thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm going to Vividcon! And, in celebration, I have vid recs. But first, a VVC-related comment and poll:

VVC! )

The One That Will Have You Looking Suspiciously at Cherry Stems Forever. Handlebars, by [livejournal.com profile] flummery. Doctor Who.

This is - well. This is the Doctor. End of story. This is the Doctor in every respect and every detail. The first time I watched this, I was basically clapping in glee from the very first line, and then it got better. And better. And better. And eventually it achieved such amazing levels of betterness that I still haven't entirely recovered. This vid rendered me incoherent. Permanently.

I don't want to tell you how it gets better - if you've somehow missed this vid and this song, just go watch it. You will not be the sorrier. In fact, even if you have no idea who this Doctor person is (He travels through time. With friends. It's complicated.), still go watch it, because after you see this, you will most definitely know.

I once thought I preferred vids about companions (Or enemies, or Daleks. Why are there no Dalek vids? There are lots of good vids songs for them! One is the loneliest number! Make a Circuit with Me! The Macarena!) to vids about the Doctor. And that's still true. But what I think is - my brain knew that this vid was coming, and decided it might just as well wait for perfection.

The One That Demonstrates Why You Might Not Want to Make Pegasus Galaxy Your Vacation Destination. Well, Yes, Life-Sucking Monsters. But It Gets Much Worse Than That, Actually. Open Secrets of the Pegasus Galaxy, by [livejournal.com profile] yevgenie. Stargate: Atlantis.

Okay, first: this is her first vid, you guys. How is this her FIRST VID?

Second: this is the vid that says everything we all know about SGA and don't talk about. Basically, I'd sum that up as: no one gets out of Pegasus clean. (In fact, you mostly don't get out at all. This vid makes that point, too.) The Wraith are the enemy, but how are they different than Atlantis, given some of the decisions the home team makes? The Ancients are (supposed to be, and oh my god, so not, so skeevy) the good guys, but look how badly they fucked Pegasus over. The open secret of Pegasus seems to me to be that everyone fails, falls, dies, fucks up, and fucks over. No heroes.

And now I'd like to talk about the song. Because, see, I love Leonard Cohen. I occasionally fantasize about marrying one of his songs. But I have always considered him basically unviddable. Turns out, nope! I just didn't have the right vision, because oh my god how this song works - works for the vid, works for the theme, works works works. Even if this vid didn't say something I've always wanted someone to say about SGA, I would still love it to pieces, because it's a vid to Leonard Fucking Cohen. That sound you just heard was my heart growing three sizes.

(FIRST. VID. HOW? HOW?)

The One That Is Evidence for the Prosecution. Climbing up the Walls, by [livejournal.com profile] obsessive24. Supernatural, Firefly, and Heroes.

Sooooo. I'm trying to think how to put this. Okay, let's start with this: INCEST. This vid is about incest. And it pulls no punches. Actually, it - you know those video games where, if you hit like nine million buttons in exactly the right order while standing on one foot and whistling Dixie, your character will rear back, grow a robo-claw, and rip another character's head off and eat it? This is the kind of punch this vid has.

And it's just. Fucking. Brilliant. You will be glad your head has been ripped off and eaten by this vid.

What we have here is an incest narrative with all the fanon taken out. Yeah, sure, there are three sibling pairings, here, but it almost doesn't matter; the central story is the same for all of them: fucked-up families, needy and vulnerable younger sibling, obsessively protective older sibling, and then the robo-claw comes out. But the point is: this vid is awesome, and so incredibly rich (there's so much here I could write several lengthy essays about this, for reals), and brutally real. And the brutality should in no way scare you off. (You weren't using that head anyway. And, hey, who doesn't want to see a robo-claw?)

The One That Would Give Charles Darwin Nightmares. (No, Really. He Was a Very Sensitive Man.) Unnatural Selection, by [livejournal.com profile] charmax. Battlestar Galactica and Terminator.

My love for robots is well-documented. At this point, I don't think I need to tell you that sometimes I'm rooting for the robots. But, um. The robots in this vid don't need any humans in their cheering squad; they're doing just fine by themselves. (And, yes, my love for robots can totally survive this vid. I imprinted on robots early and well.)

I don't know either of the sources for this vid. It totally does not matter. (I didn't know any of the sources for [livejournal.com profile] obsessive24's vid, either. Cluelessness is my comfort zone!) The basic message is very clear to anyone who grew up on hard science fiction: we're going to build the next stage. And then it's going to destroy us. (Mine was, yes, a cheerful childhood, always anticipating the moment the machines/metahumans/genetically engineered blobs would rise up and take over. In my day, we didn't need violent video games to prepare us for the apocalypse.)

I love this vid so much, which is a strange thing to say about something that's equal parts dead humans, robotic overlords, and various apocalypses. (Like a Jonathan Coulton album! Except not funny. Really not.) But it's gorgeous and so brilliantly edited and it does in three minutes what it took science fiction a childhood to do for me. Watch. Learn. And fear the future.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Not last time but the time before (although I am still totally on my deadline, so there), I signed up for Sweet Charity. The person who won me was [livejournal.com profile] adbaculum. Probably everyone who sells herself for charity has a moment of terror when she gets the request, but [livejournal.com profile] adbaculum's was actually pretty cool. Basically, she wanted me to rec some vids that might show her why vidding is cool, since she doesn't watch vids much.

I thought, I can so totally do that. Then, of course, I got eaten by the Meta Lizards. They come for you in the dead of night and make your posts three hundred pages long.

But! I persevered. I wrote the whole post, hacked pages and pages of meta back out of it (in addition to Meta Lizards, I am apparently tragically afflicted by a writing disorder that prevents me from ever shutting up), and I think - I hope - I now have something kind of close to what she wanted.

In any case, I'm going for it. [livejournal.com profile] adbaculum, thank you for buying me, for being such an awesome winner, and for having such an interesting request. Most of all, thank you for donating to charity. <3!

Why vids? )
Which vids? )
What's worth watching in vids? )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. Hi! I've been recovering from surgery for the past, um, two and a half weeks. (For the record: ouch. But my defective part is gone now, and I am supposed to be nearly as good as new, at least when the swelling goes away. In the meantime, I have drugs.)

Fandom looks entirely different filtered through pain and pain medication, though, let me tell you. (It all goes really really fast, for one thing. I kept thinking, all the first week after the surgery, "How do they type so much? I can't even stay awake to read it all!" As you will see, though, I have remembered how we all type so much. Yay?)

One thing I did manage to do - in fact, I did it right after the surgery, so there's only a 30% chance any of it makes sense - was the first round of [livejournal.com profile] strangefandom. I was determined not to miss that no matter how many people came at me with small sharp knives. Because, basically, the minute I saw the project, I thought, "Yes. This was designed for me." See, it's a project where you watch vids in fandoms you know nothing about. And you crazy kids with your "watching of the television," you don't do that all that often. But I pretty much always do.

(Let me pause for a true story: a man came around the other day to sell us a different cable provider, and I was home clutching my stomach and blinking at dust motes, so of course I answered the door. He said, "So, who provides your cable now?"

I said, "We don't have cable." He just stood there, every line of his body clearly saying, "What? Who doesn't have cable?" He quite obviously didn't believe me. I'm not sure if it was just panic or what that made me confess to him that we also don't get regular television, but after that, I could tell he was thinking: "Alien or liar? It must be one or the other, and if I can just figure out which, I'll know if it's safe to leave this porch."

It was awkward, and I wanted to sit down, so I said, in an overly bright and cheerful tone, "Well, we do have a DVD player!" I don't know why I said it. I'd blame the drugs, but the truth is I thought it might make him feel better; I had clearly challenged his whole worldview. A man does not expect this when he enters door-to-door cable sales.

He said, "So, what, you," and there was a pause while he considered what a person without cable or regular TV might do with her life, "go to Blockbuster a lot?"

And I said, "Um. No." And then I apologized, although I'm not sure for what.

We stood there for some long, long seconds, and then he backed away and went to talk to our neighbors, who, luckily, definitely do have cable. I hope it made him feel better.)

Anyway, my point is: vids are often my first exposure to a fandom. Sometimes that's not the case; sometimes I've read stories in the fandom, and then it's all happy discovery: "That's JACK'S CABIN!" I remember squeaking happily to Best Beloved during one vid. "It's REAL!" Sometimes, though, I don't even know what the fandom is. (And, seriously - vidders, you would be doing me a great favor if you put the fandom in the vid's credits. I don't care how obvious you think it is. Trust me. I am capable of missing things much more obvious than that.) In that case, it's all a lot of glorious hypothesizing. (Me: "I think that guy is a bad guy. I mean, do good guys wear hats like that?" BB: "Does anyone wear hats like that?" Me: "Well, obviously in the future they do." And then we fervently agree that it's probably a good thing we won't live to see that particular time, which will likely be called the Century of the Bad Hat.)

My point is, [livejournal.com profile] strangefandom was just like that, except I got to write my initial crazy ideas down. While I was on drugs. And I think today one of my synopses will be posted, so you should all go over and check it out, because a) did I mention the drugs? and b) oh my god, you have to see the vid. [livejournal.com profile] sdwolfpup had to promise to explain the fandom to me in small words after it's all over; it's all gay sex and naked men and bad special effects.

So, in celebration of strangers in strange fandoms, I give you vid recs for fandoms that are vid-only for me. In other words, I'm going to suggest you watch vids in which I have no idea what's going on. Trust me! Come on, trust me! (Or just go to [livejournal.com profile] strangefandom. The people there will probably be funnier.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(I do feel the need to state, just for the record, that there is nothing amusing about zombies. They are a major imaginary scourge against which our planet has no defenses. Garlic does not work on zombies, people. Think about it. And in the next election, make yours a vote against the zombie menace. And don't forget to ask your politician of choice what he's doing to prevent the zombie takeover!)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I've been trying del.icio.us for a while, and I've come to the conclusion - well, it's nice to have all my bookmarks resident on the web. And it's nice to be able to put everything up there. But - well, okay. It makes me not want to do actual recommendations sets, and that's kind of why I have this journal, and it's the thing I love most. So that doesn't seem like such a great idea, basically.

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

Find me a find, catch me a catch. )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bird: Woooo. Woo-woo.
Friend: Chee-eeeep! Che-che-che-che-eeeep!

I quickly developed a mental image of Friend. Clearly, this was a small, cheerful bird. Possibly he had a dull brown exterior, but underneath was youth and excitement and enthusiasm for all things avian. I pictured him hopping about on the branch as he accompanied Bird.

Bird: Woooo. Woo-woo.
Friend: Chee-eeeep! Che-che-che-che-eeeep!

Of course, Bird is a dedicated guy. Nothing, but nothing, comes between him and his message. (Which, for the inattentive or forgetful, is: woo.) He has a mind that transcends the mundane; he's got purpose, he's got meaning, he's got soul.

Bird: Woooo. Woo-woo.
Friend: Chee-eeeep! Che-che-che-che-eeeep!

But as time passed (yes, I was in fact listening the whole time, and I don't want to hear a word about it), Friend began to flag. It's always the way with these youngsters; they start well, but they just don't have the stamina.

Bird: Woooo. Woo-woo.
[Pause, as of a rapidly tiring bird summoning the resources for another go.]
Friend: Chee-eeeep.
Bird, sounding encouraging: Woooo. Woo-woo?
Friend, sounding exhausted: Chee-eep.

Standing at the window, listening to this, I said, wistfully: "Their love is so doomed."

And then I realized what I'd just said, and added: "Jesus Christ. I've got to get out of here."

So I came in here to write a recs set, and if it just happens to start with an update on Bird, it's only because I know some of you are very interested in him. Or at least I'm pretending you are, for reasons of personal dignity.

But I do not come empty-handed, even if you don't count the Tale of Bird. Because I also have recs. Rare pairing recs. I mean, given the star-crossed love of Bird and Friend, what else?

(Added note: this weekend, we discovered that there is something that will shut Bird up, and that thing is: garage bands. Specifically, the one garage band belonging to the teenage boy - and please god let him go away to college soon, ideally to a very noise-tolerant state - a few houses down from us. Of course, given that said band's entire repertoire is Limp Bizkit, or rather the first eight bars of a number of Limp Bizkit songs, well - let's just say I won't be begging them to add extra practices or anything. And, yes. I'm not kidding. All Limp Bizkit, all wrong, all Saturday. For two years.)

Best FF in Which Rodney McKay Says Someone Is Smarter Than He Is. Seriously, It's a Moment That Would Totally Go Down in History If It Wasn't Way in the Future. The Big Bang and Everything After, by [livejournal.com profile] mandysbitch. Stargate: Atlantis x Firefly, Rodney McKay/River Tam. (Yes, I'm recommending Firefly. It's only a crossover!) Most of the time, I just do not get Firefly FF. Like, at all. Apparently, you had to be there for this fandom. But this story fascinated me, and not just because of all the unanswered questions that lurk behind it. Actually, what I loved most about this was the character of River, who was just - really, improbably gripping. I normally hate this character type - the crazy genius, mad because she knows things other people don't. (I'm more of a fan of the grouchy genius. Or, hey, even a reasonable nice one.) Maybe this was different because the story is from River's point of view, so you get a look into her twisted logic. Or it could just be because [livejournal.com profile] mandysbitch is a highly skilled writer. Because she obviously is; transplanting a character like this is never easy. It's ten times as hard when you're selling a pairing at the same time. Crossover pairings rarely work for me, probably because fan fiction relies, to a certain extent, on an initial buy-in; we go into most stories knowing the characters and being willing to believe they're involved. But authors of crossover pairings (and very rare pairings in general, but it's usually most extreme in crossovers) have to work without that, and that means a lot of fan fiction conventions don't work. But this - this works. I believe this Rodney, though I hurt for him a little, and I believe in this River, even if I've never met her before. Most of all, I believe they'd end up together in the universe of this story. Which you should totally read. Now.

Best FF That Proves That Luthors Are Entirely Too Talented for Their Own Good. Or Anyone Else's. Actually, Make That Especially Anyone Else's. No Quarter, by [livejournal.com profile] nifra_idril. Smallville, Lionel Luthor/Johnathan Kent. (And if you're right now thinking, "You know, there's a reason some pairings are rare," just wait. It gets worse! You'll be thrilled! Or maybe dead from the horror; could go either way.) I've never seen anything of Lionel except in vids. But his body language in those vids is so insinuating, aggressive, and confident that I seriously believe he could seduce anyone, and that's if he wasn't trying. I can't imagine what might happen if he was, but I'm fairly sure the words "total world domination" or possibly "catastrophe on an unprecedented scale" would be involved. And which would depend mostly on his mood that day. His mood in this story, for the record, is pretty much the same one a lion has when chasing a mouse: tolerantly distracted, because the little squeaking thing entertains him. And I totally and completely buy the reason he gives for going after Jonathan, mostly because the characterization in this story is amazing; the first four paragraphs are practically a textbook on Lionel, and most of the rest is a perfect justification for Jonathan. One that I rather like. Because at least in FF, Jonathan comes off as, well. Kind of a dick, sometimes, but mostly just - unclear. Inconsistent. But in this story, he makes a disturbing amount of sense. And I don't just mean the details of what happens here; I mean the dynamics of his relationship with the Luthors, and his behavior in general. Jonathan is so overmatched and outmaneuvered here that - seriously, it's like two different species: Home serpiens and Homo domesticus, and oh my god, no, I did not mean the really bad puns there. Obviously I'd better move on before the excellent Lionel/Jonathan destroys my brain.

Best FF That May Forever Taint Formerly Innocent Childhood Memories. I'm Not Kidding, People; Just Hearing the Pairing List Seems to Cause Permanent Brain Damage in Some People. Sunny Days, by [livejournal.com profile] hyperfocused. Sports Night x Sesame Street, Dan Rydell/Cookie Monster, Casey McCall/Guy Smilie, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. Sometimes the beauty of a rare pairing is just the pure astonishment that anyone managed to carry it off. In this case, it's more like astonishment that anyone looked at this prompt (obviously, it's from [livejournal.com profile] ithurtsmybrain) and thought, "Yeah, okay. I can do that." (And I didn't even watch Sesame Street, and in fact had to resort to Google at a certain point in the story. I can only imagine what this does to people who actually watched the show.) But, you know, for me, this story works. Obviously there's the whole blue fluffy Muppet thing to get around - and, yes, I know some of you are saying, "You can't 'get around' the Muppet thing! For Christ's sake, which part of 'Muppet' did you not understand?" - but the author plays nicely on Dan's inherent flexibility and his tendency to do completely insane things when jealous, and the story's not so long that your disbelief snaps back, and somehow the Dan/Cookie Monster relationship comes off as...sweet. Sorry; it seems to be the set for puns punishable by death. But, really, it does. Or maybe this is all a sign that I have permanent brain damage. Can't say for sure. But I'm betting there are a couple people out there who are right now ordering CT scans on me, just in case.

Best FF That Makes Me Sing, "If You Were the Only Boy in the World, and It Was the Only Large Improbable City-Like Ancient Construct..." The Man Next Door, by [livejournal.com profile] saeva and [livejournal.com profile] verstehen. Stargate: Atlantis: John Sheppard/Atlantis. (Warning: spoilers for episode 2.08, Conversion. For those who do not wish to be spoiled, I have included another John/Atlantis story. See? Everyone's writing John/Atlantis! Why aren't you? You could be one of the very cool kids, here. Also, I warned for this because the episode was so recent. It's an experiment. Anyone who thinks I should keep doing this, please let me know.) So. When you're, you know, down and stuff. You turn to your beloved, and you say, "I am down and stuff. I need chocolate. Or sex." And we all know that Atlantis doesn't have chocolate. And that's about as much as I can say without totally spoiling the story or the episode from whence it came. But, see, this is why John/Atlantis is totally my emergency backup SGA OTP (Their love, as I commented somewhere yesterday, is so genetic. And Ancient. It is a love for all time and all biochemistries!): you cannot get more slashy or more destined to be together than this pairing. Forget Harry/[insert your chosen character here, because I am totally not stupid enough to walk in front of that flamethrower, thanks], people; these two really were made for each other. Now go read about John hurting and Atlantis comforting in a very, um, traditional way, for certain definitions of 'tradition.' Unless you haven't seen SGA 2.08 and you'd rather not be spoiled, in which case go directly to the other story. (Otherwise, read both. When I say "alternate story," what I really mean is "bonus story for most of you, plus an opportunity for me to recommend again in the same fandom, which saves me from yet another impossible decision." I swear, recommending is not for the choice-phobic.)

-Or-

Best FF That Really Makes You Consider All the Sides of the Phrase, "A Deal with the Devil." Learning to Breathe, by Speranza, aka [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Atlantis. Yet more proof that the John/Atlantis love is beautiful! Except, in this one, totally not. More like vampiric. But I don't mind at all. Sometimes our OTPs have these unhealthy, co-dependent, sucking-pit-of-need kind of relationships. It's just a little more literal in this story, is all. And, oh, the absolute beauty of what I think of as the command code line section of the story, which I have read so many times I now see several additional stories in them, which probably aren't there, but that's the beauty of art, right? We get from it what we bring to it, and whoa. Sorry. Went all Art Appreciation 101 there on you. (Mystifying, because when I took the class, it wasn't touchy-feely at all. It started as this eerily regimented thing like art boot camp, then disintegrated in mid-semester into a showcase for very disturbing videos. And there's a lesson in there for teachers everywhere: when we stopped hearing thoughtful discussions of alchemical symbolism in Marc Chagall's work and started seeing people in desperate need of therapy crucifying themselves on Volkswagens, everyone stayed awake. In some cases for weeks. But the point is: either you get great art or you don't, and if you don't, no amount of lectures will help. But excruciating, unnecessary, exceedingly silly pain is a language everyone speaks. Hurt your students today!) Um. Yes, this is still technically a story summary. But, really, all I have left to say is that this is brilliant, and the last few paragraphs are especially brilliant. And they should also be soothing to those John/Rodney fanciers who don't get the inherent perfection of John/Atlantis.* Although I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't.

-Footnote-

*Yes, of course I've got a half-written Rodney/John/Atlantis story. It is the thing to do when you have two overlapping OTPs, after all. Plus, I mean - doesn't everyone?

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