thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The intoxication set from last time got me thinking about secrets and lies. (And, yes, intoxication is totally linked to telling uncomfortable truths - I think that's alcohol's primary purpose to the human race, and certainly to fan fiction - but that's not what brought it to mind.) For one thing, a lot of the stories I considered for that set would fit in this one, too. Maybe intoxication and secrets and lies are the primary themes of fan fiction? Hard to say.

In any case. Onwards to the recs! (And, hey, for me, this month has been a crazy whirl of recommending. I think I've done three whole sets. I'm setting the world on fire!)

The One Featuring the Cutest Victim of Lies I Think I Have Ever Read About. Most Unpronounceable, Too. Is It Wrong That I Want One? They Grip the Ground, by [livejournal.com profile] giddygeek. Torchwood, and you know, if there's not actual cocks waving around, I consider all Torchwood stories gen, since, hey, that's about like canon. (And even with cocks, it could reasonably be an outtake. You can't tell me there aren't cocks all over the place on that set. I won't even believe you.) There's some flirting in this, which is really a pretty redundant thing to say. I mean, I already told you it was Torchwood.

So. Secrets and lies, my friends, and in this case the Torchwood staffers (I think "staffers" is a better term than "orgy participants," but you can make your own call, of course) are lying to a poor, innocent woodland creature. Well, assuming the woodland is from some other planet, and also assuming "poor and innocent" is a term you can apply to something large, irritable, and smelly. But it's the kind of lies I love in this: lies as a weapon! Lies that become truths! In some cases.

And more than that, I love the cheerful, frolicking nature of this story. I've been on something of a Torchwood kick these days, and disturbing themes are emerging. I don't know if it's just the stories I've been reading or what, but they tend to be rather, um, gloomy. These stories give me the feeling that there's a lot of fog in Cardiff. And rain. And people walk in that rain, and it mixes with their tears. And I am all for gloom, but I am also very much a proponent of joy, and this story is pure, shiny joy. Rhinoceroses! That aren't, exactly! Various lies! Frolicking (fully dressed, bizarrely enough)! A happy and g-rated adventure for the Torchwood crew.

Frankly, judging by some of the other things I've read lately, they need it.

The One Featuring John Sheppard's Worst Nightmare. No, Really; It's This and Killing His Own Team. And Maybe Clowns. Everyone Fears Clowns. Or Something Like It, by [livejournal.com profile] semivowel. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

I think we can all agree that some secrets and lies are necessary for a happy, functional life. But even more, they're necessary for our characters; some of them construct their entire lives around their secrets. (And then we give them additional extra secrets in fan fiction. Often these secrets involve blowjobs, which at least is a good kind of secret to have.) So the question becomes: what happens when you take the secrets away?

Terrifying things, obviously. And, more to the point, things that would trigger my embarrassment squick. So let me say, right up front: this story does not hit my squick. (And I have an embarrassment squick so exquisitely sensitive that I am currently writhing in horror over the Michael Jackson auction, not just because of the super-creepy (and oddly gilded) nature of the items, but because people are seeing this. He is showing people his creepy, slimy id! OMG ACK. The joke, of course, being that we all already knew about his creepy, slimy id, but still: I am embarrassed for him.) This story is more about - oh, teams, and the things they will do for you, and also how secrets and lies really are very integral to John's existence.

Which isn't to say that the truth serum isn't key. (And, oh, the way this story must look from John's PoV. I will tell you a secret: I actually wrote part of that out. I do that. Really more often than I should.) It's just an awesome use of truth serum, and an awesome, sweet story.

It kind of makes me want to see other truth serum stories, though. Clark on truth serum! LEX on truth serum! Benton Fraser on truth serum, which would give new and horrible meaning to "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," so help us god! Everyone in the entire court of Camelot on truth serum (hide the swords, the axes, and all means of making fire)!

But most of all, I just love and want and cuddle this story. John. Truth serum. No embarrassment. I could not ask for more.

The One That Will Be a Comfort to You the Next Time You Have to Eat with a Serial Killer or a Mother-in-Law or Whatever. It Could Be Worse. You Could Be Dining with the Luthors. Marble, by [livejournal.com profile] julad. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor.

Last time, I talked about how there are certain tags that define a fandom. Secrets and lies, it turns out, defines several fandoms, but Smallville is perhaps supreme among all of them. It's basically secrets wrapped in lies in a delicious betrayal sauce. So I had to look really thoughtfully at basically all my to-rec Smallville stories to pick one.

Except I didn't, actually, have to look that hard. This story was the obvious choice. And not just because it's what amounts to Smallville wish fulfillment for me. See, I know Clark and Lex are destined to end up enemies: plots to take over the world, doomsday machines, lots of paternalistic lectures. Superhero, supervillain - it's right there in the names. But what I really want is a future in which Clark and Lex team up and change everything. Clark has the body and also the unnatural array of superpowers! Lex has the intelligence and the actual sense and also a fairly decent body himself! They were meant to be. And this story gives us a glimpse of what they could do if they didn't let themselves get all distracted by ruling the world. (Or by Lana Lang, god help them both.)

No, the real reason this is the perfect story for this set is that Clark, the king of Truth Issues, talks about his desire to end the secrets and lies. (Superhero, heal thyself.)

(And a side reason for picking this is that it contains one of my top-ten alien coming out scenes in all of Smallville fan fiction. Awesome.)

The One That Proves That You Don't Want a Magician for an Interior Decorator. Caterer, Though? Maybe. Maybe. Onfindan, by [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Merlin, Arthur Pendragon/Merlin.

You may have gathered from the previous story that I have a certain yen for two people taking on the world. This is absolutely true. And if, instead, they choose to take on a series of assorted monsters? That is perfectly fine with me.

Merlin is another fandom that is defined by secrets and lies. It was, you know, kind of set up that way, what with Merlin's famous sorcerousness and Uther's nifty way with an executioner. But in this story, wonderfully and marvelously, the Merlin-coming-out-to-Arthur scene takes place before the story starts. We don't get to hear about it! Instead, the secrets and lies belong to Merlin and Arthur both. Because once you have a magical manservant, it's really hard not to use him. (I think we've all been there. Bertie Wooster, especially, totally understands.)

And once that magical manservant has inadvertently turbo-charged himself (again, these things happen - I accidentally turbo-charged myself way back in seventh grade), keeping the secret becomes really, really challenging. Fortunately, Arthur Pendragon (who I keep desperately wanting to say, "Arthur, King of the Britons," even though I know that would be wrong) is up to the task. And I think I do mean up. Yes.

Magic! Adventure! Sex! Merlin and Arthur, becoming all they can be! This is just like I hope the canon is. (Somebody tell me the canon is just like this. No, really. Lie to me. This is the right set for it.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
My brain continues to spin violently under the influence of a truly massive fan fiction overdose - the fannish holidays should come with a warning label, seriously; I am still trying to catch up. Not that it's not fun! It's just like drinking from a really fun firehose, is all. So, while I wait for approximately four thousand awesome new stories to settle in my head, I'm going to rec some more non-story fanworks. This time, vids! Vids that make me happy! Vids that will make you happy! Possibly so happy you'll burst something with some of these. I am in no way responsible for joy-induced injuries, though; blame the vidders, not me.

The One That Shows Clark Being Absolutely Terrified of Boobs, Thus Proving That He Really Does Come from Comic Books. I Kissed a Girl, by [livejournal.com profile] bop_radar. Smallville.

This vid is brilliant for three reasons:
  1. It takes the rather irritating concept of exhibition lesbianism and transforms it into the entirely awesome concept of exhibition heterosexuality. Frankly, I am behind this with all my force and will and might.

  2. And if there's anyone whose heterosexuality is for display purposes only, that person would be: Clark. I have not seen a man so clearly frightened of women since, I don't know. Hercules? West Hollywood? Maybe Hercules in West Hollywood. (Note to everyone: this is not a made-for-TV movie we need to see. Oh my god no.) This vid so perfectly and joyfully collects all the shots of Clark looking like he would rather eat kryptonite than kiss a girl, and frankly, I can laugh at that all day long. (Clark, tiny hint: if kissing scares you that much, you're DOING IT WRONG. Just go back to the boys. You're happier there. And you are not fooling anyone, sugar.)

  3. It totally reclaims this song. Once, I hated it. No more. I will never, never hear it again without thinking of Clark's petrified OMG girlflesh RUN! face. (And, oh oh oh, Clark in that wet t-shirt when she's blithering on about how girls are all soft and shit. Clark will SHOW you magical skin, honey pie. He is very proud of his magical skin. He moisturizes.)
(And, as a total and complete bonus, this vid makes possibly the best use I have ever since of Lex's pissy face. Oh, god. Lex, jealousy is your look. Lavender and green green jealousy: Lex's colors this season. Every season since he hit Clark with his car, really.)

The One That Proves That Arthur Knows Only One Sword Maneuver, but He Works It. Keep Right on Working Your Sword, Arthur Honey. A Night at the Opera, by [livejournal.com profile] such_heights. Merlin.

This vid single-handedly drew me into this fandom. I watched it and said, basically, Okay, yup. I'm in. I was searching for fan fiction before the vid was entirely over. This vid brought me such joy - the ending, oh god, the perfect perfect ending! - that I cannot think of this fandom without smiling a little.

But that is not why I'm recommending it. No, I'm recommending it because [livejournal.com profile] norah recently disclosed to me that she has not seen it. This cannot continue. [livejournal.com profile] norah, this is a vid you MUST SEE. Not just because it's Merlin. Not just because it's awesome. Not just because it's funny. No. It's the song choice.

For everyone else, a little background: [livejournal.com profile] norah once attempted to watch Highlander (the movie). Now, I watched that movie a lot in the days when my sister and I rented videos together, and experimentation since that time has proven that while my sister was watching the actual movie, I was just making stuff up in my head. It was before I knew how to watch movies, and they didn't make much sense to me. (This was the era when I watched Blade Runner and came to the conclusion that it was a light romantic comedy type movie, to give you some idea.) So I had kind of...my own story of this movie, and I, in all innocence, encouraged [livejournal.com profile] norah to watch it. "It's pretty good!" I said. "From what I remember!"

Afterwards, she was shaken, not stirred. And the particular line that summed up her whole dislike of the movie was: "It's a kind of magic." I agree with her that this is not the ideal line for Highlander.

But I think you will agree with me that is a perfect line for Merlin. And it's here. [livejournal.com profile] norah, watch this vid. It won't just make you happy. It will reclaim Queen's entire oeuvre for you.

And even people who have no issues with Queen should watch this. Isn't being made happy - deliriously happy, particularly in the bit with the dragon, oh dear god, the bit with the dragon - enough for you?

The One about the True, Doomed Love of a Puddlejumper and a Cactus. It's Like Shakespeare. 2 Atoms in a Molecule, by [livejournal.com profile] zoetrope. Stargate: Atlantis.

I have one thing to say about this vid, and one thing only: John's manpain is SO ADORABLE.

I mean, I think we've all encountered this guy. If we haven't dated him, we've been friends with him. He's all, "Oh, love is so hard and I always get hurt and I suffer much and I have no choice but to go stand in the rain wearing all black and not even try. I'll lead people on, but I won't commit, because of my TREMENDOUS PAIN." In real life, my response to this is, "No, it's because you're a tremendous tool."

Somehow, this vid makes that cute. Not just cute, but funny. I find myself wanting to squeeze John's little woeful cheeks and say, "Oh my god, you are so adorable when you're all emo and pathetic. I'm going to buy you a beret!"

(John would look awesome in a beret, I tell you what. I bet he's worn one, too. I bet there was a five-week period when he was, like, sixteen, and he'd just had his heart broken for the first time. He thought he was going to go to Paris and starve in a garret on the West Bank and write really moving poetry (and sleep with lots of cute boys). And he wore a beret and tried hard to take up smoking and bought some turtlenecks. And then he realized that a) his father was really really rich and it'd be more Common People than the Lost Generation b) he'd need a really rich father to live in Paris, because it wasn't 1920 anymore and c) that he sucked at berets, smoking, and especially poetry. Still. I bet there's photographic evidence. I bet Ronon stole it when they went to John's father's funeral.)

My point is: this vid is John's emo woe made into effervescent joy. I can't think of anyone who doesn't need that.

The One That Shows Us That the Doctor's Travel Agency Is Maybe One You Don't Want to Sign up with, Unless You Just Like Hot Sexin' Adventures for Some Reason. OMG!, by [livejournal.com profile] obsessive24. Doctor Who.

Here is a true fact: this vid has possibly the best and funniest use of music in the whole history of ever. It sets a mark so high that I am not sure it can ever be equaled.

Here is another true fact: I would probably love if it even if it had used a different version of this song. (Although this version makes it, oh my god, seriously. "I'm just talking over this to prevent bootleggers": AWESOME.) The more I explore Doctor Who - which for me means Doctor Who fanworks, since I continue to ride on the success of having seen the whole first season of New Who (minus one episode) - the more I realize that for me, this is a show about the people around the Doctor. Oh, yes, I love the Doctor, but he's sort of ineffable and unknowable. I don't even want to know him; that would pretty much ruin it. He's a 900 year old superpowerful space alien with a big blue flying box: he's supposed to be distant and weird and kinda twitchy. You would be, too, if the last time you lost your cravat you inadvertently wiped out a galaxy.

But his companions (in which set I include the TARDIS, who is obviously his first and best and truest and shiniest companion) - those folks are. Well. More human, for starters. (Yes, even the TARDIS is more human than the Doctor; that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it. Look, if you want a rec that makes sense, write your own.) Makes it easier to relate to them, you know? Plus, with every new companion, you get to experience the wonder all over again: holy shit, time travel! Holy shit, infinite variety! Holy shit, this Doctor guy is fun, but kinda crazy!

So I love this vid, because: companions.

And then there's the shiny. And the music. And - well, [livejournal.com profile] obsessive24 has been impressing me with her vids since I first watched her Hikaru no Go ones, lo these many years ago, and she just continues to amaze me. This vid is no exception. There is brilliance here. And awesomeness. And talking over this to prevent bootleggers. <3!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Not last time but the time before (although I am still totally on my deadline, so there), I signed up for Sweet Charity. The person who won me was [livejournal.com profile] adbaculum. Probably everyone who sells herself for charity has a moment of terror when she gets the request, but [livejournal.com profile] adbaculum's was actually pretty cool. Basically, she wanted me to rec some vids that might show her why vidding is cool, since she doesn't watch vids much.

I thought, I can so totally do that. Then, of course, I got eaten by the Meta Lizards. They come for you in the dead of night and make your posts three hundred pages long.

But! I persevered. I wrote the whole post, hacked pages and pages of meta back out of it (in addition to Meta Lizards, I am apparently tragically afflicted by a writing disorder that prevents me from ever shutting up), and I think - I hope - I now have something kind of close to what she wanted.

In any case, I'm going for it. [livejournal.com profile] adbaculum, thank you for buying me, for being such an awesome winner, and for having such an interesting request. Most of all, thank you for donating to charity. <3!

Why vids? )
Which vids? )
What's worth watching in vids? )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Thank you for the joy! Both the specific joy - the virtual gifts and compliments and wonderful things from today - and the general joy, because all of you are wonderful all year round.

This is my (other - first one here) attempt to spread joy, and I'm doing it by recommending things that make me happy. (AUs that make me happy, actually. Because apparently that is just what today calls for: joy in as many universes as possible.)

The One That Proves That, No Matter Where They Start, Ray and Fraser Are Destined for a Canadian Shack. (I Am So Going on a Shack Tour in Canada Someday.) Bell, Book and Mountie, by [livejournal.com profile] lamardeuse. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

I read this story when it first came out, and enjoyed it greatly, but I also spent most of it profoundly confused. "Where are the displaced children?" I asked myself. "Shouldn't someone be learning magic via correspondence course?" And, of course, "At what point do the animated suits of armor show up?" None of these things happened. It was very weird. Almost like...like it wasn't based on that movie at all.

Astute people will already have figured out that it was not, in fact, based on that movie at all, and that I had two movies confused. Bedknobs and Broomsticks, as it turns out, is totally not Bell, Book and Candle. I have seen the former. I have not seen the latter, mostly because Best Beloved has a serious, lifelong hate for that movie. (Ask her about it, and she'll just start muttering hostile things about florists, and she is not normally a floristphobe. And so I reassure her, and also anyone else who has a similar problem with the movie, that there are no florists in this story that I noticed.)

So, in case you're like me and very easily confused, I will spare you the two and a half bewildered (but fun) readings it took me to realize why my expectations were seriously awry: at no time in the course of this story does anyone animate suits of armor, and that is as it should be. And, in case you're like me and haven't seen Bell, Book and Candle (Side note: Oh my god, typing that so many times without the serial comma is killing my soul, but this story is worth it, and that's saying something, since I don't often put - well, basically anything ahead of the serial comma. Judge if you must.), rest assured that you don't need to have seen it to enjoy this story, and in fact you might be better off, since you won't be starting out with florist-related issues.

I love the switches and changes to the canon that [livejournal.com profile] lamardeuse has made here. This many major adjustments to a canon - like switching up Dief and Stella (people, don't try that at home) - can totally destroy an AU, but here, it works, and works so very well that the story's worth reading just as a perfect example of a transmogrification AU, even if you for some strange reason have no interest in dS on magic. (Although, really, is there anyone who doesn't want to see Ray Kowalski casting spells? I didn't think so.) Plus, you get Ray Vecchio in a jazz band. What more joy could you possibly want?

The One That Made Sexbots Legitimate. And Isn't It Past Time? The Soul and the Company Store, by Leah, one half of [livejournal.com profile] leahwoof. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

This is one of the stories that has been recommended everywhere, and deservedly so. And so, as usual, I had to have my internal recommender's struggle (it's very angsty and tense, you wouldn't even believe it) - on the one hand, everyone will have already read it! But, on the other, what if someone has not read it? What if perhaps you, specifically, are thinking you don't really need to read a nice, long, plotty AU in which John Sheppard is a robot? (No, really, he's an actual robot - this is not one of those Shepbot jokes.)

The conclusion, as always: I will lend my voice to the multitudes. It is my duty. Because, honestly, you so need to read about robo-Sheppard. Which is not really like - actually, you know, I can't say that. I have never seen Robo-Cop and only have the vaguest idea what it might be about. (My guess: he's a robot! And a cop! Am I close? Also, I bet he doesn't spend a lot of time filling out reports or giving speeding tickets.) But, in any case, this is its very own thing, and deeply awesome, and I admit I never really had much desire to see an actual robot Sheppard, but now I totally do.

(And now I really need to interrupt this recs set to complain about a certain salesman. Salesman, when I tell you "no, I'm sorry," I mean NO - the "sorry" is just a little social lube, and you shouldn't take it to mean that I actually care. What it really means is no money for you. You have a range of appropriate responses to this - a time-honored one is calling me a bitch when I can't hear you - but, really. Do not whine, "Whyyyyy nawwwwwwt?" like you're eight and I just told you you couldn't have any more candy. And certainly do not spend a further five minutes whining at me, wasting my time and yours and instilling in me a violent hatred of a) you b) the company that employs you and c) the "service" said company provides. It's doubtful I could, at this point, bring myself to purchase that service if it was the only thing that could save my life. I could, however, totally bring myself to complain to your manager. Just, you know, FYI.)

Sorry. I needed to get that out. We now return to the recs set already in progress.

Except, hey. I might as well use this space to write further complaints, because here is what I need to say about this story: it is AWESOME. There are ROBOTS. And PLOT. Also, SEX. If those elements do not entice you, I have no help to offer you. (But I can refer you to a whining salesman - like a singing telegram except infinitely more annoying! - if that's more your speed.)

The One That Proves That One Universe Really Isn't Big Enough for Lex. Unless It's the Wrong Universe, in Which Case of Course He's Totally Happy. Looking Glass Country, by [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Smallville, Lex Luthors/Clark Kents. Yes, the plurals are deliberate.

[livejournal.com profile] astolat seems to have asked herself, "What is better than Lex Luthor?" and then answered, "TWO Lex Luthors," which is obviously the entirely correct answer. (I will give half a point to anyone who thought the right answer was, "Naked Lex Luthor," though. And, hey, this story has something for you, too!) In this story, she's masterfully reconciled the various editions of Lex (because, let's face it, even in a canon not precisely known for its slavish dedication to continuity, the many faces of Lex are, at best, a wee bit confusing) by, um, not really reconciling them at all. Here, they're really and truly different people. And, wow, they totally hate each other's lives. But, being Lexes, they can fix that.

And it is awesome and brilliant. And also there is what I consider to be a wholly appropriate treatment of Gorilla Grodd, who I have never liked. (I'm not a fan of the higher primates, for one thing.) And confusion to - well, to Lexes' enemies (let me just note here that I wholly support stories that require me to consider the various plurals of a character's name - I mean, I want to have to figure out if it should be Rononi or Diefenbachia or whatever! This is the sort of problem that makes life worth living! - but I feel that the truly considerate author will weigh in with an opinion on that in the story notes), but also to his co-workers, his minions, and, eventually, his friends.

I also think this is a brilliant extrapolation of Lex's personality (however it manifests): he actually does better at living someone else's life. Well, of course he does. It's more of a challenge, for one thing, and it's pretty much what he was raised to do, for another.

In short, I love this story. It gives me all the Lex a girl could want, exposes the inner workings of two universes, and makes my continuity-loving heart so very happy.

The One That Proves That Whoever Said Hell Was Looking in the Mirror Was Obviously Looking in the Wrong Mirror. Another Fine Universe You've Gotten Us Into, by [livejournal.com profile] tafkarfanfic. Stargate: SG-1, Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill.

This one brings me joy through sheer fun. I mean, haven't we all wanted to see the slapstick side of quantum mirror use? Okay. Probably most of us didn't even suspect there was a slapstick side of the quantum mirror. I know I didn't. But in retrospect, it makes so much sense. I mean, you have multiples of various people. (You know, when I put this one side-by-side with Looking Glass Country, I start to wonder if perhaps I get too much joy from characters meeting themselves, or traveling to alternate universes, or, as in this case, both. And then I think a) this is fan fiction, so I'm allowed and b) is there really such a thing as too much joy?) You have wacky interdimensional hijinks. In short, you have the opportunity for mix-ups on a scale that the Marx Brothers could only dream of. (Although let me say here and now that I think those guys could do awesome things with a few extra Harpos. Or a few extra Daniels, even. Oh, ow, now I have crossover brain freeze.)

Anyway. My point is that this is a whirlwind tour through many universes, as Daniel tries to find the right one and mostly ends up with shrimp and other assorted badnesses, which is unsurprising, since apparently the quantum mirror's purpose is to prove Leibniz right - sure, SG-1's universe may be a little fucked up, but apparently it's the best one on offer. And it's not like this story disproves that. It just proves that Jack and Daniel are past the point of being thrown by anything. If you'd been on SG-1 all these years, you would be, too.

It's rare that we get humorous fan fiction in SG1, but when we do, it's totally worth the wait. (And totally joyous, too.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, so, um, before we get to the recs (and there are recs - I know! I'm as stunned as you are), I have a question. Sadly, these leads us into deeply contentious waters, and I seriously considered hiding this behind a cut tag, because I love Best Beloved and don't want her to be lynched. But I trust you guys.

See, BB is watching The X-Files - she's just finished season one - and, um, she doesn't like it much. So she asked me to ask y'all some questions. For those of you who have watched the show, what's the best season, in your opinion? And what's the worst? And if she didn't much like the first season, mostly because she kind of felt like Scully got shafted, should she try any of the rest of the show? Please advise her, oh you who have watched the show. We will both be most grateful.

Now, before you reach for the pitchfork, can I distract you? I have things to recommend! Stories! Long ones! Because, you know, I've been away from this recommending thing for long time, so it seemed appropriate to come back that way. (Also, people are producing an astonishing number of fabulous longer stories lately, and this is a trend I want to encourage.) See? They are shiny and good. Please put down the pitchfork.

The One That Demonstrates, Once Again, That in the Jossverse, Retirement Is Only Possible If You're Dead. (And Buried. And Rotted. And No One Who Loves You Is a Witch.) Otherwise, It's Just a Temporary Retreat. Lilac City, by [livejournal.com profile] nwhepcat. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander Harris/Faith Lahane.

I have a peculiar love of post-Sunnydale stories; to be perfectly honest, that's my primary reading (and, OMG, writing) area in BtVS these days. (It probably says some unfortunate things about me that I'm much less interested in the whole fighting vampires, saving the world thing and much more interested in where you go after you've saved the world. A lot.) And I also have a deep and abiding love for stories in which Xander is a person as opposed to, you know, a speaking prop in a comical shirt.

In other words, this story might as well have been made for me. (For some reason, I'm now tempted to break into song: "This fic is my fic/This fic is your fic/This fic was maaaaade for you and me!" And, whoa, I got flashbacks just from looking up the lyrics for that one, and of course I did have to look them up, because otherwise I get that song mixed up with the one about Tipperary. Or maybe it's Dixie. Thank you, music teacher of my elementary school: without you, I would not know how to sing several dozen songs about peanuts and cowboys and land, usually all at the same time. Also, because of your fine tutelage, I can bang arhythmically on any damn tambourine you care to hand me.)

Um. I think I was actually talking about this story, wasn't I? Right. So. This is Xander after Sunnydale, and he's settled into what we might call a very low energy state. But the thing about being around Buffy for a while - it's kind of like the Chosen-ness wore off on all of them; they gave her some normalcy, and it's like in return she gave them a bit of destiny. So, of course, trouble finds Xander. And he totally steps up. I love that, and I love how it unfolds, and there's one particular scene in this that I just - it was totally unexpected and wonderful and perfect, and I remember reading it while I was Trapped in a Hotel Room with Dogs and squeaking loudly enough to wake up Best Beloved.

The One That Is a Public Service Advisory on the Dangers of Heteronormativity for Everyone. From Superheroes to Supervillains, Heteronormative Assumptions Harm Us All. Useful Arts, by [livejournal.com profile] rivkat. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor.

I love this one because - well, because, first, Lex Luthor is one of very few characters anywhere who would deliberately create a pheromone for his very own pheromones-made-them-do-it story. I mean, other characters - pheromones just happen to them. You know: it's the flowers' fault, or maybe the strange quirk of alien biology and/or ritual, or maybe the chocolate just has that extra special mystery ingredient. (Or, in The Sentinel, it's canon, in which case you have no choice as a fan fiction writer but to go there, too. I mean, obviously.) But Lex - Lex doesn't let things just happen to him, oh no. He makes them happen. Even if he knows damn well that he shouldn't.

Which is another reason why I love this story so damn much. Because Lex makes just about every major plot point happen and he knows it. That self-awareness - this is how I fucked up, this is when I fucked up, this is why I fucked up, these are fourteen historical references that thematically depict my fuck-up, and I knew all this at the time and did it anyway - is something I love to see from Lex, whose motto is apparently, at least in part: "If I don't outsmart myself, who will?" This story, in short, makes me want to simultaneously hug and smack Lex, and thus is just about perfect.

(And, as a serious, major bonus, it gives me a Supergirl I actually like. I never really gave Supergirl a chance in comics - there's, um, other issues in the way, there - but if she's like this, it might almost be worth dealing with those issues. She's like Clark, except a) comfortable in her own body and b) without all the buckets of "Yes, I'm more than human, but isn't more less in this case?" angst. I mean, I love Smallville's version of Clark, don't get me wrong, but it's refreshing to see someone managing to be superpowered and gorgeous and a hero to all without somehow turning that into a source of great personal unhappiness.)

The One That Proves That All Those Professional Perfume Creators, with Their Subtle Top Notes and Crap, Are Totally Missing out on Some Very Obvious Scents Guaranteed to Induce Passion in - Okay. Geeks, Mostly. I Fail to See a Problem with That. Instantaneous, by Cimorene, aka [livejournal.com profile] cimorene111. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

You know, I'd say the actual show - and remember, my experience isn't all that extensive here, so feel free to correct me with charts and graphs and what-have-you (I welcome multi-colored charts! I find them very inspiring! ...What. So I was a science geek; I blame my genes.) - is maybe 10% boys with toys. (Oh, shut up. Not that kind of toy. Sadly, the canon is 0% boys with that kind of toy, and will be until we get Squee TV up and running ("By fangirls, for fangirls. And anyone else who loves genre television and sex").) This story is conclusive proof that it should be 40% boys with toys, 40% girls with toys, and they can have the other 20% for - whatever. It doesn't matter. Funny hats, for all I care. (Actually, funny hats would be kind of...never mind.) My point is, when you have great characters, and you put awesome toys in their hands (and, see, that was totally funny, and you'll have to read the story to find out why), greatness is the result.

At least, in the hands of Cimorene, greatness is certainly the result. I've been regularly re-reading this story ever since she posted it, and it just never stops being fun. It's everything I adore about SGA, basically. (Or everything that doesn't include cliches, crack, AUs, grimly realistic SF, and stories where someone has to make friends with a super-smart squid.) It's fun. It's snarky. It's got a great little gimmick that turns into a fantastic plot. And there is sex.

I tell you, when we get going with Squee TV, I am totally nominating Cimorene for a job writing one of the shows. She'd be fabulous at it. And her stories would absolutely contain the appropriate ratio of boys with toys.

The One That Proves That, When Given a Choice, You Should Always Take the Bigger Boat. (Although, Really, I Think a Single Viewing of Jaws Should Be Sufficient to Teach That Lesson, but Some People Are Stubborn.) In the Wrong Story and Wandering Blind, by [livejournal.com profile] katie_m. Stargate: SG-1, Sam Carter/Daniel Jackson, Sam Carter/Jack O'Neill, Sam Carter/Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill.

You know, I'm not sure if it says more about this fandom or more about my tastes within this fandom that it was serious agony to pick only one of the many long post-apocalyptic SG1 stories that I want to recommend for this post. I mean, part of it is just that - well, you need something major to break SG1 (the team) out of the mold, and an apocalypse is a good way to do that. And part of it is that I'm a happy endings addict, and a lot of the happy endings I see for these people require, well, an apocalypse. It's like their motto is: "The end of the world is the first day of the rest of our lives."

And, yes. I am perfectly willing to have billions of off-screen deaths in exchange for my on-screen happy ending. When it comes to fan fiction, I am all about the needs of the few, okay? And the billions of deaths are definitely totally off-screen in this story; we start with Sam and Daniel, picking up the pieces (that's in In the Wrong Story, and I'm just not capable of seeing these two stories as anything but two parts of one long one - actually, they're kind of two-thirds of one long story in my mind, but these parts are entirely complete in themselves), and then move on to Sam, Daniel, and Jack, still picking up the pieces. I love that.

I also love the way the threesome plays out in this, because too many OT3 stories are all: "Hey presto, and the characters are together, and it's all perfect and also there are unicorns! Yay!" (For that matter, too many OTP stories go that way, too, but that's a deal for another day.) This story shows three smart but complicated people working out their relationship, with determination and difficulty. I adore the realism of that.

Also, there's an awesome road trip. And zombies, kind of, and yet not the kind of zombies I'm afraid of. And world-building. And just - oh, too much good stuff to mention. So just trust me: this story is made of perfection, and so what if it's a perfection that had to be built on the deaths of billions of people? With SG1, these things happen.

156: LOL!

Nov. 19th, 2006 10:16 am
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Hey. You guys know everything, so: does anyone out there know about tea? Specifically, I'm looking for loose-leaf tea that I can buy online that is very, very tasty. Like, a nice assortment of it, maybe. Like, if you were going to get loose-leaf tea as a present, what specific teas would you want?

In return for any help you can give me in this (important!) matter, I offer you an assortment of amusing stories. Not actually written by me, no. But hand-selected by me! With artisan story summaries!

(Also, hey: check out my cool, be-snowified default icon, originally by [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie and modified by [livejournal.com profile] slodwick, who brings the seasonal cheer in buckets. Of course, this is the only snow I'll see this winter, because I live in LA and it's like forty billion degrees here every fucking day, but that just makes the snowy icon more precious. Thanks, Slod!)

The Funniest Joke Is the One That's on the Joker. Revenge, by [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Smallville(ish), Clark Kent/Lex Luthor.

(Note: I say "Smallvilleish" because this is Shalott's special version of Smallville: set in the future, mixed with special elements of comics canon, and whipped into a delightful, frothy blend. And, really, I would love to read more stories like that, and I know there was a challenge to mix comics and TV canon there a while back. Anyone have a link?)

You've got to love the Joker. He wants nothing more than what we all want - to make people laugh, and rejoice, and be gay. Which is (obviously) why I'm starting the set with this story; it's got the Joker in all his glory, and who could be a better mascot for a humor set than him? (Do not, at this point, attempt to picture the Joker in one of those unfortunate sports-team mascot suits - I'm guessing it would be for, like, the Gotham Bats - prancing around and leading the crowd in cheers. You will go to a bad place in your head, and you might not come back. This is how people end up in Arkham rooming with Poison Ivy, thinking about things like that.)

And, in fact, the Joker does succeed here, in that I laughed. Except I was partly laughing at him, and I'm not sure that was his purpose. But I was also partly laughing at Clark and Lex, so that should make him happy. (Oh, boys, just give up and fuck each other already; unresolved sexual tension is un-American.)

The Funniest Joke Is One That Involves Baaaaaaaaby Animals. Two-Color Dog Happiness, by [livejournal.com profile] lcsbanana. Stargate: Atlantis, gen.

(Note: if you followed along in [livejournal.com profile] lcsbanana's LJ when she was writing this, you'll still want to click on the link, which has a special epilogue.)

Okay. I know there are people out there who do not enjoy thinking about various characters being turned into baaaaaaaaby animals. You people run along to the next recommendation, because I warn you that here there will be unabashed use of terms like "cute" and "adorable" and, well, "baaaaaaaaby animals."

Go. Go on. There's a special alternative to this story coming up for you.

And now that they've moved on, I think those of us who are left can acknowledge that we feel very, very sorry for them, yes? Because there is a certain pure and ecstatic beauty to turning characters into baby animals. I don't think I even need to sell you on the concept - I mean, funny! Cute! Baby animals! What else is there to say? - so I'll just register a formal complaint that this is not a thriving subgenre of fan fiction on at least the level of MPreg. We live in a world where male pregnancy is more common than random pandafication, and even though I can (and have) gone for a good MPreg, that is just sad. Where is the story in which Daniel Jackson is turned into a fuzzy, blinking alpaca? In which Sam Winchester is turned into a gazelle? In which Fraser finds a ferret breaking into the front door of the Consulate one evening? I have done my share; I've turned Ray Kowalski into a zebra and Tim Drake into a wombat. Have you done yours? (Because, hey, if you have, I need links.)

Or:

The Funniest Joke Is One That Involves the Leader of the Free World Having Indecent Relations with a Rabbit. (Note: Not Actually As Scarring As It Sounds.) Wabbit Hunting, by [livejournal.com profile] supacat. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor (ish). (I refuse to apologize for the fandom duplication here. I am totally unrepentant, thanks.)

Yes, this is the story for the people who couldn't take the baaaaaaaaby animals. Yes, there is, um, another animal transformation here. But it's Clark Kent, people, and he's the pet of Lex Luthor. Tell me that doesn't appeal. Tell me that's not, like, the plot of 3,500 stories, at least 30 of which you have saved to your hard drive.

Just, usually Clark isn't small and furry at the time. Is all. Very minor difference!

But I think even people who would, if given the option, take torture and death over widdle furry animals will find this story appealing. Why? Because Lex Luthor gets his awful revenge on Clark Kent at long, long last.

By naming him "Bunnykins." And scratching behind his ears.

I'm sorry, but if you don't see the joy inherent in that, you aren't even human.

The Funniest Joke Is One with Sound Effects and a Theme Song (Performed a Capella and in Slow Motion). My Observed Holiday, by [livejournal.com profile] stoney321. Scrubs, gen.

There is not a single animal in this one, unless you count Rowdy. No mention of baaaaaaaaby animals at all. So if you've got tragic textual fur allergies, you can tune back in now.

Instead, we have a simple message of love, of individuality, of finding celebration and meaning in this cold cruel world of ours, of the beauty of some TV show I've never heard of. (But that doesn't mean I don't love it, people! I totally do! I'm just - a little confused. Is it seriously about a man whose skin comes off his arms so you can see the muscles underneath? Like, they made a show about the Visible Man thing that we used in elementary school for our "science" classes, where "science" means "passing around a plastic liver and listening to your classmates make EWWW GROSS noises"? Because if so, I see that drugs have been a problem in the entertainment industry and a threat to our nation's mental health for much longer than I'd thought.)

In this story, J.D. and Turk teach us the importance of making and observing our own traditions. In these crazy times, we need cultural touchstones. And, frankly, sometimes the existing ones don't cut it. So what do you do? Do you continue to celebrate Arbor Day even though you're allergic to trees? Or do you choose to celebrate the magic of one Steve Austin instead?

I know what I'm picking. Won't you all join me in February for Baaaaaaaaby Animal Transmogrification Day? (Yeah, I totally lied about there being no mention of baaaaaaaaby animals here.) There will be themed snacks! I have cookie cutters and I'm not afraid to deploy them adorably! Or obscenely, as necessary!

The Funniest Joke Is One with Lots of Towels. Although, Sadly, This Is Very Hard on the Towels. Poor Towels. Five Times Arthur Dent Lost His Towel, by [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent/Ford Prefect.

The Five Things meme always fills my heart with joy. People can do amazing things within the framework of "Five Times They Boogied Until They Just Couldn't Boogie No More" and "Five Things You Really Didn't Want to Know That Fraser Is Going to Tell You Anyway." Sometimes you can even request these. Admittedly, I never have any good ideas - or by the time I do the person in question has 55 requests already and is considering fleeing to a new country and taking up a life as an itinerant mouseworker - but it's always fun seeing what other people come up with.

And it's a lot of fun to see what the actual writers do with these prompts. (Although, really, do I just miss all the multi-fandom prompts? The ones I've seen tend to be, like, "Five Songs That Tim Listens to That Batman Secretly Likes, Even If He Would Die Before Admitting That" and less along the lines of "Five Tattoos That Aren't Canon but Totally Should Be." Possibly multi-fandom prompts are harder. Or possibly this is just further evidence of me sucking at prompts.)

Anyway. Um. I kind of got carried away with the love for the meme and failed to talk about my love for this particular story. Which is - well. There's Arthur. There's towel abuse and carnage. There's intergalactic slang. I just - do I need to say any more to get you to read this? Because if so - wow. You are a tough sell, and you should totally write me a list of five things I could say to get you to read a really excellent story, so next time I can start there. (Suggested example: "Read this story or the baby animal gets it." What, you thought I could let the baby animals go?)

The Funniest Jokes Are Ones That Feature Extremely Humorous Nicknames That You Will Inevitably Think of at a Very Inappropriate Moment in the Near Future, and Then Have an Unfortunate Fit of the Giggles. So Skip This One If the Fate of the Free World Usually Depends on You, Okay? Eight Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Ward Sidekick Partner: or Dude you sound like a NAMBLA member, by [livejournal.com profile] brown_betty. D. C. Universe, Robin/Superboy.

I think we can all agree that the worst possible in-law in the whole history of ever is Batman. Oh, you may think that people who married into the Borgia family had it tough, but that was before state-of-the-art surveillance. Also, probably the Borgias like to have a laugh from time to time. Probably they hugged and stuff, too.

Just try to imagine hugging Batman. Yeah, I know. My mind goes to a bad place with restraints and blood tests and special Bat-shaped anti-hug guards, too.

Plus, Batman tends to be slightly, um. Protective of his Robins. I mean, sure, he can't keep track of each fallen Robin - notice how Steph STILL does not have a memorial Case of Angsty Batness - but he has standards. I think Betty's done an excellent job of delineating these standards here. The first one, for example, is "Don't." Batman probably has several stilted, abbreviated conversations with Robin along those lines, never getting any further than, "Robin. Don't." And then he gives up and goes to talk to Superboy instead. It's hard to date a Bat, man.

And yet Tim is obviously very tempting.

Poor Kon.

(If you were waiting for a baby animal reference: they are BATS and ROBINS, people. The animal references come built-in! Although Tim as an actual wee Robin would be - really, really disturbing, actually. "Quick, Robin! To the Batcage!" Yikes.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Dear Amazing and Wonderfully Kindly One,

Thank you for the Frank-o-Lantern! I would offer a story in return, but, well. I can't. So instead I will give a gift in your honor. (And if you want to suggest a recs set theme or something, my comments are here for you.)

Much love and many happy returns of the season,
TFV

Dear Ants,

Fuck the fuck off. My house is not your house. No, not even a tiny part. No, not even if it's cold and moist outside, because - look, I'm sure it sucks to be an ant, but if you want a nice warm house to keep you safe from moisture, develop your own technological society and get your own mortgage.

Also, stop whining about moisture. We live in Los Angeles. It's a fucking desert. If you can't cope with this level of water in your environment, move to Mars. You will not be missed.

Please consider this as your final eviction notice before I poison you hideously ha ha ha,
TFV

Dear Symantec,

Do you - do you hate customers? Or is this some sort of incredibly comical performance art type prank? Or are you maybe, just maybe, run by evil troglodytes with mud for brains? Because I find your insistence that I run Internet Explorer, aka the least safe browser on the planet, in order to use your webstore to buy a subscription to update my anti-virus definitions to be - well, somewhat nonsensical, in the same way that setting my own toes on fire because I might soon have a headache would be nonsensical.

Also, if you want to outsource your CS, fine. That is your choice. But if you cannot find people who can accurately transcribe addresses after not one but three repetitions, thus resulting in the delivery of my product - which I had to order by phone, because see above in re: IE, and how I would not be at all sorry if someone set your toes on fire - to some random address to be signed for by some other random person, and fourteen email exchanges before I even managed to get my money refunded, then perhaps you should think about how the C in CS stands for "customer," not "crappy."

Off to see if some other anti-virus software vendor wants my money and is willing to take it via Opera or Firefox,
TFV

Dear [livejournal.com profile] daegaer,

Thank you. I think. Because the snippets of my imaginary fandom were gorgeous and wonderful and seeing it in text was perhaps the strangest kick of my life - and I'm including my teenage years in that - but now I am writing stories about it myself. Many of them. This can only end badly. Especially since you write one of the main characters far better than I do.

Love, hate, and authorial convenience,
TFV

As you may have guessed from the above, it is time for a hearty round of document-related stories - specifically, letters. And their ilk.

The One That Proves That Your Mother Was Right When She Told You Not to Put It in Writing. (Well, My Mother Told Me That, Anyway. And She Was Right. Because Telepaths and Schoolkids Could Be Reading It.) Repair, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. X-Men movieverse, Scott Summers/Jean Grey.

This one is going to feel deeply, deeply familiar to anyone who has ever been in a long-term relationship. And I'm not restricting that to romantic relationships, either; I think any not-precisely-fight-but-definitely-not-a-non-fight with anyone you've known for a very, very long time works like this. (Although, for your sake, I hope yours have ended better than this one does; it ends on kind of a hopeful note, yes, but - well. Only kind of.) Familiar as it is, though, we can all learn an important lesson from this: do not make innocent faucets the victims in your semi-fights. They don't need to suffer.

Also, if you live in a building housing many people, including the occasional telepath, remember that Miss Manners, if she was an entirely different kind of person than she is, would tell you that there are two things you should keep decently behind closed doors: fighting and fucking. Your fellow residents do not need to know about your orgasms, your arguments, or your arguments with the people who give you orgasms.

My college experience would have been greatly improved if other people had followed this simple rule. (Frankly, I'd rather they'd covered this in freshman orientation than how to buy books. Why would you be in college if you didn't know how to buy books? But almost no one knew how to live with a person not a relative, do laundry, or cook food. Were those topics covered? No.) And I'm sure the people at Xavier's School for the Mutant Arts or whatever it's called are wishing Scott and Jean would follow it, too. (Probably loud enough for Jean to hear. I would. If she's going to go be telepathic all over the place, by god I'm going to make my thoughts as embarrassing and unpleasant for her as possible. Not that I have, you know, telepathophobia or anything.)

The One in Which We Learn That Peace of Mind Isn't Possible When Lex Luthor Has Your Email Address. Of Epistles and Epiphanies, by [livejournal.com profile] nifra_idril. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor.

It was once said of Dave Lister that when he got drunk, he really got drrrrr-unk, and all he did was end up broke, diseased, and 793 million miles from home. Lex Luthor would naturally not do anything that simple. Well. I mean. If he woke up broke, diseased, passportless, and in the wrong part of the solar system, it'd take him about two weeks to get home, and he'd conquer the solar system as a byproduct. So obviously he can't go with the tried-and-true for his drunk fuck-ups. No, Lex - if Lex is going to do something stupid, it's going to involve Clark.

In this case, it involves writing the whole truth and nothing but the truth to Clark and then sending the email. The story is about Clark's reaction to said email, and it is delightful and perfect and I don't think I need to go into it here.

But what I love, once I've reveled in the actual story for another re-read, is to picture the other side. Because, okay - we've all had moments where, seconds after we clicked "send," we wished we could get the message back. Or maybe just die a merciful, humiliated death and be buried under a nameless stone that merely reads: "She clicked 'Send' too soon." But Lex - Lex really must've wanted to cancel that message, and he's not good at not getting what he wants. He must've woken up the next morning and tried to, like, buy out the internet. Or maybe he knew better. After all, if there's anyone who can keep Lex from doing something, it's Lex, so maybe he just laid there in bed, one arm over his eyes, and thought, Well-played, Self. But next time the drunken mistake calls, I think I'd rather just nuke Metropolis.

I'm betting he still wiped out a few telecommunications conglomerates after he thought that, though. It's just his way. And that's why we love him, am I right?

The One in Which We Learn That You Shouldn't Try to Hack the Afterlife. Sincerely, by [livejournal.com profile] rageprufrock. Angel, Wesley Wyndham-Pryce/Charles Gunn.

Fred teaches Angel to use email. This is, as you might expect, fraught with difficulty - frankly, only a person used to fighting against long odds would even have considered such a thing. But the biggest problem doesn't exactly come from the places you might think - Angel getting involve with Nigerian scammers or penis enlargement schemes, Angel discovering that "the god in the machine" is actually a demon, Angel accidentally taking down the entire internet for seventeen hours and nearly kicking off a worldwide economic collapse.

No. The problem is that he's getting email from Cordelia. Who is, actually, dead.

What I love about this is the hope of it. It argues that some things never change, and even when they do, and even when the change is for the worst, some things can be salvaged, and the important things keep on. I also love that it shows what Cordelia meant to the Angel crew, what a pivotal place she had. Because, you know, the Angel team? Totally a family. And when you lose a family member, things go into unstable orbits for a while.

Basically, this is a story about finding new stable orbits. Well, and email from beyond the grave. And I am quite aware that it is very thoroughly jossed, and I do not care. In my head, they're still out there, helping the hopeless forever. And dealing with the inevitable disasters and tragedies pretty much like this - with romantic comedies and Lush bath products and the occasional technological seance.

The One in Which We Learn That Boys Being Naked Together Can Be Quite a Problem. Unless You're Invited, Too. A Change in Relationship Dynamics, by [livejournal.com profile] debchan. Samurai Champloo, Jin/Mugen/Fuu.

You probably don't need to know the canon to read this, although it would help. But some stories are as old as time, and we all know them - two warriors and a girl with a squirrel, wandering through ancient Japan to a background of hip-hop music, chasing and being chased by prostitutes, organized and disorganized criminals, foreigners, politicians, and fighters of all shapes and sizes. I think we've read and seen that one countless times, yes? (And if you haven't, well. Maybe you should try watching Samurai Champloo, you big dork.)

Plus, this story is mostly about a girl thinking about two boys being naked together, and if you can't relate to that, well, why exactly are you here? So you can certainly read this without the canon.

What I love about this, though, is not the indubitably right Samurai Champloo feel, or the way it acknowledges that Jin and Mugen and Fuu are all essential to the story, or the way this is one of the few threesome stories I see leading to a stable relationship, or even the diary entries. (Although I do love the diary entries.) No, I love the way it makes me giggle, pure and simple. Every time I read it, the word "naked" seems funny for days afterward. It's as fun and shiny as the canon can be.

With added sex. I really don't see how you could ask for more than that.

Bonus:

The One That Elucidates Several Methods of Coping with Boredom. The Only One I'd Recommend You Try at Home, Though, Is the Sex. The Fuu Diaries, by [livejournal.com profile] gogoangelgunboy. Samurai Champloo, Jin/Mugen.

This is a bonus because - well, you really do need to know a bit of the canon to appreciate this, um, diary entry. But, hey. I think I've already made it clear that the canon is very much worth getting to know. Get thee to some Champloo. It's worth it in its own right. And to read stories like this one.

Because if you know the canon, this story is wonderful. I can hear Fuu's voice reading this out loud, and the focus (on the last piece of sushi) is so very right for her, because if there's one thing that Fuu teaches us in the canon, it's that food is more important than. Um. Basically anything.

And if there's one thing that Fuu teaches us in this story, it's that there's no point in trying to deny the sexual tension. Just succumb to it. Saves a lot of wear and tear on the swords (...No. Really. That was not a double entendre. I did in fact mean actual swords. Okay. And cocks, but there are swords here. You can't deny that.), and you don't miss out on the food, either.

Plus, I had to recommend this alongside "A Change in Relationship Dynamics," because in my head they will always go together. I think, when you read it, you'll see why.

After you stop giggling, that is.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
You all will be pleased to hear that nascent plans for the third consecutive Things That Never Happened set were scotched by a wedding, followed by a right bastard of a cold picked up at the wedding, like it was a very novel favor or something. I’ve now reached the stage where I’m no longer actively wanting to die just to spite the damned rhinovirus convention happening in my upper respiratory system (“Hah. Try making me miserable when I’m dead, you snotwads.”), and I can’t remember what stories the set was supposed to have had. TTNH haters, you are saved! Although it was through my suffering, so I hope you feel soul-crushingly guilty.

Instead of TTNH, today’s subject is - okay, I call this category “long,” but really the stories are somewhere between short stories and novellas in length. Basically, if it would take more than one LJ post to get the whole thing up, then it’s long. (If it would take more than five LJ posts, then it has moved into the territory of “very long.” I am so rigorous in my classification schemes that someday I will rule the world through quantitative analysis. Although there’s a major kink in this system - and notice, SGA fans, that I did not capitalize “major,” and thus I am not referring to first-season Sheppard’s well known fetish for long fiction - in that a lot of long stories don’t get posted to LJ. Researchers continue to study this problem round the clock at the famed TFV Fan Fiction Laboratory, so please view this as a merely interim story classification method.)

My point is, sometimes you need longer fiction. Today, I need longer fiction, and, well, as long as I was looking the stuff up anyway . . .

The One in Which We Learn Why Touya Akira Needed Shindou Hikaru: Because Every Almost Immoveable Object Needs an Irresistible Force. Inertia, by [livejournal.com profile] rageprufrock. Hikaru no Go, Akira/Other, Hikaru/Other, Akira/Hikaru.

Okay. Here’s the thing. I didn’t actually want to rec this until I’d uploaded all the manga, because this is a story set well after the canon and so it spoils almost all of it. Then it occurred to me that I could rec this and upload all the canon, because - well, here’s a long story by [livejournal.com profile] rageprufrock; what’s more tempting than that? So, first, here’s links for the complete scanned and translated manga: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Let me know if any of these time out or are broken or what have you.

So now my only problem is - what can I say about this story? Because, well. Okay. See, I’ve been reading Go websites. (It has nothing to do with my sudden interest in Hikaru no Go; I’m just, um . . . fine. I admit it. I’m obsessed. And, to be honest, I find it much scarier, as far as tragic proof of the kind of addiction that my loved ones should be scheduling an intervention for, that I’ve been reading stories blind at fanfiction.net.) And here’s the thing. Sometimes I get embarrassed for fandom, all, oh my god, people, please stop being on my side. Because we do have our moments of shame. So it makes me feel much better to note that Go fans are just like us: they too can get wank out of a stone. (Or, rather, out of 361 of them. Oh, I slay myself sometimes.) And Go wank is - um, special. (Like, there’s this one relatively recent wank that was instigated in large part by the Chinese press. Say what you will about our wank, at least it isn’t often started by New York Times headlines reading “For 41st Year in a Row, Fan Fiction Feedback Inadequate, Officials Say. Also, Real Person Slash ‘Totally Gross. Boyband Members Aren’t Gay!’”)

So I was going to write up this story talking about the yin/yang themes running all through this, and that’s totally appropriate to Go, of course, because . . . and then I thought I’d better make sure that I was right about the white and black stones having something to do with yin and yang. A short visit to Sensei’s Library later, I had learned that a) white was totally yin b) white was totally yang c) black was definitely female by default d) black was definitely male by default and, finally, e) Go players also obey the law of conservation of understanding. (“A debate continues until an equal distribution of understanding is achieved. Thus, given the general population of the internet, an open internet debate proceeds until no one understands anything.” And I just made that up, so I can’t source it for you, but you can’t deny that it’s true. Nor can you deny the corollary: “The introduction of one new person who believes he or she knows the right answer will begin the entire debate again, so that it can once again find understanding equilibrium (i.e., complete lack of understanding). This process can continue indefinitely. And almost certainly will. Thus, bringing up Nazis is really an act of mercy.”)

So I will avoid the whole attempt at literary analysis. It was bound to end badly anyway. Instead, I will say that this story is excellent, and it shows Akira being acted upon and Hikaru acting upon him, and it is totally how I am now convinced they end up after the canon. Also, there is sex. You want to read this right now. And you also want to read Hikaru no Go; trust me on this. Seriously. Just by downloading and reading one of those files (for clarity’s sake, it should be the first one), you can make me happier than I’ve been in months.

Don’t make me bring out the Doe Eyes of Pining, people. Read the manga. And then read the story. And then everyone wins.

The One in Which Lex Shows Us the True Meaning of Multiculturalism, and Clark Shows Us the True Purpose of Harem Pants. Moving On, by [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Smallville fused with DCU to make a delightfully frothy confection. Clark Kent/Lex Luthor.

It’s an excellent idea to get Lex Luthor off the planet, am I right? I mean, why should earth have all the fun? This is the reasoning that a number of people apply in this story, only to realize much too late that they are a) stupid and, also, b) really really stupid. (Except Batman, who stands in the background, being grimly and mercilessly right. The only reason his fellow Justice League members haven’t killed him by now out of sheer irritation is that they know in their hearts that Batman would stop them and then shake his head, say, “I knew it,” and walk off exuding an aura of I’m Too Sexy to Be This Right All the Time, but by God I’ll Have to Until Someone Else with a Brain Shows Up. No, Tim, I Don’t Mean You.) Lex, meanwhile, gets to take the party to the whole universe. Given that this is Lex, the party involves a lot of deep strategy, a number of hostile mergers, and gay, gay outfits. (If Lex ruled earth, Wall Street would be just the same, except that traders would be required to wear fabulous purple outfits, and also they would routinely assassinate each other right there on the trading floor. I would so buy season tickets.)

Clark, of course, tries to save the universe from Lex. And now pause with me and say, “Oh, Clark. When will you just accept who you are and stop with all these superfights? Blowjobs are so much less damaging to the country’s [galaxy’s, universe’s] infrastructure.” Eventually, there is a happy ending. Plus, of course, more excellently weird costumes. Do not miss, by the way, the unspeakably wonderful Lex Paper Doll Set, by [livejournal.com profile] mutecornett. I mean, if Lex gets to wear fabulous outfits, shouldn’t you be able to take them off him?

The One in Which We Discover That It Does, in Fact, Take the Threat of Death to Get a Certain Cop to Clear His Paperwork. And We Totally Fail to Be Surprised. That Good Night, by Dira Sudis, aka [livejournal.com profile] dsudis. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

One of my major problems with recommending dS these days is that I’m not, um, always the most careful person in the world about marking what I’ve already recommended in my database, which is in any case a total mess thanks to del.icio.us (and also to my prize-winning laziness). So a lot of the stories I’ve loved forever I look at and say, “I’ve rec’d this, right? I mean, I’d be a fool not to have rec’d it. But, well, let’s just say foolishness isn’t totally out of character for me, so . . .” But I’ve decided not to get all obsessive about this crap, so I’m damn well recommending this one anyway. My promise to you: anyone who can point to the slashy set where I’ve already recommended a story gets - um. My thanks? I don’t really have a lot else to offer. But I will offer you another story recommendation. You can even pick the fandom, within the limits of what I’ve got to hand.

See, sometimes there are these little signs that, um, maybe we need to sit down and reassess our goals, our purposes, our lives. For example, if we spend a lot of nights getting drunk. Or if we cannot remember the last time we touched another human being. Or if we stay up late into the night solving tsumgeo (Go problems) solely because we know in our hearts that a fictional, two-dimensional ghost would approve. Or if a creepy old guy wearing a weird hat and carrying flowers keeps turning up and making eerie pronouncements about how we’re on the way out. Of the world.

In this story, Ray experiences more than one of the above. (Three guesses which, but here’s a hint: I am quite sure that Ray Kowalski has never in his life solved tsumego. Although Fraser probably has. He’d probably feel a real bond of sympathy with Hikaru, actually, all, “Yes, ghosts can indeed be a bit of a trial, but - no, Dad, I didn’t say anything. Yes, I’d be delighted to hear about the 81 uses for frozen beavers. Again. Even though I am already quite conversant with all - yes, Dad.”) And do you know what Ray learns? The solution to those little life crises involves lots of sex with Benton Fraser. (And a sun lamp.) Now that is what I call excellence in alternative medicine.

The One in Which We Learn That Rodney McKay, in Addition to His Many Other Fine Features, Is Also a Grammar Snob. And Thus My Happiness Is Made Complete. Cleave, by [livejournal.com profile] amireal. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

The first time I read this, I got partway into the first page and said, “Oh my god, so much yes.” Because one thing that John Sheppard and Rodney McKay definitely share is demand resistance; if you tell them they absolutely cannot do something - well, John smiles insincerely, swears he won’t, and then does it, whereas Rodney just basically does it. So, really, if you wanted the two of them to have sex - and I am not for a moment suggesting you might want any such thing, of course, but if you did - the fastest way to get them there would be to tell them they weren’t allowed to, and then put a lot of obstacles in their way. Make the obstacles totally, provably insurmountable and you’d probably have full-scale buttfucking before you entirely finished explaining the terms. (“And furthermore, if you defeat that barrier, a crack team of trained ninjas will emerge from the secret - damn. Miss Zygen, please send in a bucket of cold water and a crowbar; Dr. McKay and Colonel Sheppard are at it again. Hmmm. Maybe we should add some bioengineered cobras to level 7.”)

So, yeah, that appeals to me, and I don’t mean the sex. (Well. I don’t just mean the sex.) See, some people would tell you that I have, on occasion, been ever so slightly demand resistant myself, and I actually, um, admire it in other people. (We are the few. The proud. The very contrary.)

The other thing that appeals to me is allergies, and this is a total schadenfreude kind of thing. There’s a moment in this story where they think maybe John is allergic to water, and I just - when you have a bad cold, and also allergies on top of that, and you can’t get the shot that’s supposed to fix your allergies because your doctor has elected to go on vacation (Vacation! When there are people suffering here! With very unpleasant sniffles!), there’s nothing that cheers you up quite like imagining someone else being allergic to water. Really, this story gets me on all kinds of levels.

And did I mention the sex? Because the sex is excellent.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I am having a total I-suck day. And apparently I'm not alone. Did anyone not have a job disaster today?

Anyway.

I am going to cheer myself up, or at least get past the I-want-to-die point, with totally self-indulgent recommendations. From the general look of the old friends list today, I am not the only one who needs this, so I refuse to feel guilty.

The One in Which a Bowl of Soup Changes Everything. Marry into the Family, by [livejournal.com profile] julad. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor.

This story never fails to make me smile. Possibly it's the line "Say ten 'Hail Luthors' and perform an act of Callous Economic Rationalism." Possibly it's just - come on. Maybe your day was bad, yes. Maybe mine was. But I think it's safe to say that none of us came out to both Lionel Luthor and Jonathan Kent today, and don't you feel better already?

Story summary? Well, please just imagine an announcer doing a voice-over that says, "In a world where real love is sometimes real hard, Lex Luthor is about to learn that a bowl of soup can make all the difference." But it's not the plot that gives me the hit of pure joy when I read it; the joy is in the details, people. First of all, there's the way Lex totally throws Lionel for a loop, thus proving that soup and the love of a good man really can make your strength as the strength of ten. And then there's the scene with Clark showing that he learns entirely too well from example. (Oh, Clark. You're the archetypal impressionable youth.) And then there's the way that the ending of the story is actually the beginning of it, so by the time you find out that Lex and Clark are in a certain amount of trouble, you know it ends happily. I just - is there a better definition of comfort FF than this story? I would say no. (And if you'd say yes, please please give me a link.)

The One in Which J.D. Doesn't Quite Get a Unicorn Called Sparkles and Feed Her Gum Drops and Candy Canes. My Space Adventure, by [livejournal.com profile] skoosiepants. Stargate: Atlantis x Scrubs. And in my opinion, this is gen, because, well, everything that happens here could happen in Scrubs. Including the unicorn.

You know, until I read this, I had never once thought to myself, "J.D. is a perfect fit with Atlantis. I don't know why he isn't already there." But now I see clearly; only in Pegasus can J.D. achieve a true match between his life and his fantasy world. Actually, it'd be kind of a cage grudge match: J.D.'s twisted imagination v. Pegasus Galaxy. They'd go 40 rounds for sure.

This is another joy-is-in-the-details story. Like, of course Ted would have an iPod filled with motivational podcasts. (And a few prime time theme songs, I'd wager. You know, I hadn't heard of Charles in Charge prior to that particular episode of Scrubs, and - well, am I the only one who thinks that the show pretty much had to be about the wacky BDSM dungeon hijinks of a Master and his crew of misfit slaves? Oh, don't look at me like that. You're totally wondering what channel that's on.) Anyway. My point is - J.D. is a natural for Pegasus, and so is everyone else in the cast. Dr. McKay and Dr. Cox were clearly meant to have a tense, hostile, sarcasm-filled relationship until they night they get drunk together on Athosian krrrrup and spend three hours arguing about whether J.D. or John Sheppard is the greater burden on a sane man who wants to keep all his limbs attached. And Elliot would obviously be sent to Atlantis because no one could think of a place that was even further away. It's just - it's fabulous. You need to read this story.

The One in Which We Learn That There Are Two Types of Kids in This World: Those Who Take Applied Science Way Further Than It Should Ever Go, and Those Who Always Know Where a Fire Extinguisher Is. Aviation, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. X-Men movieverse, gen.

(Yes, I'm trying to figure out which kind of kid I was, too. And - wow, I can hear Best Beloved laughing from all the way across town. But! Seriously! I could very well have been a fire extinguisher kid! I was just very accident prone. And, okay, slightly too interested in things that burn, but...) This story makes me happy in that quiet, joyful way where I just want to hug my monitor. Because - Scott! Being grown-up and worried! And Hank! Being HANK! It just does not get any better than this, people.

And, on another level - the very small number of levels that aren't totally occupied saying OMG HANK I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, which is, believe me, a very few of them when I'm reading any story in which the Real Hank appears - there's also substantial Xavier love in here for me. Which is something I don't feel that often, mostly because I do not like telepathy. Or telepaths. They just - seriously, I have a major telepathy phobia. (I have actually told Best Beloved, on more than one occasion, "If you develop mind reading powers, it's over." And I meant it, too. See why Best Beloved is a three-state smiling and nodding champion?) But I love Xavier most when he's displaying the wisdom telepathy has given him, and here he so does that, and I just want to kiss his shiny, shiny head.

The One That Manages to Make MREs Romantic. I Am Totally Not Kidding. You Will Never Look at Military-Produced Eggs and Cheese the Same Way Again. (Actually, I'm Hoping You'll Never Have to Look at Them at All.) Downtime, by [livejournal.com profile] merryish. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson.

What with [livejournal.com profile] destina_fic and the Jack/Daniel ficathon, SG-1 has been my total happy place lately. And I do believe that this story made me the happiest of all the ones I've read (thus far - that's a wondrously massive backlog of brilliant FF, folks, so it'll be some time before I've managed to process it all). It's like all the things that drew me to this pairing - the crazed missions, Jack's determination and quirky sense of humor, Daniel's intelligence and astonishingly deep kindness, missions gone awry, inexplicable aliens, involuntary camping trips, convoluted excuses for Jack and Daniel to get some alone time together off-world - packed into one glorious story.

This story made me so happy that I was genuinely depressed when it was over. And then I remember that there's a surefire cure for that, and I scrolled right back to the top and started reading again. And, you know, it made me just as happy the second time. This really is almost everything I love about these guys, and if there's a sadness there - I mean, as far as I know, the canon has closed the door on this pairing - it's the kind of wonderful ache that comes from thinking, "I was really, truly happy there" about a place you know you can go back to. And, oh my god, I need to stop before Hallmark offers me a job. (Of course I'd take it. But I'd probably end up making cards with pretty pictures on the front and verses like, "You were tortured/By a cruel snob/Let me heal you/With this blowjob.")

The One That Proves That Anime Vidders Don't Always Have Their Minds Fixed on Higher Things. Unless the "Higher" Applies to the Vidder Himself, As in "He's Been Higher Than Me Ever Since He Got the Really Good Crack." Waka Laka (for Osaka), by Scintilla. Azumanga Daioh.

Okay, anime vid recommending day was - um, back whenever I did it. But. I dug out a bunch more links for [livejournal.com profile] elishavah (And she's in a place of great weakness right now, people, so if you've got any shiny pretty anime or anime vids to show her, seize this moment.), and in the process I rewatched this one. And then I did it again. And I learned a great truth: this is the vid equivalent of cotton candy. Substance? Not so much. But it's sweet and wonderful and as soon as it's gone you want a lot more. Obviously, I watched it a few more times today.

And then I learned a second truth. A horrible, hideous truth, at that. Namely: this song is just - wow. It burrows into your skull and sets up home in your cochlear nuclei. And, as we all know, there are only two cures for persistent earworms. First, you can try to pass it on to someone else. I'm giving that my best shot here. (And, truly! Do not let the song dissuade you! This is all things shiny and pretty and you don't need to know a thing about the canon. It's cotton candy crack, basically.) Second, you can listen to the song a whole bunch of times and pray that you'll build immunity through repeated exposure. So, um...does anyone have this song? It's Waka Laka (E=MC2 Remix) by Jenny Rom vs. Zippers, apparently.

Bonus: Speaking of songs - the title of this post comes from Code Monkey, by Jonathan Coulton. (As far as I know, this is a totally legal download - he encourages people to share his music. I, in turn, encourage you to visit his website and maybe buy stuff from him.) If you haven't heard this, you so need this song. Especially all of you who have been having work problems lately. It's just - well, it's yet another thing that's making me happy today.

Courage in adversity, people.

Also, if tomorrow isn't better, I'm going to bite someone.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This FIHL is dedicated to [livejournal.com profile] svmadelyn, who was supposed to get it in, um, February. To her, I say:
  1. See? Eventually, I come through.
  2. But it's entirely possible that you'll die of waiting, or just age out of the project altogether, in the interim.
Recently, I said to the document on my computer screen, "Ah-ha, Mr. Unclear Sentence, we meet again. The last time, I was but the learner, but...wait. The last time was in Chapter 4. How did you get here?" And I realized that I needed to take a break from work if I wanted my brain to work ever again.

It seemed obvious, given the content of my speech to the computer monitor, that Smallville was the place to go.

Welcome to Smallville, Kansas. Population: Mutant. Elevation: Slashy. )
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)
So. We've all finished our Yuletide stories. The archive isn't open yet. Most of us have had way too much candy. (Especially me. My Yuletide writing experience was almost entirely catered by [livejournal.com profile] maygra, who apparently just knew I would need pecans and sugar in mass quantities this year.) It's obviously time for a recs set. And I have chosen...

Bodyswap.

You know, there was a time when I did not understand the allure of bodyswaps, but that was before an email from [livejournal.com profile] jad104 Opened My Eyes. And, see, I have a specific way of coming by my themed categories (and, yes, there are still occasional new ones added, and you guys still haven't seen all the ones I started with, which is just - really disturbing, so let's not think about it, okay?), but that email led to an exception: I made a new category at someone else's suggestion. That hardly ever happens, and not because I'm ornery (...not just because I'm ornery); it's because usually suggested categories in some way overlap one that already exists. (Not that that should ever stop anyone from making a suggestion, because I love them.) Bodyswaps kind of overlapped (how I love the crack and cliche category; anything goes in there), but I started thinking about it, and I realized bodyswaps are special. And interesting. I began, in short, to ponder. And once I start pondering, a recommendations post is almost inevitable. (Best not to get me started, really; there we go, that's today's valuable take-home lesson. You can relax now.)

I will spare you the nine paragraphs of meta that originally occupied this space. (And the 13,000 parentheses that would have died to make those nine paragraphs are very thankful.) I will just say that if I had to do it again, genderswitch and bodyswap would share a category, because they both explore the same space: what is me and what is mine. In other words, if I'm not in the same body, am I still the same person? Which is a (and I hesitate to use this word, because ick, but it is, so I have no choice) profound question, and one that I am in no way equipped to explore, hence the much-meta-deletion. Instead, I offer you these stories; their authors did a much better job than I could at the thinkiness. Plus, they included a lot of sex, which meta is generally sadly lacking.

Note, though, that this category is actually bodyswitch. I have, as it turns out, developed a deep love for not-quite-bodyswaps, so what you'll find here is a variety of stories about people wearing things that don't belong to them.

Best FF That Gave Me a Brief Bout of Longing for Sports Night Vampire FF, but Fortunately I Regained My Senses Before I Did Anything Rash. The Cheese Does Not Wear Me, by Annie, aka [livejournal.com profile] out_there. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. In the author's summary, Annie says, "Every fandom needs at least one bodyswapping fic," and frankly that's a statement I think Certain Fandoms could take to heart. I mean, no one can fault the stargate-related fandoms for their dedication to bodyswitching. I'm sure Harry Potter has just thousands, although I actually haven't seen any of them, so if anyone else has, a link would not come amiss. But where is the bodyswap FF for The Sentinel? Come on - tell me you don't want to see how Blair copes with those senses and how Jim copes with that hair. Where is the X-Men bodyswapping, where the team has to get used to their new powers before Magneto realizes he has Xavier's? (I'd whine about Buffy and Angel, too, except that I have read bodyswitch stories in those fandoms. I just can't find them. Apparently, I have completion issues when it comes to recording bodyswap FF in my database.) Did I just miss all these? Because these things should exist, dammit, and no one can tell me otherwise. But, um. I have to say that Sports Night would not have made my list of "fandoms that need a bodyswap story." Which is why I was stunned and delighted by this piece, in which Dan and Casey cope with bodyswapping with amazing aplomb and not much more than a thirty-second speech at rundown. Because, when you think about it? The people who work with Dan and Casey generally don't understand them. It's expected. And there's always work to be done despite the Danny and Casey weirdness, so they all just deal with the weirdness. And that, in a nutshell, is why I love this story. And this fandom, come to think of it.

Best FF That Gives the Best Explanation for the Existence of Fanny Packs That I've Ever Heard. Although, Believe Me, There Are Still a Number of Unanswered Questions on That Score. First Impressions, by [livejournal.com profile] kormantic. Stargate: SG1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. Okay. So I was very good and started this set with a traditional bodyswap. But now it is time for a bodyswitch. In this story, an encounter with aliens (god how I love the aliens of the SG universe: ready, willing, and able, the lot of them) leaves Daniel in a bar of soap. And Jack in Daniel's body. And his own. Frankly, Jack O'Neill probably should not be the first person on your list of potential temporary custodians of your body, given that in this one he uses Daniel's to eat revolting foodstuffs and watch Weekend at Bernie's II, which is probably against the law on more civilized planets. But that's why I love the concept of Jack in Daniel's body. I mean, you know, his personality in Daniel's - you know what, let's just move on and forget I ever started that sentence. This story contains a line that should be the basis of a whole challenge: "Are you saying I gave him my cooties?" Because, seriously. Tell me a fandom that sentence doesn't belong in, and I will tell you about a sad, sad fandom. But what I love most about this is how everyone reacts to Jack-as-Daniel; the scene in which Sam asks that Jack a version she wouldn't ask the real Jack just says volumes about that philosophical conundrum (look at all the big words I know!) I mentioned in the intro. So there's thinkiness in here, and gambling, and sex, and I just don't see how it could get any better than that.

Best FF That Proves That the Scariest Sex Toy Is One Mass-Produced by a Military Society Heavily Invested in Leather. Or, Wait. Is Scary the Word I'm Looking for There? Scientist, Astronaut, and Nymphomaniac: The Nine Lives of John Crichton, by Feldman, aka [livejournal.com profile] rubberneck. Farscape, John Crichton/Aeryn Sun. This story really makes it clear (to me) why I like John Crichton and Aeryn Sun so much that I'm actually afraid to watch Farscape. I love John's attitude toward being in Aeryn's body: a blend of "Toys! For me!" with "I am so going to pay for this later, so I'd better really enjoy it now" with "If a body's worth doing, it's worth doing well." And I love Aeryn's attitude toward John in her body. Ninety percent of female characters would have a fit in this scenario: "Don't you be touching that, you pervy thing!" Not Aeryn. No. She's amused, and she's more than willing to provide expert consultation (plus the aforementioned scary sex toy). And she has fun with the whole situation - as much as Crichton, and probably more, because she's not encumbered by, you know, ethical dilemmas and so on. Plus, she takes it about eight levels higher than John even imagined, leading to what must have been the most difficult sex scene ever to write, at least when it comes to pronouns. And, see, that's just - that's good, people. This is the approach I like to see from my bodyswapped characters: thoughtful experimentation and careful note-taking, followed by totally throwing caution to the winds. I mean, hey. What are the chances you'll ever be in this body again? (Stargate fandoms only: 40%.)

Best FF That Clearly Demonstrates the Undisputable Connection Between Cookies and True Love. Switch: A Comedy of Terrors, by [livejournal.com profile] rivkat. Smallville, Lex Luthor/Clark Kent. I adore this story because it makes me roll my eyes and say, "Oh, Clark," in the tone of voice I normally use only on people I really love when they're being really stupid, albeit maybe in a kind of adorable way. Because only Clark Kent (Smallville edition) could possibly hope to keep secrets about his body from someone who is currently occupying it. And that goes double - no, to the power of ten - if the person in it is Lex. Anyone else would throw in the towel. Clark just stutters his way through the lamest excuses ever uttered on the planet earth. It is just - so very like him, and so very adorable, and it leaves me loving him even though I want to smack some sense into his great big stupid head. But I have to be grateful for his bone-headedness; without it, we could never have stories like this one, in which Lex test-drives Clark Kent and Clark gets more than a taste of Lex. (And, no, really. It's not possible to talk about those two without using trashy double entendres; I have tried. Some things are just beyond the scope of human endeavor.) The best part of this story, though, is the way it makes it so very obvious that Clark and Lex belong together. And, yes, okay, like 80% of SV FF does that, but this is special; how often do people make such a great team that they actually do better in each other's bodies than in their own?

Best FF That Leaves Me Wondering About the AU in Which They Didn't Separate, and the Entire Pegasus Galaxy Was Terrorized by the Real McShep: Two Guys, One Body, Thirty Thousand Times the Trouble. Double Occupancy, by [livejournal.com profile] isiscolo. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. This is yet another SGA story in the everyone's-read-them category, but I had to rec it. Because, okay, first, I have a sick affection for the trapped-together stories (you know: they can't let each other out of sight, or if they get more than three feet from each other they fall to the ground in fits, stuff like that) - sick because that is pretty much my idea of hell. I mean, I'm happily married, and have been so for a really long time, and we spend loads of time together. But if we couldn't get away from each other, not ever, not at all? I would be insane and frothing within an hour. Seriously. Best Beloved will totally back me up on this, probably with a lot of emphatic wincing and nodding. So, you know, this story hits that kink of mine, plus the bodyswapping kink, and obviously I'm going to love it. But I wanted to be sure I recommended this now because - people who were interested in the Style Post That Will Never Be? Read this story closely. You will totally see what I mean about prior fandoms affecting the way people write SGA; this is one of my top twenty examples of that. It doesn't make the story better or worse (which, I mean, the story is good enough on its own, for sure), just noticeably, fascinatingly different. And so there's a weird meta element to this for me; it's a story about experiencing life through a different lens, and it's written through a different lens, and I just...I love that. This story is a total writing kinkfest, TFV style. (Thank god it's not also a sexual kinkfest, TFV style; I mean, if I had a sex-in-front-of-a-mirror kink, I would probably die from reading this. Consider that your warning label, mirrorsex people.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I...wow. I really haven't been updating much at all, have I? I just - sometimes life sucks, and then I go below the radar here. But I still love you all. And this time, at least, I've been paying some attention to what's been going on. By which I mean, of course, that I have been reading (and mercilessly organizing) FF. I have thirty sets neatly boxed up and ready to go and dozens more that are only missing one story - and that's just cataloged fic. You do not want to know what my uncatalogued list looks like. But this, as I remind myself, is a good thing.

What I'm saying is - sometimes you (not you specifically) have to, you know, go away for a while. I think we've all experienced that, right? Hurts but it's necessary. And the thing is, it makes getting back together so very wonderful. Would I have all these nifty packaged sets if I'd not gone on an interminable hiatus? No. Would you love me less if I was setless? Possibly. Do we not, instead, love each other truly and deeply? Well, I love you, and if you don't love me, I will sulk and make the Doe Eyes of Sorrow and maybe cry some, so my advice is: lie.

Um. Can I just start that paragraph over? And make it - I know, shock - slightly less about me? Or at least, less about my raving lunatic side?

Take two: to celebrate my reunion with the active side of fandom, I bring you stories about breaking up.

No, no, wait. These are breakup stories that don't hurt. (Like ouchless Band-Aids, except these are actually ouchless.) The breakup happens, but the story keeps going - or sometimes starts - and it leads not to sorrow but to a joyous (re)union, complete with foot-stomping finale and the whole cast (yes, both of them) on stage, and then everyone takes a bow and goes off for wild sex. Or, um. I meant cast party - wild cast party. Although, you know, thinking about it, there's not really as much difference there as you'd hope.

Best FF That Really, Really Makes Me Want to See the Remedial Version. With the Puppets. And That's Amazing, Given How Infrequently I Find the Occasion to Say, "Gee, I Wish My Life Had More Puppets." My Big Breakup, by Sabine, aka [livejournal.com profile] iamsab. Scrubs, John "J.D." Dorian/Perry Cox. Okay, first things first: the author says, in her note, that if you have not seen Scrubs, this story won't work for you. She is wrong. In fact, every Scrubs story I've read - and, seriously, I've been searching frantically for the stuff* - has worked perfectly for me, despite the fact that I know so little about this fandom that I had to look up the full names of the slashed characters to write this summary, and I spent the first portion of this story trying to figure out precisely what J.D.'s job was. (He's a doctor. Although, seriously, he could be the guy who wears the Goofy suit at Disneyland for all I know of him.) Doesn't matter. When Scrubs writers hit the voice and the tone right, it's gorgeously surreal and delightfully funny and surprisingly involving. Also? J.D. apparently narrates every Scrubs story ever written, and there is a reason, my friends: he has the best voice ever. He's, like, a conduit of pure crack comedy. I - seriously, I love this guy, and we've never even met. So, what happens in this story? Well, okay, check out the theme of this set and the title of the story and take a wild guess. Yep. J.D. breaks up with someone. Someone he didn't even realize he was, you know, that way with. Which, when that happens in real life? Embarrassing, folks. But in Scrubs-land, okay, it is also a little bit embarrassing**, but then it leads to the glorious reunion scene. And, even better, it's a reunion scene in which both parties are finally more or less on the same page. For these two, that must actually be kind of a disturbing experience, but: yay! Which is what this story will make you say. (To translate into Buffyese: it brings the yay.)

Best FF in Which John Is a Bit of an Ass and Gets - No. That Was Going to a Bad Place, So Let Me Just Say: Best FF That Will Forever Change the Way You Look at Scarves. And People Who Give Them to You. #435, the Atlantis Local Stitch 'n' Bitch Chapter, by [livejournal.com profile] rageprufrock. Stargate: Atlantis. SGA is the fandom of torture for me, lately; it has so many fabulous stories for nearly every category on my list (and yet it's entirely absent from a few of them, which is weird) that choosing just one is nearly impossible. Also, and I think I've mentioned this before, pure agony, so you should pity me. But in this case, it was easy, even though there's a solid boodle of great breakup stories in SGA, because this story has the funniest breakup ever. I don't want to spoil it for you or anything, so I can't go into detail, but I had to put my head down on my keyboard for a while after reading it. It's that good. And the best part is that I can totally see John doing that. Totally. Like, it plays out like a movie in my head, and that? Is totally a movie I would buy on DVD twice, in case I played the first one so much it wore out. Because that's what I do with that scene when I'm down; I read it over and over and over, and it makes everything better. This, people, is the breakup that heals. And I'm afraid if I type anything else here, I'll start describing it, probably with extravagant hand gestures that a) you all won't be able to see and b) that will take my fingers off the keyboard for large portions of my sentences, and then this whole post really will be gibberish, so, you know. Just read it. Be sure not to have any liquids nearby.

Best FF That Proves That You Can Get Lex Luthor to Do Anything If You Just Make It Difficult Enough. The Pragmatist, by [livejournal.com profile] nifra_idril. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. Well, I could hardly let a breaking-up-to-get-together set go by without including something about Lex and Clark, could I? Look, don't argue with me. I couldn't. Or, okay, I could have, but I would never have felt clean again. Because, see, I like my Clark and Lex best in the future, and then there's that whole - well, let's just say unpleasantness - to deal with. I don't do well with stories that end with said unpleasantness; I have a tendency to snap at them, "Look, if I wanted this, I'd be watching the canon." And then I have to go find some independent small retailers to crush or mad scientists to hire, because, seriously, the unpleasantness makes me want to go all Lionel on the world. I know OTPing is out of fashion these days, but Lex and Clark go together. They do. So one excellent solution for me - and, of course, for the many good and noble regimes I would doubtless overturn if I went to the Lionel side - can be found in stories that, cleverly, start after the unpleasantness, and go right for the careful, hesitant, but clearly predestined reunion. And even in that delightful cadre, this story stands out. It's gorgeous and evocative and true to character - and that's tough, drawing an accurate picture of characters so far into the future, after so many changes, after they've grown up - and, really, it makes me want to whip out the adjectives only New York Times reviewers are allowed to use. So I'll just note that this has the best ever reason for Lex reuniting with Clark, explained in a bit that makes me want to send [livejournal.com profile] nifra_idril email filled with nothing but exclamation points. Go read this, and find it. And then you can send her the exclamation points, and I can get on with my - um, not-Lioneling.

Best FF That Has Sex, and Squid, but Not Squid Sex. Which, Given the Fandom, Thank God.*** Every Day I Love You Less, by V, aka [livejournal.com profile] deepsix. Ocean's 11 (And can I get some input on that? I mean, are we calling it Oceanverse now, or is it still just Ocean's 11?), Rusty Ryan/Danny Ocean. I once told [livejournal.com profile] musesfool that the most slashy thing about Ocean's 11 is that Danny always comes back to Rusty. Always. What I love about this story is that in it, Danny does just that - and, seriously, that's one of my big criteria for good O11 FF, that the rubber band connecting them be invisible but highgly operational - and then we realize that Rusty's done it, too. In short: this is a story about how the rubber band goes both ways. And I very much support equal opportunity rubber banding. Plus, this story features three breakups - all of which happen off-screen and prior to the start of the story - which makes it a total curve-breaker in the extensive, important class of Unsad FF That Could Be Called 'Breaking up Is Hard to Do.' And let me just note that there are many fandoms in which any story that started with the premise that two main characters had ended their canonical marriages would totally suck, but in this canon, the girls are pretty much...no. No, I am not even finishing that sentence. It was going to feature a terrible, hideous, horrible metaphor involving scabs. I'm not going there. Ew. I've got some class left. So let me just revert to classic story summary form and then get the hell out of here before I break any more brains: This is a good story. It has breakups. And a getting-together. And squid. You should totally read it. Good night.

-Footnotes-

* Where is all the Scrubs FF, people? How can there not be a giant archive devoted to this fandom? Is there one and I just can't find it? Help me out, before I end up requesting a fandom I've never even seen for Yuletide.

** For reasons unknown, most of the stories in this fandom don't trigger my embarrassment squick, mostly because they all seem to be taking place pretty much entirely in J.D.'s overheated brain. But this tendency of J.D. to do embarrassing things is why you won't see me watching the canon. It might very well hurt me. Irreparably.

*** Yes, it is a sign of hideous moral degeneration that there are so very many fandoms that I think would be improved by an infusion of squid sex. Probably you should defriend me now, before I start recommending - um. You know, I can't actually think of anything more shameful than some of the stuff I've already loved and recommended. I'm open to suggestions, though.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, Bird acquired a friend. I stood at the bathroom window (extensive tests show that this is the best indoor spot for Bird monitoring) for - um, a while - listening to the beauty of interspecies communication.

Bird: Woooo. Woo-woo.
Friend: Chee-eeeep! Che-che-che-che-eeeep!

I quickly developed a mental image of Friend. Clearly, this was a small, cheerful bird. Possibly he had a dull brown exterior, but underneath was youth and excitement and enthusiasm for all things avian. I pictured him hopping about on the branch as he accompanied Bird.

Bird: Woooo. Woo-woo.
Friend: Chee-eeeep! Che-che-che-che-eeeep!

Of course, Bird is a dedicated guy. Nothing, but nothing, comes between him and his message. (Which, for the inattentive or forgetful, is: woo.) He has a mind that transcends the mundane; he's got purpose, he's got meaning, he's got soul.

Bird: Woooo. Woo-woo.
Friend: Chee-eeeep! Che-che-che-che-eeeep!

But as time passed (yes, I was in fact listening the whole time, and I don't want to hear a word about it), Friend began to flag. It's always the way with these youngsters; they start well, but they just don't have the stamina.

Bird: Woooo. Woo-woo.
[Pause, as of a rapidly tiring bird summoning the resources for another go.]
Friend: Chee-eeeep.
Bird, sounding encouraging: Woooo. Woo-woo?
Friend, sounding exhausted: Chee-eep.

Standing at the window, listening to this, I said, wistfully: "Their love is so doomed."

And then I realized what I'd just said, and added: "Jesus Christ. I've got to get out of here."

So I came in here to write a recs set, and if it just happens to start with an update on Bird, it's only because I know some of you are very interested in him. Or at least I'm pretending you are, for reasons of personal dignity.

But I do not come empty-handed, even if you don't count the Tale of Bird. Because I also have recs. Rare pairing recs. I mean, given the star-crossed love of Bird and Friend, what else?

(Added note: this weekend, we discovered that there is something that will shut Bird up, and that thing is: garage bands. Specifically, the one garage band belonging to the teenage boy - and please god let him go away to college soon, ideally to a very noise-tolerant state - a few houses down from us. Of course, given that said band's entire repertoire is Limp Bizkit, or rather the first eight bars of a number of Limp Bizkit songs, well - let's just say I won't be begging them to add extra practices or anything. And, yes. I'm not kidding. All Limp Bizkit, all wrong, all Saturday. For two years.)

Best FF in Which Rodney McKay Says Someone Is Smarter Than He Is. Seriously, It's a Moment That Would Totally Go Down in History If It Wasn't Way in the Future. The Big Bang and Everything After, by [livejournal.com profile] mandysbitch. Stargate: Atlantis x Firefly, Rodney McKay/River Tam. (Yes, I'm recommending Firefly. It's only a crossover!) Most of the time, I just do not get Firefly FF. Like, at all. Apparently, you had to be there for this fandom. But this story fascinated me, and not just because of all the unanswered questions that lurk behind it. Actually, what I loved most about this was the character of River, who was just - really, improbably gripping. I normally hate this character type - the crazy genius, mad because she knows things other people don't. (I'm more of a fan of the grouchy genius. Or, hey, even a reasonable nice one.) Maybe this was different because the story is from River's point of view, so you get a look into her twisted logic. Or it could just be because [livejournal.com profile] mandysbitch is a highly skilled writer. Because she obviously is; transplanting a character like this is never easy. It's ten times as hard when you're selling a pairing at the same time. Crossover pairings rarely work for me, probably because fan fiction relies, to a certain extent, on an initial buy-in; we go into most stories knowing the characters and being willing to believe they're involved. But authors of crossover pairings (and very rare pairings in general, but it's usually most extreme in crossovers) have to work without that, and that means a lot of fan fiction conventions don't work. But this - this works. I believe this Rodney, though I hurt for him a little, and I believe in this River, even if I've never met her before. Most of all, I believe they'd end up together in the universe of this story. Which you should totally read. Now.

Best FF That Proves That Luthors Are Entirely Too Talented for Their Own Good. Or Anyone Else's. Actually, Make That Especially Anyone Else's. No Quarter, by [livejournal.com profile] nifra_idril. Smallville, Lionel Luthor/Johnathan Kent. (And if you're right now thinking, "You know, there's a reason some pairings are rare," just wait. It gets worse! You'll be thrilled! Or maybe dead from the horror; could go either way.) I've never seen anything of Lionel except in vids. But his body language in those vids is so insinuating, aggressive, and confident that I seriously believe he could seduce anyone, and that's if he wasn't trying. I can't imagine what might happen if he was, but I'm fairly sure the words "total world domination" or possibly "catastrophe on an unprecedented scale" would be involved. And which would depend mostly on his mood that day. His mood in this story, for the record, is pretty much the same one a lion has when chasing a mouse: tolerantly distracted, because the little squeaking thing entertains him. And I totally and completely buy the reason he gives for going after Jonathan, mostly because the characterization in this story is amazing; the first four paragraphs are practically a textbook on Lionel, and most of the rest is a perfect justification for Jonathan. One that I rather like. Because at least in FF, Jonathan comes off as, well. Kind of a dick, sometimes, but mostly just - unclear. Inconsistent. But in this story, he makes a disturbing amount of sense. And I don't just mean the details of what happens here; I mean the dynamics of his relationship with the Luthors, and his behavior in general. Jonathan is so overmatched and outmaneuvered here that - seriously, it's like two different species: Home serpiens and Homo domesticus, and oh my god, no, I did not mean the really bad puns there. Obviously I'd better move on before the excellent Lionel/Jonathan destroys my brain.

Best FF That May Forever Taint Formerly Innocent Childhood Memories. I'm Not Kidding, People; Just Hearing the Pairing List Seems to Cause Permanent Brain Damage in Some People. Sunny Days, by [livejournal.com profile] hyperfocused. Sports Night x Sesame Street, Dan Rydell/Cookie Monster, Casey McCall/Guy Smilie, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. Sometimes the beauty of a rare pairing is just the pure astonishment that anyone managed to carry it off. In this case, it's more like astonishment that anyone looked at this prompt (obviously, it's from [livejournal.com profile] ithurtsmybrain) and thought, "Yeah, okay. I can do that." (And I didn't even watch Sesame Street, and in fact had to resort to Google at a certain point in the story. I can only imagine what this does to people who actually watched the show.) But, you know, for me, this story works. Obviously there's the whole blue fluffy Muppet thing to get around - and, yes, I know some of you are saying, "You can't 'get around' the Muppet thing! For Christ's sake, which part of 'Muppet' did you not understand?" - but the author plays nicely on Dan's inherent flexibility and his tendency to do completely insane things when jealous, and the story's not so long that your disbelief snaps back, and somehow the Dan/Cookie Monster relationship comes off as...sweet. Sorry; it seems to be the set for puns punishable by death. But, really, it does. Or maybe this is all a sign that I have permanent brain damage. Can't say for sure. But I'm betting there are a couple people out there who are right now ordering CT scans on me, just in case.

Best FF That Makes Me Sing, "If You Were the Only Boy in the World, and It Was the Only Large Improbable City-Like Ancient Construct..." The Man Next Door, by [livejournal.com profile] saeva and [livejournal.com profile] verstehen. Stargate: Atlantis: John Sheppard/Atlantis. (Warning: spoilers for episode 2.08, Conversion. For those who do not wish to be spoiled, I have included another John/Atlantis story. See? Everyone's writing John/Atlantis! Why aren't you? You could be one of the very cool kids, here. Also, I warned for this because the episode was so recent. It's an experiment. Anyone who thinks I should keep doing this, please let me know.) So. When you're, you know, down and stuff. You turn to your beloved, and you say, "I am down and stuff. I need chocolate. Or sex." And we all know that Atlantis doesn't have chocolate. And that's about as much as I can say without totally spoiling the story or the episode from whence it came. But, see, this is why John/Atlantis is totally my emergency backup SGA OTP (Their love, as I commented somewhere yesterday, is so genetic. And Ancient. It is a love for all time and all biochemistries!): you cannot get more slashy or more destined to be together than this pairing. Forget Harry/[insert your chosen character here, because I am totally not stupid enough to walk in front of that flamethrower, thanks], people; these two really were made for each other. Now go read about John hurting and Atlantis comforting in a very, um, traditional way, for certain definitions of 'tradition.' Unless you haven't seen SGA 2.08 and you'd rather not be spoiled, in which case go directly to the other story. (Otherwise, read both. When I say "alternate story," what I really mean is "bonus story for most of you, plus an opportunity for me to recommend again in the same fandom, which saves me from yet another impossible decision." I swear, recommending is not for the choice-phobic.)

-Or-

Best FF That Really Makes You Consider All the Sides of the Phrase, "A Deal with the Devil." Learning to Breathe, by Speranza, aka [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Atlantis. Yet more proof that the John/Atlantis love is beautiful! Except, in this one, totally not. More like vampiric. But I don't mind at all. Sometimes our OTPs have these unhealthy, co-dependent, sucking-pit-of-need kind of relationships. It's just a little more literal in this story, is all. And, oh, the absolute beauty of what I think of as the command code line section of the story, which I have read so many times I now see several additional stories in them, which probably aren't there, but that's the beauty of art, right? We get from it what we bring to it, and whoa. Sorry. Went all Art Appreciation 101 there on you. (Mystifying, because when I took the class, it wasn't touchy-feely at all. It started as this eerily regimented thing like art boot camp, then disintegrated in mid-semester into a showcase for very disturbing videos. And there's a lesson in there for teachers everywhere: when we stopped hearing thoughtful discussions of alchemical symbolism in Marc Chagall's work and started seeing people in desperate need of therapy crucifying themselves on Volkswagens, everyone stayed awake. In some cases for weeks. But the point is: either you get great art or you don't, and if you don't, no amount of lectures will help. But excruciating, unnecessary, exceedingly silly pain is a language everyone speaks. Hurt your students today!) Um. Yes, this is still technically a story summary. But, really, all I have left to say is that this is brilliant, and the last few paragraphs are especially brilliant. And they should also be soothing to those John/Rodney fanciers who don't get the inherent perfection of John/Atlantis.* Although I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't.

-Footnote-

*Yes, of course I've got a half-written Rodney/John/Atlantis story. It is the thing to do when you have two overlapping OTPs, after all. Plus, I mean - doesn't everyone?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
First, let me say that I am not responsible for any insanity that creeps into this post. A bird is. Specifically, the bird that lives somewhere near our back yard and has a message to share with the world. And that message runs as follows:

Bird: Woooo woo-woo.
Bird: Woooo woo-woo.
Neighbor's dogs: Hoooooooooowwwwwl.
Bird: Woooo woo-woo.
Bird: Woooo woo-woo.
[pause in which Bird assesses work to date]
[Bird gives itself a hearty pat on the back for a job well done]
Bird, allegro con brio: Woooo woo-woo.
Neighbor's dogs, crescendo: ArooooooooOOOOOO.
Bird, really cranking up the soul: Woooo woo-woo.
Neighbor's dogs: Ooooooh, for the love of goooooooood, nooooooooot again.
Bird, not to be outdone: Woooooooooo woooooo-wooooo.
TFV: [shrieks, throws hands in air, begins Googling handgun waiting periods]

This has been going on throughout all the daylight hours. For weeks. It's like living next door to a home for fraternity boys tragically transformed into members of the animal kingdom. (No, frat boys are not normally members of the animal kingdom; scientifically speaking, they belong to the Certain Squidgy Sea Creatures, the More Offensive Primates, and Anything Covered in Chitin kingdom.)

Makes it hard to focus. Makes it hard to be filled with loving kindness for nature. Makes it hard to do anything except swear vengeance on our feathered friends. This is how mad scientists come to be, people.

So, you know, FYI: not at my all-time record mental stability, here. Could possibly have some effect on the recommendations. And I say that because I have decided to make this a whole set of stories in which aliens (or other non-human entities) make people have sex. Which, yes, is by definition a good thing, but I can't help thinking it reflects badly on my sanity.

Ah, well. I'm going to blame the Bird. And if that isn't enough, I'll also blame the icon pairing meme. (Which I so shouldn't even have tried; I mean, Batman's Robin/Christopher Robin? I don't wanna go there. And Nagiko from The Pillow Book/Poison Ivy is, if anything, worse.) It put bad thoughts into my head. And they ended here. With aliens. And sex.

Best FF That Gives Some Very Valuable Advice Concerning Giant Warrior Pigs. And Makes It Obvious That There Should Be More Giant Warrior Pigs in Certain Parts of the Multiverse. The One in the Cave, by Anna S., aka [livejournal.com profile] eliade. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander Harris. Look, I refuse to be sorry for recommending Anna all the time. She writes the good crack. I recommend the good crack. It's a functional, healthy relationship, and I'm proud of it - simple as that. (And, no, you may not "just mention that it's a relationship built entirely around gay porn." There is nothing wrong with that, and any argument based on the premise that there is is inherently flawed. And you also may not "point out that you don't actually interact with her, so maybe it can't be called a relationship, per se," because if I let you get all technical about the definition of a relationship, pretty soon I'll have hardly any left. It's better this way.) So. There might be, like, three people who haven't read [livejournal.com profile] eliade's work yet, and if there are, this is their wake-up call. Attention, Anna-Deniers: you'll be happier if you just go read everything she's written. I don't care if it's not in your fandom. Because, like, take this one: there's a guy. And another guy, who is technically dead and evil, but don't let that get to you. And some big baddies conveniently located just off screen are forcing them to have sex. It's a classic plot, people! An archetypal plot, even, right up there with the other classics: man v. man, man v. nature, and man fucking man on the orders of a deus ex machina, but it's okay because secretly they want to! What, you didn't cover that in English class? Well, that's why we have fandom.

Best FF That Proves That the Phrase "It's for Your Own Good" Can, on Occasion, Be Entirely Accurate. Although I Still Wouldn't Advise You to Trust Any Aliens Who Happen to Utter It; Probably They Just Want to Eat You. A Strange but True Story, by [livejournal.com profile] pearl_o. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. I'm going to sing here, and I want you all to join in on the chorus. "It's back, it's back, the dS mojo is back! It's back, it's back, the -" What? No, I don't know what the tune is. Like that would make any difference anyway; I mean, I'm the one doing the singing, here. You just pick whatever tune you like and come in strong on the "mojo is back" part, okay? Because the point, in case you missed it, is that my dS mojo is back. It's still a little fragile - I'm not clicking on random stories in archives just yet, and I'm afraid to so much as think about fanfiction.net, but otherwise, I've got a fully functional dS mojo, here. And thank god for that. I was flirting with brand-new fandoms for a while there: Doctor Who, Dead Zone, Deadwood - basically anything that began with 'D.' But turns out I don't need to. And the proof is my recommendation of this charming little gem. I mean, yes, technically I read it before the whole Mojo Issue, but I re-read it just now, and I enjoyed it heartily. No surprise, either, with the clever inverted storytelling, and also the part that's from Diefenbaker's point of view, and also the worryingly parental aliens. Yes, my friends, dS is indeed a happy place to be. And I? Am there.

Best FF That Proves That If You Don't - Oh My God. I Was About to Make a 'Come Prepared' Joke. Someone Needs to Save Me from Myself. Although It May Already Be Too Late. Objectives, by Shalott, aka [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. I have something of an embarrassment squick, and by that I actually mean an embarrassment squick so severe that when I tried to type out an example for this sentence I had to take a twelve-hour break from writing this post. Seriously. It's bad, people. I'd rather random-browse on fanfiction.net* than read embarrassment fic. What does this mean for my life? Well, yes, it means that I flee from movies intended for the under 21 crowd. But, hey, not like I'm missing much there. Unfortunately, it also means that I sometimes flee from perfectly good pieces of fan fiction. So I have a special notation I put in my shorthand descriptions for stories that could've hit my squick, but didn't. It consists mostly of exclamation points, and this story gets a lot of them for the way Shalott navigates a conversation that had the potential to be hideously painful (well, for people like me) and instead is just wildly funny. (That Shalott, how I love her. She never triggers my embarrassment gag reflex. These days, I don't even stop reading her stories when I realize a potentially embarrassing scene is coming up, because I know she'll handle it with style and grace and no squick at all. I think she might have superpowers or something.) So, basically, in this story, there's humor, and then there's alien-induced sex, and then there's more humor. I can't imagine a world where that would be anything less than delightful.

Best Two Stories That Prove That Pegasus Galaxy Grows Some Truly Excellent Aliens, Even If They Seem to Be Mostly Just Rustic-Village-Oriented on the Show Itself. Advantage AND Abstain, by Resonant, aka [livejournal.com profile] resonant8. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. I actually have three reasons for recommending both of these stories, and I'm bound and determined to write them all down. Just - indulge me, okay? First. I have to acknowledge outstanding achievements in the field of alien-induced sex, and Resonant and Stargate: Atlantis have both been doing amazing things in this arena. Seriously. SGA is, like, the Fandom of Pervy Aliens, and Resonant is - you know what, I don't think I want to finish that sentence. It's better that way. Suffice to say that Res totally deserves some kind of frameable certificate, maybe even a plaque, from grateful aficionados of aliens who make humans have sex for reasons best known to themselves. (I'd certainly chip in, because wow.) Also, second, and more tragically, I know everyone who reads this LJ has already read these two stories. So I had to recommend them, because - because I had to, dammit - but I figured I'd put both of them together. Isn't this the perfect time for a re-read? And, finally, these stories prove that if cliches are fun, twisted cliches are even more fun. Because, like, in Advantage, the aliens aren't making them have sex; they're just making John, well, I guess you could say altruistic. (I'd say "subservient," but he so isn't. Because even when John Sheppard is a willing slave, he's still insubordinate. And that, people, is why I love him.) And in Abstain, the aliens specifically make them not have sex. Which of course causes them to have sex. What can we learn from this? Well, my take-home lesson is that everything leads to McKay and Sheppard getting it on, and it's one that I'm glad to have learned.

Best FF That Proves That Our More Local Aliens Are Very Helpful, But Also Slightly Creepy. What You Want, by The Spike, aka [livejournal.com profile] spike21. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. Okay, let's get the unpleasant part out of the way first: I'm disappointed in you, Smallville fandom. Because, yes, this is a great and wonderful story in which aliens make Clark and Lex have sex, but it's the only one I've yet found in this fandom. And, granted, I haven't exactly delved into the depths of SV FF just yet, but - there should be pervy aliens everywhere in here! I shouldn't be able to click on a link without tripping over two or three stories in which aliens turn out to have needs! (Obviously, I mean aliens in addition to Clark. Because he has needs, yes, but you have to hit him with a kryptonite brick to get him to notice that. I'm just saying - why can't that brick be wielded by aliens?) But - and this is the not-complaining part of the summary, here - if there had to be just one aliens make them do it story in SV, I'm glad it was this one. Because, oh my god, the world needs a story in which a person initiates sex with another person by saying, "You should probably come here and smell me." Or am I the only one who is rendered incoherent with joy - and giggles, yes, but the joy is paramount - by that line? Hmmm. I may actually be the only one. In which case, feel free to tell me what a freak I am. I'm not afraid. Well, I mean, obviously; I just posted a whole recommendations set involving aliens who are apparently closet slashers.

-Footnote-

* I swear this will be the last fanfiction.net dig in this post. It's just - it's funny 'cause it's true! And also, I went there recently, and oh my god, people. You wouldn't believe what fangirls are Mary Sueing these days. It's like wall-to-wall Lady Raventroth of Butterfly-Kitten in there.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I am having a series of crappy days. As in, like, prize-winningly crappy. I mean, I've been hugging my dogs and they haven't even been protesting, just bearing up nobly and accepting that when things go this wrong it is a dog's duty to be squeezed much too tightly. When dogs go stoic on you, you know things are bad. Or, okay, I guess if you had naturally stoic dogs, that wouldn't be true, but we have a dog who, it has been scientifically proven, limps when he is experiencing emotional stress - limps from an injury incurred more than four years ago and long since healed. So, no, we leave the stoicism to the fictional characters in this house.

Except, I'm not being stoic. I'm being in denial. Why did no one tell me that denial was a critical life skill? I mean, my teachers spent all that time going on and on about how useful communication skills would one day be - hah! - and yet never once mentioned that the ability to ignore bad things would be downright critical. It's a failure of the education system, people.

Anyway. I've been engaging in shameless self-indulgence, which is yet another coping skill no one mentioned back when they were trying to get me to be assertive and open. Which means, yes, whining in LJ. But also it means re-reading stories guaranteed to make me smile. And I noticed this, well, trend: things I re-read on bad days are about characters having amusingly bad days. Apparently I feel better if other people have it worse than me and are still smiling. (Or, well, kvetching, but in a way that makes me smile.) And since I was re-reading them anyway, I thought I'd rustle up four of my favorites and put them in recs set. (Yes, I have more. Many, many more. Some fandoms seem to assay out at approximately 40% funny-bad-day stories, and my god how I love those fandoms.) So here we go, and I dedicate this to anyone who is having a bad day, bad week, or bad year - basically, any unpleasant period of time. Because this is the set that proves that "Well, it could always be worse" actually can cheer you up, provided it comes in the right package.

Schadenfreude, here we come.

Best FF That Answers, Once and for All, the Age-Old Question, "Is That a Slice of Apple Orbiting the Sun?" Day Break, by [livejournal.com profile] giddygeek. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. See, now, this is exactly why I'm giving regular thanks for SGA these days. I mean, if I'm going to have the universe throw up on me daily - and, really, the last eight days have sucked more than that - I need stories like this. Because John Sheppard is having a seriously bad day in this story. You know how bad days just go on and on? This is worse than that. And, lord, I am familiar with the horrors of insomnia, but he's got, like, externally-induced sleep deprivation in this. By remote control. And also, Inventory Hell. This is the first I've seen of a story type I had been happily anticipating since my third minute in the SGA fandom, and, wow, it does not disappoint. (And neither, for the record, does the other SGA story I've seen like this, which I will also be recommending just as soon as the sequel is out, so someone poke [livejournal.com profile] the_moonmoth for me, okay?) This is just - there's funny in spadefuls. There's Punish the Idiots Day (which is every day in Pegasus, if you ask me, but Rodney brings a special verve to the occasion), and there's John Sheppard off balance, and then increasingly exhausted and desperate, and there's a wonderfully snarky Radek Zelenka, and there's the single best explanation for a person's presence in a meeting ever, and there's, like, note-passing through space and time, which is just - wow. Cool. I love this story. In every particular. Yes, stories like this turn the red and jiggly skies to blue, all right, which comment will make more sense after you read this story, so go do that right now, please.

Best FF That I Totally Pasted in the Entirely Wrong Set of Links for the First Time I Posted It. Did I Mention It Has Been That Kind of Day? Sorry, Jenn. And Madelyn. Frantic, by Jenn, aka [livejournal.com profile] seperis. Smallville, Lex Luthor/Clark Kent. So, Clark has gone home for a visit, and Lex is also in Smallville. Is it any wonder that sentient green goo would also choose to be in town that day? No, it is not. Not if you've been paying any attention to the canon or the fandom, here. And I think it's safe to say that Lex started out having the worst day in this story, but he gets the upper hand fairly quickly. (I know, try to contain your surprise.) Because Clark doesn't get pork chops, and then his truck gets destroyed, and then he gets trapped in a cave with Lex. Which, OK, standard day in Smallville, yes? But then come the environmental control problems, and then we all start asking ourselves just where it was that Lex took horseback riding lessons, and what else he learned there, because he adapts himself to new mounts with the greatest of ease. All of which means that Clark's day goes totally south. Um. In some definitions of the word. This story never fails to make me giggle, in any number of places. (Like when Clark evaluates the Justice League's collective sex life, which - well, that's not what I hear over in DCU FF circles, mind, but he could very well be right.) Also, there's a follow-up story by [livejournal.com profile] svmadelyn (conveniently available on the same page) that is just - wonderful. Best epilogue ever, in my personal opinion, including a truly hysterical last line. This story is so good and ends so well that after I finish it I inevitably just scroll back up and start reading it again. And, for the record, there is just no way to experience the depths of self-pity in the face of Lex and Clark having a truly shitty day. Together. Again.

Best FF That Draws a Connection Between Charles Baudelaire and Beetles. Not That That Isn't a Perfectly Natural Connection to Make, Mind You. A Week of Wrong, by Anna S., aka [livejournal.com profile] eliade. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander Harris. Xander is having a week of shitty days, poor guy. Because a week in which every single day features escalating unintentional sexual activity with Spike - that just sucks, you know? You have to pity him. No, I'm not kidding. You have to pity him. Also, you should probably pity Spike, who isn't having a good week, either. Good weeks feature fewer beetles. I know this for a fact. Oh, and in re the beetles - in case anyone doesn't recognize it, the poem Spike quotes is Sed Non Satiata, by Charles Baudelaire, which one sometimes-reliable party has translated as "Unslakable Lust." (Reading through this today fed my Baudelaire kink to such a degree that I actually went back and started making notes on my never-to-be-finished Angelus/Baudelaire story. Because, come on, he so totally did - just listen to the way he talks! In the one episode! With the, um, alien lust lady! Why aren't there many, many Angelus/Baudelaire epics? In which it is explained that Angelus is responsible for all of Baudelaire's poems? Including the one Spike is quoting? I've been whining about this since I started in this damn fandom. Seriously, ask [livejournal.com profile] fanofall if you don't believe me. Attention, Angel fandom: get with the poet/vampire stories, please.) And if Spike quoting smutty French poetry at Xander doesn't get you reading this - well, actually, then you are just way too hard to please. But there's more: he does it in the presence of Giles, who knows debauched poetry when he hears it. See what I mean about Xander having a whole succession of bad days? Ah, Xander in adversity. Good times for all.

Best FF That Demonstrates That Everyone Is As Allergic to Giant Teeth As I Am. Although, in Fact, I Wasn't Until Movie Stars Everywhere Started Having These Horrible Privacy Fences of Teeth, Like Their Tongues Needed Lots of Personal Space or Something. Damn You, Hollywood! Grown Men Don't Freak, by Annie D., aka [livejournal.com profile] dachinchilla, and Katryne, aka [livejournal.com profile] serabut. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. When I find myself quoting a story repeatedly, I know the time has come to recommend that puppy. And, well, what with the bad days and all - here we have Sam having a bad day (because of bouncing balls), Jack having a bad day (because of Daniel), and Daniel having a whole series of bad days (because of Sam, Jack, and himself - Daniel is always such an over-achiever). Teal'c, though - does Teal'c ever have a bad day? I'm not talking about the betraying-your-god-to-side-with-infidels kind, or the dead-loved-ones kind, because every single character the SG writers get their hands on has that kind of day, including many of the red shirts. I'm talking about the amusing kind. Does he ever, I don't know, wake up on the wrong side of the bed, have meditation candles that don't light, have an allergic reaction that makes his tattoo swell up, that sort of thing? Hmmm. You know, it's hard to imagine Teal'c in that kind of situation. That boy has got gravitas coming out his ears. Anyway. This is a story I love for the little things - or, no. Let me be honest. I love it for the Jack O'Neill contained therein. The Jack that listens to Daniel's barrage of speech and hears only the two words that matter, the Jack that is, for once, described exactly the way he actually looks to me, the Jack that is so obscenely in lust with a flying remote-controlled glider thing that you want to avert your eyes and order him to get a private control room - that Jack. Daniel's always fun (or, well, tragic, but we're not even going there today), especially when he's insanely self-conscious and just, well, insane, but this Jack is a special treat.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Well, today pretty much sucked. But it could be worse. I could be trying to hide my secrets from the military. Or a man who uses dense conversation as a weapon. Or a telepath (eeeeeeee!). Or, worse, I could have no one left to hide my secrets from. Yes, it's time for another set that covers that fruitful, dense, emotionally-laden, ticking-timebomb topic known as secrets and lies.

Or, you know, not. Because that may technically make it sound like a grim set, but I am a woman who knows her limits, and on bad days my FF limits stop at "happy ending." Plus, Best Beloved's eighth commandment is, "Thou shalt read only FF with happy endings when thou is already right on the verge of conducting new and dangerous experiments involving our telephone, lube, a small but powerful generator, and a portable vortex."

I know better than to piss off Best Beloved. Hence, a set that may possibly sound grim, yes, but is really not.

Best FF That Details Daniel Jackson's New Treaty-Writing Limitations. I Am Sure You Will All Enthusiastically Support This Modification of His Duties. Double Bed, by [livejournal.com profile] paian. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. [livejournal.com profile] paian is an incredible writer, and I just don't see her recommended as often as she should be - OK, yeah, everyone in SG-1 talks about her (god, I should hope they talk about her), but not so much the multi-fandom types. Now, partly that might be because I cling to the happier recs pages, and she has that astonishing ability to rip your heart out and make you grateful - sure, it hurts, but it's the kind of pain you'd pay for. Even so, I can almost see why some people maybe flinch away from her stories. So I've been patiently waiting for her to recommend the story I knew she'd write, the one that would suck you all in and make you long for more of her work, and here it is: a story about Jack and Daniel getting together late in the canon (if you don't know what happened in "Heroes" and you don't want to, don't read this story, although you'll be missing a FF experience that just doesn't come along every day) that acknowledges how very completely these characters have been broken over the years of the show and how badly they need each other by now, and also how "don't ask, don't tell" about gay sex has been trumped by the SGC's "don't ask, don't tell" about the whole lives of SG-1. And yet: happy ending. Yes! A "Heroes"-related story that is true to the characters and yet has a happy ending. I doubt the canon writers could've managed this. Of course, they probably also would've balked at the whole sex thing. Anyway: great writer. Great story.

Best FF That Teaches Important Lessons About Choosing the Right Company in an Apocalypse. And Also Being As Clear As Possible When Proposing Sex to Aliens. Or Just People Who Are, Well, Somewhat Dense. Not That There's Anything Wrong with That. Last Man Standing, by [livejournal.com profile] jmtorres. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Ford Prefect/Arthur Dent. First, a side note: it was years after I'd read HGttG that I finally understood why Ford's name is funny, beyond the obvious un-naminess of it. (Which, I guess, dates me, since now "Ford" would be, if anything, a rather mundane first name.) In retrospect, I spent a lot of my childhood back-engineering British humor. File this under "how I got the way I am." Anyway. Isn't it nice that Arthur, after his home planet is destroyed, has as a traveling companion someone who has been there himself, who understands, who can sympathize and help him through his pain? Well. I mean, it would be, yes, except Ford is so not that guy. He's the guy who would, if given a choice between sharing his feelings and sharing an evening of wild sex with the Seven Serrated Sisters of Septdenticon 6, who have teeth in wildly unexpected places, definitely go for the bitey option. (And likely survive it quite well. I'd imagine he's been keeping up-to-date with advances in Serrated Sister stimulation techniques, on the off chance he's ever in their neighborhood. Again.) So, while it is not possible that Ford supplied Arthur with meaningful conversation and cups of tea after that whole Earth-blowing-up thingy, it is entirely possible - even likely - that it went exactly the way [livejournal.com profile] jmtorres outlines here, which sort of combines concealment with evasion and the occasional unfortunate truth. And sex. The keys to writing great HGttG are great dialog, perfect snark, recursiveness, and getting Arthur Dent's bewildered gormlessness precisely right. This story wins on all counts. God, I love the Hitchhiker's fandom.

Best FF Featuring Inappropriate Use of Broccoli by a Doctor of Medicine. Face Value, by [livejournal.com profile] minnow1212. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. I really hope everyone has read this story by now, because it is just insanely wonderful. So. You have, right? Then let me remind you that this author has also written a bunch of gen, and we're talking about some of the very best gen this fandom has to offer. This slash story is like the initial free offer, and when you're done with it and addicted to her writing style, well, you will need more of her work, and so you'll immediately go read all her other SGA stuff, and my work will be done. (Well, one particular bit of it, anyway.) This one is perhaps the most secrets-and-lies oriented of all these stories - even though, yes, they fit into the theme very nicely, thank you, because somehow there's never a shortage of brilliant stories about secrets and lies in FF. Hmmm. Anyway, this one, well, I'm spoiling nothing when I tell you it's about telepathy, which is pretty much secrets to the power of one hundred. Secrets in the hands of Rodney. And one of the things I love about this story is how he deals with this, how he copes, the things he says to people. I don't want to go into more detail and maybe spoil it, but - this is my Rodney McKay, here. Also keep your eyes peeled for my Radek Zelenka in a significant supporting role, because this story has one of the best Radeks I've seen anywhere in this fandom. He's nice, he's smart, he's fair, he's just - a really remarkably decent human being, and those of you who know me will know that I consider that a rare and heady compliment. Actually, there's not a character I don't love or think is true-to-canon in this story. And did I mention that [livejournal.com profile] minnow1212 takes a fandom cliche and inverts it? Did I mention that this is a funny and happy story? Did I mention that you should be aware that this story is in two parts, and the second is linked at the bottom of the first? Well, I have now. Go! Shoo! Read!

Best FF That Demonstrates the Crying Need for Arch-Nemesis Training Programs in Today's Schools. It's Not a Skill That Comes Naturally, People. Nemesis, by Jojo, aka [livejournal.com profile] josephides. Smallville, Lex Luthor/Clark Kent. How wonderful it must be to have an arch-nemesis - to know you're always in another's thoughts and that someone will always care enough to drop by when you're planning to destroy the world or maybe just lonely, to have someone to share in those little secrets you just can't tell anyone else. Really, the hero-villain relationship is the closest thing the DCU has to therapy. Of course, it's even nicer to have that kind of relationship with someone who a) you can also have sex with and b) won't try to kill you, or any nearby civilizations, while you sleep. Which is why I think it's lovely that Clark has Lex and vice versa. Joker might be more threatening, yes, but sex between Batman and Joker is just not something I ever ever ever want to contemplate; I took a serious hit to my sanity points just from typing the phrase. But, seriously, I love this story because it emphasizes the importance of Lex and Clark in each other's lives; by the time of the Rift, they know so much about each other and rely on each other so much that they need some kind of connection. And this is probably why I adore post-Rift stories, even though massive tragic break-ups are not my usual thing; I love how entangled they've become by that point, how they'll never be apart whether or not they're together. (I probably, in all honesty, also love that Clark isn't a teenager anymore. I like my OTPs older. Is that so wrong?) And this story seriously brings the post-Rift goodness, and also the funny and the happy ending, meaning it might as well have been custom-made for me.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
It's been - well, not a horrible day. One of those days that isn't bad enough for justifiable whining (not that this is going to stop me) and not good enough that you'd relive it, even if the only other alternative was reliving the day of the Halloween play in which you were an owl. ("Whooooooo" was how all your lines went. And you had a lot of them, because - in retrospect - you're pretty sure the schoolteacher who wrote the play put in a "Whooooooo" every time she couldn't think of another plot development. And given that the sole "development" of the entire two-act play was a Raggedy Ann doll - whose mother, by the way, should not have made her costume - coming alive and dancing, that was really damn often. Or did that not happen to you? Am I wrong in thinking that this is the kind of childhood experience we all have to go through? God, I hope not; I've dreamed of having a child pretty much solely for the day when I could see him stumbling around a stage in an owl suit he couldn't see out of because the head was made for someone bigger.)

But, anyway. Secret message to Mother Nature: God, I'm sorry, OK? Whatever I did, I'm so so so sorry, and I swear I'll start work to fix it just as soon as you a) tell me what I did and b) stop with the fucking pollen, because, seriously, I can't even match my socks when my allergies are this bad. I mean, I have bruises from walking into walls because my eyes were swollen shut. This is cruel and inhuman punishment, Mother N., but it's persuaded me. I will begin to do right by you just as soon as you quit it already.

And if you don't stop, little miss Nature Queen, I'm buying toxic chemicals in job lots. If you're going to kill me with allergies, I'm at least going to take out our ficus before I go. Ha.

Anyway. What with the allergies, I've been diverting all my available resources to coughing and Kleenex use and little pathetic moany noises, and so I haven't had a lot of time for, well, much of anything. Like cooking. And today is the day our produce comes. I have already eaten almost all the fruit on the grounds that it is - or rather was - the easiest food to prepare. (Sole survivor of the Fruit Gorge: a mysterious green and orange oval thing. I know it's a fruit, but beyond that, I've got nothing. Anyone have any suggestions? And let me just add here that anyone who thought Mother Nature was strictly on the side of the good - she made fruit that clashes with itself. No one tasteful would give counter space to a fruit like this.)

Of course, my fruit eating got me thinking about fan fiction, because everything does. (No, really, everything. After slash the slashers got posted, I had a dream about four of you who shall remain unnamed. You were exploring Atlantis. I need help, people.) Obviously, there aren't a lot of stories where the characters sneeze a lot and eat too much fruit - although, if you added enough whining about citrus, seems to me you could do something with Rodney McKay, there - but there are stories where characters eat. But, because they are characters, they do it with infinitely more style and a lot less whining. So, today: food. Without whine.

(For the record, I mean the stories will be whine-free. This entry? Whinalicious! Whineriffic! Whining with added extra why!)

Best FF That Proves That When You Enter Into the Right Long-Term Relationship, You Become Even More Yourself. Which, If You're a Sarcastic Con Man, Can't Be Anything but Very, Very Good. One More Cup of Coffee, by [livejournal.com profile] shrift. Ocean's 11, Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan. And I begin the way I mean to go on, with a happy story that features no angst of any kind. I can't handle angst and allergies, see. I have a delicate constitution. So here we have Danny and Rusty, the original feel-good couple (OK, they really aren't; maybe I meant "the original feel-up couple"? Or "the original felt couple"? Hmmm. Not sure.), doing research and making idle threats involving cosmetics. And eating. Eating lots of stuff. Which is good, given my basic belief is that any O11 story should be, at minimum, 25% eating, because that's about how much eating there was in the movie. (Not slashy, you say? Ha. I'll see your eye-fucking and no personal space and raise you an oral fixation that won't quit.) This story fulfills my need for Rusty to eat a lot of really inappropriate foodstuffs - and when I say inappropriate, I do not mean it pornily. (Oh, stop with the complaints, you babies. You don't need porn every minute, do you? Don't answer that.) I just mean he's eating stuff that the rest of us know for a fact is not food. (Seriously. I'm waiting patiently for the story in which Rusty eats Circus Peanuts, which are possibly the ultimate non-food "food" item. Nothing that is actually food is sproingy like that.) This story is short, fun-filled, and light. Perfect for the convalescent and the unwarrantably self-pitying. Any wonder I'm recommending it today?

Best FF That Proves That Reminds Us That, No Matter How Intrusive or Outright Crazy Our Parent or Parents Might Be, It Can Always Be Worse. Our Parent Could Be Lionel Luthor. That Fact Is Guaranteed to Make You Feel Not at All Better During Your Next Parental Visit!* The Milk and Cookies War, by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. Smallville, Lex Luthor/Clark Kent. (Let's get this out of the way right now: I waaaaaaaant cooooooookies. Waaaaaaant them. OK, no, really, I'm done with the whining now. Well. For a while.) So. Clark torments Lex. Did I need to say anything else to sell you on the story? I thought not. Because we all know that there's nothing more fun than Lex-torment, right? And I don't mean the kind that Lionel dishes out, no; I'm talking about the kind where Lex never once gets trapped or imprisoned or has anything worse happen to him than losing his train of thought. See? You're smiling already! Plus, it's fun to see Clark working his strengths so well. What farm boy from Kansas doesn't know the secret powers of food? (Some of you may wish to substitute "washboard abs" into that sentence.) Not Clark Kent, my friends; he knows his superpowers all too well. So well that when you're done with this story, you'll be singing an ancient song with a title I don't quite recall by an artist I can't quite recollect, and it will go like this: "Stop using food as a weapon/stop using food." (In the original, it was "sex as a weapon." And, hey, what do you know? That works here, too.) Plus, bonus: you will get to see Lex Luthor's true arch-nemesis. And you can just forget all that Rift crap, because it's prosciutto. Take that, Smallville writers!

Best FF That Proves That You Need Patience to Be a Therapist. Or to Eat with Dan Rydell. Or to Date Him. Anyone Who Tried All Three Would Likely Explode, So Isn't It Good That Casey's Not a Therapist? Four Conversations About Sandwiches, by [livejournal.com profile] starfishchick. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. I have an unhealthy but very pure love for the last segment of this story, which in my opinion proves that Abby is quite possibly the best therapist in all of visual fiction. I'm even willing to excuse her little ethical lapse at the beginning of her treatment of Dan, because - she's good! She gets Dan! And is nearly always mostly ethical! Plus, she can make him stop with the sandwich-related panic, which, face it, is quite a skill when you're dealing with second-season Danny. Bonus: this story is based on the very true fact that all office life revolves around food that can be delivered. I've worked in one, so I know this to be true. If you aren't searching through an enormous file-folder of menus for the one restaurant that a) everyone can agree on and b) will still be delivering when the negotiations are done, you're doing careful calculations to determine how much money you need to give the receptionist. Or you're listening to the lunatic from next door explain her new and brilliant system for ensuring that no one, no one will violate the sanctity of her leftovers. (Hint to office workers: give up. Say your goodbyes before your leftovers go in the communal fridge. No force on earth will keep people's hands off them until one o'clock tomorrow.) Hmmm. You think maybe this is why I don't work in an office anymore?

Best FF That Truly Defines the Phrase "Seller's Market," to the Point That It's a Whole Education in Basic Economics Packed into One Short, Fun Story. I Bet Those of You Who Actually Read Your Econ Textbooks Are Crying Right Now. Lifeblood, by [livejournal.com profile] misspamela. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. Tell me this, people who have watched the entire first season of SGA: was there an episode built around the inevitable coffee shortage? Because if not, there so should've been. I've spent enough time around the McKays and Zelenkas and Kavanaghs of this world to know that when the coffee stops flowing, they stop working. It's not even like they want to. Coffee just happens to be one of the fundamental elements of the hard sciences; without it, whiteboards don't work, computers don't compile, and every theorem proves only one point: we need more coffee. Coffeeless theoretical physicists can't do anything but whine (hands up everyone who isn't surprised that I'm descended from one!), coffeeless applied physicists can't do anything but create convoluted machines to steal the coffee from engineering, and coffeeless chemists spend all their time trying to refine caffeine and then distill it into a tasty hot beverage with four times the kick of espresso. (Note to the suddenly inspired: don't try. Two-word reason for you: Jolt Cola.) So I totally love this story, which proves that a) Sheppard was smart enough to see the coffee shortage coming, b) he's able to endure privation for the good of his team, and c) he's not noble enough to do that without getting...something in return. If I'm bitter that Miss Pamela has not written sequels to this explaining how much coffee Sheppard has and exactly what he gets for it, well, this story is so fun that I can only manage to be mildly bitter. Which, given my current level of Whine Alert (Puce: duck and cover), is extremely impressive.

Best FF That Proves That, Even Though Canadians Are Fine People in Many Respects, You Should Never Eat Anything They Invented.** Too Sweet, by Resonant, aka [livejournal.com profile] resonant8. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Did I...did I somehow not recommend this before? Because I don't have it marked in my database or in my set list, but...I feel like I've recommended it. And I definitely planned to recommend it. So today you get five stories, because if this one isn't a repeat, it should be. (Note: when I get done with all my tagging - on that distant and glorious day - we will never have this conversation again! Maybe! Although if the limit actually is 100 entries, we will, at least when it comes to due South!) I love this story. I love everything about it. Re-reading it today made me forget about both my orange and my troubles for a full half-hour, and, seriously, I can't imagine higher praise than that. If you've read this before, well, you'll be clicking on the link anyway, and if you haven't - read it. Or print it out and keep it by you against the time when you really, really need it, for that dark night full of coughing and unwelcome relatives and two inches of floodwater when only a solidly happy story can save you. Because there's Ray being absolutely Ray, right down to his reasons for marrying Stella, and Fraser baking, and horrible mutant Canadian not-cookies, and just...god, it's the perfect recipe. For...for happiness. No, really, I mean that. Hmmm. May have overdosed on decongestants, though. Better check that.

-Footnotes-

* This title is, yes, directed at a specific person. I'm assuming I don't need to name names. Remember, specific person: if your current mantra fails, switch to, "At least she's not Lionel Luthor. At least she's not Lionel Luthor." Again, it won't help, but at least you'll have an amusing Lionel MPreg mental image to help while away the hours.

** It is possible that Canadians in the reading audience may take offense at this or feel it is unjustified. I have one word for you people: poutine.***

*** But, seriously, I do love the more northerly residents of this fine continent. I do. I don't even hold the poutine thing against you, despite the scientifically-provable fact that my single experience with it (at the tender age of 11) was responsible for 30% of the therapy I needed in my teen years. Just...don't get creative in the kitchen, please. Stick to foods invented in Italy. I'm begging you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have a serious love of established-relationship stories, even in canons where that's maybe not the most obvious line for writers to take. (For example, I see nothing wrong with an established relationship between two people who never co-existed in the same time or space; early exposure to science fiction had something of a deleterious effect on my grasp of causality.) Don't get me wrong; I love first-time stories, too - well, obviously; I'm a fan fiction slut born and made - but after-the-happy-ending stories are peculiarly entrancing for me. Maybe it's because they have some direct relevance to my own life. I don't look for myself in stories, and I don't identify with any characters in 99.9% of them, but in established-relationship stories I do have something I can compare directly to my life; so much of it has been in the after-the-happily-ever-after part of it.

Plus, of course, I learn valuable tips from established-relationship FF. I doubt I will have much use, in my future life, for tips on coping with sudden penguin transformations and the gay relationships they lead to (although I didn't mind learning anyway, and, hey, knowledge is good), but I'm sure I can find a way to use themed food terror to improve my marriage.

Well. Except I'm not really sure modeling myself on Lex Luthor is a way to ensure a long and happy love life. Or, you know what? Just delete "love" from that last sentence.

Best FF That Teaches Us How to Improve Our Long-Term Relationships Via Strategic Menu-Planning and the Use of Food As a Weapon of Mass Psychological Destruction.* Meanwhile, Back in Metropolis, by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. I was three-quarters of the way through this story before I realized that it was in the second person. That is - I mean, seriously, that's amazing. I generally read second-person stories with a very jaded, snarky, oh you think you are so clever, Ms. Author Person, but let us see if you will drown in your own hubris now sort of attitude (no, really - mixed metaphor and evil-overlord chuckle and everything). This, obviously, is not conducive to loving the second-person story. But this one, this one sucked me in so fast I didn't even have time to wave for the lifeguard, never mind get my Fan Fiction Hauteur on. And no surprise, because this story is indescribably wonderful. It takes all the reasons that I can't ever have the Pure Fandom Love with Smallville and just erases them, replacing them with the jumbo family-sized package of fantastic dialog, humor, and green food. (Authors: now on sale at a store near you! Stock up! Why not see what amusingly green food can do for Jack O'Neill, or to Rodney McKay, or with Gollum, or near Angel?) This is the kind of FF you read blind, knowing nothing about the canon, and leave with a tiny voice in your mind shrieking "their love was meant to be" in embarrassingly high-pitched tones.

Best FF That Provides Important Clues to Why the Asgard Have to Reproduce by Cloning These Days. Far Afield, by [livejournal.com profile] destina. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. I have spent much time blithering on about the Great Looming Darkness in SG-1; if you're unlucky, you've heard me do it. Often in comments on someone else's post. (I do these blitz-type strikes on other people's posts, waxing highly philosophical about fandoms I don't know. It's a not-sleeping thing. If you see me doing this, tell me to go lie down, please.) Briefly, the Great Looming Darkness of SG-1 het and slash FF is this: the characters can have romance or they can have adventure. Not both. For it to be more than just sex, it has to be one thing or the other. So I love this story for not flinching from that fact. But I love it even more for showing us that you can face the cold hard facts of the SG-1 universe without loss or sadness or unhappy endings. (Actually, the adventure is what seems to mean loss and sadness for this crew; sometimes I think they only go to new places to bleed there.) Because this is, for me, essentially a picture of a good established relationship: they function, they plan, they travel extremely long distances to leave firmly-worded calls to action. (One of the major prerogatives and duties of long-term love – your loved one is the one who gets to tell you the hard truths, because he knows so much about you that he knows things you don’t. Yet. But you will, immediately after he says, "Um. You know that's...[ill-fitting/paranoid/a bad idea/wrong wrong wrong/flat-out crazy], right?")

Best FF That Proves That the Key to a Successful Long-Term Relationship Is Knowing When to Call for a Sitter, When to Hand Over a Lot of Chocolate, and When to Drive Very Very Fast. A Beautiful Lifetime Event, by Shallot, aka [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. OK. I really didn't want to recommend this one right now, because everyone else on earth has done everything in their power to get people to read it, including bribing, begging, and threatening with pointy weaponry. I figured if I waited a few months, at least I'd be getting a few new fans who might not have seen it yet. Because they were, like, from Mars. But, OK, I can't resist, and anyway I keep quoting this and Best Beloved has no idea what I'm talking about. So, fine. Anyway, there's always a chance that one of you has been waiting, on some ridiculous grounds. In which case I'm here to put a stop to that. (And no, I don't even want to hear it - "But I hate kidfic!" "But I hate John Sheppard!" "But I have no idea what SGA even is!" These are not acceptable excuses, people. The only excuses I'll accept for not reading this story are: 1) That you've been saving lives 24/7 ever since it was posted, 2) That you've been writing FF 24/7 since it was posted**, or 3) That you are in fact recently arrived from Mars***.) You don't need to know the canon to love this, but if you just can't bear the thought of reading it blind, you can go study this thread (aka "A Foolish Mortal Tries to Avoid SGA") first. But that's only good for a 24-hour reprieve, mind. So, what do I have to say about this story other than read now now now? Well, it's interesting, because it's kind of backwards: baby leads to marriage leads to love leads to sex. Which is not generally the formula for a successful relationship, no, but if anyone was going to manage, it'd be these guys; they're just looking for an excuse to marry, anyway, 'cause it's not like anyone else understands them. And I love that this gives this pairing the one thing it does not (yet) have: a sense of history, of depth, of more there than anyone else can understand. Which, of course, is exactly what a long-term relationship is. So, yes, it's a work of genius. And there will be a test on this.

Best FF That Teaches Us That in Every Long-Term Relationship There's a Time and Place to Be a Drama Queen, and There's a Time and Place to Let Things Go. Sometimes They're Even the Same Place. Dirty, by [livejournal.com profile] sprat. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Ray Vecchio. So. First, for those just joining us, you should know that Certain People do not read Ray/Ray, or indeed anything other than Kowalski/Fraser, and I respect their choice. (OK, honesty time, here in the parentheses where no one can see me. I actually only respect one person's reading choices, and only because that one person knows where I sleep. Otherwise, I'm pretty much the Jehovah's Witness of Fan Fiction: read read read read now now now or you'll never get me off your virtual doorstep. Listen closely on quiet nights and you'll probably hear me out there, saying, "Would you like a free connection to some really excellent Ocean's 11 slash? And can I tell you about the heaven that awaits you in the due South fandom?") So we have to have an alternate story for said People, or at any rate Person. But both stories always kick ass, and I heartily recommend both, and this is no exception. In fact, this is fucking brilliant, because it's the only good explanation I've yet seen for what I like to think of as the Dirty Vecchio Problem. And by "good," I mean "explains the canon without making Vecchio an asshole." I worship stories that manage to patch canon holes like this. (One of the strengths of the dS canon is how few repair stories it needs.) And I love all the details here, too - the way Ray copes with arguments, the bigger stories that are clearly lurking on the edges here, the rare sighting of the Viable Ray/Ray Long-Term Relationship. I just...I have love for this story. In egregious amounts. Now, can I speak to you about accepting gay porn into your heart?

-Or-

Best FF That Teaches Us That There Is a Time and a Season for Loving, and Also a Time and a Season for Moving to Canada. (Unless You're Ray and Fraser, in Which Case Every Season Is for Moving to Canada.) A Reverse Country Song, in D Minor, by [livejournal.com profile] lyra_sena. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. I paired this one with "Dirty" because they both involve fights. (Fights in which, actually, Ray Kowalski is kinda drama queeny. But, um, we love him anyway.) In long-term relationships, you fight. It's inevitable. And marriage counselors may tell you that active listening and communication and blah blah blah are the keys to a successful relationship, and they probably aren't wrong. But I personally believe that post-fight behavior is at least as critical to marital success as fight behavior. Seriously. The fight will end if you let it. Whatever comes next will matterway more. And, see, in FF we hear a lot about the fights that end with angst, and then angst, and then some extra angst when the poor abused party weeps in the rain for several hours. And we also hear about fights that never do end. And fights that last as long as Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency and then are resolved with a single kiss - plus, apparently, mind-wipes for all involved, since we never hear tell of the fight again. But we don't spend so much time reading about, you know, the stupid fights that end quickly. Or about people being legitimate grown-ups and just kind of dealing with problems. (The grown-up aspect of this is why it's a reverse country song, I suspect.) Which is why I love this story, 'cause, c'mon, they fight about beer and someone is a jerk but then, you know, he gets much-needed sleep and makes general and specific confessions of assholery and then they fix it.**** That is some seriously excellent post-fight behavior right there. (And they get bonus points for getting it all done before morning coffee.)

-Footnote-

* Of course, food can also be used to positive psychological effect, as anyone who has ever given chocolate to a seriously grouchy woman will attest. Well, if the woman is me, anyway. But we're talking about Lex Luthor, here, so naturally we're learning by negative example. (Lex: put on this planet to serve as a lesson to others. Well, except when we're talking about loyalty, because this is a guy who knows how to back up a friend.)

** I will require links, of course.

*** I will want photos. Also possibly a ride back.

**** Warning: the "moving to Canada as dispute resolution" tactic is not recommended in every instance. It gets cold up there, for one thing. Also, not everyone likes moose.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(For those of you who remember entry 100: there will also be a Slashiest Fandoms post coming up soon. But as it is now a) tragically large and in need of serious editing and b) evidence of an indecisive and possibly deranged mind, I thought I would forge ahead with the regular sets. It's too weird to get a number anyway.)

(Also, this entry might well be subtitled "We Hates the Semagic, Precious," as said client managed to post a very early draft of this entirely without my permission. Does anyone out there have a favorite Windows LJ client to recommend? I'm not entirely sold on Semagic, obviously, and would be interested to hear reports on the others.)

So. The last entry was about families just in general. This one is about a specific kind of family: the kind where you take a (possibly) loving couple (or more, or less), add a baby or child or minor of some description, step well back, and wait for the fun.

Well, I find it fun, anyway. I have a great fondness for kidfic. I know that's weird. But there's something so happy about it! Generally! And also there's lots of humor! Again, generally speaking! Plus, you know, it's just - actually, I'm not sure love of kidfic can be justified. But I do think that the stories below can be enjoyed even by Kidfic Unbelievers. Because, seriously, there is some excellent stuff out there.

Best FF That Suggests a Cure for Supervillainry That Would Really Put a Dent in All Those Battles That Kill Innocent Civilians and Make Property Insurance So Very Expensive (I'm Betting) in Metropolis, Gotham, and Other Likely Battle Ground Zeros. Although I Suspect It Might Have Unanticipated Consequences for the Next Generation. Conflicts of Interest, by Pru, aka [livejournal.com profile] rageprufrock. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. I think the original show is proving that you can keep a megalomaniac from conquering the world by pitting him against his son; this story takes that one step further. Remember Kon-El? (Kon-El, people. The son of Clark Kent and Lex Luthor. Canonically. Yes, just one more reason you should get yourself to a comic book store today.) Well, now he's in Smallville. Or, rather, a brand-new one is in Smallville: Conner Clark Luthor. And Pru has done a much better job than any canon ever did of creating a kid we can believe is the son of a super alien and a supergenius. (Hey. I love me some Teen Titans Kon, too; I'm not meaning to be down on him or anything; it's just that this kid is more like what you'd fear might come of that.) And then she does the impossible twice before breakfast by giving us a believable Daddy-Lex-Luthor, too, a Lex who was saved from all that tiresome world-ruling villainy by his son. Or, more specifically, by his son's hyperactive brain and hyperactive body. Because it turns out that even a Luthor can only keep up with the world or a child. Not both. And Lex, as we know, tends to make the right choices when it comes to personal loyalties. Wanting a third wonderful, impossible thing? This story is narrated by Conner, a precocious nine-year-old, and he is not annoying and quite believable and actually more funny than the author probably thinks he is. Here you won't find any of those irritating adults in children's bodies that infest original fiction, wandering around being nauseatingly wise and precious and just generally making the reader want to bite something. Although, seriously, if this story isn't original, I'm not sure anything is.

Best FF That Teaches Readers a Helpful Ditty for Interpreting Celsius Temperatures, Thus Improving Canadian-American Relations (Which, Frankly - Every Little Helps These Days) and Demonstrating the All-Round Educational Nature of Fan Fiction. Sunday's Child, by Dira Sudis, aka [livejournal.com profile] dsudis. Due South, and I'm afraid I need to err on the side of caution here, even to the extent of not giving y'all pairing information. See, Dira's style is so closely tied to the slow reveal these days that I feel guilty even mentioning that this is a kidfic, because I'm afraid I'm destroying some part of the essential experience of reading it. But, well, this story does belong in this set, as Frannie has a baby, after all - a baby who is probably made mostly of orange juice, actually. And I don't want to wait the slow eternity it will take me to assemble another surprise set. So I'm sort of going with the worst of both methods of recommending - I'm putting the story here, but not saying much about it. But, hey, did I mention that there's a kid in this? In the GTO, even, which shows the sincere importance of the kid in question. There's also a gradual build to a very happy ending (which I, for the record, consider to be absolutely mandatory in kidfic). Mostly I love this one for the sheer plausibility of it; I mean, I love improbable dS fic as much as the next raving Mountie-and-cop-fixated loon; our canon welcomes improbability with open arms, after all, so why shouldn't I? But still, I love the realism here; I read it thinking hey, yeah, that could happen, and that's a great feeling, especially when the ending puts god in his heaven and everything right with the world. Bonus: after you read this, you'll be able to dress like a Canadian. Only with less emphasis on the flannel and ear flaps, I would hope.

Best FF That Proves That Wings and a Halo Don't Render You Proof Against the Dreaded Gurgle of Alarming Cuteness. And Neither, It Turns out, Does the Pitchfork. Satan Will Probably Want to Get Right to Work on Patching Forked Tongue 401.2 to Fix That Little Unanticipated Feature. Bundle of Joy, by [livejournal.com profile] louiselux. Good Omens, gen. Ish. Though I myself believe that the next scene involves some rather breathless exclamations of "Oh my!" and "Merciful Heavens! Surely you didn't have that in the Garden! I would have remembered." Here we have a scene that should be totally vomit-inducing: Aziraphale babysitting and Crowley experiencing firsthand the joys of baby puke. But this was written by Louise Lux, the same woman who scarred me forever by making MPreg not just tolerable but downright touching*. (If you haven't read Baby Snakes, you must. Immediately. No one is excused from reading Baby Snakes, not even those who are afraid of snakes, or demons, or MPreg, or...well, actually, if you're not afraid of those, I imagine you're not afraid of anything. But that's no excuse, either. Read. Right. Now.) So of course there's something curiously amusing and sweet and so very in-character about all this: Aziraphale acting like a daft but doting uncle, Crowley trying to be aloof but once again failing his Resist Angelic Contamination roll. In the name of all that is unholy, Crowley, steer clear of the angel. Or you might end up, you know, liking him. Oh. Well, it isn't too late to prevent you from having a baby with him. Run!

Best FF in Which a (Relatively) Innocent Child Is Scarred for Life, a Noted Sports Anchor Experiences Involuntary Genital Mutilation, and a Precious Work of Art Leaves the World Forever. And We All Giggle Like Geese. Fluff, by Emily Brunson, aka [livejournal.com profile] janissa11. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. Sports Night kidfics never fail to fascinate (me, anyway); they're not like the ones in other fandoms, because there's an actual canonical kid for authors to write about here. And that kid's relationship with Danny and Casey is, well, interesting. By the time of the series it's really surprisingly close to the same; both of them are the regularly visited and visiting paternal figure who is not a constant presence in Charlie's life. Which means that while in most other fandoms kidfic tends to be about (or at least feature) the relationship of the parents, kidfic here is usually much more about the differences between Danny and Casey. Truly; in the best Charlie and Danny and Casey stories, the guys are sort of the distilled essence of themselves, to the point where I figure if an author can write a good kidfic she's got the SN voices and characters nailed. So. What's in this kidfic? Well, I dirct you to the title of both the story, because it is pure, delightful, guilty-pleasure, depression-lifting fluff, and the entry, because all those things do happen. (The first time I read this, I kept waiting for Casey to say, "Dammit, we just can't have nice things.") So, basically, this story features the guys doing a very clumsy two-step around Charlie's presence in Casey's apartment. Well, Charlie and his new pet, Max. Whose fluffy and adorable exterior conceals vindictiveness and a plot for world domination, starting with an anti-curtain campaign.

Best FF That Reminds Us of Humanity's Most Enduring Traits: Fortitude, Duplicity, and Really Inventive Obscenities. The Dirt of Sowing and Reaping, by Salieri, aka [livejournal.com profile] troyswann. Stargate SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson/Sam Carter. Remember how I said there would be happiness and buoyancy and just a hint of baby vomit? Well, this doesn't have the baby vomit, but it does have the happy ending; you just have to get through the destruction of the world at the beginning. But you know what? So worth it. I think one of the reasons SG1 writers like to destroy the world/strand their characters/otherwise introduce a downer note is that they like to play with the characters outside the very restrictive trappings of their canonical life. The uniforms are shiny, yes, and so is the naquadah, but it all comes with regulations and ethics and responsibilities and duties. Turns out it's hard to make a happy ending for a relationship without destroying all that first. (Don't take that to mean that world destruction guarantees a happy ending in this fandom, either; I'm only saying that you usually have to go through the pain to get to the pleasure, not that the pleasure isn't sometimes, um, strictly artistic.) So sometimes the world has to take one for the team, or the team have to get off the world, and that is of course tragic and all that. But in this story - well. Remember how I've said I came to FF from SF? One of the reasons I stick with Stargate is that so often I read the stories and think, "That could've been in Analog." Well, this story made me think, "This could've been in The Year's Best Science Fiction," because it is just that good and multi-layered and wonderfully written and science fictiony. Brilliant characterizations, amazingly authentic city and culture and world, descriptions like pictures in your head. Isn't a story like that worth a teeny, offscreen, Goa'uld-intensive apocalypse? No, you say? Well, but Salieri also throws in the world's least likely kid, a kid that could only exist in SG, and then somehow makes him seem so very real. Still not enough? Sam, Jack, and Daniel make marvelous parents, and are so very much themselves. The world ended, but they just got - distilled. And apparently raising a child is one more thing they do best as a team, and raising this child is one more saving-the-world-by-the-skin-of-their-asses challenge that no one could pull off but them. Still not enough? Well, did I mention the sex?

-Footnote-

* Louise is also, for the record, the same woman who induced in my Best Beloved a tragic and instantaneous addiction to a carmel-filled substance known as "Tunnocks," which was an act of much-appreciated cruelty, given that we can't get these things in Los Angeles. I mean, I liked them, yes, but for a while I thought Best Beloved was going to leave me for them. (Or, more likely, leave America for them, taking me along because I am cute and fairly handy around the house. Plus, I speak rudimentary British.) So curse those wily Glaswegians and their addicting sweetstuffs! But love on Louise. I'm pretty sure she keeps Aziraphale in her basement.
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)
I appear to have a lot of rec'ing stored up inside; if you started reading this LJ recently enough that two posts a month seems normal to you, rest assured that it isn't, and neither is two posts a day. I hope to rediscover my happy medium soon. In the meantime: look! Stories to read!

Best FF That Records a Conversation I Am Morally Certain Takes Place in Gotham Very Regularly. Actually, Now That I Think About It, This Story Documents Two Such Conversations. Just Desserts, by Smitty, aka [livejournal.com profile] smittywing*. D.C. Universe, and, really, that's all I'm going to say about it, except that it involves Dick Grayson (as Robin I), Bruce Wayne, and Barbara Gordon. And also that the memory of this story still makes me giggle at red lights. This is such a perfect short piece, and not just because I could email Te tonight and by tomorrow have eighty scans that support this view of the daring duo, or whatever they're called. It's also the language ("Holy ropetricks!" "Chum!"). And the cameo appearance of the Robin panties. And most of all it's the conversations that Barbara overhear, because I think we can all admit that there must've been a lot of talk just like that over the years, and keep in mind that I'm still talking about both of them. You can read this as long as you know who Batman and Robin are - a trailer from the movie should be enough canon background, really. So don't let me keep you.

Best FF That Answers the Question "What Do You Give to the Man Who Has Everything?" And Definitely the Best FF to Answer That Question with "Scary-Ass Space Rock." Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, by [livejournal.com profile] mahaliem. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. And, no, it is not cheating to have a classic DCU story in the same set as a future SV one. Because, see, they're different canons, really different, even if the characters are sort of the same, and - look, fine, whatever. It's cheating. I'll include an extra rec in this set to make up for it, OK? But don't expect me to be sorry, because this story is another one that makes me laugh every time I think about it. And this despite the scary title, despite the post-rift ([livejournal.com profile] fanofall: am I getting the SV terminology right?) setting, despite the fact that it contains the heart-breaking line "we should have other nemeses." This story should be read by every DC hero, because apparently plotting to destroy the world (and thwarting plots to destroy the world) is a symptom of repressed lust, which means there's a much easier solution to the villain problem than Arkham Asylum (working motto: "You catch 'em, we completely fail to keep 'em!"). Although, for the record, this does not mean Batman should get it on with the Joker anytime soon, because I do not want to see that. I'm willing to read about him doing Poison Ivy or Harley Quinn, fine, but please god not the Joker. Ew.

Best FF That Contains Mention of What Just May Be the Scariest Damn Piece of FF Ever Imagined (but Please Please Please Not Actually Written) by Woman, Man, or Evil Extraterrestrial Planet-Destroying Robot). Downtime Discoveries, by Eli, aka [livejournal.com profile] elishavah. Stargate SG-1, if that's the actual name of this damn fandom, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson (Reasons to Read SG1 #11: two kinds of jack! Three if the FF is rated PG-13 or higher!). So, I have this serious weakness for dialog-based stories, possibly because (as was conclusively proven to me during what we will in future delicately call the Yuletide Season, aka the Yuletide Panic, aka the Jesus God Get Her Some Medication and Take Her Computer Away Before Someone Gets Hurt Festival o' Yuletidy Goodness) I can only write, or indeed think, in dialog. No, really. Other people get visions of scenes that inspire them to write; I hear voices, which is probably why my characters always argue more than they fuck. Um. Getting back to this story. So, yeah, it's in dialog, and it's really fucking funny, and there's that scary FF mention, as promised. You want to read this. You do. And I don't think you need to know the canon at all to do so; I mean, I sure as shit don't. I should probably warn you, though, that the FF mentioned in the text might rivet revolting animated images in your mind for all eternity. But don't let that stand in your way - I mean, if you've been in fandom for longer than a month, you've probably thought of worse yourself. Or maybe that's just me with the perverted imagination. God, I hope it's not just me.

Best FF That Reminds All of Us in Long-Term Relationships to Ask Ourselves an Important Question, Namely: Have I, as a Loving, Caring Being, Done Everything I Possibly Can to Increase the Chances That I Will Have Sex on the Couch or Other Upholstered Item of Furniture Today? Seven Years, by Speranza, aka [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. So, confession time: over the Long Hiatus, I got a lovely gift from [livejournal.com profile] nigeltde, who I have (shamefully) not yet thanked. (Persons who sent me gifts: they were received and much appreciated, and expect to be hearing about that very soon now that I've overcome my fear of my computer.) Said gift was season 3 of dS, plus selected season 1 and 2 episodes. Best Beloved went through all of it in about two days, and is now jonesing pathetically for season 4. Even more astonishingly, I actually watched a number of episodes. It's good, folks. It's surprisingly good, and you should totally see it, even if you don't like TV at all. The only downside is that actual canon knowledge is causing me to re-evaluate a couple of my FF-inspired dS beliefs, which means - quelle horreur! - rereading a bunch of the stories I found yonks ago, including this one. (Yes, we're back to talking about the actual story. Celebrate with me.) Turns out this is not a story I needed to re-evaluate. Hell, it's better now, because I can actually hear the characters saying these things. (Which, believe me, they would. I think the third season of the show is actually slashier than most of the FF written about it, which shouldn't even be possible. Due South: the canon that violates known physical laws in pursuit of slashiness.) But I did need to reread this, because it is funny. Just really hysterically funny; almost every line makes me, at minimum, grin. (This is even funnier if you know who David Duchovny is, so if you don't, you might want to head over to the IMDb before you read this.)

Best FF That Proves That, in the Right Hands, Infidelity, Potential Squick, Terrible Hangovers, and Tragic Technology-Induced Body Part Loss Are All Absolutely Hysterical. That Tongue Thing, by [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and there's sex in here, but I refuse to tell you the names of the party or parties involved. The veil of secrecy must be preserved, and if anyone actually got that reference, know that I love you beyond my ability to describe it. So. Is it bad form to rec a story I beta-read? Because I'm doing that here and now, so you are formally invited to send me a sternly-worded note. (I'm sure Emily Post outlines the appropriate form for properly ticking off a fan fiction recommender via email; check her index.) But note, please, that I was by no means the only beta for this, which might be an exculpating factor. And whether it is or it isn't, I'm damn well going ahead with the rec, because this story is exactly as funny as you'd expect (HGttG: the fandom that's located several thousand light-years from angst!). Plus, you know, there's explicit sex and so on, which is a bonus. Also, this story will teach you about weapons of musical destruction, which I bet you didn't even know existed, and if you think I'm finishing this summary with a reference to current events, you are clinically insane. Instead, I offer an injunction: Go. Read. Laugh. You'll thank me later.

* Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] liviapenn!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
It's another "dress you up with my love" entry; the only reason I didn't use that for the title is that I'm sure we'd all prefer not to remember that particular phase of musical history. (Of course, now we all do remember it, and some unlucky person will be humming that song for another 48 hours, but baby, sometimes you gotta be cruel to be kind.)

This entry, though, features no cross-dressing at all; frankly, there's a limit to the number of cheerleader outfit stories I can cope with in any given week, and that number decreases violently if there aren't any women in said stories. So instead, I'm offering stories in which clothes serve a significant purpose, a revelatory purpose - in other words, where an article of adornment acts as an agent of discovery, and, yow. Think I switched writing gears there for a second. But I'm not going to worry about it, and I'm not going to go back to correct it, either; onward and upward, that is my LJ motto. Onward to the stories, so that you can move upward to someone else's writing. So, once more unto the breach, dear friends, and close up the wall with our English smut.

Best FF That Could Almost Make Me Like Thongs, Only Not, Because Thongs Are the Work of Satan and No Amount of Fan Fiction or Ready Cash Could Convince Me Otherwise. Cotton, by Vera, aka [livejournal.com profile] copracat. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. I have something I need to get off my chest. Smallville has become one of my fandoms. I thought I'd just come out and say that right now; I've learned the folly of swearing in public - or at least here - that I will not acquire a given fandom, no no no a thousand times no, because then the rabid weasels come for me. So I'm saving myself some weasel-time by admitting I'm on the SV train now. And also because, um. Let's just say that you might as well accept the fandom in your heart once you find yourself explaining to your Best Beloved, your Best Beloved who has actually seen episodes of Smallville, in direct contrast to you, who has most certainly not, that it's a pity the show didn't start a few years earlier because Lex was made for pre-turnover Hong Kong. And defending that statement with supporting evidence even though the Best Beloved seems not just willing but anxious to let it die a quiet, unacknowledged death and blame it on the fever. So this is my first SV rec, to the best of my knowledge, and I've begun as I mean to go on, with a lovely story in which Martha does the laundry. No, really, that's the whole story. It's fantastic. (Yes, this is how I mean to go on. In terms of quality. And, hell, laundry too, but if there proves not to be a large archive of SV laundry stories, I will be forced to resort to smut. Just a friendly warning.)

Best FF That Makes Me Wonder If I Should Start Inspecting the Labels of My Clothing for Statements Like "55% Ramie, 45% Cotton, and No Moral Fiber to Speak of." Paddle to the CSC, by Julian Lee, aka [livejournal.com profile] julianlee*. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Sam Donovan, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. A new fandom does not mean I do not still love you, old fandoms! I'm as slutty as slut can be when it comes to fandoms, and I continue to read all my old ones even as I assimilate new ones. (Why no, I don't get much sleep. Also, I'm experimenting with various dangerous, completely untested time-alteration devices. They could potentially destroy the world, but apparently slash can do that even on a good day, so I'm not worried. Plus, when you weigh the importance of smut versus a stable space-time continuum, well, let's face it; we have clocks 'cause none of us is that good with time in the first place, so who is ever going to notice if time breaks?) This story revolves around the Shirt. Yes, that Shirt - the one that Gordon got from Casey via Sally; the Shirt that is basically the all-cotton equivalent of a venereal disease. Did you know the VD Shirt had further adventures? It did, and Julian Lee is here to tell us all about them. (Note: Dan/Casey shippers should not be alarmed by the pairing list here. For one thing, I'm pretty much right there with you guys, so you should know I won't lead you astray. For another thing, the Sam interlude isn't, you know, permanent or anything. Plus, who doesn't feel the Sam love? Well, not me. And, judging by this story, not Danny, either.)

Best FF That Reveals the Unsung Sexy Side of the World Wildlife Federation's Logo, but Not in a Way That Makes You Want to Call the Cops or Anything. Adorned, by Resonant, aka [livejournal.com profile] resonant8. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski, plus mention of Ray Kowalski/Stella Kowalski. (Note: if you are a diehard Kowalski/Fraser fan - and I'm naming no names, here, but one of them has been sleeping in my bed - you will want to read the follow-up story, Borealis.) Just so that no old fandom (all together now: "get new fandoms but keep the old - one is shiny and the other is also shiny, only with a richer, deeper luster") feels left behind, I'm recommending another of my much-loved pairings. This one is so much a part of my life at this point that when I typed "Benton Kowalski/Ray Fraser" just now, it took me several seconds to see what was wrong with that. Plus, Resonant. You all know Resonant, right? Well, if you don't, it isn't from lack of effort on my part. She's high on my list of writers I'd chain up in my spare bedroom if I wasn't concerned that a) that might not actually increase their writing output b) they might compete with me for computer time and c) they might also pick up on the unfortunate Stephen King overtones of the whole thing. Plus I understand there could be some sort of legal repercussions. Anyway, this is one of the first dS stories I read by Resonant, and it just totally reinforced my unhealthy feelings for her, because almost every single word of this story is perfect. (I mean it. If there was anything even approaching justice in this world, Resonant's works would be way outselling John Grisham's.) This story is about what we put on our loved ones, how we mark them and how we make them our own. And, oh, Jesus. Worst story summary ever, so let me start again. Ray likes to make things pretty, and that goes double for the people he loves. Now go read the damn story already.

Best FF That Made Me Strangely Comfortable with the Concept of a Peep Show, Which Always in the Past Has Struck Me as Just One Step Above Stalking and Approximately 30,000 Steps Below Any Non-Skeevy Sexual Activity. Nice Shirt, by [livejournal.com profile] glossing. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Daniel "Oz" Osbourne/Xander Harris. Warning: this is a work in progress. I don't normally recommend works in progress, but this one belongs in this set, plus each entry stands alone as an essentially complete story, so I refuse to feel guilty about this. Do you hear me? No guilt. Cannot be made to feel guilt. And I am not protesting too much. But getting back to the story - well, first you should know that this is all about this shirt. Those are not photo manipulations; Oz and Xander really do wear the same shirt at different points in the canon. And while that could just be a coincidence, or a lazy costume director, or - hell - even two similar but not identical shirts, it could also indicate another shirt with low, low morals. And given what the shirt actually says, plus my general opinion of the morals of the cottton crowd, guess which way I'm betting? Glossing is justly renowned for her Oz, and this story will show you why. Also, her Xander is just the way I like to see him. And I actually did have more to say about this, but here's where I'm going to be ending this story summary, because my keyboard has just developed an irritating glitch. Arg.

-Footnote-

*Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] laylee!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Ah, the wankfic. What can I say? It is truly a classic form. In fact, it is to fan fiction what iambic pentameter is to poetry: common yet satisfying, just structured enough to inspire without in any way constraining the brilliance of the author.

Um. Lost focus there for a moment. Sorry.

Anyway, yeah. I'm a big ol' fan of the wankfic. But then, who isn't? And since I don't seem to be able to write a coherent introduction, let's get right to fic.

Best FF That Proves You Can Tie a Vampire Up, But You Can't Keep Him Down: A Lesson in Principles, by Annie Sewell-Jennings, aka [livejournal.com profile] anniesj. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander Harris. (Does Spike ever get a last name? Is there some kind of law in Buffyland that vampires only have one name? Nail-thin models and female singers with distressed hair: is this the right kind of company for Whedonist vampires? Hmmm. You know, maybe it is. OK, objection withdrawn.) So now I have a humiliating confession to make: I like Spike. I like his attitude; I like that he doesn't take himself seriously. (And, yes, I grant that Angel learns this trick, too, when he has his own show. We're not talking about that now.) He doesn't take anything seriously. Other people might mope and brood and bleed, might obsess about the past and worry about the future, but he's having fun in the now, dammit. He's almost Zen, really. It's an example we could all learn from. Only not the evil and the biting and killing parts. (And no one should try to emulate the hair, 'cause I don't think there's anyone else in the world who could carry that off, and I'm not convinced he does, either.) But there's a downside to Spike's in-the-moment approach to undeath, as Xander learns in this fic. When he's not happy, it's not like he, you know, suffers in silence or anything. Here we get Spike at his most gleefully provoking, and I just love it.

Best FF That Strikes a Much-Needed Blow for Women's Rights to Equality of - Well, OK, Masturbation. But Don't Tell Me That's Not an Important Right. Really, Reasonable Founding Fathers Would've Put It in the Constitution. Jilling, by Te, aka Ficusbane, aka [livejournal.com profile] thete1. Smallville, Chloe, and I honestly don't know enough about the fandom to know her last name. (Or, hey, maybe she's a singing model bloodsucker, and she only has the one name. Could be.) But I do know that girls do not get even close to equal representation in the masturbation fic realm. Trust Te to do her part toward redressing the balance. Gotta love this woman, and not just because she kills every ficus she lays hands on. So here we have Chloe being her own best friend, so to speak, while fantasizing about talking to - no, let's be honest - teasing Clark Kent. It should act as an inspiration to all those authors who don't think girls merit equality in every realm. (Try, as you consider this concept, not to imagine the League of Women Voters taking up this cause, because that could end all aspects of your sex life forever.)

Best FF Featuring the Quidditch Showers Being Put to the Use I Am Sure the Hogwarts Founders Intended for Them. Which Would Be Cleanliness Emergencies, of Course. Afternoon Showers, Chance of Rain, by [livejournal.com profile] memorycharm. Harry Potter, Sirius Black/Remus Lupin, Marauders-era. HP fangirls have devoted lots of time to the question of where boys who attend boarding schools jerk off. (Really, we should write a FAQ or something to help out the real-world boys heading off to Phillips or Hotchkiss or Deerfield or wherever. Only there'd probably be way too much focus on cleaning charms and silence charms for it to be entirely useful.) This particular story goes for that perennial favorite: the showers. Wanking, watching, water: it's a classic slash trifecta! What's not to love? (Oh, come on, admit you love it. Like you wouldn't read every story in a challenge built around those three words. Or maybe that's just me, in which case - well, you folks already knew I was a pervert, so I refuse to apologize.)

Best FF Featuring a Canoe Being Put to a Use I Am Quite Sure Its Manufacturers Did Not Intend: Cover. During a Shootout, of Course. The Sporting Life, by Speranza, aka [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Ray Vecchio. This is actually the second in a series; the first one is Breaking Cover. It isn't necessary to read the first to get the second - I mean, if you're familiar with the concept of masturbation, you'll be fine - but it is fun. This is short, but it packs quite a wallop, and Speranza really makes the unusual setting work. (One of the many reasons I love dS: I can think of relatively few fandoms in which sex during a shootout in a sporting goods store would work, but in dS anything works, as long as it's weird enough. Or funny enough. Or, ideally, both.) And I know I've said bad things about stories in which Ray Kowalski is called Stanley, but this showcases one of the exceptions: when Vecchio is being dismissive. And, as Vecchio learns, you don't just write off Kowalski. He won't let you. Really, I think this story is the living definition of "safe even for hardcore F/K shippers," but because there's one extremely persuasive person out there I know I won't convince, I will, as always, provide a Certified Safe Alternate Story.

-Or-

Best FF Featuring a Pillow Being Put to a Use I Am Relatively Certain It Didn't Mind. And I Can't Actually Think of Anything Not Perverse to Say About That. Fighting, by [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. The theme of this pair of unsafe/safe recs is "flashfiction by two of the grande dames of the fandom." My subtle point here is, if you read dS, you should be reading [livejournal.com profile] ds_flashfiction, because great stories are posted there, often faster than I can rec them. So why wait? (And if you aren't in dS or one of the other fandoms that has a flashfiction community, you should start one. What, like you were going to do something non-fansmut-related in the next half-hour? Of course you weren't. So you might as well do something constructively smutty; it's getting the best of both worlds, really.) To get back to this story - which, you know, is technically the point of this part of the rec, even if I usually act like I don't know it - here we have a certain entirely normal and documented reaction to the endorphins triggered by physical combat put to a lovely slashy use. And I think you'll agree that the only thing better than boys being boys is when that's immediately followed by boys doing boys.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I've been wallowing in pathos recently as the result of an ill-advised attempt to watch certain classic movies. Do not trust film classics, people: they will betray you and leave you in dire need of SSRIs. And chocolate.

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

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

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

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

Best FF Featuring Authentic Colonial-Period Australian Prints: Port Jackson, by Skud, [livejournal.com profile] q_skud_. Master & Commander books, gen. Again, we've got a humor piece you'll need to know the canon to find amusing; in this case, you'll need to have read the first few M&C books. But even if you haven't read any of them, go read this FF; it's the only one I've ever seen told entirely in LJ icons. It's one of the more interesting versions of picfic I've seen, and it's especially appealing to me, the original Icon Loser. (I have icons only through the generosity of others; any icon made by me would incite pity and mockery in equal portions, and, hey, I've already got enough of those.)

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