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.)


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)
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 [ profile] adbaculum. Probably everyone who sells herself for charity has a moment of terror when she gets the request, but [ 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. [ 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. Someone on my friends list linked to the YouTube clip about the T.S. Eliot Equation, and I realized it could be used to prove three things about me:
  1. I won't have any cats in my old age, because zero divided by anything is always zero. This is good, because I am tragically allergic to cats.

  2. I won't live to be old, because some right-thinking citizen will throttle me before then. I can best explain this via a conversation I had upon viewing the YouTube clip.

    Me: But...okay, I get the concept, and yet. Well. Shouldn't the number of exclamation points be an intensifying rather than a mitigating factor?
    BB: What?
    Me: Because if you divide by the number of exclamation points, then that reduces the total number of cats. Whereas obviously more exclamation points should increase the total number of cats, and -
    BB: Are you arguing the terms of an equation from a YouTube comedy clip?
    Me, quietly: I just think it's important to be accurate, and that's obviously inaccurate, because -
    BB, loudly: I said, are you arguing the terms of an equation from a YouTube comedy clip?
    Me, very quietly: Possibly.
    [There is a long silence.]
    BB: Oh my god. Do you hear yourself?
    [There is another long silence in which I reflect upon my life to date.]
    Me: ...Maybe I need a hobby.

  3. I need to post. Yes, I had my usual December quietness, induced by Yuletide + work + seasonal depression, but obviously if I want to live through this year, never mind to a (sadly cat-free) old age, I need a hobby. One that doesn't involve critiquing YouTube math. And, as it turns out, I already have a hobby: fan fiction! It's time to get in touch with my hobby again, ideally before the person who throttles me is Best Beloved.
So, courtesy of the math in some guy's YouTube comedy bit, here I bring you: crossovers.

Yeah. That transition sucked, but in my defense: a) I think you'll find, if you think about it, that there is no possible good transition there, so I can hardly be blamed for not finding it, b) I have to get this post done before I turn into a Crazy Pedant Lady, which is much much worse than a Crazy Cat Lady, and c) I'm sick, so I am excused from having to have smooth transitions and polished prose and stuff. (No, really. I have a note and everything.)

That said, shall we get right to the crossovers?

The One That Features Draco Malfoy in a Cage and Yet Is Somehow Still Gen. Five Have a Magical Time, by [ profile] lazy_neutrino. Harry Potter x Enid Blyton's Famous Five, gen.

I - I don't know if other people will react to this one the way I did. (My reaction, for the record, was laughter interspersed with broken sobs, because I was obsessed with the Famous Five books in my youth, people, and they read just like this, and oh my god I've wasted my entire life.) You pretty much need to have spent three years of your childhood hiding in your closet with a flashlight and a stack of Famous Five books.

Yes. I was just that cool as a kid. Fear me.

But I think even if you had a more normal childhood - one featuring light and good literature and a total lack of lashings of ginger beer, a phrase that can still cause my entire right side to cramp up from phantom flashlight-holding pain - you can enjoy this. Just know that [ profile] lazy_neutrino has hit the style of the Famous Five so perfectly that I would actually suspect her of being the reincarnation of Enid Blyton if that wasn't such a horrible thing to say about a person who clearly a) is a very talented writer and b) spent much of her childhood in the same kind of thrall I did, and therefore has suffered enough.

And, of course, the Harry Potter elements are perfect. I just - I love this brilliant (smashing!) clash of two subgenres of British children's literature (the magical and the Blyton, and yes, Blyton is entirely deserving of her own subgenre), and the way the Harry Potter world looks through the eyes of the Famous Five, and, well, every flashback-to-my-unfortunate-youth-inducing word of the narrative.

Bonus: after re-reading this, I felt a lot better about my need to argue YouTube math, because obviously I was broken from the start. Which means I can blame my parents. Or, possibly, Enid Blyton. Both are, obviously, excellent choices that take the burden of normalcy off me. And that, my friends, is the key to mental health.

The One That Is Perfectly Timed for Post-Holiday Reading, Since It Will Make You Feel Good About How Functional and Healthy Your Family Is. Really. The Gods Might Offer Gifts, by [ profile] iseult_variante. Supernatural x American Gods, gen.

I think it's safe to say you'll enjoy this story if you know either fandom. I don't know Supernatural (well, beyond what I pick up from vids, which is: two brothers, a car, and a woman in plastic wrap taped to the ceiling, plus a lot of scary stuff that means I could never, ever watch the show) at all, but I totally got this. And, going by the comments, people who don't know American Gods also love this story.

Of course, if you love Supernatural, I have to wonder why you don't know American Gods, because you'd probably love it, for the same reason that this crossover is such a fucking brilliant idea. (Brilliantly executed, too, let me just add.) Both canons address similar themes, albeit in a different way, and they are just such a natural fit that I am now wondering where the Dean/Shadow is. Or the John/Loki. (Oh, come on, I can't be the only person thinking that.)

But if there's only going to be one Supernatural x American Gods crossover, I'm glad this was it, because this is so damn perfect. [ profile] iseult_variante picked just the right characters, just the right moment, and just the right themes - oh my god, people, this hits my family complications kink so hard that I think it might actually have broken it - and does it all so well that it looks easy. Which it manifestly is not.

Bonus: I'm glad I re-read this one immediately after Five Have a Magical Time, because I now feel better about my childhood. I mean, okay, I was a weird, closet-dwelling (ha ha ha - no, literally), book-obsessed little troll, but obviously that is, in the grand scheme of things, both normal and healthy. (No one should point out that neither of the families in this story are ideal barometers of mental health, okay? Let me be pleased with my newfound normalcy.)

The One That Gives a Whole New Meaning to the Concept of Teyla's People. X, by [ profile] trinityofone. Stargate: Atlantis x X-Men, gen.

This one you can definitely follow if you only know one canon or the other, but if you know both, it is so very wonderful that I would recommend acquiring whichever canon you don't know (or, hell, both canons) just so you can obtain full enjoyment of it. [ profile] trinityofone does an incredible job of fusing these canons, of mapping the X-verse onto the Gateverse; every time I read this, I experience a vague sense of shock when I finish it and realize, oh, right, this isn't canon. They don't actually have these powers and they aren't actually these people.

But if they were. Oh, god, I would faint from glee. Seriously. I might even die: first ever fannishness-induced implosion. Because it is so right.

If by some chance you haven't read this story (and, really, I don't see how anyone could have missed it, but just in case), I don't want to spoil it for you - the slow reveal is part of the joy of this, figuring out how things fit together and what's going on. I will say, though, that I have special and unholy glee for Zelenka's, um, form in this - the only thing that could have been better is if he'd been Beast. (Oh, god, who is Beast in this universe? Is there anyone awesome enough?)

And now I'm going to shut up, because, really, I am bouncing with eagerness to spoil this whole story for you, all, "And then - and also - and oh my god, you will not even believe but it's so -" Obviously I need to be quiet. Now.

Bonus: I think a few of you know that I am a recovering X-Addict. So many of us went through these little stages in college, and I was not immune. But because I got my sex and drugs and rough-approximation-of-music issues out of the way in high school (a total time-saver, but nonetheless not recommended unless you have excellent mental health coverage), I was left with nothing but geekiness to explore in college. I'd like to say, oh, there was this boy, and it was his fault, and I was totally innocent, but I know damn well I can't shift the blame on this one. It was my inner fan emerging, and she bought every damn comic book that had an X on it. Those of you who have been there will understand what this translates to, in terms of dollars, shame, and square feet of our guest room consumed by long boxes. My point is: this story made it all worth it. It made my heart glad. It also kind of made me want to relapse, but I am stronger than that.

I hope.

The One That Proves That Observer Bias Was Alive and Well and Living in Pseudo-Ancient Greece. Hercules ex Machina, by [ profile] falzalot. Hercules: the Legendary Journeys x The Bible, gen.

This one you can read with only a vague knowledge of both canons. Yes, I am actually the only person I know who hasn't read the Bible. It's - I tried, okay? All I remember is that there was a chapter that was a lot like that one chapter of the Iliad that lists all the ships everyone brought: just an endless series of people begetting other people, is what I recall. It broke me. (The potluck chapter of the Iliad - "And Ajax of Salamis brought a tasty casserole that served twelve," or whatever it was - didn't break me, but I was a lot older. Also, it was required reading. That helped. And, um, do I need to mention the extremely motivating slash factor? No. I thought not.)

So. Hercules and the Bible. You can see why I chose this as the fourth perfect-fit crossover, right? Hercules: set in ancient times, all about gods. The Bible: set in ancient times, all about God. And, as far as I can tell, the Hercules canon is all about running roughshod through every god-related story on the planet (plus the occasional disco, for which I have still not found an adequate explanation that doesn't involve illegal chemicals in the drinking water), so why not a run-in with, well, I'm not going to say. The beauty of this story, for me, is the moment when it goes off the rails: you're not expecting a crossover, and then suddenly whoops! You're in the Bible. It's fabulous.

Plus, I love the way Hercules reacts to his situation, which is both very Hercules and very appropriate. And, most of all, I love that none of this really merits a blink. Sure, there's the occasional complaint, but this isn't actually different than your average day in the lives of Hercules and Iolaus, professional monsterbait.

Which is, of course, why it's a perfect crossover.

Not Actually a Bonus: I should never have brought up the Iliad in close conjunction with Hercules. I see this now, but it's too late. I'm already picturing Hercules and Iolaus encountering Achilles and Patroclus. (Which, huh, I guess they pretty much could have. Did they?) My head is ground zero of a very unfortunate crossover that involves a hell of a lot of pouting, people. Yikes.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
First, an administrative note: About half of my LJ comment notifications are showing up with nothing in them. At all. Except for the name of the person who left it. Which means that unless the comment is in my journal, or I can guess where the comment was left (like, it's from someone whose journal I left a comment in earlier), I have no way of reading them. If you really need to say something to me, in other words, email is the way to go; thefourthvine at gmail dot com. (Which I originally mistyped as "thefourthvine at gmail dot come." Bodes ill for the set, I'm thinking.)

So. If you were wondering about the State of the TFV, that state is: moody. (Or, in terror alert levels, "Run for the hills. We can live off the land until this is over.") I've been moody all week - not any actual mood, mind you. No, I've been fairly okay there, but my coefficient of moody friction is way, way lower than usual, so I know that the slightest push can convert my potential moodiness to kinetic moodiness, and then they will have to call out the National Guard. That's the way I've been this week.

I'm sure you can imagine the trepidation with which I have approached the internet. I mean, I love this habitation of links and string, but it's not a good place if you're right on the edge of qualifying for Superfund money to clean up your toxic emotions, you know?

And now I'm listening to my neighbors, or rather their teenagers, who are having a party. I'm not sure what the party is for, but if I had to pick a single word to describe its theme, I would go with: bass. Like, the kind where it isn't music so much as it is a seismic tremor capable of triggering alerts as far off as Texas. And I find myself wondering - see, I know it would be a bad idea to force people to live in communities based entirely around musical preferences. It would be, right? I mean, aside from the fact that I would inevitably end up living in the "No Detectable Taste of Any Kind" community, you'd have - you'd have, like, the people who force themselves to listen to Eminem so they don't have to live with the Classical Snots Who Still Believe That Elvis Is a Flash in the Pan, and you'd have the hideous shame of discovering that your recent illicit drunken download of the complete oeuvres of Britney Spears and Celine Dion meant no one wanted to live next to you anymore. That kind of thing.

But, still. I watch my windows vibrate - and these aren't even next door neighbors, mind you; this is the house behind the house next door to us - and I think, Hmmm. Maybe. And, let's see, who'd have to move? Us or them?

So, what with everything, it seemed like a great time to recommend a Random Mishmash of Stuff That Makes Me Cheerful. Go mishmash!

Best Not Exactly FF (But More Than Close Enough) to Feature a Pirate Queen-in-Residence, Which, I Now Realize, Is Exactly What I Want to Be If I Grow Up. Ever so slightly longer but not quite as thick: Toward a quantitative literary sexology of Harry Potter fanfiction, by [ profile] blythely and [ profile] circe_tigana. Harry Potter fandom. Well. I have to assume most of you read the title, giggled, said, "Oh, that's fabulous," and clicked. So I'm addressing this strictly to people so strange and unearthly that they don't want to propose marriage to both authors immediately after reading the title. And my first message to you sad few is: seriously, you can take a Spock imitation too far. Fake pointy ears are acceptable in many communities, but failing to find mock academic papers amusing is most definitely not.

And please don't tell me that you're excused because you don't read Harry Potter. You aren't. You'll recognize the concept under study here immediately, possibly with little cries of horror. (Or, if you don't, please tell me about your fandom.) If you've ever read any slash, or any academic papers of any kind, or you've even written a paper or a research report, this is a link for you. And, honestly, if you haven't done at least one of those things, I have to wonder what you're doing here, so how about leaving a comment and telling me? Those are your choices: explain how you've spent your life on Mars, breathing shallowly and avoiding porn and peer-reviewed journals, or go read this. (Hint: pick the latter one.) You'll thank me later. And don't miss the endnotes, which cheer me up more than any SSRI ever could; I don't know precisely how I lived before I read, "The authors wish to thank ... Flowery Twat and Sparcck for peer review." Flowery Twat should be given an award for the excellence of her name, which all by itself is enough to make me downright buoyant.

[Ah. Much better. The toxic emotional sludge is retreating.]

Best FF Featuring What Is, I Believe, the Least Romantic Proposition Ever in All of FF. Given the Characters, I Would Expect Nothing Less. My Sleepy Blue Ocean, by Sandy, aka [ profile] circusgirl. Scrubs, John Dorian/Perry Cox. It's hard not to be made happy by someone whose life is both weirder and gayer than your own. (That would be J.D., for those not following along at home.) And that's true even when the topic is a wee bit sensitive, because death is just another source of weird gayness for J.D.; if Death actually showed up in Scrubs, he'd do something serious and dramatic, yeah, but he'd be carrying a trick scythe. (For those who are worried about reading a death story: it's a death of a character I'd not previously heard of, who I am pretty sure died in the canon, and also this story didn't seem very sad to me, if a personal testimonial is any good to you.)

In this story, the fine folks of Sacred Heart help J.D. through the five (or six) stages of grieving: Turk forswears mashed potatoes, Janitor reveals his inner, self-published depths (which are just as sticky and disturbing as you'd expect), Carla bonds with J.D. and ruins his shirt, and Dr. Cox goes above and beyond (and wants to hate himself for it, but can't quite manage it). There's a special appearance by Sister Utherina, also known as Yet Another Reason to Fear Nuns. And in the end, J.D.'s problems are solved with spicy pork rinds (no one tell me what those are; seriously, I am not kidding) and sexual healing. Scrubs fan fiction: you have to love it. (And you also have to write it, people. I consider the absence of a large body of Scrubs FF in this universe to be the definitive refutation of Pangloss.)

[Toxic sludge is way off in the distance, emitting little cries of pain.]

Best FF That Demonstrates the Importance of Thinking Outside the Box, Especially If You Are Currently Destined to Die Inside It. The Definition of Stupid, by Tangerine, aka [ profile] tangeriner. Dead Zone, Johnny Smith/Walt Bannerman. I think this story had me when Johnny describes himself and Walt as frat boys trying to be superheroes, because that's a lot of the charm of the show; these guys weren't meant to be superheroes. Johnny, okay, he's got some of the Chosen One vibe going down, what with all the Only You Can Avert the Apocalypse stuff, and, well, just the visions themselves, but even so, he'd really rather be a teacher. Or, hey, married to Walt's wife. And Walt is totally not meant to be a superhero; he's a cop who doesn't have supersenses or anything. But, you know, there's these visions, so Walt has to try. They both try. And they mostly succeed. Um, sort of.

So. Right. The story. See, I love this story. There are always a few stories that define Yuletide morning for me, and last year, this was one of them; the obituaries, in particular, made for perfect holiday reading ("died suddenly in a sardine can"). (This does leave me with one tiny question: am I the only person on earth who doesn't have a list of stuff to do if I know it's my last night alive? Because I don't. Thinking about it, off the cuff, I'd probably tell Best Beloved and the dogs that I love them, try to call my friends, maybe post some kind of So Long and Thanks for All the Porn message here. Then I'd have sex and go to sleep, because if there's a single word that defines how I want to go, that word is "obliviously." But, you know, I only made that list just now. Am I leaving stuff off? Do the rest of you have detailed ones, all, Tell Muffy I never loved her and Hear Lumina play the piano one last time? I can't be the only one who never really thought about it, right? Right?) And I love - yes, I'm back to the story again - love love the ending. Any Dead Zone story has to be about Johnny, and any story about Johnny has to be about Sarah and Walt, and I love so much that Tangerine gave us that. Plus, hey - sex in a sardine can is always fun.

[Status Report: TFV - cheerful. Sludge - very very sorry for its sins.]

Best FF That Has Given Me a New Motto: "Life Hates Me, but I Hate Life More." Existence As Interesting As Possible, by [ profile] waxjism. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard. Of course, SGA almost always makes me cheerful; I rejoice in the existence of a fandom so inundated with crack that no one blinks at mere telepathy or MPreg anymore, and it's not serious crack if only one person changes species. (I am quite seriously and patiently waiting for someone to write the story where Rodney finds this gun-shaped Ancient thing, and John is all excited and tries it out, but it doesn't do anything until he accidentally points it at Rodney, at which point they discover it's the Ancient version of Calvin's transmogrifier gun. "Colonel, I expect you to get me back. I liked that body, and don't you dare roll your eyes at that. At least you still have eyes! And - wait. Are you thinking about a turkey sandwich?" "Well, yeah. I'm hungry, Rodney." "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!")

But this story (which is totally not crack, even though in a different fandom unicorns would pretty much guarantee a crack rating of +++) also makes me insanely happy, because: dragon. The SG universe is sadly lacking in canon dragons (and don't tell me it's only in fanon that they encounter that kind of shit; promo pictures suggest that poor John Crichton ran into Merlin the second the SG folks got ahold of him). Thank god we have FF to make up the lack. And, seriously, if dragons won't get you to this story, consider John and Rodney stuck on a planet for the better part of two months, with nothing but unicorns and serious seismic instability for company. See? This story is most definitely a source of happiness in my life, and if you haven't read it, know that it can cheer you up, too.

[So. I feel better. And I imagine the Sludge feels better, too, in its new life as a bath tile cleanser. Fan fiction heals, my friends.]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Yes, welcome back to Vids You Really Should Watch (In the Opinion of One Who Probably Doesn't Know). But, hey, before we get to the downloading portion of the post, let me rec a community to you: [ profile] the_reel, which is kind of like [ profile] crack_van, except it's for vids, and also there's con-crit on vids upon request. Go sign up to rec something, people. Or just watch the community, because this is a very cool idea. I'm not saying it will save me from this totally out of control vid-reccage spree, because it won't (oh my god Ocean's 11 and X-Files tipped the 150 mark since the last post and I will never ever be done with this), but it will make me a happier human.

And. On to the vids. If you haven't read the disclaimer that explains why I don't know anything about vids, you should head back a post. Short version, though: if I was stuck in an SGA-style exceedingly improbable life-or-death situation, where my knowledge of visual media was all that stood between John and Rodney and a very shiny death in each other's arms, they would be fucked.

Harry Potter

The Vid That Always Makes Me Want Some Chocolate. I Can't Say Why, Exactly. It's Just This Thing. Remus? A Little Help Here? Year Three: Under Ice, by [ profile] ashinae.

Availability: That link will take you to Ashinae's main vids page; this one can be found in the Harry Potter category. (Hands up everyone who is surprised by that. And, if you have your hand up right now? Um. You need a nap.) Ashinae has been having some server problems, but everything should be dandy and sleek and trouble-free by now. If it isn't, please let me - or her - know.

Okay, see, Harry Potter is one of those fandoms where the vids just really don't work for me. In this case, it's not because I don't know the canon - it's because I do. It's that I consider the books the canon. The movies are pretty and kind of fun, but the characters just aren't the ones I hold in my head, and the character interactions never feel exactly right, and, well. The movies are not my canon, okay? Mock me if you must. So I'm already starting from a huge handicap when I look at HP vids. (And, side note - this is exponentially true when I'm watching HP shipper vids. My brain seizes up in this whole fit of, "OMG NOOOO! He's, like, twelve! And disturbingly wee!" I tell you, I do my best to revel in perversion, but sometimes I run into these weird...ethics-things. It's sad.) Ashinae totally conquered my little HP-movie-canon problem in this vid. I like all her "Year" series vids (hint: the other two are "Year One" and "Year Two"), but this is definitely my favorite. I love the way she uses visual metaphor in this, with the dementors as the water and their effects as ice and snow; it's easier to feel the grim, soul-leeching chill of the dementors while watching this vid than it is when you're watching the whole movie - or reading the book, for that matter. I love the focus and cut of this movie, too; I'm not sure precisely what Ashinae did - and anyone who can tell me will be adored, and I mean that - but this song should be very hard to vid compellingly. Part of that is obviously that she's taking her musical punctuation from instruments other than just drums, but there's something else going on here, too. I don't know what. It is exceedingly nifty all the same.

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Vid That's All About Making a Pairing out of Nothing at All. Well, No Shared Screen Time, Anyway. Tango, by [ profile] mimesere.

Availability: pretty much all the time. Link newly updated! All should be working!

Norrington and Sparrow shared maybe, um, two minutes of screen time? I forget how much, exactly. Plus, Norrington was only in this movie for like twenty-five minutes total. (And, really, he deserved at least twice that. More, even.) And yet the tension between them is, for me, one of the most interesting aspects of the whole movie. (Sorry, Will. It's not that I don't love you and your adorable little dorky quest. It's just...okay. I tend to forget you when you're not on the screen. And also sometimes when you are. Also, you may think it's clever to hide your little alien mossy friend in plain sight on your upper lip, but trust me: we've all noticed that that isn't a mustache.) But, hey - we're slashers. We don't need a lot of canon declarations of loviness. We thrive in the absence of them, in fact. But it's a bit more difficult to thrive in the near total absence of on-screen interaction when you're dealing with slash vids. Which is why this vid amazes me, because it totally sells the pairing. Well, that and the fact that it is very suggestive. Because, okay, when I remember this? I remember it featuring Norrington and Sparrow doing the Dance of Extremely Sexy Mutual Loathing, also known as "I hate you! Now fuck me!" (A very popular number in any fandom, let me say.) I remember it (the vid, people) featuring the two of them swordfighting, in fact. But it doesn't, for a very good reason: as far as I know, they never actually did that in the movie. Mimesere somehow uses the music (Is there anything sexier than the tango? No. I thought not.) and the fast-paced, lovely editing to suggest the sexy hating and fighting in this vid. The result is, um. Surprisingly compelling.

The Vid That Reminds Me, Yet Again, That Disney Is at Right Angles to Real Life. Maid on the Shore, by Marna, aka [ profile] commodorified.

Availability: pretty much all the time. Scroll down a bit to find the right vid.

Okay. You know, I am not a critical consumer of popular culture. (I'm hardly a sentient consumer of popular culture, actually, but that's this whole other story.) So I watched Pirates, and I enjoyed it very much (I am never happier than when cuddled up with some major anachronisms and really good special effects), and I thought about it very little, beyond a few yearning wishes that Sparrow and Norrington had way more screen time, and that someone had thought to confiscate Will's not-mustache. I was, yes, a little skeeved out by the whole gorgeous-young-maiden-abducted-by-bloodthirsty-pirates thing, but I was willing to suspend my disbelief. And then I saw this vid, and my disbelief came crashing down. (Which isn't to say that I don't still enjoy the movie just as much. See "popular culture, non-sentient consumer of," above.) In this vid, Marna recuts Elizabeth on the Black Pearl to reveal the fact that, well. That sequence? Is fucking creepy, and also not funny, and also did I mention the creepy? So if you're looking for the happy little pirate movie we saw in the theaters, this isn't the vid for you. But if you're interested in maybe the ultimate example of how a vid can, by changing context and tone, completely change the meaning of the canon, this is definitely a vid for you. (Actually, it isn't optional: this is a vid for you no matter what. Go! Download!) And, see, here's what's amazing about this one. You won't see anything in this vid that you didn't see in the theater. And yet you'll come away from it feeling like you did. (You may also come away wondering precisely what universe Disney films. A very alternate one, is my feeling on the matter.) Do not miss this one.

The Sentinel

The Vid That Celebrates the Pure, Pure Cheese of the Source. Black Cat, by Seah and Margie, aka [ profile] flummery (two vidders, one LJ, double the fun - plus, without a doubt, the coolest layout ever oh my god so cool).

Availability note: pretty much all the time. Scroll on down.

In this household, we think of this as the "Gee, Jim sure is a dork" vid, but in fact you also get to see him get hit quite a bit, so it's like a wonderful double feature. I mean, it's just - could there be a better vidding concept than The Big Dork Smackdown? Especially in a canon that is, let's face it, not precisely cheese-free? I mean, we love it because it's cheese. Well, and because Jim and Blair are apparently unable to peel themselves off each other long enough to fight crime, and that's another thing you can see, in fact cannot miss, in this vid. (Actually, you can see that in almost every Sentinel vid; it's hard to watch one and not say - generally right out loud to your spouse - "They are so doing it, oh my god. Look! Right there! Doing it!" There's just one vid I can think of where that isn't true; it's Jim/Simon, and it is so incredibly carefully cut in order to keep Blair out of the Jim frames that it pretty much proves the whole "so doing it" point.) So. Cheese. Dork Smackdown. Jim and Blair fighting over who gets to be the girliest. Do I need to go into further detail about why you want to see it? (Because if I do: it will also make you look forward to the rather cheesy panther sequences. You thought that was impossible, didn't you?) And, hey. If someone out there has actually seen this canon - there's a shot in this vid of a guy in a sort of jacket-vest thing, wearing a white baseball cap and a tragic mustache. Best Beloved swears this is Jim in a cunning crime-fighting disguise, or maybe on his way to sub in for a member of the Village People. I say it isn't, mostly because there's no way Richard Burgi was getting paid enough to look like that much of a dork. Who's right?

The Vid That Makes a Very Apt Comparison Between Blair Sandburg and Liberace. I Am Quite Serious. Mr. Sandman, by Sally Seymour.

Availability note: all the time. Scroll all the way down.

Um. Apparently, I have a lingering fondness for Sentinel vids that showcase the canon's - well, I don't think I need to say the word again (cheese!). But let me say: there is a time and a place for wiggly-screen fades, and that place is so obviously The Sentinel that I would be surprised if they didn't occasionally use it in the canon. I love this vid because - okay. Normally I am not a fan of long, loving shots of just the head and shoulders of the main characters. I would rather the characters be doing something. Like falling down. Or fondling each other. (Both popular Sentinel choices; this is the only canon I know of where it's really hard to tell if you're looking at a bloopers-reel clip of Burgi and - Margaret? Moggie? Magrat? What is his last name? - being oh-so-gay, or if it's Jim and Blair being, you know. Oh-so-gay. God how I love this show.) But the "ain't he pretty" shots are so very right in this vid, so much so that I want to cry out, "Yes! They have dreams exactly like this! And they are Sentinel dreams and clearly prognosticatory, what is more!" Also, normally I am not the biggest fan of Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton, even when singing with Emmylou Harris, but - you know, I bet Jim actually has this song. It's a Jim song. Which is, yes, slightly at odds with the whole Army Ranger, Big Tough Cop shtick, but, I mean - have you seen the way he walks? And the not-entirely-manly way he jogs through the jungle like it's Venice Beach? He so sings along with Mr. Sandman in a heartfelt manner, is what I'm saying here. Plus, this vid deserves huge bonus points for using one of my least favorite shots in the entire canon (Wolf + Panther = OMGWTFBLUE?) in such a way that I cannot fail to giggle, and love it quite a lot, and then get all googly-eyed and wistful. (I'm sorry. It's just - Jim. And Blair. They earn the wistful sighs, people.) And I really wasn't kidding about the Liberace thing, either. You need to see this.


The Vid That Cannot Be Described in Your Puny Earth Language. Drop Dead Gorgeous, by Shalott, aka [ profile] astolat.

Availability: pretty much all the time. Scroll down until you see it.

The only honest rec for this vid would involve a lot of inarticulate handwaving while lying flat on the floor and laughing hard enough to cause brain damage. There's really no other way to put it. But once more into the breach, that's my motto, so I'll try. See, now, there's something about the Smallville canon that vidders seem to find very...freeing. It's like they're telling themselves, hey, the creators don't appear to be slavishly devoted to truth, justice to characters, or even sanity, so why shouldn't I make a vid implying strongly that Lex has bought Clark at auction for nefarious sexual purposes? (Answer: no reason at all. Frankly, I'm not averse to vids implying this in any canon whatsoever, but then I've always been No Morals Worth Speaking Of Girl.) Shalott has taken this particular freedom to a logical place, and when I say "logical place," I mean "a place that makes the best possible use of my 'assorted pairings' vid category." And may I just mention, in a possibly unrelated side note, that Bad Clark (aka Red Kryptonite Clark, but Bad Clark is just so much more evocative, don't you think?) is such a boon to us all - the vidders, the writers, the readers, the BDSM fanciers - that we should really send a note of thanks to the Smallville creators. We must be very very grateful for something as, um, exploitable as that plot line. And now you should go download this vid and revel in Shalott's use and abuse of Bad Clark. And other kinds of Clark. And also Chloe, Lana, and Lex. "Drop Dead Gorgeous": come for the gorgeous clipping and editing and the song choice that could not be more perfect, stay for the Naughtiest Space Alien and his random assorted cuddling.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Um, hi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


* 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)
(My apologies to Herrick for the title.)

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

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

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

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

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

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


* Though it was, thinking back on it, fairly close. Did I mention that the guy in question had glue-like spit that mere toothbrushing could not defeat? Or that his apparent goal was to put his tongue into my esophagus? Or that I ended up with his makeup smeared all over my face? Or that pictures of this event appeared in a newsletter later sent to my parents? Or that I was 12 and the guy was 16, which facts were mentioned in the caption in the newsletter, thus provoking some fascinating discussions on the homefront? Yeah. Not the best experience ever, right there.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I promised an entry totally free of due South, Sports Night, and The Sentinel. And this is it. I feel myself twitching from withdrawal already.

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Thanks, Te! I now know one more thing than I did before. And that thing is that someone at DC has a wicked sense of humor when it comes to names.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm finding it increasingly hard to assemble gen sets. I'm sure, back in the days when Kirk/Spock and slash meant roughly the same thing, it was fairly easy to know if you were reading (or writing) slash. If there was the vaguest overtone of male homosexuality, there you go - slash.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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 [ 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 [ 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)
Secrets and lies, my friends, secrets and lies.

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

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

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

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


Best FF That Proves That a Friend in Need Is Not Only a Friend Indeed, but Possibly Also a Friend with His Tongue in Your Mouth. Target, by Speranza, aka [ profile] cesperanza. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. And at last, from that Queen of Certified Safe Alternate dS Stories, we have: a secrets-themed story that contains actual smut! And a reasonably happy ending! Yes, this is why all experienced slash readers have Speranza Shrines set up in our homes and gardens. (Tip of the day: burn coffee-scented incense before your morning prayers!) Mind you, this is not exactly a shiny happy story; it puts Fraser in the position of the kid standing alone at the edge of the playground, just waiting until the other kids get bored enough to torment him. But luckily - for all of us, actually - Fraser has Ray to protect him. And, eventually, to have sex with him in the back of a car.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Of course, Samuel Johnson probably was thinking of public amusements other than sex when he said that; I don't really think public sex is all that likely to focus the mind on thoughts good or clean. But, really, who wants thoughts like those?

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

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

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


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

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

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


* Fan fiction is having a seriously deleterious effect on my view of a certain punctuation mark. Am I the only one who looked at "love/hate" and thought, wow, there's a pairing I'd read? Um. Actually, I probably am.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Some noms sets just do not want to come together, and I've spent the last two days casually poking at one that is more snarly and resistant than a whole passel of teenagers. Werewolf teenagers.

Well, when in doubt (or severely bitten), run away. And what could be further removed from my usual orbits than the delightful weirdness of crossovers? With luck, a few seasons of this sort of strangeness should enable me to get the Grouchy Teenaged Lycanthrope Recs Set under control - consistency plus love plus a bullwhip is the key, I'm thinking - and if not, well, we'll always have crossovers.

Best FF That Shows That Love of Sharp, Pointy Objects Brings People Together, or at Any Rate Helps People Reconcile the Seemingly Disparate: The Gargantuan Garden, by [ profile] yahtzee63*; can anyone tell me what name she uses? The Series of Unfortunate Events x Edward Scissorhands, gen. Yes, The Series of Unfortunate Events x Edward Scissorhands. I am not kidding. Neither is Yahtzee, no matter how much she takes the piss out of everything from LJ to Lemony Snicket to the distressed clothing fad. And, really, this almost makes a certain twisted sense. I mean, if you think about it, the Baudelaire siblings and Edward Scissorhands have a lot in common. They're orphans, they're surrounded by hostile people, their lives are filled with the strange and terrible devices of insane men (Daniel Handler and Tim Burton, respectively). And if there's one positive thing that can be said of The Series of Unfortunate Events, it's that it shows you that, really, there are lots of things worse than moving in with a strange stranger who has an apparent fixation on sharp, sharp blades (which should make anyone due to head off to college feel a lot better about the whole dorm situation). You'll need to have read at least one of Lemony Snicket's books to get the tone of this story, I'm thinking, but no big deal; we're talking about a few hours of your time. More than worth it to appreciate this story, people. And you don't need to have seen Edward Scissorhands; at least, I haven't. Although I spent so much of my adolescence with goths that I could probably test out of the movie at this point.

Best FF That Shows Us How Alligators Can Be Skilled Matchmakers Even Long After They've Ceased, Technically, to Be Alligators: Nice Boots, by Gloria Mundi, aka [ profile] viva_gloria, who is probably even now working on a book called Better Writing Through Clinical Insanity. And the thing is, when she finishes it, I'll head out and buy it, and be grateful for the opportunity to do so. Peter Pan x Pirates of the Caribbean (because there's nothing Gloria can't cross with PotC), Captain Hook/Captain Jack Sparrow. Again, we've got characters who have a previously unsuspected amount in common: piracy, madness, travels with British runaway girls, persecution by annoyingly twee and pretty boys. The thing about this story is, by the time I finished it, I was sort of surprised Disney hadn't thought of it, which just shows that you can catch madness from writing if the author is talented enough. (You'll be relieved to hear that eventually I did recover a portion of my senses. However, I'm still searching for my disbelief, which has gone AWOL again.)

Best FF That Shows Us Just How Fortunate We Are That Joss Whedon's Universe Isn't Contagious: Satan Is No Gentleman, by [ profile] afrai. Good Omens x Buffy the Vampire Slayer, either gen or Adam/Pepper; I'll entertain arguments either way. I think you'd need to have read Good Omens to appreciate this, but you only need to know the basic premise of Buffy. So. Pepper's a Slayer, and that right there tells you everything you need to know about this story. Except how good it is, and how amazingly right this look at the teenaged Them is, and how perfectly Afrai has got the tone of Good Omens down. And you'll learn those things when you read the story, which you might as well do now. It's only 500 words long (it's a response to Jae Gecko's Secrets Challenge). Yes, Afrai not only did a perfect GO x BtVs, she did it in less words than it would take me to say everything I want to say about her story. Which is why I'm shutting up now; I may not know much, but I know when to yield to my superiors. (My Best Beloved is ordered to stop snickering immediately. I didn't say I did yield, just that I know when I should.)

Best FF That Offers Hope to All Those Living in Tragic, Paralyzing Fear of Takeout Rice Containers: The Watchman, by [ profile] madmadharri. The Dark Is Rising x Harry Potter, Will Stanton/Harry Potter, other pairings suggested. This, now, this is one of those crossovers that actually makes a lick of intuitive sense. Which isn't to say I could write one like this, or even imagine one; it's just that I didn't spend thirty seconds staring blankly at the screen when I read the fandom list. So. The war is over. And Harry has a severe case of what we might call magical shellshock. Fortunately, Will Stanton is on the case. Grown up, Will is exactly the kind of man we knew he'd become, if only because he was pretty much already like that at 11. I love, in particular, the way the author builds on Will's canon ability to sidle into difficult situations and take care of them without taking over or taking anything away from anyone. And, yes, I expect the prize for "Most Uses of 'Take' in a Really Unfortunate Sentence" will be on my doorstep tomorrow morning. So I think we can all see that crossovers render me more than usually incoherent, and, really, it's probably better if I move on while I still have some limited control of my verbs and nouns.


*Thanks, [ profile] untrue_accounts!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Do you trust me?

Well, OK. No, really, I don't blame you, and I'm not at all hurt. But do you trust me a little? Even a tiny bit? At least when it comes to fan fiction? Because I am about to ask you to take a link of faith, so to speak. The following stories have only one thing in common: they will be spoiled if you know the usual information (fandom, pairing, plot) before you read them. But they are really worth reading, and the surprise just makes it all the more delightful. So if you're willing to read blind, I think I can promise you some fun. And if you're not, well, your loss, toots. Nyah nyah nyah. (Yes, my parents did get an excellent return on all the years of alternative dispute resolution and assertive self-expression courses they paid for me to attend. Let this be a lesson to those of you with children: skip the therapy and just buy the sproutlings expensive entertainment gear. Escapism beats self-knowledge any day.)

Best FF That Goes a Long Way Toward Healing the Pain Caused by the Travesties Otherwise Known as Star Wars Episodes One and Two, AKA Star Wars: It Takes a Lot to Kill the Love, but By God, It Can Be Done, and I, George Lucas, Will Prove It: Just Names for Sides, by [ profile] daegaer. I think I can safely tell you that you'll need to have seen Star Wars to understand this one. I can also tell you it's a crossover. And it's completely changed the way I see one scene of the aforementioned movie, but that's fine, because it does the heart good to snicker at Luke Skywalker, Ultrawhiner Edition (Now with Extra Whine!). At least, it does my heart good. Which in no way changes the fact that Daegaer is an evil, evil writer; it just makes me love her for it. And I think that's it for the "fore-warned" aspect of things with this one.

Best FF That Makes the Owies Left by the Scary, Scary Badfic All Better: Something's Wrong, by Saya Senyum, I think her name is, aka [ profile] i_smile (I'm sure about that). And I feel I can tell you that it's Harry Potter, Ron Weasley/Harry Potter, because the author does, but don't let that lull you into feeling secure. This story is a subgenre I really wish we saw more often. It isn't a canon fix-it, it's a fan fiction fix-it; the story actually patches the holes in another, presumably much worse, story. Considering all the horrible FF out there, we could do with a lot more of this. Turns out there's no FF mistake that can't be reconciled by tilting one's head, squinting, and inverting the monitor. Well, provided one is the current receptacle of divine madness, as Saya Senyum (if that is her name) clearly was while writing this.

Best FF That Reveals What We Always Suspected of All Those Inuit Stories - i.e., That Fraser Is Making a Lot of Them Up: No Less Radiant, by [ profile] laurakaye. Due South. I can't tell you anything about this story, except that A Certain Person should not read it (although she probably will anyway, and I don't think she'll be sorry, exactly), and neither should Ardent (but she already knows that, I'm guessing). It isn't exactly of a piece with the rest of the nominations here, but I had to include it, because I want those of you unfamiliar with this story (assuming there are people unfamiliar with this story) to come to it the way I did: with no knowledge about it at all. Really, it works best this way. If you don't agree, feel free to leave a bitter comment. I will reply, even, because that will give me a chance to show off my icons.

Best FF That Proves That Sometimes Plagiarism Is Neither Theft Nor Homage, but Rather the Sign of a Brilliantly Deranged Mind: The Other Guide, by Francesca, aka [ profile] cesperanza. The Sentinel. Sort of. We began this set with a mutant crossover from a mind clearly warped out of true by over-exposure to fan fiction, and we end it the same way. This story comes from someone I used to regard as a sane, sober, and sensible individual. And then I found this story. Now I view her as extremely likely to go off into gales of slightly cracked giggles, much in the manner of a person who will soon don a mask and a tight, brightly-colored outfit and go head-to-head with Batman. (She'd be called Fangirl, of course. Her weapons would be TV trivia and the sonic squee, and her outfit would have a large heart with a LJ icon of her favorite pairing - I'm thinking Kowalski/Fraser - in the center. She'd taunt Batman by writing stories about his sexual exploits with nearly everyone in Gotham and posting it all on the internet, and she'd enhance her evil by emailing update notices to his secret email account and to all the Gotham newspapers. And in the last issue, she'd eventually be cornered by the ultimate weapon: Batlawyers.) So, yeah, I've pretty much gotten off the whole story topic, but that's OK, because I can't tell you anything about it anyway. Just read it.


If any of these stories remains a mystery after you've read it, feel free to leave a plaintive query in the comments section. I will do what I can to clear things up. And, of course, I will show off my new icons, for which I thank [ profile] makesmewannadie, my own true wombat and long lost mystery relative, and [ profile] wanderlustlover, who makes gorgeous icons in such quantity that I suspect her (or maybe him) of being paid by LJ to force us all to buy the extra user picture slots.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have got an awful song lodged in my head. An awful, awful, awful song. A song by Joni Mitchell. A song that is, in fact, my mother's favorite song.

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

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

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

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

Best FF Featuring a Superintendent of Schools Who Is Going to Learn Just How Totally Outclassed He Really Is: These Aren't the Droids, by [ profile] c_elisa. X-Men movies, gen. We began this set with a story from a comics-based fandom and containing a reference to a popular movie, and we're ending it the same way. Here we see why Xavier doesn't have to be evil, why he can afford to be better than that - how he is fundamentally different from Magneto not just because he's good in the moral sense, but because he's good in the skills sense. Xavier, my friends, is the original man with all the answers, and the sad part is that he usually doesn't even pull them from other people's brains. Who needs Jedi mind control when you've got Xavier spin control? Not this passel of mutants, I tell you. Go. Read. Admire. May I join you?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Number 87 on the list of Reasons Why I Love Fan Fiction: there's no kink so peculiar that you can't find fic to satisfy it. And I'm not just talking about sex kinks. This particular set is a tribute to two of my lesser non-sex kinks: numbers and vignette series. I don't need to tell you why numbers are good, do I? (Pretty. Shiny. Countable. Reassuring.) But maybe I do need to justify my love for the vignette series.

When well done, the vignette series has all the charm and allure of a drabble with all the meat and content of a much larger piece. (I realize I sound like I'm writing copy for a diet food. I can only beg your indulgence. And, hell, Indulgence is probably the name of the diet food.) The medium is flexible, absorbing, and...dammit, now I'm writing paper towel copy. Look, clearly I'm not up to much on the writing front today. So let's just move on to the fics.

Best FF That Proves Once and for All That There's Nothing Sexier Than Linguistic Terminology and Men Who Call Other Men 'Mother': Ten Things to Get Used to, by Speranza, aka [ profile] cesperanza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. You know, there's going to be a time - relatively soon, at this rate - when I'll have recommended every due South story Speranza has written. And there will be tears on that day, I tell you, and possibly rending of cloth. But until then, I will continue to urge everyone on Earth to read Speranza's entire oeuvre. (Ooo! I'm not just a hack ad writer today, apparently, but a pretentious one.) What else could I possibly do for a woman who has written not one but four stories with numbers in the title? "Ten" (yes, I'm back to the story now, so you can stop skimming) is a series of looks at Ray and Fraser after "Call of the Wild," nicely settled in an established relationship in the back of beyond. I love the little things about this story - the argument with Phil, Fraser's version of a proposal, the world's best use of the word "fuck." I also love the big things about this story, but I'll leave those for you to discover on your own.

Best FF That Appeals to the Latin Geek in All of Us. Because There Is a Latin Geek in All of Us, Right? Right?: Twelve Latin Phrases That Aren't Quo Vadimus, aka Some Ways It Didn't End, by [ profile] scrunchy. Sports Night, assorted pairings and gen. In case you didn't know, Sports Night is off the air. ("Sports Night is dead. Long live Sports Night!") But, really, that doesn't mean it's gone - it's just been transmuted into a far more wonderful form: fandom. Don't believe me? The series only had one ending. This story alone offers twelve endings. Truly an embarras de richesses. And the whole fandom is like that, chock full of sporty goodness, so won't you join the SN Cult today? Um. Message from the people who have taken over my brain ends. Now that I have recovered full control of my hands, I must type a warning for those of you who like happy endings. Let's just say there are some of those here. Also some endings that feel like a real gut punch, including the second to the last one, which will probably bring back unpleasant memories for Americans and especially NYC residents. But no matter how you like your SN - slash, het, gen, happy, sad, mad - your needs will be met by this story, and in fact by the fandom as a whole. See? Living proof that when the canon dies, the fandom just gets better.

Best FF That Manages to Make Sirius' Death Almost Acceptable, and Definitely Way More Acceptable Than the Canon Ever Has: Thirteen Ways, by Sinope, aka [ profile] eponis. Harry Potter, Remus Lupin/Severus Snape. So let me explain the acceptable death comment before you put out a hit on me. See, there's no reason for Sirius to die in the canon, and I'll never forgive JKR for killing him just 'cause she felt like killing. (What is she, a literary sociopath?) But if there's one thing I like about the whole unfortunate business, it's that the shock and pain and loss gave rise to some truly brilliant FF. And this is definitely brilliant FF, and I am not at all biased even though I was clearly born to love this story. There's numbers! There's vignettes! There's great poetry by a dead guy! Really, there's everything I need, and the fact that the pairing makes me, um, slightly wibbly - well, that's just something I'll have to get past, you know? And, actually, this is the way for this pairing to work; this is the fic that persuaded me it could work, and without any messy personality transplants, either. As the author says in her summary, "Lupin and Snape don't have the luxury of new beginnings." They have to work with what they have, and part of that means clearing away a few decades' worth of messy backstory. O perfect love? Um, no. Better than perfect love? Indubitably.

Best FF That Has Guaranteed I Will Never Order a Sandwich in Cleveland. Or, Potentially, Anywhere Else.: Thirty-Two Short Fics about Xander Harris, by [ profile] nwhepcat. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, gen. I don't want to get all distracted by the sandwich thing, so I'll just get this out of the way first: Wrongest. Sandwich. Ever. (Fear not, [ profile] makesmewannadie; there's no sex in this fic, just completely sex-free scary sandwiches. So you can read it. If you dare.) Now that I've gotten that out of the way - and believe me, it needed to be said - let's move on to the rest of this story. Because this story is brilliant. It isn't just that the author has captured the dialog and tone of the series so well, or that the character here really is Xander in all his glory, although those things are part of the overwhelmingly wonderful package. What's really amazing about this is that it's episode fic that really works. [ profile] nwhepcat has added little bits to a bunch of different episodes, and those little bits show us so much more of Xander that it's really kind of sad these scenes weren't in the canon. Not enough for you? Well, we also get a look at post-series Xander in Cleveland, dealing with the Other Hellmouth, proving that life goes on, and so do the undead and the demons and the, um, terrifying foodstuffs. Oh, and you don't need to have seen BtVS to read this story - I haven't seen a lot of the episodes mentioned here - but you do need to be fairly familiar with the story arcs and so on, or else some of the short fics won't make sense.

Best Special Bonus Item That Will Stick a Song in Your Head for All Eternity. Don't Say You Weren't Warned.: 88 Lines about 44 Characters, by Valeria. Homicide: Life on the Streets, metathingy. This is today's Mutant Bonus Rec. It isn't a vignette, and isn't actually fiction, but it definitely meets the numbers criterion of this theme with room to spare. If you don't recognize the origin of the title you probably shouldn't bother reading it. But for those of us who are familiar with The Nails' "88 Lines about 44 Women," and who don't mind having it on cerebral auto-repeat for the next nine days...well, let's just say this is the shortest, handiest character index I've ever seen. Plus, you know, it's got a good beat and you can dance to it, and how many fandom summaries can you say that about?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Or, in some cases, two merry boys and one merry girl. Yes, it's another round of threesome FF. And this time, instead of triangulation or triangles or other things that merely involve three people, I'm going back to my roots: true threesomes. Three people, one bed, and fewer complications than you'd expect. Provided you're already fairly cynical.

Best FF Touting the Value of Threesomes As Therapy, Though Whether It's Recreational Therapy or Occupational Therapy I Cannot Say: Every Which Ray, by Ineke Meyer, aka [ profile] ineke. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser/Ray Vecchio. You know, this totally illustrates why I am not a fan fiction writer. If someone had suggested this pairing to me, I would've said, well, no. Or, OK, maybe, in the sense that I can sort of see how it would happen, but it'd take, like, a minimum of 20,000 words to explain everything before these three got into bed together. Turns out there's another solution: skip straight to the sex. See, the guys here are totally in character, believably in character, so I was happy to suspend my disbelief (in the case of this story, it's only appropriate that my disbelief was suspended from the ceiling in a vibrating electronic leather swing). I got to the end, said "wow" in appropriately awed tones, and started working on persuading my disbelief to return to me (it sort of got, um, enthralled with the vibrating swing, and we will in fact probably have to go into mediation now), and it was only then that I realized that this story has to stand alone. I can hardly imagine what would come after this sequence, except that I'm sort of worried that it involve RayK punching RayV in the mouth. I absolutely can't imagine what led up to this. And yet it works. It really works. And that, people, is why [ profile] ineke is a way cool writer, albeit one apparently (and, one hopes, temporarily), sick of thinking about Fraser's cock, and I am merely a recommender, albeit one happy with her lot. (Happier, anyway, than I am with my disbelief at this moment.)

Best FF That Demonstrates That We Really Shouldn't Limit Ourselves Just to Baseball When It Comes to Sports Metaphors for Sex: Two-Player Game, by Bone, aka [ profile] thisisbone. Sports Night, Danny Rydell/Casey McCall/Stacey Kerr. This story illustrates both why Danny is a dangerous, dangerous friend for Casey, and why Casey totally needs him. Because Casey is, by default, the good boy, even when he wants to be bad. And Danny can persuade him to do anything. Well, OK, maybe that last part is only true in my sick little mind. But I - and I am so insanely proud of this, I can't even begin to tell you about it - I have just finished watching the scene involving Stacey Kerr in the actual show, thanks to the Queen of Fandom Pimps, [ profile] fanofall, and I can completely believe that this is how it ended. (Side note, also gleaned from the same scene: Casey dances like a great big geek. Seriously. I will be nominating him for lifetime membership in the Dances Like Gits society at our next annual meeting.) Actually, I'm willing to make an argument that this is how the series finale should've gone. Although I understand the network might've had something to say about that.

Best FF That Gives Us Another Metaphor for Arwen's Choice to Be Human. And I for One Think This Is Way Better Than the Whole Book-Dropping Scene, Which Was, Face It, Pretty Lame.: In the Silent Forest Listening, by Cathain, aka [ profile] casapazzo. Lord of the Rings, Arwen/Aragorn/Boromir. Aragorn/Boromir writers often neglect the whole Arwen thing in favor of the hot gay sex. And, hey, I'm all for hot gay sex, but that doesn't mean you get to ignore the pre-existing canon relationship. My favorite way of coping with this builds on Arwen's elvishness; when you live forever, how does some minor mortal need really bother you? It's not like it's going to last. This story, though, goes the other direction, and turns out that totally works, too. Here, Arwen's showing her human side, being insecure and just the weest bit blindsided. She's got an answer to her problems, too - and it is just such a human one; she going to hop into bed - well, OK, hop into a forest glade, but that doesn't have the same ring - with her betrothed and his boyfriend. Hey, I'm sure the Relationship Knowledge Base documents this solution somewhere.

Best FF That Shows Us That Threesomes Can Resolve Leftover Issues from Your School Career and Force You to Get Your Life on Track Again. Yay Threesomes, the Cure for Every Ill!: Sodomite, by [ profile] ivyblossom. Harry Potter, Harry Potter/Cho Chang/Draco Malfoy. Yeah, you read that right. For the record, this is an aged-up fic; they're all over 18, so no squickishness there. Also for the record, this story is unbeta'd, and it does show, mostly in typos and spellchecker errors; my fellow pedants and grammar bitches are duly warned. But you know? It's worth it. It's worth it because of the characterizations, first. I mean, one of the great things about HP is that there are so many possible interpretations of every character. I can see Harry turning out this way, going passive and aimless when the Big Bad is defeated - I mean, really, how does advancing up the ol' career ladder matter when you spent your entire adolescence saving the world more often than you changed your socks? And wars do change people, especially those on the losing side, so Draco's going to be different, and I can see the potential in him to go this way. And Cho? I'm totally biased, because I think I knew this Cho, but still. I love what [ profile] ivyblossom has done with her here. (Yes, I know, I sound like I'm a character decorator: "Oh, honey, I just love what you've done with her motivations - so neo-Edwardian! And look at this marvelous values treatment! Tres slut-chic, darling, perfect.") So, to sum: go for the threesome of threesomes. Stay for the characterization. And, you know, while you're there, you might as well admire the threesomes again.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have a near-lethal addiction to the documentary form, and I'm not talking about movies. My personal favorite is the epistolary, but I'll take diary entries, too, or, hell, tax forms. All documents are good. Stories written about documents, or with documents, or referring to documents - I love those, too. I'm the original cheap date when it comes to this form.

Unfortunately, there's not a lot of true epistolary FF out there. Doesn't matter. I'm such a document slut that I'll go with any story that promises to mention letters or diaries. Sad, but true. Well, providing said story is good. And these are.

Best FF Likely to Lead to a Master's Thesis on the Importance of Sig Files in Modern Communication, and the Significance of the Suppression Thereof: Eros Epistolary, by Brighid, aka [ profile] brighidestone. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. The first challenge of an epistolary story is to come up with a good reason why the characters are writing to each other, rather than, say, chatting. This is especially difficult, I'm sure you can appreciate, if the two characters live together and in fact spend essentially every moment of their lives together, which, of course, is exactly what Jim and Blair do. Brighid manages to get the guys writing to each other just fine, though. And note her fabulous use of the many options available to the modern epistolary writer, from sticky notes to email to recycled paper. Epistolary stories aren't boring! Epistolary stories are grand! Epistolary stories in the morning! And epistolary stories in the hand! Um. Stopping now.

Best FF That Shows How Addictive Letters Can Be in Bad Circumstances, So Won't You Write to Some Depressed Individual Today?: Letters Home, by [ profile] penknife. The Secret Garden, Dickon/Colin/Mary. This story is not told entirely in letters. But it's about letters, and it's got extracts from letters, and it's a fantastic story, so I'm not seeing a downside here. Except the sadness. See, the problem with The Secret Garden is that it has to stand alone. Given the times and the culture in which the story takes place, there can't be a happy ending for the three of them as adults. I've always known that, sadly, the likeliest outcome was Mary and Colin married, and Dickon working as their gardener.

Except, of course, that they are on a collision course with World War I. Colin and Dickon are destined for hell in the Somme, and the odds aren't good that they'll both survive - especially not if they end up calvary, as [ profile] penknife hypothesizes here. This story is something I could never even imagine - a reasonable extrapolation of The Secret Garden, one that lets the trio grow up and places them squarely in the real world. This shouldn't work. Except that it does, it really does.

Best FF That Shows How Addictive Letters Can Be Even in Relatively Good Circumstances, So Won't You Write to an Irritatingly Happy Person Today?: Written by Hand, by [ profile] setissma. Harry Potter, Remus Lupin/Sirius Black, Remus Lupin/Severus Snape, James Potter/Lily Evans. Perhaps it would be better if I just wrote "assorted non-explicit and implied pairings." In any case, what we have here is a story in which Remus suffers from a handwriting addiction, and Sirius helps him figure out a way to get his fix even in Romania. It's sweet without being cloying. Remus gets down with the magic theory, we get the niftiest form of eavesdropping ever, and love prevails. At least briefly, which is exactly how long love gets to prevail in J. K. Rowling's world.

Best FF Told Entirely in a Letter That Leaves Me Barely Resisting the Temptation to Write a Letter Back1: To Casey, on His Thirty-Fifth Birthday, by Mosca, and does anyone know if she has a LJ? Sports Night, Dan/Casey (ish). Let's just get this out of the way now. I succumbed, OK? I completely and totally succumbed to the lure of Sports Night fan fiction, and if you haven't, all I can say is: run. Or the cultists will get you, too, and soon you'll be reading fabulous fan fiction about two guys who are smart, neurotic, funny, and so clearly in love that I'm surprised it was never mentioned in a daily run down meeting2. I really have to apologize for making my first official nomination in this fandom (the other one didn't count, because I wasn't in the fandom then) so wistful and unsmutty and unresolved. Trust me, there's also joy aplenty in the SN fold. (And if you won't trust me, trust the minions of Bhagwan Sports Night. They are even now waiting on your doorstep to tell you about the pure and slashy love to be found when you embrace Sports Night, for Sports Night is love and love is Sports Night.)

Best FF That Proves That Fraser and Kowalski Can Make Even a Community College Creative Writing Class Sexy: The Course, by Bone, aka [ profile] thisisbone, and Aristide (anyone have a link for her?). Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. I love document-related fiction way too much to limit myself to just four stories; it was actually a battle of will for me to limit myself to one story per fandom. So this is today's bonus story. It's one that many people will have read; this is what we call a classic of the genre, by which we mean that it is chock-full of smut. And humor. And then a lot more smut. And this cavalcade of smut is induced, my friends, by Ray's journal entries. Diaries and smut and undercover work and smut and sullen community college students and smut and Fraser in relaxed clothing and smut. And then some smut. So, really, you cannot go wrong with this one. And if you don't know from due South? Well, you'll be able to read this anyway; I barely knew the fandom when I found this story, but it turns out that high-quality smut is truly accessible fiction. (Just think of the improvement in our nation's literacy statistics if summer reading lists included this sort of story!)


1Said sequel would, naturally, be called "To Danny, Who Will Be Lucky If He Lives to See His Next Birthday If He Keeps Leaving Tragic Love Letters on Office Computers." And it would begin "Dear Danny - I see that therapy has really improved your communication skills, not to mention your passive-aggressive behavior and your self-image. And if you think I won't read every damn file on my computer rather than write a script, then have I been sharing an office with Pod Danny for the last two years?"

2Actually, I suspect this was covered in a rundown meeting. Probably it went something like this. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I think we could all stand to remember the wisdom in the title more often. That said, it's obviously time to take another pass at masturbation stories. Or, no, wait, another whack. No. Another go?

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

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

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

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

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

Best FF in Which Female Strippers Induce Homosexuality in Formerly Straight Men, and It All Makes a Mutant Kind of Sense. Shadow Boxing, by Sihaya Black (this is only her TS stuff; if anyone has a more complete site or a LJ link for her, I'd love to hear about it). The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. (I swear, that's not a pairing, it's more like a brand of slash or something. Jimblair, adjective: describing fiction that takes snippy "straight" guys who are clearly already together in the canon and nudges them over the NC-17 line.) This is a switching teams story that begins with a jimblair argument and ends with a jimblair marriage proposal. (Now that I think about it, that may actually also be a decent summary of the first season of The Sentinel.) In the interim, there's plenty of masturbation, as well as anthropological jargon and beer. Ah, TS, how we love thee!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Armageddon - it's the end of the world as we know it. (Serious demerits for anyone who says "...and I feel fine" right here.) So, hey, we've moved beyond mere character death to, well, world death. At, you know, minimum. Although I'd like to point out that those who are only squeamish about the deaths of those they know (or wish they knew) won't have a problem with all these stories; characters survive the, you know, End of It All more often than you'd think.

So. Depressing? I guess that depends on how attached you are to our planet. (Even more serious demerits for anyone who mentions 9.8 m/s2 here.) But some of these stories move way beyond depressing into the territory of totally surreal.

Warning: the Fan Fiction Mental Health Alliance warns us that overexposure to apocalypsefic can cause morbidity in rats and humans; stop reading at once if you develop lassitude, shaking hands, or a rash. That said, bring on the destruction!

Best FF That Shows Us That When The World Has Ended Any Company Is Good Company: Autumn Leaves: Winter Stays, by [ profile] alestar. X-Men comics, Wolverine/Creed. Well. It never occurred to me that the Marvel universe ferals might have certain special issues with nuclear apocalypse, but Alestar is so right. Of course they would. Who's gonna survive the radiation? Cockroaches and people with mutant accelerated healing. And what fun they'll have. This story is short, sharp, and the only way I could ever picture this pairing happening.

Best FF That Shows Us That When the World Is Ending It Doesn't Matter Who You Kiss As Long As You Kiss Someone: Les Oiseaux, by [ profile] ztrin. Harry Potter, Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy. There's rather a lot of death in this one. As in, pretty much everyone - this isn't one of your merry, happy-go-lucky apocalypse scenarios. It's definitely what I had in mind when I said some of these stories were surreal. There's no explanation here, no solution, just a world that apparently isn't going to end in fire after all. And I have to admit I really like it; it strips all the extras from the end of it all and leaves us with just the essence of it. Isolation. And the water is rising.

Best FF That Shows Us That the Empire-Era British Navy Could Cope with Absolutely Anything: The One Who Holds the Seven Stars, by [ profile] jacito. Master & Commander, Aubrey/Maturin. (Note: this can be read as slash or gen, because when you have characters who canonically call each other "Joy" and "Dear," it's tough to know exactly when the gay part starts. I myself choose to think of it as slash, but then, I choose to think of the canon pretty much the same way.) The Day After Tomorrow Challenge asked writers to destroy a fandom's world in the manner of the movie of the same name. Peculiar? Well, yes, but I was surprised at how much I liked some of the stories. This one is short and, um, surprisingly sweet, given the whole doom thing. I like this story because it gives me the strange feeling that everything will be all right. You know it's a comfort fandom when even the Armageddon fic is vaguely reassuring.

Best FF That Reminds Us That, in the Event of an Emergency, We Take Time to Save What Matters: According to Their Kinds, by [ profile] daegaer. Fenndom, Bracy/Gedge. If you don't know what Fenndom is, don't worry; it's fan fiction based (in this case, quite loosely) on the works of G. Manville Fenn, who wrote Victorian-era books for boys. This story is AU, and Daegaer really tells you everything you need to know about the guys and their world, so not to worry. Like the previous story, this one came from the weirdly compelling Day After Tomorrow Challenge. I love this one. It's slightly disturbing - there are no on-screen (so to speak) animal deaths, but they are definitely implied - but strangely brilliant; it left me absolutely prepared to read a novel based on these two characters and their AU world. In fact, it left me on the verge of demanding Daegaer write said novel, because, hey, if she got me this involved in the characters in this story, it's only fair, right? A peculiar work of genius, and one that must be read.

Best FF That Shows Us That Even after Armageddon Things Can Actually Get Worse: Dark Horse, by Wiseacress. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander. Extra story in this set, because I am not revisiting this theme for a while; you can get too much of the apocalypse, I find. This is a vampires-taking-over-the-asylum story; tell me that isn't the end of the world in the Buffyverse, and I will scoff merrily. OK, not merrily if I've been reading this story, because Wiseacress appears to have what we might call a gift of grim. But, wow, she works that gift, keeping me riveted even while a large part of my brain is urging me to look away. This is an impressive story, folks. And what could be more appropriate to an end of the world theme than to finish with something both brilliant and down?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I associate crossovers very strongly with confusion; in the early days of my fan fiction reading, I didn't know about crossovers. (I was a sweet, innocent lass with a heart of gold, OK?) So I'd be cheerfully reading along, not paying close attention to the story summaries (mistake number one, right there), and suddenly the story would get...weird. And I would get...confused. I'd read through the rest of it wondering if I was supposed to recognize these strange characters from the FBI, or with fangs, or whatever, and wondering why the story had taken such an unusual turn. Basically, just wondering. It probably didn't help that this was when I was a single-fandom girl, so all these crossovers were in LotR, which is not a canon that takes well to incursions from, for example, television shows. ("Ah, Boromir." "Mmmm, Aragorn." "Hi! I'm Spike!" "That unusual leather jerkin, stranger." "Not jerkin' just yet, pet. But I could be persuaded.")

That's probably why I disliked crossovers so much for so long. But I've learned that they, like everything else, can be totally brilliant in the right hands. And, naturally, examples of the right hands follow.

Best FF That Proves I Was Right All Those Years Ago When I Said That Metal Control Was a Fairly Lame Superpower: Curiosities, by [ profile] penknife. Harry Potter x X-Men movies, Tom Riddle/Magneto, Magneto/Xavier (sort of). This, right here, was the first story I read that made me think crossovers could be more than just a gimmick. Because, well, I never in my whole life so much as wondered what might happen if Tom Riddle met Magneto, or how a battle of HP magicians v. XM mutants might shake down, but I was gripped by this story anyway. The story works, in large part, because Penknife keeps everyone soundly in character and blends a tiny portion of the two universes without breaking either one. Read it and behold the mighty power of the Penknife, which is definitely better than metal control. (And, for the record, if you're ever offered a choice between magnetism and telepathy? Pick telepathy. If you're even tempted to go the metallic route, read this story first.)

Best FF That Proves That Anything Can Happen in the Arctic Circle: Denser Still the Snow, by Jane St. Clair, [ profile] 3jane. Due South x Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser/Oz. Well, now, this is a perfect example of what I mean about anything working in the right hands. I looked at the fandoms and the pairing and knew it could not work. Right then, I was ready to write an essay, complete with quotes and possibly even illustrations supporting my thesis that this could not work. And I read it, and even though there was a lengthy period in the middle where I wasn't sure if I wanted to embrace Jane or send my second to her door at dawn, I was just in awe. It works, it works, see how it works.

Best FF That Proves That Zen Is Applicable to All Walks of Life but Not Helpful in All Situations: Zen, by [ profile] basingstoke. Due South x Homicide (I think), Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. I read the first part of this story thinking I knew who the, um, mystery detective was. I was wrong. (I Googled his name to find out what fandom he comes from, so if I'm wrong, someone please tell me.) I'd never heard of the guy before reading this, so obviously I can't say that he's in character, or that the two universes are nicely mixed (though, really, cop shows seem to go together pretty well most of the time). But I can say that this guy blends almost eerily well into the due South world. And I can also say that I read "Zen" and suddenly wanted to know much more about this intriguing character. Which demonstrates a major bonus (or flaw, depending on your point of view) of the crossover: a good one can work you into a new fandom effortlessly. Painlessly. Unexpectedly. (I'm proud to report, though, that I've managed to resist the lure of "Homicide." So far.)

Best FF That Proves That It's a Bad Idea to Mess with History If You've Had Too Much to Drink. Well, Especially If You've Had Too Much to Drink.: The Most Beautiful Girl in the World, by [ profile] daegaer. Good Omens x The Iliad, Paris/Helen, plus assorted hints of slash. I'm still bitter about Troy, and I haven't even seen the movie; all I had to do to get my hate on was read [ profile] cleolinda's Troy in Fifteen Minutes. I got as far as Achilles in bed with two women and I could feel the rant welling up inside. Just as well I didn't see it, really. In any case, I offer this to those of you also nursing resentment; here is Paris as I always knew he was. And an explanation for the whole mess that's really the only believable one if you insist on discounting the gods. Yes, Wolfgang, I'm talking to you. (Can't wait to see what he's going to do to Ender's Game. Actually, no, I can wait. Forever, if necessary.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
An actual, real relationship is generally not PWP. It affects other people, for one thing - friends, family, former lovers. And this is a set of stories that acknowledges that fact - a set of threesomes that aren't what we usually mean by that word.

Best FF That Only Features Sex in Retrospect: Kowalski Is Bleeding, by [ profile] cesperanza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Raymond Kowalski, Ray Vecchio/Stella Kowalski. This is one of my favorite due South stories ever, right here, but I've hesitated to recommend it. Yes, there's the aspect that probably everyone in the world has read it already. But there's also this: the characters are a little different here, and I'm not sure how a die-hard dS fan might take that. To me, this is the perfect version of them, though. Here we have a Fraser whose interior monologue is, shall we say, not quite as perfect as he forces his appearance to be, a RayK who is a little broken and a lot bitey, and a dislocated RayV. It's right that they should be like this, at least to me. And it's even more right that the story is told this way - there are two sexual relationships here, yes, but the focus is actually on a third relationship, the friendship of the real Vecchio and Fraser. Vecchio's not a bad guy, here; he's a real friend and a good cop and a decent human being. Don't see why this is a threesome story? Go read it.

Best FF That Shows Why Mothers Should Never Try to Interfere with Their Children's Romantic Pursuits: Sundress, by [ profile] rhoddlet. Harry Potter, Ginny/Hermione. This is a short story and an excruciating one, at least for me. Rhoddlet seems to have a way with Ron, and that's what I come back to again and again in this story. It's a happy ending, at least in the short term, for two people, but I can't say "Yay!" because there's also Ron. Who is painfully in love - and look how she shows us that with just a few details - and who is not going to get what he wants. Ouch.

Best FF That Proves That the Marvel Universe Should Be Looking for a Few Good Psychiatrists: The Elevator Series - Going Down, Suspension, Second Story, and Underground Levels, by shalott, [ profile] astolat. X-Men movies, Magneto/Mystique/Xavier. I've recommended "Going Down" before, but I was remiss in not giving you the whole story. This particular triad is, well, twisted; it's also the perfect example of triangulation. Xavier and Magneto can only express their feelings for each other through a third person, and what a perfect third person Magneto has found: Mystique. But it really is all about Erik and Charles; she's the medium and the message, nothing more. For me, the story doesn't end in "Underground Levels," partly because I don't want it to, but partly because I think Mystique is wrong. I think her estimation of Magneto is wrong - not entirely, but just enough that her scenario won't play out. So, for me, shalott's story Pilgrimage is actually the last in this series. That's just my opinion - she probably wouldn't agree - but this is how I see the twisted tale ending.

Best FF in Which Shirt Selection Is Both a Metaphor and a Transition: One Hundred Thousand Miles, by [ profile] alestar. X-Men comics, Bobby Drake/Pete Wisdom. And, very present in this story though he doesn't make an actual appearance, Remy Le Beau. (For those of you not familiar with the comics: Bobby is Iceman, but a grown up one, unlike in the movie. Remy is Gambit, an X person and an energy manipulator. Pete Wisdom is, coincidentally enough, Pete Wisdom, a spy and also an energy manipulator. That's all you need to know to read this story.) Bobby's got some issues to work out, and a shirt to wear. I like this story 'cause it's real. We all do stupid things for reasons we don't quite understand. And sometimes those stupid things actually work. I also like this because the Bobby/Remy pairing never quite worked for me. When I read "One Hundred Thousand" I realized why. As usual, Alestar has got the X-folks in the palm of her hand and perfectly in character.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
"But it's the best part of everything!" I hear you crying. Well, in most cases, you're right. Certainly when it comes to fan fiction, you're right. But there are exceptions to almost every rule, and this nominations set is made up of such exceptions.

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

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

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

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

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

Whoa. OK, good reason for me not to do too many gen sets; evidently they bring out the third-rate philosopher in me. Luckily, it's hard to get all intense and pseudo-profound about smut; I like the way sex brings out the shallow in me. And I will be returning to glorious, smutty shallowness next entry, I promise you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Although there are times when we have to repeat that and repeat that and repeat that. Because it's a cold comfort to know, for example, that if Rowling had kept Sirius alive, she'd have kept on destroying him until we wished he was dead. So, today's theme: death in canon, and how FF authors react to it. Does this have any relationship to my recent exploration of the Buffyverse? What do you think?

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

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

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

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

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

* Thanks for the confirmation, [ profile] minervacat!
** Thanks for the link, [ profile] ardent_muses!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Sometimes what comes after is neither happy nor forever. Those wedding bells do not ring out. Keys are returned, photos burned, hearts broken.

Sometimes people fall out of love. Sometimes, so do the men we slash.

Best FF That Features Someone Who Is Even Worse at Telling Jokes Than I Am: A Lesson in Business, by [ profile] alestar. X-Men comics, Nightcrawler/Wolverine. Nightcrawler is getting what he always wanted; he's becoming a priest. And Wolverine is losing what he's always wanted. Or is he? The end of the relationship is not quite cut-and-dried here, but I'm with Wolverine on this one; there are some things that just are mutually exclusive. (Note: I have been reliably informed that I tell jokes like Marlin in Finding Nemo. But in this FF, Kurt Wagner makes me look like a real raconteur, which makes me feel a whole lot better.)

Best FF That Reveals a Little More About Harry Potter Than Even J.K. Rowling Knows: Je n'en Connais Pas la Fin II: Things to Do When Your Lover Is Dead, by Zahra, [ profile] hackthis. Harry Potter, Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy. No one's lover is dead in this story. Doesn't matter, because - give me an O. Give me a U. Give me a C. Give me an H. Yes, this is some seriously ouchy FF, here; Harry's going through that part of the breakup where you wonder if there was ever any love at all. I know some folks won't agree with me, but I think this FF is very Harry. He really is very much like a steamroller at times; he tends to enfold people in his worldview and forget that there's another way to look at things. (Clearly he never read The Phantom Tollbooth, which is probably his whole problem right there.) This story is fantastic, in part, because it answers Harry's questions. Did he know Draco? Did he consider him? Did he ever even see him? He doesn't figure it out, but you will.

Best FF That Reveals the Healing Power of Music, Which Is Sort of Strange Given That the Main Character Goes Crazy When He Hears Electric Guitars: We Walk Like a Ghost, by Torch, [ profile] flambeau. Velvet Goldmine, Curt Wild/Brian Slade. This is a canon relationship and a canon breakup. It's excruciating to watch in the movie, and Torch lets us relive the pain in her story. With added gorgeous imagery and a hint of recovery, and from Curt's point of view. ('Cause, hey, he was way more interesting than Slade, mmm? Something Todd Haynes never really figured out, I'm afraid.) This is a great story to read if you've never seen the movie; Torch gets the characters, and she makes damn sure you will, too. But I think after reading this you'll understand why you need to see the movie.

Best FF That Features Ray Kowalski Doing Everything Right and Fraser Not Remotely Worried That Ray's Taking His Usual Role: Old Lock, New Key, by [ profile] thisisbone. Due South, Fraser/Vecchio, Fraser/Kowalski. Vecchio hurt Fraser. What luck Kowalski is there to pick up the pieces. In other words, folks, what we've got here is a story that will piss off both factions in the Ray Wars. Never let it be said that we FF types don't know how to make friends and make nice. This story does not, for the record (and for a Certain Person), violate my Due South "Happy Endings Mandatory" policy; the ending is happy. There's, you know, just the teeniest hint of angst on the way, but there's definitely hope at the end, and that's what counts.

So that's how we'll leave this depressing set: with the knowledge that, yes, people do break up. But, if I may quote the Weepiest Elf, there is still hope.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Can't make the commitment to long-term fic? Not to worry; these stories will be in your life and then out again in the time it takes to brush your teeth. And while they'll leave something behind with you, it won't be a disease, a pregnancy, a bad taste in your mouth, or a new psychological scar to add to your burgeoning collection. Fast fic: the safe one-page stand.

Best FF That Leaves Me, at Any Rate, Longing for a Happier Ending for a Certain Fandom's Number One Doomed Couple: Conjugal Visit, by C. Elisa. X-Men movies, Magneto/Xavier. This is a hundred-word story that packs a thousand-word wallop; it's a snapshot of Magneto in prison and of Xavier doing the Right Thing (which, for once in his life, coincides with what he wants to do). C. Elisa is the queen of this kind of story-telling; you should read all her stuff immediately. But read this one first, because it gets right to the heart of why M/X is so compelling - there's still so much left in the relationship, even after all the years they've spent destroying it. That's got to count for something. (And I have to quit now, before I succumb to the temptation to quote Philip Larkin's No Road in toto, with lengthy commentary on how this poem so perfectly sums up M/X. Help me. I'm one step away from writing "theirloveissoliterary!" and really meaning it.)

Best FF Involving Harry Potter and Severus Snape Touching That Still Manages to Be, Well, Touching: Pale Shadow, by Sushi, [ profile] wikdsushi. Harry Potter, Harry Potter/Severus Snape. This is an aged-up story (and how!); you will not be exposed to teacher/student or adult/teen naughtiness here. It's also a special prose form: four connected hundred-word stories, rated, in order, G/PG/R/NC-17. If that form doesn't make the writers in the audience want to get cracking, I don't know what will. And be sure to visit Sushi's website for the best implicit definition of slash I've ever seen. In the future, I will simply point slash doubters and nay-sayers to Sushi's site, and if they don't get it, I will point again. (I'm practicing the silent pointing so that I can come back as a Ghost of Christmas Future. My kind of afterlife, y'know?)

Best FF That Proves the Basic All-Round Usefulness of Yellow Goop, Especially in Teamwork, Bonding, and Character Perspective. Yellow Goop: Buy Some Today!: Small Unit Tactics, by Livia, [ profile] liviapenn. Teen Titans, gen. This is one of those little stories I'll be recommending in the inevitable (but much dreaded) DC Universe Fandoms I Have Loved. It serves as an excellent introduction to the characters, which the average human desperately needs in DCU, and it's still good reading. We can't blame Livia for its G-rating; this story is already so densely packed that any more goodness, even of the slashy kind, would probably create an exceedingly literate and sexy black hole.

Best FF That Reveals the Evil That Lurks in the Heart of Men: Lights Out, by [ profile] penknife. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, gen. Giles wants to kill Angel. Actually, he wants to hurt Angel. And he knows exactly how to do it. I love this story because it shows the side of Giles the canon implies but never (as far as I know, which isn't that far) truly explores. We know he's human and we know he has a dark side; it makes an amazing amount of sense that this is what he keeps there.

Best FF That May Be of Interest, or Even Comprehensible, Only to the Author, My Best Beloved, and Me: Your Pilgrimage Is Over, by Mooncalf. Final Fantasy X, gen. This is a special bonus story, included for the roughly 1.5 readers of this blog who a) have finished, or nearly finished, FFX (a must for this story, I'm afraid) and b) want to read gen fic about it. (I would, for the record, gladly recommend FFX slash, especially any combination of Auron/Braska/Jecht, except that it's damned hard to find. So gen is what we're left with, fellow player(s).) Note that I love Auron with an unhealthy passion, and this story puts him in a somewhat darkish light, but that's, well, perfect for good ol' Aurie. You want proof this is a fantastic story? It directly contradicts the canon; what happens here could not have really happened. And yet I believe this version of events; it just makes so much more sense.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
There are pairings we can all agree make sense: Magneto/Xavier, Aubrey/Maturin, Fraser/Kowalski, Jack Sparrow/Anyone At All. And there are pairings that aren't quite as intuitive. I find a lot more of the former, but I have a special love for the latter; a well done strange pairing story often lacks the "same sex, different day" feeling I sometimes get from FF, and it usually says more about the characters.

Best FF That Will Make You Stop Smearing Vitamin E on Your Surgery Scars: Scars, by Sonya, [ profile] virtualinsomnia. X-Men movies, Nightcrawler/Wolverine pre-slash. I have a well-documented problem with visualizing blue people having sex (See also: Beast, Mystique, etc., and why are there so many blue people in the Marvel universe? Did they get a special deal on the ink?), but I really believe I'm making progress. This story, though, didn't trip my issues at all; it's completely non-explicit. It also sounds so wrong and yet makes such sense after you've read it. We value our scars because they're physical memories. Wolverine has lost so much of his memory; isn't it something of an unkind cut that he loses this kind, too? And Nightcrawler doesn't just have scars - he has intentional scars, scars that tell a story, at least to him. I can get the envy, and I can get the attraction. But I couldn't until Sonya pointed the way.

Best FF That Pairs a Brad Pitt Character with a Matt Damon Character and Yet Doesn't Make Me Vomit: Drive, by Jess. Ocean's 11, Rusty Ryan/Linus Caldwell. We interrupt this nominations set for some intensive whining: why is this fandom not larger? Why why whyeeeeee? In my world, there'd be, um, oceans of Ocean's 11 slash, and it would all be this good. This movie has it all: subtext! Homoeroticism! A lot of men! A totally unconvincing token female character! It's crying out for slash, people! Whine ends. See, I looked at this pairing, and I thought, no. Just - no. Rusty belongs with Danny; apart from anything else, George Clooney and Brad Pitt have so much sexual tension in this movie they might as well have taken out a Massachusetts marriage license. But then I read this story, and I realized that, once again, I had been narrow-minded, and a great FF story had cured me of it. (If this trend continues, I may become the first person to die of excessive open-mindedness. Or the first person ever to cause a matter/antimatter type explosion upon coming into contact with Jesse Helms.)

Best FF Featuring a Fraser Who Is Actually Quick on the Uptake and Yet Still Totally Canadian (No Offense Intended to Our Beloved Northern Friends): Volpe, by Te, [ profile] thete1. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Andreas Volpe. (Note for those who haven't seen the series: Volpe is a real character; I think Te's intertwining this fic's plot with the plot of the episode "Asylum," though don't quote me on that.) Kowalski, yes, belongs with Benton Fraser. But isn't he entitled to more of a sexual history than just the Stella? I mean, come on; we've already got the classic one-woman history in Fraser, and I refuse to believe that Due South exists in a universe where men, on average, have 1.2 sexual partners in their lives. Vecchio's probably been married to more woman than Kowalski's had sex with. (And, tragically, Vecchio's probably been married more often than Fraser's had sex. Period.) That isn't fair at all, and I applaud Te for giving Kowalski a history, and for making it so believable. I also applaud her for not making Fraser clueless; given Victoria, you'd think he'd pick up on sexual, um, mistakes a lot faster than he mostly does in FF.

Best FF That Makes You Want Harry Potter Book Six to Feature a Campaign for Tighter Regulations on Teacher Malfeasance and Immorality, Most Likely Run by Hermione in Her Copious Spare Time: Perquisite and the companion piece Unnatural Acts, by Halrloprillalar, [ profile] prillalar. Harry Potter, Percy/Snape. So. Um. If you like your Snape loving and sweet, or with a hidden heart of gold, or tormented by a secret love, you won't like this story. But, hey, give it a try anyway, 'cause this is excellent. I admit I'm biased - teacher/student pairings, especially the ones that end in true love, usually don't work for me; I can't suspend my disbelief far enough. So I like the way this goes. And I love the way Hal makes a human being of Percy, who is, like so many HP characters, totally two-dimensional in the canon. So read this. But don't expect romance. (This nomination sponsored by Slashers Against Romance and True Love and for Nice Pornographic Sex. I'm not a member, people, so don't complain to me.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
There's more to love-times-three than threesomes, even if a certain college boyfriend of mine would be astonished to hear it. So, in addition to the traditional three-bodies-in-a-bed story ('cause, hey, I'm all for tradition - well, this kind of tradition, that is), this set features lots of other ways three people can get tangled up together. Ah, human sexuality. It is lovely. And complicated.

Best FF in Which We Learn That Even Wizards Can't Resist Choosing the Bad Boy Instead of the Good Boy: Waterworld, by [ profile] rhoddlet. Harry Potter, Harry/Ron and Harry/Draco. It's sort of sad to see Harry Potter doing something so regularly discussed in Cosmopolitan, but at the same time it proves that magic is no protection against human frailty. Or stupidity. The greatest thing about this story, though, is the way it's told. In FF, a relationship is usually seen through the eyes of one or both of the participants; Rhoddlet does a fantastic job of showing us everything we need to know (or want to know, in my case) through an uninvolved, though far from disinterested, party.

Best FF in Which We Learn That All Women Know Exactly How to Run a Threesome: Shameless, by [ profile] penknife. Teen Titans, Dick/Donna/Kory. They're just ordinary teen-agers. With superpowers. Having a threesome. And issues. Which, provided you're willing to count world-beating moodiness as a superpower, really pretty much sums up adolescence, now that I think about it. The surprising thing about this story is that it's the guy who's hesitant about having a threesome with two girls. Although, really, given that the guy in question is Dick, maybe I'm not so surprised after all.

Best FF Featuring a Prison Setting That Does Not Involve Hot Male/Male Prisoner Sex: In Dreams, by Elizabeth*. X-Men movies, Rogue, Xavier/Magneto. This is almost gen, which is the only way I could handle this unusual threesome; I mean, I don't want to read explicit Xavier/Magneto!Rogue. Ew. But I do love stories that look at what it must be like for the movie Rogue to be Xavier's student and have Magneto's memories. 'Cause, lordy, that's the perfect way to work up a real head full of crazy, having a supervillain's memories of happy times with your headmaster and parental figure. And it's not like Rogue needs more craziness in that stripy head of hers.

Best FF That Could Inspire a Whole New Edition of "Everything I Needed to Know I Learned In Kindergarten": Six to Eight Months, by [ profile] cherryice. Ocean's 11, Tess/Rusty, Tess/Danny, Danny/Rusty. Look, I didn't care for Tess much either. And I needed a lot of persuading, not to mention fortitude, to buy Tess/Rusty. But you know what? Cherry Ice sold me on it; it totally works. Oh, and the things you learned in kindergarten that are crucial in this story? Well, let's start with "sharing is good." Also important: "some things come in pairs, and it just doesn't work have one without the other" and "love me, love my friends." No, wait, sorry. That last one isn't something you learn in kindergarten; it's something you learn in Richard Curtis movies. Still, this is FF that incorporates a lot of moral lessons. But somehow I don't think it's going to make Robert Fulgham proud.


* Thanks for the link, [ profile] kaelie!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This set is not for those with decision-making disorders, because each entry asks you to make a choice. Think of it as a sort of Choose Your Own Adventure, only with less adventure and way more masturbation-intensive porn. Which, come to think of it, can only improve the CYOA genre.

Best FF That Provides Truly Useful and Interesting Etiquette Advice: The Isle Is Full of Noises, by The Great Communicator, aka [ profile] communicator. Master & Commander movie, Aubrey/Maturin. I swear, that tent where Maturin recovered from the gunshot wound sees more action than most bedrooms. Hell, it sees more action than most bedrooms in brothels. Not that I am complaining or anything. Oh, and the etiquette advice answers a question I don't think Emily Post ever addressed: what do I do when I realize that my best friend knows that I'm watching him jerk off? You can decide for yourself whether you prefer Aubrey's answer or Maturin's.

Best FF That Demonstrates That Mutants Should Carefully Consider Possible Abbreviations Before They Choose Their Codenames, Because "Shatty" Is a Fairly Awful Thing to Be Called During Intimate Moments: What Is Already Known, by Janete, aka [ profile] 3jane and [ profile] thete1. X-Force, Shatterstar/Rictor. This story features seduction via masturbation, a technique that really should be far more widely used. In, you know, my strictly personal opinion. It also features a few "don't try this at home" moments, but after all, that's why we love fan fiction. Well, one of the reasons. And as for the codename - you can decide for yourself whether you'd rather be called Shatty or Star, if you were a male-alien-mutant-thing. Not an easy choice, and one that could've been totally avoided if the people who created Shatterstar had spared a single second to think about sex. I mean, of course, sex and Shatterstar together.

Best FF That Will Make You Glad You're a Muggle and Can Thus Read Your Porn Online. (Plus, Our Porn Is Evidently *Way* Better Than Theirs.): Four Letter Words, by Breed, aka [ profile] weatherby. Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter. Hearing Draco read a smutty novel out loud - doing all the voices and everything - would probably make me swear off sex for life. Not so Harry. There are some priceless details in this story, but my favorite line is this one: "'You'd think the wood would start to get warped or something if you did that all the time,' Ron whispers." No, I won't tell you the context; just go read it, and reflect on the differences between the wizard world and ours. In ours, for example, no one would ever ever ever sit on the floor in a public toilet, but apparently they have spells to keep them from being icky. On the other hand, as I said, we have easy access to excellent porn. I'll leave it to you to decide which you prefer. (Oh, and don't miss the comments on this one; there's a description of a real porn novel that left me choking with laughter.)

Best FF Featuring the Kind of Masturbation You Hope You'll Never Have to Do and the Kind of Names I Hope You'll Never, Ever Call Yourself: Pressure Is Rising, by [ profile] clionaeilis. Due South, Ray Kowalski all alone. This is a masturbation story that features social and emotional commentary as well as, you know, the whole solo-sex thing; it's amazing how well the author captures that inner voice that repeats things we don't want to hear, over and over and over until we really just want to hit something, especially when it's hot out. And the last few lines are just killers. If you've ever felt like putting in a few minutes with Ray Kowalski, angst, and jerking off, this would be your story.

And if this isn't your kind of story, well - a Certain Person now requires that I offer a happy option with all Due South angst and sadness. Here's the alternate story - just as good, but totally angst-free.

Best FF That Explains Just How Erotic a Totally G-Rated Voice Mail Message Can Be If Benton Fraser Is the One Who Leaves It (and Ray Kowalski Is the One Who Gets It): Flying Solo, by [ profile] estrella30. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. Yes, folks, this is the second story that features masturbation in a public toilet, and this time the, um, performer doesn't even have the excuse of being a teenager in a magically germ-free world. But we'll all excuse him, because, hey, it's Ray, and he's in love with Ben, and all is right in the world, mmm? And this is the final decision I'll ask you to make today: you can decide for yourself whether you prefer your masturbating Ray to be angsty or angst-free. (We already know what a Certain Person will choose.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Today, I give you a mannered and educational nominations set in which our heroes (various) forget that they remember, and dream that they forget. Well, no. Actually, they mostly dream about sex.

Best FF That Teaches Us the Proper Way to Determine If We're Sleeping with Our Roommates, and the Improper Way to Behave Once We Remember That We Weren't: Not Exactly Funny, by Helen [ profile] helenish. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. There was a time when I thought amnesia stories just shouldn't work. Then I read a few good ones and decided that in a skilled writer's hands amnesia could be quite effective. But now I think amnesia FF works because it's close kin to AU FF; we get to see what would happen if the characters started over. And in this story, it's especially nice to see Jim and Blair asking themselves the same question that everyone who ever saw the show must've asked - namely, how can this not be a sexual relationship?

Best FF That Teaches Us the Proper Way to Reward Your Partner for Being a Good Shot and the Improper Way of Wanting to Eat Your Partner: Throwing Shapes, by Anna S., aka [ profile] eliade. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander. Amnesia strikes again! Xander remembers the important stuff (like Sid Vicious, Pamela Anderson, Star Wars, and Snickers bars) and Spike forgets equally important stuff (like that, Englishman or not, he really shouldn't go out in the noonday sun). They make some unfortunate but completely understandable deductions (like that they're partners in crime, or possibly in a circus) and hilarity ensues. Wait, make that hilarity and hot sex. Because this is Anna S., after all, and she always remembers the important stuff. Note also that this story gave me a brand new motto: "I'll angst later. After my nap." Something we could all stand to remember, I think.

Best FF That Teaches Us the Proper Way to Thank Our Friends for Bringing Us Good News and the Improper Way of Riding a Broomstick: Aphasia, by [ profile] rhoddlet. Harry Potter, Harry/Ron. Sometimes you need to forget some things to get where you need to be. Or, to put it another way, in slash stories, you can count on certain things, like that having aphasia will turn out to be an excellent way of getting in touch with your inner gayboy. And if it doesn't usually work that way in real life? Well, that's why we love fan fiction, folks. This story also demonstrates that aphasia (not to mention fan fiction) can, on occasion, be surprisingly innocent and sweet.

Best FF That Teaches Us the Proper Way to Handle Sudden Changes in Sexual Orientation and the Improper (but Fun) Way of Coping When Your Partner Kisses Your Sister: Baresark, by Laura Jacquez Valentine. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Ray actually sounds to me like he might've had aphasia in the canon; at least, lots of people seem to write him as mildly aphasic. But, as we've seen before, forgetfulness of any kind is no obstacle to finding true love. And, in the spirit of "I'll angst later. After my nap," Ray copes with a sudden urge to hop into bed with his partner with style and grace and about four seconds' concentrated thought. Apparently that's just not as difficult a decision as we thought. At least, not when your partner is Benton Fraser.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The first-time story is so common in FF that it's a cliche. Much less common is the long-time story, an episode in an established relationship. I suppose, in a way, I can understand the preference for first-times; the drama and emotion and sexiness is all there on the surface. But my heart really belongs to the long-times - the glimpses at what love looks like after one year, or two years, or ten, or twenty. And these stories are my favorites in that genre.

Best FF That Reminds Us That It Isn't the First Step That's the Hardest, It's the First Year: Habitation, by livia. Galaxy Quest, Fred Kwan/Laliari. Yes, it's het. But it's interspecies het, which helps raise the perv factor a bit. And yes, I am nominating a fan fiction story based on a movie that wonderfully skewers fandom and fannish behavior, and yes, there is some irony there. So, now that we've covered the mandatory objections, would you please go read this story right now now now? Because it is just so right, people, no matter how wrong it also is. This is FF at its best. Because, see, every marriage is marriage to alien creature. The marriage becomes real when you've become a species of two. (Help! Went too deep! Drowning in metaphor and simile! Send friendly, intelligent, anthropomorphic dolphin to save me and teach me important lessons about friendship!)

Best FF That Reveals Some Shocking Inside Information about the Magical Publishing World: Who Wrote the Book*, by Canis M.. Harry Potter, Sirius Black/Remus Lupin. HP established-relationship stories tend to feature endings - deaths, breakups, betrayals. And that's no surprise; in Rowling's world, it's hard to imagine a happy future, because everything's so hazy. Even assuming both halves of a couple do survive, it's hard to know how things will be in that still-nebulous Time After Voldemort. (Tell you what, though; I'd love to see a long-time story about Ron and Hermione with a houseful of kids. I'm convinced Ron would be another Molly and Hermione would be just like Arthur.) What I love about "Who Wrote" (yes, there was an actual nomination here - scan back up if you've forgotten) is the glimpse of Remus and Sirius without the Shadow of Doom; the SoD has come to permeate all FF about these two. I prefer to think of this as the start to an AU world, where Peter was caught, Sirius stayed free, and Harry went to live with Remus and Sirius.

Best FF That Explains the Wily Inner Workings of the Canine Mind: Likewise, by AuKestrel (no link for her, sorry). Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. I realize that this story may be too sweet for some people. But to me, it's a remarkable example of the long-time story; this is what it's really like when ten years have passed and it's still good. I smile whenever I read this. And, hey, she quotes my favorite REM song at the end, so the story must be good, right? (Note for the grammar-fixated, my sisters in pedantry: the comma splices must imitate the voice of Kowalski on the show. I've read other stories by this author, and she doesn't write like that most of the time, so it's a stylistic choice. Take a deep breath and go with it for a bit. I think you'll find it works.) This is just a nice look at the happier, mellower future editions of Ray and Benton, and I for one think they totally deserve this fate.

Best FF That Will Enhance Your Tolerance by Making You Wonder, the Next Time You See an Intergenerational Couple, If One of Them Is a Vampire: At a Glance, by Dira Sudis, aka [ profile] dsudis. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander. I've said vampire/human relationships can't work in the Buffy world, and I stand by that. But Dira Sudis has somehow found the best-case scenario here. And then some. I found myself wanting to buy into this version of Spike and Xander. I even found myself formulating strange theories to explain their relationship. ("Hmmm. Maybe they share a soul?") This is a Buffyfic that manages to be touching without angst, that is realistic and yet (I think) in canon. My early survey of this fandom shows that that is about as rare as the Questing Beast, so enjoy this one. Even if the ending is a bit ambiguous.

-Honorable Mentions (i.e., Previously-Nominated Stories That I Can't Shut up About)-

Best FF That Answers the Question "What Do You Do With an Aging Superhero?" (Take Him to Rural Areas.): I Still Believe, by Dasha (sorry, no link for her). The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. This is my favorite Sentinel story, so much so that for a while after I found this one I stopped reading in the fandom altogether. This story resolves everything so well that it made every other story seemed superfluous. I got over that, luckily for my self-image as an obsessed multi-fandom reader (for as a dog returneth to his vomit, so does this fan fiction reader return to her old fandoms), but I still re-read this one from time to time. It's wonderful.

Best FF That Answers the Question "What Do You Do With an Aging Dwarf?" (Take Him to Valinor.): Sky as Grey as Your Heart, by afrai. Lord of the Rings, Legolas/Gimli. This one is another essentially perfect long-time love story. And it converted me to a pairing I'd previously hated, canon or not. So if you've been avoiding this one - and you'd have to be not to have read it by now, 'cause it's been rec'd everywhere - now would be a good time to try something new. And if you've read it before, why not read it again? It'll give you something to remember the next time you read a story about Legolas weeping for the lost love of Aragorn and writing bad poetry ("To a Lost King" and "Sweet Man-Kisses" by Legolas Fangirl Greenleaf) and embracing his pillow at night.


* Thanks to [ profile] switchknife for her merciless pimping and helpful, custom-fit recommendations. This woman is determined to drag me kicking and screaming into the deep end of HP fiction, and of course I love her for it. Though I imagine my loved ones are wanting to have a few words with her right about now.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Yup, gen. I'm sorry. It's a wasting disease or something - maybe Pervasive Genfic Disorder. But smut-addicts out there need not fear; I've got that wasting disease, too.

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

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

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

Best FF That Reminds Why We Should Ask "Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?": Vigilance, by Victoria P., aka [ profile] musesfool. Lord of the Rings movies. I'm a sucker for Boromir. I admit it. There's something so human about him, for one thing, which is not something you can say for any of the other main characters, not even in the movies. And, hey, so maybe I have a slightly unhealthy interest in the doomed. We all have problems, and if I ever set out to fix mine, there's no way I'm starting with that; it's not even a contender for the top 100. In the meantime, for those who share this fixation, here's a lovely little character study of Boromir. The last line of this story is particularly good; as always with this guy, we get to see his strengths turned to weaknesses by the One Ring, which is remarkably skilled at turning a knife in the back for something that's so small and shiny and round. Fear the small and shiny and round, people.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
There's funny fan fiction, with jokes and happy endings and true love forever. Sometimes it's great stuff. But I'm not nominating any of that today.

There's angsty fan fiction, featuring angst and tears (sometimes manfully surpressed, sometimes wept into pillows) and angst and I will never confess it, but I love you, I love you and then more angst. And then someone has a dream (75% of the time it's wet, 25% it's a nightmare), and then there's either tortured kissing or more angst, but usually both. And sometimes someone almost dies, or, in the case of certain fandoms, actually does die.I'm not nominating that kind of FF today, either. Thank god.

No, today's set showcases the grittier side of life, FF-style. If happy endings and light hearts are your thing, let me direct you to the previous entry, but if you can stand the sour, the bitter, and the uppercut to the jaw, read on.

Best FF That Proves That Things Can Always Be Worse, and Then Proves It Again, with Added Squalor: Modus Vivendi, by wiseacress. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander. File this one under "Cruelty to Xander" and go with it. The story begins with Xander getting the holy shit beaten out of him, and then things really start to go bad. "Modus" actually has an almost sort of moderately happy ending, in that all canon characters survive the story; if you finish this and you're aching for more aching (or more great writing), check out the alternate ending, Ars Moriendi, which shows that, when it comes to bad, you ain't seen nothing yet. And yet - this story is so good. The author gets that human/vampire relationships can't work, and she makes us get it, too. She makes Spike and Xander so real that I finished the story - both endings - desperately wishing things could be better for the guys, even though I knew they couldn't. I bought into this story completely and love it entirely. Of course, that just makes the whole thing hurt more.

Best FF That Teaches You to Beware of Staircases and Watch Your Step on Crime Scenes: Stop Whispering, by grit kitty. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. Here, grit kitty tackles one of those weird fandom conventions; in Sentinel fan fiction, homophobia doesn't exist. Or it does, but only in the same way that sneezes exist; they happen, they go away quickly, and they have no real effect on anything. But Jim's a cop, and cops are not famed for their cheerful acceptance of their colleagues' alternative lifestyles. In this one, grit kitty plays out a very realistic, rather grim scenario, in which Jim and Blair out themselves and things go about halfway to hell. I love that no one is entirely clean here. I also love that grit kitty keeps things from reeling off the edge of "unpleasant" straight into "overdone angst," and that she manages to patch things up without making them any less real. Also, check out the three-dimensional Simon in this story; a human Simon is a rare bird indeed.

Best FF That Reminds You Why You Never, Never Want to Be 15 Again, Unless You Actually Are 15, in Which Case It's Bound to Have Some Other Salutary Effect: Practicing for the Ballet, by [ profile] penknife. Harry Potter, Harry/Draco. H/D is one of those pairings I just can't wrap my head around, mostly because I can't let go of the canon. (Entry #1 on the list called "Why It's Better to Read FF When You Don't Know the Canon.") The distance between fanon Draco and canon Draco is the distance between two universes, and the distance between Harry and Draco in the canon is, well, about half as far. So when Harry and Draco are falling all over each other, I'm cringing, waiting for the knife in the back. Penknife apparently is, too. This, folks, is exactly what it's like to be 15 and having bad sex with someone you hate; when you're in that situation, all you can do is decide whether you'll be like Harry or like Draco.

Best FF That Isn't So Bad in Any Particular and Yet Leaves You with an Overwhelming Feeling of Impending Disaster: When She Walks in the Room, by [ profile] wax_jism. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Ah, Wax Jism. Every time I read a story of hers, she rewrites my brain. Sometimes it's for the best - you don't hear me whining about Bobby/St. John anymore, and that's at least 75% WJ's fault - and sometimes it's, well, not. This is one of those "not" stories. See, with Due South FF, I want a happy ending. I am totally convinced the characters need and deserve a happy ending, because from what I can tell, they were royally reamed in the canon. (For more on this topic, see Fandoms I Have Loved, coming soon to this blog right here.) And until I read this story, I was convinced they could have their happy ending. Now, I'm not so sure. WJ should come with a warning label. And that, of course, is why I love her.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Well, it's a misleading title, I'll grant you that. This is really just Stories That Made Me Laugh, Part II. But, hey, I figure this FF obsession will end in therapy and tears sooner or later, so I might as well come right out and admit it now. My future psychiatrist is bound to be impressed by my level of self-knowledge. Right? (Do not argue with the crazy lady. Smile and nod.) Plus, madness is a sort of secondary theme running through these nominations.

Best FF with a Novel and Appealing Approach to Safe Sex: Chicago's Most Wanted, by speranza. Due South, Kowalski/Fraser. Show, not tell - that's the credo of writers everywhere, yes? Well, then, let me offer two quotes that will show you why you need to read this story right now. "It's a Fraser kind of plan! Diabolical and nutritious!" "Sucking cock and robbing banks. Fraser just hadn't been the same since prison." That last also serves an excellent plot summary. And if those quotes don't persuade you, I'm not the only one needs therapy.

Best FF That Serves As a Useful Diagnostic - If It Makes You Laugh, You've Spent Too Much Time on Livejournal: My Fucking Life, by [ profile] prillalar. Harry Potter, gen. Sirius Black's livejournal begins after Order of the Phoenix, which certainly colors his, um, perspective. Think of it as the Very Secret Diaries for the blogging community. If this story does in fact make you laugh, you may want to consider experiencing other sorts of communities - I understand they have fine ones outdoors, at a site called "real life." If you try this novel approach to life, please let me know how it works, OK? I'll be here.

Best FF That Shares a Basic Plot Summary with Several Children's Books: Throw My Head Away, by [ profile] alestar. X-Men comics. Bobby wants to change his name, and he goes to all his friends, one by one, to ask them about that; unlike most children's books with this plot, "Throw" is slow-burn funny. I love this story 'cause the characters' reactions are so right. Alestar, bless her, has apparently been reading the X comics long enough to know the characters (which means she's likely got X-induced insanity; do not tell her, though, because if she gets treated she'll probably stop writing FF like this), and she just - really - look. I can't explain why this story is good. I can't explain why it's funny. But I can explain what will happen if you don't read it: you'll be statistically more likely to experience random bouts of guilty schadenfreude, keening, and antidepressant addiction. Nobody wants that.

Best FF That Will Save You Money, Keep Your Hands Clean, and Protect Your Eyebrows from Harm: Kids Under Twelve Drink Free, by Mallory Klohn (no link for her, sorry). The Sentinel, Blair/Jim. See, Jim takes Blair to Vegas, and, well, there's gambling and sex and old ladies and sleaze and it's funny Sorry, but this is another one you just have to read to get. And please note that you can definitely read this story if you have no Sentinel experience; Las Vegas experience is also unnecessary, both for this story and for your life. I've been to Las Vegas far, far too often, and I promise you the place is a lot more fun when you're not actually there. So don't go; read this story instead, and not only will you experience the place as everyone should - from a distance - but you'll also save on airfare, gambling losses, and whatever it costs to get Vegas out of your clothes and your brain once you get home.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Yet another foray into the land of innocence. OK, not so much innocence as, um, slightly less decadence and moral decay than is average for my nominations. But that doesn't sound nearly as good as innocence.

Best FF Featuring Jack Sparrow Stopping at Just a Kiss: Tactics, by Halrloprillalar. Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack/Gilette. Who would've thought that any fan fiction involving Jack Sparrow would ever, could ever be less than NC-17? I mean, usually, if you've got Jack, you've got sex with, essentially, every other character mentioned in the story. And, really, I'm all for that. When pansexuality is so very much IC, we might as well take full advantage of it. But I am still just nine kinds of impressed with she-of-the-unpronounceable-name (and I couldn't pronounce it in Ringworld either, in case you were wondering) for making Jack stop before everyone is naked, gasping for breath, and (in many cases) blind drunk, and making it believable.

Best FF Featuring a Massage That Doesn't Lead Us Deep into NC-17 Territory: Kept Awake, by Jenn, aka [ profile] seperis*. X-Men movies, St. John/Bobby. This is the first story in the amazing On Love and Lust at Mutant High series. The movieverse version of Pyro is another one of those characters that has the "any time, anywhere, anyhow" aura. Or at least so I assume, given what he gets up to in FF. So it's rather sweet to see St. John following Bobby around like a faithful hound and yet remaining in character. And it's fascinating to see him stop before the main event when he finally gets Bobby into bed.

Best FF That Manages to Be Touchingly Sweet Despite the Inclusion of Werewolf Attacks, Insults Galore, and Death Threats to Neighborhood Strays: Quiet, by Te, aka [ profile] thete1. Harry Potter, Remus Lupin/Severus Snape. Snape is many things to many people, including sex god, snarky bastard, exceptionally unethical teacher, weepy soul just waiting for someone to break through his walls, and vicious torturing monster. So I tend to approach stories involving Snape with a wariness more commonly seen in deer; at the first sign of Weird Snape or Weepy Snape or, god help me, Evil Snape Who Knows Many Alternative Uses for His Wand, I flee back to stories like "Quiet," where Te gets into Lupin's skin and, just to show us there's nothing she can't do, also gives us a look at Snape as a person. As in, canon-appropriate, in-character Snape acting like a human being. Will wonders never cease? Well, no. At least not in the HP fandom.

Best FF Featuring a Daisy Chain That Involves, You Know, Actual Flowers: Protection, by [ profile] sheldrake. Dark Is Rising series, Will/Bran. Yes, I am going to nominate stories in this fandom until every single person breaks down and reads this series. I actually think, though, that it might be possible to read this story without having read the canon, which is in no way intended to discourage you from reading it. This story is sweet without being sugary; a neat trick that other FF writers could stand to learn. And it will give you a greater appreciation for daisies, too - FF's version of multitasking. Consider it the dessert of this nominations set: no snark, no insults, no chase scenes, no tormented souls. Just two guys on a hillside covered in flowers. (And, yes, I'm well aware that that makes it sound disgustingly glurgy. Look, read it, OK? If you still think it's glurgy, I'll be happy to apologize.)

* Thanks, Te.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I love animals. In fact, I have a dog staring at me, trying to persuade me to give her peanut butter, as I write this. But animals in fan fiction are risky business. I can handle character death (see previous entry), but I can't handle animals in trouble at all. So you won't be seeing death, sadness, abandonment, or irresponsible ownership (with the exception of some seriously inappropriate feeding patterns, and I can understand that - see also peanut butter, dog and) in these stories. I can't make any promises about glurge, though; my sugar-sensor array goes on the blink when animals are in close proximity to sweetness.

Best FF That Asks You to Believe Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, and You'll Want to, Too: About a Dog, by Speranza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. I realize that it looks like I'm breaking my "no animals were harmed in the making of this story" promise with the very first nominee, but Diefenbaker isn't dead. Keep that firmly in mind as you read this. And it's worth reading, too, because it's funny and touching and Speranza just really gets Dief. And, well, this is one of those that I'll spoil if I give too much plot summary, but let's just say that it's nice to see how Fraser copes with suddenly having a six-foot-two Canadian with no concept of personal space sleeping in his bed.

Best FF That Puts an Entirely Different Spin on the Whole Frog Prince Thing: The Familiar, by Resonant. Harry Potter, Harry/Snape. If you're not a Harry/Snape fan, please read this anyway; I'm totally not into that pairing, and I adored this one, even if the beginning is fairly rocky. Resonant does a kick-ass job of getting these two together. For one thing, she actually remembered that they hate each other. This story just shouldn't work, but oh how it does. I even love what Resonant did with Sirius in his cameo here; he's not Sirius-as-I-see-him, but he makes good sense. Resonant isn't afraid of the implications of this pairing.

Best FF Using the Familiar Formula Babbling + Sleep-Deprivation + Wistful Melancholy + Sandwiches = True Love Forever: What We Talk About When We Talk About Wolves, by Penelope Whistle. (Sorry, no link for her.) Due South, Kowalski/Fraser. I refuse to apologize for nominating two DS stories in the same set, because Diefenbaker's a major canon character, after all. Plus, he's a half-wolf, and I like him*, and I like stories about him, and there are some truly excellent stories about him out there, and - right, sorry, I'm babbling. Starting over. This is just a really wonderful story, folks, involving wolves in fact, wolves in cars, and wolves in metaphors. Read it. And then read it again, and think about the various ways you can use "the evidence being that I haven't eaten you yet" in your daily conversation. Your life will be the richer for it, I promise you.

Best FF That Has - Yes! - Magneto Being, Well, Rather Sweet, Yet Still in Character: Foundlings, by the ubiquitous (at least in this blog) C. Elisa. X-Men movies, and this is either gen or Magneto/Xavier. This is another story that so totally should not work, yet it does. Plus it's short and sweet and has an excellent moral at the end; consider it a modern-day fable that just happens to involve mutants and cats. (Actually, now that I think about it, traditional fables also seem to have far more than their share of mutants and cats.) And, hey, you can't convince me you don't want to see Magneto with kittens.

* Although I do wish I knew how to pronounce his name. Dee-fen-bock-er? Dee-fen-bake-er? Die-fen-whatever? True-dough? It's beyond me. As an American, I'm doing exceptionally well to recognize the name of a Canadian Prime Minister; they'd probably take my passport away if I knew how to say it, too.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I just want to say up front that I realize it's wrong to kill off canon characters in fan fiction, and I definitely realize it's wrong to celebrate said stories with snark and kisses. But here's the thing - sometimes canon character death is just gratuitous, but sometimes it's the only way a really great story can come to be. I think these are great stories.

Just don't say I didn't warn you, 'cause I am: these are not happy stories, and my nomination summaries are not cheerful and amusing, and there's a very good chance these fics could upset you. And did I mention that somebody dies? So if this isn't your thing, read no further; the next entry will return to that old familiar beat.

Best FF That Really Brings Home the Eeriness of a Certain Nursery Rhyme Song: Clock Eulogy, by Mia. X-Files, gen. Sing it with me, now: "And the clock stopped/never to go again/when the old man died." The narrator (who is not identified, sorry) never wanted to believe in the paranormal. Fox Mulder made one last attempt to convince her. That time seems to stop when someone dies is hardly a novel observation, but what happens here is a little less common, and frankly, I'm glad.

Best FF Featuring a Sarcastic Argument That's Literally Done Over a Dead Body, Proving That Some People Really Can't Just Get Along: The Virtue of Decision, by Penknife. Harry Potter, gen. What I love about this one is how it makes Hermione a person, a real person, in a way Rowling has just not managed (though I guess we can continue to hope). I actually found myself wanting to give feedback to the character as I read this - I wanted to tell her that when you're 16, you don't have to be a wizard to feel out of place at home or like you're walking into a dangerous situation your parents could never understand. And when you want to give advice to a fictional person, you know you've bought into the story maybe a little too much.

Best FF That Makes You Wonder What Little Secrets You've Got Lying Around Your House: Executor, by Kat Allison. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Come on, admit it. Haven't you worried about what your parents or other loved ones might find if you died suddenly and they had to sort your stuff? I'd like to think this is a common fear. (The alternative, that I am morbid and paranoid, may be equally appealing to Occam, but it definitely doesn't appeal to me.) And then there's the things you might be glad for them to find out, because you do want them to know but you don't want to be around to experience the consequences of their knowledge. So which problem did Fraser and Kowalski have? You decide.

Best FFs That Elucidate the Sadness Inherent in Shampoo and Green and White Curtains: This Is How and the sequel, Ours, by Siarade (sorry, no link for her). X-Men comic books, Cable/Domino. (Links go to character bios, and if you don't know who these people are, please do scan the first part of the linked pages.) See, the problem with entwining your life with another human being's is that eventually one of the strands snaps. And then you really come unraveled. That's what's happening to Cable here. Siarade captures the feeling of loss so perfectly I found myself a little concerned for her mental health; I'm hoping she's just got a lot of empathy and imagination.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Today I present a very loosely-bound fiction set that has built-in appeal for the book-lovers among us.

Best FF That Has Forever Changed the Way I Think of Unicorns: Like a Good Book, by Kyra Cullinan. Harry Potter, Hermione/Ginny. Yes, folks, it's femslash. And not only that, it's bad sex femslash - gritty and grim and painfully realistic. But even though the sex ain't pretty, the story itself is excellent, so please don't rule this one out if you don't normally do f/f. The book connection, of course, comes from the title, which in turns comes from a Tori Amos song, so we're talking about tenuous links, here. But this nominations set is all about being tenuous. Total tenuousity, that is my motto today.

Best FF That Shows How the Dewey Decimal System Leads to Good Lovin': Reference, by Resonant. Due South, Fraser/Kowalski. If the last nominee left you a bit raw, here's a sweet little story to take the hurt away. This one just makes my library-loving heart melt. And it's lovely to see Fraser being given a bit of non-canon history that doesn't involve death, loss, guilt, or repression. Seriously, Fraser's collected backstory reads like a Shakespearean tragedy (five acts of misunderstandings and long sad speeches, and by the end everyone's dead), so I love Resonant all the more for giving Ray the traumatic memory in this one.

Best FF That Demonstrates That the Library of Congress* Is Even More Arousing Than the Dewey Decimal System: Library Porn: Say Bibliotheque Again, Baby, by Nestra and [ profile] shrift (sorry I left you out, shrift). Angel, Wesley/Gunn. You say the sour story didn't do it for you and the sweet story made you gag? Perhaps mademoiselle would prefer something light from our PWP menu. Because it doesn't get any better than sex in a library. And no, I do not want any angry comments from librarians on this one; I get all I need at home. (But, for the record, you really shouldn't have sex in a library. Coitus Interruptus Librarianus can kill your libido for your natural life, not to mention playing hell with your book-borrowing privileges.) And you don't need the slightest familiarity with Angel to understand this one, either, because the language of this kind of book-loving is universal.

Best FF That Will Make You Really Thirsty: Liquid, by Jane St. Clair. X-Force comics, Rictor/Shatterstar. (Links go to character bios, because even the bios don't make much sense, never mind the comic books.) This one makes this nominations set solely because it features the best sex disclaimer ever: "Never ever have I ever done it with a friend as part of elaborate trade negotiations for a rare book I desired." (Neither have I, Jane, and now that it's been mentioned, I must say I feel the lack.) In this story, we learn about the importance of water to the human body and to love. You will probably want to have a nice frosty beverage on hand before you start reading.

* Yes, actually, I suspect the authors of this story did intend that to be a pun.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
No time to read? Hah. You can read these stories in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, get an order of fries from McDonald's, or think about what you're going to make for dinner. Seriously. Some of them you can read in the time it takes to answer the phone. So read them, because in fan fiction, length truly has nothing to do with quality.

Best FF That Uses Sex to Comment on Society, Psychology, and Character, Thus Proving the Author to Be a Superhero Named Multi-Tasking Girl: Only Queers Kiss, by [ profile] miriam_heddy. The Professionals, Bodie/Doyle. This story is why people who don't read PWP are missing out. Because, OK, technically there's nothing here but sex, but, um, are you noticing how good this is? How much it says about the characters and their thoughts and their times and what is happening with them? (And if you've never heard of The Professionals - a cop TV show, is my understanding, from the dark ages of the world - read it anyway. If you've read two pieces of fan fiction in any fandom, you know enough to read this.)

Best FF That Suggests Perhaps the Canon Authors Are Also Reading FF: Unclear, by C. Elisa. X-Men movies, Magneto/Xavier. Note that this story was finished before she saw X2. C. Elisa has recently joined my list of I'll-Read-Anything Authors. A new fandom? Fine. A weird pairing? Absolutely. Original fiction? Believe me, I'll be delighted. I'd read these folks' shopping lists with interest. This story is exactly why. C. Elisa's got Xavier's voice, in my opinion, she's deep into what it means to be a mutant, and almost as an afterthought she's totally revealed the whole relationship between these two characters. So, really, her shopping list? I'm sure it contains the formula for a cure for the common cold and the location of the mates to all my odd socks, somewhere between "gal. milk" and "4 tomatoes if nice" and "harvest bread unsliced." Of course I'm ready to read it. And you should read this.

Best FF That Proves That the Bang and the Whimper at the End of the World Will Probably Be Immediately Preceded by a Misunderstanding: Quiproquo, by V, aka [ profile] deepsix. Harry Potter, Marcus/Oliver. I never even suspected this pairing when I was a naive young innocent FF-free lass reading the early HP books. I had to go back and re-read them so I could remember who Marcus was. But there's this whole rich vein of Marcus/Oliver slash out there, and I've got to put these guys on the Pairings That Elucidate the Horror of Adolescence list, right under "Bobby/St. John." And this story also elucidates the horror of the coming war and betrayal and, well, look. Just read it.

Best FF That Forces Me to Make Not One but Two Real Fiction Recommendations in the Course of a Discussion of It That Is Longer Than the FF Itself Is: Shapes, by [ profile] brancher. Eight Days of Luke, Luke/David, and I am going to say it until you succumb: read Diana Wynne Jones' Eight Days of Luke. It'll take you three hours. And they will be hours well spent, if for no other reason than that you'll now understand some of the best FF out there. (FF, I might add, apparently condoned by the canon author, which is saying something.) Now, this story. Have you ever read "Climax to a Ghost Story?" (Feel free to do so now; it's a .pdf document, so it'll take longer to load than to read.) When you do, you think, wow, I wish he'd written the whole story, because those few lines kick ass - and then you realize those lines are the story. Anything else would be totally superfluous. Same thing with "Shapes." Trust me on this.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have almost no sense of humor, which is probably why I have such unhealthy affection for those people and things that make me laugh. And my affection for these stories is quite excessively unhealthy, because they all made me laugh a lot.

Best FF That Manages to Be Funny Despite the Inclusion of Multiple Shootings, Angsty Misunderstandings, and Freud: Eight Sessions, by Speranza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Picking a single humorous story from this fandom was tough; there's so many to choose from. I went with this one because I love, love, love the way Ray and Fraser handle their therapy sessions. I laughed myself dizzy. This could be just my innate fondness for therapy humor, or - no. This really is that funny. And the story isn't only humor; there's actual plot and actual seriousness and actual smut here, too.

Best FF That Will Change the Way You Relate to Egg Products: Demolition Woman, by Betty Plotnick. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair pre-slash. Again, this was a difficult choice. I'm not sure if it's the TV aspect or the cop aspect that gives rise to all the humor in these two fandoms, but I'm not complaining, even if does make my choices hard. In the end, I picked this story, even though it has been rec'd to beat the band, because I wanted to do my small bit to ensure that every living being on this planet had read the world-famous omelet box scene.

Best FF That Works Really Well as Therapy for Those Who Have Read Too Much HP FF: A Matter of Convenience, by debchan. Harry Potter, and that's all I'm gonna tell you about it. Except to say that I love this story all the more for existing in a fandom where attempts at humor are few, and successful attempts are even rarer. Also, a hint: if you write HP FF, and the beginning of this story essentially reads like a summary of your favorite plot devices, you might wanna think of branching out, mmm?

Best FF Featuring Love Poetry and Legolas: Nine Men and a Little Lady, by Kielle, aka [ profile] _redpanda_. Lord of the Rings, assorted pairings. Again, this is oft-rec'd, but I want to do my part. Because, lord, humor in LotR is even rarer than humor in HP (which makes a certain amount of sense, as the canon isn't exactly giggle-a-minute, either). And we all need to read stories with endings like this one.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Ah, the drunkfic - usually short on plot, often long on humor, nearly always featuring the classic drunken confession or drunken flirtation or drunken tryst. Why, reading a drunkfic is almost like being in high school again, only without the algebra, the awful lunches, or the irritating classmates, teachers, and other quasi-humans. So, not really very much like high school. And, fortunately, way more fun.

Best FF Featuring the Coolest Drinking Game Ever: The Literal Game, by Sam Vimes, also known as [ profile] copperbadge. Harry Potter, Remus Lupin/James Potter. The first time I read this, I was so distracted by the game (for it is all manner of nifty, and I long to play it, though probably not with the results Remus got) that I totally missed the spot-on characterization (lots of people seem to miss the mark when writing teen-aged MWPP) and excellent dialog. Noticed the second time through, though, along with the best use of a quote from Kipling I've seen in FF to date.

FF Featuring the Best Four-Word Summary of the Bad Kind of Morning After: In Vodka Veritas, by Gloria Lancaster (don't have a link for her, sorry). The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. This is schmoopy, non-explicit drunkfic with some problems a good beta could've cleared up. But I still enjoy it; for some reason, it makes me laugh, perhaps because it brings back unfortunate college memories. And I love the four-word summary, which comes to us courtesy of Blair Sandburg: "I envy the dead." Also, this story, unlike many drunkfics, features realistic side effects and sequelae to excessive alcohol consumption.

Best FF Featuring Shakespeare Quoted for Lascivious Purposes: Hurricane Jack, by shrift. Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack/Will. Fine. OK? Fine. People out there just seem determined to write funny, good stories with this pairing, and how can I help reading those? And I have to admit this pairing was pretty much made for drunken sex. I mean, if there was ever a character crying out for some nice relaxing intoxication, Will is definitely one such. And Jack, of course, is sort of like a walking drunkfic, and in fact he probably comes with his own built-in wet bar*.

Best FF Featuring a Number of Novel Seduction Techniques, Including with Pie, with Pie and Ice Cream, with Accents, and with Weathergirl: Some Strange Prophecy, by Speranza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Well, it had to happen - this is a drunkfic with an actual plot; in fact, there may be too much other stuff in here for this to count as a true drunkfic, but hey, there's definitely drinking. I'm counting it. I don't know how people who loved the television show will take this - it's possible the Fraser here is out of character. He's certainly not being very, um, Canadian, though he's got an excellent excuse. But for those who have longed to read about drunken Mounties in rented Oldsmobiles touring the Southern U.S., this story will meet a number of needs. It should also make happy those who yearn for laidback Chicago cops acting lovestruck, worried, and jealous. The rest of you should give it a try, too.

* You have a dirty, dirty mind. Of course I didn't mean it like that.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I admit it. I love poetry. And I'm a sucker for fan fiction that references poems. I realize there are some people out there that class poemfic with songfic and gag over 'em both, but I truly believe these are worth reading even if you hate poetry. You Philistine, you.

Best FF That Proves the Light at the End of the Tunnel Is the Light of an Oncoming Train: The Art of Losing, by penknife. X-Men movies, Magneto/Xavier. The title comes from Elizabeth Bishop's One Art, and the poem and the story nicely complement each other. You know, Magneto in the comic books and movies never did much for me, but I'm developing a tremendous appreciation for him via fan fiction. Yet another sign, I guess, that FF writers are better than anyone the canon's got these days.

Best FF That Proves That Sometimes Student Loans Can Be Touchingly Romantic: In Thicket, by Martha. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. This story quotes my third-favorite Philip Larkin poem, This Be the Verse. As with most stories set after the canon's last episode, this one is angsty and emotional. I suspect a lot of post-last-episode FF writers were working out their anguish at the way their show ended. Entry #317 on the "Why We Can't Trust the Canon Authors with the Canon" list, I suppose.

Best FF That Leaves You Hoping for a Different Ending Than the One You Know Is Coming: The Chain Series, by [ profile] guede_mazaka. James Bond (GoldenEye), James Bond/Alec Trevelyan. The link takes you to a page with links to all the stories; make sure you read them in order, I to VII. Each of these short slices of the lives of James and Alec was inspired by a different bit of Sylvia Plath's poetry. This set of stories is just one more proof that Alec Trevelyan was the most interesting Bond villain ever. It's also yet more supporting evidence that Sean Bean can bring the slash anywhere, anytime, in any costume whatsoever. The man has, I don't know, slash genes or something. Anyway, these stories are marvelous. Frankly, they're better than the movie they're based on.

Best FF for Insomniacs Who Need to Know It Could Always Be Worse: Civilised, by Sam Vimes, aka [ profile] copperbadge. Harry Potter, gen. I know, I know. Gen. Again. What is this world coming to? But it's good, and better yet, it's Lupin-as-I-see-him. (I find most Potter fans have preferred versions of the characters; I'm not sure if this is indicative of a flaw or a strength in Rowling's writing.) This story could also work as an entry in Chicken Soup for the Fan Fiction Reader's Soul, except that naturally if there was such a thing we'd have to hunt down the compiler and force him to read every single story on That would show him where he could put his damn chicken soup. But, no, really, this story reminds us that we tend not to value what comes naturally. I know that sounds unbelievably dull. Look, just read it, OK?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Run in fear! It's smutless stories! And bittersweet smutless stories at that - stories that catch at the throat instead of somewhere considerably lower. I realize I'm destroying my own hard-won perverted reputation here, but I can't help myself. Next entry, there'll be a return to my customary all-smut format. In the meantime, read these, because they're fantastic; they grabbed me despite my inherent resistance to G-rated FF.

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

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

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

Best FF That Made Me Absolutely Detest C. S. Lewis for Several Minutes: Girls Grow Quicker Than Books, by Kyra Cullinan. Narnia series. This story deserves every superlative at my command. It isn't just FF; it's biting commentary on the Narnia books and on Lewis' treatment of his female characters. The only other story I've seen that did this kind of thing is Jane Yolen's "Lost Girls," which won a Nebula award. And "Girls Grow Quicker Than Books" is better than "Lost Girls." Read this - it's short, it's wonderful, and it will completely change the way you think of Narnia and Aslan.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Most fan fiction is smut. And it's smut written primarily by women and for women about gay men. So I'm not expecting super-realistic sex, despite Minotaur's helpful websites. But when I see a slash writer incorporating something unexpectedly true-to-life into a story, I'm always happy. And these authors did just that.

Best FF That Proves You Can Find a Quote for Suitable for Any Occasion in the Bible: Lukewarm, by Juxian Tang. Harry Potter, Snape/Lupin. See, here's the thing. Sex between people who hate each other doesn't usually follow the "I hate you"-rip-gasp-thrust-"Oh God yes yes YES!"-"I love you" sequence we see so often in slash. Here, Juxian Tang reminds us that if you're going to screw someone you hate, it won't be as easy as ripping your clothes off and falling into bed. And you might just hate yourself in the morning. (Now don't you wish this story had been around when you were in high school?)

Best FF with the World's Most Painfully Realistic Embarrassing Beginning: The Charm, by Miriam Heddy. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. One of the many things I love about Sentinel slash writers is their uncommon dedication to realism; we see quickies, clumsiness, and safewords almost as often as magical first-time anal sex. In "The Charm," Miriam Heddy remembers that it doesn't always work perfectly the first time. And when it doesn't, wow, it's embarrassing. But it makes getting it right even better.

Best FF That Explains Why It's Better to Sleep in a Tent Than a French Hotel: Tides of Men, by Jane St. Clair. Lawrence of Arabia Real Person Slash, Lawrence/Feisal. Jane St. Clair takes a cliche slash meme, the healing sex after trauma, and turns it on its head, making it real in the process. Jane also has these men behaving in accordance with their eras and cultures - Lawrence is the perfect turn-of-the-century Brit - and yet she still manages to get them into bed with each other. Be impressed.

Best FF Featuring a Parental Conversational Gambit That Strikes Fear into the Hearts of Adult Children Everywhere: Parental Guidance, by Alanna, Starfish, and Kass. Due South, Kowalski/Fraser. There're some characters I'm willing to believe can try new kinds of sex without hesitation - Jack Sparrow being perhaps the living definition of this category - but for most of us, it's a little awkward and weird no matter how much we want to do it or how right it is. This story accurately portrays the mild discomfort and freaking common in these situations, and for that, I love it.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I try to avoid the seriously squicky in my FF rambles; I think we all do. But sometimes I start reading a story, realize it's going to be squicky, and then realize I'm going to have to finish it anyway. These are stories that made me keep reading through the skeeve.

These stories all have a serious squick factor, at least for me. I've got a fairly low tolerance for this stuff, so some people will probably find them tame, but I sure didn't. The stories also have redeeming aspects, things that might make the discomfort of reading them worthwhile, which is why I'm putting them here. Let nomination in this category serve as a warning to those with weak stomachs: don't even think of reading these stories.

I don't warn in this blog, but this nominations set is going to be an exception. And I don't cut away in nomination posts, but again, this set is an exception. And I try to be amusing in most of my nominations, but you know what? Exception.

All Hope of Happy Fic Abandon, Ye Who Enter Here )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Let me rephrase that. Fan fiction laws were made so that the common or garden variety writer wouldn't get flamed. But, as I have noted before, the best authors can apparently play fast and loose with any damn rules they please, leaving the rest of us gazing bitterly at their stories and thinking, "You know, I never used to like original characters. What's happened to me?" Today, I salute authors whose law-breaking tendencies have induced in me crises of identity and reading preference.

Best FF That Proves That the Canon Authors Need to Be Banished to an Alternate Universe Immediately, and They Can Take Every Version of Phoenix with Them, Too: Nameless, by C. Elisa. X-Men movies. This is original character fiction, here, folks. And before you gag - this is an original character who is perfectly balanced, perfectly in line with canon, and really and truly original. Not to mention necessary to the storyline. I read this wondering why comic book fans have had to suffer through the One Superhero, Nine Names, Fifteen Costumes problem when there are obviously so many really interesting powers and people still possible in the X-Men universe. I finished this and immediately began forming a radical action group designed to do whatever it takes to get this series out of the hands of the canon authors and into the hands of - well, C. Elisa, for one.

Best FF That the Canon Author Brought on Herself, Frankly: Alive, I and Alive, II, by copperbadge. Harry Potter, Remus Lupin/Sirius Black. Immediately after finishing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, nine million people took deep, angry breaths and became fan fiction writers for the first time. And Rowling has no one but herself to blame. This is a fix-it fic for OotP, and that is wrong wrong wrong. You can't fix canon character death. Except, apparently, when you can. And if that's not enough law-breaking for your felonious little heart, try this: it's also a songfic.

Best "What Happens Afterward?" FF, Sentinel Edition: I Still Believe, by Dasha. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. There's a reason the characters are in the setting they're in, right? We don't want to see Harry Potter in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. We don't want to see Boromir alive and well and living in Paris, c. 1890. (No, we really don't.) And since they went to all the trouble of inventing a whole city for Jim and Blair (Cascade: Seattle, only with more psychos), presumably that city is where they belong, yeah? Only not. "I Still Believe" is how things turn out for Jim and Blair, and I, for one, am totally ready to believe it.

Best FF That Has Every English Teacher on the Planet Calling the Hunt and Baying for Blood: Breathless, by Gloria Mundi. Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack Sparrow/James Norrington. I recommended Breathless, Too back in the early days of this blog (as in, like, weeks ago), but somehow failed to mention the other half of the story. And it needs to be in this set, because - come on. Gloria's not breaking just any laws here, she's breaking the laws of writing and grammar, and I defend those with a ferocity even Wolverine would find over-the-top. This is good even so. Be sure to say soothing things to the English language on your way out of this story, because it's probably got some form of PTSD from the cruelty Gloria's inflicted on it in these two stories.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
These aren't icky pairings, or false pairings. They're ones I never even considered, yet that somehow work, at least within the context of one story. Obviously, surprising pairings are far more common in fandoms with lots of characters, so these ones come from Harry Potter and comic books.

Best Strange Pairing FF That Features a Conversation the Canon Author Has Got to Stop Avoiding: If You're Breathing, by Sandy Justine. Harry Potter, Harry/Neville. Sooner or later, Harry and Neville are going to have to talk about the prophecy; Rowling can't put it off forever. And you know what? When they do, I bet it doesn't go anything like this. But I bet at least a part of me will be thinking that it should. And the best part: Neville's a person in this, not just a stuttering cipher, and yet he's still so totally Neville.

Best Strange Pairing FF That Features Something We've All Been Dying to Say Forever: Knight after Night, by Jane St. Clair. (Also check out the sequel, Pulling Your Bat out of the Fire.) The Authority, Jack Hawksmoor/Batman. When Batman shows up in your subconscious to give you lectures, folks, it's well past time you listened. And when those lectures are about repression, it's well past time you got drunk, donned a grass skirt and a top hat, and danced a mambo with a startled librarian on the roof of the county jail. Read these stories even if you've never read The Authority. Read them because Jane St. Clair is a brilliant author. Read them because Batman is so perfectly in character. Read them so you can see Batman say, "Jack, you are the only person left living who thinks my relationship with Robin is platonic."

Best Strange Pairing FF That Features A Painful Lack of Conversation: A Journey in Ten Lies, by switchknife. Harry Potter, Remus Lupin/Bill Weasley. Yes, you read that right. Bill Weasley. Once the black mists have cleared from your eyes a bit, go read this story, which is not sweet and not nice and so good. This isn't Lupin as I like to imagine him, but the author sure has a handle on grieving and self-delusion.

Best Strange Pairing FF That Features Much Giggle-Inducing Dialog, at Least at the Beginning, Though It's Pretty Much Just Moans by the End: Homecoming, by Janete (Jane St. Clair and Te). X-Men comicverse, Iceman/Beast. This is a double whammy for me, because in my mind neither Iceman nor Beast ever has sex. Iceman because he's - well, because he's not only named Bobby but he's exactly the kind of person you'd expect a grown man named Bobby to be. And Beast because he's, you know, furry and nice and smart and wonderful and I love him and it's worse than thinking of Chewbacca having sex. But these two wonderfully evil authors totally sold me on the pairing, and showed me the Beast I like best at the same time.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
One of the things I love about fan fiction is the multiplicity of it – the number of avenues you can explore, questions you can ask, middles and endings you can try. Sometimes, those middles turn bad. Sometimes, so do the endings. These stories all explore how characters change in the wake of seriously unfortunate events.

Best FF That Hints Delicately at Horrible Things, Proving That It Really Is Worse in Your Imagination: Close Enough, by Helen. Harry Potter, Harry/Ron. This is a pairing that usually doesn't work at all for me; it just makes no sense for Harry and Ron to be romantically involved. But in this universe, Harry and Ron belong together. In this universe, no one ended up quite how they, or we, would've expected. The war changed them all too much. This story also features that rarest of beasts, a believably good Draco.

Best "What Happened After the Story Ended?" FF Ever: Living Arrangements, by afrai. Good Omens, Crowley/Aziraphale. This one's a jaw-dropper, pure and simple, because it makes so much sense. It works so well. There's a punishment for saving the world - a punishment as cold and logical as Heaven and as vindictive and vicious as Hell.

Best FF That Explains Why It's Better to Talk: Paying Silence, by Mairead Triste. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. In this one, Blair can't find the words, and he pays for it over and over. Not one of the happy stories so common in this fandom.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have never been the kind of person who believes in One True Pairings. If you're prepared to write a story about, say, Maturin/Dillon or Merry/Gandalf, I'm prepared to read it. But some pairings just seem irreparably incorrect to me, like slashing a shower curtain and a non-Euclidean polygon. So I am all the more impressed with these stories, ones that managed to sell me despite the voice in my head screaming "Wrong wrong WRONG."

Best FF That Provides a Total Life Philosophy in Seven Words: Leverage, by Gloria Mundi. Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Jack Sparrow/Will Turner. I suppose it would save us all a lot of time if I just nominated Gloria Mundi for some kind of author of the year award, but I prefer to drag these things out. In "Leverage," Gloria shows us a Will Turner who is both in character and in bed. Until the day, I would not have thought it possible. By the way, the life philosophy contained herein is "Who needs leverage when you've got rum?" Words to live by, people.

Best FF Containing an Actual Elf: The Question, by Belinda, Doom's Eyebrow. (Best author name ever, by the way.) Lord of the Rings, Aragorn/Legolas. OK, I admit it. Many of my OFPs contain a character played by Orlando Bloom, possibly because the man has all the sexual magnetism of a My Little Pony playset. It's just impossible for me to picture any of his characters being interested in sex enough to get, you know, dirty and sweaty; to me, they'll always be the types that are far more interested in holding hands and reciting poetry while posing prettily in some exceptionally clean setting. But "The Question" persuaded me, mostly by making Legolas an elf instead of a teen-aged girl, and if I was being mean, I'd point out that that was more than Bloom and Jackson managed to do with any kind of consistency. And I guess I am being mean, but that's OK, because my horoscope says it's a good day for petty-mindedness and squalor.

FF with the Best Damn Magic Ever: Clay, by Kass. Harry Potter, Harry Potter/Severus Snape. This story didn't trigger my OFP queasiness because I was so fascinated by the actual story. The kabbalah-based magic used in "Clay" is far more interesting than the actual magic of the HP books. By the time the sex showed up, I wasn't icked out because this was Snape in bed with Harry; I was pissed because all the thrusting was taking space that could've been used for more plot.

Best FF Featuring a Character Named Bobby Having (Ew!) Sex: Overture, by Wax Jism. X-Men movieverse, St. John/Bobby. Before I read this, I didn't want to see more of the annoying movie versions of St. John and Bobby. I didn't even like them in the comic books, to tell the truth. And, just in general, I believe that the name Bobby should be restricted to boys young enough to find trucks and cake frosting more interesting than their own, or anyone else's, genitals. But damn if Wax Jism didn't render me deeply interested in these two. I suspect Wax is actually a superhero herself, with mutant control over smut, fiction, and lumber. I fear she may be using her powers for evil, but I refuse even to try to stop her.


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