgeo (Go problems) solely because we know in our hearts that a fictional, two-dimensional ghost would approve. Or if a creepy old guy wearing a weird hat and carrying flowers keeps turning up and making eerie pronouncements about how we’re on the way out. Of the world.

In this story, Ray experiences more than one of the above. (Three guesses which, but here’s a hint: I am quite sure that Ray Kowalski has never in his life solved tsumego. Although Fraser probably has. He’d probably feel a real bond of sympathy with Hikaru, actually, all, “Yes, ghosts can indeed be a bit of a trial, but - no, Dad, I didn’t say anything. Yes, I’d be delighted to hear about the 81 uses for frozen beavers. Again. Even though I am already quite conversant with all - yes, Dad.”) And do you know what Ray learns? The solution to those little life crises involves lots of sex with Benton Fraser. (And a sun lamp.) Now that is what I call excellence in alternative medicine.

The One in Which We Learn That Rodney McKay, in Addition to His Many Other Fine Features, Is Also a Grammar Snob. And Thus My Happiness Is Made Complete. Cleave, by [ profile] amireal. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

The first time I read this, I got partway into the first page and said, “Oh my god, so much yes.” Because one thing that John Sheppard and Rodney McKay definitely share is demand resistance; if you tell them they absolutely cannot do something - well, John smiles insincerely, swears he won’t, and then does it, whereas Rodney just basically does it. So, really, if you wanted the two of them to have sex - and I am not for a moment suggesting you might want any such thing, of course, but if you did - the fastest way to get them there would be to tell them they weren’t allowed to, and then put a lot of obstacles in their way. Make the obstacles totally, provably insurmountable and you’d probably have full-scale buttfucking before you entirely finished explaining the terms. (“And furthermore, if you defeat that barrier, a crack team of trained ninjas will emerge from the secret - damn. Miss Zygen, please send in a bucket of cold water and a crowbar; Dr. McKay and Colonel Sheppard are at it again. Hmmm. Maybe we should add some bioengineered cobras to level 7.”)

So, yeah, that appeals to me, and I don’t mean the sex. (Well. I don’t just mean the sex.) See, some people would tell you that I have, on occasion, been ever so slightly demand resistant myself, and I actually, um, admire it in other people. (We are the few. The proud. The very contrary.)

The other thing that appeals to me is allergies, and this is a total schadenfreude kind of thing. There’s a moment in this story where they think maybe John is allergic to water, and I just - when you have a bad cold, and also allergies on top of that, and you can’t get the shot that’s supposed to fix your allergies because your doctor has elected to go on vacation (Vacation! When there are people suffering here! With very unpleasant sniffles!), there’s nothing that cheers you up quite like imagining someone else being allergic to water. Really, this story gets me on all kinds of levels.

And did I mention the sex? Because the sex is excellent.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I love, love, love things that never happened stories. (And all hail [ profile] basingstoke, the creator of this format that brings joy to the world, all the boys and girls. Yeah! (Also to fishies in the deep blue sea, is what I hear. In other, wholly unrelated news: songs your parents sang to you when you were little have the power to derail any train of thought. True fact: Einstein managed to finish the sentence that began "E=m" only because his parents didn't know any catchy songs.)

Recs sets involving things that never happened stories have a few rules, people. Some of you may remember them from last time. But I'm restating them, because some of you are new since last time. Hell, some of the rules are new since last time.
  1. Things that never happened = TTNH. There's only so many times I can type the full words before I succumb to that tragic disease known as Keyboard Ennui.

  2. TTNH stories can be disturbing. Or sad. Or, in cases where the author is very special, both disturbing and sad. They don't have to be, mind you. (Except they kind of do. Because either they're about things that would suck, or they're about things that would be most excellent. But if it's the latter, isn't it kind of a bummer that these are things that didn't happen? Yes, this is both a story style and a deep philosophical conundrum. When [ profile] basingstoke is on, she's really fucking on.) So if you're already in a place of emo, maybe you'll want to consider each of these stories carefully before you click.

  3. TTNH stories usually make more sense if you know the canon. As I said last time: it helps to know what did happen before you read about what didn't. I've included some sense of how much canon you need to know. (Because this is fandom, that great big pool of cross-pollination and spoilers, we all know a little about, for example, Kirk and Spock, even if our entire first-hand knowledge of them consists of a single episode in which they hit every slash cliche known to science within roughly 30 minutes, using only styrofoam and aluminum foil. And that may be all you need to know.)

  4. TTNH stories may contain gen, het, or slash. So when it comes to these, I am not a pairing index; some TTNH stories, that alone would keep us here all day. So go in braced for anything. Although I swear I will warn you before, for example, Doctor Who/TARDIS.

  5. I interpret "things that never happened" rather loosely. It just has to follow the basic format: [number] of [things] that [happened/didn't happen/happened one night/you totally can't prove/happened to your mom].

  6. If you are distressed by any of the (un)events of these stories, I advocate industrial-strength denial. It's always worked for me.
The One That Should Come with a References Section, a Bunch of Footnotes, and a Gift Certificate Good for Punching One DC Editor or Writer in the Location of Your Choice. Five Things That Never Happened to the Robins (and Interlude: Five Things That Never Happened to Carrie Kelley), by [ profile] monkeycrackmary. D.C. Universe. You don't need to know the canon to read this one, but you do need to know about the Robins (including the part about Carrie Kelley), Identity Crisis, and maybe No Man's Land. Obviously - and I cannot even believe I'm saying this; next thing you know I'll be advocating all knives be labeled "Caution: Sharp" - there are major spoilers at those links. Also, warning: my total lack of love over Recent Unfortunate Events in the DCU is, um. A bit obvious, here.

TTNH stories are AUs with the fat trimmed off - we get the story, but we're left to extrapolate a lot, including most of the set-up and, sometimes, the resolution. I cannot tell you how much that works for me. And it's variable; TTNH stories can be snippets, just glimpses of the AUs. But in DCU, particularly, TTNH stories contain multitudes: sprawling, intense universes that feel real, wholly populated, wholly complete, and internally consistent and logical.

This one certainly seems more real than anything D.C. has published lately. That's in part because the characters are intensely in character here (and do not even get me started on how it's completely and totally impossible for Certain Characters to be themselves in the face of Recent Unspeakable Retcons, for, as you can see, that way lies madness and random capitalization), but also because these stories are so detailed and so - I don't know how to put it. So much like the stories D.C. is writing in the alternate universe where they have character and plot continuity. And writers with brains. This is an incredibly meaty story - I mean, the interlude alone could stand as five separate stories. It's got...hmmm. Room to grow, in a way the canon universe just doesn't right now. If I ever write an essay called Why I Prefer Fan Fiction to the Canon, this story is exhibit A.

The One That Makes It Clear What's Really Behind All Those Macho Bone-Grinding Handshakes. (Let's Just Say It Didn't Come As a Huge Surprise.) Five Battles Teal'c of Chulak Never Fought, by [ profile] cofax7. Stargate: SG-1. To read this, you probably need to know, for example, who Teal'c is. And the more you know about SG1, the more you'll likely get out of this. Of course, that isn't exactly a promise, since I don't know much about SG1, but it's a very good working theory.

This is the ultimate example of trimming the fat, here; these stories are short, short pieces about big, big worlds. And that is, without doubt, a good thing. But what I love about this is - atypically for me - not the AUs, but the person I see here. When I started reading SG1, it was all about Jack and Daniel for me. Which, I mean, of course: Jack! Daniel! What's not to love? But lately I've also been getting interested in Teal'c and Sam. I still want the story in which those two are genderswapped (it'd be fascinating, and I continue to hope against hope that [ profile] katie_m will write it). But, basically, I just want any stories that will make these two characters human to me, real to me, because in a lot of fan fiction they are - I don't know. Plot devices or enigmas, I guess: not the people whose eyes we see through, but rather the people we see. From a distance, usually.

In this story, Cofax let me see through Teal'c's eyes, and that - that is quite a gift. There's always something that ties a TTNH story together, and in this case, that's Teal'c himself: his character, who he is, who he's been. So, basically, if you've ever wanted to get to know Teal'c, well, here's your chance. (And if you haven't, why not? The man is, at least at the start of the canon, a formerly-evil member of a race of people who have unnaturally long life at the cost of a kind of devil's bargain. And he's now fighting evil and dealing with the repercussions of his past life. All of you people who love vampires and things written by people named Whedon should be rushing to embrace this man.)

The One That Defines PMS As Being the State in Which You Wish Everyone Would Get Hit by a Car. Works for Me. 19 (x19) Things That Never Happened, pt 2, by [ profile] rageprufrock. Hikaru no Go. Yes, you do need to know a bit of the canon to read this, but if you don't, oh my god why not? This is - this is due South with Go, people. Hell, it's Harry Potter and the Ghost of Go. And if you are now wondering how any series could be both those things, why not try the first 8 volumes of the manga? (1-4 and 5-8. Attention, Person Who Gave These to Me: if you don't want them up here, let me know and I'll take them down. If you want credit, likewise let me know and I will be happy to glorify your name and works and noble lineage.) Read them. They will prepare you for the Hikaru no Go Fandoms I Have Loved, which - yes. It's coming. I'm in love, okay? I can't help myself. Shut up.*

This is only one part of Pru's Hikaru no Go TTNH series, and definitely my favorite. (Other parts: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6.) And this is another style of TTNH, here, because it is a commentary, but not on a character. This is a reflection on the canon, on the...well. I'm afraid to say "culture," because I am not qualified to start that discussion (and I'm not brave enough, either), but that's pretty much what it is. Culture is what defines Akira and Hikaru's, um, relationship. (Rivals. Totally rivals.) So how would culture define it if something was different?

When I read this story, I thought: this is a story that would only really work and be interesting in certain fandoms. (For the record, and this isn't much of a spoiler: Pru changed the sexes of one of the characters. I don't mean she genderswapped him or genderfucked him; she made him female from birth.) I mean, making John a girl is fascinating if he was male up until the aliens got their hands on his DNA, but if he was born female? The story doesn't change much. But now I'm wondering how true that is. If Aragorn was born to be a woman king, that does change things, does make for an interesting story. If Brian O'Conner (from the Fast and the Furious) is a girl, I lose all interest in the story; if Rusty Ryan (from Ocean's 11) is a girl, my interest skyrockets (and it's already really pretty high). So now I'm basically confused, and I'm all doubty about the thoughtful remarks I had for this story. Anyone else want to be thoughtful instead?

The One That Proves That There's No Canon Development So Disastrous That a Talented Fan Writer Can't Make It Work in the Service of Good. Temporary, by [ profile] penknife. X-Men movieverse. This is post-X3, and if you haven't seen the movie and you plan to, you shouldn't read the story. You shouldn't read this story summary, either. But if you already know, either from spoilers or from seeing it, what happens in X3, well, you'll probably understand why I am choosing to skip the movie and go straight to the fan fiction. And you'll also be perfectly primed to read this story.

So. I can't really do a better story summary than [ profile] penknife did: "Five ways Rogue finds out nothing's permanent." But I will say that I choose to think of this as "Five places to go from here." Because the X3 story - well, one of the many problems I had with it (back when I first read the spoilers) was that it closes off possibilities and undermines the message and central question of the whole X-Men universe. (And, you know, that's an impressive feat, diverting an entire canon away from such a central and basic concept. I mean, it's impressive in the way that eating an airplane is impressive - yes, amazing, but why would anyone bother? But impressive it is.)

Anyway. Turns out I was wrong about that closed, nowhere-good-to-go-from-here thing. Maybe the heat was getting to me. Because as soon as I read this story, I realized that there are as many interesting avenues to explore now as before, and X3 might change everything, but it doesn't actually matter that much. This story features five of those interesting avenues, and I just - I love them, love this whole story, in a very sincere, honorable-intentions kind of way. (I'd propose, but reader/story marriages are still illegal in my state.) This is a fabulous riff on the potential of the future, from the first segment, which I would argue takes us back, not to movie canon, but to early(ish) comics canon, to the last, which takes us in a totally unexpected, fascinating direction that leaves me whimpering for more. ([ profile] penknife: total narrative tease. News at 11.)


* I do not as yet have a source for the anime, sadly, but you can add the first two discs of it to your Netflix queue here.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Family has been on my mind a lot lately. Guess what that means? Family fan fiction, yup.

The One That Proves Conclusively That the DCU Is Where There's a Daddy Issue Under Every Rock, and Where Family Therapists Can Never, Ever Get Life Insurance. Reconcilable Differences, by Shalott, aka [ profile] astolat. Fused and bastardized Smallville and DCU, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. See, now, one of the things I love about Smallville is the family stories - Clark and Lex and their assorted parents just give rise to so many glorious disasters, you know? But that raises the question: what would happen if they were parents? Well, in the DCU canon, they are. Of the same kid, one Kon-El, aka Connor Kent, who got a raw fucking deal from DCU, but we're not going to talk about that now. Because this, this is the story that makes it all better. (Okay, 70% better. I'm never going to forgive DC entirely. I am just not that big a person.) See, even before the Recent Events of Unforgivable Unfairness Kon kind of - I mean, he's got an evil genius for one parent, and a tights-wearing superdork for the other, and also he starts out in life 13, which is so unfair there aren't even words. And Clark always treated him like a kind of...well. Inconvenience.

In this story, Lex gets a chance to have his say, and a chance to show that just because someone is an evil genius doesn't necessarily mean he's a bad person. (I know, I know. Lex brings these little brain twisters into our lives, and, really, I'm grateful.) Tim (Drake, aka Robin 3 and 5, and, seriously, if you don't know about him: OMG TIIIIIIIM! Sorry, I get incoherent when I'm talking about the Timbat.) also gets a chance to be, well, the Tim he was always meant to be. (He pulls off a feat in this story that should go down in the record books. Actually, I suspect it is going down in at least two record books; it's just that Batman and Lex Luthor aren't likely to look on it as a positive accomplishment, which it so obviously is.) I loved this story basically from the third paragraph, but I managed to contain the noises of undignified glee until I got to the scene with the underage drinking. Best underage drinking scene ever. And no one even has sex! (In that specific scene, I mean.)

The One That, Considered in Comparison with the Previous Rec, Indicates That John Sheppard's Parents Were Worse Than Lex Luthor. I Hope They Feel Terrible. Lost in Waiting, by [ profile] laceymcbain. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. See, now, I would have said that a story featuring a virgin John Sheppard would need to be a massive, massive AU - like [ profile] trinityofone's Priest John AU, say. So what alarms me about this story is how AU it isn't. I mean, I won't say that this is canon John, exactly - but he's. Okay. Am I the only one who looks at the way John acts and compares it to what the writers seem to believe about him and thinks, those are not the same people? (If I am, then, well, prepare for me to sound like an idiot.) This story is about, not the John they write about, but the John I see on the screen.

And, whoa, what a fucked up John he is, too. (And, hello, no, I am not saying virginity makes you a fucked up person. You can be a virgin at 38 and be an absolutely level, balanced, sane, and stable person - and, even if you're not exactly balanced, well. I am hardly one to suggest that the people having loads of random sex with assorted other people whose names they don't know - or want to - are the truly healthy ones. Been there, done that, had the subsequent decade of therapy, people.) This is a guy who, on his Pegasus Galaxy Embarkation Form, presumably wrote "Personal Item: One DVD of an old football game, and three million massive, hairy issues, including two so large they will also be part-time staff members." And, you know, you have to wonder. The Ancients: a bunch of irresponsible, skeevy people with dominance issues. John Sheppard: Issues Boy. Jack O'Neill: Repression of Issues Boy. Maybe the ATA gene has side effects, is my point here. It'd explain a lot about the Ancients and their massively unfortunate science experiments.

The One That Shows That Even If You, Yourself, Are More or Less Free of Family Issues, They Can Still by God Reach out and Grab You. (Yes, They Are in Fact Like Monsters in the Closet. Only with More Fangs.) Family Portrait, by [ profile] dsudis. Dead Zone, Walt Bannerman/Sarah Bannerman/Johnny Smith. (Although not so intently that gen fans could not read this. No, the people who should avoid this one are those who are liable to be upset by - well, can I just say disturbing content and let it go at that?) In the life sweepstakes, Johnny Smith has completely and totally lost. You know how, at the end of Season 2, the Buffy writers tried to take away her entire life? They didn't get nearly as cruel as the assorted Dead Zone writers and creators did. I guess that just proves the old axiom: when Stephen King sets out to destroy your life, boy howdy are you screwed. And if that's not an old axiom, it should be.

This story proves that nothing is normal, simple, or easy if you're Johnny Smith. And, okay, I know those of you with children would probably laugh at the idea of school supply shopping being easy. (In fact, I'd like to take a moment right here and now to apologize to my father for the year I would only accept folders not manufactured on the planet earth. Or that might as well have been my criterion, given how many I refused.) But at least you've never had a vision while school supply shopping. (And if you have, I trust and hope that you, at any rate, were simply standing too close to the permanent markers.) Because, really, a vision can ruin your whole day, as we learn here. Of course, we also learn that it can lead to a future of glorious threesomes. One of the many things I love about FF is that in it, Johnny's life doesn't always totally suck.

The One That Can Serve As Inspiration to Non-Traditional Families Everywhere. Well. Non-Traditional Families That Do a Heck of a Lot of Demon Slaying, Anyway. Family Comes First, by [ profile] ethrosdemon. Supernatural, gen. (Or, if you prefer, non-explicit Sam Winchester/OFC.) I'd like to pause here to squeeze [ profile] ethrosdemon until she damn near pops for writing a Supernatural story I can actually read. Oh, SPN: you have so many fabulous writers, and I want to read you so much, and yet you are denied to me (although, major points to [ profile] maygra, who came up with a way that I could read at least some SPN - give that girl a prize, is my thinking on that one). I mean, apart from any personal problems of my own, so much SPN FF keeps me up at nights, insisting that the dogs patrol the house every five minutes and flinching away from shadows, noises, and my own hands. (Look. I am not good with horror. Seriously. You don't want to know about the night I read Misery after mandatory lights out in a psychiatric hospital, but suffice to say that it proved that I really, really, really am not destined to be cuddlebunnies with the horror genre. There's this scene in that book where - well, I won't go into it, but I still see spots and get dizzy when I think about it.)

I love this story because it shows that love isn't the only thing that makes a family. You also need, in nearly all cases, at least a few tablespoons of fucked-up-ness. Of course, given the background of the Winchester gang, that's more like "8 cups of fucked-up-ness, whipped to a light and pleasing froth and folded in," but this is not necessarily a bad thing. It just gives me all the more joy when they manage to make it work. For definitions of "work" that include "a non-traditional, multi-parent family that goes back to demon-slaying after the kid goes into first grade," but tradition is important, people. If your father was a demon-slayer, by god, you should be, too. Or, okay. You can try to avoid it, but the demons will probably come for you in the end anyway. (And, wow. That gives me an entirely new perspective on "They fuck you up, your mum and dad/They may not mean to, but they do." In the Winchester edition of Larkin's poems, I'm betting the next two lines are, "They curse you with the fiends they had/Then add some extra, just for you.")
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I've been trying for a while, and I've come to the conclusion - well, it's nice to have all my bookmarks resident on the web. And it's nice to be able to put everything up there. But - well, okay. It makes me not want to do actual recommendations sets, and that's kind of why I have this journal, and it's the thing I love most. So that doesn't seem like such a great idea, basically.

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

Find me a find, catch me a catch. )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You know, we all read (and sometimes write) a lot of stories trying to explain John's weirdness. (No, I can't describe it better than that. If I could, I'd write my own damn story, 'kay?) And this one did it so well. I don't really want to spoil it, and I really don't want to add another damn cut tag to this entry, but - look. This story provides a back story for John that I can absolutely and totally buy into. After you read it, I invite you to reflect upon what it says about the character (and the actor and the writers, maybe) that this had me nodding and saying, "Yeah! Oh my god YES! That so totally works! And also, RODNEY IS TIM AND TEYLA IS BATGIRL." (Lately I've discovered that all my fandoms can be translated into the Batverse. Like, Fraser is Tim and Ray K. is Nightwing and Stella is Oracle and Frannie is Steph and Ray Vecchio is Jason Todd. Um. Not that I've put a lot of thought into this or anything. Really. And I haven't even considered writing a paper about how Batman is the only character that doesn't usually have an analog, possibly because he's too fucked up for there to be more than one of him in the multiverse.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I've been writing a lot of mental letters lately. You know the kind - the ones that go:
Dear Mother Nature,

I'm dying and you just keep putting out the pollen. Some of us are suffering here, but do you care? No. Heartless bitch.

Deeply looking forward to the post-modern technological dystopia,
Dear stomach,

Ow. Also, ow. Also, ew. I'm sorry you've got problems, but do you have to let them affect our relationship like this?

Remember the experience with the chalk-flavored radioactive substances? It can happen again, stomach. It can happen again.

Yours in hopes of a future partnership that's more Ray-and-Fraser than killer-and-knife-named-Betty-Lou,
And (of course):
Dear Kimberly-Clark,

Not. Stupid. Just. Menstruating.

Periodically yours,
Naturally, this got me to thinking about documents. And as I have a well-documented kink for the document-within-a-document, well, um, uh...damn. If I could've used 'document' one more time in this intro, I would've gotten an ice-cream cake.

This is how dreams die, people. Ah, well. On to the fan fiction.

The One That Teaches Us All the Importance of Occasionally Not Running for Our Lives or Getting Shot in the Ass. Leave the Light On, by [ profile] cherryice. Doctor Who, gen. Disclaimer: I was one of the beta-readers of this story, but, seriously, I didn't do much; it was like this when I got there.

See, now, I do not know this fandom. Like, at all. There's a TARDIS, there's a Time Lord, there's a Companion, all this I know from watching my sister watch Doctor Who reruns on some random TV station back in the Dark Ages. (An advantage of Doctor Who fandom: it is, apparently, eternal. A fandom for the ages.) And my attempts to get to know the recent iteration of the fandom are uniformly doomed: downloads fail to download, or fail to extract, or fail to run, and discs disappear into the sandy mists of the postal service, and it's's very doomed, is what it is - like, I suspect the Elder Gods of having an involvement here. So my knowledge is limited (by the forces of EVIL), but I do know that this new Doctor has a wrinkle. A wrinkle named Jack. And, whoa: turns out you don't have to know Jack at all to love his pansexual, uniformed, fifty-first century ass.

And this story is all about Jack, meaning I loved it pretty much from the get-go; in fact, and you'd need to check with [ profile] cherryice to be sure, I suspect my beta emails were mostly incoherent, get-this-girl-a-drug-test-stat ramblings about the wonderful, wonderful, uh, you know, wonder of it all. My head is easily turned by a science fiction trope, and so I especially adore the colony world this story describes, the pathetic mundane probability of the scenario. I also love - and this is a lot rarer for me - the slow, horrifying build of this, the way realization sneaks up and whaps you on the head while you're distracted by this overwhelming wave of pure love for the Doctor, Jack, and Rose. And, because I am a total wuss, I also love (like, a lot), the way this story is structured: you get the hurt (all the more painful, at least to me, because it's so prosaic and possible) and the comfort (likewise simple and possible - I mean, except all the TARDIS-Time Lord-phone booth stuff). I just...I have love for this story, people. And also Jack. And the Doctor. And Rose. That is all.

The One That Teaches Us This Holy Lesson: Froot Loops Are Love. No, Really, They Are. Disgusting, Styrofoam-Flavored Love, but Who Am I to Judge? Fan Mail from a Flounder, by Punk, aka [ profile] runpunkrun. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall.

Here, Danny discovers his one true love: email. Fortunately, that turns out to be a momentary blip, and he soon discovers his other one true love, but not until nearly everyone wants to punch him for talking about email so much. I think we can all sympathize. In fact, what's really miraculous is how charming Punk manages to make this behavior seem. Or, I don't know, maybe it's just me - I mean, am I the only one who has had to suffer through excruciating wedding receptions in which relatives tell me excitedly about how they've recently started using "the AOL"? (And I won't even try to describe the horror that was trying to explain email to my aunt, who believes in her heart that microwave ovens are destroying the American family. I will say, though, that the question, "But how does it get to the other computer? How does it know?" can still bring me to tears.)

This story is kind of a two-for-one, because there are two documents in it. One is an email that describes Dan as a "twenty-first century prince," which he probably is, and says that he understands the infield fly rule, which we know he doesn't because he's mostly sane and can still put his pants on without help. But the other is the one that reminds me exactly why I have loved, and will always love, this fandom. When a shopping list can make my heart swell with pure, sweet OTP love, well. That's a fandom that will never fade. Oh, Sports Night. My love is true.

The One That Makes Me Wonder What I'd Want My Epitaph to Be, If I Was Ever in Similar Circumstances.* Traces Through Time, by Icarus, aka [ profile] icarusancalion. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

Disclaimer: I love time travel stories. In non-fan fiction formats, I am the least critical consumer of them ever.** But, for reasons unknown to me, the exemption that all other forms of media get for giving me what I love (Time travel! Diaries! Gay!) does not extend to fan fiction; I'm an incredibly demanding reader when it comes to FF that hits my personal bulletproof kinks. When you can almost always get at least a little of exactly what you want, you're much less tolerant of near misses. That pretty much summarizes my entire fan fiction experience, right there.

Because, see, sometimes I do get exactly what I want. Like, take this story. I will just never leave fandom as long as there are stories in which Rodney is accidentally sent back in time and John reads his trapped-in-time diary and figures out how to help him and also gets to read a multi-page and very loving description of his cock. I just am incapable of even summoning up the words to describe my glee about this. It's like - it's like Marooned in Realtime***, but with an entirely happy ending. And the document. Oh, the document - I would totally kill to read an extended edition of this story with much longer passages from Rodney's Lost in Time diary. Or extracts from the symphony. Yes, he wrote John a symphony. (And that, my friends, is where my hard and shriveled little heart just melted into a puddle of extremely satisfied goo. Awwwwwww.)

The One in Which Batman Gives the World's Least Helpful Advice. "Assume Success" My Ass, Batty Boy. What Book Did You Find That Pedagogical Technique in, Breaking the Brains of the Next Generation? Able to Succeed, by [ profile] brown_betty. D.C. Universe, gen.

I appear to be on quite the tear of "The Batuniverse Is Like Our Universe, Only Jam-Packed with Armed Nutballs in Armored Spandex" stories lately. (You know, I really didn't mean that to sound like a cross between a gay bar and a health food. It just came out that way. This is what happens when you try to write about the DCU, folks.) Here we have Tim (glorious Tim!) being inculcated into the Way of the Bat, by which I of course mean "winning through paranoia, obsessive-compulsive planning, and homoerotic overtones that are really much more overt than you'd think anyone could get away with."

There just aren't too many superheroes I can picture doing superhomework - I mean, sure, Charles Xavier runs a school complete with Danger Room (Danger! Room!) and suchlike, but does Rogue ever belly up to her desk and write a 20-page paper called "The Evolution of Team-Based Aerial Combat Techniques in a Post-Genosha Multiverse"? No. Wolverine? My god no. Cyclops? Okay, maybe. Probably. Almost certainly. But my point is, Batman's superhomework is just way cooler than that. Also way, way more insanity inducing, but that's just how they do it in Gotham; it is their native folkway, which we have all learned to admire greatly. (And oh my god, I just realized - someone needs to write a DCU story called "It's Hard out Here for a Bat." Please. Please. I'll...okay, I don't have anything to offer in trade, but I will love you forever I swear to god.)


* I'm joking. I already totally know what I want my epitaph to be, have for at least 15 years: "She lived in readiness for temporal anomaly." You may think you have a time travel kink, but trust me, it is nothing to my all-encompassing, seriously obsessive, downright disturbing time travel kink. I mean, I have a list of essential items I'd take back to any time period you care to name. I follow advances in particle physics solely for their relevance to potential means of time travel. I...whoa, I just totally outed myself as the geek of the century, didn't I?

** You know that version of The Time Machine that came out in 2002? (Before I looked it up, I was going to say "about a decade ago." Apparently my brain has elected to deal with the post-traumatic movie viewing stress by pretending it all happened a very long time ago. In another country. And the wench is dead.) I watched that with actual delight. (BB, immediately after we emerged into the harsh bright light of day: "Um. You, uh, you know that movie was bad, right?" Me, nearly skipping with joy: "Oh, yes. And I am so buying it the second it comes out!" BB: *nearly inaudible whimper*)

*** Don't even tell me you haven't read Marooned in Realtime by Vernor Vinge. Just. Don't. Even. Go quietly and shame-facedly to the library, your local bookstore, or Amazon, obtain a copy, and read until you break.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
My other choice for the title today was "Dress You up in My Love." Aren't we all glad I went with the slightly higher-brow option? Well. I mean. I've probably already used the other one, anyway.

Today: clothes. And not just any clothes, but clothes that are, from a cultural standpoint, inappropriate. So I guess my other alternate title could've been "Crossdressing for Fun, Profit, and the American Way." Really, every second I get prouder of myself for going with the one I did. (And slightly less proud of myself for telling you about the others, but, well, confession is good for the soul. And also for writing an introduction when you have absolutely nothing to say about attire-related fan fiction that you haven't said half a dozen times already. I like the clothing, people. Especially in fan fiction, where the clothing often comes off.)

You Know, I Used to Wonder if Bats Were Born Crazy or Had the Crazy Thrust upon Them. This Story Answers That Question. A Form of Confession, by Derry, aka [ profile] derryderrydown, and Propaganda, aka [ profile] notpoetry (Sorry, Prop!). D.C. Universe, Tim Drake/Bruce Wayne.

I have a stunning weakness for stories that show that Bruce has gone well beyond cracked, into an internally-induced, highly-controlled psychosis, and oh how this one does that. Here we have Tim playing a part, and Bruce living his part, and it just shows - well, what it takes to be the founder, patriarch, and lunatic-in-chief of the Batfamily. And guess what? Batfamily values are really fucking scary. "We knew this," you cry. "All that rubber and angst is a dead giveaway!" Well, yes. But did you know how much?

This is how Bats go crazy, people. I mean, okay, here we have Tim in a costume that just happens to be a dress, but that's not insanity-inducing, especially not for someone who voluntarily elected to live a life of spandex. (Side note: canonically, Tim looks incredible in drag. He makes a gorgeous girl, and there are the comic book pages to prove it somewhere over on [ profile] scans_daily.) But Bruce - Bruce is way beyond a mere costume, and he pulls off a mindfuck of Gaslight proportions, here. It's just a wee bit crazy-making, of course, but I'm sure Batman will think it's educational for Robin. (And I switched names deliberately, there, because there's no chance Bruce even understands what he did here.) Just proves what I've always said: the iron core of any Bat, what really gets the grappling hook swinging, is his (or her!) insanity, fucked-up childhood, and Daddy issues. And those that aren't born with one or all of the above will surely acquire them after a few short years with Bruce. That man has so much crazy to give.

Sometimes Quoting Airplane! Can Be an Act of Unparalleled Courage. No, Really. I Was Surprised, Too, but This Is the Story That Proves It. Second Skin, by Toft, aka [ profile] toft_froggy. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

This is a crossdressing story for people who don't like crossdressing, because it's really about how John wears a lot of costumes, but not the one he actually most wants to. One of the things that fascinates me about Sheppard is that he always does seem to be playing a part, wearing clothes that don't quite fit him, and, okay, that's probably something the actor - how can I put this kindly? - unintentionally brings to the role (No insult intended, people - god knows I cherish the Sheppard!), but it's endlessly interesting. Brilliant, even, when combined with the total lack of background they've given John. (For future reference, canon SG writers? That is a red flag to the bull of fannish writing. The only way to increase fiction output more would've been to have them kiss - in an entirely manly, heterosexual way, of course - right there on the screen.)

That makes for fantastic fan fiction - I mean, we can pick away Sheppard's ill-fitting outer layer and make all kinds of guesses about what's underneath. And this is one of the best stories I've ever read for that. Yeah, Sheppard's crossdressing here, but what really grips me is how totally that underscores how he always seems to be crossdressing. So part of the thrill of this story for me - oh, who am I kidding? The biggest thrill, because I am just that much of a dork for happiness - is the ending. It's just so good to see John growing into himself, into his skin. And if a skirt is what it takes for him to do that, Jesus, I'll buy him a fucking closetful. And so, as it turns out, will Rodney. (And that is just part of why I love Rodney.)

The Story That Taught Me That Happiness Is a Pair of Girl Pants. (And Totally Made Me Forgive the Color Pink for All That Hideous Lana Lang Trauma.) My New Pants, by Punk, aka [ profile] runpunkrun. Scrubs, J.D./Dr. Cox.

Okay. There is a tragic dearth of Scrubs fan fiction. Seriously, what is wrong with the kids of today that they aren't writing scads of Scrubs stories? It makes me want to weep. Anyway, my point is - I've became so desperate for Scrubs FF that I'm actually watching the canon. That's tragedy, people: driven from the warm and welcoming arms of FF into a sleazy relationship with a canon that is still on the air and could thus turn on me at any minute, much like Dr. Cox's ex-wife, and then where would I be? Pity me. And then write some Scrubs FF, damn it.

But. My recent exposure to the canon (BECAUSE OF THE TRAGIC! DEARTH! OF SCRUBS FF, let me just remind you) allows me to say, with great authority, that this story basically is canon: absolutely indistinguishable from the real thing, except that it's written rather than acted. (Well, and also, no one sings even once. For Scrubs, which hasn't, as far as I know, had a musical episode only because pretty much every episode is, that's weird.) It's all here. And it's so beautiful. Ted and Todd and Dr. Cox may not be thrilled with J.D.'s new pants, but oh my god how I am. They are, in short, what the well-dressed fan fiction is wearing.

The Story That Makes Me Think, "My True Love Hath My Dog Tags and I Have His," Which Makes My Soppy Little Heart Weep for Joy. Engraved, by Sori, aka [ profile] sori1773. Stargate: SG-1, Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill.

And here we have a very dangerous kind of crossdressing - I mean, okay, it's not technically a gender-type crossdressing at all. It's more of an exchange thingy. But when it comes to wearing, uh, what Jack is wearing - seriously, he'd be taking less of a risk by wearing Daniel's underwear. Or Sam's, even. But, hey, isn't that what love is all about? (Taking risks, I mean. Not wearing other people's underwear. In most cases.)

And, actually, that - and let me just repeat: risks risks risks! Ignore the underwear remark! - is what I truly love about this story. When you're in love, it's normal to want to wear something that says right out loud, "Hey, I'm in love! (So it's a good time to hit me up for a loan.)" Even if that's, like, a t-shirt reading "My girlfriend can lick your girlfriend" or whatever. (Yes, I have dated some solid class in my time, people. Just be grateful I didn't share the story about the guy who gave me a ring I watched him find in the trash - shoved it onto my finger, actually - and then asked me to marry him. For future reference? Love is better if it doesn't require disinfecting.) And, um. Getting back to the story - see, lots of the guys we slash - even if they do happen, in this one area, to be normal, they can't do that. No rings, no ceremonies, no gift registries. (Except in certain sugary stories that I, being above all that, really don't read. Nope, never. Nuh-uh.) So, for me, this is a story about how people make their own, you know, meaningful statements. Well. That and the hot sex. Do not underestimate the importance of the hot sex.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Some of you may remember - or maybe not; a livejournal generation is only, like, eight days, so we're talking about ancient history, here - when I recommended fan fiction in this space. When I was knee-deep in vids, I swore to myself that those days would come again. It was very dramatic and meaningful, although the pervy LotR vid playing in the background might have detracted from the nobility of the moment slightly. Still, it was Oscar-worthy, and I think there was triumphal music (courtesy of the pervy vid), and you should all be very sorry you missed it.

So. Alternate universes. God, how I love these things.

Best FF That Almost Makes Me Grateful to the DC Folks for Their Persistent Attempts to Reboot Their Universe Until Our Memories Are Completely Wiped of Every Reason Why We Liked Their Comics in the First Place. Almost. Although I Still Reserve the Right to Punch Willingham in the Nose If I Ever Meet Him. Kids' Game, by [ profile] __marcelo. DC Universe, gen or Jason Todd/Stephanie Brown. You know how the infinite universes theory says that everything happens? Every time you flip a coin, a new universe forms, all that? (Yes, that is an oversimplification. Yes, there's more than one theory about this. Don't even get me started, seriously.) Well, I have long suspected that the DC folks are trying to represent that in their books via reboots; every two years, we have one, and the universes rotate one place to the right. So it's inevitable that sooner or later we'll end up where [ profile] __marcelo goes here. Only, totally not, but wouldn't it be cool if we did? No more of this deal where we add three years to this character and then subtract them from that character and then pretend a whole bunch of other characters never existed. I mean, there's a reason I don't read this stuff anymore: I can't handle all the change. I'm not smart enough to keep up. But if DC did do this with the Batverse characters? I would so, so read it. So what is this mysterious thing that the author has done? (I'm trying for suspense. Are you suspended, yet? Well, fine. I'll keep practicing.) He made them all the same age: Bruce, Dick, Tim, Jason, Steph. And it's just - this story pretty much had me from the opening (is there a universe in which opening with Tim is a bad move?), but it turned into this whole illicit, secret affair when I got to Jason and Steph. Because they work together so much better than Tim and Steph ever did, and also - no. I was about to go to the dolphin-noises place, and you don't need to be here for that. Go. Read. (Eeeeeeee!)

Best FF That Makes Me Add Holmes to the List of Tragic, Cracked Crimefighters. Please Do Not Mention Holmes/Batman or Holmes/Batman/Bond to Me. My Brain Will Explode. Thank You. Out of This Room, by Dorinda (does anyone know if she has an LJ name?). Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes/John Watson. AUs in rare fandoms are, well, rare; I suppose that if there are only a handful of stories in your fandom, there's not a huge temptation to explore, say, the universe where Holmes is the surgeon and Watson is the detective. But I still want to read that, and a million other ones besides, so I treasure the rare fandom AUs I find. And this one is three in one, so you can imagine all the embarrassing clinging and fawning I do to it. Or maybe you'd better not. This is - okay, it's a brilliant look at some of the possible outcomes of a single canon situation. And can I just say how much I love that? It's kind of a variation of the Five Things That Never Happened story type, and I have a shameful love for those, and also for eigenstate AUs. But combine them - and this story does; it's basically Three Eigenstates We Didn't Observe in This Universe - and you have hit me square in the possibility kink. (I want to see all possibilities fully elaborated. This is one of the reasons I love fan fiction so much; you can find stories featuring all the possibilities and many of the impossibilities, too.) Plus, this story persuades me. See, Holmes is one of those fandoms where I'm handicapped by knowing the canon and, worse, having formed opinions about it long before I ever knew of fan fiction. So it's hard for me to buy Holmes/Watson, because it's hard for me to picture Holmes ever doing anything as messy and human as that. Dorinda, though - she writes Holmes precisely as I have always believed him to be. And then she gives me a Watson I am happy to accept, and it's Watson who makes the happy ending here a real possibility. So my reaction to this story is basically many inarticulate variations on the theme of wow. To wit: wow.

Best FF That Makes Me Really, Really Want to Learn How to Make Paper. A Heart for Every Fate and Wild, by [ profile] destina. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. Okay, you're all familiar with the broccoli test, right? Some of my favorite pairings pass it, some don't. Many would know broccoli was wanted, but flatly refuse to get it. (I like 'em prickly and difficult, apparently.) Jack and Daniel might pass, although I think the refusing to get it thing would come into play with them. (Jack, for example, would know Daniel wanted broccoli, but he'd pretend he didn't. He'd come back with something seriously lame and stupid, like a lawn chair and three boxes of tampons, and then sit back to appreciate Daniel's expression when he saw them.) In any case, my point is, in this story (Yay! We're back to talking about the story!), Jack and Daniel pass the desert island test, which is much more stringent. (Since I just made it up, I suppose it's unreasonable to expect you to know what the desert island test is, so - if two people can spend the rest of their lives trapped alone together with no entertainment or distractions or conveniences, and at the end of thirty years they're both alive and as sane as they ever were? They pass.) I've often said that lost-earth (either it's gone, or they can't get to it) stories are not sad endings in SG1, and, as Destina proves here, neither is the desert island scenario. The obvious ending for a story like this is, "Yay! They're improbably rescued shortly after they find true love and hot sex!" I in no way object to that, not at all. But I love Destina for doing the brave thing here, skipping the deus ex machina and showing that, really, for some pairings, the desert island is a happy ending. And for writing this so damn well. Don't miss the sequel, either, which is basically an elaboration of the happiness of the ending, perfect for those of us who need a lot of reassurance.

Best FF That Makes Me Wonder, for What Has to Be the 80th Time, What the Hell Ginger Tea Is, and Why Everyone Drinks It but Me. The Convenient Husband, part one and part two, by Brighid, aka [ profile] brighidestone. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. I'm sure those of you who somehow managed to miss this story can still tell it's from the Harlequin challenge, just from the title. (Those of you who weren't in the fandom for the Harlequin challenge - uh, it's a romance novel type thingie, and also, you are in for some amazing reading.) And that's one of the things I love about this story: it's just, it feels perfectly in line with the challenge. Perfectly. (And, seriously, I tried to think of something to write for that challenge, and I totally failed. It's not as easy as it sounds. Of course, it didn't help that my first thought, on seeing it, was that some sick, deluded soul in the SGA fandom wanted a bunch of flash fiction about jesters in masks. I was flat terrified, and had to click away to preserve my remaining sanity. I only figured out the truth some little while later.) I also love this story because I realized, reading it, that John and Rodney are the most portable characters ever. It's hard to think of an AU where they wouldn't fit. King Arthur's court? They fit! The Tokugawa Shogunate? They fit! McCaffrey-esque telepathic soul-bonding dragons? They fit! (I suspect, though, that Rodney would be a dragon in that AU. John would be his rider, of course. Chaya would be a queen, and Rodney would never ever let John mate with her.) Citizen Kane? Unfortunately, they fit there, too. (There are limits. I mean, John might end up as the sled, and also, no.) I just - I love that, and I love it especially when John and Rodney are so perfectly themselves, no matter where they are. They're definitely themselves in Brighid's story. (Don't ask yourself how anyone could consider marriage to Rodney McKay convenient. We already know John has no instinct for self-preservation.)

Best FF That Suggests That Unfortunate Things Will Happen to Those of Us Who Don't Answer Our Telephones. But I Don't Care; Those Things Are Incarnations of the One True Evil, and No One Can Tell Me Different. Last Will and Testament, by Speranza, aka [ profile] cesperanza. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. This one is a bonus because, okay, look - if, by some chance, you don't know about it, go read it right now. All other commentary is going behind a cut tag, and please please please do not click on this cut tag until you've read it, okay? There's a spoiler that could possibly actually spoil the story for you, and that would be sad, but it's the only thing anyone ever wants to talk about with this story, so I'm putting it behind the cut. I mean it. Read it now. If you hate it, feel free to tell me that I suck. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. Yesterday evening as I was making dinner, Best Beloved said to me, in very firm tones: "No more whining about having a real life. Just post, you fucker."

Best Beloved does not normally talk like that. (In our house, I'm the one who uses profanity like salt.) So I got the message. (Which was, for the record: Post. You fucker.)

And, okay, fine. I have been informed that, in interests of accuracy, I should also share with you the conversation we were having immediately prior to that. See, I was being surprised because I found someone on my friends list complimenting me. In the past tense. (As in, "Yeah, TFV used to post great recs.") Compliments are always nice, of course, but I was whining that I was not dead and gone, and BB was making the point that for all most of you know, I could be.

I'm sure this insight into Life with TFV and Best Beloved has been fascinating and inspirational to you all. Never say I do not provide gripping content. Or, I mean, you can if you want, because, um. It's pretty much true.

And to illustrate that, let's move on to topic B of tonight. See, [ profile] lcsbanana has this interesting post in which she invites authors to volunteer to be subjected to audience commentary. I found this an incredibly nifty concept, and I was even more enthralled after I realized how many authors I read and love are on that list. So I thought I would, you know, pony up with some commentary.

Unfortunately, I recently learned, in the course of attempting to do a DVD track type thing with [ profile] makesmewannadie on our jointly-written tentacle porn, that I have no idea how to do commentary. Apparently I should've been taking notes or something when other people did theirs, because, wow. I always have something to say, true, but I suspect that for this kind of thing what I'm saying needs to be, you know. Coherent. Relevant. Basically, things that I am not. And if I have no idea how to do author commentary, I am doubly in the dark on the audience commentary thing.

So I thought I'd retreat to what I know, which is recommendations. But this is a set with a difference, in that it is unthemed and assembled entirely from stories (that I already had decided to rec) written by people from [ profile] lcsbanana's list. Also, I will be taking a wild stab at actual thoughtful commentary here. This will not, of course, be a line-by-line thing, with quotes from the story and all. I could no more do that than I could soar with the eagles, people.

And if you haven't ticked [ profile] lcsbanana's box (um...yeah, that didn't sound good, but I'm sure she'll take it well) and you'd enjoy seeing audience commentary on your work, really, don't let me discourage you. It's a wonderful concept, and I have to think that everyone else who participates in it (...and everyone else on the planet) will be better at it than me.

In fact, it might be best to tick now, before you get a look at what I did.

Yes. That would be for the best.

Also, I promise that I won't be doing story summaries this long again. It got all out of control on me.

(Secret message to all who sent me birthday gifts and wishes: LJ and I had some issues there for a while, mostly involving me not getting informed of comments. But now both LJ and I have our acts more or less together at nearly the same time, which is indeed rare, and you should be getting individual thanks from me shortly. In the meantime, know that you all - including all three of you lurkers - have made me a very happy woman. Thank you.)

Best FF That Will Make You Picture Tim Drake in a Padawan Braid. After Which You Will Never Be the Same, I'm Warning You Here and Now. Flamebird, by [ profile] monkeycrackmary. Star Wars x DCU, gen. When I was 16, my then-boyfriend introduced me to comics. He was a Marvel guy, but he still had some affection for Batman, and he gave me a quick summary of the DCU. (I know. Quick summary = useless summary in any comics canon. I said he was a Marvel guy, right? He gave me so much detail about the X-Men that I'm still in therapy.) He explained about the Robins - or, as he called them, Real Robin and Not Robin. His description of Jason Todd, aka Not Robin, was, in toto: "A placeholder, and kind of a brat." That's pretty much the image I carried of Jason until I found FF, which changed me. (Yes, I know. It changes us all. But this was a change that was entirely g-rated, and that has to have some kind of rarity value.) Why do I tell you this? Because this story makes Jason so very real. It makes me hurt for Jason. Here, that's exactly what he (okay, Jay) is: a placeholder. This is a story, yes, and a great one, but for me it's also as a weird meta thing on how Jason was treated in the Batman series; as far as I can tell, to the extent I can look back past all the crises and reloads and everything, that was pretty much like Jay is treated here.

The other Robins are also here, being very much themselves; I doubt I need to express my joy at the perfection of Tim in this story, but I should mention (because I have no dignity left to lose) that I squeaked when I first read the words "Master Greyson." (I'm sorry. It's the DCU. It does that to me.) And there's someone else who isn't here, but is still everywhere in this story: Anakin Skywalker. (Secret message to George Lucas: This is how Anakin's story should have gone, and I don't forgive you just because you had to make the end of 3 match up to the start of 4 (which, also - you didn't). We manage to work around your screwy canon, so I have no sympathy for you at all if you can't.) I love the way I can see an actual character for Anakin around the edges of this, way more than I did in episodes one and two (I just wimped out on three; I couldn't face it at all). So. Anakin's here in spirit, with his story going right for a change. Jason's here in fact, no matter what his name is, with his story going on for a change. Plus there's Tim, which is just - I mean, Tim. And it's like Star Wars Episodes 1-3 never happened. Is this not the very model of a fan's paradise? It is, and you should read it.

Best FF That Could Quite Possibly Make You Enjoy Eating from a Mini-Bar. It Might Even Make You Enjoy Paying $5 for a Package of Peanuts. It Has That Kind of Power. Cherchez la Femme, by Victoria P., aka [ profile] musesfool. Ocean's 11, Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan. A really good writer can make me agree with almost anything, and Victoria is just such a writer. This is a fascinating take on the Danny-Rusty dynamic; it is not my take, but this story totally makes me go there anyway. Hell, it makes me want to set up house there. And that's one of the reasons I love this. I also love the assorted original female characters in here - I mean, when I read this story, I always get distracted by Bachelorette #3 because I want to hear more about her. I want to know how she did what she did, and why, and also if she could maybe saunter into the lives of other favorite slash pairings of mine, because that would be so very excellent I might die. And then, by the end of her section, I'm totally invested in the Danny/Rusty story again, and I forget all about her. (Look. It is not my fault. I have, you know, focus issues. Also, she's way cool, but they are sleek and shiny and totally in love with each other. So it's no contest, really.)

The other thing I love about this story, the thing that made me pick it for the blather fest this post is turning out to be, is. Okay. I'm going to try my hand at actual analysis here, albeit at a very low level, and you all have to be very supportive and try not to laugh, because this is not my metier. See, when I look at the women Danny dates in this story, what I notice is how they all are complete characters, and yet they each represent just one facet of Rusty's personality, from the freewheeling indie to the con artist extraordinaire. Danny's dating women who remind him in some way of the guy he's already with. So Victoria, in other words, seems to me to be saying, "Check out Danny. He is such an idiot that he does not get that he's actually looking for Rusty." Except, of course, he's not an idiot. He figures it out in the end. Some people just need to be smacked in the face a few times before they can process this sort of thing, and I for one don't hold it against them.

Best FF That Always Makes Me Wonder How the Hell You'd Carve a Turnip. But Then, I've Never Carved a Pumpkin, Either, So Maybe I'm Just Not Picturing This Right. Wheel, by Brighid, aka [ profile] brighidestone. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Sam Carter/Daniel Jackson. Warning: I can't warn you, but I can say it's all on the upswing after the first part. If you make it through that, you're good. But thost first few sections hurt, people. My basic summary of this story is: wow. I've been wanting to rec this for a long time, partly because it makes me happy, but mostly because it's brave. It is just such a fucking courageous story; in it, Brighid does two specific things (no, I am not going to tell you what they are, because you'll know if you read it, and also they're spoilers of a large and looming nature) that are unusual (especially when paired like this) in SG1 stories of this genre. (The genre is The World Ended or Maybe We Just Lost It. In this case, for the record, they just lost it; earth is doing fine, but it and SG1 are maintaining separate residences.) And she does them (Brighid does the things, I mean; I refuse to apologize for my dependence on parentheses. They are pretty and fun. So there.) so well, and neither one is a particularly popular choice.

Okay. Look, we can't go on this way. If I'm going to talk about this story, I have to talk about those two things. So, please, just go read it, and I'll stay here and spoil in privacy. This way for the not interesting and not entertaining babble. Or you could just, you know, move on to the next rec. I'm not giving any orders, mind you, but I know what I'd choose. )

Best FF That Makes IQ Tests Not Just Fun but Sexy. Take That, Wechsler! The Pegasus Society, by Sabine, aka [ profile] iamsab. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay/Atlantis. And. Okay. I was saving this for last, because I actually had something substantive to say about the other stories. (I am, yes, well aware that I didn't actually manage to communicate that something. This is an imperfect medium, people, and there's bound to be some content loss between writer and reader, and also I zing from topic to topic like I'm in Brownian motion.) About this I have nothing to say but oh my god. (For the full effect, you'll need to read that part in italics out loud. Make it high and breathless, like a 14-year-old girl who has just touched a boy, boy, I guess. What do you call the individual members of a boy band?) See, this story - it just hits all my shameful SGA kinks. There's super smart John pretending to be dumb, and Atlantis all over the place (seriously - Atlantis point of view, and it's a benevolent Atlantis, which is just - see, in my head, Atlantis is benevolent, but when I try to write it she ends up eeeeevil, so this is like a super-extra bonus for me), and Rodney bringing new meaning to the concept of multi-tasking. There's even intelligence tests in here. It starts with the whole sum of the squares thing, which for most of us is like encountering an old friend; I can only think of a handful of opening lines that have brought me into a story faster than this one, because I was right with Rodney when he yelled out the answer. I mean, I felt a bond! With Rodney! It's just...and also...and then...

And now you see what I mean about this story. I've got no content for this rec at all, just a lot of pathetic squeeing. You know how some people get about their canon? Like, how most people get about their canon? I really only get that way about fan fiction, and this story - this story made me react the way Smallville fans would if they found their way into an alternate universe where the series was written by someone who had a crush on Lex instead of Lana. And was an actual good writer. (No offense intended, Smallville people! You know I have love for you! It's just, the recent spate of SV-SGA comparisons has left me gape-mouthed with shock and horror. That, that is some very interesting canon you've been swimming against for five years. No wonder you're all so durable and steadfast.) So. This story brings me joy. Tragically, it also connects my i/o ports directly to my squee center, bypassing my brain completely, so this "commentary" (All together now: "There hasn't actually BEEN any commentary, TFV!") pretty much consists of the basic concept expressed by the word yay. Only, um. Spread over two paragraphs.

Next time: a return to your regular story summaries, which are just as contentless, but much, much shorter. It's something for us all to look forward to, yes?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This was going to be a set of stories about the undead, because of Halloween. (Yes, it was started before Halloween. I'm the Pokey Little Poster!) And then it was going to be a vid recs set, because, well, vids. But somehow I got completely sidetracked into crossovers, and I'm not the least bit sorry. I don't think you'll regret it, either (especially when I tell you that there were no zombies in the undead set), because who doesn't love a good crossover? And these are great crossovers.

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

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

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

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

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

Best FF in Which It Really Is Vasculitis. Evil Vasculitis. Change Is the Only Constant, by Mara, aka [ profile] marag. House x DCU, gen. Well. Okay. Some crossovers just don't work. You can, like, find them on some crack-pairing list, and giggle about them, and maybe test your brain's flexibility by imagining them, but the fandoms just don't mesh. You know what I mean: Crossovers That Woman Was Not Meant to Read, Let Alone Write, God Help Her. I would have said that House x DCU is one of those, except that I totally do want you to read this, and furthmore I encourage all kinds of writing like this, because it so totally does work. (Which suggests that any crossover can work in the right hands. I have long suspected this, though no one should write Pride and Prejudice x Backstreet Boys just to prove it.) I'm not spoiling anything when I tell you that the central concept here is Tim Drake = Gregory House. And, wow. That's an equals sign that just has no business at all existing, right? But [ profile] marag does a fabulous job of showing how point A gets to point B, which is way the hell out of spandex, without breaking any characters. (As far as I know, I mean. I've read, like, four House stories and seen absolutely zip of the canon, so I'm making no promises there.) And, okay, I should probably mention that this story contains spoilers for Identity Crisis and WTF Games, or whatever the hell those canon clusterfucks were called, but the thing is - it resolves those arcs in a way we probably won't get to see in canon. Plus, this story has Cass, and she always elevates the level of discourse. So - grown-up, snarky Tim. Grown-up Cass. Batfamily guilt trips. Emotional resolution. This story has it all. And did I mention the whacked-out crossover aspect?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Um, hi.

Does anyone out there still remember me? Is anyone actually reading this? Has all of fandom been destroyed by the Third Wank War, complete with nuclear flames and epic kerfluffles and weapons of mass defriending, so that all that's left is post-apocalyptic fandom, with a few tragic, scarred survivors cowering in their bunkers, posting about the irritations of radiation zombie attacks and the way you kind of get to like spam after the first eight months?

If that's what's going on, someone should please tell me. I've been hiding - emerging only in the dead of night to search for safe, friendly smut - for, like, ever, so if anything really good or really bad happened, I missed it.

There were many reasons for this whole hiding gig, including the dreaded Real Life Work Thing (felon Nazis must die!), but the only one of even marginal interest here is that I broke my due South mojo but good, and my friends list is so delightfully full of things dS-y that I couldn't go near it for weeks. Seriously, worst mojo breakage ever - I tried re-reading all of [ profile] cesperanza's stories, and then [ profile] resonant8 and [ profile] kassrachel - the safest spots in all of dSdom! - and nothing helped. When you're at the point that even "About a Dog" can't fix you, you know it's time to retreat for a bit. So I've been re-acquainting myself with Jim and Blair (thank you, Sentinel ficathon, for posting stories just when I needed them) and mooching around SGA, hoping for plot and porn and as much McKay as possible, and I think it's helped; soon I may be able to return to the fond embrace of Ray and the Mountie. (For the record, they are engaging in the fond embrace; I am admiring the embrace and slipping assorted unhealthful snacks to Diefenbaker.) If anyone knows of some nice fresh dS with some humor and a happy ending and maybe some porn, that would probably cement my recovery.

Not that I am begging for links or anything, y'all. I'm stronger than that.

But I can't wait for dS to be fixed before I rec anything. I mean, there's a limit to the amount of time I can stay away and still stay sane. (Note: said limit may already have been exceeded. Just, you know, FYI.) So, without further ado, I give you: the first recs set I've written for a while. (I thought that sentence was going to end on a slightly higher note that that; sorry.) It's AUs, and it is totally dS-free, because of my tragic condition. But! There's SGA and DCU and, oh, lots of good stuff. So you maybe want to read on anyway.

Best FF That Highlights the Critical Role Sugar Plays in Scientific Progress. Have You Hugged Something with an -Ose Suffix Today? Hindsight, by [ profile] rageprufrock. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay, John Sheppard/f. (ETA: I should probably note that there's some disturbing content in here, and there aren't any warnings on the story. It's a basically happy story, but if you're feeling sensitive, comment and I'll warn you in more detail.) So. We'll start with an easy one, because, you know, it's been a while. I don't want to sprain something. And this one is easy because 1) I'm pretty sure everyone in the known universe has already read this, 2) anyone who somehow missed it will have already stopped reading this and gone to read that, because just the author and the fandom is enough to persuade any reasonable fangirl that heaven is a place called Hindsight. Or something. (Hey. I said it had been a while. Don't get uppity with me.) Anyway, if you haven't read it - although, again, why are you still here? - this is just. Wow. I can rave, but I can't possibly rave enough. It's a pre-show AU that ends in, well, not quite the same place where the canon starts. But close. Close enough, anyway, that your imagination can take things from there, though I really hope Pru will take over on that point pretty damn soon. So my point is, this is an AU history, which is really not that easy, folks. And, and - I mean, this is perfectly John, with just one tiny (but important) difference, and also so totally Rodney that I was forced to make undignified noises when I first read it. (He's whining! And shouting! At FBI agents! After he defused the bomb in his own car! And also nearly got shot! And did I mention the whining and shouting?) I have so much love for this story that, seriously, my heart grew three sizes yesterday when I saw that Pru had finished this. (I have this McKay-type allergy to works in progress, so I had been waiting and hoping hoping hoping that it would be finished soon, and it was! It was totally a miracle in the Church of SGA, people. Pretty soon I'll find the outline of Sheppard's hair on a tortilla!)

Best FF That Highlights the Importance of Crack in Fictional Progress, and I Mean That in All Possible Senses of the Word "Crack." Never Mind the Magic, by [ profile] hjcallipygian. Harry Potter, assorted pairings. Ish. You know how sometimes you'll be reading a story, and you'll figure out where it's going, and you'll realize that the author should have been confined for his safety some weeks ago? This story totally did that to me. I was saying, "Oh, my poor crack-ridden friend - fandom has finally broken you, and we will all be really really sad when we attend your funeral or commitment hearings or whatever" to the writer (not that he could hear me, what with my monitor not having any kind of voice broadcast capacity, and we should all thank god for that) by, like, the first paragraph. First sentence, pretty much. And then I read a little further, and I was totally cursing at said writer, because it made so much sense. And by the end, I wanted to marry him for his insane crack-ridden mind alone. Because, yes, band AUs have been done and done, but this, this is the perfect band AU, and also maybe the perfectest HP AU ever. Because - OMG. And also, oh my GOD, with sex and drugs and punk on top. I don't know why J. K. Rowling didn't think of doing this with these characters - wait, no, wait. I totally do. It's because she has enough money to pay for buckets of therapy. But this is the kind of AU that works because it's taking characters out of a place where they were meant to be and putting them into an entirely new place where, to the surprise of all, they fit even better. The plot here can be roughly summed up as "everything that ever happened in punk, plus Yoko Ono," but somehow that doesn't capture the magic. Also? Bonus: Joni. Fucking. Mitchell.

Best FF That Highlights the Importance of Mullets to Musical Progress. Or, No, Wait, I Tell a Lie - It's Mullet Shame That's So Important. Naqqadah, by [ profile] radiotelescope. Stargate: SG-1, gen. Or, you know, OT4 music porn. Whatever. So. We had one band AU, and we're probably all still humming "Frigging in the Rigging" from that. (And, seriously, anyone who isn't - why the fuck not? Everyone in fandom needs to know that song by heart. All the versions of it. I'm really not kidding here.) And now I must link you to another band AU, because - because this one also works, in much the same gorgeous, insane way that makes you (or, OK, I'll be honest: it makes me) whine, "How come he, she, or it can get away with that? It's not faaaiiiiiiiir!" Which it isn't. But at least I get to read the results of it, so the universe is somewhat forgiven. This isn't precisely crack-ridden, mind you. Not exactly. It's just exactly what SG-1 would be if they were a band instead of, you know, a band of intrepid heroes and explorers. And you may be wondering how that concept could ever be other than completely crack-ridden, and you would be right to wonder, but I can only point you to the story and wave my hands around helplessly, because - look, just read it. The plot here is pretty much "There's these people that have this band, and they are so totally - like, dude," but, again, that doesn't capture it at all. Also? Bonus: Jack O'Neill with piercings. And I would so mention the mullet right here, except we're not allowed to talk about it, and who am I to taunt others for their unfortunate hair-related choices in the dim and distant past? (Jack and mullet, sitting in a tree, k-i...)

Best FF That Highlights the Importance of Illegal Drugs to Proper Socialization. Um. That Didn't Come out Right. Tell You What, How About I Get Back to You on This? Next Friend, by Sarah T., aka [ profile] harriet_spy. D.C. Universe, Catspaw/Speedy. So. You're all reading [ profile] cereta's Hanging Work series, yes? If not, start with Hanging Work, which is the foundation story, and also, I don't love you anymore. No, don't even try with the excuses. Won't work. Well, OK, except for you, and you, and also you - you three are excused. And anyone who just does not grok the DCU at all is likewise excused, although, seriously - you're missing out on the Big Buckets o' Gay in Tights, people, so please reconsider. But the rest of you, if you aren't reading this, well, you've lost all semblance of sanity. And I've lost that loving feeling. So, anyway, I spent some time trying to figure out which danged HW story to recommend; there's a bajillion, with more coming out from minute to minute, and they're all brilliant. That [ profile] cereta, she has found her groove. Or got it. Or whatever it is one does to a groove these days; I can never keep up. Then I realized that there was another aspect of this AU that I wanted to highlight: it's open. People are apparently allowed to play in this sandbox, because Lucy is generous that way. So I decided I'd recommend Sarah's first (as far as I know) entry in this universe, because I have unhealthy amounts of love for it, and I want more people to take note of this lovely AU. And there's, like, drugs and stuff, and important life lessons are learned. And also, there's a fantastic Roy Harper, not that that should surprise anyone. And Catwoman. Have I mentioned how much I am in love with the Catwoman of this AU? Because I am, because she is just - you know what, go have a look-see for yourself, because I can't come close to summing up her wonderfulness.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm doing another travel and transportation set. This is partly, yes, because I have an awful day of accomplishing the impossible (and on a deadline, no less) ahead of me, so I wish I was, in fact, traveling ("Anywhere but here" is my current motto). And it's partly 'cause my head is filled with NASCAR trivia (Note for concerned readers: it's [ profile] maygra's fault. She is to blame. I am an innocent victim, and am more to be pitied than censured, really.), so I'm all about the cars and the travel these days. But mostly it's because, well - great FF, here.

Best FF That Uses Carnival Terminology to Represent Terror, Which I Firmly Believe It Does and Should, Because Carnivals Are Just Not Right. Flying Blind, by [ profile] minnow1212. Stargate: Atlantis, gen. I believe I have spoken to you of [ profile] minnow1212 before. I believe my words were, "read her right now or else you are dead to me." Consider this another warning for those of you who have resisted her fan-fic-alicious wiles. (No, I did not just type the most hideous, unspeakable non-word ever, the veritable Cthulhu of language. If you see such a thing on your screen, it is a reflection of the darkness in your soul, so don't come shrieking to me.) Read her works, or the next time you're up late and you can't sleep and you're making sad little noises about not having anything good to read? Well, there will be mockery. Because none of us has any sympathy for people who ignore great stories like this. (You can relax now; the story summary is actually starting.) Basically, what we have here is an episode we'll never see, because no one who writes for SGA writes this well. (No disrespect to canon intended. This is better, is all.) Flying blind is what the residents of Atlantis do all the time - they head into the dangerous unknown every time they activate the gate or walk into a new part of the city or try to use their computers, for god's sake. And they don't even have any backup to speak of. One of the wonderful parts of the first season is watching how that changed the characters, how they dealt with that - and one of the great parts of the fiction for this fandom is seeing it happen all over again, in more detail than a TV show can provide, with sense and brilliance and just - every word right. As it is in this story.

Best FF That Reminds Us of All Trains Have to Offer, and I Am Most Definitely Thinking of That Jolting Rhythm, Here. The Train Job, by [ profile] brooklinegirl. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. I recently had an unpleasant experience on a train, and let me tell you, there was no gay sex at all on that thing. So I had to turn to this story to remind me that, hey, trains aren't all bad - they're the only form of transportation that sometimes comes with a built-in bed. (Well, I mean, OK, RVs and some semis, but I can't think of any RV or semi-based sex in FF. Which is a massive, tragic oversight, people. Fix that, please, and I mean soon.) Trust Fraser to get Ray, the original "Why can't we just drive there?" guy, on a train, and trust Ray to make good use of all the amenities of said transportation. Given the massive amounts of trust we can have for these two, is it any wonder we all love due South? (No, really, we do. If you aren't an active dS fan, you're a latent dS fan; there's no such thing as someone who hates dS, or if there is, please don't tell me, because I'll lose all faith in humanity.) And if train sex isn't enough for you, can I draw your attention to the conversation that precedes the sex? Because it is golden. I love Ray's train memories. And I also love that he talks to Fraser to keep him awake, because - talk is Fraser's weapon, and here it is, turned against him! How could you not love this story?

Best FF That Proves That, Yes, There Really Is Something Ever-So-Slightly Dodgy About the Way Flying Superheroes Carry Other People Through the Air. U and Me, by Te, aka [ profile] thete1. D. C. Universe, Kon-El/Tim Drake. Because, I mean, really. Even the most homophobic comic book artists - and if there are any homophobic comic book artists, have they seen their own work lately? - can't find an entirely innuendo-free way to draw one guy flying in a horizontal position while carrying another guy. (They've got their work cut out for them just keeping said flying guys from looking dorky. There may in fact be some excellent, coolness-related reasons why people don't fly, is what I'm saying here.) Trust Te, queen of all things filled with innuendo and spandex, to make that dodginess rather more, um, explicit. And, while she's at it (because, hey, why not multi-task?), she resolves one of those annoying little problems that crop up in comic books - namely, that no one ever resolves anything. But, hey, that's fine - they probably can't, because, come on; anything these people do is bound to involve gay gay sex, and there's only so much even today's editors will let artists and writers get away with. And I for one am grateful, because without that pesky editorial limitation, we wouldn't have stories like this one, in which the characters resolve their issues by having sex in mid-air. Ah, comic book fandoms, how I love thee.

Best FF That Is, Inevitably, Going to Lead to Me Saying to My Best Beloved, "I Brought You Here for Sex." Let's Hope It's Not in Church or Something. Home from Here, by Merry, aka [ profile] merryish. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. Notice how I very cleverly separated the two Stargate universe stories, so that no one would notice how much I'm recommending them these days. Oh. You noticed anyway? Well, I am not at all sorry, and with stories like this, how could I be? Because, OK, first: best last line ever. I mean that. This story has a last line that made me happy for days the first time I read it, and that still brings me joy on every subsequent reading. And, trust me on this, there have been a lot of subsequent readings, which is especially impressive when you consider that this story was written for the 2005 J/D Ficathon, and thus has only been available for a month. So the real question is, how did we survive this long without it? This is the story of Jack's retirement as it should be - with camels and astronomy and blue jello and sex with Daniel. And if just reading this doesn't make you want to marry the author, or maybe just the story, well, seriously - have you considered getting treatment for your commitment phobia? Because how could you not want to wake up every morning with fiction this good? Or the writer of fiction this good? How could you not love a story in which the main characters break into helpless laughter while trying to have sex? I surely can't resist it, and I just can't imagine how anyone could. I mean: wow. And did I mention: best last line ever?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
You know you love somebody, be it in a friendly or romantic or familial way, when you can turn to that person and make a comment that appears to all others to be a random assemblage of words, and that person laughs or pats you sympathetically or nods sincerely and offers another random word array that makes total sense to you. At least, that's how I know; private language is perhaps the ultimate symbol of closeness in my world. (This may just be because I don't make much sense most of the time, so I'm really touched when someone actually gets me at all. I still maintain that it works on a more general level, though.)

These stories are all about private language, be it the language of two or the language of one or the language of people stuck in a pocket universe with only their own brilliance and absurdity for company. (And, you know, someday I want to see a story like that for every fandom. Except Sports Night, where I think that's pretty much already true in the canon.)

Words. They're all we have to go on. Given certain fairly inclusive definitions of 'words.'

Best FF That Contains a Reference to The Night of the Hunter. Which Makes Me Wonder if Ray Has Seen the Movie. Or Fraser Has. D R A W N, by [ profile] serialkarma and [ profile] lalejandra. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Isn't it lovely to see two people really communicating? Well, no, not when they're, say, the people behind you in a movie (the woman who repeated words at random from the dialog of Mission: Impossible to her husband with sinus problems, for example) or in line at the supermarket. ("I see where that boy is still on trial." "Isn't it Michael Jackson on trial?" "He's just after the money, you know." "Who?" "The boy. Michael Jackson wouldn't do that. He could do better." "Oh, I don't know. Maybe he did. What I say is, does it matter? They're all like that anyway." And meanwhile you're wondering a) is it contagious, b) will the checker understand if you abandon your half-unloaded groceries and flee the store, and c) why you don't carry a gun. Or at least, that's what you're wondering if you're me.) But it's pretty damn nice when it's Fraser and Kowalski, especially when they're communicating by means of drawing. On each other's skin. With ink. And how they do it is nice, too; Fraser telling a story using his own private, unspoken, unexplained language - because for a man who talks a lot he's not much with the communicating - and Ray keying into it intuitively - because for a detective he's not much with the logic. That's so them. A big part of the appeal of this pairing for me is that it involves two people no one has really listened to. And then they start listening to each other. And if that doesn't just make the tears of joy well up inside...well, you're probably not pre-menstrual, at any rate.

Best FF That Left Me Reaching for the Book on Animal Sounds in Other Languages That I Do in Fact Own. It's Like I Spent Years Preparing to Read This Story! Absurdity Theory, by [ profile] julad. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/Radek Zalenka. So. If it quacks like a duck, but does not in fact look like a duck, what is it? In this case, two people paying a slightly higher-than-usual price for certain unkind comments. But, hey, if you know stuff, it doesn't matter that you can't talk to others; you can still entertain yourself with a Turing machine or the Theory of Universal Absurdity or lots of sex. This is why everyone needs science. (The sex. Though the entertainment is nice, too.) And everyone also needs this story, although you probably don't need it as much as I did when I first read it, because it was the perfect antidote to an unfortunate vid experience I had last week. Vidders, please: avoid the all talking heads, no action, no meaning blue-light-special vids. But if you're going to make one, for Christ's sake don't center and zoom in on those faces too far. Because you may find that dramatic, but all I see is nostrils. Gigantic, flagrant, unignorable nostrils. ("Nostrilriffic" is not a word I had previously been tempted to coin, but this vid - it needed adjectives as yet undiscovered in the English language.) And when a love song is wailing in the background but huge nostrils are flaring in the foreground, I am in an unhappy place. Or, actually, a seriously happy place and laughing myself sick, but that's probably not where the vid was supposed to take me. Worse, after I watched said vid, I couldn't read SGA without thinking mostly of nostrils, and it was inhibiting my new-fandom love. But then, fortunately, I found this story, which completely derailed the memory of hysterical nostrils via hysterical quacking, and also the honking, and also the Czech. So my love has returned. Healed by the magic of fan fiction!

Best FF That Reminds Us That No Matter How Strange and Illogical Our Own Culture's Marital Customs Are, It Could Always Be Worse. For Example, It Could Involve Parakeets. A Bird in the Hand Gets Tangled in the Sheets, by The Grrrl, aka [ profile] thegrrrl2002. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. You know, for someone whose whole life has been about communication, Daniel's private language is remarkably singular; no one speaks fluent Daniel Jackson. I love this story in part because it proves that that doesn't matter. Jack speaks enough and is patient enough, and the rest of out. (For Daniel and Jack. Probably not so much for the men who had to do whatever-it-was involving birds after they married, which in my opinion goes a long way toward explaining why that particular culture died out. Marriage and birds are not an OTP.) The other reason I love this FF may say more about me than it does about the story, but who am I to shy away from writing down potentially revealing personal information and posting it in a searchable, public medium? I mean, I'm on Livejournal, here; oversharing is the name of the game. So I will not hesitate (except, you know, for all the preliminary verbiage, which is more of an art than an avoidance thing, really) to tell you that this story contains the sweetest and best declaration of love of all time. Really. Actually, it contains two of them, because the response is just as good and sweet and true. This is one of those short pieces I read whenever I'm feeling especially out of touch with the world; it reminds me that it doesn't matter if the world gets me. It only matters if one person cares enough to try. And, lord, the treacle is practically coming out of my ears, now, so we'd best move on to the Batworld, where things just don't get that sweet.

Best FF That Proves That There Are Modes of Attack Even Tim Drake Hasn't Anticipated. I Know, I Know - It's Crazy. But True! Obsessive, by Derry, aka [ profile] derryderrydown. D.C Universe, Batclan, Batgirl/Robin III. Yet another story I love intensely, and not just because it incorporates both of my favorite Batclan characters. (Nightwing is a close third, though.) What I love is this look at Cass, who I suspect was introduced to the DCU solely so that there'd be one inhabitant harder to understand and write than Batman. (Because, look. I love him as much as the next girl, provided I get to pick who the next girl is, but the man is about one cerebral misfire away from Arkham Asylum. If that.) Cass spent much of her life mute, and she still prefers not to speak. Also, she fights crime. So I don't have much in common with her (I never shut up, and the closest I come to fighting crime is giving dirty looks to vocal movie attendees), but I still relate to the language Cass is speaking in this story. Body language shouldn't be a private language - we all speak it, we all read it - but a lot of the time it seems like it is, because so many people do all their body communication unconsciously. Sadly, I'm not as fluent in it as Cass is (I mean, I can't manipulate anyone with it. Tragically. Because if I could, you can bet world leaders would make a lot more sense.), but I'm more comfortable with that language than any of the other non-verbal ones. And the thing is? Once you start watching it, it really is this easy to read. I love that Derry gets that, and even if her Cass doesn't read bodies the same way I do, I read this again and again because it makes so much sense. I don't know if it will to you, but I don't think it matters. Even if you can't picture the conversations described in here, you should still read it for a look at the world through Batgirl's eyes.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Today I saw an Iams truck hit a fire hydrant, take it clean off, and stroll down the street with it. And then I saw what happens after you completely remove a fire hydrant from the pipe that spawned it: a lot of water comes out. Enough water to create a lake in seconds. Enough water to make the sidewalk explode. I mean, I've seen some floods in my time - my family appears to be genetically unlucky with regards to plumbing, after all - but never have I seen one like that. It was fabulous. And all the suddenly tiny-looking cars inching over into my lane to try to get away from the water just made it better.

I'm trying not to want to see it again.

When we can't have what we want, we sublimate, yes? Thus: a set about water. And the thing is, what I saw today was just seriously excellently cool, but these stories? They are better.

Best FF That Demonstrates the Importance of Embracing Your Ethnic Roots. Or Embracing Mutants. Whichever. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Give or Take), by Merry, aka [ profile] merryish. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard. Have I mentioned how totally I love this new fandom? Because I do. I love it enough to marry it. I mean, the funny, and the snark, and also the occasional appearance of actual science and math - any two is enough to make this girl's heart go pitter-patter, but all three is just. Wonderful. Really. In fact, now that I've braved the due South canon (reminder: it actually is as wonderful as the FF would make you think, or at least season three is, and you should watch it immediately), SGA will likely be replacing it as The Fandom I Love So Much I'm Afraid to See the Canon. This is a highly coveted position, folks. Or at any rate, it is in my personal universe. But I have to put SGA there, because - well, look at this story. The humor - and I'm talking about humor that made me giggle like a loon even after the first time I read this. The near-death experiences, with accompanying panic attacks (excellent!) and hostile, defensive sarcasm (even better!). The believably intelligent characters. Who are also believable people. And did I mention the plot here, and the setting, and the wonderful extension of canon? And also the humor? Oh, I feel the love, folks. And if you have any sense, you'll start feeling it, too, because I'm not alone; some of the best writers on this planet are also clearly loving this fandom to the point of bringing it home to - well, bringing it home, at any rate. You want this fandom, my friends, you so totally do. Don't even try to deny it.

Best FF That Always Makes Me Say, in Tones of Muted Horror, "There Isn't Really a Streisand-Gibb Duet. Is There? Really?" Abeyance, by [ profile] witling. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, gen. Y'all know I enjoy giving you fictional whiplash, right? (No. That is not what we Americans develop after any impact more bracing than a kiss if a major corporation is at fault. It is, you know, whiplash. Given to you by fiction.) Well, you should. And so we go from a near-death experience in water that is funny and sweet and light to water as a safe haven is a story that is not funny or sweet or light but is just really damn good. I have a major, ongoing anger at the way Xander-the-character was handled after, oh, season three - I mean, I don't know whether it was that he was a bone of contention between the writers or if the actor was pissing everyone off or if they just thought, "Wow, we really need a one-dimensional running joke in bad shirts! That will make this show great! And I know, let's use a major character for it, too!" Whichever, though, Xander was never the same. Here we get to see him as he always should've been, and I can't even describe how it is, so just go look. Plus, swimming. Which [ profile] witling must know, because she describes it here perfectly, enough to make me hearken back to my own (yes, shameful but true) swim-team days. I just have an unholy love for this story, and if it always makes me a little sad, it's only because it's so good. And because I wish someone on the writing team had understood Xander this well.

Best FF That Makes Me Reflect Thoughtfully and Just a Trifle Unhappily on the Phrase "Blood Is Thicker Than Water." Bloodline, by Sarah T., aka [ profile] harriet_spy. D. C. Universe, Batclan, gen. And now we go back to water as a near-death experience; its appearance is briefer than in the previous two stories, but when I think of this, I always think of water. And blood. And one other thing, which I won't tell you now. This story is just - amazing. Seriously amazing. So amazingly wonderful that when I read it I insisted my Best Beloved read it immediately and confirm for me its wonderfulness. Because, OK. It isn't just the vaguely AU-ish storyline, here; it's also - this is the way Dick really was as Robin. This is how things really were between Batman and Robin I. Or at least, that's how I remember them, from the canon - the neediness, the sense that all parties would benefit from years of intensive psychotherapy, the strangely upbeat Robin voice that somehow made the whole thing seem worse. (Yes, Batwriters: an orphaned teenager in frighteningly brief spandex issuing bad "wise"cracks at terrible villains will certainly lighten the tone of the books and make them more suitable for children. How did you know?) But don't think this story is - OK, well, it is dark. But not how we usually mean it in fandom. And if there's angst, it's only what the canon brought there. And it is just so goddamn good. And Best Beloved will back me up on that.

Best FF That Once Again Proves That What a Pirate Really Needs Is a Ship. But He'll Still Take Anything Else That's Going - or Coming - His Way. Out of His Depth, by Gloria Mundi, aka [ profile] viva_gloria. Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack Sparrow/Will Turner. And now water becomes a metaphor - and, of course, an actual substance, something boats float on, something you swim in, something unwary boys might sink in. Well, I mean, we had to have one sailing-fandom story, didn't we? Water. Sails. They go together. And this is a story I have loved since it was written (for the first Yuletide), even though the pairing, not to mention the point of view - well, let's just say Will Turner was not the most compelling character in the movie to me. Even if you subtracted all the other characters that had more than five lines from the competition. But that's why I love and adore this story, because he was so totally out of his depth, from the beginning to the end, and maybe what he needed was to, you know, sink. In all senses of the word, including the one at the end of the story. And the thing is, this Will is three-dimensional in a way the on-screen character simply was not, and yet I can buy this Will, can totally buy him. You know those programs where you put in a line drawing and it makes it all perspective-y and three-dimension-y? Well, this story does that to Will. And a writer who can do that, well - in my opinion, she can do anything. And should.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Today, I offer you weirdness. In pairs. Think of this sort of like a - fandom poker hand, I guess. (Assuming you can ever play four-card poker, because I don't actually know, and I won't unless some fandom comes along about these guys who, like, go to a lot of different places, and play poker, and have adventures, and they're really funny and so obviously doing it.) Anyway: two pair, people. And what a pair they are.

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

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

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

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

Best FF Featuring Daniel Making Yet Another Unfortunate Translation Error. Unfortunate for Him, Anyway. I Myself Am Strangely Comfortable with It. The Road Between the Walls, by [ profile] keiko_kirin. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. So, here we have the other aliens-make-them-do-it story, and where one Stargate is, should not the other be? (Because, hey. If McKay and Sheppard are going to have embarrassing public sex, it's only justice that Jack and Daniel join them. And, um. No one should cry "plot bunny" right now, OK? No. Seriously. Stop that right now.) Here we have a story with all the trimmings, including a pitched battle, an incomprehensible alien culture, and a new and novel use for a stargate. (No. Not as a sex aid. Don't even think it; frankly, I'm sort of sorry I thought it. Also, immediately stop pondering the various bad puns one could make out of "wormhole.") Plus, of course, imperious and perverted aliens. Strange how many of those the universe has produced, but I suppose that's what infinity is all about. And I, for one, am not complaining. No, not even a smidgen, because it leads to brilliant stories like these. See, Keiko has many gifts, and one of them is her ability to turn fandom cliches inside out, shake them vigorously, and build them into something substantial and wondrous to behold, and if my metaphor sort of derailed there, I refuse to care, because it's true. That's just what she does. Here, she gives that treatment to several of them; in addition to the aliens-make-them thing, note her skillful and persuasive handling of the "I'm secretly gay" concept. But most importantly, she gets these characters. And then she gives them to us, on a platter. And an ox-cart. And aliens. And sex. I don't see how any fan could ask for more.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I realize I haven't updated in weeks, which in LJ time is equivalent to about four years. (Seriously. Many LJs were started, subjected to vicious flame-wars, and abandoned in a snit in the time between my last update and this one.) I had a reason. Actually, I had two. The first one, work, can be of no possible interest to anyone, so we'll skip that. The second one, though, was procrastination about my slashiest fandoms post. Why am I so afraid to write it? Well, because I think I know what the slashiest fandom is, and it's so small it only has three stories, all of them works in progress. The fandom in question is Shadow Hearts: Covenant. You can have your TV shows that don't make sense unless you assume the male main characters are in love (Smallville and due South, although in due South's case I suspect it was intentional), your movies that don't make sense unless you assume that the two male main characters want to fuck each other senseless (The Fast and the Furious), your cable-TV shows that feature actual male characters actually in love but mostly beating the shit out of each other anyway (Oz), your comic books featuring Spandex, teen-aged wards, apparent wet dreams about Superman, and a plethora of Dick jokes (D.C.), and of course anything written by Joss Whedon or Warren Ellis. These are all highly slashy fandoms, yes, but none of them features actual gay sex between a professional wrestler and his teacher, after which the professional wrestler gets a purple and pink mask that goes nicely with his special "Rose Bondage" armor designed to make the (male) wearer irresistibly attractive to other men.

Really. This is canonical.

So, you know, the slashiest fandoms post is coming right along, and my fear of it is also advancing in leaps and bounds, because if there's one thing you don't want to do in a LJ, it's tell someone that her fandom is not as slashy as this other fandom over here which she is not an actual follower of, and, as I said, no one but me and, like, three other people follow Shadow Hearts. So I've been procrastinating by, well, reading the news and stuff. But, frankly, there's only so long I can spend involved in the real world before I'm ready to give up on life altogether. And my Best Beloved continues to monitor my LJ and present me with distressing details about how long it's been since I updated. (Hint: if you don't want exact information, don't marry a librarian. They're like wolverines with the facts, people.) So the time has come for me to recommend some actual fan fiction, before we all forget how to read, and I forget how to write sentences involving words like "smut" and "cock" and "schmoop."

Anyway. I was looking through my Scary Recs Database That I Will Never Finish Recommending, Not If I Live to Be a Hundred and Get a Lot Better About Updating Regularly, and I realized that there were - well, several, and by several I mean "more than I care to admit" stories described as PWP. Know that to me this is not a condescending description or an insult; speaking as someone who could not write smut if there was a gun to her dog's head, I truly appreciate the great smut-writers of this world. And people who write great smut are great writers, because maintaining the reader's interest when your entire story can be accurately summed up by a three-letter acronym? Not easy, folks.

So let us all appreciate these writers and their stories. While we still can, because the lunatics are truly taking over the asylum out there - see, for example, the recent and depressing Time Magazine cover story on, among other things, the new push to have the FCC regulate cable TV. (Which would mean that we'd never see another show like Oz or Queer As Folk. Admittedly, I've not seen those ones yet, but I still like knowing they exist.) This is what happens when I pay attention to the news, people: links to actual information in this LJ. Let's hope it isn't a trend. As an apology, I offer you Smut (yousendit download, and it's a small file because it's low-fidelity, but it's also a live recording from 1965, so it's not like you're missing anything), which, as I know I've remarked before, should be fan fiction's anthem. And, of course, this set of PWPs. Because we should love our smut while we still can.

Best FF That Proves That a Harvard Education Is No Match for Innate Talent When It Comes to Lingual Activities. Dirty, by [ profile] actizera. Oz, Tobias Beecher/Christopher Keller. I love Oz lockdown stories; they may be a fandom cliche, but only in the sense that everyone has to write one. Because - look. In Oz, you can write an AU, or you can write a lockdown story, or you can write a story that begins, ends, and middles with angst or unhappiness or pain. (Experienced writers routinely go for the Oz hat-trick, which includes all three.) But I - well, I'm the person who can these days recognize both Beecher and Keller (which is, trust me, a major accomplishment for me, as I can count on the fingers both hands all the people I can identify from their faces alone), and I learned to do that exclusively from the pain associated with Oz vids. (It was the one featuring Beecher's first season arc that killed me, folks, and it was the one about Keller's last few seasons that jumped up and down on my tragic early grave.) I can even sometimes recognize the actors; if I see a random photo of a man looking calm and confident even though he's wearing clothes that would give a supermodel cause for concern, and I wince reflexively, I know that's Christopher Meloni. And if I see a photo of a man who is wearing normal clothes, but I'm still wincing - well, that's Lee Tergesen. But you know what? I love Oz to death despite the pain. This puts me in a great frame of reference for appreciating Beecher/Keller stories, and gives me a serious love of stories that focus on the approximately two weeks of their lives (I accidentally typed "lies" there, and that was a Freudian typo if I've ever seen one) when they were happy together. So: PWP, lockdown, happy ending. Could you ask for more? Actually, if you can, there is more; this story hits, for me, all the right Keller notes - the incredible confidence, the flashes of near-pathological insecurity, the power, the helplessness. It's all here. So this is also a character study. And did I mention that it's smut? Read with joy, my friends.

Best FF That Might Make You Willing to Stay at One of Those Creepy No-Name Motels That Normally Make You Think "Horror Movie Psycho Killer RUN RUN RUN!" Crescent Moon Lodge, by Anais, aka [ profile] minkboylove.* Stargate SG-1, Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill, whose damn name ALWAYS looks like it's spelled wrong. So. There's a motel, and there's sex, and that's the plot summary. And that is why I don't do PWP sets more often - not because I don't love the things, because lord knows I cherish them, but because it's tough to write a story summary of a PWP. (Only so many times you can write, "There's some fucking, and also...more fucking" without feeling just a wee bit inarticulate.) My solution is generally to maunder on about something only vaguely related to the story, so let's go right to that, shall we? See, the thing about SG-1 is that there's only a few options for a Daniel/Jack relationship: post-military, post-apocalypse, the ever-popular Denial of Military Reality route, and then, of course, the sex without the relationship. Or with only part of a relationship. This is one of the few fandoms where I honestly don't care which path authors take; if they want to deny military reality, I am happy to go along with them, and if they'd like to level Earth's immediate galactic neighborhood with massive ancient alien solar wind machines, well, there are days when I'll help. But the toughest choice is definitely the relationship-less fuck, because Daniel and Jack are both oddly devoted individuals who don't seem to do sex without commitment (unless an alien has taken over their brains, although you'd be surprised how often that happens); I suppose the canon writers went that route because they needed some way to explain the fact that Jack and Daniel essentially never have sex with another actual human being. Getting back to the story - I think Anais does a good job with the semi-relationship option in this one, mostly by focusing heavily on the sex, always an excellent choice.

Best FF That Proves You Shouldn't Spar With Anyone You Wouldn't Fuck. And You Don't Want to Know What That Says About the D.C. Universe, Where I Suspect They Take That Rule to Heart. And Other Places. Hit, by Te, aka [ profile] thete1. D.C. Universe, Dick Grayson/Tim Drake. (Note for my Much-Loved Long-Lost Mystery Relative and Comics Abstainer: try this one, OK? Because there's not a lot to throw you, here; if you know they're both costumed heroes affiliated with Batman, you know everything you need for this story, and it gives you a very good impression of the characters. If you can't take this one, you've got Spandex Issues, which is perfectly understandable, but it's not something plot summaries can cure, unfortunately.) So. Here we have the still-living Robin assortment smacking each other up. (Anyone who immediately launches into "Smack my bitch up" after that line is - well, probably right on target, actually. There's canonical backing for that, I'd say, though Te's the expert.) This story works on several levels; its plays with the strangely sexual sparring that is just way too common in the D.C.U. to be accidental, and it's a good introduction to the characters, and also there's the smut. My favorite thing about this, though, is that it shows why Tim worked as Robin. (I'm not going into the Jason argument here; I'm not insane. I'm just saying - Tim definitely worked as Robin, although Christ only knows what he's like now, as a certain Major Crossover Event pretty much killed my desire to follow the Batverse.) See, Tim is the absolute flip-side of Dick in every way. I mean, Dick fell into Robinhood. Tim thought his way into it. And because Tim is so very, very different, it's impossible to judge him solely by the way he fills Dick's old Robin panties and elf boots. (Which he would not, in any case, be caught dead or catatonic in Batman's arms in. Sorry; that was some seriously tasteless humor there.) To sum: fighting, sex, and great characterization. You could not, in good conscience, ask for more.

Best FF That Really Highlights the Beauty of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Chicago-Style Alternative Dispute Resolution, That Is. All Talk, by [ profile] estrella30. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Ray Vecchio. You may not like the Ray/Ray, but you've got to admit writing it takes guts. I mean, it isn't like slashers don't have enough trouble with pronouns just generally. And yet you have these brave writers willingly rushing into a pairing where even the proper nouns are guaranteed to be confusing, what with them both being called Ray and them both having worn the name Ray Vecchio at some point in its distinguished and multi-hued history. You've got to respect that kind of courage, even if you think Ray/Ray is an abomination upon the Earth. Which I, for the record, don't. I did once, I admit, but now I like it. I just sort of treat it as - well. Not a different pairing so much as different characters. There's Ray Kowalski with Benton Fraser, and then there's this whole other Ray Kowalski with Ray Vecchio, and I have no problems reading about either one. (No, really, I don't, even if reading about them in close succession gives me these horrible meta-fic visions of the two Kowalskis meeting, which is second in horror only to the one where Stanley Raymond Kowalski meets Stanley Kowalski from Streetcar, which is the sort of thing that can drive a woman to drugs, or maybe just rocking in a corner in a mental hospital somewhere.) Anyway. This story is another one of those fighting-leads-to-sex PWPs, but given that this pairing consists of the two mouthiest guys in Chicago, the fighting is all verbal. Or verbal and positional - you know. And then they have sex!


Best FF That Proves That Fate Hates People Who Make Bets They Think They Can't Lose. Competition, by [ profile] qe2. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. This is the Certified Safe Alternate Story I'm required to offer whenever I recommend a dS story involving Ray/Ray or an unhappy ending. (Or, god forbid, Fraser/Stella. You don't want to know what kind of shit I got for rec'ing that one, and I shudder to think what will happen the next time I do. Which will be soon. And it is not my fault that people write great stories with the other dS pairings; I only rec the stories. I don't, like, order them up from the Great Porn Warehouse in the Sky.) I have to do this alternate-story thing, because one of the Kowalski/Fraser True Believers out there knows where I sleep, but I'm also happy to do it, because there's such a lot of great dS FF out there. So this is a way for me to cheat on my own rules and recommend two stories from the same fandom in the same set. (If you think it's weird that I want to do that, well, I'm the person who wants a "Cheat" button in computer solitaire. In other words, I'm not the most moral person out there, and that remains true even if the competition consists entirely of people who made a lot of money in Florida land deals.) I decided to go with this one, even though I have a summary all written for a different F/K PWP, because I realized it's the perfect counterpart to "All Talk." That story is about Ray Kowalski's competitiveness as seen through the lens of Ray Vecchio, and this one is about how that same trait looks on Fraser's Kowalski. And, yes, I realize that sentence made no sense, but nonetheless it is correct. Read and you will see. I hope.

* Thanks, [ profile] oneminutemovies!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Well. It's raining. And I know that now is when all of you who live in parts of the world where they have actual climactic variation fall over laughing, but the thing is, we here in Los Angeles are not accustomed to precipitation, or indeed weather of any kind. Our freeways aren't accustomed to it, and end up covered in mud and (this is true) squid. Our dogs aren't accustomed to it, and refuse to go out. Our ants aren't accustomed to it, and try to come in.

I'm kind of liking it, but only because a) I have some kind of disease that causes me to sleep fifteen hours a day and blink slowly most of the rest of the time, so the rain counts as high entertainment and b) I don't have to go out in it today. Tomorrow, I'll be on the freeway with the mud and the squid and the ants, and it won't be fun.

So. It's raining. I may or not have a fever, but I definitely don't have the energy to get the thermometer and find out. My dogs are staring miserably at the rain and then at me, wondering why I don't do something about all that water falling from the sky. Clearly the time has come for comfort fic, and what is more comfortable and familiar and sweet than a good first time story? Nothing, that's what.

Best FF That Introduces the Most Boring People in the Universe. Yes, More Boring Than Congresspeople, Economics Professors, and Golf Commentators Combined. Buoyancy, by [ profile] keiko_kirin. Stargate SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. Keiko Kirin shows us the dullest civilization ever created by human beings here; they make an effective, if beige-colored, backdrop for Jack and Daniel and their explorations of gay bars, P4R-951, and, eventually, each other. Daniel proves he speaks the language of bar pickups as well as he speaks Goa'uld. Jack proves that he's still in touch with his inner adolescent. They both prove they love each other exactly as much as we all suspected (well, those of us who have never seen the canon, anyway.) For me, the second half is what makes the story - as I've pretty much proved by summarizing mostly the second half - but the whole thing is well worth reading. Keiko really showcases her skill at pacing, here; she sets a slow and deliberate pace and keeps it compelling. What she does - moving two plots at a chosen speed and paying attention to both of them - is not easy, and it's not something you see that often in fan fiction. Seriously, almost everything she's written since 2001 is worth reading as a lesson in pacing alone, and "Buoyancy" is no exception. Of course, you shouldn't let that distract you from the first-time sex. No, the first read should be all about the sex. And the Museum of Advances in Automated Accounting, which makes the semester I spent learning electrochemistry from the most monotonic man on the planet look fun.

Best FF in Which Danny and Casey Have a Close Encounter with the Antichrist, Which, Naturally, Causes Them to Have Sex. The First Move, by Sinead, aka [ profile] smallbeer. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/OFC, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. Anyone who is looking for instructions on how to make an original female character who is perfect in every way and yet not a Mary Sue should definitely read this. She's not only perfect; she's a deus ex machina, she's dating Danny, and her linen dresses don't wrinkle, but somehow she is not a Mary Sue. This is impressive, folks. Of course, you aren't expected to like her, either. Casey sure doesn't, although that's mostly because he's undergoing that course of unexpected discovery that ends with two previously heterosexual men having sex on the floor of their office. (Or, in other fandoms, in the supply cabinet, the Captain's quarters, the Fortress of Solitude, a prison cell, the Astronomy Tower, etc.) So fear not the OFC: she isn't as bad as you think, and she gets them together in the end. What more can we ask of our women?

Best FF That Provides a Measurable Increase in the Reader's Sense of Comfort and Peace Even Though It Refers to (Yurk) the Elder Kents Having (Yeeurgh) Intimate Relations. Cover Us With Song, by [ profile] weirdnessmagnet. D.C. Universe (Teen Titans), Kon-El (Superboy)/Tim Drake (Robin III, and, um, maybe V? I don't know. I haven't been able to face anything Robin-related since the events of a certain unnamed universe-altering crossover event). There's something so agreeably retro about this story. I can't even tell you what, exactly; I mean, I'm fairly sure the 1950s weren't full of stories about teenaged superheroes having explicit gay sex on the lawn. And yet the retroness (Retrocity? Retroism?) is definitely there. And there's something weirdly innocent about this story, even though, yeah, that's a word we don't usually see going hand-in-hand with the aforementioned explicit gay sex. But it's just - farm boys, and picnics, and studying trig. It's so sweet and retro that, reading this, I keep expecting Kon to give Tim his class ring and Tim to give Kon his letter jacket. And then go out for malts. (I'm thinking Kon would get vanilla because that's honestly his favorite flavor, and Tim would get chocolate because studies show that that is the favorite flavor of 64% of normal high school boys; his actual favorite flavor is raspberry-lime, but only as Alfred makes it.) Definitely comfort reading. Yay for fannish comfort.

Best FF That I Will Definitely Cite As a Reason Not to Have Cable (Assuming the Discovery Channel Is Cable) the Next Time They Try to Sell It to Me. No, Really, I Will. If It's a Telemarketer, I Might Even Read Him the First Part. First, by Ardent, aka [ profile] ardent_muses. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. What, you thought I'd do a set of comfort fics and not include a dS story? Clearly, you're thinking of some other idiosyncratic multi-fandom recommender, because when I think comfort, I think about Mounties and Chicago cops engaging in sodomy. And this story - well, it's sweet, but that's what comfort fic is all about, right? Not an angst particle in sight. There's mention of reticulated giraffes, though, and some speculation that I hope is libel about where Fraser gets his sex instruction. And there's a first line that will make my "Top Ten Reasons I Love DS" list, should I ever write it, because there just aren't many fandoms in which a story could reasonably begin after the candy cane factory explosion, and there are hardly any in which the characters could spend the first section covered in candy cane syrup without any explanation whatsoever. Only in dS do we just let that sort of thing go right on by. Because, let's face it, weirder things happen all the time in the canon - no, they do, and I'm not going to tell you to watch said canon again. Or, actually, I am, but I'm not going to go on and on about it. Instead, I will say that this story rates unusually high on the comfortmeter even in this very comforting fandom. And then I will wave cheerfully and go off to take yet another nap. G'night, all!

[Super Secret Bonus for dS Fans! Limited Time Only!]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I appear to have a lot of rec'ing stored up inside; if you started reading this LJ recently enough that two posts a month seems normal to you, rest assured that it isn't, and neither is two posts a day. I hope to rediscover my happy medium soon. In the meantime: look! Stories to read!

Best FF That Records a Conversation I Am Morally Certain Takes Place in Gotham Very Regularly. Actually, Now That I Think About It, This Story Documents Two Such Conversations. Just Desserts, by Smitty, aka [ profile] smittywing*. D.C. Universe, and, really, that's all I'm going to say about it, except that it involves Dick Grayson (as Robin I), Bruce Wayne, and Barbara Gordon. And also that the memory of this story still makes me giggle at red lights. This is such a perfect short piece, and not just because I could email Te tonight and by tomorrow have eighty scans that support this view of the daring duo, or whatever they're called. It's also the language ("Holy ropetricks!" "Chum!"). And the cameo appearance of the Robin panties. And most of all it's the conversations that Barbara overhear, because I think we can all admit that there must've been a lot of talk just like that over the years, and keep in mind that I'm still talking about both of them. You can read this as long as you know who Batman and Robin are - a trailer from the movie should be enough canon background, really. So don't let me keep you.

Best FF That Answers the Question "What Do You Give to the Man Who Has Everything?" And Definitely the Best FF to Answer That Question with "Scary-Ass Space Rock." Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, by [ profile] mahaliem. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. And, no, it is not cheating to have a classic DCU story in the same set as a future SV one. Because, see, they're different canons, really different, even if the characters are sort of the same, and - look, fine, whatever. It's cheating. I'll include an extra rec in this set to make up for it, OK? But don't expect me to be sorry, because this story is another one that makes me laugh every time I think about it. And this despite the scary title, despite the post-rift ([ profile] fanofall: am I getting the SV terminology right?) setting, despite the fact that it contains the heart-breaking line "we should have other nemeses." This story should be read by every DC hero, because apparently plotting to destroy the world (and thwarting plots to destroy the world) is a symptom of repressed lust, which means there's a much easier solution to the villain problem than Arkham Asylum (working motto: "You catch 'em, we completely fail to keep 'em!"). Although, for the record, this does not mean Batman should get it on with the Joker anytime soon, because I do not want to see that. I'm willing to read about him doing Poison Ivy or Harley Quinn, fine, but please god not the Joker. Ew.

Best FF That Contains Mention of What Just May Be the Scariest Damn Piece of FF Ever Imagined (but Please Please Please Not Actually Written) by Woman, Man, or Evil Extraterrestrial Planet-Destroying Robot). Downtime Discoveries, by Eli, aka [ profile] elishavah. Stargate SG-1, if that's the actual name of this damn fandom, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson (Reasons to Read SG1 #11: two kinds of jack! Three if the FF is rated PG-13 or higher!). So, I have this serious weakness for dialog-based stories, possibly because (as was conclusively proven to me during what we will in future delicately call the Yuletide Season, aka the Yuletide Panic, aka the Jesus God Get Her Some Medication and Take Her Computer Away Before Someone Gets Hurt Festival o' Yuletidy Goodness) I can only write, or indeed think, in dialog. No, really. Other people get visions of scenes that inspire them to write; I hear voices, which is probably why my characters always argue more than they fuck. Um. Getting back to this story. So, yeah, it's in dialog, and it's really fucking funny, and there's that scary FF mention, as promised. You want to read this. You do. And I don't think you need to know the canon at all to do so; I mean, I sure as shit don't. I should probably warn you, though, that the FF mentioned in the text might rivet revolting animated images in your mind for all eternity. But don't let that stand in your way - I mean, if you've been in fandom for longer than a month, you've probably thought of worse yourself. Or maybe that's just me with the perverted imagination. God, I hope it's not just me.

Best FF That Reminds All of Us in Long-Term Relationships to Ask Ourselves an Important Question, Namely: Have I, as a Loving, Caring Being, Done Everything I Possibly Can to Increase the Chances That I Will Have Sex on the Couch or Other Upholstered Item of Furniture Today? Seven Years, by Speranza, aka [ profile] cesperanza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. So, confession time: over the Long Hiatus, I got a lovely gift from [ profile] nigeltde, who I have (shamefully) not yet thanked. (Persons who sent me gifts: they were received and much appreciated, and expect to be hearing about that very soon now that I've overcome my fear of my computer.) Said gift was season 3 of dS, plus selected season 1 and 2 episodes. Best Beloved went through all of it in about two days, and is now jonesing pathetically for season 4. Even more astonishingly, I actually watched a number of episodes. It's good, folks. It's surprisingly good, and you should totally see it, even if you don't like TV at all. The only downside is that actual canon knowledge is causing me to re-evaluate a couple of my FF-inspired dS beliefs, which means - quelle horreur! - rereading a bunch of the stories I found yonks ago, including this one. (Yes, we're back to talking about the actual story. Celebrate with me.) Turns out this is not a story I needed to re-evaluate. Hell, it's better now, because I can actually hear the characters saying these things. (Which, believe me, they would. I think the third season of the show is actually slashier than most of the FF written about it, which shouldn't even be possible. Due South: the canon that violates known physical laws in pursuit of slashiness.) But I did need to reread this, because it is funny. Just really hysterically funny; almost every line makes me, at minimum, grin. (This is even funnier if you know who David Duchovny is, so if you don't, you might want to head over to the IMDb before you read this.)

Best FF That Proves That, in the Right Hands, Infidelity, Potential Squick, Terrible Hangovers, and Tragic Technology-Induced Body Part Loss Are All Absolutely Hysterical. That Tongue Thing, by [ profile] makesmewannadie. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and there's sex in here, but I refuse to tell you the names of the party or parties involved. The veil of secrecy must be preserved, and if anyone actually got that reference, know that I love you beyond my ability to describe it. So. Is it bad form to rec a story I beta-read? Because I'm doing that here and now, so you are formally invited to send me a sternly-worded note. (I'm sure Emily Post outlines the appropriate form for properly ticking off a fan fiction recommender via email; check her index.) But note, please, that I was by no means the only beta for this, which might be an exculpating factor. And whether it is or it isn't, I'm damn well going ahead with the rec, because this story is exactly as funny as you'd expect (HGttG: the fandom that's located several thousand light-years from angst!). Plus, you know, there's explicit sex and so on, which is a bonus. Also, this story will teach you about weapons of musical destruction, which I bet you didn't even know existed, and if you think I'm finishing this summary with a reference to current events, you are clinically insane. Instead, I offer an injunction: Go. Read. Laugh. You'll thank me later.

* Thanks, [ profile] liviapenn!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Fan fiction is, at its core, things that never happened. That may be why [ profile] basingstoke's fantastic story concept caught on the way it did.

But, really, do we even need an explanation for the popularity of this trope? (Note use of litgeek vocabulary! I can be taught!) No. No, we do not. When something spurs stories this wonderful, we do not analyze or complain or indeed retain higher brain functions of any kind, although those of you who know me will recognize that complaining is pretty much a brain-stem reflex in my case. We simply feel the love. And show the love. For the authors, I mean. And also for the concept, because I just purely love Things That Never Happened stories.

So should you.

Warning: Before you read further, know that Things That Never Happened stories can explore some, um, challenging territory, and by challenging I mean "really fucking depressing or disturbing or just 'oh my god please give me sedative-hypnotics, and give some to the author while you're at it.'" For example, character death is often one of those things that didn't happen, and while the character's continued existence is usually inarguable, imagining it is still fairly grim. When this occurs, I advise going with the coping mechanism suggested by the story title and chanting, "Never happened never happened never happened" while moving briskly to the next entry, but if that isn't going to work for you, or if you are having an especially bad couple of days, maybe you'll be wanting to give most of these a miss for now.

Warning the second: Things That Never Happened stories usually make a lot more sense if you're familiar with the canon. It sort of helps to know what did happen, in other words, before you read about what didn't.

Best FF Whose Cool Life-Event-Related Chapter Headings It Took Me Forever to Notice, for Reasons Best Not Explored in Detail. Five Pictures That Were Never Taken, by Annie-Lee (or just Annie, and Annie, if you read this, feel free to tell me which one you prefer), aka [ profile] out_there. Sports Night, assorted pairings and gen. I love this story. I love it because it's the perfect adaptation of the "never happened" concept for this fandom. I love it because it encompasses all the emotional extremes you find in the canon and encapsulates a lot of what I find most appealing about the show. And I love it 'cause of all the stories that are behind these pictures, the stories you know without even needing to be told them, the points you get even though they're never explicitly made. Seriously, this story proves that you don't need to be able to see the picture for it to be worth a thousand words, and I bet you hoped I'd get all the way through this summary without mentioning that aphorism, but you must've known you were doomed from the start. Added bonus: there are several fantastic Sports Night TTNH stories out there, but this is the only one I've found to date that doesn't leave me wanting to ingest massive quantities of psychoactive chemicals. Or maybe radioactive ones. Know of another? I'd love to hear about it.

Best FF That Makes Me Want Snow. No, Need Snow. Which Sucks, Because I Live in Southern California, but Don't Let My Pain Interfere with Your Enjoyment of the Story or Anything. Four Things That Didn't Happen on Christmas Eve, by [ profile] penknife. X-Men movieverse, assorted pairings and gen. This is all about turnings not taken. For some reason, I find the last segment the most fascinating - and I mean seriously fascinating; the day I read this, I couldn't stop fantasizing about an AU in which Magneto v. Charles Xavier would be totally overshadowed by Caged World Death Match: Telepath v. Telepath. Seriously. I sketched out changes to major canon events and a timeline and everything. Because, see, there's a reason Jean Gray had to become Phoenix, and die an irritating number of times, and, like, get new powers and keep the old, or lose the old, or whatever the fuck happened to her. It's because the good guys don't need two telepaths, and the bad guys can't have even one without unbalancing everything. What difference does it make if people can control storms or fire if there's someone able and willing to control the people themselves? And, see, if Jean went evil, then Xavier would have to say goodbye to all of humanity or start breaking his own code of telepathic ethics, and, see - OK. I'm obsessed, and I admit. But all four segments are good, and I defy anyone with a heart to read the third one without feeling wistful, and it's about to be December. Read, read, read.

Best FF That Made Me Use the Phrase "Pocket Universe" Five Times in the Original Story Summary. But I've Deleted Three of Those, and I Think You'll Be Glad I Did. Family Business: Five Things That Never Happened to Dick Grayson, by Lucy, aka [ profile] cereta. D. C. Universe, gen. It never ceases to amaze me that people can write TTNH stories for the main comic book universes, because the comic books themselves do a pretty damn fine job of exploring every possible option and most impossible ones and at least 50% of the ones that leave you shrieking obscenities at the writers. But here we have five Dick Graysons that truly never were, at least to my knowledge, and if this story does not make you want to move to a pocket universe ruled by the author, then you have no sense. (Or possibly way too much. Too much to be reading this LJ, anyway.) And though I said you need to know the canon to be able to read TTNH stories, I don't want people to steer away from this one on that account. For some of these, you only need to know who Batman, Robin, and Catwoman are; for one, you'll need more Smallville than DCU canon. And every segment is worth reading on its own account, I swear it. Plus, you know, if you do get sucked into that pocket universe, you'll want to be able to fangirl the supreme ruler effectively.

Best FF That Teaches Us That, If Someone Offers You a Car, You Should Always Offer Him a Ride. Five Things That Never Happened to Brian O'Conner, by [ profile] kelly_girl. The Fast and the Furious, slash and gen. And please note, folks, that this may be a temporary link; I think [ profile] dirty_diana is hosting this, but I don't know for how long. Here, Kelly Girl rewrites five scenes from the movie to change Brian's life. The weird thing about reading this right after I saw the movie is that so many of these TTNH make more sense than the way the canon chose to go. No, really. I totally understand how the first one couldn't happen in the movie - and I'm glad it didn't. And I get that the second one wasn't going to happen, even if I'm convinced it was an unfilmed scene. But the third and fifth ones? Those make so much more sense than the way things turned out in the movie that I found myself briefly wondering if maybe what got filmed was some weird AU FF for the real script. Then I got better. But I still loved the story. And if you've seen this movie (or just read a detailed and highly biased description of it), so will you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This is officially the Recs Set That Kicked My Ass. I don't even know why. I love these stories. I want everyone else in the world to love them, too. Usually that's all it takes for me to get into auto-type mode. But this is the fifth incarnation of this set; I've had some variation of it - same theme, slightly different stories - in waiting on my list since June. Every time I've tried to write this damn set, I've stalled like a standard transmission in the hands of a 15-year-old with a brand-new learner's permit. I've started wincing every time I see a story built around dreams, and that's just not right, folks; I'm a fan fiction fangirl, and fangirls have to have the love. Have to. It is written in The Way of the Fangirl, that classic of loving obsession.

Obviously, the time has come for a plan. But I'm not so good with plans, so I had to come up with something else. My secret weapon against the evil that is clearly lurking somewhere in this set: total indifference. I've decided that I will just write this damn set and then post it and then it will be done and done. And there will be dancing in the streets. One street, anyway. If I decide to dance there.

So: the stories mentioned below are of incredible quality, yes - I've had tons of time to hone this set - but you might want to skip the descriptions today and head right for the fiction.

Best FF That Exposes the Hidden Evil Inherent in Neverland. Only, If You Ask Me, It Never Was All That Hidden, Because That Is One Terrifying Concept, Folks. A Hundred Years Ago, by [ profile] trifles. Peter and Wendy, Peter Pan/James. I read this story just a few days ago, and it is the trigger that made me decide I would finish this set come hell, high water, or a total loss of any working knowledge of the English language, because everyone in the world needs to read this now now now. It's amazing. I'm probably slightly biased in its favor, because I always found J. M. Barrie's works seriously twisty, and I don't mean the fun kind of twisty, either. But I don't think you need to understand the horror concealed behind Peter Pan's careless grin to love this story. In "A Hundred Years Ago," Wendy is new to Neverland, and she's learning all Peter Pan's secrets via the canonical method of dream sorting. (No, really. Barrie thinks it's a good thing for mothers to sort through their children's brains and rearrange the contents. Tell me this man wasn't in need of massive doses of neuroleptic drugs, and I will scoff. Well, scoff and then flee, because just thinking about him makes me all wibbly.) And Peter Pan's history is, after all, the history of Neverland. I will say no more, except: read. Now.

Best FF That Makes Me Long to Be Lyrically Compared to the Elimination of Third World Debt. Favorably, I Guess, Though I'd Be Willing to Go Either Way. Story of My Life, That. Breathe, by Jess, aka [ profile] fearlessfan. The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne/Marie Kreutz. (Yes, it's het. No one get all shocky, now.) You need to know at least a little about the canon (books or movies) to read this one. This is set between the two movies, and for the full effect you really need to have seen both of them, but you'll still get a lot of it if you've only seen the first, or only read the first book. (And you won't get spoiled, either.) This is Jason and Marie and the time they have together, with Marie learning exactly who Jason Bourne is, maybe just a little faster than he himself learns the same thing. This story is amazing, and not just because it captures the two characters so perfectly, or makes them so real; the most stunning thing is that it's so very much better than the canon. Seriously. Ludlum dreams of writing like this. Or, no, he doesn't, because he's more fixated on big breasts and pointy sticks and things going boom, but if he knew about good writing he'd want to be as good as Jess is. And the movies were really quite surprisingly tolerable, but they weren't like this. This is just really damn good, and there's nothing more I can say about it. Well, nothing I could formulate coherently in this set, anyway.

Best FF That Should Come with a Warning Reading "Caution: After You've Read This, You'll Want to Make Lasagna, So Best Get the Stuff Now." Or Am I the Only One Who Needs That Warning? The Object of My Erections, by Francesca, aka [ profile] cesperanza. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. Here's a good reason why y'all don't want me to hold fire on a recommendations set for five months: I tend to eliminate the funny and happy excellent stories from the set and replace them with excellent but vaguely (or not so vaguely) grim and creepy stories. I might've eliminated this, too, except that there's just no way I could. Because, first, this story is everything I love about the Sentinel fandom - the sense of inevitability, the one-liners, the numerous ludicrous sensory and mystical reasons for nearly everything the Jim/Blair entity (yes, they are indeed one entity - it's canonical, man!) does. Also, second, the dialog here just makes me giggle like a schoolgirl, because in this fandom you can choose your flavor, angst or snark, and they both work just the same. (I prefer the snark, myself. Did I really need to spell that out?) Finally, it has the world's silliest title, which is reason enough to feel the love, I think. So, here we have Jim having dreams about a wolf and a panther getting up to activities not typical of their species, which means that Sandburg and Ellison are in for a (really very minor) lifestyle change. And then there's lasagna.

Best FF That Reminds Us, Yet Again, That Batman Is a Swinging, Pointy-Eared Angst Vector, and If the DCU CDC Had Any Sense He'd Be Quarantined for Everyone Else's Good. Our Dreams Pursue Our Dead, by [ profile] derryderrydown, who is back on my "beloved authors" list now that she's named this work of - um, startling brilliance and seriously disturbing content. D.C. Universe, Dick Grayson/Jason Todd. I am not kidding you. And while it's hard to imagine that pairing ever getting down with the sweetness and light, this is about as deep into darkness and gravity as its possible to go. Hence, this warning: this story is as disturbing as all fuck. In case you're not up for something short and creepy, I'll be offering a certified safe alternative story for this one. (I'm not going to get into the habit of that for the DCU, so don't think it. It's just - yeeee. This story is scary, and I want people who are reading this at night to have a choice.) So, you want a story summary? Go back and take another look at the pairing. Says it all, folks, and that way I don't have to make this longer than the whole story is. Now read this - if you dare - and then join me in hoping that this really is a story about dreaming. Because if it isn't - yikes.


Best FF Showing Us That Those Who Live in the D.C. Universe Are Not Like Others. For One Thing, They Don't Even Blink When They're Awakened in a Distinctly Creepy Fashion, Whereas the Rest of Us Would Be, at Best, Calling an Exorcist. Come down Breathless, by Te, aka [ profile] thete1. DC Universe/Teen Titans, Tim Drake (as Robin III)/Kon-El (Superboy). I'm including their superhero names because they're definitely using their superhero personalities here, and also because it's getting even more difficult to figure out what part Tim's playing these days, what with the stories where he's Robin and the ones where he isn't and the ones where he is again, only angrier, and, well, all I can say is that the DCU needed only this Robin mess (I mean, really. Is he still Robin III? Is he now Robin V? Does anyone know?) to guarantee it the title "Most Confusing Fandom" for at least the next decade. Um. Not that this makes me all ranty or anything. Moving on to the actual story. Here we have an excellent candidate for a Mutant Sex Award, with Kon's powers playing silly buggers (Um. So to speak.), and Tim being, you know, Tim, because no other character would ever handle this situation quite this way. Well, except maybe Batman, although I suspect Batman would have an entirely different way of dealing with this. (It would likely involve a remotely controlled droid-bug-thing dispatched to Kon's room, a new monitor programmed to wake Kon up every subsequent time he began using his powers while sleeping, and one efficient and not especially funny joke for the sake of team camaraderie. 'Cause that's our beloved Batman, folks - eight times voted "most likely to be a villain in an alternate universe where the Joker is a good guy" and eleven times voted "superhero whose mental stability even other angst-ridden superheroes worry about.") Anyway. This story is a PWP that is totally worth reading for the characterizations and power play. Plus, you know, it's porn written by Te, so it's worth reading for other reasons.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(My apologies to Herrick for the title.)

I'm not a big fan of cross-dressing, frankly. There was a time in my life when Halloween just wasn't over until I'd seen a dozen men in various unfortunate female costumes. (Really, there's nothing quite as grand as an extremely hairy man dressed like Madonna in her conical bra phase, or an extremely dorky man dressed like Princess Leia, or - and this one still sends shudders down my spine - a six-foot-tall, three-hundred-pound man dressed like a female toddler, and visibly enjoying it far more than one would expect. No wonder I used intoxicants so much back then.)

But, as with every other thing under the sun, there are fan fiction authors that can make me read cross-dressing stories and like it. What follows is a list of such authors, and I suppose you could see it as either a hall of fame or a hall of shame. I'm inclined to the former point of view, actually, because these stories are damn good.

Best FF That Proves That the Phrase "Double Dog Dare" Never Really Loses Its Potency with Certain Kinds of Men. And, When You Think About It, Doesn't That Explain a Lot About the State of the World Today? A Dare's a Dare, by Speranza, aka [ profile] cesperanza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Cross-dressing is inevitable in this fandom, since it's canonical. Yes, for reasons probably best kept dark, the screenwriters decided that they really, really wanted to see Paul Gross in drag. On national television. And they got their way. In the process, incidentally, they discovered a concept that has the status of Archetypal Plot Device in comics fandom and canon: cross-dressing for justice. (Wouldn't the world be a better place if all canon authors took their cues from the D.C. Universe? Well, no, it'd be a totally insane place. But it'd sure have a lot of hypothetically straight men cross-dressing and hanging out in gay bars and necking and wearing purple Spandex bodysuits in public.) Fraser did his stint of noble transvestitism in the Real Ray Vecchio days, but when a man has worn a dress once in the interests of justice, well, what's to stop him from wearing it again on behalf of a friend? And don't say sanity, because Fraser's never had much of that. Plus, it'd be a total shame to let the dress just go to waste. Thank god Speranza didn't let that happen.

Best FF That Proves That Density-Control Is Not, as I Once Believed, a Lame Superpower. At Least, Not If You're Female and Minim Calibre Is Right About One of the Most Practical, Underwear-Related Uses of Said Power. Untitled, by [ profile] minim_calibre. D.C. Universe, Grace Choi/Anissa Pierce. I refuse to apologize for having two DCU (motto: "Suppliers of the good crack since 1935") stories in this set. Didn't I just explain that the DCU (other motto: "Proud to be perverting another generation of socially inept adolescent males") is the Ol' Kentucky Home of cross-dressing? Plus, people really seem to want to put the Outsiders in drag, and I'm not the kind of person who can resist a trend. Well, actually, I can and do - anyone who has seen my wardrobe can attest to this - except when it involves well-written smut. (I am Porngirl! My secret powers include locating and analyzing sexually explicit materials; my not-so-secret weakness is my total susceptibility to good smut. I tell you, many's the time the universe has been destroyed because I was distracted at a critical moment by Spike blowing Xander in the library at Sunnydale High.) The truth is, this isn't exactly cross-dressing; it's more, um, cross-gender-role-dressing, or something. But I didn't think the boys should have all the fun, so I'm putting it in here. And no one can stop me from doing so, for I am Porngirl. Fear me.

Best FF That Teaches a Very Important Lesson to Young Adolescents. Namely, That You Should Probably Not Trust Your Friends. At Least, Not When They're Trying to Get You Into Partial Drag. A Wolf in Girl's Underwear, by [ profile] musesfool. Harry Potter, Marauders-era, Remus Lupin/Sirius Black. Well, actually, it's sort of Remus Lupin/other Marauders, but mostly Sirius. Poor Remus. His friends are such a bad influence. (Well, they were; they're all dead now. Um. Moving back to more light-hearted topics.) In this story, it's double-plus poor Remus, because he has one of the more embarrassing first kisses in the universe. Even mine, which put me in mind of a mating squid, occurred in a place so public that I couldn't recoil and gag as I was naturally inclined to do, and therefore put me off kissing for years, wasn't this bad.* I wasn't wearing inappropriate underwear at the time, for one thing. (Bonus Seventeen-style tip for the as-yet-unkissed out there: never underestimate the importance of situationally appropriate undergarments in these situations. Pretty bras make all the difference! And they go on the girl(s) in the kissing duo, assuming a girl is present.) But there's an advantage Remus has in this story: his first kiss comes from someone who can actually kiss. Turns out that makes all the difference.

Best FF That Teaches a Very Important Lesson to Working Adults. Namely, That You Should Not Place Fetish Gear Purchases on Your Business Expense Report. Unless, of Course, You Can Get Away with It, or Get Hot Sex out of It. Spanky Pants, by [ profile] derryderrydown. D.C. Universe, Roy Harper/Dick Grayson. You know, the title really says all that needs to be said about this story; I don't feel I can contribute a lot. But neither can I shut up - like I've ever able to keep quiet about great writing - so I'll just blather on for a bit, and we can all pretend that what I said was interesting. Deal? So. Cheerleader outfit. Arsenal. Nightwing. It sounds like it should be totally horrifying, and I admit that the mental image this story gave me has certainly scarred me for life. But it's so worth it, because this is just hysterical. And there's bonuses, too. For one thing, this story is educational. In addition to the above-mentioned lesson in business, we learn about Batclan communication styles, the importance of exploring one's sexual fetishes in supportive company, and the real reason cheerleader championships are broadcast on TV. (Assuming they are. But they aren't, are they?)


* Though it was, thinking back on it, fairly close. Did I mention that the guy in question had glue-like spit that mere toothbrushing could not defeat? Or that his apparent goal was to put his tongue into my esophagus? Or that I ended up with his makeup smeared all over my face? Or that pictures of this event appeared in a newsletter later sent to my parents? Or that I was 12 and the guy was 16, which facts were mentioned in the caption in the newsletter, thus provoking some fascinating discussions on the homefront? Yeah. Not the best experience ever, right there.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Halloween is a great holiday. For kids, it means free candy and socially acceptable dress-up; for adults, it means fun without the emotional burden and enforced togetherness of certain other holidays that shall remain nameless. Plus, vampires roam the streets, tripping over their capes. How could it get better?

To celebrate this fine holiday, I have - well, scary recs. Or, more to the point, evil recs. Here we have bad people doing bad things, and, for a change, good people doing bad things. Very bad things. It's tricks and treats! Ready to hand over your peanut butter cups yet?

(Note: I'm not listing pairings here. In some of these stories it would be - well - complicated. And in all of them, the pairings aren't the point. The point is evil. So instead I've noted the main character, the person who is getting down with his dark self; if you can handle the character badness, you can surely handle the deluxe sex assortment, so I'm not worried about sending you people off unarmed into the Fan Fiction Wilderness or anything.)

Best FF That Proves That Yes, It's Better to Give Than Receive, but Sometimes It's Best to Do Neither. Divine Possession, by The Spike, aka [ profile] spike21. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ethan Rayne. (Yes, there's vague slashiness. But that is so not what this is about, and it's pretty much canon anyway, so don't avoid this (or seek it out) because of slash.) I really don't think I should tell you too much about this story; I've told you it features evil, and now you know it's about Ethan Rayne, so it's a given that the evil is chaotic, powerful, and in touch with some very disturbing gods. Here, Ethan has an Evil Plan, which should send shivers up your spine; the man is lethal enough when he's just playing. But when he actually wants to do something and has a plan of action? Run for the hills, Ma, because the Hellmouth's starting to look tame. I mean, at least the thing isn't intelligent. (Probably.) I think this story amply proves that there's nothing more fearsome than a Bad Man with a Bad Plan. Well, besides clowns. And mimes. And - ew - miming clowns.

Best FF That Proves That, Really, FF Isn't All That Perverted, Especially When You Compare It to Really Disturbing and Explicit Works. Like, for Example, the Bible. Brotherly Love, by [ profile] daegaer. The Bible, Jonadeb. If you're cringing about the whole concept of Bible fan fiction, don't. This is 100% canon (yes, I checked); she's just focusing on a particular moment in the story and viewing it from an unusual angle. But somehow that only makes it worse, at least for me; knowing that this actually happened in the canon is worse than thinking it just came from a FF writer's mind. Jonadeb is another Bad Man with a Bad Plan, and, really, I'm beginning to think that's what we all ought to go as next Halloween. I mean, hell, if you meet a vampire, things could work out fine. He might have a soul, or he might be so busy being angsty and pretty and gay that he doesn't want to bite you, or he might just want some hot sex. But if your life in any way intersects with that of a Bad Man with a Bad Plan, you are screwed. All you can hope is that he'll eventually get bored. Which won't necessarily improve matters.

Best FF That Features an Assortment of Pairings Both F/F and F/M and Yet Is Completely Unsmutty. Sex Isn't Always Sexy, Folks. Because, by Te, aka [ profile] thete1. X-Men, Rogue. (Warning: This features assorted canon character deaths.) If you've only seen the movies, you can still read this, but you should know in advance that Rogue was originally a baddie. (Her name makes even more sense that way, yes?) And in this story (which is in fact an AU, but it's only shifted about two universes over), she never stopped. One of the interesting things about the Marvel universe is that being good is the greatest limitation on most superheroes. The good guys are so powerful that if they ever let their scruples drop, everyone else would be royally fucked. Charles Xavier, anyone? The man could do so much more than making you do or say or think or believe anything he chooses; mind control would just be the beginning of the madness. I think 1984 drove home the horror of not being able to call your thoughts your own, but if you haven't read it, just consider what it'd be like to have a bad Xavier around. (And now you want a dorky Magneto helmet, don't you?) So, getting back to this story, here we have Rogue, who is bad just - because. Because she can be. Because no one can stop her. And when she has no scruples and no limits, she's terrifying. And yet she's still very Rogue. For her, it's never been about morality or issues or saving the world; it's always been about surviving her own power. And this is one way. A bad one.

Best FF That Shows Us That in the D.C. Universe, Homosexuality Isn't Even Close to the Most Shocking Secret You Can Learn About Your Friends and Loved Ones. Bloodline, by Sarah T., aka [ profile] harriet_spy. D.C. Universe (Batfolk), gen. The first time I read this story, my jaw hit the floor. I was inarticulate with awe, and it's quite rare that I am rendered speechless by anything. I was so amazed that I insisted that my Best Beloved drop everything and immediately come read this fabulous story, and, really, I never do that. (What, never? Well, hardly ever.) But in this case, I had to, because this story is just so right. It makes so much sense. Here we have an alternate explanation for the canon that works better than the real one, and how impressive is that? And I really can't say anymore about this story because I'm afraid I'll spoil it for you. Instead, I'll just say: if you aren't deeply impressed by this, re-read it. It's possible you've not quite grasped the wondrous beauty of it all. Or, hell, maybe I'm the only one in love with this story. (I'm certainly the only one reduced to incoherent babbling by it, but then, lots of things make me incoherent and babbly.) If that's the case, though, this world sucks; everyone should love this. And I'm really afraid that this inarticulate lovefest is going to make you hate the story before you even read it, so I'm going to stop right now.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I promised an entry totally free of due South, Sports Night, and The Sentinel. And this is it. I feel myself twitching from withdrawal already.

(Secret message to everyone in the whole world: I've got serious, possibly permanent server problems, so I'm getting my mail in drips and drabs and way late. If I haven't responded to an email or a comment, I haven't gotten it yet. I'm going to check the comments to this entry rather than just waiting for LJ notifications, so if you want or need to talk to me, or if I missed something important, leave a comment here.

Secret message, part two: I've just come out of a period of sleep deprivation of the kind that leaves a person incoherent, twitchy, and very possibly insane, so if I recently left a comment in your LJ or sent you an email that sounds, um, seriously weird, please ignore it. I promise not to take to the internet in the future unless I have had at least six hours of sleep out of the last 36. No, wait; that means I'll never be here again. Well, maybe I'll install a program that tests my lucidity before it lets me interact with the world. Anyone know of one?)

Best FF Featuring Percy Weasley and Adrian Pucey Working to the Same End, Which Would Probably Kill Them Both If They Knew About It. Hee! True But Not Nice, by V, aka [ profile] deepsix. Harry Potter, Marcus Flint/Oliver Wood. This story really had me at the first paragraph, which is so perfectly high school that I had to obtain alcoholic refreshment before I could continue reading. (Yes, memories of high school do make me want chemical oblivion. Or maybe it's that I'm hoping I'll manage to destroy the brain cells responsible for said memories. Really, given what I can recall of that period of my life, either explanation seems likely.) The story carries on feeling just like adolescence, too, from the incredible rumor-mongering (really, don't these boys have spells to practice or blowjobs to give or something?) to the remarkable maturity displayed by all concerned (kindergartners have more instinctive grace and empathy than Pucey as writen by V) to the obsession with other people's love lives. Well, wait. I'm actually more obsessed with other people's love lives now than I was then, provided I'm allowed to count characters as people (and, hey, I know some of them better than my own sister, so I hope like hell I can count them as people). Scratch that last one. So, this story: very true, not especially nice, but with an ending that reminds you why you bothered to grow up. Plus, it's got Oliver Wood in it, and my Best Beloved feels strongly that there should be more stories about him. An all-round winner, in other words.

Best FF Featuring the Best Summary Ever of the Entire Batverse: "A Lifetime of Secrets, Angst, and Danger." What Fun They Do Have, Those Batties. Go Down Knowing, by Te, aka [ profile] thete1. D.C. Universe, Tim Drake/Bernard Dowd*. So. You'd think Tim would already know everything there is to know about the difficulty of having multiple lives. But no, the Batworld can always think of something new to throw at him. How do Bats handle relationships with normal humans? Extensive experimentation (see Batman, issues 1 - infinity, for example) would indicate that they don't. Can't. And Tim is a good boy. He follows the rules. And if he leaves himself an out? Well, hey; he found the Batclan with his phenomenal research skills and stubbornness and methodical insanity. (Which all proved he was so right for the clan that they had to recruit him before the bad guys did, but that's another story.) Maybe someone else can figure it out that way, too, and wouldn't that be a sign from above. This is one of those stories that leaves me longing for a sequel every time I read it, and grouchily muttering under my breath when I discover it's still a stand alone.

Best FF That Proves That Giving in to Your Baser Impulses Leads to Embarrassment. And Hot Sex. So Give in to Your Baser Impulses Today! The Maiden Voyage of the Tiresias, by Shalott, aka [ profile] astolat. Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes/John Watson. Have I mentioned how I tremble in fear every time I visit Shalott's page? Because I do. The woman can make me read Aubrey/Maturin genderswitch babyfic, for Christ's sake, and like it. When she acquires a new fandom, it seems like only a matter of time before I do, too. (Still holding out on Stargate, though, by god.) In this story we have - something really quite indescribable, actually, so I'll skip describing it (there's cross-dressing, though, and Watson being Watson, and some surprisingly touching, um, touching). Instead, I'll talk about Holmes/Watson. This is a pairing I just started reading (any recs, anyone?) after avoiding it for my entire time in fandom. And I avoided it because it made no sense; I just couldn't picture Holmes ever voluntarily getting that messy or involved with people, except in pursuit of a case. What I forgot was the other side of Holmes, the one that seeks out socially unacceptable mess (opium dens and docks and slums) and clings to Watson as a balance for his self-destructive tendencies and an anchor to, you know, the real world, which is not necessarily something Holmes has much direct personal contact with. Shalott reminded me of all that with this story, which would have killed Sir Artie, and which is so perfectly in character and in canon that I almost believed Sir Artie wrote it. Damn it all, I've got a new fandom. Another one. At least it's a very, very small one.

Best FF That Features Explicit Sexual Fantasies in the Presence of an Observant Nun, and Yet Doesn't Make My Flesh Crawl. Pattern Recognition, by [ profile] actizera. Oz, Tobias Beecher/Christopher Keller. Thank god I didn't offer to do this set without Oz, too, because there just can't be a secrets and lies set that doesn't include Oz, the fandom of secrets and lies. This story shows the side of Beecher that's so damn good at self-analysis, so good at it and yet so incapable of taking action based on it, and so facile that he can lie to himself even as he's thinking about the truth, which is an impressive skill, I think you'll admit. And it also illustrates the biggest problem that Beecher/Keller faced, which is, in essence, secrets and lies. When they were together, there were nine thousand strings pulling them apart; everyone had a reason for opposition, and everyone also had a real reason, the reason they didn't tell, the reason they covered up. In this story, it's Sister Pete, who cares about Beecher and who wants the best for him. Unless the best involves Keller, because she just fucking cannot stand Keller. (Not to say that she doesn't have reason, mind you. She's one of the many blades of grass Keller tromped down in his single-minded Beecherquest, and she can't forget it.) Moral of this story? Don't piss off a nun, I guess, although I would hope you all already knew that, because nuns are really damn scary.

* Thanks, Te! I now know one more thing than I did before. And that thing is that someone at DC has a wicked sense of humor when it comes to names.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
A long, long, long time ago I promised my beloved [ profile] makesmewannadie a post on FF I'd seen that violated a credo of the genre and yet somehow was still good. There really are such stories out there. We've all read them; stories where, for example, Benton Fraser grows tentacles and gets pregnant, even though he is technically male, by Ray Kowalski, who turns out to be a dragon. And Kowalski can talk to other reptiles, and he defeats Tom Riddle and saves Harry Potter, and Fraser can talk to horses and dogs and brings Sirius Black back from the dead.

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

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

-The Personal Peeves-

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

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

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

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

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

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

-The Broken Absolute Laws of Fan Fiction-

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

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

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

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

Those two stories are just fucking fantastic, yes, but on the whole the genre mystifies me. I don't read fic for men doing girl things; I read fic for men doing boy things, generally to other men. (And, no, I don't define "sucking cock" as a strictly boy thing, although I think you'll admit that it helps to have at least one male present for that activity. But pregnancy? That is a girl thing, by god, and I don't want to read about it happening to men. I hope.) If I want a pregnancy fic, I'll look for femslash, dammit. And, um, that probably sounded biased, but it wasn't meant that way. I love you, straight people! I totally want you to breed, provided you don't let the resultant kids kick the back of my seat during showings of R-rated movies after 11:00 p.m.! It's just, well, I have a slash bias when I'm reading fic, and so - you know, this isn't going to come out right, no matter what I say. Stopping now, while only my foot is in mouth.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Sometimes it seems to me that the only thing worse than having a family would be not having one. This is, of course, only in reference to those families we don't choose, our families-of-origin. You know who I mean, right? The people you spent three years talking about in therapy? Good.

Because sometimes in fan fiction we get so focused on, um, one certain kind of relationship that we totally forget the other kinds, which are usually just as emotional and involved but, and let us all be grateful for this, not nearly as sexy.

Best FF That Shows Us There Can Be - Yes! - an Almost Normal Relationship in the Batworld: Fathers and Daughters, by David Hines, aka [ profile] hradzka. Batclan, gen. I cried a lot the first time I read this. Unsurprisingly, that turns out to be something I brought to the mix. When I re-read the story a few weeks later, I realized it was brilliant and sweet and really not at all sad. And I do mean brilliant. David likes to show off in his fan fiction, I'm realizing; why else would he write a gen Batverse story about Jim Gordon (and there just is not enough Gordonfic, is there?) being paternal, and then toss in, apparently just to show he can, Batgirl? (Yes, I do see Batgirl as one of the toughest characters in the Batclan - toughest to know, toughest to write. I mean, it's sort of tough to find the voice of someone who spent a large part of her life mute. And that's just for starters - she's actually much more challenging than this would seem to suggest.) So David's a total show-off and I'd absolutely hate him for writing so well if I didn't secretly love him to pieces. Well, OK, not so secretly.

The Best FF That Reminds Us Just How Badly Attempts to Run Your Adult Child's Life Usually Turn Out: Grace, Paradoxically, by Laura Jacquez Valentine, aka [ profile] jacquez*. The Sentinel, very mild Jim/Blair. We all know that Jim has mommy issues, but this is just about the best take I've ever read on them - on Grace, and why she left, and who she was, and who she became. Because Grace is just a plot point in most FF, but here she's a person, and while not entirely likable, she's definitely believable; this all just makes so much sense. And this story is from Grace's point of view, which just makes it that much more impressive. It's actually part of the Gone Native series (second from the top; there's no jump page link), but it can stand on its own, so jump right in. Additional inducement: this fic may also contain the strangest reason ever for Jim and Blair to get together. So, really, totally worth reading.

Best FF That Proves, Once and for All, That in a Really Difficult Situation There's Nothing Quite as Unhelpful as Parental Interference: Third Person, by [ profile] julad. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Fraser, being Fraser, cannot have father issues like everyone else. He has to have the ghost of his dead father hanging around commenting on his father issues, usually via totally nonsensical stories about Buck Frobisher and that time on the DeWitt 10-Meter Ice Gap when they got their man by constructing a primitive turbine engine out of a sapling, goose grease, Buck's second-best hat, and four live wolverines. "And that's when I learned that it's important, no matter how much of a hurry you're in, to grab wolverines behind the temporomandibular joint, son..." And meanwhile Fraser is trying to live his life and, you know, maybe even construct a primitive turbine engine of his own. In short, Fraser has to do everyone in the world one better even at having annoying parent problems, but it's hard to envy him. It is, however, really easy to laugh at him. And then go all gooey over the way his friends - well, let's be honest and just say Kowalski - don't laugh at him. Or, in this story, strangle him.

Best FF That Shows, Yet Again, That You Can Be a Great Parent Even If You Aren't a Remotely Perfect One: The Medal, by Celli Lane, aka [ profile] celli. Sports Night, mild Dan/Casey. There's a surprising number of family stories in this fandom, maybe because almost all the relationships are just so - so - familial. Or maybe it's because Aaron Sorkin has issues of his own that he works out through his characters. Anyway, this story gives us both sides of parenthood, as Casey tries to be a perfect father (but is actually a dorky, uptight, and loving father) and Danny remembers being a flawed son (while providing the cool, calm, and loving side of the parental equation). I also like this story because it caters to my, well, OTPish leanings in this fandom; here Casey and Danny have clearly been together, and happy, for a long time. And I, of course, totally believe that long-term happiness for those two can only come in the form of sex, followed by more sex, followed by a painless emergence from the closet and the acquisition of the top ratings slot. (Yes. In my dream world, I also have my own personal wombat, a button to press to bring world peace, and a patent on the cure for the common cold. It's a nice place to live, my head.)

* Thanks, [ profile] mamadeb!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
After my long, grim, house-repair-related hiatus, I'm getting back in the recommendations saddle with a classic theme: threesomes. And, in this case, more. And because I believe in Fan Fiction Diversity (what, you thought my rainbow sticker referred to something else?), I'm representing all three major species of true threesome stories here. Points to the first person to identify them by their Latin and common names. Extra points if you can describe their natural habitats and behaviors.

Best FF Featuring a Sex Toy That Puts All Other Sex Toys to Shame. After You Read This, You'll Never Again Look at Your Home Bondage Equipment Without a Vague Sense of Disappointment. Other Smiles May Make You Fickle, by Te, aka [ profile] thete1. Teen Titans, Tim/Bart/Kon/Cassie. Well, I can't say this is a threesome. It's...I don't think there's a word, actually, for what this is. Unusual, that'd be one word. Twisted, that'd be another. Maybe I should go for "proof that Te's mind is a wonderfully perverse place, and in a just universe, things would always be the way she imagines them." Because, you know, I always thought the magic lasso thing was lame, and doubly lame given that Wonder Girl has one as well as Wonder Woman. "Magic lasso?" I was frequently heard to snort. "Hey, I know! I'll be Square Dance Girl, and I'll have a magic bolo tie! Or, wait - I'll be Wonder Texan, with a magic giant belt buckle!" This story has convinced me that I should not mock the magic lasso. It can make Tim lose control, after all. (It's also convinced me that I want to see what kind of sexual madness Te can do with a magical belt buckle, but I suppose some wants are destined to go unfulfilled.)

Best FF Featuring an Early Version of the Sock-on-the-Doorknob Technique, Making Me Wonder If the Sock Thing Ends This Way, Too. You've Got to Admit That Would Help Explain Fraternities. Fine, by [ profile] kaydeefalls. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Butch/Sundance/Etta. This is almost canon, right here. And speaking of canon, you do know how this movie ends, right? Because if you don't, do yourself a favor and don't read this. But if you do, then this is a story for you; it doesn't read like fan fiction so much as a more accurate version of the events portrayed in the movie. Though I'm not sure William Goldman would agree. In any case, my whole Ocean's Eleven thing has extended to a longing for Butch/Sundance and Hooker/Henry (The Sting); there's just something so compelling about bad guys in love. And while I can't find any Sting, dammit, I've got some Butch and Sundance stuff, and I plan to send all of it your way. Consider yourself warned.

Best FF That Makes Me Feel Like a Total Moron About Popular Culture. Actually, All FF Makes Me Feel That Way, So Perhaps I Should Add a Qualification About Tick References Somewhere in Here. The Night Is Young and There Are Umbrellas in Our Drinks, by [ profile] musesfool. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander Harris/Oz Osbourne/Willow Rosenberg. This one is set after the series ended, I think, and it definitely shows the effects of seven years on a Hellmouth with a slayer. (You know, that'd be a great title for Xander's autobiography: "I Survived Seven Years on a Hellmouth with a Slayer; or, When You Look at It, I'm Lucky All I Lost Was an Eye, Assorted Girlfriends, and Most of My Mind.") I mean, sure, you might be a little tense about hopping into bed with your current boyfriend and his ex-girlfriend who also happens to be your best friend, but you probably didn't spend last night fighting demons that decorate their birthday parties with balloon animals made from human genitals and play Pin the Red Hot Poker on the Person. It's all perspective. And once again this story shows us that any triangle, no matter how angsty, history-ridden, or tortured, can be resolved with a judicious application of group sex. I think that's something we could all stand to remember.

Best FF That Proves That Not Only Is a Picture Worth a Thousand Words, but the Right Hundred Words Can Be Worth a Thousand, Too: Untitled, [ profile] debchan. Due South, Ray Vecchio/Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. And, yes, there will be an alternate story for people who just cannot stand the idea of Fraser doing both Rays, or being with Vecchio. But even if you are one of those people, you should read this, because it's funny and amazing and so in character it had me wriggling with joy. Also, it's so tiny that you won't have a chance to get skeeved out or irritated. I'm fairly sure that [ profile] debchan's ability to write little gems like this is proof that she's sold her soul. So we should probably petition her to post an essay on "Selling Your Soul for Slash," because the world would be a far, far better place if everyone could write like this.


Best FF That Makes a Valuable and Important Statement About the Inadequacy of Modern Towel Rack Construction: Rain, by [ profile] laurakaye. Due South, Renfield Turnbull/Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Look, this is a threesomes set, so even a Certified Safe Alternate Story has to involve someone who is neither Fraser nor Kowalski. And who could be more harmless and fun than Turnbull? I always appreciate seeing Turnbull get some page time, so to speak, and it's especially nice when he's got talents, as he does here. I mean, Turnbull must be good at something, and for all we know he's so spacey during the daytime because he spends nights honing his cocksucking skills. (Um. Hope that didn't induce disturbing mental images in Turnbull-haters, except, you know what? You shouldn't hate Turnbull, so you deserve all the images you get.) Also, it's rare to see an established threesome story, so make sure you enjoy that aspect of this. You won't look on its like again for a long, long time. Plus: towel rack!
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 [ 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 [ profile] tangleofthorns, and Jess, aka [ 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 [ 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.


* 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, [ profile] tangleofthorns!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Secrets and lies, my friends, secrets and lies.

Best FF That Proves That, Well, Maybe You Can Go Home Again, but You Sure Can't Sleep There. Many Things Were Like Sleep, by [ profile] someinstant. D.C. Universe, vaguely Tim Drake/Dick Grayson. Any set of stories about secrets and lies has to feature a Tim Drake story, and not just because I have this mildly sick love for him. See, Tim never especially enjoyed the secret aspect of being a hero (unlike, for example, Bruce Wayne, who clearly lives for it), but he built his life on lies anyway - hell, he built himself on lies. And now, in the canon, he's paying for it. (Paying, in my opinion, way too high a price, but that's another story.) Because, see, he thought he could just give up being Robin, put on the Tim suit, and go back to being a full-time teenager. Do I need to spell out why this isn't going to work? Didn't think so. I mean, there's some things even Tim can't do. So this is yet another Tim-jonesing-for-Robin story, except in this one, he's not the only one who wants Robin back. (Secret message to Tim: please, just test out of high school, move to Bludhaven with Nightwing, and give up on the whole normal thing. You aren't normal, and you never will be. And as for your parents - well, it's not like any other superhero has ever had a good relationship with his parents; did you think you'd be the first? It's time to face facts: you were born to fight crime. And fuck Dick Grayson.)

Best FF That Proves That a Fool and His Money Are Soon Parted. Especially If Alcohol Is Involved. Pool Series 1: Rack 'Em, by Emily Brunson, aka [ profile] janissa11. Sports Night, Casey McCall-centric with a hint of Casey/Dan Rydell. (For further relationship developments, read the sequels, Running the Table and Going Penguin.) Casey has a secret. Actually, he's got a couple of them. And he's about to start coming clean. I don't know if every SN fan would buy this version of Casey, but I do. Because he's smart, yes, and geeky, and generally just a really good guy, but he also works that shtick a bit, if you see what I mean. When Dana said sometimes she didn't think Casey was very nice, I don't think she was kidding; he really does make good use of that lovable Midwestern farmboy bit, to the point where I keep expecting him to say "As you wish." I can totally see him keeping secrets, maybe even from Danny. But, hey, the truth will out.

Best FF That Proves That the Wish Is the Father of the Deed. Again, Especially If Alcohol Is Involved. Tell, by [ profile] penknife. Harry Potter, Marauders-era, Remus Lupin/assorted. And, again, we've got a guy that just had to make an appearance in a secrets and lies set, because even in a secrets-ridden canon, Lupin stands out. He's been keeping at least one important secret for most of his life. (And if you read the canon the way I do, let's just say that it's good he had the lycanthropy for practice.) The only person who's keeping more secrets than Lupin is Snape, and we can't give all our love to the snarky Potions master of ill repute. (No, we really can't. Yes, I am well aware of the ongoing fannish effort to do so, but - look, let's not talk about this, OK? Just trust me that you have to look at other masters occasionally.) So in this story, we get a look at some of Lupin's early secret-keeping work, and...hmmm. He's not doing so well. But, hey, we have adolescence so that we can work out the flaws in our personalities and approaches to life in a safe environment, right? Whoops. Late-breaking news: that sentence should be amended to read "We have adolescence so that we can work out the flaws in our personalities and approaches to life in an environment guaranteed to cause as much lasting damage and pain as possible." Sorry for the error, and I'll ask the research department to be more timely with their input in the future. Sure explains a lot about my teen years, though. Wow.

Best FF That Proves That Honesty May Not Always Be the Best Policy, but It Beats the Hell out of Denial: Like That, by Debra Fran Baker, aka [ profile] mamadeb. Due South, Fraser-centric. And warning, sensitive dS fans: this is not what we might call a fic burgeoning with joyous resolution. (I will of course be providing an alternate story, because one of the aforementioned dS sensitives knows where I sleep.) It is, however, a really nice look at what keeping secrets can do to you, especially when the person you're keeping the secret from is yourself. Fraser has a remarkable complement of self-destructive traits; one of the more subtle ones (i.e., one of the ones that doesn't lead directly to him standing in front of gun-toting bad guys while wearing a helpful target and a sign reading, "Shoot me to win big") is his need to be what people expect him to be. Other people see a Mountie, so he tries to be the ideal Mountie. Sometimes, folks, you have to be what you want instead of what other people demand. (This message brought to you by the Department for Excellence in Cliched, Trite, and Meaningless Sayings. Be sure to pick up our newest free pamphlet: "Achieving Success Through Time-Worn Sporting Metaphors," available in the lobby.)


Best FF That Proves That a Friend in Need Is Not Only a Friend Indeed, but Possibly Also a Friend with His Tongue in Your Mouth. Target, by Speranza, aka [ profile] cesperanza. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. And at last, from that Queen of Certified Safe Alternate dS Stories, we have: a secrets-themed story that contains actual smut! And a reasonably happy ending! Yes, this is why all experienced slash readers have Speranza Shrines set up in our homes and gardens. (Tip of the day: burn coffee-scented incense before your morning prayers!) Mind you, this is not exactly a shiny happy story; it puts Fraser in the position of the kid standing alone at the edge of the playground, just waiting until the other kids get bored enough to torment him. But luckily - for all of us, actually - Fraser has Ray to protect him. And, eventually, to have sex with him in the back of a car.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Every fandom has its big pairings. And if you read this journal, you'll know I'm no opponent of Danny/Casey or Jim/Blair or Sirius/Remus. But I also have an abiding love for stories with rare pairings, or pairings no mortal ever dared to pair before. And I think I can safely say you'll find at least one of each of those in this set.

Best FF Featuring a Powerful Anti-Drug Message; Namely, That If We Spend All Our Time Stoned We Might Fail to Notice Critical Things in Our Environment, Like That One of Our Friends Is Actually Green. Kissable Fanatic, Unhinged Minim Artists, by [ profile] basingstoke. Marvel, Toad/OMC. There are very few pairings involving an original character that I'd put in a rare pairings entry, but I have never before seen Toad in any pairing anywhere ever. He could do nothing but jerk off in a story and I'd consider it a borderline rare pairing, and it's safe to say he goes well beyond that in this one. I actually put off reading this one for weeks because the thought of Toad doing, you know, that - well, it made me want to file taxes early, let's put it that way. But eventually I'd done all the accountancy and scrubbing I could do, and my curiosity got the better of me - and you know what? This is a damn fine story. It isn't squicky, the original character is an actual character, there's a plot - really, what more could anyone want? And if you said, "Someone who isn't green and sticky and whose tongue is less than three feet long would be first on that list," shame on you. Rank prejudice is what that is, and I tell you freely: you'll be the first up against the wall when Magneto takes over. But if you read this now, perhaps they'll be kind to you. So, really, I'm recommending this for your own safety as much as anything.

Best FF That Shows Us What Hides in Your Bedroom Closet After You Learn That All the Demons and Monsters Are Real and Right Outside: Paying Attention, by Lar, aka [ profile] obsessedmuch. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander Harris/Larry (does Larry have a last name?). Xander/Larry is one of those pairings that should just happen a lot more often. I've actually seen the episode in which Larry outs himself to Xander, and there's definite slash potential in there. I mean, it happens in a locker room. And Xander and Larry have always hated each other, and they've engaged in the manly-yet-moronic art of fighting together, and, honestly, the whole situation is crying out to be slashed. And yet still this is a rare pairing. I guess it's more proof that there is no justice in bed*. Or in slash. But Lar is struggling to redress this tragic deficit. Read this in the name of Slash Equality, if nothing else. Plus, hey, it could well be the only pairing in this set that doesn't make your eyes roll back in your head from horror. That's got to be a plus.

Best FF That Is Totally Based on the Canon Author's Writing and Yet Would Cause Said Author to Burst into Flames Were He to Hear of It, and I Don't Mean the Gay Kind of Flames, Either: Peter in Love, by Tosca, aka [ profile] toscas_kiss. The Chronicles of Narnia, Peter Pevensie/Aslan. Really. Yes, I'm aware that this sounds even worse than the whole "That stag was a liar" bit in The Silver Chair. Please, don't run screaming yet. I wanted to stab my eyes out and spend decades wandering in the wilderness after I saw the pairing, too. But here's the thing: this story is great, and somehow Tosca manages to evade every single potential squick here, which must have been like doing an slalom. While stoned. And blindfolded. On a frictionless surface. Still not convinced? It isn't explicit, and that should help. So, really, give it a try. (Note: if you don't know how the last book in the Narnia series starts, I'm not sure this will make much sense to you. But, hey, if you don't know how that book starts, you are blessed beyond all measure, so be grateful. And I've never actually read The Last Battle, because I'm still bearing a grudge against C.S. Lewis for writing it, so you can be sure that don't need more than the bare plot outline.)

Best FF That Shows Us That Prison Showers Can Be Dangerous in Novel and Entirely Unanticipated Ways, As Well As the Old Boring Ones: The Color of Straw, by David Hines, aka [ profile] hradzka. D.C. Universe, Scarecrow/Harley Quinn. I know. As if I haven't disturbed you all enough as it is, now I'm recommending het. Again. It's like some horrible disease. But this - this is amazing het. It's got the best damn characterizations I've ever seen in DCU fic involving either of these two - admittedly, that sounds like damning with faint praise, but it's meant as an enthusiastic endorsement; it's just that I'm not so good at showing enthusiasm. And it's so, so right and probable and in canon. And it's even funny. It's also not very explicit, so if you just cannot bear the thought of male and female connectors interacting, so to speak, you can squint your eyes and think of England during that part. (Although you should probably try to avoid thinking about Peter Pevensie in England, especially if you're still feeling jittery about the whole Aslan thing.)


* Anyone who said, "Well, not unless you're sleeping with a judge" is going to be punished. I mean that. Hell, if you so much as thought that, you should be making like Rev. Dimmesdale right now. Have you no shame?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
My fandoms like to watch. All of them. Because, actually, fan fiction is watching - we're peering into the parts of our characters' lives that the creators wouldn't show us. In other words, we're all voyeurs. But, as these stories show, we're in excellent company.

Warning: if you're already borderline paranoid, you'll probably want to skip these, unless you think you'd enjoy a future in which you cannot have sex without assuming that someone, somewhere, is watching.

Best FF That Teaches Us That Discourtesy Has Consequences, and That We Should Therefore Always Remember to Knock. Unless, of Course, We Wish to Make Difficult Yet Erotic Discoveries. Intruding, by [ profile] helvirago. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Sort of. Those are the characters involved in this story, anyway. And what is the story? Well, certain psychologists say our lives are all stimulus and response. It's possible one of them wrote this story, although I really hope that [ profile] helvirago is not B. F. Skinner in disguise, because that boy was creepy. But this is a story any behaviorist could love. Fraser is, um, stimulated. And then he responds. If there's a moral to this story besides "it only takes an extra minute to be courteous," it's, "you know, hotels put locks on both sides of connecting doors for a reason, folks." (Never say that slash hasn't given you words to live by.) This story will also help you to understand the importance of watching. Because, hey, it's the best way to learn, yup? And you want to learn, don't you? I'm sure you do. At least, you probably wouldn't mind learning what Ray Kowalski has to teach.

Best FF That Teaches Us That Homemade Pornography Should Be Handled Like Radioactive Waste: Reduced to a Mass of Charged Electrons or Buried in Secret Vaults Guaranteed to Hold for 15,000 Years: Masking Tape, by Cita Powers, and does anyone have a link for her? Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. Danny experiences the joys of voyeurism once removed, and Casey learns the folly of leaving your amateur porn in the hands of others. They have a typical spat that is resolved with stubbornness and synonyms. In other words, this is Danny and Casey doing their thing, the thing that makes it impossible for anyone who sees the show to believe they aren't totally, totally in love. Take home lesson from this one (aside from the porn thing, which I really hope you already knew): those stupid things you did in college can bite you in the butt when you least expect it. So, you know, if you are in college right now, do your stupid things, but also do your best to burn the evidence, OK? And if you're already finished with college, well, your best shot is probably to start honing some humorous stories. Or I guess you could flee the country and start a new life under a stolen name. Whichever.

Best FF That Teaches Us the Importance of Checking for Surveillance Devices Before Beginning Any Private Activity, Although You Probably Want to Do That Secretly to Avoid Unfortunate and Totally Unnecessary Committal Hearings: Maybe There Are Secret Places, by Te, aka [ profile] thete1. D.C. Universe (Batclan), Barbara Gordon (Oracle) and Bruce Wayne (Batman), but not exactly as a pairing. For those who can only do the slash thing, well - this isn't slash. It isn't het either, exactly. But there's descriptions of, you know, girly parts*. Caveat lectrix. So. The Bats are sort of, well, creepy, you know? They spend their nights flitting around dangerous cities in tight clothes and yet they are never arrested for prostitution. They fight crime with advanced technology, amazing skills, and more mental illness than any given state hospital for the criminally insane could possibly handle, and yet, to the best of our knowledge, they aren't even taking Prozac. It should be no surprise to anyone that they are as twisted in their time off as they are when they're swinging moodily through the rain, thinking, well, whatever thoughts it is that Batpersons think, which I frankly think we're all better off not knowing. So, yes, we've got our full complement of Bat-twistiness in this story. What's impressive, though, is that this is all about an under-fic'd character, Barbara Gordon. Here, we learn that she has what it takes to be truly Batty. And also that even Bruce's paranoia sometimes nods. The second take-home lesson here? That repression works for heroes, and it can work for you, too.

Best FF That Teaches Us That Privacy Isn't Much of a Feature of the Superhero Lifestyle. And, Also, That Mick Jagger Was Apparently Hot in Some Strange Alternate Universe. Steaming, by Jane St. Clair, aka [ profile] 3jane. The Authority, Apollo/Midnighter, Jenny Sparks/Shen. Look, I love Charles Xavier as much as the next person (unless the next person is Magneto), but Jenny Sparks is a much more realistic leader. Xavier's principled. Jenny's pragmatic. And in this particular case, she's using her special abilities to, well, check on her people. And if those people happen to be doing things they'd rather keep private - well, let's just say that at this point I very much doubt that Jenny has any illusions about her behavior. She does it because she can. And that, my friends, is the difference between the way Marvel sees humans with special powers and the way I think they'd really be. And it's not because Jenny is evil - she is emphatically not. She's just, well, on a different plane, I think. And she's a good leader, to the extent that anyone could be for her crew. If that's not enough to make you love this story, there's also a lovely look at the private lives of Apollo and Midnighter, who really do seem to be the only happy people in their world sometimes. Here we have love without schmoop, sex without smut. It's an education, is what this story is. The second thing this story should teach you is probably to love Jane St. Clair as much as I do.


* I did indeed say "girly parts." If you read my recent rant, you'll know there are an estimated 3.4 million worse words to use for "cunt," including every single word in the vocabulary of the average American 5-year-old. If you're wise, you'll take "girly parts" and like it, because the alternatives are, trust me on this, the kind of worse that leads to prolonged hospital stays and a great intimacy with neuroleptic pharmaceuticals. And do you really want to be the person twitching and moaning, "the cookie...the cookie...put it in the kitten..." on the rubber mattress? Thought not. Girly parts it is.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Of course, Samuel Johnson probably was thinking of public amusements other than sex when he said that; I don't really think public sex is all that likely to focus the mind on thoughts good or clean. But, really, who wants thoughts like those?

Well, we don't. Obviously. So we have these stories, which aren't going to do much to keep us from vice, but which are, on the other hand, definitely way more entertaining than, for example, mime.

Best FF Featuring a Public Sex Location That Gets Ten out of Ten for Chutzpah and Zero out of Ten for Ambiance: Smut 3: Breakfast, by Grackle and Christy, and does anyone have links for either of them? Oz, Tobias Beecher/Christopher Keller. I'm developing a love/hate* relationship with Oz fan fiction that's almost as unhealthy as the major pairing in this fandom. That pairing, of course, is Beecher/Keller. In most seasons they go through more twists and turns and pain and blood and misery than the entire student body of your average American high school, but, luckily, you don't need to know anything about that to read this story, because this is pretty much your basic PWP. (For which thank god, because it's totally beyond my ability to explain, or indeed understand, the plot of this damn show.) And, really, pretty much any B/K sex that doesn't happen in an alternate universe has got to count as public sex to some degree; it's not like there's privacy in a prison. Even so, this story stands out. There's public sex and then there's borderline insanity, and this fic definitely leans to the latter. But then, hell, so does this whole fandom.

Best FF That Shows Us That Public Sex Is Sometimes Just a Prelude to Matchmaking: One Up, by [ profile] cmshaw. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Ray Vecchio. Yes, it's a Ray/Ray story, and therefore I will be offering a Certified Safe Alternate Story for those people who cannot take their dS in any flavor other than Kowalski/Fraser. But, actually, I think this story will upset Vecchio lovers far more than K/F addicts; basically, this is Ray/Ray as a springboard to K/F, with Vecchio acting like, well, a bit of a jerk. And this all happens in the men's room at the 27th, thus once again demonstrating that said men's room is one of the Sex Spots for this particular fandom. (The others, of course, are: Canadian shack, the GTO, and Ray's apartment.) This is the Public Toilet of Hot Man Lovin', folks, and while that concept is both scary and slightly vile, it works. Or certain writers make it work, even though I sometimes wish that the precinct's Sex Spot had been the stairwell. Or, hell, the supply closet. Anywhere, really, that wouldn't involve people on their knees in a men's room, violating, if not health regulations, at least every possible measure of common sense.


Best FF That Shows That Any Cultural Divide Can Be Bridged with Sensitivity, Understanding, Intelligence, and Hot Gay Sex. And If the International Diplomatic Community Knew This, I Think We'd All Pay a Lot More Attention to Foreign Affairs. So to Speak. Translating Fahrenheit to Celsius, by Speranza, aka [ profile] cesperanza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Here's the alternate story for those who just can't cope with Ray/Ray. And I'm proud to report that it's another story set in that famed Public Toilet of Hot Man Lovin' (and, really, I think the Chicago Tourism Board ought to capitalize on this, although I suppose finding someone to lead, say, guided tours would be sort of challenging). But even though this story does in fact feature sex, it's really about how Fraser communicates and how Ray translates. And I love the way Ray's translations work here, via his intuition, his intelligence, and his abiding love for Fraser. Really, what F/K fan could ask for anything more? (By the way, you translate Fahrenheit to Celsius thusly: (Tf - 32) * (5/9) = Tc. There. Now we can all pretend that FF is an educational pursuit. I mean, educational about things other than unusual and imaginative lubricants, and I actually wish FF was just a little less educational about that.)

Best FF Featuring the Worst Song Lyrics Ever, Namely "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, I've Got Love in My Tummy." And Please, Please Let This Also Be the Only FF Featuring That Song, Because There's Only So Much a Person Can Take. Slackened Ties, by [ profile] anniesj. Harry Potter, Remus Lupin/Sirius Black (in Marauders time). Does the Gryffindor common room count as public sex? I'm voting yes, and not just because the word "common" is right there in the name of the place; when you think of all the potential for magical eavesdropping, every location in the Potterverse is at least sort of public, but the Gryffindor common room is especially so. (That fireplace! The ghosts! Mrs. Norris!) Unlike the other stories I'm offering today, the public sex in this one has consequences, if you can call getting interrupted by a good friend consequences. And I have to admit I love this story not so much for the smut, although it is smutty and good, but rather for the reaction of said friend, which elevated this to a whole other level for me. (I think Sports Night has broken me, folks; I now like banter more than smut. Soon I won't even recognize myself when I look in the mirror.) The reaction is just so - well, I'd say in-character, except that the canon has hardly given us any character for the Marauders in their schooldays, so I'll have to go with - right. (In case you got lost in that bugger of a sentence, the content, to the extent that there was any, was: "The reaction is just so right.") And how can you not love a story that ends with James on the prowl? Every story needs James Potter on the prowl! Well, no, I take that back. But this one is definitely the better for it.

Best FF That Demonstrates That the Road to Emotional Healing Is Paved with Good Gay Sex: Downed, by Jack, aka [ profile] buggery. Batclan, Dick Grayson/Tim Drake. This is another Tim-after-Robin story; I used to be pissed off about Tim shucking his costume (in, you know, the permanent sense), but it's given us such a lot of quality FF that I'm beginning to feel uncomfortably grateful for it. (This, incidentally, is yet more proof of the Law of Canon Cruelty, which states: "As canon writers become more cruel, fan fiction authors become more creative." But let us all stay focused on the first corollary to the Law of Canon Cruelty: "But that doesn't mean we have to forgive the canon writers, or even, in exceptional cases - Tom Fontana, Joss Whedon, Marvel - refrain from throwing vegetables at them in the street.") So. Tim isn't Robin anymore. And who better to help him through this difficult transitional period than the only other person who has survived Robinhood? (Yes, that was an intentional pun. Yes, I am sorry. Yes, I will be punishing myself later.) And what better way to begin the process of coping than with sex in a public alley? I mean, sure, mental health professionals might argue with that statement, but I know this much is true - even the very best mental health professional would go catatonic if confronted with even a quarter of the Batclan's collected insanity. So, really, I don't think we can listen to them on this one.


* Fan fiction is having a seriously deleterious effect on my view of a certain punctuation mark. Am I the only one who looked at "love/hate" and thought, wow, there's a pairing I'd read? Um. Actually, I probably am.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
...and, in this particular case, their lives are what our thoughts make it. In other words, it's time for another set of Alternate Universe stories.

Best FF That Shows Us That Hell Isn't Other People, It's Never Being Able to Get Away from Other People. And When You're Stuck in That Kind of Hell, the Last Thing You Need Is More Company: Opposites Attract, by [ profile] penknife. X-Men movies, Jean Gray/Scott Summers, Jean Gray/Logan. This is from the Powerswap Challenge. And it's - see, one of the things that's least forgivable about the canon (all varieties of it) is how they've handled Scott. He's got Ideal Marvel Superhero written all over him - the angst, and then the mutant power, and then the added angsty angst angst. He's got traumatic brain injury that keeps his power from turning off! That's fuel for the angst, people. That right there should have informed his entire character, and it's easy to believe that it did, that his inability to control his power is the reason he's so anal and controlled otherwise. But instead of showing us what it feels like to be trapped in a mutant body - a broken mutant body, with a power that doesn't work right - the canon gave us Cardboard Cyclops. Thank god for FF writers. Here, Penknife shows us how much worse Scott's situation could be. And, in the process, she shows us a truly agonizing triangle, where it's impossible to tell need from love and where no one has any choices at all. This story is astonishing on first read - and then you start to think about it, and it gets even better. This is a perfect example of the character-switched AU, the kind in which one or two things are changed about each character, so that we can better see the real core of each person. It just doesn't get better than this.

The Best FF That Shows Us the Surprising Similarities Between Television and a War Zone (Not, I'd Wager, a Surprise to Anyone Who Actually Works in the Entertainment Industry), and Also Shows Us That a War Zone Really Is Hell: April in Paris (The Hemingway Remix), by [ profile] sabine101. Sports Night, Natalie/Jeremy, Natalie/Danny. (No, wait, give this a chance. Seriously. I know it's het, and I know Natalie/Danny is creepy and wrong. But, believe me, this time it works.) Sabine has taken the Sports Night folks to Paris. During WWII. Not ballsy enough for you? Look at the subtitle. She's written them as Hemingway characters. Just sit back for a second and let that wash over you. Now that you're convinced this is the weirdest thing you've ever heard, know this: she pulls it off. The characters are all recognizable, all right - they're who they've always been, and they fit right in to WWII Paris. That Sabine managed to write this is pretty much proof that nothing is impossible in the right hands. It also means I will be sick with envy every time I so much as see the name Sabine or the word Paris for the rest of my life. This, people, is the world-switched AU at its finest: the characters we know and love in a setting, universe, and style only one person could ever imagine, and even then only if she'd taken a recent blow to her head.

Best FF That Shows Us What Archaeologists Already Know: If Things Are Made Right, They Outlast the People Who Made Them. Surprising That This Applies to Superheroes, Isn't It? The Mystery of the Bat, by [ profile] basingstoke. D. C. Universe, gen. One of the most important things about Batman - and, just in general, about a lot of the DC heroes - is that he's not super. He's a normal human. OK, bad choice of words there. How 'bout twisty, half-crazed, tormented, Original Gothic Brand human? In any case, he has no special powers, just a lot of skill and money and a brain that uses logic but not sense, if you get my drift. Among other things, that means that Batman can die a lot easier than, for example, any of the X-Men, or Superman, or Spiderman. But it also means that anyone just as fixated and obsessed and motivated - if there is any such person - can be Batman, because it's the suit that matters, not the man inside it. I love this AU, even though (warning, folks!) it's got character death in it, because it shows that. And it gives us all our, or rather, my, favorite people, just ever-so-slightly different. Dick's still in Gotham, Babs is in the batsuit, and Tim's the anal-retentive Fox (Yes, the Fox! Hee!). And, as usual, Dick has all the heart and Tim has all the answers. So here's a fantastic example of another kind of AU, the fate-switched: the characters are all here, but a few minor changes in their lives - including, in this case, a literal flip of a coin - and somehow everything is simultaneously the same and re-arranged.

Best FF That Shows Us That You Never Get Tired of the Classics, or of Ray and Fraser in a Sweaty Environment: Two Men in a Boat, or Adventures on the African Queen, by [ profile] sihayab. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. The first reason I love this one is the idea of it. I mean, yes, when I saw the first half of the title I hoped it was going to be a take-off on Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat, to Say Nothing of the Dog! (and I will love forever anyone who actually writes that: RayK, Fraser, RayV or Turnbull, and Diefenbaker on the Thames). But what it actually is - Fraser as Katherine Hepburn and RayK as Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen - is inspired lunacy, and I adore it even if Dief (renamed Mackenzie, for obvious reasons) is back in Canada. Because admit it: you can see Fraser as strait-laced, uptight missionary Hepburn, and you can also see Kowalski as a hyperactive version of Bogart. So here we have a great example of today's final kind of AU: the transplant, where the characters from one world are put into the story of another one. This one requires a very deft hand and very careful selection of the two worlds being blended, because the characters have to stay themselves and the story has to stay itself. I think you'll agree that Sihaya was fully up to the task.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The subtitle of today's entry should either be "Everything That Is Wrong with FF Today" or "Everything That Is Right with FF Today." Depending on, you know, your perspective. Because today I am exploring that very pure thing: pure, pure smut.

Yes, I'm talking about everyone's favorite maligned fan fiction genre: porn without plot. Or, if you prefer, plot? What plot? (I myself prefer the former, but everyone else on Earth appears to prefer the latter. Since this is an entirely me-centrist LJ, I'll be going with my own preference here.)

PWP is like free verse; anyone with a sixth-grade vocabulary can write it, but it takes real talent to write it well. And bad PWP, like bad poetry, is excruciating to read. There's a lot of bad PWP out there, I'm sorry to report, which has given rise to the common perception that PWP fan fiction is all awful. It isn't.

At least, it isn't for those of us sitting over in the pervert corner.

Best FF That Demonstrates the Use of Batsuit Body Armor as a Sex Toy, and a Damn Fine One, Too. But Then, I Always Suspected as Much. Dodge-Town, by [ profile] shrift. D.C. Universe, Dick Grayson (Nightwing)/Tim Drake (Robin III). This is another sex pollen story; someday someone will explain to me why sex pollen works so very, very well. And someone else will explain why there aren't way more sex pollen stories than there already are. And then I will understand the mysteries of the universe. But what's fantastic about this particular sex pollen fic? I assume you mean aside from the inherent appeal of Nightwing on sex pollen, which is one of those things that requires no discussion; another one, of course, is Tim (Tim of the evening, beautiful Tim!) managing a sex-pollen'd Nightwing. Otherwise - well, did I mention the lovely, lovely sex? I mean, yes, goes without saying in PWP, but still - smut. Smut good! And this story has one of my very favorite morning-after sequences. All real-life mornings after should be like this one: full of excess carbohydrates and motorcycles and totally angst-free. (Join me, won't you, in Citizens for an Angst-Free Tomorrow? I'm the recording secretary of the Morning After Subcommittee, and we have excellent refreshments at all our meetings. They are chock full of Bad Carbs, but no one is allowed to feel guilty.)

Best FF That Demonstrates the Use of Pretty Much Every Aspect of Singing on Stage as a Sex Toy. And, Yes, Most Concerts Also Do That, but This FF Does It Better. Much, Much Better. Swim, by Sheila, aka [ profile] mimesere. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Oz/Devon. Yes. And why not? Devon is a lead singer, people, and while I may not be a popslash reader, I know one thing: after a few years of publicly deep-throating a microphone, lead singers just naturally swing all possible ways. Or maybe that's only in my own overheated little world. But Devon must be a total slut, people; I mean, I suppose I'd be willing to entertain a rebuttal for the sake of inclusiveness, but I don't think you'll persuade me. (Opinions expressed here absolutely do represent those of the management of this specific LJ. Responsible opposing viewpoints - and especially irresponsible ones - may be submitted care of the comments section. They will not be edited for clarity, because coherence is over-rated. No warranty is expressed or implied. Read at your own risk. And for god's sake don't use a hair dryer while you're taking a bath; I'm not sure why this needs to be stated, but judging from my hair dryer's documentation, that's the very first use that springs to the average owner's mind.) I sort of forgot where I was going with this, which is the hidden danger of legal disclaimers, so you'll just have to explore this story on your own. But here's a hint: this night, Devon wants Oz on his knees, incoherent and begging. And when it comes to sex, Devon always gets what he wants. Note that this fic stops before the characters get down to the serious sex, and it still manages to be PWP. Be impressed, folks.

Best FF That Demonstrates the Use of Denim as a Sex Toy. Really, It Should Be a Law: These Guys Are Only Allowed to Wear Jeans If They're Willing to Have Sex in Them. Sadistic Sons of Bitches in Jeans, by Caroline Baker, aka [ profile] linabean, and Lizard, aka [ profile] adannu. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall (because the world would end if it wasn't, no?). We join this sex scene already in progress, and if there was ever a good use of the in media res technique, this would be it. (Oh, sure, some people would point to various Star Wars movies as the, excuse me, stellar in media res examples. They clearly haven't read this fic. Or seen The Phantom Menace, especially the Love and Sand Sequence, which induces rashes and madness in all who behold it.) Because, really, when you eliminate all the detail about how they got together and how they got in bed and who said what to whom and when and why, what's left is the essence of smut. (Essence of Smut, by Calvin Klein. I want to see some print ads for that perfume, I tell you.) Though I think this story is an excellent specimen of the genus fan fiction, species PWP, it may actually be too smutty for those of you lot who just can't do without some redeeming value in your smut. If that's you, well, you have my sympathy. And you'll get an extra rec, too, to replace this one. The rest of you: enjoy.

Best FF That Demonstrates the Use of Characters Played by Callum Keith Rennie as Sex Toys. Just the One Character, Actually, but I'm Told This Use Extends to Any of His Roles, Even the "Sexy Lump of Granite" One. Want, by [ profile] estrella30. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. How do I love my Fraser? Let me count the ways, and let me start with all the various twisted or suppressed aspects of his personality. Number 34 on that sublist ("Fraser's Repressions: the First Thousand") is definitely the way he can be a prisoner of his own self-control, unable to leave the Mountie suit behind even when he's actually got on his much-worn relaxed-fit jeans and his over-washed blue flannel shirt. (No, I do not know for a fact that he has any such clothing. But that's how I picture him, 'cause he never quite belongs in the Big Red Gay Pants in my mind.) FF writers are, naturally, rather interested in helping him with the whole getting-out-of-the-Mountie-suit problem, possibly because we of the FF community are just such a caring bunch. Or maybe because we enjoy our lives more when Fraser is removing the Mountie suit, preferably slowly and with lascivious intent. Whichever. So, in any case, here we have a fine example of FF of the category PWP, subcategory Freeing Fraser. What's not to love?

Best FF That Demonstrates the Use of a Sponge Bath as a Sex Toy. Or, Actually, the Use of the British Military Man as a Sex Toy. Sharpe's Colonel, by [ profile] cinzia. Sharpe books, Richard Sharpe/Jean Gudin. I'm doing this as a bonus story in honor of my own current attempt to get to grips with the Sharpe canon. (May I say, in passing, that these are bloody, bloody books? So bloody that you probably don't even want to read the rest of this parenthetical comment if you're squeamish. The first three pages of Sharpe's Tiger feature one explicit shooting death, complete with eviscerated rib, and several plague deaths, complete with aspirated vomit. And then there's the detailed descriptions of the behavior of vultures, complete with disgusting metaphor. War is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, and neither is this book.) Cinzia brings her customary class and elegance to this story, this time showing us that porn can lack plot and still have all the right moves - perfect characterization, spot-on dialog, narrative that blends with the canon's, and even a canon tie-in so good you sort of wonder if Cornwell didn't intend this all along. Clearly, Cinzia should be writing more PWP. And you should be reading what she's already written.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I am reading a great, great book, a book that has healed my soul. Said book is Eats, Shoots & Leaves, which has made me feel a lot better about caring more about apostrophe use and the Oxford comma than, for example, the environment. I'm assuming everyone out there has already read this book, but if you have somehow overlooked it - really, purchase it at once. Your joy will expand without limit, I promise you.

So, in tribute to this (grand, delightful, even orgasmic) book, I am offering a selection of fan fiction related to language or linguistics - fan fiction, in short, designed to appeal to the word nerd in all of us. (Because there is a word nerd in all of us, right? Of course there is. I cannot believe otherwise.)

Word nerds unite! You have nothing to lose but inappropriately-used punctuation! And your sanity, of course, but that was living on borrowed time anyway.

Best FF That Demonstrates That You Can Tell Pretty Much Everything About a Relationship, or for That Matter a Person, by Looking at Dictionary Use: Prolix, by Dira Sudis, aka [ profile] dsudis. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. It was tough to choose just one language-themed story from this fandom, because this is one fandom that really gets the importance of word-related fan fiction. But, in the end, I had to go with this story, because it lives in my mind (and heart) at the intersection of my language bitchiness and my fan fiction love: the perfect blend, at least for me, of the things I hold dear in life. (Well, some of them; I do have loves and interests besides smut and English. I mean, yes, I'm pathetic, but no one is that pathetic.) Kowalski is expanding his vocabulary. Fraser is watching, and I don't mean just watching Kowalski's dictionary use. And, speaking of dictionaries, there is a detail of Fraser's history in this story that is so perfect, so exactly right, that I completely believe it; that detail has been written into canon in my brain. It just feels that true. Although, for the record, a good vocabulary is not the usual result of poor parenting, so no one should try that at home.

Best FF That Demonstrates That True Love Is Never Needing a Thesaurus: Two Words for the Same Thing, by Bastet, aka [ profile] sweetvalleyslut. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. Reason number 1,239 why you should love Sports Night: canon word nerds. Slashy canon word nerds! It's a dream come true, frankly: smart, funny men who have the perfect way with words and are so clearly in love that it's impossible not to hum "O Perfect Love" every time they smile at each other, or in fact have any kind of interaction. Here Danny and Casey demonstrate that there is nothing sexier than a person who has an extensive knowledge of synonyms and corrects other people during important conversations. (Because that is sexy, right?) Another amazing thing about this story: it's an all-dialog fic that works. Of course, if there was ever a TV show that was essentially all dialog, Sports Night was it, so it's not exactly shocking that this works, but it does show how well the author gets the Sorkin sound. (And there's also a bonus word nerd in the form of Jeremy, who asks the question about Quo Vadimus that has been bothering me ever since the first time I read the name. I love Jeremy. And not just because he makes everyone else on Earth look relatively un-nerdy, though that definitely helps.)

Best FF That Features Tim Simultaneously Acting Like an Adolescent Boy, an Adolescent Girl, a Member of the Batfamily, and Tim. But Mostly Tim.: Question of Semantics, by [ profile] weirdnessmagnet. D.C. Universe, Tim Drake (Robin III)/Dick Grayson (Nightwing). The author describes this as "schmangst," and she's got that right, but this is so how the birdboys would do schmangst. Tim wants everyone to be as perfect and subtle as he is. Dick wants everyone to be as open and direct as he is. And, in the end, it all boils down to semantics. And, of course, the two of them work it out through hot sex, because, really, Tim and Dick were made for PWP. Word nerd bonus: Tim has special words he hates! That is just so perfectly, lovably Tim, and it makes me feel such a bond of sympathy with him that I'm actually sort of scared, because identification with a member of the Batclan is one of the seven warning signs of insanity. (They don't tell you this, but most psychologists have dumped the DSM, with all its revisions and finicky, ever-changing criteria, in favor of the simpler and more accurate Superheroic and Mutant Diagnostic Manual. Clinicians love it, and patients feel much more comfortable when their mental disorders are expressed in terms of Marvel v. D.C. v. independent. Demand the SMDM today!)

Best Use of a Tattoo in Fan Fiction Ever, and I Say This as Someone Who Likes Her Fan Fiction Inky: Alignment, by Pares, aka [ profile] kormantic. The Dark Is Rising, Bran Davies/Will Stanton (with implied John Rowlands/Owen Davies, unless I've completely lost my mind). I'm not sure why this story appealed to my language geek as much as it did. (Actually, I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the last lines, and possibly also something to do with the fandom. I mean, the canon has the greatest imaginary book ever, so naturally this fandom would call to those of us with a literature kink.) In "Alignment," Will and Bran meet again, years after the events of Silver on the Tree, and they get together. Because, clearly, they were destined for each other. I will hear no argument on this point. Pares's view of Will and Bran is a little unusual, but in a good way. And then there's the tattoo, which is total genius; I need Bran to have this tattoo, and that's all there is to it. And did I mention the last lines? I see I did. But I'm mentioning them again, because, wow, that's mean...they're just...let me start over. The last few lines, especially the last things Will and Bran say to each other, please my inner language geek to the point where she's dazed and incoherent. (Well, obviously.) Yeah, I could do with a lot more FF like this.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have got an awful song lodged in my head. An awful, awful, awful song. A song by Joni Mitchell. A song that is, in fact, my mother's favorite song.

So I am in no mood to fuck around. Hence a set of fast fic. Because it's the fic that doesn't fuck around.

Best FF Introducing One Concept Comics Desperately Need and One Concept Fandoms Desperately Need: The Color Pink, by [ profile] basingstoke. DCU, and it's slash without a pairing - a whole new, um, ballgame. And I didn't mean that the way it sounded. So, can I just say that every single possible fandom should have a story in which one of the characters checks out the LotR boys? Think about it, people! Ray ogling Boromir, Fraser agonizing over deviations from the book to the point that he forgets to warn Ray that Boromir dies. Danny secretly buying all three editions of all three movies, plus a poster, and Casey finding out ('cause Danny'd have to have it delivered to his office, since he's never, you know, at his home), and banter ensuing. Bobby and St. John on a movie date ("It's not a date." "It's a movie date." "It's just a movie! No date!") watching Return of the King. Weird metaslash in which the actual book Aragorn watches the movies and says "It was not like that at all, at all. That is not it, at all." There's no end to the joy this could bring! OK. Maybe that's just me. But even if the idea of Kon + Tim + Fellowship of the Rings is not appealing to you (although, for the record, that would make you freakishly strange, possibly even mutant), this story should be. Because: pink kryptonite (that's the thing mentioned in the title that every comic should have). And Batman being so Batman, and Tim...Tim...look, just read this. It makes me giggly and incoherent, folks; it's just that good.

Best FF That Gave Me New Insight into a Character and Taught Me a Whole New Sporting Concept That Will Surely Find Its Way into Many of My Conversations in the Near Future: The Prevent Defense, by [ profile] scribblinlenore, who I forgive for her user name even though it makes me recite Poe every time I see it, because, hey, it's better than Joni Mitchell. Sports Night, Danny/Casey. Ish. You know, I read a lot of drabbles. (Well, we all do. I'm not claiming that's special or anything; I'm just saying.) And most of them inspire one of three thoughts: "Hey, there's a great story idea in here - it just needs an extra thousand words to flesh it out!" or "Was there a point to this? A point that I am missing?" or "What the hell was that?" But this drabble kicks ass. It makes me remember why I read all the bad drabblage out there - so that I can find the occasional tiny, perfectly-done gem like this one. What happens here? Casey's thinking of sports, but he's thinking about Danny. You know, the usual. But what the writer has done with that is unusual. And impressive.

Best FF Featuring a Werewolf Who Should Really Think about the Precedent He's Setting, but Won't, Because We Didn't Either at That Age. Or, for That Matter, at This Age.: Weakness, by [ profile] enarte. Harry Potter, Remus Lupin/Sirius Black. It's a look back at Sirius and Remus as they once were, before...well, before pretty much everything. And yet we can already see, in this small piece of fic, their entire future together. Sirius is just a little young for his age, just a little thoughtless, and Remus is forgiving but not forgetting. This story shows us why the interlude in Grimmaud Place couldn't be any more than an interlude (and I believe that even if I still resent JKR for writing Sirius so that it had to be that way, and then killing him off just, apparently, for fun). We also see the reason why Remus keeps walking away, moving on instead of fighting - or at least we have proof that he's always been doing that. This is a totally believable young Sirius and Remus, in other words, and teeny canon violations in no way undermine that.

Best FF Featuring a Superintendent of Schools Who Is Going to Learn Just How Totally Outclassed He Really Is: These Aren't the Droids, by [ profile] c_elisa. X-Men movies, gen. We began this set with a story from a comics-based fandom and containing a reference to a popular movie, and we're ending it the same way. Here we see why Xavier doesn't have to be evil, why he can afford to be better than that - how he is fundamentally different from Magneto not just because he's good in the moral sense, but because he's good in the skills sense. Xavier, my friends, is the original man with all the answers, and the sad part is that he usually doesn't even pull them from other people's brains. Who needs Jedi mind control when you've got Xavier spin control? Not this passel of mutants, I tell you. Go. Read. Admire. May I join you?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This set is all about what we wear and what it says about us, or rather, what our beloved characters wear and what that says about them, because this is fandom, where we don't so much navel-gaze as gaze into the navels of entirely other people, many of whom are fictional. And we don't limit ourselves to just navels, either.

However, in a tribute to navel-gazing (the official sport of California!), I have decided to make this set all about me. Well, I'm making the titles all about me, and I'm selfishly picking stories from some of my favorite fandoms, including the ones y'all are insanely tired of, so - yeah. All about me. Go me!

Best FF That Implies That There Are People in This World Who Don't Appreciate Being Dragged to the Bedroom and Told to Take Their Clothes off Slowly. Which Is Certainly News to Me, and Unwelcome News at That. Adorned and the sequel Borealis, by Resonant, aka [ profile] resonant8. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. This is one of the stories I read first in this fandom, and it ruined me for PWP for at least, oh, a week. Because this? Is maybe the ultimate Kowalski and Fraser character study. Every line tells us something important about one or both of the guys, and the sex would be unimportant if it wasn't just as revealing. Here we have the difference between the outer Fraser (god-Mountie, worshipped everywhere above 40 degrees north, known for cleanliness and smiling in the face of fate's cruelty) and the inner Fraser (I'll let Resonant surprise you). Here we also have the inner and outer Kowalski. And we get a nice long look at how they manage their appearances. And was not that just the worst story summary ever? It was. So, look, I cannot summarize this at all, obviously. But it's good - great, actually - and it's got a happy ending, provided you read the sequel. And it's got the ritual exchange of jewelery and other adornments analyzed in enough detail to spur three or four anthropology dissertations. Just read it, OK?

Best FF That Describes Wee Blair Sandburg as Little Orphan Annie, and, You Know, I Can Totally See It. And I Bet He'd Have Made That Godawful Movie Much More Interesting, Though I Don't Know That I Want to Hear Him Sing. Dork, by Francesca, aka [ profile] cesperanza, and Miriam Heddy, aka [ profile] miriam_heddy. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. Yes, I did have to include a TS rec today, because some evil person linked me to the Sentinel mah jongg game, which is impossible and which never fails to give me a headache (itty bitty tiles featuring itty bitty pictures of Jim and Blair, including some that are nearly identical), but which I nonetheless cannot stop playing. I suspect subliminal mind-control, frankly. So, anyway, I've had TS on my mind a lot lately, because this game has little sound bites as well as little pictures and sometimes bigger pictures, and I thought it was time to reacquaint myself with those aspects of these guys that aren't related to a Chinese tile game. What better way to do that than to dress 'em up, or, rather, to let two very skilled authors dress 'em up? In this story, Blair cuts his hair (!) and gets in touch with his inner nebbish, and Jim loses his mind and gets in touch with his inner gay lust monster. I think we can all agree that that is a mighty appealing concept.

Best FF That Features Pink* Flip-Flops and Pink Baby Booties and Yet Is Not at All Girly and Does Not Feature Any Actual Babies. Sports Night, the Fandom of Internal Contradictions, How I Love Thee! Tin Men, by Punk, aka [ profile] runpunkrun. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. The SN lovefest continues on this LJ with this story, which combines some of my favorite elements of the show: Danny's snitfests, Casey's cluelessness, waist-down sartorial weirdness (live pants-free anchoring is canon, folks, and I've seen the episode that proves it!), killer dialog, and fantastic supporting characters. "Tin Men" incorporates all that in a light-hearted, funny, frothy mixture, and it throws in an established Casey/Danny relationship, which is all the canon needed to make it perfect. (Well, I believe that said relationship is canon, but I still want them to come out and say it.) So, basically, this story is exactly like the show. I think I'm required by law (or at least by [ profile] fanofall, Procurator-General and Sports Night Pimp Mama) to note that if you like this story you should probably try a few episodes of the show, because if you don't, babies the world over will develop debilitating earaches. But, hey, don't feel pressured or anything.

Best FF That Made Me Secretly and Pathetically Proud of My Results on the Which Teen Titan Are You? Quiz. I Was Tim. I Am Cool. Albeit In a Truly Geeky and Pitiable Way. Management Strategies, by [ profile] weirdnessmagnet. Teen Titans, Tim Drake/Kon. (Can somebody remind me what Kon's last name is, please? I've got superhero-induced memory rot.) I hope it's a surprise to no one that Tim's not Robin anymore. If it is, um... Hey! Guess what? Tim's not Robin anymore! So, how will our anal-retentive, obsessive-compulsive, multiple-persona-loving Boy Wonder cope now that he's out of spandex and kevlar forever? (Or, you know, until DC figures out what to do with him.) Weirdness Magnet has the answer, which turns out to be, "not as well as you'd expect given how well he handled the massive strangeness of the Batfamily, although still better than 85% of superheroes would." Tim's learning to be a Real Boy, and he's finding it just about as easy and pain-free as Pinocchio did, provided you're judging by the XXX-rated movie Pin-POKE-me-o: Pinocchio's Adventures on the Island of Dominatrix Toys (probably not a real movie). But, hey, there's an upside: he may not be a superhero right now, but he can still have sex with them. On the couch. In his father's house. See? He really is learning how to be a real teenager!


* Apparently the flip-flops are not textually pink. But the author doesn't say what color they are, so I feel free to imagine that they are pink, and I intend to make full use of said freedom.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Kink is one of those mysterious things that is defined differently by each person. Person A may believe that spanking is the very essence of the perverse, while Person B believes that spanking is an essential component of any sexual act more involved than hugging. (Real problems can occur when Person A and Person B get into bed together.) That makes it tough to put together a set of kinky fan fiction, especially since my own personal definition of kink is - well, let's just say potentially quite different from other people's. So I've composed this set from stories defined as kinky by their authors, or by a third party - in other words, I filed it under "kink" if someone posted it or linked to it with a kink warning label.

Read on. Because, really, can't we all use more kink in our lives?

Best FF That Leaves Me Seriously Confused about Its Title: Vibe, by [ profile] shayheyred. Due South, Ray Kowalski/OMC, Ray Kowalski/Stella. Yes, I can hear the horrified gasps of the RayK/Fraser fans even now. Look, read it, OK? It's set way back in time, and it's all about the interesting effect Steve McQueen had on Ray. (Was Steve McQueen that popular back in the day, or is it just that Ray mentions McQueen at some point in the canon? Because I could actually do a whole noms set just on stories involving Ray Kowalski and Steve McQueen.) And it's light, and more or less cheery, and short, so even K/F 'shippers should be able to read this with ease. But if you can't, yes, there will be an alternate story at the end. I'm not sure of the title because of the way this was posted to [ profile] ds_flashfiction; it could also be called "Kink," or in fact "Ray Gets Down With Harley." Clarification would be appreciated.

Best FF That Almost Made Me Like Women's Shoes, Even Though I Hate All Shoes with a Great and Lasting Passion, and Actually Made Me Vaguely Wish My Best Beloved Would Give Me a Gift of Shoes, Even Though Normally I Would Take That As a Grave Insult: Not Kinky, Per Se, by Caroline Baker, aka [ profile] linabean. Sports Night, Danny Rydell/Casey McCall. So. Danny has an interest in women's shoes, which Caroline Baker claims is canon (and you know what? I believe her, because it fits right in with everything else that's canon), and Casey has a tie kink, which I bet makes his career choice both obvious and difficult. (Although at least he has the desk in front of him in case of major, um, lapses while on air.) Clearly these guys were meant to be together, and I don't want to hear any argument on that score - they even have complementary kinks. In this story, Casey is getting his apartment redone, and Danny has some interesting commentary on previous times Casey has stayed with him, and, well, it's the happy kind of SN fic. Do you need to know more?

Best FF Containing the Phrase "Fuck Pig," Which Phrase Is Actually Probably Banned by Several Proposed Laws Currently Undergoing Congressional Scrutiny: Throwback, by Valentin, and if she has a LJ, I would love to hear about it. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. It isn't as though I would want a law banning the phrase "fuck pig" to pass. I'd think there was something seriously wrong with the Senators and Representatives from my state if they supported such legislation. But there's also this: the one time someone used the phrase on me during sex (yes, really), I fell out of bed laughing. (Well, it was one of those narrow college dorm room beds; any abrupt movement led inevitably to the floor. And bruising.) So I view "fuck pig" as an essentially unsexy and humorous phrase. Somehow, thought, this story manages to transcend the use of both "fuck pig" and "piggy," which is impressive enough that it would deserve a nomination even if the rest of it sucked, which it does not. Be aware, though, that if you have serious problems with non-con, the first part of this could be unpleasant for you. (If it bothers you, scan to the end. I think you'll feel better.) You know what? I'm going to throw in an alternate story for this one, too, so people who don't want to read a vaguely non-connish story involving fuck pigs don't have to. (Though, really, I don't think you'll be sorry if you do.)

Best FF That Suggests a Fascinating Alternative to All Those Team-Building Management Seminars: Wally West and the Crack of Doom, by Sarah T., aka [ profile] harriet_spy. Justice League, I think, though the DCU would be much easier for dilettante fans if they didn't use the same characters over and over, just at different formative periods in their lives, in every damn series. Flash/Superman, Flash/Batman. (He needs only one more *man superhero to qualify for a set of steak knives! I suggest Spiderman, though other people may not agree.) The odd part is that Sarah says this is canon, and if that's true, I can only think that slashers have taken over the asylum. Which would actually explain a lot of the recent output of both DC and Marvel. (See, for example, The Proof of Rictor and Shatterstar's Love, especially this scan, although every scan is worth viewing. Thanks, [ profile] greenet!) The kink in question - yes, I'm back to talking about the story - is spanking. If you don't like spanking, you should read this anyway, because it's hysterical.

-Alternate Stories-

Best FF That Could Be Used As a Recruiting Tool for the U.S. Army. In Certain Populations.: Thought About the Army, by Kass, aka [ profile] kassrachel. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. I recommended "Throwback" instead of this one because they're both good, and I assume everyone's already read this one. (If you haven't, why haven't you? And you call yourself a slash fan. Read all of Kass's stuff immediately.) For some reason, TS writers seem to assume that the natural progression of Jim and Blair's relationship is: friends, UST, RST, eternal commitment, BDSM. (Not that I'm arguing - hey, I'm all for the BDSM, and it certainly does enliven long-term relationships, but why does everyone conclude that Jim will go from lusting after Blair to fucking Blair to handcuffing him to a light fixture?) Here we have a perfect example of true excellence in a long-term relationship. Jim has a sexual need. With prompting, he communicates it to Blair. Blair meets said need enthusiastically. And with silk neckties. (Well, I mean, what other use would Blair have for a necktie?) I'm not saying bondage is necessary for a long-term relationship, mind you. But it certainly adds to the fun. (NOTE: Apparently my brain was not functioning when I selected this alternate; it actually has more non-con in it than "Throwback." I'm picking a second alternate, which will be TS and certified non-con free. See below.)

Best FF That Could Be Used As a Recruiting Tool for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In Certain Populations.: Look, Officer, I Can Explain Everything..., by [ profile] cmshaw. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Some Confusion, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. This one is the alternate for all those folks who gag when they see a pairing that isn't RayK/Fraser. The first part of this story made me laugh so hard that I had to take a break before I could read the second and third parts. (I had a stitch in my side, and my dogs were regarding me with real worry.) Plus, it really changed my impression of marmalade, which I've always considered a cruel and unusual thing to do to citrus fruits, but I now view as something you'd want to have on hand in case a Mountie ever dropped by. To sum: this story has humor, a frightening look at Thatcher's sex life, an amusing look at Fraser's fantasy life, kink, and marmalade. Really, what are you waiting for?


Best FF That Clearly Delineates the Difference Between Fantasy and Reality, Thus Getting My Butt off the Hook. So to Speak.: A Night of It, by Anna S., aka [ profile] eliade. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. And this is the last TS story I'm recommending in this post, even if it suddenly spawns a non-con situation. This is another classic, another great story, another long-time fic, another bondage story, distinguished by the total lack of the slightest hint of non-consensual sex, except in fantasy, and I think it's pretty clear from the start that it is only fantasy. So we should all thank Anna S. for coming up with a story that I could recommend without feeling lingering guilt about consent issues, and we should all be very grateful that there's such a wealth of excellent BDSM stories in this fandom. I know I am. I also know I'm that I'm done with this post. Hell, I may be done with kink. Recs can sure be hard on the recommender's sex life.

So - to all a good night, totally free of kink, unless of course you're wanting kink, in which case, go you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I never cease to be astonished at what writers manage to do with a handful of words. Or, in some cases, a few handfuls.

Best Two FFs That Prove That Everybody Does Indeed Have a Story to Tell: Fault, by [ profile] alestar, and The Fisher King, by [ profile] c_elisa. X-Men movies, Bobby Drake (Iceman) gen (or, potentially, very mild implied slash in one case). I did not like Bobby Drake in the comic books, and it was pretty easy to transfer that emotion to the Bobby of the movies. I just let my expectations take over. I ended up seeing the Iceman I expected to see - the good-natured, characterless dork who smiles too much.

I can't tell you how glad I am that other people saw more. Specifically, the people who wrote these stories saw way more. These are both about Bobby in the wake of X2, about his way of failing to handle what happened in that movie. (It turns out, if you were actually paying attention to his storyline, that a lot of interesting stuff happened to the smiling dork in that movie. If, as I say, you were paying attention.) These stories make him a real person. I find it fascinating that they so clearly describe the same person - the writers use different methods, yes, and tell different stories, but they're showing you the same guy. Now that is what I call being in character, people.

Best FF That Proves That You Really Can't Go Home Again, Because Even If They Have to Take You in, They Don't Have to Wait for You: Stanley Raymond Vecchio, by Cara Chapel, whose homepage does not appear to be working at this time. Due South, Ray Vecchio/Stella Kowalski with tiny hints of Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. Yes, I am recommending a story about Ray Vecchio that is sympathetic in nature. No, I am not currently being remotely controlled by alien creatures. This is another story that completely changed the way I saw a character. In this case, it's Ray Vecchio. I've always been pleased with the way Vecchio ended up, which I pretty much summarized as "permanently out of the loop, but happy." It took Cara to show me that Ray Vecchio's ending is not necessarily happy; it's cosmic justice, pure and simple. And it isn't altogether pleasant to be the recipient of cosmic justice, folks. I don't necessarily like Vecchio any more now than I did before I read this story, but I sure do have more sympathy for him. And now I realize how significant it is that Vecchio went south.

Best Two FFs That Prove That the More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Mirror, by [ profile] kassrachel, and Drabble #51, by [ profile] minim_calibre. Batman (and assorted Robins), Dick Grayson (Nightwing) mild implied slash. You know, I always sort of thought the endless parade of Robins was irritating, even though I liked Robin III a lot. Once again, two great writers prove me wrong. See, the whole point of the Batverse, as far as I can tell, is angst. Plus angst. And some more angst. In my under-construction DCU Fandoms I Have Loved, I describe Batman as the King of Pain. And you know what? Everyone who gets involved with him is a citizen of the country of Pain. (I assume they hand out passes to newcomers: "Welcome to the DC Universe. Your first traumatic life event is on the house!") So, clearly, anything that brings additional pain and/or angst to the Batworld is entirely appropriate and necessary. The Robin succession certainly does that, which is what we see here. Dick's moved on, but he'll never be able to stop looking back. (Side note: is there something about Dick Grayson's voice that causes people to write really great closing lines?)


1 Authors, recommenders ask for no better gift from you than an actual title for every damn thing you write. Please, people, I'm begging you. Do you KNOW how many stories I've got in my database under "Untitled"?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I think we could all stand to remember the wisdom in the title more often. That said, it's obviously time to take another pass at masturbation stories. Or, no, wait, another whack. No. Another go?

I give up. This is hereby declared a double entendre-free zone for the duration of this nominations set. You will all just have to kick your own minds out of the gutters. To the extent possible with these stories on offer.

Best FF That Identifies Spike's Masturbation Fantasy Number 9, Leaving Me Wondering If There's Some Connection to the Love Potion of the Same Number. And Also, Of Course, What the Other Eight Are. Night Watch, by [ profile] debchan + [ profile] spike21 + [ profile] thete1 = Webrain, and I hope I haven't left anyone out. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander. (No, it is not my OTP in this fandom, I swear to god. I just...rec a lot of it, OK?) I admit this story is most of the reason why I'm revisiting the masturbation theme right now. I nominated another story called "Night Watch" in the last set, and it just seemed like a good idea to clear the decks of Night Watches, at least for the moment. Spike jerks off, Xander watches, and the inevitable happens. Pay special attention to the excellent disclaimer: "If they belonged to us, there would come a day when taffeta played a role in their lives." I can't say the same; I don't care for taffeta. But I'm willing to concede that I'm with the Webrain in principle. (NOTE: A Certain Person should not read this, because it contains a mention of blood that is brief but will nonetheless likely ick said Person right out.)

Best FF That Shows That, in Addition to Being Basically Twisted, Batman Has a Deeply Twisted Sense of Justice. And Humor. Wally West vs. the Chicken Salad of Doom, by David Hines, aka [ profile] hradzka. Justice League, I think, and it's not a pairing situation, more of an, um, one-man show kind of thing, involving Flash. So. This is a sex pollen story, and I think we can all agree there is no excuse for sex pollen stories. Except that they tend to be strangely good. And they make me laugh, in some cases so hard that they should have a special warning. (Along the lines of "Caution: do not read this story while precariously balanced or around improperly stored liquids. Wear protective clothing and check all nearby surfaces for corners and sharp edges before beginning. Not for people who have heart disease, high blood pressure, or a need to look dignified.") This is one such story. At least, it appealed to my sense of humor.

Why I am sorry I admitted that in a public forum? Or even to myself?

Best FF That Makes Me Hungry - and Not for Sex, Sadly, but Rather for a Foodstuff I Have Not Had Since I Was in the UK, and Which I Am Ashamed to Admit I Love, Because It Is So British. A Trifle, by [ profile] kassrachel. Harry Potter, Harry Potter/Ron Weasley, in a manner of speaking. Here, we have food leading to masturbation, which is not at all surprising, given that the characters are teenage boys. It's only surprising that they're so discriminating about their culinary triggers; in my experience, Funyuns (as one example) would work just as well with boys of this age, and they don't count as food, never mind erotic food. Once again, we have a strikingly simple proposition: boys. Food. Wanking. Does it work? You be the judge. And somebody for god's sake send me some trifle.

Best FF in Which Female Strippers Induce Homosexuality in Formerly Straight Men, and It All Makes a Mutant Kind of Sense. Shadow Boxing, by Sihaya Black (this is only her TS stuff; if anyone has a more complete site or a LJ link for her, I'd love to hear about it). The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. (I swear, that's not a pairing, it's more like a brand of slash or something. Jimblair, adjective: describing fiction that takes snippy "straight" guys who are clearly already together in the canon and nudges them over the NC-17 line.) This is a switching teams story that begins with a jimblair argument and ends with a jimblair marriage proposal. (Now that I think about it, that may actually also be a decent summary of the first season of The Sentinel.) In the interim, there's plenty of masturbation, as well as anthropological jargon and beer. Ah, TS, how we love thee!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Well, the first time he kissed him and a heck of a lot else. (Sorry, Elizabeth, but if others can slash copyrighted works, I can certainly subvert your sweet little sonnet, mmm?1) In other words, it's a first times set. And, yes, first time stories are perhaps 85% of all slash currently in existence. And, yes, many people now consider such stories cliched and undesirable. I do not care. I'm a slash traditionalist, and I like a good first time story. And that's what you'll find below.

Best FF That Features Incidental Proof That Sometimes True Love Means Shooting Your Loved One: Someone Who's Turning, by Jane St. Clair, aka [ profile] 3jane. X-Force, Rictor/Shatterstar, and I can't offer you bios because the site I usually use is down, dammit. There's just something so boylike about this first time, which starts with a hand job and ends with the first kiss. (All together now: awww. Or am I the only one who finds this sweet? Yeah, probably.) But what I really love about this story is that it's all about patterning - how we learn to love. And considering Shatterstar learned everything he knows about love from TV, and Rictor learned from sources that manage to be even less reliable, it's sort of impressive that they manage so well here. Hormones never lead you astray. Well, in slash, anyway. At least in certain fandoms.

Best FF That Uses Handguns (and Fear of Handguns) to Help Ease the Tension Inherent in Switching Teams: The Awakening, by Beth, aka [ profile] beth666ann. Homicide, Tim Bayliss/Chris Rawls. Yes, I have succumbed to the Homicide lure. But it's OK! It's a really small fandom! I'll be done with it before you know it! Just like, um, all the other tiny fandoms I've abandoned. (There aren't any, actually, but there could always be a first one.) This is the second story I read in this fandom, and it's the best I've read so far. You totally don't need to know the canon to read this - it's basically just the most protracted first time I've ever read in slash, and I don't in any way mean to impugn the quality of this story with that summary. This is good slashing, here. Plus, it's an excellent introduction, to the extent that I am any judge, to the strange creature that is Tim Bayliss. Read it! (I need company in my multi-fandom purgatory.)

Best FF in Which We Learn the Importance of Bat-style Utility Belts to the Course of True Lust: Night Watch, by [ profile] weirdnessmagnet. Teen Titans, Tim/Kon. Only Tim Drake would, upon awakening his lust object with exceedingly lustful behavior, immediately think of the knockout gas he has handy in a belt pouch. (Of course Tim keeps his utility belt fully stocked and armed while he's seducing someone! Suppose it turns out to be the Evil Kon-X from the Dimension of Deranged Sleepers? Tim would need his belt then!) Even in the DCverse, most people aren't twisted in such an anal retentive way. This first time is vintage Tim, from the creepy obsessive stalkery behavior to the careful analysis of Kon's genealogy and genetics even as he's seducing him. And that's what I love about the DCU: unabashed use of the DSM IV for character inspiration.

Best FF That Teaches Us That True Love Is All About Lies, Lies, Lies2: Believe You Me, by [ profile] cesperanza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. I've succumbed, people. Rather than resist the lure of Speranza's stories, I'm just going to try to work one into every damned set until I run out. That'll solve the Speranza Problem, all right, and maybe then I'll be able to move on to recommend authors that everyone on the planet hasn't read. Seriously, my mother has probably read this one already. (Um, actually, I really, really hope and believe she has not. Because ew ew ew.) So, here we have lies and sex, and I've always loved this story because it perfectly captures the pathos of being Benton Fraser. I don't know why I didn't mention this one in the Due South Fandoms I Have Loved, because this is really the story you need to read to know why dS fans tend to be happy ending junkies. (These guys deserve the happy endings, that's why.)


1 It is not my fault I do not love Elizabeth Barrett Browning as I should. I blame my ninth-grade English teacher, who I swear was in love with the woman. (God help me - it's a plot bunny for RPS time-travel femslash. I think that's ample proof we should all be incredibly grateful I don't actually write FF.)

2 No, I do not have to mention weapons in every category title in this set. Though if I did, I would certainly point out that this story features a whole passel of law enforcement officers, all American and therefore all armed, and yet it's the only one that doesn't mention any weapons at all. We call this the due South mystique.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The joys of coitus interruptus are many. Totally unrecommended as birth control, mind you - anyone who has ever had sex with a male between 14 and 19 years of age will be able to explain why, should you be curious - but it does make for some, shall we say, amusing fan fiction.

Best FF That Shows Us Why We Should Take Care to Check Our Environs for Individuals with Enhanced Senses of Smell Prior to Any Impromptu Semi-Public Sexual Activity: Chemistry and the Things We Shouldn't Do, by Zahra, aka [ profile] hackthis. X-Men movies, Bobby Drake (Iceman)/St. John Allerdyce (Pyro). This story spawned this whole nominations theme, because when I read it I realized that it doesn't get much worse, in the coitus interruptus sweepstakes, for said interruption to come from someone with claws and a sense of humor who will live forever. Seriously, Bobby and St. John (and that is his name, dammit, I don't care what the movies think) will be dead of extreme old age and Wolverine will be hanging out over their coffins telling this story to their great-grandkids. Who, I am sure, will find it a highly educational experience.

Best FF That Shows Us Why It Sucks to Be a Superhero, and I Don't Mean the Good Kind of Suck, Either: Interruptus, by [ profile] silentfire. Justice League (I think), Clark/Lex. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I actually have my own personal set o' superheroes. Except they aren't so much superheroes as people beset by superpowers; I've always been more interested in the down sides of superheroism - the Rogues rather than the Wolverines, to put it another way. But this is one down side that even I totally failed to appreciate. I mean, we've all had unfortunate interruptions at some point in our lives. (My life, in fact, can be charted out in stages by the kind of interruption most likely to happen, starting with the parental phone call when I'm already late home, continuing through the drunken sobbing roommate, moving on to the professional emergency, and finishing, at least for now, with an uninvolved party throwing up.) But how many of us have ever had to choose between having sex and saving the world? Not me. (Good thing, really, because there were times in my younger and more hedonistic days when I might've made the wrong choice.) And, I hope, not you. So let us all take a moment to be grateful for those fictional individuals who make continued life on this planet possible, even though they have to wear dorky Spandex costumes and drop everything the minute disaster strikes.

Best FF Featuring the Phrase "Attack on Crack" That Doesn't Succumb to the Temptation to Make the Obvious Pun: Life Lived Like a Mentos Commercial, by Mallory Klohn, and does anyone have a current link for her? The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg/OMC, Blair Sandburg/Jim Ellison. I think we can all agree that being found in flagrante delicto by Wolverine is about as bad as it can get, but Jim Ellison has got to be in the top thousand Worst Interrupters, anyway. And I think we can also agree that if you're having sex with someone who is wearing a Safety Dog costume, being caught by anyone is a bad idea. Unless, I suppose, you're an out-and-proud furry, in which case, go you! I, myself, would be forced to enter the Humiliated Persons Protection Program, seeking a new life under the name "Wanka Slasherson" in Abilene, Texas. (Side note: I'd be grateful if someone could explain to me why this is life lived like a Mentos commercial. Isn't this story based on the movie Groundhog Day? What do lame little candies have to do with this story? Or, for that matter, anything?)

Best FF Featuring a Phrase That Will Haunt Me Forever and Likely Prevent Me from Realizing My Full Potential: Five Things That Never Happened to Ray and Ray, by [ profile] cesperanza. Due South, Ray Vecchio/Ray Kowalski. This, my friends, is classic naive Fraser; I am particularly fond of versions three and four, which somehow distill naivete to its very essence. The phrase referenced in the title is, for the record, "What are you, the asshole police?" It will live in my mind forever, rising to the surface during job interviews, eulogies, and conversations with my grandmother. (This is one of the many reasons you will never see me on live television; my brain is full of things like this, and in moments of stress, they are all I can think of to say. It's a disease or something.) And, yes, I am fully aware that there is a small but, shall we say, extremely vocal contingent that refuses to read Ray/Ray stories; for their benefit, I am once again including a Certified Safe Alternate due South story.


Best FF Featuring Several Excellent Potential Topics for Dissertations and Theses: The Bodyguard, by [ profile] cesperanza. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. I am particularly proud of this alternate, which not only fits the theme - in fact, there are two interruptions here! - but is also by the same author. Let it never be said I don't respect the strange quirks of my blog readers. Well, OK, really just the readers who know where I sleep. But still, I think it's very sensitive and thoughtful of me. This story has the disadvantage of having been recommended nearly everywhere. (Perhaps I should do a Slashy set consisting of authors whose every word you should read, including their high school papers on Romeo and Juliet and grocery lists written while stoned. It would save us all a lot of trouble.) But it has many advantages, including humor, hockey, fascinating alternative theological theories, and Fraser contemplating inflicting gross bodily harm on a helpless woman. (Well, relatively helpless, anyway. Or, actually not helpless at all. But still totally female.) And that's all just in the first page. Later on, there's jokes in several languages, and sex, and some surprisingly serious social commentary and - look, just read it.
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 [ 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 [ 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)
Although there are times when we have to repeat that and repeat that and repeat that. Because it's a cold comfort to know, for example, that if Rowling had kept Sirius alive, she'd have kept on destroying him until we wished he was dead. So, today's theme: death in canon, and how FF authors react to it. Does this have any relationship to my recent exploration of the Buffyverse? What do you think?

Best FF That Leaves Me Liking Not One, but Two Characters I Never Much Liked in the Canon: Jason and Me, by David Hines, [ profile] hradzka. Batman and Robin (or somewhere roughly similar), gen. Jason was Robin II. Jason died. Pretty horribly, in fact - just basically the Death You Would Not Wish on Anyone. So, how do subsequent Robins cope with that? Well, I suspect Tim coped by:
  1. Researching every circumstance and foible that led to Jason's death
  2. Ensuring that he was in no way vulnerable on any of those fronts
  3. Stealing a special Reanimation Tech from a secret government agency and keeping it on him at all times
  4. Reassuring himself that it could never, ever happen to him, because he'd Taken Steps to prevent it
  5. Updating his will and testament, just in case.
But that's Tim. (As I see him, at any rate.) How is Robin IV going to handle it? Well, David's got that covered.

Best Songfic That Is Touching and Right and Better at Addressing Certain Issues Than the Canon Will Ever Be. Yes, Songfic. God Help Us All.: Ghost, Descending, by [ profile] wrack. Harry Potter, Sirius Black/Remus Lupin. And the prize for least necessary death-in-canon goes to: J.K. Rowling, for killing Sirius Black! Do I need to explain why? I mean, yes, I get that she didn't know what to do with him - the whole of Order of the Phoenix was pretty persuasive on that score. And, yes, I get that there had to be a sacrifice to get the death 'n' misery of the last two books started right, and some random red shirt student introduced in the same book he's killed in wasn't good enough no matter how nice he was. But, really - I'd ream a FF author who killed a major character so pointlessly and then so completely failed to resolve said death by the end of her story, even if the story was To Be Continued. I cannot fail to ream JKR even more. After all, I don't pay for FF, and I don't have to believe it. So, this FF is yet another in the long series of stories proving that FF authors are dealing with JKR's mess better than she could. And this is an extra-good one, at that - this author captures how it feels to keep reaching for someone who just. Isn't. There.

Best FF That Proves the Inherent Unkindness of Anti-Undead Precautions: Little Blue Bottles, by Kate Bolin, [ profile] katemonkey*. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, gen. So. Kendra died. I hope this isn't a surprise to anyone. I didn't watch the episode where she bit it. The Best Beloved's summary, which featured the phrase "Mr. Pointy" rather too prominently, was more than enough to make me sad. (And this despite the fact that I haven't watched a single second of Kendra actually alive in the canon, either.) I was not made for the Jossverse, people - I don't like it when characters die in canon. (See also Sirius Black, above.) Especially ones that never really had much of a life at all (See also Robin II, above) and that apparently aren't having much of a death, either. (In the world o' Buffy, death doesn't stop a person from having fun - see also Spike, various. But Kendra just never gets any, does she?)

Best FF That Is So Full of Nifty Parallels It's Physically Painful Not to Catalog Them All: Promise, by Shirasade, [ profile] shirasade_fic. Lord of the Rings, and this has a Tolkien-esque feel but appears to be based on the movies. So we'll call it LotR Blend and leave it at that. Legolas/Aragorn. Let's talk about a death that doesn't make me sad or bitter or resentful. Aragorn is meant to die. His death is right, and it comes at the right time, and he's lived well - and if there was ever a good way to die, lying down after a fantastic life and saying, "hey, now's my time" has to be it. And Aragorn is emblematic of an age, of an era - until he goes, Middle Earth can't move on. Which is why I love this story. Because this story shows us a person who can't move on until Aragorn dies. Somehow, for me, this nicely balances the person who can never move on at all. And I'm starting to scare myself with the lit-crit words that I keep having to delete as I write this, so, in the words of Auron: this ends now.

Best FF That Proves the Title of This Nominations Set Is Right: Empire of Dirt, by Gemma Files**. Once Upon a Time in Mexico, El Mariachi/Agent Sands. And, finally, an extra story. Because when your whole canon is about death and saturated in death, really, does it matter who lives and who dies? Well, yes, a bit. Apparently. I include this here because I think it's fairly conclusive proof that Plato knew whereof he spoke: death is, indeed, not the worst that can happen to men. I would submit that El and Sands would probably both, at least in this story, sort of rather be dead. (And, yes, there's a character death-in-canon mentioned in here. Actually, there's a bunch. If there's one thing this canon isn't short on, it's deaths.)

* Thanks for the confirmation, [ profile] minervacat!
** Thanks for the link, [ profile] ardent_muses!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I've been wallowing in pathos recently as the result of an ill-advised attempt to watch certain classic movies. Do not trust film classics, people: they will betray you and leave you in dire need of SSRIs. And chocolate.

Fortunately, FF can be trusted. Well, some of it, anyway. The funny stuff, basically. And now I'm passing the humor on to you lot, 'cause let's face it, the last entry was almost as depressing as, say, the first fifteen minutes of Rocky.

Best FF That Will Make You Feel Substantially Better About the Next Professional Convention You Attend: At the Fifteenth Annual Evil Masterminds Convention, by [ profile] basingstoke. Smallville x Austin Powers, Lex Luthor/Scott Evil. There's just something so wonderful about this whole concept, not to mention hysterical and right; clearly, Scott Evil and Lex Luthor belong together. And there's evil condoms! And explanations of evil parenting techniques! And talk of Robo-Cow! If you've been neglecting your TV or movie watching, fear not - this story works just as well if you're completely clueless about both canons. Oh, and you'll definitely want to read this if you're considering evil as a future career path. I had been, but hearing that evil doesn't sleep in pretty much killed that.

Best FF That Shows Us Precisely What the DC Universe Really Needs: Competent Psychiatrists: The Death Trap of Dr. Nefario, by Benjamin Rosenbaum. DC Universe, gen. This story explores what it'd be like if Dick Grayson had a psychiatrist - and I think we can all agree that by god he needs a psychiatrist. I also think we can all agree that these are precisely the issues he'd be exploring in therapy. I have a documented bias toward therapeutic humor, yes, but how can you not love (and laugh at) a story in which Nightwing simultaneously explores his Bruce Wayne issues and releases himself from a death trap? And, really, this is one of the most accurate portrayals of a therapist I've read in FF.

Best FF That Proves the Basic Usefulness of Whining by Its Very Presence in This LJ: The Missing Jecht Sphere, by Talya Firedancer, [ profile] fyredancer. Final Fantasy X, Auron/Jecht/Braska. In an earlier entry, I whined pathetically about the absence of A/J/B in my life. The result was not one but two excellent links to stories involving precisely that. Evidently, my parents were wrong: whining does get results. This particular result is funny, though again I think it'd only be funny to those people who already know what a Jecht Sphere is. If you are of that number, read this story at once. And expect more whining in this venue in the future, thanks to [ profile] makesmewannadie, who rec'd this story, and [ profile] laylah_r, who rec'd the other one.

Best FF Featuring Authentic Colonial-Period Australian Prints: Port Jackson, by Skud, [ profile] q_skud_. Master & Commander books, gen. Again, we've got a humor piece you'll need to know the canon to find amusing; in this case, you'll need to have read the first few M&C books. But even if you haven't read any of them, go read this FF; it's the only one I've ever seen told entirely in LJ icons. It's one of the more interesting versions of picfic I've seen, and it's especially appealing to me, the original Icon Loser. (I have icons only through the generosity of others; any icon made by me would incite pity and mockery in equal portions, and, hey, I've already got enough of those.)


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