thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, [livejournal.com profile] svmadelyn linked to some free Harlequin books, and she mentioned a NASCAR romance novel as being one of the ones available.

I had to look. I had no choice. NASCAR romance novels, people! (I have, um, a weird obsession with NASCAR marketing. I could not care less about the drivers, but I dream of being able to meet the geniuses at NASCAR HQ. True fact, and don’t ask me why, as I have at least five thousand words of answer that I’m just dying to share.)

Anyway. I totally recommend the Harlequin site. It features a sort of Mad Libs (does anyone else remember those?), romance novel style, which they suggest you can use to insert yourself into a story, but I am here to tell you that you can put in Rodney McKay and John Sheppard or Merlin and Arthur Pendragon, change up some of the pronouns, and get the most awesome FF summaries ever. I especially recommend doing the Mars one with the SGA characters or the tycoon one with Smallville.

And then I was looking through the sincerely awful, and I do mean awful (if you were offering free samples, wouldn’t you try to pick good ones, or at least ones that aren’t openly gag-inducing?), summaries of the books available for download, and I found this one:

When a blizzard strands Fiona MacPherson and her students in Oregon's Cascade Mountains, their only hope of survival is to seek shelter at Thunder Mountain Lodge. Their host is John Fallon, a handsome, enigmatic war veteran haunted by secrets and scars that may never heal.

John Fallon never imagined he'd be playing host to this captivating teacher and her eight teenage charges. But when his solitude is shattered by their arrival, his world shifts on its axis. He needs Fiona—but does she need him? There's only one way to find out. The ex-soldier must find the courage to reach out to the remarkable woman who has transformed his life…


I read this to Best Beloved and said, "Oh my god, it's a Sentinel AU!" And it is! Look at it! Professor Blair Sandburg takes a group of second-year students on a field trip and they get stranded in Oregon's Cascade Mountains. Fortunately, they just happen to be near Thunder Mountain Lodge, owned by Jim Ellison, a handsome, enigmatic veteran haunted by secrets and tormented by senses out of his control.

(Jim, in this AU, obviously couldn't control the senses very well after his return from Peru, and couldn't take living in the city. He had no choice but to buy this remote lodge. And Blair couldn't find a sentinel for his dissertation, so he had no choice but to choose a different topic, and now he's an actual professor. Blair can help Jim! Jim needs him! But can he learn to love again? Hint: Yes. Yes, he can.)

If you try to tell me that is not perfect, I will openly laugh at you.

Obviously, this got me thinking about AUs. (It also got me wistfully wishing for more Harlequin challenges. These summaries are fan fiction gold, people. There's an obvious Highlander one, and several that would work for Smallville, and, just, really: Harlequin AUs. In quantity, and in every fandom in the land. Is that so much to ask?)

Hence, an AU recs set.

The One That Teaches Us That Surviving the End of the World Ought to Be Featured Way at the Top of the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. With, Like, a Point Value of Nine Million. The Hard Prayer, by [livejournal.com profile] rheanna27. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

And we start with one that could not be more unlike a Harlequin AU. However, it also could not be more awesome, so that's okay.

This is an apocalypse AU. Usually the end of the world makes me geechy - can’t imagine why! - and, in all honesty, this story did freak me out somewhat, and there were a couple spots I had to skim on account of my own personal issues. But. Wow. Seriously. So very, very worth it. I can’t even tell you how much.

What I love about this story is what Rheanna does with the characters we know and adore. They've been changed, seriously changed, by what's happened - as indeed one would be. Live through the apocalypse, anyone's going to get a little twitchy, you know? And John and Rodney are indeed very, very twitchy. I found myself nodding along as I read this, thinking that this was totally how they'd snap, if they were going to snap. (And if I have a personal motto, it’s: once the world is over, you might as well snap. What, like it can get worse?)

It's particularly interesting to me - and, upon reflection, totally right - that John is the one who can't handle the situation as well. John, in some ways, is a border collie: he needs a pack. Rodney just needs a goal. (And, of course, they neeeeeeeed each other! Look, sorry, I'm an OTPer by nature; I had to add that. It's in my OTP Fan Contract, right under "Sulk a little bit when your friends start writing other pairings.")

(And, for the benefit of any readers who might be Best Beloved and thus even more allergic to apocalypse stories than I am: yes, it has a happy ending. Read this, damn it.)

The One That Shows That the Punishment for Adultery Is Hot Sex with Stephen Maturin. Are You Feeling Deterred at All? Duende, by [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Master and Commander, Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin.

Is there any AU more marvelous than a Master and Commander AU by [livejournal.com profile] astolat? No. No, there is not. And this is just a classic: swords! Magic! Swordfights! Life bonds! Duels! If you've ever thought to yourself that what O'Brian's series was really lacking was at least 400% more swordfighting Maturin, this is the story for you.

Even if you've never thought that - and I admit it, I hadn't, possibly because I am just of very limited imagination - this is still the story for you. (Even if you, like me, are kind of geeched by the idea of life bonds. And, look, I know they are a classic trope of slash fiction, not to mention vampire fiction for the YA set. I've read many excellent stories featuring said trope (from slash fiction only; I've pretty much wimped out on the YA vampire life bonds, I admit). But I tell you this, and tell you true: waking up eternally bound to someone, your lives physically linked together, unable to stand separation, and possibly with telepathy: oh my god, that is my nightmare. If there's a hell, that's what it looks like.)

It's amazing to me how well the Master and Commander universe adapts to anything: space! Magic! Life bonds! Dragons! I'm pretty sure a Master and Commander with vampires, or lightsabers, or even fairies and the Seelie Court and maybe Thomas the Rhymer would work awesomely well.

Or maybe it's just the magic of [livejournal.com profile] astolat - she has the secret, special power of putting O'Brian's characters in any situation and making the resultant story something you would happily read fifteen volumes of. In which case, I'm really hoping whoever she gets assigned next Yuletide has requested the Seelie Court AU.

The One That Proves That Maybe a Real Marriage of True Minds Isn't Something Most of Us Should Be Hoping For. Walked Right out of the Machinery, by [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wong. Stargate: SG-1, gen.

Oh my god. This is - this is just - I just have so much love for this story. It's brilliant. I love Jack O'Neill so damn much, and this is kind of the ultimate story for Jack-lovers: this is pure, perfectly-written Jack; Jack as he would have been in the canon if someone as talented and imaginative as [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wong had been writing him.

And that's kind of odd, given that this is a rather changed Jack. I don't want to spoil it - the slow reveal (and, seriously, all you impatient types: let that reveal happen, because it is SO WORTH IT, and if my reassurance isn't enough for you, know that there is an awesome shipboard battle waiting for you near the end) is part of the pleasure, here. But this is Jack not exactly as we know him. It's just, somehow that makes him almost a distillation of Jack. Eighty proof Jack, if I can be pardoned for making a really awful joke.

No? Unpardonable? Okay. I stand by my low sense of humor.

Now, I tell you honestly: I realize this is AU from a specific point in the canon, but I, of course, don't know the canon, and I can't figure out what that point is. (Possibly some kind soul will tell us all in the comments. Kind souls? Are you out there?) You don't need to know that to read this, though. In fact, as long as you know the basic tenets of the SG1 universe (Egyptian gods, American military, snakes-why'd-it'd-have-to-be-snakes, Ascension, and there you go), you could read this without any canon knowledge at all.

All of you who are right now wondering where you will get your science fiction, now that half the genre has been tarnished with the brush of a whiter shade of fail - here's part of your answer. This is one of the three best SF novels I read in 2008 - any format, anywhere. It is incredible.

The One That Features a Padawan of Convenience. How Wonderful Is That? Episode One: The Quiet Padawan, by [livejournal.com profile] flambeau. The Phantom Menace x Georgette Heyer. I am really not kidding about that, and you would think it could not possibly work, but you would be wrong. Qui-Gon Jinn/Obi-Wan Kenobi, sort of.

So. I put off reading this for almost two years, largely because George Lucas has scarred my psyche so badly that even the words "Star Wars," can, in certain cases, make me weep giant tears of true pain. I'm so Star Wars phobic that I didn't even see Episode Three: Let's Cut Some Limbs Off, or whatever it was called, largely because I believe in that old saying: fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, and we'll have to enter couples counseling. There's shame on both sides, Mr. Lucas, but I have no intention of entering couples counseling with you, mostly because lives would probably be lost.

(Long before we'd read any fan fiction, and just before TPM came out, Best Beloved and I sketched out exactly how we'd do episodes one through three. I still dream that those movies were made, some nights. Those are happy nights. Basically, our fantasy movies remain my own personal canon, and I just pretend the real movies were something I found on fanfiction.net.)

Anyway. Enough about my Star Wars trauma. Let's talk about this story. Because, oh, I am so sorry I put off reading it. It is brilliant. It is perfect. It is a work of stunning genius. If you've never read Heyer (her romances, I mean; I think I'm alone, and I mean alone in the universe, in having loved most of her mystery novels), it doesn't matter. Think mannered regency romance. With Jedis. He's a master who has loved before, and badly! And he's a young, rustic student with a stain on his reputation and a need for a master! And Yoda is a meddling busybody who always knows best! And Mace Windu has a hangover and a very snarky tongue!

My love for this cannot be rendered in any medium whatsoever. This story has done more to reconcile me to the Star Wars brand than a written personal apology from Lucas could. Hell, it's done more to reconcile me than someone punching Lucas in the nose could. If you are - as I once was, and not too long ago - in the tragic situation of somehow having failed to read this, remedy that at once. Your life will be sunshine and puppies thereafter.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
When you slash your average pair o' characters, you've got some questions you need to answer if you're going to make it believable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best FF That Features a Bonus Photo of an Ice Monster. Or a Sea Goat. Or a Whistling Tentacular Male Naga in Ritual War Paint. I Look at It Often, and I Have No Clue What It Is. Hanged Man, by Speranza, aka [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. And, yeah. Today I'm recommending stories everyone's already read. Next time I'll go for some that more than one person out there hasn't already heard of, OK? But, see, certain people have to be reminded to read the famous stories, and of course some folks have to be poked to read the great stuff in fandoms they don't know. All of which is a long way to say: I refuse to feel bad about recommending these stories, including this one. Because it is great, my friends. It's about the fear of coming out; it makes the interesting point that you can come out to yourself while still totally being in denial, and you can avoid coming out to everyone else so hard, work so much to preserve Life As You Know It, that you end up making that life - well, fairly sucky. This is totally true. It also, yes, makes the first part of the story a wee bit rocky. But not kill-me-now rocky or anything. And the ending is totally happy - hell, there's four happy endings. Which, predictably, I read twice for every once that I read the whole story. (OK, yes, I'm a happy ending junkie. But that's why I'm this in love with due South in the first place, so I feel entitled to enjoy my fix in this fandom.) And if it always leaves me desperately wanting to hear all about the Basmati rice incident? Small price to pay, really.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Don't like the title? I do, but I can see how you might think it's a bit off-message for a recommendations set celebrating kissing. But I had a hideous time thinking of anything to put up there, and even after I resorted to searching, everything I found had, well, unfortunate overtones. I seriously considered "like kissing God," even though that was about drug addiction. I also flirted with "with eyes that saw not, I kissed her," (I'd have changed the "her" to "him," of course), but, well, if you know that one, you'll see why I refrained; I love the first part of that one, but the last bit makes me alternately recoil and hiss. (I freely admit that this may be an idiosyncratic reaction.) Plus, you know, the girl he's kissing is his daughter, which, in this context - ew.

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

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

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

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

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

-Footnote-

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

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

And I refuse to say what fandom that was in on the grounds that it may - no, would - incriminate me. It wasn't any of the ones recommended above, though; I'll tell you that for free. Now allow me to slink off in shame for even thinking, let alone actually transcribing, this.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(Note on the title of this entry: am I the only person continually surprised by the massive slashiness and sexiness of the Psalms and the Songs of Solomon? See, I didn't really have any exposure to The Bible in my youth - I mean, until fairly recently, I thought Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were brothers - so it's coming as something of a surprise to me just how profoundly sexual certain parts of this book are. And that title? Direct biblical quote. Someone explain to me again that this is a religious document, because I think I'm missing the point.)

So. I was going to do an exceptionally gloomy entry on gen. I got it written and everything, and then I looked at it and realized it was depressing the hell out of me, and I was just writing the story summaries. I decided I couldn't, in good conscience, post something that grim. The gen entry is tabled until I can un-gloomy it a bit, and in the meantime, well...

When in danger, dark, or doubt, turn to that perennial source of buoyant joy: the drunkfic. Slash has made me a serious fan of drunkenness, albeit only on the part of fictional characters; now let it make a believer out of you.

Best FF That Dragged Me into a New Fandom, Slammed the Door Behind Me, Locked It, and Then Did Something Shockingly NC-17 with the Key: Djibouti, by Caroline Baker, aka [livejournal.com profile] linabean, and Fox, aka [livejournal.com profile] darthfox*. Sports Night, Danny Rydell/Casey McCall. This, folks, is a great story. And here's how I know it's a great story: I read this thing giggling like a maniac. And then it got to the sex part, and I was irritated. Me! The pervert! The big ol' fan of smut! Irritated because Danny and Casey were having sex, because I was afraid they'd stop with the hysterical banter. Turns out, though, that when these guys are in the talented hands of Caroline Baker and Fox sex is no barrier to wittiness, and given the sex act most discussed in this story, that's damned impressive. Anyway, after I finished this story (and finished laughing), I realized that I couldn't even pretend any longer that I was not in the Sports Night fandom. Because I would go a long, long way, at least in the electronic sense, for FF with dialog this damn good.

Best FF Featuring Creative Use of Semaphore Interpretation Skills: Once Again, in French, by Cara Chapel, who I suspect is also [livejournal.com profile] cara_chapel, though I would really appreciate some confirmation on that. Due South, Ray Vecchio/Renfield Turnbull. Yes, you read that pairing right. I spent several minutes frozen in front of my computer after I saw that, worrying that perhaps I was having an oddly lifelike hallucination, or that I had lost my mind. After a bit, I opened my eyes, inspected the pairing again, and realized it was Cara Chapel who'd lost her mind, not me, so that's good news. But here's the thing: I like Turnbull. (Some may argue that this is proof of insanity right there. They would be big ol' party-poopers.) Admittedly, this fondness is based only on his inconsistent portrayal in FF, but still. I like him. I'm always happy when he gets some, be it sex, respect, or fun, because he seems sorely in need of all three. Well, here he gets a kiss, at any rate, and at least some fun, and it's cute and sweet and a little giggly - just like Turnbull would be drunk, really - and, honestly, I'd read a whole series involving this pairing.

Best FF That Demonstrates, Yet Again, That a Drunken Jack Aubrey Is a Force of Nature, If Not Actually an Act of God: The Best Men, by [livejournal.com profile] gritkitty. Master & Commander books, Stephen Maturin/Jack Aubrey. Yes, this could just as easily be read by those who have only seen the movie, but I specify M&C books for several reasons. The best one is this: if you like this story, you might as well buy the entire series, because you'll also like the canon. Subtract half of the fondling and all of the sex from this fic and you've got a scene that could be pasted into a half-dozen of the novels. And, frankly, that just makes me swoon. I love it when FF writers capture some essential element of M&C, be it voice, character, pacing, whatever. And I love that M&C is already so slashy that, really, it's hard to believe there wasn't something like this in one of the books.

Best FF Featuring Mention of a Dust Vent and Comparisons to the Cleaning Thereof: Theory and Practice, by Halrloprillalar, aka [livejournal.com profile] prillalar. Star Wars, Luke Skywalker/Biggs Darklighter, because turns out he does have a second name, at least according to [livejournal.com profile] penknife, and I think we can all agree that said second name is awful. This is a gentle little kissing fic that I love because I believe in my heart that Luke Skywalker would suck at kissing, and when you read this story you'll understand that I chose the word 'suck' very carefully. I can hear whiny Episode IV Luke in this story, and it makes me sort of nostalgic for the days when I watched Star Wars whenever I was sick. (I now watch Fellowship of the Rings.) When you're getting all dreamy-eyed and sighing over whining, you know that either you've seen the canon too many damn times, or the canon has disintegrated to such an extent that an all-whining, all-pouting movie would now be cause for the deepest gratitude. And in this case it turns out that both are true. So go read "Theory and Practice," and remember that there were days, now gone beyond recall, when George Lucas did not suck at making movies even more than Luke sucks at kissing.

* Thanks for the info, [livejournal.com profile] darthrami!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Alcohol might not be much on its own, but combine it with fan fiction and we do indeed see how sweet life can be. Of course, there's not so much of the slight here; for the most part, these stories contain some serious intoxication. But don't worry about alcohol poisoning and don't bother ordering blood levels; in fan fiction, drunkenness is just a classic way of getting two people horizontal. Or, you know, into other assorted positions.

To put it another way: yay, drunkfics!

Best FF That Proves That Everything Is Better with Wombats: Vombatus poeticus, by [livejournal.com profile] q_skud_. Master & Commander, Stephen Maturin/Jack Aubrey (ish). I'm dedicating this rec to [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie, who understands that wombats do indeed make everything better. Wombats can even help with unrequited love, which is pretty much we've got here. This is an itty-bitty fic, and g-rated, so it's really fairly astonishing that [livejournal.com profile] q_skud_ managed to fit so many of my favorite things into it: wombats, Latin, good poetry (on this occasion by Catullus), Stephen Maturin. It's like I was born just to provide this story with its ideal audience. Plus, it helps fill the world's gaping need for wombatfic. Writers, what have you done for wombatfic today? Remember: fandoms need wombats.

Best FF in a Fandom I Am Absolutely Not Reading, Not Not Not: Vaguely Gay, by [livejournal.com profile] miriam_heddy. Sports Night, Dan/Casey McCall. Let me just repeat that: this is not one of my fandoms, people. I don't even know what the show is about (though I'm thinking sports probably come into it somewhere), and I am not getting involved in another damn TV fandom. They're too difficult. It's just - the title of this story really appealed to me, because that's what the guys we slash so often are; there's just something, you know, vaguely gay about the way they interact with their supposedly-straight, supposedly-platonic best friends. So I read the story, and it proved to be good, and so here we are. Of course I can't be sure that this is in-character or canon-appropriate or anything, as this is - did I mention this? - not my fandom. Not! My! Fandom!

Best FF That Scarred Me Forever with a Casual Mention of a Former President of the United States: Scotch Courage, by Kellie Matthews. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Come for the intoxicated Ray. Stay for the unintoxicated sex. And please, please, somebody tell me that the whole comment about our former President doesn't mean what I think it means, because if it does, the resultant mental images will torment me to the grave. In fact, they may torment me into my grave, so please, say it ain't so. (Sorry, folks. Wish I could provide a better summary. But every time I read or even think of this story, my brain fixates on that one horrible implied-but-please-god-not-true President thing, and it just locks up. Ew.)

Best FF Featuring a Sex Scene That Could Cause Impressionable Readers to Begin Singing "Giles of the Nine and a Half Fingers and the Xander of Doom," Which Is Grounds for Murder in Nine States: Four Dicks, by The Spike, aka [livejournal.com profile] spike21. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander/Giles. Can I just say right now that I hate alcoholic-Giles stories? Because I like my Giles shiny and idealistic, and I like him snarky and careworn, but I don't like him passed out. He cannot snark when he's passed out, people. But...I still like this story. It's set in a time when Giles and Xander were both disenfranchised, feeling lost and out of it and wondering what the hell came next; this is a solution way better than the one Joss thought of. And Xander is perfectly in character here, using humor as a cover and a shield. So, you know, even though I don't like stories like this, well, I like this.

Best FF That Makes You Want to Snuggle up to a Warm Fuzzy Evil Demon Monster of Your Very Own: Untitled, by [livejournal.com profile] wiseacress. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander. This is a bonus story, right here, because it's more of a scene, and anyway I try not to repeat fandoms in one set. But this is so worth reading, because it showcases something too many BtVS FF writers forget. I mean, we hear so much about the Ultimate Sexy of Spike that sometimes I wish Buffy'd staked him in season two. And there's almost as much FF talk about Spike's odd, soul-free humanity. There's just not so much focusing on Spike's evident caretaking need. But it's there, folks. He took care of Dru for a hundred years, even though she spent 99% of that time getting a direct feed from Planet Crazy. I understand he also took good care of Dawn, although I myself have not experienced what we might call the Dawn Season of Buffy (also known as the Sunset Season of Buffy, for an entirely different reason). Here, he's taking care of Xander, and he's clearly enjoying himself, and no, you perverts, it's not what you think. It's shmoop, which so clearly should not work with a BtVS-style vampire, except that it...does. And if that's not enough reason to read this, well, let me up the ante. It contains the phrase "make me your pirate bride." Thought that'd get you. Sure got me; I'll be working that phrase into nearly everything I say from now on.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Armageddon - it's the end of the world as we know it. (Serious demerits for anyone who says "...and I feel fine" right here.) So, hey, we've moved beyond mere character death to, well, world death. At, you know, minimum. Although I'd like to point out that those who are only squeamish about the deaths of those they know (or wish they knew) won't have a problem with all these stories; characters survive the, you know, End of It All more often than you'd think.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best FF That Shows Us That Even after Armageddon Things Can Actually Get Worse: Dark Horse, by Wiseacress. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander. Extra story in this set, because I am not revisiting this theme for a while; you can get too much of the apocalypse, I find. This is a vampires-taking-over-the-asylum story; tell me that isn't the end of the world in the Buffyverse, and I will scoff merrily. OK, not merrily if I've been reading this story, because Wiseacress appears to have what we might call a gift of grim. But, wow, she works that gift, keeping me riveted even while a large part of my brain is urging me to look away. This is an impressive story, folks. And what could be more appropriate to an end of the world theme than to finish with something both brilliant and down?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I've been wallowing in pathos recently as the result of an ill-advised attempt to watch certain classic movies. Do not trust film classics, people: they will betray you and leave you in dire need of SSRIs. And chocolate.

Fortunately, FF can be trusted. Well, some of it, anyway. The funny stuff, basically. And now I'm passing the humor on to you lot, 'cause let's face it, the last entry was almost as depressing as, say, the first fifteen minutes of Rocky.

Best FF That Will Make You Feel Substantially Better About the Next Professional Convention You Attend: At the Fifteenth Annual Evil Masterminds Convention, by [livejournal.com profile] basingstoke. Smallville x Austin Powers, Lex Luthor/Scott Evil. There's just something so wonderful about this whole concept, not to mention hysterical and right; clearly, Scott Evil and Lex Luthor belong together. And there's evil condoms! And explanations of evil parenting techniques! And talk of Robo-Cow! If you've been neglecting your TV or movie watching, fear not - this story works just as well if you're completely clueless about both canons. Oh, and you'll definitely want to read this if you're considering evil as a future career path. I had been, but hearing that evil doesn't sleep in pretty much killed that.

Best FF That Shows Us Precisely What the DC Universe Really Needs: Competent Psychiatrists: The Death Trap of Dr. Nefario, by Benjamin Rosenbaum. DC Universe, gen. This story explores what it'd be like if Dick Grayson had a psychiatrist - and I think we can all agree that by god he needs a psychiatrist. I also think we can all agree that these are precisely the issues he'd be exploring in therapy. I have a documented bias toward therapeutic humor, yes, but how can you not love (and laugh at) a story in which Nightwing simultaneously explores his Bruce Wayne issues and releases himself from a death trap? And, really, this is one of the most accurate portrayals of a therapist I've read in FF.

Best FF That Proves the Basic Usefulness of Whining by Its Very Presence in This LJ: The Missing Jecht Sphere, by Talya Firedancer, [livejournal.com profile] fyredancer. Final Fantasy X, Auron/Jecht/Braska. In an earlier entry, I whined pathetically about the absence of A/J/B in my life. The result was not one but two excellent links to stories involving precisely that. Evidently, my parents were wrong: whining does get results. This particular result is funny, though again I think it'd only be funny to those people who already know what a Jecht Sphere is. If you are of that number, read this story at once. And expect more whining in this venue in the future, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie, who rec'd this story, and [livejournal.com profile] laylah_r, who rec'd the other one.

Best FF Featuring Authentic Colonial-Period Australian Prints: Port Jackson, by Skud, [livejournal.com profile] q_skud_. Master & Commander books, gen. Again, we've got a humor piece you'll need to know the canon to find amusing; in this case, you'll need to have read the first few M&C books. But even if you haven't read any of them, go read this FF; it's the only one I've ever seen told entirely in LJ icons. It's one of the more interesting versions of picfic I've seen, and it's especially appealing to me, the original Icon Loser. (I have icons only through the generosity of others; any icon made by me would incite pity and mockery in equal portions, and, hey, I've already got enough of those.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I read the first few Patrick O'Brian novels when I was in college. I had to stop when I developed a hatred of Diana so intense the books simply smoldered in my hands. In 2003 I started over again after promising myself that I wouldn't let Diana get to me. After that vow bit the dust, I made another one: that I wouldn't let that evil, doctor-tormenting creature stand between me and some damn fine reading chock full of slashy goodness. That turned out to be the right attitude.

Deck ahoy! Slash sighted off the port bow! All hands make ready! Beat to quarters! )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This set is not for those with decision-making disorders, because each entry asks you to make a choice. Think of it as a sort of Choose Your Own Adventure, only with less adventure and way more masturbation-intensive porn. Which, come to think of it, can only improve the CYOA genre.

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

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

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

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

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

Best FF That Explains Just How Erotic a Totally G-Rated Voice Mail Message Can Be If Benton Fraser Is the One Who Leaves It (and Ray Kowalski Is the One Who Gets It): Flying Solo, by [livejournal.com profile] estrella30. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. Yes, folks, this is the second story that features masturbation in a public toilet, and this time the, um, performer doesn't even have the excuse of being a teenager in a magically germ-free world. But we'll all excuse him, because, hey, it's Ray, and he's in love with Ben, and all is right in the world, mmm? And this is the final decision I'll ask you to make today: you can decide for yourself whether you prefer your masturbating Ray to be angsty or angst-free. (We already know what a Certain Person will choose.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Run in fear - it's kidfic! Kidfic is the slightly-saner older sibling of MPreg. The men don't get pregnant. They just rear, or care for, a child. And, yes, it can be horrible and desecrating and nauseatingly sweet - diabetics are strongly cautioned - but sometimes it works very well. Of course, I now believe that there's no horrible fan fiction subgenre or theme that can't work in the hands of a sufficiently talented author. (I think I realized this around the time I found myself actually nominating an MPreg story.)

Best FF That Will Make You Think Twice - and Then Three Times, and Then Send You Out on a Drinking Binge - Before You Decide to Be a Foster Parent: With Six You Get Eggroll, by speranza. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser, Stella Kowalski/Ray Vecchio. This, my friends, is the end-all be-all of kidfic; apparently Ray and Fraser just can't do things by halves, because they end up with six kids in about the amount of time it takes me to commit to a toaster. Speranza takes this whole concept three times around the dance floor, in the process introducing us to some of the more realistic kids I've encountered in FF. She also makes some interesting and believable guesses about how these guys would do as parents. In a way, that's actually one of the best things about kidfic; it's similar to AU fic in that it shows us the essence of the characters by changing their circumstances. Please note that some readers may find parts of "Eggroll" a bit sweet. I did myself, actually. But the humor and the situation make it all worthwhile.

Best FF That May Send You Scurrying for Additional Birth Control Options (and, If You Are Male, Induce Some Thoughtful Back-Dating): Another Mode of Belonging, by grit kitty. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. This story fills a need I didn't even realize this canon had. See, the essence of TS is that Jim pretty much co-opts Blair. Seriously. Blair ends up doing Jim's work, living in Jim's house, coping with Jim's senses. And then, in the last episode, Blair loses the last vestiges of his own life. After I read "Belonging," I realized that parity could only be achieved by having some part of Blair's life overtake Jim. And that's exactly what grit kitty has happening here. Best part of this story is definitely Jim's mixed emotions and reactions to the presence of Blair's kid in his life; I don't think this could get any more realistic.

Best FF Featuring a Chase Scene in Which One Party Is Encumbered, Not to Mention Ensmelled, by a Baby: Not My Baby, by [livejournal.com profile] dsudis. Buffy the Vampire Slayer*, gen. Unfortunate spell hijinks result in a baby version of Dawn. Spike steps in as vampire-dad-for-a-day (well, night, really) and copes with various problems both mundane and, um, smelly. This story will be especially good for those of you who have long believed that people with young children are pretty much undead anyway; you'll be able to see a blood-sucker instead of a zombie in the parent role for a change.

Best FF That Makes Me Want to Send Angry Comments to the Author Deploring Her Apparent Desire to Destroy Every Last Standard I Have Ever Had: Five Things That Never Happened: The World Turned Upside Down, by shalott, aka [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Master & Commander, Aubrey/Maturin. Did I promise there would be no MPreg in this set? I certainly did not. Though, in fact, this is not technically MPreg. It's genderswitch. After all, the person who gets pregnant is functionally female. The curse of shalott rides again; this is an abhorrent idea and I'm embarrassed I read it, let alone nominated it, but, um, it's, well...good. Look, blame her, OK? I only read what others write. Be aware that in addition to genderswitching, an odd version of MPreg, and a serious AU, this story also contains het. After a fashion. And I flatly refuse to say any more about it; read it, and then we can all pretend this nomination never happened.

-Footnotes-

* Please note that I am warily dipping my toes in the BtVS fandom yet again. Every previous excursion has ended with me waving my hands around and saying, "How the hell am I supposed to understand this? I don't have time to get a freaking doctorate in Buffylore!" This time, though, my Best Beloved has nobly volunteered to watch the whole series and then teach me the basics. I'm hoping this will, in time, allow me to know the canon and love the fandom**, but right now I've just gotten started and BB is only on season two. So what I'm saying is, essentially, any BtVS I nominate may or may not be in character or in canon, 'cause right now I barely know the names of the major players, and I wouldn't know a canon deviation if it bit Buffy on the neck.

** What is the fandom? Love is the fandom. What is the fandom? The fandom is death. Sorry, sorry, but I couldn't resist.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
For a long time I hated AU stories. I didn't understand why someone would go to all the trouble of writing fan fiction and then change one of the most integral parts. What was the point? What was the challenge?

Yeah. I assume I had some kind of vitamin deficiency or something. People who are taking their RDA of B6 know that AU stories are wonderful. In many ways they are the perfect expression of the FF writer's art (yes, I did just say that - this time next year, I'll probably be writing a damn dissertation on FF); an AU story must retain the essence of the canon, even when almost everything is changed. This can't be easy to write, and when it doesn't work, it's a disaster, but when it does work - oh, my.

Best FF That Should Become a Continuing Series, Preferably with Movies, Novels, and Suitable Fast Food Merchandising Tie-ins: Five Things That Never Happened: All the Wonder, by shalott. Master & Commander, Aubrey/Maturin. This is Aubrey and Maturin in space. I know, I know. It sounds silly. But this is also the story that converted me to AUs, because shalott gets everything just right - the language, the setting, the characters, the dialog. This story is what O'Brian would've written in an alternate universe. I read this and was dying for more; when I re-read it, I have to restrain myself from sending shalott bitter reader comments demanding that she turn this into a novel.

Best FF That Gets All Snarky About Superhero Spelling Issues: Drawing in a Mirror, by C. Elisa. X-Men movies, Xavier/Erik, Scott/Jean. I know, I know, I just keep babbling about my affection for C. Elisa, but seriously - her stories are wonderful. This one's a powerswitch, and the characters are different and yet so much themselves. It's remarkable. I especially love the power Scott has in this, but then I have long adored The Once and Future King. OK, OK, I need to end this nomination summary before I run out of synonyms for "love."

Best FF That Explains Sports, Male Interaction, and Small Group Behavior in Terms of Sex (and That Actually Makes a Lot of Sense, Doesn't It?): Hot Sky Blue, by Livia, Julad, and Calico. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. Maybe it's just the secret anthropology geek in me, but I read this story again and again for the way Blair integrates small group behavior into his sexual fantasies. I mean, c'mon, there's the sign of a man with his mind consistently on his work, yes? Or, now that I think about it, perhaps not. In any case, there are many reasons this story shouldn't be any good; it's AU, essentially PWP, the work of a committee. But it's actually fantastic, in no small part because we get a look at Blair as a person; too many Sentinel writers make him bouncy and garrulous and forget that he has, you know, an actual personality, too. These women don't, and I salute them.

Best FF That Isn't Just One AU, but Many: One of a Thousand Roads, by shalott. Gladiator, Maximus/Commodus. That shalott, she has a way with alternate universes. Especially those involving Russell Crowe, apparently. This story is far better than the movie was, which should not surprise anyone. I can't say much more about it without spoiling it. Go read this. I've seen the movie, but if you haven't, I think you could still enjoy this story.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The first installment of an estimated 11 million in the fine and fertile field of first-time fics. (No, the alliteration wasn't intentional. But I refuse to fix it.)

Best First Time That Takes More Than One Fic Just to Be Finished: Westering and its sequel Midwinter, by Gloria Mundi. Lord of the Rings, Aragorn/Boromir. Gloria shows us that J. R. R. isn't the only master of adjectives and description. Frankly, I like what she does with her talent better than what he did. (Yes, I know, that's a sacrilege and an admission of the evil in my soul, all that. The lynch mob will be forming just to the left of the flaming line.)

Best First Time That Induces Moral Decay in All Who Behold It: Only This, by Janette Le Fey. Real Person Slash, Rupert Brooke/Siegfried Sassoon. I came into fan fiction with very few limits as far as content went. One of them was no RPS – not because I think it's wrong or evil or what have you. I was just slightly skeeved out about reading stories featuring real people's names on fictional creations. I was proud of that limit. It showed that I had some small non-perverted corner of my soul. And then I discovered historical slash, featuring poets whose work I love, and, whoops, another taboo bit the dust. This is the story that did it. I suppose I could still revel in my unwillingness to read RPS about living people, but that seems like a slender reed, frankly.

Best First Time That Rewrites a Canon Ending and Makes It Stick: Black & White, by Your Cruise Director. L.A. Confidential, Bud White/Ed Exley. This story is right in line with the movie canon, so it's gritty. I like that, myself. Just think of it as a palate clearer – a little something sour and rough between desserts. For me, the ending of the movie was never as satisfying as the rest of it – it just didn't seem quite right, somehow. This one does.

Best First Time Involving a Blindfold: Origin, by Resonant and Kass. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. I knew, doing this topic, that I'd have to include one Sentinel first-timer, because that's pretty much the defining story of the fandom. The problem was to narrow it down to one; there were so many great stories to choose from. I finally went with "Origin" because it involves the senses, which are important in this fandom, and uses them in an original way. Also, there's a blindfold. Who doesn't love a blindfold?

Best Realistic Sex First Time: Reverie, by Your Cruise Director, who seems to have a way with first times. Master & Commander (the movie, not the book universe), Aubrey/Maturin. As with Sentinel, so with Master & Commander; this is another fandom where the classic story type is the first-timer. And because of that, there's five noms here instead of the four I try to limit myself to; I just couldn't cut another story from this list. "Reverie" gets the "best realistic sex" label because, let's face it, anal sex is not a major feature of most first times, especially when both partners have no prior experience with the act. This is a lot more like what people really do, and all the better for it.
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 fanfiction.net. 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.

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