thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. Hi. Earlier, I, um, made myself sick by eating an entire jar of pickles. It wasn't a small jar, either. I have no idea what I was thinking, and in fact I'm fairly well convinced I wasn't thinking. Just - there was a jar of pickles. About an hour later, the jar was there, but it contained only a small amount of brine and some random floating spices. I spent a few moments theorizing about alien pickle abductions - were they stem-end probing my Vlassics in geosynchronous orbit ? - and then I realized that a) I was going to be sick and b) this was probably not unrelated to the missing pickle mystery.

Let my experience be a lesson to you: pickles only in moderation. Also, for god's sake use a plate. (No, as a matter of fact, I was not raised in a barn, but sometimes I think my parents wished I could be.)

So, in memory of my poor lost pickles - which, oh god, ew - I give you: food-related stories.

The One That Should Be Called 'Management Techniques of the Fifty-First Century.' Although If This Is Actually How They'll Manage Then, Well, Peter Drucker Will Be Horrified. Vitamin A, by [livejournal.com profile] basingstoke. Torchwood, gen.

When I bookmarked this, I noted that Torchwood is just about the only fandom I can imagine where a story can have a spanking scene between two grown men and still be gen. Jack Harkness is like some weird sexual anomaly field: nothing sex-related is impossible if he's nearby. And that includes even a totally non-sexual spanking scene.

But what I actually love about this story is - okay, there's two things. First, it's funny. And it will be especially funny to those of you who have ever managed a difficult employee. (Note: this story should not be taken as management advice. Some things can't be done by anyone but Jack Harkness; if you try this, you'll get your ass sued off. But feel free to imagine doing it in your next unpleasant work encounter.)

Second, it's a look at the way Jack Harkness's mind works. Apparently the fifty-first century has highly unusual methods of problem-solving. And they've managed to get thinking outside the box down to an art form. Or maybe that's just something peculiar to Harkness, too. (Does anyone know if there's any fan fiction that depicts life in Jack's fifty-first century aside from [livejournal.com profile] cherryice's awesome Leave the Light On? I would love some good stories that explain how he got this way. And I don't mean the, you know, eternity issue, because he was what we might term a highly creative thinker long before that.)

So, what's the food connection? Coffee. Owen apparently can't make it. Or, rather, he can, but you need to be immortal (and brave) to drink it. So I guess he's kind of the Starbucks of the damned.

The One Where You Learn That a Less Known Side Effect of Membership in the Clan MacLeod Is Flexibility in the Kitchen. No, Not That Kind of Flexibility. Although That Probably Comes with the Tartan, Too. The Freshest and the Best, by [livejournal.com profile] julad. Highlander, Duncan MacLeod/Methos.

This is part of Julad's shopping series (which is, by the way, thoroughly awesome); Duncan and Methos go grocery shopping. No, really, that's all that happens here, and it's wonderful. I love seeing Methos push Duncan around, even if I think the purchase and eating of eel is - well, not one of the best ideas Methos has had. Way more disgusting than a lot of pickles. (But if you are an eel eater, know that I honor and cherish your differences. And, um, I've been a vegetarian since I was 10, so I wouldn't really know, but isn't that stuff kind of rubbery? It looks like it would be rubbery.)

And I really love this version of the Duncan/Methos relationship - Methos is keeping Duncan young and flexible, which is both ironic (or, you know, the title of a book from the self-help section of the Watcher's Library - Chicken Soup for the Immortal's Soul: Tips on Staying Young from the World's Oldest Man) and totally appropriate, because someone needs to do that. (Look. I love Duncan as much as the next girl, but sometimes he acts like he has a katana up his ass.) In this story, Methos makes the decisions about the really important things - food, sex, saffron - and leaves the unimportant stuff - the Game, beheading, vengeance - for MacLeod to do at some point when it doesn't inconvenience Methos. In short, this is Highlander one of the ways I love it: light, funny, with characters I can honestly believe have lived a long, long time.

Additional bonus: you get TWO recipes for eel! Sort of! I mean, this isn't going to do me much good, but if you've got a lot of eel sitting around (deceased eel, obviously - if you've got a live eel, that's a whole different story) and you can't think what to do with it (which seems to be the likely outcome of having a lot of dead eel), here are some ideas.

The One That, I'm Warning You Right Now, Will Make You Think Impure Thoughts about Desserts. A Little Cheesecake, by [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg.

We've all fallen in love with a cheesecake - oh, don't even tell me you haven't; I saw you with that luscious slice of New York style, stroking her creamy sides and licking her off your fork, and don't think I didn't hear you moan - but most of us don't, um, take it quite as far as Jim does in this story. (And, no, seriously, stop thinking about American Pie. Stop it right now. He doesn't take it that far. At least not in this story, and I think it's safe to say I will never rec the story where he does. Although no one should consider that a challenge, please.)

This is a great look at Jim at the beginning of the series: so repressed he cannot be in the same state, or even plane, as an emotion. And it's a great look at how Blair is the perfect fit for that. See, there's a conversation in this that - okay. The first time I read this story, I had to click away in the middle of it because my embarrassment squick warning went off. If you've got an embarrassment squick, you're probably familiar with this. It's like the aura before a migraine; it's this little internal monitor that says, "Warning: this could get embarrassing, and then you will die. Just FYI!" So, you know, I paused in my reading to fortify myself. And then I clicked back.

And the thing is, Blair just manages this conversation like he was talking about chopsticks or something. He is the perfect counterbalance to early canon Jim: he's like a mediator, forcing Jim to get in touch with his emotions. Only Blair's mediation sessions come with blow jobs. (Note for licensed mediators: do not try this in your place of work.)

The One That Should Come with a Warning Reading, "Will Put a Song in Your Head That You Hoped You'd Forgotten." No, Not Celine Dion. Even Worse. But It's Worth It, I Promise. Four Boots, Five Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty Feet, by [livejournal.com profile] kormantic. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

Bodyswap, people. Bodyswap. Is there anything better? No, there isn't. And this is an awesome bodyswap, filled with humor and fruit and comparative analysis of asses, so you want to read this RIGHT NOW.

And now every single one of you who hasn't already read this has clicked and is no longer reading this sentence; I can safely assume I'm addressing just those of you who have read it. (Okay, fine. And everybody who doesn't read SGA, and everybody who doesn't read fan fiction at all.) So I can tell you that in this story, Rodney and John learn a lesson that got totally skipped in kindergarten, at least for me, which is: if you start sharing there's just no end to it, and eventually you end up unable to call even your body parts truly your own.

(That would make an awesome lesson, don't you think? My kindergarten was clearly deficient. Although I'm not sure how you prepare small children for the future rigors of bodyswapping. Is there a felt board or a fingerplay for that? Maybe a song with mnemonic hand gestures?)

So, basically, on the Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Fan Fiction chart, this would be: share, but only with people you wouldn't mind having sex with, because we all know where sharing leads. (But another thing I've learned from fan fiction is that everyone wants to have sex with everyone, even tentacles, so, really, I guess this wouldn't change much.)

The food in this one, by the way, sounds genuinely tasty. But remember, kids: keep your alien fruit to yourself unless you want to get laid.

The One You Should Not Read Around Mealtime Unless You Are a Really Adventurous Eater. A Hell of a Dinner, by [livejournal.com profile] daegaer. Good Omens, gen.

And here's a story that I had to include because it a) is wonderful and b) features the most revolting dinner you could pay 115 pounds for (um, because I'm too lazy to look it up, does anyone know how to make the pound sign on an American keyboard?), complete with a link to the restaurant where you can go to get your very own expensive and hideous dinner. (BACON. In ICE CREAM. There are absolutely no words for this horror. And I cannot believe our governments are worried about things like drugs and terrorism in a world where people openly and wantonly make sardine sorbet. Priorities, people! Biggest problems first! Solve them with guns if necessary!) This is precisely the sort of food Crowley would fancy. In fact, he probably sat through the entire meal feeling vaguely bitter that he didn't think of it first.

(I also have my suspicions about who did think of it. Has anyone seen Famine since the world didn't end?)

In any case, this story is perhaps the ultimate thing to read when you want to feel better about making yourself sick with pickles. (...Yeah, okay, that's an audience that is limited to just me. Me and my SHAME. But it's also worth reading even if you've never had a pickle in your life.) Because you can read it and think, "Well, at least I didn't pay 115 pounds for those pickles." And also you will be very very grateful that it was just pickles you ate, and not pickle flavored ice cream. (Probably it be a sorbet, actually. Zesty dill pickle sorbet. Okay. Ew. Oh my god, ew. Actually, I - I think I need to go lie down right now.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, I experienced what was apparently a fever-related critical intelligence failure and imported all my bookmarks to del.icio.us.

There were 4000 of them.

Three thousand of those were fannish.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Someone I might want to be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Footnote-

* Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] sockkpuppett!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Yes, welcome back to Vids You Really Should Watch (In the Opinion of One Who Probably Doesn't Know). But, hey, before we get to the downloading portion of the post, let me rec a community to you: [livejournal.com profile] the_reel, which is kind of like [livejournal.com profile] crack_van, except it's for vids, and also there's con-crit on vids upon request. Go sign up to rec something, people. Or just watch the community, because this is a very cool idea. I'm not saying it will save me from this totally out of control vid-reccage spree, because it won't (oh my god Ocean's 11 and X-Files tipped the 150 mark since the last post and I will never ever be done with this), but it will make me a happier human.

And. On to the vids. If you haven't read the disclaimer that explains why I don't know anything about vids, you should head back a post. Short version, though: if I was stuck in an SGA-style exceedingly improbable life-or-death situation, where my knowledge of visual media was all that stood between John and Rodney and a very shiny death in each other's arms, they would be fucked.

Harry Potter


The Vid That Always Makes Me Want Some Chocolate. I Can't Say Why, Exactly. It's Just This Thing. Remus? A Little Help Here? Year Three: Under Ice, by [livejournal.com profile] ashinae.

Availability: That link will take you to Ashinae's main vids page; this one can be found in the Harry Potter category. (Hands up everyone who is surprised by that. And, if you have your hand up right now? Um. You need a nap.) Ashinae has been having some server problems, but everything should be dandy and sleek and trouble-free by now. If it isn't, please let me - or her - know.

Okay, see, Harry Potter is one of those fandoms where the vids just really don't work for me. In this case, it's not because I don't know the canon - it's because I do. It's that I consider the books the canon. The movies are pretty and kind of fun, but the characters just aren't the ones I hold in my head, and the character interactions never feel exactly right, and, well. The movies are not my canon, okay? Mock me if you must. So I'm already starting from a huge handicap when I look at HP vids. (And, side note - this is exponentially true when I'm watching HP shipper vids. My brain seizes up in this whole fit of, "OMG NOOOO! He's, like, twelve! And disturbingly wee!" I tell you, I do my best to revel in perversion, but sometimes I run into these weird...ethics-things. It's sad.) Ashinae totally conquered my little HP-movie-canon problem in this vid. I like all her "Year" series vids (hint: the other two are "Year One" and "Year Two"), but this is definitely my favorite. I love the way she uses visual metaphor in this, with the dementors as the water and their effects as ice and snow; it's easier to feel the grim, soul-leeching chill of the dementors while watching this vid than it is when you're watching the whole movie - or reading the book, for that matter. I love the focus and cut of this movie, too; I'm not sure precisely what Ashinae did - and anyone who can tell me will be adored, and I mean that - but this song should be very hard to vid compellingly. Part of that is obviously that she's taking her musical punctuation from instruments other than just drums, but there's something else going on here, too. I don't know what. It is exceedingly nifty all the same.

Pirates of the Caribbean


The Vid That's All About Making a Pairing out of Nothing at All. Well, No Shared Screen Time, Anyway. Tango, by [livejournal.com profile] mimesere.

Availability: pretty much all the time. Link newly updated! All should be working!

Norrington and Sparrow shared maybe, um, two minutes of screen time? I forget how much, exactly. Plus, Norrington was only in this movie for like twenty-five minutes total. (And, really, he deserved at least twice that. More, even.) And yet the tension between them is, for me, one of the most interesting aspects of the whole movie. (Sorry, Will. It's not that I don't love you and your adorable little dorky quest. It's just...okay. I tend to forget you when you're not on the screen. And also sometimes when you are. Also, you may think it's clever to hide your little alien mossy friend in plain sight on your upper lip, but trust me: we've all noticed that that isn't a mustache.) But, hey - we're slashers. We don't need a lot of canon declarations of loviness. We thrive in the absence of them, in fact. But it's a bit more difficult to thrive in the near total absence of on-screen interaction when you're dealing with slash vids. Which is why this vid amazes me, because it totally sells the pairing. Well, that and the fact that it is very suggestive. Because, okay, when I remember this? I remember it featuring Norrington and Sparrow doing the Dance of Extremely Sexy Mutual Loathing, also known as "I hate you! Now fuck me!" (A very popular number in any fandom, let me say.) I remember it (the vid, people) featuring the two of them swordfighting, in fact. But it doesn't, for a very good reason: as far as I know, they never actually did that in the movie. Mimesere somehow uses the music (Is there anything sexier than the tango? No. I thought not.) and the fast-paced, lovely editing to suggest the sexy hating and fighting in this vid. The result is, um. Surprisingly compelling.

The Vid That Reminds Me, Yet Again, That Disney Is at Right Angles to Real Life. Maid on the Shore, by Marna, aka [livejournal.com profile] commodorified.

Availability: pretty much all the time. Scroll down a bit to find the right vid.

Okay. You know, I am not a critical consumer of popular culture. (I'm hardly a sentient consumer of popular culture, actually, but that's this whole other story.) So I watched Pirates, and I enjoyed it very much (I am never happier than when cuddled up with some major anachronisms and really good special effects), and I thought about it very little, beyond a few yearning wishes that Sparrow and Norrington had way more screen time, and that someone had thought to confiscate Will's not-mustache. I was, yes, a little skeeved out by the whole gorgeous-young-maiden-abducted-by-bloodthirsty-pirates thing, but I was willing to suspend my disbelief. And then I saw this vid, and my disbelief came crashing down. (Which isn't to say that I don't still enjoy the movie just as much. See "popular culture, non-sentient consumer of," above.) In this vid, Marna recuts Elizabeth on the Black Pearl to reveal the fact that, well. That sequence? Is fucking creepy, and also not funny, and also did I mention the creepy? So if you're looking for the happy little pirate movie we saw in the theaters, this isn't the vid for you. But if you're interested in maybe the ultimate example of how a vid can, by changing context and tone, completely change the meaning of the canon, this is definitely a vid for you. (Actually, it isn't optional: this is a vid for you no matter what. Go! Download!) And, see, here's what's amazing about this one. You won't see anything in this vid that you didn't see in the theater. And yet you'll come away from it feeling like you did. (You may also come away wondering precisely what universe Disney films. A very alternate one, is my feeling on the matter.) Do not miss this one.

The Sentinel


The Vid That Celebrates the Pure, Pure Cheese of the Source. Black Cat, by Seah and Margie, aka [livejournal.com profile] flummery (two vidders, one LJ, double the fun - plus, without a doubt, the coolest layout ever oh my god so cool).

Availability note: pretty much all the time. Scroll on down.

In this household, we think of this as the "Gee, Jim sure is a dork" vid, but in fact you also get to see him get hit quite a bit, so it's like a wonderful double feature. I mean, it's just - could there be a better vidding concept than The Big Dork Smackdown? Especially in a canon that is, let's face it, not precisely cheese-free? I mean, we love it because it's cheese. Well, and because Jim and Blair are apparently unable to peel themselves off each other long enough to fight crime, and that's another thing you can see, in fact cannot miss, in this vid. (Actually, you can see that in almost every Sentinel vid; it's hard to watch one and not say - generally right out loud to your spouse - "They are so doing it, oh my god. Look! Right there! Doing it!" There's just one vid I can think of where that isn't true; it's Jim/Simon, and it is so incredibly carefully cut in order to keep Blair out of the Jim frames that it pretty much proves the whole "so doing it" point.) So. Cheese. Dork Smackdown. Jim and Blair fighting over who gets to be the girliest. Do I need to go into further detail about why you want to see it? (Because if I do: it will also make you look forward to the rather cheesy panther sequences. You thought that was impossible, didn't you?) And, hey. If someone out there has actually seen this canon - there's a shot in this vid of a guy in a sort of jacket-vest thing, wearing a white baseball cap and a tragic mustache. Best Beloved swears this is Jim in a cunning crime-fighting disguise, or maybe on his way to sub in for a member of the Village People. I say it isn't, mostly because there's no way Richard Burgi was getting paid enough to look like that much of a dork. Who's right?

The Vid That Makes a Very Apt Comparison Between Blair Sandburg and Liberace. I Am Quite Serious. Mr. Sandman, by Sally Seymour.

Availability note: all the time. Scroll all the way down.

Um. Apparently, I have a lingering fondness for Sentinel vids that showcase the canon's - well, I don't think I need to say the word again (cheese!). But let me say: there is a time and a place for wiggly-screen fades, and that place is so obviously The Sentinel that I would be surprised if they didn't occasionally use it in the canon. I love this vid because - okay. Normally I am not a fan of long, loving shots of just the head and shoulders of the main characters. I would rather the characters be doing something. Like falling down. Or fondling each other. (Both popular Sentinel choices; this is the only canon I know of where it's really hard to tell if you're looking at a bloopers-reel clip of Burgi and - Margaret? Moggie? Magrat? What is his last name? - being oh-so-gay, or if it's Jim and Blair being, you know. Oh-so-gay. God how I love this show.) But the "ain't he pretty" shots are so very right in this vid, so much so that I want to cry out, "Yes! They have dreams exactly like this! And they are Sentinel dreams and clearly prognosticatory, what is more!" Also, normally I am not the biggest fan of Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton, even when singing with Emmylou Harris, but - you know, I bet Jim actually has this song. It's a Jim song. Which is, yes, slightly at odds with the whole Army Ranger, Big Tough Cop shtick, but, I mean - have you seen the way he walks? And the not-entirely-manly way he jogs through the jungle like it's Venice Beach? He so sings along with Mr. Sandman in a heartfelt manner, is what I'm saying here. Plus, this vid deserves huge bonus points for using one of my least favorite shots in the entire canon (Wolf + Panther = OMGWTFBLUE?) in such a way that I cannot fail to giggle, and love it quite a lot, and then get all googly-eyed and wistful. (I'm sorry. It's just - Jim. And Blair. They earn the wistful sighs, people.) And I really wasn't kidding about the Liberace thing, either. You need to see this.

Smallville


The Vid That Cannot Be Described in Your Puny Earth Language. Drop Dead Gorgeous, by Shalott, aka [livejournal.com profile] astolat.

Availability: pretty much all the time. Scroll down until you see it.

The only honest rec for this vid would involve a lot of inarticulate handwaving while lying flat on the floor and laughing hard enough to cause brain damage. There's really no other way to put it. But once more into the breach, that's my motto, so I'll try. See, now, there's something about the Smallville canon that vidders seem to find very...freeing. It's like they're telling themselves, hey, the creators don't appear to be slavishly devoted to truth, justice to characters, or even sanity, so why shouldn't I make a vid implying strongly that Lex has bought Clark at auction for nefarious sexual purposes? (Answer: no reason at all. Frankly, I'm not averse to vids implying this in any canon whatsoever, but then I've always been No Morals Worth Speaking Of Girl.) Shalott has taken this particular freedom to a logical place, and when I say "logical place," I mean "a place that makes the best possible use of my 'assorted pairings' vid category." And may I just mention, in a possibly unrelated side note, that Bad Clark (aka Red Kryptonite Clark, but Bad Clark is just so much more evocative, don't you think?) is such a boon to us all - the vidders, the writers, the readers, the BDSM fanciers - that we should really send a note of thanks to the Smallville creators. We must be very very grateful for something as, um, exploitable as that plot line. And now you should go download this vid and revel in Shalott's use and abuse of Bad Clark. And other kinds of Clark. And also Chloe, Lana, and Lex. "Drop Dead Gorgeous": come for the gorgeous clipping and editing and the song choice that could not be more perfect, stay for the Naughtiest Space Alien and his random assorted cuddling.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, first, a cry for help. A long time ago, some kind person emailed me a list of body swap stories, including "Being Benton Fraser" and a Farscape story with John in Aeryn's body and Aeryn in Rygel's body (possibly based on an episode). Not too long after, that email account did a spectacular flame-out, the kind fandom can only dream of emulating, and took down with it all my neatly-stored emails of that kind. I'm hoping someone out there can help me find a) the Farscape story - there was a root vegetable involved, as I recall - and b) the person who sent me the recs. I've been looking forever, and I officially give up. Anyone? Help? Please?

Second thing, of course, is my list of stories for you. I'd like you to join me today for a Very Special Edition of the Slashy Awards. See, I've been sensing some malaise out there, some disaffection with the world in general. [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie was particularly plaintive in her cry to be on vacation this week, and I'm getting the sense that a lot of my friends list would also like to be anywhere but where they are. Of course, I can't really help you. I mean, I can't send y'all to Fiji for the fresh mango juice and the friendly goldfish. But I can remind you of fan fiction where the characters do that. So if "shipwrecked and comatose" actually sounds like an excellent deal right about now, this set is for you.

See the Historic World's Largest Toenail in Buttfuck, Nebraska! Adventures in America's Heartland, by [livejournal.com profile] pearl_o. due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. You know, I love Fraser. I do. But I think we can all agree that he has the potential to be a somewhat challenging companion, particularly in certain kinds of activities. Like, for example, recreational travel. He absolutely would want to stop to read every historic marker on the entire freeway, when all real travelers know that what they all say is: "Something happened here. But you've never heard of it, and we have no intention of telling you about it in any kind of detail, because otherwise you might get some sleep instead of wondering about it all night. And don't even think about googling it; the motels out here don't have wireless, sucker." (I, um. I was betrayed in my youth by a few historic markers. Does it show?) Of course, Ray would not precisely be the world's most pleasant companion either. See, for both of them, it's about the journey; just, for Fraser, it's about the scenery he can take in, but for Ray it's about the vehicle he's traveling in. So I wouldn't advise you to leave home with these guys, but that's fine, because really we all want them to leave home together. And that, my friends - that is very entertaining indeed.

Experience the Glory of Nature and the Majesty of the Elements on an Unplanned and Unwelcome Sabbatical in Panama! Limbo, by [livejournal.com profile] julad. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. This came from the [livejournal.com profile] ts_ficathons challenge Getting a Sense for Cliches. The challenge stories are fascinating reading, in large part because a lot of writers who were in TS of old participated in the challenge for one last playdate with the boys. It was unexpectedly gripping (...definitely way better than historical markers) to see how style changes and other fandoms and time affected each author's voice and style, and it was even more gripping to see how their relationship with TS and Jim and Blair had changed. Everyone who has been writing a while should head back to a first fandom from time to time. For my entertainment, of course. (What, you thought I was going to tell you it'd make you a better person or something? Yeah. And would you trust me if I did promise that?) This story does a brilliant job of dealing with one of those little weak spots that are part of the ineffable charm of the TS canon, namely that Blair's final solution to the whole accidental-outing-of-Jim problem is not actually one that is going to work for very long. But not to worry; Jim and Blair are up to the job. This story shows us that we have nothing to fear except lawyers and pulpless orange juice. And that Jim and Blair belong together. Really, it makes me want to say something incredibly sentimental, and I would, but I'm afraid I'd sprain something, so no. Just - you know. Read this.

Decipher the Unimaginable Mysteries of the Local Cuisine and Culture in Rural Minnesota! The Empty Well, by Destina Fortunato, aka [livejournal.com profile] destina. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. Oh, how I love the SG1 team; they're wonderful together. And in this story, they're all very much in their accustomed roles: Jack catching fish, Teal'c efficiently dismembering the fish, Carter pondering the space-time implications of the fish, and Daniel refusing to eat the fish for moral reasons. And then they sustain numerous casualties during the course of a very dangerous children's game. (Very dangerous. I've played that game with the most competitive woman on the earth. It is a game that kills, people, and if there was any sense in the world the people who go on and on about video games would be working to ban this instead.) Seriously, I love these people to death. (And, you know, past it. Several times.) Just as good are Jack and Daniel by themselves, each decrypting heavily encoded messages in their own way. I love this story for the hope it gives me for SG1, including a happy ending in the face of nearly insurmountable odds, and I love it for one of my all-time favorite Jack and Daniel exchanges. (Daniel: "Think outside the box." Jack: "I like the box.") Really, just read this. You won't be sorry. And you won't have to catch any fish to do it, either.

Choose Your Companions Wisely for Your Whirlwind Just-the-Low-Spots Tour of Southern North America! Arizona, Puerto Vallarta, and Mexico City, by [livejournal.com profile] seperis. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. And, um. Don't be reading that last one if you like your endings happy, okay? Or, let me put it is this way - if you do read it, and it makes you sad, blame the author, not me. I can only rec what they give me, you know. (The eternal plight of the recommender, it just brings tears to your eyes. So very tragic.) But do read this. Why? Well, how's this: John is an assassin hired to kill Rodney McKay. And then there is sex. (See, and this is why I love the SGA fandom; I can think of several excellent and original stories with that basic plotline. Seriously, at some point soon I will able to assemble a set on almost any theme at all just from SGA. Not that I will. Just knowing that the possibility exists will be enough for me to die happy.) And now I'm kind of up a tree without a chainsaw here. I can either get detailed, which will be all spoil-y, or carry on with the non-specific encouraging praise, which, face it, if those were going to get you to read this, you would have already clicked away from this page, or go for the tragically over-specific praise. ("For a story with such a lot of stomach trouble in it, really, it's amazingly sexy!") I think the wisest option would be d: none of the above. Also known as: shutting up now.

Get Back to Nature, Commune with the Future, and Have Lots of Sex All Over the Great State of Maine! Dirigo, by Speranza, aka [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Dead Zone, Johnny Smith/Sarah Bannerman/Walt Bannerman. This is a brilliant story, and I think you'll appreciate how brilliant when I tell you I love it even though it took me more than a week to get through the first part. See, the first part, it's not the most comfortable part of the story. It's actually, for me, by far the least comfortable part. And normally authors suck you in and then make you tense, but Speranza pretty much just hits you with it from word one. Or, actually, you know what? It isn't her, really. It's me. Because, see, the dinner party that damn near killed me dead isn't nearly as excruciating as I thought it was going to be. It just took me a while to read the actual words; I was all night-before-school-starts anticipating of the very worst. It isn't as bad as all that. Just, you know, uncomfortable. But so very worth it; trust me here. Doesn't matter if you don't know the characters, doesn't matter if you don't know the show, doesn't matter if you don't like threesomes - read this. You won't be sorry. Although, in all fairness, I have to say that this is not a crew you should trust when they break out the good china; there's another dinner party in here that stopped my reading cold for much of a night. (I had to have a fight with myself. It went like this:

TFV's Paranoia: Oh, god, this has the potential for unbridled disaster. There is only one way this can possibly go, and if she isn't on that track, I'm doomed.
TFV's Confidence: Trust Speranza. She handled the other dinner pretty well, didn't she? You always get worked up over nothing. It'll be fine. Read.
TFV's Paranoia: But if she screws this up at all I will never be able to read her work again. That would be a very bad thing!

Fortunately, at that point my inner drill sergeant showed up and made the point that I was damned well going to finish the story and everyone knew it, so I should suck it up, goddammit. Which I did, and it turned out that everything went the way I needed it to go after all, so my angst was for entertainment purposes only.) But, again: worth it! Wonderful, and so very worth it! Just keep a few tension sheets on hand for the dinner parties, is my advice.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Well. This has been a revelation.

Last week, after much consultation with y'all, I decided what iPod to get for Best Beloved. (The video iPod, if you're curious. Best Beloved likes lots of storage space.) I went to the online Apple store, put a bunch of stuff in a shopping cart, and checked out. As I am a human being with functioning brain cells, I of course immediately made a note of every single number Apple gave me, including what I suspect is Steve Jobs's inseam size, and I also carefully inspected their predicted wait-until-shipping and shipping times, making a mental note that, since they were saying 5 to 7 days to ship and then 5 days for it to get here, I should send my first, polite email inquiry on November 15.

Except. And this is the part that is so amazing to me I can hardly stand it. The iPod is already here. It came on Monday. Yes: I purchased something computer-ish that came early. And it came with the latest version of its software - no need to download patches large enough to contain every book ever written in English! It came with all the right connectors and cords! I plugged it in and it just started working!

It was weird.

Obviously, it's early days yet - Ivan the iPod could still prove to be severely broken or just plain evil, and I could still spend the next several weeks exchanging email with a whole slew of people in India who will not even read what I have to say before linking me to an irrelevant website and thanking me sincerely for my business. Or it could prove that iTunes has compromised our desktop's integrity, installed a cloaked rootkit, and sent all our personal information, including bank account numbers and humiliating childhood nicknames, to the residents of Folsom State Prison. But that hasn't happened so far, which is already a minor consumer miracle. The iPod has been in the house for days and I have not even needed the Knowledge Base yet.

About an hour ago, as I was wistfully reflecting on how much I suddenly want an iPod of my own, I thought: Wow. If only these people made computers..

Thank you all; you told me what to buy, and you were exactly right. The wisdom of the friends list (greater than the sum of its parts, which was already a very large number, let me tell you) has prevailed again. What with your help and Apple's shockingly non-violent attitude towards consumers, this has been a completely painless, nearly fun shopping experience. (Did I mention that I got free shipping? That got the iPod and all its add-ons here before it was due? With everything I ordered right there, as though I had a right to these things simply because I paid for them? Whereas I am, for example, still struggling to get Amazon to disgorge an item I purchased nearly a month ago, which was supposed to be in my hands last week but will not be here until - if I am lucky - my birthday. With no promise made about which birthday. And I will not even talk about the many joyous conversations I've had with Amazon's contractors in India on this topic, except to note that I've spent so much time corresponding with Neetu and Srividhya that I feel we should be sending each other holiday cards. Especially as I suspect I also chatted with Neetu about my Dell not too long ago.)

So I'm expressing my thanks with recs. (Which is, yes, how I express pretty much everything in this LJ.) Today: family stories. Because, hey, iPods are family members, right? Join me in celebrating Ivan's arrival (OMG early) with this truly excellent fan fiction.

Can I get a yay?

Best Moose-Free Story Containing Surprising Links to a Moose-Intensive One with Which It Has Nothing Else in Common. The Water Moon, by Salieri, aka [livejournal.com profile] troyswann. Stargate: SG-1, and this is pretty much gen. There's mention of Teal'c/Drey'auc, but since they were canonically married, I don't think that exactly qualifies this as het. Because this story? Is so not about romance. It's about what comes after the romance, the marriage, the breakup, the dissolution, and it's about the way Teal'c's (eeesh, that possessive looks awful) choices and sacrifices have affected the people he loves. I love what Salieri does with the character of Drey'auc here. I'm totally unfamiliar with her canon appearances, of course, but I doubt that in them she has time to be anything like this, well, real. But that's why we love fan fiction, right? Equal time for lesser characters! (Our motto: proud to be forming whole pairing armies around characters who don't have canonical last names. Or first names. Or sexes. Hell, we can make a kerfluffle-ready pairing out of half a footnote and an unofficial spoiler.) Drey'auc is painfully human (okay, or Jaffa) in this story; she's in a bad situation that she didn't create, and she's making some very tough choices. There's also a wonderful original character in this, and while we're on that topic? Disturbing themes, people. This is a fabulous story, but it pulls no punches. Which is why I find it fascinating that the beginning of it comes from Salieri's silly, fun, moose-based Elvis Has Left the Building. As she says, this shows what context will do to you.

Best FF That Demonstrates Once Again That Evil Lurks in the Ocean. Do Not Trust the Shellfish: He Does Not Have Your Best Interests in His Squishy, Primitive Heart. Inheritance, by Dasha. The Sentinel, gen. No, wait! Come back! I know lots of people find the concept of Sentinel gen hilariously unappealing, like watery cheese or balloon animals. But, see, I like it. And you should, too. There, I've said it: you should read Sentinel gen, even though the show itself was apparently not really all that gen, judging from the vids. Because, see, there are aspects of the whole senses thing that are legitimately fascinating, in a way that makes me wish that TS had been written by other people. And, okay, I really have no idea what is canonically up with Jim's family, except that he is yet another character in the long line of them, stretching all the way back to, for example, Zeus, who has major daddy issues. Those things are like the plague, baby; they're everywhere. Which, um, makes me think of this, which I will put behind a cut for all our sakes: Jim sits in a bar... ) But getting back to this story - see, this is the Ellison family trying to enjoy a nice day out. But, no - they can't have nice things. They have to have intergenerational strife. And vomiting. I love this story for the Stephen point of view, the explanation of William's asinine behavior in re: the senses, and for the appearance of highly competent Sandburg. It's brilliant. It's compelling. It's the series the way it should've been written. Plus, just like the series, you can totally assume Jim and Blair are doing it. So, please - won't you try some Sentinel gen today?

Best FF That Teaches You About Ass Words. And Also the True Meaning of Family. Try Beating That Combination, People. My Claustrophobia and My Letter 'O', by [livejournal.com profile] julianlee. Scrubs, J.D./Dr. Cox. Okay, fine. All you people who said Scrubs was wonderful, you win. Best Beloved is watching it, and apparently it's good enough that soon I'll be watching it, too. So. You got your way. Happy? Good. Now write some damn Scrubs stories. How can the show be as slashy AND as funny as Best Beloved reports and not have more FF than this? Although, you know, what's there is choice, and these stories are fine examples of that. They are wonderful (yes, even as wonderful as Katharine Hepburn). And that's no surprise; Julian Lee writes great stuff, especially in what I have come to think of as the Dialog Fandoms (Sports Night, The West Wing, etc.), and Scrubs is apparently just such a fandom. The family connection does not actually come into this until the second story, which is an odd kind of familyfic, since it's about J.D.'s odd new family. But anticipation will only make it better, right? And in the first one you'll learn about ass words, so that's all right. And then in the second one you'll read a scene that I believe - although my studies have been necessarily limited because of a tragic lack of FF in this fandom - could only work in a Scrubs story. (I'm serious. I've been trying to imagine any other character ever doing it, and it's - really scary, people.) So read these. You have nothing to lose but your composure, and everything to gain. Ass words included.

Best FF That Makes Me Go All Wistful and Goopy over Numbers. Apparently, in My Secret Heart of Hearts, I Think Prime Numbers Are Just Adorable. Small Primes and Square Roots, by [livejournal.com profile] liviapenn. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. I think I fell in love with this story before I read it. Seriously. The title alone did it. Except, you know how it is; you start out loving something - cookies, a fandom, your new socks - to the point where you would even confess to loving it in public ("Socks! I love you!"), and then later - maybe after you've eaten a few more or read some FF or actually put them on - you realize that what you felt before wasn't even love. That's what happened to me with this. Because the title is excellent, yes, but that's - whoa. I was going to say, "That's only the beginning," but fortunately I caught myself in time. My point is: this is an excellent story. It's kidfic - we all know of my love for kidfic, right? - and it's from the Harlequin challenge - and we all know of my love for those stories, right? - and, hell. I can't say anymore. I'm afraid of, you know, spoiling it. Oh! But I can say that Rodney is so incredibly Rodney in this it's surprising he doesn't climb out of the page and off the screen and stomp around your living room calling you an idiot for wasting your time on fiction when you could be learning something. And also, couldn't you find something better to be a fan of? Like Star Trek or Penrose tiling or Richard Feynman? But the answer is (sorry, Rodney) no, you could not, because anything that produces fan fiction this good, is by definition, the best thing ever. (Also - the kid in this? I love this kid. Why wasn't I this kid?)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This was going to be a set of stories about the undead, because of Halloween. (Yes, it was started before Halloween. I'm the Pokey Little Poster!) And then it was going to be a vid recs set, because, well, vids. But somehow I got completely sidetracked into crossovers, and I'm not the least bit sorry. I don't think you'll regret it, either (especially when I tell you that there were no zombies in the undead set), because who doesn't love a good crossover? And these are great crossovers.

But, hey. Does anyone know what kind of crossover the first story is? I've been calling it a fusionesque, because it brings elements (but not characters) of one universe into another, but I'd love a proper, dignified term. And obviously nothing I come up with is going to qualify for words like those.

And as long as I'm asking questions - Best Beloved is getting an iPod for an act of devotion above and beyond the call of any marital contract, so obviously it needs to be a good iPod. An exceptional one, even. Those of you who have them - do you like yours? Hate it? What would you buy if you were getting one today? (A video iPod is definitely not what we want here.) Are there accessories I should get, too? Give me advice, people, please. And, if you're feeling especially loving, links. Links would be very nice.

Best FF That Once Again Proves That, in Defiance of All Reason and Logic and Sanity, Snakes Are Sexy. Daemonology, by [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone. Stargate: Atlantis x His Dark Materials, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. So I guess the first question here is, have you read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy? And if not, why not? These are brilliant books, people, and they include one of the best concepts introduced in any book anywhere ever: daemons. If you don't know what those are, [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone has provided a handy guide that will tell you everything you need to know to read this story. Which you should obviously do at once. But after that, well, know that I will weep tragic Victorian-heroine tears if you don't try at least the first book of HDM, The Golden Compass. (And let me just say that daemons are not the only marvelous concept incorporated into this book's universe.) Okay. I'm getting off-track even for me, so enough with the mixed pimping and back to the story. Except - there's not a lot I can say without spoiling this. These are precisely the characters we know and love from SGA; the HDM add-in may even have made them slightly more themselves. And, hey, there's sex, and it is amazingly appropriate, and also weirdly sexy, considering that it mostly involves a lot of mouse-touching. Hmmm. I think I'm doing a terrible job of conveying just how good this story is, and just how much love I have for it, and just exactly how cool the mouse-touching is. (Although I imagine I have now done an excellent job of persuading you that I am sick.) Just read it, okay?

Best FF with More Cops Than the LA Freeways on Three-Day Weekends. Five Homicides Never Investigated, by Samantha, aka [livejournal.com profile] inlovewithnight. Homicide: Life on the Street x Angel x Battlestar Galactica x Firefly x Horatio Hornblower x Stargate: Atlantis, gen. I warn you, I'm not familiar with all of these fandoms - I mean, I can just about spell Firefly and Battlestar Galactica, and that's it - but I still totally get, and love, the point of this story. See, we know who the good guys are, and why what they're doing is right and good and necessary (unless it is totally not, like for example marrying Rowena instead of Rebecca), but - well, in their local universes, the cops usually don't. So, yeah, we all understand why the Mayor on BtVS had to die, but to people who weren't there, it must've looked remarkably like a graduating class going insane, rioting, killing the Mayor (and their own principal), and torching the school. Which is unusual even in California. (Well, in the suburbs, anyway.) I'm usually happy to suspend my disbelief about these things; after all, the alternative would've been for Buffy to turn into a courtroom procedural in its fourth season. (Maybe with Spike as the slouchy, smiling, weirdly scary prosecutor who does all the cross-examining - team him up with Lindsey McDonald for an extra-scary Joss-cross DA team! - and Ethan Rayne as an extremely worrying judge.) But one of the reasons I love FF is that I can find stories that give some much-needed attention to real-world outcomes without having a full season of episodes with titles like "The Process Server Always Rings Twice."

Best FF in Which a Fork Is Used As an Aphrodisiac. No, I'm Not Kidding. And No, It's Not Icky. What, Don't You Trust Me? Thrift, by Te, aka [livejournal.com profile] thete1, and Pares, aka [livejournal.com profile] kormantic. Buffy the Vampire Slayer x The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg/Faith Lehane. Um, yeah, you read that right. I don't usually enjoy crossover pairings that much, and we all know I get seriously bitey, if not downright rabid, when people trifle with my OTPs, but, well, this is an exception. Because Faith works with anyone. She's the super-sexy little black dress of fandom (and if this makes anyone think of pairing her with that other little black dress, John Sheppard - huh. You know, I was going to say don't, but...) and it turns out she looks excellent on Blair. Or all over him. Whatever. But in this story, my greatest joy actually comes from watching Blair Sandburg deal with the assorted oddities of Sunnydale - vampires, mechanical failure, sexy minors with mysterious fork abilities. I won't say he manages with panache, precisely, but when you consider everything that happens to him in this - well, let's just say that life with Jim Ellison is apparently excellent training for dealing with strange with a side order of dangerous. (At this point, Blair could probably write a whole self-help book called Listening to Adrenalin: When to Run, When to Fight, and When to Call for Backup.) And I'm sure Giles will have a fascinating chat with Blair. Once Faith's done with him, of course.

Best FF in Which It Really Is Vasculitis. Evil Vasculitis. Change Is the Only Constant, by Mara, aka [livejournal.com profile] marag. House x DCU, gen. Well. Okay. Some crossovers just don't work. You can, like, find them on some crack-pairing list, and giggle about them, and maybe test your brain's flexibility by imagining them, but the fandoms just don't mesh. You know what I mean: Crossovers That Woman Was Not Meant to Read, Let Alone Write, God Help Her. I would have said that House x DCU is one of those, except that I totally do want you to read this, and furthmore I encourage all kinds of writing like this, because it so totally does work. (Which suggests that any crossover can work in the right hands. I have long suspected this, though no one should write Pride and Prejudice x Backstreet Boys just to prove it.) I'm not spoiling anything when I tell you that the central concept here is Tim Drake = Gregory House. And, wow. That's an equals sign that just has no business at all existing, right? But [livejournal.com profile] marag does a fabulous job of showing how point A gets to point B, which is way the hell out of spandex, without breaking any characters. (As far as I know, I mean. I've read, like, four House stories and seen absolutely zip of the canon, so I'm making no promises there.) And, okay, I should probably mention that this story contains spoilers for Identity Crisis and WTF Games, or whatever the hell those canon clusterfucks were called, but the thing is - it resolves those arcs in a way we probably won't get to see in canon. Plus, this story has Cass, and she always elevates the level of discourse. So - grown-up, snarky Tim. Grown-up Cass. Batfamily guilt trips. Emotional resolution. This story has it all. And did I mention the whacked-out crossover aspect?
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)
I am afraid of series. I'm willing to admit it because a) I don't think a person should be ashamed of her fears and b) I have someone to blame this on. Namely, C.S. Lewis, who apparently wrote The Last Battle solely to ensure that his readers would never read the last part of anything ever again. Or the Book of Revelations (upon which Battle is loosely based).

But there are really and truly some excellent series out there in the FF world, and the great part about FF is that I can always pretend the author is even now working on another chapter or epilogue or same-universe story ("PWP 221f: Return to the Last Rimjob, Part 8"), so the phobia doesn't come into play as often as it does in the world of Real Literature. (I could pretend the same about those books, yes, but at least half the authors I read are dead. And hoping for published different-author sequels is like hoping for experimental genital surgery performed by monkeys, given the quality of much of the FF the publishing world has seen fit to put between covers.)

So I read FF series. But I don't recommend them very often; I'm much more likely to pick my favorite story and let people know it's part of a series. There are reasons for that, too. For one thing, well, it's tough to maintain consistent quality. In most series, there's one story that is just legions better than the rest, or there's a couple stories that are just legions worse. And I have to be pretty much ready to propose to a story to write up a recs entry for it, so I'm not going to include those less-than-the-series-best stories, even if they have good elements or I enjoyed reading them. Also, I figure it's asking a huge commitment from the readers to embark on a series based entirely on a paragraph of mostly irrelevant babbling; better to get y'all addicted to the AU or the characterizations or the sex, then tell you it's part of a series slightly longer (and way better) than the collected works of Harry Stephen Keeler.

Occasionally, though, I find a series that has to be recommended in toto. And now my list of said series is too long to ignore. So that's what I'm recommending today. (Not the whole list, though. I considered that, but decided I prefered to finish this entry sometime this decade.)

(Note to series authors: I love you guys. I seriously do. I love reading FF series, even if I don't rec them in their entirety that often. And, please, if you love (or even like) your recommenders (or just being recommended), include jump pages. It's a lot harder to rec when we have to choose between linking to a general index or bunches of individual stories that are all part of one series.)

Best Series Featuring the Only Appearance of the Highlander Characters That I've Been Able to Handle Thus Far. Although Isn't There Supposed to Be a Methos in There Somewhere? Imperfections: Imperfections, II: Believing in Fairy Tales, III: Visiting, IV: Necessary Parts, V: Passing Through the Underworld, and VI: What Comes Around by Dasha, who doesn't have a LJ. The Sentinel x Monk (all) x due South (II) x X-Files (II) x Highlander (V) (and if anyone picks up any others, please let me know), AU, gen.

Warnings: This is likely a work in progress; there's a few plot arcs that aren't entirely resolved, and she's still posting new chapters regularly. (Yay!) Also, in all honesty I have to tell due South fans that they'll be irritated by a few things here - but it's mostly minor stuff, like problems with names, or it can be explained away by the AU-ness, like Diefenbaker on a leash.

So. I promise you sex-based addiction, then begin by recommending gen. But I'm not sorry. I've only relatively recently discovered TS gen; I mean, I knew it existed, but I didn't understand it. Slash makes the TS universe much more believable. Otherwise, well, you've pretty much got all your available disbelief tied up in accepting that a) these guys are, all appearances to the contrary, not actually fucking and b) they work around a bunch of good detectives who don't know about the senses and still don't think there's anything, oh, vaguely gay about them. That's a more improbable AU right there than, say, the one with the horse-robot sex slaves. So, what with my difficulty buying a slash-free TS universe, I did not so much do the gen thing for a while. Stories like these, though, they make me glad I did. This series has to be gen, at least as it currently stands. It can't work otherwise. But it turns out that there are other ways to make the Jim and Blair relationship make sense. Dasha goes here for the world-where-sentinels-are-known thing, and manages to create one that works, that makes sense, that is the modern world with just that one change. (Usually common-sentinel AUs are not nearly so close to reality.) And she also includes loads of plot. Cases! Real cases! That they legitimately work as detective-and-guide! The series is, at the start, highly engaging. And then it gets better.

Favorite stories: It's tough to pick a favorite from this series; they're all fantastic for different reasons. Maybe, um, II, V, and VI?

Best Series That Owes a Great Debt to Cows. Celebrate Our Bovine Friends! Steak: 1: The Box, 2: Steak Dinner, 3: More Steak (Steak in the Rain), 4: Steak in the Dark, 5: Steak In-Between, 6: Steak-In-Waiting, 7: Steak and Cows, 8: Steak and Territory, 9: Steak and Separation, 10: Steak and Motility, 11: Steak and Lizards, and The Rememberers, by [livejournal.com profile] keiko_kirin. Stargate SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson (with mention of Jack/f, Daniel/f, and Teal'c/f in 10).

This is a famous series in the fandom; it was, in retrospect, wrong of me to avoid it so long simply because of the predominance of the word "steak" in, above, and about it. By the time I started reading SG, I knew Keiko Kirin's work in other fandoms, so I knew she was good. But I kept looking at this and saying, "Yeah. A twelve-part series about steak. Just what I've been hoping for." Well, that was wrong, and now I know it. For one thing, it isn't about steak, not really - the steak is a metaphor, a device, a bunch of those things you gladly forgot after you passed your last English test. For another thing, this is justly famous and in fact not as famous as it deserves to be. (I understand some people in lowland New Guinea haven't heard of it.) The Steak series is one of the best switching-teams stories I've read, yes, and it's funny and dramatic and sweet and everything else under the sun, yes, but that's only a part of it. Because there's plots here, people; almost every one of these stories could be an episode (well, apart from the sex, but that's obviously a failing of the show, not the series). I'd wager that these are also better than most of the existing episodes. The basic theme here is exploring new worlds - abroad, in bed, and with steak. And you get a heaping helping of all three, in twelve stories that make me want to fall to my knees and give thanks to the gods of FF.

Favorite stories: The last two, entirely for plot reasons. Part eleven takes me home to my SF roots, only with added sex, and "The Rememberers" (which she doesn't number like the others, so I didn't, either) is about some of my favorite things: memory, long-term relationships, and how people become who they are.

Best Series That Helps a Certain Teenage Mutant Find His Inner Drama Queen. And a Cigarette Lighter. And Ice Cream. And, in the Fullness of Time, Sex with His Roommate. It's Just Like He Went to College! Thermal: Freeze Out, Applying Heat, Defrost, Liquefy, Flux, and Mercury Rising, by Zahra, aka [livejournal.com profile] hackthis. X-Men movieverse, Pyro/Iceman.

Warnings: Those who hate the use of "St. John" in the movieverse will fume over this series; so will people who insist on the name. It's an equal-opportunity offender!

There's no better summary of this than the author's own, so I'll begin by quoting that: "It's those damn teenage hormones, again." In short, this is mostly smut - smut with build-up and context and background. And I admit I'm mostly recommending it for those last two. (I know. I hardly recognize myself these days.) See, the X-Men movies have a lot of strengths, including some major improvements over the comic books. (No universe reloads. No White Queen parading around like a bleached blow-up dominatrix, pretending to be Jean Gray. No Summers family history complex enough to destroy life as we know it should anyone ever actually manage to comprehend the totality of it. No 18 million Wolverine crossovers with every other comic book, including Asterix and Tin Tin. And so on.) But there's some things the movies just cannot supply to an old comic book fangirl (which, yes, I am, but I consider myself a recovering one, although Te constantly tempts me to backslide, the evildoer). Like depictions of ordinary days in the lives of our mutants; in the movies, there's always something heavily tentacled attacking or some moderately slashy world-ending scheme to prevent. So I enjoy the look at mundane daily life for a teenage mutant, which looks pretty familiar to any non-mutant that has lived through those years. With, you know, a few minor exceptions, like getting caught masturbating because you froze the room. Again. Also, I like that we get a look at the students - not just Pyro and Iceman, but Kitty and even Jubilee (who I fucking detested in the comic books, so it's impressive that I like her here, and frankly astonishing that I'm willing to admit it) - as people, rather than background. The movie focuses on the core team (lightning, claws, lasers) and the bad guys, which is as it should be. But I'm grateful to FF like this for fleshing things out. And for letting boys be boys.

Favorite stories: I view this more as a continuum than many series; it's hard to have part IV without part III, in other words. But probably the last two are my favorites. I like the Bobby-taunting.

Best Series That Contains Everything. Including the Kitchen Sink. Very Much Including the Kitchen Sink. Unfinished Business: Unfinished Business, A Little Less Conversation, Coda I: Conversation, Coda II: Bella Morte, The Debt You Owe, The Price You Pay, and Sway, by [livejournal.com profile] maygra and sometimes Bone, aka [livejournal.com profile] thisisbone. The Fast and the Furious, Brian O'Conner/Dominic Toretto.

Warning: This is a work in progress, although all the stories linked above are complete. And some of those pages contain pictures that are definitely not work-safe. Finally, some of the stories are rougher, in terms of grammar and spelling, than others.

First things first. You do not need to have seen the movie to read this. You hardly need to know who the characters are. So don't make that your excuse for missing out on this - this - well, I can't really call it a series. It's a universe, a whole bunch of branching possibilities. It even has its own AUs. Of course, if you haven't seen the movie, you won't appreciate just how well this series fixes the mess the movie left behind - and builds on that. And then builds some more. And then adds two outbuildings, a cupola, and a gazebo. Truly; if you track down all the various parts and fragments and works-in-progress that are either contained in or spawned by this series, you will have several days of solid (and lovely) reading ahead of you. What I linked above is a couple novels' worth, but it isn't all of it by any means. So, obviously, I cannot possibly summarize this. It would take a finer blurb-writer than me; it would take genius. Instead, I'll tempt you with a list of randomly-selected items you will find somewhere in the series. (Think of it like a print version of Where's Waldo. With porn.) Border-crossing motorcycle hijinks! Lasagna! Handcuffs used for their intended purpose! Handcuffs used for an off-label and exceedingly not-manufacturer-recommended purpose! Assorted beatings! Sex in a multitude of locations! And a shopping trip to what I have always believed was Century City Mall, although in fact it's probably Beverly Center! (Why not email the authors and ask them? Well, aside from the fact that it would distract them from adding a guest house and a semi-finished basement to the universe. And, yes, I know I've fractured the hell out of some metaphors there. Don't care at all.) Seriously, you need to read this. It's worth picking up a new fandom just to discover the heights (and breadths and depths) that FF can reach.

Favorite stories: Well, "Sway" was dedicated to me, so that has to come first. And then "The Price That You Pay" and "Unfinished Business" itself. And "Damage," which I didn't even link above, because it isn't finished yet. Hell, just read all of them.
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)
I'm going to be out of town for a few days, and I'm experiencing my usual pre-trip discombobulation as a result. (Actually, I'm mostly wondering why the hell I did this and what I was thinking and how I can avoid ever doing it again. I don't like traveling. Hell, in my ideal universe I wouldn't even have to leave my house.) I'm also doing the so-much-to-do-that-I-can't-do-any-of-it panic. What happens when you combine procrastination and panic and impending separation from the internet? Well, at least in these parts, recommendations sets. In this case, a crossover set, because I have a huge list of fantastic FF in this category that I've shamefully neglected lately. And also because slightly surreal stories are excellent preparation for this trip.

Best FF That Proves That There Are Things You Always Want to Remember, and Things You'd Love to Forget. And You Don't Know What Screwed Means Until You Have a Memory That Falls into Both Categories. The Complication of Memory, by Jennifer-Oksana, aka [livejournal.com profile] jennyo*. Angel x Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (and you'll need to be at least somewhat familiar with both canons for this to work), Wesley Wyndham-Pryce/Lilah Morgan. Yes, het. Canon het. I'm not the least bit sorry. And neither will you be when you read this. That goes even for die-hard slashers, because the sex is so not the point here. The real draw of this story is - well, put it this way: this just may be the archetypal crossover vignette. It blends two universes that you'd think had nothing to say to each other, and does that without changing a thing about either of them. And it makes a point about both canons in the process. I suppose I should mention that this story is an overtaken-by-events AU; I think (I'm not sure, mind you, but wouldn't you be surprised if I was?) the events of the last episode of Angel rendered this story an impossibility. But, hey, who cares? Anyway, this road is probably the better way to go. Although maybe not for Wes.

Best FF That Will Burn into Your Brain a Number of Mental Images You'd Pay Good Money to Get Burned out Again. For Example, Rip Torn and Tommy Lee Jones Perving on Will Smith's Ass. See? Now You Want a Neuralyzer, Don't You? Well, You Won't Get One; I'm Not Going Through This Alone. Decoy, by Julian Lee, aka [livejournal.com profile] julianlee*. Men in Black x Smallville, J/K, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. This crossover makes perfect sense, provided you've been keeping to a regular regime of Disbelief Suspension Mental Yoga, which is pretty much a mandatory practice for reading any crossover. Why does it make sense? Well, consider the facts. Clark Kent: alien! The Men in Black: cope with aliens! Lex Luthor: wears well-tailored suits! The Men in Black: also wear suits, although generally not purple ones! Smallville: regularly ravaged by mutant aggressive weirdos! The Men in Black: suspiciously fond of the oeuvre of Elvis Presley! So what could be more natural than a combination of the two? I mean, besides everything. Because - well, look back up at the pairing list. Yes, you're reading that right - this story involves J and K getting, well, together. And maybe I just failed my slash detection roll - highly unusual for me - but I've never, not even once, thought "they are so doing it" while watching Men in Black. And, frankly, the mere thought of K engaging in acts of...I'm sorry. I can't even write it. Nor can I bring myself to write about Zed, who can arrange an extraterrestrial anal probe at the drop of a hat, taking an unhealthy interest in J's...um. Fortunately for me, though, the sex isn't all that explicit, and in any case the story is amusing enough that it's well worth the occasional unavoidable thought of - you know. Those. Those things we won't discuss anymore, because I want to retain full use of my limited mental faculties, and I'm pretty sure my brain will opt out of further communication with me if I keep subjecting it to these sorts of thoughts.

Best FF That Proves Two Things: First, That Even in Gen No Intelligent Human Can Avoid Wondering About the Relationship Between Jim and Blair, and, Second, That There Actually Are a Few Bad Things That Haven't Yet Happened to Daniel Jackson. In the Canon, I Mean. Lovely, by Martha, aka [livejournal.com profile] soulcake. The Sentinel x Stargate SG-1, gen. There's a lot to love about this story. Lots and lots, and not just the plot and the characterization; this is definitely a case of god being in the details. I knew I was going to like this piece as soon as I saw how Martha handled the meeting of Daniel Jackson and Blair Sandburg. And I knew I was going to love it when the aliens showed up. (No, I don't need to tell you which aliens; you'll definitely know them when you meet them.) And then there's the whole crossover thing - this is another story in which both universes retain all their characteristics without sacrificing realism. And this is, for once, a Stargate crossover that really works. For some reason, that fandom is highly resistant to incursion from other canons; most crossovers involving SG-1 just feel forced. Or maybe unbalanced. But that's not true here, which proves that a) Martha is a great writer and b) Jim and Blair are very flexible and can easily slide in anywhere. (I know, bad pun, but it's true. Half the stories on my crossover list involve The Sentinel.)

Best FF That Proves That Guy Talk Is the Conversational Equivalent of Hilton Hotels: the Same Wherever You Go, and Not Especially Interesting or Fun Unless You Mix in a Lot of Sex. Ego Collision, by [livejournal.com profile] lynnmonster. Due South x Hard Core Logo, Billy Talent/Ray Kowalski/Joe Dick. [livejournal.com profile] lynnmonster has a scary superpower: she can write the unwriteable story. This woman has written great tentacle porn and mpreg wingfic and even feathercock, which last hideous mutant subgenre I had never even known existed until she wrote in it. In short, she is a menace to the sanity of the human race and we should all treasure her. But if you're also scared by her - in which case you're a lot smarter than I am, or a lot closer to the beginning of your Inevitable FF-Related Morals Decline - don't worry. This one isn't quite as improbable or disturbing as the ones I mentioned above; it's just, well, OK. A little weird, maybe. Because we're talking about sex between two characters played by the same actor (plus a third character played by an entirely different actor), for one thing, and then there's what I think of as the Unbearable Weirdness of Hard Core Logo, a film that features animal sacrifice and suicide and rape and yet is still a comedy. But despite all this strangeness, this story is not even slightly crackfic. I totally buy this aged-down version of Ray Kowalski, and the rest of the story is so realistic and right and in-character that...well, I'm not going into any more detail; I'll just say that if you've done your time in the scuzzier kind of club you'll feel right at home with this story, and if you've got knowledge of both canons, you'll feel right at home with the characters.

And that's it for this time. See you all on Wednesday. 'Til then, read a little extra FF for me, OK?

* Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] auster and [livejournal.com profile] flambeau!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This entry is dedicated to my Best Beloved, who is in a world of hurt thanks to a certain molar that I will not name, now broken, and who routinely reminds me that the best relationship in the world is one that's been around a while.

(And, yes, the established relationship stories bring out the schmoop in me. I can't help it. You should see what I'm like when I recommending kidfic. If you're emotionally diabetic or otherwise have a low sugar tolerance, you might want to skip the summaries and go straight to the FF, which is really not all that excessively sweet. I swear.)

Best FF That Really Turns an Certain Shopping-Related Gender Stereotype on Its Head. And, You Know, Describes Some Head in the Process. (Yes, I'm Sorry About the Pun.) The Price That You Pay, by [livejournal.com profile] maygra and Bone, aka [livejournal.com profile] thisisbone. The Fast and the Furious, Brian O'Conner/Dominic Toretto. OK. Have you read the Unfinished Business series? Because if you haven't, go read it right now. I don't care if you haven't seen the movie, because all you need to know about it is that it's about two guys who like cars and are so obviously fucking between every shot that sometimes you can still see the lube, at least Christ you hope that's lube, left in the picture, and that it has an ending that is simultaneously "wow, cool" and "wait, that's it? That is so not it. So not it that I am going to write post-movie FF right now, damn you all to hell." So. You've read UB, so you know how Maygra (who if she doesn't totally hate me by now should email me, 'cause I'm afraid to email her, on account of, you know, she should hate me) manages to make it all better. With beatings and kidnappings and a lot of things we don't usually associate with the phrase "all better," but it works. Now read what happens after UB, when Brian goes undercover again. With Dom on his side, this time. Note that more of Maygra's favorite things occur in this story, and also that it has a plot. No, a Plot, capital and everything. You start this one, sweetheart, you are finishing it. Before you sleep tonight. Probably before you can tear yourself away from the computer.

Best FF That Provided the Strongest Temptation I've Yet Encountered to Make Cutesy Puns out of Hackneyed Phrases About How Only the Blind Can Truly See, Blah Blah Tiresias Blah. No Need to Thank Me for Resisting; the Sanity I Saved Was My Own. You'd Forgotten Love Could Mean This, by Delilah, and does anyone have a LJ or link for her? Please? Stargate SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. OK, y'all, let's get the warnings out of the way first: this is disability fic. Also, it's told in alternating first and second person, which is a tough device, so we should all be impressed with how well it works, but I'm warning you that you may also be a bit tired of it before the story is done. So, feeling like moving on to another story, perhaps a whole other universe? First let me tell you why you should read this. Because, see, you can learn everything you need to know about the way to tell a story from this one. Here, Jack is blind, permanently and irremediably blind. If Delilah had started with the mission on which he was blinded, written about them nearly losing him, written about him dealing with the first days of blindness, all of that and all of it in chronological order, this story would be impossibly painful. But instead she starts a year after, and so, you know, it really isn't that hard to take. It's mostly about the things that make Jack Jack, and how it turns out sight isn't on that list. And it's about Daniel, too, and...well, I can't really explain this without spoiling the whole thing, but trust me when I tell you that you will finish this story feeling vaguely sorry for several people, but blind Jack O'Neill isn't one of them.

Best FF That Could Be Used as a Teaching Material for Toddlers. Only, Wait, No, It Totally Couldn't. A Is for Apple, by [livejournal.com profile] pearl_o. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. (This actually starts at the first time and goes right through into the established relationship, but to me it's about the, well, establishing of the relationship, and thus it belongs in this category.) Those of us who have spent perhaps too much time evaluating alphabet concept books for preschoolers will understand why the most profoundly impressive thing about this to me - more impressive than the coherent story told through teeny snippets, more impressive than the way each snippet is both part of the story and a story itself - is the word she came up with for X. Because it's a) an actual word b) appropriate and suitable and c) not the easy way out. I mean, she could've gone for x-ray, given the way these guys attract trouble, or x-rated, given, you know, that this isn't exactly a primer and so there'd be nothing wrong with the guys sitting down with a bit of porn, but she didn't take the obvious roads. And that, my friends, is amazing. Note: there's a point in the story that will get a bit scary for those who carry the Ray K and Fraser Forever banner - and I think we all know who you are - but do not fear; this story was written by Cheerful Pearl-o – happy story, happy ending. (In my head, Pearl-o's Evil Twin is the one who puts out all those incredible, compelling stories that draw you in and then rip your heart out and dance on the fragments.) Of course, there's a downside to this story. Namely, that I could do with at least 3,000 words on most of these snippets. But notice how I am not whining at Cheerful Pearl-o to write them; admire my restraint.

Best FF That Proves That All You Need to Make a Story Is One Really Good Metaphor. Percentage Points, by [livejournal.com profile] gritkitty. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. Of course, it helps if this metaphor is funny, and this one is. And it also helps that Blair is who he is; I mean, there's maybe three characters I can imagine thinking like this, because there just aren't all that many people in the world who would equate groping with investing in war bonds, but Blair totally would. And, see, I'd describe more of this story, but a) you should just go read it, 'cause it's good and almost elementally jimblairy and b) I have this whole flight of fancy when I read this story that totally destroys my ability to talk about it sanely and calmly. Don't believe me? Well, see, I can't read this story without picturing the battle sequences in Lord of the Rings. Specifically, the one where Isildur took the One Ring. Which means I'm viewing Blair's sex drive as, say, a contingent of human swordsmen, his hunger as a bunch of orcish pikemen, and Blair's brain as, well, Mordor, I guess. Um. Yeah, that's probably mostly attributable to the massive doses of codeine I was on when I first read this, because upon reflection I don't think Grit Kitty intended for the reader to equate Jim with Isildur. Although this does suggest something very interesting about Blair's nipple ring that I am not, not, not thinking about ever ever again, because it is the living definition of crossover crackfic. And I'm finishing this recs set before I put any more of my insanity on parade.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I was going to do something special for the 100th nominations set, because - that's more than four hundred stories I've recommended. More than four hundred story summaries I've written. You guys have to be getting sick of this, and it seemed like I'd better take the opportunity to do something different.

So I had this post about the slashiest fandom ever all written, and I was going to do a recs set entirely based on that, even if I had to acquire a new fandom to do it.

But then [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie left for India. (Technically, she's still around, but she's offline and she'll be leaving tomorrow and not coming back for three weeks.) This is depressing, folks. Plus, it's December, and I've just realized that I have no clue how to write regular recommendations, which is going to make a month behind the SN wheel at [livejournal.com profile] crack_van just...so very special. And I have bought no presents for the holiday season, and we're getting into the seriously scary shopping time, and anyway I'm sort of gloomily wondering where I'll get the money to do said shopping. And it seems like my family-of-origin might be going for the traditional Holiday Implosion this year, which, trust me - not pretty, and I'm talking about the kind of "not pretty" likely to require professional intervention. And...and I feel like whining some more, but I'm going to stop, because Jesus, that's pathetic.

Instead, I'll summarize: it's been a day of petty annoyances and looming dread and self-pity. I need to snap myself out of this somehow, and how better than to read about characters I love having that same sort of day? So instead of a special 100th celebration, you get - bad days. Sorry.

(Maybe we can celebrate the, um, 111th post instead. 111 is a nice number, right? Nothing wrong with 111. No, sir; 111 is going to be great.)

Best FF in Which We Learn, to Our Surprise, the Secret Identity of the Reincarnation of Isak Dinesen. In Which Dan Has a Bad Day, by Sinead, aka [livejournal.com profile] smallbeer. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey. See, now, this perked me right up, because Danny's day? So much worse than mine. For one thing, I have soap. And a working toilet. For another, I haven't encountered any surfers of any kind, which is impressive, considering that they're one of the primary indigenous species where I live, and certainly no airhead Nazi surfboy bimbos, although those would definitely add an original touch to anyone's day. And, finally, I have smutty FF like this to get me through the day - FF that is funny and just a touch angsty and ends with sex. Scented sex. Re-reading this made me 50% happier. Bonus: those of you with clothing fetishes will encounter ripped t-shirt Danny in here, which should make you at least 50% happier. So come on, folks - get happy! Read this!

Best FF in Which We Learn Precisely What Wyndham-Pryces Are Famous for. And No, It's Nothing to Do with That, You Total Perv. A Bad Day, by The Brat Queen, aka [livejournal.com profile] thebratqueen. Angel, Angel/Wesley Wyndham-Pryce. I don't want you to think I'm recommending this story just because I've been calling my dog Brat Queen for five years. No, I could recommend any of TBQ's stories if that was the reasoning here, and the same with my love for the way TBQ writes Angel and Wes in an established relationship - i.e., happily and humorously. (I mean, I enjoy the Wes angst as much as the next girl, but this fandom needs the occasional dose of sweetness and light, and TBQ brings it by the sackful.) I'm recommending this story because it shows the importance of wallowing as a coping mechanism. If more people understood that, this world would be - OK, a whinier place. But also one in which people didn't, you know, hit strangers or break valuable things after a bad day, but rather got down with the Scotch and the self-pity. Tell me you wouldn't prefer living in that world, and, well, I'll have to believe you. But I'll believe you while I myself am moving to Wallowland.

Best FF in Which We Learn a Helpful Telephone Cord Detangling Technique, and Then, Even More Helpfully, Learn Why We Should Probably Not Practice It. Madagascar, by Rhipodon Society, for whom I have no links of any kind. Anyone else have one? The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. Why, yes, I am sticking pretty much to my old favorite fandoms today. Why, yes, you will be seeing a due South rec very soon. Why, yes, I am predictable. But it's the good kind of predictable, right? OK. This is just hysterical, from the section epigraphs to the interconnections of the various unfortunate events in Jim's day to Jim's planned strategy for dealing with his troubles, which is moving to, yes, Madagascar. (Or Antarctica.) I myself would choose to move to South America and raise llamas, but we all cope in our own individual ways. The important thing is that this story manages to blend phone cords, illicit Valium-feeding, and a cashier we've all encountered at some point in our lives ([livejournal.com profile] fanofall should be thinking the words "Federal Express" right about now) into a delightfully springy and satisfying whole. Unsolved Mystery: what is it with The Sentinel FF and lasagna? My lasagna manufacture and consumption has increased at least tenfold since I began reading in this fandom, because something like 88% of all TS stories (note: hyperbole spoken here!) feature lasagna as the ultimate in comfort and sexiness. And, yes, OK, that's entirely correct, but it doesn't make it easy for those of us who haven't got the right ingredients on hand. Won't someone please think of the lasagna-less?

Best FF in Which We Learn What Happens to People Who Do Not Have Access to the Food They Are Craving. And to Everyone in the Vicinity, Too. Out of Range, by SA, aka [livejournal.com profile] sathinks, who, incidentally, has a marvelous recs LJ at [livejournal.com profile] sareads. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. Even Rays have bad bad days, but they can be solved with the judicious application of Mounties. OK, one Mountie. And - critical lesson, here - nicotine (hush, dSfen), caffeine, carbohydrates, cheese - none of these things can substitute for said Mountie, or your local equivalent. You may think they can, but really you're just fooling yourself, and the sooner you accept that and go get your Mountie the happier you'll be. Um. But no one should take that as an attempt to incite felonious behavior towards our big-hatted, red-coated Northern Friends, because they should be handled with respect and love, not live-capture traps. (Also, they are notoriously skittish, so luring them with bait works better in the long run. I recommend maple candy, myself, or pemmican for the more extreme Mountie.)

P.S. This post is dedicated to [livejournal.com profile] fanofall, who had a day that was much worse than mine. Nothing like the suffering of one's friends to put a little suckiness into perspective! (And, um. That was a joke.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This is officially the Recs Set That Kicked My Ass. I don't even know why. I love these stories. I want everyone else in the world to love them, too. Usually that's all it takes for me to get into auto-type mode. But this is the fifth incarnation of this set; I've had some variation of it - same theme, slightly different stories - in waiting on my list since June. Every time I've tried to write this damn set, I've stalled like a standard transmission in the hands of a 15-year-old with a brand-new learner's permit. I've started wincing every time I see a story built around dreams, and that's just not right, folks; I'm a fan fiction fangirl, and fangirls have to have the love. Have to. It is written in The Way of the Fangirl, that classic of loving obsession.

Obviously, the time has come for a plan. But I'm not so good with plans, so I had to come up with something else. My secret weapon against the evil that is clearly lurking somewhere in this set: total indifference. I've decided that I will just write this damn set and then post it and then it will be done and done. And there will be dancing in the streets. One street, anyway. If I decide to dance there.

So: the stories mentioned below are of incredible quality, yes - I've had tons of time to hone this set - but you might want to skip the descriptions today and head right for the fiction.

Best FF That Exposes the Hidden Evil Inherent in Neverland. Only, If You Ask Me, It Never Was All That Hidden, Because That Is One Terrifying Concept, Folks. A Hundred Years Ago, by [livejournal.com profile] trifles. Peter and Wendy, Peter Pan/James. I read this story just a few days ago, and it is the trigger that made me decide I would finish this set come hell, high water, or a total loss of any working knowledge of the English language, because everyone in the world needs to read this now now now. It's amazing. I'm probably slightly biased in its favor, because I always found J. M. Barrie's works seriously twisty, and I don't mean the fun kind of twisty, either. But I don't think you need to understand the horror concealed behind Peter Pan's careless grin to love this story. In "A Hundred Years Ago," Wendy is new to Neverland, and she's learning all Peter Pan's secrets via the canonical method of dream sorting. (No, really. Barrie thinks it's a good thing for mothers to sort through their children's brains and rearrange the contents. Tell me this man wasn't in need of massive doses of neuroleptic drugs, and I will scoff. Well, scoff and then flee, because just thinking about him makes me all wibbly.) And Peter Pan's history is, after all, the history of Neverland. I will say no more, except: read. Now.

Best FF That Makes Me Long to Be Lyrically Compared to the Elimination of Third World Debt. Favorably, I Guess, Though I'd Be Willing to Go Either Way. Story of My Life, That. Breathe, by Jess, aka [livejournal.com profile] fearlessfan. The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne/Marie Kreutz. (Yes, it's het. No one get all shocky, now.) You need to know at least a little about the canon (books or movies) to read this one. This is set between the two movies, and for the full effect you really need to have seen both of them, but you'll still get a lot of it if you've only seen the first, or only read the first book. (And you won't get spoiled, either.) This is Jason and Marie and the time they have together, with Marie learning exactly who Jason Bourne is, maybe just a little faster than he himself learns the same thing. This story is amazing, and not just because it captures the two characters so perfectly, or makes them so real; the most stunning thing is that it's so very much better than the canon. Seriously. Ludlum dreams of writing like this. Or, no, he doesn't, because he's more fixated on big breasts and pointy sticks and things going boom, but if he knew about good writing he'd want to be as good as Jess is. And the movies were really quite surprisingly tolerable, but they weren't like this. This is just really damn good, and there's nothing more I can say about it. Well, nothing I could formulate coherently in this set, anyway.

Best FF That Should Come with a Warning Reading "Caution: After You've Read This, You'll Want to Make Lasagna, So Best Get the Stuff Now." Or Am I the Only One Who Needs That Warning? The Object of My Erections, by Francesca, aka [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. Here's a good reason why y'all don't want me to hold fire on a recommendations set for five months: I tend to eliminate the funny and happy excellent stories from the set and replace them with excellent but vaguely (or not so vaguely) grim and creepy stories. I might've eliminated this, too, except that there's just no way I could. Because, first, this story is everything I love about the Sentinel fandom - the sense of inevitability, the one-liners, the numerous ludicrous sensory and mystical reasons for nearly everything the Jim/Blair entity (yes, they are indeed one entity - it's canonical, man!) does. Also, second, the dialog here just makes me giggle like a schoolgirl, because in this fandom you can choose your flavor, angst or snark, and they both work just the same. (I prefer the snark, myself. Did I really need to spell that out?) Finally, it has the world's silliest title, which is reason enough to feel the love, I think. So, here we have Jim having dreams about a wolf and a panther getting up to activities not typical of their species, which means that Sandburg and Ellison are in for a (really very minor) lifestyle change. And then there's lasagna.

Best FF That Reminds Us, Yet Again, That Batman Is a Swinging, Pointy-Eared Angst Vector, and If the DCU CDC Had Any Sense He'd Be Quarantined for Everyone Else's Good. Our Dreams Pursue Our Dead, by [livejournal.com profile] derryderrydown, who is back on my "beloved authors" list now that she's named this work of - um, startling brilliance and seriously disturbing content. D.C. Universe, Dick Grayson/Jason Todd. I am not kidding you. And while it's hard to imagine that pairing ever getting down with the sweetness and light, this is about as deep into darkness and gravity as its possible to go. Hence, this warning: this story is as disturbing as all fuck. In case you're not up for something short and creepy, I'll be offering a certified safe alternative story for this one. (I'm not going to get into the habit of that for the DCU, so don't think it. It's just - yeeee. This story is scary, and I want people who are reading this at night to have a choice.) So, you want a story summary? Go back and take another look at the pairing. Says it all, folks, and that way I don't have to make this longer than the whole story is. Now read this - if you dare - and then join me in hoping that this really is a story about dreaming. Because if it isn't - yikes.

-Or-

Best FF Showing Us That Those Who Live in the D.C. Universe Are Not Like Others. For One Thing, They Don't Even Blink When They're Awakened in a Distinctly Creepy Fashion, Whereas the Rest of Us Would Be, at Best, Calling an Exorcist. Come down Breathless, by Te, aka [livejournal.com profile] thete1. DC Universe/Teen Titans, Tim Drake (as Robin III)/Kon-El (Superboy). I'm including their superhero names because they're definitely using their superhero personalities here, and also because it's getting even more difficult to figure out what part Tim's playing these days, what with the stories where he's Robin and the ones where he isn't and the ones where he is again, only angrier, and, well, all I can say is that the DCU needed only this Robin mess (I mean, really. Is he still Robin III? Is he now Robin V? Does anyone know?) to guarantee it the title "Most Confusing Fandom" for at least the next decade. Um. Not that this makes me all ranty or anything. Moving on to the actual story. Here we have an excellent candidate for a Mutant Sex Award, with Kon's powers playing silly buggers (Um. So to speak.), and Tim being, you know, Tim, because no other character would ever handle this situation quite this way. Well, except maybe Batman, although I suspect Batman would have an entirely different way of dealing with this. (It would likely involve a remotely controlled droid-bug-thing dispatched to Kon's room, a new monitor programmed to wake Kon up every subsequent time he began using his powers while sleeping, and one efficient and not especially funny joke for the sake of team camaraderie. 'Cause that's our beloved Batman, folks - eight times voted "most likely to be a villain in an alternate universe where the Joker is a good guy" and eleven times voted "superhero whose mental stability even other angst-ridden superheroes worry about.") Anyway. This story is a PWP that is totally worth reading for the characterizations and power play. Plus, you know, it's porn written by Te, so it's worth reading for other reasons.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
For the record, I totally disagree with the title of this entry, and consider that statement definitive proof that Virginia Woolf was off her rocker, because telephones are not romantic. They are evil. There's a creeping, insidious malevolence about the telephone that most people just don't understand, probably because they were victims, early in their lives, of Brave New World-style psychological conditioning conducted by a telephone company. (And, yes, a telephone company would do that, because telephones may be evil, but telephone companies are Satanic.)

This all just goes to prove the magic of fandom, though, because in these stories fan fiction writers create good from telephonic evil. But you shouldn't take that as an excuse to let your guard down around phones. You can't trust those things for a second.

Best FF That Shows Us How to Handle Long-Distance Relationships: with Lots of Telephone Calls, Lots of Talking, and Lots and Lots of Mutual Masturbation. Springfield, [livejournal.com profile] estrella30. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Fraser does not strike me as a phone sex kind of guy. Which is why this story works so well; Ray almost has to handcuff him to the receiver to get him going. (I can just picture that, actually. Ray'd have to get Fraser to cuff himself to the phone, since he's not in the room, and he could probably persuade Fraser to do that, too. Immovable Object Fraser, meet Irresistible Force Kowalski. Turns out the result of that kind of meeting isn't the end of the universe, as we used to theorize back in high school, but rather hot, hot sex.) I also love that Estrella has Ray weirded out once the guys are actually in the same room together, while Fraser turns into Constable Sex Machine. But then, I love everything about Estrella's writing, so it isn't a surprise I'd love this story, which I think is her longest one to date. And she doesn't waste any space, either; every single detail is right, from the way Ray reacts to sitting in a courtroom (he sort of vibrates, like Kid Flash, only with more swearing), to the conversations that Fraser and Ray have before they get to the sex portion of the program (they don't say much, but they both view their conversations as a lifeline), to Dief's ceremonious dispatch into the hallway ("I thank you for your company, but you're excused now.") To sum: this is a wonderful story.

Best FF That Proves That a Certain Sports Anchor Can Use His Way with Words for Evil. And Also Proves That He Should Do That Way, Way More Often. Reach Out and Touch Someone, by Caroline Baker, aka [livejournal.com profile] linabean, and Fox, aka [livejournal.com profile] darthfox. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. For the record, "Reach Out and Touch Someone" was going to be the title of this entry, but Caroline Baker and Fox got there first, and I don't even hold it against them, 'cause they used it on a great story. This is funny and light-hearted and insanely porny, which I suspect will sell about 85% of this LJ's readers on it. Not enough? Wait! There's more. Because the funniest part is actually not technically part of the story - it's the chat extract that follows the end. So be sure to read the chat transcript at the beginning, because otherwise you might not get the joke. And if that still isn't enough for you - although, really, it should be - this story has yet another attraction to lure the jaded reader: evil Danny. Not, you know, Angelus-type evil, where you have to send nuns away for their own good. More like Spike evil, where, OK, yes, technically he is evil, but he's so good at it, and he's so likable that you just love him anyway. And people find him inexplicably sexy. (I sincerely hope that bit didn't make anyone imagine Danny being played by James Marsters, though, because that would be too weird for words.) So. I've told you there's phones in this story, and that it's funny, and that it's up to its apostrophes in smut; do you really need to know more? OK. One other detail. In this story, Casey has hurt his elbow. Now go read it.

Best FF That Features - I Swear to God - a Cameo by Ewan McGregor, Even Though It Is Set in a Totally Ewan-Free Canon. Conversation, by [livejournal.com profile] cara_chapel. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. (You know, I'm starting to feel like I'm always recommending the same three fandoms, which means, I imagine, that the people who read this must be well and truly sick of said fandoms. So for the next entry I'll look through my list for a set that is made up of fandoms I haven't recommended for a while. It'll be kind of a palate-clearer for us all. Anyway, back to the rec.) Jim, on stakeout, commits an act of Sentinel voyeurism (which is just like regular voyeurism, except that it's got more detail and more sensory involvement than most of us get when we're having sex right up close and personal). And then he calls Blair, which is so what he would do, and only Jim could convince himself that he's doing it for some reason other than a desire for late-night phone sex. But, hey, Sandburg's no dummy, and he totally isn't fooled, so they have their phone sex anyway. The thing that always draws my attention when I read this story, though, is the couple Jim watches have sex; they sound to me like the characters played by Ewan McGregor and Yoshi Oida in The Pillow Book. (Hence the title of this story's award.) Anyone else get that? No? Well, but the blond guy in this story is named Jerome, and so was McGregor's character. Still don't see it? Maybe I'm insane. Anyway, this story just feels right to me. Somehow, Jim seems like the kind of guy that would feel more comfortable talking on the phone than in person, and Blair seems like one of those people that use telephones as almost an extension of their bodies, just one more way of guaranteeing that there'll always be someone to talk to. I doubt that's canon, or even in line with canon - for all I know, both guys hate phones - but it's one of the reasons this story works for me. Only one of them, though, so feel to read it even if you don't agree.

Best FF That Shows Us That Sometimes Even Telepathy Isn't Enough to Ensure You'll Win Mind Games. Golden, by Andraste, aka [livejournal.com profile] andrastewhite. X-Men, Charles Xavier/Erik Lehnsherr. (And, hey. Did everyone else know this interesting fact and just keep it from me? Because I was reading the Magneto entry at the Marvel Directory, and apparently Magneto once used the alias Michael Xavier. Am I the only person shocked and delighted by this news? Am I the only person now singing "Charles and Erik, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Jean Gray in a baby carriage?" Less delightful - more neutral, really - is the news that in the comics canon Erik Lehnsherr is not necessarily his real name, which I also totally didn't know. And I call myself a comics fan.) So, getting back to the story. This is a telephone-based fic with no phone sex; in fact, there's no sex of any kind. Charles and Erik have moved past using the telephone as a sex toy; for them, it's more of a weapon in their reach-out-and-hurt-someone-you-love arsenal. Not that they need any help, mechanical or otherwise, to hurt each other, because they've got that down. But, hey, there's a lot of FF couples who can do that; that's not what makes these guys special. This story shows us what does. It captures that indefinable Xavier/Magneto magic, in which love and hate and pain and pleasure are all inextricably mixed, so that they can't stop loving each other any more than they can stop fighting each other. This isn't an easy dynamic to write, so be impressed with Andraste. I sure am.

Next time: a recs set that doesn't contain a single dS, TS, or SN story. If I can write such a thing without dropping dead.
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)
A long, long, long time ago I promised my beloved [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie a post on FF I'd seen that violated a credo of the genre and yet somehow was still good. There really are such stories out there. We've all read them; stories where, for example, Benton Fraser grows tentacles and gets pregnant, even though he is technically male, by Ray Kowalski, who turns out to be a dragon. And Kowalski can talk to other reptiles, and he defeats Tom Riddle and saves Harry Potter, and Fraser can talk to horses and dogs and brings Sirius Black back from the dead.

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

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

-The Personal Peeves-

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

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

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

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

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

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

-The Broken Absolute Laws of Fan Fiction-

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

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

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

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

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

Because sometimes in fan fiction we get so focused on, um, one certain kind of relationship that we totally forget the other kinds, which are usually just as emotional and involved but, and let us all be grateful for this, not nearly as sexy.

Best FF That Shows Us There Can Be - Yes! - an Almost Normal Relationship in the Batworld: Fathers and Daughters, by David Hines, aka [livejournal.com profile] hradzka. Batclan, gen. I cried a lot the first time I read this. Unsurprisingly, that turns out to be something I brought to the mix. When I re-read the story a few weeks later, I realized it was brilliant and sweet and really not at all sad. And I do mean brilliant. David likes to show off in his fan fiction, I'm realizing; why else would he write a gen Batverse story about Jim Gordon (and there just is not enough Gordonfic, is there?) being paternal, and then toss in, apparently just to show he can, Batgirl? (Yes, I do see Batgirl as one of the toughest characters in the Batclan - toughest to know, toughest to write. I mean, it's sort of tough to find the voice of someone who spent a large part of her life mute. And that's just for starters - she's actually much more challenging than this would seem to suggest.) So David's a total show-off and I'd absolutely hate him for writing so well if I didn't secretly love him to pieces. Well, OK, not so secretly.

The Best FF That Reminds Us Just How Badly Attempts to Run Your Adult Child's Life Usually Turn Out: Grace, Paradoxically, by Laura Jacquez Valentine, aka [livejournal.com profile] jacquez*. The Sentinel, very mild Jim/Blair. We all know that Jim has mommy issues, but this is just about the best take I've ever read on them - on Grace, and why she left, and who she was, and who she became. Because Grace is just a plot point in most FF, but here she's a person, and while not entirely likable, she's definitely believable; this all just makes so much sense. And this story is from Grace's point of view, which just makes it that much more impressive. It's actually part of the Gone Native series (second from the top; there's no jump page link), but it can stand on its own, so jump right in. Additional inducement: this fic may also contain the strangest reason ever for Jim and Blair to get together. So, really, totally worth reading.

Best FF That Proves, Once and for All, That in a Really Difficult Situation There's Nothing Quite as Unhelpful as Parental Interference: Third Person, by [livejournal.com profile] julad. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Fraser, being Fraser, cannot have father issues like everyone else. He has to have the ghost of his dead father hanging around commenting on his father issues, usually via totally nonsensical stories about Buck Frobisher and that time on the DeWitt 10-Meter Ice Gap when they got their man by constructing a primitive turbine engine out of a sapling, goose grease, Buck's second-best hat, and four live wolverines. "And that's when I learned that it's important, no matter how much of a hurry you're in, to grab wolverines behind the temporomandibular joint, son..." And meanwhile Fraser is trying to live his life and, you know, maybe even construct a primitive turbine engine of his own. In short, Fraser has to do everyone in the world one better even at having annoying parent problems, but it's hard to envy him. It is, however, really easy to laugh at him. And then go all gooey over the way his friends - well, let's be honest and just say Kowalski - don't laugh at him. Or, in this story, strangle him.

Best FF That Shows, Yet Again, That You Can Be a Great Parent Even If You Aren't a Remotely Perfect One: The Medal, by Celli Lane, aka [livejournal.com profile] celli. Sports Night, mild Dan/Casey. There's a surprising number of family stories in this fandom, maybe because almost all the relationships are just so - so - familial. Or maybe it's because Aaron Sorkin has issues of his own that he works out through his characters. Anyway, this story gives us both sides of parenthood, as Casey tries to be a perfect father (but is actually a dorky, uptight, and loving father) and Danny remembers being a flawed son (while providing the cool, calm, and loving side of the parental equation). I also like this story because it caters to my, well, OTPish leanings in this fandom; here Casey and Danny have clearly been together, and happy, for a long time. And I, of course, totally believe that long-term happiness for those two can only come in the form of sex, followed by more sex, followed by a painless emergence from the closet and the acquisition of the top ratings slot. (Yes. In my dream world, I also have my own personal wombat, a button to press to bring world peace, and a patent on the cure for the common cold. It's a nice place to live, my head.)

* Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] mamadeb!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Do you trust me?

Well, OK. No, really, I don't blame you, and I'm not at all hurt. But do you trust me a little? Even a tiny bit? At least when it comes to fan fiction? Because I am about to ask you to take a link of faith, so to speak. The following stories have only one thing in common: they will be spoiled if you know the usual information (fandom, pairing, plot) before you read them. But they are really worth reading, and the surprise just makes it all the more delightful. So if you're willing to read blind, I think I can promise you some fun. And if you're not, well, your loss, toots. Nyah nyah nyah. (Yes, my parents did get an excellent return on all the years of alternative dispute resolution and assertive self-expression courses they paid for me to attend. Let this be a lesson to those of you with children: skip the therapy and just buy the sproutlings expensive entertainment gear. Escapism beats self-knowledge any day.)

Best FF That Goes a Long Way Toward Healing the Pain Caused by the Travesties Otherwise Known as Star Wars Episodes One and Two, AKA Star Wars: It Takes a Lot to Kill the Love, but By God, It Can Be Done, and I, George Lucas, Will Prove It: Just Names for Sides, by [livejournal.com profile] daegaer. I think I can safely tell you that you'll need to have seen Star Wars to understand this one. I can also tell you it's a crossover. And it's completely changed the way I see one scene of the aforementioned movie, but that's fine, because it does the heart good to snicker at Luke Skywalker, Ultrawhiner Edition (Now with Extra Whine!). At least, it does my heart good. Which in no way changes the fact that Daegaer is an evil, evil writer; it just makes me love her for it. And I think that's it for the "fore-warned" aspect of things with this one.

Best FF That Makes the Owies Left by the Scary, Scary Badfic All Better: Something's Wrong, by Saya Senyum, I think her name is, aka [livejournal.com profile] i_smile (I'm sure about that). And I feel I can tell you that it's Harry Potter, Ron Weasley/Harry Potter, because the author does, but don't let that lull you into feeling secure. This story is a subgenre I really wish we saw more often. It isn't a canon fix-it, it's a fan fiction fix-it; the story actually patches the holes in another, presumably much worse, story. Considering all the horrible FF out there, we could do with a lot more of this. Turns out there's no FF mistake that can't be reconciled by tilting one's head, squinting, and inverting the monitor. Well, provided one is the current receptacle of divine madness, as Saya Senyum (if that is her name) clearly was while writing this.

Best FF That Reveals What We Always Suspected of All Those Inuit Stories - i.e., That Fraser Is Making a Lot of Them Up: No Less Radiant, by [livejournal.com profile] laurakaye. Due South. I can't tell you anything about this story, except that A Certain Person should not read it (although she probably will anyway, and I don't think she'll be sorry, exactly), and neither should Ardent (but she already knows that, I'm guessing). It isn't exactly of a piece with the rest of the nominations here, but I had to include it, because I want those of you unfamiliar with this story (assuming there are people unfamiliar with this story) to come to it the way I did: with no knowledge about it at all. Really, it works best this way. If you don't agree, feel free to leave a bitter comment. I will reply, even, because that will give me a chance to show off my icons.

Best FF That Proves That Sometimes Plagiarism Is Neither Theft Nor Homage, but Rather the Sign of a Brilliantly Deranged Mind: The Other Guide, by Francesca, aka [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. The Sentinel. Sort of. We began this set with a mutant crossover from a mind clearly warped out of true by over-exposure to fan fiction, and we end it the same way. This story comes from someone I used to regard as a sane, sober, and sensible individual. And then I found this story. Now I view her as extremely likely to go off into gales of slightly cracked giggles, much in the manner of a person who will soon don a mask and a tight, brightly-colored outfit and go head-to-head with Batman. (She'd be called Fangirl, of course. Her weapons would be TV trivia and the sonic squee, and her outfit would have a large heart with a LJ icon of her favorite pairing - I'm thinking Kowalski/Fraser - in the center. She'd taunt Batman by writing stories about his sexual exploits with nearly everyone in Gotham and posting it all on the internet, and she'd enhance her evil by emailing update notices to his secret email account and to all the Gotham newspapers. And in the last issue, she'd eventually be cornered by the ultimate weapon: Batlawyers.) So, yeah, I've pretty much gotten off the whole story topic, but that's OK, because I can't tell you anything about it anyway. Just read it.

-Afterword-

If any of these stories remains a mystery after you've read it, feel free to leave a plaintive query in the comments section. I will do what I can to clear things up. And, of course, I will show off my new icons, for which I thank [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie, my own true wombat and long lost mystery relative, and [livejournal.com profile] wanderlustlover, who makes gorgeous icons in such quantity that I suspect her (or maybe him) of being paid by LJ to force us all to buy the extra user picture slots.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This set is all about what we wear and what it says about us, or rather, what our beloved characters wear and what that says about them, because this is fandom, where we don't so much navel-gaze as gaze into the navels of entirely other people, many of whom are fictional. And we don't limit ourselves to just navels, either.

However, in a tribute to navel-gazing (the official sport of California!), I have decided to make this set all about me. Well, I'm making the titles all about me, and I'm selfishly picking stories from some of my favorite fandoms, including the ones y'all are insanely tired of, so - yeah. All about me. Go me!

Best FF That Implies That There Are People in This World Who Don't Appreciate Being Dragged to the Bedroom and Told to Take Their Clothes off Slowly. Which Is Certainly News to Me, and Unwelcome News at That. Adorned and the sequel Borealis, by Resonant, aka [livejournal.com profile] resonant8. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. This is one of the stories I read first in this fandom, and it ruined me for PWP for at least, oh, a week. Because this? Is maybe the ultimate Kowalski and Fraser character study. Every line tells us something important about one or both of the guys, and the sex would be unimportant if it wasn't just as revealing. Here we have the difference between the outer Fraser (god-Mountie, worshipped everywhere above 40 degrees north, known for cleanliness and smiling in the face of fate's cruelty) and the inner Fraser (I'll let Resonant surprise you). Here we also have the inner and outer Kowalski. And we get a nice long look at how they manage their appearances. And was not that just the worst story summary ever? It was. So, look, I cannot summarize this at all, obviously. But it's good - great, actually - and it's got a happy ending, provided you read the sequel. And it's got the ritual exchange of jewelery and other adornments analyzed in enough detail to spur three or four anthropology dissertations. Just read it, OK?

Best FF That Describes Wee Blair Sandburg as Little Orphan Annie, and, You Know, I Can Totally See It. And I Bet He'd Have Made That Godawful Movie Much More Interesting, Though I Don't Know That I Want to Hear Him Sing. Dork, by Francesca, aka [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza, and Miriam Heddy, aka [livejournal.com profile] miriam_heddy. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. Yes, I did have to include a TS rec today, because some evil person linked me to the Sentinel mah jongg game, which is impossible and which never fails to give me a headache (itty bitty tiles featuring itty bitty pictures of Jim and Blair, including some that are nearly identical), but which I nonetheless cannot stop playing. I suspect subliminal mind-control, frankly. So, anyway, I've had TS on my mind a lot lately, because this game has little sound bites as well as little pictures and sometimes bigger pictures, and I thought it was time to reacquaint myself with those aspects of these guys that aren't related to a Chinese tile game. What better way to do that than to dress 'em up, or, rather, to let two very skilled authors dress 'em up? In this story, Blair cuts his hair (!) and gets in touch with his inner nebbish, and Jim loses his mind and gets in touch with his inner gay lust monster. I think we can all agree that that is a mighty appealing concept.

Best FF That Features Pink* Flip-Flops and Pink Baby Booties and Yet Is Not at All Girly and Does Not Feature Any Actual Babies. Sports Night, the Fandom of Internal Contradictions, How I Love Thee! Tin Men, by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. The SN lovefest continues on this LJ with this story, which combines some of my favorite elements of the show: Danny's snitfests, Casey's cluelessness, waist-down sartorial weirdness (live pants-free anchoring is canon, folks, and I've seen the episode that proves it!), killer dialog, and fantastic supporting characters. "Tin Men" incorporates all that in a light-hearted, funny, frothy mixture, and it throws in an established Casey/Danny relationship, which is all the canon needed to make it perfect. (Well, I believe that said relationship is canon, but I still want them to come out and say it.) So, basically, this story is exactly like the show. I think I'm required by law (or at least by [livejournal.com profile] fanofall, Procurator-General and Sports Night Pimp Mama) to note that if you like this story you should probably try a few episodes of the show, because if you don't, babies the world over will develop debilitating earaches. But, hey, don't feel pressured or anything.

Best FF That Made Me Secretly and Pathetically Proud of My Results on the Which Teen Titan Are You? Quiz. I Was Tim. I Am Cool. Albeit In a Truly Geeky and Pitiable Way. Management Strategies, by [livejournal.com profile] weirdnessmagnet. Teen Titans, Tim Drake/Kon. (Can somebody remind me what Kon's last name is, please? I've got superhero-induced memory rot.) I hope it's a surprise to no one that Tim's not Robin anymore. If it is, um... Hey! Guess what? Tim's not Robin anymore! So, how will our anal-retentive, obsessive-compulsive, multiple-persona-loving Boy Wonder cope now that he's out of spandex and kevlar forever? (Or, you know, until DC figures out what to do with him.) Weirdness Magnet has the answer, which turns out to be, "not as well as you'd expect given how well he handled the massive strangeness of the Batfamily, although still better than 85% of superheroes would." Tim's learning to be a Real Boy, and he's finding it just about as easy and pain-free as Pinocchio did, provided you're judging by the XXX-rated movie Pin-POKE-me-o: Pinocchio's Adventures on the Island of Dominatrix Toys (probably not a real movie). But, hey, there's an upside: he may not be a superhero right now, but he can still have sex with them. On the couch. In his father's house. See? He really is learning how to be a real teenager!

-Footnote-

* Apparently the flip-flops are not textually pink. But the author doesn't say what color they are, so I feel free to imagine that they are pink, and I intend to make full use of said freedom.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Kink is one of those mysterious things that is defined differently by each person. Person A may believe that spanking is the very essence of the perverse, while Person B believes that spanking is an essential component of any sexual act more involved than hugging. (Real problems can occur when Person A and Person B get into bed together.) That makes it tough to put together a set of kinky fan fiction, especially since my own personal definition of kink is - well, let's just say potentially quite different from other people's. So I've composed this set from stories defined as kinky by their authors, or by a third party - in other words, I filed it under "kink" if someone posted it or linked to it with a kink warning label.

Read on. Because, really, can't we all use more kink in our lives?

Best FF That Leaves Me Seriously Confused about Its Title: Vibe, by [livejournal.com profile] shayheyred. Due South, Ray Kowalski/OMC, Ray Kowalski/Stella. Yes, I can hear the horrified gasps of the RayK/Fraser fans even now. Look, read it, OK? It's set way back in time, and it's all about the interesting effect Steve McQueen had on Ray. (Was Steve McQueen that popular back in the day, or is it just that Ray mentions McQueen at some point in the canon? Because I could actually do a whole noms set just on stories involving Ray Kowalski and Steve McQueen.) And it's light, and more or less cheery, and short, so even K/F 'shippers should be able to read this with ease. But if you can't, yes, there will be an alternate story at the end. I'm not sure of the title because of the way this was posted to [livejournal.com profile] ds_flashfiction; it could also be called "Kink," or in fact "Ray Gets Down With Harley." Clarification would be appreciated.

Best FF That Almost Made Me Like Women's Shoes, Even Though I Hate All Shoes with a Great and Lasting Passion, and Actually Made Me Vaguely Wish My Best Beloved Would Give Me a Gift of Shoes, Even Though Normally I Would Take That As a Grave Insult: Not Kinky, Per Se, by Caroline Baker, aka [livejournal.com profile] linabean. Sports Night, Danny Rydell/Casey McCall. So. Danny has an interest in women's shoes, which Caroline Baker claims is canon (and you know what? I believe her, because it fits right in with everything else that's canon), and Casey has a tie kink, which I bet makes his career choice both obvious and difficult. (Although at least he has the desk in front of him in case of major, um, lapses while on air.) Clearly these guys were meant to be together, and I don't want to hear any argument on that score - they even have complementary kinks. In this story, Casey is getting his apartment redone, and Danny has some interesting commentary on previous times Casey has stayed with him, and, well, it's the happy kind of SN fic. Do you need to know more?

Best FF Containing the Phrase "Fuck Pig," Which Phrase Is Actually Probably Banned by Several Proposed Laws Currently Undergoing Congressional Scrutiny: Throwback, by Valentin, and if she has a LJ, I would love to hear about it. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. It isn't as though I would want a law banning the phrase "fuck pig" to pass. I'd think there was something seriously wrong with the Senators and Representatives from my state if they supported such legislation. But there's also this: the one time someone used the phrase on me during sex (yes, really), I fell out of bed laughing. (Well, it was one of those narrow college dorm room beds; any abrupt movement led inevitably to the floor. And bruising.) So I view "fuck pig" as an essentially unsexy and humorous phrase. Somehow, thought, this story manages to transcend the use of both "fuck pig" and "piggy," which is impressive enough that it would deserve a nomination even if the rest of it sucked, which it does not. Be aware, though, that if you have serious problems with non-con, the first part of this could be unpleasant for you. (If it bothers you, scan to the end. I think you'll feel better.) You know what? I'm going to throw in an alternate story for this one, too, so people who don't want to read a vaguely non-connish story involving fuck pigs don't have to. (Though, really, I don't think you'll be sorry if you do.)

Best FF That Suggests a Fascinating Alternative to All Those Team-Building Management Seminars: Wally West and the Crack of Doom, by Sarah T., aka [livejournal.com profile] harriet_spy. Justice League, I think, though the DCU would be much easier for dilettante fans if they didn't use the same characters over and over, just at different formative periods in their lives, in every damn series. Flash/Superman, Flash/Batman. (He needs only one more *man superhero to qualify for a set of steak knives! I suggest Spiderman, though other people may not agree.) The odd part is that Sarah says this is canon, and if that's true, I can only think that slashers have taken over the asylum. Which would actually explain a lot of the recent output of both DC and Marvel. (See, for example, The Proof of Rictor and Shatterstar's Love, especially this scan, although every scan is worth viewing. Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] greenet!) The kink in question - yes, I'm back to talking about the story - is spanking. If you don't like spanking, you should read this anyway, because it's hysterical.

-Alternate Stories-

Best FF That Could Be Used As a Recruiting Tool for the U.S. Army. In Certain Populations.: Thought About the Army, by Kass, aka [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. I recommended "Throwback" instead of this one because they're both good, and I assume everyone's already read this one. (If you haven't, why haven't you? And you call yourself a slash fan. Read all of Kass's stuff immediately.) For some reason, TS writers seem to assume that the natural progression of Jim and Blair's relationship is: friends, UST, RST, eternal commitment, BDSM. (Not that I'm arguing - hey, I'm all for the BDSM, and it certainly does enliven long-term relationships, but why does everyone conclude that Jim will go from lusting after Blair to fucking Blair to handcuffing him to a light fixture?) Here we have a perfect example of true excellence in a long-term relationship. Jim has a sexual need. With prompting, he communicates it to Blair. Blair meets said need enthusiastically. And with silk neckties. (Well, I mean, what other use would Blair have for a necktie?) I'm not saying bondage is necessary for a long-term relationship, mind you. But it certainly adds to the fun. (NOTE: Apparently my brain was not functioning when I selected this alternate; it actually has more non-con in it than "Throwback." I'm picking a second alternate, which will be TS and certified non-con free. See below.)

Best FF That Could Be Used As a Recruiting Tool for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In Certain Populations.: Look, Officer, I Can Explain Everything..., by [livejournal.com profile] cmshaw. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Some Confusion, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. This one is the alternate for all those folks who gag when they see a pairing that isn't RayK/Fraser. The first part of this story made me laugh so hard that I had to take a break before I could read the second and third parts. (I had a stitch in my side, and my dogs were regarding me with real worry.) Plus, it really changed my impression of marmalade, which I've always considered a cruel and unusual thing to do to citrus fruits, but I now view as something you'd want to have on hand in case a Mountie ever dropped by. To sum: this story has humor, a frightening look at Thatcher's sex life, an amusing look at Fraser's fantasy life, kink, and marmalade. Really, what are you waiting for?

-Addendum-

Best FF That Clearly Delineates the Difference Between Fantasy and Reality, Thus Getting My Butt off the Hook. So to Speak.: A Night of It, by Anna S., aka [livejournal.com profile] eliade. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. And this is the last TS story I'm recommending in this post, even if it suddenly spawns a non-con situation. This is another classic, another great story, another long-time fic, another bondage story, distinguished by the total lack of the slightest hint of non-consensual sex, except in fantasy, and I think it's pretty clear from the start that it is only fantasy. So we should all thank Anna S. for coming up with a story that I could recommend without feeling lingering guilt about consent issues, and we should all be very grateful that there's such a wealth of excellent BDSM stories in this fandom. I know I am. I also know I'm that I'm done with this post. Hell, I may be done with kink. Recs can sure be hard on the recommender's sex life.

So - to all a good night, totally free of kink, unless of course you're wanting kink, in which case, go you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
And by "chariot," I mean "car." Because, let's face it, we live a lot of our lives in cars. We kiss in cars, and fight in cars, and snack in cars, and, especially in our teen years, have sex in cars. And as in life, so in fan fiction. (Stop laughing immediately. I didn't say fan fiction was realistic, did I? No, I did not. I merely said it reflects our obsessions. If you believe you can successfully argue with that, go right ahead; I stand ready to defend my statement.)

Best FF That Puts a Hair Care Product to a Use That Paul Mitchell Would Never Approve. I Think.: Cool in the Backseat, by witchbaby, aka [livejournal.com profile] brooklinegirl. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Sex. In a car. Plus some other stuff. Really, when a story has a title like that, I don't think I should have to write a summary for you to know what's going to happen. But I do believe you'll be deeply impressed with what these guys manage to do in a car; I'm not sure how many couples aside from Fraser-the-perfect and Kowalski-the-graceful could have successful anal sex in the backseat of a Pontiac GTO. Trust me when I tell you that any kind of automotive engagement, never mind what happens here, requires skill and talent in some amount far greater than I possess. (There's a guy who is probably still limping and bruised who can testify that combining a backseat, a hardcover Biology textbook, and me is an act both unwise and very, very painful.) So be in awe, folks, of what Ben 'n' Ray manage to pull off in this story. Um, so to speak.

Best FF in Which Sex Is Prevented by the Untimely Intervention of a Car Alarm: Diversionary Tactics, by [livejournal.com profile] shrift. Sports Night, Casey McCall/Danny Rydell. Why yes, I do intend to continue recommending Sports Night fic. The SN Cult has me in its clutches, and I will not rest until every single person on this earth is reading SN FF. And, see, this is what is both beautiful and terrible about the Cult: I'm doing this because I know you'll be happier when you've succumbed. (Unless you get hold of some of the depressing SN stories, because those are like a kick to the gut, or possibly even like a blow to the genitals from the pointy part of a hardcover Biology textbook. But I'm no sadist; I'll warn you when I'm linking to one of those.) This is a happy story, and it is absolutely chock full of cars. (Public Service Announcement: we residents of Los Angeles would prefer it if visitors to this fine city did not use their cellular phones on the 405. Trust me, it's scary enough watching you folks merge without the knowledge that three-quarters of your brain is back home, and half of what's left is trying to figure out if that's Ryan Seacrest on the radio. (It isn't. It's his clone. We think, although we are afraid to get close enough to check.) So, please, unless you're Danny Rydell, stay off the phone when you're in traffic. Thank you. Love, the Los Angeles troglodytes.)

Best FF in Which the Two Characters Argue about Whether They're Gay or Not, Pause to Have Gay Sex, and Then Return to the Argument, Apparently Somehow Unaware That Said Argument Has Been Definitely Overtaken by Events: Orange Crush, by Annie Sewell-Jennings, aka [livejournal.com profile] anniesj. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander. This story is actually the second in a series that I think of as the Random Song Title Series. I don't know if it actually has a name. You might want to read the first story, A Lesson in Principles, before you read this one, although I do think that "Orange" could, despite references to what happened in "Lesson," stand alone. This story is based on an old tradition - sex in a crappy American car. I don't know why that's such a classic activity, but it is. Maybe people worry less about staining the upholstery when the car already sucks. (Get ready for a really impressive, top-notch, professional-quality transition here.) Sucks, in fact, like Spike does, only not in this story, which doesn't suck at all. (Yes, that was some excellent writing, there. Nothing quite like the knowledge of a job well done, is there?)

Best FF That Features the Phrase "Mi Dildo Es Su Dildo," Which, Frankly, I Don't Think Should Ever Be Uttered by Anyone: Toy Story, by Alanna, aka [livejournal.com profile] bayleaf. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. Yes, it's an all-TV-show recommendations set! Apparently television characters are big on the car sex concept. Or maybe I'm just a helpless TV show fangirl. Whichever. This story wins two prizes from me. First, the Chutzpah Award, for portraying sex in a car parked in a police station's garage. How many people have done that? (Note that I said people, not fan fiction characters; I could assemble almost a complete nominations set built around this concept alone.) And, second, the Mysterious Lack of Chutzpah Award, because I think we can all enjoy the spectacle of Blair getting embarrassed in a sex toy shop. Evidently Blair never learned the girl decoy trick, where you give a girl the money and a detailed description of the dildo or vibrator you want and halfway through you realize this is actually worse than telling a stranger and you should've just shopped on the internet, because the girl is laughing so hard complete strangers keep wanting to give her seizure medication. At least she's laughing that hard when she's me. I'm sure those in the audience are much kinder to their male friends on these occasions.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Nobody is a bigger fan of the explicitly smutty story than I am. But smut cannot stand alone, my friends; it has to fit in the story, be part of the story's framework, or it's just another boring cookie-cutter sex scene that readers skim through to get back to the plot. So I am also a big fan of those authors that only put smut where it belongs.

I hear you saying "But smut belongs everywhere!" I feel that way myself sometimes. The truth is, however, that some stories just aren't ready to go all the way, and authors who honestly love and care for those stories don't force them. So today I'm taking the time to praise those authors who respect their stories' boundaries even if it means going below the NC-17 horizon.

Best FF Featuring a Totally Anachronistic and Yet Totally Appropriate Song: Barter, by Gloria Mundi, aka [livejournal.com profile] viva_gloria. Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack/OMC. The easiest way to describe this story is to quote the author's summary: "'Last time the rum runners who used this island as a cache came by, and I was able to barter a passage off.' Barter? Barter what?" I read that and thought, hey, yeah! What did he barter? Glori asked the question and she answered it. This story is sharper and more serious than I usually like in this fandom; after all, the canon doesn't exactly bring the word "gravitas" to mind, so why should the fan fiction? But "Barter" works for me, possibly because if Jack's ever going to be angsty, it's going to be about the Pearl. Hell, the Pearl has to be involved just for Jack to be serious.

Best FF That Teaches Us How Dangerous It Can Be at the Forefront of the Fight for Equality of the Sexes: Gynecology1, by Charlemagne, aka [livejournal.com profile] synchronik. Sports Night, Danny Rydell/Casey McCall. Danny is made Woman for a Night, and learns some important feminine facts, which include:

1. There's nothing more dangerous than a group of intoxicated women.
2. Sweet, fruit-flavored alcohol is lethal.
3. Two can keep a secret. Unless they work together. Or the secret makes for really good gossip. God help you if both are true.
4. If you don't know what you're going to say, don't open your mouth.

This story, in my opinion, is a perfect example what sports Night FF writers do so well - humor, fantastically snappy dialog, and a touch of drama simmering under the surface, where you can see it or not, just as you prefer.

Best FF That Reminds Us Why Teenagers Are Dangerous Things to Have Around the House. Or Around the Planet, for That Matter.: Seeing Through the Spaces, by [livejournal.com profile] pearl_o. X-Men movies, Magneto/Mystique, Pyro. There's been a lot of FF on Pyro turning to the dark side, and much of it is excellent. This story stands out for me, though, because not only do we see St. John as a sullen, somewhat thoughtless teenager, but we also get to see how vulnerable that makes him to Magneto's manipulation. And he's not vulnerable because he's somehow worse or more susceptible than other people his age; he's not. He's just an ordinary teenaged boy, making life-changing decisions without really knowing or even wondering why. Frankly, I think we should all be very grateful that in our world teenagers can't control elemental forces of destruction. Well, except for cars. And certain kinds of music.

Best FF That Manages to Make Contagious Disease and Its Affiliated By-Products Romantic: Wine, Women and Schlong, by Brighid, aka [livejournal.com profile] brighidestone. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. This story could use a little proofreading, but it is so worth reading. It's light and fun and funny, and, as I mentioned in the category title, it actually manages to make mucous romantic, which is clear proof that Brighid is a slash genius. Also, I love Sentinel stories that point out what the writers of the canon apparently missed - namely, that no one on this planet could possibly have believed Jim and Blair weren't lovers. I mean, they live together, work together, get jealously possessive of each other, protect each other, and cuddle after life-threatening situations. They probably do each other's laundry, too. Newborn babies must have looked at them and thought "Gay. Totally gay," never mind the people who actually worked with them. It's nice that FF writers could step in and pick up the slack, here. Of course, that's what FF does for every aspect of the canon. This is why a portion of my personal mantra is, "Thank god for slashers, who return a modicum of sanity to the world of The Sentinel."

-Footnote-

1 In all honesty I should note that the author himself considered this an NC-17 story. I've read it several times, and I just don't think it deserves such a high rating. R, maybe, but not NC-17. I'd be glad to hear other people's opinions on this point, though.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have a near-lethal addiction to the documentary form, and I'm not talking about movies. My personal favorite is the epistolary, but I'll take diary entries, too, or, hell, tax forms. All documents are good. Stories written about documents, or with documents, or referring to documents - I love those, too. I'm the original cheap date when it comes to this form.

Unfortunately, there's not a lot of true epistolary FF out there. Doesn't matter. I'm such a document slut that I'll go with any story that promises to mention letters or diaries. Sad, but true. Well, providing said story is good. And these are.

Best FF Likely to Lead to a Master's Thesis on the Importance of Sig Files in Modern Communication, and the Significance of the Suppression Thereof: Eros Epistolary, by Brighid, aka [livejournal.com profile] brighidestone. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. The first challenge of an epistolary story is to come up with a good reason why the characters are writing to each other, rather than, say, chatting. This is especially difficult, I'm sure you can appreciate, if the two characters live together and in fact spend essentially every moment of their lives together, which, of course, is exactly what Jim and Blair do. Brighid manages to get the guys writing to each other just fine, though. And note her fabulous use of the many options available to the modern epistolary writer, from sticky notes to email to recycled paper. Epistolary stories aren't boring! Epistolary stories are grand! Epistolary stories in the morning! And epistolary stories in the hand! Um. Stopping now.

Best FF That Shows How Addictive Letters Can Be in Bad Circumstances, So Won't You Write to Some Depressed Individual Today?: Letters Home, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. The Secret Garden, Dickon/Colin/Mary. This story is not told entirely in letters. But it's about letters, and it's got extracts from letters, and it's a fantastic story, so I'm not seeing a downside here. Except the sadness. See, the problem with The Secret Garden is that it has to stand alone. Given the times and the culture in which the story takes place, there can't be a happy ending for the three of them as adults. I've always known that, sadly, the likeliest outcome was Mary and Colin married, and Dickon working as their gardener.

Except, of course, that they are on a collision course with World War I. Colin and Dickon are destined for hell in the Somme, and the odds aren't good that they'll both survive - especially not if they end up calvary, as [livejournal.com profile] penknife hypothesizes here. This story is something I could never even imagine - a reasonable extrapolation of The Secret Garden, one that lets the trio grow up and places them squarely in the real world. This shouldn't work. Except that it does, it really does.

Best FF That Shows How Addictive Letters Can Be Even in Relatively Good Circumstances, So Won't You Write to an Irritatingly Happy Person Today?: Written by Hand, by [livejournal.com profile] setissma. Harry Potter, Remus Lupin/Sirius Black, Remus Lupin/Severus Snape, James Potter/Lily Evans. Perhaps it would be better if I just wrote "assorted non-explicit and implied pairings." In any case, what we have here is a story in which Remus suffers from a handwriting addiction, and Sirius helps him figure out a way to get his fix even in Romania. It's sweet without being cloying. Remus gets down with the magic theory, we get the niftiest form of eavesdropping ever, and love prevails. At least briefly, which is exactly how long love gets to prevail in J. K. Rowling's world.

Best FF Told Entirely in a Letter That Leaves Me Barely Resisting the Temptation to Write a Letter Back1: To Casey, on His Thirty-Fifth Birthday, by Mosca, and does anyone know if she has a LJ? Sports Night, Dan/Casey (ish). Let's just get this out of the way now. I succumbed, OK? I completely and totally succumbed to the lure of Sports Night fan fiction, and if you haven't, all I can say is: run. Or the cultists will get you, too, and soon you'll be reading fabulous fan fiction about two guys who are smart, neurotic, funny, and so clearly in love that I'm surprised it was never mentioned in a daily run down meeting2. I really have to apologize for making my first official nomination in this fandom (the other one didn't count, because I wasn't in the fandom then) so wistful and unsmutty and unresolved. Trust me, there's also joy aplenty in the SN fold. (And if you won't trust me, trust the minions of Bhagwan Sports Night. They are even now waiting on your doorstep to tell you about the pure and slashy love to be found when you embrace Sports Night, for Sports Night is love and love is Sports Night.)

Best FF That Proves That Fraser and Kowalski Can Make Even a Community College Creative Writing Class Sexy: The Course, by Bone, aka [livejournal.com profile] thisisbone, and Aristide (anyone have a link for her?). Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. I love document-related fiction way too much to limit myself to just four stories; it was actually a battle of will for me to limit myself to one story per fandom. So this is today's bonus story. It's one that many people will have read; this is what we call a classic of the genre, by which we mean that it is chock-full of smut. And humor. And then a lot more smut. And this cavalcade of smut is induced, my friends, by Ray's journal entries. Diaries and smut and undercover work and smut and sullen community college students and smut and Fraser in relaxed clothing and smut. And then some smut. So, really, you cannot go wrong with this one. And if you don't know from due South? Well, you'll be able to read this anyway; I barely knew the fandom when I found this story, but it turns out that high-quality smut is truly accessible fiction. (Just think of the improvement in our nation's literacy statistics if summer reading lists included this sort of story!)

-Footnote-

1Said sequel would, naturally, be called "To Danny, Who Will Be Lucky If He Lives to See His Next Birthday If He Keeps Leaving Tragic Love Letters on Office Computers." And it would begin "Dear Danny - I see that therapy has really improved your communication skills, not to mention your passive-aggressive behavior and your self-image. And if you think I won't read every damn file on my computer rather than write a script, then have I been sharing an office with Pod Danny for the last two years?"

2Actually, I suspect this was covered in a rundown meeting. Probably it went something like this. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I think we could all stand to remember the wisdom in the title more often. That said, it's obviously time to take another pass at masturbation stories. Or, no, wait, another whack. No. Another go?

I give up. This is hereby declared a double entendre-free zone for the duration of this nominations set. You will all just have to kick your own minds out of the gutters. To the extent possible with these stories on offer.

Best FF That Identifies Spike's Masturbation Fantasy Number 9, Leaving Me Wondering If There's Some Connection to the Love Potion of the Same Number. And Also, Of Course, What the Other Eight Are. Night Watch, by [livejournal.com profile] debchan + [livejournal.com profile] spike21 + [livejournal.com profile] thete1 = Webrain, and I hope I haven't left anyone out. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander. (No, it is not my OTP in this fandom, I swear to god. I just...rec a lot of it, OK?) I admit this story is most of the reason why I'm revisiting the masturbation theme right now. I nominated another story called "Night Watch" in the last set, and it just seemed like a good idea to clear the decks of Night Watches, at least for the moment. Spike jerks off, Xander watches, and the inevitable happens. Pay special attention to the excellent disclaimer: "If they belonged to us, there would come a day when taffeta played a role in their lives." I can't say the same; I don't care for taffeta. But I'm willing to concede that I'm with the Webrain in principle. (NOTE: A Certain Person should not read this, because it contains a mention of blood that is brief but will nonetheless likely ick said Person right out.)

Best FF That Shows That, in Addition to Being Basically Twisted, Batman Has a Deeply Twisted Sense of Justice. And Humor. Wally West vs. the Chicken Salad of Doom, by David Hines, aka [livejournal.com profile] hradzka. Justice League, I think, and it's not a pairing situation, more of an, um, one-man show kind of thing, involving Flash. So. This is a sex pollen story, and I think we can all agree there is no excuse for sex pollen stories. Except that they tend to be strangely good. And they make me laugh, in some cases so hard that they should have a special warning. (Along the lines of "Caution: do not read this story while precariously balanced or around improperly stored liquids. Wear protective clothing and check all nearby surfaces for corners and sharp edges before beginning. Not for people who have heart disease, high blood pressure, or a need to look dignified.") This is one such story. At least, it appealed to my sense of humor.

Why I am sorry I admitted that in a public forum? Or even to myself?

Best FF That Makes Me Hungry - and Not for Sex, Sadly, but Rather for a Foodstuff I Have Not Had Since I Was in the UK, and Which I Am Ashamed to Admit I Love, Because It Is So British. A Trifle, by [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel. Harry Potter, Harry Potter/Ron Weasley, in a manner of speaking. Here, we have food leading to masturbation, which is not at all surprising, given that the characters are teenage boys. It's only surprising that they're so discriminating about their culinary triggers; in my experience, Funyuns (as one example) would work just as well with boys of this age, and they don't count as food, never mind erotic food. Once again, we have a strikingly simple proposition: boys. Food. Wanking. Does it work? You be the judge. And somebody for god's sake send me some trifle.

Best FF in Which Female Strippers Induce Homosexuality in Formerly Straight Men, and It All Makes a Mutant Kind of Sense. Shadow Boxing, by Sihaya Black (this is only her TS stuff; if anyone has a more complete site or a LJ link for her, I'd love to hear about it). The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. (I swear, that's not a pairing, it's more like a brand of slash or something. Jimblair, adjective: describing fiction that takes snippy "straight" guys who are clearly already together in the canon and nudges them over the NC-17 line.) This is a switching teams story that begins with a jimblair argument and ends with a jimblair marriage proposal. (Now that I think about it, that may actually also be a decent summary of the first season of The Sentinel.) In the interim, there's plenty of masturbation, as well as anthropological jargon and beer. Ah, TS, how we love thee!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The joys of coitus interruptus are many. Totally unrecommended as birth control, mind you - anyone who has ever had sex with a male between 14 and 19 years of age will be able to explain why, should you be curious - but it does make for some, shall we say, amusing fan fiction.

Best FF That Shows Us Why We Should Take Care to Check Our Environs for Individuals with Enhanced Senses of Smell Prior to Any Impromptu Semi-Public Sexual Activity: Chemistry and the Things We Shouldn't Do, by Zahra, aka [livejournal.com profile] hackthis. X-Men movies, Bobby Drake (Iceman)/St. John Allerdyce (Pyro). This story spawned this whole nominations theme, because when I read it I realized that it doesn't get much worse, in the coitus interruptus sweepstakes, for said interruption to come from someone with claws and a sense of humor who will live forever. Seriously, Bobby and St. John (and that is his name, dammit, I don't care what the movies think) will be dead of extreme old age and Wolverine will be hanging out over their coffins telling this story to their great-grandkids. Who, I am sure, will find it a highly educational experience.

Best FF That Shows Us Why It Sucks to Be a Superhero, and I Don't Mean the Good Kind of Suck, Either: Interruptus, by [livejournal.com profile] silentfire. Justice League (I think), Clark/Lex. I'm ashamed to admit this, but I actually have my own personal set o' superheroes. Except they aren't so much superheroes as people beset by superpowers; I've always been more interested in the down sides of superheroism - the Rogues rather than the Wolverines, to put it another way. But this is one down side that even I totally failed to appreciate. I mean, we've all had unfortunate interruptions at some point in our lives. (My life, in fact, can be charted out in stages by the kind of interruption most likely to happen, starting with the parental phone call when I'm already late home, continuing through the drunken sobbing roommate, moving on to the professional emergency, and finishing, at least for now, with an uninvolved party throwing up.) But how many of us have ever had to choose between having sex and saving the world? Not me. (Good thing, really, because there were times in my younger and more hedonistic days when I might've made the wrong choice.) And, I hope, not you. So let us all take a moment to be grateful for those fictional individuals who make continued life on this planet possible, even though they have to wear dorky Spandex costumes and drop everything the minute disaster strikes.

Best FF Featuring the Phrase "Attack on Crack" That Doesn't Succumb to the Temptation to Make the Obvious Pun: Life Lived Like a Mentos Commercial, by Mallory Klohn, and does anyone have a current link for her? The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg/OMC, Blair Sandburg/Jim Ellison. I think we can all agree that being found in flagrante delicto by Wolverine is about as bad as it can get, but Jim Ellison has got to be in the top thousand Worst Interrupters, anyway. And I think we can also agree that if you're having sex with someone who is wearing a Safety Dog costume, being caught by anyone is a bad idea. Unless, I suppose, you're an out-and-proud furry, in which case, go you! I, myself, would be forced to enter the Humiliated Persons Protection Program, seeking a new life under the name "Wanka Slasherson" in Abilene, Texas. (Side note: I'd be grateful if someone could explain to me why this is life lived like a Mentos commercial. Isn't this story based on the movie Groundhog Day? What do lame little candies have to do with this story? Or, for that matter, anything?)

Best FF Featuring a Phrase That Will Haunt Me Forever and Likely Prevent Me from Realizing My Full Potential: Five Things That Never Happened to Ray and Ray, by [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Due South, Ray Vecchio/Ray Kowalski. This, my friends, is classic naive Fraser; I am particularly fond of versions three and four, which somehow distill naivete to its very essence. The phrase referenced in the title is, for the record, "What are you, the asshole police?" It will live in my mind forever, rising to the surface during job interviews, eulogies, and conversations with my grandmother. (This is one of the many reasons you will never see me on live television; my brain is full of things like this, and in moments of stress, they are all I can think of to say. It's a disease or something.) And, yes, I am fully aware that there is a small but, shall we say, extremely vocal contingent that refuses to read Ray/Ray stories; for their benefit, I am once again including a Certified Safe Alternate due South story.

Or:

Best FF Featuring Several Excellent Potential Topics for Dissertations and Theses: The Bodyguard, by [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. I am particularly proud of this alternate, which not only fits the theme - in fact, there are two interruptions here! - but is also by the same author. Let it never be said I don't respect the strange quirks of my blog readers. Well, OK, really just the readers who know where I sleep. But still, I think it's very sensitive and thoughtful of me. This story has the disadvantage of having been recommended nearly everywhere. (Perhaps I should do a Slashy set consisting of authors whose every word you should read, including their high school papers on Romeo and Juliet and grocery lists written while stoned. It would save us all a lot of trouble.) But it has many advantages, including humor, hockey, fascinating alternative theological theories, and Fraser contemplating inflicting gross bodily harm on a helpless woman. (Well, relatively helpless, anyway. Or, actually not helpless at all. But still totally female.) And that's all just in the first page. Later on, there's jokes in several languages, and sex, and some surprisingly serious social commentary and - look, just read it.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Today, we pay tribute to an activity that is, too often, just a short stop on the way to somewhere else: kissing. You know. The lips-mouths-tongues thing. I realize that in many slash stories kissing is just the thing the guys do until the author can get something else in at least one participant's mouth, but a kiss can also be, you know, important. Pivotal. Worth at least a paragraph or two, in other words. These stories don't all stop with just the kissing - well, I mean, what kind of smutty recommender would I be if they did? - but they all have kissing that matters.

At least in my opinion.

Best FF That Uses Kissing as a Means of Dispute Resolution: Leap, by Kellie Matthews. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. My high school was full of suburban boys who appeared to have only one means of settling an argument - the traditional method, which inevitably led to mano-a-mano, bloody noses, and, in the fullness of time, the principal's office. If only they'd known that all such arguments could be resolved far more simply and quickly with a kiss. (Although, given my high school, I'm not willing to swear that wouldn't also have ended in the principal's office.) We all would have been spared the lingering ennui of the same old fistfights, and I would, I promise you, have been much more scrupulous about attendance. In this story (yes, I've gotten back to the story), Fraser and Ray argue about risk-taking behavior. And, of course, it leads to kissing. And sex. But kissing first.

Best FF That Uses Kissing to Explain a Confusing Religious Concept Far Better Than Any Theological Texts I've Read: Ineffability, by V, [livejournal.com profile] deepsix. Good Omens, Crowley/Aziraphale. This one is short and sweet, and if you don't get ineffability after reading the last line, read it again. Or, I suppose, you could seek out a member of the clergy. But, really, all things considered, I would just go with the re-read. And for those of you feeling squeamish about explicit sex between angels (as opposed to explicit sex involving Angel, which is a whole other fandom), this one does stop at (and start with) just kissing. So if you came here for smut rather than a religious education, you may want to skip this one. (But really, you shouldn't.) Note: this is a time-sensitive link; the host site is closing soon, and we will lose V's site, and Cimorene's site, and a lot of other good stuff. Read it and weep, folks.

Best FF That Uses Kissing as Ominous Foreshadowing: Trust, by the amazing [livejournal.com profile] penknife. X-Men movies, Magneto/Xavier. M/X stories just can't end happily. Oh, there have been a few authors who've tried. There're even a few who have succeeded, except that even as you're reveling in the characters' apparent happiness, you can't silence the small voice in your head saying: "If you two knew what's coming..." In this FF, Penknife doesn't try. We see Charles and Erik as they once were, but we also see the future coming in fast, like a fist, and we know how it will end. (For the record, in case you haven't been paying attention: in tears. Well, OK, actually in them developing major ideological differences and spending the rest of their lives on opposite sides battling each other for the title of King of the Mutants, but "in tears" is the short version. To the extent that there can ever be a short version in the Marvel universe.) Lends real poignancy to the kiss, let me tell you.

Best FF That Uses Kissing to Precipitate a Sexual Identity Crisis That Is, Frankly, Long Overdue: The Right to Remain Silent, by Kass and Justine - [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel and [livejournal.com profile] sanj*. The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg/Jim Ellison. There's a lot of competition in the Significant Kissing category in this fandom, but this one stands out because there's more than one Significant Kiss. Basically, Blair Sandburg goes over his nightly quota of said kisses, and finds himself switching teams before the week is out. Jim Ellison gets bitten and finds himself having sex in a car. All becomes right in the Sentinel universe. Readers everywhere cheer enthusiastically. And I end this set before I develop a tongue fixation.

* Thanks for the link, [livejournal.com profile] the_star_fish and [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
We all dress up every once in a while - maybe to fit in, maybe to stand out, maybe to get that certain someone to look at us. So, hey, why can't the men we slash dress up, too?

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

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

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

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

Best FF That Raises a Burning Question in Its First Paragraph and Then Leaves It Totally Unanswered: What You See, by [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. Blair genderfucks, Jim develops gender issues. (Actually, from what I can tell, that's not all that bad a summary of the whole TV series, at least from a certain perspective.) Wondering what the unanswered question is? Go read the first paragraph. Now riddle me this: Jim's thinking that he forgot how stifling chaps were. So when else has he worn them, hmmm? I'm going to email [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel immediately and demand she explain that comment. Preferably in FF. (Because she's writing TS FF again. Yay!)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
It's time to celebrate public sex. Because, really, that's what FF is.

Well, the kind I tend to nominate, anyway.

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

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

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

Best FF That Leaves You Making a Mental Note to Attend More Religious Charity Events and Keep Your Eyes Peeled: Relief, by [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. In which Ray learns that Fraser cannot resist a dare. If "Proof and Pudding" didn't persuade you that there's something unexpectedly sexy about charity events, let me offer Exhibit B. Although, really, I think these must be alternate-universe charity events, because I've attended a street fair or two in my time, and usually the most interesting thing about them is that you get to see who actually buys those pictures of big-eyed children. (Exactly who you'd expect, usually.) The sexiest it gets is the standard boy/girl teenage couple licking each other's tonsils, and, really, that wasn't that sexy even when I was in the couple. So can I buy a couple tickets to the public sex Alternate Universe? I promise my charitable contributions will increase markedly.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Today I return to the charming, silly, and extremely redolent world of the drunkfic, in which confessions are made, men are fucked, and there's no regrets until morning. My reasons for using this theme today will become clear with the next Fandoms I Have Loved post; in the meantime, engage in drunken revels with the guys below.

Best FF That Leaves You Wanting to Give a Certain Character a Short but Pertinent Lecture on the Virtues of Knowing One's Ability to Tolerate Alcohol and Not Exceeding One's Limits: First Warning, by Rave, aka [livejournal.com profile] dorkorific. Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack/Will. Yet another entry in the long series of stories in which Jack gets Will drunk and we're all very grateful. This one has excellent characterization - I think she's got both voices down very well - and is a bit of a tease. Just the thing to begin with, no?

Best FF Featuring an Excellent Use of the Word "Twee," Not to Mention Some Lovely Archaic British Slang: And When He Falls, by torch, aka [livejournal.com profile] flambeau. Good Omens, Crowley/Aziraphale. I would like the record to show that I am still absolutely appalled by the existence of Crowley/Aziraphale. Yes, I am. But I can't help loving stories that contain as many perfect lines as this one. My love affair began when Aziraphale says "billy-o." By the time I read "Aziraphale tasted like all things good and wholesome, and also like claret," I was prepared to marry this fic. Which I suppose would count as a drunken proposal.

Best FF Involving Meditation as a Cure for Hangover: Bacchus Blessings, by Kass. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. There are definitely downsides to getting drunk. Because waking up with a hangover is bad, yes, but waking up with a hangover and not being sure whether or not you had sex with a friend - that's hell. And it's a hell we've all visited a few times, so why not make a return trip with Blair in the hot seat?

Best FF Featuring the Customer of Every Used Car Salesman's Nightmares: Fall, by Mia. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Do we want to see Benton Fraser deep in the throes of repression? We do not, for it is scary and involves learning Arabic and running through chicken coops with the chickens' best interests at heart. Do we want to see Benton Fraser drunk? We absolutely do, even though it is scary, because immediately after the girl named Michelle comes the boy named Ray, and a happy ending - and orgasm - is had by all. Yay!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The Sentinel was my first television fandom, so it was also the first fandom I entered without even the vaguest clue about the canon. I’ve learned a lot of helpful tricks for moving smoothly into unfamiliar territory, but I didn’t know them then, so I experienced some confusion at first. And when I say “some confusion,” I mean “an enormous amount.” I didn’t understand anything – for a while, I actually had (embarrassing confession time) The Sentinel and The Professionals mixed up.

I got that sorted after a while, but it made for some very interesting reading in the interim. Also some very interesting questions. ("Is Blair the ex-mercenary?" "What part of England is Cascade supposed to be in?" And so on. Looking back, it was a remarkably pathetic time.)

More on Bodie/Blair, Jim/Doyle, and other entirely mythological creatures. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Today, I give you a mannered and educational nominations set in which our heroes (various) forget that they remember, and dream that they forget. Well, no. Actually, they mostly dream about sex.

Best FF That Teaches Us the Proper Way to Determine If We're Sleeping with Our Roommates, and the Improper Way to Behave Once We Remember That We Weren't: Not Exactly Funny, by Helen [livejournal.com profile] helenish. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. There was a time when I thought amnesia stories just shouldn't work. Then I read a few good ones and decided that in a skilled writer's hands amnesia could be quite effective. But now I think amnesia FF works because it's close kin to AU FF; we get to see what would happen if the characters started over. And in this story, it's especially nice to see Jim and Blair asking themselves the same question that everyone who ever saw the show must've asked - namely, how can this not be a sexual relationship?

Best FF That Teaches Us the Proper Way to Reward Your Partner for Being a Good Shot and the Improper Way of Wanting to Eat Your Partner: Throwing Shapes, by Anna S., aka [livejournal.com profile] eliade. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander. Amnesia strikes again! Xander remembers the important stuff (like Sid Vicious, Pamela Anderson, Star Wars, and Snickers bars) and Spike forgets equally important stuff (like that, Englishman or not, he really shouldn't go out in the noonday sun). They make some unfortunate but completely understandable deductions (like that they're partners in crime, or possibly in a circus) and hilarity ensues. Wait, make that hilarity and hot sex. Because this is Anna S., after all, and she always remembers the important stuff. Note also that this story gave me a brand new motto: "I'll angst later. After my nap." Something we could all stand to remember, I think.

Best FF That Teaches Us the Proper Way to Thank Our Friends for Bringing Us Good News and the Improper Way of Riding a Broomstick: Aphasia, by [livejournal.com profile] rhoddlet. Harry Potter, Harry/Ron. Sometimes you need to forget some things to get where you need to be. Or, to put it another way, in slash stories, you can count on certain things, like that having aphasia will turn out to be an excellent way of getting in touch with your inner gayboy. And if it doesn't usually work that way in real life? Well, that's why we love fan fiction, folks. This story also demonstrates that aphasia (not to mention fan fiction) can, on occasion, be surprisingly innocent and sweet.

Best FF That Teaches Us the Proper Way to Handle Sudden Changes in Sexual Orientation and the Improper (but Fun) Way of Coping When Your Partner Kisses Your Sister: Baresark, by Laura Jacquez Valentine. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Ray actually sounds to me like he might've had aphasia in the canon; at least, lots of people seem to write him as mildly aphasic. But, as we've seen before, forgetfulness of any kind is no obstacle to finding true love. And, in the spirit of "I'll angst later. After my nap," Ray copes with a sudden urge to hop into bed with his partner with style and grace and about four seconds' concentrated thought. Apparently that's just not as difficult a decision as we thought. At least, not when your partner is Benton Fraser.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Yes, it's more humor. See, the thing is, after a few seriously angsty ones I need something light-hearted and funny. And as I've mentioned, I've been exploring the Buffy fandom, which is basically the second-largest angst, doom, and gloom resource in the world. (I'm thinking of petitioning the United Nations to declare it a World Heritage Site, to preserve the darkness for future generations.) So I find myself needing extra doses of humor these days, and I'm passing that humor on to you. (Which is only fair, since I have every intention of passing on the angst to you lot as well.)

Best FF That Proves That Fortune Really Does Favor the Foolish, Because If It Didn't, Benton Fraser Would've Been Killed by an Insane Bag Lady by Now: Interrogation, by speranza. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. This is one of those stories that I turn to again and again, especially when I've just read a novella involving, you know, darkness and sourness and a 2,300-word torture scene. Why? (I mean, of course, why do I turn to this story, not why do I read darkfic. The latter passeth all understanding.) Well, consider the experimental line of Hallmark cards. Fraser's list of enemies. The mad or incompetent toaster bomber. Plus, is it just me, or is Frannie worried about what else Ray and Fraser might be doing in the interrogation room? I think she's a closet slash reader, people.

Best FF Using the Phrase "Snookie-Ookie-Wookums" (Please, God, Let This Be the Only FF Using the Phrase "Snookie-Ookie-Wookums"): Every Fanfic Ever Written!, by Mooncalf, aka [livejournal.com profile] tsukikoushi. All fandoms, all pairings. You say you have no time to read fan fiction these days? Even fast fic is too much for you? Well, read Mooncalf's nifty encapsulations, and you'll never need to read another. She's missed a few of the rarer types, yup, but I think you'll be impressed at how much she covers. I know I was. My own personal favorite type of story: The Backstory Fic, Part 2.

Best FF That Needs to Be Forwarded to Every Marvel Author Immediately. With a Kick in the Pants or Two.: Phone Home, by Domenika. (I think, anyway. It's sort of hard to tell her name from her site.) X-Men comics, gen. I don't know if those of you who haven't suffered under the Insanity-Inducing Lash that is the X-multiverse will find this as funny as, for example, I do. I do know that even minute exposure to said Lash years and years ago will be enough to cause you to giggle at this. I laughed myself sick at this one, even though I quit my X habit cold turkey in my last year of college, when I realized that I could keep up with the classes my parents paid for me to take, or I could keep up with Marvel comics, which I had to pay to read and then pay for therapy sessions to resolve the existential confusion they induced. I couldn't do both, and I still believe I made the right choice. If you've managed to steer clear of the X gravitational well but you'd still like to get the joke, look at Alex Summers' biography, courtesy the scarily thorough folks at Mutatis Mutandis. Alex Summers is the main character in this story, so reading this will help you understand the background. Even more, though, reading his bio will give you a tiny, tiny sampling of the hysteria, chaos, and ludicrous insanity that is the canon for this world. Warning: Exposure to Marvel comics plot lines may cause cranial pain, facial swelling, and unexplained bleeding. In extreme cases, seizures and dribbling may result. Discontinue reading if any of the following symptoms appear: confusion, loss of will to live, scaly rash, disruption of electrical fields, secondary mutation.

Best Humorous FF Featuring References to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Charles Dickens: I Had a Dream, by francesca. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. For some reason, I just find this really - funny. Maybe it's the whole "Christmas Carol" riff - I have a well-documented weakness for the Ghosts of Various Holidays of Various Times. Maybe it's that this is the strangest method of initiating a relationship I've seen yet in FF. Maybe it's that this all seems so very, very, well, Blairy - I can just totally picture him doing this. Or maybe it's because I'm with Jim on this one; I actually find Blair's dream rather reassuring, too. (And I am here to tell you, folks, that it is a sad, sad day when you realize that you're the Jim Ellison in your own personal RL pairing.) I find the happy ending, the light-heartedness, and the silliness comforting, too. Read on, my friends, for grim fic returns soon to a blog near you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The first-time story is so common in FF that it's a cliche. Much less common is the long-time story, an episode in an established relationship. I suppose, in a way, I can understand the preference for first-times; the drama and emotion and sexiness is all there on the surface. But my heart really belongs to the long-times - the glimpses at what love looks like after one year, or two years, or ten, or twenty. And these stories are my favorites in that genre.

Best FF That Reminds Us That It Isn't the First Step That's the Hardest, It's the First Year: Habitation, by livia. Galaxy Quest, Fred Kwan/Laliari. Yes, it's het. But it's interspecies het, which helps raise the perv factor a bit. And yes, I am nominating a fan fiction story based on a movie that wonderfully skewers fandom and fannish behavior, and yes, there is some irony there. So, now that we've covered the mandatory objections, would you please go read this story right now now now? Because it is just so right, people, no matter how wrong it also is. This is FF at its best. Because, see, every marriage is marriage to alien creature. The marriage becomes real when you've become a species of two. (Help! Went too deep! Drowning in metaphor and simile! Send friendly, intelligent, anthropomorphic dolphin to save me and teach me important lessons about friendship!)

Best FF That Reveals Some Shocking Inside Information about the Magical Publishing World: Who Wrote the Book*, by Canis M.. Harry Potter, Sirius Black/Remus Lupin. HP established-relationship stories tend to feature endings - deaths, breakups, betrayals. And that's no surprise; in Rowling's world, it's hard to imagine a happy future, because everything's so hazy. Even assuming both halves of a couple do survive, it's hard to know how things will be in that still-nebulous Time After Voldemort. (Tell you what, though; I'd love to see a long-time story about Ron and Hermione with a houseful of kids. I'm convinced Ron would be another Molly and Hermione would be just like Arthur.) What I love about "Who Wrote" (yes, there was an actual nomination here - scan back up if you've forgotten) is the glimpse of Remus and Sirius without the Shadow of Doom; the SoD has come to permeate all FF about these two. I prefer to think of this as the start to an AU world, where Peter was caught, Sirius stayed free, and Harry went to live with Remus and Sirius.

Best FF That Explains the Wily Inner Workings of the Canine Mind: Likewise, by AuKestrel (no link for her, sorry). Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. I realize that this story may be too sweet for some people. But to me, it's a remarkable example of the long-time story; this is what it's really like when ten years have passed and it's still good. I smile whenever I read this. And, hey, she quotes my favorite REM song at the end, so the story must be good, right? (Note for the grammar-fixated, my sisters in pedantry: the comma splices must imitate the voice of Kowalski on the show. I've read other stories by this author, and she doesn't write like that most of the time, so it's a stylistic choice. Take a deep breath and go with it for a bit. I think you'll find it works.) This is just a nice look at the happier, mellower future editions of Ray and Benton, and I for one think they totally deserve this fate.

Best FF That Will Enhance Your Tolerance by Making You Wonder, the Next Time You See an Intergenerational Couple, If One of Them Is a Vampire: At a Glance, by Dira Sudis, aka [livejournal.com profile] dsudis. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander. I've said vampire/human relationships can't work in the Buffy world, and I stand by that. But Dira Sudis has somehow found the best-case scenario here. And then some. I found myself wanting to buy into this version of Spike and Xander. I even found myself formulating strange theories to explain their relationship. ("Hmmm. Maybe they share a soul?") This is a Buffyfic that manages to be touching without angst, that is realistic and yet (I think) in canon. My early survey of this fandom shows that that is about as rare as the Questing Beast, so enjoy this one. Even if the ending is a bit ambiguous.

-Honorable Mentions (i.e., Previously-Nominated Stories That I Can't Shut up About)-

Best FF That Answers the Question "What Do You Do With an Aging Superhero?" (Take Him to Rural Areas.): I Still Believe, by Dasha (sorry, no link for her). The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. This is my favorite Sentinel story, so much so that for a while after I found this one I stopped reading in the fandom altogether. This story resolves everything so well that it made every other story seemed superfluous. I got over that, luckily for my self-image as an obsessed multi-fandom reader (for as a dog returneth to his vomit, so does this fan fiction reader return to her old fandoms), but I still re-read this one from time to time. It's wonderful.

Best FF That Answers the Question "What Do You Do With an Aging Dwarf?" (Take Him to Valinor.): Sky as Grey as Your Heart, by afrai. Lord of the Rings, Legolas/Gimli. This one is another essentially perfect long-time love story. And it converted me to a pairing I'd previously hated, canon or not. So if you've been avoiding this one - and you'd have to be not to have read it by now, 'cause it's been rec'd everywhere - now would be a good time to try something new. And if you've read it before, why not read it again? It'll give you something to remember the next time you read a story about Legolas weeping for the lost love of Aragorn and writing bad poetry ("To a Lost King" and "Sweet Man-Kisses" by Legolas Fangirl Greenleaf) and embracing his pillow at night.

-Footnote-

* Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] switchknife for her merciless pimping and helpful, custom-fit recommendations. This woman is determined to drag me kicking and screaming into the deep end of HP fiction, and of course I love her for it. Though I imagine my loved ones are wanting to have a few words with her right about now.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
There's funny fan fiction, with jokes and happy endings and true love forever. Sometimes it's great stuff. But I'm not nominating any of that today.

There's angsty fan fiction, featuring angst and tears (sometimes manfully surpressed, sometimes wept into pillows) and angst and I will never confess it, but I love you, I love you and then more angst. And then someone has a dream (75% of the time it's wet, 25% it's a nightmare), and then there's either tortured kissing or more angst, but usually both. And sometimes someone almost dies, or, in the case of certain fandoms, actually does die.I'm not nominating that kind of FF today, either. Thank god.

No, today's set showcases the grittier side of life, FF-style. If happy endings and light hearts are your thing, let me direct you to the previous entry, but if you can stand the sour, the bitter, and the uppercut to the jaw, read on.

Best FF That Proves That Things Can Always Be Worse, and Then Proves It Again, with Added Squalor: Modus Vivendi, by wiseacress. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander. File this one under "Cruelty to Xander" and go with it. The story begins with Xander getting the holy shit beaten out of him, and then things really start to go bad. "Modus" actually has an almost sort of moderately happy ending, in that all canon characters survive the story; if you finish this and you're aching for more aching (or more great writing), check out the alternate ending, Ars Moriendi, which shows that, when it comes to bad, you ain't seen nothing yet. And yet - this story is so good. The author gets that human/vampire relationships can't work, and she makes us get it, too. She makes Spike and Xander so real that I finished the story - both endings - desperately wishing things could be better for the guys, even though I knew they couldn't. I bought into this story completely and love it entirely. Of course, that just makes the whole thing hurt more.

Best FF That Teaches You to Beware of Staircases and Watch Your Step on Crime Scenes: Stop Whispering, by grit kitty. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. Here, grit kitty tackles one of those weird fandom conventions; in Sentinel fan fiction, homophobia doesn't exist. Or it does, but only in the same way that sneezes exist; they happen, they go away quickly, and they have no real effect on anything. But Jim's a cop, and cops are not famed for their cheerful acceptance of their colleagues' alternative lifestyles. In this one, grit kitty plays out a very realistic, rather grim scenario, in which Jim and Blair out themselves and things go about halfway to hell. I love that no one is entirely clean here. I also love that grit kitty keeps things from reeling off the edge of "unpleasant" straight into "overdone angst," and that she manages to patch things up without making them any less real. Also, check out the three-dimensional Simon in this story; a human Simon is a rare bird indeed.

Best FF That Reminds You Why You Never, Never Want to Be 15 Again, Unless You Actually Are 15, in Which Case It's Bound to Have Some Other Salutary Effect: Practicing for the Ballet, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. Harry Potter, Harry/Draco. H/D is one of those pairings I just can't wrap my head around, mostly because I can't let go of the canon. (Entry #1 on the list called "Why It's Better to Read FF When You Don't Know the Canon.") The distance between fanon Draco and canon Draco is the distance between two universes, and the distance between Harry and Draco in the canon is, well, about half as far. So when Harry and Draco are falling all over each other, I'm cringing, waiting for the knife in the back. Penknife apparently is, too. This, folks, is exactly what it's like to be 15 and having bad sex with someone you hate; when you're in that situation, all you can do is decide whether you'll be like Harry or like Draco.

Best FF That Isn't So Bad in Any Particular and Yet Leaves You with an Overwhelming Feeling of Impending Disaster: When She Walks in the Room, by [livejournal.com profile] wax_jism. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Ah, Wax Jism. Every time I read a story of hers, she rewrites my brain. Sometimes it's for the best - you don't hear me whining about Bobby/St. John anymore, and that's at least 75% WJ's fault - and sometimes it's, well, not. This is one of those "not" stories. See, with Due South FF, I want a happy ending. I am totally convinced the characters need and deserve a happy ending, because from what I can tell, they were royally reamed in the canon. (For more on this topic, see Fandoms I Have Loved, coming soon to this blog right here.) And until I read this story, I was convinced they could have their happy ending. Now, I'm not so sure. WJ should come with a warning label. And that, of course, is why I love her.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Well, it's a misleading title, I'll grant you that. This is really just Stories That Made Me Laugh, Part II. But, hey, I figure this FF obsession will end in therapy and tears sooner or later, so I might as well come right out and admit it now. My future psychiatrist is bound to be impressed by my level of self-knowledge. Right? (Do not argue with the crazy lady. Smile and nod.) Plus, madness is a sort of secondary theme running through these nominations.

Best FF with a Novel and Appealing Approach to Safe Sex: Chicago's Most Wanted, by speranza. Due South, Kowalski/Fraser. Show, not tell - that's the credo of writers everywhere, yes? Well, then, let me offer two quotes that will show you why you need to read this story right now. "It's a Fraser kind of plan! Diabolical and nutritious!" "Sucking cock and robbing banks. Fraser just hadn't been the same since prison." That last also serves an excellent plot summary. And if those quotes don't persuade you, I'm not the only one needs therapy.

Best FF That Serves As a Useful Diagnostic - If It Makes You Laugh, You've Spent Too Much Time on Livejournal: My Fucking Life, by [livejournal.com profile] prillalar. Harry Potter, gen. Sirius Black's livejournal begins after Order of the Phoenix, which certainly colors his, um, perspective. Think of it as the Very Secret Diaries for the blogging community. If this story does in fact make you laugh, you may want to consider experiencing other sorts of communities - I understand they have fine ones outdoors, at a site called "real life." If you try this novel approach to life, please let me know how it works, OK? I'll be here.

Best FF That Shares a Basic Plot Summary with Several Children's Books: Throw My Head Away, by [livejournal.com profile] alestar. X-Men comics. Bobby wants to change his name, and he goes to all his friends, one by one, to ask them about that; unlike most children's books with this plot, "Throw" is slow-burn funny. I love this story 'cause the characters' reactions are so right. Alestar, bless her, has apparently been reading the X comics long enough to know the characters (which means she's likely got X-induced insanity; do not tell her, though, because if she gets treated she'll probably stop writing FF like this), and she just - really - look. I can't explain why this story is good. I can't explain why it's funny. But I can explain what will happen if you don't read it: you'll be statistically more likely to experience random bouts of guilty schadenfreude, keening, and antidepressant addiction. Nobody wants that.

Best FF That Will Save You Money, Keep Your Hands Clean, and Protect Your Eyebrows from Harm: Kids Under Twelve Drink Free, by Mallory Klohn (no link for her, sorry). The Sentinel, Blair/Jim. See, Jim takes Blair to Vegas, and, well, there's gambling and sex and old ladies and sleaze and it's funny and...um. Sorry, but this is another one you just have to read to get. And please note that you can definitely read this story if you have no Sentinel experience; Las Vegas experience is also unnecessary, both for this story and for your life. I've been to Las Vegas far, far too often, and I promise you the place is a lot more fun when you're not actually there. So don't go; read this story instead, and not only will you experience the place as everyone should - from a distance - but you'll also save on airfare, gambling losses, and whatever it costs to get Vegas out of your clothes and your brain once you get home.
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)
I'm revisiting stories featuring triangles, menages a trois, and other groups of three.

Best FF Featuring Three Characters with Remarkable Senses of Balance but Very Little Common Sense: Words Spoken in Winter, by grit kitty. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair/OFC. And how do I know these characters have good balance and no sense? Well, this is a threesome done standing up in a public place. Folks, please don't try this at home (and especially don't try this where you work). I like this story because it pays homage to the time-honored tradition of what I think of as sexual triangulation, when two members of the same sex want to get it on but can't, until the presence of a convenient member of the opposite sex gives them the freedom they need.

Best FF That Proves Excessive Snow + Lack of Quality Television = Insanity + Group Sex, Which Suggests That Norway Must Be a Very Interesting Place to Live: Bundling, by Janete, aka [livejournal.com profile] 3jane and [livejournal.com profile] thete1. X-Force comics, Cannonball/Rictor/Shatterstar. (This is the version of this trio that has a relatively happy ending; you can see a slightly grimmer story about these fine folks in Caressing the Marble and the Stone, which I actually prefer. I guess maybe I just like tears better than cookies.) Now, what is it about comicbook universes that leads to so many threesome stories? Maybe it's the emphasis on teamwork. And if so, then I've got to wonder what my PE teacher was trying to do to us with all those team-building games. (Hmmm. Could explain some things, there. Perhaps I should sue.)

Best FF That Teaches Us That You Don't Need Phone Sex When You've Got the Right Mutant on Hand: Going Down, by shalott. X-Men movies, Xavier/Magneto/Mystique. The convoluted relationship between these three has inspired a lot of excellent fan fiction, and as usual, shalott is both ahead of the game and at the head of the class. And this one is especially interesting; it's possibly the only threesome in fan fiction successfully carried out when one of the participants is twenty miles away. Or I suppose I could say when one of the participants is divided in two. However you think of it, this is delightfully twisty. The curse of shalott - FF I just can't stop reading - strikes again.

Best FF Featuring Creative Uses for Various Parts of Two Mounties' Dress Uniforms, Including a Clear Example of Why Sometimes One Person Can Need Two Hats: Bonspiel, by Basingstoke. Due South, Turnbull/Fraser/Kowalski. This story completely destroyed my critical faculties; I honestly can't say whether it's good or not, because my brain seized up on me somewhere in the first couple paragraphs. Turns out there are certain things my neurons just refuse to contemplate, and this threesome is at least one of them. But several lines had me giggling uncontrollably, including most of Turnbull's dialog - especially what he says when he comes. And if anyone out there was pining for NC-17 PWP BDSM stories involving this particular trio, handcuffs, Stetsons, and spanking, well, pine no longer. But if your neurons are anything like mine, you might not want to read this on a day when your brain needs to be at peak functioning capacity.
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)
Triangles. Threesomes. Need I say more?

Best FF Containing Both a Threesome and a Triangle, Thus Winning the Author an "Overachiever Times Three" Award:The Sword Series, by [livejournal.com profile] guede_mazaka. Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack/James/Will. (Story link will take you to a page with links for all six segments.) This series is not for fans of Elizabeth, since she dies in the prologue. But if there are Elizabeth fans out there, I can't think why they're reading this blog. In any case, Guede removes the pivot of the One True Foursome and takes the remaining three on a hell of a ride.

Best FF That Demonstrates Certain Entirely Off-Label Functions of Wolverine's Claws: All of the Animals, by Jane St. Clair. X-Men movies, Jean/Scott/Logan. I believe I may have already mentioned my sincere love for Jane St. Clair. This is the story that cemented that; she actually found a solution for the damned Jean/Scott/Logan triangle that works. Until I read this, I thought the only reasonable way out would involve four bullets: one for each of the characters and one for whoever thought of the triangle in the first place. And this story does something else amazing, too - it makes Scott, the world's most anal-retentive superhero, into a sympathetic character. The canon writers never managed to do that.

Best X-Men FF Containing a Harry Potter Reference: Sweep the Ashes, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. X-Men movies, Magneto/Mystique/Pyro. I'm not sure what it is about the X movieverse that leads to so many multiple pairings, but I'm not complaining. Just the Magneto/Mystique/Whoever Mystique Wants to Be Today FFs could fill a book, and it'd be a good book, too. This one stands out not just because it's a real threesome - Pyro's there in person, as opposed to in Mystique - but also because Erik is so classically Erik; who else would say the last line of this story in just that way?

Best FF That Teaches an Important Life Lesson Via Sex: What Is Me and What Is Mine, by [livejournal.com profile] weirdnessmagnet. Teen Titans (don't worry if you haven't read or seen or whatever it is you do to this canon, because I read the story without having heard of the fandom before), Kon/Tim/Dick. If you ever meet an adult who doesn't understand the importance of sharing, direct him or her to this FF. It's smut with a moral! (My god, if this keeps up we're going to have educational slash pretty soon. Hmmm. Anyone feels like writing one, I wouldn't at all mind learning about, say, automobile repair via fan fiction.)

Best Undershirtkink FF (and I'm Sorry to Report That I Actually Can Think of Other Undershirtkink Stories): Restitution, by [livejournal.com profile] helenish. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair/OFC. One of the more involved true triangles out there. This one also gets extra points for having Blair do exactly what every man does when he finds out a girlfriend has slept with a friend of his: ask for a point-by-point comparison. And it wins extra extra points for the whole "Blair is vanilla" line. Didn't you always know Jim would be the kinky one?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have almost no sense of humor, which is probably why I have such unhealthy affection for those people and things that make me laugh. And my affection for these stories is quite excessively unhealthy, because they all made me laugh a lot.

Best FF That Manages to Be Funny Despite the Inclusion of Multiple Shootings, Angsty Misunderstandings, and Freud: Eight Sessions, by Speranza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Picking a single humorous story from this fandom was tough; there's so many to choose from. I went with this one because I love, love, love the way Ray and Fraser handle their therapy sessions. I laughed myself dizzy. This could be just my innate fondness for therapy humor, or - no. This really is that funny. And the story isn't only humor; there's actual plot and actual seriousness and actual smut here, too.

Best FF That Will Change the Way You Relate to Egg Products: Demolition Woman, by Betty Plotnick. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair pre-slash. Again, this was a difficult choice. I'm not sure if it's the TV aspect or the cop aspect that gives rise to all the humor in these two fandoms, but I'm not complaining, even if does make my choices hard. In the end, I picked this story, even though it has been rec'd to beat the band, because I wanted to do my small bit to ensure that every living being on this planet had read the world-famous omelet box scene.

Best FF That Works Really Well as Therapy for Those Who Have Read Too Much HP FF: A Matter of Convenience, by debchan. Harry Potter, and that's all I'm gonna tell you about it. Except to say that I love this story all the more for existing in a fandom where attempts at humor are few, and successful attempts are even rarer. Also, a hint: if you write HP FF, and the beginning of this story essentially reads like a summary of your favorite plot devices, you might wanna think of branching out, mmm?

Best FF Featuring Love Poetry and Legolas: Nine Men and a Little Lady, by Kielle, aka [livejournal.com profile] _redpanda_. Lord of the Rings, assorted pairings. Again, this is oft-rec'd, but I want to do my part. Because, lord, humor in LotR is even rarer than humor in HP (which makes a certain amount of sense, as the canon isn't exactly giggle-a-minute, either). And we all need to read stories with endings like this one.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Ah, the drunkfic - usually short on plot, often long on humor, nearly always featuring the classic drunken confession or drunken flirtation or drunken tryst. Why, reading a drunkfic is almost like being in high school again, only without the algebra, the awful lunches, or the irritating classmates, teachers, and other quasi-humans. So, not really very much like high school. And, fortunately, way more fun.

Best FF Featuring the Coolest Drinking Game Ever: The Literal Game, by Sam Vimes, also known as [livejournal.com profile] copperbadge. Harry Potter, Remus Lupin/James Potter. The first time I read this, I was so distracted by the game (for it is all manner of nifty, and I long to play it, though probably not with the results Remus got) that I totally missed the spot-on characterization (lots of people seem to miss the mark when writing teen-aged MWPP) and excellent dialog. Noticed the second time through, though, along with the best use of a quote from Kipling I've seen in FF to date.

FF Featuring the Best Four-Word Summary of the Bad Kind of Morning After: In Vodka Veritas, by Gloria Lancaster (don't have a link for her, sorry). The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. This is schmoopy, non-explicit drunkfic with some problems a good beta could've cleared up. But I still enjoy it; for some reason, it makes me laugh, perhaps because it brings back unfortunate college memories. And I love the four-word summary, which comes to us courtesy of Blair Sandburg: "I envy the dead." Also, this story, unlike many drunkfics, features realistic side effects and sequelae to excessive alcohol consumption.

Best FF Featuring Shakespeare Quoted for Lascivious Purposes: Hurricane Jack, by shrift. Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack/Will. Fine. OK? Fine. People out there just seem determined to write funny, good stories with this pairing, and how can I help reading those? And I have to admit this pairing was pretty much made for drunken sex. I mean, if there was ever a character crying out for some nice relaxing intoxication, Will is definitely one such. And Jack, of course, is sort of like a walking drunkfic, and in fact he probably comes with his own built-in wet bar*.

Best FF Featuring a Number of Novel Seduction Techniques, Including with Pie, with Pie and Ice Cream, with Accents, and with Weathergirl: Some Strange Prophecy, by Speranza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Well, it had to happen - this is a drunkfic with an actual plot; in fact, there may be too much other stuff in here for this to count as a true drunkfic, but hey, there's definitely drinking. I'm counting it. I don't know how people who loved the television show will take this - it's possible the Fraser here is out of character. He's certainly not being very, um, Canadian, though he's got an excellent excuse. But for those who have longed to read about drunken Mounties in rented Oldsmobiles touring the Southern U.S., this story will meet a number of needs. It should also make happy those who yearn for laidback Chicago cops acting lovestruck, worried, and jealous. The rest of you should give it a try, too.

* You have a dirty, dirty mind. Of course I didn't mean it like that.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I admit it. I love poetry. And I'm a sucker for fan fiction that references poems. I realize there are some people out there that class poemfic with songfic and gag over 'em both, but I truly believe these are worth reading even if you hate poetry. You Philistine, you.

Best FF That Proves the Light at the End of the Tunnel Is the Light of an Oncoming Train: The Art of Losing, by penknife. X-Men movies, Magneto/Xavier. The title comes from Elizabeth Bishop's One Art, and the poem and the story nicely complement each other. You know, Magneto in the comic books and movies never did much for me, but I'm developing a tremendous appreciation for him via fan fiction. Yet another sign, I guess, that FF writers are better than anyone the canon's got these days.

Best FF That Proves That Sometimes Student Loans Can Be Touchingly Romantic: In Thicket, by Martha. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. This story quotes my third-favorite Philip Larkin poem, This Be the Verse. As with most stories set after the canon's last episode, this one is angsty and emotional. I suspect a lot of post-last-episode FF writers were working out their anguish at the way their show ended. Entry #317 on the "Why We Can't Trust the Canon Authors with the Canon" list, I suppose.

Best FF That Leaves You Hoping for a Different Ending Than the One You Know Is Coming: The Chain Series, by [livejournal.com profile] guede_mazaka. James Bond (GoldenEye), James Bond/Alec Trevelyan. The link takes you to a page with links to all the stories; make sure you read them in order, I to VII. Each of these short slices of the lives of James and Alec was inspired by a different bit of Sylvia Plath's poetry. This set of stories is just one more proof that Alec Trevelyan was the most interesting Bond villain ever. It's also yet more supporting evidence that Sean Bean can bring the slash anywhere, anytime, in any costume whatsoever. The man has, I don't know, slash genes or something. Anyway, these stories are marvelous. Frankly, they're better than the movie they're based on.

Best FF for Insomniacs Who Need to Know It Could Always Be Worse: Civilised, by Sam Vimes, aka [livejournal.com profile] copperbadge. Harry Potter, gen. I know, I know. Gen. Again. What is this world coming to? But it's good, and better yet, it's Lupin-as-I-see-him. (I find most Potter fans have preferred versions of the characters; I'm not sure if this is indicative of a flaw or a strength in Rowling's writing.) This story could also work as an entry in Chicken Soup for the Fan Fiction Reader's Soul, except that naturally if there was such a thing we'd have to hunt down the compiler and force him to read every single story on fanfiction.net. That would show him where he could put his damn chicken soup. But, no, really, this story reminds us that we tend not to value what comes naturally. I know that sounds unbelievably dull. Look, just read it, OK?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Let's face it. Some of the characters we read and write about aren't exactly normal. They have optional extras and built-in features, and hey, isn't that why we love them? It is. And if you had shapechanging ability or super-speed or whatever, wouldn't you make use of it during sex? You would. And so would they. Which is why this list is longer than my usual nominations sets; there's just so much mutant sex to celebrate.

Best FF Use of a Really Challenging Version of Hide and Seek: Hide and Seek, by jamjar. Eight Days of Luke, Luke/David. What do you mean you haven't read Eight Days of Luke? Go read it at once. I'll wait here.

All done? Then go read this story, which beautifully conveys the, um, special challenges of a relationship with a god.

Best FF That Proves You Don't Need a Vibrator When You've Got Flash: Face of Total Need, by Weirdness Magnet. Justice League, Superman/Flash. I never wanted to read a Superman slash story, because ew. I certainly never wanted to read a Superman with a sex toy story, because ew ew ew. But Weirdness Magnet wrote one so good I had to read it and like it, and don't think I don't resent it. This story has the perfect use of Flash's powers in a sexual scenario, and it left me giggling helplessly. Hee.

Best FF Featuring Some Serious Violations of Professional Ethics: Iris, by Janete. Alpha Flight, Northstar/Sasquatch. (Note: You can read this one without reading the books - I did - but if you have an urgent need to know more about the characters, click on the links.) I don't know what it is about the unholy combination of Jane St. Clair and Te that produces such excellent mutant sex stories, but I sure am grateful for it. Sasquatch's beast transformation may not be what he wants during sex, but it does make things interesting.

Best FF That Shows Us That Angels, Like Primates, Enjoy Social Grooming: Cumulative Effort, by magpie. Good Omens, Crowley/Aziraphale. See, with angels, it's all about making the effort. And once you get into the habit (no Satanic nun jokes, thank you), well... This one made me snicker. Quite a lot, really, and that's one of the reasons I'm reluctantly growing to love Good Omens FF.

Best FF That Follows the Noble Comic Book Tradition of the Angst-Ridden, Agonized Superhero, Although I Don't Think Even That Would Make Stan Lee Approve of This Story, Thank God: Perseus, Still, by Janete, the Amalgamated Queen of Mutant Sex. X-Men comics, Skin/Chamber. (Because it takes a special, twisted mind to keep up with the X-Men comicverse, links are to character bios.) We got yer mutant angst right here, folks, because these authors know that if there's anything more tormented than a teenager, it's gotta be a mutant teenager. This story has the most use of mutant powers during sex of any of these stories, and though you'd think it'd be vaguely oogy, it's so not.

Best FF Use of Various Orange-Based Beverages, Including Orange Julius, Which I Didn't Think Even Existed Anymore: Palooka, by Pares. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. Jim's senses are, obviously, something most FF writers take into consideration when they're writing sex scenes, and frankly I have rarely seen any special ability so uniquely suited to bedroom activities. It's like the series creators said to themselves, gee, what combination of characters and traits could get us the most slash fiction in the least amount of time? And the answer was The Sentinel. But even in a fandom filled with mutant-sex stories, "Palooka" stands out, winning the "Phenomenal Use of Jim's Senses" special Sentinel slash award. (Of course there are special awards. I'll be doing a whole nominations set on them, just as soon as I figure out what the rest of them are.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Most fan fiction is smut. And it's smut written primarily by women and for women about gay men. So I'm not expecting super-realistic sex, despite Minotaur's helpful websites. But when I see a slash writer incorporating something unexpectedly true-to-life into a story, I'm always happy. And these authors did just that.

Best FF That Proves You Can Find a Quote for Suitable for Any Occasion in the Bible: Lukewarm, by Juxian Tang. Harry Potter, Snape/Lupin. See, here's the thing. Sex between people who hate each other doesn't usually follow the "I hate you"-rip-gasp-thrust-"Oh God yes yes YES!"-"I love you" sequence we see so often in slash. Here, Juxian Tang reminds us that if you're going to screw someone you hate, it won't be as easy as ripping your clothes off and falling into bed. And you might just hate yourself in the morning. (Now don't you wish this story had been around when you were in high school?)

Best FF with the World's Most Painfully Realistic Embarrassing Beginning: The Charm, by Miriam Heddy. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. One of the many things I love about Sentinel slash writers is their uncommon dedication to realism; we see quickies, clumsiness, and safewords almost as often as magical first-time anal sex. In "The Charm," Miriam Heddy remembers that it doesn't always work perfectly the first time. And when it doesn't, wow, it's embarrassing. But it makes getting it right even better.

Best FF That Explains Why It's Better to Sleep in a Tent Than a French Hotel: Tides of Men, by Jane St. Clair. Lawrence of Arabia Real Person Slash, Lawrence/Feisal. Jane St. Clair takes a cliche slash meme, the healing sex after trauma, and turns it on its head, making it real in the process. Jane also has these men behaving in accordance with their eras and cultures - Lawrence is the perfect turn-of-the-century Brit - and yet she still manages to get them into bed with each other. Be impressed.

Best FF Featuring a Parental Conversational Gambit That Strikes Fear into the Hearts of Adult Children Everywhere: Parental Guidance, by Alanna, Starfish, and Kass. Due South, Kowalski/Fraser. There're some characters I'm willing to believe can try new kinds of sex without hesitation - Jack Sparrow being perhaps the living definition of this category - but for most of us, it's a little awkward and weird no matter how much we want to do it or how right it is. This story accurately portrays the mild discomfort and freaking common in these situations, and for that, I love it.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Let me rephrase that. Fan fiction laws were made so that the common or garden variety writer wouldn't get flamed. But, as I have noted before, the best authors can apparently play fast and loose with any damn rules they please, leaving the rest of us gazing bitterly at their stories and thinking, "You know, I never used to like original characters. What's happened to me?" Today, I salute authors whose law-breaking tendencies have induced in me crises of identity and reading preference.

Best FF That Proves That the Canon Authors Need to Be Banished to an Alternate Universe Immediately, and They Can Take Every Version of Phoenix with Them, Too: Nameless, by C. Elisa. X-Men movies. This is original character fiction, here, folks. And before you gag - this is an original character who is perfectly balanced, perfectly in line with canon, and really and truly original. Not to mention necessary to the storyline. I read this wondering why comic book fans have had to suffer through the One Superhero, Nine Names, Fifteen Costumes problem when there are obviously so many really interesting powers and people still possible in the X-Men universe. I finished this and immediately began forming a radical action group designed to do whatever it takes to get this series out of the hands of the canon authors and into the hands of - well, C. Elisa, for one.

Best FF That the Canon Author Brought on Herself, Frankly: Alive, I and Alive, II, by copperbadge. Harry Potter, Remus Lupin/Sirius Black. Immediately after finishing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, nine million people took deep, angry breaths and became fan fiction writers for the first time. And Rowling has no one but herself to blame. This is a fix-it fic for OotP, and that is wrong wrong wrong. You can't fix canon character death. Except, apparently, when you can. And if that's not enough law-breaking for your felonious little heart, try this: it's also a songfic.

Best "What Happens Afterward?" FF, Sentinel Edition: I Still Believe, by Dasha. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. There's a reason the characters are in the setting they're in, right? We don't want to see Harry Potter in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. We don't want to see Boromir alive and well and living in Paris, c. 1890. (No, we really don't.) And since they went to all the trouble of inventing a whole city for Jim and Blair (Cascade: Seattle, only with more psychos), presumably that city is where they belong, yeah? Only not. "I Still Believe" is how things turn out for Jim and Blair, and I, for one, am totally ready to believe it.

Best FF That Has Every English Teacher on the Planet Calling the Hunt and Baying for Blood: Breathless, by Gloria Mundi. Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack Sparrow/James Norrington. I recommended Breathless, Too back in the early days of this blog (as in, like, weeks ago), but somehow failed to mention the other half of the story. And it needs to be in this set, because - come on. Gloria's not breaking just any laws here, she's breaking the laws of writing and grammar, and I defend those with a ferocity even Wolverine would find over-the-top. This is good even so. Be sure to say soothing things to the English language on your way out of this story, because it's probably got some form of PTSD from the cruelty Gloria's inflicted on it in these two stories.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
One of the things I love about fan fiction is the multiplicity of it – the number of avenues you can explore, questions you can ask, middles and endings you can try. Sometimes, those middles turn bad. Sometimes, so do the endings. These stories all explore how characters change in the wake of seriously unfortunate events.

Best FF That Hints Delicately at Horrible Things, Proving That It Really Is Worse in Your Imagination: Close Enough, by Helen. Harry Potter, Harry/Ron. This is a pairing that usually doesn't work at all for me; it just makes no sense for Harry and Ron to be romantically involved. But in this universe, Harry and Ron belong together. In this universe, no one ended up quite how they, or we, would've expected. The war changed them all too much. This story also features that rarest of beasts, a believably good Draco.

Best "What Happened After the Story Ended?" FF Ever: Living Arrangements, by afrai. Good Omens, Crowley/Aziraphale. This one's a jaw-dropper, pure and simple, because it makes so much sense. It works so well. There's a punishment for saving the world - a punishment as cold and logical as Heaven and as vindictive and vicious as Hell.

Best FF That Explains Why It's Better to Talk: Paying Silence, by Mairead Triste. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. In this one, Blair can't find the words, and he pays for it over and over. Not one of the happy stories so common in this fandom.
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.

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