thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The One in Which We Learn That You Can't Give the Dead Too Much Artistic License. Especially If the Dead Person's Name Is Bob Fraser. Pornography, by [personal profile] china_shop. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

Benton Fraser has porn. I just want to repeat that, because I think it's a brilliant concept that deserves far more attention than it is currently getting: Benton Fraser has porn. Yes, this story is just as good as it sounds like it must be.

But there is a down side to it, and it is this: after reading it, I could not stop imagining the porn collections of other fannish favorites. Rodney McKay likely has roughly a terabyte of porn, but really only uses three short clips and one still photo. He's just completist. Jim Kirk (Reboot) also has the terabyte of porn, but he's actually working his way through it - he jerks off to something new every time. It's all hot if you look at it the right way, you know? Batman's porn does not bear contemplation and is certainly not something I would ever want to see, so I am pleased and comforted to know that it is hidden somewhere no one will ever find it, and also it is designed to self-destruct if anyone besides Batman touches it. Clark Kent likes the underwear catalogs. He's never been able to bring himself to get turned on by anything more explicit; he's always afraid his mother will walk in. (Lex Luthor's porn, it goes without saying, is his extensive Clark Kent memorabilia collection.) Methos's porn is called his memory. Jack Harkness's porn is called everything in the world, because everything is hot. How can you put a plug in an outlet and not get turned on? And laundry! All those dirty clothes, shirts and pants and trousers all touching, writhing together: clearly the hottest thing ever.

Anyway. Obviously, if Fraser has porn, Kowalski has an interest. (And Thatcher has an issue. Turnbull has an issue, too, but it's with a faulty oven; I'm not entirely sure I want to contemplate Turnbull and porn. It's either going to be men dressed up like the Queen or - you know what, seriously, let's not go there.)

The One in Which We Learn That All Vulcans, Male and Female, Can Breastfeed, Which Is an Innovation I Support So Completely I Am Prepared to Do Illegal Genetic Experimentation to Make It Happen. A Beginner's Guide to Vulcan Sexual Practice, by [personal profile] thingswithwings. Star Trek Reboot, Jim Kirk/Spock.

There's a whole history of how this story came to be, but I'm not going to go into it here, because you don't really need to know it. You just need to know that this story is one of the more awesome explorations of kink I have ever read. The message I take away from it is: there's nothing either kinky or vanilla, but thinking makes it so. And when Jim Kirk (Reboot) is doing the thinking, you know it's going to come out (hee!) kinky, even if he has to oppose millennia of Vulcan culture to do it.

And can I just say that I love the idea of writing endless commentaries on commentaries on a list of Things Good Vulcans Don't Do? That's the concept here, and it made me want to take it to the logical conclusion, and imagine the lecture, um, circles (pits?) on Vulcan, with horrified thirteen-year-olds who are already traumatized from learning about Pon Farr being forced to present papers on and debate about things like the No Breathplay rule.

That's actually probably where the rumor that Vulcans only do it once every seven years comes from. It has nothing to do with Pon Farr, it's just, it takes the first fifty years or so of their mature lives to get over the trauma of having had to learn all the sex rules. (Because I've been watching TOS, and it's obvious to me that Spock has sex more often than One Upon a Pon Farr. He's married to Kirk! Kirk likes the sex! QED! And, no, I won't listen to counterarguments: the crazy shippiness knows no logic.)

The One in Which Morgana Punches Arthur. I Suggest Re-Reading That Part a Lot. It Never Fails to Cheer Me Up. Reciprocation, by [personal profile] astolat. Merlin, Arthur Pendragon/Merlin. (Okay, it just occurred to me - I can think of three major pairings involving a character with a single name: Kirk/Spock, Duncan/Methos, Arthur/Merlin. What's the fourth? It'd make a great recs set.)

I can tell you what I love about this story in one sentence: Arthur Pendragon is totally clueless. I mean, how could he not be? He is exactly the kind of guy who goes through life assuming that he is Just That Awesome, and yet he's decent enough to be horrified when he realizes there is a small (very small, of course, because he's Arthur Pendragon, who is, by definition, awesome) possibility he is not awesome enough.

(This is a rare intersection - stunned by own awesome x still a reasonably decent human being - and I'm not sure I can think of another character in fandom who lives there. Hell, I can only think of one person I've known in real life who does, although, sadly, I can think of many, many people who lived on just the first street. In my teen years, I slept with basically all of them, so it makes me especially happy to see one getting, you know, schooled, even in fiction.)

And Merlin - he is a reasonably decent human being who gets laid a lot, which is as he should be.

The funny thing, of course, is that Merlin could totally be Arthur times a million, because instead of princeliness, he has magic, and in other fandoms, he'd be all strutting around magicking people into worshipping his cock or whatever. (Deny it. He'd be like Jack Harkness with a magic wand - or, as I am sure Captain Harkness would insist I put it, Jack Harkness with a second magic wand.) ...And now I kind of want to read that AU, BUT. Let me soldier on with this rec.

This story is awesome, and it features these characters pretty much exactly as they are in my head, and also Merlin educating Arthur will never be less than totally appealing. Read now.

The One in Which We Learn That Draco Malfoy Is a Far Better Housekeeper than I Am. I Know. I May Not Recover from the Shame. Theft of Assets, Destruction of Property, by [personal profile] helenish. Harry Potter, Neville Longbottom/Draco Malfoy.

You know all those charts that show the various phases of the menstrual cycle with, like, drawings of the corpus luteum and stuff? That are so traumatizing when you're twelve? They should be labeled like this:
  • Ow, My Side Hurts (part of one day)1
  • Extremely Productive (eight days)
  • Days of Angst and Irritation (three days)
  • ALL THE CHOCOLATE IN THE WORLD (roughly four days)
  • For God's Sake, Let's Not Do That Again (one week)
  • Voluntary Total Amnesia about All This Crap (one week)
  • Ow, My Side Hurts (part of one day)
And so on. If they'd only posted that chart in health class, I guarantee you I would have written it in my notes, rather than the song lyrics I chose to immortalize. (I bet they were something about standing in the rain. Because of pain. I was predictable that way.)

Anyway. I try hard to save [personal profile] helenish's stories for my Days of Angst and Irritation, because they so perfectly match what I crave at that point. Things start off badly! There is miscommunication! Hurtful things are said! And then everything gets cleared up and there is True Love Forever! And all of this is wrapped in a layer of awesome so thick you want to eat it with a spoon.

But this story - this story is even better than that, because it features Draco forced to marry Neville for deflowering him, which is one of those concepts that shouldn't work at all (or be a total farce), but here it so, so works, and somehow it is just the crunchy awesome center of the awesome candy. Seriously. Read this. Especially if you're in the Days of Angst and Irritation. (I am not admitting anything in a manner admissible in a court of law here, I am just saying: I read this at exactly the right time, and there might have been tears. Possibly of joy, possibly of profound feeling. Who can say? But if there were tears, they were entirely justified, is my point.)

-Footnote-

1 Yes, I know that traditionally the first day of the cycle is the first day of your period. Of course I know that; how do you think I got the earthling? But I have considered Ow, My Side Hurts to be the start of it all since the day in my high school drama class when Mari announced she was ovulating, and all the guys reacted like she was giving birth to a tiger, and I learned that my mother had not lied: menstruation really was powerful and magical. Just, she failed to mention the magical power in question was to make boys writhe in horror.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Dear People Out There,

I am hoping you can help me with something.

See, our beloved Philips plays-anything DVD player experienced serious trauma in the move. (Well, we all did.) Now it just sits there with its power light blinking red, and nothing we can do will make it open or play. We've given it time to heal, largely because I hate hate hate replacing things, but it hasn't gotten better, so - what is the current fannish DVD player? The one that plays the most formats, and so on? What do you folks have and love? (That can currently be purchased, I mean.)

Now, onto the recs. Once again, it's long stories. (Parenthood and breastfeeding have really changed the way I'm reading; since I only managed to read fan fiction on the Kindle, and I tend to Kindle mostly longer things, that's what I end up reading. Someday, presumably, there will be more variety here, but you'll have to take that up with the earthling.)

The One with Extra Vulcan Goodness. So Wise We Grow, by [livejournal.com profile] captanddeastar. Star Trek Reboot, Jim T. Kirk/Spock.

Okay, I will admit it. I am unabashed lover of epic kidfic. But my standards for kidfic went way, way up during pregnancy. (True fact: at one point, in around my eighth month, I snarled at the screen, "That is NOT how it happens, and that is NOT medically accurate, and also -" and then I realized I was criticizing the medical realism of MPREG. People who tell you pregnancy makes you crazy probably aren't thinking of this moment, but they should be.) And then they skyrocketed again after I was living my own version of kidfic, complete with earthling. So I now approach kidfic with joy and trepidation, because either it's going to make me happy all day long or it's going to make me write yet another lengthy mental post entitled Pregnancy and Childrearing: Actual Facts, Because You Seem Not to Have Any Even Though the Internet Is Totally Full of Them.

This one fell squarely into the "happy all day long" category. And in a rather unusual way, too. See, okay - most kidfic starts from one of two places: either a new baby, via MPreg or alien/divine/future/magical intervention, or a (gasp!) woman, whatever, or a kid still firmly in what I think of as the Era of Cuteness. This story starts out with a kid in the Era of Snottiness, and I just love that. (Partly this is because I have a nephew who has just embarked on the Era of Snottiness, and I have so much enjoyed seeing him discover sarcasm and obstructive literalism and eye-rolling and various gestures behind my sister's back. I imagine I will love this age much less when the earthling gets there, but for right now, it's comedy gold.)

And I also love (we're back to the story again) Jim and Spock, getting it backwards as usual. (First comes baby, then comes marriage, then comes love: I am pretty sure that is not how it usually goes, guys! But then, being captain of the whole fucking ship doesn't usually come at the start of one's career, either, so I am guessing they're used to inverting these things. They'd probably be all shocked if they actually did something like other people for once.) And I love how they fuck up, and also get things right, and how they get it all figured out in the end.

Most of all, I just really, really love seeing Jim Kirk dealing with TWO snotty Vulcans. I cannot think of anything better than that.

The One Where Ray Totally Calls Fraser on His Bullshit. More People Need to Do That! A Moment of Insight, by [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

Did I really not recommend this before? That hardly seems possible, and yet LJ Archive insists that it is so. In which case, I really have to wonder what the hell was wrong with me. Because this story is so very marvelous, and I re-read it regularly, and yet somehow I failed to mention that fact to you. Maybe I assumed you all knew about it, but if so, I am sure I assumed wrong. (If I've learned one thing on the internet - besides "never click without first seeing where the link goes, especially if the link text is something like HA HA HA" - it's that there is always someone who hasn't seen it, someone staring at the screen thinking, but what's a LOLcat? Often that person is me. Although I do know what LOLcats are, thank god.)

I can't take the risk that there is someone out there who is looking for a good, long story, or a good dS story, or just a story involving hotel rooms in middle America (and if you think there isn't someone looking for that last one, watch a few storyfinders communities - there is always someone looking for a story involving, like, eye infections, or learning to stand on your head, or French-Canadian pastries, things like that.)

So. What we have here is:
  1. Ray and Fraser. (A good way to start! Years of happiness started that way for me.)
  2. Trapped in a hotel room. (I think we can all agree that this is a fundamentally excellent plot development in virtually all fandoms, and before you argue, consider: Buffy and Ethan Rayne, trapped in a hotel room! Hercules and Iolaus, trapped in a hotel room! Reboot Kirk and Methos, trapped in a hotel room!)
  3. Engaged in sex and case-solving, and, really, what could be better? (Fan fiction has changed my definition of "awesome procedural crime story" to the point where I always find myself vaguely disappointed in published if the heroes just catch the bad guys, and don't actually fuck or flirt or have a moment of relationship-defining staring or whatever. This is funny because I love gen fan fiction and almost never have that problem there, but then, fan fiction writers actually know when they're writing slash, most of the time; pro writers often don't.)
Basically, this story is everything I love about dS.

The One Where We Learn About the Persistence of Pizza. In the Memory, I Mean. Forget Me Not, by [livejournal.com profile] maisierita. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

I love amnesia. I just - I really do. (When it happens to fictional people, I mean.) Someone on my friends list was talking about her incredible folly of starting a story with everyone with amnesia and lost in the dark, and I was like: that is an awesome idea. I would love to read that! What's wrong with starting out with everyone amnesiac and lost in the dark?

(Answer: hard to write. Apparently. Whatever.)

I'm not sure what I love more about amnesia - that you get to see everyone without their internal history (who I am, where I hurt, what I've learned) or that you get to see folks interacting without their interpersonal history (who you are, what we fight about, why I like you). Fortunately, in this story, I don't have to choose. Because, okay, Rodney and John may not be lost in the dark, but they definitely both have amnesia. And they're in an unfamiliar world. And not only do they stay that way a good long time, but John gets extra amnesia, which is, obviously, extra awesome. (Also just like him - always taking the largest share of the pie, as long as the pie is made of pain, suffering, time on his knees, or emotional maladjustment!)

I love watching them renegotiate their relationships when they're missing most of the pieces of the puzzle, and figure out what the hell is going on, and deal with the circumstances of their capture. And, equally, I love watching them manage the little stuff - like, they have to reinvent pizza and ice cream and coffee. I think we can all agree that would be a major priority for anyone stuck on an unfamiliar world. (I'm only surprised they didn't reinvent Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Seems like every American who goes to a distant land sends back pathetic pleas for suitcases full of Kraft. Even when they did not eat it at all in the US.)

Basically, this story takes two classic fan fiction tropes (Imprisonment! Amnesia!) and does them up right, in an intensely satisfying story that I re-read at least four times a year.

(Note for readers who happen to be [livejournal.com profile] best_beloved: Yes, [livejournal.com profile] maisierita also wrote that one really sad story. This one is not sad. Authors are allowed to have many facets. READ THIS. You will like it, I swear.)

The One That Will Cause Anyone Who Routinely Drives in Los Angeles to Spend a Lot of Time Imagining the Commute and Sigalerts on This Day. Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round, by Annie D., aka [personal profile] scaramouche. Die Hard 4 x Speed, John McClane/Matt Farrell.

No, I am not recommending this one just because I spend a suspiciously large part of my life singing this song. That is just a bonus. (Although I am kind of sad that there won't be a sequel, because that so obviously would be titled Row Row Row Your Boat.)

Here's the thing: I have never seen Die Hard 4, although I am fairly sure I can fill in many of the blanks. (John McClane is manly and kicks some bad guy ass, for example.) And I actually have seen Speed, but I realized, while reading this story, that I don't really remember it. What I remember is, like, the movie trailer version of it. I remember the central plot device - the bus thing, of course - and a few snippets of dialog and some of the characters. (I think my brain has even set this memory to stirring instrumental music, and prefaced it with a ratings screen.) And I very clearly remember thinking at one point, wow, this movie really needed to end about 20 minutes ago. But I don't actually remember, like, who the bad guy was, or, um, the plot - things like that.

I do not regret this at all, because I am just going to pretend, for the rest of my life, that both Speed and Die Hard 4 went exactly like this story. It has everything I want from an action movie - ass-kicking! Wise-cracking! Manliness! Injuries! Inexplicably well-equipped bad guys who, in reality, would just make several billion dollars looting hedge funds and then buy a tropical island, which would in any case be easier than their nefarious plans! Kissing!

But this story is better than most action movies I can remember, and certainly better than all the ones I can't.

Also, the kissing is between the two main dudes, and I don't think I'm going to be seeing that in a big-budget action movie any time soon. Thank you, Annie D, for giving me everything I want in an action movie. Without even requiring me to hire a babysitter.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
For the very last Sweet Charity, I put my recommending up on the block, and got won by the deeply awesome [personal profile] dorothy1901. Her first request, sadly, I could not fulfill, for I just don't know enough about Iron Man/Captain America. (I do know, though, that every single person ever anywhere at all should go read this, by [livejournal.com profile] jwaneeta, which is AWESOME and INCREDIBLE and looks exactly like a comic book - I actually had to check several times to make sure this wasn’t a scan from Slash World. Incidentally, if this set depresses you, that will be an excellent antidote.)

But she very kindly offered me a choice. And I chose Unhappy Endings, which is the kind of thing I keep meaning to recommend - there are so many brilliant sad-ending stories that I truly want to tell you all about, but when it comes down to it, I don’t. Mostly because I’d have to re-read them, and then there would be pain and suffering. Which is totally the point, and yet - I read fan fiction pretty much only on my Kindle these days, while I’m nursing the earthling, and he does not like it when I cry while he’s eating. (Seriously. He pulls off and gives me this look. “Mama,” the look says. “Do you MIND? I am kind of busy, here, and you’re getting me WET.”)

So thank you, [personal profile] dorothy1901, both for giving to charity and for giving me a good reason to do this.

(People, I am assuming I don’t need to tell you this, but just in case: these stories are NOT HAPPY. There is death involved in some of them, and lots of the kind of thing that leaves your heart all sore. If you read any of these stories, I advise you to have some safety-tab stories at the ready.)

The One That Guaranteed I Could Never Read Anything About Arctic Survival Without Sniffling a Lot. The End of the Road, by [livejournal.com profile] katallison. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

Once upon a time, a young and innocent fangirl was getting into dS. She loved the fandom so much that she was not as wary as she could have been. Should have been. Would one day be. So she saw the warnings on this story and thought, hey, I can totally deal with less than cheery! Particularly in exchange for something so well-written, so good!

And so she read The End of the Road. And it destroyed her.

Now, here's the thing: I could say, "And that fangirl was me." She totally was me. But I'm not the only one who loved Kat's work, thought she'd take any of it that she could get, and then realized, way too late to save herself, that there was only so much reality she could take. This story taught a lot of dS fans of my generation two things:
  1. For god's sake, know your limits. And live them.
  2. Kat Allison can turn a phrase that will carve your soul from your body. Admire her! But fear her.
And I have both admired and feared Kat ever since. (I've also learned that, while The End of the Road is perhaps the ultimate example of her essential Kat-ness, she's written this theme and concept in a number of fandoms. I handle every one of those stories better than I handled this one, because Fraser. And Ray. IN MY HEART THEY ARE HAPPY TOGETHER FOREVER. No, really. Even after they die, they are still together. Probably haunting some poor young relative who cringes every time he opens a closet because he knows there's a fifty-fifty chance he'll walk in on his crazy dead great-uncles fucking on a desk.)

This story is brilliant. And it's heart-breaking, and that's largely because it's so believable, so real. Kat never writes angst. She only writes pain. And this story has brought glorious, glorious pain to many a dS fan. If you love unhappy endings, you'll love it. It doesn’t matter if you read in this fandom. This one's for you.

The One That Would Have Enhanced My Phobia of Telepathy, Except Such a Thing Is Not Actually Possible. Down with Telepathy! Flinch, by [livejournal.com profile] maisierita. Stargate: Atlantis. John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. Sort of.

One of my favorite kinds of stories is the kind where the person takes a fan fiction cliché and subverts it, makes it new and awesome. Or, in this case, new and real. This story packs a surprising wallop for something so short, and I think it's because of how well it builds on what I might call, in a different setting, the existing body of literature. And then undercuts it.

Because that's the thing: we know how this story goes! There is embarrassment and worry followed by confessions of true love (unless you just cut straight to the hot hot sex). Yay! Except - well, it doesn't go that way this time. You might say this story perfectly highlights the difference between fan fiction and real life, because this is how that would really go. This is how it would be if telepathy was real. (This is why I fear telepathy, people. No good can come of it, no matter how much joyous happy fucking and forever love comes from it in fan fiction. In the real world, knowing what people think can only destroy you.)

I remember reading this story two years ago, when it first came out, and being surprised and impressed and thinking [livejournal.com profile] maisierita would be one to watch, because she manages to pack a lot of pain into this, subtly and without force or angst or melodrama, and anyone who can do that can write. And I was right! She's fabulous. I just think it's kind of funny that, despite all the great stuff she's written that I've read, this story will always be what I associate with her name.

The One That Shows Us That There Are Some Things You Just Can't Share, No Matter How Much You Might Want To. (And Totally Improves by Approximately a Million Times on an Episode of SGA.) The Standard of Comparison, by [livejournal.com profile] agentotter. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson.

The thing is, SG1 has a lot of stories I could have picked for this set. I was totally spoiled for choice. (Partly this is because I can handle sadder stories in SG1 than I can in other fandoms. Partly this is just because the world ends an awful lot in this fandom, and any story in which the human race is extinct at the end is probably going to fit in an unhappy endings set. At least if you’re human, and I tend to assume, perhaps unfairly, that most people reading this LJ are.) I mean, I thought of this story right off the bat, as soon as I'd read [personal profile] dorothy1901's request, but I decided to do Important Research. So I re-read approximately 5 million SG1 stories, sniffling many times over each, and finally decided to go with my first instinct.

What can I say? It's another one that has stayed with me. And I love the way the unhappiness just unspools from the ending. It's not just that it ends unhappily, it's that things are definitely going to get worse. Jack and Daniel are stuck in a bad place, and the only solution to the problem is worse than the bad place. But they can't just choose to stay there, either.

Because I am that kind of person, I usually spend a few minutes writing a sort of mental fan fiction for any story I read that I really liked. (I've doing this since I was a kid. I wanted to know what happened to every single person in a book from the ending until forever. And then I wanted to know about their kids. It drove me nuts that the authors just left the characters there, when clearly there were unresolved questions! Like what they had for dinner the next day, and what happened when they grew up, and if they got a dog and what they named that dog. I think I was a fan fiction reader born, not made.)

But I can't do that with this one. It hurts too much. I'd rather leave Jack and Daniel in limbo forever than imagine what has to come next for Daniel. And for someone who was deeply, sincerely resentful of Charles Dickens for not going into sufficient detail, that's saying something.

The One That Teaches Us the True Meaning of Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. Inextricable, by [livejournal.com profile] lunabee34. Star Trek Reboot, Jim Kirk/S'chn T'gai Spock (Apparently that is his real full name - thanks, [personal profile] bluemeridian. And thus we see that even Spock could not escape the Alien Apostrophe Law. Apparently being half-human doesn't help. Also, does anyone but me wonder how he can have a name unpronounceable by humans if his mother was human?)

So. This whole story is basically one huge movie spoiler. I'm cutting here for anyone who hasn't seen the movie yet and wants to, even though I think I am the last such person in existence. (People on MARS have seen this movie by now.) I am also cutting, while I'm at it, for spoilers for the story.

Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
As I remind myself endlessly when really cool memes are going around: I don't do memes. Except it occurred to me, when the eight days of happiness meme was going around, that I could in fact do that one. Because fandom brings me happiness! I can talk about one aspect of fandom that makes me happy, and provide a rec or two as an example, and I would be doing a meme. I formulated this plan as soon as I saw the meme and waited patiently for someone to tag me.

And then I remembered that a) most of my friends know I don't do memes, so they weren't going to tag me and b) even if they did, there was a good chance I wouldn't see it, because what with replying to comments and parenting the increasingly mobile and active earthling, I've been sort of sporadic on the friends list reading lately. So I decided to tag myself. Novel concept, yes, but I was not about to let a meme I could do pass me by.

So here I go. Eight days of fannish things that bring me happiness, part one: fanart.

The One with the Doughnut. This Is Where We'll End It, by [livejournal.com profile] zoetrope. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

This is the work that got me looking at fanart. Because, okay. I had been traumatized by some fanart in the past. (Before I was in fandom, I was on a message board that spent some time making fun of fandom, and while I didn't get into that, it did mean horrific fanart was passed around very gleefully on that board. I had seen the kind of photomanips that make your eyeballs peel. Plus, three words: pregnant elf Blair.) I thought fanart was all the sort of thing that would keep you up at nights thinking of Legolas's horrible twisted neck pasted onto what was, quite clearly, the body of a weightlifter who had a lifetime membership in a tanning salon. (Once, I swear I saw Aragorn's head on Arnold Schwarzenegger's body. The very thought still wakes me up in a cold sweat some nights.)

And, also, I am not a graphics person. I am a word person. And so I just assumed that even if there was good fanart out there - well, there is also good beer out there. Doesn't mean I want to drink it. (I am sorry,
[personal profile] norah. I am hoping you will love me anyway.)

But then - this. Which is a comic book, which I totally get, except it's about Fraser and Ray instead of homoerotic guys in tights manifesting their daddy issues. (Which is not to say that this is not homoerotic. No. Nor is it intended to suggest I have issues with guys in tights. Far from. But who knew comic books could also feature Mounties and cops with experimental hair? Not me! ...And now, of course, I am wondering where all the superhero AUs are in dS. People, please point me to the large number of dS superhero AUs I have tragically missed.)

So here we have a story. And some wonderful art. And the reason I started clicking on links to fanart. All this time later, This Is Where We'll End It can still make me happy - not just because of the story, but because this is where some love began, you know?

Plus, it's pretty. I think that's a definite bonus when it comes to fanart.

(And also, of course, there is Diefenbaker's OTP. That is one of my favorite comic book panels of all TIME. There could be an actual, canon comic book panel with Batman blowing Superman in midair, and I'd be all, "...Well, that's pretty good. But the Dief panel is better!")

The One with the Best Fictional Dog in the Universe. Lirael and the Disreputable Dog, by [livejournal.com profile] pentapus. Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series.

And just as we started with the piece of art I fell in love with first, here's the piece of art I fell in love with most recently.

Unsurprisingly, both these works involve dogs. (I'm so much more likely to understand art if dogs are present. I really would have gotten more from Art Appreciation, also known as Art for Philistines and Science Majors, both of which I happened to be, if Van Gogh and Rubens and Picasso had included more dogs in their paintings. (And also if we hadn't had the really weird art professor teach two weeks, including one full class of a guy being crucified on a Volkswagen - seriously, folks, if you ever have to bring the art love to people who think real and brilliant art is the periodic table, don't bring up people nailing themselves to cars. Especially not at 9:30 in the morning, oh my god. I was eating breakfast and suddenly a crazy dude was bleeding on his sunroof.)

See, I have such love for the Disreputable Dog - she is quite honestly one of my favorite characters in all of literature. And this is HER. (Plus Lirael, who I also quite like. It's not her fault that she's overshadowed by the Most Awesome Creature of All Time.) I would kill - maybe only a plant, but still, death would be involved - for an icon of the Dog. Because she is the definition of love.

And all of you people who have no idea who I'm talking about - SHAME ON YOU for not having already read Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series. Strong female characters! Strong female dog characters! The Library of the Clayr, which is up there in the top five of my favorite fictional libraries! And zombies, for you sickos who like that kind of thing. Really. Read these books.

And then come back and look at this picture for a while. Your heart will swell with happiness.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
It's the new year! And I don't know about you, but at this time every year I find myself kind of - not overloaded on fan fiction, no. I could never be that. But dithering helplessly, picking up first this amazingly awesome SGA story and then that incredible Oz story and then, oh my god, thousands of stories, many in fandoms so small that they weren't technically fandoms until December 25th. I mean, right now I have more than two hundred tabs open in my LJ window. (And that does not include Yuletide stories.) Any more and my computer is going to find a way to shock me every time I off-click on something.

At times like this, I find myself looking lovingly at my fanart tag. Things that do not require hours of earthling-free time to appreciate! Things that are shiny and pretty and mostly textless when my brain is approaching critical mass of text!

And then, a few days ago, Best Beloved pointed out that perhaps I'm not the only one feeling this way. Perhaps we'd all like to have a balanced breakfast of pictures and words. I, of course, was stunned by this idea, because change always confuses me.

Me: A whole set of art? I'm pretty sure that's against the rules.
Best Beloved: ...You make the rules.
Me: But they're for everyone's sanity!
Best Beloved: I don't think being linked to four pieces of art is going to break anyone's brain.
Me: Well. I guess not anyone who wouldn't have broken anyway.
Best Beloved: So you'll do an art recs set?
Me, taking a deep, brave breath: Yes! I will! For I embrace new things!
Best Beloved, humoring me: Of course you do.
Best Beloved, under her breath: Just like a killer whale embraces a cactus.

The One That I Am Considering Printing out to Read to the Earthling. Surely Something This Wonderful Would Be a Good Influence on My Child. Don't Let Kowalski Interview the Perp!, by [livejournal.com profile] catwalksalone. Due South.

Those of you who have not spent a lot of quality time with a small child and the pigeon books might perhaps not appreciate the awesomeness of this. Except, no, I tell a lie: you SO will. (Although you should read the pigeon books anyway. How often do you get to shriek "NO!" at a children's book?)

This is one of those ideas that would never in a million years occur to me, but that cause me to stare at my computer screen, stunned stupid by the sheer glimmering brilliance and perfection, when someone else thinks them up. I mean, it's so right. Kowalski is maybe the only character in any of my fandoms who could stand in for the pigeon. (I mean, sure, Jack O'Neill plays Don't Let Daniel Die in Whatever Crazy-Ass Way He Wants to Today at least once a week, but Daniel just doesn't vibrate with feeling the way Kowalski and the pigeon do. And I'm pretty sure the bus driver and company got left behind in the Milky Way, because no one ever manages to keep Team Shep from doing stupid stuff. Actually, a lot of my fandoms could use a bus driver, come to think of it.) He and the pigeon would bond on many topics if they met - and, oh my god, I just imagined the companion book, wherein the pigeon investigates a crime. I may never be the same now. Also, my brain is filled with unfortunate crossovers. (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Mountie, Blue Chicago Cop. Dick and Jane Go to Pegasus. How Do Nazgul Say Goodnight? Okay, I'm stopping now.)

I tell you one thing, though: the due South version of The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog could only go in one of two ways. One of them would star Diefenbaker. The other would be much too NC-17 for me to read to the earthling.

...And now I kind of want both of them. This could get to be a problem.

Anyway. My point is: it does not get better than this. Go! Read! Admire Kowalski in Fraser drag and Vecchio almost but not quite failing at network standards! Most of all, don't let Kowalski interview the perp!

The One That Has Given Me the Sad but Clear Knowledge That Darth Vader Was Not Nearly As Scary As He Could Have Been. (Actually, I Already Knew That. Just Imagine a Clown Sith Lord. Bet You're Scared Now, Huh?) Steampunk Star Wars, by Eric Poulton. Star Wars.

I really don't see what else I need to say. Steampunk Star Wars: if you have any sense at all, you've already clicked.

I especially commend you to the deeply disturbing Lord Vader. For some reason, when I look at him, I remember that my pediatrician when I was extremely wee had a giant, near-life-size poster of Darth Vader on the door of one of his examining rooms. I found it vaguely weird then, since I knew nothing of Star Wars and thought that he just...you know, wanted a picture of a big black robot thing for reasons best known to himself. Better not to ask why, was my thinking. But now I wonder: what message was he trying to send to his young, vulnerable, and impressionable patients? You're a weird one, Dr. Smith!

Also do not miss the gorgeously amazing Deathstar, which makes it very clear why Lucas did not choose this style for the actual deathstar (aside from, you know, lacking the awesomeness so to do): if it had looked like this, no one could have blown it up. The climactic scene would go like this:

Han: You're all clear, kid. Now let's blow this thing and go home.
Luke, whining: ...But it's so pretty.
Han: But it's going to destroy the rebel base!
Luke, sounding vaguely hypnotized and yet still whining: ...Shiiiiiny.
Han, thoughtfully: It sure is.
Chewbacca: ARRRRAARRR.
Han: Chewie says anyone who can build something that gorgeous deserves to rule the universe with an iron fist. And I agree with him.
Luke: Me, too. Disengaging.

And then, you know, the deaths of millions, planets go boom, Vader and the Emperor hand in hand into a future of steel and knives, the whole deal. So it couldn't look like that. But, oh, it's so, so beautiful that I almost wish it had.

The One That Spawns a Million Story Ideas Every Time I Look at It. Possibly You All Should Be Really Grateful That I No Longer Have Time to Write Self-Indulgent Epics. Alters #6: Supernatural, by [livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur. Supernatural.

Sometimes, a picture is worth way more than a thousand words. This picture is a fucking epic. An epic I yearn to read, but in its absence, I will totally be happy to just stare at this picture for a week or two.

Because the thing is - there is one thing different in this picture, and it changes everything. Imagine these guys driving through small southern towns in their big black car with all manner of guns. Imagine these guys running credit card scams, and trying to talk their way into strangers' houses, and, you know, the other stuff that Dean and Sam do. (Sorry, we have reached the limit of my osmotic fannish knowledge.) It would be a whole different narrative, I'll tell you that for free.

You know what I love most about this picture? Okay. We have lots of stories about bodyswaps of all kinds: his brain, her body! Two brains with but a single body! The brain from an alternate universe! And then we have all the transformation stories: puppyfic! This is closer than I really wanted to get to my feminine (or masculine) side! Wait, I didn't used to have wings! - just all kinds. But I've never seen a bodyswap or transformation involving race. Maybe I haven't been looking in the right places, but this drawing makes me imagine, oh, Cordelia Chase (queen of white privilege!) in Charles Gunn's body (Gender, race, and body swap: the transformation trifecta! Also, she'd probably end up with Wesley macking on her - don't tell me Gunn and Wesley didn't get up to stuff - and then they'd all need years of therapy. More years of therapy, I mean.). It makes me want the universe where John Sheppard is a girl (John Sheppard is always a girl; science has proven this) and Rodney McKay is mixed race. (And maybe Teyla is a robot! Um, no, wait, that's my other fixation creeping in. Sorry, sorry. Bodyswap AUs should not cross with robot AUs. Unless someone is bodyswapping with a robot, in which case we know what happens: TFV dies of happiness.)

Or, of course, we could have the universe where Sam and Dean Winchester are brown. That'd be really damn awesome, don't you think?

The One That Proves, Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt, That Everything Is Cooler If You Add a Dirigible. Dirigibles Can Even Make Accordions Cool. Um. Maybe. Steampunk AU, by [livejournal.com profile] leyna55. Stargate: Atlantis.

You may consider, from this recs set, that I have a certain fondness for steampunk. And I do. But the thing is, I didn't pick this one. Picking just a single piece of art to rec in SGA is so hard that it's part of the reason I don't usually recommend art: I think, so much awesome to choose from in SGA, and then my head explodes and I die and it's very sad. To avoid that this time, I had Best Beloved pick from the short list (it...wasn't that short, actually). Even she had trouble, and keep in mind that it's part of her job to make difficult decisions quickly and then make sure everyone sincerely believes her decision is right, right, right.

It's just. All the choices were right in this case, including - and I consider this unfair - several works by [livejournal.com profile] leyna55. Way to make my life harder, [livejournal.com profile] leyna55! But, fine, whatever. I guess if you have to make great art, you just have to. I accept that.

Anyway. We (and by "we," I mean "Best Beloved") made a choice. And that choice is: steampunk AU.

And, seriously, just look at this! There's a whole story in this thing! (Of which [livejournal.com profile] rheanna27 has written a chapter, and I tell you what: I cry myself to sleep every night because there aren't more chapters still to read.) Look at Rodney's life signs detector, oh my god! Look at Teyla's stick! LOOK AT THE DIRIGIBLE! They have a DIRIGIBLE! Why is there not a canon that features a dirigible? With adventures? And suits and scarves and awesome hats? (And maybe a clockwork deathstar?) I would walk a country mile on my currently broken toe for that canon.

Instead, I will just admire this picture a lot more. And think deep thoughts, such as: I would pay cash money to see Teyla in that outfit for real. And clearly John has been missing his really neat silk scarf for five seasons now.

Steampunk Stargate. I mean, I kind of like the Vaguely Frank Lloyd Wright, Vaguely the Whim of the Producer's Nephew look they currently have going on, but this - well. Go! Look! Marvel!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
My Yuletide stories are in the hands of my betas. I am trembling with fear. Obviously, it's time for some nice long distracting fan fiction!

The One That Will Make You Want a Pair of Rust-Colored Trousers. Resist the Temptation. Please. Get Loved, Make More, Try to Stay Alive, by [livejournal.com profile] dsudis. Torchwood, Captain Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones.

Here's what I know about Torchwood: there's this guy named Jack, who was introduced on Doctor Who in the SCARIEST EPISODE I HAVE EVER SEEN OF ANYTHING. (From this, you may conclude that I am a wimp. You are entirely right.) He caught a nasty case of immortality a while back. Now he works for Torchwood, an agency that monitors alien presence on the planet Earth. (And where are the Torchwood x MiB crossovers? That's so obvious it has to be, like, a whole sub-genre of the fandom!) He's head of Torchwood in Cardiff. Cardiff is a very strange place. He and his team manage to fit some alien-fighting and world-saving in between their frequent orgies.

Okay. I'm making the orgies part up. It's just, every time I see pictures of the Torchwood cast on my friends list, someone is always macking on someone else, and so in my mind Torchwood is a story about alien fighters who fuck. Or fuckers who fight aliens. Whatever.

ANYWAY. I'm not an expert on Torchwood, but I can tell you that this story is shiny perfection. It's like Dira took perfection and then somehow polished it up and found a whole new level of perfect underneath. There is time travel! There is the future! There is romance and love and loss and what people wore! There is...okay, yes, there's MPreg. But it's the good kind of MPreg. (And, yes, there is such a thing.) Also, there isn't very much MPreg, or any description of, you know, pregnancy-related fluids and suchlike. Please do not run screaming.

This story features something I have always wanted to see done and never before witnessed in all of fan fiction: a guy gets pregnant and does not immediately decide that he's keeping his baby. (Not that there is anything wrong with either that concept or that vid. Far, far from.) For that alone, I would have loved this story, and then Dira had to go and add about 50,000 more words of wonderfulness just so that I would have to figure out what is even more love than love. (The answer, by the way, would be "love." It's very deep.)

This story is everything in the world that makes me happy.

The One Where We Get All That Unpleasant Character Death Business out of the Way before the Story Starts, and the Character Himself Doesn't Really Take Any Notice of It. The Difference Engine, by [livejournal.com profile] copperbadge. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

When I went to write this set, I got all pouty because I couldn't rec this, on account of some dickwad hacked the community and deleted it. But now it is back, and I am recommending it while I can, because I love it. And who doesn't love stories in which John Sheppard is a robot? (Or, in this case, I think he's technically a cyborg. I don't know. I didn't major in cyberpunk or whatever.)

The first lines of this story are pretty much the textbook definition of a narrative hook - seriously, why can't I do that? It takes me like 2,000 words just to get to the part that might vaguely interest at least a few of my readers - and it just gets better from there.

I've always loved stories that offered solid explanations for John Sheppard's occasional, you know, oddness. ("He's a big ol' gay queer homosexual" is perhaps the most frequently offered explanation, but sucking cock can't explain everything, people! I know, I know. I'm heartbroken too.) And this explains it better than most. He has subroutines! He has programming! He has technically already died!

Wait. Does that mean this story is about an undead robot? Because I think if we start combining those two genres, we could end up with the kind of mutant subgenre that proves to have superstrength and mind control and starts taking over all of fiction.

And I for one will not be sorry if that proves to be the case. Only rarely is fiction this wonderful. Going on the available evidence, undead robots make everything better.

The One That Has Robot Space Mounties. Why Are There No Robot Space Mounties Right Now? Forget the Flying Car. The Future Will Only Arrive When We Have Robot Space Mounties. Real Boys and Real Worlds, by [livejournal.com profile] troyswann. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

Okay. I realize that, taken in conjunction with the previous recommendation, this set makes it look like I have some sort of deep need to see various characters as robots. That would be totally, entirely false. A scurrilous lie. For the record, I have not even considered, for example, the AU where all the immortals in Highlander are immortal because they're self-repairing robots (and their permanent deactivation switch is buried deep in their neck). Nor do I frequently ponder Jim Ellison as a robot with a superior sensory processor and a minor chip malfunction. And I never think about how I could totally read Supernatural if only Dean Winchester was a robot.

...Possibly I am a liar. It's totally not my fault, though; I imprinted early on I, Robot, which taught me the joys of robot-adjacent slash. It just took fandom to show me how much better it is if the robot is more fully involved.

Anyway. This story is so much more than just Benton Fraser as a robot. (Although you can hardly deny that that is the best concept to come down the pike in a very long time.) It's real SF, with a background world of extreme awesomeness and Kowalski as a queer (Not that kind of queer. Or, okay, not only that kind of queer) cop and Frannie as something so incredibly wonderful I will not describe it to you, but trust me, I nearly fainted with happiness when I read Real Boys for the first time. There was risk of joy-induced head trauma, I tell you what. This story has ACTION. And PLOT. (Basically, this story has all those really hard bits that I remember I can't write, every damn Yuletide.)

You know what this is? This is what Philip K. Dick would have written if he could actually write. (Look, the man had some great ideas, but he wrote like he was on massive quantities of opiates and had only a glancing acquaintance with reality and, you know, people.) Well, I mean, assuming he also had developed an interest in gay robots.

But, really, who is not interested in gay robots? NOT ME.

The One Where It's Totally in Character to Use the Word "Lover," and in Fact I'm Kind of Surprised the PoV Character Doesn't Surround That with Little Hearts, Too. Diplomatic Relations, by [livejournal.com profile] maldoror_gw. Naruto, Gaara/Rock Lee.

He's an overeager hopeless romantic! And he is a psychopathic serial killer possessed by a demon! Together, they fight crime! No, really, they do. It's very touching and sweet.

I have only the vaguest understanding of Naruto, and even my reaction to the idea of Gaara hooking up with anyone (for purposes of sex and romance - I mean, if Gaara hooked up with someone for a worldwide killing spree, that I would believe) was blank disbelief. And Rock Lee is not exactly - he's not exactly the mate for Gaara, is all I'm saying.

And yet. And yet. This so works. I'm not sure why it works - we're talking about a lengthy romance conducted between a guy who has only a passing acquaintance with humanity and a guy who sincerely believes in Truth! And Beauty! And Love! Above all things, he believes in Love. (Okay, and martial arts.) It's inexplicably wonderful, is what it is, and you don't need to know anything about Naruto at all to love this. (Here's what I know: there's these people, like ninjas except with extra super ninja goodness, and they fight. Um, each other, and also bad guys. Some of them are possessed by demons, which gives them even more extra special abilities, but causes them to have traumatic childhoods. The main character is Naruto, also known, in this case, as Sir Barely Appearing in This Story. And...that's really pretty much it. Oh, and the series apparently eats people's brains.)

This story is funny (turns out there is endless humor to be found in the fact that Gaara knows 3000 ways to kill people but only two and a half emotions) and engrossing. I mean, it's not like you don't kind of suspect that these crazy kids will make a go of it, and yet I, at least, was totally riveted to the screen, deeply anxious to know if, you know, they'd manage to deal with the inevitable disapproval of pretty much everyone! Fall in love without destroying major villages! Defeat the bad ninjas! Okay, really - here's the deal: this story just makes me feel good.

Oh, quick warning for media fans: don't read the author's notes. They will just confuse you. But read the story. You'll love it.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (pic#)
Recently, I posted a set of SGA stories. They were all future stories, all long, and certain people - I am naming no names - thought there was perhaps an over-emphasis on the depressing and distressing.

In that set, I explained that I have a technique for dealing with potentially sad (or soul-destroying) stories: the safety tab. I have one story that I know is cheering and good and filled to the brim with joy and healing, and I keep that one ready and available in a tab. If a story takes a turn for the worse, or I finish it so depressed that I am ready to begin a career in coffee shop poetry slams, I simply click over to my safety tab and read until I feel better.

[livejournal.com profile] nestra, upon reading this, noted that she'd be interested in a safety tab recs set. ([livejournal.com profile] ainsley backed her up. Apparently there is a strong need for safety tab stories in fandom.) And I thought, hey, perhaps the people who are still silently resenting me for recommending such depressing futurefic will love me again if I only share with them the joy that is safety! So. This set.

I've had a lot of safety tab stories in my time in fandom. (I remember when I truly believed that safety tab stories could only be in due South, and then a dS story broke me so completely that I couldn't even look at anything in the fandom for three months. Those were sad, sad months, but at least I learned how to find safety in other fandoms.) But here's the thing: I've already recommended almost all of them. How could I not? There were times when I was re-reading my safety stories every single day. So I'm going to recommend a combination here: some safety tab stories that are newer, and thus haven't been featured here yet, and some of the great classics of safety. We'll start with the new.

We Can All Find Safety in the Knowledge That the Pegasus Galaxy Does It Better. And When I Say "It," I Mean Pegging. Healing Station Argh, by [livejournal.com profile] toft_froggy. Stargate: Atlantis, Ronon Dex/Teyla Emmagan, Ronon Dex/Teyla Emmagan/Rodney McKay, OT4.

This is my current safety tab story. I just do not even know how the world could be a bad place when there is a story that includes both alien General Hospital and pegging. You add in ice farming and Teyla being wickedly, wickedly manipulative, and you have a story that could heal the wounds inflicted by Ethan Frome. (Probably. Do not actually test this at home unless you have access to a 24-hour Literature-Induced Despair Hotline and fistfuls of psychoactive pharmaceuticals. Fistfuls. I mean this.)

I just - I am made deeply, seriously happy by this story. And then, like an extra bonus, there's something here that I look for in pretty much every SGA story ever, and hardly ever see: John and Rodney being bewildered by Teyla and Ronon's cultural references. Because, yes, okay, Star Wars and Star Trek and other things about stars - I can totally see John and Rodney geeking out about this, especially since their dream date apparently consists of playing Civilization and eating Cheetos and maybe making some drunk prank radio calls at around three in the morning. But Teyla and Ronon should have their own set of Pegasus in-jokes. (Like, there's that awesome SG1 story where the team are telling jokes, and no one laughs at all of them. I love that.) And here, they do. And John and Rodney get to be the people saying, "Um...what now?" Pegasus has popular culture, too!

So there's that, and then there's the humor, and then there's - well. The ending. Anyway. I'm telling you, and telling you true: this is a fabulous safety tab story. I have re-read this after reading stories where people have died, where favorite characters of mine have died and not come back, and it's fixed me right up. There's no higher level of safety, here. (Note: McKay/Sheppard OTPers who may be feeling wary: this will work just fine for you. I speak as one who knows!)

There Is Great Safety in the Deep Interconnectedness of Love and Real Estate Home Sweet Home, by [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Entourage, Vincent Chase/Eric Murphy.

You know how canon writers sort of beg us to slash their creations by writing two strong, likeable male characters (who are totally best friends and, okay, it's entirely for show-budget reasons but they share an apartment and spend 24 hours per day together and also they hold hands sometimes) who occasionally hook up with one-dimensional females with whom they have no chemistry and nothing approaching realistic dialog? The Entourage writers have taken this to the logical conclusion: Entourage, the show, is entirely about men. Women exist in its world essentially as window-dressing.

I am sure that the show writers believe that their characters are manly and tough and totally hetero. I am quite sure they believe that. But, well. When you spend every minute of your life totally focused on another guy, and all your emotional investment is in that guy, and everything else in the world comes second to that guy's needs...well. It kind of begs for slash, is all.

And there's one other thing that begs for slash in Entourage: it's that Vince and Eric are so totally married. I mean, they might as well have sex. They've already got rings. (Okay. No rings to my actual knowledge. But if there was an episode where Vince gave Eric a ring, I would not be at all surprised.)

So I find it supremely comforting to read about Vince and Eric. Their problems are just serious enough to be believable, while still being at least one remove from anything distressing in any other story I might be reading. And I seriously, seriously, seriously want them to just go ahead and accept their true love already. Which, in this story, they do. It is sweet and fun and all things comforting, and you don't need to know anything about the show to read it; I didn't when I started. (Plus, it has Ari Gold. Never underestimate the comfortingness of a Jewish pit bull with a filthy, filthy mouth. And Turtle and Drama. Dorks are comforting. Everyone knows this.) This story can heal a fairly major story wound - like, your OTP not ending up together. Or the world ending. Either one.

There's Nothing Safer Than Benton Fraser on a Rampage! I Mean, in a Story Sense, Obviously. In Real Life, That'd Be a Bad Thing, Albeit a Polite Bad Thing. Chicago's Most Wanted, by [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

I have a friend who told me that once, when she was traveling through India, and sick and tired and miserable, she told herself the entire story of Some Strange Prophecy for comfort.

This proves two things: fan fiction is a powerful healer, and comfort stories are totally individual. Because Some Strange Prophecy in not a comfort story for me (fine story though it is).

But Chicago's Most Wanted totally, totally is. Why? Well. Amnesiac criminal Benton Fraser. Can there be a better reason? I just think the words and the healing begins.

Also, this story proves that in the land far beyond the Broccoli Test, there is another, greater test, and it is this:

If one member of your pairing can forget who he is and go on the lam, and the other one can track him and predict where he'll be next, your pairing has passed the Chicago's Most Wanted Test. I can think of few pairings that could pass, frankly. I mean, of my OTPs - Blair Sandburg could absolutely do this for Jim Ellison, but not vice versa unless you allowed senses-related trickery, which is a rules violation. Rodney McKay and John Sheppard likely have a 50/50 chance, but if they get it wrong, someone ends up in prison or something blows up. And, oddly, I don't believe Jack O'Neill and Daniel Jackson could do it alone, but any three members of (original) SG1 could easily find the other. I just think it would take all of them.

Anyway. This story can heal, at minimum, major, major tragedy. I turned to this after I finished The End of the Road, people. That's how powerful this is.

(There's another Speranza story that I also have used extensively for healing story-inflicted wounds, but it was never a safety tab story. I use About a Dog when a story has kicked me in my extremely sensitive - nay, hair-trigger - animal harm squick. If you have one, seriously, About a Dog should fix most problems. Don't thank me. Thank her!)

Traffic Jams and Car Accidents Are Extremely Healing! When They Happen to Dan and Casey, and Also Lead to True Love, That Is. Only Then. Diversionary Tactics, by [livejournal.com profile] shrift. Sports Night, Casey McCall/Dan Rydell.

Sports Night is perhaps the ultimate safety-story fandom for me. (Or it used to be, but we'll get to that.) Because, see, I truly believe that Danny and Casey are in love, and will always be in love, and that they will live happily ever after, bickering and making Dana's life hell and avoiding sports-reporting clichés forever. (No, really, this is a very sincere belief. You show me a story in which that does not happen, and my reaction will be, pretty much, "We all know the truth, thanks." Which isn't to say that a Sports Night story couldn't break me. Just - I have a very thick insulating layer of denial. Whale blubber thick.) Anyway. My point is - Sports Night = happy place. Danny and Casey start bantering, and I am suddenly soothed and cheerful and prepared to face the world again, even if the world contains a story that has hurt me greatly.

The only down side to Sports Night is that most of the stories that I used to use in safety tabs (Sports Night saw me through many, many much scarier, much larger fandoms) are gone forever, as far as I can tell; the archive is gone and the stories just aren't anywhere anymore. So now my happy place is tinged with sorrow; I go to recommend a story, and it's nowhere to be found, and I have a sniffly moment and have to turn to a healing story without even having read a sad one. (This is why we need the Archive of Our Own; won't anyone think of the poor recommenders? Our links! Our precious links!)

Fortunately, Diversionary Tactics still remains with us. And what a fine and excellent safety-tab story it is. There's banter, and then there's some momentary tension - but we all know in our hearts it will be fine, because this is Sports Night, where things are fine, damn it - and then, yay! A happy ending. And it all takes just enough time to heal one moderate-sized story wound, like a lengthy explicit torture scene. Or the death of a minor OC.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
March 12 was Best Beloved's birthday, and what she wanted was a recs set. (We know how to give the big, important, expensive gifts in this family.) Specifically, she wanted clichefic, which she is apparently very fond of.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is my (other - first one here) attempt to spread joy, and I'm doing it by recommending things that make me happy. (AUs that make me happy, actually. Because apparently that is just what today calls for: joy in as many universes as possible.)

The One That Proves That, No Matter Where They Start, Ray and Fraser Are Destined for a Canadian Shack. (I Am So Going on a Shack Tour in Canada Someday.) Bell, Book and Mountie, by [livejournal.com profile] lamardeuse. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

I read this story when it first came out, and enjoyed it greatly, but I also spent most of it profoundly confused. "Where are the displaced children?" I asked myself. "Shouldn't someone be learning magic via correspondence course?" And, of course, "At what point do the animated suits of armor show up?" None of these things happened. It was very weird. Almost like...like it wasn't based on that movie at all.

Astute people will already have figured out that it was not, in fact, based on that movie at all, and that I had two movies confused. Bedknobs and Broomsticks, as it turns out, is totally not Bell, Book and Candle. I have seen the former. I have not seen the latter, mostly because Best Beloved has a serious, lifelong hate for that movie. (Ask her about it, and she'll just start muttering hostile things about florists, and she is not normally a floristphobe. And so I reassure her, and also anyone else who has a similar problem with the movie, that there are no florists in this story that I noticed.)

So, in case you're like me and very easily confused, I will spare you the two and a half bewildered (but fun) readings it took me to realize why my expectations were seriously awry: at no time in the course of this story does anyone animate suits of armor, and that is as it should be. And, in case you're like me and haven't seen Bell, Book and Candle (Side note: Oh my god, typing that so many times without the serial comma is killing my soul, but this story is worth it, and that's saying something, since I don't often put - well, basically anything ahead of the serial comma. Judge if you must.), rest assured that you don't need to have seen it to enjoy this story, and in fact you might be better off, since you won't be starting out with florist-related issues.

I love the switches and changes to the canon that [livejournal.com profile] lamardeuse has made here. This many major adjustments to a canon - like switching up Dief and Stella (people, don't try that at home) - can totally destroy an AU, but here, it works, and works so very well that the story's worth reading just as a perfect example of a transmogrification AU, even if you for some strange reason have no interest in dS on magic. (Although, really, is there anyone who doesn't want to see Ray Kowalski casting spells? I didn't think so.) Plus, you get Ray Vecchio in a jazz band. What more joy could you possibly want?

The One That Made Sexbots Legitimate. And Isn't It Past Time? The Soul and the Company Store, by Leah, one half of [livejournal.com profile] leahwoof. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

This is one of the stories that has been recommended everywhere, and deservedly so. And so, as usual, I had to have my internal recommender's struggle (it's very angsty and tense, you wouldn't even believe it) - on the one hand, everyone will have already read it! But, on the other, what if someone has not read it? What if perhaps you, specifically, are thinking you don't really need to read a nice, long, plotty AU in which John Sheppard is a robot? (No, really, he's an actual robot - this is not one of those Shepbot jokes.)

The conclusion, as always: I will lend my voice to the multitudes. It is my duty. Because, honestly, you so need to read about robo-Sheppard. Which is not really like - actually, you know, I can't say that. I have never seen Robo-Cop and only have the vaguest idea what it might be about. (My guess: he's a robot! And a cop! Am I close? Also, I bet he doesn't spend a lot of time filling out reports or giving speeding tickets.) But, in any case, this is its very own thing, and deeply awesome, and I admit I never really had much desire to see an actual robot Sheppard, but now I totally do.

(And now I really need to interrupt this recs set to complain about a certain salesman. Salesman, when I tell you "no, I'm sorry," I mean NO - the "sorry" is just a little social lube, and you shouldn't take it to mean that I actually care. What it really means is no money for you. You have a range of appropriate responses to this - a time-honored one is calling me a bitch when I can't hear you - but, really. Do not whine, "Whyyyyy nawwwwwwt?" like you're eight and I just told you you couldn't have any more candy. And certainly do not spend a further five minutes whining at me, wasting my time and yours and instilling in me a violent hatred of a) you b) the company that employs you and c) the "service" said company provides. It's doubtful I could, at this point, bring myself to purchase that service if it was the only thing that could save my life. I could, however, totally bring myself to complain to your manager. Just, you know, FYI.)

Sorry. I needed to get that out. We now return to the recs set already in progress.

Except, hey. I might as well use this space to write further complaints, because here is what I need to say about this story: it is AWESOME. There are ROBOTS. And PLOT. Also, SEX. If those elements do not entice you, I have no help to offer you. (But I can refer you to a whining salesman - like a singing telegram except infinitely more annoying! - if that's more your speed.)

The One That Proves That One Universe Really Isn't Big Enough for Lex. Unless It's the Wrong Universe, in Which Case of Course He's Totally Happy. Looking Glass Country, by [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Smallville, Lex Luthors/Clark Kents. Yes, the plurals are deliberate.

[livejournal.com profile] astolat seems to have asked herself, "What is better than Lex Luthor?" and then answered, "TWO Lex Luthors," which is obviously the entirely correct answer. (I will give half a point to anyone who thought the right answer was, "Naked Lex Luthor," though. And, hey, this story has something for you, too!) In this story, she's masterfully reconciled the various editions of Lex (because, let's face it, even in a canon not precisely known for its slavish dedication to continuity, the many faces of Lex are, at best, a wee bit confusing) by, um, not really reconciling them at all. Here, they're really and truly different people. And, wow, they totally hate each other's lives. But, being Lexes, they can fix that.

And it is awesome and brilliant. And also there is what I consider to be a wholly appropriate treatment of Gorilla Grodd, who I have never liked. (I'm not a fan of the higher primates, for one thing.) And confusion to - well, to Lexes' enemies (let me just note here that I wholly support stories that require me to consider the various plurals of a character's name - I mean, I want to have to figure out if it should be Rononi or Diefenbachia or whatever! This is the sort of problem that makes life worth living! - but I feel that the truly considerate author will weigh in with an opinion on that in the story notes), but also to his co-workers, his minions, and, eventually, his friends.

I also think this is a brilliant extrapolation of Lex's personality (however it manifests): he actually does better at living someone else's life. Well, of course he does. It's more of a challenge, for one thing, and it's pretty much what he was raised to do, for another.

In short, I love this story. It gives me all the Lex a girl could want, exposes the inner workings of two universes, and makes my continuity-loving heart so very happy.

The One That Proves That Whoever Said Hell Was Looking in the Mirror Was Obviously Looking in the Wrong Mirror. Another Fine Universe You've Gotten Us Into, by [livejournal.com profile] tafkarfanfic. Stargate: SG-1, Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill.

This one brings me joy through sheer fun. I mean, haven't we all wanted to see the slapstick side of quantum mirror use? Okay. Probably most of us didn't even suspect there was a slapstick side of the quantum mirror. I know I didn't. But in retrospect, it makes so much sense. I mean, you have multiples of various people. (You know, when I put this one side-by-side with Looking Glass Country, I start to wonder if perhaps I get too much joy from characters meeting themselves, or traveling to alternate universes, or, as in this case, both. And then I think a) this is fan fiction, so I'm allowed and b) is there really such a thing as too much joy?) You have wacky interdimensional hijinks. In short, you have the opportunity for mix-ups on a scale that the Marx Brothers could only dream of. (Although let me say here and now that I think those guys could do awesome things with a few extra Harpos. Or a few extra Daniels, even. Oh, ow, now I have crossover brain freeze.)

Anyway. My point is that this is a whirlwind tour through many universes, as Daniel tries to find the right one and mostly ends up with shrimp and other assorted badnesses, which is unsurprising, since apparently the quantum mirror's purpose is to prove Leibniz right - sure, SG-1's universe may be a little fucked up, but apparently it's the best one on offer. And it's not like this story disproves that. It just proves that Jack and Daniel are past the point of being thrown by anything. If you'd been on SG-1 all these years, you would be, too.

It's rare that we get humorous fan fiction in SG1, but when we do, it's totally worth the wait. (And totally joyous, too.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
First and foremost: do any of you have a digital camera you really love? A source of digital camera purchasing advice you really trust? A link to the camera you wish you had? Please tell me. We are purchasing a digital camera, but thus far my attempts to make active steps towards the purchase have followed this process:
  1. Open camera-vending store in tab. (Recommendations for online camera stores also gratefully accepted, by the way.)
  2. Stare at cameras for a while.
  3. Say, "There are really LOTS of camera of in this world. Lots and lots."
  4. Close tab.
Too many choices! Head explodey! Halp!

Okay, and now in recommendations: I had the week from hell. No, really, it sucked in so very many ways - not every way it could have sucked, no, but each day was a new and festive cavalcade of minor and major disaster. I reached the end of the week in a shellshocked state, prone to crying at, well, pretty much anything. In this state, only vids can avail. So today I'm recommending four vids that have made me happy at the end of my awful, awful week.

The One That Proves That, When It Comes to Emo, Gerard Way Has Nothing on Spike. Or on the Bee Gees, Oddly Enough. Tragedy, by [livejournal.com profile] dualbunny. Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Here's the first thing you need to know about this vid: it is absolute proof that auction winners can use their purchasing power for evil. [livejournal.com profile] laurashapiro, [livejournal.com profile] jarrow272, and [livejournal.com profile] heresluck won [livejournal.com profile] dualbunny in the VVC auction, and they decided to have her vid the most evil song in the world. Scientific determination of the song's evilness was made in this very household; testing showed that people exposed to it just once sang it regularly for upwards of a week afterward, sometimes in public, no matter what efforts were made to stop. Repeated exposure resulted in seriously unfortunate dancing by the helpless victims of this song's mind control powers. EVIL, I tell you.

But what better for Spike than an emo, evil song? None, I would submit to you. Plus, this is the ultimate summary of Spike's journey, his character, his very personhood. (Vamphood? I don't know. Things get complicated when you're talking about people who are technically dead.) Every time I see this vid, I grow more convinced that this is precisely the song Joss Whedon had stuck in his head when he created Spike. It would explain so much.

And this vid makes me very happy. It is impossible to feel sorry for yourself when gazing at Spike's WOE set to DISCO.

The One with the Best-Ever Use of a Basketball Bounce. You Can Call Me Al, by [livejournal.com profile] sdwolfpup. Due South.

I will be honest with you. I hadn't previously recommended this because I was convinced that every fan on earth had watched it. And that was right and good and just, and I was pleased. This is a vid that everyone needs. It is gorgeous and hopeful and it fits the characters (both Rays and Fraser, in case anyone was worried about someone being left out) and the show so very well. It's distilled love in vid form. I turn to it whenever I am down and need to be reminded of the good things in this world.

So I was merrily going along, assuming everyone had this essence o' love in their lives. And then I discovered that a friend of mine - a close personal friend who I will not name here because after all public shaming is counterproductive - had not seen this vid. At all. Despite loving the song AND the show. And I was sorrowful and downcast, as I'm sure you can imagine. I tried to put things right for my friend ("DOWNLOAD THIS," I said, "OR I WILL BE FORCED TO COME OVER THERE WITH A BASEBALL BAT" - sometimes you have to be direct about these things), but then I had a horrible thought: what if there is another person in that situation? A fan of vids or due South or just, you know, wonderful things, who has not seen this vid? That would be even more of a tragedy than Spike, I tell you. So now I am recommending it, doing my bit to bring us into a better, happier, more loving world. A world, in short, where everyone regularly watches this vid.

So, hey, no pressure, but if you don't watch this right now, you're standing in the way of world peace. I just thought you should know.

The One in Which Rodney McKay Cain't Say No. Do I Need to Say More to Get You to Download It? I Would Hope Not. Atlantis!, by rache, aka [livejournal.com profile] wickedwords, and Sandy, aka [livejournal.com profile] sherrold. Stargate: Atlantis. (Note: Imeem and download links available there.)

First, let me just mention that while I am normally a fan of musicals, I have a tragic allergy to Oklahoma! No, not the whole "no legs, no jokes, no chance" thing, just - I like corn, and I like cheese, but I am not so much a fan of corny cheese on stage. (It's possible that I was just too young for Oklahoma! when I saw it. You know how they say if you feed a kid certain foods at too young an age, you increase the chances that the kid will be allergic to said foods? Well. I suspect that that's what happened to me with the corn and cheese fest, pretty much. I'm lucky I didn't develop an allergy to the entire Midwest.)

Except. It turns out that when rache and Sandy do Oklahoma! SGA-style, I am suddenly and totally in love. Or, okay, to be more precise, I'm laughing helplessly. (But it is loving, sincere, and earnest laughter. Honestly.) You really would not think that SGA had a perfect one-to-one translation with Oklahoma! (And let me just say - thanks to Helene Hanff I know that that exclamation point has been irritating everyone since before the show's premiere, and right now I guess it's my turn to wish it dead. I don't want to put random exclamation points in the middle of sentences anymore. Bad punctuation. No biscuit.), but apparently it does. Seriously, it's amazing. And did I mention funny? Also, it turns out there's a reference to fan fiction right in the musical. It's awesome.

Given that this vid was inspired by Rumble, by [livejournal.com profile] astolat and [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza, another vid in which a musical is perfectly mapped onto SGA, I have to wonder if you could do, like, SGA x A Chorus Line. SGA x Sweeney Todd. ...Oh dear god. I need to stop thinking about these things right now.

The One That Makes Biplane Fighting Look Like Ballet. Cathain, by Jill, aka [livejournal.com profile] klia. Flyboys. (Note: This vid is password-protected, but it takes only one password to get all the vids of Jill, Kathy, Kay, and Lynn, and I heartily recommend them all, so, seriously, get the password. You will get much shiny in return!)

I have a strange, abiding, and intense obsession with the WWI fighter pilots (It's, yeah. It's kind of sad. These things just take a person sometimes.), so when I saw this vid at VVC I sat bolt upright and watched very alertly. I suspect my mouth may have been hanging open slightly, although I hope no one noticed. I was certainly totally entranced. Months later, I still have that reaction. Whenever I watch this vid, pretty much. Because there is nothing like watching planes dance to Irish music (at least, I think that's Irish; feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) to make a person happy, I find.

Yes. Planes dance. It is awesome beyond anything. And, okay, if you are deeply peculiar and thus unattracted to the concept of dancing planes, let me add that there are also characters in this vid, with a remarkably well-cut slashy story. And a lion. Really, this vid has everything you could possibly want.

In terms of sheer rewatching, this is one of my top three vids from VVC 2007, and there's such a good reason for that: it's gorgeous, gorgeously edited, matching movement to music in a way that would totally make my heart sing even if there were not WWI planes involved. It is entrancing, and it is lovely, and I love it dearly. It makes me deeply happy. I cannot recommend it strongly enough.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Hi. So, I think you know I love fan fiction, right? And I would hate to lose any of it. Ever.

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

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

So, to learn more:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, how this story cured me of that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And:

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Do you ever have one of those Bad Fannish Idea days? Where, like, you think, "I know what'd be cool! A Fullmetal Alchemist x Supernatural crossover. Yes, I want that, despite the fact that I don't know either fandom and it would be so angst-filled that small nations would simply collapse under the weight of the despair and never really know why." Or you think, "OMG! I will buy a vidder in Sweet Charity, and I will have her vid Smallville to Thunder Road, with Lex as the narrator and Clark as Mary." (Speaking of Sweet Charity, won't some ho-ish type go over there and offer her services in Making LJs Pretty? I don't want a banner; I want someone to create general prettiness via magic, because I am really damn tired of my blue boxes. Someone must be willing to do that for a good cause!)

Anyway. I am having a Bad Fannish Idea day, obviously. (Come on! It'd be the Angsty Sons of Tragically Dead Mothers crossover. Or, OMG, a fusion, where Dean and Sam are alchemists and Sam is a suit of armor and - oh my god, this is total craziness. I don't know either fandom. Someone help me. At least give me a Bad Fannish Idea in a fandom I actually know.)

So, here is my feeble attempt at distracting myself from my Bad Fannish Ideas. (Or, like - I could buy a vidder and have her do "I Will Survive" for Jack/Daniel after Daniel's ascension: "So you're back/from outer space/I just walked in to find you here/With that same look upon your face/I should have locked the stupid gate/I should have changed your IDC/If I'd known for just one second" - oh god it's a sickness I can't stop won't someone for the love of all that is holy please help me? Think of the fandom!) Other people's Good Fannish Ideas! They can save me!

Perhaps I can catch some sanity off these stories. God, I hope so.

So, is there a theme to this set? Not really. Kind of. See, a while ago, I did the interview meme in [livejournal.com profile] vassilissa's LJ, and one of the questions she asked me was what I'm reading right now. I gave her the non-fannish answers right away, because, well, it's easy to list the books I have in my purse, on my bedside table, next to the stove, and next to the computer. (Yes. Fine. I have a reading problem. I've gotten better, okay? You should have seen me when I was little - except, wait, you couldn't have, because my face was always buried in a book.) The fannish answer, though, was a little harder.

I guess you could say right now, I'm reading sort of randomly. I'm in a phase of waiting, fannishly speaking: waiting for the next fandom to eat me alive, waiting for the next fandom I feel compelled to read through the entire catalog of and then whine bitterly for more more more. (If you've ever felt the desire to pimp me into something, now would likely be a good time.) So, while I'm waiting, I'm reading a combination of new fandoms - fandoms I don't know at all, with, of course, canons I don't know at all - and new stories in old favorite fandoms.

Let's start with the new stories in old favorite fandoms, shall we?

The One That Proves That When We Talk About How the Other Half Lives, We Really Don't Know the Half of It. (Uh, That Pun Was Unintentional. Please Forgive.) Freaky Tuesday, by [livejournal.com profile] etben. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

Oh, due South. I will forever love you, and not just because you have communities with names like [livejournal.com profile] stop_drop_porn. No, really, the love mostly comes straight from the characters themselves, and of course from the fact that in dS, anything goes. Bodyswap? Of course, no problem - if the canon had run a season longer, it would certainly have happened, and it probably would have in fact been explained just the way it is in this story: a minor error in the application of fabric arts.

(Hey, I'm not pointing fingers at the person who made the error, here. Macramé is hard. I know this for a fact because my mother took it up when I was six, mercifully briefly, for a summer that will probably be known in our official family history, in the unlikely event that someone writes one, as the Time of Unfortunate Knot-Related Incidents. Also, let me just share with you a hard lesson learned early: if someone asks you to hold something just for one second, and that person is doing a craft, don't. You'll end up knotted into a plant holder while your mother tries to figure out how to get you back out. I suppose my parents were lucky CPS didn't stop by while she was flipping through the book looking for the part titled "If You Have Accidentally Made Your Child a Permanent Part of Your Project.")

And this story reminds me of all the reasons I love and will always love dS. I mean, the way the guys adapt to being in each other's bodies - for Ray, this is just some deeper-than-usual undercover work, and for Fraser, well, he has weirder things than this in his closet, and I mean that literally. Plus, hey: it was written for [livejournal.com profile] stop_drop_porn. So there is sex. And since I firmly believe that these guys were OMG MEANT TO BE, like forever, with cherries on top (Yes. Cherries. Oh, you are totally a perv, you know that? You just read dirtiness into everything. It's why I love you.), so in love and totally doing it, the sex makes me almost as happy as the bodyswappage does.

The One That Got Me Reading a Book About a TV Show I Had Not Even Heard of Prior to Reading This Story. Yes, That's Pathetic, Because It Turns out to Have Been the Basis for One of My Favorite Shows Ever, but - I'm Slow, Okay? Five Things Sorkin Never Got to Steal from Sportscenter (But Probably Would Have, if Sports Night Hadn’t Been Cancelled), by [livejournal.com profile] scrunchy. Sports Night, gen.

Oh, Sports Night. I will forever love you, and this despite the fact that you managed to make me feel like a total idiot for not realizing that Sports Night, the show, was inspired on an actual TV show on an actual TV station. (They have shows! About sports news! On TV! Who knew? Oh, right, everyone in the whole world but me. Please hide your mocking laughter and pretend, at least to my face, that I am not pathetic and so culturally out of touch that I might as well be from Planet Zik'tch. Also, if you are in the neighborhood of Zik'tch, stop by and tell my people - no, not those people; I still have my boobs - that I miss them, okay?)

This is just - I am incoherent with glee about this story. For one, I cannot believe that these things more or less happened in the real world. For another, Scrunchy managed to convert them into the SN world so perfectly that I am starting to believe she's Aaron Sorkin reborn. (And before you say, "But Aaron Sorkin isn't dead," - look. I'm not saying he is. I'm just saying I think Scrunchy has his soul and his writing mojo. Maybe they have a timeshare arrangement or maybe she made a dark pact with the Elder Gods - I'm no expert on the metaphysics of writing, people. I just know absolutely perfect voice when I read it.) For yet another - wow, this totally gave me the best kind of emotional whiplash. It's not often that I go, within the space of a single five-things story, from real, honest laughing out loud to snuffling sadly to saying, "Awwwwwww" to the monitor, but this one makes me do that. Every single time I read it. And I will have you know I've read it an indecent amount since it was posted.

The One That Proves That the First Rule of Elf Orgies Is - Look, It Doesn't Matter, Because You All Stopped Paying the Slightest Attention As Soon As You Read the Words "Elf Orgies," Didn't You? An Earthly Knight, by [livejournal.com profile] ltlj. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/original female characters, John Sheppard/original male characters.

Oh, SGA. I will forever love you (and, yes, you do qualify as an old favorite now, so there), because - well, just look at this story. John turns into an elf. ([livejournal.com profile] ltlj has, um, some pictorial evidence that he maybe didn't have that far to go, which she might show you if she's feeling nice.) And it's just - well, of course he does. It's the Pegasus Galaxy! These things happen! If the characters have any sense, they're just thinking, "Well, it could be worse. He could be a feral elf vampire. With wings."

And, see, in another fandom, any story with this concept (and certainly any story with the rating "NC-17 for elfsex" - I mean, except in LotR) would be crack (...and if anyone mentions elf MPreg drawings right now, that's five points off the house of all humanity, and ten more if anyone links to them), but this is SGA. So it isn't crack. It's just a bunch of folks asking themselves that eternal question: what do you do with a feral elf? My own personal answer would be, "Run," but this is why I am not cut out for life in Pegasus, I suppose. The characters just knuckle down to some problem solving, Pegasus-style. (Except John, who knuckles down to the elf orgies. It's hard to be John Sheppard, folks.)

Note, by the way: this was written for the awesome [livejournal.com profile] 14valentines project, which I admire more than I can possibly say. It's over for this year, now - god forbid I should ever recommend anything in a timely fashion - but you can still hit the community and check out all the awesomeness it inspired. And you can still give to the causes it was built to support, because, sadly, women are still in need.

The One That Made Me Nostalgic for Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Which Is Odd, Because I Only Started Eating Peanut Butter Sandwiches This Year. Feel That, by [livejournal.com profile] fearlessfan. Friday Night Lights, Tyra Collette/Jason Street.

Yes, this would mark my subtle transition from fandoms I love to fandoms I, well, barely know. Fandoms, if you will, that I have slept with a few times, and now I'm trying to figure out their last names and if I want to hook up again with them on the weekend, and, like, do I have their phone number, even? Normally I try to avoid recommending stories when I'm in this stage with fandoms, mostly because it involves a lot of embarrassing things like admitting to myself that I don't know the full names of the characters, even, and cannot say what is canon and what is not, and in fact could not testify in court that the canon even exists. All I can say is, blame [livejournal.com profile] vassilissa. She asked.

So. I can't tell you anything at all about Friday Night Lights. (It's about teenagers! In Texas! Who play football! So actually I do know stuff. Just not, you know, minor details. Like names and things.) But I can tell you that I love this story, because, well. First, this is high school, people. Or perhaps I should say, "this is adolescence." I mean, I did not go to a small, football-obsessed high school in Texas - one could, in fact, say I didn't really go to high school at all, in any practical sense. But I did my time as an adolescent, as we all must. And that, of course, means I did my share of adolescent stuff (and also the shares of at least three random strangers - I was very dedicated to the whole teen experience, or at least the really stupid parts). And, wow - in this story, [livejournal.com profile] fearlessfan so perfectly captures the feeling of adolescence - the intensity, the awkwardness, the surprising moments of sweetness, the less-surprising moments of sourness, the way things change, the way small moments are really really huge.

Basically, I love this story because it made me like the characters. It made me believe in the characters. What more can I say?

The One That Proves That, No Matter What Hallmark Might Try to Tell You, an Anachronism Is Really the Greatest Gift of All. The Discovery, by [livejournal.com profile] kaneko. Torchwood, Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones. (Hey, I only had to look up last names for half of this pairing! I already knew Jack Harkness, and I'm very proud of that, despite the fact that I believe everyone in fandom has heard of him by now. The man seems to, um. Get around a bit.)

Some of you may be aware that I have a time travel kink. And when I say "kink," I am - well, wildly understating the matter.

I've said this before, but - I watched the 2002 movie of The Time Machine with incredible enjoyment, despite the fact that - as Best Beloved pointed out to me when we left the theater - it, well, sucked. Because: time travel. You take a character, you send him through time, and I will be captivated and happy, even if the part of my brain that has actual intelligent function is sending out desperate cries of, "OMG help cannot take the suckage SAVE US." My point: time travel hits me in my primitive hindbrain, and my primitive hindbrain doesn't care if something sucks.

But this story, this story is the precise opposite of suck: it made my hindbrain and my actual brain happy. If time travel = happy TFV, then time travel + good story = TFV weak with joy. I mean, I don't know these characters at all - I understand that Jack is a stuck time traveler, and I hear he's in charge of a team of (possibly) lovable misfits in modern-day Cardiff, but that's where all my understanding ends - but I didn't need to know them to love this story. And I don't want to spoil the central plot point, here, but - god, it works. It's so perfectly normal, and then it's so perfectly time travel, and I loved every minute of Jack's reaction to this situation, I loved loved loved the plot point, I just - I loved the story, okay? And it satisfied the voracious beast that lives in my hindbrain and shrieks non-stop for time travel stories.

Really, I could not ask for more or better than that. Except maybe more of the same. The hindbrain beast is ever hungry, you know.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
First, a question. My vid drive has been returned to its former glory - in fact, it is glory-enhanced now, what with its sleek new case - and I've been wallowing in vids as a result. (I missed them!) And - okay. I know someone out there will know this, and I don't. In Jossverse vids, I often see a sequence in which Wesley is visiting Faith in prison. He talks to her on the phone, and then she jumps through the window separating them and then out the window of the visiting room. Does anyone know off-hand what episode of which series that's in? I have secret special reasons for needing to know.

Okay. So. I could force some kind of connection between the question above and the theme below - maybe, I don't know, by playing with the whole hard drive thing (It's memory, in there! See? It connects!) - but we all have more dignity than that. Instead, let me just say that today's theme is that old favorite of mine (and of soap opera writers, and also of yours, I hope): amnesia. Nothing shakes things up like a good healthy fugue state, that's what I've always said. And, frankly, most of my favorite characters could use a vacation from their brains.

(Oh, god help me, I should never have said that. Now I have this mental picture of an Ancient/magical/mystical/supernatural device that provides 24-hour "holidays" in which you temporarily forget everything that is stressing you out. Which would be fine for, you know, me - I can think of days, and particularly nights, when I would have used that with pleasure, and in fact paid handsomely for the privilege - but for most characters, that device would end up erasing, at minimum, a whole decade or something. "It specifically said it was a vacation device! There was no harm in using it!" "Okay, then why does he think he's twelve now?" I...I don't want to write this. And yet I feel this horrible compulsion. Please tell me someone else has already written it, and provide a link. Please. I will be a happy, happy TFV, and you will have my love forever.)

The One That Conclusively Proves the Equation "Amnesia + Guns = NO." You Can't Take That Away From Me, by [livejournal.com profile] joandarck. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

I suppose one problem with the whole vacation-from-your-stress concept is that it might make you, for example, forget why it's a bad idea to shoot at your partner. Or hit on him. Or go down on him.

Of course, that's precisely what happens to Ray Kowalski in this story, and while it kind of sucks for Ray - there's nothing quite like being imprisoned in a hospital (no, really, doesn't that just sound like the sort of thing nightmares are made of?) when you don't know who you are - it's great for readers. There's amnesia! There's jokes about the extremely comical pants that Mounties wear! There's sharpshooting! There's humor! There's inappropriate touching! Basically, it's everything I love about due South, with added sex.

Really, this could be an episode, in a world where TV shows featured just slightly more gay sex. Although it's probably a good thing it wasn't, since Fraser stripping in a hospital hallway might, if filmed, caused certain fangirls I know to die. Of glee, yes, but I'd miss them. (Although just imagine the fascinating picspams the survivors would post. We'd have to invent a whole new cut-tag text warning just for them - something along the lines of, "Not dial-up or panty friendly.")

My point is: read this. It's fun for the whole family, provided your family consists entirely of people with a good sense of humor and a strong interest in underdressed Mounties.

The One That Left Me Googling Images of Xander Harris and Then Scrutinizing His Upper Lip. That's Not Exactly Normal Behavior for Me. Your Horoscope for Today, by Anna S., aka [livejournal.com profile] eliade. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander Harris/Spike.

I have several things I love about this story. Or, okay, I love the story as a whole, but I am especially entranced by the beginning. Because the Spike at the beginning is totally the Spike I know and, um, have mixed feelings about: making Xander buy him a whole bunch of drinks and then trading Xander in on a poker debt. How awesome is that? (Um. Not that this is recommended behavior for, you know, actual people. Impressionable folks reading this, should there by some mischance be any: don't sell people to pay off your debts! And especially don't do it after they've bought you drinks. That's just tacky. Miss Manners would totally slap you down if she heard about it, and she's not someone you want to piss off.)

I am also entranced by the end. I don't want to spoil it for you, but - it is a fabulous ending that never fails to make me happy. Because, okay, this is the other side of Spike I believe in, at least when really good authors are writing it, and - oh, hell. There's just no way to explain why I love this so much without spoiling it. And I refuse to spoil this for you. I know better than that!

So instead I will just tell you that I also love the middle parts of this story, how [livejournal.com profile] eliade gets us from point A to point Z, and the fun we get to have along the way. I giggle every time I read about people's reaction to Xander's Big News. And most especially at Giles's, because - you know, I've known some people in my life who were experts at telling the truth in such a way that no one believed them, but you would think people who lived in Sunnydale would consider every statement to be at least possibly true. (No, really. Consider this hypothetical telephone call. Willow: "So how are you?" Xander: "Up to my knees in rats, but otherwise just peachy." Willow: "...Are these biting rats or metaphorical rats? Because if they're not metaphorical, I'm coming over there. Maybe Amy would like to make some friends." See? No matter what people say to you, if you live in Sunnydale, it's important to take it literally.)

The One That Proves That Heineken Is Indeed the Language of Love. Yeah, I'm Right There with You in the Horrified Shock. Time Is an Arrow, Time Is a River, by [livejournal.com profile] princessofg. Stargate: SG-1, Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill.

Oh, Stargates. It's like you speak the language of fannish cliches. And the proof is that you gave us canonical amnesia. It's like they're begging us to write lots of "Hello, I love you, won't you tell me my name" stories. And oh, fandom, how I love that you totally respond to that begging with tons of really excellent FF.

Excuse me. I need to pause for a moment; I'm overcome with emotion, including a really atypical and frankly scary love for all mankind.

Okay. Better now.

So, what we have here is a particularly interesting kind of amnesia story, because it isn't about what Daniel forgets - it's about what he remembers. Maybe remembers. And - okay, first I just have to confess that I have such love for stories where Daniel is basically lost in his own life. (And, seriously, who wouldn't be lost under those circumstances? Can you imagine coming back to the news that you were Daniel Jackson, he of the many languages, many deaths, and many layers? You'd be like, "...Great. I'm going to spend the rest of my life - which, from what you people have told me, won't be all that long - trying to decipher my own field shorthand. Christ, is this - is this Tocharian A? Intermixed with something that looks like Latin but totally isn't? Oh, I am so fucked.")

But, even amongst all the Daniel-returns stories out there, I have special love for this one. And I'm trying to think of a way to explain why without sounding, you know, fancy. Or incoherent. Or both. I guess it's because - well, for me, this story is all about spaces: the spaces of Daniel's life, the spaces in Daniel's head, the space between Jack and Daniel and how they each define it. If that makes sense. And if it doesn't - well, read it. Probably you'll see what I mean. (And then you can tell me what I should have said, and everyone will win!)

The One That - Oh, God. I Feel Pretty Much Obliged to Make a "Be Careful What You Wish For" Joke Here, but I'd Lose All Respect for Myself. Please Just Take It As Made. Fair, by [livejournal.com profile] minnow1212. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

This story is astonishing and wonderful in its own right, yes, but it's even more astonishing and wonderful when you consider the prompt that spawned it. Very few people on this planet could take that prompt and make it such a fabulous SGA story, but Minnow surely did.

And since the prompt is at the beginning of the post, and basically covers all this, I don't think I'm spoiling the story to say that in this, John is a fairy. No - wait - okay, fine. We'll take a minute so you can stop giggling and saying, "TFV, I've been reading in SGA for longer than ten minutes, so I pretty much already knew that. He's the fayest fairy ever to flap his tiny invisible rainbow-glitter wings!" Because I mean, like, a real fairy.

And now I feel like I've veered into an [livejournal.com profile] sgastoryfinders post: "So I'm looking for this one where John is a fairy, and Rodney's a little kid, and they're friends, and then they both forget everything, and magic happens. Or something. Also, I think there was sex." But, no, really, this is a brilliant story, and I love it to bits, and just thinking of it makes me happy. It's just that summaries - at least ones written by me - really do not do it justice.

In fact, this story is at least half responsible for how long it took me to write this post. See, every time I think about it, I have to re-read it - in general, Minnow's stories tend to have that effect on me. And then, after I've re-read it, I face this impossible conundrum: how do I describe this so that it sounds as awesome as it is and not as pathetic as the Harlequin prompt upon which it was based? Basically, after much desperate cogitation, I've decided to go the "pathetic descriptions + many, many superlatives + promises that it's really good" route, and hope you trust me. You do trust me, don't you?

I warn you: if you don't, I'm going to cry.

Because this is - well. It totally deserves every superlative I can think of, and more besides. And that is really all I can say about it.

But I have to ask - has anyone ever read the book the prompt came from? I am curious about it. But it's the same kind of curiosity I have about black holes; yes, the black hole is a fascinating mystery that needs to be understood, but I don't want hands-on experience with it. Same with this book. But if you have read it, I so want to know what it's like. (And if you recommend it strongly enough, I will even read it. Probably.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Thanks for all the hard drive advice, folks - operation Save the Vids is underway. And good thing, too, because I am starting to twitch without them.

So. I had a whole introduction here linking 2007 and AUs and stuff, but I managed to delete it in a way that could not be undone. (The technological disaster front is weakening, but still present. Exorcism of our premises may be required if this keeps up much longer.) Instead, I will just say this:

Hey. Here are some AUs I think you should read.

The One That Proves That the World May Change, but Macaroni Sculptures Stay the Same. A Chip off the Old Blog, by Salieri, aka [livejournal.com profile] troyswann. due South, gen.

Okay, two things: I'm not going to spoil this (not not not, no matter how much I want to, and oh god I so do) and I am going to warn for something. There is a suggestion of animal harm. The harmed animal is not Dief. The animal harm does not appear onscreen, as it were. And yet, it bothered the hell out of me, and I know there are a few people out there who might also be bothered. Hence, warning.

But here's the thing: I love this story anyway. And those of you who know me will know how stunning that is. Normally, if there's animal harm of any kind, that's it - my brain wipes and the rest of the story becomes meaningless. In extreme cases, this ends with me sobbing helplessly against a fence in Disney World (Curse that animation demo, with the clips from Certain Animated Classics We Won't Mention, Because Just the Names Sometimes Make Me Cry!) to the degree that Disney employees grow worried and offer to "help," for which read, "Take you somewhere where you won't disturb the people who are having fun in the happiest place on the earth, unlike you, you - um. Are you all right? God, can you even breathe?" (Yes, that really happened. It wasn't a shining moment for my dignity. Also, please keep in mind that I was twenty-four at the time. And I couldn't talk, so Best Beloved had to reassure people that no, really, I was perfectly fine - not easy against a background of choking sobs - and then tow me out and keep me from bonking into random tourists, because I also couldn't see very well because of all the crying. Disney animators: destroying hearts, minds, and lives since the 1930s!)

Anyway. My point is: I love this story so much that I just deal with the whole animal unhappiness. Because this story is incredible. I have an unhealthy love for science fiction anyway, and this is like a tribute to certain SF classics (which I am not saying, because remember how I am not spoiling this?) and the most perfect dS AU ever. The casting is - oh, it is so perfect that I get light-headed from glee just thinking about it. (You can tell because of all the italics. I get crazy with the emphasis when I'm gleeful.) I - I kind of want a dS v 2.0 TV show, based on this premise, because I tell you and I tell you true: the only thing better than a sexual-tension laden buddy cop show filled with magical realism and Diefenbaker is that same show in a classic SF setting.

Oh, I can't even begin to communicate the perfection of this story. Or, okay, I could, but I'd end up spoiling it. Which I am not going to do. Just - just read it, okay? Please. Otherwise I'll be forced to keep babbling, and since I can't talk about the story (which is oh my god so perfect), I'd end up talking about other cruel things Disney animators have done to me and mine. You don't want to hear about how my father (yes, it's genetic) and I both cried all the way through dinner on my 16th birthday, alarming waitstaff and fellow diners and forcing my mother and sister to come up with topics of conversation that didn't revolve around the two freaks weeping into their linguine across the table. (The restaurant manager refused to charge us for our meals, even though my father tried to explain that it wasn't the food that was the problem.) Neither do you want to hear about my first and only childhood moving-going experience. Really you don't. So just read this story, okay?

ETA: The day I after I posted this recommendation, Salieri posted an extended version of this: Real Boys (A Chip off the Old Blog), due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. It is all of the awesomeness described above times about fifteen.

The One That Will Heal the Wounds Left on Your Soul by Long, Stilted Sentences. And Classic Fiction. Seriously, This Is the Anodyne for 90% of English Class Related Scarring. Jane Narf, by Parhelion, aka [livejournal.com profile] parhelion_aloft.** Pinky and the Brain, and the pairing is - Pinky/Brain, maybe? Assuming Jane Narf is Pinky? I don't know. I'm a little shaky on this, as I have never seen or even heard of the canon. (I'm just assuming this is an AU, actually; I don't know for sure. If the canon is really like this, oh my god someone please tell me, because I will immediately procure it even if I have to commit illegal acts to do so.)

So. I don't know Pinky and the Brain. But I do know Jane Eyre, and let me tell you, reading it was an unfortunate experience. I was 8 or 9, and as far as I was concerned, the book started well. Orphans! Injustice! Picturesque diseases! All it needed was a magic amulet or something, and it would have been on the road to greatness. And then it deteriorated into this long story about exceedingly boring old people who, in my 8-or-9-year-old opinion, were pathetic: they spent long periods of time whining and then deliberately making life worse for themselves, apparently so they could have more to whine about. I just could not believe how stupid they were. I kept reading only because of my sincere conviction that sooner or later the magic would turn up. I finished with a feeling of great betrayal: where was the magic? Stupidity was not okay without magic!

Well, as it turns out, the magic is here, in this story. Clearly, Pinky and the Brain is the secret ingredient that makes Jane Eyre magical and right, at long long last. Well, okay, the actual equation would probably look more like this: Parhelion(Jane Eyre + Pinky and the Brain) = awesomeness of a previously undiscovered caliber. Because, obviously, it took a mind of great genius to produce this work. It is - god. The voice, the tone, the sheer joy this brought me. I cannot begin to describe it.

I will say, though, that this story healed me. I've been carrying around resentment about Jane Eyre since, well, I was 8 or 9. No longer. Now it is and forever will be a wonderful story - a classic work about a young lab rat and her forbidden romance with the mysterious Mr. Brainchester. And it will remain forever on my list of Things That Bring Me Great Joy.

Narf.

The One in Which We Learn That We Must Throw off the Shackles of Superstition, for It Can Stand in the Way of Orgasms. String Theory, a Concerto for Violin in D Minor, by [livejournal.com profile] toft_froggy. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

I have a great fondness for the alternate occupation AU. If there's a story where Beecher is a bartender and Chris Keller is the bar's bouncer, I will read it with pleasure, even though there are well-documented problems with taking Beecher and Keller out of a prison setting. Same with, for example, a story about Ray Kowalski and Benton Fraser, zoo employees - I will read that one and likely chortle with delight as I'm doing so. And if you make Batman a ship's captain running down the Dread Pirate Joker, I will not only read it but likely die of unbounded fannish glee in the process.

SGA gives me an unusually high dose (even dangerously high, but that's fine: my tolerance is astonishing) of this kind of happiness, because the characters fit anywhere. Seriously. I'm not sure why, but it's tough to think of alternate occupations you couldn't give the SGA crew. (It's just like - I have this game I play with Best Beloved: name a movie, and I'll recast it with SGA characters. Classic romance is especially good for this, but almost anything works. The Matrix! Master and Commander! The Godfather! Pride and Prejudice! No, wait, I think someone already wrote that last one.)

So, here we have Rodney McKay the brilliant composer and conductor and John Sheppard the fuckup violinist. And I just - I have such love for this, because it works. These are recognizably our Friends of Pegasus even as they slot perfectly into the orchestra AU roles. (And Ronon is a percussionist. I was a percussionist once, so I practically collapsed at my keyboard when I read that. Seriously, Ronon was born to play percussion.)

And it's just - it works. It's wonderful, and it's fun, and it makes my heart turn cartwheels from happiness. What more can I say?

The One That Made Me Like a Creepy Talking Monkey. And I Loathe Monkeys, People; As Far As I'm Concerned, Hell Is Talking Monkeys.* Home Is Where the Heart Is, by Martha Wilson, aka [livejournal.com profile] ltlj, and Kimberley Rector, aka [livejournal.com profile] researchgrrrl. Hercules: the Legendary Journeys, gen. Ish. (It's hard to say with Hercules, unless someone's cock is in someone else's mouth, because if you're writing in line with the canon, it feels slashy even when it's totally gen.)

Okay. So. You don't know Hercules? I don't care. You can read this as original fiction - it's that good, and that original, and that much fun. Here's what you need to know: there's this guy named Hercules, who you may already have heard of in other contexts. He's a demigod, in case you didn't know. His friend and long-time companion Iolaus died, and he tried to find another one, but it didn't work out. There. Now you're ready to read this.

And read it you should, because - oh my god, this is so good. The Egyptian elements made my heart leap with joy. (People with heart conditions that preclude leaping should consult their doctors before reading this story.) I can't even talk about how wonderful this is, and partly that's because I don't want to spoil it, but also because I get incoherent and babble-ish, and this soon after my re-reading of Jane Narf, that could be dangerous.

And if you do know Hercules? Well, you may remember a spot of unpleasantness that those in the know call "the fifth season." This fixes that. It's an AU that doesn't just erase the whole whatever-it-was that ended up with Iolaus dead and replaced by WTF-that's-not-Iolaus (because, seriously, I don't know for sure what happened there - Best Beloved stopped watching Hercules after season four, thanks to some advice I got from [livejournal.com profile] marycrawford, who is my Hercules consultant). It takes those events, accepts them, and then somehow makes them all better, in a way that is both brilliant and perfectly in line with the canon. And is also full of Egyptian mythology. Did I mention that?

(By the way, if you read this story and think, "I want more Egyptian mythology influenced fantasy. But, by god, this time I want it with time travel and Lord Byron," let me know. I'll have an original fiction recommendation for you.)

-Footnote-

* Yes. Ironic, isn't it?

** Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] mutecornett!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have a fan fiction set nearly ready to go, but I'm hoping I'll, um, develop the ability to be coherent before I actually post it. (Sleep would help. A lot.) So I asked myself what I could do in my current state of incoherence (hints: nothing involving heavy machinery, sharp implements, explosives, or complete sentences), and it came to me in a flash: I could practice what I preached.

See, two weeks ago, I was whining at all y'all to recommend some vids. To my incredible delight, a lot of you did. (And if you did and I haven't remarked upon it yet, I probably missed it; see, the thing is, I do my comments before I read my friends list, so I spent the entire week of that post insanely behind on the ol' list. I missed a lot. So I would be eternally grateful if you would drop me a link and let me know where I can behold you in your glorious recommending plumage.)

Anyway. You recommended vids. Seems like I should do the same. So, without further ado, I present to you: Vids That Make Me Smile (or, in Some Cases, Shriek with Laughter).

Boy in the Bubble, by [livejournal.com profile] jmtorres. Star Wars (original trilogy).

This vid made me stupidly happy. I just need to say that right up front, so that you know that I am biased.

And, you know, I didn't think it would. When I recognized the source and the song (I download in a way that makes it difficult for me to associate filenames with content; I love spoilers for anything, except, for some reason, vids, which I want to come to with as few preconceptions as possible.), I started making the Face of Vid-Watching Uncertainty. You know what I mean. It's the same face people make the first time they taste goat cheese. Because, see, in the first few seconds of the vid, the song seemed all wrong and I had no idea where the vid was going. And, you know, I'm already regretting the goat cheese analogy, but I just have to say - like goat cheese, this vid turned out to be an unanticipated comfort food. (Wow. Now I'm really regretting the goat cheese analogy. Memo to me: in the future, avoid dairy-based metaphors in vid recommendations posts. Further memo to me: explore the use of dairy-based metaphors in other settings, but with caution. Don't go charging headlong into, for example, an explanation of the Dewey decimal system via butter making.)

So. There I was, being suspicious and wary. And then I got to one specific line, and my heart clenched, and I was just swamped with this wave of nostalgia, this incredibly intense memory of the uncomplicated love I once had for Star Wars. (The love lasted all the way up until the first half-hour of The Phantom Menace, which was not one of the happier movie-going experiences of my life, let me tell you. And not just, or even mostly, because I was attending with someone who had taken a lot of codeine and could thus be happily entertained by pretty lights, or by dust motes, or even by romantic dialog written by George Lucas.)

This vid brought that old love back to me, let me re-experience it for three minutes, and is a gift beyond price. I can't comment on the technical side of this, or the beauty of the cuts, or anything else at all, because I watched this not as a vidfan but as just a plain old fan.

This is highly recommended for people who loved the original trilogy. And for people who buy DVD sets of TV shows they watched in their youth. And for anyone whose life has been, of late, maybe a little lacking in miracle and wonder.

After Rain, by [livejournal.com profile] gwyn_r. Band of Brothers. Pairing? Um, maybe; you could read this as slash (which is, yes, totally my choice; I take pride in my predictability) or as gen. In either case, I have no idea who these guys are. (ETA: [livejournal.com profile] deepsix tells me they are Nixon and Winters. In which case, Nixon/Winters is totally my new OTP.)

So. Realistic war fandom with which I am completely unfamiliar. (For the very good reason that realistic war sequences - if I can even understand them - generally make me want to retire to my room. Or resign my membership in the human race. In either case - well, let's put it this way: I watched Saving Private Ryan, yes, but I'm not sure I actually managed to see anything at all after those first however many eternal minutes they were.) And a pairing (or maybe a friendship) that I'm totally not invested in, to the degree that I've never even heard of it. This is a sure-fire recipe for a truly happy-making vid, yes?

No, actually. (I know, you're shocked.) Except it so totally is. This vid makes me happy because - okay. If I ever did a list of Things Fandom Taught Me About Myself, the first thing on that list would have to be the extremely unexpected and totally unwelcome news that I am a closet optimist.

See, for years I thought I was a pessimist, because I made contingency plans and anticipated worst-case scenarios and just generally planned for the universe to fuck my shit up. But it turns out that under that carefully cultivated layer of caution and low expectations, I - I believe in happy endings.

I'm sorry. I know this makes me the most naive person on the planet. I can't help it. My brain understands that it doesn't work that way, but my subconscious is just not having any of the brain's pseudo-intellectual bullshit; it believes that things will end happily.

I first saw "After Rain" at a bad, hard time in my life - two months almost to the day after my father died. I missed him horribly and just couldn't believe that the world could work that way; I was still waiting for the happy ending and starting to be afraid that it wouldn't come. But this vid - it basically was the happy ending. Because it says what I had already hoped was true but really, really needed to hear right then: that things will be good again, that no matter how bad things are, all you have to do is survive and eventually happiness will take care of itself.

The thing is, I've watched this enough to see a lot of what Gwyn did with this vid - the contrast in tones and colors, the gorgeous use of each part of the song, the subtle effects that carry even a totally clueless viewer through distinct switches in time and place. And I appreciate it, just as I appreciate all the slashy adorableness and lovely uniforms. But this will always be, for me, the vid that said that the bad doesn't eliminate the potential for good, and that good times come to all of us in the end.

Goody Two Shoes, by [livejournal.com profile] pipsqueaky and [livejournal.com profile] laurashapiro. Due South. Fraser and his Rays.

I made a lot of truly undignified noises when I first watched this, including several outright shrieks of laughter. Because, seriously, has there ever been a better song choice for Fraser than "Goody Two Shoes"? Has there ever been less subtle innuendo?

(Answers, in order: No and no. I can think of some equally unsubtle innuendo, like the clip I saw on YouTube a few weeks ago of the one reporter guy eating a banana, but to get any less subtle, there would have to be explicit sexual acts. That would of course be fine with me- Totally fine! Amazingly fine! Redefining fine by reaching entirely new levels of fineness! - but would kind of take it out of the category of "innuendo." Also, this song is so clearly perfect that I actually squealed with joy when the first shot showed what were, unmistakably, Fraser's boots. Now do you see why I like to watch vids unspoiled? It's so that I can think, "Hmmm. 'Goody Two Shoes.' If I'm lucky, it's about Angel; if I'm unlucky, it's about Lana Lang. Ooo, nice title sequence! And - OMG FRASER'S BOOTS EEEEE YES!")

The unwritten subtitle of this vid is, "Come on down to due South and play with our Mountie, who is pure fun in boots." Or, okay, that's not actually the subtitle, but in my head it is, because this vid is three minutes of Fraser demonstrating his fixation on heights, licking, and Rays.

And, okay. Every fandom has its frequently used clips, and I tend to keep a list of those in my head, along with vids that I have awarded various totally imaginary prizes to for the most effective use of those clips. This vid wins two such prizes. (Which is impressive, considering it mostly does not use the really popular clips.) First, for the best use ever of buddy breathing, in that I can actually, for once in my life, see what's going on. Usually it just looks like a fishtank. With bubbles. In the dark. And, second, for the final shot, which - okay. Maybe it's just me, but in this context it suddenly became very, very obvious to me that what Fraser is thinking in that shot is: "Yay! Threesome!"

Atlantis!, by [livejournal.com profile] sherrold and [livejournal.com profile] wickedwords. Stargate: Atlantis.

(Note: this vid was made for the Vividcon remix challenge, and was inspired by [livejournal.com profile] astolat and [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza's Rumble, which - well. If you haven't seen it, I don't know how you find the strength to carry on.)

When I was making up this set, says I to myself, says I, "Everyone has seen Atlantis!, surely. There is no point in recommending Atlantis!" And then I remembered that I myself was arguing against that sort of reasoning just two weeks ago. So I did my best to think of the fangirls. Specifically, I thought of a (hypothetical) fangirl who has not seen this vid. And, you know, I can pretty clearly picture her in my head. She's probably feeling a strong urge to lie down with a cold cloth, a Victorian hair ring, and the complete works of Thomas Hardy. (Or, if she's really tragic, Ethan Frome. But I have to hope no one would let it get that far.) She probably weeps, but knows not why she is so emo.

It's because this vid is missing from her life.

And I can relate, because this vid is an example of something that has been missing from my life for rather a long time. See, I am a frequent visitor to anime music video land. (To get there, just take a left at the sign of the one half pandaman, turn another 40 degrees when you see the giant robot, and head straight on toward the totally androgynous boys who hold each others' hands a lot for reasons never entirely made clear. Or, you know, you could just click this link.) And over there, they have a lot of humor vids that consist of many short song snippets. I love these; each snippet is a single joke and lasts precisely as long as it takes to get the joke. Then, before you're done laughing, BAM! and you cut to another joke. Some of the snippets maybe wouldn't even be funny on their own (and, anyway, watching a, like, 17-second vid is weird), but when they are put together and watched as a whole, it gets funnier and funnier until eventually, in the fullness of time, you reach the Linkin Park joke, at which point you are laughing so hard you are weeping into your keyboard. (And if you don't understand why Linkin Park jokes are funny, obviously you have not yet spent much time in anime music video land.)

So, when I saw this, I realized that, yes, this was a live-action snippet vid. And the fact that the snippets were all related just makes it even better. And - and - look. If I talk about this for one second more, I'm going to spoil you (assuming you live on the planet Jupiter and have thus not already been spoiled for it), so just go download, okay? It will take those naughty emo blues away, I promise you.
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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 fanfiction.net.) 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 del.icio.us (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 [livejournal.com 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)
In the past, I've gone into the concept of the Aliens Make Them Do It story - oh, have I ever - but aliens can't take full responsibility for all the sexing, you know. Even the most assiduously lascivious extra-terrestrial needs a break sometime. But never fear, because anything, properly applied, can get the characters into the appropriately compromising positions. So today I salute the creativity and thoughtfulness and downright old-fashioned gumption of those authors who move beyond mere aliens to embrace a world in which everything makes the characters have sex.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McKay, looking like someone who has just solved a challenging crossword puzzle: "You know, I thought something was different around here!"
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, see, here's the deal. I am the last person you should be trusting for vid recs. I deal with visual media pretty much by pretending it doesn't exist, because generally speaking it makes no sense to me. You know how most people come to fandom and fan fiction from TV shows? I came to TV shows from fan fiction, and the people who had to get me through Buffy, my first real TV watching experience (primarily Best Beloved and [livejournal.com profile] fanofall, who can still show you the scars), can relate to you that TFV/TV was an unnatural pairing right up there with Dementor/Wraith/Ringwraith. (Although. Hmmm. You know, actually, that's a way more natural pairing, in at least one sense.) It took me two and a half hours to get through the Buffy pilot. I still didn't understand it, mind you - I was just so exhausted that I no longer cared.

Seriously. TFV + TV = total disaster.

And yet I watch vids. They might be hard, but on the other hand they're only three minutes long, so I can watch them a whole bunch of times without bonding permanently to my couch. And they have songs, and they have themes, and just in general they are more approachable than the shows themselves. Which doesn't mean I'm good at watching them, mind you; just that I watch a lot of them. So, really, you might not want to take my advice.

We clear on that? Okay. Moving on.

In my recent poll, I asked all y'all to tell me what you love in fandom (and in my LJ). You were very helpful. To be specific, as of this writing, 372 of you were very helpful. (Given that this poll was posted on Christmas Eve, and that 200 people had answered it before the night was out, I have to ask: is it reassuring that so many people share my relative lack of a life? Or is it more concerning? Discuss.)

I was not expecting that many people to answer the poll. So at some point early on, I said to Best Beloved, "Hmmm. People want vid recs, do they? Hey, I know! I'll rec vids for fandoms that get at least 150 votes!" At the time, only two fandoms had that many votes, so that was, you know, a nice big number. It got to look like, um, a somewhat smaller number as the poll filled up, but I stand by my word.

Or I sort of stand by it. Some of the 150+ readers fandoms are vidless for the very good reason that they are books, which are notoriously hard to vid. Others are simply vidless because I haven't seen many for them. And I'm breaking the recs up into sets; otherwise this post would be long, and when I say long, I mean "an epic film by Peter Jackson" style long. It's amazing how many fandoms you people read. Yet more proof that you are fabulous.

So. On to part one. (This is not in any specific order, by the way.)

Jossverse


The Great Fannish Work of Absolute Love and Total Commitment. Scooby Road, by Luminosity, aka [livejournal.com profile] sockkpuppett.

Note: If that link doesn't work for you, try here. Right-click and save, please, and thanks to [livejournal.com profile] z_rayne for the mirror.

Availability: this one is gigantic, and it sucks bandwidth like a Sci Fi Channel original movie sucks, so it comes and goes on Luminosity's website. She's promised that it will be available from January 1, 2006 until, you know, the bandwidth situation starts looking dodgy. Get it while the getting's good; you won't regret downloading this one, no matter how long it takes you.

And if she ever opens up the orders for DVDs again? If you plan to get even one set of vids on DVD, make it this one. I cannot tell you how neat the package is (although in that respect - vidders are visual people, and so their DVD sets are almost always shiny and cool, which would have been less of a surprise to me if I was remotely visual) and how wonderful it is to see this TV-screen-sized.

Oh my god. How do you describe a project like this? How...just...see... Okay. What Luminosity did here, she vidded Buffy to Abbey Road. All of it. I have this on DVD, because I am just that cool (and yes, by certain definitions that is extremely cool, so don't even), and I've watched it bunches, and I have no shot at describing this. I haven't even managed to process it. It's an experience, not just entertainment. And I say this as a person who has seen roughly one season's worth of episodes of Buffy, spread out over the first three seasons. I don't know the context of most of the clips in here. And even so, I get snuffly near the end, and I'm pretty much awe-struck through the whole thing. (Except for Maxwell's Silver Hammer. I love that one. It makes me chortle. I am laughing through that vid.)

Scooby Road is intended to be presented as one piece, but you can watch each individual vid by itself. One of the most impressive things about this is that it is visually and tonally consistent, if that makes sense; it all works together and looks right together. But every vid is different, and every vid can stand alone. But, really, watch it all together if you can. It's just, the sweep of the thing, the scope of it - and, Jesus, I sound like I'm writing a freshman comp paper. Okay. Back to basics. You may think that all of Abbey Road is too much Beatles. You may think that all of Abbey Road is too much Buffy. You may think that this whole concept is completely insane. You are quite, quite wrong. This vid is riveting and stunning and maybe in the wrong hands it would be a grandiose mess, but my point is that it is very much in the right hands here. And there are advantages to watching something as long as this. Like, you know how, if you see more than about four Jossverse vids, there are certain shots you get very very tired of seeing? Well, you'll see some of those shots here. But only once or twice in 45 minutes, rather than once in 3. It's amazing how that brings meaning and effect back to those shots.

Seriously. I could talk about Scooby Road all day, but the bottom line is: this is something everyone who watches vids at all should see. I mean that. Download it now and watch it when you can. This is fucking masterwork.

I plan to have my copy bronzed.

Due South


The One That Hast Slain Me, and I Mean in the Most Emo Way Possible. (I Get Emo, for the Record. The Vid Is Totally Not.) Icebound Stream, by [livejournal.com profile] sisabet.

Availability: pretty much all the time.

Okay. Take a deep breath, Fraser lovers. Actually, no. Take a deep breath, everyone. Because this is Victoria and Fraser ripping each other to pieces, and I think after you see the vid you'll realize exactly how literal that is. Vidders generally don't use material from outside the source or sources in question, but, um, Sisabet does in this one, and I cannot imagine a better time, place, or application of non-canon footage.

So. Let's get the OMGWTFPOLARBEAR jokes out of the way right here, shall we? There are polar bears here. And they have never been less funny or more - you know, it's strange. I'm forbidden to watch most animal documentaries these days, but back in my high school years I watched many. (Burned out Biology teacher. Long story.) None of them ever conveyed the sheer brutality of predators the way the few polar bear clips in this vid do. And nothing has ever conveyed the sheer gorgeous cruelty of the Fraser/Victoria relationship the way this vid does. Even if you have never watched a minute of due South, even if you are one of those (really peculiar, but I love you anyway) people who said they were totally uninterested in this fandom in my poll, download this. I truly believe you can get everything you need to know about this relationship from this vid, even if you're starting from zero. And from a vid perspective, what Sisabet does here is intense and amazing and rare and just, you need to see this. There are frames I still can't see without flinching, and I mean that as a high compliment.

Of course, if you do know the fandom, you'll be bleeding a bit after you watch this. But, hey, I've got the poison and the cure, people.

The One That Takes the Naughty Emo Blues Away. Avalanche, by [livejournal.com profile] tiranog.

Availability: This vidder doesn't have a website. She will, however, upload it to YSI or MegaUpload at your request if you leave a comment on that entry. It's very much worth this extra step. Plus, trust me - after Icebound Stream, you are so going to need this vid.

Sometimes a vidder picks a song that is so absolutely perfect that I'm forced to make little squeaking noises while I'm watching. This is one of those vids, and I knew it would be as soon as I heard the line "Every since I met you, we've been tumbling towards destruction," because, well - I mean, Fraser and Kowalski have. It is pretty much their whole approach to life together. (And falling? This vid has more falling shots than I had realized were available in the canon. They, um. Spend a lot of time exploring the finer points of gravity.) And just as polar bears are the perfect metaphor for Victoria and Fraser, an avalanche is just right for Fraser and Kowalski. But it's the good kind of avalanche. This vid is happy without being sappy, which is nice, although in all honesty I have to admit that I'm, well, not entirely adverse to sappy in this fandom. (Shut up. I am in my happy place.) This vid - there's so many perfect lines and clips in here, and it fills me with joy, and I just. I love it. Some vids are wonderful because of how they unite lyrical and visual content, and this is definitely one such. (And, people? This song is vaguely country, I guess. Please do not rule it out on that basis, or rule any vid out based on song genre. There are great vids set to rap. There are great vids set to '70s power ballads. There are great vids set to country, and I would submit that this is one.)

Firefly


The Vid That Shows You How Much a Spaceship Really Costs. (Answer: More Than You Probably Want to Pay.) Hallelujah, by Bonibaru, aka [livejournal.com profile] boniblithe.

Availability: pretty much all the time.

Firefly is an unusually impenetrable fandom for me, at least when it comes to vids. See, I download vids for fandoms I wot not of all the time. If you post a vid for an obscure movie filmed in 1968 in a language I don't speak? One that has a single, 45-minute shot as the central portion of the movie, and is apparently about cheese making? I will download that vid. I will watch that vid, and if you mention the source in the credits (and, people, please - mention the source in the credits, because you obviously know who the cheesemaker - or any other character - is, but that knowledge is not automatically beamed into your viewers' brains), I will look it up in the IMDb and think deep thoughts about your vid. (And also about the kinds of drugs filmmakers were on in the '60s.) My point, though, is that the cheesemaking vid will probably be more accessible to me than your average Firefly vid, because you just. You really need to know the source to get these vids, and I really don't.)

But there are these very rare vids that come through loud and clear, unfamiliar source or no, and this is one. Hallelujah is an over-vidded song (to say the least; it probably is the only song with the distinction of being over-vidded in four different cover versions), and usually I cringe when I see it come up. But, here's the weird thing. In Boni's hands, the Most Confusing Fandom + the Most Over-Vidded Song = Brilliance of a High Order. I mean, I love Mal when I watch this vid. (Which, given that I had to look up his name just now, is rather impressive. Usually I need some kind of identifier before the true love takes hold.) I get his relationship with Serenity. I get this universe. I even get the story behind this episode. Because, see, this is an episode-based vid. An episode vid done right, in my opinion. Which means there's narrative, and there's character, and there's a purpose to this vid beyond just saying, "Hey! This is a great episode!" A large part of this purpose seems to be making me like Mal Reynolds no matter how much I totally don't want to, but you know what? I love this vid too much to care.

Stargate: Atlantis


The Vid That Makes It Clear That John Sheppard Needs Therapy in Bucketfuls. And Also That After Atlantis, He May Need More Help Than Any Amount of Therapy Can Provide. Requiem, by [livejournal.com profile] barkley.

Availability: this is a password-protected site; the username is hiro and the password is protagonist. (I have her permission to put that in here, people! I am not being rude!) The vid should be available all the time.

and

The Vid That Made Me Love a Character I Loathe. And That Is So Good That I Didn't Even Resent It. Welcome Home, by Kanzeyori, aka [livejournal.com profile] permetaform.

Availability: pretty much all the time.

I have to rec these two vids together, because in my mind they are indelibly linked. Don't get me wrong, they stand perfectly on their own, but - well, let me put it this way. I watched all these vids a number of times while I was writing this post, and watching Requiem and Welcome Home together inspired me to write some very bad FF about how Elizabeth and John differ, and about who they are and what they bring to Atlantis. Because that's the point of these two; Requiem is John's Atlantis and Welcome Home is Elizabeth's.

From a - I don't know, can I say "from a technical perspective" when I have not the first clue about vid-making? Hmmm. I vote yes. Yes, I can. And you are all welcome to mock me for so doing. So. From a technical perspective, what I adore about Requiem is the way Barkley used movement. Describing vids in words is just about impossible (at minimum, you need wavy hand gestures), but - watch the way the movement within each clip is designed to a) match the music and b) carry you through the vid. Watch how Barkley controls what your eyes do. It's just, wow. Really amazing, people. And also very helpful for those of us who would, left to our own devices, always put our eyes in exactly the wrong place in any given frame. (Many's the vid I've spent staring at someone's nostrils or some random patch of sky directly behind the subject of the vid. Really. If the vidder doesn't make me look at the place she wants me to, I will focus on the wrong thing.) And from the perspective of simple humble watcher of vids, I adore the narrative and tone of this vid, both of which are absolutely right for John's first year in Atlantis. Also, the ending is just - wow. Really quite the killer, and I mean that entirely literally.

And, okay. I suspect that if I were a vidder, I'd be a beat whore. So my technical love with Welcome Home is how it appeals to my retarded inner beat whore. Because of the retardedness, I can't explain to you why acknowledgment of the beat is so important to me, but it is. It's something to do with the way the music is supposed to take me through the stuff I'm seeing; beats suggest Something Happening Here to my hindbrain, and I look for what is happening on the screen. If nothing is happening? Or, in the worst-case scenario, if sometimes something is happening and sometimes nothing is? I can't figure out what I'm supposed to be seeing, and it makes me cranky. So a vid like this one, where the musical punctuation matches the visual punctuation so perfectly, is not just a thing of beauty; it's an inherently more enjoyable and understandable vid. And, frankly, I need all the help I can get in the understanding department. There's a narrative in this vid, too - it tells a story about Elizabeth, about who she is in Atlantis and what she does. (I'm trying to avoid spoilers for people who haven't seen Season 1. But if you have, you'll recognize the story pretty much instantly.) For me, this vid shows the Elizabeth I always hope to see in the canon and never do; I love that Kanzeyori managed to carve the canon to expose the good Elizabeth lurking inside it. And if that sometimes makes me want to sulk and kick the SGA writers for screwing up so much, well, it's small price to pay, frankly. If you love Elizabeth, download this. And if you hate her, definitely download it.

Still to come, assuming I live so long: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, X-Men Movieverse, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Sentinel, Smallville, Star Trek, and Stargate SG-1. Plus anything else I have vids for that tips the 150 mark before I finish posting these. It's going to be a very vid-intensive time, in other words, but I promise there will also be fan fiction. I have enough obsession for two fannish pursuits! At least! And possibly also enough time! We shall see.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, first, a cry for help. A long time ago, some kind person emailed me a list of body swap stories, including "Being Benton Fraser" and a Farscape story with John in Aeryn's body and Aeryn in Rygel's body (possibly based on an episode). Not too long after, that email account did a spectacular flame-out, the kind fandom can only dream of emulating, and took down with it all my neatly-stored emails of that kind. I'm hoping someone out there can help me find a) the Farscape story - there was a root vegetable involved, as I recall - and b) the person who sent me the recs. I've been looking forever, and I officially give up. Anyone? Help? Please?

Second thing, of course, is my list of stories for you. I'd like you to join me today for a Very Special Edition of the Slashy Awards. See, I've been sensing some malaise out there, some disaffection with the world in general. [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie was particularly plaintive in her cry to be on vacation this week, and I'm getting the sense that a lot of my friends list would also like to be anywhere but where they are. Of course, I can't really help you. I mean, I can't send y'all to Fiji for the fresh mango juice and the friendly goldfish. But I can remind you of fan fiction where the characters do that. So if "shipwrecked and comatose" actually sounds like an excellent deal right about now, this set is for you.

See the Historic World's Largest Toenail in Buttfuck, Nebraska! Adventures in America's Heartland, by [livejournal.com profile] pearl_o. due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. You know, I love Fraser. I do. But I think we can all agree that he has the potential to be a somewhat challenging companion, particularly in certain kinds of activities. Like, for example, recreational travel. He absolutely would want to stop to read every historic marker on the entire freeway, when all real travelers know that what they all say is: "Something happened here. But you've never heard of it, and we have no intention of telling you about it in any kind of detail, because otherwise you might get some sleep instead of wondering about it all night. And don't even think about googling it; the motels out here don't have wireless, sucker." (I, um. I was betrayed in my youth by a few historic markers. Does it show?) Of course, Ray would not precisely be the world's most pleasant companion either. See, for both of them, it's about the journey; just, for Fraser, it's about the scenery he can take in, but for Ray it's about the vehicle he's traveling in. So I wouldn't advise you to leave home with these guys, but that's fine, because really we all want them to leave home together. And that, my friends - that is very entertaining indeed.

Experience the Glory of Nature and the Majesty of the Elements on an Unplanned and Unwelcome Sabbatical in Panama! Limbo, by [livejournal.com profile] julad. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. This came from the [livejournal.com profile] ts_ficathons challenge Getting a Sense for Cliches. The challenge stories are fascinating reading, in large part because a lot of writers who were in TS of old participated in the challenge for one last playdate with the boys. It was unexpectedly gripping (...definitely way better than historical markers) to see how style changes and other fandoms and time affected each author's voice and style, and it was even more gripping to see how their relationship with TS and Jim and Blair had changed. Everyone who has been writing a while should head back to a first fandom from time to time. For my entertainment, of course. (What, you thought I was going to tell you it'd make you a better person or something? Yeah. And would you trust me if I did promise that?) This story does a brilliant job of dealing with one of those little weak spots that are part of the ineffable charm of the TS canon, namely that Blair's final solution to the whole accidental-outing-of-Jim problem is not actually one that is going to work for very long. But not to worry; Jim and Blair are up to the job. This story shows us that we have nothing to fear except lawyers and pulpless orange juice. And that Jim and Blair belong together. Really, it makes me want to say something incredibly sentimental, and I would, but I'm afraid I'd sprain something, so no. Just - you know. Read this.

Decipher the Unimaginable Mysteries of the Local Cuisine and Culture in Rural Minnesota! The Empty Well, by Destina Fortunato, aka [livejournal.com profile] destina. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. Oh, how I love the SG1 team; they're wonderful together. And in this story, they're all very much in their accustomed roles: Jack catching fish, Teal'c efficiently dismembering the fish, Carter pondering the space-time implications of the fish, and Daniel refusing to eat the fish for moral reasons. And then they sustain numerous casualties during the course of a very dangerous children's game. (Very dangerous. I've played that game with the most competitive woman on the earth. It is a game that kills, people, and if there was any sense in the world the people who go on and on about video games would be working to ban this instead.) Seriously, I love these people to death. (And, you know, past it. Several times.) Just as good are Jack and Daniel by themselves, each decrypting heavily encoded messages in their own way. I love this story for the hope it gives me for SG1, including a happy ending in the face of nearly insurmountable odds, and I love it for one of my all-time favorite Jack and Daniel exchanges. (Daniel: "Think outside the box." Jack: "I like the box.") Really, just read this. You won't be sorry. And you won't have to catch any fish to do it, either.

Choose Your Companions Wisely for Your Whirlwind Just-the-Low-Spots Tour of Southern North America! Arizona, Puerto Vallarta, and Mexico City, by [livejournal.com profile] seperis. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. And, um. Don't be reading that last one if you like your endings happy, okay? Or, let me put it is this way - if you do read it, and it makes you sad, blame the author, not me. I can only rec what they give me, you know. (The eternal plight of the recommender, it just brings tears to your eyes. So very tragic.) But do read this. Why? Well, how's this: John is an assassin hired to kill Rodney McKay. And then there is sex. (See, and this is why I love the SGA fandom; I can think of several excellent and original stories with that basic plotline. Seriously, at some point soon I will able to assemble a set on almost any theme at all just from SGA. Not that I will. Just knowing that the possibility exists will be enough for me to die happy.) And now I'm kind of up a tree without a chainsaw here. I can either get detailed, which will be all spoil-y, or carry on with the non-specific encouraging praise, which, face it, if those were going to get you to read this, you would have already clicked away from this page, or go for the tragically over-specific praise. ("For a story with such a lot of stomach trouble in it, really, it's amazingly sexy!") I think the wisest option would be d: none of the above. Also known as: shutting up now.

Get Back to Nature, Commune with the Future, and Have Lots of Sex All Over the Great State of Maine! Dirigo, by Speranza, aka [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Dead Zone, Johnny Smith/Sarah Bannerman/Walt Bannerman. This is a brilliant story, and I think you'll appreciate how brilliant when I tell you I love it even though it took me more than a week to get through the first part. See, the first part, it's not the most comfortable part of the story. It's actually, for me, by far the least comfortable part. And normally authors suck you in and then make you tense, but Speranza pretty much just hits you with it from word one. Or, actually, you know what? It isn't her, really. It's me. Because, see, the dinner party that damn near killed me dead isn't nearly as excruciating as I thought it was going to be. It just took me a while to read the actual words; I was all night-before-school-starts anticipating of the very worst. It isn't as bad as all that. Just, you know, uncomfortable. But so very worth it; trust me here. Doesn't matter if you don't know the characters, doesn't matter if you don't know the show, doesn't matter if you don't like threesomes - read this. You won't be sorry. Although, in all fairness, I have to say that this is not a crew you should trust when they break out the good china; there's another dinner party in here that stopped my reading cold for much of a night. (I had to have a fight with myself. It went like this:

TFV's Paranoia: Oh, god, this has the potential for unbridled disaster. There is only one way this can possibly go, and if she isn't on that track, I'm doomed.
TFV's Confidence: Trust Speranza. She handled the other dinner pretty well, didn't she? You always get worked up over nothing. It'll be fine. Read.
TFV's Paranoia: But if she screws this up at all I will never be able to read her work again. That would be a very bad thing!

Fortunately, at that point my inner drill sergeant showed up and made the point that I was damned well going to finish the story and everyone knew it, so I should suck it up, goddammit. Which I did, and it turned out that everything went the way I needed it to go after all, so my angst was for entertainment purposes only.) But, again: worth it! Wonderful, and so very worth it! Just keep a few tension sheets on hand for the dinner parties, is my advice.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
First, let me say that I am not responsible for any insanity that creeps into this post. A bird is. Specifically, the bird that lives somewhere near our back yard and has a message to share with the world. And that message runs as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Footnote-

* I swear this will be the last fanfiction.net dig in this post. It's just - it's funny 'cause it's true! And also, I went there recently, and oh my god, people. You wouldn't believe what fangirls are Mary Sueing these days. It's like wall-to-wall Lady Raventroth of Butterfly-Kitten in there.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com profile] minnow1212. Stargate: Atlantis, gen. I believe I have spoken to you of [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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)
It's been - well, not a horrible day. One of those days that isn't bad enough for justifiable whining (not that this is going to stop me) and not good enough that you'd relive it, even if the only other alternative was reliving the day of the Halloween play in which you were an owl. ("Whooooooo" was how all your lines went. And you had a lot of them, because - in retrospect - you're pretty sure the schoolteacher who wrote the play put in a "Whooooooo" every time she couldn't think of another plot development. And given that the sole "development" of the entire two-act play was a Raggedy Ann doll - whose mother, by the way, should not have made her costume - coming alive and dancing, that was really damn often. Or did that not happen to you? Am I wrong in thinking that this is the kind of childhood experience we all have to go through? God, I hope not; I've dreamed of having a child pretty much solely for the day when I could see him stumbling around a stage in an owl suit he couldn't see out of because the head was made for someone bigger.)

But, anyway. Secret message to Mother Nature: God, I'm sorry, OK? Whatever I did, I'm so so so sorry, and I swear I'll start work to fix it just as soon as you a) tell me what I did and b) stop with the fucking pollen, because, seriously, I can't even match my socks when my allergies are this bad. I mean, I have bruises from walking into walls because my eyes were swollen shut. This is cruel and inhuman punishment, Mother N., but it's persuaded me. I will begin to do right by you just as soon as you quit it already.

And if you don't stop, little miss Nature Queen, I'm buying toxic chemicals in job lots. If you're going to kill me with allergies, I'm at least going to take out our ficus before I go. Ha.

Anyway. What with the allergies, I've been diverting all my available resources to coughing and Kleenex use and little pathetic moany noises, and so I haven't had a lot of time for, well, much of anything. Like cooking. And today is the day our produce comes. I have already eaten almost all the fruit on the grounds that it is - or rather was - the easiest food to prepare. (Sole survivor of the Fruit Gorge: a mysterious green and orange oval thing. I know it's a fruit, but beyond that, I've got nothing. Anyone have any suggestions? And let me just add here that anyone who thought Mother Nature was strictly on the side of the good - she made fruit that clashes with itself. No one tasteful would give counter space to a fruit like this.)

Of course, my fruit eating got me thinking about fan fiction, because everything does. (No, really, everything. After slash the slashers got posted, I had a dream about four of you who shall remain unnamed. You were exploring Atlantis. I need help, people.) Obviously, there aren't a lot of stories where the characters sneeze a lot and eat too much fruit - although, if you added enough whining about citrus, seems to me you could do something with Rodney McKay, there - but there are stories where characters eat. But, because they are characters, they do it with infinitely more style and a lot less whining. So, today: food. Without whine.

(For the record, I mean the stories will be whine-free. This entry? Whinalicious! Whineriffic! Whining with added extra why!)

Best FF That Proves That When You Enter Into the Right Long-Term Relationship, You Become Even More Yourself. Which, If You're a Sarcastic Con Man, Can't Be Anything but Very, Very Good. One More Cup of Coffee, by [livejournal.com profile] shrift. Ocean's 11, Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan. And I begin the way I mean to go on, with a happy story that features no angst of any kind. I can't handle angst and allergies, see. I have a delicate constitution. So here we have Danny and Rusty, the original feel-good couple (OK, they really aren't; maybe I meant "the original feel-up couple"? Or "the original felt couple"? Hmmm. Not sure.), doing research and making idle threats involving cosmetics. And eating. Eating lots of stuff. Which is good, given my basic belief is that any O11 story should be, at minimum, 25% eating, because that's about how much eating there was in the movie. (Not slashy, you say? Ha. I'll see your eye-fucking and no personal space and raise you an oral fixation that won't quit.) This story fulfills my need for Rusty to eat a lot of really inappropriate foodstuffs - and when I say inappropriate, I do not mean it pornily. (Oh, stop with the complaints, you babies. You don't need porn every minute, do you? Don't answer that.) I just mean he's eating stuff that the rest of us know for a fact is not food. (Seriously. I'm waiting patiently for the story in which Rusty eats Circus Peanuts, which are possibly the ultimate non-food "food" item. Nothing that is actually food is sproingy like that.) This story is short, fun-filled, and light. Perfect for the convalescent and the unwarrantably self-pitying. Any wonder I'm recommending it today?

Best FF That Proves That Reminds Us That, No Matter How Intrusive or Outright Crazy Our Parent or Parents Might Be, It Can Always Be Worse. Our Parent Could Be Lionel Luthor. That Fact Is Guaranteed to Make You Feel Not at All Better During Your Next Parental Visit!* The Milk and Cookies War, by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. Smallville, Lex Luthor/Clark Kent. (Let's get this out of the way right now: I waaaaaaaant cooooooookies. Waaaaaaant them. OK, no, really, I'm done with the whining now. Well. For a while.) So. Clark torments Lex. Did I need to say anything else to sell you on the story? I thought not. Because we all know that there's nothing more fun than Lex-torment, right? And I don't mean the kind that Lionel dishes out, no; I'm talking about the kind where Lex never once gets trapped or imprisoned or has anything worse happen to him than losing his train of thought. See? You're smiling already! Plus, it's fun to see Clark working his strengths so well. What farm boy from Kansas doesn't know the secret powers of food? (Some of you may wish to substitute "washboard abs" into that sentence.) Not Clark Kent, my friends; he knows his superpowers all too well. So well that when you're done with this story, you'll be singing an ancient song with a title I don't quite recall by an artist I can't quite recollect, and it will go like this: "Stop using food as a weapon/stop using food." (In the original, it was "sex as a weapon." And, hey, what do you know? That works here, too.) Plus, bonus: you will get to see Lex Luthor's true arch-nemesis. And you can just forget all that Rift crap, because it's prosciutto. Take that, Smallville writers!

Best FF That Proves That You Need Patience to Be a Therapist. Or to Eat with Dan Rydell. Or to Date Him. Anyone Who Tried All Three Would Likely Explode, So Isn't It Good That Casey's Not a Therapist? Four Conversations About Sandwiches, by [livejournal.com profile] starfishchick. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. I have an unhealthy but very pure love for the last segment of this story, which in my opinion proves that Abby is quite possibly the best therapist in all of visual fiction. I'm even willing to excuse her little ethical lapse at the beginning of her treatment of Dan, because - she's good! She gets Dan! And is nearly always mostly ethical! Plus, she can make him stop with the sandwich-related panic, which, face it, is quite a skill when you're dealing with second-season Danny. Bonus: this story is based on the very true fact that all office life revolves around food that can be delivered. I've worked in one, so I know this to be true. If you aren't searching through an enormous file-folder of menus for the one restaurant that a) everyone can agree on and b) will still be delivering when the negotiations are done, you're doing careful calculations to determine how much money you need to give the receptionist. Or you're listening to the lunatic from next door explain her new and brilliant system for ensuring that no one, no one will violate the sanctity of her leftovers. (Hint to office workers: give up. Say your goodbyes before your leftovers go in the communal fridge. No force on earth will keep people's hands off them until one o'clock tomorrow.) Hmmm. You think maybe this is why I don't work in an office anymore?

Best FF That Truly Defines the Phrase "Seller's Market," to the Point That It's a Whole Education in Basic Economics Packed into One Short, Fun Story. I Bet Those of You Who Actually Read Your Econ Textbooks Are Crying Right Now. Lifeblood, by [livejournal.com profile] misspamela. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. Tell me this, people who have watched the entire first season of SGA: was there an episode built around the inevitable coffee shortage? Because if not, there so should've been. I've spent enough time around the McKays and Zelenkas and Kavanaghs of this world to know that when the coffee stops flowing, they stop working. It's not even like they want to. Coffee just happens to be one of the fundamental elements of the hard sciences; without it, whiteboards don't work, computers don't compile, and every theorem proves only one point: we need more coffee. Coffeeless theoretical physicists can't do anything but whine (hands up everyone who isn't surprised that I'm descended from one!), coffeeless applied physicists can't do anything but create convoluted machines to steal the coffee from engineering, and coffeeless chemists spend all their time trying to refine caffeine and then distill it into a tasty hot beverage with four times the kick of espresso. (Note to the suddenly inspired: don't try. Two-word reason for you: Jolt Cola.) So I totally love this story, which proves that a) Sheppard was smart enough to see the coffee shortage coming, b) he's able to endure privation for the good of his team, and c) he's not noble enough to do that without getting...something in return. If I'm bitter that Miss Pamela has not written sequels to this explaining how much coffee Sheppard has and exactly what he gets for it, well, this story is so fun that I can only manage to be mildly bitter. Which, given my current level of Whine Alert (Puce: duck and cover), is extremely impressive.

Best FF That Proves That, Even Though Canadians Are Fine People in Many Respects, You Should Never Eat Anything They Invented.** Too Sweet, by Resonant, aka [livejournal.com profile] resonant8. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Did I...did I somehow not recommend this before? Because I don't have it marked in my database or in my set list, but...I feel like I've recommended it. And I definitely planned to recommend it. So today you get five stories, because if this one isn't a repeat, it should be. (Note: when I get done with all my tagging - on that distant and glorious day - we will never have this conversation again! Maybe! Although if the limit actually is 100 entries, we will, at least when it comes to due South!) I love this story. I love everything about it. Re-reading it today made me forget about both my orange and my troubles for a full half-hour, and, seriously, I can't imagine higher praise than that. If you've read this before, well, you'll be clicking on the link anyway, and if you haven't - read it. Or print it out and keep it by you against the time when you really, really need it, for that dark night full of coughing and unwelcome relatives and two inches of floodwater when only a solidly happy story can save you. Because there's Ray being absolutely Ray, right down to his reasons for marrying Stella, and Fraser baking, and horrible mutant Canadian not-cookies, and just...god, it's the perfect recipe. For...for happiness. No, really, I mean that. Hmmm. May have overdosed on decongestants, though. Better check that.

-Footnotes-

* This title is, yes, directed at a specific person. I'm assuming I don't need to name names. Remember, specific person: if your current mantra fails, switch to, "At least she's not Lionel Luthor. At least she's not Lionel Luthor." Again, it won't help, but at least you'll have an amusing Lionel MPreg mental image to help while away the hours.

** It is possible that Canadians in the reading audience may take offense at this or feel it is unjustified. I have one word for you people: poutine.***

*** But, seriously, I do love the more northerly residents of this fine continent. I do. I don't even hold the poutine thing against you, despite the scientifically-provable fact that my single experience with it (at the tender age of 11) was responsible for 30% of the therapy I needed in my teen years. Just...don't get creative in the kitchen, please. Stick to foods invented in Italy. I'm begging you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have a serious love of established-relationship stories, even in canons where that's maybe not the most obvious line for writers to take. (For example, I see nothing wrong with an established relationship between two people who never co-existed in the same time or space; early exposure to science fiction had something of a deleterious effect on my grasp of causality.) Don't get me wrong; I love first-time stories, too - well, obviously; I'm a fan fiction slut born and made - but after-the-happy-ending stories are peculiarly entrancing for me. Maybe it's because they have some direct relevance to my own life. I don't look for myself in stories, and I don't identify with any characters in 99.9% of them, but in established-relationship stories I do have something I can compare directly to my life; so much of it has been in the after-the-happily-ever-after part of it.

Plus, of course, I learn valuable tips from established-relationship FF. I doubt I will have much use, in my future life, for tips on coping with sudden penguin transformations and the gay relationships they lead to (although I didn't mind learning anyway, and, hey, knowledge is good), but I'm sure I can find a way to use themed food terror to improve my marriage.

Well. Except I'm not really sure modeling myself on Lex Luthor is a way to ensure a long and happy love life. Or, you know what? Just delete "love" from that last sentence.

Best FF That Teaches Us How to Improve Our Long-Term Relationships Via Strategic Menu-Planning and the Use of Food As a Weapon of Mass Psychological Destruction.* Meanwhile, Back in Metropolis, by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. I was three-quarters of the way through this story before I realized that it was in the second person. That is - I mean, seriously, that's amazing. I generally read second-person stories with a very jaded, snarky, oh you think you are so clever, Ms. Author Person, but let us see if you will drown in your own hubris now sort of attitude (no, really - mixed metaphor and evil-overlord chuckle and everything). This, obviously, is not conducive to loving the second-person story. But this one, this one sucked me in so fast I didn't even have time to wave for the lifeguard, never mind get my Fan Fiction Hauteur on. And no surprise, because this story is indescribably wonderful. It takes all the reasons that I can't ever have the Pure Fandom Love with Smallville and just erases them, replacing them with the jumbo family-sized package of fantastic dialog, humor, and green food. (Authors: now on sale at a store near you! Stock up! Why not see what amusingly green food can do for Jack O'Neill, or to Rodney McKay, or with Gollum, or near Angel?) This is the kind of FF you read blind, knowing nothing about the canon, and leave with a tiny voice in your mind shrieking "their love was meant to be" in embarrassingly high-pitched tones.

Best FF That Provides Important Clues to Why the Asgard Have to Reproduce by Cloning These Days. Far Afield, by [livejournal.com profile] destina. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. I have spent much time blithering on about the Great Looming Darkness in SG-1; if you're unlucky, you've heard me do it. Often in comments on someone else's post. (I do these blitz-type strikes on other people's posts, waxing highly philosophical about fandoms I don't know. It's a not-sleeping thing. If you see me doing this, tell me to go lie down, please.) Briefly, the Great Looming Darkness of SG-1 het and slash FF is this: the characters can have romance or they can have adventure. Not both. For it to be more than just sex, it has to be one thing or the other. So I love this story for not flinching from that fact. But I love it even more for showing us that you can face the cold hard facts of the SG-1 universe without loss or sadness or unhappy endings. (Actually, the adventure is what seems to mean loss and sadness for this crew; sometimes I think they only go to new places to bleed there.) Because this is, for me, essentially a picture of a good established relationship: they function, they plan, they travel extremely long distances to leave firmly-worded calls to action. (One of the major prerogatives and duties of long-term love – your loved one is the one who gets to tell you the hard truths, because he knows so much about you that he knows things you don’t. Yet. But you will, immediately after he says, "Um. You know that's...[ill-fitting/paranoid/a bad idea/wrong wrong wrong/flat-out crazy], right?")

Best FF That Proves That the Key to a Successful Long-Term Relationship Is Knowing When to Call for a Sitter, When to Hand Over a Lot of Chocolate, and When to Drive Very Very Fast. A Beautiful Lifetime Event, by Shallot, aka [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. OK. I really didn't want to recommend this one right now, because everyone else on earth has done everything in their power to get people to read it, including bribing, begging, and threatening with pointy weaponry. I figured if I waited a few months, at least I'd be getting a few new fans who might not have seen it yet. Because they were, like, from Mars. But, OK, I can't resist, and anyway I keep quoting this and Best Beloved has no idea what I'm talking about. So, fine. Anyway, there's always a chance that one of you has been waiting, on some ridiculous grounds. In which case I'm here to put a stop to that. (And no, I don't even want to hear it - "But I hate kidfic!" "But I hate John Sheppard!" "But I have no idea what SGA even is!" These are not acceptable excuses, people. The only excuses I'll accept for not reading this story are: 1) That you've been saving lives 24/7 ever since it was posted, 2) That you've been writing FF 24/7 since it was posted**, or 3) That you are in fact recently arrived from Mars***.) You don't need to know the canon to love this, but if you just can't bear the thought of reading it blind, you can go study this thread (aka "A Foolish Mortal Tries to Avoid SGA") first. But that's only good for a 24-hour reprieve, mind. So, what do I have to say about this story other than read now now now? Well, it's interesting, because it's kind of backwards: baby leads to marriage leads to love leads to sex. Which is not generally the formula for a successful relationship, no, but if anyone was going to manage, it'd be these guys; they're just looking for an excuse to marry, anyway, 'cause it's not like anyone else understands them. And I love that this gives this pairing the one thing it does not (yet) have: a sense of history, of depth, of more there than anyone else can understand. Which, of course, is exactly what a long-term relationship is. So, yes, it's a work of genius. And there will be a test on this.

Best FF That Teaches Us That in Every Long-Term Relationship There's a Time and Place to Be a Drama Queen, and There's a Time and Place to Let Things Go. Sometimes They're Even the Same Place. Dirty, by [livejournal.com profile] sprat. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Ray Vecchio. So. First, for those just joining us, you should know that Certain People do not read Ray/Ray, or indeed anything other than Kowalski/Fraser, and I respect their choice. (OK, honesty time, here in the parentheses where no one can see me. I actually only respect one person's reading choices, and only because that one person knows where I sleep. Otherwise, I'm pretty much the Jehovah's Witness of Fan Fiction: read read read read now now now or you'll never get me off your virtual doorstep. Listen closely on quiet nights and you'll probably hear me out there, saying, "Would you like a free connection to some really excellent Ocean's 11 slash? And can I tell you about the heaven that awaits you in the due South fandom?") So we have to have an alternate story for said People, or at any rate Person. But both stories always kick ass, and I heartily recommend both, and this is no exception. In fact, this is fucking brilliant, because it's the only good explanation I've yet seen for what I like to think of as the Dirty Vecchio Problem. And by "good," I mean "explains the canon without making Vecchio an asshole." I worship stories that manage to patch canon holes like this. (One of the strengths of the dS canon is how few repair stories it needs.) And I love all the details here, too - the way Ray copes with arguments, the bigger stories that are clearly lurking on the edges here, the rare sighting of the Viable Ray/Ray Long-Term Relationship. I just...I have love for this story. In egregious amounts. Now, can I speak to you about accepting gay porn into your heart?

-Or-

Best FF That Teaches Us That There Is a Time and a Season for Loving, and Also a Time and a Season for Moving to Canada. (Unless You're Ray and Fraser, in Which Case Every Season Is for Moving to Canada.) A Reverse Country Song, in D Minor, by [livejournal.com profile] lyra_sena. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. I paired this one with "Dirty" because they both involve fights. (Fights in which, actually, Ray Kowalski is kinda drama queeny. But, um, we love him anyway.) In long-term relationships, you fight. It's inevitable. And marriage counselors may tell you that active listening and communication and blah blah blah are the keys to a successful relationship, and they probably aren't wrong. But I personally believe that post-fight behavior is at least as critical to marital success as fight behavior. Seriously. The fight will end if you let it. Whatever comes next will matterway more. And, see, in FF we hear a lot about the fights that end with angst, and then angst, and then some extra angst when the poor abused party weeps in the rain for several hours. And we also hear about fights that never do end. And fights that last as long as Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency and then are resolved with a single kiss - plus, apparently, mind-wipes for all involved, since we never hear tell of the fight again. But we don't spend so much time reading about, you know, the stupid fights that end quickly. Or about people being legitimate grown-ups and just kind of dealing with problems. (The grown-up aspect of this is why it's a reverse country song, I suspect.) Which is why I love this story, 'cause, c'mon, they fight about beer and someone is a jerk but then, you know, he gets much-needed sleep and makes general and specific confessions of assholery and then they fix it.**** That is some seriously excellent post-fight behavior right there. (And they get bonus points for getting it all done before morning coffee.)

-Footnote-

* Of course, food can also be used to positive psychological effect, as anyone who has ever given chocolate to a seriously grouchy woman will attest. Well, if the woman is me, anyway. But we're talking about Lex Luthor, here, so naturally we're learning by negative example. (Lex: put on this planet to serve as a lesson to others. Well, except when we're talking about loyalty, because this is a guy who knows how to back up a friend.)

** I will require links, of course.

*** I will want photos. Also possibly a ride back.

**** Warning: the "moving to Canada as dispute resolution" tactic is not recommended in every instance. It gets cold up there, for one thing. Also, not everyone likes moose.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I love animals. Not in, you know, the way that means you need therapy; I just care about them and admire them. And, I'll be honest with you, I like them a whole lot more than people. There are lots of canons with animals, but not a lot of FF featuring them, and a lot of what there is doesn't meet my standards for goodness to animals. These do. Of course, given my preference for animals over people, the animals triumph in some of these. But what I say is, I don't want to be in a fandom if the characters can't be thoroughly trounced by, say, a single angry deer during mating season. Takes all the fun out of it.

Best FF That Proves That Drilling for Emergencies Is Pointless Unless You Include the Penguin-Related Ones. Mating Rituals, by Karen McFadyyon, and is she on LJ? And does anyone know if I'm capitalizing her name correctly? Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. And some penguins. You know how you'll be reading along, and some sentence hits you just right and suddenly you're laughing and laughing and oh god you're never going to be able to breathe again and you really wish you could say something reassuring to the loved one now looking at you with concern but it's just so fucking funny that you can't? This happens to me sometimes. A disproportionate number of times have something to do with animals. While reading Connie Willis's Bellwether, for example, I broke up over a vomiting sheep, to a degree that Best Beloved was threatening to call an ambulance by the midpoint of the laughing fit. And in this one, it was a biting penguin that got me. (OK. Technically, the penguin got Ford, but I was the one who got to laugh when Ford complained about it.) I almost dropped my laptop from joy. And here's the thing - after an experience like that, I don't look for more from FF. The author could've finished this story with a 3,000 word discussion of the avian cloaca and I'd still want to recommend it. But in this case? Not a worry, because fifteen minutes after the Penguins 2, Whole Rest of SGA 0 scene, when I could finally focus again, I discovered that this story brings the funny and the touching in really excellent amounts. Frankly, I'm sort of stunned anyone could sell a story with this one's premise, but Karen McFadyyon does so with style. And then there's the excellent use of points of view, and the rocks, and...just the whole thing. 'S wonderful.

Best FF That Proves That the Essays You Wrote When You Were a Teenager Can Come Back to Haunt You. Probably Be Better for Everyone Not to Write Any, Really. Unaccommodated Man, by [livejournal.com profile] kindkit. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Rupert Giles/Daniel "Oz" Osborne, and I've had to be corrected on Oz's name every time I've used it, so go ahead and correct me here, too. I'm resigned. I'm even looking forward to it. This story took me by surprise in an entirely different way than "Mating Rituals." I didn't know the author at all, and this is one of those pairings I normally only read when written by people I trust, because when it's done right it's so very right, but when it's wrong it is oh, god, kill me now awful. But I looked at the title, thought, "Lear? Is that you?" and four seconds later I was hooked. This is an AU from the episode "Phases," which I personally have never seen on account of my tragic allergy to the hair + teeth + cheese formula TV makeup artists use to make werewolves. But all you need to know is that Oz almost bit Giles in that one. So what if he had? Well, Giles would be a werewolf, too. What then? Turns out what comes next is wolf-on-wolf action witnessed by Wesley in his original ultraprat incarnation, and that should so be scarring, and it is so not. (Mostly because you never actually see it.) And then the inevitable non-wolfy aftermath. I'm not the biggest fan of long, painful morning-after conversations, but this is perfect and perfectly in character and filled with wonderful bits and just...yeah. Wow. Again. And, hey, "lycanthropy made us do it" is a brand-new excuse applicable to a number of fandoms; authors take note!

Best FF That Demonstrates the Life-Saving Powers of Kink. Acquire a New Kink Today; the Life You Save Could Be Your Own! Elvis Has Left the Building*, by Salieri, aka [livejournal.com profile] troyswann. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. So, it's a fair night, and SG-1 are in the great outdoors, gathered around a campfire, to listen to Shakespearean sonnets and Jaffa love poetry, and then retire - Daniel to his slumbers, Teal'c to his appointed rounds, Sam to her quiet solitary giggling, and Jack to his astronomy and boot porn. So very lovely and romantic, no? And then a moose shows up and it all goes to hell. We learn that the Atlantis team may routinely to lose to penguins, yes, but it takes a big moose (though that's probably redundant; in one whole college class, the only useful thing I found to put in my notes was "Moose - big motherfuckers") to defeat SG-1 and the whole SGC. Bonus features include Daniel's mysterious aversion to Swedish, a moose's equally mysterious love for Swedish, and Jack's not at all mysterious love for the moose. Not to mention Hammond's attempts to be dignified even though he's in charge of a top-secret installation that has been brought to its knees (and the edge of its sanity) by a one-moose army. You have to admire that.

Best FF That Proves That All of Life's Most Important Events Really Do Happen at Table. Even if the "Table" Is Actually a Tundra. The Company of Wolves, by [livejournal.com profile] viridian5. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Sort of. I'm normally uninterested in AUs of this kind - you know, the kind where the two characters meet in past lives - because they tend to veer so far from the actual canon and they're often out of character or improbable. This, though, is seriously in character, and even in canon, in a strange way; I mean, you can't be totally in line with the canon when you turn the two main characters into, you know, wolves. But still. Strangely right. This is, really, a perfect translation (into wolf) of the way Fraser and Kowalski met each other. (But it's condensed, of course, because wolves get things done more quickly. No, really. When was the last time you saw a wolf tooling around in a flaming Buick Riviera?) And also why the two of them need each other. Plus, wolves. This story is strangely comforting to me, one of those ones I read when I'm down. (Or when I've just watched a really grim dS vid. There are happy moments in the canon, people! I've actually seen them. But not, for the most part, in the vids, which tend to fabulous but somewhat grim.) But I do need to warn those of you who are sensitive to animal unhappiness that this is, if not 100% realistic, at least honest about the lives of wolves. I can handle it because that's how they are, and also because I know things will be all better soon, but I thought I'd best warn you just the same.

-Footnote-

* Salieri, if you're reading this - the version of this story on your website has a sizable chunk of text missing, starting just after "Major Carter didn't laugh right out loud." That's why I linked to the LJ post.
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 [livejournal.com profile] serialkarma and [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 it...works 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 [livejournal.com 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)
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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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!

-Or-

Best FF That Proves That Fate Hates People Who Make Bets They Think They Can't Lose. Competition, by [livejournal.com 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, [livejournal.com profile] oneminutemovies!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(For the record, Wordsworth is to blame for the title punctuation. I am innocent. Innocent, I tell you.)

Alternate universes. And I've said this before, but alternate universes come in many flavors, from body-snatch ("Wouldn't it be cool if Xander Harris looked like Justin Timberlake?") to eigenstate ("What if Two-Face's coin had come up heads?") to brand new suit ("What if Casey had stayed in gymnastics? And been really good at it?") to mutant hybrid ("So, if Beecher is Cathy and Keller is Heathcliff..."). I'm not a big fan of the body-snatch AU, but otherwise I'll read whatever is going. What's going today? Mutant hybrid, brand new clothes, and major eigenstate (only one thing happened differently, but it turned out to have a major local effect). In other words, just another ordinary day in fan fiction. FF, how I love thee!

Best FF That Will Give You a New Appreciation for Current European Monarchs. I Mean, You Think Prince Charles Has Funny Ears? Study in Emerald, by Neil Gaiman. Sherlock Holmes x H. P. Lovecraft, and I imagine the author would say it was gen. (It is, actually. But Gaiman does such a good job of recreating - or, well, re-doing - the Holmes canon that slash lurks in every corner and between every line, just waiting for someone to say its name and make it manifest. And then write a sex scene or two.) You need to know at least a smidgen about both fandoms to enjoy this. But if you do? Oh how you will enjoy it. I just can't give you specific reasons, because I can't say much about the story without spoiling it. So instead of persuading you with logic and incisive critique*, I'll have to go the whining, begging, pleading route: Read this! Even though it is not your fandom! (Unless of course SH x HPL is your fandom, in which case I have an anthology you'd like to read.) Even if it is gen! (Or, if you are a gen reader, even if it does have slashy overtones!) Because it is, well, really good! So good that I would even throw a second exclamation point into that last sentence, except that the shame would break me; I'd end up like Dimmesdale. (I.e., in a closet with a scourge. And Hester Prynne.). Or maybe like a Lovecraftian hero after he discovers - too late, too late - that research is the real most dangerous game. (I.e., gibbering in moderately purple prose.) My point is, you need to read this story right now, unless you don't know the canons, in which case you'll want to do some other reading first. (I suggest A Study in Scarlet and The Call of Cthulhu.) I may not be Lovecraft's biggest fan, but, seriously, this story is worth the effort.

Best FF That Will Make You Want to Eat Cake. A Decorated Cake. Or, OK, One Specific Decorated Cake. Or Maybe It's Just Me Who Wants That. Deke, by Rhi Marzano, aka [livejournal.com profile] rhiko. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. Two authors I love share a dS site (this one, in fact), and of the nine stories there, four are AUs. And these are good AUs, AUs I have long admired. So picking just one was, you know, challenging; I finally went with this because it's got hockey. And we all need more hockey AUs. I mean, OK, yes, dS has more hockey than your average fandom (Although why other fandoms don't have much is an unsolved mystery. Who doesn't want to see Ron Weasley play goalie? Or Bobby Drake as center-forward in what has to be his natural habitat? Or Beecher and Keller suddenly playing for the same team? (Hockey team.) I hear all of you chorusing, "We don't want to see that," but you are wrong. Every fandom needs hockey. Even ones that are, technically, set prior to the invention of the sport.) Also, I'm beginning to think that NHL hockey may survive only in fan fiction AUs, so I'm doing my part to encourage fangirls everywhere to get to know hockey. (And then come explain it to me, because I've never met a team sport I understood.) You say hockey is not enough to convince you? Give up now, kiddo, because I've got lots more reasons you should read this. Like, for example - Fraser is still the canonical Fraser. Blending an AU-type character and a canon(ish) character is not easy, but Rhi does it with great panache. And you like panache, don't you? Plus, I find myself actually liking Smithbauer in this one, which is like a miracle on the ice. Also, there's cake.

Best FF That Proves That Dysfunctional Romance Is the Basic Black Dress of Interpersonal Relationships. Force Draw, by [livejournal.com profile] actizera. Oz, Tobias Beecher/Christopher Keller. A good Oz AU is hard to find, man. I don't mean eigenstate AUs; I'm talking about ones that change the setting. Oz is maybe the most setting-dependent canon in existence, and taking the guys out of the cage changes way too much for it to work. I mean, you could write, say, a law firm AU (sadistic senior partner Schillinger, newly-minted sacrificial lawyer Beecher, hotshot trial guy O'Reily, Keller bribing juries and sucking cock to get - well, pretty much anything), but it'd be tough to preserve the characters, let alone the relationships between them. Oz is all about having no choice, all about being penned up with wild animals (and everyone is a wild animal in there; the only choice is predator or prey), and even though many of us would liken attorneys - the ones we don't love, obviously - to wild animals, it's just not the same without the walls and guards and locks. Beecher/Keller is a particularly tough pairing to sell in a changed-setting AU; it's just really hard to buy their relationship outside of prison. Which is, as you may have guessed, why I love this story. These guys are canon Beecher and Keller, and they have the same relationship; they just play pool instead of cards, and they screw in a truck rather than after lights out, but otherwise it's all the same, and it's believable, which is a miracle. You don't even need to know how the characters got to this point; this is a vignette, not an epic, so there's not a lot of background, but that totally works. For one thing, you pretty much know the background after you read this scene. All hail Actizera, who wrote the impossible AU. And who apparently gets Beecher and Keller on a scarily deep level.

Best FF That Supports Gerund Rights. Specifically, Gerund Rights to Appear in Titles. All We Are Saying Is Give Gerunds a Chance. Coming up for Air Series, by Delilah. The Sentinel, gen. First, the caveats: this series is a work in progress, and although each story stands alone fairly well, the last one ends on a cliffhanger. Also, some of the stories need to be beta-read - there's a lot of typo-type errors. But it is definitely worth reading. It's a fascinating extrapolation of the canon; the potential for all of this is present in the series but never explored (or, I suspect, even considered). The minor characters are extrapolated, too; Jim's family is very present, and as much more than just plot devices. Stephen, in particular, is an interesting and complete character here, and Sally gets a lot more time. Bonus: the mystical stuff makes sense. Normally I can only take so much supernatural-shaman-spirit guide blah before I'm ready to move on to something slightly more probable, like why Ron Weasley is really Dumbledore. In fact, I sometimes OD on the whole caboodle in the time it takes to read the words "black jaguar." In this series, though, it makes much more sense and works a lot better than in most stories. And this AU concept just feels right; it's believable in a way the canon sometimes isn't. And for the record, I don't find these stories sad. Oh, didn't I mention that in the warnings? Because, yeah. Everyone I've ever seen mention this series (which is, admittedly, not that many, even though it's a rather famous series) has described it as sad. Disturbing, even. But for once I don't agree, and given that I can tear up over video games and the death of characters who are, technically, cars, that's saying something. (Although I can't tell you whether it's something about the series or about me.) No one dies in this. Nothing that happens is worse or more upsetting than the canon. Jim is different, yes - his senses came fully and permanently on-line when he was six, and that changed him and the course of his life - but I don't see him as even remotely a tragic figure; he is damaged, both by the senses and by some aspects of his family, but that's true of canon Jim, too. To me, this Jim is, if anything, more comfortable and more secure than the one in the canon. But, well, others don't agree with me, so you are hereby warned: this might make you sad. (If it does, please say so in the comments. I'd like to know, and it will serve as a warning to others.)

-Footnote-

* I know. Like I ever do, right?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(For those of you who remember entry 100: there will also be a Slashiest Fandoms post coming up soon. But as it is now a) tragically large and in need of serious editing and b) evidence of an indecisive and possibly deranged mind, I thought I would forge ahead with the regular sets. It's too weird to get a number anyway.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Footnote-

* Louise is also, for the record, the same woman who induced in my Best Beloved a tragic and instantaneous addiction to a carmel-filled substance known as "Tunnocks," which was an act of much-appreciated cruelty, given that we can't get these things in Los Angeles. I mean, I liked them, yes, but for a while I thought Best Beloved was going to leave me for them. (Or, more likely, leave America for them, taking me along because I am cute and fairly handy around the house. Plus, I speak rudimentary British.) So curse those wily Glaswegians and their addicting sweetstuffs! But love on Louise. I'm pretty sure she keeps Aziraphale in her basement.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
You know, there are happy families, even in our fandoms. And there's happy family-related FF, too. But here I've elected to go with stories that feel real (which is pretty remarkable, given the predominance of aliens and undead and former queens of closet-based kingdoms in the story below). So these are brilliant stories, but some of them are slightly, you know, depressing. Not a lot! Really! No SSRIs required! Just - consider that the National Fan Fiction Tracking Service has issued a mild (really! mild!) Bummer Warning and expects it to be in effect for the next four recs.

I promise that the next set will feature mostly uplifting and cheerful stories, and also possibly some exceptionally perky baby vomit. (And now I never want to hear you complain that I don't give you things to look forward to.) I also promise that these are stunningly good stories that will repay reading even if you don't know the basics of their fandoms. (Except the third one, but everyone knows the basis of that fandom.)

Best FF That Proves That It's Basically Impossible to Make Small Talk with Daniel Jackson. Although, If You Ever Meet Him, I Still Suggest You Try; It's Bound to Be Entertaining. Almost a Statesman: Teal'c and the Jaffa of the Alpha Site, 2003-2004, by [livejournal.com profile] katie_m. Stargate SG-1, gen. This story is just - just amazing. Because, OK, I've hardly ever even found a story in Teal'c's voice, and the ones I do find are often so not right that even I can tell. (Which, given that for all I know Teal'c could talk like Shirley Temple on helium, means those things are pretty damn far out of character.) So a story that's narrated by, no, written by Teal'c's son? Brilliant or disastrous. There's no middle ground. So we're all very lucky that Katie M. has "brilliant" in her box of writing tools. (I'm guessing she keeps it somewhere between the nifty clicky eraser shaped like a pen and the cuneiform stylus - and, yes, I do plan to steal her writing toolbox if I ever get the chance.) But this story doesn't just have a fantastic Rya'c voice and a fantastic alternate future; it has a whole bunch of other wonderful aspects that are, frankly, going to make us all really tired of synonyms for 'fantastic' before we're done. (Hence my need to engage in toolbox theft.) Because, see, there's Teal'c, who in a lot of FF is more of a "This Spot Reserved for the Jaffa" placard than a character, but who is real and human here. And there's the rebel Jaffa culture, which is just fascinating. And there's Rya'c, who proves that certain things are definitely inherited. Most of all, though, there's a look at what it means to be both ahead of your time and the catalyst of change - in other words, different. I'm guessing you don't have a lot of personal experience with Goa'uld symbiotes and staff weapons, but you can probably key in to 'different' pretty well. I mean, you must be fairly different, right? You're reading a LJ devoted to media smut. And you're seriously considering reading gen. (Do it! You won't regret it!) That, yes, makes you a bit different. But not as much as Teal'c is. And because of the bummer warning up above, I have to point out that Teal'c, in this story, seems fairly happy to be the odd Jaffa out, and happy with his life in general. Possibly eighty years of slavery to a false god improves your perspective on certain aspects of life, which is something to keep in mind as conversation fodder for the next time you sit next to a really whiny chatterbox on an airplane. Plus, hey, Teal'c's got SG-1. And the false god is probably sorry he (Teal'c) was ever born. So, really, his life does not suck, and this story shows that, too.

Best FF That Will Make Your Family, No Matter How Dysfunctional and Non-Traditional and Humiliating to Visit Malls with, Look Staid and Nuclear by Comparison. Involuntary Bodies, by Anna S., aka [livejournal.com profile] eliade. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander Harris. I freely admit that this story is probably a lot cleverer and sleeker and more intricate than I could possibly know or appreciate, because it's probably an AU based on some specific episode or season or something that I haven't seen. But you know what? I appreciate this story a hell of a lot as it is. It's just - wow. Amazing, and I submit myself as evidence that you don't need to know anything (about, well, anything) to know that. This is set somewhere in the last three seasons of the show (as it features Dawn). And it's about life in Sunnydale after you subtract Buffy, Angel, Willow, and Giles (none of whom dies, for the record). What's left? Well, either the leftovers and the unwanted, as Xander thinks, or the heart and soul of the group, which is pretty much what this story proves, as they're sort of smushed into the world's least likely family. Because, hey, even if your parental figures are undead, robotic, or Xander, love is what makes a family. Or, no, wait - actually it's love and commitment. (First and foremost, commitment to not getting all above yourself. Or glowy.) And, yikes. I just wrote sentimental prose worthy of an off-brand greeting card and I don't even have it in me to be sorry. That's how amazingly good this story is; it leaves me sub-Hallmarkian and without a hint of shame. The author says in her notes that this could have been twice as long, and oh how I wish it was. This is one of those rare pieces of FF that leaves me wanting a whole series of novel-length stories, and even then I don't think I'd be satisfied. So, really, how can the greeting-card thing matter much? And, hey, silver lining: perhaps I can get a job at Hallmark. I think I'd be very good at producing schlock to commemorate events unique to modern lifestyles. Bonus: this is actually a damned happy story. Happy ending and everything. So read this, because, well, you might need it.

Best FF That Inspired Me to Write a Story Summary That Is Basically a Compressed and Not Even Remotely Funny Rant. I Therefore Advise Everyone to Go Directly to the Story, Which Is Excellent. And Totally Free of Suicide, I Promise. Growing Up, by [livejournal.com profile] sheldrake. The Chronicles of Narnia, gen. Someday I am going to write a list of a hundred (or so) things fandom has done for me, and somewhere in the top twenty will be this entry: "Turned my lingering discomfort with certain aspects of Narnia and my dismayed sense of betrayal at the ending of the series into a seething festering spewing ranting hatred of C. S. Lewis who I hope to god is even now coming face-to-face with his characters in Writer's Hell." And if you think that's strongly worded, well, you just haven't read the right FF yet; I'm sure I can get you all ranty and hostile with just five well-chosen recs. Possibly less. Probably less. Those who were traumatized by the last one will be pleased to note that this story involves no death of any kind - oh, well, except the deaths which happened in the canon, which as we all know involved every human character except one. And the funny part is that Lewis makes that character's survival sound like a bad thing. Yes, thank you, Professor; you managed to convince at least four generations of little girls that growing up was evil and lipstick and dating were unforgivable sins. Why this man isn't the subject of at least as many women's studies dissertations as Barbie I will never know. (Note, because this entry sounds so vituperative as to verge on insanity: I actually still quite like some of Lewis's writing for adults, and even certain of the Narnia books. I just think the warping of children via entertaining literature should've been left in the hands of Roald Dahl, who was seriously twisted, yes, but also kinky, which helps quite a lot.) We should all just be grateful that there's FF to make it up to the characters somewhat; as you may have guessed from the tenor of the hysteria above, this is a sympathetic view of a much older Susan, which makes it a rare collectible FF even before you get to the comparison between Susan and Lucy, then and (sort of) now.

Best FF That Suggests That a Scalp Squeegee Would Be a Thoughtful Gift for the Bald Man on Your List Next Holiday Season. If the Local Weather Is Inclement. And the Bald Guy Has a Sense of Humor, or at Any Rate Doesn't Own a Gun. Fathers, by [livejournal.com profile] katallison. Due South, gen, or maybe really mild Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski if you squint in the right place. And, OK, yeah. I know that some people react to the uttering of the name "Kat Allison" with a combination of instinctive flinching ("Those're the marks 'Executor' left on me. And right here? That's from 'The End of the Road,' back when I was a FF newbie. Can still feel it something wicked when it rains.") and signs of the cross ("Get thee behind me, you brilliant and depressing writer!"), but I love her. Which means, well, yes, I flinch - hey, I've read all her stuff and I'm not immune to classical conditioning - but then I dive right into whatever new thing she's written. She writes such real, perfect fiction that she routinely leaves me slack-jawed with astonishment and gasping in envy. And, yes, OK, sometimes hurting, but it's a good hurt, really. And it's from pain without angst, which is one of the toughest tricks out there, and most of the local supply of which can be found in Kat's toolbox. So, anyway, some people are already fleeing for the hills. I know that, and I don't blame them at all. But the rest of you really, really need to read this. Apart from anything else, it is honestly not that painful. (Yes, that's what comes after all that build-up. Believe me, it's better this way.) If someone is dying in this story, well, that's happening off-screen and anyway it's no one we know. And this isn't really about death; it's more about carrying on. Also, of course, about fathers, both the literal and the figurative, which makes perfect sense; the canon is just rife with daddy issues. (Well, can you think of another way to describe Fraser's relationship with his father?) And this is Kat's writing we're talking about, so stunningly good goes without saying.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
When you slash your average pair o' characters, you've got some questions you need to answer if you're going to make it believable.

Like, oh, why two guys who are nominally straight (and have a couple of unrealistic canon dates to prove it) suddenly decide to get their gay going. That one can be easy (Jim Ellison and Blair Sandburg, we're all looking right at you). Or tough, or even verging on impossible (Hey there, Frank Pembleton!). But there's usually a moment when the characters have to say, hey, yeah, I want to fuck him. In other words, the guys have to take the first step of coming out. (Other choice: they can take the first step into verging-on-psychotic denial. Yeah, I like the coming out scenario better, too.) And then they have to tell each other, which means taking the second step of telling anyone else.

And then maybe they'll go for the hat trick and tell everyone else. Maybe. Because, see, that can be a problem. More so if, say, sodomy is a hanging offense than if they live in the world of The Wanting Seed, but usually we're somewhere in the middle; they might not die at the hands of the government, but they also probably won't get elected to high office solely because of their newfound skill in butt-sex.

In other words, FF spends a lot of time dealing with coming out. And so do these stories.

Best FF That Will Make It Advisable to Avoid Men Named Bob for the Near Future, Unless These Bobs Enjoy a Lot of Bad Jokes About Their Names. Flora and Fauna and Bob [the white-text-on-black-background bold-text version] or Flora and Fauna and Bob [The .txt version not on the author's website, offered here for those who can't read white-on-black without getting a migraine of apocalyptic proportions], by [livejournal.com profile] julianlee. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. OK, I'll admit that we will be moving through some mildly rocky territory in this set - hey, no one said self-knowledge was easy, and sometimes other-people's-knowledge-about-you isn't, either - so I thought we'd start with something, you know, light. Funny. With great dialog and snappy one-liners. In other words, I thought we'd start off with something Sports Night. And I immediately thought of Julian Lee, whose greatest strength as an author just may be humorous dialog in authentically appropriate voice. (What a shock, you will say to yourself, that she writes Sorkinfic. Ah, yeah. No.) Here we have Danny making a date to consume alcohol with a couple of lovely lesbians. To no one's surprise (well, not if you've read in this fandom before), this situation leads to flirting, protectiveness, and - but of course - to Danny coming out to Casey and Casey coming out to himself, via the highly popular mechanism of office-based kissing. And also to some discussion of haircuts, because the guys can't spend all their time making out. (No, they can't. Well, I guess they can, but Danny and Casey kissing during their show would be a whole different kind of coming out. And a really scary one at that.)

Best FF That I Really Like Even Though I End up Listening to the Bloodhound Gang Every Damn Time I So Much As Think About It. The Bad Touch Series: Rough Trade, Bad Touch, Blood Sport, and Cutting Strings, by Laura Jacquez Valentine, aka [livejournal.com profile] jacquez. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. And because I believe that routine is the silent killer, let's head right on over to the "mildly rocky" portion of today's program. This is a fairly famous series in the fandom - you see it recommended everywhere - and that's partly because it's different. Not, you know, Blair-with-wings or Jim's-having-Blair's-baby different, just - not exactly fanon Jim and Blair, either. I don't actually see it as that far out there, but I know some people do. Not everyone loves this series, is what I'm saying. But I do. And, like most series I love, it gets better as it goes on; if you start it, you've got to make it to at least the third story (they're short, so you're not, like, getting married to it or anything, though, hey - maybe you'll want to), because that's where you get Blair reflecting on the modus operandi of the Jim-Blair relationship, and I find that fascinating (although he totally forgot a step, I'm telling you). Why is this story appropriate for this set? Well, it starts with Blair coming out to Jim, and ends with Jim coming out to himself. And it shows how ouchy that process can be. Also it shows some fairly, um, interesting (where "interesting" is a synonym for "potentially actionable, but no one is pressing charges") behavior in the first two. You're warning. Myself, I don't think it's that bad, and I think the last two explain it all perfectly, but, you know - mileage and all that.

Best FF That Makes Me Think Horrible Crossover-y Thoughts That I Know Could Never Work. And Yet I Can't Stop Wondering If This Is the Island that Jack Sparrow Is Governor Of. It's a Disease, I Think. The Undiscovered Ocean, by Shalott, aka [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Master & Commander, Stephen Maturin/Jack Aubrey. Remember how I said up above that it's tough to tell the world when sodomy is a crime? Well, that means that in some fandoms you'll never see the third step of coming out, because no one wants to see what has to happen after that. (And, seriously, please, no one ever write the AU where Stephen and Jack get executed for sodomy, because yeesh. I mean, I'm the last one to step on a person's artistic freedoms, and I can see where it could totally work, because - wait, no no no. Now I'm about to write it. And this is not that kind of fandom, and more importantly I am not that kind of girl. I really, really hope.) That ominous, looming fear of exposure, disgrace, and maybe death also means the writer usually has to create some kind of safe space for the characters to be able to get it on at all. I've seen this done with shore leaves and long cruises and gateless worlds and voyeuristic aliens and assorted mind-altering substances and...oh, lots of things. But never has it been done so effectively as Shalott does it here. And then, possibly just to prove she can, she takes us through what happens when that safe space is gone. And manages to get a happy ending out of it. (Which, seriously, thank god; it took me weeks to read past a certain point in this story, because that place gave me the same feeling as a certain spot in Y Tu Mama Tambien: shit, they're fucked, there's no way good to resolve this. Let's all be grateful Shalott is a better and kinder writer than the Cuarons, yes?)

Best FF That Features a Bonus Photo of an Ice Monster. Or a Sea Goat. Or a Whistling Tentacular Male Naga in Ritual War Paint. I Look at It Often, and I Have No Clue What It Is. Hanged Man, by Speranza, aka [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. And, yeah. Today I'm recommending stories everyone's already read. Next time I'll go for some that more than one person out there hasn't already heard of, OK? But, see, certain people have to be reminded to read the famous stories, and of course some folks have to be poked to read the great stuff in fandoms they don't know. All of which is a long way to say: I refuse to feel bad about recommending these stories, including this one. Because it is great, my friends. It's about the fear of coming out; it makes the interesting point that you can come out to yourself while still totally being in denial, and you can avoid coming out to everyone else so hard, work so much to preserve Life As You Know It, that you end up making that life - well, fairly sucky. This is totally true. It also, yes, makes the first part of the story a wee bit rocky. But not kill-me-now rocky or anything. And the ending is totally happy - hell, there's four happy endings. Which, predictably, I read twice for every once that I read the whole story. (OK, yes, I'm a happy ending junkie. But that's why I'm this in love with due South in the first place, so I feel entitled to enjoy my fix in this fandom.) And if it always leaves me desperately wanting to hear all about the Basmati rice incident? Small price to pay, really.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(Note: I know full well that I have evilly, evilly misquoted a deceased Great American strongly associated with the Jazz Age. You know what? I suffered agonies with certain of his works in middle school, so if he wants to come back from the dead to whine about my misuse of his noble words, well, he'll have to work pretty damn hard to get a word in edgewise, is all I'm saying. Never trust a man who uses his first initial and his middle name, that's my motto, even if he did write some excellent short stories.)

You know, it is wonderful to have internet access again. You can't imagine how much I missed y'all. Hello, fan fiction! Hello, LiveJournal! Hello, diverse and distributed community of like-minded perverts! And, yes, you'd better actually be a pervert if you read anything in this set, because I have here some fine, full-bodied kinkfic. (If you weren't here for the first kink set, you should know that I call it kink if the author does, because one person's perversion is another person's mandatory, basic part of any act more intimate than holding hands.)

Best FF in Which a Character Takes a Pop Quiz and Does Really, Really Well. But We'd Expect Nothing Else of Brian O'Conner, King of Fast Thinking on the Fly (and Yes, the Pun Was Entirely Intentional). Generally Psychotic Behavior, by [livejournal.com profile] khaleesian. The Fast and the Furious, Brian O'Conner/Dom Toretto. Any fandom with a character named 'Dom' gets extra kink-points right off the bat, but trust me, TFATF didn't even need those to break the curve on the perv-o-meter. Really. Those of us who love this fandom (And we are a small but select and tasteful bunch. Given certain definitions of 'tasteful.') love it in part for its kink-friendliness - nay, kink-required-ness. For some reason, these guys really want to be in stories about, oh, oxygen deprivation. Just as an example, and a highly cogent one, given that that is in fact what this story is all about. It's a cheery little PWP, and while it will help to have seen the movie - or, at any rate, one scene in the movie, one that involves motor oil, lube hose, eavesdropping, and men clad in leather (perhaps you're beginning to see why this movie cries out for kinky slash?) - but, really, the only absolute prerequisite for this one is a certain mental flexibility. Read. Enjoy. And if you really enjoy it, well, there's a movie I think you might wanna watch.

Best FF Featuring an Author Warning That Makes You Want to Pass a Law Against Puns. Or Maybe Embrace the Author Heartily. Me, I Go Both Ways on That, but Then, Don't I Always? On the QT, by The Spike, aka [livejournal.com profile] spike21. L.A. Confidential, Bud White/Ed Exley, sort of. Fan fiction: pushing boundaries. Including, inevitably, some that probably shouldn't be pushed. But you know what? I totally don't think this story falls under that heading. See, kink works best in FF when it's used to say something about the characters or the world they live in. (And, yes, for the record, I do know it doesn't work this way in real life; we don't all have poetically apt kinks. But this is one of those times when fiction doesn't mimic reality, folks, and we should all be happy about that, because if that was reality just imagine what kinks we'd have.) In this story, watersports* work perfectly as a metaphor - and, no, I'm not going to get all English-major-y, I swear - for the way Exley and White are at the beginning of the movie. In fact, I suspect that you could read this story without having seen said movie and get a very solid picture of both guys and their early relationship, such as it is. That's the reason I consider this the best w/s FF I've read to date. (Of course I've read others. This is fan fiction, people.)

Best FF to Use the Highly Disturbing Phrase "Kinky SoloFlex Commercials." And, No, That Isn't the Kink Here; Do You Think I'm Some Kind of Sicko? The Other Half, by Anna S., aka [livejournal.com profile] eliade. Stargate SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. Ah, slave kink. Traditional, tried-and-true - a kink classic, if you will. Take some submission, throw in a soupçon of dominance - or, hell, a whole handful - and accessorize. But, as always, Anna S. does way, way more than that; this is a fantastic story. I know a lot of people hate first-person narrative, but when it's well done, as it is here, I love it. Notice how many little one-liners we get, how much sarcasm she packs into this text. (It helps that she's using Jack's voice, of course. I imagine General Hammond's wouldn't be quite the same.) And first-person is the best way to get a single character's take on the events, provided the narrator is reliable, and I think the Jack we have here is, aside from the whole Daniel-as-U.S.-President-with-Added-Sodomy mental image thing. (No, really, and I'm pretty sure you won't mind that as much as you're currently imagining. Of course, I think most governmental processes could be improved with added sodomy, so maybe I'm not the best person to ask.) This story is so good that it can take a concept I normally can't handle - slavery, my friends, is not my own personal kink, not at all - and make me love it. Well, I'm used to Anna doing that to me. Hell, I wish she'd do more of it.

Best FF That Reminds Us That We Should All Be Grateful for Sundays, and Make Full and Excellent Use of Them. Of Course, That Use Doesn't Have to Involve a Mountie; the Choice Is Yours. Sharp-Dressed Man, by Zahra, aka [livejournal.com profile] hackthis. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. I have a lot of dS kink in my database, because I have a lot of dS everything in my database. (Because it is a wonderful fandom, wonderful, and also - oh joy! - a wonderful canon. Thanks again, [livejournal.com profile] nigeltde.) But after long consideration (And, in fact, a debate with Best Beloved that lasted for most of a meal; remember this the next time someone tells you the dinner conversation isn't scintillating at casa [livejournal.com profile] thefourthvine.), I went with this, because Mountie suit kink is, like, the core kink of this fandom. Or one of them; it's a big fandom, after all. You could fill a medium-sized convention center just with people who have kinks about various parts of Callum Keith Rennie's anatomy, and I'm talking here strictly about the bits of his anatomy that you can see on TV. But there's something essential about the Mountie suit fixation in dS, and there's sure as shit something essential about it in dS FF; you don't want to know what size convention center you could fill with people who know way more than they probably should about getting Mounties out of their full-dress uniforms in record time. (I imagine Mounties live in fear of encountering dS fans. "She's taking an extreme close-up picture of your lanyard, Dougie." "Yeah, but it's not that that worries me. It's that she's salivating.") So, dragging myself back to the story: Ray has a Mountie suit kink. Fraser is, as always, understanding, courteous, and helpful. I'm telling you, this story works as a metaphor for the dS fandom as a whole. Provided, that is, that you've been way overexposed to Mountie Red #6, or whatever they call that dye.

-Footnote-

* I think this is probably an unnecessary footnote. If you don't know what watersports are, I'm guessing you've only been reading FF, period, for about two weeks max, because after a few months, FF readers become more familiar with kinks than sex advice columnists. (After a few years, we're more familiar with most aspects of sex than the authors of The Joy of Gay Sex - way more, in fact, because we'd never consider including a chapter on bestiality in a book of that title. Consider yourself warned. Unless it's already too late for you.) So if you're new here, maybe you'll want to wait a bit on some of these stories. But if you're determined to read them now, today, know that watersports, aka golden showers, urophilia, and urolagnia, mix urine and sex to the pleasure of all participants. The reader's pleasure mileage will, of course, vary.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm going to be out of town for a few days, and I'm experiencing my usual pre-trip discombobulation as a result. (Actually, I'm mostly wondering why the hell I did this and what I was thinking and how I can avoid ever doing it again. I don't like traveling. Hell, in my ideal universe I wouldn't even have to leave my house.) I'm also doing the so-much-to-do-that-I-can't-do-any-of-it panic. What happens when you combine procrastination and panic and impending separation from the internet? Well, at least in these parts, recommendations sets. In this case, a crossover set, because I have a huge list of fantastic FF in this category that I've shamefully neglected lately. And also because slightly surreal stories are excellent preparation for this trip.

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

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

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

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

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

* Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] auster and [livejournal.com profile] flambeau!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This entry is dedicated to my Best Beloved, who is in a world of hurt thanks to a certain molar that I will not name, now broken, and who routinely reminds me that the best relationship in the world is one that's been around a while.

(And, yes, the established relationship stories bring out the schmoop in me. I can't help it. You should see what I'm like when I recommending kidfic. If you're emotionally diabetic or otherwise have a low sugar tolerance, you might want to skip the summaries and go straight to the FF, which is really not all that excessively sweet. I swear.)

Best FF That Really Turns an Certain Shopping-Related Gender Stereotype on Its Head. And, You Know, Describes Some Head in the Process. (Yes, I'm Sorry About the Pun.) The Price That You Pay, by [livejournal.com profile] maygra and Bone, aka [livejournal.com profile] thisisbone. The Fast and the Furious, Brian O'Conner/Dominic Toretto. OK. Have you read the Unfinished Business series? Because if you haven't, go read it right now. I don't care if you haven't seen the movie, because all you need to know about it is that it's about two guys who like cars and are so obviously fucking between every shot that sometimes you can still see the lube, at least Christ you hope that's lube, left in the picture, and that it has an ending that is simultaneously "wow, cool" and "wait, that's it? That is so not it. So not it that I am going to write post-movie FF right now, damn you all to hell." So. You've read UB, so you know how Maygra (who if she doesn't totally hate me by now should email me, 'cause I'm afraid to email her, on account of, you know, she should hate me) manages to make it all better. With beatings and kidnappings and a lot of things we don't usually associate with the phrase "all better," but it works. Now read what happens after UB, when Brian goes undercover again. With Dom on his side, this time. Note that more of Maygra's favorite things occur in this story, and also that it has a plot. No, a Plot, capital and everything. You start this one, sweetheart, you are finishing it. Before you sleep tonight. Probably before you can tear yourself away from the computer.

Best FF That Provided the Strongest Temptation I've Yet Encountered to Make Cutesy Puns out of Hackneyed Phrases About How Only the Blind Can Truly See, Blah Blah Tiresias Blah. No Need to Thank Me for Resisting; the Sanity I Saved Was My Own. You'd Forgotten Love Could Mean This, by Delilah, and does anyone have a LJ or link for her? Please? Stargate SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. OK, y'all, let's get the warnings out of the way first: this is disability fic. Also, it's told in alternating first and second person, which is a tough device, so we should all be impressed with how well it works, but I'm warning you that you may also be a bit tired of it before the story is done. So, feeling like moving on to another story, perhaps a whole other universe? First let me tell you why you should read this. Because, see, you can learn everything you need to know about the way to tell a story from this one. Here, Jack is blind, permanently and irremediably blind. If Delilah had started with the mission on which he was blinded, written about them nearly losing him, written about him dealing with the first days of blindness, all of that and all of it in chronological order, this story would be impossibly painful. But instead she starts a year after, and so, you know, it really isn't that hard to take. It's mostly about the things that make Jack Jack, and how it turns out sight isn't on that list. And it's about Daniel, too, and...well, I can't really explain this without spoiling the whole thing, but trust me when I tell you that you will finish this story feeling vaguely sorry for several people, but blind Jack O'Neill isn't one of them.

Best FF That Could Be Used as a Teaching Material for Toddlers. Only, Wait, No, It Totally Couldn't. A Is for Apple, by [livejournal.com profile] pearl_o. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. (This actually starts at the first time and goes right through into the established relationship, but to me it's about the, well, establishing of the relationship, and thus it belongs in this category.) Those of us who have spent perhaps too much time evaluating alphabet concept books for preschoolers will understand why the most profoundly impressive thing about this to me - more impressive than the coherent story told through teeny snippets, more impressive than the way each snippet is both part of the story and a story itself - is the word she came up with for X. Because it's a) an actual word b) appropriate and suitable and c) not the easy way out. I mean, she could've gone for x-ray, given the way these guys attract trouble, or x-rated, given, you know, that this isn't exactly a primer and so there'd be nothing wrong with the guys sitting down with a bit of porn, but she didn't take the obvious roads. And that, my friends, is amazing. Note: there's a point in the story that will get a bit scary for those who carry the Ray K and Fraser Forever banner - and I think we all know who you are - but do not fear; this story was written by Cheerful Pearl-o – happy story, happy ending. (In my head, Pearl-o's Evil Twin is the one who puts out all those incredible, compelling stories that draw you in and then rip your heart out and dance on the fragments.) Of course, there's a downside to this story. Namely, that I could do with at least 3,000 words on most of these snippets. But notice how I am not whining at Cheerful Pearl-o to write them; admire my restraint.

Best FF That Proves That All You Need to Make a Story Is One Really Good Metaphor. Percentage Points, by [livejournal.com profile] gritkitty. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. Of course, it helps if this metaphor is funny, and this one is. And it also helps that Blair is who he is; I mean, there's maybe three characters I can imagine thinking like this, because there just aren't all that many people in the world who would equate groping with investing in war bonds, but Blair totally would. And, see, I'd describe more of this story, but a) you should just go read it, 'cause it's good and almost elementally jimblairy and b) I have this whole flight of fancy when I read this story that totally destroys my ability to talk about it sanely and calmly. Don't believe me? Well, see, I can't read this story without picturing the battle sequences in Lord of the Rings. Specifically, the one where Isildur took the One Ring. Which means I'm viewing Blair's sex drive as, say, a contingent of human swordsmen, his hunger as a bunch of orcish pikemen, and Blair's brain as, well, Mordor, I guess. Um. Yeah, that's probably mostly attributable to the massive doses of codeine I was on when I first read this, because upon reflection I don't think Grit Kitty intended for the reader to equate Jim with Isildur. Although this does suggest something very interesting about Blair's nipple ring that I am not, not, not thinking about ever ever again, because it is the living definition of crossover crackfic. And I'm finishing this recs set before I put any more of my insanity on parade.
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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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)
Don't like the title? I do, but I can see how you might think it's a bit off-message for a recommendations set celebrating kissing. But I had a hideous time thinking of anything to put up there, and even after I resorted to searching, everything I found had, well, unfortunate overtones. I seriously considered "like kissing God," even though that was about drug addiction. I also flirted with "with eyes that saw not, I kissed her," (I'd have changed the "her" to "him," of course), but, well, if you know that one, you'll see why I refrained; I love the first part of that one, but the last bit makes me alternately recoil and hiss. (I freely admit that this may be an idiosyncratic reaction.) Plus, you know, the girl he's kissing is his daughter, which, in this context - ew.

So instead I went with sarcasm about kissing. It had a certain appeal.

Best FF That Shows Us That There Are Bad Habits, and Then There Are Very, Very Good Ones. Unplanned, by Beth H., aka [livejournal.com profile] bethbethbeth. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. For some reason, stories that don't use kissing as just a quick stop on the road to hot kinky sex seem to be more common in big fandoms. I think maybe in small fandoms there's too much tension; the writers are thinking, shit, if I don't get them fucking, who will? Whereas in larger fandoms people can have a certain confidence that if they don't get to the 69-while-hanging-from-a-chandelier* part, someone else will. This story doesn't get to the inverted oral sex, but I think you'll agree that it doesn't need to. I've loved this for a long time, had it in the recs database for a long time, but watching the canon made it so much better. Because the thing is, lots of times the guys looked like they were about to do this, like this is exactly what would happen if they forgot themselves for a second. They acted like a couple, so much so that there were scenes that seemed to end just before Ray and Fraser casually, coolly, and calmly stuck their tongues in each other's mouths. (And, yes, I will eventually stop trying to make everyone watch the dS canon. But those of you who have been here for a while may remember the SN Siege, when I had Obsessive-Compulsive SN Recommending Disorder for a month. This may be like that. Just warning y'all.)

Best FF That Will Make You Clutch Your Gum and Your Porn to Your Bosom, So Be Careful; No One Likes Sticky Porn. Things to Get Arrested For in Singapore, by [livejournal.com profile] shrift. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. Choosing this one was tough; SN has so many excellent kissing stories. But in the end, I had to go with this one, because it's just so Danny to do this; he's one of the very few people, real or imaginary, who can be annoying and adorable at the same time. (Mind you, dogs do this effortlessly pretty much all the time. It's only people who usually can't manage it.) Shrift sees this. She gets this. Which is why I love her dearly even though I cannot look at her name without wanting to re-read The Phantom Tollbooth. Or it's one of the reasons, anyway; there are many reasons to love Shrift, just as there are many reasons to love this story. (Yes, fine, I know that was a lame transition. If you can think of something better, let me know.) I love the structure of this story, how you go through the day following this recurring theme (or, hey, trope). It feels almost like an episode, with lots of snappy, funny dialog and a surprisingly touching conclusion. Plus there's random information about Singapore. How could I not love it? I couldn't. And you should join me in this love.

Best FF That Demonstrates the Deleterious Effect Confessions of Cannibalistic Urges Can Have on Your Sleeping Arrangements, So You Wannabe Cannibals Should Think Before You Speak. Or Not. Definitely Not If You're Sharing My Bed. Kryptonite, by [livejournal.com profile] mimesere. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Oz "I've Forgotten His Real First Name Again" Osbourne/Xander "I Do Remember His But I Never Can Bring Myself to Use It" Harris. I have a weakness for Oz, that lycanthropic sayer of the strangest right things in the fewest possible words. But the thing that makes me love him makes him hard to write. (I suspect that the canon writers took him out of the show so that they wouldn't have to think so hard all the time.) Which means that a story like this one, where Oz sounds like Oz - I will go a long way for such a story. I will read Oz/Buffy for that. (I'd even consider Oz/Dawn, although I'd have to punish myself for Bad Bad Thoughts afterward.) Which makes it all the more wonderful that I didn't have to go anywhere unfortunate for "Kryptonite" - this is one of my favorite BtVS pairings, right here. I think we can all rejoice about Oz/Xander sex. And we can be happy about the length of this story, too; it's surprisingly long for an "only a kiss" piece. Note, particularly, the last segment - look at how much Mimesere manages to convey in such a short and seemingly trivial piece of writing, how much she manages to suggest without showing a thing. That is perfect, folks, a perfect ending, and not an easy thing to write. Be amazed.

Best Slash FF Featuring Entirely Chaste Behavior on the Part of All Participants. Or As Chaste As These Guys Ever Get. Nesting Place, by [livejournal.com profile] destina. Master and Commander, Stephen Maturin/Jack Aubrey. This is very non-explicit, and what I like about it is how well it illustrates a certain thing about the M&C books. Because, OK, there's one part of one sentence in this story that Patrick O'Brian would never have written (at least as far as we know, although, let's face it, we don't know much about the guy - he could've been writing all manner of Age of Sail gay sex scenes in the privacy of his home, and, god, I'd love to live in a universe where he did); if you take that itty bitty part out, this whole thing, including the kiss, could've come directly from the books. Jack and Stephen are that close. Which makes the books so slashy they almost transcend slashiness. Reading them, I generally get the feeling the O'Brian was just being reticent and polite and eliding the sex parts. (Which, yes, I'm sure would mortify the guy if he was still alive. I'm reporting how I feel, not what I think, OK?) But I'm more with the nosy and the details and the smut, so I like Destina's approach, which is writing like O'Brian minus the gallant, respectful courtesy.

-Footnote-

* Is it wrong that I can see - well, no, but hear - this happening?

"I can't take this much longer. All the blood's rushing to my head."
"Whine whine whine. You think I'm happy? I got the world's worst wedgie, here."
"So cut the fucking cord already."
"Yeah, right. You like toast? You wanna be toast? 'Cause that's what'll happen if we fall."
"Jesus. Just - feeling really light-headed, here. Can't you die like this?"
"I'm not dying with my face two inches from some jackass's crotch, thanks." [thoughtful pause] "Huh. So, you really uncomfortable down there?"
"I told you, I'm dying -" [zzzzzzt] "What - oh. Oh. Oh Jesus God."
"Mmmm."
"Yes. Yes. Yes - oh no you shit don't you fucking dare stop."
"So. More comfy now? A little less blood pooling in your head?"
"No! I'm not more comfortable! Go back to what you were doing!"
"Maybe I would if you put that mouth to some use besides whining."
[pause]
"Yeah, sure, OK." [zzzzt] "Mmmmm."

And I refuse to say what fandom that was in on the grounds that it may - no, would - incriminate me. It wasn't any of the ones recommended above, though; I'll tell you that for free. Now allow me to slink off in shame for even thinking, let alone actually transcribing, this.
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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 ([livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. So, confession time: over the Long Hiatus, I got a lovely gift from [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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, [livejournal.com profile] liviapenn!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I was going to do something special for the 100th nominations set, because - that's more than four hundred stories I've recommended. More than four hundred story summaries I've written. You guys have to be getting sick of this, and it seemed like I'd better take the opportunity to do something different.

So I had this post about the slashiest fandom ever all written, and I was going to do a recs set entirely based on that, even if I had to acquire a new fandom to do it.

But then [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie left for India. (Technically, she's still around, but she's offline and she'll be leaving tomorrow and not coming back for three weeks.) This is depressing, folks. Plus, it's December, and I've just realized that I have no clue how to write regular recommendations, which is going to make a month behind the SN wheel at [livejournal.com profile] crack_van just...so very special. And I have bought no presents for the holiday season, and we're getting into the seriously scary shopping time, and anyway I'm sort of gloomily wondering where I'll get the money to do said shopping. And it seems like my family-of-origin might be going for the traditional Holiday Implosion this year, which, trust me - not pretty, and I'm talking about the kind of "not pretty" likely to require professional intervention. And...and I feel like whining some more, but I'm going to stop, because Jesus, that's pathetic.

Instead, I'll summarize: it's been a day of petty annoyances and looming dread and self-pity. I need to snap myself out of this somehow, and how better than to read about characters I love having that same sort of day? So instead of a special 100th celebration, you get - bad days. Sorry.

(Maybe we can celebrate the, um, 111th post instead. 111 is a nice number, right? Nothing wrong with 111. No, sir; 111 is going to be great.)

Best FF in Which We Learn, to Our Surprise, the Secret Identity of the Reincarnation of Isak Dinesen. In Which Dan Has a Bad Day, by Sinead, aka [livejournal.com profile] smallbeer. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey. See, now, this perked me right up, because Danny's day? So much worse than mine. For one thing, I have soap. And a working toilet. For another, I haven't encountered any surfers of any kind, which is impressive, considering that they're one of the primary indigenous species where I live, and certainly no airhead Nazi surfboy bimbos, although those would definitely add an original touch to anyone's day. And, finally, I have smutty FF like this to get me through the day - FF that is funny and just a touch angsty and ends with sex. Scented sex. Re-reading this made me 50% happier. Bonus: those of you with clothing fetishes will encounter ripped t-shirt Danny in here, which should make you at least 50% happier. So come on, folks - get happy! Read this!

Best FF in Which We Learn Precisely What Wyndham-Pryces Are Famous for. And No, It's Nothing to Do with That, You Total Perv. A Bad Day, by The Brat Queen, aka [livejournal.com profile] thebratqueen. Angel, Angel/Wesley Wyndham-Pryce. I don't want you to think I'm recommending this story just because I've been calling my dog Brat Queen for five years. No, I could recommend any of TBQ's stories if that was the reasoning here, and the same with my love for the way TBQ writes Angel and Wes in an established relationship - i.e., happily and humorously. (I mean, I enjoy the Wes angst as much as the next girl, but this fandom needs the occasional dose of sweetness and light, and TBQ brings it by the sackful.) I'm recommending this story because it shows the importance of wallowing as a coping mechanism. If more people understood that, this world would be - OK, a whinier place. But also one in which people didn't, you know, hit strangers or break valuable things after a bad day, but rather got down with the Scotch and the self-pity. Tell me you wouldn't prefer living in that world, and, well, I'll have to believe you. But I'll believe you while I myself am moving to Wallowland.

Best FF in Which We Learn a Helpful Telephone Cord Detangling Technique, and Then, Even More Helpfully, Learn Why We Should Probably Not Practice It. Madagascar, by Rhipodon Society, for whom I have no links of any kind. Anyone else have one? The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. Why, yes, I am sticking pretty much to my old favorite fandoms today. Why, yes, you will be seeing a due South rec very soon. Why, yes, I am predictable. But it's the good kind of predictable, right? OK. This is just hysterical, from the section epigraphs to the interconnections of the various unfortunate events in Jim's day to Jim's planned strategy for dealing with his troubles, which is moving to, yes, Madagascar. (Or Antarctica.) I myself would choose to move to South America and raise llamas, but we all cope in our own individual ways. The important thing is that this story manages to blend phone cords, illicit Valium-feeding, and a cashier we've all encountered at some point in our lives ([livejournal.com profile] fanofall should be thinking the words "Federal Express" right about now) into a delightfully springy and satisfying whole. Unsolved Mystery: what is it with The Sentinel FF and lasagna? My lasagna manufacture and consumption has increased at least tenfold since I began reading in this fandom, because something like 88% of all TS stories (note: hyperbole spoken here!) feature lasagna as the ultimate in comfort and sexiness. And, yes, OK, that's entirely correct, but it doesn't make it easy for those of us who haven't got the right ingredients on hand. Won't someone please think of the lasagna-less?

Best FF in Which We Learn What Happens to People Who Do Not Have Access to the Food They Are Craving. And to Everyone in the Vicinity, Too. Out of Range, by SA, aka [livejournal.com profile] sathinks, who, incidentally, has a marvelous recs LJ at [livejournal.com profile] sareads. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. Even Rays have bad bad days, but they can be solved with the judicious application of Mounties. OK, one Mountie. And - critical lesson, here - nicotine (hush, dSfen), caffeine, carbohydrates, cheese - none of these things can substitute for said Mountie, or your local equivalent. You may think they can, but really you're just fooling yourself, and the sooner you accept that and go get your Mountie the happier you'll be. Um. But no one should take that as an attempt to incite felonious behavior towards our big-hatted, red-coated Northern Friends, because they should be handled with respect and love, not live-capture traps. (Also, they are notoriously skittish, so luring them with bait works better in the long run. I recommend maple candy, myself, or pemmican for the more extreme Mountie.)

P.S. This post is dedicated to [livejournal.com profile] fanofall, who had a day that was much worse than mine. Nothing like the suffering of one's friends to put a little suckiness into perspective! (And, um. That was a joke.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(And, hey, apparently General Patton has come back from the grave to invite me to enlarge my member. I'm - touched, I guess, though he's doomed to disappointment.)

Ah, jealousy. It's not an emotion so much as a disease, one that overtakes formerly sensible people and turns them into twitching, frothing wrecks. I whiled away many hours of my unfortunate teen years listening to sobbing and incoherent wails along the lines of, "he's fucking her! I know it!" And I once watched a guy punch another guy over advances purportedly made to me by the guy of the second part, even though I didn't know - and still don't know - either guy's name, even. And we won't discuss that one infamous New Year's Eve party that the police in the town where I grew up are probably still talking about, except to say that I hope that officer didn't have to pay for a replacement uniform. So, basically, my perspective on jealousy: it's a terrifying thing that comes out of nowhere and wreaks havoc all around you for no apparent reason.

Let's play with this fascinating malady ourselves now, shall we? Or, rather, inflict it on the characters we love, which is much, much more fun.

Best FF That Leaves Me Wondering, for Reasons Probably Best Not Explored, If Due South Ever Used the Phrase, "Truth, Justice, and the 'Canadian' Way" in Its Advertising. Respect, by Colleen Kane, and does anyone have a link for her of any kind? That actually works, I mean, as opposed to her MRKS site, which is dead and gone, my loves. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Here's why I love this story: it shows that Ray knows how to be in a long-term relationship and Fraser doesn't. And, I mean, why would he? His longest-term relationship has been with Diefenbaker, and a deaf half-wolf with an attitude and an eating disorder is not a set of training wheels for marriage. (God only knows what Dief could be considered training for. Nothing that's going to happen in this world, I hope.) In every relationship there's a moment when you have to step down, step back, accept that being with this person is more important than being right, holding the moral high ground, having the toaster settings the way you like them - whatever. Fraser, who is the definitive "my way or the highway, and then I'll still have it my way, thanks" guy - would he know how to do that? No. But Ray does. And, yay! Ray is a good, good teacher. (And he uses sex as an educational aid far more than I ever remember my own teachers doing. Which, you know, good thing, because otherwise they'd be in jail and I wouldn't know how to find the pressure of an ideal gas at a constant temperature, not that I've needed to lately.)

Best FF That Sets a Fandom Record for Number of Seriously Uncomfortable, Not to Say Unpleasant, Conversations and Yet Somehow Still Manages to Be Funny and Have a Happy Ending. Semaphore, by Helen, aka [livejournal.com profile] helenish. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. Here we have a story that pre-dates the famed Rydell Second Season Meltdown, but oddly echoes the mechanisms that induced said meltdown. Except that Danny's the one who made a list, and Casey's the one who is jealous. For a whole variety of reasons, really. And then there's sex. Seriously, this is how that second season arc should've gone, and I wouldn't even insist on the sex. Because in between the list and sex, there's Danny not slinking or prowling but definitely acting as a pie procurement agent for the residents of Manhattan. There's Casey, who is not jealous. Not at all. Except for the parts where he's throwing a jealous tantrum, which is the entire story. There's Natalie and Jeremy breaking up, and wry conversation about said break-up. There's humor in dialog, which is very appropriate and good. There's angst, but not to worry - it all ends well. And did I mention they have sex? I did. Did I mention there's pie? I did. Did I mention the funny? I did. So why are you still here, instead of reading this story?

Best FF That Always Gives Me a Startling Burst of Sympathy for Two Characters I Otherwise Regard As Dull and Vaguely Loathsome, When I Think of Them at All. Green-Eyed Monster, by [livejournal.com profile] shati. Harry Potter, gen. Pretty much. See, the thing is, every bad guy needs his good guy. What's Joker without Batman? What's Ahab without Moby Dick? What's Angelus without, um, Angel? What's Sauron without - well, Frodo, I guess, or Aragorn, or maybe all Nine Walkers? (OK, so the answers are, in order: laughing every minute, sane and fully limbed, guilt-free and full of job satisfaction, and the vicious ruler of all Middle Earth ha ha ha ha, but you take my point.) Draco used to by Harry's bad boy, but by book five he really isn't getting a look-in anymore. It's all Voldemort this and Voldemort that and it's understandable that Draco would be, well, jealous. I love this story, which is more like an outsize drabble, because it highlights a problem JKR had better address if she knows what's good for her. (Because, baby, I write a mean letter when I'm irked, you betcha.) What's she going to do with Draco? His importance in the first part of the series argues that he should be important in the last part, too, but - not as he currently is, the conniving prat who can't look further than the next Quidditch cup match. He can't be important if he stays like that. It's unlikely she's going to take the fanon route, turning Draco into an oversexed sexy sex-god of sexiness, so - what, exactly? My own hope is that she's setting him up for a redemption character arc, but the truth is she's probably just planning to make him the first real Death Eater Harry knows personally, or something. Sigh.

Best FF That Gave Me an Entirely Different Impression the First Time I Read It Than It Has on Subsequent Readings. What New York Couples Fight About, by Zahra, aka [livejournal.com profile] hackthis. X-Men movieverse, John Allerdyce*/Bobby Drake, John Allerdyce*/Piotr - um, Piotr. Will someone please help me remember what Piotr's last name is? OK, see, this is why I love this story, because it is so completely what teenagers do when faced with jealousy. They feed the monster. They declare true and eternal love and whisper "only you, only you, only you" as they fuck on the balcony of a cruddy apartment somewhere. And, you know what? Sometimes it works out fine. Sometimes those teenagers grow up to be adults who cope with jealousy the way adults do. I'm not trashing the teenage coping strategy. If you can skip the meaningful conversations and go straight to the great make-up sex, go for it, is what I'm saying. Because this LJ? Totally pro-sex of pretty much any kind at all. But this story teaches us an important lesson, namely: even if you are going the teenager route with the jealousy, don't hit someone who's made of metal, 'cause that way lies pain. Embarrassing pain. Oh, warning: you might not want to totally trust me on this story summary; I wasn't kidding when I said I read this an entirely different way the first time through. I mean, I really liked it that way, and I also really like it this way, but still - two totally different and mutually exclusive interpretation. So mine may not be the most reliable opinion about it on the planet.

-Footnote-

* I've accepted that John Allerdyce, aka movie Pyro, is a whole different person than comicbook Pyro, and I'm therefore reluctantly coming to terms with the name change. Though, dammit, St. John is just so much the cooler name, and it's his name, but I'm not going down this path again, I'm just not. It's one of those changes you have to learn to live with, unless you prefer to live with insanity.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
It's another "dress you up with my love" entry; the only reason I didn't use that for the title is that I'm sure we'd all prefer not to remember that particular phase of musical history. (Of course, now we all do remember it, and some unlucky person will be humming that song for another 48 hours, but baby, sometimes you gotta be cruel to be kind.)

This entry, though, features no cross-dressing at all; frankly, there's a limit to the number of cheerleader outfit stories I can cope with in any given week, and that number decreases violently if there aren't any women in said stories. So instead, I'm offering stories in which clothes serve a significant purpose, a revelatory purpose - in other words, where an article of adornment acts as an agent of discovery, and, yow. Think I switched writing gears there for a second. But I'm not going to worry about it, and I'm not going to go back to correct it, either; onward and upward, that is my LJ motto. Onward to the stories, so that you can move upward to someone else's writing. So, once more unto the breach, dear friends, and close up the wall with our English smut.

Best FF That Could Almost Make Me Like Thongs, Only Not, Because Thongs Are the Work of Satan and No Amount of Fan Fiction or Ready Cash Could Convince Me Otherwise. Cotton, by Vera, aka [livejournal.com profile] copracat. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. I have something I need to get off my chest. Smallville has become one of my fandoms. I thought I'd just come out and say that right now; I've learned the folly of swearing in public - or at least here - that I will not acquire a given fandom, no no no a thousand times no, because then the rabid weasels come for me. So I'm saving myself some weasel-time by admitting I'm on the SV train now. And also because, um. Let's just say that you might as well accept the fandom in your heart once you find yourself explaining to your Best Beloved, your Best Beloved who has actually seen episodes of Smallville, in direct contrast to you, who has most certainly not, that it's a pity the show didn't start a few years earlier because Lex was made for pre-turnover Hong Kong. And defending that statement with supporting evidence even though the Best Beloved seems not just willing but anxious to let it die a quiet, unacknowledged death and blame it on the fever. So this is my first SV rec, to the best of my knowledge, and I've begun as I mean to go on, with a lovely story in which Martha does the laundry. No, really, that's the whole story. It's fantastic. (Yes, this is how I mean to go on. In terms of quality. And, hell, laundry too, but if there proves not to be a large archive of SV laundry stories, I will be forced to resort to smut. Just a friendly warning.)

Best FF That Makes Me Wonder If I Should Start Inspecting the Labels of My Clothing for Statements Like "55% Ramie, 45% Cotton, and No Moral Fiber to Speak of." Paddle to the CSC, by Julian Lee, aka [livejournal.com profile] julianlee*. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Sam Donovan, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. A new fandom does not mean I do not still love you, old fandoms! I'm as slutty as slut can be when it comes to fandoms, and I continue to read all my old ones even as I assimilate new ones. (Why no, I don't get much sleep. Also, I'm experimenting with various dangerous, completely untested time-alteration devices. They could potentially destroy the world, but apparently slash can do that even on a good day, so I'm not worried. Plus, when you weigh the importance of smut versus a stable space-time continuum, well, let's face it; we have clocks 'cause none of us is that good with time in the first place, so who is ever going to notice if time breaks?) This story revolves around the Shirt. Yes, that Shirt - the one that Gordon got from Casey via Sally; the Shirt that is basically the all-cotton equivalent of a venereal disease. Did you know the VD Shirt had further adventures? It did, and Julian Lee is here to tell us all about them. (Note: Dan/Casey shippers should not be alarmed by the pairing list here. For one thing, I'm pretty much right there with you guys, so you should know I won't lead you astray. For another thing, the Sam interlude isn't, you know, permanent or anything. Plus, who doesn't feel the Sam love? Well, not me. And, judging by this story, not Danny, either.)

Best FF That Reveals the Unsung Sexy Side of the World Wildlife Federation's Logo, but Not in a Way That Makes You Want to Call the Cops or Anything. Adorned, by Resonant, aka [livejournal.com profile] resonant8. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski, plus mention of Ray Kowalski/Stella Kowalski. (Note: if you are a diehard Kowalski/Fraser fan - and I'm naming no names, here, but one of them has been sleeping in my bed - you will want to read the follow-up story, Borealis.) Just so that no old fandom (all together now: "get new fandoms but keep the old - one is shiny and the other is also shiny, only with a richer, deeper luster") feels left behind, I'm recommending another of my much-loved pairings. This one is so much a part of my life at this point that when I typed "Benton Kowalski/Ray Fraser" just now, it took me several seconds to see what was wrong with that. Plus, Resonant. You all know Resonant, right? Well, if you don't, it isn't from lack of effort on my part. She's high on my list of writers I'd chain up in my spare bedroom if I wasn't concerned that a) that might not actually increase their writing output b) they might compete with me for computer time and c) they might also pick up on the unfortunate Stephen King overtones of the whole thing. Plus I understand there could be some sort of legal repercussions. Anyway, this is one of the first dS stories I read by Resonant, and it just totally reinforced my unhealthy feelings for her, because almost every single word of this story is perfect. (I mean it. If there was anything even approaching justice in this world, Resonant's works would be way outselling John Grisham's.) This story is about what we put on our loved ones, how we mark them and how we make them our own. And, oh, Jesus. Worst story summary ever, so let me start again. Ray likes to make things pretty, and that goes double for the people he loves. Now go read the damn story already.

Best FF That Made Me Strangely Comfortable with the Concept of a Peep Show, Which Always in the Past Has Struck Me as Just One Step Above Stalking and Approximately 30,000 Steps Below Any Non-Skeevy Sexual Activity. Nice Shirt, by [livejournal.com profile] glossing. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Daniel "Oz" Osbourne/Xander Harris. Warning: this is a work in progress. I don't normally recommend works in progress, but this one belongs in this set, plus each entry stands alone as an essentially complete story, so I refuse to feel guilty about this. Do you hear me? No guilt. Cannot be made to feel guilt. And I am not protesting too much. But getting back to the story - well, first you should know that this is all about this shirt. Those are not photo manipulations; Oz and Xander really do wear the same shirt at different points in the canon. And while that could just be a coincidence, or a lazy costume director, or - hell - even two similar but not identical shirts, it could also indicate another shirt with low, low morals. And given what the shirt actually says, plus my general opinion of the morals of the cottton crowd, guess which way I'm betting? Glossing is justly renowned for her Oz, and this story will show you why. Also, her Xander is just the way I like to see him. And I actually did have more to say about this, but here's where I'm going to be ending this story summary, because my keyboard has just developed an irritating glitch. Arg.

-Footnote-

*Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] laylee!
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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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?)

-Footnote-

* 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)
(Note: I try not to do two entries in one day, because I figure my entries are long enough in people's friends lists without risking having two of them on the same page. What can I say? I'm bored. And I have this strange accession of energy brought on by sleeping for more than an hour at a time ; suddenly I'm not writing four nonsensical sentences, then heading into the kitchen in search of the caffeinated beverages I threw away when I thought they were causing the insomnia. It clears up all this time for - well, for what? That's the question. This, I guess. But my apologies to those who feel I'm oversharing.)

I love rare pairings. I love stories that stun me with their pairings - what? who'd ever think of writing this? - and then totally sell me on them. It's not an easy thing; I mean, there's a reason Ray/Fraser is more common than Welsh/Dewey (note to the easily alarmed: I've never actually seen a story with that pairing, so stop worrying) (note to the highly suggestible: I'm not sure I want to see a story with that pairing, either, so stop cackling in that scarily evil way) - subtext. It's a lot easier to slash people who have some chemistry. Hell, it's a lot easier to slash people who occupy the same part of the space-time continuum. But when an author finds some hidden gem of subtext or rationale for a pairing no one else would write, well, I want to embrace that author. And then tie her to keyboard and force her to write me stories every day. But I usually refrain from both those things, and I imagine the authors are grateful.

Best FF That Pairs the Two Least Scrutable People in a Whole Universe, Leading to a Relationship That Must Be Like Reading Runes in the Dark. But With Way More Sex. The Undiscovered Country series: Plans, by [livejournal.com profile] debchan, Sun, by Te, aka [livejournal.com profile] thete1, and Moon, by The Spike, aka [livejournal.com profile] spike21. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Daniel "Oz" Osbourne/Ethan Rayne. This is one of the very few series I've found with every entry by a different author; it's all the rarer because all the stories are good. (My personal favorite is "Moon," for the world's best look at the unimaginable power and impulsiveness of Ethan Rayne.) And Oz/Ethan isn't a pairing that seems like it would work, especially in a long-term sense - I mean, come on. Ethan Rayne? Committing to something? Committing to someone, and I don't just mean in the show-up-and-torment-him-every-few-years way, but in the here today, here tomorrow way that most of us mean by commitment? Except - if he was ever going to do that, it'd be with someone as deep and unfathomable (and, yes, those are horrible adjectives, but I'm sorry; they just are Oz, and there's nothing I can do about it) as Oz. Oz is never going to get boring, that's for sure, and yet he's reliable and constant. (That makes him sound like Oz Osbourne, the original strange attractor, but let it go.) Um, sorry, the Oz-love is getting a little overwhelming, isn't it? So let me just say this: read these stories, and you'll be able to buy into Oz/Ethan, too.

Best FF That Makes Me Pity a Character I Normally Dislike. And Makes Me Absolutely Despise Her at the Same Time. Which I Think You'll Admit Is Quite a Trick. Covet, by Speranza, ak [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza.* Due South, Stella Kowalski/Benton Fraser. Yes. I am not kidding. Speranza has clearly taken the Fan Fiction Writer's Commandments to heart (#8 states that there is no practical difference between love and hate when it comes to writing sex scenes). And this isn't just some random thing where someone thinks of the world's least likely pairing - Dan Rydell/Sally Sasser, say - and writes it, canon be damned. No, this is a totally believable Stella/Fraser pairing, which is one of the stranger sentences I've written today. But slashers, do not fear; this will not hurt you. RayK/Fraser shippers, including the one who shares my bed each night, do not recoil; this will not violate your deeply-held beliefs. And everyone who is looking from the pairing to the fandom and back again and saying, "What the fuck?" loud enough for the person in the next cubicle to look over in surprise, trust me. No, wait, don't bother trusting me; trust Speranza. You won't be sorry.

Best FF That Makes Me Forget All About the Stupidity of Rubber Suits, and Makes the Distant Sound of Squishing Frenchmen Positively Romantic. Springtime in Paris, by [livejournal.com profile] dijeron. I'm not sure what the fandom is - monster movies, maybe. Godzilla/King Kong. I am quite serious. And so is the author; this isn't played for laughs. When I started reading this, my mind was full of men in bad rubber monster suits tromping on tiny model cities, and I was prepared to giggle; when I was done, I understood for the first time why Peter Jackson wants to remake King Kong. I honestly can't think of any other way to describe this or to explain why you should read it. So instead I'll whine. See, the title makes me think of "Springtime for Hitler" - and, really, I'm not sure why, since there's only the one word in common - and every time I see it I find myself singing that under my breath. Which, OK, but there's a limit to the amount of time I want to spend with my own hideous live version of the soundtrack for "The Producers." Although that does suggest a rare fandom that I need to enter at [livejournal.com profile] yuletide...no, no. The sickness must stop.

Best FF That Accuses Dana Whitaker of Previously Unsuspected Evil - Namely, Love for K. C. and the Sunshine Band, Which I Think Is Punishable by Law in Some Boroughs of New York City. Girls' Night In, by Annie, aka [livejournal.com profile] out_there. Sports Night, Dana Whitaker/Lisa McCall. (I guess that's Lisa's last name, at least at this point in the canon history.) This story answers an interesting question: how did Casey get Dana in the divorce? I mean, yes, crush, yes, friends, yes, working together - but Dana was Lisa's friend first and longest, and that makes a difference. I would've expected, at the least, a year or two of strained friendship with both sides. But as early as the pilot episode, Dana has made her choice. Or did someone else make it for her? I'm amazed by this story, and the moreso because I have a hard time seeing femslashiness in Dana; she tries so hard to be simultaneously one of the boys and one for the boys that it's tough to imagine her focus switching to girls, even for a night. This story, though, describes a Dana who didn't used to be like that. It's astonishingly well-done and believable. All hail Annie, who saw the femslash potential in a show practically struck blind by the boy love. (Note: so far I have not been required to post a Certified Safe Alternate for SN stories. I suspect, however, that's only because I've never recommended a story that wasn't Danny/Casey and happy-ending-ful. We shall see if death threats and bouts of vicious pouting result from this rec.)

* Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] estrella30, for solving the Mystery of the Missing Link (the missing link being me, of course, not the story; the story was there all along, but my brain was MIA) in a timely and soothing fashion.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
For the record, I totally disagree with the title of this entry, and consider that statement definitive proof that Virginia Woolf was off her rocker, because telephones are not romantic. They are evil. There's a creeping, insidious malevolence about the telephone that most people just don't understand, probably because they were victims, early in their lives, of Brave New World-style psychological conditioning conducted by a telephone company. (And, yes, a telephone company would do that, because telephones may be evil, but telephone companies are Satanic.)

This all just goes to prove the magic of fandom, though, because in these stories fan fiction writers create good from telephonic evil. But you shouldn't take that as an excuse to let your guard down around phones. You can't trust those things for a second.

Best FF That Shows Us How to Handle Long-Distance Relationships: with Lots of Telephone Calls, Lots of Talking, and Lots and Lots of Mutual Masturbation. Springfield, [livejournal.com profile] estrella30. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Fraser does not strike me as a phone sex kind of guy. Which is why this story works so well; Ray almost has to handcuff him to the receiver to get him going. (I can just picture that, actually. Ray'd have to get Fraser to cuff himself to the phone, since he's not in the room, and he could probably persuade Fraser to do that, too. Immovable Object Fraser, meet Irresistible Force Kowalski. Turns out the result of that kind of meeting isn't the end of the universe, as we used to theorize back in high school, but rather hot, hot sex.) I also love that Estrella has Ray weirded out once the guys are actually in the same room together, while Fraser turns into Constable Sex Machine. But then, I love everything about Estrella's writing, so it isn't a surprise I'd love this story, which I think is her longest one to date. And she doesn't waste any space, either; every single detail is right, from the way Ray reacts to sitting in a courtroom (he sort of vibrates, like Kid Flash, only with more swearing), to the conversations that Fraser and Ray have before they get to the sex portion of the program (they don't say much, but they both view their conversations as a lifeline), to Dief's ceremonious dispatch into the hallway ("I thank you for your company, but you're excused now.") To sum: this is a wonderful story.

Best FF That Proves That a Certain Sports Anchor Can Use His Way with Words for Evil. And Also Proves That He Should Do That Way, Way More Often. Reach Out and Touch Someone, by Caroline Baker, aka [livejournal.com profile] linabean, and Fox, aka [livejournal.com profile] darthfox. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. For the record, "Reach Out and Touch Someone" was going to be the title of this entry, but Caroline Baker and Fox got there first, and I don't even hold it against them, 'cause they used it on a great story. This is funny and light-hearted and insanely porny, which I suspect will sell about 85% of this LJ's readers on it. Not enough? Wait! There's more. Because the funniest part is actually not technically part of the story - it's the chat extract that follows the end. So be sure to read the chat transcript at the beginning, because otherwise you might not get the joke. And if that still isn't enough for you - although, really, it should be - this story has yet another attraction to lure the jaded reader: evil Danny. Not, you know, Angelus-type evil, where you have to send nuns away for their own good. More like Spike evil, where, OK, yes, technically he is evil, but he's so good at it, and he's so likable that you just love him anyway. And people find him inexplicably sexy. (I sincerely hope that bit didn't make anyone imagine Danny being played by James Marsters, though, because that would be too weird for words.) So. I've told you there's phones in this story, and that it's funny, and that it's up to its apostrophes in smut; do you really need to know more? OK. One other detail. In this story, Casey has hurt his elbow. Now go read it.

Best FF That Features - I Swear to God - a Cameo by Ewan McGregor, Even Though It Is Set in a Totally Ewan-Free Canon. Conversation, by [livejournal.com profile] cara_chapel. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. (You know, I'm starting to feel like I'm always recommending the same three fandoms, which means, I imagine, that the people who read this must be well and truly sick of said fandoms. So for the next entry I'll look through my list for a set that is made up of fandoms I haven't recommended for a while. It'll be kind of a palate-clearer for us all. Anyway, back to the rec.) Jim, on stakeout, commits an act of Sentinel voyeurism (which is just like regular voyeurism, except that it's got more detail and more sensory involvement than most of us get when we're having sex right up close and personal). And then he calls Blair, which is so what he would do, and only Jim could convince himself that he's doing it for some reason other than a desire for late-night phone sex. But, hey, Sandburg's no dummy, and he totally isn't fooled, so they have their phone sex anyway. The thing that always draws my attention when I read this story, though, is the couple Jim watches have sex; they sound to me like the characters played by Ewan McGregor and Yoshi Oida in The Pillow Book. (Hence the title of this story's award.) Anyone else get that? No? Well, but the blond guy in this story is named Jerome, and so was McGregor's character. Still don't see it? Maybe I'm insane. Anyway, this story just feels right to me. Somehow, Jim seems like the kind of guy that would feel more comfortable talking on the phone than in person, and Blair seems like one of those people that use telephones as almost an extension of their bodies, just one more way of guaranteeing that there'll always be someone to talk to. I doubt that's canon, or even in line with canon - for all I know, both guys hate phones - but it's one of the reasons this story works for me. Only one of them, though, so feel to read it even if you don't agree.

Best FF That Shows Us That Sometimes Even Telepathy Isn't Enough to Ensure You'll Win Mind Games. Golden, by Andraste, aka [livejournal.com profile] andrastewhite. X-Men, Charles Xavier/Erik Lehnsherr. (And, hey. Did everyone else know this interesting fact and just keep it from me? Because I was reading the Magneto entry at the Marvel Directory, and apparently Magneto once used the alias Michael Xavier. Am I the only person shocked and delighted by this news? Am I the only person now singing "Charles and Erik, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Jean Gray in a baby carriage?" Less delightful - more neutral, really - is the news that in the comics canon Erik Lehnsherr is not necessarily his real name, which I also totally didn't know. And I call myself a comics fan.) So, getting back to the story. This is a telephone-based fic with no phone sex; in fact, there's no sex of any kind. Charles and Erik have moved past using the telephone as a sex toy; for them, it's more of a weapon in their reach-out-and-hurt-someone-you-love arsenal. Not that they need any help, mechanical or otherwise, to hurt each other, because they've got that down. But, hey, there's a lot of FF couples who can do that; that's not what makes these guys special. This story shows us what does. It captures that indefinable Xavier/Magneto magic, in which love and hate and pain and pleasure are all inextricably mixed, so that they can't stop loving each other any more than they can stop fighting each other. This isn't an easy dynamic to write, so be impressed with Andraste. I sure am.

Next time: a recs set that doesn't contain a single dS, TS, or SN story. If I can write such a thing without dropping dead.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Best FF That Destroyed Cherished Childhood Memories of Mine, but Will Not Destroy Any Memories of Yours, Unless Your Father Also Sang You to Sleep with "Pinball Wizard." And If He Did, Email Me, Because We Probably Had the Same Father; I Mean, There Couldn't Be Two Men Like That. Tilt, by Resonant, aka [livejournal.com profile] resonant8. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Well. Ray and Fraser. Wanda in a chainmail bikini. Pinball. Kissing in public. Mountie-suit-related cruelty. Sex. And Resonant. Do I need to tell you more to sell you on this thing? I thought not. So let me, in the grand Livejournal tradition, change the subject to myself. Yes, my father really did sing me to sleep with "Pinball Wizard," because apparently I used some of my very first communicative words to request it. (This is such a revealing detail that anyone out there who also happens to be a member of my family will recognize me from that alone. So, if you know who I am now, go away. Get your porn recs from someone you don't share any genes with.) And when I say "requested," I don't mean once; I asked for it every night until I was five or six. And since I didn't sleep through the night until after first grade, my father spent hours every night singing this song. For years and years. (Yes, mine is the best father in the world. And that was totally non-sarcastic; even this LJ is capable of sincerity, on occasion.) God only knows why "Pinball Wizard" had such an unhealthy attraction for me. But I can't help thinking all that early exposure to the deaf, dumb, and blind kid who sure played a mean pinball warped me in some essential way.

FF Featuring the World's Best Thing to Yell While Having an Orgasm: "Incoming!" Yes, Ladies (and Gentlemen, and Others), Try That One Tonight and Watch Your Lover Fall Right off the Bed. No, Really, I Dare You. Silk, by [livejournal.com profile] cmshaw. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. Silk boxers are something of a cliche in this fandom, and I think this story might just be the reason. Because torturing Jim is such fun; I mean, what good is a Sentinel if you can't annoy him? (This message brought to you by Blair Sandburg, who would like to add: bother your Sentinel today! But not mine, man, because only I get to bother him.) So, here we have jimblairishness, silky underwear, little fishes, and sex. I can't think what else you'd need to know, so I'll change the subject again. This story is linked, in my mind, to [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie's silk rant; I can't read one without thinking of the other. See, I am not a fabric snob. I knit, and I can be a bit of a yarn snob, but when it comes to fabrics? Um. It should be machine washable. Beyond that, all I can say is that it should wear really really well, because once I commit to an article of clothing, I am going to wear it until it is in shreds. (And even then I will continue to wear it to bed.) I do not like shopping for clothes, because nothing ever looks like something I would wear, and I do not like wearing new clothes, because they don't feel like something I would wear, so I wear the same things over and over and over. (I like to think Jim Ellison would understand this.) That trait means I never really considered the strangeness of silk cropping up all over the place in FF until MMWD brought it up. Because, yes, I've worn silk underwear, and silk shirts, and even a silk dress, but I hated them all. And I had a point to this, but I've been fatally distracted by the realization that this is, again, something Jim Ellison would understand. So, you know, way too much identification with Jim going on here today, and I'm scared. Moving on. Briskly.

Best FF That Explains How Shaving Can Be Used As a Psychological Diagnostic. And Why We Should All Try to Masturbate in Public More Often. Close, by [livejournal.com profile] actizera. Oz, Tobias Beecher/Christopher Keller. Note, folks, that this one is safe for Oz phobics (You have nothing to fear, Ozphobes, but fear itself. Well, and Vern Schillinger.) and novices; nothing bad happens in it, and you don't need any canon knowledge (beyond, you know, that these guys are in prison), either. It's just good, clean public sex, to the extent that public sex can be considered clean and good. Note that in this fandom I consider it public sex if the lights are on, because you just can't use normal definitions in Oz. It's the fandom that broke the fannish lexicon. (Hurt/comfort? Well, baby, let me tell you the tale of Beecher/Keller, because it's pretty much all hurt/comfort. Slash? Um. Is it still slash if it's a canon relationship? Non-con? Jesus, I don't know. Is anything truly consensual in Oz?) Seriously. It's the Fandom Different, and I've had to rework all my usual categories so that they apply to Oz. Just one more reason to love the fandom, I guess. Anyway, here we have Beecher being a little slut and manipulating Keller. I love it when Beecher does that, and you should, too. (To continue the tradition of bringing every rec back to me, let me tell you how alarmed I am to see Oz bedding down in this set with all my happy fandoms. I mean, we're going to have not one but two stories from Sports Night in a minute, and that will pretty much run the gamut of safety fandoms, for me. And yet, here's Oz, like a cat among pigeons. Or, worse, like a Schillinger among first-season Beechers. Tell me Oz is not going to become one of my baseline fandoms. Please.)

Best FF Featuring an Incredibly, Intensely Lame Prom Theme. Worse Even Than the Prom Theme My Freshman Year, Which Was - Really! - "To All the Girls I've Loved Before." I Have No Idea Who Picked This, but She Was Either a Wicked Satirist, a Bitter Ex, or a Deinstitutionalized Psychotic. Whichever, I'd Like to Shake Her Hand. This Year's Prom Theme, by Pares, aka [livejournal.com profile] kormantic. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. I had a hard time picking the SN story I'd put in this set, because there's two with identical plots - no, really, Charlemagne even talks about it in his author's note for Party of Two. I ended up going with "This Year's Prom Theme" because a) it's been more thoroughly proofread, b) the guys actually have sex, rather than just making out, in public, and c) I can't figure out what Charlemagne's story is called. It could be "Party of Two," yes, but it could also be "Old Friends." If you read it, inspect the page and let me know what you think it's called. So. Here Casey has sex with a prom queen. But that's all right, because he eventually has public sex with Dan, and that fixes things up nicely. This story scores a little bit high on my angst-o-meter, especially for this fandom. (I want happiness in this fandom - happiness and snarkiness and happiness and sex and a happy ending. I'm prepared to compromise about the sex, but not the ending, which is unusual for me.) But you know what? It may have a bit of angst, yes, but it has many great moments. For example, the sex in front of the publicist in Natalie's living room. Yeah, I thought that'd pique your interest. I won't try to keep you here any longer.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
A long, long, long time ago I promised my beloved [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie a post on FF I'd seen that violated a credo of the genre and yet somehow was still good. There really are such stories out there. We've all read them; stories where, for example, Benton Fraser grows tentacles and gets pregnant, even though he is technically male, by Ray Kowalski, who turns out to be a dragon. And Kowalski can talk to other reptiles, and he defeats Tom Riddle and saves Harry Potter, and Fraser can talk to horses and dogs and brings Sirius Black back from the dead.

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

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

-The Personal Peeves-

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

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

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

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

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

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

-The Broken Absolute Laws of Fan Fiction-

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

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

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

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

Those two stories are just fucking fantastic, yes, but on the whole the genre mystifies me. I don't read fic for men doing girl things; I read fic for men doing boy things, generally to other men. (And, no, I don't define "sucking cock" as a strictly boy thing, although I think you'll admit that it helps to have at least one male present for that activity. But pregnancy? That is a girl thing, by god, and I don't want to read about it happening to men. I hope.) If I want a pregnancy fic, I'll look for femslash, dammit. And, um, that probably sounded biased, but it wasn't meant that way. I love you, straight people! I totally want you to breed, provided you don't let the resultant kids kick the back of my seat during showings of R-rated movies after 11:00 p.m.! It's just, well, I have a slash bias when I'm reading fic, and so - you know, this isn't going to come out right, no matter what I say. Stopping now, while only my foot is in mouth.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Ah, the wankfic. What can I say? It is truly a classic form. In fact, it is to fan fiction what iambic pentameter is to poetry: common yet satisfying, just structured enough to inspire without in any way constraining the brilliance of the author.

Um. Lost focus there for a moment. Sorry.

Anyway, yeah. I'm a big ol' fan of the wankfic. But then, who isn't? And since I don't seem to be able to write a coherent introduction, let's get right to fic.

Best FF That Proves You Can Tie a Vampire Up, But You Can't Keep Him Down: A Lesson in Principles, by Annie Sewell-Jennings, aka [livejournal.com profile] anniesj. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander Harris. (Does Spike ever get a last name? Is there some kind of law in Buffyland that vampires only have one name? Nail-thin models and female singers with distressed hair: is this the right kind of company for Whedonist vampires? Hmmm. You know, maybe it is. OK, objection withdrawn.) So now I have a humiliating confession to make: I like Spike. I like his attitude; I like that he doesn't take himself seriously. (And, yes, I grant that Angel learns this trick, too, when he has his own show. We're not talking about that now.) He doesn't take anything seriously. Other people might mope and brood and bleed, might obsess about the past and worry about the future, but he's having fun in the now, dammit. He's almost Zen, really. It's an example we could all learn from. Only not the evil and the biting and killing parts. (And no one should try to emulate the hair, 'cause I don't think there's anyone else in the world who could carry that off, and I'm not convinced he does, either.) But there's a downside to Spike's in-the-moment approach to undeath, as Xander learns in this fic. When he's not happy, it's not like he, you know, suffers in silence or anything. Here we get Spike at his most gleefully provoking, and I just love it.

Best FF That Strikes a Much-Needed Blow for Women's Rights to Equality of - Well, OK, Masturbation. But Don't Tell Me That's Not an Important Right. Really, Reasonable Founding Fathers Would've Put It in the Constitution. Jilling, by Te, aka Ficusbane, aka [livejournal.com profile] thete1. Smallville, Chloe, and I honestly don't know enough about the fandom to know her last name. (Or, hey, maybe she's a singing model bloodsucker, and she only has the one name. Could be.) But I do know that girls do not get even close to equal representation in the masturbation fic realm. Trust Te to do her part toward redressing the balance. Gotta love this woman, and not just because she kills every ficus she lays hands on. So here we have Chloe being her own best friend, so to speak, while fantasizing about talking to - no, let's be honest - teasing Clark Kent. It should act as an inspiration to all those authors who don't think girls merit equality in every realm. (Try, as you consider this concept, not to imagine the League of Women Voters taking up this cause, because that could end all aspects of your sex life forever.)

Best FF Featuring the Quidditch Showers Being Put to the Use I Am Sure the Hogwarts Founders Intended for Them. Which Would Be Cleanliness Emergencies, of Course. Afternoon Showers, Chance of Rain, by [livejournal.com profile] memorycharm. Harry Potter, Sirius Black/Remus Lupin, Marauders-era. HP fangirls have devoted lots of time to the question of where boys who attend boarding schools jerk off. (Really, we should write a FAQ or something to help out the real-world boys heading off to Phillips or Hotchkiss or Deerfield or wherever. Only there'd probably be way too much focus on cleaning charms and silence charms for it to be entirely useful.) This particular story goes for that perennial favorite: the showers. Wanking, watching, water: it's a classic slash trifecta! What's not to love? (Oh, come on, admit you love it. Like you wouldn't read every story in a challenge built around those three words. Or maybe that's just me, in which case - well, you folks already knew I was a pervert, so I refuse to apologize.)

Best FF Featuring a Canoe Being Put to a Use I Am Quite Sure Its Manufacturers Did Not Intend: Cover. During a Shootout, of Course. The Sporting Life, by Speranza, aka [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Ray Vecchio. This is actually the second in a series; the first one is Breaking Cover. It isn't necessary to read the first to get the second - I mean, if you're familiar with the concept of masturbation, you'll be fine - but it is fun. This is short, but it packs quite a wallop, and Speranza really makes the unusual setting work. (One of the many reasons I love dS: I can think of relatively few fandoms in which sex during a shootout in a sporting goods store would work, but in dS anything works, as long as it's weird enough. Or funny enough. Or, ideally, both.) And I know I've said bad things about stories in which Ray Kowalski is called Stanley, but this showcases one of the exceptions: when Vecchio is being dismissive. And, as Vecchio learns, you don't just write off Kowalski. He won't let you. Really, I think this story is the living definition of "safe even for hardcore F/K shippers," but because there's one extremely persuasive person out there I know I won't convince, I will, as always, provide a Certified Safe Alternate Story.

-Or-

Best FF Featuring a Pillow Being Put to a Use I Am Relatively Certain It Didn't Mind. And I Can't Actually Think of Anything Not Perverse to Say About That. Fighting, by [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. The theme of this pair of unsafe/safe recs is "flashfiction by two of the grande dames of the fandom." My subtle point here is, if you read dS, you should be reading [livejournal.com profile] ds_flashfiction, because great stories are posted there, often faster than I can rec them. So why wait? (And if you aren't in dS or one of the other fandoms that has a flashfiction community, you should start one. What, like you were going to do something non-fansmut-related in the next half-hour? Of course you weren't. So you might as well do something constructively smutty; it's getting the best of both worlds, really.) To get back to this story - which, you know, is technically the point of this part of the rec, even if I usually act like I don't know it - here we have a certain entirely normal and documented reaction to the endorphins triggered by physical combat put to a lovely slashy use. And I think you'll agree that the only thing better than boys being boys is when that's immediately followed by boys doing boys.
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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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, [livejournal.com profile] mamadeb!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I used to call this category car sex, and I considered it a tribute to my younger, wilder days. And then I realized that there's so much more to getting around than just automobiles. So now it's about all the ways of moving from point A to point B, ideally stopping off to suck some cock somewhere along the way. (And it's, yes, still a tribute to my younger days, because that was my younger days. There's nothing quite as beautiful as leaving your teen years behind, is there?)

Best FF That Taught Me What GTO Stands for, Because I Honestly Did Not Know for the Longest Time, and I'm Ashamed of That, Yes, but This Theme Tends to Bring out the Shameful Confessions, and I'm Starting with Something Easy: Modes, by [livejournal.com profile] pearl_o. Due South, gen. Yes, you heard me. Gen. But this is the story that had to start this recs set, because it's all about transportation, and I'm not talking about the Australia thing, either. Is it any surprise that Ray Kowalski's life can be summed up through vehicles - taking this bus, driving this car, getting on that train? Kowalski's in motion, baby. And, even though this is gen, I think you'll like where he ends up. This is one of those stories that leaves me wanting more to the point where I go searching for stories that can serve as unofficial, unintentional, and totally spurious sequels. Which explains the next rec, in a way that will probably piss off both authors. Angering all sides is, after all, an honored fannish tradition.

Best FF That Makes Insomnia Something Sweet and Slashy, Instead of Pathetic and Irritating, Which, Trust Me, Is What It Actually Is: Stay, by Estrella, aka [livejournal.com profile] estrella30. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. Yes, two dS stories today, because I really don't irritate everyone enough with the obsessive Southiness (rhymes with mouthiness, and for a reason, people) as it is. And because I understand that there are people who go into stark raving withdrawal if their due South doesn't end with a Canadian shack, or actually, I understand that there is just one such person. Or, OK, three. But I fear those people, except for the one that is me. So, as a chaser to the excellent genish work of "Modes," we have the excellent and slightly more slashy "Stay." Because, you know, everyone stops moving sooner or later. And I think we all know that Kowalski stops in Canada, with snow and Fraser and sex, and if the sex doesn't exactly happen on the page here, well, I'm sure Estrella would've worked it in somewhere if she possibly could've, and I forgive her. Mostly.

Best FF That Almost Turns LAX into a Place You'd Like to Spend Some Time, as Opposed to the Suspected Portal Straight to Hell by Way of O'Hare That It Actually Is: Leaving on a Jet Plane, by [livejournal.com profile] musesfool. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Oz Osbourne/Xander Harris. This one is for everyone who has spent too much time in LAX, which, judging by the last time I went there, is everyone in the world. (And, I suspect, some people from other worlds, planes, and times. I swear there was an Anasazi trying to make a direct connection to Chaco Canyon in line behind me in Terminal One a few years back.) So it's no surprise that Oz and Xander would end up having a drink in one of the appalling non-service bars selling bad overpriced booze for your in-transit convenience; the only surprising thing is that the amazing, excellent, and wonderful kiss in this story isn't interrupted by 18 Sassofovic demons asking for donations to a spurious charity supposedly helping homeless impspawn back in their home dimension. (And the intercom - this is absolutely true - would then announce that giving money to con artists in strange nurse/nun hybrid outfits is totally optional. Because LA is the city of freedom, folks, and you can be cheated however you choose.)

Best FF That Brings Back Poignant Memories That, Embarrassingly Enough, Involve Both River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves: Idaho, by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. My Own Private Idaho, Mike Waters/Scott Favor, sort of. Well. This is definitely a kick in the gut from my past; in retrospect, I should've known from my inexplicable fondness for this movie - inexplicable because, you know, I like my endings to be happy, or at least tolerable - that I was destined for slash. And this story is more of the same, more of the killer pain and sadness that hits at the end of this movie. It left me all sniffly and muttering, "Like, I really wanna kiss you, man" in a choked tone of voice. And, my friends, when a movie starring Keanu Reeves makes you sniffly a decade and a half after it was released, you know a) that's a seriously sad movie b) it nailed you right on your then-undiscovered weaknesses or c) you should've stopped with the sex and drugs and angsty sadness a wee bit earlier. Or, in my case, all three.

Best FF That Will Make You Feel Like an Intellectual and a Respected Pillar of the Community Because You Only Read Slash: Junk Novels, by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun, and Sabine, aka [livejournal.com profile] sabine101. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. And here we have the flip side of Punk; apparently she and Sabine, when united, form some kind of uberhumor goddess, and I for one am totally prepared to worship whatever altar the goddess decrees. I love this story with a passion both intense and strange - strange because there is no sex in it, with the exception of some vague references to het, and I think once you've read the story you'll agree that it's a good thing those references stayed vague. I mean, really, are Punk and Sabine telling the truth here? Do junk novels like this actually exist? Because if they do, well, I don't see how anyone can give us shit about reading quality smut online. At least we don't have mothers having sex with their son's best (underage) friend. Well, not in my fandoms, anyway, and if that happens anywhere in HP, no one tell me about it. A Mrs. Black/James Potter story would kill me, or at least make me return to my unfortunate black-wearing, cemetery-hanging, moody-whining teenage self, and really, death would be better than that.
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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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, [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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.

-Or-

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

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

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

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

-Footnote-

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

** Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] tangleofthorns!

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