thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This is a recs set with a special purpose: to give some entertainment to [profile] thetankisclean, whose three-year-old son, Gus, has brain cancer. Obviously this is not a thing I can fix or even help with, but kidfic is her happy place. So I am recommending some long, happy kidfics for her; at least this way she'll have something to read on the many sleepless nights in her near future. (So far, by the way, the news on Gus is basically all good, or at least all the news that followed "he has brain cancer." I'm hoping hard that things stay good for Gus. And if you pray, [profile] thetankisclean has asked that people please pray for him to reach ten healthy and strong and relapse-free.)

The Only Fan Fiction Ever to Make Jeweled Teeth Endearing. (Note: Jeweled Teeth Are NOT Endearing.) The Place of That Desire, by [archiveofourown.org profile] yekoc. Swimming RPF, Ryan Lochte/Michael Phelps.

For those of you who, like me, were not really paying attention to the 2012 Olympics, let me assure you: Ryan Lochte is an appalling human being. This dude recently picked Auburn to win a college football game between Texas A&M and LSU, so we can see that he is not the brightest brick in the Duplo box. He has a signature word, and it's such an awful one that I refuse to type it here because I might teach my autocorrect terrible habits. He once tweeted "A Qm" (complete, total tweet) and people favorited the hell out of it as vintage Lochte at the very peak of his communications prowess.

And that's not even getting into his - attire issues. I mean, okay, I knew he had some weird thing about jeweled "grills," but I managed to persuade myself that this must merely mean buttons or maybe Elton John type sunglasses until I was in the middle of this story, when I could resist no longer. I googled. And then I bowed my head and WEPT FOR HUMANITY. (Don't google. If you haven't seen it, DON'T GOOGLE. Just know that he wears bejeweled mouthpieces and be grateful that the phenomenon hasn't spread to other sports. Or, if it has already spread to other sports, don't tell me about it.) And then I showed the picture to Best Beloved so we could weep a little more together. (TFV Marriage Tip #121: Spend a little time each day being mutually appalled together.)

But when we were done, I wiped my tears and kept reading, because this story is fantastic. I have a special love for stories that manage to make seriously disastrous people lovable without erasing any of their problematic elements. And I basically worship this story for convincing me that Ryan Lochte, Ryan Lochte, would be adorable with a baby. And good with a baby. And an actual quality parent. And that he's - yeah, okay, lovable.

Frankly, this story is not just sweet and adorable, and it doesn't just have its best scene take place in a pool, it's also deeply inspiring. At least if you are the kind of person (me) who can be inspired by the discovery that even profoundly flawed human beings can still be reasonably awesome ones. And if that's not enough for you, this has perhaps the best coming out scene in all of recorded fan fiction. At least if you like your coming out scenes the way I do. (My impression of coming out was forever warped by my own experience of it, which was notable for the following conversation between my mother and sister:

My sister, cranky because seriously don't talk to her in the morning she's a fuzzy ball of snit until ten: Are we out of milk?
My mother, on the phone to me: Your sister's a lesbian.
My sister: Fine. I NEED MILK FOR MY CEREAL.

If you're going to come out, and you're worried about the response you might get, I encourage you to practice on my sister in the morning. Okay, really any time, but you'll get much more amusing results if you start early.)

Location of the mother: Absent. But, I mean, this is a character who had unprotected sex with Ryan Lochte, so I can't think anyone would be surprised.

The One That Leaves Me Wishing I Could Download All the Adorable Photos Taken During the Story. Whyyyyy Can't I Make Photos Appear with Just the Power of My Brain? I Swear I Would Use My Power Only for Good! Enough to Crush Your Veins, by [personal profile] doctor_denmark. Hockey RPF, Jeff Skinner/Eric Staal.

When this story first came out, I had several late-night arguments with people about it. And that is definitely a sign of a quality story: people, some of whom have CHILDREN and all of whom have to get up in the morning, spending precious sleep time a) reading a story and b) communicating with friends in other locations who are also up way too late reading the same story. (My father, when I was little, used to tell me about a strange time in our country's history when almost everyone watched the SAME TV SHOWS at the SAME TIME. It was like the world's least social party, the way he described it. "That'll never happen again, of course," he said. If he were alive today, I would tell him that it still does happen. Sort of. In the sense of several thousand people all reading the same pornographic fan fiction story at the same time and mutually shrieking about it via email and Twitter. The thing about my dad is that he would probably have found that inspiring proof of humanity's basic amazingness.)

Anyway. So basically this is the story that put nanny AUs in a box marked done for me, because I'm never going to be able to read all the way through another one without taking this one out and reading it again. It is GREAT. It is CLASSIC. And it works for me - well, okay, first it works for me because the toddler OC is an actual toddler. (I cannot read stories featuring alien toddlers from another dimension. Unless of course they are billed that way. Which reminds me: why don't people write Vulcan toddlers more often? WHERE IS THE VULCAN TODDLER FIC?) But mostly it works because it takes an abused, overused plot element (two people who really need to talk to each other and yet don't) and perfects it. This is how that's supposed to be done, is basically what I take away from this story: two people being idiots, yes, but because of reasons! It makes all the difference.

And, oh, there is so much glorious stuff here. I don't want to spoil it for you, but trust me: if this is the kind of thing you like, then you will basically want to wallow in this story, roll around in it, maybe print out a copy so you can put hearts in the margins in some places. Not that I have done any of those things. (Except I do re-read this basically every time I'm sick, which, given that I have my very own germ vector, means I've re-read it at least 20 times since it was posted. In April. One area of raising a toddler where this story does not achieve realism is in the area of constant illness, but I just assume Eric and Jeff and Joey all have superhuman immune systems, which are probably issued to you free through public health care up in Canada.)

Location of the mother: Present (albeit temporarily in another country)! A good parent who is ACTUALLY INVOLVED IN HER CHILD'S LIFE WHAT IS THIS MADNESS.

The One That Confirms My Theory That Airports Were Put in This World to Test Us to Destruction. Don't You Shake Alone, by [personal profile] dira. Generation Kill, Brad Colbert/Nate Fick.

I always feel like I'm cheating when I recommend a story by Dira. Everyone knows she's good by now, right? Everyone who would even consider reading a lengthy Generation Kill based kidfic did so immediately after she posted it, right? It's like: Dira wrote a good story. In other news, Neil deGrasse Tyson is a basically perfect human being and this Labrador Retriever puppy is cute enough to make your teeth hurt.

But in the end, I don't recommend a story based on whether I think there's an English-reading fan anywhere in the solar system who is unaware of it; I recommend a story because a) I want to write about it and b) I want Best Beloved to read it. (She refuses to read stories I go on about at length unless I actually sit down and write about them. This is the motivation for like 90% of the recommendations I've made in the past four years. TFV Marriage Tip #382: Know how to motivate your partner, and then use that knowledge to make her do things she actually wants to do anyway.)

So. This story is incredible. And not just because it's frankly adorable kidfic set against a background of realistic PTSD, which is not something most writers could manage. This story - like, I read this and I cannot believe that Dira doesn't have children, because she depicts, perfectly and clearly, the complete sea change a new baby brings to your life, and how being a new parent is kind of like - well, in birth classes they talk about "pain with a purpose," because the purpose is supposed to make all the difference. As far as labor goes, this is bullshit. Labor pain is pain. (It's pain with an END, which is way more important than a purpose, at least to me.) But being the parent of a new baby actually is pain with a purpose, and the purpose is making you attach so fiercely to a tiny helpless human that you would cheerfully kill hundreds of people to protect the useless larva that has kept you from sleeping or doing any uninterrupted tasks for the past three months. If human beings were intelligently designed, it was by someone with a massively warped sense of humor.

And if there was ever a fandom designed to underscore the warped nature of human reproduction and development, Generation Kill is that fandom. No one gets how fucked up basically everything is like Marines, is what I'm saying. Plus, the fundamentals of baby care involve a lot of sleep deprivation and random bodily fluids. Again, sort of the wheelhouse of the US Marines. (I'd suggest everyone hire a Marine as a babysitter, but it would have a deleterious effect on the vocabulary of the next generation.)

So this story is just fundamentally right. Plus, you know, hot, sweet, gorgeous, perfect - enough said GO READ.

Location of the mother: Planned absence.

The One That Proves That What Every Parent Really Needs Is Superhuman Senses and Magical Powers. I - Find This Unfair. Kindred, by [livejournal.com profile] maldoror_gw. Naruto, Gaara/Rock Lee.

Yes, okay, technically this is a sequel (although you could read it as a standalone, but why in god's name would you want to?) to Diplomatic Relations. I'm recommending it anyway because:
  1. It is a great story in its own right.

  2. If you haven't read Diplomatic Relations yet, that's a tragedy, and if you want to live a tragedy that is your choice and I can't be held responsible. All I can do is try to show you the light.
So. Either you should go read Diplomatic Relations, stopping off if necessary at my original recommendation of it, or you have already done this task (and thus been fitter, happier, and more productive for the past four years) and are ready to move directly on to Kindred. Either way, let me tell you about Kindred.

My own theory for how [livejournal.com profile] maldoror_gw decided to write this story is that she was sitting in her home one day, thoughtfully considering Gaara, as you do, and she suddenly realized there was something even more terrifying to contemplate than Gaara in love: Gaara with a CHILD. Parenting a child. Raising a child! (If you have no idea who Gaara is, it shouldn't hold you back from reading this story, by the way. He's a psychopathic, demon-infested ninja whose childhood consisted entirely of trauma and killing. But as an adult he's really much improved, and some optimistic people even believe he might have a facial expression someday. In short: spacetoaster!) It really is the kind of concept to give you nightmares.

But this story is the exact opposite of a nightmare. Yes, that's in part because Rock Lee, whatever his other faults (mostly excessive enthusiasm and sincerity, and if you don't think sincerity can be a fault, obviously you need to read up on Rock Lee), was basically designed to be a good parent (despite having a traumatic childhood; as far as I can tell from my limited exposure to Naruto, the number of ninjas with traumatic childhoods is all of them). But it's also because Gaara is used to working around his faults, and there is no more accurate description of parenthood than that.

This story is funny, fun, and touching, basically all the things good kidfic should be. Plus it features ninjas in love. I'm not sure how things can ever be better than that. (Okay, maybe if you also added robots? I don't know, it might be overkill, but in my experience robots usually make things better.)

Location of the mother: Deceased, but this is Naruto, where like 80% of adults don't make it past 30, or at least that's how it looks to me from my place of total lack of canon knowledge. (To give you some idea, Rock Lee was orphaned at an early age. Gaara's mother died when he was born and his father died later; you could list "Gaara" as the cause of death for both of them with reasonable accuracy.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
My Yuletide stories are in the hands of my betas. I am trembling with fear. Obviously, it's time for some nice long distracting fan fiction!

The One That Will Make You Want a Pair of Rust-Colored Trousers. Resist the Temptation. Please. Get Loved, Make More, Try to Stay Alive, by [livejournal.com profile] dsudis. Torchwood, Captain Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones.

Here's what I know about Torchwood: there's this guy named Jack, who was introduced on Doctor Who in the SCARIEST EPISODE I HAVE EVER SEEN OF ANYTHING. (From this, you may conclude that I am a wimp. You are entirely right.) He caught a nasty case of immortality a while back. Now he works for Torchwood, an agency that monitors alien presence on the planet Earth. (And where are the Torchwood x MiB crossovers? That's so obvious it has to be, like, a whole sub-genre of the fandom!) He's head of Torchwood in Cardiff. Cardiff is a very strange place. He and his team manage to fit some alien-fighting and world-saving in between their frequent orgies.

Okay. I'm making the orgies part up. It's just, every time I see pictures of the Torchwood cast on my friends list, someone is always macking on someone else, and so in my mind Torchwood is a story about alien fighters who fuck. Or fuckers who fight aliens. Whatever.

ANYWAY. I'm not an expert on Torchwood, but I can tell you that this story is shiny perfection. It's like Dira took perfection and then somehow polished it up and found a whole new level of perfect underneath. There is time travel! There is the future! There is romance and love and loss and what people wore! There is...okay, yes, there's MPreg. But it's the good kind of MPreg. (And, yes, there is such a thing.) Also, there isn't very much MPreg, or any description of, you know, pregnancy-related fluids and suchlike. Please do not run screaming.

This story features something I have always wanted to see done and never before witnessed in all of fan fiction: a guy gets pregnant and does not immediately decide that he's keeping his baby. (Not that there is anything wrong with either that concept or that vid. Far, far from.) For that alone, I would have loved this story, and then Dira had to go and add about 50,000 more words of wonderfulness just so that I would have to figure out what is even more love than love. (The answer, by the way, would be "love." It's very deep.)

This story is everything in the world that makes me happy.

The One Where We Get All That Unpleasant Character Death Business out of the Way before the Story Starts, and the Character Himself Doesn't Really Take Any Notice of It. The Difference Engine, by [livejournal.com profile] copperbadge. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

When I went to write this set, I got all pouty because I couldn't rec this, on account of some dickwad hacked the community and deleted it. But now it is back, and I am recommending it while I can, because I love it. And who doesn't love stories in which John Sheppard is a robot? (Or, in this case, I think he's technically a cyborg. I don't know. I didn't major in cyberpunk or whatever.)

The first lines of this story are pretty much the textbook definition of a narrative hook - seriously, why can't I do that? It takes me like 2,000 words just to get to the part that might vaguely interest at least a few of my readers - and it just gets better from there.

I've always loved stories that offered solid explanations for John Sheppard's occasional, you know, oddness. ("He's a big ol' gay queer homosexual" is perhaps the most frequently offered explanation, but sucking cock can't explain everything, people! I know, I know. I'm heartbroken too.) And this explains it better than most. He has subroutines! He has programming! He has technically already died!

Wait. Does that mean this story is about an undead robot? Because I think if we start combining those two genres, we could end up with the kind of mutant subgenre that proves to have superstrength and mind control and starts taking over all of fiction.

And I for one will not be sorry if that proves to be the case. Only rarely is fiction this wonderful. Going on the available evidence, undead robots make everything better.

The One That Has Robot Space Mounties. Why Are There No Robot Space Mounties Right Now? Forget the Flying Car. The Future Will Only Arrive When We Have Robot Space Mounties. Real Boys and Real Worlds, by [livejournal.com profile] troyswann. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

Okay. I realize that, taken in conjunction with the previous recommendation, this set makes it look like I have some sort of deep need to see various characters as robots. That would be totally, entirely false. A scurrilous lie. For the record, I have not even considered, for example, the AU where all the immortals in Highlander are immortal because they're self-repairing robots (and their permanent deactivation switch is buried deep in their neck). Nor do I frequently ponder Jim Ellison as a robot with a superior sensory processor and a minor chip malfunction. And I never think about how I could totally read Supernatural if only Dean Winchester was a robot.

...Possibly I am a liar. It's totally not my fault, though; I imprinted early on I, Robot, which taught me the joys of robot-adjacent slash. It just took fandom to show me how much better it is if the robot is more fully involved.

Anyway. This story is so much more than just Benton Fraser as a robot. (Although you can hardly deny that that is the best concept to come down the pike in a very long time.) It's real SF, with a background world of extreme awesomeness and Kowalski as a queer (Not that kind of queer. Or, okay, not only that kind of queer) cop and Frannie as something so incredibly wonderful I will not describe it to you, but trust me, I nearly fainted with happiness when I read Real Boys for the first time. There was risk of joy-induced head trauma, I tell you what. This story has ACTION. And PLOT. (Basically, this story has all those really hard bits that I remember I can't write, every damn Yuletide.)

You know what this is? This is what Philip K. Dick would have written if he could actually write. (Look, the man had some great ideas, but he wrote like he was on massive quantities of opiates and had only a glancing acquaintance with reality and, you know, people.) Well, I mean, assuming he also had developed an interest in gay robots.

But, really, who is not interested in gay robots? NOT ME.

The One Where It's Totally in Character to Use the Word "Lover," and in Fact I'm Kind of Surprised the PoV Character Doesn't Surround That with Little Hearts, Too. Diplomatic Relations, by [livejournal.com profile] maldoror_gw. Naruto, Gaara/Rock Lee.

He's an overeager hopeless romantic! And he is a psychopathic serial killer possessed by a demon! Together, they fight crime! No, really, they do. It's very touching and sweet.

I have only the vaguest understanding of Naruto, and even my reaction to the idea of Gaara hooking up with anyone (for purposes of sex and romance - I mean, if Gaara hooked up with someone for a worldwide killing spree, that I would believe) was blank disbelief. And Rock Lee is not exactly - he's not exactly the mate for Gaara, is all I'm saying.

And yet. And yet. This so works. I'm not sure why it works - we're talking about a lengthy romance conducted between a guy who has only a passing acquaintance with humanity and a guy who sincerely believes in Truth! And Beauty! And Love! Above all things, he believes in Love. (Okay, and martial arts.) It's inexplicably wonderful, is what it is, and you don't need to know anything about Naruto at all to love this. (Here's what I know: there's these people, like ninjas except with extra super ninja goodness, and they fight. Um, each other, and also bad guys. Some of them are possessed by demons, which gives them even more extra special abilities, but causes them to have traumatic childhoods. The main character is Naruto, also known, in this case, as Sir Barely Appearing in This Story. And...that's really pretty much it. Oh, and the series apparently eats people's brains.)

This story is funny (turns out there is endless humor to be found in the fact that Gaara knows 3000 ways to kill people but only two and a half emotions) and engrossing. I mean, it's not like you don't kind of suspect that these crazy kids will make a go of it, and yet I, at least, was totally riveted to the screen, deeply anxious to know if, you know, they'd manage to deal with the inevitable disapproval of pretty much everyone! Fall in love without destroying major villages! Defeat the bad ninjas! Okay, really - here's the deal: this story just makes me feel good.

Oh, quick warning for media fans: don't read the author's notes. They will just confuse you. But read the story. You'll love it.

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