thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, I experienced what was apparently a fever-related critical intelligence failure and imported all my bookmarks to

There were 4000 of them.

Three thousand of those were fannish.

I expect that sorting, tagging, and fixing those 3000 will take me approximately the rest of my life.

But this process, though apparently interminable, is also interesting, because I've realized that these bookmarks are my fannish history. Looking at them, I can see precisely where and how I started reading fan fiction (you don't want to know, and I don't want to tell you), how long it took me to find good fan fiction (so painfully long that I'm still not sure why I didn't give up), when fan fiction became an all-consuming hobby, displacing all my others (October, 2003). And what interests me most of all is that, in retrospect, I can see which bookmarks are epochal.

And, hey. If I'm going to wade through my fannish history, why not share? So here it is: A History of TFV as a Young Fan: A Tale Told in Links. (Part one. I'm only up to August 2004 in my bookmarks.)

The One That Gave Me Hope: Silence, by [ profile] cinzia.

In the summer of 2003, I was, as had become my custom, browsing around archives of LotR fan fiction, and what I was finding was, well, basically really horrible. I would get a list of all the stories in a given site, and I would go through them methodically, and inevitably I would end up reading something involving Legolas braiding Boromir's hair and making daisy chains that involved actual flowers. (Or, god forbid, orcs. Or, typically, both.)

I was tough, then, a brave young fan, not crabbed and aged as I am today. But even so, it was, well, disheartening. I loved the concept too much to give up, and I loved my brain, my eyes, and the English language too much to keep reading. Those were hard times, is what I'm saying. Then, on a magical day in July 2003, I bitched about this to Best Beloved.

Me: My god, every story on this site is from hell. These people obviously don't know English and yet they insist on writing entire conversations in Elvish. Also, someone needs to explain to these people that quotes from Nickleback and original Elvish poetry do not belong in the same damn story. Or even in separate ones, actually.
Best Beloved: Huh. Maybe you should, um, stop?
Me, helplessly: I can't.

[There is a pause while we both consider how pathetic this is.]

BB: So what are you reading right now?
Me, staring dispiritedly at the screen: Something about Aragorn crying because Legolas - oh, wait, sorry, Leggy - doesn't love him enough. With apostrophe-laden plurals. And - oh, god - Elvish love juice.
BB, clearly impressed: Wow. This I have to see.

[BB sits down at the computer. Two minutes pass.]

BB: I don't know what you're complaining about. This isn't so bad.
Me, bitterly: Well, maybe you and Leggy can consummate your love in a wooded glade with a series of random dots pretending to be ellipses, then.
BB: No, really. Read this. It's pretty good.

"This," as it turned out, was Silence, and it was the best story I'd read in LotR fandom. (Best Beloved, I feel the need to note here, had found it with a single random click. I had been diligently clicking on LotR FF for months, and I hadn't found anything even approaching readable, but - I'm totally over it. Delighted that BB could help me find the way, even if the way was apparently random clicking by someone other than me. Absolutely. Fucking. Delighted.)

I'd learned an important truth: the good stuff was out there. Of course, I still didn't have a clue how to find it. But that was, in comparison to the good stuff not actually existing, a really minor problem.

The One That Made Me Understand That Fandom Is a Conversation: The Elements of Slash: Inside the Wacky, Weird World of "Lord of the Rings" Slash Fiction, by Morgan Richter.

I started in fandom as an entirely passive consumer of fan fiction. I thought things about it - a lot of things, including that Legolas should never, ever be called "Leggy" - but I didn't articulate those things (excepted in hand-wavy dinner conversations), and I sure never considered that other people might be thinking about them, too.

Then, in September of 2003, I found this essay while randomly googling. (And, oh, until I saw some of the other links I'd bookmarked around that time, I'd almost forgotten how sad the random google phase of a fan's life is. Thank god for discoveries like this.) It was a revelation. There was another person out there! And she was interested in slash, and yet she could spell and punctuate and totally understood that in a reasonable universe, no one would ever have to read the phrase "his milky alabaster skin."

I was amazed. And pleased. And once I knew that this fans-discussing-fandom-and-fan-fiction stuff existed, I started looking for it. In short order, I found The Fanfic Symposium, and from there I branched out all over. I found the Mary Sue Litmus Tests and spent a happy evening reading about the ecology of the strange creature known as Mary Sue. (As I was going through the links, I realized the original Mary Sue Litmus Test, which I joyfully bookmarked three years ago, had been written by someone I read every day here on LJ. So, hey, [ profile] mtgat! I've apparently been loving your work way longer than I thought.)

The picture of fandom in my head started to change. I no longer imagined random individuals writing and other random individuals reading, all in strange solitude. I realized that fandom was a community, a community of people thinking about stuff, paying attention to it, talking about it, writing about it. My picture of the average fan changed, too, from a 14-year-old girl posting, "OMG I just saw part of Felowship and Orli is so HAWTTTT I had to write this! It's my first time! Review lots or NO MORE updates!!!!" to someone - well, interesting. Someone I might want to know.

Someone I might want to be.

The Fellowship of the Rings made me read fan fiction. But meta made me a fan.

The One That Gave Me Half of My Forty-or-So Fandoms: Out of Whack, by Bone, aka [ profile] thisisbone, and Aristide, aka [ profile] cimmerians*.

I spent the fall of 2003 exploring fandom and reading obsessively. (Or, okay, I've done that since the fall of 2003, but I'm specifically talking about then.) I learned that maybe random archives weren't my friend. More importantly, I learned that another not-my-friend thing was kind of integral to fandom. Namely, television.

I know a lot of people have a great relationship with television and I'm very happy for you (and by "happy" I mean "seething with sickening envy"), but mine has always been kind of a - well, let me put it this way. I just turned to Best Beloved and said, "I need an analogy for my relationship with television. I was thinking in terms of Kate and Petruchio, but that doesn't quite do it, somehow."

Best Beloved said: "Guido and those people who miss their payments to the mob. Or Henry the VIII and most of his wives." See. I just. It has never worked out between TV and me. I've tried, and so have several tireless, courageous souls, and I've gotten a lot better - I've probably managed to get all the way from Anne Boleyn to Anne of Cleves (TV, of course, is playing Henry VIII). But still. TV/TFV is never going to be a pairing of legend, unless the legend involves a lot of headaches, stupid questions, avoidance, and humiliating misunderstandings.

But I was learning that most major fandoms were TV shows. I felt - well, hampered. But in November 2003, I clicked on Out of Whack. Some careful reading later, I learned a great truth: fan fiction can be canon-optional. Later, I learned that I am actually much more likely to enjoy reading the fan fiction if I don't know the canon when I start, and TV fandoms became my happy home.

Due South, Sports Night, SG1, SGA, Smallville - I have all those fandoms, and many more, because of this story, because of the lesson it taught me. And that lesson is: stories about a guy listening to his "roommate" jerking off are the Rosetta Stones of fandom. The sex provides, um, helpful keys, and I can kind of build the rest of the canon's grammar and lexicon from there. (Actually, I would soon acquire an unholy passion for reconstructing canon from fan fiction. But that's a story for Part Two.)

Suddenly, my fannish reading wasn't limited by anything other than my interest, my time, my preferences, and my squicks. In any reasonable movie, this is the place where "Ode to Joy" would start playing.

The One That Gave Me This LJ: Confidence Men, by Dorinda.

In January 2004 I heard about [ profile] yuletide, and I was pathetically excited. I had developed a great love of small fandoms, and this was clearly the small-fandom-lover's holy grail.

I went to the archive and did my usual hopeful clicking. (Note: Yuletide is pretty much the only archive on the planet where this strategy regularly works for me. Yet more proof that it is a Christmas Miracle.)

My first click took me to Confidence Men. I was stunned. It was beyond good, beyond great; it was perfect. And I felt, welling up inside, something very familiar to me and every religious weirdo on this earth: the urge to proselytize.

See, when I read something wonderful, I want to tell everyone about it, get everyone to read it. I just can't bear to think of those sad, lonely, damned souls, unaware of the joy and peace they can find in the holy embrace of really good reading material. But at that point in my life, I had no outlet for my proselytizing urge. (Free advice: when you meet a proselytizer with no pulpit, run. In. Fear. The urge is so strong that, if not given a regular outlet, it can build to the point where the proselytizer is grabbing random strangers on the street and shouting, "OMG Ted Chiang read him now or you will BURN BURN BURN!") I'd been reviewing books, and that was a perfect way for me to meet my proselytizing needs without becoming (more of) a menace to society, but then my family found my book reviews, and I couldn't write them anymore. (For reasons unknown, I can share things with the entire internet or with people related to me by blood. Not both.)

So. It's January 2004. I have just read Confidence Men and told Best Beloved about it. And I need to tell other people, but - who is left to tell? (Yes, I did tell Dorinda, but, um. At that point, I wasn't exactly ready for prime time in the area of actual fannish communication. I mean, some would say I'm still not there yet, but I definitely wasn't there then. Dorinda was incredibly kind and good-natured about the whole thing, although I've always wondered if she passed my email around to her friends with, like, "Warning: Total Whackjob" in the subject line. I would've deserved it.) The urge to share the fabulousness - convert people to it, even - built and built and built, and by March 2004, when I set up this LJ at the encouragement of some folks from the late lamented Fametracker Forums - well. I pretended I wasn't going to post. But I wasn't even fooling myself, not really.

The One That Gave Me a Look at How the Other Half Lives: Untitled, by, well, me.

Obviously, I wouldn't recommend my own story - and if I did, for the record, it would not be this one - but this isn't a recs set. It's a history of my fannish evolution. And this was a big change for me; it gave me a sort of fannish superbranchial organ, and suddenly I could breathe on land for short periods. (The story also ushered in the Era of Having a Secret LJ, about which I will only say that it proved that I am much too lazy to have secrets. I came out as a fan fiction writer because I just could not take all the work, the intense and demanding labor, of logging out and logging back in every time I wanted to reply to a comment.)

Until the summer of 2004, I didn't think I was a fan fiction writer. Sure, I'd written my share of humiliating-to-recall pre-fandom fan fiction; like, in second grade, when we were assigned to write a paragraph about a book we'd read, I wrote about 35 pages of Laura Ingalls Wilder's diary. And turned it in the next day. Let's just say I probably deserved the weird evaluations that that teacher gave me for the rest of the year. (All right. In all honesty, I got them before, too; I was the bad kind of special. But after I handed in that masterpiece, I have to assume she thought I was the really bad kind of special.)

But before Sports Night, I had no desire or ability to write fan fiction.

And then I actually watched some canon, and I realized I could hear the characters in my head. (Still can. Danny and Casey: always in my heart and always in my mind.) Yeah, yeah - bad kind of special, all right, I know. But I wrote it down and posted the sucker.

Here's the thing. This didn't just make me realize I could do something I was sure I couldn't. It also changed the way I interacted with fandom and canons. Writing fan fiction, taking an active, interactive approach to the canon, made me - well. I can't really quantify the change, except to say that I no longer saw canons as static, or unchangeable, or even privileged. (I've always seen books that way, sure, but TV - well, I'd just kind of figured it knew best.)

In other words, after I wrote this, I started interacting with canons the same way I always had with fan fiction: evaluating, analyzing, criticizing, changing. (I've written more fan fiction for fan fiction than for all my canons put together, and I started writing that long before I started this story. I've continued stories, I've remixed them, I've written sequels and missing scenes and fixes. I don't share this stuff, obviously - well, except for when I'm playing with [ profile] z_rayne's work, since she loves to see what other people do with her toys even when what they do is pretty dorky and eternally unfinished.)

And there endeth part one. In part two, assuming I survive the links, we'll see Godzilla on the rampage in downtown Tokyo. Well, no - what we'll see, mostly, is TFV dancing on the slippery, slippery slope. But I will try to throw in some roaring and stomping, because, as we all know, added giant mutant lizards = added giant mutant fun!


* Thanks, [ profile] sockkpuppett!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(True story about the title of this set: I had to look up the actual lyrics. I grew up singing the version of this song that goes, "I'm never in one place/I'm distributed over all space/I'm the electron." I...yeah. I was raised among the physicists, and I learned their tragically geeky native folkways only too well. As shown by the fact that I mutinously refused to transcribe the lyrics as written and just damn well fixed that comma splice.)

So. Last week was crappy for me, the kind of week that might make other people load up the car and drive off into the west (although, given where I live, it had better be a really short drive, 'cause if we didn't stop for pancakes five minutes in, we'd hit the ocean). I'm not a big fan of the random travel, though. (I'm not, um. Actually much of a fan of travel at all. My ideal journey is one taken by someone else, someone who wrote about it and then sent me a free copy of the book. Travel essays? Very much so. Actual travel, with strangers and hotel rooms and unfamiliar food? I need some time to work up to that.) So I just read road trip stories. And then I recommend them to you all, in case you also had a crappy week.

If you did, this set is dedicated to you. With my love and my intentions of staying very much in one place: fan fiction about travel.

The Story from When the World Was Young and Dreamed Not of the Big Gay (Interspecies) Love. But That Didn't Mean the Big Gay Love Wasn't Happening, You Know? Seawrack, by Hossgal, aka [ profile] leadensky. Lord of the Rings, genish, or maybe it's Legolas/Gimli - who can say?

See, this story illustrates perfectly the problem I have recommending in LotR and all the other universes created back in the days when your average writer thought of The Gay as the unspeakable vice of the Greeks: namely, that it's impossible to tell what's gen and what's non-explicit slash. I mean, on the one hand, here we have a story in which Gimli frantically seeks out a missing Legolas, finds him navigating entirely based on feelings, curls up with him under a blanket, and asks him to swear that they will be together forever. To me, that reads like slash - hell, I've read 3,000 dS stories with that plot line. On the other hand, J.R.R. himself could've written precisely this story, and he didn't even write het romance; as far as I can tell, he deeply, deeply wished that sentient beings reproduced via courtly exchanges of epic poetry.

But, confusion or no, I had to recommend this. It's beautiful - it really does read like something Tolkien could've written, if he'd miraculously recovered from his two most annoying writing habits* - and it fits perfectly into the canon. And it's all about travel - about a trip Gimli takes through Middle Earth, and about a trip he and Legolas will take across the sea. Plus, pretty much all of LotR is about travel, and yet I don't think I've ever put an LotR story into a travel set - obviously a tragic omission, now remedied with this gorgeous, gorgeous (and ambiguously slashy) piece.

The Story That Proves That Psychometric Clairvoyants Bring a Whole New Meaning to the Concept of "Do What You Have to Do." The Big Picture, by [ profile] cesperanza. Dead Zone, Johnny Smith/Walt Bannerman.

Any summary I could write for this story would sound like the start of a joke. "So, this small-town sheriff and his psychic friend are on a road trip..." (Don't ask me what the punchline would be. You do not want to live the horror that is me trying to tell a joke.) But, you know, that isn't it at all. Well, I mean, Speranza wrote it; the story summary could be "Two characters fuck their way across time, space, and three separate parallel dimensions," and somehow there would be plot and humor and tension, like, all this storytelling everywhere. She's just that way, and I salute her for it.

So. Not a joke. (And, really, we should all be glad. Because the thing is, I get, like, hideously polite silence when I try to tell jokes. Except sometimes people do laugh, but if they do, it will be in the middle. Not at the funny part, in other words. When the punchline comes, it will still be hideously polite silence, sometimes followed by an encouraging, "...Yes. And then what happened?") Instead, there's plot galore - this is pretty much a classic procedural mystery story, with the added kink that the mystery is in the future. And that, right there, is what fascinates me about this story. I don't want to spoil it, but - this story sets up an ethical dilemma that is, um. Damn. It really is impossible to talk about this without spoiling it. Suffice to say that it'd be tough to write this story as anything but fan fiction, and if anyone wants to discuss it further than that, I am all for it, because wow.

The Story That Demonstrates That N'Sync Is a Powerful Force, Uniting People Who, Let's Face It, We Probably Don't Actually Want to Be Together. Anywhere But Here, by Sarah T., aka [ profile] harriet_spy. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, gen.

You know, I spent this entire story riveted to the screen, and that is just totally unlike me, for the record; generally I have to pause at potentially embarrassing or disturbing or sad moments, play some Spider or Sudoku or something and brace for the inevitable. (It isn't inevitable, of course, but it feels that way. And if that hasn't told you entirely too much about my way of handling change (DENY DENY DENY), this will: I also tend, at those moments, to re-read the paragraphs of the story that I've already enjoyed, as reassurance and encouragement. There are some stories I can recite whole chunks of because of this tendency of mine.) This story is filled with disturbing moments, and yet I couldn't stop. Something about the road trip construction, perhaps; there is always this kind of what-happens-next imperative to a road trip story.

Or, hey, it could be the people who are on the road trip: Ethan Rayne and Dawn Summers are not precisely the perfect candidates for a fun buddy-movie style drive to Vegas. (As a total side note, people, please: link me to the story about Ethan, Giles, and John Constantine hanging out together in the 1970s, and maybe being in a bad band and doing a lot of really bad-ass magic. Please. They were meant to be, seriously.) There's a surprising amount of fun on the way to the seriously-I-mean-it-this-time inevitable chaos and disaster, though, and it made me - it made me want to see even more of this. Which should tell you precisely how amazing and compelling this story is, since I am not usually the person who wants to see good characters go bad, and I am so not a fan of chaos. But it's just - yeah. It's a story that I would've said couldn't work, and now I can't help wanting to see a whole universe based on it. Wow.

The Story That Will Fill You with a Strange Desire to Seek Cold, Cold Places and Order Wine in Them. Fight This Urge. Antarctica Has Some Down Sides, I Hear. Harsh Continent, by [ profile] 30toseoul. Stargate: Atlantis, gen. (Look. It was posted in a slash community, but I see nothing in here that I don't see in the canon, so...gen, I guess, is what I'm gonna call it.)

This is just - this is just the most perfect Sheppard-in-Antarctica story ever. For one thing, it feels real. (I read this story a lot, trying to figure out what it is, stylistically speaking, that gives it the air of authenticity. I have no answer as yet, although I have, as you might expect, several theories.) For another - this is Sheppard at the end of the road; this story made me realize that when Sheppard said, in Rising, that Antarctica was the only continent he'd never been on, what he meant was that it was the only continent he wasn't finished with. Which makes the whole Pegasus Galaxy trip rather unsurprising, and now I want to poke him and make fun, all: "No matter what the coin said, you were going through the wormhole, 'cause where else could you go? But some people are just so good at their little denial games."

And, at the core, that's what this story is for me: an incredibly revealing look at the character of one John Sheppard, USAF. He handles Antarctica precisely the same way we'll see him handling unfamiliar planets in Pegasus - basically, he's lost most of the time, and never really knows what he's doing when he's on the ground, but he manages surprisingly well anyway. And he interacts with the assembled McMurdo, SGC, and military staff pretty much the way he will with people on Atlantis: he smiles, gets people to like him without letting them know him, and gives in way too much to Rodney McKay. So, you know, I love this story. A lot. Yup yup yup.


* Namely, PoV disorders (like, he's always telling us about a battle from the perspective of a character who is hearing about it from a guy who wasn't there but heard it from these two other guys who were) and inability to break up the narrative to indicate simultaneity; if two characters were separate - and they often were - but doing things at the same time, he'd tell all of character A's story, even if it lasted for 100 pages and most of a century, and then switch over to character B, slam the plot into reverse, and start all over again, back in Rivendell or wherever. What, you thought I didn't actually have a list? I always have a list, people.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The sad part is, I'm still not done. But this is part three of the Insane Vid Recs Project (no, I did not pick January for this just because of all the Insane January Vidding Projects going around; it's just a happy, crazy coincidence). Feel free to truck on back to parts two and one. You will particularly want to read the explanation of why you should not be taking my vid advice, which is back in the first one. (Short answer: I have no idea what I'm talking about. But I'm enthusiastic. Which unfortunately doesn't really make up for my total lack of any kind of, you know, actual vidding knowledge.)

Before we begin, though, another community rec. You (and, yes, I do mean you specifically) should check out [ profile] vidder_weekly, a new all-fandoms vidding newsletter that seems to be working like a combination of the standard fandom newsletter - all the vids your bandwidth can handle! - and [ profile] metafandom, but with just vidding meta. (Yes, there is vidding meta, and the skilled LJer with pretty much infinite time and a mouse finger made of steel and coiled springs can find it on her own. For the rest of us, though, it's nice to have the summary.)

Lord of the Rings

The Vid I Love Even Though the First Time I Watched It I Managed to Screw up So Badly That the Audio and Video Tracks Weren't Synched. I Could Still Tell It Was Good - Seriously, That's How Good It Is. But I Really Loved It After I Fixed My Little Configuration Issue, Let Me Tell You. Desperation Song, by Wolfling, aka [ profile] wolfling, and Magpie, aka [ profile] mogigraphia.

Availability: All the time; scroll down until you see it. Also, that thing about emailing Wolfling for the better-quality version of the vid? Do that. The bigger one is gorgeous and wonderful and just so, so much better. Definitely worth the time to drop Wolfling a line. (There's no qualifying test or anything, either; she just emails you the link. I feared some kind of, I don't know, trivia question, or maybe a close examination on the condition of my soul. But, no, turns out not. Which, given my soul, is just as well.)

Sometimes I watch vids and think, "Oh, that song would work in any fandom." Sometimes I think, "Um, vidder? Why did you pick this song for this fandom?" (This is actually a fairly frequent occurrence in LotR vids; I tend to think of this as the Fandom of Inappropriate Song Choices.) But sometimes my thoughts are more along the lines of, "Oh my god so perfect." This is one of those cases; this vid inextricably welded Desperation Song to Lord of the Rings in my mind. (To the point where I have to make a serious mental adjustment when someone uses it in another fandom. I always spend the first thirty seconds going, "But, but, but! Where's Gandalf?") It's just - well, not to belabor a word or anything, but - perfect. If you're not familiar with the song, just consider the title alone. Desperation is pretty much the key note of the entire trilogy - well, that and friendship. (I know. I know. But we're just ignoring the slash for the moment. I realize this is a revolutionary concept coming from me, so feel free to take a moment to wrap your mind around it.) The strength of the trilogy really is the relationships between the characters, and that's what this is about. Plus, you know, havoc, destruction, swords, and rings. Which is also a big part of the trilogy. Look, this is pathetic; I'm on the verge of saying "general-interest vid," which is the lamest term ever, because I can't think of another way to say "like the movies, only shorter." Just - go. Watch. And I'll stay here and contemplate my inadequate vocabulary.

The Vid That Gives Me Extremely Unfortunate AU Ideas. I Mean, Ideas Even Worse Than the One Where Sheppard Is Aragorn and McKay Is Gandalf and Ford Is Frodo and There Is No Sex of Any Kind. I Alone, by Jenn Miller, aka [ profile] zeromuchjenn.

Availability: All the time.

I have a confession. I love the One Ring. I mean, yes, I know it has, like, a seriously evil, soul-sucking, menacing menace of Menaceville thing going on, but that is why I love it. So small! So pretty! So round and helpless! Except for the way it is totally, totally not. It rises above its handicaps to achieve serious fucking scariness. You have to admire that. Or I do. (My unfortunate AU idea involves re-writing LotR as a tragedy: the plucky little ring overcoming long odds as it desperately works its way back to its one true love, only to have defeat snatched from the jaws of victory by various people who are either much too dirty or much too pretty to be at all trustworthy.) So I have a special folder of vids that pay tribute to the almighty One Ring (we will not at this time discuss the other folder, the one with Ring pairing vids, because really my Ring fixation is already shameful enough), and this is, I think, my favorite. I mean, seriously: who could hear the words "I alone love you, I alone tempt you, fear is not the end of this" and not think One Ring? Okay, possibly the songwriter had something else in mind. But I can't see what. It is the Ring! To the life! And its unhealthy relationships with a wide variety of people! Go watch. And admire the One Ring That Could.

The Vid That Starts with Elvish Titles. It Is the Coolest Thing Ever, and, Um. Did I Just Make My Total Pathetic Geekhood Irrevocably Obvious There? Disappearing Man, by Melina, aka [ profile] melina123, and Jo, aka [ profile] feochadn. (Sorry, Jo!)

Availability: All the time - scroll down to the LotR section. And if you're going to download all the vids in this post, which I obviously recommend, then keep this page open.

Melina makes gorgeous Lord of the Rings vids. I don't want to devolve into third-rate movie reviewer language here, but, seriously, lyrical is one of the few words I can think of that really describes them. She has a wonderful way of matching movement to music, and of making seamless clips and edits - I can't describe it (well, obviously), and I sure don't know what she's doing, but her vids give me a palpable sensation of being moved through a story the same way I am when read: I don't notice my eyes moving, I don't notice the physical progression, but the movement is there, and the story just flows along with it. For someone as non-visual as I am, that is a rare and wonderful thing. And although I adore every one of her vids and fully intend to rec them all (if you're going to be downloading them now, let me warn you that I cannot even stand to watch "When I Go" right now, because it is somehow even sadder than the Boromir portions of the actual movies), I think this one may be my favorite of hers. I love the way it focuses on just one piece of the trilogy; it's the story of Aragorn, Arwen, Eowyn, and Faramir, and somehow it's a much more moving, coherent tale when it's presented on its own like this. The vid acts as, like, a magnifying glass, turning these three romance arcs into one complete, full story. And in that, Melina does one better than either Tolkien or Peter Jackson, and I love her for it.

(Side note: does anyone have a copy of this song? It's Disappearing Man, by Dave Carter and Tracey Grammer. Please?) Got it, thanks!


The Vid That Probably Makes Best Beloved Somewhat Nervous These Days. Don't Mind Me, by Killa, aka [ profile] killabeez.

Availability: All the time. Scroll down to the Highlander section. And don't close the page yet. We're not finished.

Killa has a gift, and she uses it for evil. Specifically, she uses it for bending people to her every whim. I just - seriously. Watch her vids and you will develop an interest in her fandoms totally against your will. All her Highlander vids are excellent, but this one is a special favorite of mine, because it is the archetypal slash vid. This - this is how vidders force us to switch our stance on a given pairing from "really, really not interested" to "OTP of great and lasting permanentness, and death to she who violates it in any way." Although, in all honesty, I should warn you that I am perhaps not 100% normal on these things, because, okay, see. I was discussing with Best Beloved which HL vid I'd be recommending, and we had the following conversation:

Me: Oh, Don't Mind Me! That's such a fabulous vid! And it has the best clipping and song lyric choice ever for my favorite Methos/Duncan slashy moment. [Note: Going, um. Solely on vids, of course. There may be better slash moments in the actual canon.]
BB: Oh, the thing where Methos looks like he's going to come from having Duncan's [hee!] sword at his throat?
Me: That's a great moment, but no.
BB: The nose-painting thing? Is that in there?
Me: Partly, and no. Although, again, fine and excellent bit.
BB, making a face of thoughtfulness: One of the [nine million] times Methos obviously checks Duncan out? [Best Beloved is not kidding, here. There are many, many shots in which Methos might just as well be saying, "Oh, to hell with this whole swordfighting thing. Let's spend the rest of eternity fucking. Starting right now, you big lug, you." Often there is a pause in the middle while he inspects something roughly at the level of Duncan's waist. His sword, probably.]
Me, in a tone of voice that may have been, in retrospect, perhaps just the teeniest bit too sincere: No! It's the scene where Methos shoots Duncan.
BB: *surprised face*
Me: It's just very...see, and then he shoots him, and it's just...okay. I think it's a sign of true love.
BB: *look of transfixed horror combined with a kind of "How did I get myself hooked up with this person?" expression*
Me, muttering defiantly: I don't care. It is a wonderful and slashy scene. It is.
BB: *departs, presumably to search the house for guns*

So, you know, obviously I'm not right in the head. But I love the way Killa uses that bit in this one. I also love her other editorial choices, here. Truly, this should be required viewing for all aspiring slash vidders. And Highlander deniers. And also everyone else. (And don't miss the shooting scene, people! It's very romantic! Really!)

(Side note: I also would be delighted if anyone had a copy of this one. Don't Mind Me, by Lucy Kaplansky.) Thanks!

Star Trek

The Vid That Is So Wrong It's Right. Seriously. If You Came up with This Vid, You'd Sedate Yourself, and You Would Be Right to Do So. But Somehow It Works As Few Things Have Ever Worked. It Is One of the Great Mysteries of Vidkind. Closer, by Killa, aka [ profile] killabeez, and T. Jonesy. Does anyone know if she has a LiveJournal or something?

Availability: All the time. As you might expect, you can find this one in the Star Trek section. And that's it for that page, so you can close it now. Although there are many other excellent vids there. For the record.

I'm hoping every single person out there has already seen this. If you have not, do not read further. Go download and watch this right now. Go. The link is up there, and you will not regret it, and do not give me any crap about how you don't like Star Trek, or you don't know Star Trek, or you can't tell a Klingon from a...whatever the other thing is. (No, really. Don't even try. I had to look up how to spell Klingon and I love this vid.) Spock's the taller, slightly slumpy one who wears too much eyeshadow, and Kirk is the shorter, yellower one, and that's all you need to know. Go on. You will enjoy this even more if you are unspoiled; I was, and I can still taste the shock and joy.

Okay. So now everyone has seen this, yes? So I am spoiling nothing when I say that this is an example of two of my favorite vid genres. First, we have the "There's no rational way that could work in this fandom, and yet somehow..." genre, which applies to everything in this vid, from song choice to concept to the sepia tone. Sepia! In science fiction! No. Except, oh my god yes. And then we have the "changing the meaning and tone of the canon completely" thing, which, again, yes. I just - I really like that, okay? I love that someone can take source that is (Am I allowed to say this? Will it instigate a riot?) a wee bit cheesy (And, look. If you are going for the pitchforks and torches right now, keep in mind that I've just seen the one episode, and it was from early in the first season, so maybe later on they got a production budget. Also, I'm entirely willing to grant that that woman's hair probably looked cooler in the 1960s. And, you know, the writing - which was basically fan fiction, minus the actual sex-orgy-angst - made it well worth the overexposure to aluminum foil.) and turn it into - well, this. I mean, Jesus Christ. Spock does things to Kirk that I am quite certain he never did in the canon, and yet I could almost swear they show it in the vid. (I know they didn't. But I still think of this vid as the one with the non-con buttsex, which shows how suggestive really effective cutting and song choice can be.)

Ocean's 11

The Vid That Makes It Very Clear That Rusty Needs Only One Thing, by Which I Mean Only One Person, and No, That Is Not Just My Personal Bias Speaking. Or It Might Be, but If It Is, Don't Tell Me. Let Me Stay in My Happy Place, Okay? Tumbling Dice, by Gwyneth, aka [ profile] gwyn_r.

Availability: All the time. You will need to email Gwyn for a password. It's worth it, I promise. And she has many excellent vids, including one I hope to be recommending very soon, so, really, you might as well get the password now.

The thing about Ocean's 11 that is very hard to address in fan fiction is the, um, feel of the movie. I don't really know how else to describe it. (Actually, this is something that's true in lots of fandoms; the vids convey the feel of the canon better than the FF can. It's one of the many reasons why I strongly advocate vid watching for those of us who may never see the canon even though we read a lot of the FF.) And for me, Ocean's 11 feels - retro. Not, like, old-fashioned, but deliberately, intensely retro. (It could just be Rusty's shirts, which are an education in the shinier periods in the history of men's fashion, but I don't think so. It's the lighting. And, um, stuff.) And I really like it when vids acknowledge that or play with it, which is exactly what this one does, from the font of the credits through the nifty sliding-screen thingy (um, I don't know the term for it, but when the screen slides to change clips, that's what I'm talking about) to the music. (And oh my god. I just watched this vid for the nth time to find out what the music was, and it's the Rolling Stones. Thank god I checked that before I used the phrase "vaguely country, vaguely funky music," as I am pretty sure that's not an appropriate way to describe, you know, these guys. Who I have nearly forgiven for being my mother's favorite band. I'm working on it, anyway.) And this vid focuses on my own personal favorite aspect of Ocean's 11, which, um - did I need to tell anyone that that was the pairing? No. Okay. I love the way Gwyn captures just about every eyefuck and do-me-do-me-now look between Danny and Rusty and then backs them up with the music in such a way that, to me, Rusty seems to be asking Danny to roll him. And I could give you other reasons for watching this vid, but after that, do you need them? I mean, loads of retro + scads of sexual tension = Ocean's 11 to the life + very compelling reason to watch this vid. An equation of sheer sexy joy!

The Vid That Will Remind You of That One Time (Surely It Was Just the One Time, Right?) When You Took Some Moderately Illicit Chemicals. Do Not Adjust Your Monitor. It's the Vidder Who Is on Speed, Not You. Would You?, by Shalott, aka [ profile] astolat.

Availability: All the time. Scroll on down.

Okay, let's get the disclaimer portion of this out of the first, shall we? See, I have, um, beliefs about Ocean's 11. The movie, I mean. Like, to me the whole caper seems basically like Danny's sorry-gift to Rusty. Sort of like flowers, except instead it's the vault of three casinos. And because of the way this vid starts out and the song it uses, I tend to see it as supporting my point of view. Extensively. But I am not, you know, totally biased; I can also see the vid Shalott actually did make in here. It's a general interest vid! (Yes, my vocabulary is still inadequate. Someone want to give me a Vidding Word a Day desk calendar?) And shiny! And it uses a song that is just perfectly suited to the source, what with the retro and sort of, um, brassy sound. (Seriously. I need that calendar.) And also there's the whacked-out thing with speed (not the drug, the, um, passage of time thing) that Shalott did. I mean, who makes a vid where most of the shots are speeded way, way up? Well, Shalott, apparently. And it works; this is another one that feels just like the movie. The pacing matches, somehow. That's pretty much what Ocean's 11 was - a lot of shiny stuff going by really really fast so that no one would, um, think about it too closely, and then everything slowing way, way down when two people looked at each other. (Like, for example, Danny and Rusty. Not that it was only them! No! I understand that it was everyone, that the glory of a movie like this isn't the plot but the people and how they work and play together. All the people. Not just, you know, two guys who happened to have enough sexual chemistry that they required their own OSHA regulations.) So this is one of those vidding concepts that would never work on paper but that works wonderfully in practice. You want this vid. Almost as much as Danny and Rusty want each other.
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)
"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)
We all dress up every once in a while - maybe to fit in, maybe to stand out, maybe to get that certain someone to look at us. So, hey, why can't the men we slash dress up, too?

Sometimes seeing someone you know well wear something out of the ordinary is a real learning experience - and that's true in FF, too. Who doesn't want to see Xander Harris dressed like James Dean or Nightwing wearing Batman's gloves? (You, I hope, since you won't see either of those in any of the stories below.) It's just so revealing to see people change their look.

Best FF in Which Fraser Gets Thwarted and Ray Gets Bent: Refraction, by [ profile] shrift. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. It's the word choices that get me in this one. When my Best Beloved comes home wearing glitter, I say, "You've got glitter on you." When Fraser sees his Best Beloved in glitter, he says, "You're refracting." That's just - so Fraser. Not to mention that Fraser's the only person I can imagine using "thwarted" in an "I feel" statement. I once spent years listening to teen-agers tell me why they hated their parents, coaching them on "I feel" statements all the while. They came up with just about every synonym for "interfere with what I want to do" that Roget could have thought of, but not one of 'em ever actually said "thwart." Because, obviously, none of 'em was Fraser. Darn it.

Best FF That Proves That No Behavior Change Seems Strange If You Start out Unusual Enough: Soap and Silk, by [ profile] lil_neko. Pirates of the Caribbean, gen or Will Turner/Jack Sparrow, depending on you interpret things. (I, myself, choose to believe this is gen.) See, I usually totally do not go for Johnny-in-a-dress stories. Except, as it turns out, when that Johnny is Johnny Depp. I can believe that he'd wear a dress. Or maybe it's Jack Sparrow I can believe that of, although in his case it's more like an abiding conviction that the only reason we didn't ever see him in a dress in the movie is that he'd cross-dressed so often that he was bored with it. In any case, what I love about this story is that there's no explanation at all for anything that happens. Turns out you don't need any. Well, any explanation beyond: "I'm Captain Jack Sparrow, luv."

Best FF That Suggests a Different Reason Why Aragorn Took Boromir's Gauntlets: Leather, by [ profile] keelywolfe. Lord of the Rings movies, Aragorn/Boromir. Why is it so easy to see these two getting kinky with each other? Is it just Sean Bean once again exhibiting his ability to make his characters exude sexual flexibility of every kind? Is it that Aragorn apparently doesn't take a bath until the middle of Return of the King, thus bringing the word "dirty" ineluctably to mind whenever we see him? Or am I the only one that thinks A/B has to be LotR's entry in the kinkiest pairing contest? Anyway, in this one, we learn about one of Aragorn's milder kinks, and do I really need to tell you what it is? (Read the title again, hon.) This is part of Keelywolfe's LotR kink series. All of it is A/B. Of course.

Best FF That Raises a Burning Question in Its First Paragraph and Then Leaves It Totally Unanswered: What You See, by [ profile] kassrachel. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. Blair genderfucks, Jim develops gender issues. (Actually, from what I can tell, that's not all that bad a summary of the whole TV series, at least from a certain perspective.) Wondering what the unanswered question is? Go read the first paragraph. Now riddle me this: Jim's thinking that he forgot how stifling chaps were. So when else has he worn them, hmmm? I'm going to email [ profile] kassrachel immediately and demand she explain that comment. Preferably in FF. (Because she's writing TS FF again. Yay!)
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)
Note: This is the start of an ongoing series that will take a look at the fandoms I read - what I think of them, what I want from them, and how you can read FF in them even if you don't know the canon. I've had this series waiting for a while; I've been hesitating to post any of the essays, because I know that's not why people come here. Ardent (aka [ profile] ardent_muses) said she'd be interested in reading the Due South FIHL, so I've decided to post at least a few of them. I have to begin, obviously, with my first fandom: Lord of the Rings.

I know I'm not the only one the Lord of the Rings movies led into the darkness of fan fiction. Some days, in fact, I suspect I have approximately the entire population of the western hemisphere for company. Lawyers looking for new class action lawsuits should probably check into this; New Line and Jackson have a lot of money, and there's been a lot of pain and suffering and lost work time as a result of their recent behavior, if you see where I'm going with this.

My sordid history with the One Ring, the Nine Walkers, and an estimated 7 million identical, terrible stories, not to mention all the identical, terrible fangirls. )
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)
The alternate title of today's entry is, obviously, "Why Eudoxia Can't Be Holier-Than-Anyone: How One Previously (at Least Slightly) Principled and (at Least in Theory) Moral Individual Lost All Her Principles and Morals and Most of Her Pride Through the Horror of Fan Fiction." Yes, it's a cautionary entry today, folks, with a single object lesson: run! Get out while you can! It's too late for me. Save yourselves!

Or, if it's also too late for you, read these stories. 'Cause, truly, they are nine kinds of good.

Best Bait-and-Switch FF: Winterlong, by torch. Gundam Wing, and to say any more would spoil this, because it's designed so that you don't have any idea what it's about until it's almost over. (Hence the bait-and-switch thing.) This is a nearly perfect piece, and all the more so because my experience with GW - both canon and fan fiction - has mostly left me expecting, well, a whole lot less than this. A. Whole. Lot. Less. And then this story comes along, and, whoops, I've got a whole new fandom. (And, really, when I get a minute or two, I should do something about the frequency with which that happens to me. Turn off my computer, maybe?)

Best FF That Finally Got Me Reading the Only Pairing That's Even Close to Canon in This Particular Fandom: Sky as Grey as Your Heart, by afrai. Lord of the Rings, Legolas/Gimli. I admit it. I never wanted to read Legolas/Gimli, and there were two reasons for that. The first one was Legolas. In the books, he's either a place-holder with archery skills or Middle Earth's answer to angels, and in the movies, he's Orlando "My Little Pony Elfboy Playset" Bloom. The second reason was Gimli, who, in the books is, well, a dwarf, and in the movies is a dwarf played by John Rhys Davies. I mean, I so completely do not want to picture those two doing anything more intimate than eco-tourism. But this story got rec'd, and rec'd, and rec'd, and eventually I had to read it if I wanted to keep my Obsessive-Compulsive Fan Fiction Tracker's license, and - damn, it is that good. And, whoops, I've got another pairing. (This also happens to me way too often. It's a disease or something, I think.)

Best FF with a Title I Love So Unnaturally That I'm Fighting the Urge to Download the Source of It Even as You Read This: There Goes the Fear, by Zahra. X-Men movies, Pyro/Iceman. Earlier, I chronicled my discomfort with any pairing involving a character named Bobby, but I am totally resigned to it now. I don't even mind the whole Bobby thing. I can read about teen-aged and adult males named Bobby engaging in sexual activity and I don't even flinch, or think of Tonka trucks, or anything of the kind. This, of course, makes me somewhat gloomy - oh, look, there goes another standard, leaving me with, let me see now, two and a half total remaining ones - but, hey, when the FF is this good, I will just damn well cope with my further descent on the slippery slope o' slash. God knows I'm getting good at it.

Best FF That Stripped Me of Any Last Remaining Vestige of Hope That There Was Some Depth to Which I Might Not Sink: The Appointment, by Sheldrake. The Dark Is Rising, Will/Bran. To complete the chronicle of my descent to new and slash-filled depths, here is yet another foray into Dark Is Rising slash. Yes, Dark Is Rising, still one of the most beloved series of my entire life to this point, and now also a fandom where, I foresee with a certain sense of inevitability, I shall be doing a lot of reading in the near future. And I don't even have it in me to be ashamed of succumbing to this fandom; it's clear to me now that if people write good stuff I will not be able to help reading it. In other words, from here on out, I'm blaming the authors for my depravity. Yes. It's their fault. If they stuck to normal fandoms and normal pairings and normal - oh. Did I just hear someone ask, "But if you wanted normal, why did you start reading FF in the first place?" Fair point. So I'll have to get back to you later with the names of those I will be blaming for this in the future. (Suggestions for this role - the President, communists, my dog - gratefully accepted.)
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)
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)
A title can make me predisposed to like a story. A really great title can make me read a story I would normally never read (see below). A fantastic title can keep a story in my mind for longer than almost anything (except a perfect ending or a truly hysterical line). And sometimes the title can practically be a story all by itself, especially when it's longer than some entire fics. Today, I salute the long titles of the fan fiction world.

Best FF Title That Led Me to Expect Something Other Than This Story: Heard Through the Walls of the Victory Motel, by Gemma. L.A. Confidential, Bud White/Ed Exley. See, when I read that title, I thought there'd be eavesdropping in the story. I still kind of expect there to be eavesdropping, but the only thing that really gets heard through the walls is a song. Still, I like the title a lot. And the story's perfect L.A. Confidential FF - it's gritty, powerful, and it fixes the canon ending.

Best Title That Is Also (EEEEK!) a Song Reference: All That You Can't Leave Behind, by Mary Borsellino. Lord of the Rings movieverse, and in my opinion this is gen. Go ahead, ask what U2 has to do with LotR. You'll be missing the point, though. This is a perfect little canon interlude that helps elucidate why some people could survive the ring. And some people couldn't. Warning: this story could really use some proofreading. It has errors in things like basic capitalization. And, you know what? It was good enough that I'd still recommend it, although it'd be even better if someone fixed it.

Best Title That Is Also (YAY!) a Literary Reference: Color of Fire, Color of Ashes. X-Men movieverse, Jean/Scott, Jean/Logan. I know, I know; het infidelity fic involving Jean (gag) Grey. Don't care. It's still good, and it has the added benefit of making Jean seem like a person instead of a, you know, shapely hole in the background. But I would never have read it (Jean! Gag! Grey!) if I hadn't been drawn in, totally against my will, and fighting all the way, by the title.

Best Title That Sucked Me into Reading the FF Even Though I Knew Better, Lord, I Knew Better: Everything's Not Lost. Just Most Things, by Annakovsky. Real Person Slash, Dominic Monaghan/Billy Boyd. I cannot stand that I'm nominating this. I can't even stand that I read this. But it's a good story and it has a great title, albeit one with a period where there should clearly be a comma. I have just one teeny little question: why in the name of all that is still sane and good in the world is this RPS? The story would work just as well, or even better, with original characters. RPS relies on our knowledge of the celebrities or of their public personae. This story totally does not; I think it'd work just as well, maybe better, if the reader didn't even recognize the names. (Or maybe I'm just bitter because I can see the bottom of the slippery slope o' slash from here, and I'm already descending at terminal velocity.)
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)
Everything Sean Bean touches turns to slash. Slutty slash, mostly, where the characters are in bed in three paragraphs and totally debauched in eight. I can't tell you why this man is such a renewable natural slash resource. Is it his morally ambiguous characters? His penchant for appearing in period costume? His "100% NC-17 PWP" shoulder tattoo? But I know this: if he's really making a lion TV movie, we'll be seeing lion slash* before the year is out. Better read the Sean Bean back catalog while we still can, then.

Best FF in Which We Learn the True Meaning of Dominance: Snowfall, by Keelywolfe. Lord of the Rings, Aragorn/Boromir. It's like an animated Christmas special: the magic of snow and elves and - well, and slutty kings. So not so much like a Christmas special, actually, but special nonetheless.

Best FF in Which We Learn Important Relationship Lessons: Different Kind, by Calico. Lord of the Rings, Aragorn/Boromir. Pay close attention to this one, and you won't ever need to buy another women's magazine. You'll already know that a quickie doesn't mean true love, that you should make sure he's not married before you date him, and that your fantasies are not his reality. And that if you're only going to wear one accessory, you should make it a really good belt. See, there is a point to fan fiction!

Best FFs in Which We Learn to Love Danes: Pearl Traders and the sequel A Thief in the Night, by Gloria Mundi. Richard Sharpe series, Sharpe/OMC. And Sharpe's Friend, by Cinzia. Richard Sharpe series, Sharpe/Lavisser. When I realized that there's more than one Sharpe-Does-Denmark story eligible for a Slashy, I began to understand what Sean Bean's characters bring to this world. Or rather, to the internet. Smut, basically. I suppose we should send him a thank-you note or something.

Best FF in Which We Learn That Addictions Are Bad for Us: From the Shadows, by Carmarthen. GoldenEye, Alec Trevelyan/James Bond, and I don't know how well this one will work if you haven't seen the movie. Addictions, as it turns out, are especially bad for you if James Bond is one of them; you'd be better off with the smoking, frankly, or the freebasing while skydiving. Unbelievably, this is not a PWP, or indeed NC-17 (even Odysseus nods, apparently). It's just an absolutely fantastic character study, and my favorite of these nominations.

*Yes, I do know there's already lion slash. But I work with electrodes daily to forget.
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.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Best FF That Violates All Known Laws of Good Fan Fiction (and Grammar): Breathless, Too, by Gloria Mundi. Pirates of the Caribbean, Sparrow/Norrington (implied). This is a one-sentence, 1200-word fiction, folks. It's completely plotless. It abuses the English language until said language is on the floor, begging weakly for a mercy killing. And it's still too good to be posted on Gloria Mundi has proven that if you're good enough, you don't have to follow the rules.

Best Use of Sex to Show Character (As Opposed to Sex to Show Sex. Not That That's Not Good, Too.): Silence, by Cinzia. Lord of the Rings, Aragorn/Boromir. Yes, there's angst, but it turns out angst works on Boromir.

Best Imitation of the Canon Author's Voice: Influence, by shalott. Master & Commander, Aubrey/Maturin (of course). The author just nails Patrick O'Brian's voice, although I can't imagine him ever putting it to this use. And Maturin and Aubrey could not be more in character without, you know, not having sex at all.

Best WIP Fic (While Fully Acknowledging That WsIP Are Evil): Jjail, by Firesignwriter. Pirates of the Caribbean, Sparrow/Norrington. The reason I read PotC (despite my revulsion for what most people consider the OTP of the fandom) is that the fics are fun. Less angst, more humor; less moody, sullen, repressed cavemen, more swishy, pansexual pirates; less use of the word "despair," more use of the word "savvy." This fiction, despite being a possibly-abandoned WIP, and despite containing several things I don't generally like to see in FF, is an excellent example of the genre.


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