thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The OTW is having a fundraising drive! (And this time, there is swag. It is awesome swag. I am just pointing this out.)

I love the OTW - I volunteer for them, in fact - and I love what we do there. But most of all, I love the idea that someday, the works I recommend will be mostly hosted on the Archive of Our Own (soon to enter open beta!), and I won't have to post knowing that in a year or so, half the links will be broken. You have no idea how awesome that would be. Donate to the OTW! Do it on behalf of your fannish recommenders!

The One That Makes Me Feel Guilty That I Wasn't Paying More Attention in 1999.Sixteen Days in September, by [personal profile] tevere. Generation Kill, Brad Colbert/Nate Fick.

This story is amaaaaaazing. It isn't always easy to read - because I am a wimp, there are places I totally had to skip - but it's gritty and so believable it hurts. It's an AU; instead of joining the Marines, Nate joins the Peace Corps. And gets sent to East Timor, on the eve of the independence vote. (And if you're thinking, East Timor? Independence vote?, well, I am not surprised. The only reason I knew anything about East Timor before reading this story was that I looked it up on Wikipedia because [personal profile] tevere lives there. But, fortunately, you don't need to know about the country to read this.)

The great part about this story, though - okay, one of the great parts - is that it's so much like the canon. I don't think I've ever seen an AU achieve such perfect parity with the canon's tone and content. It's astonishing. I'm reading Generation Kill right now, and this story perfectly matches its blend of great characters, moments of human triumph, and screaming fucking incompetence. (My basic reaction to Generation Kill is that human beings are not competent or organized enough for war. When I am the secret ruler of the world, I will require people to prove that everyone in their chain of command has intelligence and common sense. If they can't, sorry! No war. It sucks, but if you can't find your ass with both hands, a GPS unit, and a scale map, you can't have any guns.)

I do need to warn you, though - the independence of East Timor was not pleasantly and easily achieved, and this story reflects that. If you know the Generation Kill canon, well, there will be nothing worse here than you've seen or read there. If you don't, you can still read this story, and I encourage you to - this is one of those things that is worth it - but do pay close attention to the story header.

The One That Makes Me Wish I Had a Shirt with Fake Tits on It. (Although at the Moment I Have All the Boob I Need. Thanks, Breastfeeding!) To Let, by [livejournal.com profile] amand_r. Torchwood, Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones.

You know how good this story is? The whole thing is told in second person, which would normally be enough to drive me to stockpile weapons and tack great big maps up in my (non-existent, because we live in California, and believe me, this was a major source of bitterness throughout my childhood) basement, but here, I don't even notice. Seriously. Every time I re-read this story, which I do a lot (because it is wonderful), I am surprised once again that it is in second person.

Telling a story longer than ten words in second person is one of those things where, if you have to ask if you're good enough, you're not. Fortunately, [livejournal.com profile] amand_r is, in fact, entirely good enough. She probably has extra talent she has to store in old spaghetti sauce jars because she can't fit it all in her head at one time.

Because, really, this story is just plain awesome. I love the outsider view of Torchwood, and, frankly - and I know this is a major crime for a fan, tantamount to admitting you secretly want your canon to get cancelled - I love the original character, who is interesting. And even canonical characters aren't always interesting. (Sometimes it seems to me that a major function of fan fiction writing is making a two-dimensional character, you know, three-dimensional. So if we can do that, and we can, why do we tell each other we can't write original characters? I get confused about that.)

There's also a coda, linked at the end. I actually like the coda, especially in light of Recent Canonical Events, but, well. If you are, like me, of a sensitive disposition, you might want to pay close attention to the warnings. (Although if you're like me, you'll read it anyway, and you probably will not be sorry.)

The One That Makes Me Wonder Where the Great Chefs Go When They Die. I Mean, It Can't Be Hell, Because Then There'd Be Good Food There, but Most of Them Are Not What Me Might Term Heaven-Qualified. City of Sinners, by [livejournal.com profile] kaneko. Oz, Tobias Beecher/Christopher Keller.

So if you know how Oz ended, you know that a post-series happily-ever-after for Beecher and Keller is, shall we say, slightly unlikely. (If you don't, you should still read this - it's that good - but you'll have have to just trust me: not likely.) Which is why I am kind of astonished that Kaneko managed to make one. Oh, it's not the perfect happily-ever-after - there's no ice cream or anything - but then, I think Keller and Beecher had kind of reached a place where they couldn't take that. Some people really can't have nice things, and if you're not that kind of person when you get into prison, I would imagine you are after you've been there a while. Beecher and Keller sure were.

So this is their kind of happily-ever-after. Which is, okay, in hell. But! It’s not a bad hell, as hells go, and, really, they wouldn't fit in in heaven. (Plus, they'd probably have to be quarantined; otherwise, they'd have a terrible effect on the angels.)

Plus, I just love the world-building (Can I use that term in this case? Do I mean plane-building?) here. This is totally a hell I can believe in. If I, you know, believed in hell. Anyway. My point is: this is a wholly awesome story.

And I would think that this kind of went without saying - I mean, if you have a story that's set in the afterlife, certain warnings are just not necessary - but, okay, yeah. There's some character death in this.

The One That Makes Me Very, Very Glad I Am Not a Vulcan. Fever, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. Star Trek, Amanda/Sarek. (Does Amanda have a last name? I'm not even going to get into it with Sarek - I've learned that with Vulcans, it's better to just take the information they give you and be happy - but Amanda comes from earth. Surely she's got a last name.)

Soooo. Pon farr is one of those things that seems to have been made for fan fiction writers. Slashers, particularly. It's like the writer of that episode - holy shit, Wikipedia says Theodore Sturgeon, and frankly I would not in any way be surprised to hear that this is exactly what he did - sat down and said to himself, "How can I make sure that Star Trek is a fandom for the ages? And maybe get Spock a little more love from the ladies? Although, frankly, if the lady fans loved him any more, there could be riots. But then, I like a good riot." And then he thought of pon farr.

And if that was his plan, it worked. I am brand-new to the Star Trek fandom, compared to its overall tenure on this planet, and I have already read, I would estimate, thirteen thousand pon farr stories. It's like catnip to the fan writer's hindbrain.

The thing is, though - I've enjoyed pretty much all the pon farr stories that didn't spell Spock Spuck. But. Well. I never really thought about what pon farr would be like - for Joe Vulcan, for his mate (the lovely Jane Vulcan, or the equally lovely Jack Vulcan if Vulcans swing that way, or, in this case, the awesome Amanda Probably Has a Last Name but I Don't Know It).

This story is short, but it packs a hell of a wallop. And, really, I guess all pon farr stories should carry a dubcon warning - pon farr is the sex pollen you carry along with you! - but this one plays with that edge a little more than most.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I realize I haven't updated in weeks, which in LJ time is equivalent to about four years. (Seriously. Many LJs were started, subjected to vicious flame-wars, and abandoned in a snit in the time between my last update and this one.) I had a reason. Actually, I had two. The first one, work, can be of no possible interest to anyone, so we'll skip that. The second one, though, was procrastination about my slashiest fandoms post. Why am I so afraid to write it? Well, because I think I know what the slashiest fandom is, and it's so small it only has three stories, all of them works in progress. The fandom in question is Shadow Hearts: Covenant. You can have your TV shows that don't make sense unless you assume the male main characters are in love (Smallville and due South, although in due South's case I suspect it was intentional), your movies that don't make sense unless you assume that the two male main characters want to fuck each other senseless (The Fast and the Furious), your cable-TV shows that feature actual male characters actually in love but mostly beating the shit out of each other anyway (Oz), your comic books featuring Spandex, teen-aged wards, apparent wet dreams about Superman, and a plethora of Dick jokes (D.C.), and of course anything written by Joss Whedon or Warren Ellis. These are all highly slashy fandoms, yes, but none of them features actual gay sex between a professional wrestler and his teacher, after which the professional wrestler gets a purple and pink mask that goes nicely with his special "Rose Bondage" armor designed to make the (male) wearer irresistibly attractive to other men.

Really. This is canonical.

So, you know, the slashiest fandoms post is coming right along, and my fear of it is also advancing in leaps and bounds, because if there's one thing you don't want to do in a LJ, it's tell someone that her fandom is not as slashy as this other fandom over here which she is not an actual follower of, and, as I said, no one but me and, like, three other people follow Shadow Hearts. So I've been procrastinating by, well, reading the news and stuff. But, frankly, there's only so long I can spend involved in the real world before I'm ready to give up on life altogether. And my Best Beloved continues to monitor my LJ and present me with distressing details about how long it's been since I updated. (Hint: if you don't want exact information, don't marry a librarian. They're like wolverines with the facts, people.) So the time has come for me to recommend some actual fan fiction, before we all forget how to read, and I forget how to write sentences involving words like "smut" and "cock" and "schmoop."

Anyway. I was looking through my Scary Recs Database That I Will Never Finish Recommending, Not If I Live to Be a Hundred and Get a Lot Better About Updating Regularly, and I realized that there were - well, several, and by several I mean "more than I care to admit" stories described as PWP. Know that to me this is not a condescending description or an insult; speaking as someone who could not write smut if there was a gun to her dog's head, I truly appreciate the great smut-writers of this world. And people who write great smut are great writers, because maintaining the reader's interest when your entire story can be accurately summed up by a three-letter acronym? Not easy, folks.

So let us all appreciate these writers and their stories. While we still can, because the lunatics are truly taking over the asylum out there - see, for example, the recent and depressing Time Magazine cover story on, among other things, the new push to have the FCC regulate cable TV. (Which would mean that we'd never see another show like Oz or Queer As Folk. Admittedly, I've not seen those ones yet, but I still like knowing they exist.) This is what happens when I pay attention to the news, people: links to actual information in this LJ. Let's hope it isn't a trend. As an apology, I offer you Smut (yousendit download, and it's a small file because it's low-fidelity, but it's also a live recording from 1965, so it's not like you're missing anything), which, as I know I've remarked before, should be fan fiction's anthem. And, of course, this set of PWPs. Because we should love our smut while we still can.

Best FF That Proves That a Harvard Education Is No Match for Innate Talent When It Comes to Lingual Activities. Dirty, by [livejournal.com profile] actizera. Oz, Tobias Beecher/Christopher Keller. I love Oz lockdown stories; they may be a fandom cliche, but only in the sense that everyone has to write one. Because - look. In Oz, you can write an AU, or you can write a lockdown story, or you can write a story that begins, ends, and middles with angst or unhappiness or pain. (Experienced writers routinely go for the Oz hat-trick, which includes all three.) But I - well, I'm the person who can these days recognize both Beecher and Keller (which is, trust me, a major accomplishment for me, as I can count on the fingers both hands all the people I can identify from their faces alone), and I learned to do that exclusively from the pain associated with Oz vids. (It was the one featuring Beecher's first season arc that killed me, folks, and it was the one about Keller's last few seasons that jumped up and down on my tragic early grave.) I can even sometimes recognize the actors; if I see a random photo of a man looking calm and confident even though he's wearing clothes that would give a supermodel cause for concern, and I wince reflexively, I know that's Christopher Meloni. And if I see a photo of a man who is wearing normal clothes, but I'm still wincing - well, that's Lee Tergesen. But you know what? I love Oz to death despite the pain. This puts me in a great frame of reference for appreciating Beecher/Keller stories, and gives me a serious love of stories that focus on the approximately two weeks of their lives (I accidentally typed "lies" there, and that was a Freudian typo if I've ever seen one) when they were happy together. So: PWP, lockdown, happy ending. Could you ask for more? Actually, if you can, there is more; this story hits, for me, all the right Keller notes - the incredible confidence, the flashes of near-pathological insecurity, the power, the helplessness. It's all here. So this is also a character study. And did I mention that it's smut? Read with joy, my friends.

Best FF That Might Make You Willing to Stay at One of Those Creepy No-Name Motels That Normally Make You Think "Horror Movie Psycho Killer RUN RUN RUN!" Crescent Moon Lodge, by Anais, aka [livejournal.com profile] minkboylove.* Stargate SG-1, Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill, whose damn name ALWAYS looks like it's spelled wrong. So. There's a motel, and there's sex, and that's the plot summary. And that is why I don't do PWP sets more often - not because I don't love the things, because lord knows I cherish them, but because it's tough to write a story summary of a PWP. (Only so many times you can write, "There's some fucking, and also...more fucking" without feeling just a wee bit inarticulate.) My solution is generally to maunder on about something only vaguely related to the story, so let's go right to that, shall we? See, the thing about SG-1 is that there's only a few options for a Daniel/Jack relationship: post-military, post-apocalypse, the ever-popular Denial of Military Reality route, and then, of course, the sex without the relationship. Or with only part of a relationship. This is one of the few fandoms where I honestly don't care which path authors take; if they want to deny military reality, I am happy to go along with them, and if they'd like to level Earth's immediate galactic neighborhood with massive ancient alien solar wind machines, well, there are days when I'll help. But the toughest choice is definitely the relationship-less fuck, because Daniel and Jack are both oddly devoted individuals who don't seem to do sex without commitment (unless an alien has taken over their brains, although you'd be surprised how often that happens); I suppose the canon writers went that route because they needed some way to explain the fact that Jack and Daniel essentially never have sex with another actual human being. Getting back to the story - I think Anais does a good job with the semi-relationship option in this one, mostly by focusing heavily on the sex, always an excellent choice.

Best FF That Proves You Shouldn't Spar With Anyone You Wouldn't Fuck. And You Don't Want to Know What That Says About the D.C. Universe, Where I Suspect They Take That Rule to Heart. And Other Places. Hit, by Te, aka [livejournal.com profile] thete1. D.C. Universe, Dick Grayson/Tim Drake. (Note for my Much-Loved Long-Lost Mystery Relative and Comics Abstainer: try this one, OK? Because there's not a lot to throw you, here; if you know they're both costumed heroes affiliated with Batman, you know everything you need for this story, and it gives you a very good impression of the characters. If you can't take this one, you've got Spandex Issues, which is perfectly understandable, but it's not something plot summaries can cure, unfortunately.) So. Here we have the still-living Robin assortment smacking each other up. (Anyone who immediately launches into "Smack my bitch up" after that line is - well, probably right on target, actually. There's canonical backing for that, I'd say, though Te's the expert.) This story works on several levels; its plays with the strangely sexual sparring that is just way too common in the D.C.U. to be accidental, and it's a good introduction to the characters, and also there's the smut. My favorite thing about this, though, is that it shows why Tim worked as Robin. (I'm not going into the Jason argument here; I'm not insane. I'm just saying - Tim definitely worked as Robin, although Christ only knows what he's like now, as a certain Major Crossover Event pretty much killed my desire to follow the Batverse.) See, Tim is the absolute flip-side of Dick in every way. I mean, Dick fell into Robinhood. Tim thought his way into it. And because Tim is so very, very different, it's impossible to judge him solely by the way he fills Dick's old Robin panties and elf boots. (Which he would not, in any case, be caught dead or catatonic in Batman's arms in. Sorry; that was some seriously tasteless humor there.) To sum: fighting, sex, and great characterization. You could not, in good conscience, ask for more.

Best FF That Really Highlights the Beauty of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Chicago-Style Alternative Dispute Resolution, That Is. All Talk, by [livejournal.com profile] estrella30. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Ray Vecchio. You may not like the Ray/Ray, but you've got to admit writing it takes guts. I mean, it isn't like slashers don't have enough trouble with pronouns just generally. And yet you have these brave writers willingly rushing into a pairing where even the proper nouns are guaranteed to be confusing, what with them both being called Ray and them both having worn the name Ray Vecchio at some point in its distinguished and multi-hued history. You've got to respect that kind of courage, even if you think Ray/Ray is an abomination upon the Earth. Which I, for the record, don't. I did once, I admit, but now I like it. I just sort of treat it as - well. Not a different pairing so much as different characters. There's Ray Kowalski with Benton Fraser, and then there's this whole other Ray Kowalski with Ray Vecchio, and I have no problems reading about either one. (No, really, I don't, even if reading about them in close succession gives me these horrible meta-fic visions of the two Kowalskis meeting, which is second in horror only to the one where Stanley Raymond Kowalski meets Stanley Kowalski from Streetcar, which is the sort of thing that can drive a woman to drugs, or maybe just rocking in a corner in a mental hospital somewhere.) Anyway. This story is another one of those fighting-leads-to-sex PWPs, but given that this pairing consists of the two mouthiest guys in Chicago, the fighting is all verbal. Or verbal and positional - you know. And then they have sex!

-Or-

Best FF That Proves That Fate Hates People Who Make Bets They Think They Can't Lose. Competition, by [livejournal.com profile] qe2. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. This is the Certified Safe Alternate Story I'm required to offer whenever I recommend a dS story involving Ray/Ray or an unhappy ending. (Or, god forbid, Fraser/Stella. You don't want to know what kind of shit I got for rec'ing that one, and I shudder to think what will happen the next time I do. Which will be soon. And it is not my fault that people write great stories with the other dS pairings; I only rec the stories. I don't, like, order them up from the Great Porn Warehouse in the Sky.) I have to do this alternate-story thing, because one of the Kowalski/Fraser True Believers out there knows where I sleep, but I'm also happy to do it, because there's such a lot of great dS FF out there. So this is a way for me to cheat on my own rules and recommend two stories from the same fandom in the same set. (If you think it's weird that I want to do that, well, I'm the person who wants a "Cheat" button in computer solitaire. In other words, I'm not the most moral person out there, and that remains true even if the competition consists entirely of people who made a lot of money in Florida land deals.) I decided to go with this one, even though I have a summary all written for a different F/K PWP, because I realized it's the perfect counterpart to "All Talk." That story is about Ray Kowalski's competitiveness as seen through the lens of Ray Vecchio, and this one is about how that same trait looks on Fraser's Kowalski. And, yes, I realize that sentence made no sense, but nonetheless it is correct. Read and you will see. I hope.

* Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] oneminutemovies!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(For the record, Wordsworth is to blame for the title punctuation. I am innocent. Innocent, I tell you.)

Alternate universes. And I've said this before, but alternate universes come in many flavors, from body-snatch ("Wouldn't it be cool if Xander Harris looked like Justin Timberlake?") to eigenstate ("What if Two-Face's coin had come up heads?") to brand new suit ("What if Casey had stayed in gymnastics? And been really good at it?") to mutant hybrid ("So, if Beecher is Cathy and Keller is Heathcliff..."). I'm not a big fan of the body-snatch AU, but otherwise I'll read whatever is going. What's going today? Mutant hybrid, brand new clothes, and major eigenstate (only one thing happened differently, but it turned out to have a major local effect). In other words, just another ordinary day in fan fiction. FF, how I love thee!

Best FF That Will Give You a New Appreciation for Current European Monarchs. I Mean, You Think Prince Charles Has Funny Ears? Study in Emerald, by Neil Gaiman. Sherlock Holmes x H. P. Lovecraft, and I imagine the author would say it was gen. (It is, actually. But Gaiman does such a good job of recreating - or, well, re-doing - the Holmes canon that slash lurks in every corner and between every line, just waiting for someone to say its name and make it manifest. And then write a sex scene or two.) You need to know at least a smidgen about both fandoms to enjoy this. But if you do? Oh how you will enjoy it. I just can't give you specific reasons, because I can't say much about the story without spoiling it. So instead of persuading you with logic and incisive critique*, I'll have to go the whining, begging, pleading route: Read this! Even though it is not your fandom! (Unless of course SH x HPL is your fandom, in which case I have an anthology you'd like to read.) Even if it is gen! (Or, if you are a gen reader, even if it does have slashy overtones!) Because it is, well, really good! So good that I would even throw a second exclamation point into that last sentence, except that the shame would break me; I'd end up like Dimmesdale. (I.e., in a closet with a scourge. And Hester Prynne.). Or maybe like a Lovecraftian hero after he discovers - too late, too late - that research is the real most dangerous game. (I.e., gibbering in moderately purple prose.) My point is, you need to read this story right now, unless you don't know the canons, in which case you'll want to do some other reading first. (I suggest A Study in Scarlet and The Call of Cthulhu.) I may not be Lovecraft's biggest fan, but, seriously, this story is worth the effort.

Best FF That Will Make You Want to Eat Cake. A Decorated Cake. Or, OK, One Specific Decorated Cake. Or Maybe It's Just Me Who Wants That. Deke, by Rhi Marzano, aka [livejournal.com profile] rhiko. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. Two authors I love share a dS site (this one, in fact), and of the nine stories there, four are AUs. And these are good AUs, AUs I have long admired. So picking just one was, you know, challenging; I finally went with this because it's got hockey. And we all need more hockey AUs. I mean, OK, yes, dS has more hockey than your average fandom (Although why other fandoms don't have much is an unsolved mystery. Who doesn't want to see Ron Weasley play goalie? Or Bobby Drake as center-forward in what has to be his natural habitat? Or Beecher and Keller suddenly playing for the same team? (Hockey team.) I hear all of you chorusing, "We don't want to see that," but you are wrong. Every fandom needs hockey. Even ones that are, technically, set prior to the invention of the sport.) Also, I'm beginning to think that NHL hockey may survive only in fan fiction AUs, so I'm doing my part to encourage fangirls everywhere to get to know hockey. (And then come explain it to me, because I've never met a team sport I understood.) You say hockey is not enough to convince you? Give up now, kiddo, because I've got lots more reasons you should read this. Like, for example - Fraser is still the canonical Fraser. Blending an AU-type character and a canon(ish) character is not easy, but Rhi does it with great panache. And you like panache, don't you? Plus, I find myself actually liking Smithbauer in this one, which is like a miracle on the ice. Also, there's cake.

Best FF That Proves That Dysfunctional Romance Is the Basic Black Dress of Interpersonal Relationships. Force Draw, by [livejournal.com profile] actizera. Oz, Tobias Beecher/Christopher Keller. A good Oz AU is hard to find, man. I don't mean eigenstate AUs; I'm talking about ones that change the setting. Oz is maybe the most setting-dependent canon in existence, and taking the guys out of the cage changes way too much for it to work. I mean, you could write, say, a law firm AU (sadistic senior partner Schillinger, newly-minted sacrificial lawyer Beecher, hotshot trial guy O'Reily, Keller bribing juries and sucking cock to get - well, pretty much anything), but it'd be tough to preserve the characters, let alone the relationships between them. Oz is all about having no choice, all about being penned up with wild animals (and everyone is a wild animal in there; the only choice is predator or prey), and even though many of us would liken attorneys - the ones we don't love, obviously - to wild animals, it's just not the same without the walls and guards and locks. Beecher/Keller is a particularly tough pairing to sell in a changed-setting AU; it's just really hard to buy their relationship outside of prison. Which is, as you may have guessed, why I love this story. These guys are canon Beecher and Keller, and they have the same relationship; they just play pool instead of cards, and they screw in a truck rather than after lights out, but otherwise it's all the same, and it's believable, which is a miracle. You don't even need to know how the characters got to this point; this is a vignette, not an epic, so there's not a lot of background, but that totally works. For one thing, you pretty much know the background after you read this scene. All hail Actizera, who wrote the impossible AU. And who apparently gets Beecher and Keller on a scarily deep level.

Best FF That Supports Gerund Rights. Specifically, Gerund Rights to Appear in Titles. All We Are Saying Is Give Gerunds a Chance. Coming up for Air Series, by Delilah. The Sentinel, gen. First, the caveats: this series is a work in progress, and although each story stands alone fairly well, the last one ends on a cliffhanger. Also, some of the stories need to be beta-read - there's a lot of typo-type errors. But it is definitely worth reading. It's a fascinating extrapolation of the canon; the potential for all of this is present in the series but never explored (or, I suspect, even considered). The minor characters are extrapolated, too; Jim's family is very present, and as much more than just plot devices. Stephen, in particular, is an interesting and complete character here, and Sally gets a lot more time. Bonus: the mystical stuff makes sense. Normally I can only take so much supernatural-shaman-spirit guide blah before I'm ready to move on to something slightly more probable, like why Ron Weasley is really Dumbledore. In fact, I sometimes OD on the whole caboodle in the time it takes to read the words "black jaguar." In this series, though, it makes much more sense and works a lot better than in most stories. And this AU concept just feels right; it's believable in a way the canon sometimes isn't. And for the record, I don't find these stories sad. Oh, didn't I mention that in the warnings? Because, yeah. Everyone I've ever seen mention this series (which is, admittedly, not that many, even though it's a rather famous series) has described it as sad. Disturbing, even. But for once I don't agree, and given that I can tear up over video games and the death of characters who are, technically, cars, that's saying something. (Although I can't tell you whether it's something about the series or about me.) No one dies in this. Nothing that happens is worse or more upsetting than the canon. Jim is different, yes - his senses came fully and permanently on-line when he was six, and that changed him and the course of his life - but I don't see him as even remotely a tragic figure; he is damaged, both by the senses and by some aspects of his family, but that's true of canon Jim, too. To me, this Jim is, if anything, more comfortable and more secure than the one in the canon. But, well, others don't agree with me, so you are hereby warned: this might make you sad. (If it does, please say so in the comments. I'd like to know, and it will serve as a warning to others.)

-Footnote-

* I know. Like I ever do, right?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
...and hold there is no sin but innocence.

That's pretty much the attitude you'll be needing for this set, which is made up of stories that somehow involve religion. I have no idea how many readers of this LJ (assuming there are any after the Long Hiatus, about which more, only - later) are devout adherents of any religion, but those of you that are might, you know, want to look away from this entry. Or at least skip to the last rec, which involves the Amish Satanism Plus Goats religion. Because, while I'm sure that one is just insanely popular and all, its members probably don't have internet access and therefore won't be offended.

But the rest of you can probably count on being irked somewhere in here. Just, you know, FYI.

Important Email Note: I have learned that something was wrong with my non-fannish email address (the one with 'dsl' in it) for most of the last week. Anyone who has tried to send something to it over the past five to seven days please please resend unless you've gotten a response from me, because I've replied to the mail I've received. Also, anyone who knows what I've done to offend the email gods - because when it was just my fannish email that screwed up all the time I could believe it was the server, but now I have to accept that the problem is me - or what ritual would appease them should let me know. Via comment or, for the braver set, email. Please.

Important Website Query: Will someone please tell me what's up with trickster.org? I've been out of the loop for long enough that I don't know anything except that it has apparently gone the way of the dodo. And that it's a total bitch assembling recs sets without access to the trickster sites. Should I go into mourning or what?

Best FF That Could Probably Cause the Author to Be Stoned in Certain Highly Intolerant Times. But We're Past All That, Aren't We? His Own Soul, by [livejournal.com profile] sssenza. The Bible, David/Jonathan. This is NC-17. Yeah. I thought I should begin as I meant to go on in the offense department. But, look - it's canon. Don't believe me? Check out the actual text, which says "and then they had sex" so clearly - I mean, come on, Jonathan takes off his clothes and hands them to David - that it doesn't even need slashing. But the author of this piece did a lovely job elaborating on the canon, including many fetching details about who did what to whom. And she took it out of the language of the King James Version, which is a good thing, because KJV is very pretty and excellent to quote and just packed with thees and thous and untos, but it is not all that easy to read as a story. Whereas this is extremely easy to read. And fun. And good. Still, I realize that "NC-17 Bible fic" is a squick all by itself for some people, so I'm offering an alternate story for this rec. Note that I don't call it a Certified Safe Alternate, though. And for very good reason.

-Or-

Best FF That Proves That You Don't Need to Deviate from Canon to Produce a Highly Disturbing and Squicky Story, Provided You Choose Your Canon Carefully. Brotherly Love, by [livejournal.com profile] daegaer. The Bible, gen. Sort of. I mean, the Bible is far more explicit, in places, than this story, and the only sexual relationship mentioned herein is definitely canonical. But if you thought gen (or religion) was squick-free, my children, this will prove you wrong. I can't really warn any better than that without spoiling everything. (Those of you who like to be spoiled, though, might want to Google Amnon and Tamar.) Also, this story is one of the best short character studies I've read; it's only 500 words long, yet you don't need any familiarity with the Bible to understand the nature of Jonadab. (Which nature is, for the record, pure evil. Admittedly, he's really damn good at being evil, so good you almost have to admire it even as you're horrified by it, but that just makes the whole thing worse. Trust me.) In short: an amazing story. Bonus: if you were disturbed by the David/Jonathan story, you won't be after you've finished this, because this will show you what disturbing really is. Note: I've already recommended this story once, but it's worth rec'ing twice, and it's not like there's a ton of gen Bible FF out there.

Best FF That Shows Us That Religion Has Its Place in Oz. And That That Place Is Not a Comfortable or Happy One. Incense, by Brighid, aka [livejournal.com profile] brighidestone. Oz, Christopher Keller/Tobias Beecher. We all know that Keller has some issues, yes? Religion is, canonically, one of them (and even more so after he had a vision of Hell while he was dying - one of the deaths that didn't take, for the record). Here we see what religion means to Keller and what Beecher means to Keller, and how those two things are not as separate as they might be in a totally healthy and stable person. It's another brilliant character story, with one of those joyful, fun looks at Keller's past that Oz writers love to give us. And the ending is just a killer, provided you know how the series ended; this is another short story that packs a godawful punch. Warning for the easily offended who have somehow made it this far in this recs set without spontaneously combusting: the very first line of this story features the word "Jesusfucking," and that's not exactly the only obscenity you'll find here. Or the only blasphemy. So probably best not to read this unless you're good with the blasphemy thing.

Best FF That Shows Us That When You Have New Powers, You Also Get to Commit Entirely New and Original Sins. Ten Thousand Candles, by Andraste, aka [livejournal.com profile] andrastewhite. X-Men, Charles Xavier/Erik Lensherr (but non-explicit - blink and you'll miss the only reference to it; to my mind this is gen). You need to have seen X2 for this to make a lick of sense. If you haven't seen it, go on to the next rec now, because the rest of this summary will take place deep in spoiler territory.

And now that they've all gone, I've got a confession to make to you: the second movie didn't work for me. There were some good parts, but overall, it didn't hang together, and one of the biggest reasons is the thing that Andraste built this story around: Xavier, as we know him in XMM canon, couldn't have survived the events of the movie. The invasion of the school was bad enough, but then there's also the tiny fact that he murdered thousands of people. Murdered. Thousands. Xavier would not be, shall we say, comfortable with that; he wouldn't be able to keep his chin up, keep a stiff upper lip, keep on keeping on after doing that, no matter what the excuse, no matter what the circumstance. But the impression I got from the movie was that he'd found himself not guilty by reason of mindfuck, and that's just - not Xavier, not for me. So I have an intense love for this story. Unbelievably intense. Scarily intense. Go thou and read, and you will love likewise.

Best FF That Proves You Can Build a Story Around Religion and Still Keep It Light and Silly and Totally Not Blasphemous. You Just Have to Find the Right Belief System. Happily Ever After, by Merry, aka [livejournal.com profile] merryish. Once a Thief, Mac Ramsey/Victor Mansfield. Yes, we've reached the one that's safe for everyone except Amish Satanists and fans of human (and goat) sacrifice. Yay! Now let me tell you how astonished I am to find myself recommending anything in this fandom, because I just finished watching the movie, or possibly the pilot, of this show, and - wow. Bad, folks, I'm telling you. Bad. I can't tell you not to watch it - there's a scene involving a chandelier that makes a reality out of all the "swinging from the chandelier" jokes in various FF stories, inasmuch as the two male characters spend a goodly amount of time tied to each other and rubbing against each other so vigorously that you could use the scene as a visual definition of frottage while hanging from said lighting fixture - but I can tell you that you should be good and drunk when you do. Or just skip to the Chandelier Scene. Trust me, you won't be missing much. Anyway, the Best Beloved and I had just finished watching the movie/pilot thing when I read this, so the scars were fresh. And yet I found myself reading and giggling and loving this story. So I just have to recommend it. It healed me, I'm telling you, and it will heal you, too. Well, provided whatever ailment you have isn't made worse by laughter.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I promised an entry totally free of due South, Sports Night, and The Sentinel. And this is it. I feel myself twitching from withdrawal already.

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Thanks, Te! I now know one more thing than I did before. And that thing is that someone at DC has a wicked sense of humor when it comes to names.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Best FF That Destroyed Cherished Childhood Memories of Mine, but Will Not Destroy Any Memories of Yours, Unless Your Father Also Sang You to Sleep with "Pinball Wizard." And If He Did, Email Me, Because We Probably Had the Same Father; I Mean, There Couldn't Be Two Men Like That. Tilt, by Resonant, aka [livejournal.com profile] resonant8. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Well. Ray and Fraser. Wanda in a chainmail bikini. Pinball. Kissing in public. Mountie-suit-related cruelty. Sex. And Resonant. Do I need to tell you more to sell you on this thing? I thought not. So let me, in the grand Livejournal tradition, change the subject to myself. Yes, my father really did sing me to sleep with "Pinball Wizard," because apparently I used some of my very first communicative words to request it. (This is such a revealing detail that anyone out there who also happens to be a member of my family will recognize me from that alone. So, if you know who I am now, go away. Get your porn recs from someone you don't share any genes with.) And when I say "requested," I don't mean once; I asked for it every night until I was five or six. And since I didn't sleep through the night until after first grade, my father spent hours every night singing this song. For years and years. (Yes, mine is the best father in the world. And that was totally non-sarcastic; even this LJ is capable of sincerity, on occasion.) God only knows why "Pinball Wizard" had such an unhealthy attraction for me. But I can't help thinking all that early exposure to the deaf, dumb, and blind kid who sure played a mean pinball warped me in some essential way.

FF Featuring the World's Best Thing to Yell While Having an Orgasm: "Incoming!" Yes, Ladies (and Gentlemen, and Others), Try That One Tonight and Watch Your Lover Fall Right off the Bed. No, Really, I Dare You. Silk, by [livejournal.com profile] cmshaw. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. Silk boxers are something of a cliche in this fandom, and I think this story might just be the reason. Because torturing Jim is such fun; I mean, what good is a Sentinel if you can't annoy him? (This message brought to you by Blair Sandburg, who would like to add: bother your Sentinel today! But not mine, man, because only I get to bother him.) So, here we have jimblairishness, silky underwear, little fishes, and sex. I can't think what else you'd need to know, so I'll change the subject again. This story is linked, in my mind, to [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie's silk rant; I can't read one without thinking of the other. See, I am not a fabric snob. I knit, and I can be a bit of a yarn snob, but when it comes to fabrics? Um. It should be machine washable. Beyond that, all I can say is that it should wear really really well, because once I commit to an article of clothing, I am going to wear it until it is in shreds. (And even then I will continue to wear it to bed.) I do not like shopping for clothes, because nothing ever looks like something I would wear, and I do not like wearing new clothes, because they don't feel like something I would wear, so I wear the same things over and over and over. (I like to think Jim Ellison would understand this.) That trait means I never really considered the strangeness of silk cropping up all over the place in FF until MMWD brought it up. Because, yes, I've worn silk underwear, and silk shirts, and even a silk dress, but I hated them all. And I had a point to this, but I've been fatally distracted by the realization that this is, again, something Jim Ellison would understand. So, you know, way too much identification with Jim going on here today, and I'm scared. Moving on. Briskly.

Best FF That Explains How Shaving Can Be Used As a Psychological Diagnostic. And Why We Should All Try to Masturbate in Public More Often. Close, by [livejournal.com profile] actizera. Oz, Tobias Beecher/Christopher Keller. Note, folks, that this one is safe for Oz phobics (You have nothing to fear, Ozphobes, but fear itself. Well, and Vern Schillinger.) and novices; nothing bad happens in it, and you don't need any canon knowledge (beyond, you know, that these guys are in prison), either. It's just good, clean public sex, to the extent that public sex can be considered clean and good. Note that in this fandom I consider it public sex if the lights are on, because you just can't use normal definitions in Oz. It's the fandom that broke the fannish lexicon. (Hurt/comfort? Well, baby, let me tell you the tale of Beecher/Keller, because it's pretty much all hurt/comfort. Slash? Um. Is it still slash if it's a canon relationship? Non-con? Jesus, I don't know. Is anything truly consensual in Oz?) Seriously. It's the Fandom Different, and I've had to rework all my usual categories so that they apply to Oz. Just one more reason to love the fandom, I guess. Anyway, here we have Beecher being a little slut and manipulating Keller. I love it when Beecher does that, and you should, too. (To continue the tradition of bringing every rec back to me, let me tell you how alarmed I am to see Oz bedding down in this set with all my happy fandoms. I mean, we're going to have not one but two stories from Sports Night in a minute, and that will pretty much run the gamut of safety fandoms, for me. And yet, here's Oz, like a cat among pigeons. Or, worse, like a Schillinger among first-season Beechers. Tell me Oz is not going to become one of my baseline fandoms. Please.)

Best FF Featuring an Incredibly, Intensely Lame Prom Theme. Worse Even Than the Prom Theme My Freshman Year, Which Was - Really! - "To All the Girls I've Loved Before." I Have No Idea Who Picked This, but She Was Either a Wicked Satirist, a Bitter Ex, or a Deinstitutionalized Psychotic. Whichever, I'd Like to Shake Her Hand. This Year's Prom Theme, by Pares, aka [livejournal.com profile] kormantic. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. I had a hard time picking the SN story I'd put in this set, because there's two with identical plots - no, really, Charlemagne even talks about it in his author's note for Party of Two. I ended up going with "This Year's Prom Theme" because a) it's been more thoroughly proofread, b) the guys actually have sex, rather than just making out, in public, and c) I can't figure out what Charlemagne's story is called. It could be "Party of Two," yes, but it could also be "Old Friends." If you read it, inspect the page and let me know what you think it's called. So. Here Casey has sex with a prom queen. But that's all right, because he eventually has public sex with Dan, and that fixes things up nicely. This story scores a little bit high on my angst-o-meter, especially for this fandom. (I want happiness in this fandom - happiness and snarkiness and happiness and sex and a happy ending. I'm prepared to compromise about the sex, but not the ending, which is unusual for me.) But you know what? It may have a bit of angst, yes, but it has many great moments. For example, the sex in front of the publicist in Natalie's living room. Yeah, I thought that'd pique your interest. I won't try to keep you here any longer.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Canon repair is one of the most common and most irritating types of fan fiction. Why common? Well, canon creators seem to delight in breaking our hearts, hurting the characters and destroying the worlds we love. It's only natural to want to make it right, to fix the owie owie badness somehow. (Or, alternatively, bite the creators. Or, in many cases, both.) Why irritating? Because it doesn't work, is why. You have to dance with them what brung you, and that means you have to work within the canon instead of fighting it. Yes, you can write AUs, and if you're good then they will be, too, but we all know that a story in which Sirius miraculously turns out to be just pining for the fjords - and the Veil just teleports you to northern Norway (which some would argue is not all that far from the truth) - isn't an AU. It's a dream world. (A weird dream world.) Denial may be the third most popular fan sport, but it's fundamentally useless when it comes to fiction.

Except, of course, when it isn't. Because sometimes denial and fury and desperation produce works of phenomenal quality, stories so good, so perfect, so right, that I find myself cursing the canon writers for failing to think of this themselves and save us all this trouble.

That's what we have here. Repair work as it should be: better than the canon itself. Some of these are AUs. Others are interpolation or extrapolation built around the troublesome canon. But they all fix what I consider to be errors. (And of course we're using my own definition of canon errors; this is a supremely self-centered LJ, after all.)

The Best FF That Almost - Almost - Makes a Whole Wretched Season Worthwhile, Though I Imagine That I Might Feel Differently on That Point If I'd Actually Seen the Season in Question, as Opposed to Just Reading the Summaries with Ever-Increasing Horror: Poison, by Mandy, aka [livejournal.com profile] geneticallydead. Oz, Tobias Beecher/Chris Keller. OK, so we all know that season 6 of Oz was one big fan-fuck in a show full of fan-fucks, right? Some people have tried to deal with this by expunging the very memory from their minds. Others have regressed, fleeing to happier times in earlier seasons (and when you're defining the second season of Oz as a better place, you know you're in some kind of trouble). Mandy's taken a different approach; she twists the results of Keller's suicidal leap a bit, and suddenly we're back on the right path. Well, back on the true path; it's not like anything could be right and good and happy in Oz. But this comes as close as anything will, and it's satisfying on other levels, too; we get a really good look at what's going on in Keller's mind - a scary proposition, I'll grant you, but a worthwhile one - and we get to see Beecher using his brain and his will together for once.

Best FF in Which the Grounds of the Beverly Hills Hotel Have the Same Effect on the Characters That They Do on Me, Namely a Strange Sense of Unreality, As Though I'd Been Transported to Las Vegas, and a Strong Desire to Be Elsewhere: The Memory of Hurts, by Sinead, aka [livejournal.com profile] smallbeer. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. It's not like Sports Night ever broke the way, for example, Oz or Homicide or Buffy did. It wasn't around long enough to deteriorate that badly. But the second season is harder to take than the first for a lot of reasons, most of which arose, I suspect, from Sorkin angst. (Hint to all TV writers out there: we use therapists to deal with our problems. We use television for entertainment. Try to keep the two separate, OK?) It's hard to explain the abrupt changes in Danny's personality from season one to season two, for example. And when you look at the way Casey and Danny behave right at the end of the show and compare it to the way they behave in the pilot, it's clear something has changed a lot. But we're never shown what that is, so it's jarring. Sinead fixes all that, and blends her story seamlessly with canon. (Note for sensitive Danny/Casey shippers: This story is definitely a season two story, but it does have a happy ending.)

Best FF That I Love Even Though Everyone I Know Who Has Read It Has a Different Opinion About What Happens in It (and Do Feel Free to Weigh in on That Point, Because - Surprise! - I Am Convinced I'm Right): What You Wish For, by [livejournal.com profile] nwhepcat. Buffy the Vampire Slayer x Angel the Series, gen. This story is amazing because it fixes two major canon irritations (which isn't to say that there aren't lots left in the Whedonverse for other aspiring writers to address) - one for each show. And, in the process, it shows just how much better FF writers can do on occasion than, for example, Joss Whedon. In season four of Buffy, Giles and Xander get sort of lost - it's like the writers just couldn't think what to do with two handsome, strapping men who had lots of experience at fighting demons and bouncing back from personal trauma, even though that is the ideal resume in Buffy's world. And in season one, episode nine of Angel, Doyle dies. For no real reason. Just because the writers wanted to prove that they'd damn well kill whoever they wanted to kill. (Yeah, right. We believe that. Because they were so likely to kill off, say, Angel, right?) The problem of Xander's aimlessness is totally solved in this story. And even though Doyle doesn't actually live on in this fic, somehow it made me feel a whole lot better about his death.

Best FF Featuring a Title That Sums up Both the Story and the Canon Problem the Story Fixes. Plus I Just Really, Really Love the Title and I Wanted to Spend Some Extra Time Talking About It. Tepid Apocalypse, by Molly, aka [livejournal.com profile] molly36.* The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg/Jim Ellison. And here we have a series ender that just made no sense. Because, OK, I've never actually watched the series, but I know enough about the situation in "The Sentinel by Blair Sandburg" to know that a) there were other and better ways of resolving it and b) the way they picked wouldn't actually work. So that's fairly irritating. Also, way to destroy the character of Blair and the relationship balance between Blair and Jim, folks. Just in general, this episode's plot says to me, "We needed a dramatic last episode, and after 20 minutes of vodka-ridden thought, this was the best idea we had on the table." So post-TSbyBS stories that make that concept work impress me - I mean, the fic author is doing way better than canon writers did, yeah? And "Tepid Apocalypse" also manages to find a new balance between Blair and Jim, repair the character damage the episode did, and just generally fix what went wrong when the fine writers of The Sentinel had whatever massive brainstroke they did. In other words, this is a textbook case of canon repair. Go, Molly.

* Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] pearl_o!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to Oz, I know nothing. But when has that ever stopped me before? Roll on with the FIHL, and if I get it wrong, hey, just tell me so.

Oz is a TV show. About a maximum-security prison. That did its damnedest to show prison life the way it really is. And it was written by Tom Fontana. This is all the warning any sane person should require; translated, it says "do not watch Oz or read Oz FF." I've managed to avoid watching the show, but I've succumbed to the fic, albeit in a horror-show, hands-over-the-eyes, reading-between-my-fingers kind of way.

Oz: the Fandom I Don't Want to Love (That Is Apparently Going to Make Me Its Bitch Anyway) )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Of course, Samuel Johnson probably was thinking of public amusements other than sex when he said that; I don't really think public sex is all that likely to focus the mind on thoughts good or clean. But, really, who wants thoughts like those?

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

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

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

-Or-

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

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

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

-Footnote-

* Fan fiction is having a seriously deleterious effect on my view of a certain punctuation mark. Am I the only one who looked at "love/hate" and thought, wow, there's a pairing I'd read? Um. Actually, I probably am.

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