thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The One That Makes My Brain Turn in Circles, Trying to Figure out If You Can Fight Destiny or Not. For the Record, I'm Hoping That I Could and Spock and Kirk Can't. Fighting Gravity, by pantswarrior, aka [personal profile] pantswarrior. Star Trek Reboot, James T. Kirk/Spock.

Okay, I will admit it. I love it when there is a slash dragon or Spock Prime in a canon, saying, "This guy is your DESTINY." I like to imagine it with sparkletext and hearts, in all honesty.

But in college, I had to write a poem about what I would say to my five-years-ago self if I met her. And I was totally stumped, because I knew for a fact that my five-years-ago self would not listen to anything I said. Because there are two things that are very true about me:
  1. I don't take advice well. My father once said to me, "I feel comfortable giving you advice, because I know you won't take it unless you were going to do it anyway." I pointed out that I was more likely to take his advice than any other human being's on earth, and it was just that I didn't like being told what to do at all, and he just laughed. A really long time. I think I maybe made his point for him.
  2. I don't take orders well. In high school, my favorite teacher (the detention teacher, which, um, probably tells you what I was like), a retired Air Force officer, blanched when he heard I was taking the ASVAB, a sort of military prequalification test. "Don't go into the military," he said. "Please. And I'm not telling you. I'm begging you."
I have, in fact, gotten much better since then. So, so much better. I am hardly stubborn at all these days, and I frequently solicit and then take advice. I even sat through the Alien Encounter at Disney World even though a character says, "Thank you for your submission." But I am still not 100% aces at these things. So if someone from my future showed up and said, "I know the future, and I am telling you to hook up with this person. It is your DESTINY," I don't know that I could do it. I would try! I would! Or I might do everything in my power to avoid my DESTINY, because no one tells me what to do. Not even myself.

And in this story - yes, I'm back to the story now - that is exactly what Spock does. And it makes me insanely happy. I mean, admittedly, it doesn't go well for him, but trust me: if you make a practice out of doing exactly what you're not supposed to, things often don't go well for you, and you pretty much get by on the satisfaction of at least getting to tell fate and DESTINY and your parents and the crowd and so on to go fuck themselves. (This is why I don't do this anymore. For the record. There's only so much satisfaction you can get out of this, and I have had it all.) And I just - I love Spock, and I love this version of Spock, who is so grimly stubborn he'd fuck himself over rather than fall into line.

(People who are disturbed by the first few pages, please note: I was, too. It all works out, very quickly.)

And let me just say that I also love Kirk in this, who is sort of midway between TOS Kirk and Reboot Kirk. I love seeing him forced to deal with the one person in the universe more stubborn than he is. And I love Bones. And, you know, basically everyone.

But most of all, I love Stubborn Spock. I just want to pinch his widdle ears. (Although this is nothing new.)

The One That Will Keep Me Eyeing the Skies Warily, Waiting for a Great Metal Dragon with Worrying Taste in Entertainment to Fly By. The Student Prince, by FayJay, aka [personal profile] pandarus. Merlin, Arthur Pendragon/Merlin.

You've seen this recommended everywhere. By everyone. And now I am going to join in the chorus, because, people, this is some serious comfort fic, right here. It's just - it is a supremely satisfying romance story, and I don't have any other way of explaining it.

Or maybe I do. [personal profile] norah told me, long ago - I am sure I have mentioned this all to you many, many times - that once upon a time, she was sick and sad and traveling on a train in another country. And she cheered herself up by telling herself a well-loved epic story. (I, being me, immediately argued with her about her choice of well-loved epic story.) This is the kind of story that could make you feel better if you were sick on a train in a distant country, is what I'm saying. (And now I want to see everyone's top ten Sick on a Train stories. Hmmm.)

And I tell you what, having read this story, I am now deeply sorry that I didn't matriculate at a university founded in 1413. I mean, okay, that would have required me going to a different continent, and also it would have changed my entire life, which would seriously suck, but - but. My university only had, like, two hundred years to build up insane traditions, and it's just not the same. (No one tell me if St. Andrews doesn't really have all these traditions. I prefer to live in a world where they exist, not the least because I will now spend my life looking at famous UK people and wondering if the university they attended had a custom wherein you have to walk around in trousers with the ass cut out for your entire freshman year or whatever. If this story is anything to go by, there is such a school out there. And. Um. UK persons on my friends list, I am now also wondering this about you. Just FYI.)

So, yes, the setting is part of what makes this work for me. But there are so many other things. All of which, tragically, are spoilers. So, please, go read this, or if you've already read it (and, frankly, I have to think that at least 98.9% of you have, because this is a justly famous story), comment here, so I can squee with you about the many events in this story that made me bounce with joy. It is taking all my self-restraint not to do that here and now.

The One That Suggests to Me That If Vala Mal Doran and Captain Jack Sparrow Ever Teamed up, Nowhere in the Multiverse Would Be Rich. Sexier, Sure, but Not Rich. Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves. Stargate universe, John Sheppard/Rodney Meredith McKay (plus other pairings).

As it happens, one of the things I like in a story - canon, fan fiction, whatever - is dinged and dented characters. I like people who have that dull patina that trouble leaves behind when you survive it. And Auburn, in this story, has given me a whole dings-and-dents universe. Yeah, sure, most of the main characters go well beyond mere dings and dents, into the broken-and-put-back-together-with-Elmer's-glue-and-a-couple-pieces-from-the-train-set territory, but everyone is less shiny than in canon. And while I would probably not enjoy a story about how everyone got that way, I really love seeing them deal with it, and live with it, and move beyond it, and get better from it. And live happily ever after. (Happily ever after is not optional.)

Plus, there can be no bad when there are space pirates. I firmly believe that every fandom in the world needs a pirate AU (yes, even pirate fandoms), and when you combine pirates with spaceships, I am very likely to need to run around in circles barking joyfully until I have to go lie down for an hour.

It's also nice - I think nice is the word I'm looking for here - when a story confirms my strongly-felt suspicions about a fictional race. (Any story that disses the Ancients, for example, and I am there. Those people - well, let's just say they pioneered new and exciting advances in ethics-free science, medicine, and government, shall we?) I have always been sort of narrow-eyed and tight-lipped about the Tok'ra, even though I've read some incredible stories that have even made me like them. I just, when it comes down to it, do not trust mind-controlling parasites. It's a personal prejudice of mine! Even if they are supposedly choosing not to mind control right then, you have to ask yourself if it's one of those choices like keeping kosher, or if it's more one of those choices like promising yourself this will be the last chip you eat tonight. And there's no way to tell until it's much too late. I just - I cannot get behind that, no matter how many declarations of mutual non-loathing occur between the Tok'ra and the good guys.

So, you know, I feel good about this story, which in addition to punching my dings and dents button, and my space pirates button, and my plot is awesome button, also lets me rest smugly satisfied in the knowledge that I was right all along, and mind-controlling parasites are not to be trusted.

The One That Proves, Once and for All, That Fashion Is Truly High-Risk. I Know I Won't Be Wearing Scarves for a While. The Scourge of Trion, by [personal profile] ellen_fremedon. Doctor Who universe, Doctor/Vislor Turlough. (No, I had no idea who this was, either. IT DOESN'T MATTER. READ IT ANYWAY.)

I am used to reading outside my canonical knowledge zone, but Doctor Who takes this to a new level. It's just daunting. I mean, Doctor Who has so much canon that the BBC lost some of it. This doesn't happen with your average canon. (Of course, if the average canon is TV aired on Fox, it doesn't happen because there's only 12 episodes of it. Much easier to keep track of.) There's just - this whole fucking fandom is bigger on the inside, you know?

But. If I thought for a minute that there was existing canon that was even a little like this story, I would go out and purchase every damned episode, I tell you what. I would probably even watch some of them. This story is that good.

And, okay, if you are a Who Alumna, a graduate with honors of Who University, with a degree in Companion Studies and a special certificate in TARDIS Interior Design, then this story is totally for you. But if you've seen only some of the new Who, and you always lose at Pin the Companion on the Doctor, and you couldn't, off-hand, name three doctors who wore bowties - this story is still for you. It doesn't matter if you don't know who these people are when you go in; by the time you come out, you will know who they are. And you will want to know even more. (And, if you're me, will be nodding thoughtfully, wondering if certain people on your friends list imprinted on some of these people - Turlough, for example - way back when. It just strikes me that there are certain people I know who would love this guy.)

I mean, I came out of this wanting more Sarah Jane, and more Turlough, and more Martha Jones, and more Jack Harkness. I even wanted more Doctor, and, in all honesty, there's already quite a lot of Doctor in here. (He can double up, see.) Of course, then sanity prevailed - I only have a handful of decades left to me, and I have to assume that Who scholars have to start young and stay dedicated throughout their lives, eschewing all distractions and occasionally making use of limited temporal anomalies to stay on top of their chosen fandom. But my point is: I came out of this story with happiness in every cell of my body. And then I looked around for more, realized there wasn't any (because, okay, I could get more of the characters, but it cannot possibly be this good), and went back to the beginning and started again.

This is - this is everything you could ever want in a story. With whipped cream and a morally dubious schoolboy-businessman on top.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
This entry is dedicated to Best Beloved, who has dragged me back to my old system for organizing stories to rec. It's very inspiring, and I'm not sure why I've been putting it off for, um, three years or so. (Let this be a lesson to those of you who are likely to engage in a battle of wills with Best Beloved: she is implacable when determined. It is better just to give in now.)

Anyway, there may be some crazy amounts of recommending as we work through the new (old) system. If it reaches spammination levels, that would be Best Beloved's fault. (If you like it, of course, that's totally to her credit.)

Today: gen!

The One with the Best Damn Trial Scene in the History of Creation. Almost No One Makes It Out, by [personal profile] atrata. Iron Man.

When I was going through that phase of role-playing gaming where you have to try every system ever devised, I created several characters using someone or other's superhero system, where you rolled percentile dice (which, for you non-gamers out there, gives you a result from 1 - 100, or rather, from 01 - 00) on a chart to determine your Super Special Powers (mutant or otherwise - things like being really, really smart were on there, too). If you got 00, you got TWO powers.

I love this story, first and foremost, because it makes it very, very clear that Tony Stark rolled 00 on that table. He is not just a mechanical genius; he is also rich. Richness is a superpower all in itself. And if you take that superpower away from him, as [personal profile] atrata does in this story, you end up with a very different person. Richness insulates him from a lot of things: the consequences of his actions, the real world, his inability to deal with people. Richness also gets him lots of things: equipment, security, people to solve his problems, special privileges, and attention. And I just cannot get over how amazing it is that [personal profile] atrata took that away from him and still kept him the Tony Stark we all know and, um, probably feel vaguely conflicted about loving quite so much, because he is, in all honesty, a total asshole.

And I also love Pepper in this story. I simultaneously long for Iron Man fan fiction and avoid reading most of it, and at least half the reason is that I fear for what will happen to Pepper. It's deeply important to me that she remain independent of Tony even as she's managing him, and that she stay competent and smart, and I worry worry worry that in Tony/Pepper stories she will be reduced to helpless weeping. Plus, okay, I admit it; my actual ideal pairing for Tony Stark is some kind of complicated sex machine that he builds himself:

"Pepper! I've perfected my greatest invention, and now I don't need women!"

"Oh, really. Does that include me?"

"Don't be ridiculous. Hey, watch this."

"Oh my god no. I'll be upstairs. If you need me to dial 911, tell Jarvis." And then she calls Rhodey and they bond for a while over the Impossibility of Tony Stark, and I think it is now obvious to everyone that one of the reasons I don't read much Iron Man fan fiction is that I am already writing it in my head.

(And now that I've totally fallen in love with this story, I - well. You all know how Dark Agenda is having the Racebending Revenge Ficathon, right? Where people make a white character not white? I want someone to make Tony Stark's skin much, much darker and see what happens. I cannot even tell you how much I want that.)

The One That Can Double as a Portland Guidebook, If You Ever Find Yourself in Oregon and Wondering What Jim Kirk Would Do. Graduate Vulcan for Fun and Profit, by [livejournal.com profile] lazulisong. Star Trek Reboot.

Someone on my friends list (sorry, I can no longer remember who, but if it was you, fess up - it was [profile] brown_betty!) was talking a while back about her Secret Smarts kink, about how she loves stories where a character who is, you know, kiiiiiiind of a doof in the canon is revealed to have believable hidden skills or competence or brains. And I agree with her. It's a rare thing to see it done well, but when it is - oh my god I love it so. And this story is the exemplar of the genre.

For one thing, it is obvious to me that Reboot Kirk must have Secret Smarts. And not because of Pike's whole "genius-level" comment (many is the character I've been told was a genius, and usually I have a hard time believing it), but because I have seen TOS, and I tell you what, Original Kirk is no one's fool. (Okay, he's Spock's, if Spock needs one, because he is whatever Spock needs, but otherwise, no.) So it works for me that Reboot Kirk, in the process of becoming all tarnished and bruised, learned to hide his intelligence.

And I love the background [livejournal.com profile] lazulisong gives him here; it adds some complications and depth back to the Misunderstood Hero deal that Abrams went with. I mean, I love a Misunderstood Hero as much as the next girl - which is good, because otherwise I would have to move to a small island without electricity or any kind of communication with the outside world and read nothing but cruise ship brochures - but I love it most when the Misunderstood Hero has some other stuff going on. I like to add a few adjectives to his archetype, is what I guess I'm saying. And this story so perfectly does that, without in any way making him less perfectly Reboot Kirk.

As if all that wasn't enough to make me love this story, there is also an incredible OC in it. He's - he is everything I want in a Vulcan: he's smart, he's tricky, he's so stubborn that redwoods everywhere just give up and move on when faced with him, and he's just barely emotional, just enough to remind us all that Vulcans could be the masters of melodrama if they wanted to be but they choose not to be. (I tell you what, the Federation is lucky there isn't an inhibition-loosening drug that Vulcans use a lot, because it'd be fucking scary: 90% of the time, they're the living definitions of flat affect, but the other 10% of the time, humans everywhere are saying, "Dude, just - just calm down. And please, please, please - stop singing.")

The One That Proves, Once and for All, That John Sheppard Will Not Thank You for Doing Him Any Favors. Earth 2, by Martha Wilson. Stargate: Atlantis.

If there is one thing that we all learned from Gateverse canon (or, okay, that you all learned from the actual canon, and I learned from reading your ep summaries and meta), it's that Pangloss was right, after all: this is the best of all possible worlds. Which, okay, gives me some pause, because - seriously? Especially when you throw in the Goa'uld and all? These are the ideal initial conditions? But apparently there is no change that could possibly improve things. It's all downhill from here. (I am pretty sure that the Gateverse folks did not realize how inherently depressing this is. Try not to think about it, that's my advice.)

In this story, we get to see John Sheppard learn that very thing; he gets to travel to one of those other, less wonderful universes. But not just any of them. (I'm going to try to talk about this without any spoilers, but, seriously, you should just go read the story right now.) And not just any John Sheppard - it's the original, pre-Atlantis John Sheppard, and here is how we know how fucked up John is: Atlantis was actually therapeutic for him. As in, he got more emotionally healthy in an environment of constant stress, danger, and insanity. (I suspect Kate Heightmeyer had an unfinished paper on this very subject, talking about how John and Rodney, pretty much alone in the expedition, somehow got better from it.) As it happens, I have a sneaking fondness for early John Sheppard, so I love this story.

And this story also hits my competence (and smartness!) kink - here we get to see John (plus a couple of other people, naming no names) being surprisingly good at things, given that he is utterly clueless. (Something John should be used to, of course. Good But Clueless is pretty much his middle name.) And also there is a plot, which notice how I am determinedly not spoiling it.

...Actually, I had better shut up about this story right now, while that's still more or less true.

The One in Which We Learn That One of the Major Risks of Time Travel Is That You Might End up Being Schooled by Yourself. Klein Bottle, by [livejournal.com profile] basingstoke. Torchwood.

For most fandoms - television fandoms, anyway, and any fandom that has a lot of fan fiction in it - I find, sooner or later, that I've divided the fan fiction into eras, based not on when the story was posted, but when the story is set in the canon. And usually somewhere in there, there's the Nostalgia Point, the setting I miss most once canon (and therefore most stories) has moved past it. I re-read stories in the Nostalgia Point a lot, especially if the canon progresses to the point where I don't want to read new stories in it very much at all.

This story is set squarely in my Torchwood Nostalgia Point. I'm not sure when it is in actual Torchwood canon, since I've never seen any of it and have only a vague sense of the progression of events, but I know what I need the story to be set after. And, definitely definitely, set before. This is a twisty and blissful little story; it's filled with the complications of being Jack Harkness, his emo and his majesty, but it's also in the relatively innocent period of Torchwood, and I love that.

But that is not why I love this story. I love it because it's a time travel story, and time travel has always been one of my biggest narrative kinks, and here it is so very perfectly done. And [livejournal.com profile] basingstoke handles one of the difficulties of writing about time travel - if there are multiple versions of character X in the room, but they are from different times and therefore are different people, how do you deal with that? - as well as I've ever seen it done, here. And there has never been a better reason to use second person. (Plus, second person is the only way it's really possible for me to believe what I'm told about Jack's thoughts, because he's so shifty I firmly believe he could lie to an omniscient narrator if he wanted to.)

So: great story, great writing, great nostalgia. I really do not see what you could possibly be waiting for, here.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Many moons ago, I had a discussion with [personal profile] hradzka about AUs, which of course got me reading and re-reading AUs, which, in the fullness of time (or perhaps even the lateness of time, these days), has led to me recommending AUs.

So, David, this set is dedicated to you. Because, um, it's full of stories you won't like! (Except you might like Phoenix Burning, actually; it's your kind of AU.)

The One That Explores Vulcan Teenage Sociodynamics in the Kind of Detail That Makes You Wonder if There's Already a Paper on It. Love Is Strange, by [personal profile] garryowen. Star Trek XI, James T. Kirk/Spock.

I have never seen Dirty Dancing. It was one of my father's favorite movies, so I am familiar with the general outline of the plot (there are people, and they dance!), and of course I've heard the quote "Nobody puts Baby in the corner." Many, many times. But until I read this story, I thought that Baby said that line, in that emphatic third person people sometimes use. (So I would say, "Nobody tells [personal profile] thefourthvine not to use a serial comma!") I sort of pictured her pulling a knife out of her boot when she said it, to be honest. It - it really changes my impression of the movie and the line, to know that the guy said it.

Anyway. As you might have guessed from that incredibly fascinating digression, this is a Dirty Dancing AU. And it is awesome. I love this version of Spock, with his earlier exposure to humans (and to the ultimate vector of human-type feelings and also, I am absolutely convinced, super-kinky sexing, James T. Kirk). I love this entire story. It works as an AU because it's a believable backwards extrapolation - what is Spock like if he encounters humanity a little younger? (Kirk is actually just Kirk. I mean, for all we know, in addition to committing whatever felonies - NO I AM NOT MAKING ANY GUESSES - maybe he was dancing professionally during his pre-Pike years. I can totally believe that. It's hard to come up with a profession I couldn't believe he was doing during those years, although the ones that require a lot of schooling or, um, responsibility are kind of a stretch. It's a lot easier to buy, like, dance instructor, skilled second-story man, hacker, makeup salesguy, companion to the thirteenth Doctor - oh god I have to stop this RIGHT NOW. But you take my point.)

This story came with an awesome bonus, just for me. In between my first reading of it and the re-reading I did so I could rec it, I watched Journey to Babel. I had no idea, the first time I read this, how awesomely [personal profile] garryowen worked that episode into this story, or how much this is the perfect blend of TOS and Reboot. But, obviously, you can love this story even if you've never seen Journey to Babel. (Hell, you can love this story even if you've never seen any Star Trek, although I sometimes wonder if there's anyone in fandom who hasn't. But, in case there is, and that's you, a primer. Kirk: the captain. Spock: the alien. Ears: pointy. Love: eternal and true. There, you're ready to go.)

The One That Actually Made Me Go to YouTube and Put in "John Sheppard Free Skate." I More or Less Regained My Sanity, but Damn It, I Still Want to See These Routines. Out of Bounds, by [personal profile] icarus. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

This story nearly killed me. Because, okay, here's the thing: I do not read works in progress. I need to be able to wallow in a story, binge on it and, if necessary, even roll in it. I've learned that even if the story is finished and just being posted serially, my experience of reading it is different and less fun if I don't wait to read it, because: no wallowing! So I wait. And with this story, I waited for four years. (I think. Because I'm pretty sure this one started with the last winter Olympics.) But here is the thing: it was totally worth it. It was worth every sad face I made when an Out of Bounds update appeared and I had to remind myself, yet again, that I don't read works in progress. Because this story is awesome, and at more than 200,000 words, it deserves all the wallow I can bring to it. And, wow, did I bring a lot of wallow.

Plus, hey, clearly this is the time to read it, because it's topical. (Okay, sort of topical. But I still see people on my friends list talking about Johnny Weir, so topical is my story and I'm sticking to it.) Because: figure skating AU. Which is, by definition, awesome. (Yes, I am trying to imagine figure skating AUs in other fandoms, and - well. Arthur Pendragon as a figure skater? Awesome. James T. Kirk as a figure skater? So awesome it hurts. Sam and Dean as ice dancers? I - okay, I admit it, even I would read that, because of the awesome. But my point is: even those stories could not bring as much awesome as this one does.)

Admittedly, it's hard to imagine John Sheppard sparkling quite as much as Johnny Weir (Largely because no one can; I suspect Weir's a metahuman. Power? Supersparkle. And the convenient thing is he can just throw a cape on over his skating costumes and he's good to go fight - crime, or dullness, or visible roots, or douchebaggery, or whatever it is he fights.), but it's fun to try. I think we can all agree that what SGA was really missing, over the five seasons, was lamé and rhinestones.

Fortunately, this story will give you all of that. It's like every great sports movie you ever watched, except a) more epic b) more gay and c) starring John Sheppard and Rodney McKay. And I don't know about you, but for me, that's exactly what those movies were missing.

The One That Makes Me Wonder if There's an Old Slayers Home in the Jossverse Heaven, and What Exactly They Talk About There. Phoenix Burning, by [livejournal.com profile] yahtzee63. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy Summers/Angel. (ETA: Changed link to AO3, because it's more readable there.)

I don't ever want to be the person leaving a comment on a 4000 word McShep PWP that says, "This was really good! Except for the sex, man, I hate slash, and John and Rodney aren't gay and if they were they wouldn't be gay for each other, but still, this was good." So in general I try not to start off recs by listing all the reasons I shouldn't have liked the story. But in this case - yeah, I'm going to, because I want you to understand how wonderful this story must be.

First, I hardly read any Buffy or Angel fan fiction. (True fact: I am far, far more likely to write fan fiction in the Jossverse than read it. I don't even know why. I have written hundreds and hundreds of pages of the stuff, which for me is just a ton.) And, second, okay - I have problems pairing Buffy with anyone from the series. I just. I just do. The only character I ever feel comfortable seeing paired with Buffy is Faith, and her canon arc makes a happy ending there difficult. And, also, for some reason I cannot actually see any words on the screen at Yahtzee's website. (It's just - all white. I don't know why. I can still cut and paste the words, but I can't see them. I blame the internet gods.)

So, what with all those obstacles, I have had this story in my mental to-read folder for, oh, about three years or so. But recently someone mentioned it, and I do love the long stories these days. And, most of all, I have never read anything by Yahtzee that didn't leave me astonished and gleeful and simultaneously replete and wanting more. (You know the feeling: you close the book and you're so happy and you wish you hadn't read it so you could still have the pleasure in front of you.)

This story is, of all of Yahtzee's stories, the one that most left me feeling that way. It's AU from "The Gift," the episode in which - um, spoilers, by the way - Buffy dies. (Another spoiler, although probably this one is not going to surprise anyone: she doesn't stay dead.) It's set 350 years in the future. And it is incredible - right and true and awesome and just. Just. Amazing. I really don't want to say any more than that.

No, wait, I want to say one more thing. (Yes, I know, you're so surprised.) If you're like me, and you're waving this story away because you think it's something you wouldn't like: look, I hear you. I do. But even if this story is the kind of thing you don't like, you will still like it. It transcends its genres and categories and tags. Don't wait three years to read it. Now is a good time.

The One in Which Merlin Is Even Worse at Magic Than He Is in the Canon. Yes, It's Possible. Easy There, by [livejournal.com profile] syllic. Merlin, Merlin/Arthur Pendragon.

Okay, yes, this is the second sports AU in this set, and there is a reason: I love these. I love when someone takes another hobby of hers, a fandom outside of the usual run of media fandom - NASCAR, equestrian events, figure skating (although right now this probably counts as a mainstream fandom, thanks entirely to sparklepower), crewing - and writes a massive AU in it. (But where are all the non-sports alternate fandom AUs? I'm patiently waiting for the choral singing and competitive orchid growing ones. Surely there are fans with these hobbies! Surely they long to write epic AUs featuring said hobbies!) The writer loves the characters, and she loves the subject, and this pretty much always leads to glory.

It certainly leads to glory here. I had, prior to this, pretty much no interest in competitive rowing of any kind - seriously, a whole bunch of boat crews practice at the lagoon where I often take the earthling, and my only vague interest has been in what happens when you get sand under all that Lycra - but this gripped me. I cared deeply. And not just about getting Arthur's tab inserted in Merlin's slot without anyone breaking any fingers. (I am actually not a huge fan of awkward sex in most fandoms - I mean, I appreciate the realism, but I tend to cringe with embarrassment for the characters - but Merlin is wholly an exception, because Arthur and Merlin are just so incredibly dorky. And young. And speaking as someone who is dorky and was once young: the combination leads to a lot of hilariously awkward sex. Also hilariously awkward visits to medical professionals afterward, but there's none of that here, for which I am grateful.)

And Merlin (the show, although also the guy) lends itself especially well to AUs, I think because there's kind of an "AU goes here" label inserted into the canon itself. (I'm sorry, Malory and White and all the rest of you King Arthur writers, but what are we supposed to think with all the time jiggery-pokery and vague references to Arthur's return and so on? It's like you're begging us to write modern AUs, and future AUs, and also AUs set in Regency England (oh my god someone please tell me there's already Arthur and Merlin in Regency England), and we are just not that good at resisting temptation.) These are classic characters, and they work anywhere, and they definitely work so very well here. (Which is on boats. In case you forgot what I was writing about.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Best Beloved recently pointed out to me that it had been approximately seventeen years since I had recommended anything, which had of course triggered the inevitable thing where I am reluctant to write up a recommendations post because it's been so long since I've done one. You all know how this goes. She suggested I ease myself into it with vids. Happy vids.

She was, as always, right. Here are some happy vids, and pretty soon I might even remember how recommending works! I think - I think there is cake involved?

I might be wrong about the cake, actually.

The One That I Always Remember as Being NC-17, and Then I Rewatch It and Realize That It Is Merely Suggestive. Very, Very Suggestive. Let's Misbehave, by [livejournal.com profile] greensilver. White Collar.

Okay. I have read stories in this fandom - not, you know, all of them or anything, but some. Many, even! And this vid is, like, 45% of them. This is a vid with plot, and the plot goes like this:

Neal: I am exceptionally pretty.
Peter: Yes, you are. I might wish you weren't, but it's a fact and I'm prepared to put it on any number of affadavits.
Neal: Also, cute.
Peter: Yeah, but I've got to point out that it's the kind of cute where sometimes I want to smack you.
Neal: That's all just part of my charm.
Peter: The hell of it is that that's true.
Neal: And did I mention that I'm talented?
Peter: I already knew that, actually.
Neal: Face it, you can't resist me.
Peter: Let me just remind you about my wife.
Neal: You're in luck! I'm good with other people's wives.

Neal: So. Hi. Peter loves you, you know.
Elizabeth: And I love him, so that's something you and I have in common.
Neal: Did I mention that I am exceptionally pretty?
Elizabeth: You didn't need to. I have eyes.
Neal: But I would never want to come between the two of you.
Elizabeth: Well that's a pity.
Neal: Oooo. I think you're about to make me an offer I won't refuse.
Elizabeth: No, I'm going to make that offer to Peter.
Neal: Great! But, uh, if you're caught, I will disavow all knowledge.
Elizabeth: Like hell you will.

[And then they all have sex.]

So compelling is the force of this vid that even I think Neal is pretty for the duration of it. (I'm sorry, but under normal, non-this-vid circumstances, Neal looks like a not-especially-attractive ferret to me. I mean, okay, fine, a kind of cute ferret, but definitely the sort of creature you want to a) pat on the head and b) keep in a cage. Yes, fine, the line to cut me dead starts over there.) And that makes me notice that Elizabeth (who is absolutely not only pretty but hot) and Neal look a lot alike. And they have some similar body language. Hmmmm. Perhaps Peter has a type? IT MIGHT BE. WE SHOULD LOOK INTO THIS. (Hint: start by watching this vid.)

The One That Answers the Age-Old Question: Where Do Good Past Incarnations Go? The Tenth Doctor Musical, by [livejournal.com profile] di_br. Doctor Who.

Okay, I am guessing by the fact that this thing has almost 500 comments on LJ and more than 50k hits on YouTube that everyone has already seen it. I do not care. There might be someone out there who hasn't. That alone is reason enough to rec this.

Because, oh my god, this is just - just - well. I don't want to spoil it or anything, but there was a point, right before Nine rolled his eyes (and I was right there with him, of course), that I had a laughter-induced hallucination. (And here it is, for the people who have seen the movie of Bridget Jones's Diary: I saw the tenth Doctor in his pajamas, using a hairbrush as a microphone, singing All By Myself until he broke down weeping helplessly on the TARDIS's control panel. And here's the thing: I am absolutely, completely convinced that he's done this. We just need to get the footage out of the TARDIS somehow. Anyone have an in with her?)

I love this vid. I love every single thing about it. I love the idea that there's a Home for Old Doctors where they can watch the latest incarnation's exploits ("I tell you what, I would never have done that. In my day we knew the value of a blooping tube of blue goop.") and brood all moodily and be harassed by babies and have a cup of tea. I love the bonus track at the end, which, seriously, I have no idea what's going on there, but it is fucking scary, even so. I love the bits with Jack and the Master. I love Martha's theme song, which is so obviously her theme song I don't know why I never realized it before.

I even love being rickrolled. Pretty much.

The One That Makes Me Say, Every Time, "They - Had a Wizard of Oz Episode? Or a Costume Party Episode? Seriously, What the Fuck?" High School Never Ends, by Gab, aka [livejournal.com profile] milena_d. Gateverse.

It took me a lot of rewatching to figure out just why this vid works so well for me - because it does, it so totally does, and yet usually this kind of concept doesn't. But I persisted in my viewings - it wasn't actually a hardship - until I realized that actually, this vid is a celebration of the somewhat doofy but always entertaining physical acting (if, um, that's the term I want) of the many people of the Gateverse. And that is - it's just wonderful. It's physical comedy! In vid form!

But it's so much more than that. It's also filled with sly meta commentary on the shows and their fandoms, and, even more than that, a lot of love for the Gateverse and everyone in it. One of the things that I love about vidding is that for me, it's the fanwork type that can most easily just be a giant explosion of love for the fandom. There are vids that are, totally obviously and clearly, OMG SQUEEEEEEEEEEEE <3 <3 <3 set to music. And how can you not love that? How can you not love it when someone not only draws metaphorical hearts with her name and the fandom's name in it, but does it while hitting the beat?

(I am guessing that if you're better with faces and people than I am, fanart probably accomplishes the same thing. But - okay, this is a totally honest example of the way my brain sometimes fails with fanart. There is a very famous series of drawings in an older fandom, and someone linked to them on my friends list a while back, so I looked at them. And then I went to get Best Beloved, because when I'm that kind of lost, usually the problem is that my brain is malfunctioning. And we had a conversation that went, in part:

Me, showing her one of the drawings: ...And I just don't get it, I guess. I mean. How is this fannish?
BB: What do you see?
Me: A tiger.
BB: Do you see the guys in front of the tiger?
Me, trying to fake it: Um. Maybe?
BB: Do you see the one guy's penis, and how the other guy is sort of going for it?
Me, stunned: There's a penis?
BB: HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THE PENIS?
Me: It's a really confusing picture!
BB: There's two guys and a penis and a tiger! IT'S PRETTY BASIC.
Me, muttering: Not to me it isn't.
BB: I can't believe you brought me in here to look at a penis you didn't even know was there.)

The One That Makes the Best Use of Lens Flare I Have Yet Seen in a Vid. The Test, by [personal profile] heresluck.

Probably you have already heard about how awesome this vid is. Well, you heard right: it is in fact profoundly awesome. It so profoundly awesome, in fact, that I feel comfortable recommending it, even though right now I have to question my judgment in anything Trek-related. I am still in that unfortunate phase of fandom where I sort of lack - you know, taste. And rational thought. Basically, my flowchart for determining whether or not I love something has a new branch in it, very early on, which looks like this (except of course the actual flowchart is nifty and cool-looking, because my brain does not run in ASCII):

Trek? The kind that has a Spock? ---Yes ---> OKAY I ALREADY LOVE IT

I am - a little obsessed. Just a little. But trust me when I tell you that my obsession is not why I love this vid. There are, in fact, so many moments that I love in it that if I made a greatest bits collection of it, it would be about four minutes long. (If I was allowed commentary in addition to actual clips, it would probably be about three hours long. This is why I don't ever try to do a frame-by-frame analysis of a vid; two years in and I'd still be at 0:45 and I'd already have said, "But it's, you know, SO INCREDIBLE, because" seven million times.)

I will say this, though: I was absolutely, completely sold on this vid in the first 35 seconds. AND THEN IT GOT BETTER. And then it got better again! It was like a matryoshka doll set, except made entirely of joy; I kept thinking I'd found the pure brilliance at the center, but no! There was always more joy still to come.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The One That Will Give You Flashbacks to the 1980s, Even If You Didn't Live Through Them. Kings of the Air, by [livejournal.com profile] fabularasa. Top Gun, Iceman/Maverick.

Okay. So. Two years ago, for reasons that do not need exploring at this juncture, I re-watched Top Gun. I had not seen that movie in a long, long time. It, um, looked a lot different the second time around. (This resulted, by the way, in a never-posted Top Gun recap that would probably have broken the LJ post character limit, and 30% of those characters were along the lines of "RANDOM GAY VOLLEYBALL PORN OH MY GOD ARE THEY FUCKING KIDDING?")

Anyway. My point is: this is the story for that movie. This is what they were working towards the whole movie, even if they didn't know it (although, Jesus - how could they NOT know, given all that random gay porn?). This is the only story you need to read for this fandom. Although I myself would not mind several thousand more stories exploring the really gay, not really subtext of Top Gun, but my point is: if we never get them, that's fine; we can still file this fandom in the box marked "done," thanks to this story alone.

This is also a story you can totally read if you've never seen the movie. I will provide you with a summary, in case you need it. Spoilers, obviously.

Maverick: Hi, I am a Navy pilot, and I am just totally awesome. People cannot even get over how awesome I am. I sure can't get over it, because I am such hot shit my ass routinely catches on fire. Hey, would you like my autograph? Yeah, that'll be fifty bucks.
Goose: I am Maverick's gunner or wingman or something, and he's, yeah, fairly awesome. I am a nice guy who has a lovely wife and adorable small children. This is usually a terminal condition in an action movie. Just, you know. FYI.
Iceman: I am also a pilot. And, Maverick, sometimes when your ass is on fire, it's because someone is beating it. That person would be me.
Charlie: I am the token girl. I have a Ph.D. and a desire to fuck one of my students! And, mmmm, I love the taste of arrogance in the morning. Now, who shall I pick?

[Painful singing interlude.]

Charlie: I choose you, Pikachu! I mean, Maverick!
Maverick: Yay. And yet - Iceman - I must - um, engage in conflict with him. Yes. Conflict.
Iceman: You're not hot enough or good enough to engage with me, boyo. Just stand there and let me stare at you.

[Random gay volleyball porn.]

Iceman: Maverick, you piss me off so much that I need to punch you just so I can feel my skin against yours.
Maverick: YES, BABY, YES. Fuck - I mean punch - me harder.
Goose: *dies*

[WOE.]

Iceman: I win the competition we were having to be the best Navy pilot in all the land!
Maverick: PUNCH ME HARDER. I mean. Um. Yeah, you win. But I have Become a Man! In all senses of the word! Oh, god, YES.
Charlie: ...Wasn't I supposed to be the love interest?
Goose: *remains dead*

The One That Teaches Us That Brain Parasites Can Be an Effective Therapy. (Don't Try This in the Real World, Though.) Tongues of Men and Angels, by [livejournal.com profile] mad_maudlin. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

Okay. I have - a thing. The Goa'uld make me want to CLAW MY SKIN OFF. Just, you know, preemptively. In case they turn out to be real. And yet. This story, for me, is alllll about a relationship, and it's not the McKay/Sheppard one. (Not that I am not bang alongside the McKay/Sheppard one, of course. I enjoy it! I am pleased it is here! But it is not the centerpiece of the story for me.)

Because this is a non-Atlantis AU, and there are Tok'ra in it, and this, for me, is about what being a Tok'ra is like. It's about the relationship between Tok'ra and host, and it's the first story I've ever read that made me believe the Tok'ra might be more than just Goa'uld with slightly (slightly!) better press. I actually like the Tok'ra, as they are portrayed here. Okay. A few of them. But that is a huge thing for someone who is as mind-controlling-parasite averse as I am!

But this story is 60k words of gateversey goodness, so it is also a fantastic action piece, and it has great hurt/comfort, and some very nice bits for SG1, and engineering, and sarcasm, and, just, everything I want from an SGA story (except Go-playing ghosts and John and Rodney turned into seahorses who are disturbed to discover that MPreg is their new canon, because no SGA story can be absolutely everything). In fact, this story probably also makes perfect toast and can bring rain to parched lands. It's that good, people.

And it's amazing to me, because it's a happy ending for John and Rodney that doesn't involve Atlantis, and the thing is - I always kind of assumed that there wasn't a happy ending for them that didn't involve Atlantis, largely because, well, it seemed like they had had that relationship conversation with earth. You know, the one that goes, "It's not you, it's me. It's just - we don't feel the same way, and we want different things, and - yeah. I mean. I care. I do. But it's not working out." (In Rodney's case, he'd be the one saying this. In John's case, it'd be earth.) So I am frankly stunned that [livejournal.com profile] mad_maudlin could use the guys as, you know, roughly the same people (and not seahorses or circus performers or satellites or whatever) and find them a happy ending that does not involve a certain imaginary flying city.

Anyway. Read this. It's awesome.

The One with the Most Nearly-Literal Slave Collar I've Yet Seen That Is Canonical. Did the Canon Writers Notice This? Were They Paying Attention? Figure It Out, by [livejournal.com profile] lightgetsin. White Collar, Elizabeth Burke/Peter Burke/Neal Caffrey.

Okay. I do not know from White Collar. I'm at that stage where I have to check IMDb to find out what the full names of the characters are. Usually, at this stage, I have about a one-sentence summary of the fandom in my head, but in this case, I don't. Instead, I have a picture. Which I am unfortunately unable to show you, because I can't get into LJ Scrapbook for some reason Which I can totally show you, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] tzikeh. (It shows Neal handcuffed to Peter, who is kissing Elizabeth.) And, really, that says it all. Or at least all the parts I'm interested in.

Anyway. Like I said, I don't know from White Collar, but based on this story, if the DVDs were available, I would totally have Best Beloved watching it already. I might even be watching an episode myself (although that is unlikely, what with my current Kirk and Spock issues - but the very fact that I, deep in this weird TOSian fever, am willing to consider watching something else is significant). Because the characters are awesome, the concept is deeply appealing, and the dialog is first rate. In the story, I mean. My primary concern, if I had Best Beloved watch this, would be that the canon might not measure up to the fan fiction. This has happened before.

But, oh, it would almost be worth it, to know these three people better. Plus, you know, other people. I am sure there are other people in the show worth knowing. Probably.

So, this story - well. It is about Neal (conman!) and Peter (conman-catcher!) and Elizabeth (person who catches the conman-catcher!) and their really pure true love. But what I mostly love about it are the central questions it seems to ask, which is - how do you trust someone whose whole life has been built around making people trust him even though he's not, you know, actually trustworthy? How do you love someone whose job it is to make people love him? (And I would just like to note that it is awesome that for once the person whose job it is to make people love him is not a prostitute.) And exactly what happens when what is holding you together goes away?

(SECRET HINT: Sex! And PURE TRUE LOVE. And, knowing these three, someone (Neal) getting tied to something. But that's just my guess.)

The One Where We Learn That Even Logic Crumbles in the Face of a Really Short Skirt. Listening to Hear Where You Are, by [livejournal.com profile] frostfire_17. Star Trek Reboot, Jim Kirk/Spock/Nyota Uhura.

Sooooo. As some of you may be aware, I have recently had my brain taken over by Star Trek: TOS. And Reboot. Anything with a Spock, basically. (This is a painful process, but I am told that eventually I may regain the ability to speak in complete sentences, so I am trying to be strong. And you should all give Best Beloved massive, massive love for standing by me through it.) And, see, my TOS obsession makes this story even better (although I'm going to be honest here and say a) it did not need to be made even better and b) Frostfire may be liable for various damages to readers' brains for the stunning level of betterness in this story even without TOS as a point of reference), because now I have seen the women's uniforms that are the centerpiece of this, and, well.

Look at some of the images Frost linked to in her notes.

Okay. Now picture that outfit on Reboot Kirk. (In a fetching shade of gold, naturally). Yeah, I thought that would get your attention. Because, let's be honest here - Kirk was born to wear that dress. And Spock and Uhura were born to fuck him senseless in it.

Seriously, this is like 8k words of fantastic threesome porn, which is all by itself a reason to love the story, but what I really love, here, is how in character everyone is. This is an awesome Uhura, an awesome Spock, and a Jim Kirk in a dress. (Which is, obviously, the definition of awesome.)

And it's also an awesome use of a costume that actually made my jaw drop the first time I saw it in action, because holy shit that is a short dress. (Usually the argument against skirts on people in space is that if there's an artificial gravity failure, the wearer will end up with a skirt in the face. Let's just say that is not a problem here, since in the event of a gravity failure, this skirt will look exactly the same.) This story made me love the uniform a lot more than I previously did.

Also, did I mention the threesome porn?

The One to Read to Remind Yourself It Could Always Be Worse: You Could Be Spending the Holiday of Your Choice with the U.S. Congress. Die Hard 4.5: I'll Be Hard for Christmas, by Aja, aka [livejournal.com profile] bookshop (thanks to multiple people!). Live Free or Die Hard, Matt Farrell/John McClane.

I'm going to just pause for a minute so you can let the awesomeness of the title wash over you. Pause - pause - pause. Are you ready? Let's move on.

So, I think the title alone is sufficient reason to convince anyone, including people who haven't seen the movie (me!) and people who sometimes fantasize about punching Bruce Willis in the teeth (hardly me at all, anymore), to read this story, but I have more reasons even than that.

Like, okay, obviously I haven't seen the movie, but I always think the aftermath of action movies would be so much more interesting than the part where our hero blows something up and our villain meets his graphic end, often more than once. What happens when our hero stands up in the wreckage of a major American city, tosses aside his rebar, and goes back to work the next day? (Or, okay, six to eight weeks later, to allow for healing.) And that's what this story is about.

I also have to note that this story has the most wonderful original character ever. (At least, I'm assuming he's original. If he's a stealth crossover from somewhere, please god tell me where.) I don't know when I last met a character who could pack so much world-weary, cynical snark into a single sentence. Every bit of this story that he's in is awesome, and I would totally read a large number of stories in the Amit Sasses Washington fandom, or whatever it would be called.

Plus, you know, there's a whole thing where Matt and John find love in the midst of briefings and Congressional meetings, which has to be a first. (At least, it's a first in that no one was prosecuted or lost a major election afterwards.)

And there's a fivethirtyeight.com reference. Seriously, there's something here for every fan, except possibly those who hate happiness and good sex.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Dear People Out There,

I am hoping you can help me with something.

See, our beloved Philips plays-anything DVD player experienced serious trauma in the move. (Well, we all did.) Now it just sits there with its power light blinking red, and nothing we can do will make it open or play. We've given it time to heal, largely because I hate hate hate replacing things, but it hasn't gotten better, so - what is the current fannish DVD player? The one that plays the most formats, and so on? What do you folks have and love? (That can currently be purchased, I mean.)

Now, onto the recs. Once again, it's long stories. (Parenthood and breastfeeding have really changed the way I'm reading; since I only managed to read fan fiction on the Kindle, and I tend to Kindle mostly longer things, that's what I end up reading. Someday, presumably, there will be more variety here, but you'll have to take that up with the earthling.)

The One with Extra Vulcan Goodness. So Wise We Grow, by [livejournal.com profile] captanddeastar. Star Trek Reboot, Jim T. Kirk/Spock.

Okay, I will admit it. I am unabashed lover of epic kidfic. But my standards for kidfic went way, way up during pregnancy. (True fact: at one point, in around my eighth month, I snarled at the screen, "That is NOT how it happens, and that is NOT medically accurate, and also -" and then I realized I was criticizing the medical realism of MPREG. People who tell you pregnancy makes you crazy probably aren't thinking of this moment, but they should be.) And then they skyrocketed again after I was living my own version of kidfic, complete with earthling. So I now approach kidfic with joy and trepidation, because either it's going to make me happy all day long or it's going to make me write yet another lengthy mental post entitled Pregnancy and Childrearing: Actual Facts, Because You Seem Not to Have Any Even Though the Internet Is Totally Full of Them.

This one fell squarely into the "happy all day long" category. And in a rather unusual way, too. See, okay - most kidfic starts from one of two places: either a new baby, via MPreg or alien/divine/future/magical intervention, or a (gasp!) woman, whatever, or a kid still firmly in what I think of as the Era of Cuteness. This story starts out with a kid in the Era of Snottiness, and I just love that. (Partly this is because I have a nephew who has just embarked on the Era of Snottiness, and I have so much enjoyed seeing him discover sarcasm and obstructive literalism and eye-rolling and various gestures behind my sister's back. I imagine I will love this age much less when the earthling gets there, but for right now, it's comedy gold.)

And I also love (we're back to the story again) Jim and Spock, getting it backwards as usual. (First comes baby, then comes marriage, then comes love: I am pretty sure that is not how it usually goes, guys! But then, being captain of the whole fucking ship doesn't usually come at the start of one's career, either, so I am guessing they're used to inverting these things. They'd probably be all shocked if they actually did something like other people for once.) And I love how they fuck up, and also get things right, and how they get it all figured out in the end.

Most of all, I just really, really love seeing Jim Kirk dealing with TWO snotty Vulcans. I cannot think of anything better than that.

The One Where Ray Totally Calls Fraser on His Bullshit. More People Need to Do That! A Moment of Insight, by [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

Did I really not recommend this before? That hardly seems possible, and yet LJ Archive insists that it is so. In which case, I really have to wonder what the hell was wrong with me. Because this story is so very marvelous, and I re-read it regularly, and yet somehow I failed to mention that fact to you. Maybe I assumed you all knew about it, but if so, I am sure I assumed wrong. (If I've learned one thing on the internet - besides "never click without first seeing where the link goes, especially if the link text is something like HA HA HA" - it's that there is always someone who hasn't seen it, someone staring at the screen thinking, but what's a LOLcat? Often that person is me. Although I do know what LOLcats are, thank god.)

I can't take the risk that there is someone out there who is looking for a good, long story, or a good dS story, or just a story involving hotel rooms in middle America (and if you think there isn't someone looking for that last one, watch a few storyfinders communities - there is always someone looking for a story involving, like, eye infections, or learning to stand on your head, or French-Canadian pastries, things like that.)

So. What we have here is:
  1. Ray and Fraser. (A good way to start! Years of happiness started that way for me.)
  2. Trapped in a hotel room. (I think we can all agree that this is a fundamentally excellent plot development in virtually all fandoms, and before you argue, consider: Buffy and Ethan Rayne, trapped in a hotel room! Hercules and Iolaus, trapped in a hotel room! Reboot Kirk and Methos, trapped in a hotel room!)
  3. Engaged in sex and case-solving, and, really, what could be better? (Fan fiction has changed my definition of "awesome procedural crime story" to the point where I always find myself vaguely disappointed in published if the heroes just catch the bad guys, and don't actually fuck or flirt or have a moment of relationship-defining staring or whatever. This is funny because I love gen fan fiction and almost never have that problem there, but then, fan fiction writers actually know when they're writing slash, most of the time; pro writers often don't.)
Basically, this story is everything I love about dS.

The One Where We Learn About the Persistence of Pizza. In the Memory, I Mean. Forget Me Not, by [livejournal.com profile] maisierita. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

I love amnesia. I just - I really do. (When it happens to fictional people, I mean.) Someone on my friends list was talking about her incredible folly of starting a story with everyone with amnesia and lost in the dark, and I was like: that is an awesome idea. I would love to read that! What's wrong with starting out with everyone amnesiac and lost in the dark?

(Answer: hard to write. Apparently. Whatever.)

I'm not sure what I love more about amnesia - that you get to see everyone without their internal history (who I am, where I hurt, what I've learned) or that you get to see folks interacting without their interpersonal history (who you are, what we fight about, why I like you). Fortunately, in this story, I don't have to choose. Because, okay, Rodney and John may not be lost in the dark, but they definitely both have amnesia. And they're in an unfamiliar world. And not only do they stay that way a good long time, but John gets extra amnesia, which is, obviously, extra awesome. (Also just like him - always taking the largest share of the pie, as long as the pie is made of pain, suffering, time on his knees, or emotional maladjustment!)

I love watching them renegotiate their relationships when they're missing most of the pieces of the puzzle, and figure out what the hell is going on, and deal with the circumstances of their capture. And, equally, I love watching them manage the little stuff - like, they have to reinvent pizza and ice cream and coffee. I think we can all agree that would be a major priority for anyone stuck on an unfamiliar world. (I'm only surprised they didn't reinvent Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Seems like every American who goes to a distant land sends back pathetic pleas for suitcases full of Kraft. Even when they did not eat it at all in the US.)

Basically, this story takes two classic fan fiction tropes (Imprisonment! Amnesia!) and does them up right, in an intensely satisfying story that I re-read at least four times a year.

(Note for readers who happen to be [livejournal.com profile] best_beloved: Yes, [livejournal.com profile] maisierita also wrote that one really sad story. This one is not sad. Authors are allowed to have many facets. READ THIS. You will like it, I swear.)

The One That Will Cause Anyone Who Routinely Drives in Los Angeles to Spend a Lot of Time Imagining the Commute and Sigalerts on This Day. Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round, by Annie D., aka [personal profile] scaramouche. Die Hard 4 x Speed, John McClane/Matt Farrell.

No, I am not recommending this one just because I spend a suspiciously large part of my life singing this song. That is just a bonus. (Although I am kind of sad that there won't be a sequel, because that so obviously would be titled Row Row Row Your Boat.)

Here's the thing: I have never seen Die Hard 4, although I am fairly sure I can fill in many of the blanks. (John McClane is manly and kicks some bad guy ass, for example.) And I actually have seen Speed, but I realized, while reading this story, that I don't really remember it. What I remember is, like, the movie trailer version of it. I remember the central plot device - the bus thing, of course - and a few snippets of dialog and some of the characters. (I think my brain has even set this memory to stirring instrumental music, and prefaced it with a ratings screen.) And I very clearly remember thinking at one point, wow, this movie really needed to end about 20 minutes ago. But I don't actually remember, like, who the bad guy was, or, um, the plot - things like that.

I do not regret this at all, because I am just going to pretend, for the rest of my life, that both Speed and Die Hard 4 went exactly like this story. It has everything I want from an action movie - ass-kicking! Wise-cracking! Manliness! Injuries! Inexplicably well-equipped bad guys who, in reality, would just make several billion dollars looting hedge funds and then buy a tropical island, which would in any case be easier than their nefarious plans! Kissing!

But this story is better than most action movies I can remember, and certainly better than all the ones I can't.

Also, the kissing is between the two main dudes, and I don't think I'm going to be seeing that in a big-budget action movie any time soon. Thank you, Annie D, for giving me everything I want in an action movie. Without even requiring me to hire a babysitter.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Things have been kind of rough for the House of TFV lately. But one major good thing has been that we have finally gotten my desk and computer all set up. Which means I can retreat to one of my fannish happy places: vids. And these vids are happy indeed.

The One That Made Me Wonder What Kind of Gum Uhura Likes. Apple Candy, by [livejournal.com profile] talitha78. Star Trek Reboot.

First off, I think I should just issue a blanket recommendation of every single thing [livejournal.com profile] talitha78 does, because, wow, she has made so very many vids that make me so very, very happy; I had this set all assembled and then realized, whoops - two of the vids were by her. So I had to pick just one of them, and I will have you know that it was not easy.

This one won, of course. It's like it was made for me. Although - okay. My associations with this song have been documented before, but - am I the only one who, having watched this vid, now also wants a Kirk/Uhura/Spock vid to Jessie's Girl? Come ON. "I've been funny, I've been cool with the lines" - that could, if you're willing to posit the existence of a time machine, have been written about Reboot Kirk! Don't tell me you aren't now seeing the vid in your head in all its glory. (If you aren't, there's a download at that link. I'm just saying.)

But. As glorious as the Jessie's Girl vid would be - and, oh, I think we can all agree it would be the kind of thing that makes the angels, if not sing, at least giggle - this vid is even better. I'm not going to tell you why - I went off on that whole tangent in part just to avoid telling you why - but I am going to say that I went into this vid expecting to love it (Apple Candy and Kirk/Uhura/Spock, by a vidder of known awesomeness: the download might as well have come with little sparkly hearts on it), got most of the way through, and realized I was going to love it even more than that. It is just that wonderful.

The One That Actually Made Me Tear up from Sheer Love the First Time I Saw It. One Night Fandoms, by [personal profile] thingswithwings and [livejournal.com profile] eruthros. Multifandom. Very nearly panfandom, in fact.

[livejournal.com profile] yuletide is coming 'round again, people! It is truly my favorite time of the year. (No, you are not allowed to remind me about this in two months, when I'm quietly weeping over my keyboard and occasionally moaning "why did I volunteer to write this?" in IM. Yes, there's some pain involved. Pain is part of the fun. Really.) And, in anticipation, I have started re-watching this vid, which made me so happy last year that I was afraid my ears might fall off.

This is Yuletide. If you've never done it: this is what it's like! It's all the things you love even though no one else does, things most people have never even heard of. Things you keep wistfully telling your friends that, no, really, they should try it, they'd love it, it's awesome, and you will TOTALLY loan it to them or even buy it, and you know they never will try it, and you don't know why, because, seriously, so wonderful. Things, in short, you definitely never expected to see in a real fanwork. And they're all in this vid. Just like they're all in Yuletide.

True fact: the first few times I watched this vid, I was just looking hopefully for my past Yuletide sources - the ones I've written, the ones I've requested. It took me several rotations to be able to set that aside and admire the beauty of the way this vid is put together - and it is beautiful, no doubt.

But most of all, it's Yuletide. Watch it. And then start planning out your signup sheet.

The One That Is a Tribute to the Thespian Skills of Momoa and Flanigan. Is She Really Going Out With Him?, by [personal profile] sherrold and [personal profile] wickedwords. Stargate: Atlantis.

I just. I can't even tell you how wonderful this is. It caused me to guffaw openly, because - okay. I haven't seen any SGA canon since the first season, and even then I didn't watch very much of it. I'm just not a visual media girl, is the thing, and frankly, if you're going to give me a choice between watching some people galumph around space and bonk into things or reading about those same people galumphing around space, bonking into things, and fucking, well. I am going to go with the latter. (And it's not the fucking that makes the difference, actually; it's the reading, although I'm not going to say the fucking doesn't help. I do love the subtext, but - what's the opposite of subtext? Domtext? Anyway. I love that, too.)

But my point is, I haven't seen any of the later SGA canon, and so my first reaction to this vid was to say, "They SHOWED that? Like, on the air? Did they forget about the part where the subtext is supposed to be sub?"

And then I realized this is probably all skillful editing, and the makers of Stargate didn't actually undergo some kind of bizarre brainswap. But, since I haven't seen the canon, I can pretend they did. This will always be canon to me.

(And it totally makes me want the accompanying fan fiction, where Ronon and John have to go on a mission by themselves, because Teyla's with Kanaan or however you spell his name, and Rodney's with Keller - because she's really going out with him, WTF? - and they're the two pathetic team members who never get laid and always have time to do extra work. They end up at a skuzzy bar getting totally wasted and weeping into their beverages - Ronon drinks a Pegrithian spirit called Skaar, and John starts with Skaar but gets sidetracked into this sweet liqueur that they mix with bright red berry juice and serve with chunks of fruit and a whipped topping and a little carving of a big-eyed animal that looks suspiciously like Hello Kitty. And the natives feel sorry for them, what with all the weeping and pathos, and they come back with an incredible trade agreement and terrible hangovers and a piece of paper with the name and Gate address of a guy who is supposed to be good at solving problems. They don't know if he's a therapist or an assassin. Or both. Neither of them goes to see him, but they do take out the paper and look at it from time to time.)

The One That Proves That Some Songs Compel Even the Planet Earth to Do a Little Dance. Mothership, by [livejournal.com profile] laurashapiro. Doctor Who.

If you don't chairdance while watching this vid, your butt has no rhythm and no soul. Sorry, that's just how it is. Because this is a shiny, happy, gleaming vid that just insists that you get your wiggle on.

But you should know that Best Beloved and I had a slight difference of opinion while watching it. We were getting down, grooving, enjoying the astonishing way the clips and the motion work with the music here - seriously, it's amazing - and just the general wonderfulness of it all. (The earthling was sitting in my lap, bouncing to the music. The boy knows when it's time to get down.) And then the vid ended, and we had this conversation:

BB: Aw, that was great. A tribute to all things -
Me, delightedly: TARDIS!
BB, giving me a Look: - Doctor.

And right there you have the essence of our difference of opinion about Doctor Who. Best Beloved seems to believe it's about this guy. Whereas I know in my heart it's about the tech. (Could you have all the things that happen in these clips without the TARDIS? No. No, you could not. The TARDIS is far more essential than the Doctor, obviously.) But, whatever you happen to believe - I understand there are even some people who believe this show is about the companions, which, whatever: I love you even if you're strange - you will adore this vid. If for no other reason than you can get your groove on. (With the TARDIS!)

(When you're done getting your groove on, marvel that this song is apparently a cappella. I don't even know what to do with that. I mean, I knew the human mouth was a marvel, but, wow.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
The other day, a blogger I read intermittently said she really loved packing and moving. I had to leave the computer for fifteen minutes to avoid leaving a comment that a) called her a psycho lying liar pants b) advised her to seek therapy IMMEDIATELY for the sake of her children and c) begged her to come take care of our move, since she likes it so very much.

It's at this point that I need to make it clear that I am not in my right mind. And I have good reason to be crazy. Back in college, I knew every semester would end in tears. And not because of the finals, or the yay-finals-are-over relief - because I had to pack up my shit. I would happily have taken finals forever to avoid that.

And that was when a) I was a college student, so my major possessions consisted of a stereo system (this was back when we had stereo systems), three pots, and inflatable furniture and b) I moved every semester, so you'd think I'd've had it down to a science.

Now - well. We've lived in this house for ten years. We've been moving for four months. I hate this so much I can't begin to tell you. And that's actually the good part of this week. Other highlights include Assorted whining behind cut. Key concept: I won't be going to Vividcon this year. )So, really, life is sucking a fairish amount right now. (Did I mention that the earthling is on a new medication that makes him tired and cranky? No? Yet another fun factor in all this!)

Obviously, it's time to rec something. But this time, I am hoping to make it interactive! See, I will rec three stories that have alleviated quite a lot of misery for me, and then maybe you can recommend a fourth one to me!

Because, wow, I need the escapism right now.

The One That Proves That the Difference Between Marines and High School Boys Is - Something. Probably. I Will Figure It out Eventually. Get Some, by [livejournal.com profile] hackthis. Generation Kill, Brad Colbert/Nate Fick.

If you don't know what Generation Kill is, you don't entirely need to - the joy of an AU this long is that it's basically self-contained - but I hear there are weird purists out there who like to know what the characters look like and stuff. If so, there's a primer here. (Warning to people like me: this is a show about Recon Marines. Which means they spend all their time in camouflage and big-ass hat things that make them look like khaki Q-tips. Which means, of course, that to me they are all identical. So if you're like me, skip the photos and just read the summaries. Or, hey, just read the story.)

I read this story like five times the week it was posted. And here's the kicker: I don't like high school AUs. College AUs? Absolutely. But my feeling about high school is that I did that, sort of, even though I ditched four days out of five and spent most of one year in detention and skipped the last year altogether and - you're probably starting to see why I don't read high school AUs.

But I read this one. I love this one. [livejournal.com profile] hackthis has a knack for making me love characters I normally wouldn't - I'm thinking of sending her a letter about this, but the thing is, I can't figure out if it would be thanks or threats - and she succeeds in spades here. I mean, I was already reading Generation Kill because she made me (I am pretty sure I recall that gunpoint was involved, but I could be remembering wrong), but this story took it to another level. A frankly embarrassing level, in that I was silently beaming messages to the earthling: Be hungry. Ask to nurse. I need to finish my story.

This AU satisfied a need in my soul. I don't know what that need was, but you know that feeling you get when something is exactly perfect and shaped just right for you? I got that from this. I am betting a lot of you will, too.

Bonus: walks down memory lane for people who remember 1994!

The One with the (Fake) Giant Well-Hung Golden Bull. Perhaps I Should See If I Can Get One of These for Our New House. Operator, by [livejournal.com profile] troyswann. Stargate: SG-1 x The Matrix, Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill.

My love for the Matrix series has been well documented in these pages, and of course by "love" I mean "oh my god what what what did they seriously just spend three-quarters of my life DANCING, and also what the fuck was that with the electric crucifixion thing?"

So I am not exactly panting for Matrix crossovers. But I read this, because frankly I would read anything she wrote, up to and including a crossover between SG1 and Regency England, and I was not at all sorry. This, my friends - this is the awesomeness that I was promised with the Matrix movies. (Seriously. People kept saying, "You love science fiction! You'll love this SO MUCH! You have to seeeeeeeeee it." I finally saw it, and I loved the first, like, 20 minutes, nad then I spent the entire rest of the time hissing things like, "Entropy doesn't WORK THAT WAY" to Best Beloved. Normally I am better behaved in movies. I was better the second time through the first movie, and then I saw the second and third ones, and it allllll went south again. Like, Antarctic-south. I think I sustained permanent damage from all the eye rolling.)

I love this story. I love Jack as the captain of one of those ship thingies (what are they called?), Sam stuck inside the matrix (Sam is so awesome here), Daniel the operator, Vala the reluctant fighter for good (I mean, she's not reluctant to fight, you just get the feeling she wishes there was more moral ambiguity involved), and, of course, Teal'c. Teal'c is awesome.

This isn't necessarily a story I could crawl into, but, oh, it's escapism at its very finest.

The One That Shows Us That True Love Is Killing Spiders. (Really True Love Would Be Killing Cockroaches, and I Mean All the Cockroaches in the World. Why Don't Mad Scientists Ever Get on This? Mad Science, You Have Failed Me.) Junk Cheap, by [livejournal.com profile] devildoll. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

I have read this AU several thousand, thousand times since it was posted. I don't know why I haven't recommended it before. It's one of those inexplicable oversights. (Except maybe not, because this story always makes me want to make lasagna, and I went through enough of that in TS fandom. There are only so many lasagnas a woman can make, fandom! I am perilously close to my lifetime limit, and will soon have to pay an extra Surplus Lasagna Fee for each one.) But I am remedying that now.

The key concept here is: John owns a junk shop, and Rodney does not want him. Not at all. No siree. Who wants to sleep with a junk shop owner? Not Rodney, that's who! Even if he's, you know. Kind of hot.

This seems, perhaps, overly simple. I assure you it is not. There is action! There is the other kind of action! There are leaky showers! (I assure you leaky showers are extremely compelling within this context.) And did I mention that there is lasagna, and also baked goods of various kinds? (You don't get to eat them.)

But the real joy of this, and the reason I come back to it again and again, is that it is absolutely the kind of story I can crawl into and pull over my head when things get bad. There's true love, and comical old people, and a junk shop, and just enough conflict to keep it interesting without raising my blood pressure unhealthily, and it is just adorable and fun in the same way that old movies starring Audrey Hepburn are. I love it. And, right now, I need it.

So. Now it's your turn! Rec me something? Something fun and escapist? (Vulcans are appreciated, but in no way necessary.) I suppose the ideal story would be an AU where there are no real estate agents or car salesmen, but I will gladly settle for any kind of happiness. Really.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
For the very last Sweet Charity, I put my recommending up on the block, and got won by the deeply awesome [personal profile] dorothy1901. Her first request, sadly, I could not fulfill, for I just don't know enough about Iron Man/Captain America. (I do know, though, that every single person ever anywhere at all should go read this, by [livejournal.com profile] jwaneeta, which is AWESOME and INCREDIBLE and looks exactly like a comic book - I actually had to check several times to make sure this wasn’t a scan from Slash World. Incidentally, if this set depresses you, that will be an excellent antidote.)

But she very kindly offered me a choice. And I chose Unhappy Endings, which is the kind of thing I keep meaning to recommend - there are so many brilliant sad-ending stories that I truly want to tell you all about, but when it comes down to it, I don’t. Mostly because I’d have to re-read them, and then there would be pain and suffering. Which is totally the point, and yet - I read fan fiction pretty much only on my Kindle these days, while I’m nursing the earthling, and he does not like it when I cry while he’s eating. (Seriously. He pulls off and gives me this look. “Mama,” the look says. “Do you MIND? I am kind of busy, here, and you’re getting me WET.”)

So thank you, [personal profile] dorothy1901, both for giving to charity and for giving me a good reason to do this.

(People, I am assuming I don’t need to tell you this, but just in case: these stories are NOT HAPPY. There is death involved in some of them, and lots of the kind of thing that leaves your heart all sore. If you read any of these stories, I advise you to have some safety-tab stories at the ready.)

The One That Guaranteed I Could Never Read Anything About Arctic Survival Without Sniffling a Lot. The End of the Road, by [livejournal.com profile] katallison. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

Once upon a time, a young and innocent fangirl was getting into dS. She loved the fandom so much that she was not as wary as she could have been. Should have been. Would one day be. So she saw the warnings on this story and thought, hey, I can totally deal with less than cheery! Particularly in exchange for something so well-written, so good!

And so she read The End of the Road. And it destroyed her.

Now, here's the thing: I could say, "And that fangirl was me." She totally was me. But I'm not the only one who loved Kat's work, thought she'd take any of it that she could get, and then realized, way too late to save herself, that there was only so much reality she could take. This story taught a lot of dS fans of my generation two things:
  1. For god's sake, know your limits. And live them.
  2. Kat Allison can turn a phrase that will carve your soul from your body. Admire her! But fear her.
And I have both admired and feared Kat ever since. (I've also learned that, while The End of the Road is perhaps the ultimate example of her essential Kat-ness, she's written this theme and concept in a number of fandoms. I handle every one of those stories better than I handled this one, because Fraser. And Ray. IN MY HEART THEY ARE HAPPY TOGETHER FOREVER. No, really. Even after they die, they are still together. Probably haunting some poor young relative who cringes every time he opens a closet because he knows there's a fifty-fifty chance he'll walk in on his crazy dead great-uncles fucking on a desk.)

This story is brilliant. And it's heart-breaking, and that's largely because it's so believable, so real. Kat never writes angst. She only writes pain. And this story has brought glorious, glorious pain to many a dS fan. If you love unhappy endings, you'll love it. It doesn’t matter if you read in this fandom. This one's for you.

The One That Would Have Enhanced My Phobia of Telepathy, Except Such a Thing Is Not Actually Possible. Down with Telepathy! Flinch, by [livejournal.com profile] maisierita. Stargate: Atlantis. John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. Sort of.

One of my favorite kinds of stories is the kind where the person takes a fan fiction cliché and subverts it, makes it new and awesome. Or, in this case, new and real. This story packs a surprising wallop for something so short, and I think it's because of how well it builds on what I might call, in a different setting, the existing body of literature. And then undercuts it.

Because that's the thing: we know how this story goes! There is embarrassment and worry followed by confessions of true love (unless you just cut straight to the hot hot sex). Yay! Except - well, it doesn't go that way this time. You might say this story perfectly highlights the difference between fan fiction and real life, because this is how that would really go. This is how it would be if telepathy was real. (This is why I fear telepathy, people. No good can come of it, no matter how much joyous happy fucking and forever love comes from it in fan fiction. In the real world, knowing what people think can only destroy you.)

I remember reading this story two years ago, when it first came out, and being surprised and impressed and thinking [livejournal.com profile] maisierita would be one to watch, because she manages to pack a lot of pain into this, subtly and without force or angst or melodrama, and anyone who can do that can write. And I was right! She's fabulous. I just think it's kind of funny that, despite all the great stuff she's written that I've read, this story will always be what I associate with her name.

The One That Shows Us That There Are Some Things You Just Can't Share, No Matter How Much You Might Want To. (And Totally Improves by Approximately a Million Times on an Episode of SGA.) The Standard of Comparison, by [livejournal.com profile] agentotter. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson.

The thing is, SG1 has a lot of stories I could have picked for this set. I was totally spoiled for choice. (Partly this is because I can handle sadder stories in SG1 than I can in other fandoms. Partly this is just because the world ends an awful lot in this fandom, and any story in which the human race is extinct at the end is probably going to fit in an unhappy endings set. At least if you’re human, and I tend to assume, perhaps unfairly, that most people reading this LJ are.) I mean, I thought of this story right off the bat, as soon as I'd read [personal profile] dorothy1901's request, but I decided to do Important Research. So I re-read approximately 5 million SG1 stories, sniffling many times over each, and finally decided to go with my first instinct.

What can I say? It's another one that has stayed with me. And I love the way the unhappiness just unspools from the ending. It's not just that it ends unhappily, it's that things are definitely going to get worse. Jack and Daniel are stuck in a bad place, and the only solution to the problem is worse than the bad place. But they can't just choose to stay there, either.

Because I am that kind of person, I usually spend a few minutes writing a sort of mental fan fiction for any story I read that I really liked. (I've doing this since I was a kid. I wanted to know what happened to every single person in a book from the ending until forever. And then I wanted to know about their kids. It drove me nuts that the authors just left the characters there, when clearly there were unresolved questions! Like what they had for dinner the next day, and what happened when they grew up, and if they got a dog and what they named that dog. I think I was a fan fiction reader born, not made.)

But I can't do that with this one. It hurts too much. I'd rather leave Jack and Daniel in limbo forever than imagine what has to come next for Daniel. And for someone who was deeply, sincerely resentful of Charles Dickens for not going into sufficient detail, that's saying something.

The One That Teaches Us the True Meaning of Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. Inextricable, by [livejournal.com profile] lunabee34. Star Trek Reboot, Jim Kirk/S'chn T'gai Spock (Apparently that is his real full name - thanks, [personal profile] bluemeridian. And thus we see that even Spock could not escape the Alien Apostrophe Law. Apparently being half-human doesn't help. Also, does anyone but me wonder how he can have a name unpronounceable by humans if his mother was human?)

So. This whole story is basically one huge movie spoiler. I'm cutting here for anyone who hasn't seen the movie yet and wants to, even though I think I am the last such person in existence. (People on MARS have seen this movie by now.) I am also cutting, while I'm at it, for spoilers for the story.

Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I love alternate universes. Good ones, that is. I just got finished trying to read an original fiction author's hideous, horrible attempt to write an AU of her own (published) work, and it made me appreciate fandom even more than I usually do.

You people have a deft hand with the AU, and I love you for it. It's not just that I could count on virtually every author I love to get a supernormal powers AU (the kind the published author failed failed failed at) exactly right; it's that most of you have already gotten it right, and then graduated to things like random inanimate objects or apocalypses or everyone is one inch high and lives in the walls of a castle AUs.

So here I celebrate two of my very favorite kinds of AUs: the kind where someone is a robot, and the kind where they all have different jobs. Yay AUs! That are written by people who know how to write them!

The One with Baby Robots. Baaaaaaaby Robots. Why Is There Not a Community Dedicated to Pictures of Baaaaaaaby Robots? Muscle and Blood and Skin and Bones, by Leah, one half of [livejournal.com profile] leahwoof. Stargate: Atlantis, mostly gen with background John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

I have a well-documented, possibly unholy fondness for robots. Particularly for turning characters into robots. Not like the Buffybot, though. No. More just like - what if John Sheppard was really a robot? What if Rodney McKay was? (And, huh. I don't think I've seen any Rodney is a robot stories. Am I just forgetting some? He has a brain like a computer! What if it WAS a computer?) So, of course, I've already recommended Male Enhancement (The Soul and the Company Store Remix). And this story is a sequel to that one.

But, oh, it's so much more. Because this is the story of how John and Cameron grew from little bitty boxes with treads to be, you know, Real Boys. I love Lorne in this, I love the background of it, and I just insanely love the Johnbot and the Cambot. I actually re-read this story far more often than I re-read The Soul and the Company Store, because it makes my heart swell with happiness.

And, see, I never really wanted to see John Sheppard or Cameron Mitchell as human babies. But as robot babies, they are so insanely cute that I just cannot even deal with it. (Possibly this says something bad about me, that I find robot babies cuter than human babies. But I would submit, in my defense, that a) that's not true in all cases - I find the earthling indescribably cute - and b) I'm pretty sure John WAS a robot baby, so I'm just going with what nature intended.)

The One Featuring an Uther Pendragon Who Is Clearly Closely Related to Lionel Luthor, and, Wow, Isn't That a Terrifying Crossover Waiting to Happen? We're a Storm in Somebody Else's Teacup, by [livejournal.com profile] paperclipbitch. Merlin, Merlin/Arthur Pendragon.

So, I know that all of Merlin fandom was asquee about this story, but I found it totally randomly. I saw the link from the Merlin newsletter while I was looking for stories to Kindle, clicked through, and saw this line:

Merlin meets Morgana Le Fay at a support group for People With Freaky Unnatural Powers.

And I thought, yeah, I'd like to read that.

This turned out to be one of my more fortunate snap decisions, because this is - I don't know how to describe it, even. It's utterly addicting - I read it on my Kindle while the earthling was nursing, and I found myself desperately hoping he would eat for just a few more minutes, because I had to know what happened next. (I think, if I'd been reading this as it was posted, the wait would have killed me.) I was entirely caught up! I cared immensely about these characters and their lives and their decisions and their hair and their coffee table books!

It was a total immersion story experience. I loved it.

This was one of the earliest stories I read in the fandom, and I'm just lucky that it didn't set my expectations so high that I spent the next month reading Merlin stories with an expression of spoiled disappointment on my face.

Anyway. This is a modern Merlin AU. (Side note: why do modern Merlin AUs so frequently feature a Merlin hitting the coffee so hard you expect his eyebrows to zing off his face? Is this canon or something? I mean, they have tomatoes. I guess they could have coffee. Although that's veering perilously close to, like, Post-It notes and Gaius as a first generation hacker with punch cards and - wait. Is there a Merlin hacker AU? If not, why not?) There are powers! There is drama! There are action sequences and love scenes! But that's all beside the point. The fact is, each sentence is laced with undetectable but extremely savory and instantly addictive glee. Read it.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
A long time ago, I was in a creative writing class with a person named Kelly. (And, seriously, why isn't there some service for finding fangirls if you only have their RL names? If she's not in fandom, she should be. And if you're reading this and you're named Kelly and you're a librarian and you once took a poetry class from a professor named Pat, I want to talk to you.) She wrote a poem about wishing she could send a videotape (See? A loooooong time ago.) back to a younger version of herself. I thought about that a lot. I still do.

And in these two stories, it actually HAPPENS. Sort of. In both cases, a reset (or Retcon) button gets pushed, and younger versions of Ianto and Rodney get inserted into the lives of current Ianto and Rodney. I cannot tell you how much I love this. I want this to happen to everyone. (Okay, not everyone. In Teal'c's case, lots of people would die, because younger-Teal'c would likely not be behind this whole killing-the-gods thing. And some people are so young already that it would be more like a de-ageing story - Clark, Merlin, I'm looking at you. But Depot-era Benton Fraser, oh my god. Ronon Dex before he was a runner. Jim Ellison before he joined the military!)

So, on to the specific stories.

The One That Demonstrates Why People Should Not Plan Like Action Heroes Unless They Happen to Be in an Action Movie. (If You're Not Sure, Assume You Are Not in an Action Movie.) Rewind, Reboot, Restore, by Rheanna, aka [livejournal.com profile] rheanna27 and [personal profile] rheanna. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

This story - well. If I had to pick just one character who got to see his new life as his old self, it would have to be Rodney. Because - okay. I used to complain that the Gateverse canon writers did not exactly get this novel concept we call "character development," but in Rodney, they totally prove that they do get it (they just mostly don't like it, and try to avoid it when they can, sort of the way some people are with cilantro). Rodney of pre-Atlantis really is a very different person than the Rodney we know and love, and that makes for quality drama when the two Rodneys meet. And in Rheanna's hands, it is quality indeed. If I had imagined how this might work, well, I don't think I could have imagined anything as wonderful as this.

Also, this story has one of Those Lines. The ones that stay with you and define the story for you, and that you think of often. (I cannot be the only one who has these. I refuse to believe it.) I am not sure if I should include it or not, so here it is, behind the cut:

Spoiler line. Do not cross unless you just like that sort of thing. )


For one thing: hurray, a use of "literally" that actually means literally, and if you don't think that's something to celebrate, I would like to live where you do, please.

But more - that line is the story. Except the story is so very much more. And if I listed all the things I love about this, I would spoil every last plot development, so instead, how about you just read it?

The One That Proves That If You Spend a Lot of Time near Jack Harkness, You Should Plan Like an Action Hero. It Might Be Fun, and It's Not Like You Could Make Your Odds Worse Than They Already Are. The Theory of Two Centres, by [personal profile] sam_storyteller. Torchwood, Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones.

This one fascinated me. See, I have never seen Torchwood, and I don't read huge amounts in the fandom (although that is changing, especially since people keep writing nice long stories for me to put on my Kindle, and TW folks, I will totally take any recs you might have for those), so I really don't know much about Ianto. I know he wears suits. I know the entire fandom seems riveted by him. I know he's the guy who did right by Jack after the Master knocked him up. (Okay, maybe that isn't canon, but it should be.) Beyond that - well, I have a seriously hard time telling the Torchwood people apart, and they seem, from the posts I see on my friends list, to spend most of their time having massive team orgies, so it's not like there's been a pressing need in my life to know who's who.

In this story, though, Ianto is awesome. He seems kind of like Giles, except a) he went through his transformation from Ripper to the Librarian with the Core of Steel in four years instead of twenty, and b) it's not magic and demons, it's the Rift (and excuse me if I have some difficulty telling the difference sometimes). I - I have a weakness for characters who had wild youths and grew up to be staid individuals, for reasons that might be apparent to those who know me pretty well, and this makes me like Ianto so much. I just really admire those who, sure, they could have the sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll and dangerous leather outfits, but they'd rather have this spreadsheet. After all, it's an awesome spreadsheet.

So I love that, and I love the point of view factor here. (Rewind, Reboot, Restore is from the loved one's point of view, and Theory of Two Centres is from the actual rewound person's point of view, and it is fascinating to me the difference that makes in the tone of the story.)

And, most of all, I love that this story gave me the chance to get to know both younger-Ianto and, by the reactions of people around him, canon-Ianto. For people who don't actually know the canon, this story really cannot be beat. And that is very happiness inducing for me.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm going to Vividcon! And, in celebration, I have vid recs. But first, a VVC-related comment and poll:

VVC! )

The One That Will Have You Looking Suspiciously at Cherry Stems Forever. Handlebars, by [livejournal.com profile] flummery. Doctor Who.

This is - well. This is the Doctor. End of story. This is the Doctor in every respect and every detail. The first time I watched this, I was basically clapping in glee from the very first line, and then it got better. And better. And better. And eventually it achieved such amazing levels of betterness that I still haven't entirely recovered. This vid rendered me incoherent. Permanently.

I don't want to tell you how it gets better - if you've somehow missed this vid and this song, just go watch it. You will not be the sorrier. In fact, even if you have no idea who this Doctor person is (He travels through time. With friends. It's complicated.), still go watch it, because after you see this, you will most definitely know.

I once thought I preferred vids about companions (Or enemies, or Daleks. Why are there no Dalek vids? There are lots of good vids songs for them! One is the loneliest number! Make a Circuit with Me! The Macarena!) to vids about the Doctor. And that's still true. But what I think is - my brain knew that this vid was coming, and decided it might just as well wait for perfection.

The One That Demonstrates Why You Might Not Want to Make Pegasus Galaxy Your Vacation Destination. Well, Yes, Life-Sucking Monsters. But It Gets Much Worse Than That, Actually. Open Secrets of the Pegasus Galaxy, by [livejournal.com profile] yevgenie. Stargate: Atlantis.

Okay, first: this is her first vid, you guys. How is this her FIRST VID?

Second: this is the vid that says everything we all know about SGA and don't talk about. Basically, I'd sum that up as: no one gets out of Pegasus clean. (In fact, you mostly don't get out at all. This vid makes that point, too.) The Wraith are the enemy, but how are they different than Atlantis, given some of the decisions the home team makes? The Ancients are (supposed to be, and oh my god, so not, so skeevy) the good guys, but look how badly they fucked Pegasus over. The open secret of Pegasus seems to me to be that everyone fails, falls, dies, fucks up, and fucks over. No heroes.

And now I'd like to talk about the song. Because, see, I love Leonard Cohen. I occasionally fantasize about marrying one of his songs. But I have always considered him basically unviddable. Turns out, nope! I just didn't have the right vision, because oh my god how this song works - works for the vid, works for the theme, works works works. Even if this vid didn't say something I've always wanted someone to say about SGA, I would still love it to pieces, because it's a vid to Leonard Fucking Cohen. That sound you just heard was my heart growing three sizes.

(FIRST. VID. HOW? HOW?)

The One That Is Evidence for the Prosecution. Climbing up the Walls, by [livejournal.com profile] obsessive24. Supernatural, Firefly, and Heroes.

Sooooo. I'm trying to think how to put this. Okay, let's start with this: INCEST. This vid is about incest. And it pulls no punches. Actually, it - you know those video games where, if you hit like nine million buttons in exactly the right order while standing on one foot and whistling Dixie, your character will rear back, grow a robo-claw, and rip another character's head off and eat it? This is the kind of punch this vid has.

And it's just. Fucking. Brilliant. You will be glad your head has been ripped off and eaten by this vid.

What we have here is an incest narrative with all the fanon taken out. Yeah, sure, there are three sibling pairings, here, but it almost doesn't matter; the central story is the same for all of them: fucked-up families, needy and vulnerable younger sibling, obsessively protective older sibling, and then the robo-claw comes out. But the point is: this vid is awesome, and so incredibly rich (there's so much here I could write several lengthy essays about this, for reals), and brutally real. And the brutality should in no way scare you off. (You weren't using that head anyway. And, hey, who doesn't want to see a robo-claw?)

The One That Would Give Charles Darwin Nightmares. (No, Really. He Was a Very Sensitive Man.) Unnatural Selection, by [livejournal.com profile] charmax. Battlestar Galactica and Terminator.

My love for robots is well-documented. At this point, I don't think I need to tell you that sometimes I'm rooting for the robots. But, um. The robots in this vid don't need any humans in their cheering squad; they're doing just fine by themselves. (And, yes, my love for robots can totally survive this vid. I imprinted on robots early and well.)

I don't know either of the sources for this vid. It totally does not matter. (I didn't know any of the sources for [livejournal.com profile] obsessive24's vid, either. Cluelessness is my comfort zone!) The basic message is very clear to anyone who grew up on hard science fiction: we're going to build the next stage. And then it's going to destroy us. (Mine was, yes, a cheerful childhood, always anticipating the moment the machines/metahumans/genetically engineered blobs would rise up and take over. In my day, we didn't need violent video games to prepare us for the apocalypse.)

I love this vid so much, which is a strange thing to say about something that's equal parts dead humans, robotic overlords, and various apocalypses. (Like a Jonathan Coulton album! Except not funny. Really not.) But it's gorgeous and so brilliantly edited and it does in three minutes what it took science fiction a childhood to do for me. Watch. Learn. And fear the future.
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)
Normally, I celebrate Valentine's Day by recommending gen. Yes, I am ever the devil. But this year, I couldn't get a set together in time for the 14th, so instead I am going to commemorate something more appropriate for the day after the Big Love Day: intoxication and addiction stories!

Look, it makes sense in my head, okay?

The One That Features the Perversion of a Fine Old Tradition for the Purposes of Getting Two Guys to, Um, "Fulfill Their Destiny." And Isn't That What Fan Fiction Is All About? Misrule, by [livejournal.com profile] thehoyden. Merlin, Arthur Pendragon/Merlin. (Does Merlin have a last name? Is Merlin his last name, and his first name is, like, Egbert or Rupert or Meredith or Victoria or something? Egbert Merlin would be a lovely name for anyone, I think.)

I thought I'd start off with the most customary form of intoxication: alcohol! Ingested orally! They were nothing if not traditionalists in not-really-medieval-England. (Visit not-really-medieval England on your next trip to Las Vegas! It's like medieval England, but cleaner and prettier and everyone has nice teeth and tomatoes. No, really: Merlin (the show) is exactly how Las Vegas would recreate King Arthur's court. Which, actually, they probably already have, complete with a Merlin the Magician magic show and a Dancing Sorceresses All-Girl Revue; I have a carefully-nurtured mental block about Las Vegas.)

And, as is equally traditional, they really enjoyed dressing men up in women's clothes back in not-really-medieval England. Totally understandable, especially when the man in question is Merlin (and there are a couple of women around who apparently regret not having Barbie dolls when they were growing up). And need I tell you what happens when you get people drunk and cross-dressing? Sex, of course. It's elementary.

Really, this story is a microcosm of everything that a traditional intoxication story is and should be. Including extensive awesomeness.

The One That Shows Us That Ari Gold’s Kryptonite Is Angry Lesbians. As Well It Should Be, Ari. As Well It Should. We Have Secret Powers. If We Were Anybody and Get It Together, by [livejournal.com profile] fourteencandles. Entourage, Eric Murphy/Vince Chase.

There are certain themes that pretty much define a fandom. Like, I know that I'll be able to tag any Smallville story that's over 250 words "secrets and lies," because, well, if I told you to write a plot summary of Smallville without using any terms like "superhero" or "Superman" or "powers" or "so doing it," you'd probably end up saying, "It's. You know. There are secrets, and lies. And stuff."

For Entourage, the tag that will fit every story in the fandom is intoxication. Which, I mean, totally understandable, because in Entourage, there are four main food groups: drugs, blowjobs, power, and money. (No, of course they don't consume any actual food. This is Hollywood. You're only allowed to eat if it costs more than $15/calorie.)

But even for Entourage, Vince manages truly spectacular levels of consumption in this story (in the second part, but then, if you're a fan of happy endings, you'll definitely want to read these together as one story). Which means he gets to experience one of the oldest Hollywood traditions, right behind punching reporters: rehab. And I don't know about you, but I have always wanted to see Vincent Chase (which I keep mistyping as Vincent Chaste, a ha ha) in rehab.

And this is a nice, long, meaty story, one you can read even if you have no idea who these people are. (Hint: Vince is a movie star. Eric is his manager. They loooooooove each other. No, really, this is canon. They may not be fucking, but the marriage is already in place.)

The One That Demonstrates That in the Pegasus Galaxy, Masturbation Really Can Make You Crazy. I Can't Say I'm Surprised. Fix, by [livejournal.com profile] crysothemis. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

This story does not contain your more traditional drugs - alcohol, cocaine, magical fruit powder - but it does contain the ultimate drug of the Pegasus galaxy: Ancient technology. Addictive Ancient technology. Addictive Ancient sex technology. I know, you're already sold.

And well you should be. In addition to featuring addictive Ancient sex technology, a phrase that I am sure could cause Rodney McKay to achieve orgasm if uttered with sufficient conviction, this story is also choose-your-own-point-of-view, a concept that I love almost as much as McKay loves Ancient tech. (No, really. I love screwing around with point of view. And. I mean. I love fandom's tight focus points of view, but often I will, for my own enjoyment, write versions of stories or scenes from the point of view of some other character. I have been doing that to fiction since I was in second grade, and now I do it to fan fiction, too. I just cannot help myself.) I suggest reading either the John version or the Rodney version, and then reading the other one. (You can also do the combined one, but definitely do that one last, okay?)

Anyway. If you still aren't sold, despite addictive Ancient sex technology and choice of point of view, then - well, okay, I am sad for you, because I don't think there's anything I can say to sway you. But I will add that this story also is very satisfying to me, because I have long been convinced that the Ancients were incredibly skeevy bastards that you wouldn't want floating around your universe as disembodied all-powerful beings, and I believe this story supports that point of view most heartily. (Have we had an "oh, those skeevy Ancients" challenge at [livejournal.com profile] sga_flashfic? Because if not, I think I need to lobby for it. I want to spread my Ancient phobia as much as possible, thank you.)

The One Featuring That Time-Honored Slash Trope: Seduction by Peer-Reviewed Research. And If That's Not a Time-Honored Slash Trope, I Submit That It Totally Should Be. Let's Not Talk About It and Say We Did, by [livejournal.com profile] miriam_heddy, ReGenesis, Bob Melnikov/David Sanstrom.

I will be up front: I have no idea what this fandom is about. I'm guessing science comes into it somewhere, but for all I know, these people could be ninjas. (And, hey, possibly they are science ninjas, which I think we can all agree would be such an awesome television concept that Fox would probably cancel it halfway through the pilot.)

But, basically, it doesn't matter what these people are at work - accountants, modern dance choreographers, telemarketers, science ninjas for hire - because what they do at this uncomfortable dinner gathering is: have too much to drink and some uncomfortable conversation, followed by one of those hookups that you just know will be discussed in office gossip in mingled tones of horror and hope: "Either they'll kill each other and we'll all die in the resultant nuclear winter, or this will solve all our problems!" And I love that in a pairing.

Most of all, though, I love these characters. They're such - such people. And I have no idea if they're like that in the canon, or if this is part of what we might term the value-added aspect of fan fiction, but I love them. They have flaws! Many of them! And I just read this whole story hoping that their flaws will properly align and they'll end up together.

If you're still like, "Huh, slash for a television show I've never heard of that TFV knows nothing about - I think maybe I can pass this one up," let me add a special note for SGA fans. People, this is almost exactly like if you hooked up two alternate universe Rodney McKays. Seriously. Read it and I think you'll see what I mean.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, [livejournal.com profile] svmadelyn linked to some free Harlequin books, and she mentioned a NASCAR romance novel as being one of the ones available.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Hence, an AU recs set.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My love for this cannot be rendered in any medium whatsoever. This story has done more to reconcile me to the Star Wars brand than a written personal apology from Lucas could. Hell, it's done more to reconcile me than someone punching Lucas in the nose could. If you are - as I once was, and not too long ago - in the tragic situation of somehow having failed to read this, remedy that at once. Your life will be sunshine and puppies thereafter.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
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)
It's the new year! And I don't know about you, but at this time every year I find myself kind of - not overloaded on fan fiction, no. I could never be that. But dithering helplessly, picking up first this amazingly awesome SGA story and then that incredible Oz story and then, oh my god, thousands of stories, many in fandoms so small that they weren't technically fandoms until December 25th. I mean, right now I have more than two hundred tabs open in my LJ window. (And that does not include Yuletide stories.) Any more and my computer is going to find a way to shock me every time I off-click on something.

At times like this, I find myself looking lovingly at my fanart tag. Things that do not require hours of earthling-free time to appreciate! Things that are shiny and pretty and mostly textless when my brain is approaching critical mass of text!

And then, a few days ago, Best Beloved pointed out that perhaps I'm not the only one feeling this way. Perhaps we'd all like to have a balanced breakfast of pictures and words. I, of course, was stunned by this idea, because change always confuses me.

Me: A whole set of art? I'm pretty sure that's against the rules.
Best Beloved: ...You make the rules.
Me: But they're for everyone's sanity!
Best Beloved: I don't think being linked to four pieces of art is going to break anyone's brain.
Me: Well. I guess not anyone who wouldn't have broken anyway.
Best Beloved: So you'll do an art recs set?
Me, taking a deep, brave breath: Yes! I will! For I embrace new things!
Best Beloved, humoring me: Of course you do.
Best Beloved, under her breath: Just like a killer whale embraces a cactus.

The One That I Am Considering Printing out to Read to the Earthling. Surely Something This Wonderful Would Be a Good Influence on My Child. Don't Let Kowalski Interview the Perp!, by [livejournal.com profile] catwalksalone. Due South.

Those of you who have not spent a lot of quality time with a small child and the pigeon books might perhaps not appreciate the awesomeness of this. Except, no, I tell a lie: you SO will. (Although you should read the pigeon books anyway. How often do you get to shriek "NO!" at a children's book?)

This is one of those ideas that would never in a million years occur to me, but that cause me to stare at my computer screen, stunned stupid by the sheer glimmering brilliance and perfection, when someone else thinks them up. I mean, it's so right. Kowalski is maybe the only character in any of my fandoms who could stand in for the pigeon. (I mean, sure, Jack O'Neill plays Don't Let Daniel Die in Whatever Crazy-Ass Way He Wants to Today at least once a week, but Daniel just doesn't vibrate with feeling the way Kowalski and the pigeon do. And I'm pretty sure the bus driver and company got left behind in the Milky Way, because no one ever manages to keep Team Shep from doing stupid stuff. Actually, a lot of my fandoms could use a bus driver, come to think of it.) He and the pigeon would bond on many topics if they met - and, oh my god, I just imagined the companion book, wherein the pigeon investigates a crime. I may never be the same now. Also, my brain is filled with unfortunate crossovers. (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Mountie, Blue Chicago Cop. Dick and Jane Go to Pegasus. How Do Nazgul Say Goodnight? Okay, I'm stopping now.)

I tell you one thing, though: the due South version of The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog could only go in one of two ways. One of them would star Diefenbaker. The other would be much too NC-17 for me to read to the earthling.

...And now I kind of want both of them. This could get to be a problem.

Anyway. My point is: it does not get better than this. Go! Read! Admire Kowalski in Fraser drag and Vecchio almost but not quite failing at network standards! Most of all, don't let Kowalski interview the perp!

The One That Has Given Me the Sad but Clear Knowledge That Darth Vader Was Not Nearly As Scary As He Could Have Been. (Actually, I Already Knew That. Just Imagine a Clown Sith Lord. Bet You're Scared Now, Huh?) Steampunk Star Wars, by Eric Poulton. Star Wars.

I really don't see what else I need to say. Steampunk Star Wars: if you have any sense at all, you've already clicked.

I especially commend you to the deeply disturbing Lord Vader. For some reason, when I look at him, I remember that my pediatrician when I was extremely wee had a giant, near-life-size poster of Darth Vader on the door of one of his examining rooms. I found it vaguely weird then, since I knew nothing of Star Wars and thought that he just...you know, wanted a picture of a big black robot thing for reasons best known to himself. Better not to ask why, was my thinking. But now I wonder: what message was he trying to send to his young, vulnerable, and impressionable patients? You're a weird one, Dr. Smith!

Also do not miss the gorgeously amazing Deathstar, which makes it very clear why Lucas did not choose this style for the actual deathstar (aside from, you know, lacking the awesomeness so to do): if it had looked like this, no one could have blown it up. The climactic scene would go like this:

Han: You're all clear, kid. Now let's blow this thing and go home.
Luke, whining: ...But it's so pretty.
Han: But it's going to destroy the rebel base!
Luke, sounding vaguely hypnotized and yet still whining: ...Shiiiiiny.
Han, thoughtfully: It sure is.
Chewbacca: ARRRRAARRR.
Han: Chewie says anyone who can build something that gorgeous deserves to rule the universe with an iron fist. And I agree with him.
Luke: Me, too. Disengaging.

And then, you know, the deaths of millions, planets go boom, Vader and the Emperor hand in hand into a future of steel and knives, the whole deal. So it couldn't look like that. But, oh, it's so, so beautiful that I almost wish it had.

The One That Spawns a Million Story Ideas Every Time I Look at It. Possibly You All Should Be Really Grateful That I No Longer Have Time to Write Self-Indulgent Epics. Alters #6: Supernatural, by [livejournal.com profile] vito_excalibur. Supernatural.

Sometimes, a picture is worth way more than a thousand words. This picture is a fucking epic. An epic I yearn to read, but in its absence, I will totally be happy to just stare at this picture for a week or two.

Because the thing is - there is one thing different in this picture, and it changes everything. Imagine these guys driving through small southern towns in their big black car with all manner of guns. Imagine these guys running credit card scams, and trying to talk their way into strangers' houses, and, you know, the other stuff that Dean and Sam do. (Sorry, we have reached the limit of my osmotic fannish knowledge.) It would be a whole different narrative, I'll tell you that for free.

You know what I love most about this picture? Okay. We have lots of stories about bodyswaps of all kinds: his brain, her body! Two brains with but a single body! The brain from an alternate universe! And then we have all the transformation stories: puppyfic! This is closer than I really wanted to get to my feminine (or masculine) side! Wait, I didn't used to have wings! - just all kinds. But I've never seen a bodyswap or transformation involving race. Maybe I haven't been looking in the right places, but this drawing makes me imagine, oh, Cordelia Chase (queen of white privilege!) in Charles Gunn's body (Gender, race, and body swap: the transformation trifecta! Also, she'd probably end up with Wesley macking on her - don't tell me Gunn and Wesley didn't get up to stuff - and then they'd all need years of therapy. More years of therapy, I mean.). It makes me want the universe where John Sheppard is a girl (John Sheppard is always a girl; science has proven this) and Rodney McKay is mixed race. (And maybe Teyla is a robot! Um, no, wait, that's my other fixation creeping in. Sorry, sorry. Bodyswap AUs should not cross with robot AUs. Unless someone is bodyswapping with a robot, in which case we know what happens: TFV dies of happiness.)

Or, of course, we could have the universe where Sam and Dean Winchester are brown. That'd be really damn awesome, don't you think?

The One That Proves, Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt, That Everything Is Cooler If You Add a Dirigible. Dirigibles Can Even Make Accordions Cool. Um. Maybe. Steampunk AU, by [livejournal.com profile] leyna55. Stargate: Atlantis.

You may consider, from this recs set, that I have a certain fondness for steampunk. And I do. But the thing is, I didn't pick this one. Picking just a single piece of art to rec in SGA is so hard that it's part of the reason I don't usually recommend art: I think, so much awesome to choose from in SGA, and then my head explodes and I die and it's very sad. To avoid that this time, I had Best Beloved pick from the short list (it...wasn't that short, actually). Even she had trouble, and keep in mind that it's part of her job to make difficult decisions quickly and then make sure everyone sincerely believes her decision is right, right, right.

It's just. All the choices were right in this case, including - and I consider this unfair - several works by [livejournal.com profile] leyna55. Way to make my life harder, [livejournal.com profile] leyna55! But, fine, whatever. I guess if you have to make great art, you just have to. I accept that.

Anyway. We (and by "we," I mean "Best Beloved") made a choice. And that choice is: steampunk AU.

And, seriously, just look at this! There's a whole story in this thing! (Of which [livejournal.com profile] rheanna27 has written a chapter, and I tell you what: I cry myself to sleep every night because there aren't more chapters still to read.) Look at Rodney's life signs detector, oh my god! Look at Teyla's stick! LOOK AT THE DIRIGIBLE! They have a DIRIGIBLE! Why is there not a canon that features a dirigible? With adventures? And suits and scarves and awesome hats? (And maybe a clockwork deathstar?) I would walk a country mile on my currently broken toe for that canon.

Instead, I will just admire this picture a lot more. And think deep thoughts, such as: I would pay cash money to see Teyla in that outfit for real. And clearly John has been missing his really neat silk scarf for five seasons now.

Steampunk Stargate. I mean, I kind of like the Vaguely Frank Lloyd Wright, Vaguely the Whim of the Producer's Nephew look they currently have going on, but this - well. Go! Look! Marvel!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
My Yuletide stories are in the hands of my betas. I am trembling with fear. Obviously, it's time for some nice long distracting fan fiction!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, quick warning for media fans: don't read the author's notes. They will just confuse you. But read the story. You'll love it.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (pic#)
Recently, I posted a set of SGA stories. They were all future stories, all long, and certain people - I am naming no names - thought there was perhaps an over-emphasis on the depressing and distressing.

In that set, I explained that I have a technique for dealing with potentially sad (or soul-destroying) stories: the safety tab. I have one story that I know is cheering and good and filled to the brim with joy and healing, and I keep that one ready and available in a tab. If a story takes a turn for the worse, or I finish it so depressed that I am ready to begin a career in coffee shop poetry slams, I simply click over to my safety tab and read until I feel better.

[livejournal.com profile] nestra, upon reading this, noted that she'd be interested in a safety tab recs set. ([livejournal.com profile] ainsley backed her up. Apparently there is a strong need for safety tab stories in fandom.) And I thought, hey, perhaps the people who are still silently resenting me for recommending such depressing futurefic will love me again if I only share with them the joy that is safety! So. This set.

I've had a lot of safety tab stories in my time in fandom. (I remember when I truly believed that safety tab stories could only be in due South, and then a dS story broke me so completely that I couldn't even look at anything in the fandom for three months. Those were sad, sad months, but at least I learned how to find safety in other fandoms.) But here's the thing: I've already recommended almost all of them. How could I not? There were times when I was re-reading my safety stories every single day. So I'm going to recommend a combination here: some safety tab stories that are newer, and thus haven't been featured here yet, and some of the great classics of safety. We'll start with the new.

We Can All Find Safety in the Knowledge That the Pegasus Galaxy Does It Better. And When I Say "It," I Mean Pegging. Healing Station Argh, by [livejournal.com profile] toft_froggy. Stargate: Atlantis, Ronon Dex/Teyla Emmagan, Ronon Dex/Teyla Emmagan/Rodney McKay, OT4.

This is my current safety tab story. I just do not even know how the world could be a bad place when there is a story that includes both alien General Hospital and pegging. You add in ice farming and Teyla being wickedly, wickedly manipulative, and you have a story that could heal the wounds inflicted by Ethan Frome. (Probably. Do not actually test this at home unless you have access to a 24-hour Literature-Induced Despair Hotline and fistfuls of psychoactive pharmaceuticals. Fistfuls. I mean this.)

I just - I am made deeply, seriously happy by this story. And then, like an extra bonus, there's something here that I look for in pretty much every SGA story ever, and hardly ever see: John and Rodney being bewildered by Teyla and Ronon's cultural references. Because, yes, okay, Star Wars and Star Trek and other things about stars - I can totally see John and Rodney geeking out about this, especially since their dream date apparently consists of playing Civilization and eating Cheetos and maybe making some drunk prank radio calls at around three in the morning. But Teyla and Ronon should have their own set of Pegasus in-jokes. (Like, there's that awesome SG1 story where the team are telling jokes, and no one laughs at all of them. I love that.) And here, they do. And John and Rodney get to be the people saying, "Um...what now?" Pegasus has popular culture, too!

So there's that, and then there's the humor, and then there's - well. The ending. Anyway. I'm telling you, and telling you true: this is a fabulous safety tab story. I have re-read this after reading stories where people have died, where favorite characters of mine have died and not come back, and it's fixed me right up. There's no higher level of safety, here. (Note: McKay/Sheppard OTPers who may be feeling wary: this will work just fine for you. I speak as one who knows!)

There Is Great Safety in the Deep Interconnectedness of Love and Real Estate Home Sweet Home, by [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Entourage, Vincent Chase/Eric Murphy.

You know how canon writers sort of beg us to slash their creations by writing two strong, likeable male characters (who are totally best friends and, okay, it's entirely for show-budget reasons but they share an apartment and spend 24 hours per day together and also they hold hands sometimes) who occasionally hook up with one-dimensional females with whom they have no chemistry and nothing approaching realistic dialog? The Entourage writers have taken this to the logical conclusion: Entourage, the show, is entirely about men. Women exist in its world essentially as window-dressing.

I am sure that the show writers believe that their characters are manly and tough and totally hetero. I am quite sure they believe that. But, well. When you spend every minute of your life totally focused on another guy, and all your emotional investment is in that guy, and everything else in the world comes second to that guy's needs...well. It kind of begs for slash, is all.

And there's one other thing that begs for slash in Entourage: it's that Vince and Eric are so totally married. I mean, they might as well have sex. They've already got rings. (Okay. No rings to my actual knowledge. But if there was an episode where Vince gave Eric a ring, I would not be at all surprised.)

So I find it supremely comforting to read about Vince and Eric. Their problems are just serious enough to be believable, while still being at least one remove from anything distressing in any other story I might be reading. And I seriously, seriously, seriously want them to just go ahead and accept their true love already. Which, in this story, they do. It is sweet and fun and all things comforting, and you don't need to know anything about the show to read it; I didn't when I started. (Plus, it has Ari Gold. Never underestimate the comfortingness of a Jewish pit bull with a filthy, filthy mouth. And Turtle and Drama. Dorks are comforting. Everyone knows this.) This story can heal a fairly major story wound - like, your OTP not ending up together. Or the world ending. Either one.

There's Nothing Safer Than Benton Fraser on a Rampage! I Mean, in a Story Sense, Obviously. In Real Life, That'd Be a Bad Thing, Albeit a Polite Bad Thing. Chicago's Most Wanted, by [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

I have a friend who told me that once, when she was traveling through India, and sick and tired and miserable, she told herself the entire story of Some Strange Prophecy for comfort.

This proves two things: fan fiction is a powerful healer, and comfort stories are totally individual. Because Some Strange Prophecy in not a comfort story for me (fine story though it is).

But Chicago's Most Wanted totally, totally is. Why? Well. Amnesiac criminal Benton Fraser. Can there be a better reason? I just think the words and the healing begins.

Also, this story proves that in the land far beyond the Broccoli Test, there is another, greater test, and it is this:

If one member of your pairing can forget who he is and go on the lam, and the other one can track him and predict where he'll be next, your pairing has passed the Chicago's Most Wanted Test. I can think of few pairings that could pass, frankly. I mean, of my OTPs - Blair Sandburg could absolutely do this for Jim Ellison, but not vice versa unless you allowed senses-related trickery, which is a rules violation. Rodney McKay and John Sheppard likely have a 50/50 chance, but if they get it wrong, someone ends up in prison or something blows up. And, oddly, I don't believe Jack O'Neill and Daniel Jackson could do it alone, but any three members of (original) SG1 could easily find the other. I just think it would take all of them.

Anyway. This story can heal, at minimum, major, major tragedy. I turned to this after I finished The End of the Road, people. That's how powerful this is.

(There's another Speranza story that I also have used extensively for healing story-inflicted wounds, but it was never a safety tab story. I use About a Dog when a story has kicked me in my extremely sensitive - nay, hair-trigger - animal harm squick. If you have one, seriously, About a Dog should fix most problems. Don't thank me. Thank her!)

Traffic Jams and Car Accidents Are Extremely Healing! When They Happen to Dan and Casey, and Also Lead to True Love, That Is. Only Then. Diversionary Tactics, by [livejournal.com profile] shrift. Sports Night, Casey McCall/Dan Rydell.

Sports Night is perhaps the ultimate safety-story fandom for me. (Or it used to be, but we'll get to that.) Because, see, I truly believe that Danny and Casey are in love, and will always be in love, and that they will live happily ever after, bickering and making Dana's life hell and avoiding sports-reporting clichés forever. (No, really, this is a very sincere belief. You show me a story in which that does not happen, and my reaction will be, pretty much, "We all know the truth, thanks." Which isn't to say that a Sports Night story couldn't break me. Just - I have a very thick insulating layer of denial. Whale blubber thick.) Anyway. My point is - Sports Night = happy place. Danny and Casey start bantering, and I am suddenly soothed and cheerful and prepared to face the world again, even if the world contains a story that has hurt me greatly.

The only down side to Sports Night is that most of the stories that I used to use in safety tabs (Sports Night saw me through many, many much scarier, much larger fandoms) are gone forever, as far as I can tell; the archive is gone and the stories just aren't anywhere anymore. So now my happy place is tinged with sorrow; I go to recommend a story, and it's nowhere to be found, and I have a sniffly moment and have to turn to a healing story without even having read a sad one. (This is why we need the Archive of Our Own; won't anyone think of the poor recommenders? Our links! Our precious links!)

Fortunately, Diversionary Tactics still remains with us. And what a fine and excellent safety-tab story it is. There's banter, and then there's some momentary tension - but we all know in our hearts it will be fine, because this is Sports Night, where things are fine, damn it - and then, yay! A happy ending. And it all takes just enough time to heal one moderate-sized story wound, like a lengthy explicit torture scene. Or the death of a minor OC.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
SGA is ending. And the thing is, I actually got sad when I heard that, and I don't watch the show. (I watched, um, some episodes of season one. And it is not looking like I will have time for television before the earthling is, oh, twelve, so I doubt I'll see even those episodes that are Instant Slash Classics. I'm sorry! I'm just not very good at television.) But the fandom has been so very wonderful for me. I have over a thousand SGA bookmarks in my del.icio.us account alone. (No, you can't see that many. Most of them are unshared.) Almost five hundred of those are ones I consider recommendable. That doesn't include the vids, either. Or the art. Or the podfic. Or the comics. Or the meta.

I mean it when I say that this is an awesome fandom.

So, yeah, I'm sad that the show is going - because the fandom is sad, and because the fandom will change, and because there will be no more canon for this fandom to interpret and rewrite and argue about and vid. No more canon to transform. But at the same time, I'm not at all sad that the future of these characters is, in a few episodes, going to be entirely in the hands of fan fiction writers. Why? Well. Here are four reasons. Four of so very many.

Because When Fan Fiction Writers Do SG1 Crossovers, They Do It for All the Right Reasons. (Also, They Throw in More Gay Sex Than the Canon Writers Ever Have. But That's a Side Issue! Really!) At the Hour When We Are Trembling, John Sheppard/Daniel Jackson.

This story breaks two of my OTPs. TWO. And, you know, I usually won't even look at stories that break one, because I am a sensitive and fragile flower, and also I do not like to court pain. But I'd read Frostfire if she wrote Benton Fraser/Rodney McKay. (Well...I mean, I'd probably read that anyway, because talk about trainwrecks, oh my god. Giant Canadian trainwreck! Probably involving nuclear weapons! But if Frostfire wrote it, I wouldn't be reading with my hands partly covering my eyes.) And this story is exactly why.

This is - okay. Let's get this all out of the way up front - and, hey, let's do it movie-trailer-announcer-guy style:

In world destroyed by the greatest enemy humanity has ever faced,1 two men forge an unlikely alliance.2 They will fight...against overwhelming odds...to save the planet. But can they save each other?3

And I chose to summarize it that way because, truly, this would make an awesome movie. (The explicit gay sex would be particularly entertaining, although I suppose there might be some kind of ratings issue or something. The MPAA makes everything less fun.) But it makes an even more awesome story. (Also very engrossing. I pulled it up to re-check the capitalization on the title just now, and I had to re-read the whole thing again, even though I'd just re-read it in preparation for writing this rec. Block out some time for this one, is what I'm saying.) It's rare to see action written this well in fandom. Hell, it's not usually written this well in, you know, published action novels.

1 The Goa'uld might have been worse - I mean, I would much rather have my life sucked out of me than have my body and mind taken over. But movie announcers are allowed to exaggerate. For example, they often say things are funny. Or tragic. I have noticed they are usually wrong about both.

2 There also have, you know, a team. But movie announcers do not care about people whose names don't appear in the front credits of the movie.

3 Movie announcers would never talk about how they're already basically completely and totally crazy, and might be suitable for a padded room except for how you don't get padded rooms after the apocalypse.

Because Fan Fiction Writers Can Take Us Places Canon Writers Can't Even See from Where They're Standing. The Water Grinds the Stone, by [livejournal.com profile] auburnnothenna. Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

(Note: this totally stands alone, but it is in fact a sequel to The Taste of Apples and Sacrificial Drift.)

This is a fucking novel, people. A great one. (Which, I might add, Auburn wrote in, I think, four months. I watched her word counter go up. It was hypnotizing and kind of terrifying, like those animated things that show you how many cats you have after unbridled breeding for eight generations. I kept wondering if we should club together to get her a holiday in a very cold place; I was afraid her brain would melt. She was obviously overclocking it to a substantial degree, and I suspect she voided her warranty.) This is - okay. This is science fiction as I wish the published stuff was; it's science fiction without the part where I end up wanting to punch the author in the nose. (And I say that with love for the genre. It is my native genre! Just not one where I'm especially welcome.) It builds an epic future for our characters and the stargate program, and - okay. It's not just that most science fiction writers can't do this. It's that the show's writers sure as shit can't do this - they're not this smart, they're not this brave, and they're limited by the episodic format.

So this is SGA (and SG1) with a great writer at the helm. And the brakes off. And, see, here's the thing: this story contains at least a little of a lot of things I don't like, including a couple of things that are deal-breakers for me. I did not care at all. I read this thing at what was, at the time, an incredible pace. I had a new baby, and I skipped sleep in order to finish this. (For those of you who do not have babies: this is like skipping food after you've been eating 400 calories a day for two months.) It's that compelling and that intense.

(Oh, and this story kind of breaks up two of my OTPs, as well. Because anyone who tells you John Sheppard/Atlantis isn't an OTP hasn't been reading in this fandom very long. Johnny and the city, sitting in...an ocean. Okay, the rhyme doesn't work. But the sentiment is definitely all through this fandom.)

I realize that a quarter of a million words is kind of a lot, and you may be hesitant about starting this story, but trust me: you will not be sorry. (Okay, there are a couple of places where you might be sorry, but let me promise you it all works out eventually.) (Also, you will be sorry if you have to get up the next day.) (But, really, other than that - no regrets! Probably! My apologies. I really shouldn't try to make absolute statements about anything.)

Because That Makes Us the Victors. I Mean, We're the Ones Still Writing the History, Right? Written by the Victors, by [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Rodney McKay/John Sheppard, Teyla Emmagan/John Sheppard.

If The Water Grinds the Stone brought SGA into reality in one way, Written by the Victors does it in a totally different way. Because just as that story is a very probable depiction of how declassification might go down, this is so absolutely how academia would deal with Atlantis. (As far as I can tell, the academic motto is, "When in danger, when in doubt, hurl citations all about. And if that doesn't work, build a blanketfort out of footnotes (or endnotes, depending on your field).")

But what I love about this story - my secret and abiding love for it - is. Okay. Once upon a time, when I was very young (seriously, I was in high school, and I do not want anyone telling me that this was unethical because I know it now but I was 14, okay?), I made money doing lit reviews for grad students. (For anyone who is blinking at the screen right now: people doing dissertations have to do a lot of reading on their topic, and then prove they've done it by writing it all down. A lot of them would, as it turns out, prefer not to do the actual research part of this, even if that means paying someone else to do it. And I guess once you've already paid a high school student to research everything in your field ever, photocopy it all, and give it to you ordered by topic with helpful sticky notes, it is not that hard to slip her a little extra money to do the writing part, too.)

My point - and, really, I'm getting there - is that I spent a lot of time in high school sitting in university libraries reading through various obscure journals, following the intensely formalized bickering that seemed to be 35% of what academics did, sometimes snickering at the obvious bitter grudges just barely concealed behind weasel phrases. And then, when I got to fandom, I had this immediate sense of familiarity when it came to certain kinds of meta and wank, but it took me some time to realize that was because it perfectly, but perfectly, recapitulated the academic bickering I spent so much time photocopying. It was like I was back in that bizarrely lit university library slaving over a hot photocopier. I'd come home! Sort of!

Well. This story - yes, fine, shut up, we've gotten back to the story now - is the perfect encapsulation of that. It's about how academics interpret things, yes, but it's also about how fandom does - and, really, it shows very clearly that academics and fandom are two peas in an awesome but somewhat contentious pod.

So that's my major source of joy in this story. Okay, and I also like the plot, yes, and I revel in this glorious, glorious ending for our heroes, which again is well beyond anything the canon writers could create, and, yes, I love so very many bits of it. But most of all I love that it makes my high school endeavors worthwhile.

Because Fan Fiction Writers Believe in the Characters. The Canon Writers Just Believe in the Show. Freedom's Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose, by [livejournal.com profile] synecdochic. Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

Some stories I read waaaaaay up high on the catwalk over the chasm of disbelief. The slightest break in my laser-like focus on my mantra ("ignore it ignore it ignore it" or "it's just a story" or "I should really just relax"), and suddenly I'm falling into that chasm, shrieking as I fall, "Science doesn't WORK THAT WAY." For example. And after that, I have no choice but to shake hands with Mr. Back Button, your friend and mine.

This is not one of those stories. This is the opposite: a story so perfectly right, so perfectly accurate, that I was nodding all the way through. Because science really does work this way. I mean - not, you know, the wormhole and Ancient tech and all that, no, sorry - that's what we gently and kindly describe as science fantasy. But the academic stuff in this is dead on.

I loved this when I first read it. But I've been putting off recommending it for two years. I was afraid to re-read it, and I really don't know why, because this isn't in the category of Brilliant Things I Can Never Re-Read Because They Will Make Me Cry Myself to Death. (Examples of this category: [livejournal.com profile] samdonne's Your Cowboy Days Are Over. Or [livejournal.com profile] rheanna27's Theory of Everything. Totally worth reading. Totally. And, sorry, I can't get you links, because even that would potentially destroy me. Typing the titles was risky enough. ETA: The links are available in the comments, though, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] elaran, who is stronger than I am.) This didn't leave me sobbing helplessly, trying to keep from getting so much saltwater in my keyboard that it would stop working. It didn't leave me crying at all, because it really isn't a sad story. (It could have been. Written with a slightly different focus, it could have been a soul killer.)

No, I avoided re-reading this because it really is just that much like life. When I finished it the first time, I believed it - believed it more than the canon. Because the canon feels like a story. And this feels so real that after I finished it the first time, I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't canon. Everything looked a little fake for a while after I was done.

I did re-read it for this rec, of course. I had forgotten how quickly this story grabbed me the first time through, and it did it again - I read the first sentence, telling myself that after two paragraphs, I could go read one in my current Story That Heals All Wounds. (It is always best to have such a story waiting for you in a safety tab. Just in case.) I looked up some undefined amount of time later, smiling helplessly, just slightly teary, blinking away a different world. This is an incredible story, people.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
My apologies to people who saw an unfinished version of this on their friends list. Um, it's been a while since I did this; I've lost the knack.

And it really has been a while. But, in my defense, I had a baby. And babies are not so conducive to prolonged sessions of typing, I find. But the earthling is older, and I'm hoping to get back to a more regular recommendations posting schedule. (At this point, once every blue moon, as opposed to every other, would qualify as more regular. But with dedication, I believe I can achieve once every full moon, maybe!)

The One That Made Me Want a Crossover Between Hikaru no Go and SG1. Teal'c v. Touya Meijin! Fine, Fine. I Accept That I Am the Only Person on the Planet Who Wants That. But I Want It Enough for Everyone. Teal'c's Five Favorite Board Games, by [livejournal.com profile] paian. Stargate SG-1.

I love the corners of people's personal canon - love it when someone, for example, reveals in a story that she firmly believes that Rodney McKay knows how to knit. (He learned during one long summer month spent in his own personal hell, a cottage by the sea with only a few books and a TV that didn't even get cable; his parents told him to they were all there to relax, but in fact they spent the entire month fighting, and Rodney couldn't sleep with the sea noise and the constant whirring of his understimulated brain, until he finally picked up one of the books - a crafting book from the 1970s with a terrifying picture on the cover - and taught himself to knit. They don't have yarn and needles in Atlantis, and he's always too busy, until the day he gets an eye injury on a mission and is forbidden to read or look at a computer for two weeks. But that's another story.) I love it, basically, when fan fiction writers fill in the details that make people people - the little idiosyncrasies that make them real.

And that's exactly what this story is. The thing is, I never thought of Teal'c in connection with board games until I read this story. And now these five games are a part of my personal Teal'c canon, because they make so much sense and they're so very real and right. And, let's face it, Teal'c isn't necessarily overexplored by the canon writers of SG1, so this really works. I find the Snakes and Ladders one particularly moving, for some reason, but they are all so very perfect.

And there are pictures. Oh my god, do not miss the pictures.

The One That Made Me Want to Send a Letter of Complaint to the Author: "Please Write Less Well. I Need to Sleep. Love and Kisses!" The Kids Aren't All Right, by [livejournal.com profile] samdonne. Iron Man.

First and foremost: I love this story for getting the title right. I don't care what The Who thinks, "all right" is two words and ever shall be, and do not speak to me of popular usage. In this case, if everyone is doing it, then everyone is just wrong. (You may be thinking that this is where TFV gets unreasonable, and all I have to say to that is: wait until you hear me talk about the use of "presently.")

Except that's not actually what I love most about this story. (Those of you who don't know me very well are now saying to yourselves, "Oh good, she's sane." Those of you who do know me are staring at the screen in absolute disbelief and saying, "That isn't what she loves best? I...is this the same TFV? Is she feeling okay? Maybe I should call her." You totally should call me, for the record, but I am fine. The story is just so good that it transcends mere considerations of good grammar and correct spelling. And, wow, I feel like a stranger to myself, writing that.) What I love most about it is - well, everything. This is so good that I actually stayed up late to finish it the day it was posted, which seems like faint praise indeed until you consider that I had a two-week-old baby at that point and was so sleep deprived I couldn't consistently remember his name. (This is actually an ongoing problem. For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, we have taken to calling him Squishy, although that is in no way his name. If you ever want to do a comprehensive study of peculiar looks, try calling your new baby Squishy in public.) And yet. I had to finish this.

Why? Well, okay, it's a brilliant example of what might actually happen after the events of the movie, and I'm kind of a sucker for that sort of coming out story, where people don't get to piddle around with secret identities and pretending to be normal and convenient phone booths; I like it when exceptional people have to face the consequences of being exceptional. I am almost faint with love for this story, because it acknowledges that there is likely to be some fallout from, you know, giant mecha duking it out over Los Angeles. (Bad traffic jams, for one. And if you don't think that's a serious consequence meriting a Congressional investigation, you don't live here, that's all.) But this story is also brilliant meta, brilliant commentary on the movie and on our current political climate. And it's done in authentic Vanity Fair style, a classic example of document fan fiction.

I could not love this story more. And I know nearly everyone in fandom has read it, but I'm speaking to the two lone holdouts: read this. Even if you haven't seen the movie. Read it.

The One That Makes Written Sword Fights Compelling. This Is Akin to Making Tax Law Compelling, and Suggests That the Author Can Achieve the Impossible. Gogmagog, Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four, by Sylvia Volk, aka [livejournal.com profile] sylviavolk2000. Highlander.

Okay, I need to say something right up front: if you know anything about archeology (and certainly if you spent a semester painstakingly digging up eensy teeny fragments of shells from a trashheap, and when I say "painstakingly," I mean that you can still feel it in your lower back when the wind blows from the southwest), you will scream during the first part of this story. Be strong. Power through it. The rest of the story is worth it. (And some day I am doing a poll about this, about the things we know that make it harder for us to read stories or watch shows or whatever. Like, Best Beloved will shriek and flail and pause a lot during any scene involving bad management - you could seriously run an entire management class just by having the students gather round her while she watched season one of SGA. Although they would have to be froth-resistant students. And people who know me flinch any time a psychiatrist shows up on screen, because - well. You'd think, with all the time they apparently spend in therapy, that writers could write an ethical therapist occasionally. (Yes, I do have a mental list of Good Therapists in Fiction. It is short but detailed.) And I just think it's fascinating, the lenses through which we consume our entertainment, and the knowledge we can't suspend even during happy fun playtime.)

So. That was a tangent. My point is: this story is like settling down with a novel. It's long, it's involving, and you don't need to know the characters or the world in advance, or at least not beyond what you'd get from the back of a book. And, in fact, this story is one of the ones that inspired me to watch Highlander, and also kind of ruined me for it; I was like, "But I want the long, plotty, multilayered, well-researched stories! Oh...right. You can't do that on television." So, if you've got, you know, a vacation or anything coming up, I totally recommend taking this, printing it out, and bringing it along. You could put it between the covers of Ethan Fromme if you don't want anyone to know you're reading fan fiction; no one has ever voluntarily opened that novel. (Except Best Beloved, but she's learned the error of her ways.)

And even if you don't have a vacation coming up, read this. It's fun.

The One That Makes Me Want to Find the "What Is the Shape of Your Left Foot?" Quiz. And Take It. Truly, This Story Is a Dangerous Weapon of Mass Distraction. I Friend You, You Friend Him, by [livejournal.com profile] roga. Hercules.

So true it hurts, that's all I have to say about this story.

I sincerely hope you're laughing at that sentence, because of course I have several thousand more words of analysis. (I will attempt to spare you most of them, but it's always a close-run thing.) But the essential message here is that this is in fact so true it hurts, and the specific pain it inflicts is in your abdominal and face muscles, because you have to laugh and laugh and laugh.

And you may be saying to yourself, "But I don't know anything about this fandom!" Fine, whatever. I don't care. You know who Hercules is, yes? (Demigod. All burly and shiny and stuff. Rights wrongs. Fights injustice. Cleans stables.) Well, he has a friend named Iolaus, and together they fight crime, where "crime" usually means gods acting up and monsters getting out of line. There. You have a full education in everything you need to know to read this story.

Or, okay, you need to know one other thing to read this, but, well. If you're reading this, you already know about social networking, and that's what this story is really about. Anyone with a LiveJournal (or Facebook, or MySpace, or, hell, an account on a knitting-based social networking site) needs to read this. It's an important cautionary tale! That will make you laugh until you are flailing weakly in front of the computer and seriously considering calling for emergency rescue. ("9-1-1, what is your emergency?" "Dead. From. Funny.") And if you happen to be relatively new to the social networking scene, this can teach you valuable lessons. Probably the most important one is "stay away from social networking unless you want to destroy your village," but, well, it's too late for most of us on that one. (And if it isn't too late for you, may I interest you in a LiveJournal account? You'll have lots of fun while you're village is falling apart, I promise!")

Bonus: The Art That Will Show You Who the Real Heroes of Pegasus Are. SGA-1? Pfffft. Final Images, by [livejournal.com profile] astridv. Stargate: Atlantis.

Poor, poor MALPs. They lead a hard life. And, going by this art, I suspect they also lead rather short lives. John Sheppard? Ronon Dex? Hah. Their so-called "heroism" is built on the backs of the oppressed, and by "the oppressed", I mean MALPs. MALPs are the ones who actually boldly go where no one has gone before! And do they ever get thanked? No. They don't even get any screen time. But [livejournal.com profile] astridv has managed to correct that. People, please go inspect these heart-rending final images sent back by five brave, doomed MALPs. And then won't you join the Campaign for MALP Rights? Together, we can fight the injustice inflicted on our MALPy friends across two galaxies.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
March 12 was Best Beloved's birthday, and what she wanted was a recs set. (We know how to give the big, important, expensive gifts in this family.) Specifically, she wanted clichefic, which she is apparently very fond of.

So, okay, this is a little bit late. But it is heartfelt. Best Beloved, happy birthday. You can has cliches!

The One That Shows Us That If You Can't Get Laid in Chicago, You Can at Least Get Great Pizza. Number Eight, by [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

This cliche is a classic. Undercover in a gay bar - I would be surprised if there were not whole challenges and zines dedicated to this one. (I would also be wildly disappointed, for the record.) I would, in fact, be surprised if Kirk and Spock didn't have to go undercover in a gay bar at least once in their extensive non-canonical career. (Oh, my god, I just - I just pictured this. My poor brain. It will never be the same again. Trust me and don't imagine this, okay?) Really, undercover in a gay bar is one of our great media fandom traditions. Probably we should have a holiday to celebrate it. (It could be called Fake It Until You Make Out Day! We could exchange little gifts of glitter and stories! Maybe there could be a ritual of decorating our favorite characters in eyeliner and shiny clothes!)

And the thing is, this story shows, totally and completely, why this cliche works, why it has stayed with us throughout the years, why I'm kind of sad we have fewer law enforcement fandoms these days and thus have fewer opportunities to put our characters in tight pants and make them dance to loud music. See, there's plot and porn, right in the same cliche. You say "undercover in a gay bar" to someone, and right away that person knows that a) there will be gay sex and b) it will be in the interests of justice. It doesn't get much better than that, people. And this story is the perfect example of it. I mean, do I need to summarize? Ray. Fraser. Gay bar. Go.

The One That Proves That You Can Make a Bat Cuddle, with Sufficient Coercion, but You Can't Ever Make Him Good at It. Cold, by [livejournal.com profile] brown_betty. D. C. Universe, gen.

Huddling for warmth. Another classic cliche. There's cold! There's a sincere and honest need to get naked under covers, for genuine life-preserving purposes! What could be better? Of course, when Betty gets her hands on this cliche, things do not go precisely according to tradition. (Like, here's an example: the first people involved in the warmth-huddling in this story are Tim and Alfred.)

But that is why I love this story: it takes a classic and much-loved cliche, shakes it up, turns it inside out, and makes it into something new and shiny. In this case, it's a character study. Actually, it's a study of a class of characters. (Sometimes I think you could summarize 90% of Betty's work as A Short Guide to Batfamily Dysfunctions. It would make an excellent title for an anthology of her work.) Because, you know, this is a perfect example of huddling for warmth and the warmth never...quite...getting there. I love this story because it's so right for each of the characters. And, of course, for the Batfamily as a whole.

I'd say they'll make a therapist rich some day, but in fact all they'll do is drive a whole team of skilled professionals into nervous breakdowns. (Come to think of it, this is probably why we never see shrinks in the Batverse. Bruce broke them all many years ago, back when Albert thought he could be helped, and now they live in a well-funded home for the clinically twitchy.)

The One That Proves That Coping with Extremely Unexpected Transformations Is a Key Pirate Skill. On the Lesser-Known Hazards of Piracy, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. Pirates of the Caribbean. Pairings are, um, complicated. If you need to know, drop a comment and I'll try to sort it all out.

This is bodyswap, otherwise known as one of my favorite cliches in the whole history of ever. It is also, apparently, one of the hazards of piracy they don't teach you in history books. In fact, I think [livejournal.com profile] penknife is the first person ever to identify this as a specifically piracy-linked danger. (Everyone who is now imagining thousands of BitTorrent users suddenly switching bodies, don't fear. I think digital type piracy is still safe, although I will check with [livejournal.com profile] penknife and get back to you.)

Bodyswap is just basically always a wonderful cliche, and again, you can kind of see why: there are certain, uh, built-in opportunities when you've got character A in character B's body. I mean, you have an obligation to take care of whatever body you're inhabiting, right? Even if it's, um, not technically yours, right? And then there's porn!

In this particular story, both of the swapped characters take full and excellent advantage of all those built-in opportunities. And, really, when you're swapped in to Jack Sparrow's body, you've got a lot of potential, there, although it would be reasonable to take some time to worry about what he's doing with yours. And, since I've already mentioned that Jack Sparrow is involved, I assume I don't need to elaborate on the "and then there's porn" part.

The One Where Elizabeth Proves She Totally Did Not Pay Attention in the SGC-Mandated "Being Sensitive to Major Body Alterations in Your Staff" Training. And, Yes, I Am Quite Sure the SGC Does Have Such a Training. Frankly, They Would Be Fools Not To. always should be someone you really love, by [livejournal.com profile] thingswithwings. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

And, from the title alone, the eight people alive who have not already read this story know what this last cliche is: genderswitch. And, oh, I love genderswitch. There was a time when I didn't - a time when I wouldn't even read it - but fortunately due South broke me of that. (It wasn't an inhibition I really needed, after all.) I'm not even sure why I love genderswap so much, unless it's the conversion effect, where you're much much more passionate about something if you disliked it for a while before you started loving it. In any case, the passion is definitely here.

In any case, I love genderswitch. I particularly love when writers play with it a bit - not just the classic scenario of "Hey, you have new parts! They are more compatible with MY parts! What say we get it on?" (Not that there is anything wrong with that.) And I love what [livejournal.com profile] thingswithwings does here; she turns both the guys female, and what happens then says a lot about, you know, deep things: sexual preference, identity, desire versus love. So there is thinkiness and girl-on-girl action. (If only more written works managed to incorporate both of these things. In particular, I can think of some textbooks that would be vastly improved by sex. Although, in all honesty, some of those textbooks could be improved by adjectives, so it's not like the bar is set particularly high, here. Still. I think we can agree that sex improves most things.) In short: this is one of my favorite genderswitch stories, and genderswitch is one of my favorite cliches, so - really, this is a very favorite thing of mine. Read!
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)
So. I have emerged from my traditional Yuletide-related November and December catatonia to the equally traditional late-December intimations of Yuletide doom. (I have written a terrible story that my recipient will surely hate! WOE.) (No, really, Yuletide is lots of fun, I love it every year and I advise everyone to do it. I just have the dooooooom right now.)

And many people are currently gearing up for either a joyous celebration of goodwill and family or a grim marathon of conspicuous consumption and shouting. (If the former, Merry Christmas! If the latter, courage - Christmas comes but once a year, and on Boxing Day I think you're allowed to hit something.) I do believe it's time for a few good vids.

The One That Proves That Bad Guys Really Do Have More Fun. Don't Stop Me Now, by [livejournal.com profile] charmax. Doctor Who.

I really do love the Doctor. (Most of all, I love the TARDIS, but the Doctor is a very close second.) I have even seen a whole season of Doctor Who, and I really liked it. So I find it kind of odd that when I truly love a DW vid, it often either a) is about a non-Doctor character or b) has a message I don't actually believe, like "Wow, the Doctor is a total tool." (Like, the other vid I considered recommending in this set was pretty much, "the Doctor ruins lives! If he comes near you, your only hope of future happiness is to punch him in the teeth and flee!")

This is a vid about the Master, who is definitely a non-Doctor character. I know almost nothing about the Master - he's a Time Lord, he's, um, yeah, that's pretty much where it ends - but I will say that, from this vid, it looks like he's the Doctor without brakes. He's also a tremendous amount of fun.

Too often, you see people who are cast down by the burdens of being bad, all crushed under the weight of taking over the world. Which, I mean - live a little, bad guys. No reason to be all angsty. Own your villainy! If you're going to put people in graves, at least have the courtesy to dance on them. And in this, the Master could serve as an inspiration to us all; he does not seem to suffer from Bad Guy Trauma, and he looks like he would dance on any grave you cared to fill. He might even have his own special song to sing while dancing on graves, and if he does, it would be a happy song. I respect that immensely.

And that is why you should totally watch this vid, even if you don't know the canon, even if you have no idea what a Time Lord is, even if you vaguely thought Doctor Who was some kind of medical show focusing on amnesia. This vid will, I promise you, bring a smile to your face even if you're expecting the Doctor to show up with a stethoscope and some memory cards. And if you couldn't pick the Master out of a crowd, not a problem. He's the really happy one. So come! Watch him take over the world with flair and style.

(If you do happen to know the canon, could you tell me what's up with the end bit of this vid, with the kid and the ring? It seems to be suggesting that the Master will rise again, but for all I know it could be a scene from an entirely different source.)

It's Like Slash Goggles for Normal People! Four Years, by Fabella, aka [livejournal.com profile] wistful_fever. Stargate: Atlantis.

OMG EEEEEEEEE <3!

Sorry. That really needed to be said. It's the summary of everything that follows, and, really, you can probably skip all my hysterical babbling and just go watch the vid if you'd rather. (This is the recommended course of action.)

But if you're curious about why I'm recommending this even though everyone else on earth has and also it only came out about five minutes ago - um. I can probably find something to say that isn't just dolphin noises. Let me just take a few breaths first.

Okay. Actual English-language commentary commences now. This is the classic, the perfect slash vid. If, in the future, anyone is looking to define the slash vid as a genre, I suggest just smacking this vid down and saying, "Watch." Fabella here shows what source looks like through slash-o-vision, and she does it a) mostly through body language (watch John!), which made me bounce up and down like a little girl, and b) with a narrative.

Because, okay, let's face it. Slash vids are fun when you're deeply into a pairing, but they can sometimes leave you a little bit, "Um. Yes, they're so totally doing it. And...?" Or, at least, they can if you're me, although I am well-known to be equipped with a heart made entirely of recycled tires and crustaceans. (The Grinch is my second cousin. Heart problems run in our family.) But this vid - there's a story in here, a classic slash narrative, and that just makes the vid, turns it from just another slash vid to the ultimate slash vid.

I mean, yes, fine. It's also perfectly (and interestingly) cut, with a great song choice and brilliant clip selection and all that. Yes. It is. But the heart of this vid, for me, is the slash, the pining, the story. (John is in love, and Rodney needs to be clonked on the head a few times.) And although you probably need to be into this pairing to love this vid, even if you're not, it's worth watching because - well, I don't think it can get any better than this.

(Also: OMG EEEEEEEEE <3!)

The Vid That Will Rise Again, and Keep Rising Until You Just Give in and Watch It, So Download It Already. You Will Not Be Sorry. All These Things That I've Done, by Lithium Doll, aka [livejournal.com profile] halcyon_shift. Angel the Series.

I dithered for a long time about recommending this one, because it was made for me. But I love it so much, and it makes me so happy, and I've waited almost a year to see if I love it less or want to recommend it less, and - well. Did I mention that I love it still, with all my (non-standard) heart? So, made for me be damned. I am still recommending it.

For me, this is Angel - Angel the series, Angel the person. This vid makes me think of a lot of things - well, I mean, five seasons, one vid, it's going to - but what I really think of is - okay. When I first heard this song, I thought it was just about Angel. When Lithium Doll asked me to explain how I thought it was about Angel, though, I kept talking about other people - Cordelia, Doyle, Wes, Gunn. And now, when I watch the vid, I think of Angel, yes, and I still love that big galoot, but mostly what I think of is something I saw in a Firefly vid: a hero is someone who gets other people killed. And it's interesting to me that a song that I thought was entirely about the hero's journey is actually, in vid form, a lot more about the people who support that journey, sometimes with their lives.

This vid also makes me happy because it's here, and for most of its pre-release existence, it could handily have won the Vid Least Likely to See Tomorrow award. I wasn't involved in the making of it at all, but I got regular updates, and they looked something like this:

LD: I have thirty seconds! Wanna see?
LD: I have a rough vid with blank spots!
LD: ...Now I don't have a computer.
LD: I have a new computer and a new draft!
LD: Um. Hard drives dead.
LD: Hard drives replaced. And now I have betas!
LD: The powers that be hate me and have taken my computer to prove it. Vid just about the only thing to survive. All betas lost. Also my will to live.
LD: I have resurrected the computer and the vid and am soldiering on, ever on. Shall we begin anew?
Me: For the love of god, post it before something ELSE dies.

What can we learn from this? Well, first, that Lithium Doll is a doughty fighter. And, second, that this is the vid that would not die - sort of an immortal, undead vid. But it sure got a lot of the files and hardware around it killed. In retrospect, I suppose we both should have been less surprised by this than we were.

But it hasn't gotten anything killed since its release (that I know about), so it's safe to download it and watch it now. And obviously you were meant to; a vid survives that many major computer disasters for a reason, people.

Sometimes a Cigar Is Just a Cigar. This Would Not Be One of Those Times. Detachable Penis, by the Media Cannibals: Sandy ([livejournal.com profile] sherrold), Alex ([livejournal.com profile] alexfandra), Gwyn ([livejournal.com profile] gwyn_r), Tina (who does not have a journal), and Rache ([livejournal.com profile] wickedwords); remastered by [livejournal.com profile] justacat. The Professionals.

Watching this for the first time earlier this year, I fully and clearly understood why [livejournal.com profile] justacat felt the need to digitally remaster this and thus preserve it for the fannish ages. Few vids have made me start laughing on the first clip, but this did. Actually, I was kind of giggling just from the opening screen, because people vidded this song! I would have bet, if you'd asked me, that this song was totally unviddable. I mean, it's a classic, yes - certainly a classic of penis minstrelsy - but it has spoken lyrics. And it's about a dude misplacing his detachable penis. These things do not say "vid song" to me. But that is why I am not a vidder, and also why the Media Cannibals are geniuses, because this is just about the best vid ever.

And, no, you don't need to know anything about the Professionals to watch this. (Trust me. At Vividcon, [livejournal.com profile] nestra did a pop quiz on me during a Pros vid. She said, "Which one is Doyle?" I had a fifty-fifty chance, and I got it wrong. My fannish shame is great, but my point is: I don't know from the Professionals.) Here's what you need to know: they're guys. With guns. And the Media Cannibals took those two salient facts and made - well. This vid.

It is wonderful and hysterical. It does a better job of cheering me up than all of YouTube. And it's about guns and penises. I don't see how anyone who calls herself a fangirl could not want to see this vid. And, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] justacat's dedicated remastering of the classics, you can. Go watch!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
It's always a bad sign when you start fantasizing about killing orphans, isn't it? But I've had terrible songs stuck in my head this week, including two solid days of "The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow," and until you've had sweet but plucky cherubs advising you to bet your bottom dollar there'll be sun (which, thank you for that insight, orphans, but I live in Los Angeles, so it's not exactly news or anything - if you could predict traffic patterns, well, that would be impressive), you really don't know the depths to which you can sink. After a while, you would totally rush out and buy that movie if it featured scenes of singing orphans being dangled by their hair.

So, you know. I'm a bad person, obviously, but I was driven to it. By orphans. I want you to remember that.

Anyway. I thought I'd better recommend something before my brain was completely consumed by annoying songs. So: travel stories! (Yes, yes, fine - horrible segue. I blame the orphans. They are up to no good, I tell you.)

The One That Will Keep Popping into Your Head the Next Time You Visit a Highly Touristy Destination. This Is Not a Bad Thing. Strata, by [livejournal.com profile] katallison. Highlander, Duncan/Methos.

Highlander is a gen fandom for me. I'm just much more interested in the universe than in the sex, as it turns out. (I know - shocking! - but I'm trying not to let it shake my world view.) But Kat's Duncan/Methos stories are perfect encapsulations of one of the things I truly love about the Highlander universe: the characters. In particular, she writes Methos perfectly. (And for me, this is important, because - okay. I am the kind of HL fan that real HL fans probably hate and despise: I prefer Methos to Duncan. I'm sorry, I just do. Really, it's not my fault; he's just very interesting, so if anyone is to blame, it's Methos himself.)

So here we have this rare beast, an explicit Duncan/Methos story that I love to pieces. And why do I love it? Look, even if you don't know the fandom at all - which I didn't when I first read it, because I read everything Kat wrote early in my time in fandom, on account of I am not an idiot (although I had to take a break for a while after I read The End of the Road, because I tended to burst into tears whenever I saw her name) - it's impossible not to be fascinated by these people, by their actions, and most of all by the actual sense of age you get from them. (My number one desire in any story in HL: I want to believe the characters really are as old as they're supposed to be.) But once you - oh my god, why am I in the second person? I have creeping second personitis, and it will likely prove fatal, at least to this recs set - now that I do know something about the characters and the universe, this story is all the better. It answers two age-old questions: where does Methos go when he goes, and why? I mean, he's been everywhere, and he can't get bored that easily; in five thousand years, presumably you learn patience or you take up suicide as a hobby. And it features Duncan and Methos interacting in a way I totally believe. And it's wonderful. What more could you want?

The One That Proves That You Really Don't Want to Know What's Hiding in Some People's Closets, and That Goes Triple for Serially Immortal Alien Types. Nothing But Flowers, by Vali, aka [livejournal.com profile] violetisblue. Doctor Who, Doctor/Martha.

Recently, I have discovered a disturbing trend in myself. I actually discovered this while I was watching vids; I watched this Doctor Who vid that made the Doctor look, well, alien and kind of mad, bad, and crazy to know (and also likely to cause things to explode), and I thought: this is so awesome. In other words, I like my Doctor like I my coffee: completely foreign to me and really hard to take. (I, um, don't like coffee. I blame my maternal grandmother, who thought it would be deeply amusing to get a four-year-old to drink black coffee. "I love it!" she said. "It's very good. Try some." And so I did. I learned two things: first, coffee smells good but tastes like hot death. And, second, never trust old people when they're smiling.)

This story totally fulfills my need. (My alien Doctor need, that is.) The Doctor in this is far from perfect and certainly not entirely sane in human terms, but then, he isn't human. He has a TARDIS! He reincarnates! He collects unfortunate attire from all over the space-time continuum! He has no reason at all to meet our standards of reasonable mental functioning or make any sense to us at all, and I just love so much that in this story he doesn't.

But most of all, I love Martha in this story. I still haven't met Martha in the canon; I watched all of Nine (for me, this is a feat on par with climbing - oh, not quite K2, not a season of British television; more like Denali), fell into a black despair when I realized I would have to adjust to a whole new Doctor, and never returned to the show. So Martha is an unknown character to me. But in this story, I love her to death. She deals effectively with the Doctor's weirdness, and she's smart and human and funny. And she travels well, which is much more important than being well-traveled if you're going to hang out with the Doctor. And she shares my sincere belief in the importance of clean underwear. What's not to love?

The One That Features Every Man's Worst Nightmare: Having His Car Cheat on Him with His Girlfriend. Pieces of the Dead, by David Hines, aka [livejournal.com profile] hradzka. Transformers 2007, gen.

This is the most adorable death story ever.

No, wait. That came out wrong. Don't leave yet!

So, okay, first let me clear up the death issue. There's no character death here. It's more about how giant robot car alien things deal with death, and it is touching and sweet.

And while I'm on the topic of giant robot car alien things: you don't need to know anything about Transformers of any year whatsoever in order to read this story. Here's what I knew about Transformers prior to reading:
  1. They are robots, and also cars. (The alien thing was news to me, although I suppose I should not have been surprised. The concept behind this canon's creation appears to have been, "Hey! Let's take a lot of things that appeal to little boys in their individual parts, and then mix them up for a surefire runaway hit!")

  2. They had a cartoon and a movie and then, much later, another movie. Some people are still unhappy about the first movie, for reasons unknown to me. Some people are unhappy about the second. No one is unhappy about the cartoon that I know of, but I'm not exactly tapped into TransformerWorld or Transformista or whatever they call they their fansite, so maybe there are lots of seething fans who spend their days filled with active loathing for how everything went bad after the second season or whatever. Could totally be!
My point is: that's it. That's all I knew. I didn't know anything about the characters, for example.

Didn't matter. This story's world is complete and entire and perfect without any background knowledge, and frankly there's more depth and interest and realness in this story than I ever expected from, well, giant robot car alien things. Plus, there's a road trip in a sentient semi. It doesn't get much more awesome than that.

The One That Is Definitive Proof That Yes, Things Could Always Be Worse. I Mean, Really, Are Life-Sucking Aliens So Bad? All These Places We Have Met, by [livejournal.com profile] toft_froggy. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

For an alternate universe junkie, this is the ultimate hit, and I am an alternate universe junkie, so I love this story to pieces. I don't even mind that the ending is a killer. (Not, you know, in an OTP-breaking way. But, yeah, this is a story with quite a sting in it.) This is just - it's fabulous, and I'm afraid of spoiling it, so I will just say: there are many worlds in this story, and if I had henchmen, I would totally send them to abduct [livejournal.com profile] toft_froggy and force her to write full stories for each one of these universes. The henchmen would require happy endings for each story. But we would be extremely kind to her, I swear.

(Actually, if I had the resources, I would totally start a fan fiction writer farm. Inscribed over the door of each set of private quarters (en suite, with full internet and cable access) would be our slogan: "Write write write write write write write, and there will be pudding on Wednesday."

It's probably a good thing I am not the evil overlord of the universe. Once, Best Beloved asked me what I would do if I ruled the world, and I outlined for her my extensive and detailed plans for salad mines, and after she stopped laughing, she said, "It's a little bit scary that you had that ready, like you'd been planning it for years." But doesn't everyone have her evil overlord plans all geared up and ready in case of sudden universe takeovers? Or is that just me? Warning: if you say it's just me, I will totally put your name down on the list of people who will be working in the salad mines when I am Empress.)

Anyway, this story is deeply amazing and good and, and, I cannot say anything more. Just read it, really.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
First and foremost: do any of you have a digital camera you really love? A source of digital camera purchasing advice you really trust? A link to the camera you wish you had? Please tell me. We are purchasing a digital camera, but thus far my attempts to make active steps towards the purchase have followed this process:
  1. Open camera-vending store in tab. (Recommendations for online camera stores also gratefully accepted, by the way.)
  2. Stare at cameras for a while.
  3. Say, "There are really LOTS of camera of in this world. Lots and lots."
  4. Close tab.
Too many choices! Head explodey! Halp!

Okay, and now in recommendations: I had the week from hell. No, really, it sucked in so very many ways - not every way it could have sucked, no, but each day was a new and festive cavalcade of minor and major disaster. I reached the end of the week in a shellshocked state, prone to crying at, well, pretty much anything. In this state, only vids can avail. So today I'm recommending four vids that have made me happy at the end of my awful, awful week.

The One That Proves That, When It Comes to Emo, Gerard Way Has Nothing on Spike. Or on the Bee Gees, Oddly Enough. Tragedy, by [livejournal.com profile] dualbunny. Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Here's the first thing you need to know about this vid: it is absolute proof that auction winners can use their purchasing power for evil. [livejournal.com profile] laurashapiro, [livejournal.com profile] jarrow272, and [livejournal.com profile] heresluck won [livejournal.com profile] dualbunny in the VVC auction, and they decided to have her vid the most evil song in the world. Scientific determination of the song's evilness was made in this very household; testing showed that people exposed to it just once sang it regularly for upwards of a week afterward, sometimes in public, no matter what efforts were made to stop. Repeated exposure resulted in seriously unfortunate dancing by the helpless victims of this song's mind control powers. EVIL, I tell you.

But what better for Spike than an emo, evil song? None, I would submit to you. Plus, this is the ultimate summary of Spike's journey, his character, his very personhood. (Vamphood? I don't know. Things get complicated when you're talking about people who are technically dead.) Every time I see this vid, I grow more convinced that this is precisely the song Joss Whedon had stuck in his head when he created Spike. It would explain so much.

And this vid makes me very happy. It is impossible to feel sorry for yourself when gazing at Spike's WOE set to DISCO.

The One with the Best-Ever Use of a Basketball Bounce. You Can Call Me Al, by [livejournal.com profile] sdwolfpup. Due South.

I will be honest with you. I hadn't previously recommended this because I was convinced that every fan on earth had watched it. And that was right and good and just, and I was pleased. This is a vid that everyone needs. It is gorgeous and hopeful and it fits the characters (both Rays and Fraser, in case anyone was worried about someone being left out) and the show so very well. It's distilled love in vid form. I turn to it whenever I am down and need to be reminded of the good things in this world.

So I was merrily going along, assuming everyone had this essence o' love in their lives. And then I discovered that a friend of mine - a close personal friend who I will not name here because after all public shaming is counterproductive - had not seen this vid. At all. Despite loving the song AND the show. And I was sorrowful and downcast, as I'm sure you can imagine. I tried to put things right for my friend ("DOWNLOAD THIS," I said, "OR I WILL BE FORCED TO COME OVER THERE WITH A BASEBALL BAT" - sometimes you have to be direct about these things), but then I had a horrible thought: what if there is another person in that situation? A fan of vids or due South or just, you know, wonderful things, who has not seen this vid? That would be even more of a tragedy than Spike, I tell you. So now I am recommending it, doing my bit to bring us into a better, happier, more loving world. A world, in short, where everyone regularly watches this vid.

So, hey, no pressure, but if you don't watch this right now, you're standing in the way of world peace. I just thought you should know.

The One in Which Rodney McKay Cain't Say No. Do I Need to Say More to Get You to Download It? I Would Hope Not. Atlantis!, by rache, aka [livejournal.com profile] wickedwords, and Sandy, aka [livejournal.com profile] sherrold. Stargate: Atlantis. (Note: Imeem and download links available there.)

First, let me just mention that while I am normally a fan of musicals, I have a tragic allergy to Oklahoma! No, not the whole "no legs, no jokes, no chance" thing, just - I like corn, and I like cheese, but I am not so much a fan of corny cheese on stage. (It's possible that I was just too young for Oklahoma! when I saw it. You know how they say if you feed a kid certain foods at too young an age, you increase the chances that the kid will be allergic to said foods? Well. I suspect that that's what happened to me with the corn and cheese fest, pretty much. I'm lucky I didn't develop an allergy to the entire Midwest.)

Except. It turns out that when rache and Sandy do Oklahoma! SGA-style, I am suddenly and totally in love. Or, okay, to be more precise, I'm laughing helplessly. (But it is loving, sincere, and earnest laughter. Honestly.) You really would not think that SGA had a perfect one-to-one translation with Oklahoma! (And let me just say - thanks to Helene Hanff I know that that exclamation point has been irritating everyone since before the show's premiere, and right now I guess it's my turn to wish it dead. I don't want to put random exclamation points in the middle of sentences anymore. Bad punctuation. No biscuit.), but apparently it does. Seriously, it's amazing. And did I mention funny? Also, it turns out there's a reference to fan fiction right in the musical. It's awesome.

Given that this vid was inspired by Rumble, by [livejournal.com profile] astolat and [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza, another vid in which a musical is perfectly mapped onto SGA, I have to wonder if you could do, like, SGA x A Chorus Line. SGA x Sweeney Todd. ...Oh dear god. I need to stop thinking about these things right now.

The One That Makes Biplane Fighting Look Like Ballet. Cathain, by Jill, aka [livejournal.com profile] klia. Flyboys. (Note: This vid is password-protected, but it takes only one password to get all the vids of Jill, Kathy, Kay, and Lynn, and I heartily recommend them all, so, seriously, get the password. You will get much shiny in return!)

I have a strange, abiding, and intense obsession with the WWI fighter pilots (It's, yeah. It's kind of sad. These things just take a person sometimes.), so when I saw this vid at VVC I sat bolt upright and watched very alertly. I suspect my mouth may have been hanging open slightly, although I hope no one noticed. I was certainly totally entranced. Months later, I still have that reaction. Whenever I watch this vid, pretty much. Because there is nothing like watching planes dance to Irish music (at least, I think that's Irish; feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) to make a person happy, I find.

Yes. Planes dance. It is awesome beyond anything. And, okay, if you are deeply peculiar and thus unattracted to the concept of dancing planes, let me add that there are also characters in this vid, with a remarkably well-cut slashy story. And a lion. Really, this vid has everything you could possibly want.

In terms of sheer rewatching, this is one of my top three vids from VVC 2007, and there's such a good reason for that: it's gorgeous, gorgeously edited, matching movement to music in a way that would totally make my heart sing even if there were not WWI planes involved. It is entrancing, and it is lovely, and I love it dearly. It makes me deeply happy. I cannot recommend it strongly enough.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. Hi. Earlier, I, um, made myself sick by eating an entire jar of pickles. It wasn't a small jar, either. I have no idea what I was thinking, and in fact I'm fairly well convinced I wasn't thinking. Just - there was a jar of pickles. About an hour later, the jar was there, but it contained only a small amount of brine and some random floating spices. I spent a few moments theorizing about alien pickle abductions - were they stem-end probing my Vlassics in geosynchronous orbit ? - and then I realized that a) I was going to be sick and b) this was probably not unrelated to the missing pickle mystery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I think fandom as a whole is pretty damn special, too.

Which is why I'm following the discussions at [livejournal.com profile] fanarchive with incredible interest. And I know you've been hearing this a lot lately, but just in case one of you hasn't: it would mean a lot to me if you went to check out that community, see what it's about, maybe spread the word. Because I want us all to represented there. I want it to be for all of us.

So, to learn more:

There's a summary of the last few weeks. There's an Organizational Structure post, which tells you what we (as in, you know, fandom - I am not affiliated with the project and I don't speak for it or anything) are trying to do. And there's the Willingness to Serve post, which tells you how you can get involved. (There are lots of ways, people, seriously. Something for everyone!) You don't have to be a slasher or a LJ member or a fan fiction writer to be a part of this. You just have to be a fan.

And, since this is the best way I know to remind you of why it is such an awesomely wonderful idea to have an archive of our own, I'm going to recommend some fan fiction. But, because I'm contrary (Sad as it is to say, I think my motto may be: "Give the people what I want. Eventually, they'll learn to like it. I hope."), I'm going to go with gen - hurty gen, for the most part. But never fear; there's a great big squishy hug coming at the end. Come for the pain, stay for the hugs! (And, oh my god, that sounded like the summary for almost every Starsky and Hutch vid I've ever seen.)

So, here are some reasons why we need to keep our fan fiction around:

Because Sometimes We Need to Face the Big Bad Wolf Through Our Characters. Red, by [livejournal.com profile] big_pink. Supernatural, gen. (Note: I don't consider this an animal harm story. You might think so, from the description, but - well, I just don't. If you disagree, let me know and I'll slap a warning up here.)

First, let me say up front that I do not know from Supernatural. To me, this is a fantastic story, but it could be wildly out of character and out of canon for all I know. I really doubt it, but even if it is, I totally don't care. It is a fusion of Little Red Riding Hood and Supernatural, people. How could that be other than awesome?

It couldn't be. Or, well, not in this writer's hands, anyway.

And, see, I was never a big fan of the story of Little Red Whiny Hood. For one thing, I pretty much hated her, and I wasn't that fond of her grandmother, and I definitely despised the hunter. I always wanted the wolf to win. He seemed like the only person in the story whose motives I could really get behind, you know?

Oh, how this story cured me of that.

Well, okay. I guess technically it didn't. I mean, I still want the wolf to win in the original fairytale. But this version of it made me like the hunter(s), which - wow. You people who know me, you know how extremely unlikely that is. And it made me fear the wolf. I mean, maybe the Brothers Grimm said that the wolf was big and bad, but [livejournal.com profile] big_pink made me believe that he was.

And this is a story that I think could not work in the format of the canon. It had to be written, not filmed. (Two reasons, just as examples: first, in a TV episode, the awesome detail about treeplanters and logging and so forth just wouldn't make the cut. And, second, wolf-human things always look laughable and sort of pathetic on film. You just cannot make a decent wolfman in live action, and, frankly, I really wish people would stop trying.) Which is why we need fan fiction: to tell the stories the canon can't tell.

Because Sometimes We Need to Know What Would Have Happened If. Dysmas, by Salieri, aka [livejournal.com profile] troyswann. Due South, gen.

I don't want to say too much about this story, because I don't want to spoil it. Also, I don't want to scare you off, because the fact is, this story is like being shot in the back and not having it miss your spine. (And, yes, it is a Victoria's Secret AU. And, no, the spine thing, that's not the AU. I think that'd actually be - you know what, no. I said I didn't want to scare you off, and, um, I'm not exactly exerting myself to the fullest capacity to achieve my goal there, am I? Oh, hell. It turns out my teachers were right about me after all.)

But, you know, despite the, well, somewhat uncomfortable nature of this story, there is an ending to this, and it satisfied me, made me remember this story with pleasure instead of thinking, "Oh, right, that's the story where Salieri decided it would be fun to rip my heart out one tiny piece at a time and feed it to gulls." Not that she didn't obviously decide that that would be fun, but at the end, she gives me my heart back, and if it's not quite like new - well, trust me. It wasn't in mint condition before, and a few more little nicks only add to its patina. (I believe I have just metaphorically turned my own heart into a piece from Restoration Hardware. Oh, this does not bode well for this set, people. Courage!)

I view this story with utter awe. Because this is fan fiction at its very best: an uncompromising, totally perfect, totally right exploration of how something could have gone. Would have gone, with just one small change to the canon. Had to go. And you know what? I'm so happy this story exists, but it could never be canon. Which is why we need fan fiction: to take us to places the canon could never go. (And to a place that, in this case, I really am glad canon couldn't go. Wow, so very much glad.)

Because Sometimes We Need to See a Beloved Character in a Different Light. Or, You Know, in Total Darkness. A Time Ago, by [livejournal.com profile] brown_betty. D.C. Universe, gen.

This story is so damn plausible, and so damn brilliant, and it's such a fantastic synthesis of the canon (Or, really, canons, because anyone who thinks that DC is still working with just one canon has read one lone issue of Batman. Or has a severe case of amnesia. Either, really.) and something else, something I can't tell you about without killing it. In fact, I can't tell you anything about this story without spoiling it.

Normally, I'd fill the space where I am ostentatiously Not Spoiling the Story with character squee, but I can't even do that. (Seriously, Betty. Did you have to cover all the bases so well? It makes it really hard to write a useful summary, you know. Fortunately, I have a solution: a useless summary!) So instead I'll squee about the story's structure. (When in doubt, be a stylegeek. That motto saved me in many an English class - seriously, lots of times I had nothing to say about the story, but I always had something to say about how it was written, and it turns out your average English professor is really tired of reading the same eight things about the story and will welcome, say, an obsessive discussion of comma use instead. I know. Really, there are several English professors who are massively to blame for my current style; they encouraged me, and I will give you their names if you'd like to complain.)

I love the slow reveal here, the way the reader's progress through the story matches the main character's. And I love the way this is written. The first time I read it, I was mostly focused on the actual story (and on, let it be said, the kick to the gut that is the ending, because oh, Batfamily, how are you so fucked up?), but the second time through, I was entranced by the writing itself. This story had to be written precisely the way it is. And I love that, love reading it and seeing all the places the writer did it exactly right. It never fails to make me happy. Which is good, because something about this story has to be an emotional boost. You know the character is in trouble when he starts out in the dark, and cold, and at the end of the story you sort of wish he could go back there.

And right now I am conscientiously objecting to this canon, but I still love the characters so much. Which is why we need fan fiction: because sometimes, we need a good story, and the canon just isn't providing it, goddamn it.

Because Sometimes We Need to Explain What an Episode of the Canon Really Meant. Triptych, by [livejournal.com profile] mad_maudlin. Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: SG-1, gen.

This is based on - okay, inspired by - Moebius, an episode of SG1. And I have never seen a single second of that show, except in vids. Also, to be honest, I don't have the foggiest idea what Moebius is even about. (ETA: There's a helpful summary of Moebius, with spoilers, provided by [livejournal.com profile] loriel_eris in the comments.) See, I love reverse-engineering television canon; it's so much easier to triangulate back to canon from the fan fiction than it is to watch the shows, and it's also just the ultimate puzzle kick. And I did an awesome job on SG1, if I do say so myself, so much so that sometimes I'll watch a vid and shriek, "Oh my god, this is from [episode name]!" (And Best Beloved will say, "The sad part is, if you'd actually seen the episode, you wouldn't know that." Which is entirely true.)

But Moebius defeated my back-engineering skills utterly. I read dozens of stories set in and around it, and the best I could do as a summary is, "Something very confusing with time travel happens. Probably. And there is a lot of sand." I even tried looking at spoilers, but the thing is, you people don't write spoiler posts for people who haven't seen the show, so spoiler posts tend to contain a lot of exclamation points and relatively few neat, tidy explanations of precisely what the hell was up with all that sand.

My point is: this is based on Moebius, and I think explicates something that happened in Moebius, but you don't need to have seen the episode (or, most assuredly, understood it) to love this. Because this is, quite simply, the many universes theory with a side of time travel, and it - oh my god. At the beginning, I was happy. By the end, I was gasping like a landed fish, but I was totally in love. I mean - oh, the internal references, and the textual cues, and just - there is so much awesomeness in this story that it's stunning. Which is why I'm not telling you any more. You'll thank me for not spoiling it later. (Or you won't; feel free to yell. The point is, you should read it. Now.)

This story is like a great science fiction story. But it's not one. It's a great fan fiction story, because this just could not exist outside the context of fan fiction; if the author hadn't been able to assume our shared knowledge of the universe, build on our existing familiarity with the characters, work inside fanonical and canonical themes, she couldn't have made this incredible work. Which is why we need fan fiction: it's a genre with a unique combination of freedoms and restrictions that leads to works of art that couldn't exist any other way.

And:

Because Sometimes We All Need a Group Hug. (Oh, Don't Even Try to Deny It. After Those Stories, It's Okay to Need a Hug!) Friendly Competition, by [livejournal.com profile] siegeofangels. Stargate: Atlantis, gen.

This story made me grin like a loon the first time I read it. And, because I am a scientist, I had to study that response, see if it was a reproducible result. Guess what? It totally is. I re-read it for maybe the dozenth time just now, because I was writing this post, and I still just beamed helplessly. I won't bother to tell you why, except to say that I totally think there is a game suggestion in here for the next Muskrat Jamboree. (And if you play it, oh my god, I want video.)

And, see, this is part of what I love about fan fiction. I would pay cash money to see what happens in this story happen in an actual episode - and make no mistake, this could totally happen in one - except. Except. I think I'm actually happier with it this way, on the page and in my mind. Sometimes it's better when it's not canon. Which is - you're getting the refrain now, right? - why we need fan fiction.

For me, this story, all these stories - these are great examples of what fan fiction is about: exploring the unmapped territories, seeing what could have happened, finding stories hidden in the niches and cracks and subtext and hints and our own crazed imaginations. Fan fiction, to me, is about loving something so much that you make it even more, even better.

And just as we all love our canons that way, I love fandom that way. Which is why I want the [livejournal.com profile] fanarchive project to fly: because it's a way of preserving everything we love, and I also believe it's a way of making fandom itself even more. And even better. So - go take a look, won't you?

Thank you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
And, frankly, I'm going to need the comfort. I will be spending the next week - seven glorious days! - shut in a very expensive hotel room (five minutes away from where I live) with two large dogs, one of whom does not like new things and howls if you leave him alone for any reason whatsoever, and the other of whom is going to view this as the best thing that has ever happened to her, and also terrify the housekeepers. And who has an unholy ability to manipulate new environments to her advantage.

I - I know I'll get through this. And worse things happen every day, and some of them have even happened to me, and there's a time when we'll all look back on this and laugh. (That time, I predict, will be when we are on massive medication overdoses.) It's just that right now, my near future is looking to be kind of unpleasant, especially given everything I have to do to be ready for this adventure. And there's also the fact that I expect to be hearing bad news no later than this Friday, when I will be already fairly unhappy, on account of, you know, spending a week trapped in a hotel room. With insane dogs.

Seriously. Odds that I will survive this? At least 99%, and I know it, and that's a very good thing. Odds that I will survive this with my dignity and sanity intact? So vanishingly small that I might actually hit the "it's a one-in-a-million shot, but it just might work!" exclusion.

Obviously, the thing to do right now is ignore all the things I have to get done today, not to mention my impending doom, and recommend some happy-making stories. And I don't know about you, but there's nothing that makes me happier than fan fiction cliches put to good use. (I think we all know what I mean by "good use," too. Oh, hush, I do not only think about sex. Just, you know. Sometimes. And one of the stories I'm about to rec is basically gen, so there.)

On to the fan fiction, then. And if anyone has any suggestions for surviving my immediate future - things to read, games that can be played in a hotel room you can't leave (ideally involving two large dogs in a way that will keep them quiet), breathing exercises, pocket universes where time passes more quickly that I could escape to - I'm entirely ready to hear them.

In the meantime, cliches. Which I dig. (And, OMG, someone please send me the link for the Canada shirts - I saw one a week ago, and it was profoundly awesome.)

The One That Reveals at Least Two Great Truths. One of Them Is That in Any Group of Teenagers, You Have More Repressed Sexual Overtones Than You Can Shake a Stick At. The Other I Leave As an Exercise for the Reader. Game Theory, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. X-Men, gen. (And some might question me calling it gen, but, well. This story does indeed have all kinds of subtext, just gallons of it in fact, but so did every variation of this game I ever played. Which was an unfortunate number of them. Oh my god, I am so grateful to be done with adolescence I can't even begin to tell you. I would rather spend the rest of my life trapped in a hotel room bored out of my skull with two even more bored dogs than spend a single week back as a teenager, and I mean that. I mean, given time and the test, I'm sure I can think of lots of fun things to do with complimentary toiletries.)

So. As you will already have gathered, this is about a party game (which means it's also about a form of culturally-mandated torture, in my opinion); the game is Truth or Dare, which is something of a cliche in fan fiction and in real life. As a veteran of it in real life, I can tell you that, in my experience, it takes a maximum of three rounds for the game to get either boring or mean, unless everyone is intoxicated, in which case it gets either silly or mean.

It was kind of inevitable, given the players here - Marie, Jubilee, John, Bobby, Kitty, and Peter (which I initially mistyped as "Petter" - oh, I am going to have to proofread this entry really closely, I can already see that) - that this would go the dangerous route. And it does, in a way that is so perfectly in character and so perfectly adolescent that I seriously cringe in memory every time I read this.

But that's only half of what I love about this story. (Yes, I love the cringing, in this particular case. What's not to love about a story that reminds you of all the reasons you should give thanks every day that you grew up?) The other half is Kitty's perspective. Penknife's Kitty is the smart, observant, and socially, um, limited girl many of us were back in our teen years. Except she quite literally has the ability to sink through the floor. I tell you, there were times, especially in middle school, when I would've sold my soul to be able to do that. Or to turn invisible. Either one. So for me, this is like revisiting my teen years, except that no one is tripping or having sex, everyone has mutant abilities, and I can get out whenever I want to. How could that be other than awesome?

The One That - Well, I'm Not Sure. Either It Proves That a True Bat Will Go to Any Lengths for Useful Knowledge, or It Proves That a True Bat Is a Vaguely Repressed and Very Twisty Fucker. You Make the Call! Things We Have Never Done, by [livejournal.com profile] derryderrydown. D.C. Universe, Dick Grayson/Roy Harper, with minor Garfield Logan/Victor Stone.

Another great party game cliche is Never Have I Ever, also called I Have Never. We all know how this is played (and if you don't, this story explains it, although what you do with that knowledge is of course up to you), and we all know that in a mixed-sex group, if "I have never had sex with a [person of a given sex]" hasn't made its ordained-by-the-petty-minded-gods-of-party-games appearance within three rounds, then everyone playing has some practical experience with bisexuality. Need I explain why this is such a popular concept in slash fiction? No. No, I need not, because you all have brains in your heads. (Also, many of you have been there. Greetings, fellow unfortunate-sexual-decisions-following-drinking-games alumni! The fruit plate is over there.)

But what I do need to explain, maybe, is why I love this cliche so damn much. See, because - you can't just start out the story with the "I have never had sex with [whatever]." Or I guess you can, but I, for one, would feel cheated. Because the great lure here - aside from the sex, which, yes, yay - is the stuff that comes first. I just love seeing what people think of for characters to have done. And not done. (Actually, I love this so much that one of my favorite I Have Never stories on earth is a gen one, if you can believe that, and there are several other stories I love all the way up to the Obligatory Sexual History Reveal.)

Derry does a spectacular job with that, here, coming up with what I think may be one of the meanest "I have never" statements ever devised for the superheroes of the DCU, and also dealing very nicely with the problem of having a player who has done everything, which is quite a challenge in the DCU fandom.*

So, you know, I am a very happy camper (...okay, reader) with this story, even before we get to Dick and Roy and the cocksucking lessons. Which I think is more than a sufficient explanation of why you need to read this story immediately. Party games! Happy campers! Cocksucking lessons! ...Oh my god, I just - I just almost made a terrifying Scouting joke. Save me from myself, people.

The One That Proves That Ancient Technology Is Hard on the Repressed. And Even Harder on Sudden Inexplicable Frogs. Straight As a Circle, by [livejournal.com profile] toomuchplor. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay, John Sheppard/Kate Heightmeyer. (Warning: minor squicks for embarrassment and animal harm. People, I promise you, you won't care. It's that awesome. Also, you'll know when to skim, if need be.)

I'm pretty sure everyone even remotely interested in this fandom has already read this, but I had to recommend it anyway, because this is the most awesome cliche use in the whole history of fandom. John Sheppard wakes up straight. I mean, if that doesn't make you clap your hands and squeal like a little girl, then - hey, there's medication that can help you. Look into it.

It's got everything an SGA fangirl could want: John Sheppard being repressed and very, very gay, Ancient technology being obstreperous and very, very difficult, and native persons being inscrutable and very, very stubborn. Plus Rodney McKay being, you know, Rodney. And also handling a difficult situation with surprising grace, which is something I love about him that doesn't get showcased too often. (Yes, he also fucks up difficult situations sometimes. But it's not like that is rare in this canon.) I think my favorite part of this, though, is - well. Okay. You know how genderswap stories often have, at least in part, a "Hey, human sexuality really is much more of a continuum than I'd previously imagined!" resolution? This totally turns that on its head, and I just love how this whole concept forces John to - well, deal with his issues.

And, yes. I firmly believe it would take a massive lifestyle change, meddling Ancient technology, and a skilled psychiatrist - plus a lot of patience on everyone's part - for him to begin to do that. He's not, as far as I can tell, exactly the "I enjoy processing my issues to achieve a higher state of consciousness" kind of guy. More of a "Let's just repress this and with any luck I'll die before I have to think about it, okay?" guy. And I love that. But I also love the sneaky things fan fiction writers do to get him past that. And this - this is gorgeous sneakiness of a very high and refined order.

The One That Proves That the Key to Drinking with Others Is Knowing When to Flee to a Distant Part of the Bar, and When to Lock Yourself in a Bathroom and Wait for the Climax. So to Speak. Getting off on a Technicality, by [livejournal.com profile] nestra. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall.

If I had to write a list of My Personal Sports Night Canon, some of the entries would probably look like this. (Although, sadly, there would be lots of others. I have Theories. Oh, do I have ever have Theories. Also Opinions.)
  • Danny and Casey are destined to be together. No, really. It is fate. And it is very important. Do not fuck with the Danny and Casey together forever thing.

  • Kim can be evil, but evil can be a force for good. The same can be said of Natalie and Dana, and if that makes you wonder about Aaron Sorkin - um. Probably it should, but that's a whole other list.

  • Jeremy is the world's greatest living example of the innocent bystander. It's like what he was born to be.

  • The people of Sports Night spend about 15 hours a day together, at least five days a week, working under stressful conditions. Alcohol is often involved. If you don't think untoward things happen there from time to time, you may not have a clear understanding of how humans work; some remedial research is indicated.
And, see, I'm not sure if those items would make my list because of my knowledge of canon (and I actually do have some, which is something I'm so proud of you cannot even begin to imagine it), or because of, well, this story.

Because, wow. Nestra hits those notes so beautifully she might as well have written this story because of a future me zooming back in time to force people to write fan fiction that I knew I'd want to read. (And, yes. Given a time machine, I would so totally do that. Don't even claim you wouldn't, either.) Of course, if that's how it happened, Future Me was probably crazed and unwashed and just muttering, "Sports Night! Kissing! Dan! Casey!" And Nestra, alarmed but very much on her game, pulled out something brilliant that she'd already written. Because one thing Future Me has probably forgotten (on account of tragic time-travel-related insanity - or possibly just trapped-in-hotel-room insanity; we have no idea when I'm going to start my jaunt into the past, after all) is that you can't force awesomeness. And this is awesome.

The cliche, by the way, is a dare. (Yes, we started with a dare, and we're ending with one. I think we should take a moment to meditate on the beauty of that, because frankly with my writing actual coherent closure doesn't happen all that often.) And Kim is doing the daring. So, of course, Dan and Casey are fucked. (In all senses of the word.)

-Footnote-

* Although the ultimate challenge there, I think, would be having Methos in an I Have Never game. I mean, Methos says, "I have never died," and everyone at the table protests, and he makes it, "I have never died permanently, then - you all knew what I meant." Of course, nobody drinks.

The next round, Methos can say either, "I have never given birth" or "I have never had children." And if it's an all-Immortal game, no one drinks then, either.

Basically, Methos is the guaranteed pass round of I Have Never, because if he's never done it, neither has anyone else. Oh, I guess at a multi-fandom table you could have him say something like, "I've never been to another planet," at which point John Sheppard, Teal'c, and Clark Kent all drink. But, failing multiple crossovers selected with extreme care, Methos's turn is a built-in opportunity for everyone to sober up just enough to discuss some of the things he did drink on. ("I - with the goat. I didn't think he'd drink there." "You didn't? Fool. But my question - I mean, when in god's name did he detonate a nuclear device?")
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Recently, our household acquired a package of Pepperidge Farms Milano Cookies. Best Beloved read the package while I was eating the cookies (we have a fabulous division of labor in our household), and then sat bolt upright, totally riveted, and read me the following line of package text:

The perfect balance of two exquisite cookies embracing a layer of luxuriously rich, dark chocolate.

Given the general nature of the readership of this LJ, I think I can comfortably assume your mind went to the same place ours did. (Actually, I have a hard time imagining what kind of person wouldn't go to that place. A deceased person, perhaps?) The cookies - longing for each other, staring at each other, thinking, god, so beautiful, so smooth and oval and golden. And they want to touch, but they can't. They can't. They're only cookies; how can they ever meet, when a cruel manufacturer has placed them in separate storage locations? And then First Cookie meets Chocolate, and Chocolate rubs up against First Cookie, slides on top of her, and she's so hot, so silky, and she feels so damn good, and First Cookie is overwhelmed. And then - god, yes. Second Cookie is suddenly pressed against Chocolate's back, and First Cookie can feel Second Cookie, feel every move she makes through Chocolate's welcoming, supple, seductive body. First Cookie rubs helplessly against Chocolate, pressing close, closer, closest, and she feels Second Cookie pressing back, and Chocolate is moaning now, and First Cookie gasps, and...

I need not tell you that this ends with the three of them as a single family unit, together forever, wedded into a single, blissful confection, all the better and all the happier for being three in number and two in kind. (Until I eat them. Um. Yes, okay, I'm now feeling some guilt.)

In short: Milano cookies make a person's mind turn to threesomes.

(After Best Beloved found this gem, I conducted further packaging research. In another place, the package text says: "Embrace decadent cravings. Open... Taste... Delight." And "gratification guaranteed." Just so you know that this is not an isolated incident. Pepperidge Farm is apparently really in love with the "Our cookies are like sex! Only better!" angle. Porn writers, you may wish to apply for a job there. I know, like, 3,000 of you who could write brilliant cookie sex for them.)

The One That Proves That Sometimes, Panties Are Optional and Sunglasses Aren't. Angle of Vision, by Zoe Rayne, aka [livejournal.com profile] z_rayne, and [livejournal.com profile] libitina. Thoughtcrimes x Scanners II, Brendan Dean/David Kellum/Freya McAllister.

One of the many joys of being in a fandom with older actors is that they sometimes have a deeply fascinating back catalog of work. (Not that I, myself, ever watch this back catalog of work. I am not that strong. But it's joyous fun to read other people's reactions to fine masterworks such as Boa vs. Python and Family Album, even if - no, who am I kidding? Especially because - those reactions consist of capslocked flailings about giant plastic snakes and the tragedy of growing up gay in a Danielle Steel movie.) But, even though I love the back catalog effect (especially with Canadian actors, who apparently have to appear in a movie or TV show every 15 days or else the Canadian government will shoot their moms, and sometimes, when you have to act to save your mom, you make artistic compromises), I've never gotten all that far into the six degrees fandoms. See, my first real exposure to the six degrees fandom thing was via Hard Core Logo, which scarred me, because Joe Dick is, for all intents and purposes, a clone of a guy I dated in my unfortunate youth. And I had already read HCL porn when I found that out. Scarring, I tell you.

But. But. (And, yes, we're getting to the story now. Shhhh.) This story is awesome even though it is a six degrees crossover, and I have never seen any of the canons involved. (Here's what I know about the canons via fannish osmosis: Thoughtcrimes is about this guy who loves cough syrup straight from the bottle, and this girl who has visions, and together they fight crime. And Scanners II is about a guy named David, who is hot, and probably has psychic powers or something. He might fight crime. He might BE crime. Fandom is not, on this point, particularly revealing.) Why is it awesome? Well, there's a threesome involving two bodies, which is always a neat trick. But mostly, actually, I love it for the sense of character it gives me. It doesn't usually work to wander into a story, especially a shorter one, featuring three unfamiliar characters from two unfamiliar fandoms; my mind is just not that flexible. But this works, and I found myself quite liking the people involved, and actually seeing them as people, even if I had to double-check their names so as not to call the pairing Mind Powers Girl/Cough Syrup Guy/A Mysteriously Skilled Guy Named David.

The One That Demonstrates the Many Positive Ways in Which Porn Can Change Your Life. It's Our Anthem, People! The Unholy Trinity, by [livejournal.com profile] shrift. Samurai Champloo, Fuu/Jin/Mugen.

(Note: this is a timestamp meme story, so it's technically a sequel to The Wind Will Not Subside. However, you could read this story without reading that one. I'm just not sure why you'd want to; The Wind Will Not Subside is wonderful - and, oh, dear god, I initially mistyped that as "winderful," which is the kind of pun I'm pretty sure you do hard time in hell for.)

Okay, see, this story actually had me from the title. As in, I saw the title before I saw the pairing or the fandom, and I thought, grumpily, "If that's not a Samurai Champloo story, I'm not sure I even want to read it." And then, inexplicably, it was a Samurai Champloo story, and I squeaked and made undignified noises and settled down to read with a song in my heart. And the title of that song was "Fuu and Mugen and Jin Are So Going to Have Sex, Sex, Sex Now." (Yes, in the official version of the song, there is an unfortunate dance step that accompanies the "sex, sex, sex" part. Those of you who have done the Time Warp would probably recognize it.)

And indeed they do have sex, sex, sex [pelvic thrust] in this story. But, in fact, I think I like best the image of Fuu stealing Mugen's porn. And being inspired by it. Because if the motto of Samurai Champloo is "just because we're technically set in ancient Japan, that doesn't mean we can't have hip-hop if we want to," the motto of Samurai Champloo fan fiction should totally be, "This time, the porn's not just for Mugen."

Actually, that pretty much is my motto, and not just for Samurai Champloo, either. But, hey, that's a different story.

The One That Will Cause Me to Reveal a Dark Secret of My Past. No, Not That I Was a Vampire. Worse, Actually - I Played One. Saving Roll, by Kate Bolin, aka [livejournal.com profile] katemonkey. (Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] pearl_o!) Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander Harris/Anya Jenkins/Spike.

I. Okay. I have to make a confession here, and it's a little embarrassing, so just - you know. Be nice.

I was an AD&D geek. (You can tell, because I didn't write "D&D," I wrote "AD&D." That extra letter, when referring to the game, can be translated as, "Hello, I still have two giant bags of dice with side numbers ranging from 4 all the way up to 30" - yes, seriously, I have a thirty-sided die, which makes me a geek even by other role-playing gamer geeks' standards.) I played a lot of AD&D in college. I played a lot of role-playing games, just generally. I can create characters in twelve different systems. I can speak from the heart about my preference for certain skills systems over other certain skills systems. I can tell you humorous stories about various adventures that require a profound understanding of the alternate-rules third-edition system - wait, let me rephrase that, because I can sense your eyes glazing over from here: I can tell you humorous stories that will have you weeping with boredom.

(And you know the really funny thing? While I was obsessively creating player characters and collecting comic books and eating pizza for dinner all the time and spending 22 hours each day in various chat programs and just generally living the good life as defined by a 14-year-old boy who has not seen the sun in two years, I was comforting myself with, "Well. At least I'm not reading fan fiction." And now I think that, really, fan fiction is amazingly cool, but I'm kind of embarrassed that I need a whole closet just to hold my old RPG rules books. I - yeah. I am a study in contradictions, people! Admire my depths! Or laugh at me!)

Anyway. I had to tell you all that, not just because it's time to get it out in the open - defriend at will, and I'll understand; it's always hard when a person you thought you knew starts using terms like "percentile dice" and really meaning it - but because it explains my reaction to the framing device of this story. Which was basically a heart-clenching wave of love so intense that I very nearly started rooting around for my old DM screens. I mean, yes, I love alternate endings within a single story (and always have - I was a fan fiction lover born, not made, even if it took me a while to get here), and yes, the concept of Anya, Xander, and Spike having sex will always appeal to me more than it maybe should, but if you really want to get me dizzy with love, put in a d20.

Seriously. I am so in love that I have to go lie down for a bit.

The One That Shows That Cherry Blossoms Lead to Sex, Which Explains an Awful Lot About Both Yaoi Anime and the United States Federal Government, Two Concepts That Previously Had Not Been All That Connected in My Mind. Yoshino, by [livejournal.com profile] eretria and [livejournal.com profile] auburnnothenna. Stargate: Atlantis x Stargate: SG-1, Sam Carter/Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

This story asks an important question that I think many of our characters could stand to put some thought into. Namely, if you save the world, don't you deserve a night of really hot sex? I realize that it would be impossible for some characters to have as many nights of hot sex as they've earned. They only have so much time and energy, after all. (Note: The foregoing does not apply to Captain Jack Harkness.) But one night after all the world-saving does not seem like too much to ask.

This is why this story makes me happy for John and Rodney, yes, but it really makes me happy for Sam. Sam, as we've learned from Brad Wright (via, at least in my case, [livejournal.com profile] katie_m, because I don't listen to commentaries on account of a tragic allergy), has a lot on her plate, what with saving the world and having breasts, and it means she just doesn't have time for hot sex all that often. Thank god fan fiction is there to pick up the slack.

And [livejournal.com profile] eretria and [livejournal.com profile] auburnnothenna didn't just pick up the slack; they created an entirely new rope with this one. (Okay, fine, I overworked the metaphor. I don't care. What good is a metaphor if you can't take it to a ludicrous conclusion?) It's a tough sell, at least for me, writing this particular threesome from Sam's perspective, and I love what Eretria and Auburn did and how they did it: Sam making the decision, Rodney going along with so much enthusiasm that you expect him to form a "Yay! Threesome!" fan club, and John requiring an intergalactic trip, two rounds of hot sex, and some light bondage to get a clue. (I love him. I really do. But I totally buy that it would take two brilliant minds working in tandem to get him to figure out something he doesn't want to know.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Yesterday afternoon, I had a nurse demonstrate for me how to take something up the ass. Okay, no. What she was actually demonstrating was how to get your partner to give you a shot in the butt ("Go for the meatiest part!" she said cheerfully. I badly wanted to say, "Have you seen my ass? There's no meat shortage there!"), but she bent over in a position that is, shall we say, extremely familiar to me (and to every slash writer or reader on this earth) from other contexts, grabbed the desk firmly with both hands, and said, "Okay. So you say, 'One, two, three, BAM!' And right then he sticks it in you. On 'BAM!'"

I tried to be mature about it. I really did. But I disgraced myself badly, to the point where I had to put my head down on her desk because I was laughing so hard I was light-headed. It was whole minutes before I could breathe well enough to tell her the name of my pharmacy. And for the entire time, she stood there, smiling like someone who totally does not get the joke. It's a shot, she seemed to be thinking. Why is this woman laughing so hard? Shots aren't funny.

I don't think they like me very much at that medical office, and frankly, I really understand why. We're just not compatible. After I recovered - to the extent you can recover from something like that - she said, "You know, you're lucky. Some people, they have to do it for themselves. It's a lot harder to get the angle right if you don't have a partner." Now, I totally take her point - I am lucky that I have someone else to stick things in me and get the angle right. It's what life partners are for! But, but, okay. I can't be the only person ever to hear that and not be thinking about medicine, can I?

Except I'm afraid I actually am, at least at that office. Like I said, we're not compatible. Mostly because I'm apparently 12, whereas they seem to be set up to treat actual grown-ups, not incurably low-minded people who are just faking this adulthood thing.

Anyway. Obviously my reaction to this incident is going to be to post some recs. (My other reaction, sadly, is going around the house saying, "One, two, three, BAM!" to Best Beloved. Over and over. I cannot help myself. In my defense, Best Beloved is saying it right back to me. Maturity is thin on the ground at Chez TFV.) What choice do I have? None. But, in an attempt to ascend to greater grown-up-ness, I am not going to make the theme of this set "bending over a desk and taking it up the ass." No. Really. Not.

Instead, I am going with travel. See how grown up I am?

Yeah, I know. I'm fooling no one. On with the set.

The One That Made Me Sniffly About a College Football Play Made by People Who Appear to Be Wearing Gold Lame Headgear. I'm Usually a Bit More Stable Than That.* Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead, by Speranza, aka [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

How can I not have recommended this story already? Oh, right, because I just naturally assumed that everyone with any kind of sense and even a vaguely reliable internet connection had read it already. But it has come to my attention that there is a person out there who has not read it, and I cannot in good conscience rest until I have done my part to rectify that. It would be against the Recommender's Code. (Yes, there is a Recommender's Code of Ethics. The first item is "Don't let recommending make you crazy," but the second is, "If someone, somewhere, has missed out on a good story, it is ALL YOUR FAULT." Recommenders are deeply conflicted people with angst and emo and suchlike coming out our (meaty and suitable for poking with a sharp stick) butts, and never let anyone tell you otherwise.)

So. Vacationing on earth - fun for the whole extra-terrestrial family! Except for how it is totally not fun for anyone currently living in Atlantis, because let's face it, they all left the planet for a reason, and that reason wasn't, "To get some really good stories to tell the kiddos at night as we roast marshmallows over the campfire." And it's not like a year in Atlantis makes you more suitable for life on earth. So this story takes that old theme - the stranger in a once-familiar land - and gives it a lovely, Pegasus Galaxy twist. And adds gay sex. But most of all, it adds a jersey so meaningful that the first time I read this, I seriously started searching the internets for such a shirt. If I'd managed to find one, I'd have bought it, people, and I still want one, and it's only through steadfastly reciting "I have no need for a football shirt" that I have managed to resist the temptation thus far.

Basically, I love this story so much it made me want a souvenir t-shirt. I don't usually want souvenirs from stories. (I don't even usually want souvenirs from trips, although I do have a strange desire to buy unfortunate hats while away from home. I resist this. Hats that seem like a good idea on vacation will be too humiliating even to give to Goodwill when sanity returns.)

And if that doesn't tempt you to read it - Souvenir! T-shirt! - well, I just don't know what to do for you. (But I'll still try to think of something. The third entry in the RCoE is "Never give up, never surrender," and I want to be an ethical recommender. I really do.)

The One That Uses Talking Heads Song Lyrics. Really. And Is Also Brilliant. I Bet You Didn't Think That Was Even Possible. One for the Road, by [livejournal.com profile] katallison. Highlander, Duncan MacLeod/Methos. (Um, Highlander fans, if you're out there - does Methos actually have a given name, or a family name, or whichever name Methos isn't? Or was he born before that new-fangled multiple names malarkey?) Warning: Animal harm. If you need to avoid it - well, I never read the segment that mentions a "Deer Crossing" sign, and you don't have to, either.

So. Te recommended this story to me, and she said it strongly influenced her characterization of Methos. I can, um, see why. It basically created mine; I had no conception of Methos as a character before I read this. And now I really, really do. (By the way, if you haven't seen Highlander, no problem. Here's what you need to know to get this story: Methos is immortal! He's really old! MacLeod is also immortal! But not as old! There, now you're set. Everything else you need, Kat will give you. Oh, wait - there's also some funny business with swords. Okay, now you're totally set.) As soon as I read this, I knew this was always going to be the Methos in my head, and not just because Kat is worryingly good at getting into the head of an immortal who has been around since, you know, the dawn of time. (Has anyone checked Kat to make sure she's aging? I'm just saying. I have suspicions, people.) Not even because Kat is so good at writing. (And, now I think of it, isn't that also kind of suspicious? I mean, if she's had several centuries to hone her craft, that would make so much sense.)

No, it's because - okay. We've all read Borges, right? (If you haven't, oh my god, don't tell me. Just go and purchase all his short fiction immediately. If you haven't read Borges, how do you even know for sure that you're alive?) This story makes me think of "Funes el memorioso"/"Funes the Memorious," where Borges writes, "We live by leaving behind." In that story, someone who can't forget essentially can't live, because he can't move on. And I'm not going to sink into literary analysis - really really not, for the Recommenders Code of Ethics part eight states, "Don't get all literary if you can help it, but don't, like, use the word 'rediculous,' either" - but. Well. I'm just saying. The Methos of this story - the Methos in my head, in other words - would totally get Funes, and furthermore he'd probably think Funes had the worst curse man has ever known.

So, what is this story about? Methos on a road trip. And it's got a lot of things I don't generally like in a story: first person, an entirely mental narrative, the thing I warned for up there, certain, um, themes. (And I adore Kat and her writing, but oh how she hits those themes. There's a line in this story about love being a trap, the kind of trap that kills you unless you get out, and the first time I read this, I said, "Oh, Kat." Because she just encapsulated, perfectly, the thing she's said in so many stories, you know?) But it doesn't matter, none of that matters, because this is one of the most right character pieces I've ever read. Just - read it, okay?

The One That Will Give You an Inexplicable Nostalgia for Your Days Running Train Cons and Working on a Chain Gang, Which Is Strange, Given That You Never Actually Did Either. (And Aren't You Glad?) The Buried Treasure Racket, by Dorinda. The Sting, Henry Gondorff/Johnny Hooker.

I expect you've all The Sting. If not, my god, why? What is wrong with you? It's got a caper, con men, and the slashiest on-screen pairing since - well, basically, since ever and ever amen. There's sparkling dialog! There's period clothing! There's con men in love! What else do you need? Okay, Ms. Hard-to-Please, try this: Paul Newman and Robert Redford are in a class by themselves when it comes to not-entirely-subtextual sexual chemistry. And, yes, I'm going to repeat the story, since it is my favorite - Newman's wife once said that if he ever left her, it'd be for Redford. (RPSers, why aren't you already on this? It would do my heart good to know Newman/Redford was out there. In volume. There's [livejournal.com profile] newford - thanks, [livejournal.com profile] giglet, for pointing that one out - but there should be lots of this stuff, people.)

So. Here is your program for your immediate future:
  • If you have already seen The Sting, proceed directly to this story. Read it. Revel in it. (If you decide to print it out so you can roll around in it, know that I understand and am entirely supportive of your lifestyle choice, but I will not sympathize with any paper cuts you might incur; those are just the risks you take when you enjoy great fiction.)

  • If you haven't seen the movie, rent it, borrow it, buy it, steal it from your best friend, whatever. I don't care what you have to do. Watch it. Be slightly stunned at the slash coming off the screen in waves. Then read this story, and make happy squeaking noises as you do. (Entry # 6 in the RCoE: "If you can communicate with dolphins using just the power of your squee, you're doing it right.")
Whichever course you take, I think you'll find that this is the only acceptable sequel that movie could ever have. I mean, I do think there was some kind of actual, filmed sequel to this, yes. I would wager it sucked, because it wasn't this, and this - this is what actually happened after the movie ended. I truly believe that.

[livejournal.com profile] elynross got this for Yuletide 2006 - and I think we can all agree she richly deserved it - and my heart just about exploded when I read it. This is one of the stories I've been dreaming of since the day I found out about slash fandom. I can say no more.

The One That Features Maybe the Best Non-Conversation About Incriminating Underwear That I Personally Have Ever Read. And, Wow - I Think Only Sorkin Characters Could Even Have a Non-Conversation About Incriminating Underwear. Scenes from a Route, by Epigone, aka [livejournal.com profile] likethesun2. Sports Night, and I consider this gen, but it's labeled as having Casey/Dan undertones, so, really, anything you like.

I am having a Sports Night renaissance. It's official. Admittedly, this is more because suddenly there are, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] sn_playbook and [livejournal.com profile] csc_memoand the efforts of many crazed Muskrat Jamboreers, Sports Night stories available for me to read and link to than because I've suddenly fallen back in love with Sports Night. Because the thing is, my love for the fandom (and the show) never left. But now I actually have stuff to love, as opposed to just sending Dan and Casey random "Hey, I love you! And I miss you! But you'll always be in my heart! *sniffle*" postcards. (Not that they don't appreciate the postcards. I'm sure they do; in fact, they probably read them out loud to each other and argue over which one of them their mysterious correspondent is stalking. It's just, it's not the most productive fannish outlet, is all.)

And I really love this story. It's delicious, it's gorgeous, and I was completely paralyzed when I attempted to leave feedback for it, because really, "gorgeous" is about as coherent as I can possibly get about this. I just - oh, Dan. Oh, Casey. This story reminds me of how helplessly I love them both.

This story is Dan and Casey before the show - the route they took to get to the show, with all the detours and sideshows and unfortunate incidents with bad map reading and people pulling over to the side of the road to be sick, and, okay, I'm working the trip metaphor too hard. Going to stop now.

Instead, I'll just say that this story is not exactly how I pictured Dan and Casey in the pre-show days. And that doesn't matter at all, because I read this and loved every word of it and believed every sentence. And when someone writes a story that contradicts your personal, irrational, deeply-held-to-the-point-of-insanity convictions about a character's pre-canon history, and you love it even so, then that is a fabulous story. Which is what this is.

You go read it. I'm going to sit here and be incoherent and thrilled and totally in love with Sports Night, okay? You can join me after you're done.

-Football Footnote-

* You can see this play here. You can also see the deeply unfortunate helmets. I suggest you click through for two reasons (or three, if you like to see people with shiny things on their heads):
  1. The announcers totally lose it and start shrieking. It's hysterical. Sports reporting apparently does not have "dignity" as a prerequisite.

  2. If you're me, you'll start wondering if all college football is, um, quite that hands-on. You take the handsy-ness, you add the emotion - it all starts to seem kind of - well, slashy. But that could just be me.

    I'm betting it's not, though.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Do you ever have one of those Bad Fannish Idea days? Where, like, you think, "I know what'd be cool! A Fullmetal Alchemist x Supernatural crossover. Yes, I want that, despite the fact that I don't know either fandom and it would be so angst-filled that small nations would simply collapse under the weight of the despair and never really know why." Or you think, "OMG! I will buy a vidder in Sweet Charity, and I will have her vid Smallville to Thunder Road, with Lex as the narrator and Clark as Mary." (Speaking of Sweet Charity, won't some ho-ish type go over there and offer her services in Making LJs Pretty? I don't want a banner; I want someone to create general prettiness via magic, because I am really damn tired of my blue boxes. Someone must be willing to do that for a good cause!)

Anyway. I am having a Bad Fannish Idea day, obviously. (Come on! It'd be the Angsty Sons of Tragically Dead Mothers crossover. Or, OMG, a fusion, where Dean and Sam are alchemists and Sam is a suit of armor and - oh my god, this is total craziness. I don't know either fandom. Someone help me. At least give me a Bad Fannish Idea in a fandom I actually know.)

So, here is my feeble attempt at distracting myself from my Bad Fannish Ideas. (Or, like - I could buy a vidder and have her do "I Will Survive" for Jack/Daniel after Daniel's ascension: "So you're back/from outer space/I just walked in to find you here/With that same look upon your face/I should have locked the stupid gate/I should have changed your IDC/If I'd known for just one second" - oh god it's a sickness I can't stop won't someone for the love of all that is holy please help me? Think of the fandom!) Other people's Good Fannish Ideas! They can save me!

Perhaps I can catch some sanity off these stories. God, I hope so.

So, is there a theme to this set? Not really. Kind of. See, a while ago, I did the interview meme in [livejournal.com profile] vassilissa's LJ, and one of the questions she asked me was what I'm reading right now. I gave her the non-fannish answers right away, because, well, it's easy to list the books I have in my purse, on my bedside table, next to the stove, and next to the computer. (Yes. Fine. I have a reading problem. I've gotten better, okay? You should have seen me when I was little - except, wait, you couldn't have, because my face was always buried in a book.) The fannish answer, though, was a little harder.

I guess you could say right now, I'm reading sort of randomly. I'm in a phase of waiting, fannishly speaking: waiting for the next fandom to eat me alive, waiting for the next fandom I feel compelled to read through the entire catalog of and then whine bitterly for more more more. (If you've ever felt the desire to pimp me into something, now would likely be a good time.) So, while I'm waiting, I'm reading a combination of new fandoms - fandoms I don't know at all, with, of course, canons I don't know at all - and new stories in old favorite fandoms.

Let's start with the new stories in old favorite fandoms, shall we?

The One That Proves That When We Talk About How the Other Half Lives, We Really Don't Know the Half of It. (Uh, That Pun Was Unintentional. Please Forgive.) Freaky Tuesday, by [livejournal.com profile] etben. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

Oh, due South. I will forever love you, and not just because you have communities with names like [livejournal.com profile] stop_drop_porn. No, really, the love mostly comes straight from the characters themselves, and of course from the fact that in dS, anything goes. Bodyswap? Of course, no problem - if the canon had run a season longer, it would certainly have happened, and it probably would have in fact been explained just the way it is in this story: a minor error in the application of fabric arts.

(Hey, I'm not pointing fingers at the person who made the error, here. Macramé is hard. I know this for a fact because my mother took it up when I was six, mercifully briefly, for a summer that will probably be known in our official family history, in the unlikely event that someone writes one, as the Time of Unfortunate Knot-Related Incidents. Also, let me just share with you a hard lesson learned early: if someone asks you to hold something just for one second, and that person is doing a craft, don't. You'll end up knotted into a plant holder while your mother tries to figure out how to get you back out. I suppose my parents were lucky CPS didn't stop by while she was flipping through the book looking for the part titled "If You Have Accidentally Made Your Child a Permanent Part of Your Project.")

And this story reminds me of all the reasons I love and will always love dS. I mean, the way the guys adapt to being in each other's bodies - for Ray, this is just some deeper-than-usual undercover work, and for Fraser, well, he has weirder things than this in his closet, and I mean that literally. Plus, hey: it was written for [livejournal.com profile] stop_drop_porn. So there is sex. And since I firmly believe that these guys were OMG MEANT TO BE, like forever, with cherries on top (Yes. Cherries. Oh, you are totally a perv, you know that? You just read dirtiness into everything. It's why I love you.), so in love and totally doing it, the sex makes me almost as happy as the bodyswappage does.

The One That Got Me Reading a Book About a TV Show I Had Not Even Heard of Prior to Reading This Story. Yes, That's Pathetic, Because It Turns out to Have Been the Basis for One of My Favorite Shows Ever, but - I'm Slow, Okay? Five Things Sorkin Never Got to Steal from Sportscenter (But Probably Would Have, if Sports Night Hadn’t Been Cancelled), by [livejournal.com profile] scrunchy. Sports Night, gen.

Oh, Sports Night. I will forever love you, and this despite the fact that you managed to make me feel like a total idiot for not realizing that Sports Night, the show, was inspired on an actual TV show on an actual TV station. (They have shows! About sports news! On TV! Who knew? Oh, right, everyone in the whole world but me. Please hide your mocking laughter and pretend, at least to my face, that I am not pathetic and so culturally out of touch that I might as well be from Planet Zik'tch. Also, if you are in the neighborhood of Zik'tch, stop by and tell my people - no, not those people; I still have my boobs - that I miss them, okay?)

This is just - I am incoherent with glee about this story. For one, I cannot believe that these things more or less happened in the real world. For another, Scrunchy managed to convert them into the SN world so perfectly that I am starting to believe she's Aaron Sorkin reborn. (And before you say, "But Aaron Sorkin isn't dead," - look. I'm not saying he is. I'm just saying I think Scrunchy has his soul and his writing mojo. Maybe they have a timeshare arrangement or maybe she made a dark pact with the Elder Gods - I'm no expert on the metaphysics of writing, people. I just know absolutely perfect voice when I read it.) For yet another - wow, this totally gave me the best kind of emotional whiplash. It's not often that I go, within the space of a single five-things story, from real, honest laughing out loud to snuffling sadly to saying, "Awwwwwww" to the monitor, but this one makes me do that. Every single time I read it. And I will have you know I've read it an indecent amount since it was posted.

The One That Proves That the First Rule of Elf Orgies Is - Look, It Doesn't Matter, Because You All Stopped Paying the Slightest Attention As Soon As You Read the Words "Elf Orgies," Didn't You? An Earthly Knight, by [livejournal.com profile] ltlj. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/original female characters, John Sheppard/original male characters.

Oh, SGA. I will forever love you (and, yes, you do qualify as an old favorite now, so there), because - well, just look at this story. John turns into an elf. ([livejournal.com profile] ltlj has, um, some pictorial evidence that he maybe didn't have that far to go, which she might show you if she's feeling nice.) And it's just - well, of course he does. It's the Pegasus Galaxy! These things happen! If the characters have any sense, they're just thinking, "Well, it could be worse. He could be a feral elf vampire. With wings."

And, see, in another fandom, any story with this concept (and certainly any story with the rating "NC-17 for elfsex" - I mean, except in LotR) would be crack (...and if anyone mentions elf MPreg drawings right now, that's five points off the house of all humanity, and ten more if anyone links to them), but this is SGA. So it isn't crack. It's just a bunch of folks asking themselves that eternal question: what do you do with a feral elf? My own personal answer would be, "Run," but this is why I am not cut out for life in Pegasus, I suppose. The characters just knuckle down to some problem solving, Pegasus-style. (Except John, who knuckles down to the elf orgies. It's hard to be John Sheppard, folks.)

Note, by the way: this was written for the awesome [livejournal.com profile] 14valentines project, which I admire more than I can possibly say. It's over for this year, now - god forbid I should ever recommend anything in a timely fashion - but you can still hit the community and check out all the awesomeness it inspired. And you can still give to the causes it was built to support, because, sadly, women are still in need.

The One That Made Me Nostalgic for Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Which Is Odd, Because I Only Started Eating Peanut Butter Sandwiches This Year. Feel That, by [livejournal.com profile] fearlessfan. Friday Night Lights, Tyra Collette/Jason Street.

Yes, this would mark my subtle transition from fandoms I love to fandoms I, well, barely know. Fandoms, if you will, that I have slept with a few times, and now I'm trying to figure out their last names and if I want to hook up again with them on the weekend, and, like, do I have their phone number, even? Normally I try to avoid recommending stories when I'm in this stage with fandoms, mostly because it involves a lot of embarrassing things like admitting to myself that I don't know the full names of the characters, even, and cannot say what is canon and what is not, and in fact could not testify in court that the canon even exists. All I can say is, blame [livejournal.com profile] vassilissa. She asked.

So. I can't tell you anything at all about Friday Night Lights. (It's about teenagers! In Texas! Who play football! So actually I do know stuff. Just not, you know, minor details. Like names and things.) But I can tell you that I love this story, because, well. First, this is high school, people. Or perhaps I should say, "this is adolescence." I mean, I did not go to a small, football-obsessed high school in Texas - one could, in fact, say I didn't really go to high school at all, in any practical sense. But I did my time as an adolescent, as we all must. And that, of course, means I did my share of adolescent stuff (and also the shares of at least three random strangers - I was very dedicated to the whole teen experience, or at least the really stupid parts). And, wow - in this story, [livejournal.com profile] fearlessfan so perfectly captures the feeling of adolescence - the intensity, the awkwardness, the surprising moments of sweetness, the less-surprising moments of sourness, the way things change, the way small moments are really really huge.

Basically, I love this story because it made me like the characters. It made me believe in the characters. What more can I say?

The One That Proves That, No Matter What Hallmark Might Try to Tell You, an Anachronism Is Really the Greatest Gift of All. The Discovery, by [livejournal.com profile] kaneko. Torchwood, Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones. (Hey, I only had to look up last names for half of this pairing! I already knew Jack Harkness, and I'm very proud of that, despite the fact that I believe everyone in fandom has heard of him by now. The man seems to, um. Get around a bit.)

Some of you may be aware that I have a time travel kink. And when I say "kink," I am - well, wildly understating the matter.

I've said this before, but - I watched the 2002 movie of The Time Machine with incredible enjoyment, despite the fact that - as Best Beloved pointed out to me when we left the theater - it, well, sucked. Because: time travel. You take a character, you send him through time, and I will be captivated and happy, even if the part of my brain that has actual intelligent function is sending out desperate cries of, "OMG help cannot take the suckage SAVE US." My point: time travel hits me in my primitive hindbrain, and my primitive hindbrain doesn't care if something sucks.

But this story, this story is the precise opposite of suck: it made my hindbrain and my actual brain happy. If time travel = happy TFV, then time travel + good story = TFV weak with joy. I mean, I don't know these characters at all - I understand that Jack is a stuck time traveler, and I hear he's in charge of a team of (possibly) lovable misfits in modern-day Cardiff, but that's where all my understanding ends - but I didn't need to know them to love this story. And I don't want to spoil the central plot point, here, but - god, it works. It's so perfectly normal, and then it's so perfectly time travel, and I loved every minute of Jack's reaction to this situation, I loved loved loved the plot point, I just - I loved the story, okay? And it satisfied the voracious beast that lives in my hindbrain and shrieks non-stop for time travel stories.

Really, I could not ask for more or better than that. Except maybe more of the same. The hindbrain beast is ever hungry, you know.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
First, thank you so very much, kind anonymous gift-leaver and equally kind non-anonymous gift-leaver. ([livejournal.com profile] maygra, you are wonderful.) It makes me ludicrously thrilled to see the prettiness on my user info page right now.

So, I spent the last week frantically acquiring data and then writing a whole bunch of crap about anime music vids, and the feedback thereof. And as I did this, I was getting presents, and getting love anonymously, and it made me a happy data mistress, let me tell you. So I was trying to think of a way to say thank you to you sweet and wonderful people. All of you, I mean. Yes, even including you. (And I was also thinking, oh god, I cannot wait to get back to talking about something I actually know something about. Like, anything. You'd think, with what I do for a living, I'd be better at writing in a total knowledge vacuum, but it's still hard.) And it is the time and the season for loving, even if I'm a little behind the times with that.

So I put all those things together - Valentine's gifts for me! Love for all friendkind! Fan fiction! - and came up with the obvious answer. Which is that I should rec some gen.

(Later: stories containing actual sex. I haven't forgotten that the word "porn" is right in the mission statement of this LJ, I swear.)

The One That Proves That You Can't Trust a Man Who Can't Trust a Herring. The Colbert Report - Lost Episode - December 2006, by [livejournal.com profile] scrunchy. The Colbert Report, gen.

Okay. Here's the thing, and I want certain people out there on my friends list to take a deep, deep breath, because I know what I'm about to say will upset them. I've never seen an episode of the Colbert Report. Or the Daily Show, for that matter. We don't have cable - we don't even have broadcast television - and I understand these magical works appear on a thing called the "comedy channel," which is a cable dealywhop. So, while I approve of the concept, I won't be experiencing it directly any time soon.

However. I have seen some clips from both shows on YouTube, that great leveler of - well, basically all playing fields, until we're all frolicking about in knee-deep pixel mud on a infinite plain filled mostly with shaky webcam footage. But my point is, YouTube makes it possible for those of us without cable to see small snippets of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart doing that thing they do. (At least, it used to be possible. If it isn't anymore, then Viacom has a personal hate note coming from me.) So I know just enough to know that the shows can be quite funny.

But I don't think they can possibly be as funny as [livejournal.com profile] scrunchy's script for a lost episode. No show could consistently be this good and awesome and grand and not cause spontaneous deaths from joy in viewers. I mean, the FDA would be looking into the Colbert Report if it was as good as this. There's Jon Stewart! Stephen Colbert! Furry crabs! David Duchovny! And just - really, I cannot convey in words how wonderful this transcript is, except that I want to read several dozen more of these, right now, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get them. (Oh, by the way - does anyone know how to feed and care for the wild [livejournal.com profile] scrunchy when she is removed from her native habitat? I'm, um. Asking purely out of curiosity.) And I am speaking as someone who normally reads script format works only if a) they are written by Tom Stoppard or b) I'm being paid to read them. And yet - well, I guess I have to add a third category to my list, because I love this, and I love it in part because of the script format. It is delightful, gleaming perfection. With crabs.

The One That Should Be Subtitled "And Teen Angst Is the Same Every Damn Where." Singapore Standard Time Is the Same as Australian Western Standard Time, by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. Katamari Damacy, gen.

Oh, the Prince. You have a father who is simultaneously awesome and totally insane. You are only two centimeters tall, but the weight of the universe rests on your tiny green - well, you don't seem to have actual shoulders. Your tiny green cylindrical head, then. No wonder you have angst.

Really, I'm surprised you haven't already formed an emo band called Katamari Sadnessy.

In this story, Punk manages to convey - no, to capture, as if on archival quality film - the Trauma of Being the Prince, and she does it so very perfectly that I want to hug her. (Truth be told, I want to hug the Prince, too. But I'd squish him, and anyway he seems to be in something of a mood right now. Getting stuck under that dresser will do that to you. And those damn pencils. They can cost you critical seconds, I'm here to tell you.) See, it turns out that the Prince is Everyteen.

I tell you, I cannot wait for the inevitable sequel, in which the Prince is sent to earth to roll up enough family therapists to create a Therapy Katamari, which will then help the Prince and the King (and the Queen) work through their issues, probably by saying things like, "And how does that make you feel?" and "But what is the origin of your need for crabs?" and "I feel it! I feel the Cosmos!"

The One That Makes Me Want to Write a Dissertation on the Anthropology of Board Games. (And Pretty Much Proves That Daniel Jackson Already Has.) Teal'c's Five Favorite Board Games, by Komos, aka [livejournal.com profile] paian. Stargate: SG-1, gen.

I love this so very, very much. I mean, we all know of my unhealthy love of Five Things stories. And some of you know of my entirely healthy and balanced love of Teal'c. I think a few of you may even know of my profound love of board games, although in that case I will have to look at you squintily and ask why, precisely, you've been poking through my closets. But even so, I could never have predicted that the combination of the three would be this wonderful.

One tiny warning, though: after you read this, you will never look at the classic board games of your childhood the same way again. Like, I enjoyed Life when I was a kid. (Although, you know, the signs of how I would turn out were there even then; I always insisted on having two blue pegs or two pink pegs as my married couple. In other words, I slashed plastic pegs at the age of six. Obviously, I was Born to Slash, and should consider getting that tattooed on my bicep.)

(Slightly more disturbing is that I also tended to bite the heads off the little pegs, rendering them no longer miniature people substitutes but rather sad, truncated sticks with a squished part at one end. That is a little less easy to interpret, at least in terms that will keep me out of a mental hospital, but I want you to know: I haven't bitten anyone's head off. Yet.) Anyway, my point is, I loved the game. But after reading this story, well, I love it even more, but I think that if I ever play it again, I'll probably get a severe case of the sniffles.

But the one of this set that kills me (in the good way, the way that has absolutely nothing to do with biting off my little plastic head) is the last one. I won't even name what game it is, for fear of spoiling you, but I will say: if you miss this - well, I will pity you. (And I won't let you play any of my board games. So there. Nyah nyah nyah.)

The One That Could Easily Replace Three Full Units of Psych 101. Although, in All Honesty, That Might Be Harder on the Students Than Just Reading about the Milgram Experiments Again. Matter, Form, and Privation, by Domenika Marzione, aka [livejournal.com profile] miss_porcupine. Stargate: Atlantis, gen.

I've been waiting a long time to recommend this one, because I wanted to do it justice. I wanted to tell you how beautiful it was, how perfect, how utterly inevitable, how necessary.

But I've come to the conclusion that I'll never write well enough to do that, to explain to you why you should read this story. I'll never write well enough to do give it the summary it deserves. So instead I will just say - read this. Read it even if you don't read SGA. Read it even if you think original female characters are a sure sign of bad fan fiction. (And if you can read this (and my other surefire disproof of that faulty theorem) and still say that, well, you may wish to check your ability to read English.) Read it even if you think, from this recommendation, that it sounds depressing.

Yeah, okay, it is depressing. But it's also a story that I wish could be canon, that I wish the SGA writers had the balls to write, because this is what life in Pegasus must actually be like. (And for me, that provides a whole key to understanding Teyla and Ronon, and how they must view the people from earth - So lucky! So innocent! So very much in need of protection! - but that's a whole other essay that I am quite sure you don't want to read, so I will stop this summary here and spare you. No, really, no need for thanks - the look of silent wonder on your shining faces is enough)

thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
First, a question. My vid drive has been returned to its former glory - in fact, it is glory-enhanced now, what with its sleek new case - and I've been wallowing in vids as a result. (I missed them!) And - okay. I know someone out there will know this, and I don't. In Jossverse vids, I often see a sequence in which Wesley is visiting Faith in prison. He talks to her on the phone, and then she jumps through the window separating them and then out the window of the visiting room. Does anyone know off-hand what episode of which series that's in? I have secret special reasons for needing to know.

Okay. So. I could force some kind of connection between the question above and the theme below - maybe, I don't know, by playing with the whole hard drive thing (It's memory, in there! See? It connects!) - but we all have more dignity than that. Instead, let me just say that today's theme is that old favorite of mine (and of soap opera writers, and also of yours, I hope): amnesia. Nothing shakes things up like a good healthy fugue state, that's what I've always said. And, frankly, most of my favorite characters could use a vacation from their brains.

(Oh, god help me, I should never have said that. Now I have this mental picture of an Ancient/magical/mystical/supernatural device that provides 24-hour "holidays" in which you temporarily forget everything that is stressing you out. Which would be fine for, you know, me - I can think of days, and particularly nights, when I would have used that with pleasure, and in fact paid handsomely for the privilege - but for most characters, that device would end up erasing, at minimum, a whole decade or something. "It specifically said it was a vacation device! There was no harm in using it!" "Okay, then why does he think he's twelve now?" I...I don't want to write this. And yet I feel this horrible compulsion. Please tell me someone else has already written it, and provide a link. Please. I will be a happy, happy TFV, and you will have my love forever.)

The One That Conclusively Proves the Equation "Amnesia + Guns = NO." You Can't Take That Away From Me, by [livejournal.com profile] joandarck. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

I suppose one problem with the whole vacation-from-your-stress concept is that it might make you, for example, forget why it's a bad idea to shoot at your partner. Or hit on him. Or go down on him.

Of course, that's precisely what happens to Ray Kowalski in this story, and while it kind of sucks for Ray - there's nothing quite like being imprisoned in a hospital (no, really, doesn't that just sound like the sort of thing nightmares are made of?) when you don't know who you are - it's great for readers. There's amnesia! There's jokes about the extremely comical pants that Mounties wear! There's sharpshooting! There's humor! There's inappropriate touching! Basically, it's everything I love about due South, with added sex.

Really, this could be an episode, in a world where TV shows featured just slightly more gay sex. Although it's probably a good thing it wasn't, since Fraser stripping in a hospital hallway might, if filmed, caused certain fangirls I know to die. Of glee, yes, but I'd miss them. (Although just imagine the fascinating picspams the survivors would post. We'd have to invent a whole new cut-tag text warning just for them - something along the lines of, "Not dial-up or panty friendly.")

My point is: read this. It's fun for the whole family, provided your family consists entirely of people with a good sense of humor and a strong interest in underdressed Mounties.

The One That Left Me Googling Images of Xander Harris and Then Scrutinizing His Upper Lip. That's Not Exactly Normal Behavior for Me. Your Horoscope for Today, by Anna S., aka [livejournal.com profile] eliade. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander Harris/Spike.

I have several things I love about this story. Or, okay, I love the story as a whole, but I am especially entranced by the beginning. Because the Spike at the beginning is totally the Spike I know and, um, have mixed feelings about: making Xander buy him a whole bunch of drinks and then trading Xander in on a poker debt. How awesome is that? (Um. Not that this is recommended behavior for, you know, actual people. Impressionable folks reading this, should there by some mischance be any: don't sell people to pay off your debts! And especially don't do it after they've bought you drinks. That's just tacky. Miss Manners would totally slap you down if she heard about it, and she's not someone you want to piss off.)

I am also entranced by the end. I don't want to spoil it for you, but - it is a fabulous ending that never fails to make me happy. Because, okay, this is the other side of Spike I believe in, at least when really good authors are writing it, and - oh, hell. There's just no way to explain why I love this so much without spoiling it. And I refuse to spoil this for you. I know better than that!

So instead I will just tell you that I also love the middle parts of this story, how [livejournal.com profile] eliade gets us from point A to point Z, and the fun we get to have along the way. I giggle every time I read about people's reaction to Xander's Big News. And most especially at Giles's, because - you know, I've known some people in my life who were experts at telling the truth in such a way that no one believed them, but you would think people who lived in Sunnydale would consider every statement to be at least possibly true. (No, really. Consider this hypothetical telephone call. Willow: "So how are you?" Xander: "Up to my knees in rats, but otherwise just peachy." Willow: "...Are these biting rats or metaphorical rats? Because if they're not metaphorical, I'm coming over there. Maybe Amy would like to make some friends." See? No matter what people say to you, if you live in Sunnydale, it's important to take it literally.)

The One That Proves That Heineken Is Indeed the Language of Love. Yeah, I'm Right There with You in the Horrified Shock. Time Is an Arrow, Time Is a River, by [livejournal.com profile] princessofg. Stargate: SG-1, Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill.

Oh, Stargates. It's like you speak the language of fannish cliches. And the proof is that you gave us canonical amnesia. It's like they're begging us to write lots of "Hello, I love you, won't you tell me my name" stories. And oh, fandom, how I love that you totally respond to that begging with tons of really excellent FF.

Excuse me. I need to pause for a moment; I'm overcome with emotion, including a really atypical and frankly scary love for all mankind.

Okay. Better now.

So, what we have here is a particularly interesting kind of amnesia story, because it isn't about what Daniel forgets - it's about what he remembers. Maybe remembers. And - okay, first I just have to confess that I have such love for stories where Daniel is basically lost in his own life. (And, seriously, who wouldn't be lost under those circumstances? Can you imagine coming back to the news that you were Daniel Jackson, he of the many languages, many deaths, and many layers? You'd be like, "...Great. I'm going to spend the rest of my life - which, from what you people have told me, won't be all that long - trying to decipher my own field shorthand. Christ, is this - is this Tocharian A? Intermixed with something that looks like Latin but totally isn't? Oh, I am so fucked.")

But, even amongst all the Daniel-returns stories out there, I have special love for this one. And I'm trying to think of a way to explain why without sounding, you know, fancy. Or incoherent. Or both. I guess it's because - well, for me, this story is all about spaces: the spaces of Daniel's life, the spaces in Daniel's head, the space between Jack and Daniel and how they each define it. If that makes sense. And if it doesn't - well, read it. Probably you'll see what I mean. (And then you can tell me what I should have said, and everyone will win!)

The One That - Oh, God. I Feel Pretty Much Obliged to Make a "Be Careful What You Wish For" Joke Here, but I'd Lose All Respect for Myself. Please Just Take It As Made. Fair, by [livejournal.com profile] minnow1212. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

This story is astonishing and wonderful in its own right, yes, but it's even more astonishing and wonderful when you consider the prompt that spawned it. Very few people on this planet could take that prompt and make it such a fabulous SGA story, but Minnow surely did.

And since the prompt is at the beginning of the post, and basically covers all this, I don't think I'm spoiling the story to say that in this, John is a fairy. No - wait - okay, fine. We'll take a minute so you can stop giggling and saying, "TFV, I've been reading in SGA for longer than ten minutes, so I pretty much already knew that. He's the fayest fairy ever to flap his tiny invisible rainbow-glitter wings!" Because I mean, like, a real fairy.

And now I feel like I've veered into an [livejournal.com profile] sgastoryfinders post: "So I'm looking for this one where John is a fairy, and Rodney's a little kid, and they're friends, and then they both forget everything, and magic happens. Or something. Also, I think there was sex." But, no, really, this is a brilliant story, and I love it to bits, and just thinking of it makes me happy. It's just that summaries - at least ones written by me - really do not do it justice.

In fact, this story is at least half responsible for how long it took me to write this post. See, every time I think about it, I have to re-read it - in general, Minnow's stories tend to have that effect on me. And then, after I've re-read it, I face this impossible conundrum: how do I describe this so that it sounds as awesome as it is and not as pathetic as the Harlequin prompt upon which it was based? Basically, after much desperate cogitation, I've decided to go the "pathetic descriptions + many, many superlatives + promises that it's really good" route, and hope you trust me. You do trust me, don't you?

I warn you: if you don't, I'm going to cry.

Because this is - well. It totally deserves every superlative I can think of, and more besides. And that is really all I can say about it.

But I have to ask - has anyone ever read the book the prompt came from? I am curious about it. But it's the same kind of curiosity I have about black holes; yes, the black hole is a fascinating mystery that needs to be understood, but I don't want hands-on experience with it. Same with this book. But if you have read it, I so want to know what it's like. (And if you recommend it strongly enough, I will even read it. Probably.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Thanks for all the hard drive advice, folks - operation Save the Vids is underway. And good thing, too, because I am starting to twitch without them.

So. I had a whole introduction here linking 2007 and AUs and stuff, but I managed to delete it in a way that could not be undone. (The technological disaster front is weakening, but still present. Exorcism of our premises may be required if this keeps up much longer.) Instead, I will just say this:

Hey. Here are some AUs I think you should read.

The One That Proves That the World May Change, but Macaroni Sculptures Stay the Same. A Chip off the Old Blog, by Salieri, aka [livejournal.com profile] troyswann. due South, gen.

Okay, two things: I'm not going to spoil this (not not not, no matter how much I want to, and oh god I so do) and I am going to warn for something. There is a suggestion of animal harm. The harmed animal is not Dief. The animal harm does not appear onscreen, as it were. And yet, it bothered the hell out of me, and I know there are a few people out there who might also be bothered. Hence, warning.

But here's the thing: I love this story anyway. And those of you who know me will know how stunning that is. Normally, if there's animal harm of any kind, that's it - my brain wipes and the rest of the story becomes meaningless. In extreme cases, this ends with me sobbing helplessly against a fence in Disney World (Curse that animation demo, with the clips from Certain Animated Classics We Won't Mention, Because Just the Names Sometimes Make Me Cry!) to the degree that Disney employees grow worried and offer to "help," for which read, "Take you somewhere where you won't disturb the people who are having fun in the happiest place on the earth, unlike you, you - um. Are you all right? God, can you even breathe?" (Yes, that really happened. It wasn't a shining moment for my dignity. Also, please keep in mind that I was twenty-four at the time. And I couldn't talk, so Best Beloved had to reassure people that no, really, I was perfectly fine - not easy against a background of choking sobs - and then tow me out and keep me from bonking into random tourists, because I also couldn't see very well because of all the crying. Disney animators: destroying hearts, minds, and lives since the 1930s!)

Anyway. My point is: I love this story so much that I just deal with the whole animal unhappiness. Because this story is incredible. I have an unhealthy love for science fiction anyway, and this is like a tribute to certain SF classics (which I am not saying, because remember how I am not spoiling this?) and the most perfect dS AU ever. The casting is - oh, it is so perfect that I get light-headed from glee just thinking about it. (You can tell because of all the italics. I get crazy with the emphasis when I'm gleeful.) I - I kind of want a dS v 2.0 TV show, based on this premise, because I tell you and I tell you true: the only thing better than a sexual-tension laden buddy cop show filled with magical realism and Diefenbaker is that same show in a classic SF setting.

Oh, I can't even begin to communicate the perfection of this story. Or, okay, I could, but I'd end up spoiling it. Which I am not going to do. Just - just read it, okay? Please. Otherwise I'll be forced to keep babbling, and since I can't talk about the story (which is oh my god so perfect), I'd end up talking about other cruel things Disney animators have done to me and mine. You don't want to hear about how my father (yes, it's genetic) and I both cried all the way through dinner on my 16th birthday, alarming waitstaff and fellow diners and forcing my mother and sister to come up with topics of conversation that didn't revolve around the two freaks weeping into their linguine across the table. (The restaurant manager refused to charge us for our meals, even though my father tried to explain that it wasn't the food that was the problem.) Neither do you want to hear about my first and only childhood moving-going experience. Really you don't. So just read this story, okay?

ETA: The day I after I posted this recommendation, Salieri posted an extended version of this: Real Boys (A Chip off the Old Blog), due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. It is all of the awesomeness described above times about fifteen.

The One That Will Heal the Wounds Left on Your Soul by Long, Stilted Sentences. And Classic Fiction. Seriously, This Is the Anodyne for 90% of English Class Related Scarring. Jane Narf, by Parhelion, aka [livejournal.com profile] parhelion_aloft.** Pinky and the Brain, and the pairing is - Pinky/Brain, maybe? Assuming Jane Narf is Pinky? I don't know. I'm a little shaky on this, as I have never seen or even heard of the canon. (I'm just assuming this is an AU, actually; I don't know for sure. If the canon is really like this, oh my god someone please tell me, because I will immediately procure it even if I have to commit illegal acts to do so.)

So. I don't know Pinky and the Brain. But I do know Jane Eyre, and let me tell you, reading it was an unfortunate experience. I was 8 or 9, and as far as I was concerned, the book started well. Orphans! Injustice! Picturesque diseases! All it needed was a magic amulet or something, and it would have been on the road to greatness. And then it deteriorated into this long story about exceedingly boring old people who, in my 8-or-9-year-old opinion, were pathetic: they spent long periods of time whining and then deliberately making life worse for themselves, apparently so they could have more to whine about. I just could not believe how stupid they were. I kept reading only because of my sincere conviction that sooner or later the magic would turn up. I finished with a feeling of great betrayal: where was the magic? Stupidity was not okay without magic!

Well, as it turns out, the magic is here, in this story. Clearly, Pinky and the Brain is the secret ingredient that makes Jane Eyre magical and right, at long long last. Well, okay, the actual equation would probably look more like this: Parhelion(Jane Eyre + Pinky and the Brain) = awesomeness of a previously undiscovered caliber. Because, obviously, it took a mind of great genius to produce this work. It is - god. The voice, the tone, the sheer joy this brought me. I cannot begin to describe it.

I will say, though, that this story healed me. I've been carrying around resentment about Jane Eyre since, well, I was 8 or 9. No longer. Now it is and forever will be a wonderful story - a classic work about a young lab rat and her forbidden romance with the mysterious Mr. Brainchester. And it will remain forever on my list of Things That Bring Me Great Joy.

Narf.

The One in Which We Learn That We Must Throw off the Shackles of Superstition, for It Can Stand in the Way of Orgasms. String Theory, a Concerto for Violin in D Minor, by [livejournal.com profile] toft_froggy. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

I have a great fondness for the alternate occupation AU. If there's a story where Beecher is a bartender and Chris Keller is the bar's bouncer, I will read it with pleasure, even though there are well-documented problems with taking Beecher and Keller out of a prison setting. Same with, for example, a story about Ray Kowalski and Benton Fraser, zoo employees - I will read that one and likely chortle with delight as I'm doing so. And if you make Batman a ship's captain running down the Dread Pirate Joker, I will not only read it but likely die of unbounded fannish glee in the process.

SGA gives me an unusually high dose (even dangerously high, but that's fine: my tolerance is astonishing) of this kind of happiness, because the characters fit anywhere. Seriously. I'm not sure why, but it's tough to think of alternate occupations you couldn't give the SGA crew. (It's just like - I have this game I play with Best Beloved: name a movie, and I'll recast it with SGA characters. Classic romance is especially good for this, but almost anything works. The Matrix! Master and Commander! The Godfather! Pride and Prejudice! No, wait, I think someone already wrote that last one.)

So, here we have Rodney McKay the brilliant composer and conductor and John Sheppard the fuckup violinist. And I just - I have such love for this, because it works. These are recognizably our Friends of Pegasus even as they slot perfectly into the orchestra AU roles. (And Ronon is a percussionist. I was a percussionist once, so I practically collapsed at my keyboard when I read that. Seriously, Ronon was born to play percussion.)

And it's just - it works. It's wonderful, and it's fun, and it makes my heart turn cartwheels from happiness. What more can I say?

The One That Made Me Like a Creepy Talking Monkey. And I Loathe Monkeys, People; As Far As I'm Concerned, Hell Is Talking Monkeys.* Home Is Where the Heart Is, by Martha Wilson, aka [livejournal.com profile] ltlj, and Kimberley Rector, aka [livejournal.com profile] researchgrrrl. Hercules: the Legendary Journeys, gen. Ish. (It's hard to say with Hercules, unless someone's cock is in someone else's mouth, because if you're writing in line with the canon, it feels slashy even when it's totally gen.)

Okay. So. You don't know Hercules? I don't care. You can read this as original fiction - it's that good, and that original, and that much fun. Here's what you need to know: there's this guy named Hercules, who you may already have heard of in other contexts. He's a demigod, in case you didn't know. His friend and long-time companion Iolaus died, and he tried to find another one, but it didn't work out. There. Now you're ready to read this.

And read it you should, because - oh my god, this is so good. The Egyptian elements made my heart leap with joy. (People with heart conditions that preclude leaping should consult their doctors before reading this story.) I can't even talk about how wonderful this is, and partly that's because I don't want to spoil it, but also because I get incoherent and babble-ish, and this soon after my re-reading of Jane Narf, that could be dangerous.

And if you do know Hercules? Well, you may remember a spot of unpleasantness that those in the know call "the fifth season." This fixes that. It's an AU that doesn't just erase the whole whatever-it-was that ended up with Iolaus dead and replaced by WTF-that's-not-Iolaus (because, seriously, I don't know for sure what happened there - Best Beloved stopped watching Hercules after season four, thanks to some advice I got from [livejournal.com profile] marycrawford, who is my Hercules consultant). It takes those events, accepts them, and then somehow makes them all better, in a way that is both brilliant and perfectly in line with the canon. And is also full of Egyptian mythology. Did I mention that?

(By the way, if you read this story and think, "I want more Egyptian mythology influenced fantasy. But, by god, this time I want it with time travel and Lord Byron," let me know. I'll have an original fiction recommendation for you.)

-Footnote-

* Yes. Ironic, isn't it?

** Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] mutecornett!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. Someone on my friends list linked to the YouTube clip about the T.S. Eliot Equation, and I realized it could be used to prove three things about me:
  1. I won't have any cats in my old age, because zero divided by anything is always zero. This is good, because I am tragically allergic to cats.

  2. I won't live to be old, because some right-thinking citizen will throttle me before then. I can best explain this via a conversation I had upon viewing the YouTube clip.

    Me: But...okay, I get the concept, and yet. Well. Shouldn't the number of exclamation points be an intensifying rather than a mitigating factor?
    BB: What?
    Me: Because if you divide by the number of exclamation points, then that reduces the total number of cats. Whereas obviously more exclamation points should increase the total number of cats, and -
    BB: Are you arguing the terms of an equation from a YouTube comedy clip?
    Me, quietly: I just think it's important to be accurate, and that's obviously inaccurate, because -
    BB, loudly: I said, are you arguing the terms of an equation from a YouTube comedy clip?
    Me, very quietly: Possibly.
    [There is a long silence.]
    BB: Oh my god. Do you hear yourself?
    [There is another long silence in which I reflect upon my life to date.]
    Me: ...Maybe I need a hobby.

  3. I need to post. Yes, I had my usual December quietness, induced by Yuletide + work + seasonal depression, but obviously if I want to live through this year, never mind to a (sadly cat-free) old age, I need a hobby. One that doesn't involve critiquing YouTube math. And, as it turns out, I already have a hobby: fan fiction! It's time to get in touch with my hobby again, ideally before the person who throttles me is Best Beloved.
So, courtesy of the math in some guy's YouTube comedy bit, here I bring you: crossovers.

Yeah. That transition sucked, but in my defense: a) I think you'll find, if you think about it, that there is no possible good transition there, so I can hardly be blamed for not finding it, b) I have to get this post done before I turn into a Crazy Pedant Lady, which is much much worse than a Crazy Cat Lady, and c) I'm sick, so I am excused from having to have smooth transitions and polished prose and stuff. (No, really. I have a note and everything.)

That said, shall we get right to the crossovers?

The One That Features Draco Malfoy in a Cage and Yet Is Somehow Still Gen. Five Have a Magical Time, by [livejournal.com profile] lazy_neutrino. Harry Potter x Enid Blyton's Famous Five, gen.

I - I don't know if other people will react to this one the way I did. (My reaction, for the record, was laughter interspersed with broken sobs, because I was obsessed with the Famous Five books in my youth, people, and they read just like this, and oh my god I've wasted my entire life.) You pretty much need to have spent three years of your childhood hiding in your closet with a flashlight and a stack of Famous Five books.

Yes. I was just that cool as a kid. Fear me.

But I think even if you had a more normal childhood - one featuring light and good literature and a total lack of lashings of ginger beer, a phrase that can still cause my entire right side to cramp up from phantom flashlight-holding pain - you can enjoy this. Just know that [livejournal.com profile] lazy_neutrino has hit the style of the Famous Five so perfectly that I would actually suspect her of being the reincarnation of Enid Blyton if that wasn't such a horrible thing to say about a person who clearly a) is a very talented writer and b) spent much of her childhood in the same kind of thrall I did, and therefore has suffered enough.

And, of course, the Harry Potter elements are perfect. I just - I love this brilliant (smashing!) clash of two subgenres of British children's literature (the magical and the Blyton, and yes, Blyton is entirely deserving of her own subgenre), and the way the Harry Potter world looks through the eyes of the Famous Five, and, well, every flashback-to-my-unfortunate-youth-inducing word of the narrative.

Bonus: after re-reading this, I felt a lot better about my need to argue YouTube math, because obviously I was broken from the start. Which means I can blame my parents. Or, possibly, Enid Blyton. Both are, obviously, excellent choices that take the burden of normalcy off me. And that, my friends, is the key to mental health.

The One That Is Perfectly Timed for Post-Holiday Reading, Since It Will Make You Feel Good About How Functional and Healthy Your Family Is. Really. The Gods Might Offer Gifts, by [livejournal.com profile] iseult_variante. Supernatural x American Gods, gen.

I think it's safe to say you'll enjoy this story if you know either fandom. I don't know Supernatural (well, beyond what I pick up from vids, which is: two brothers, a car, and a woman in plastic wrap taped to the ceiling, plus a lot of scary stuff that means I could never, ever watch the show) at all, but I totally got this. And, going by the comments, people who don't know American Gods also love this story.

Of course, if you love Supernatural, I have to wonder why you don't know American Gods, because you'd probably love it, for the same reason that this crossover is such a fucking brilliant idea. (Brilliantly executed, too, let me just add.) Both canons address similar themes, albeit in a different way, and they are just such a natural fit that I am now wondering where the Dean/Shadow is. Or the John/Loki. (Oh, come on, I can't be the only person thinking that.)

But if there's only going to be one Supernatural x American Gods crossover, I'm glad this was it, because this is so damn perfect. [livejournal.com profile] iseult_variante picked just the right characters, just the right moment, and just the right themes - oh my god, people, this hits my family complications kink so hard that I think it might actually have broken it - and does it all so well that it looks easy. Which it manifestly is not.

Bonus: I'm glad I re-read this one immediately after Five Have a Magical Time, because I now feel better about my childhood. I mean, okay, I was a weird, closet-dwelling (ha ha ha - no, literally), book-obsessed little troll, but obviously that is, in the grand scheme of things, both normal and healthy. (No one should point out that neither of the families in this story are ideal barometers of mental health, okay? Let me be pleased with my newfound normalcy.)

The One That Gives a Whole New Meaning to the Concept of Teyla's People. X, by [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone. Stargate: Atlantis x X-Men, gen.

This one you can definitely follow if you only know one canon or the other, but if you know both, it is so very wonderful that I would recommend acquiring whichever canon you don't know (or, hell, both canons) just so you can obtain full enjoyment of it. [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone does an incredible job of fusing these canons, of mapping the X-verse onto the Gateverse; every time I read this, I experience a vague sense of shock when I finish it and realize, oh, right, this isn't canon. They don't actually have these powers and they aren't actually these people.

But if they were. Oh, god, I would faint from glee. Seriously. I might even die: first ever fannishness-induced implosion. Because it is so right.

If by some chance you haven't read this story (and, really, I don't see how anyone could have missed it, but just in case), I don't want to spoil it for you - the slow reveal is part of the joy of this, figuring out how things fit together and what's going on. I will say, though, that I have special and unholy glee for Zelenka's, um, form in this - the only thing that could have been better is if he'd been Beast. (Oh, god, who is Beast in this universe? Is there anyone awesome enough?)

And now I'm going to shut up, because, really, I am bouncing with eagerness to spoil this whole story for you, all, "And then - and also - and oh my god, you will not even believe but it's so -" Obviously I need to be quiet. Now.

Bonus: I think a few of you know that I am a recovering X-Addict. So many of us went through these little stages in college, and I was not immune. But because I got my sex and drugs and rough-approximation-of-music issues out of the way in high school (a total time-saver, but nonetheless not recommended unless you have excellent mental health coverage), I was left with nothing but geekiness to explore in college. I'd like to say, oh, there was this boy, and it was his fault, and I was totally innocent, but I know damn well I can't shift the blame on this one. It was my inner fan emerging, and she bought every damn comic book that had an X on it. Those of you who have been there will understand what this translates to, in terms of dollars, shame, and square feet of our guest room consumed by long boxes. My point is: this story made it all worth it. It made my heart glad. It also kind of made me want to relapse, but I am stronger than that.

I hope.

The One That Proves That Observer Bias Was Alive and Well and Living in Pseudo-Ancient Greece. Hercules ex Machina, by [livejournal.com profile] falzalot. Hercules: the Legendary Journeys x The Bible, gen.

This one you can read with only a vague knowledge of both canons. Yes, I am actually the only person I know who hasn't read the Bible. It's - I tried, okay? All I remember is that there was a chapter that was a lot like that one chapter of the Iliad that lists all the ships everyone brought: just an endless series of people begetting other people, is what I recall. It broke me. (The potluck chapter of the Iliad - "And Ajax of Salamis brought a tasty casserole that served twelve," or whatever it was - didn't break me, but I was a lot older. Also, it was required reading. That helped. And, um, do I need to mention the extremely motivating slash factor? No. I thought not.)

So. Hercules and the Bible. You can see why I chose this as the fourth perfect-fit crossover, right? Hercules: set in ancient times, all about gods. The Bible: set in ancient times, all about God. And, as far as I can tell, the Hercules canon is all about running roughshod through every god-related story on the planet (plus the occasional disco, for which I have still not found an adequate explanation that doesn't involve illegal chemicals in the drinking water), so why not a run-in with, well, I'm not going to say. The beauty of this story, for me, is the moment when it goes off the rails: you're not expecting a crossover, and then suddenly whoops! You're in the Bible. It's fabulous.

Plus, I love the way Hercules reacts to his situation, which is both very Hercules and very appropriate. And, most of all, I love that none of this really merits a blink. Sure, there's the occasional complaint, but this isn't actually different than your average day in the lives of Hercules and Iolaus, professional monsterbait.

Which is, of course, why it's a perfect crossover.

Not Actually a Bonus: I should never have brought up the Iliad in close conjunction with Hercules. I see this now, but it's too late. I'm already picturing Hercules and Iolaus encountering Achilles and Patroclus. (Which, huh, I guess they pretty much could have. Did they?) My head is ground zero of a very unfortunate crossover that involves a hell of a lot of pouting, people. Yikes.

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)
Best Beloved suggested that, what with the whole Halloween and Day of the Dead thing that's happening around this time of year (not to mention my dogs' holiday of choice, which is known as Barking at the Place Where a Black Cat Probably Was Three Days Ago), it would be a perfect occasion for death stories. I agreed.

And then I kind of wimped out. But, hey, what I went with fulfills the theme, too, because what better way to celebrate the end of October than with a few of your best undead friends?

The One That Proves That There Are Two Teenaged Boys on This Earth Using the Internet for Something Other Than Porn and Networked Video Games. Yes, Really. I'm As Shocked As You Are. Going Under, by Aphrael (does anyone know if she's on LJ?). Hikaru no Go, Shindou Hikaru/Touya Akira.

One of the things I just purely love about Hikaru no Go is that the whole premise - sixth-grader haunted by the friendly ghost of the best-ever Go player - is just kind of, I don't know, taken for granted. Hikaru spends his time worrying that someone might find out about his ghost, sure, but it's about the same way he'd worry about doing something that could get him grounded. After the first day or so, there's no real reaction of, "Holy shit, a fucking ghost." (Which is totally understandable; if I'd been haunted at that age, I likely would've taken it with the same relatively blase air. Everything's kind of weird when you're a kid; for all you know, everyone could have ghosts and just not have thought to mention it to you yet.)

But the lack of holy fucking shit, a ghost reactions means the supernatural element of the canon doesn't really get explored. Which is why I love this story, which says, "Hey. Where there's one ghost, might there not also be another?"

Indeed there might. And just because Sai is the cutest, prettiest, smartest, friendliest, and most emotionally labile ghost you could ever hope to meet, that doesn't mean that other ghosts might not have, well, other agendas. We can't all be bought off with games of Go, vending machines, and fake fish, you know. (Although I have to wonder about those of us who can't be. Are we demanding too much? I mean, the universe supplies Go, vending machines, and fake fish, and yet somehow we want more. You realize this is what happened to the Roman Empire, people. Forget what Gibbon told you: the first sign of decline is a been-there, done-that attitude toward vending machines.) So. Hikaru's got a new ghost. And this one, uh, doesn't have much interest in Go.

The One That Gives a Whole New Meaning to the Concepts of Avoidance and Denial. Law of Conservation, by Lucia Zephyr, aka [livejournal.com profile] lucia_tanaka. Numb3rs, Charlie Eppes/Larry Fleinhardt.

And we go from the bad kind of ghost to - well, a whole different bad kind of ghost. Because, let's face it, you don't want to be haunted by anyone weird and creepy. But you don't really want to be haunted by anyone you know, either, because then that person has to be - and I don't want to harp on the obvious here, but, well, it's worth considering - dead. (I suppose the worst case scenario would be being haunted by a weird and creepy loved one. Yeah, my brain went to a bad place, too. Or, oh my god - my really and truly worst case scenario would be being haunted by myself, c. age 15. Weird, creepy, and as irritating as all hell: the undead unholy trifecta!)

And, of course, that's what's happening here. The thing I find interesting about this story is that - well, in due South, we take this kind of haunting for granted. Your dead father can come back to visit, and it's nothing more than an ongoing annoyance and about ten points off your yearly psychiatric evaluation. But taken out of its context - I don't know. I found this story sad, sad in a way I would never find Bob Fraser sad. And I'd put that down to a character I love being dead, except - well, I don't really know these characters. I had to look up Larry's last name to post this, even. But still: sad.

I suppose, transplanted into another reality and onto a different character, this kind of haunting looks like stasis, stagnation, and, well, tragedy. In particular, I find the last line very, very sad. But I'm curious if other people interpret this story that way, or if I'm just weirdly sensitive about this one. (Even if you do - it's a short story, and I'm going to be offering the antidote with the next rec, so don't let me saying something is sad scare you away. Anyway - I cry when I throw away frying pans. My sense of the sad is not necessarily anyone else's.)

The One That Proves That Your Really Good Friends Can Keep Embarrassing You Even After They're Dead. Divine Intervention, by Perpetual Motion, aka [livejournal.com profile] perpet_fic. Scrubs, J.D./Perry Cox.

But, hey. Haunting by a loved one doesn't have to be sad, you know? Particularly, in Scrubs stories it doesn't have to be sad. I mean, sure, tragic death and all, but if the people on Scrubs let that get to them, they'd have nervous breakdowns every episode instead of twice a season. The key thing is to get J.D. and Cox on appropriate terms, and if that means hanging around being obnoxious, well, I know one dead guy who is more than up to the task.

(No. It's not the Janitor. Are you kidding? If he predeceased J.D., he sure as shit wouldn't come back to help him get laid; he'd steal all his pens and make sure his coffee was always stone cold and that he never got laid again. Those cold, ghostly fingers can deliver quite the coitus interrupting pinch, you know, and oh my god I'm writing a ghost!Janitor story summary inside another story summary. Why didn't someone stop me?)

Just think, though, about how much it would suck to have to fix Dr. Cox before you could go to your eternal reward. That would be - that would be like the booby prize of the entire afterlife. (And, yes, thank you to all the Todds in the audience who just said, "I'd sure like to prize her boobies.") Or maybe that's the special hell we all keep talking about. Hmmm. Yeah. That makes a surprising amount of sense, actually. See y'all there! And fear not - we will prevail. Even Dr. Cox won't be able to hold out against all of fandom working as a concerted team. (Although, god, I don't want to think about wank in the afterlife. You talk about your truly eternal kerfluffles.)

The One That Provides an Inspirational Example of Triumphing and Achieving Success in Life and Love Despite the Setback of Being Basically Dead. Rodney's Bad Day, by [livejournal.com profile] boochicken. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

Given that Rodney's average day in the Pegasus Galaxy involves a near-death experience, it stands to reason that a bad day would involve an actual death experience. Or, in this case, more of your undead-type experience. Fortunately, Rodney's genius is totally up to the task of coping with vampirism. The keys, as demonstrated by Rodney, are to whip up some even higher SPF sunscreen. And, where possible, try to avoid biting your co-workers. (Unless they ask nicely.)

In this story, we get to see Rodney go through the Five Stages of Coping with Your Own Undeath (denial, creeping people out, anger, struggle with unfortunate appetites, and, in the fullness of time, using your powers for good). Being Rodney, he manages this with aplomb, provided you're willing to define "aplomb" as "mostly not eating anyone." After all, this is Pegasus. You can't survive 15 minutes on Atlantis if you let little things like being undead get you down.

(No, really. You can't, because something worse is always just around the corner. You know that Life Events Scale that assigns a numerical value to the stressfulness of various life events, and you check off the things that have happened to you in the last year and add up the points and find out you should be very, very sick, or maybe just crazy? Well, I bet Kate Heightmeyer is currently hard at work on the Pegasus Galaxy version. It starts off:

Destroyed universe: 10000
Committed genocide (own race): 1000
Nearly committed genocide (own race): 900
Committed genocide (other race): 800
Destroyed galaxy: 750

And, much further down, goes through such entries as:

Died (but got better): 73
Nearly died from someone else's incompetence:63
Nearly died saving everyone: 61
Had family or team member turned into hostile creature or entity: 60
Spent more than 48 hours trapped in an enclosed space with Rodney McKay: 59
Mutated: 58
Held captive (with torture): 57
Quantum mirror encounter: 55
Cloned: 51
Time travel (with paradox): 43

And so on. Unfortunately, her research is slightly hampered by the fact that, by even the most generous calculations, they should've had their first stress-induced death five weeks into the mission, and that death would set off a chain reaction of stress, stress-related illnesses, and stress-related deaths that would result in everyone being dead in under three months. She continues to work on it, though. It's a nice way to relax between running the Possessions, Mutations, and Violent Personality Changes Support Circle (Motto: "Friends Helping Friends, Even When They Happen Not to Be Quite Themselves Right at the Moment") and her "So It's Friday and You're Not Dead Yet: Coping with the Shock" lectures.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, first I just need to say something to the people on my friends list who are weirdly obsessed with Bruce Springsteen and Thunder Road. I downloaded it a long time ago, about the 18th time one of you announced that it was the Best Song in the Whole History of Ever and that anyone who had never heard it could not technically claim to be alive. But I have a rigid system that determines what never-played music I am allowed (or required) to listen to, and for a long time that system did not turn up Thunder Road, and I was just as happy that way, frankly.

Except. Today it did. And I listened - okay, maybe a touch resentfully, because I do not like Bruce Springsteen, and, yes, I know several of you are right now wincing and hitting defriend. But I listened, okay? I'm prejudiced, but I'm not unreasonable.

And. Well. It's a pretty good song.

Okay. Maybe I found the volume inexplicably creeping up all on its own, and maybe I did an utterly humiliating at-my-desk version of Paul Gross arms at the end, and maybe I went back and replayed it in total defiance of the system. (Which, of course, immediately exacted its horrible revenge, about which the less said the better, except - some of y'all are sick, and especially the person who posted that song, and I admire you for it. But from a distance.) And maybe I felt inexplicably uplifted, which I really needed, because I've had a bad day (any day in which plumbers start drawing you helpful diagrams and sketches is a bad day in my book, and the sad part is, I've had enough of those days to know it for sure).

So I apologize to you Springsteenians and Thunder Roadiacs for the resentfulness with which I downloaded the song. And now I'm saying thank you.

And now we move on to the actual content of this post, which is: SG-1. See, [livejournal.com profile] katie_m is a wonderful person. She is very wonderful, and when I asked her what she wanted as tribute to her wonderfulness, she said: an all SG1 recs set. I have no idea why she wanted this; the odds I'm going to link to something she's never read are slimmer than the odds that Daniel's next death will be peaceful, at his home surrounded by his loving family, and permanent. But it's what Katie wanted, and it's what she's getting. (I'm just grateful she didn't ask me to finish the SG1 Fandoms I Have Loved.)

The thing is, though - almost all of my SG1 stories were on my old bookmark/database system, as opposed to del.icio.us. So this meant looking at the 3000 imported bookmarks I have at del.icio.us; I imported them when I had a fever, and when sanity returned I dedicated a small portion of my mind to pretending I had never done any such thing, because oh my god the chaos. But Katie is cool enough to be worth facing the horror of (some) of said chaos.

My actual intention was to wait until I had sorted through all my SG1 bookmarks. Last night, Best Beloved very kindly pointed out to me that that was an idea that reached new all-time best heights of stupid and crazy.

BB: Just post.
Me: But -
BB: How many stories do you have?
Me, angling the screen so that the list is not as readily visible: Um. It's not as many as it looks like, because [livejournal.com profile] paian -
BB: Oh my god. Just post.

So I'm just posting. Katie, I hope you enjoy it. Everyone else - SG-1 = fun. Read some today, won't you?

The Gateverse Pimp Vid to End All Pimp Vids. Cartoon Heroes, by [livejournal.com profile] mamoru22. Stargate: SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis.

Am I cheating by including this? Yup, totally - it's SG1 and SGA both. But, in all honesty, there's going to be another crossover in here, and it's weirder than this one by 18 orders of magnitude. So best to work into this slowly, I think.

And, okay. This vid hits one of my few vid squicks, and in fact until I saw this I thought it was a bulletproof squick. (And, by the way, I've never managed to enjoy a vid that hit it since, so I still think it's bulletproof. This is just, like, the vid equivalent of armor-piercing rounds.) It shows actors and characters at the same time. Worse, it shows actors in costume but palpably not their characters. Generally, this makes me want to die. In this case, it made me want to fill the entire screen with giant pink hearts and sparkles. (I refrained. I want to hear some thanks, y'all. It's just like with dogs - if you don't praise them for being good, eventually your floor is covered with giant pink hearts. Or something.)

It's just - it's the most joyous celebration of the Stargate universe ever, and I wanted to start with it for that reason.

Plus, watching it now I - I teared up. I admit it. At a certain line. I'm not going to tell you which line, on the grounds that you will openly mock me and I will deserve it. But, but, but - oh, Stargates. You make my heart sing.

The One That Proves That Sometimes, on SG1, You Can Fuck Them All. And Be Royally Fucked-up, Too. Still Life with Cliche, by Komos, aka [livejournal.com profile] paian. Stargate: SG-1, Daniel Jackson/Sam Carter, Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill.

It's true. The SG universe really does make my heart sing. Just, sometimes it also makes me want to cry, and this story - this story so does that. It's gorgeous and perfect and it turns this cliche inside out. And also pretty much does the same thing to my heart. Aliens make them do it. Sort of. And the world is really never the same again.

This is a good story to start with, I think, because you can read this one if you don't know SG1 canon at all. It will probably work just as well for you; it's long enough and good enough that you can get everything you need from context. Except - if you do know SG1 canon, the last line of this story is a kick in the gut. From a Clydesdale. With razor-sharp shoes. And the first time I read this, I was bopping along, expecting the happy ending, expecting it all to work out, and then it connects up with canon and - boom. The glass shatters. I believe my original comment on this was something intelligent like, "OMG OW OW OW," and I stand by that assessment.

But did I mention gorgeous? Did I mention perfect? I think I did. Did I mention that it isn't all pain - I mean, if it was, I wouldn't have been able to read it, never mind rec it - and it's very definitely worth it? I did not, so I'm telling you now: read this. You won't be sorry. I'm addicted to happy endings, but I love SG1 fandom in part because it produces stories just like this.

And, by the way, you cannot go wrong with [livejournal.com profile] paian; it was absolute agony choosing just one of her stories for this set. (In the end, I copped out, and Best Beloved chose. For the record.)

The One That Cruelly Libels Pasta. Yet Another SG-1 Adventure, by [livejournal.com profile] minnow1212. Stargate: SG-1, gen.

I also love SG1 fandom because it can give me emotional whiplash like no other fandom out there. (Okay. It's more accurate to say that I can take the emotional whiplash better in this fandom. Any fandom I love can gut me or make me laugh until I'm dizzy. But only SG1 can make me love either one just as much.) So, from the sublime to the, well, ridiculous.

This is late canon; Cameron Mitchell is on the team, and Jack's watching from the other side. And, really, I think Jack is very grateful to have missed out on direct, hands-on experience of this one. Am I going to tell you what he's grateful to have missed? No. Not at all. But this story starts with General Landry saying, "So we haven’t seen anything like this before," and this late in the canon, that line guarantees that whatever follows has to be really spectacular.

(Seriously. This late in the canon, the canon writers themselves must be getting pretty desperate for novelty. I kind of imagine them sitting around a table, all:

Writer 1, reading from a brainstormed list: How about we make one of them a god?
Writer 2: Think we did that.
W1: Okay. No problem. Suggestion two: we make one of them a kid.
Writer 3: We definitely did that. Oh, come on, am I the only person who remembers season - um, whatever it was?

[There is a long, strained pause around the table.]

W1: Moving on. Suggestion three: we make one of their underlings a god.
W3: First season!
W1, getting snappish: Fine. How about we make one of them a child god of underlings?
W2: Why is there no alcohol in this room?
W3: Do I need to remind you what happened when there was?

[There is a collective shudder.]

W1: Those - those were bad times. God, I still have nightmares about the pointy hat.
W3: Exactly. So - what are we writing about? People?
W2: Maybe they could have a secret mission to, um, save the earth from, from, poisoned - spinach.
W1: Poisoned spinach?
W2: E. coli. You know. It's topical and suchlike.
W1, holding head in hands: Oh, god.
W3, suddenly inspired: That's it! We could have a god!
W1: We've been through the whole Deities and Demigods already. We're done. I'm not writing about SG-1 taking on the Yak Goddess of the Mukluk tribe, and she's what we've got left.

[There is a pause.]

W2: Well, what about if the Yak Goddess wore a studded leather bikini?
W1: Vala.
W2: Damn.

[There is a more hopeless pause.]

W3: You know, I think there's a random SG1 plot generator on the internet.
W1: *Googles*
W1: *clicks*
W1: *reads* "On a mission, SG-1 is involved in a brawl because of a lecherous sentient animal. A team member is imprisoned. Sam and/or Daniel race against time to solve the mystery of an evil painting of an outlaw prostitute bent on revenge. Teal'c and/or Cameron and/or Jack and/or Vala fight a wicked monk attempting to resurrect a goddess via a game in the conservatory. Back home, they must create an element from a fairy tale or fable because of a long-lost relative who has turned evil."
W2, in delighted tones: By god! That's our mid-season two-parter!)

But, just to bring this back to the story - no random SG1 plot generator story could be as delightful as Minnow's is. Read it. I can't promise it will make your heart sing, but it will make you laugh.

And possibly also make you want to limit your carbohydrate and protein intake for a bit.

The One That Will Make You Say, "Fanboys? The Stargate Writers? You're Joking." The Stargate Cantina, by [livejournal.com profile] brihana25. Stargate: SG-1. And, um, warning: spoilers. For Star Wars.

So. This is not a crossover, and it is therefore not cheating. It's an entirely SG1 vid designed to prove that SG1 is nothing like Star Wars, despite Certain People's allegations to the contrary. I think you will all agree that it does a fine job, although I have to warn you that the song it is set to is an earworm to end all earworms. So I'm not responsible if you chew your own ears off, okay?

And a note for people who, like me, downloaded their copy a while ago: this is a link to a remaster, and it is different - not just upgraded source, although there's that, too. Some clips are different, the intro is - um, different, and I think I need a new word for that now - and it's an .avi. So, you know, worth a download even if you've seen the .wmv version before.

Sadly, there's nothing more I can say about this; everything else will spoil it. Just - everyone who has ever seen SG1 or Star Wars needs to download this, and if you've seen both but you haven't seen this, I think you may be officially relegated to second-class fan status. Also be warned that viewing this with friends and loved ones can cause some strife; I first watched it with Best Beloved, and we spent the next twenty minutes debating casting choices, even though we have never seen the canon. Best viewed in private.

Also, learn from my sad experience and keep your mouth completely free of liquids at all times.

If Snow White Made You Suspicious of Trees, This One Will Make You Move to a Desert. Leaving Time, by [livejournal.com profile] janedavitt. SG-1, Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill. (Yes, I have pairing preferences. Also, this set is for [livejournal.com profile] katie_m, so it seemed wrong to include any of her stories in it, but she's written many of my favorite gen pieces. Blame her.)

I also love SG-1 fandom's tendency to write about really fascinating aliens, and alien cultures, and the team's interactions with said cultures. Of course, first contact can always be a bit dicey - sometimes it's all wacky beverages and naked hula dancing, and sometimes it's...not. This would be one of those "not" times, for the record. There is nakedness, yes, but it is not really the focus, per se. The focus is on a mission gone very wrong. It's also on Jack, and Daniel, and how sometimes they can be in total disagreement and (at least in my opinion) both be wrong. (As Amazon.com would say: "Jack and Daniel - Better Together." Or, as I would say: "Jack and Daniel: When they're at odds, god help the universe.")

This story also hits my "Ancients: skeevy? Or really skeevy?" buttons. I am convinced that those glowy fuckers are unworthy to be called squids, and I sort of want to punch them most of the time. This story makes me feel good about that. In short, I blame the Ancients for all of this. Well, that and the apparent motto of the SG universe. ("Oops.")

The One for Everyone Who Doesn't See the Daniel/Jack. And Everyone Who Does. Be Like Water, by [livejournal.com profile] butterfly. Stargate: SG-1, Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill.

For me, this is the vid equivalent of a Daniel/Jack pairing manifesto - by which I mean, well, that it explains why the pairing is so wonderful, and tempting, and right. And it also shows how they keep missing each other.

But even though this is a pairing manifesto, it's not about a pairing, not for me. For me, it's about Jack, about him trying to follow the rules, about him doing the right thing and losing the right thing in the process.

I have a lot of other stuff to say about this vid - about the clip choices, about the way the effects contribute to the mood, about the way the colors in this seem more beautiful to me than the colors in most other SG1 vids. But I think this vid best stands alone, without commentary. And even I know when to shut up sometimes.

The One That Makes Me Stamp My Foot Like a Four-Year-Old and Say, "I Want It That Way and So It Is That Way." Please, No One Convince Me Otherwise. No More Sad Songs, by [livejournal.com profile] destina. (The link takes you to the Triptych Vids front page. If you don't have a password, hit "New Visitor" for instructions on how to get one; an auto-responder will send it back. Login, click on Stargate, and scroll down.) Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill. And Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill.

I recommended this vid alongside Be Like Water deliberately. Or, actually, more like out of necessity, because this is the other side of that coin. This is Jack - in my mind, Jack during his retirement (I can pretend. Boy, can I ever.) or, more canonically, Jack during the post-SG-1 era. He's not doing the right thing anymore; he's having the right thing. And I tend to watch this back-to-back with Be Like Water because, hey, did I mention my need for happy endings? For me, this is Jack's happy ending.

But then, I don't see - okay. I'm going to be blasphemous for a minute here. But, for me, SG-1 needed Jack more than Jack needed SG-1. He can still be who he is without being on the front lines, without being at the head of the team; there are things he needs, but in my head, that's not one of them. (Guess what is one of them? Yeah, yeah, and no points for getting it right. I am nothing if not Little Miss Predictable.) I don't see his transfer or retirement as a sad thing - or, okay, sad for us, most definitely, but not sad for him. I want this to be Jack's ending.

And so, in these parts, it is. Because, hey, this is my head, and I can do what I want.

The One That Makes Me Feel Sorry for Death. No, Really. Untitled, by [livejournal.com profile] daegaer. Stargate: SG-1 x Discworld. Gen.

Yes, this is the one I warned you about earlier. It's the crossover that could not work, am I right? Except, oh my god how it does. You do need to know Discworld, I think, and you need to know - well, basically, if you've made it this far in the post, you already know enough about SG1 to read this. (If by some tragic turn of events you don't know Discworld, go read Terry Pratchett's books - okay, some of them, and I recommend Guards, Guards and Pyramids - immediately. You can thank me later.)

This rec is a difficult situation for me, because the story is a short, short piece, and I don't want to get into that deal where I write more words about the story than are in the story. I know this will surprise you, but I do that sometimes. I can be wordy. You might not think it, but it's true.

But I do want to say that part of the reason this works so damn well for me is - well, the characterization. [livejournal.com profile] daegaer may actually be the secret lovechild of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman; that's how well she writes their characters and their voices. (No, I cannot adequately explain why their lovechild would be Irish. Possibly they wanted their child to be closely acquainted with Peig Sayers. It would be like them, in my opinion.) But, also, this story says some things that truly need to be said to a certain someone.

And it gives that someone a nickname that I will treasure forever.

Okay. I'm over the story's word count. Shutting up now.

The One in Which Someone Else Out-Talks Daniel for Once in His Life, and He Learns What Happens to People Who Don't Always Get the Last Word. Five Conversations Daniel Never Had, by [livejournal.com profile] teand. Stargate: SG-1, gen.

It wouldn't be an SG1 recs set without a couple references to the current incarnation of SG-1, including a certain, um, interesting character introduced in the last few seasons. (Let me put it this way. That outlaw prostitute bent on revenge I mentioned earlier? I think they already have her in the canon.) And while for some reason vids featuring Vala generally don't make me happy, stories featuring her really, really do.

Here, Vala says to Daniel what no one else would. (Most likely because any sane person familiar with Daniel's history would shudder, say, "There are some things no one was meant to know. Or say," and go out for a stiff drink instead. I mean, calling Daniel cheerful is just - perverse.) And word gets around at the speed of wormhole travel, because we all secretly suspect that the SGC is just one big high school where most of the students are heavily armed and they get transformed, mutated, killed, or comically dressed about every second week. (Oh, wait - Joss Whedon already wrote that one. But, well, SGC as Sunnydale High? That works for me.) And we are right.

And, of course, Daniel's co-workers (present and former) are there to stand by him during his hour of, um, probably wanting to strangle Vala, and they're always ready to lend a helping hand. (To support him. But also probably to help strangle Vala, in some cases.)

The One in Which Daniel Says, "Maybe I Want It to Be Difficult." And I Say, "Oh, Daniel, Truer Words." Encoded, by Tallulah Rasa. Stargate: SG-1, gen (basically).

And I finish with this AU future for SG-1, where things went off the rails around season 7. Tallulah is one of my favorite writers in SG1 - it is quite honestly worth getting into the fandom just to read her stuff - and I say that despite her history of breaking my heart about every third story.

This isn't one of the stories where she does that. She takes care of the heartbreak in the prologue, and then picks up about five years after that - never say that Tallulah doesn't know where to start - and puts it all back together again. A little bit different, sure, but different, as SG-1 has taught us over the years, can be good.

So, really, there's no heartbreak in this story. (There are some broken hands, sure, but with this team, that's a remarkably low butcher's bill.) What there is instead is - well, this, more than any other story, proves to me that SG-1 (version 1.0) is meant to be together. Doesn't matter if they burn out, fade away, or mutate; Daniel, Jack, Sam, and Teal'c are stuck together in ways that - okay, sure, they can come apart. But I truly believe that they end up together again.

And after you read this one, I think you will, too.

So. Thus endeth the SG1 set. It got out of hand, it got long, and it still doesn't cover even the teeniest fraction of what this fandom has to offer. Plus, hey, if you ever run out of fan fiction, I hear there's ten years of a TV show, too, and that might keep you entertained for a bit. So if you haven't tried SG1, maybe it's time to start.

And to SG1, the fandom, the canon, and the characters, I say: thanks. It's been a wild ride. And I'm not done with you yet.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
First, an announcement.

Does anyone remember the 20 Questions game online? You know, the one where you played against a program. Well, it has new versions that are still in the learning phase, and I've had a delightful time teaching the movie and TV edition to be fannish. I added a bunch of my favorite characters to the database and have been patiently playing through them over and over until the program learns to guess them. Add yours today! (Rare fandoms only at this point, I'd think.)

But here's the thing - I added John Sheppard. But I didn't have to add Rodney McKay. The database didn't know anything about Stargate: Atlantis - or most of my other fandoms, when I first got there - but it knew Rodney McKay.

Am I the only one who finds that amusing? Am I the only one who sort of suspects Rodney of adding himself, in some weird AU-twisty kind of way?

Anyway. Today's theme is near-death experiences. In fan fiction, I mean; I'm not going to, like, hold your head under water or anything. You want an actual near-death experience, you can pay to attend a management seminar, just like everyone else has to.

(P.S. [livejournal.com profile] lithium_doll just celebrated her 1000th entry. So, if you get a chance, go over here and leave a comment, to help her get to 1000 comments on her 1000th entry. You can request a vidlet, too, while you're there.)

You Know, a Lot of Men Claim That the Only Woman for Them Is an Indestructible Bisexual Amazon Goddess with Magical Rope, but When Batman Says It, I Kind of Believe Him. Aspire to Touch the Sky, by [livejournal.com profile] brown_betty. DC Universe, Diana/Bruce Wayne, Diana/Batman. (Yes, the pairing information is entirely accurate. It's not my fault Bruce has issues, people. Or, okay, let me put it this way: it's not my fault Bruce Wayne is batshit crazy. Blame - I don't know. DC, I guess.)

[livejournal.com profile] brown_betty describes this as a Lord King Bad Fic, and, frankly, I resent that. Or, rather, I did resent it (entirely on the story's behalf, let me assure you); I have since decided it's okay. Because, see, the key to the Lord King Bad designation is, as far as I can tell, to use all your talent, skill, passion, and belief to pursue an idea that you would totally have loved when you were 13. You let your inner adolescent write a story or make a vid, now that you actually have the ability to, you know, do it well. So, really, when Betty calls this a Lord King Bad Fic, she's just saying, "When I was 13, I would have read with pleasure any story in which Bruce Wayne and Diana entered into an arranged marriage. But I had to wait until now to be able to write it."

My only argument now is - who wouldn't read with pleasure a story in which Bruce Wayne and Diana enter into an arranged marriage? I just cannot believe there could be some sad, deranged soul out there who doesn't read that description and immediately say, "The only thing that could be better than that is a DC genderfuck pirate AU." (Seriously. If you don't want to read about Bruce Wayne + Diana = marriage of convenience, you just - well. I'm sure you have your reasons. But please don't tell me about them, because I want to retain some faith in humanity, thanks.)

Anyway. This is a fabulous story; an arranged marriage with a side order of near-death experience, gods, Amazons, hot sparring sequences, sarcastic Robins, and, best of all, fabulous Diana narrative, so perfectly in character that I would suspect Betty of being her, except that would break the fourth wall so thoroughly that we'd all end up in the fourth dimension, like those poor characters in the really clever kind of modern novel that you end up having to read because a friend or relation wrote it. (And, of course, now I'm wondering - if Wonder Woman was in fandom, what fandom would it be? And would she be exclusively femslash, or would she ruthlessly bring all characters together regardless of gender, or would she completely ignore sex in favor of writing lengthy gen stories featuring a lot of fighting and rope play? I have no idea, but I can say that whichever of the options she chose, I would be entirely in favor of it.)

The One in Which John Sheppard Racks up More Near-Death Experiences Than All the Other Characters in This Recs Set Combined, and No One Is Really Surprised. MVP, by [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

Lately, I've been trying to avoid the, "But everyone already knows about that one" line of reasoning. I mean, I assumed that everyone on earth knew about the vid Atlantis!, and it turned out several poor unfortunate souls did not. Imagine if I hadn't recommended it. They'd be condemned to a wretched, tragic existence, endlessly searching for something to fill the gaping hole in their lives, sort of like those ghosts that wander around sucking people's lifeforces and wailing and rattling chains. And in those situations, do people ever think of systematically watching all the vids in the world until they find the problem? No. They turn to drugs and sex and then, in the fullness of time, therapy. So, really, I was saving souls when I recommended that vid. Or at least a lot mental health co-pays.

And that's what I'm attempting to do here. Because it is just possible - just barely within the margins of possibility - that someone has not read this story, and, well. Did anyone ever read "The Little Match Girl"? Yeah. It could turn out like that. I can't take that risk.

Because, see, I think that maybe, just maybe, this is my favorite of all Speranza's SGA stories to date. (I know, I know, tough call. And I'll probably make a different decision tomorrow. But at the moment of typing it, that was a true statement.) It has a simple plot, really. Rodney is tempted by forbidden knowledge and then learns that snooping doesn't pay. No, wait, wrong - I think Milton wrote that one. In this one, Rodney learns that snooping totally does pay, in hot gay sex. And, frankly, I think we're all better people for observing his learning process.

John, on the other hand, once again demonstrates his amazing abilities to defy death and confuse the fuck out of everyone. (And I don't just mean everyone on Atlantis. Half the attraction of this canon, I suspect, is that the fans can stare at John, totally mesmerized by his intensely weird suite of behaviors, and then try to make up explanations for them. The current leading explanation, I believe, is that he's the reincarnation of Elvis, but it's neck-and-neck with the shapechanging robot from the future theory.) And did I mention the hot gay sex? (I find, upon review, that I did. But, hey, it's worth a second mention, right?)

The One in Which Death Is Proven to Be a Minor Obstacle, All Things Considered, in the Search for the Divine Hand. Well, the Canon Proved That, So Let's Just Say This Story Provides a Meaningful Underscore. Bloodstone, by K. Stonham, aka [livejournal.com profile] sakon76. Hikaru no Go, gen. (If you're looking for the manga, you can find it here, a chapter at a time, or I'll be happy to upload it in larger sets for you. If you're looking for the anime, you can download it at ftp://ftp.hikago.flirble.org.)

There is, actually, a near-death experience in this, but it comes rather late in the story. The predominant plot is actually about what we might call a trans-death experience. You know they say - and by "they," I mean "a bunch of people I can't call to mind, only some of whom are imaginary" - that you can't call it a fandom until it has a vampire story? Well, this is Hikaru no Go's vampire story. (It's actually based on one of those extra pieces of canon art that you find with manga - a Hallween picture with Hikaru as a vampire. And I would totally link to it for you, but I can't find it. If you've downloaded all the manga, you'll find the vampire picture somewhere in there.)

Despite the presence of a ghost in the canon, I have to say "Hikaru no Go vampire story" was not high on my list of obvious stories for someone to write. It's just - Go. Vampires. They don't seem like a good fit. But they are, and I am so glad. And not just because I crave good Hikaru no Go stories (although, hey, if anyone ever wants to make me happy, that's how) but because it works so surprisingly well. And it mostly does that by focusing on what really matters.

Because, okay, yes, Hikaru's a vampire, and, yes, that does cause certain problems - sensitivity to light, need to drink blood, living death - which lead to other problems, like a certain amount of difficulty getting to scheduled matches. But that's just minor stuff, really. Totally irrelevant, in fact, because Go is what matters.

In this story, Hikaru and Akira have the same laser-like focus on Go, and on each other, that they do in the canon. (The first real game they play against each other, Akira says he's been waiting for two years and four months. And then they play lightning-fast, because they can't hold back - they've been waiting too long and wanting each other too much. Seriously, the Go is sex in this canon.) And Akira won't let anything, including a minor case of death, get in the way of Go, and neither will Hikaru, and I just - I love them for it. *sniffle*

The Story That Is Going to Make Me Feel Like a Total Wimp the Next Time I Whine About Not Wanting to Go to Home Depot. Sinner's Grove, by Martha, aka [livejournal.com profile] saffronhouse. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. (You know, it's just occured to me that if SG1 fandom was starting up now, in this modern era of unfortunate pairing names, this pairing would be called JackJack. Unless - wait. It's not actually already called that somewhere, right?)

So, first and foremost: disturbing themes, folks. I mean this. I'm going to try not to spoil this here, but - well, as the author says, if you've got places you'd rather not go in your fan fiction, read the warnings on her index page. (There's a link at the top of the page.) I will also be offering an alternate near-death experience SG1 story, so you can still get your fix if you need to give this a miss.

And I would not in any way blame you for skipping this, but you would be missing out in a big way. When I first read this, I was horrified and absolutely transfixed; I could not move away from the computer until I was done. This story is way, way outside my comfort zone, dealing with a topic that I basically never want to read in my fan fiction, and yet it is so perfectly done that I regularly re-read this out of pure admiration. I'm not even sure why it works the way it does - surely the contrast of the mundane and the horrible helps, as does the way the story is told; she doesn't hit you with it, but lets you figure it out, and she builds the comfort right alongside the hurt. I get all that. I still can't quite see why this works this well. I'm guessing the secret ingredient is genius. (Or tea. Could be tea.)

I do think, though, that it'd be damned near impossible to tell this story with different characters. This story comes close to defining SG1 for me, because - yeah, this is what they do. They live through the pain, the horror, the suffering, the near-death (and real death) experiences: they live to fight another day, only they do it without any of that pansy retreating and regrouping stuff. It's pretty much damn the religion-associated evil aliens, light speed ahead for this team. (And if you want one of them to take a vacation, you either have to kill him or drive him to Minnesota, which, as I'm sure you know, is basically the same thing.)

My point is - I believe, or this story makes me believe, that Jack and Daniel could go through this and survive. I know I couldn't; I would have given up before I gated out (my motto is: no science fiction devices that defy all known laws of physics near my component atoms, thank you). Even the toughest of characters would likely have given up somewhere in the middle of this story. And yet Jack and Daniel (oh my god, that's hideous pairing name for them that must already be in use: Jack Daniel's, or bourbon for short) live to have bickering arguments - and visit Home Depot - another day.

The One That Proves That Daniel Jackson Cannot Stop for Death. And If Death Kindly Stops for Him, It Will Just End up Regretting It.* Post Hoc: After This, by Otter, aka [livejournal.com profile] agentotter. (I very nearly mistyped her LJ name as [livejournal.com profile] agenthotter, which is a whole other deal.) Stargate: SG1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. (You could also call them Jack'D, you know. My god. I think I've got some kind of pairing name disease. Send help.)

This story is just as good as the Sinner's Grove, but, you know, totally different, with a bare minimum of disturbing themes. (Unless you consider Jack, Daniel, or near-death experiences disturbing, in which case SG1 is really not the fandom for you. It's not the canon for you, either.)

I love this story for many reasons, not the least of which is Daniel's casual ability to defy the odds and his absolute belief that the odds don't apply to him. (Hint, Daniel: that attitude may have something to do with why you die all the time.) But I will always love it most and best for the exchange when Jack says, "Landmine" and Daniel says, "Pants?" Because, okay - that's Daniel. He files away every single attempt at communication, and if something doesn't make sense to him, he puzzles it over, and it's right there in his head when the same thing comes up later.

He's totally willing to try communication without understanding, too. His response in this story reads to me as though he is attempting to divine the customs of the alien tribe Jack O'Neill, and he's heard that "Pants" is the right response in some O'Neillian situations, so he'll try it out. If it works, he'll write a paper about it. (Of course, given that he works for the SGC, only four people will read the paper, and only three of them will understand it. And then later there will probably be a briefing that lasts a really long time and never actually gets to the "Pants" item on the agenda because everyone is too busy arguing about pastries. I know what it is to work for the government, people.)

This is, for me, a fantastic SG1 comfort story. Pure fluff doesn't work for me in this fandom; it has to be something like this, where, okay, sure, there's some pain, but there's never any doubt that everyone will be okay, and then at the end there's pain medication and cuddling. I'm not sure if that's attributable to me or the fandom, but I'm going to hope it's the fandom.

-Footnote-

* Am I the only one who immediately thought Daniel Jackson/Death OTP here? I am? Okay. Um. Let's just, you know, forget I ever said anything.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have a fan fiction set nearly ready to go, but I'm hoping I'll, um, develop the ability to be coherent before I actually post it. (Sleep would help. A lot.) So I asked myself what I could do in my current state of incoherence (hints: nothing involving heavy machinery, sharp implements, explosives, or complete sentences), and it came to me in a flash: I could practice what I preached.

See, two weeks ago, I was whining at all y'all to recommend some vids. To my incredible delight, a lot of you did. (And if you did and I haven't remarked upon it yet, I probably missed it; see, the thing is, I do my comments before I read my friends list, so I spent the entire week of that post insanely behind on the ol' list. I missed a lot. So I would be eternally grateful if you would drop me a link and let me know where I can behold you in your glorious recommending plumage.)

Anyway. You recommended vids. Seems like I should do the same. So, without further ado, I present to you: Vids That Make Me Smile (or, in Some Cases, Shriek with Laughter).

Boy in the Bubble, by [livejournal.com profile] jmtorres. Star Wars (original trilogy).

This vid made me stupidly happy. I just need to say that right up front, so that you know that I am biased.

And, you know, I didn't think it would. When I recognized the source and the song (I download in a way that makes it difficult for me to associate filenames with content; I love spoilers for anything, except, for some reason, vids, which I want to come to with as few preconceptions as possible.), I started making the Face of Vid-Watching Uncertainty. You know what I mean. It's the same face people make the first time they taste goat cheese. Because, see, in the first few seconds of the vid, the song seemed all wrong and I had no idea where the vid was going. And, you know, I'm already regretting the goat cheese analogy, but I just have to say - like goat cheese, this vid turned out to be an unanticipated comfort food. (Wow. Now I'm really regretting the goat cheese analogy. Memo to me: in the future, avoid dairy-based metaphors in vid recommendations posts. Further memo to me: explore the use of dairy-based metaphors in other settings, but with caution. Don't go charging headlong into, for example, an explanation of the Dewey decimal system via butter making.)

So. There I was, being suspicious and wary. And then I got to one specific line, and my heart clenched, and I was just swamped with this wave of nostalgia, this incredibly intense memory of the uncomplicated love I once had for Star Wars. (The love lasted all the way up until the first half-hour of The Phantom Menace, which was not one of the happier movie-going experiences of my life, let me tell you. And not just, or even mostly, because I was attending with someone who had taken a lot of codeine and could thus be happily entertained by pretty lights, or by dust motes, or even by romantic dialog written by George Lucas.)

This vid brought that old love back to me, let me re-experience it for three minutes, and is a gift beyond price. I can't comment on the technical side of this, or the beauty of the cuts, or anything else at all, because I watched this not as a vidfan but as just a plain old fan.

This is highly recommended for people who loved the original trilogy. And for people who buy DVD sets of TV shows they watched in their youth. And for anyone whose life has been, of late, maybe a little lacking in miracle and wonder.

After Rain, by [livejournal.com profile] gwyn_r. Band of Brothers. Pairing? Um, maybe; you could read this as slash (which is, yes, totally my choice; I take pride in my predictability) or as gen. In either case, I have no idea who these guys are. (ETA: [livejournal.com profile] deepsix tells me they are Nixon and Winters. In which case, Nixon/Winters is totally my new OTP.)

So. Realistic war fandom with which I am completely unfamiliar. (For the very good reason that realistic war sequences - if I can even understand them - generally make me want to retire to my room. Or resign my membership in the human race. In either case - well, let's put it this way: I watched Saving Private Ryan, yes, but I'm not sure I actually managed to see anything at all after those first however many eternal minutes they were.) And a pairing (or maybe a friendship) that I'm totally not invested in, to the degree that I've never even heard of it. This is a sure-fire recipe for a truly happy-making vid, yes?

No, actually. (I know, you're shocked.) Except it so totally is. This vid makes me happy because - okay. If I ever did a list of Things Fandom Taught Me About Myself, the first thing on that list would have to be the extremely unexpected and totally unwelcome news that I am a closet optimist.

See, for years I thought I was a pessimist, because I made contingency plans and anticipated worst-case scenarios and just generally planned for the universe to fuck my shit up. But it turns out that under that carefully cultivated layer of caution and low expectations, I - I believe in happy endings.

I'm sorry. I know this makes me the most naive person on the planet. I can't help it. My brain understands that it doesn't work that way, but my subconscious is just not having any of the brain's pseudo-intellectual bullshit; it believes that things will end happily.

I first saw "After Rain" at a bad, hard time in my life - two months almost to the day after my father died. I missed him horribly and just couldn't believe that the world could work that way; I was still waiting for the happy ending and starting to be afraid that it wouldn't come. But this vid - it basically was the happy ending. Because it says what I had already hoped was true but really, really needed to hear right then: that things will be good again, that no matter how bad things are, all you have to do is survive and eventually happiness will take care of itself.

The thing is, I've watched this enough to see a lot of what Gwyn did with this vid - the contrast in tones and colors, the gorgeous use of each part of the song, the subtle effects that carry even a totally clueless viewer through distinct switches in time and place. And I appreciate it, just as I appreciate all the slashy adorableness and lovely uniforms. But this will always be, for me, the vid that said that the bad doesn't eliminate the potential for good, and that good times come to all of us in the end.

Goody Two Shoes, by [livejournal.com profile] pipsqueaky and [livejournal.com profile] laurashapiro. Due South. Fraser and his Rays.

I made a lot of truly undignified noises when I first watched this, including several outright shrieks of laughter. Because, seriously, has there ever been a better song choice for Fraser than "Goody Two Shoes"? Has there ever been less subtle innuendo?

(Answers, in order: No and no. I can think of some equally unsubtle innuendo, like the clip I saw on YouTube a few weeks ago of the one reporter guy eating a banana, but to get any less subtle, there would have to be explicit sexual acts. That would of course be fine with me- Totally fine! Amazingly fine! Redefining fine by reaching entirely new levels of fineness! - but would kind of take it out of the category of "innuendo." Also, this song is so clearly perfect that I actually squealed with joy when the first shot showed what were, unmistakably, Fraser's boots. Now do you see why I like to watch vids unspoiled? It's so that I can think, "Hmmm. 'Goody Two Shoes.' If I'm lucky, it's about Angel; if I'm unlucky, it's about Lana Lang. Ooo, nice title sequence! And - OMG FRASER'S BOOTS EEEEE YES!")

The unwritten subtitle of this vid is, "Come on down to due South and play with our Mountie, who is pure fun in boots." Or, okay, that's not actually the subtitle, but in my head it is, because this vid is three minutes of Fraser demonstrating his fixation on heights, licking, and Rays.

And, okay. Every fandom has its frequently used clips, and I tend to keep a list of those in my head, along with vids that I have awarded various totally imaginary prizes to for the most effective use of those clips. This vid wins two such prizes. (Which is impressive, considering it mostly does not use the really popular clips.) First, for the best use ever of buddy breathing, in that I can actually, for once in my life, see what's going on. Usually it just looks like a fishtank. With bubbles. In the dark. And, second, for the final shot, which - okay. Maybe it's just me, but in this context it suddenly became very, very obvious to me that what Fraser is thinking in that shot is: "Yay! Threesome!"

Atlantis!, by [livejournal.com profile] sherrold and [livejournal.com profile] wickedwords. Stargate: Atlantis.

(Note: this vid was made for the Vividcon remix challenge, and was inspired by [livejournal.com profile] astolat and [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza's Rumble, which - well. If you haven't seen it, I don't know how you find the strength to carry on.)

When I was making up this set, says I to myself, says I, "Everyone has seen Atlantis!, surely. There is no point in recommending Atlantis!" And then I remembered that I myself was arguing against that sort of reasoning just two weeks ago. So I did my best to think of the fangirls. Specifically, I thought of a (hypothetical) fangirl who has not seen this vid. And, you know, I can pretty clearly picture her in my head. She's probably feeling a strong urge to lie down with a cold cloth, a Victorian hair ring, and the complete works of Thomas Hardy. (Or, if she's really tragic, Ethan Frome. But I have to hope no one would let it get that far.) She probably weeps, but knows not why she is so emo.

It's because this vid is missing from her life.

And I can relate, because this vid is an example of something that has been missing from my life for rather a long time. See, I am a frequent visitor to anime music video land. (To get there, just take a left at the sign of the one half pandaman, turn another 40 degrees when you see the giant robot, and head straight on toward the totally androgynous boys who hold each others' hands a lot for reasons never entirely made clear. Or, you know, you could just click this link.) And over there, they have a lot of humor vids that consist of many short song snippets. I love these; each snippet is a single joke and lasts precisely as long as it takes to get the joke. Then, before you're done laughing, BAM! and you cut to another joke. Some of the snippets maybe wouldn't even be funny on their own (and, anyway, watching a, like, 17-second vid is weird), but when they are put together and watched as a whole, it gets funnier and funnier until eventually, in the fullness of time, you reach the Linkin Park joke, at which point you are laughing so hard you are weeping into your keyboard. (And if you don't understand why Linkin Park jokes are funny, obviously you have not yet spent much time in anime music video land.)

So, when I saw this, I realized that, yes, this was a live-action snippet vid. And the fact that the snippets were all related just makes it even better. And - and - look. If I talk about this for one second more, I'm going to spoil you (assuming you live on the planet Jupiter and have thus not already been spoiled for it), so just go download, okay? It will take those naughty emo blues away, I promise you.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Last night, Best Beloved said to me, "Hey, remember when you used to rec fic?"

Of course, I immediately snapped, "I still do rec fic." And I was entirely correct. But it seems that some actual recommending of actual fan fiction might go a long way toward proving that.

And, possibly because it's been long enough that I have forgotten a hard-earned lesson, I've decided to start with everyone's favorite thing: an extra-long set of shorter gen stories!

Um. I don't hear any actual cheers. Or even any polite clapping.

That's - no, that's perfectly all right. I'll settle for a "Well, it's better than nothing." Can I get one of those, at any rate?

Fine. See if I care. I'm going to do it anyway. Let me just see if I can ... hmm. You, um, press some buttons, right? It's kind of been a while. But I'm sure it's like riding a bicycle. Although, of course, I can't actually do that.

Ah, well; unlike riding a bike - which, seriously, I have never understood how you're supposed to learn that, since you have to be able to do it just to sit on the damn thing - it's probably best to learn by doing. Shall we begin?

The One That Reminds Us That Batman Is Not Just a Mysteriously Sexy and Seriously Broken Crimefighter in Need of Several Successive Lifetimes of Therapy. He's Also a Skilled Nurturer of Those Qualities in Others! Squandered My Resistance, by Petra, aka [livejournal.com profile] petronelle. DCU.

Perspective is a major kink of mine, and this story hits my kink just about as well as anything ever has. (Okay. Except An Instance of the Fingerpost, which hit my kink for something like 500 densely printed pages and still left me wanting more.) The perspective, in this case, is Jim Gordon's, and if you know anything about the Batman canon (and I do mean anything - like, if you know who the Robins are, and how the first two retired, that's enough), you know more than he does here - only a bit more, though, because the man's no idiot. So it's not like we're learning any new plot in this one; the change in perspective is the story. And it's amazing what that change can do.

Jim Gordon is a good man. But he accepts the unacceptable, or what should be unacceptable, because, see - Robins, whatever else they are, are kids. (Dick Greyson was age 12 when he started as Robin, as you'll know if you're even vaguely familiar with All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder (and if you have a sense of humor at all, click on that link, people - you don't need to know anything about comics to marvel at this truly stunning train wreck), also known as Who the Fuck Are These People in the Batman and Robin Costumes and How Did They Get out of Arkham Asylum?) Hands up everyone who thinks that it's a good idea to put kids in spandex and send them out to fight vicious criminals and psychotics, often in the company of someone only marginally saner than said opponents. All right. Frank Miller, seriously, put that hand down. And, oh my god, do not even tell me where you have your other hand. Okay. Anyone else have a hand up? No. And Jim Gordon's hand wouldn't be up, either. But he still accepts it - and not only that; he uses it, uses the Robins. And this story explains that. Which you will grant is amazing.

The other amazing thing about this story is that it's interstitial. All the action takes place off the page; it's like this is the text that happens in the space between the panels of a comic book. So, really, all we see is a series of conversations. But you don't need to know a thing about the canon to understand what's happening all around these conversations. This is the written equivalent of the kind of play where you hear the shots and the body fall, but you never see anything on stage but the characters' reactions. Except that in this story, we don't hear the shots. But it's impossible not to hear the body fall.

No, wait, I was wrong. There's a third thing that's amazing about this story, and that thing is Jim Gordon himself. Because on the Worst Jobs in Fiction list, Police Commissioner of Gotham has to rank in the top 50. And Commissioner Gordon is just a guy, a decent guy in an awful job he does because he can. That, to my mind, makes him as interesting as Batman, but it's rare that anyone, canon or fan fiction, actually shows that. Petra does. And that? Is totally amazing, and I love her for it.

The One That May Actually Make You Grateful for Adolescence. Who Knew That Was Even Possible? Slouching, Forever, by Torch, aka [livejournal.com profile] flambeau. Good Omens.

And now let us speak briefly of Torch, who has evidently recently ascended to the next level in her mystical pursuit of fictional perfection; in fact, I suspect she may be close to achieving union with the fictional godhead. If you cruise by her house, I bet you'll find her all swathed in robes and sitting in a lotus position, meditating. And then, once in a while, she'll leap up and go over to her computer and type stories like this. She calls them snippets, but oh my god. In almost all of them, she's turned the canon inside out, shaken out its pockets, and found a whole new universe inside, and I - I'm kind of scared of her, actually. What if she has other powers? What if she can change the universe or something?

I'm just saying, maybe we should wonder if there's a reason that Lance Bass came out recently.

Anyway. This story is maybe, maybe my favorite of all the "snippets" she's done recently, although it's kind of locked in a three-way tie with Over the Hills and Far Away and Suburban Consumption Rituals. (Which was written for meeeeee! And that just proves that Torch has mystical powers, because, as anyone who has ever gotten one will tell you, I give the shittiest fic prompts in all the universe. Only a very few, highly cherished writers have ever managed to make one of mine work. And yet - Torch took one of my prompts - and did - well, this.)

Of course, I've spent all this time talking about Torch because I can't really tell you anything about Slouching, Forever, except that you need to have read Good Omens to get the story. (But, well, you need to have read Good Omens, period, no exceptions, so I'm hoping all of you have.) If you have, get clicking. (The other two snippets, by the way, are SGA, and I can't tell you anything but that about either, except that they are just fucking amazing, so if by some chance you haven't read Good Omens yet, head for the other ones. And then get your butt to a library or bookstore and do some light reading about Armageddon.)

The One That Proves (Yet Again) That the Ancients Are Not Our Friends. In Fact, Just As a General Rule, I Think It's Best Not to Trust Those Who Think That Superior Power Makes Them Superior Beings. Uncanny Valley, by Sarah T., aka [livejournal.com profile] harriet_spy. Stargate: Atlantis.

I. Here's the thing. I secretly kind of believe this story. I've seen dozens of fictional explanations for Why John Is Weird (But We Love Him Anyway), and many of them made me want to do highly intimate things with the author. And most of them really worked. But this one works maybe the most of all of them, and - well, it doesn't make me want to do highly intimate things with Sarah T. It makes me want to take her hostage until she writes a fix-it sequel to this. Because the fix is hinted at, and I believe it's coming, but I want more. I want an ending with puppies and sparkles and love and very probably some pie. In general, I need stories with explicit happy endings way more than I need or even want stories with explicit sex, and for this one - well. I want "And they lived happily ever after" in writing. Signed by the author. And notarized. (Doesn't have to be in her own blood or anything, though. I'm no fanatic.)

You know, I'm kind of amused that I'm writing this whole "This gutted me but in a good way" writeup for a story in which no one dies and no one is, like, raped or tortured or drained by the Wraith or just anything like that. All that really happens is that two people eat breakfast. But, you know, in fiction, especially when it comes to making people honestly ache for a character, less is more. You really want to turn the knife? Don't give me star-crossed lovers killing themselves because they each think the other's dead. Don't give me all the death, loss, torment, and abuse you can pack into 57 chapters. Give me one loss, one loss of something essential, and then make the characters - and me - live with it.

(I'm also amused that I didn't rec the other SGA gen story that seemed to fit in this set because I was like, "Nah. Don't want people to think all gen is depressing." But, really. It's not! Even this story isn't, actually! It's just - it hurts. But there's a happy ending on the far horizon, and - okay, screw it, that's never going to work. How's this: the last story in this set is the perfect antidote. I'm offering the pain and the cure, people. What more can I do?)

The One That Proves That You Really Can Get Used to Anything. But You Might Not Want To. All His Funerals (Back in Black Remix 2006), by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. X-Files.

This is such a small story in terms of word count. And it's in a fandom that I, despite all my efforts, still don't understand at all. But it doesn't matter - you can read this no matter what you know about the canon, as long as you know something about serial fiction. Because this is, yes, a gorgeous story about how one person gets used to a very particular kind of loss, but it's also a great meta commentary, because we've all been through this, I think, in one canon or another.

(I realized this at the end of X2, which I saw with my mother and Best Beloved. My mother knows nothing about comic books and had never heard of the X-Men before the first movie. And my mother is, by the way, the queen of being spoiler-free. As in, she saw The Phantom Menace and had no idea that Anakin was going to grow up to be - spoiler warning, people! - Darth Vader. And that Darth was Luke's father. Anyway, at the end of X2, she was all upset, and Best Beloved and I were stunned that anyone could be upset by that ending. Because knowing comics mean you develop the same attitude that Scully has in this story.

And, wait. Did I just spoil the story (or X2) or not? I can't tell. Um. If I did, someone let me know so I can cut-tag it; even if it is a spoiler, I don't think it'll have any effect on your enjoyment of either, but I aim to be polite. My mama - okay, she didn't give a shit about my manners, but my internet mama raised me right. Admittedly, my internet mama was Usenet, so she mostly did it via a constant stream of very clear examples of what not to do, but still.)

But here is the coolest part of this story - cooler even than the meta commentary. This is Punk remixing one of her own stories, and how insanely excellent is that? I would so love it if other folks who have been writing a while did this, because I've read the original of this story, and it is just. Um. Not the same. At all. Whereas the remix is brilliance. So the two stories together are the most perfect example in the world of how Punk has changed as a writer, and I would love to see that same demonstration for other people. So if any of y'all are, you know, bored or anything - well, just don't say I never give activity suggestions along with my recs.

The One That Gives a Whole New Meaning to the Phrase 'Body Dysmorphic Disorder.' The Kingdom of Heaven, by [livejournal.com profile] c_elisa. X-Men comicsverse.

This story contains spoilers for a certain development in at least one iteration of the X-Men, uh, "plotline," for lack of a better word. (Sorry, but I have no idea how many X-Men books/movies/universes/parallel dimensions/other assorted thingies have this development, and I lack the software equivalent of the TARDIS crossed with Hal, which is what it would take for me figure that out.) I'm not at all sure I can discuss the story without mentioning that same spoiler. So I'm cut tagging this. )

The One That Proves That, Looking at It from a Technical Perspective, the Wizard of Oz Should Have Been a Zombie Story. Big Damn Zombies, Sir, by [livejournal.com profile] shrift. Firefly.

This is another fandom I don't know from Adam, Eve, or in fact the entire garden of eden. I mean, Jayne - that's the guy with the hat, right? I see him in vids, acting dim or showing the ethics-free brand of cunning. He's generally comic relief in vids, except he also occasionally seems to do the thing that no one else could quite manage to, even though it really needed to be done. But, hey, I don't know him at all, so I could be totally wrong there.

My point is that obviously you don't need to know diddly-squat about Jayne or Firefly to enjoy this story. Because, see, what happens here is that Jayne turns into a zombie, and mirth ensues.

Now, wait. You need to understand just how weird it is that I am recommending a story about zombies as comic relief. Because, okay, I admit it - I'm afraid of zombies. I was not the happiest person in all of fandom when zombie stories got popular for a while there, because I'd be reading a story quite happily and then suddenly Daniel Jackson would be lurching around calling for brains. (But I never did see, say, zombie Aragorn, so I have much to be thankful for. Believe me, I'm quite aware of it.) And I would have to flee the story, or possibly the room, for a while.

But this story is funny even to a certified zombiephobe, because - I just, I can't explain it. It just is. I avoided it, for obvious title reasons, for quite a while, and I so should not have, because Shrift proves that zombies can, in fact, be entertaining to have around, providing they are made from the right sort of character. Or, more specifically, providing that the right sort of characters are standing around commenting on the zombie, because it is the dialog that makes this story. And that includes, but is not limited to, the dialog that goes, "Braaaaaaaains."

(I do feel the need to state, just for the record, that there is nothing amusing about zombies. They are a major imaginary scourge against which our planet has no defenses. Garlic does not work on zombies, people. Think about it. And in the next election, make yours a vote against the zombie menace. And don't forget to ask your politician of choice what he's doing to prevent the zombie takeover!)
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 don't think I've ever had a set just...push itself into my hands like this. It was as though the universe deeply wanted me to post a second set of things that never happened stories, and was going to keep throwing stunningly excellent ones at me until I gave in. (Yes, there was a brief temptation to keep resisting and see how much great FF I could drag into existence, but I decided not to toy with the universe, on the grounds that it could, if shirty, revoke a number of privileges I enjoy a lot, like existing.) So, here we are: TTNH, part 2. (I'm assuming I don't need to go through the warnings and such again, since they are, shall we say, very available to the non-legions of you who missed round 1 but are reading round 2.)

The One That Makes It Clear That Some People Got Sent to Pegasus Because They Had Gone Beyond the Reach of Mere Earth Psychiatry. (Also Known As: John Sheppard Is the Goddamn Batman.) Five Ways John Sheppard Gets Laid, by [livejournal.com profile] dirty_diana. Stargate: Atlantis, and you probably don't need to know anything about the canon to read this, but I would think it would help. If you're short on time, I have a handy summary for you.

So. On the previous post, [livejournal.com profile] cad27 was the first (but by no means the last) to complain that there was no SGA story in the set. To which I had, as it happens, an obvious and easy response, namely: there was supposed to be. But this story wouldn't load, and it was getting late, and the post was already long enough that most American high school students would just buy the Cliffs Notes for it, so...I left it out. I see now that I was wrong to do this.

But if this had been in the previous set, it would've probably been the most classic TTNH story in there. It's five variations on a single theme, which I assume I don't need to explain, what with the title. (There is Sheppard. There is sexin'. Aaaaaand now most of you have already stopped reading this rec, leaving me free to just say random shit, not that I don't take that freedom regularly anyway.)

What I love about this story, about the use of the TTNH concept in this particular way, is that it undercuts my resistance. Because, okay, I know that the writers and (apparently) Joe Flanigan believe that Sheppard is a nuclear warhead of libido with the launch sequence down to 10 seconds, but - if he is, someone, likely Rodney, totally cut the red wire. Or, put it this way: if Sheppard is Kirk, he's Kirk in a chastity belt that can only be unlocked by Ancients, and even then he mostly looks kind of scared, like he'd really rather keep it on and just play a nice game of Go Fish instead.

My point is that he's got a weird - I don't know. Asexual chemistry? Like, he seems to get along with most people, at least superficially, but it's hard for me to imagine him having sex with them. Jerking off and thinking about them, maaaaaaaybe, but actually touching them and being touched by them? For me, that doesn't so much work, except with McKay, who seems to have a free pass into the Sheppard No Touch Zone. So when John switches on Love Monster Mode (and you can, like, see him switching it on, like it's almost physically painful for him to do it), my disbelief starts rattling its chains.

But if you frame Sheppard getting laid as a TTNH story, then it's suddenly all better. I don't need to worry about my own personal Sheppard Vision Statement, and I can just enjoy. And I do enjoy all these stories, because they are all so perfectly fucking in character. See, once I get into the story, my disbelief stops screaming, because the Sheppard No Touch Zone is in full and perfect operation here, just...well. With sex. You'll see. And then you, too, will say: "Oh, John. It's totally too late for therapy, isn't it?"

The One That Reveals to Me That Either Jack O'Neill Is a Cock-Eyed (Shut up. You Know What I Mean.) Optimist or I Am. I'm Not Sure Which Proposition Is Scarier. Five Holidays Jack O'Neill Never Celebrated, by [livejournal.com profile] cofax7. Stargate: SG-1. I have no idea if you need to know the canon here. I can tell you that I didn't let a lack of knowledge stop me, though.

Also in the comments to the last post, [livejournal.com profile] cofax7 said, basically, thanks for the rec but, well, I think my Jack O'Neill TTNH story is better. To which I said, "I like the story and I am doing the judgment-making around here and so you will kindly take your authorial opinions and...wait. You wrote a Jack O'Neill TTNH? I...huh." So then I had to go read that, obviously.

And my immediate reaction was: wow, she's right. I mean, the Teal'c story is excellent - I said it and I stand by it - but this one is even better.

Cofax seems to use TTNH as an opportunity to tell mini-stories, and I love the five stories she's telling here, because: oh, Jack. This is Jack through and through. The first one, in particular, has a kind of lingering sadness to it, at least for me, because that isn't quite the Jack we know. He's the Jack from before the stargate, the Jack he'd be if everything from the movie onwards had never happened. And I just find it sad that - well, Jack had to lose everything to become the kind of guy who could appreciate what he'd had.

And I find it interesting that - well. I said in the last post that TTNH stories tend to be sad and disturbing, that they are by their very nature prone to sadness and disturbance (that's not the right word, but you know what I mean), but - this one isn't, even though some of the scenarios really should be, and again, I attribute that to Jack. (Okay, to Cofax's writing skill, too. But I'm talking about Jack, here, and if I get off-topic, there's really no hope for any of us.) He's such a survivor - and he has such a long history of winning against long odds - that I fully expect every segment in this story to end happily (except the first one). The happy ending is implied, at least in my happy-ending-fixated brain, because Jack doesn't give up until there is one. And oh my god I love him so much for that.

So love is my basic reaction to this story. (Plus jaw-dropping astonishment that I missed it until now, but I'm choosing to focus on the love, here.)

The One That Proves Definitively That Some Frogs Really Are Princes, and I Just Have an Unrefined and Superficial Way of Judging People. Aliens. Muppets. Whatever. King of Infinite Space, by Hossgal, aka [livejournal.com profile] leadensky. Farscape. I've seen, I think, five episodes of the canon now. (It would be more, but the Farscape people apparently think subtitles are optional on a DVD package. And they are very, very, very wrong.) I know just enough to know that I'd get more out of this if I'd seen more. Doesn't matter. There's something here for everyone.

After Cofax introduced me to the story above, I said, "Hey, I'm halfway to another set. Know of any good TTNH in Farscape?" And she said, "Why, yes. I do." And she gave me this link, which blew my mind. I just...oh, wow, and also, holy shit.

Because, see, I don't like Rygel. (Rygel is the subject of this TTNH. Did I not say that before? He is.) I want to. I've tried. But so far...no. He's just not clicking for me. (Best Beloved, who does like Rygel, has taken to highlighting Points of Rygel Interest in the episodes we watch together, sometimes even rewinding so that we can relive particular moments of glory: "Look! There! He does care, and - okay, you can't blame him for that, because...look, let's just rewind for the good part." and "See? Brave! He's being brave! Are you surprised? Do you like him yet?" I have every faith that BB will eventually win this battle - it's, shall we say, a safe bet, as BB is another person who doesn't give up until the ending is a happy one - but the subtitle problem makes it a very slow war of attrition. And if you're wondering what's dying off, the answer is: my neurons, mostly. They die of stress, overwork, and unaccustomed exercise, because I need subtitles, people. I can't be expected to watch and listen at the same time; my brain is just not set up for that level of cognition.)

Anyway. My point is: I don't like Rygel. But this story made me love him. This is just - this is so absolutely and unquestionably Rygel, and it's not like he's not all the things I don't like about him, here. It's just - he's so human. More human than John or Aeryn (both of whom I adore), in fact, because this story is in large part about a very human pastime: turning strength to weakness and weakness to strength. His greed becomes courage, his pride becomes inspiration, his selfishness becomes love. And I cannot resist that kind of rags to riches to story. Never could. And with this one, I don't even try to resist; I just want it to go on and on and on.

I don't know if this story will make me love the Rygel I see onscreen. But it made me understand him, and I think that's even better.

The One with a Subtitle That Is So Much Fun to Say That I Think I'm Going to Just Repeat It 50 Times and Call That the Summary. Metonymy (The Ragin' Meijin Remix), by [livejournal.com profile] mousapelli. Hikaru no Go. Do you need to know the canon to read this? Hmmm. Maybe not. But believe me, this is a canon you want to know, and there are about a dozen ways for you to get it for free in the last post and in the comments, and for those of you who already downloaded the first two volumes of the manga there, here's the third: 9-12.

One of the things I love about the TTNH format is how it can be stretched and twisted to produce a story that is still reconizeably a TTNH even though it's almost entirely unlike one. Here, Akira loses four and a half times (as the author says, the last one is still up for debate), and these things could easily have happened in the canon or in the canon time line, so easily that by themselves they'd each make a normal fan fiction story. Taken together, though, they're definitely TTNH, because they're a series of stories that make a larger statement about some aspect of the canon. In this case, they're about Akira and how Akira fights over the course of his life.

Of course, given that I am who I am, what I love most is how clearly this reveals the effect that Hikaru has on Akira. Because by the end of this, Akira has found something more important than winning.

Which isn't to say that he doesn't want to win. He just wants the Hand of God more. (Well, actually, if you took an inventory of Akira's wants, it would probably look like this, in order: Shindou, Hand of God, Go, Winning at Go, More Go, and Also Go. Hikaru's would be: Touya, the Hand of God, Sai, Go, Winning at Go, and Ramen. And that's how we know Hikaru is the healthier character: fully one of his main motivations is unrelated to Go.)

This story also hits one of my personal kinks, which is people saying "I hate you" and meaning "I love you." I don't even like it when most characters say "I love you," because it's just - it sounds weird. (Except with people like Jim and Blair, who could seriously say everything you find in your average romance novel and not even come close to being out of character. Actually, now that I think about it, some of the canon dialog may in fact have been lifted from a romance novel, but that's obviously a whole other story.) Plus, well, I know I'm reading the good stuff when "I hate you" is obviously "I love you" - I mean, that's a fairly impressive display of showing rather than telling, right? (And, okay, also this may happen to hit the same kink that makes me spontaneously combust when people shoot each other out of sincere love. I...I don't know. I'm just going to blame society or my parents or something and move on, because I don't even want to know why I feel that way. My point is, it is also a hallmark of quality writing such as can be found in this story, so I have a perfectly rational reason to like it, so there.)
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)
Family has been on my mind a lot lately. Guess what that means? Family fan fiction, yup.

The One That Proves Conclusively That the DCU Is Where There's a Daddy Issue Under Every Rock, and Where Family Therapists Can Never, Ever Get Life Insurance. Reconcilable Differences, by Shalott, aka [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Fused and bastardized Smallville and DCU, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. See, now, one of the things I love about Smallville is the family stories - Clark and Lex and their assorted parents just give rise to so many glorious disasters, you know? But that raises the question: what would happen if they were parents? Well, in the DCU canon, they are. Of the same kid, one Kon-El, aka Connor Kent, who got a raw fucking deal from DCU, but we're not going to talk about that now. Because this, this is the story that makes it all better. (Okay, 70% better. I'm never going to forgive DC entirely. I am just not that big a person.) See, even before the Recent Events of Unforgivable Unfairness Kon kind of - I mean, he's got an evil genius for one parent, and a tights-wearing superdork for the other, and also he starts out in life 13, which is so unfair there aren't even words. And Clark always treated him like a kind of...well. Inconvenience.

In this story, Lex gets a chance to have his say, and a chance to show that just because someone is an evil genius doesn't necessarily mean he's a bad person. (I know, I know. Lex brings these little brain twisters into our lives, and, really, I'm grateful.) Tim (Drake, aka Robin 3 and 5, and, seriously, if you don't know about him: OMG TIIIIIIIM! Sorry, I get incoherent when I'm talking about the Timbat.) also gets a chance to be, well, the Tim he was always meant to be. (He pulls off a feat in this story that should go down in the record books. Actually, I suspect it is going down in at least two record books; it's just that Batman and Lex Luthor aren't likely to look on it as a positive accomplishment, which it so obviously is.) I loved this story basically from the third paragraph, but I managed to contain the noises of undignified glee until I got to the scene with the underage drinking. Best underage drinking scene ever. And no one even has sex! (In that specific scene, I mean.)

The One That, Considered in Comparison with the Previous Rec, Indicates That John Sheppard's Parents Were Worse Than Lex Luthor. I Hope They Feel Terrible. Lost in Waiting, by [livejournal.com profile] laceymcbain. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. See, now, I would have said that a story featuring a virgin John Sheppard would need to be a massive, massive AU - like [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone's Priest John AU, say. So what alarms me about this story is how AU it isn't. I mean, I won't say that this is canon John, exactly - but he's. Okay. Am I the only one who looks at the way John acts and compares it to what the writers seem to believe about him and thinks, those are not the same people? (If I am, then, well, prepare for me to sound like an idiot.) This story is about, not the John they write about, but the John I see on the screen.

And, whoa, what a fucked up John he is, too. (And, hello, no, I am not saying virginity makes you a fucked up person. You can be a virgin at 38 and be an absolutely level, balanced, sane, and stable person - and, even if you're not exactly balanced, well. I am hardly one to suggest that the people having loads of random sex with assorted other people whose names they don't know - or want to - are the truly healthy ones. Been there, done that, had the subsequent decade of therapy, people.) This is a guy who, on his Pegasus Galaxy Embarkation Form, presumably wrote "Personal Item: One DVD of an old football game, and three million massive, hairy issues, including two so large they will also be part-time staff members." And, you know, you have to wonder. The Ancients: a bunch of irresponsible, skeevy people with dominance issues. John Sheppard: Issues Boy. Jack O'Neill: Repression of Issues Boy. Maybe the ATA gene has side effects, is my point here. It'd explain a lot about the Ancients and their massively unfortunate science experiments.

The One That Shows That Even If You, Yourself, Are More or Less Free of Family Issues, They Can Still by God Reach out and Grab You. (Yes, They Are in Fact Like Monsters in the Closet. Only with More Fangs.) Family Portrait, by [livejournal.com profile] dsudis. Dead Zone, Walt Bannerman/Sarah Bannerman/Johnny Smith. (Although not so intently that gen fans could not read this. No, the people who should avoid this one are those who are liable to be upset by - well, can I just say disturbing content and let it go at that?) In the life sweepstakes, Johnny Smith has completely and totally lost. You know how, at the end of Season 2, the Buffy writers tried to take away her entire life? They didn't get nearly as cruel as the assorted Dead Zone writers and creators did. I guess that just proves the old axiom: when Stephen King sets out to destroy your life, boy howdy are you screwed. And if that's not an old axiom, it should be.

This story proves that nothing is normal, simple, or easy if you're Johnny Smith. And, okay, I know those of you with children would probably laugh at the idea of school supply shopping being easy. (In fact, I'd like to take a moment right here and now to apologize to my father for the year I would only accept folders not manufactured on the planet earth. Or that might as well have been my criterion, given how many I refused.) But at least you've never had a vision while school supply shopping. (And if you have, I trust and hope that you, at any rate, were simply standing too close to the permanent markers.) Because, really, a vision can ruin your whole day, as we learn here. Of course, we also learn that it can lead to a future of glorious threesomes. One of the many things I love about FF is that in it, Johnny's life doesn't always totally suck.

The One That Can Serve As Inspiration to Non-Traditional Families Everywhere. Well. Non-Traditional Families That Do a Heck of a Lot of Demon Slaying, Anyway. Family Comes First, by [livejournal.com profile] ethrosdemon. Supernatural, gen. (Or, if you prefer, non-explicit Sam Winchester/OFC.) I'd like to pause here to squeeze [livejournal.com profile] ethrosdemon until she damn near pops for writing a Supernatural story I can actually read. Oh, SPN: you have so many fabulous writers, and I want to read you so much, and yet you are denied to me (although, major points to [livejournal.com profile] maygra, who came up with a way that I could read at least some SPN - give that girl a prize, is my thinking on that one). I mean, apart from any personal problems of my own, so much SPN FF keeps me up at nights, insisting that the dogs patrol the house every five minutes and flinching away from shadows, noises, and my own hands. (Look. I am not good with horror. Seriously. You don't want to know about the night I read Misery after mandatory lights out in a psychiatric hospital, but suffice to say that it proved that I really, really, really am not destined to be cuddlebunnies with the horror genre. There's this scene in that book where - well, I won't go into it, but I still see spots and get dizzy when I think about it.)

I love this story because it shows that love isn't the only thing that makes a family. You also need, in nearly all cases, at least a few tablespoons of fucked-up-ness. Of course, given the background of the Winchester gang, that's more like "8 cups of fucked-up-ness, whipped to a light and pleasing froth and folded in," but this is not necessarily a bad thing. It just gives me all the more joy when they manage to make it work. For definitions of "work" that include "a non-traditional, multi-parent family that goes back to demon-slaying after the kid goes into first grade," but tradition is important, people. If your father was a demon-slayer, by god, you should be, too. Or, okay. You can try to avoid it, but the demons will probably come for you in the end anyway. (And, wow. That gives me an entirely new perspective on "They fuck you up, your mum and dad/They may not mean to, but they do." In the Winchester edition of Larkin's poems, I'm betting the next two lines are, "They curse you with the fiends they had/Then add some extra, just for you.")
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I've been trying del.icio.us for a while, and I've come to the conclusion - well, it's nice to have all my bookmarks resident on the web. And it's nice to be able to put everything up there. But - well, okay. It makes me not want to do actual recommendations sets, and that's kind of why I have this journal, and it's the thing I love most. So that doesn't seem like such a great idea, basically.

And then I got to thinking - maybe there's a different bookmark system, probably not a social one, that's web-resident. Maybe someone out there knows about it! So, hey, if you do - tell me, okay? Actually, there's a few other things I'd like you to recommend to me.

Find me a find, catch me a catch. )

Anyway. My point is, for those of you who have just read through the cut tag and have thus forgotten what the hell this post is about, even, is: del.icio.us is sapping my will to rec. So I says to myself, says I, "Return to the classics. Crossovers will bring meaning back to your journal!" And then, just to throw in even greater incentive, I lifted my usual stricture on crossovers. I mean, normally I get all on my high horse and say, "There shall be no repeats in any of the crossed over fandoms in a given crossover set." But life is too short, people.

The One That Is a Delightful Blend of Two Tasty Flavors of John. Plus Added Hotness in the Form of Claudia Black, Which Is Just Never a Bad Thing. Flying Low at Night, by [livejournal.com profile] cofax7. Farscape x Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Aeryn Sun. Have you ever found yourself standing in a TV on DVD aisle saying, "Sci Fi channel series about guys named John with special Ancient mojo who are stranded in distant universes. I wonder what the difference is?" Well, okay, first: if you have, don't admit it. You will bring shame on all of fandom. Just read this story and you'll be able to tell real, real well. A quick cheat sheet, though: Farscape has the John whose life kind of defines "out of the frying pan, into the fire." (And almost no one writes stories about his hair.) Whereas Stargate has the John whose life kind of defines "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." (And his hair has about the same number of fans as he does.)

So what I love about this story is that it - no, okay. I need to be honest. I love a lot about this story. I mean, I adore that it starts after the crossover - way after, in fact. We don't worry about how John (Hair-John, as I will be calling him for the rest of this summary, so as to avoid confusion) got to the Farscape end of the universe. He's there, and it's pretty consistent with the way his life has gone thus far, so that's fine. We pick up with him after years in Farscape, in fact, and we get to see what it's done to him. (Basically, it's turned him back into the guy in Antarctica. With about four hundred years' worth of added world weariness.) And then we get to see him cope with the other John's (Can I just call him Crichton? I'm getting kind of lost amongst all the Johns, here.) situation. It's just...wow. But what I was going to say (just re-read the beginning of this paragraph; if I go into it again we'll never get out of here) is that most of all I love the ending. It's hopeful and it's - it's just - god. I want a million more stories telling what happens after this, because I think that part of the universe is in for some very interesting times.

The One in Which Charles Gunn Is Confused about Why Everyone in Pegasus Speaks English. Right There with You, Gunn. Outward Bound, by Hth, aka [livejournal.com profile] hth_the_first. Stargate: Atlantis x Angel the Series, Charles Gunn/Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, Charles Gunn/Ronon Dex. Before, we had a character from SGA sucked into another universe. Now we have a character from another universe sucked into SGA. And this...okay. First, let me just admit that I couldn't face watching any of Angel after season one - frankly, I think it was very brave of me to keep watching after Doyle did his Flying Wallenda - and so I never really got to know Gunn that well. I didn't ever meet Fred, or follow the whole Arc of Incredibly Complex Complexity that characterized Wesley's, um, last few seasons. But I love this story anyway.

Hth makes an excellent point, here - the Angel crew and the SGA crew aren't that different. They're both operating without much of a plan, and sometimes they both fuck up royally. And all the characters in both have kind of grown accustomed to living in greater danger - a higher state of alert, if you will - than most humans even know is possible, from creatures that aren't supposed to exist. So, you know, I wasn't too sure about this concept at first, but then I realized it is perfect. Plus, Gunn and Ronon get it on. Pretty much your ideal universe, right there. Well. If you discount the very high probability of death, and I totally couldn't, but I think Gunn and Ronon have both reached the point where "constant threat of death" equals "situation normal" in their minds.

The One That Explores Humanity's Basic Inability to Follow the Rules. And Isn't That What Makes People Great? The Sound of One Hand Clapping, by Gale, aka [livejournal.com profile] iphignia939. Firefly x Stargate: SG-1, gen. (Ha! I bet you totally thought this would be another SGA crossover. But once again, the hand was quicker than the eye!) Um. I am unfamiliar with Firefly, but I think this story is about a Major Spoiler. Yes. And I'm not sure if it's the kind of thing that everyone in all of fandom knows, or if it's more of a new thing. So I'm going to slip this summary behind a cut, just in case, and can someone please tell me if it's necessary or not? It's also about a Major Spoiler from SG1, but I think everyone knows that one by now. )

The One That Gives a Lot of Depth to a Certain Hair-Bedecked Guy Named John. And, Hey - This Totally Explains That, Too, Come to Think of It. Just As Required, Without Excess, by [livejournal.com profile] liviapenn. Stargate: Atlantis x DCU, gen. (Yep, it's the all Stargate crossover set. If you wish this trend not to continue, check under the first cut tag.) Okay. This story made me swoon with joy. When I tried to write up a description in del.icio.us, I ended up with a lot of exclamation points and random squealing. (Of course you can squeal in print. I'm not saying it's pretty, but it can be done.) I'm not sure if it'll be quite the same orgasmic experience if you don't know the DCU, but if you don't recognize the crossover character, Livia provides a helpful link at the end. And I'm pretty sure it will still work. Just - it's worth learning a bit about the DCU just so you can wave your hands about incoherently right along with me, okay?

You know, we all read (and sometimes write) a lot of stories trying to explain John's weirdness. (No, I can't describe it better than that. If I could, I'd write my own damn story, 'kay?) And this one did it so well. I don't really want to spoil it, and I really don't want to add another damn cut tag to this entry, but - look. This story provides a back story for John that I can absolutely and totally buy into. After you read it, I invite you to reflect upon what it says about the character (and the actor and the writers, maybe) that this had me nodding and saying, "Yeah! Oh my god YES! That so totally works! And also, RODNEY IS TIM AND TEYLA IS BATGIRL." (Lately I've discovered that all my fandoms can be translated into the Batverse. Like, Fraser is Tim and Ray K. is Nightwing and Stella is Oracle and Frannie is Steph and Ray Vecchio is Jason Todd. Um. Not that I've put a lot of thought into this or anything. Really. And I haven't even considered writing a paper about how Batman is the only character that doesn't usually have an analog, possibly because he's too fucked up for there to be more than one of him in the multiverse.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I've been writing a lot of mental letters lately. You know the kind - the ones that go:
Dear Mother Nature,

I'm dying and you just keep putting out the pollen. Some of us are suffering here, but do you care? No. Heartless bitch.

Deeply looking forward to the post-modern technological dystopia,
TFV
And:
Dear stomach,

Ow. Also, ow. Also, ew. I'm sorry you've got problems, but do you have to let them affect our relationship like this?

Remember the experience with the chalk-flavored radioactive substances? It can happen again, stomach. It can happen again.

Yours in hopes of a future partnership that's more Ray-and-Fraser than killer-and-knife-named-Betty-Lou,
TFV
And (of course):
Dear Kimberly-Clark,

Not. Stupid. Just. Menstruating.

Periodically yours,
TFV
Naturally, this got me to thinking about documents. And as I have a well-documented kink for the document-within-a-document, well, um, uh...damn. If I could've used 'document' one more time in this intro, I would've gotten an ice-cream cake.

This is how dreams die, people. Ah, well. On to the fan fiction.

The One That Teaches Us All the Importance of Occasionally Not Running for Our Lives or Getting Shot in the Ass. Leave the Light On, by [livejournal.com profile] cherryice. Doctor Who, gen. Disclaimer: I was one of the beta-readers of this story, but, seriously, I didn't do much; it was like this when I got there.

See, now, I do not know this fandom. Like, at all. There's a TARDIS, there's a Time Lord, there's a Companion, all this I know from watching my sister watch Doctor Who reruns on some random TV station back in the Dark Ages. (An advantage of Doctor Who fandom: it is, apparently, eternal. A fandom for the ages.) And my attempts to get to know the recent iteration of the fandom are uniformly doomed: downloads fail to download, or fail to extract, or fail to run, and discs disappear into the sandy mists of the postal service, and it's just...it's very doomed, is what it is - like, I suspect the Elder Gods of having an involvement here. So my knowledge is limited (by the forces of EVIL), but I do know that this new Doctor has a wrinkle. A wrinkle named Jack. And, whoa: turns out you don't have to know Jack at all to love his pansexual, uniformed, fifty-first century ass.

And this story is all about Jack, meaning I loved it pretty much from the get-go; in fact, and you'd need to check with [livejournal.com profile] cherryice to be sure, I suspect my beta emails were mostly incoherent, get-this-girl-a-drug-test-stat ramblings about the wonderful, wonderful, uh, you know, wonder of it all. My head is easily turned by a science fiction trope, and so I especially adore the colony world this story describes, the pathetic mundane probability of the scenario. I also love - and this is a lot rarer for me - the slow, horrifying build of this, the way realization sneaks up and whaps you on the head while you're distracted by this overwhelming wave of pure love for the Doctor, Jack, and Rose. And, because I am a total wuss, I also love (like, a lot), the way this story is structured: you get the hurt (all the more painful, at least to me, because it's so prosaic and possible) and the comfort (likewise simple and possible - I mean, except all the TARDIS-Time Lord-phone booth stuff). I just...I have love for this story, people. And also Jack. And the Doctor. And Rose. That is all.

The One That Teaches Us This Holy Lesson: Froot Loops Are Love. No, Really, They Are. Disgusting, Styrofoam-Flavored Love, but Who Am I to Judge? Fan Mail from a Flounder, by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall.

Here, Danny discovers his one true love: email. Fortunately, that turns out to be a momentary blip, and he soon discovers his other one true love, but not until nearly everyone wants to punch him for talking about email so much. I think we can all sympathize. In fact, what's really miraculous is how charming Punk manages to make this behavior seem. Or, I don't know, maybe it's just me - I mean, am I the only one who has had to suffer through excruciating wedding receptions in which relatives tell me excitedly about how they've recently started using "the AOL"? (And I won't even try to describe the horror that was trying to explain email to my aunt, who believes in her heart that microwave ovens are destroying the American family. I will say, though, that the question, "But how does it get to the other computer? How does it know?" can still bring me to tears.)

This story is kind of a two-for-one, because there are two documents in it. One is an email that describes Dan as a "twenty-first century prince," which he probably is, and says that he understands the infield fly rule, which we know he doesn't because he's mostly sane and can still put his pants on without help. But the other is the one that reminds me exactly why I have loved, and will always love, this fandom. When a shopping list can make my heart swell with pure, sweet OTP love, well. That's a fandom that will never fade. Oh, Sports Night. My love is true.

The One That Makes Me Wonder What I'd Want My Epitaph to Be, If I Was Ever in Similar Circumstances.* Traces Through Time, by Icarus, aka [livejournal.com profile] icarusancalion. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

Disclaimer: I love time travel stories. In non-fan fiction formats, I am the least critical consumer of them ever.** But, for reasons unknown to me, the exemption that all other forms of media get for giving me what I love (Time travel! Diaries! Gay!) does not extend to fan fiction; I'm an incredibly demanding reader when it comes to FF that hits my personal bulletproof kinks. When you can almost always get at least a little of exactly what you want, you're much less tolerant of near misses. That pretty much summarizes my entire fan fiction experience, right there.

Because, see, sometimes I do get exactly what I want. Like, take this story. I will just never leave fandom as long as there are stories in which Rodney is accidentally sent back in time and John reads his trapped-in-time diary and figures out how to help him and also gets to read a multi-page and very loving description of his cock. I just am incapable of even summoning up the words to describe my glee about this. It's like - it's like Marooned in Realtime***, but with an entirely happy ending. And the document. Oh, the document - I would totally kill to read an extended edition of this story with much longer passages from Rodney's Lost in Time diary. Or extracts from the symphony. Yes, he wrote John a symphony. (And that, my friends, is where my hard and shriveled little heart just melted into a puddle of extremely satisfied goo. Awwwwwww.)

The One in Which Batman Gives the World's Least Helpful Advice. "Assume Success" My Ass, Batty Boy. What Book Did You Find That Pedagogical Technique in, Breaking the Brains of the Next Generation? Able to Succeed, by [livejournal.com profile] brown_betty. D.C. Universe, gen.

I appear to be on quite the tear of "The Batuniverse Is Like Our Universe, Only Jam-Packed with Armed Nutballs in Armored Spandex" stories lately. (You know, I really didn't mean that to sound like a cross between a gay bar and a health food. It just came out that way. This is what happens when you try to write about the DCU, folks.) Here we have Tim (glorious Tim!) being inculcated into the Way of the Bat, by which I of course mean "winning through paranoia, obsessive-compulsive planning, and homoerotic overtones that are really much more overt than you'd think anyone could get away with."

There just aren't too many superheroes I can picture doing superhomework - I mean, sure, Charles Xavier runs a school complete with Danger Room (Danger! Room!) and suchlike, but does Rogue ever belly up to her desk and write a 20-page paper called "The Evolution of Team-Based Aerial Combat Techniques in a Post-Genosha Multiverse"? No. Wolverine? My god no. Cyclops? Okay, maybe. Probably. Almost certainly. But my point is, Batman's superhomework is just way cooler than that. Also way, way more insanity inducing, but that's just how they do it in Gotham; it is their native folkway, which we have all learned to admire greatly. (And oh my god, I just realized - someone needs to write a DCU story called "It's Hard out Here for a Bat." Please. Please. I'll...okay, I don't have anything to offer in trade, but I will love you forever I swear to god.)

-Footnotes-

* I'm joking. I already totally know what I want my epitaph to be, have for at least 15 years: "She lived in readiness for temporal anomaly." You may think you have a time travel kink, but trust me, it is nothing to my all-encompassing, seriously obsessive, downright disturbing time travel kink. I mean, I have a list of essential items I'd take back to any time period you care to name. I follow advances in particle physics solely for their relevance to potential means of time travel. I...whoa, I just totally outed myself as the geek of the century, didn't I?

** You know that version of The Time Machine that came out in 2002? (Before I looked it up, I was going to say "about a decade ago." Apparently my brain has elected to deal with the post-traumatic movie viewing stress by pretending it all happened a very long time ago. In another country. And the wench is dead.) I watched that with actual delight. (BB, immediately after we emerged into the harsh bright light of day: "Um. You, uh, you know that movie was bad, right?" Me, nearly skipping with joy: "Oh, yes. And I am so buying it the second it comes out!" BB: *nearly inaudible whimper*)

*** Don't even tell me you haven't read Marooned in Realtime by Vernor Vinge. Just. Don't. Even. Go quietly and shame-facedly to the library, your local bookstore, or Amazon, obtain a copy, and read until you break.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
My other choice for the title today was "Dress You up in My Love." Aren't we all glad I went with the slightly higher-brow option? Well. I mean. I've probably already used the other one, anyway.

Today: clothes. And not just any clothes, but clothes that are, from a cultural standpoint, inappropriate. So I guess my other alternate title could've been "Crossdressing for Fun, Profit, and the American Way." Really, every second I get prouder of myself for going with the one I did. (And slightly less proud of myself for telling you about the others, but, well, confession is good for the soul. And also for writing an introduction when you have absolutely nothing to say about attire-related fan fiction that you haven't said half a dozen times already. I like the clothing, people. Especially in fan fiction, where the clothing often comes off.)

You Know, I Used to Wonder if Bats Were Born Crazy or Had the Crazy Thrust upon Them. This Story Answers That Question. A Form of Confession, by Derry, aka [livejournal.com profile] derryderrydown, and Propaganda, aka [livejournal.com profile] notpoetry (Sorry, Prop!). D.C. Universe, Tim Drake/Bruce Wayne.

I have a stunning weakness for stories that show that Bruce has gone well beyond cracked, into an internally-induced, highly-controlled psychosis, and oh how this one does that. Here we have Tim playing a part, and Bruce living his part, and it just shows - well, what it takes to be the founder, patriarch, and lunatic-in-chief of the Batfamily. And guess what? Batfamily values are really fucking scary. "We knew this," you cry. "All that rubber and angst is a dead giveaway!" Well, yes. But did you know how much?

This is how Bats go crazy, people. I mean, okay, here we have Tim in a costume that just happens to be a dress, but that's not insanity-inducing, especially not for someone who voluntarily elected to live a life of spandex. (Side note: canonically, Tim looks incredible in drag. He makes a gorgeous girl, and there are the comic book pages to prove it somewhere over on [livejournal.com profile] scans_daily.) But Bruce - Bruce is way beyond a mere costume, and he pulls off a mindfuck of Gaslight proportions, here. It's just a wee bit crazy-making, of course, but I'm sure Batman will think it's educational for Robin. (And I switched names deliberately, there, because there's no chance Bruce even understands what he did here.) Just proves what I've always said: the iron core of any Bat, what really gets the grappling hook swinging, is his (or her!) insanity, fucked-up childhood, and Daddy issues. And those that aren't born with one or all of the above will surely acquire them after a few short years with Bruce. That man has so much crazy to give.

Sometimes Quoting Airplane! Can Be an Act of Unparalleled Courage. No, Really. I Was Surprised, Too, but This Is the Story That Proves It. Second Skin, by Toft, aka [livejournal.com profile] toft_froggy. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

This is a crossdressing story for people who don't like crossdressing, because it's really about how John wears a lot of costumes, but not the one he actually most wants to. One of the things that fascinates me about Sheppard is that he always does seem to be playing a part, wearing clothes that don't quite fit him, and, okay, that's probably something the actor - how can I put this kindly? - unintentionally brings to the role (No insult intended, people - god knows I cherish the Sheppard!), but it's endlessly interesting. Brilliant, even, when combined with the total lack of background they've given John. (For future reference, canon SG writers? That is a red flag to the bull of fannish writing. The only way to increase fiction output more would've been to have them kiss - in an entirely manly, heterosexual way, of course - right there on the screen.)

That makes for fantastic fan fiction - I mean, we can pick away Sheppard's ill-fitting outer layer and make all kinds of guesses about what's underneath. And this is one of the best stories I've ever read for that. Yeah, Sheppard's crossdressing here, but what really grips me is how totally that underscores how he always seems to be crossdressing. So part of the thrill of this story for me - oh, who am I kidding? The biggest thrill, because I am just that much of a dork for happiness - is the ending. It's just so good to see John growing into himself, into his skin. And if a skirt is what it takes for him to do that, Jesus, I'll buy him a fucking closetful. And so, as it turns out, will Rodney. (And that is just part of why I love Rodney.)

The Story That Taught Me That Happiness Is a Pair of Girl Pants. (And Totally Made Me Forgive the Color Pink for All That Hideous Lana Lang Trauma.) My New Pants, by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. Scrubs, J.D./Dr. Cox.

Okay. There is a tragic dearth of Scrubs fan fiction. Seriously, what is wrong with the kids of today that they aren't writing scads of Scrubs stories? It makes me want to weep. Anyway, my point is - I've became so desperate for Scrubs FF that I'm actually watching the canon. That's tragedy, people: driven from the warm and welcoming arms of FF into a sleazy relationship with a canon that is still on the air and could thus turn on me at any minute, much like Dr. Cox's ex-wife, and then where would I be? Pity me. And then write some Scrubs FF, damn it.

But. My recent exposure to the canon (BECAUSE OF THE TRAGIC! DEARTH! OF SCRUBS FF, let me just remind you) allows me to say, with great authority, that this story basically is canon: absolutely indistinguishable from the real thing, except that it's written rather than acted. (Well, and also, no one sings even once. For Scrubs, which hasn't, as far as I know, had a musical episode only because pretty much every episode is, that's weird.) It's all here. And it's so beautiful. Ted and Todd and Dr. Cox may not be thrilled with J.D.'s new pants, but oh my god how I am. They are, in short, what the well-dressed fan fiction is wearing.

The Story That Makes Me Think, "My True Love Hath My Dog Tags and I Have His," Which Makes My Soppy Little Heart Weep for Joy. Engraved, by Sori, aka [livejournal.com profile] sori1773. Stargate: SG-1, Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill.

And here we have a very dangerous kind of crossdressing - I mean, okay, it's not technically a gender-type crossdressing at all. It's more of an exchange thingy. But when it comes to wearing, uh, what Jack is wearing - seriously, he'd be taking less of a risk by wearing Daniel's underwear. Or Sam's, even. But, hey, isn't that what love is all about? (Taking risks, I mean. Not wearing other people's underwear. In most cases.)

And, actually, that - and let me just repeat: risks risks risks! Ignore the underwear remark! - is what I truly love about this story. When you're in love, it's normal to want to wear something that says right out loud, "Hey, I'm in love! (So it's a good time to hit me up for a loan.)" Even if that's, like, a t-shirt reading "My girlfriend can lick your girlfriend" or whatever. (Yes, I have dated some solid class in my time, people. Just be grateful I didn't share the story about the guy who gave me a ring I watched him find in the trash - shoved it onto my finger, actually - and then asked me to marry him. For future reference? Love is better if it doesn't require disinfecting.) And, um. Getting back to the story - see, lots of the guys we slash - even if they do happen, in this one area, to be normal, they can't do that. No rings, no ceremonies, no gift registries. (Except in certain sugary stories that I, being above all that, really don't read. Nope, never. Nuh-uh.) So, for me, this is a story about how people make their own, you know, meaningful statements. Well. That and the hot sex. Do not underestimate the importance of the hot sex.

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