156: LOL!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And yet Tim is obviously very tempting.

Poor Kon.

(If you were waiting for a baby animal reference: they are BATS and ROBINS, people. The animal references come built-in! Although Tim as an actual wee Robin would be - really, really disturbing, actually. "Quick, Robin! To the Batcage!" Yikes.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Well, today pretty much sucked. But it could be worse. I could be trying to hide my secrets from the military. Or a man who uses dense conversation as a weapon. Or a telepath (eeeeeeee!). Or, worse, I could have no one left to hide my secrets from. Yes, it's time for another set that covers that fruitful, dense, emotionally-laden, ticking-timebomb topic known as secrets and lies.

Or, you know, not. Because that may technically make it sound like a grim set, but I am a woman who knows her limits, and on bad days my FF limits stop at "happy ending." Plus, Best Beloved's eighth commandment is, "Thou shalt read only FF with happy endings when thou is already right on the verge of conducting new and dangerous experiments involving our telephone, lube, a small but powerful generator, and a portable vortex."

I know better than to piss off Best Beloved. Hence, a set that may possibly sound grim, yes, but is really not.

Best FF That Details Daniel Jackson's New Treaty-Writing Limitations. I Am Sure You Will All Enthusiastically Support This Modification of His Duties. Double Bed, by [livejournal.com profile] paian. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. [livejournal.com profile] paian is an incredible writer, and I just don't see her recommended as often as she should be - OK, yeah, everyone in SG-1 talks about her (god, I should hope they talk about her), but not so much the multi-fandom types. Now, partly that might be because I cling to the happier recs pages, and she has that astonishing ability to rip your heart out and make you grateful - sure, it hurts, but it's the kind of pain you'd pay for. Even so, I can almost see why some people maybe flinch away from her stories. So I've been patiently waiting for her to recommend the story I knew she'd write, the one that would suck you all in and make you long for more of her work, and here it is: a story about Jack and Daniel getting together late in the canon (if you don't know what happened in "Heroes" and you don't want to, don't read this story, although you'll be missing a FF experience that just doesn't come along every day) that acknowledges how very completely these characters have been broken over the years of the show and how badly they need each other by now, and also how "don't ask, don't tell" about gay sex has been trumped by the SGC's "don't ask, don't tell" about the whole lives of SG-1. And yet: happy ending. Yes! A "Heroes"-related story that is true to the characters and yet has a happy ending. I doubt the canon writers could've managed this. Of course, they probably also would've balked at the whole sex thing. Anyway: great writer. Great story.

Best FF That Teaches Important Lessons About Choosing the Right Company in an Apocalypse. And Also Being As Clear As Possible When Proposing Sex to Aliens. Or Just People Who Are, Well, Somewhat Dense. Not That There's Anything Wrong with That. Last Man Standing, by [livejournal.com profile] jmtorres. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Ford Prefect/Arthur Dent. First, a side note: it was years after I'd read HGttG that I finally understood why Ford's name is funny, beyond the obvious un-naminess of it. (Which, I guess, dates me, since now "Ford" would be, if anything, a rather mundane first name.) In retrospect, I spent a lot of my childhood back-engineering British humor. File this under "how I got the way I am." Anyway. Isn't it nice that Arthur, after his home planet is destroyed, has as a traveling companion someone who has been there himself, who understands, who can sympathize and help him through his pain? Well. I mean, it would be, yes, except Ford is so not that guy. He's the guy who would, if given a choice between sharing his feelings and sharing an evening of wild sex with the Seven Serrated Sisters of Septdenticon 6, who have teeth in wildly unexpected places, definitely go for the bitey option. (And likely survive it quite well. I'd imagine he's been keeping up-to-date with advances in Serrated Sister stimulation techniques, on the off chance he's ever in their neighborhood. Again.) So, while it is not possible that Ford supplied Arthur with meaningful conversation and cups of tea after that whole Earth-blowing-up thingy, it is entirely possible - even likely - that it went exactly the way [livejournal.com profile] jmtorres outlines here, which sort of combines concealment with evasion and the occasional unfortunate truth. And sex. The keys to writing great HGttG are great dialog, perfect snark, recursiveness, and getting Arthur Dent's bewildered gormlessness precisely right. This story wins on all counts. God, I love the Hitchhiker's fandom.

Best FF Featuring Inappropriate Use of Broccoli by a Doctor of Medicine. Face Value, by [livejournal.com profile] minnow1212. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. I really hope everyone has read this story by now, because it is just insanely wonderful. So. You have, right? Then let me remind you that this author has also written a bunch of gen, and we're talking about some of the very best gen this fandom has to offer. This slash story is like the initial free offer, and when you're done with it and addicted to her writing style, well, you will need more of her work, and so you'll immediately go read all her other SGA stuff, and my work will be done. (Well, one particular bit of it, anyway.) This one is perhaps the most secrets-and-lies oriented of all these stories - even though, yes, they fit into the theme very nicely, thank you, because somehow there's never a shortage of brilliant stories about secrets and lies in FF. Hmmm. Anyway, this one, well, I'm spoiling nothing when I tell you it's about telepathy, which is pretty much secrets to the power of one hundred. Secrets in the hands of Rodney. And one of the things I love about this story is how he deals with this, how he copes, the things he says to people. I don't want to go into more detail and maybe spoil it, but - this is my Rodney McKay, here. Also keep your eyes peeled for my Radek Zelenka in a significant supporting role, because this story has one of the best Radeks I've seen anywhere in this fandom. He's nice, he's smart, he's fair, he's just - a really remarkably decent human being, and those of you who know me will know that I consider that a rare and heady compliment. Actually, there's not a character I don't love or think is true-to-canon in this story. And did I mention that [livejournal.com profile] minnow1212 takes a fandom cliche and inverts it? Did I mention that this is a funny and happy story? Did I mention that you should be aware that this story is in two parts, and the second is linked at the bottom of the first? Well, I have now. Go! Shoo! Read!

Best FF That Demonstrates the Crying Need for Arch-Nemesis Training Programs in Today's Schools. It's Not a Skill That Comes Naturally, People. Nemesis, by Jojo, aka [livejournal.com profile] josephides. Smallville, Lex Luthor/Clark Kent. How wonderful it must be to have an arch-nemesis - to know you're always in another's thoughts and that someone will always care enough to drop by when you're planning to destroy the world or maybe just lonely, to have someone to share in those little secrets you just can't tell anyone else. Really, the hero-villain relationship is the closest thing the DCU has to therapy. Of course, it's even nicer to have that kind of relationship with someone who a) you can also have sex with and b) won't try to kill you, or any nearby civilizations, while you sleep. Which is why I think it's lovely that Clark has Lex and vice versa. Joker might be more threatening, yes, but sex between Batman and Joker is just not something I ever ever ever want to contemplate; I took a serious hit to my sanity points just from typing the phrase. But, seriously, I love this story because it emphasizes the importance of Lex and Clark in each other's lives; by the time of the Rift, they know so much about each other and rely on each other so much that they need some kind of connection. And this is probably why I adore post-Rift stories, even though massive tragic break-ups are not my usual thing; I love how entangled they've become by that point, how they'll never be apart whether or not they're together. (I probably, in all honesty, also love that Clark isn't a teenager anymore. I like my OTPs older. Is that so wrong?) And this story seriously brings the post-Rift goodness, and also the funny and the happy ending, meaning it might as well have been custom-made for me.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Oh, how I love the small fandoms, the smaller the better. The first one in today's set can be considered, at any rate, an actual fandom; the other three are...a wee bit rarer than that.

So why should you read FF from a fandom you have no interest in based on canon you've never heard of? Well, in this case, because they're all absolutely brilliant. (There's other reasons - like, oh, the strange unworldly beauty of a perfect story written in a fandom so rare that only eight people will ever read it. Plus, you know, authors really have to be driven to write in such tiny fandoms, and sometimes what's driving them is genius. Think on it.)

Small fandoms are love, folks. Trust me on this. And read on.

Best FF That Proves That the Right Kind of Friend Can Always Think of Something Gripping to Do, Even When You're Stuck up a Tree with Distressingly Poky Branches. Priorities, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent/Ford Prefect. Sort of. But, for me, this verges on gen; Ford always struck me as omnisexual, after all, and game for anything - ideally, something fairly perverse and sticky. (Well, OK, not the first time I read the first book, but I was nine. "Sexual" was not a word then in my vocabulary, except as translated "something boring that appears in a surprising number of otherwise interesting books." Although, oddly enough, I read I, Robot at the same age, and picked up on the slash in it to a degree that has, to this day, made Donovan/Powell my original OTP.) And this (I'm back to the story now) is so mild and subtle Douglas Adams could have written it. The story is bitty, but it's perfect in characterization and tone and just generally so in line with canon that I suspect Penknife of channeling Adams himself. Well, if he'd also had an interest in guy-on-guy porn, magical school kids, and mutants, which is actually sort of a horrifying thought. So. Moving right along - the great part about this story is what isn't in here. The more I write FF, the more I realize how hard it is to include just the bits you need and pare off all the extraneous bits. Penknife did brilliantly at that with this one, cutting out the explanations (totally unnecessary and unlikely to make sense in the Hitchhiker's universe anyway) in favor of pure, delightful dialog. And, you know, menacing towel-ripping spidery things, but surely that goes without saying.

Best FF That Proves Herman Melville Should've Spent Less Time Staring at a Supposedly Whale-Shaped Mountain and More Time with a Certain Tattooed Gentleman. Way, Way More Time. Taniwha, by [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie. Moby Dick, Ishmael/Queequeg. OK, first: how much do I love MMWD that I had to choose between several of her stories for this category? But of course I had to go with this piece. It's Moby Dick, people: the original Big Gay Book Featuring a Very Symbolic Whale (And Did I, Herman Melville, Mention the Gay? Many Times, Actually). But now: new, improved, with added Queequeg and gay! (Which doesn't even seem possible, but turns out to be.) And, best of all? This story was written for meeeeee*. (The book itself was not. Had it been, I would've said to Herman, very sternly: "Fewer and better whale butchering scenes, Herm. And when I say 'better,' what I mean is 'even less than fewer.' Get me? Whereas feel free to throw in all the gay you can lay hands on.") So my love for this story knows knows no bounds; every time I visit it, I spend a few moments being quietly but thoroughly happy. And then I read the story, and I'm really happy, because it is, well, the first part of the Big Gay Book, but from the point of view of Queequeg, also known as "the most interesting character in the book by a margin too high to calculate." Ever since I first read the Big Gay, I've wanted to know more about him - what he thought, who he was, how he ended up sleeping with (canon, my friends!) an American schoolteacher. And now I do. Because I am totally convinced that this is what Melville would've written if he'd a) been in control of his novel or b) been less distracted by the shiny glories of dead whales. For me, this is canon now. After you read it, you'll think so, too. Bonus: if you've never read Moby Dick, not to worry; you can get this just fine without it.

Best FF That Proves You Should Never, Ever Turn Your Back on Furniture. And If That Means You Never Sit Down Again? Trust Me, After This You Won't Want To. Wings, by [livejournal.com profile] stiletto. The Wishing Chair, Chair/Chinky. OK. I already know that there are two reactions in the reading audience right now. Many, maybe most, of you are saying, "Wishing Chair wuh-huh?" For you, I say: it is a children's book, actually a children's book series, by Enid Blyton, who had a really unsettling effect on my childhood. Unsettling, at any rate, when I try to read those stories as an adult, because subtext? Oh yes, my dears, but not the good kind. Still, I read everything the woman ever wrote, including the books out of print and the books never published in my country, and that has to mean something. Even if it mostly means that I tend to talk a lot more about lashings of ginger beer than any American or anyone of my age should. So, quick summary of the canon: children's book. Magic. A chair that grows wings and flies. A disturbing pixie thing named Chinky. Insipid children. Got it? Let's all now move on to the second prevailing reaction, which is, "Oh my god no no no eeee my brain my eyes oh god my precious internal organs all turned to ash and salt at the very thought, damn you. The pain...it is too much...dying. Dying, now - my sight grows dim. Alas, woe, dead." This comes, obviously, from those familiar with the series. My first message to that bunch is: get over it. I did. Yes, I died at the very thought, but I returned from eternity and read the thing, because nothing comes betwixt me and my FF. And you know, when you get past the horrid-bad-wrong-ness of it all, the story is actually...rather amazingly good. And it really puts the right frame around the disturbing subtext of the Blyton canon, you know? Read. Marvel. And while you do, try to avoid swearing purity and chastity in all things for the rest of your life, because that never works out well.

Best FF That Proves That Love Is Really the Key to the Universe. Well, Given Certain Vaguely Creepy Definitions of Love. Artificial Devotion, by [livejournal.com profile] katie_m. Galaxy Quest, but not the movie - the made-up TV show the movie was about. Oh. And the pairing? Let's just call it gen, shall we? So, OK, wow. This is FF for a canon that doesn't even exist. Fandoms don't get a lot smaller than that. And yet this piece patches holes in the show so perfectly and neatly that I kind of wish there really was a show, just so I could read more stuff like this. Or, hey, I'm not picky - I'll take RPF (like Livia's phenomenal and previously recommended Habitation). Or how 'bout the future of the Thermians? I'll go for anything. As long as it is as good and funny and downright brilliant as "Artificial Devotion," which shakes out and totally remakes an ancient SF cliche. (Basically, early SF writers' unfortunate answer to the puzzler, "We need girls to keep the guys happy. But what could females possibly do in space? Or science? Thinking is right out, and that leaves...huh. Wowee geewhilikers, that's a poser!") [livejournal.com profile] katie_m has a gift for seeing from unusual points of view, for telling the fascinating stories lurking just out of sight in a canon, and in this story, she writes very true to form indeed. She shows us Tawny Madison as a real person and her job as a real job, and it is utterly convincing and right and good and...and I just get wibbly thinking about it, obviously. So my advice: stop listening to me; I've got no sense left in me now. Go read these stories, instead. Because...wow. Just, wow.

-Footnote-

* I haven't forgotten about Pirates, by the way, MMWD. My ability to write it would be greatly facilitated if someone would release a single decent version of it on DVD, or, alternatively, if Opera a la Carte or someone would come back to LA sometime this century, ideally with Pirates of Penzance in tow. Working from the script, I'm finding, is not quite the same. But it progresses. Slowly. I did give up on the idea of not recommending your story until I finished mine, though, because - really. I'm not out to deprive people.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I appear to have a lot of rec'ing stored up inside; if you started reading this LJ recently enough that two posts a month seems normal to you, rest assured that it isn't, and neither is two posts a day. I hope to rediscover my happy medium soon. In the meantime: look! Stories to read!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-The Personal Peeves-

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

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

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

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

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

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

-The Broken Absolute Laws of Fan Fiction-

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

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

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

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

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

Well, the kind I tend to nominate, anyway.

Best FF Featuring a Clear Case of Sandwich Abuse: Party Aliens, by [livejournal.com profile] daegaer. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Ford Prefect/Arthur Dent. In which we learn that some planets have office parties way more fun than ours. (Of course, Hitchhiker's Guide employees can flee to distant galaxies the next day. Probably how most new assignments get filled, actually.) OK, I'm just about the last person on Earth to recommend this story, but I had to add my voice to the multitudes. Because this - this is just so funny, and I love Arthur's sort of pathetic objections, and Ford's just so very Ford, and, well...just read it. And then thank [livejournal.com profile] daegaer for having such a twisted mind, and [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie for commissioning this, and [livejournal.com profile] fan_the_vote for providing the venue. Heck, while you're at it, thank your mom, too. Why not?

Best FF That Really Ought to Be Called "Love's Bitch": Subtleties, by Anna S., [livejournal.com profile] eliade. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander. In which Xander learns to like vampires and Spike learns to make stir fry. Among other things. There's a special prize for the first person to find the public sex in this story, because I admit it's a small part of a relatively long story. But it's definitely in there, and I'm counting it. So there. And now that I've temporarily left the kindergarten playground mentality, let me add that I started this story and then left it. For about a week. Because I was thinking, "Spike as a rentboy. Xander as a rich man. Um, Anna? That's insane." But I was the insane one, doubting Anna could pull this off. And the kicker is that this story is just a compiled series of off-the-cuff LJ pieces. Really, it isn't fair how well certain people can write. Or, no, let me rephrase that: it isn't fair that they can't spend all their time writing.

Best FF That Leaves You Making a Mental Note to Attend More Black Tie Charity Events and Keep Your Eyes Peeled: Proof and Pudding, by Aristide (does anyone have a more complete link for her?). The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. In which Jim learns that Blair is willing to fight for the title of "Kinkiest Inhabitant of the Loft." Well, if there wasn't enough public sex for you in the previous story, this one should make you feel a lot better; what we've got here is an entirely public PWP. And, really, I think you'll agree we could all use a bit more of that. If you've ever wanted to see Jim and Blair engage in inappropriate activities while wearing tuxedos and attending the Policeman's Charity Ball, well, dearheart, prepare to spontaneously combust with joy. Or something.

Best FF That Leaves You Making a Mental Note to Attend More Religious Charity Events and Keep Your Eyes Peeled: Relief, by [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. In which Ray learns that Fraser cannot resist a dare. If "Proof and Pudding" didn't persuade you that there's something unexpectedly sexy about charity events, let me offer Exhibit B. Although, really, I think these must be alternate-universe charity events, because I've attended a street fair or two in my time, and usually the most interesting thing about them is that you get to see who actually buys those pictures of big-eyed children. (Exactly who you'd expect, usually.) The sexiest it gets is the standard boy/girl teenage couple licking each other's tonsils, and, really, that wasn't that sexy even when I was in the couple. So can I buy a couple tickets to the public sex Alternate Universe? I promise my charitable contributions will increase markedly.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Small fandoms don't get enough love in this world. For one thing, there is no better kind of story with which to launch a career as a multifandom reader, or a non-canon reader (i.e., one who reads the FF without knowledge of the canon). And once you realize how many great stories there are in small fandoms, you'll want to be a non-canon reader; after all, if you actually tried to learn about all these canons, you'd never have time to read the FF. (Those who think this is circular logic are probably right, but I refuse to care.)

Best FF That Perfectly Reflects the Strange Mental Pathologies of Mostly Straight Boys: Dirge, by LaT. Urban Legend, Paul/Parker. The author says it'll help you understand the story if you've seen the movie, but I haven't seen it and I don't think I had any problems. I mean, I get the whole "we have a weird sexual attraction, or, god forbid, we fucked once, so we must hate each other forever" dynamic that seems to plague so many mostly straight boys (see also Y Tu Mama Tambien). So, really, I think anyone who has been to high school or college can get a lot out of this story; Lord knows it gave me flashbacks to any number of youthful misadventures.

Best FF That Sounds Like an Example of What Is Wrong with the World but Is Actually an Example of What Is Right and Good: Not Exactly the Galaxy's Greatest Romance, by [livejournal.com profile] daegaer. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent/Ford Prefect. I'd been reading fan fiction for months and months when I discovered the existence of HGtoG fan fiction. I was shocked, shocked. A few months later and a few hundred meters further down the slippery slope, I revisited the concept of HGtoG slash. It still seemed somehow wrong, but upon reflection I realized it was the chili-cheese-chutney-fried egg sandwich* of fan fiction; somehow, all the wrong ingredients combine to become right. And now that I have embraced the belief that a really good writer can find homoerotic subtext in anything, including a toaster warranty (I will be founding the Church of Slashy Goodness next week), I'm actually surprised HGtoG is a small fandom. Really, the series is perfect for slashing, and it has the added benefit of producing remarkably funny fan fiction. I realize I've got rather off topic here, so let me just say: read this story because I thought it was humorous and strangely sweet. Thank you.

Best FF That Denounces Romeo and Juliet for Not Being Nearly Sexy Enough, and If You Think on It, You'll Realize That Is Totally True : Servants with Torches, by Jane St. Clair. Romeo and Juliet (original Shakespearean play), Mercutio/Romeo. Yeah, this is a semi-squick pairing, but it has the benefit of making absolute sense. I mean, really, didn't you always know Mercutio was gay? Is there anyone on this earth who thinks he wasn't?** And I love the way Jane's elaborated the relationship between these two characters. You know, Romeo and Juliet is one of my least favorite of Shakespeare's plays, but it produces strangely good FF, so I'm glad my teachers made me read it.

Best FF That Will Forevermore Make AA Meetings Seem Vaguely BDSM-y and Fetish-Filled: The First Step Is the Hardest, by Debchan. Action, Peter/Holden. (I have no idea what this canon was, but according to Debchan it was a short-lived TV show. If you haven't seen it, don't worry.) I once worked with addicts, so this story has a special appeal for me. There's something so fundamentally unsexy about AA and NA meetings; really, recovering addicts everywhere should send Debchan a thank-you note for adding so much interest to the first half of the Steps. Please note that I'm not intending to deride AA or NA by nominating this story. I'm all for anything that helps people get their addictions under control. It's just that I'm also all for humorous slash that offers an entirely new perspective on recovery. And, really, who says kinky sex and addiction recovery don't go together? They sound like an ideal match to me.


* This footnote has been written for the benefit of people who have not seen Red Dwarf. I say unto to you, go thee and watch it at once, for it is funny, yea, and good. And once you have watched season two, you'll understand this reference. But, really, don't watch it for me - watch it for you.

** Please leave a comment or send an email if you do, in fact, believe Mercutio was straight. You will be immediately live-captured and put on display in the Zoo of Improbable Thought (located, of course, in Hollywood). Probably you'll be put somewhere between Man Who Thinks Earth Is Flat and Woman Who Argues Incessantly That Creationism Is a Science.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Stories certified free of licking, thrusting, and groaning, although I make no promises about naughty language and other MPAA-unapproved activities.

Best FF That Made Me Hug My Dog Very Tightly and Turn on All the Lights: I Thee Wed, by Kate Bolin. Lord of the Rings, A/U. Sam gives the One Ring to Rosie as a wedding ring. Frankly, the concept alone gives me chills; I had the dog right by me when I read this, because I knew from the summary I'd need her. (She didn't think much of it, for what it's worth. She wants fan fiction with kibble in it.)

Best FF That Made Me Nostalgic for Church, Even Though I've Never Actually Been to Church: Let It Snow, by Louise Lux, who is rapidly undermining my determination to steer clear of the Good Omens fandom. It's hard for me even to type these words, but this is a sweet, G-rated Christmas story involving Crowley doing a good deed. And I still liked it. The moment I get some spare time, I'm going to find Louise Lux and demand an explanation for this.

Best FF That Is Worth Reading for Just One Footnote (Although the Rest of the Story's Good, Too): The Galactic Miscellany, by Rheanna. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. What can I say? It made me laugh, and so I must worship the story and the author.

Best FF That the Canon Author Might Actually Have Liked: On Gorgoroth Plain, by Teasel. Lord of the Rings. This, my friends, is impressive: a story that is hopeful without being sugary, a story that is totally true to canon without being redundant, a story that is just - just - look, it's good. There's nothing else to say. Except that this is the story that made me remember why I read everything I can, just because occasionally I find something so unexpected that it makes all the tripe worthwhile.

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