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)
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)
A couple of times a month, Best Beloved, the earthling, and I will go out to breakfast at a locally renowned diner-ish place. It has a shelf by one of its windows where people can set out free literature: brochures, yes, and also the Skeeviest Postcards You Ever Did See, but mostly magazines and catalogs. These catalogs and magazines are divided into general categories:
  1. Gay: It's Not a Lifestyle, We Just Like Built, Pretty Men with Huge Cocks

  2. Marijuana: It's Not Even a Drug, It's Totally a Lifestyle, and If You Happen to Be Using Any, We Are Sure It's for Entirely Legal Medicinal Purposes That We Can Definitely Provide You with a List of, in Case You Accidentally Forgot What Those Purposes Were

  3. Whackmobile-o-rama: Now with a Free Ticket to Lemuria
The earthling loves this area, because the shelf is located maybe a foot off the floor, meaning he is free to browse through the publications and make selections that he carries to us. This is how we got my favorite ever "GLBT" magazine. I put "GLBT" in quotes, because in my experience, what that actually means is "We're only putting cisgendered gay men on the cover, and we're only writing about gay men and circuit parties and Dolce and Gabbana, but you LBT types are also welcome to read us. If you want to." My favorite "GLBT" magazine has, of course, a shirtless, six-packed (white) man on the cover. His head is carefully positioned so that, in the subheader "for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community in Southern California" he obscures "lesbian, bisexual" completely, and most of "and transgendered" as well. It's not really a visual metaphor; it's just truth in magazine covers.

Anyway. We are generally at least mildly interested in the publications in the first two categories, or we pretend to be while the earthling is watching us, but the third is obviously the superior one. And my favorite example of this is a brochure for the Los Angeles Conscious Life Expo. I mean no offense to any of you living Conscious Lives (I am sure you are not, personally, insane) when I say that, to a person who lives a plain old mundane (unconscious?) life, this thing is hysterical.

Some of the offered panels and classes are relatively normal-sounding ("Optimal Thinking for Turbulent Times" could just as easily be offered at a management seminar, not that I am suggesting that those are bastions of sanity), but then you get things like "Nibiru, 2012, and You" (no, I didn't know what Nibiru meant, either, but you should really go read the Nibiru Collision Wikipedia entry, if for no other reason than the, um, "photographic evidence") and "The Government Response to '2012' and What Obama Knows." (I really don't think you can cover what Obama knows in a three-hour workshop, but I'm getting the sense that there's something major on the whackmobile horizon for 2012. Excuse me, I meant '2012.' Apparently it has to do with Interdimensional Communications and The Shift, judging by other panels, but I'm really hoping it has no connection to the Unleash Your Secret Healing Microbes thing, because interdimensionally communicating shifting secret microbes in a government cover-up - I don't actually want to live a Torchwood plot.)

My point about this, though, is that in this brochure, I have found the Well of Lost SG1 Plots. Or maybe not lost; it is entirely possible that the entire show was written from previous Conscious Life Expo brochures. (You can't tell me they don't also have Conscious Lives in Vancouver, and apparently when you have one, you want to exhibit it.) Check out these seminar (Workshop? Panel? Shouting contest? Whatever.) titles:
  • Ascension: Masters of Immortality. Hi, Daniel! And, you know, Oma. Plus the Greek Chorus of smug folks of questionable morality.

  • Legacy of the Gods: Keys to Our Cosmic Past. Goa'uld. Obviously. In my head, this panel thing is hosted by a completely raving version of Daniel who never got recruited by the Stargate program and went irretrievably insane in that Cassandra-ish way. I picture him with long unkempt hair and an old car with a lot of bumper stickers on it, many of them in hieroglyphics. He probably hosts an AM radio show.

  • Freedom's Gate: America's Temple of Ascension. If this is not the stargate, I don't know what it is. And, for the record, I don't want to. Some things should not be googled.

  • The Sound of Light. I've, you know, never actually seen the show, but wasn't this the episode that had that sequence with Daniel on the balcony and Jack hugging him that you see in all the vids?

  • Claim Your Second Life Now!!! (Yes, all those exclamation points are in the original. Please tell me you don't think I would do that of my own free will.) Actually, Daniel's claiming his seventeenth life, but then I would expect him to be leading the pack. Of course, I can claim a Second Life right this minute by visiting a website and registering. Maybe they're talking about that.

  • The Future of People. ...As beings made of energy on a different plane, one assumes. Or maybe they mean as Soylent Green, but obviously the Stargate showrunners thought more in terms of energy bodies, which is exactly what is wrong with SF on TV these days, if you ask me.

  • Regenesis: 5th Dimensional Light Bodies. And again with the ascension. It's a theme. I just - reading this, I worry that there are people who watch SG1 and SGA and think they're documentaries, in which case - oh, god, I just want to hold them and tell them it isn't so. Although I probably can't. Strong incense and patchouli make me wheeze.

  • Proactive Manifestation of Future History. I have no fucking clue what this means, but I'm pretty sure Merlin knows. Also, after a lengthy pause to parse this, I have concluded that it maybe means making the future happen early? Maybe? In which case NO PLEASE DON'T DO THAT. I have read that story. It never ends well.

  • Galactic Awakening. This is the Ori, or I will eat something. Not a hat, mind you. Maybe a cookie. But, still, I am pretty sure that late in the run of SG1, the writers were flipping through a Conscious Life Expo brochure and saw this and exclaimed with joy.

  • Ascension Panel: The 7th Golden Age of Humanity. Do I even need to say it? No. So I'll just say - we've had six previous ones? When? And, um. If ascension is anything like it is in the Gateverse, I would not describe it as a Golden Age of Humanity. Maybe a Golden Age of Assholes. That's as far as I'm willing to go.
If I had known free publications were all I needed to write for television, I'd've chosen that career path. (I am assuming the people who read the gay magazines wrote for Queer as Folk, but what do the people who read the marijuana stuff write?)

But my real point is, maybe we should be grateful SG1 and SGA were canceled when they were, because I think the showrunners had run out of useful workshop titles, and for future seasons they'd have had to mine, like, the Tantric Love Energy workshops. Or the ones about Optimal Thinking and Money Management. Or the one about vaccines. I - I am glad I didn't have to witness that, even secondhand.
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)
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 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)
Thank you for the joy! Both the specific joy - the virtual gifts and compliments and wonderful things from today - and the general joy, because all of you are wonderful all year round.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also, there's an awesome road trip. And zombies, kind of, and yet not the kind of zombies I'm afraid of. And world-building. And just - oh, too much good stuff to mention. So just trust me: this story is made of perfection, and so what if it's a perfection that had to be built on the deaths of billions of people? With SG1, these things happen.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I wanted to get this finished in time for the last episode of SG1. I, um, didn't. (I know you're shocked.) And you may wonder why I bothered to write up an introduction post for a show that a) has been around for 10 years and b) is now over.

I could come up with lots of excuses - "It's really about the fandom" and "What more perfect time to write an intro than when we know it won't be obsolete in a year?" and "The heart wants what it wants" - but, face it, they'd all pretty much suck. So instead, I'll say: that's just how I roll, people.

Plus, I love this fandom a lot. And I'm not saying goodbye to it. Not at all.

Stargate SG1: we'll always have fandom. )
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)
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)
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)
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 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 love, love, love things that never happened stories. (And all hail [livejournal.com profile] basingstoke, the creator of this format that brings joy to the world, all the boys and girls. Yeah! (Also to fishies in the deep blue sea, is what I hear. In other, wholly unrelated news: songs your parents sang to you when you were little have the power to derail any train of thought. True fact: Einstein managed to finish the sentence that began "E=m" only because his parents didn't know any catchy songs.)

Recs sets involving things that never happened stories have a few rules, people. Some of you may remember them from last time. But I'm restating them, because some of you are new since last time. Hell, some of the rules are new since last time.
  1. Things that never happened = TTNH. There's only so many times I can type the full words before I succumb to that tragic disease known as Keyboard Ennui.

  2. TTNH stories can be disturbing. Or sad. Or, in cases where the author is very special, both disturbing and sad. They don't have to be, mind you. (Except they kind of do. Because either they're about things that would suck, or they're about things that would be most excellent. But if it's the latter, isn't it kind of a bummer that these are things that didn't happen? Yes, this is both a story style and a deep philosophical conundrum. When [livejournal.com profile] basingstoke is on, she's really fucking on.) So if you're already in a place of emo, maybe you'll want to consider each of these stories carefully before you click.

  3. TTNH stories usually make more sense if you know the canon. As I said last time: it helps to know what did happen before you read about what didn't. I've included some sense of how much canon you need to know. (Because this is fandom, that great big pool of cross-pollination and spoilers, we all know a little about, for example, Kirk and Spock, even if our entire first-hand knowledge of them consists of a single episode in which they hit every slash cliche known to science within roughly 30 minutes, using only styrofoam and aluminum foil. And that may be all you need to know.)

  4. TTNH stories may contain gen, het, or slash. So when it comes to these, I am not a pairing index; some TTNH stories, that alone would keep us here all day. So go in braced for anything. Although I swear I will warn you before, for example, Doctor Who/TARDIS.

  5. I interpret "things that never happened" rather loosely. It just has to follow the basic format: [number] of [things] that [happened/didn't happen/happened one night/you totally can't prove/happened to your mom].

  6. If you are distressed by any of the (un)events of these stories, I advocate industrial-strength denial. It's always worked for me.
The One That Should Come with a References Section, a Bunch of Footnotes, and a Gift Certificate Good for Punching One DC Editor or Writer in the Location of Your Choice. Five Things That Never Happened to the Robins (and Interlude: Five Things That Never Happened to Carrie Kelley), by [livejournal.com profile] monkeycrackmary. D.C. Universe. You don't need to know the canon to read this one, but you do need to know about the Robins (including the part about Carrie Kelley), Identity Crisis, and maybe No Man's Land. Obviously - and I cannot even believe I'm saying this; next thing you know I'll be advocating all knives be labeled "Caution: Sharp" - there are major spoilers at those links. Also, warning: my total lack of love over Recent Unfortunate Events in the DCU is, um. A bit obvious, here.

TTNH stories are AUs with the fat trimmed off - we get the story, but we're left to extrapolate a lot, including most of the set-up and, sometimes, the resolution. I cannot tell you how much that works for me. And it's variable; TTNH stories can be snippets, just glimpses of the AUs. But in DCU, particularly, TTNH stories contain multitudes: sprawling, intense universes that feel real, wholly populated, wholly complete, and internally consistent and logical.

This one certainly seems more real than anything D.C. has published lately. That's in part because the characters are intensely in character here (and do not even get me started on how it's completely and totally impossible for Certain Characters to be themselves in the face of Recent Unspeakable Retcons, for, as you can see, that way lies madness and random capitalization), but also because these stories are so detailed and so - I don't know how to put it. So much like the stories D.C. is writing in the alternate universe where they have character and plot continuity. And writers with brains. This is an incredibly meaty story - I mean, the interlude alone could stand as five separate stories. It's got...hmmm. Room to grow, in a way the canon universe just doesn't right now. If I ever write an essay called Why I Prefer Fan Fiction to the Canon, this story is exhibit A.

The One That Makes It Clear What's Really Behind All Those Macho Bone-Grinding Handshakes. (Let's Just Say It Didn't Come As a Huge Surprise.) Five Battles Teal'c of Chulak Never Fought, by [livejournal.com profile] cofax7. Stargate: SG-1. To read this, you probably need to know, for example, who Teal'c is. And the more you know about SG1, the more you'll likely get out of this. Of course, that isn't exactly a promise, since I don't know much about SG1, but it's a very good working theory.

This is the ultimate example of trimming the fat, here; these stories are short, short pieces about big, big worlds. And that is, without doubt, a good thing. But what I love about this is - atypically for me - not the AUs, but the person I see here. When I started reading SG1, it was all about Jack and Daniel for me. Which, I mean, of course: Jack! Daniel! What's not to love? But lately I've also been getting interested in Teal'c and Sam. I still want the story in which those two are genderswapped (it'd be fascinating, and I continue to hope against hope that [livejournal.com profile] katie_m will write it). But, basically, I just want any stories that will make these two characters human to me, real to me, because in a lot of fan fiction they are - I don't know. Plot devices or enigmas, I guess: not the people whose eyes we see through, but rather the people we see. From a distance, usually.

In this story, Cofax let me see through Teal'c's eyes, and that - that is quite a gift. There's always something that ties a TTNH story together, and in this case, that's Teal'c himself: his character, who he is, who he's been. So, basically, if you've ever wanted to get to know Teal'c, well, here's your chance. (And if you haven't, why not? The man is, at least at the start of the canon, a formerly-evil member of a race of people who have unnaturally long life at the cost of a kind of devil's bargain. And he's now fighting evil and dealing with the repercussions of his past life. All of you people who love vampires and things written by people named Whedon should be rushing to embrace this man.)

The One That Defines PMS As Being the State in Which You Wish Everyone Would Get Hit by a Car. Works for Me. 19 (x19) Things That Never Happened, pt 2, by [livejournal.com profile] rageprufrock. Hikaru no Go. Yes, you do need to know a bit of the canon to read this, but if you don't, oh my god why not? This is - this is due South with Go, people. Hell, it's Harry Potter and the Ghost of Go. And if you are now wondering how any series could be both those things, why not try the first 8 volumes of the manga? (1-4 and 5-8. Attention, Person Who Gave These to Me: if you don't want them up here, let me know and I'll take them down. If you want credit, likewise let me know and I will be happy to glorify your name and works and noble lineage.) Read them. They will prepare you for the Hikaru no Go Fandoms I Have Loved, which - yes. It's coming. I'm in love, okay? I can't help myself. Shut up.*

This is only one part of Pru's Hikaru no Go TTNH series, and definitely my favorite. (Other parts: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6.) And this is another style of TTNH, here, because it is a commentary, but not on a character. This is a reflection on the canon, on the...well. I'm afraid to say "culture," because I am not qualified to start that discussion (and I'm not brave enough, either), but that's pretty much what it is. Culture is what defines Akira and Hikaru's, um, relationship. (Rivals. Totally rivals.) So how would culture define it if something was different?

When I read this story, I thought: this is a story that would only really work and be interesting in certain fandoms. (For the record, and this isn't much of a spoiler: Pru changed the sexes of one of the characters. I don't mean she genderswapped him or genderfucked him; she made him female from birth.) I mean, making John a girl is fascinating if he was male up until the aliens got their hands on his DNA, but if he was born female? The story doesn't change much. But now I'm wondering how true that is. If Aragorn was born to be a woman king, that does change things, does make for an interesting story. If Brian O'Conner (from the Fast and the Furious) is a girl, I lose all interest in the story; if Rusty Ryan (from Ocean's 11) is a girl, my interest skyrockets (and it's already really pretty high). So now I'm basically confused, and I'm all doubty about the thoughtful remarks I had for this story. Anyone else want to be thoughtful instead?

The One That Proves That There's No Canon Development So Disastrous That a Talented Fan Writer Can't Make It Work in the Service of Good. Temporary, by [livejournal.com profile] penknife. X-Men movieverse. This is post-X3, and if you haven't seen the movie and you plan to, you shouldn't read the story. You shouldn't read this story summary, either. But if you already know, either from spoilers or from seeing it, what happens in X3, well, you'll probably understand why I am choosing to skip the movie and go straight to the fan fiction. And you'll also be perfectly primed to read this story.

So. I can't really do a better story summary than [livejournal.com profile] penknife did: "Five ways Rogue finds out nothing's permanent." But I will say that I choose to think of this as "Five places to go from here." Because the X3 story - well, one of the many problems I had with it (back when I first read the spoilers) was that it closes off possibilities and undermines the message and central question of the whole X-Men universe. (And, you know, that's an impressive feat, diverting an entire canon away from such a central and basic concept. I mean, it's impressive in the way that eating an airplane is impressive - yes, amazing, but why would anyone bother? But impressive it is.)

Anyway. Turns out I was wrong about that closed, nowhere-good-to-go-from-here thing. Maybe the heat was getting to me. Because as soon as I read this story, I realized that there are as many interesting avenues to explore now as before, and X3 might change everything, but it doesn't actually matter that much. This story features five of those interesting avenues, and I just - I love them, love this whole story, in a very sincere, honorable-intentions kind of way. (I'd propose, but reader/story marriages are still illegal in my state.) This is a fabulous riff on the potential of the future, from the first segment, which I would argue takes us back, not to movie canon, but to early(ish) comics canon, to the last, which takes us in a totally unexpected, fascinating direction that leaves me whimpering for more. ([livejournal.com profile] penknife: total narrative tease. News at 11.)

-Footnote-

* I do not as yet have a source for the anime, sadly, but you can add the first two discs of it to your Netflix queue here.
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)
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)
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.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, first, a public service advisory: I am having a blast bidding on the folks over at Sweet Charity (and this despite the fact that that site is responsible for the way "Sweet Caroline" keeps boinging through my head, killing brain cells and generally laying waste to my fragile neurochemical makeup as it goes). Mostly, I'm bidding on vidders, 'cause who hasn't wanted a personal vidder? I'd take that over a personal chef any day.

But here's the thing: you people don't want me to win a vidder. It's better for us all if I don't. Because every time I bid on one, I say to myself, "Yes...and if I win her, I will ask for SGA set to The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. That will be my first choice, I think. Yes." And it's a different idea every time I bid, and it's always a terrible idea, and frankly I think you all owe it to the world to go out there and overbid me.

If you don't, I don't want to hear any whining later on.

And now, on to the recommendations. (Yes, I know: actual recommendations. It's a stunning, stunning thing.)

I've been feeling kind of, well, bummed lately. Don't know why. Sometimes the squee just doesn't happen. So when I went to write up this set, I thought to myself: what brings the sunshine back to my fannish day? And the answer was, of course: crack. Crack makes everything better.

So I wandered over to the to-be-recommended crack stories and noticed that there was a set that was not marked rec'd that I really thought I'd already done. Genderswitch and genderfuck stories? Is this ringing anyone's bells? Because it's ringing mine, and yet I can't find the set where I recommended these. So I'm going to assume I'm having some weird posting version of deja vu (I guess that'd be deja...huh. What word do people use in French to describe the act of posting to one's journal or blog?), and just plunge ahead with the posting. Let me know if I'm wrong, though, huh?

The Story That Really Makes a Disturbing Amount of Sense, When You Think About It, and Wow. What Does That Say About SGA? Human Vacillation, by [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. And, okay, I don't want to spoil this one too much, so can I just kind of, I don't know, talk around this story rather than about it? (Yes, fine, go right ahead and say it. "That's what you always do anyway." Thank you very much.) What I can say is that for once we have a minor character changing sexes. (I mean, relatively minor - we're not talking about that Canadian, um, you know, console guy or anything*.) Which is interesting to me because we get the reaction not from the point of view of the character (and, damn, writing this is hard because pronouns just totally suck monkeys in English) who has been genderswapped, but from the bystanders.

This story is also very, very much worth reading from a stylegeek perspective. See, when you start it - or, okay, when I started it the first time I read it - it seems kind of slow, kind of like there are parts missing. (And not just Lorne's parts. Yes, I did have to say that. I did.) And then there's this moment of epiphany, and suddenly it becomes very, very interesting. At which point you can go back and read the beginning part and it won't be dull at all. I've read this story maybe three dozen times to track the reasons why that happens and the things that change meaning, and it's fascinating. To me, anyway.

The Story Featuring Daniel Jackson Among the Women. Going Native, As It Were. This Is the Alternative, by [livejournal.com profile] scrollgirl. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. This is a two-for-the-price-of-one genderswitch story - Jack and Daniel both get switched (and the story doesn't really say how, but after all this time reading SGA, all I could think was, "Oh, those wacky Ancients"). Daniel, of course, views it this as the ultimate anthropological opportunity: he will live among the women and discover their arcane rituals. (And also paint his toenails.) Jack, on the other hand, pulls an Achilles and spends three days sulking in the Colorado Springs equivalent of his tent. (And, yes, then they have sex. You can trust me, people; when I rec a story that should have sex in it, by god, the sex will be there.) Classic genderswitch, my friends, classic. (And I find it interesting, too, that Jack is probably the oldest character I've seen swapped - I mean, biological age, not chronological, 'cause I've seen girl Spike and so on. Gives rise to a lot of gender and age related random geekery that I'll spare y'all.)

So I have, obviously, a whole bucket of love for this story. (I love the Daniel Goodall thing more than words can express. I once even wrote a comment on this story with extracts from his Secret Field Research Journal: "Today, the 'pod' of women has accepted me as its own. Perhaps I will at last be able to divine the mysteries behind the ritual known as the 'chick flick.'" I deleted the comment without posting it, thank god, but I will totally own my dorkishness in just writing it at all.) But I also have love for the other story I see lurking inside it. Because I totally want to see the AU version, where Sam and Teal'c got genderswapped. Because, okay - Teal'c would make a fucking fabulous woman, and Sam would get a good, solid, first-hand look at how much easier things are in her chosen fields - science, the military - when you're male. So, really, this story is not just two genderswaps but also two loves for the price of one. Economical and fun.

The Story That at Last Answers the Burning Question: What Would a Mountie Do If He Was Sent to Buy Panties for His Temporarily Girl-Parts-Enhanced Boyfriend? Girls, Girls, Girls, by [livejournal.com profile] brooklinegirl. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. And this, right here, is why I will always love dS. Because BLG starts off this story with, "for reasons that didn't need exploring at this juncture, Ray had breasts." And every dS fan in the world nods and is just fine with that - thinks, like, "Okay. Probably some kind of Inuit story or magical realism thing in there, but no big deal, no need to explore it at this juncture. Ray has breasts. Fine and dandy." You have to love a fandom in which explanations are totally optional. (I suspect that you could start off a story with, "For reasons that didn't need exploring at this juncture, Ray was a zebra, and he just hoped like Christ he wasn't in the Chicago Zoo, because he was living outdoors now, and it was September, and if Fraser didn't get his ass to this zoo soon, well, Ray didn't want to have to live through a Chicago winter outdoors as a zebra. Far as he could tell, they weren't designed for the cold." And everyone would be like, "Okay, cool, zebra. I can go with that.")

You also have to love a fandom that can produce so much excellent genderfuck in the first place. Because when [livejournal.com profile] ds_flashfiction started the genderfuck challenge, I said: "Not for me." But then people started writing it, so of course I had to read it, and it turned out that I can get down with the random assorted parts swappage. (Just another boundary forever destroyed by fan fiction!) And this, actually, is the story that made it happen. I read the Very Special Note about beta-reading and I had to read the story. And when I was finished with this, I had to go read everything else in this challenge, and then loads of genderfuck in other fandoms. Which led, absolutely and completely, to this post. (Yup, this does mean you should blame [livejournal.com profile] brooklinegirl if you don't like the topic of this post. Not my fault! Hers!)

The Vid That Turns Grey Skies to Blue. Blue Skies Filled with Men in Drag Flying Via Parasol, to Be Precise. Holding out for a Hero, by [livejournal.com profile] marycrawford. Hercules: the Legendary Journeys, and, um. Hercules/the Widow Twanky? Yeah, that's pretty much the pairing, I guess. So, okay. This is a vid, not fan fiction. And you need to download it right now. Don't even try to get out of it by saying you don't like Hercules, or you don't know from Hercules, or you get hives when you watch Holding out for a Hero vids, because, seriously. This vid is the best thing ever. Don't download it for the song, people, or for the characters: download it for the breakdancing demigod and the sequined matador outfit and the giant bitey snake head of doom. (Don't miss the flatly terrified expression on Hercules's face when he's being touched by girls, either.) Most of all, download it for its mood elevating effect, because, seriously, if you tried to score this on the Joy-Inducing Pharmaceuticals Scale, it would end up in the "strictly illegal but seriously fun" category. Get the vid now before the FDA takes it off the market!

Also, I want you to think about this: I'm recommending a vid in a genderfuck set. Which means that there has to be some kind of canonical genderfuckery, since we can't randomly swap parts in and out on the characters in the actual source. (Soon, my pets, soon; the technology just isn't there yet.) And I - I don't know, cannot even imagine what possible rational plotline could have produced the Widow Twanky (or most of the other shots in here), but I don't need to be able to. (There's also canonical speciesfuck, apparently, as Hercules is transformed into a pig in a clip in this vid. English has no words sufficient to express my glee at the pig's little Hercules costume.) I can just watch this and revel in the pure, pure cheesy goodness of it, and also apparently the series from whence it came. (Which - wow. It makes Wisconsin look totally cheeseless. It's like our nation's secret stockpile of truly excellent cheese, stored up for a time when the world is sad and lonely and bereft of dairy goods.) And you should, too. Go forth and download. You'll thank me later.

-Footnote-
* Although that'd be hysterical: all the minor characters on Atlantis change sexes. I can picture the senior staff meeting now:

Weir, looking tense: "Maybe a counseling program? Group therapy?"

Sheppard, looking helpless: "The Marines keep coming to me because we don't have enough regulation bras. What am I supposed to do? And one of them tried to hug me yesterday. A Marine tried to hug me."

McKay, looking like someone who has just solved a challenging crossword puzzle: "You know, I thought something was different around here!"
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
As you all know, this is a date of Serious Romantical Significance. So I thought I'd rec some gen.

Yeah, I don't exactly get the connection, either. But far be it from me to argue with inspiration. (I mean, seriously, far be it from me. Inspiration fights mean.)

Best FF That Involves a Major Character Turning Into a Cricket as a Side Note. Seriously. It's Not Even Remotely Central to the Plot. I Just Cannot Tell You How Much I Love That. So Long, Farewell, See You Around, by Tallulah Rasa. Stargate: SG-1. Actually, this is seven related but unconnected stories, seven alternate versions of Jack leaving SG-1. (That's the whole summary, people. Feel free to go read it now and skip the rest of this, which is just me getting in touch with my feelings.) Okay. So. First thing first: these are not sad stories. (In fact, one of them made me sincerely, joyfully happy. That was the one featuring, um, major character death. But it's happy major character death, people! And, really, the fact that I even typed that sentence, never mind the fact that I sincerely mean it, should be sufficient to convince you to read this.) Really, not sad.

But I still teared up reading them. I have two theories about this (three if you count, you know, Wildcat Hormone Attack). First theory: this story forced me out of my denial about SG-1 ending. Because, really, it did; now we have a whole new show, featuring new people and new crack. (No one even try to explain those photos of the Merlin guy to me, okay? I prefer a world in which I can pretend they were just a wacky welcome-to-the-show prank played on Ben Browder.) And, okay, technically I have never actually seen the show, but I am still very attached to it. As it was. With, you know, Jack. And Sam. And Old Glow-Eyes. And I really don't accept change very well. Second theory: this story reads like the writer's farewell to the series. Now, I'm sure it isn't. I'm sure Tallulah has many excellent stories about SG-1 still to come. (She'd better. I don't want to have to read West Wing, but that's the only other fandom she writes in.) But it reads that way. And I got to thinking - I know some people are sad when they leave fandoms behind, but I'm only really sad when authors I love do that. Because - okay, odds are good I'll follow them into whatever new fandoms they find. But still. Their versions of those characters are gone for good. So my second theory is that, while reading this, I had to contemplate a world without Tallulah's Jack and Daniel and Sam and Teal'c. And that? That would really be worth tears.

Best FF That Makes Me Want to Roll up All My Love for the Writer and Use It to Make Stars That Spell Her Name. And in This Fandom, That's Pretty Much Canon, People. Why Tycho Quit Drinking, by Punk, aka [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun. Katamari Damacy. Yes. You heard me. This is fan fiction for that highly addictive video game in which you roll a sticky ball around and pick up coins and erasers and flowers and cars and cows and stuff. (And this is going a little outside my mission statement, here, but if you haven't played this game, play it. Play it for the King, play it for the soundtrack, play it for the mutant satisfaction of making a giant ball of every last thing in level 8. Play it so you can read this story. It's worth not just the cost of the game, but the cost of the Playstation, too.) Anyone who has played Katamari Damacy knows that one of its many pleasures is the King of All Cosmos. He's just - well, I cannot even begin to describe him. Only the real thing can even come close. Which is why it's so amazing (and highly suspect) that Punk has his, um, characteristic and unique voice down this well. I believe she may have a secret identity. I believe it may involve tights and a flowing cape and a big ruffled neck thing. (He's like - he's like Clark in a Superman costume, after Lex's interior designer mistakes him for decor. And that's just his looks, people. Really, you have to meet the King to believe him.) I mean, she could be the King of All Cosmos. (For one thing, it would be just like him to have a secret identity that writes gay porn, let me tell you.) That would explain how she got the details of the night the King went out drinking and accidentally destroyed all the stars, details that were previously known only to Vice Duke of Underpants and the Queen, neither of whom would ever tell. But Punk, Punk has revealed all. At last, the truth is out there.

Best FF That Teaches Us Important Lessons About True Love, and Self-Defense, and That Glorious Area Where They Intersect for Everyone's Good. The Wind Will Not Subside, by [livejournal.com profile] shrift. Samurai Champloo. This is a perfect - and perfectly believable - look at Fuu, Jin, and Mugen, and how they fare after the series. And, yes, okay, Mugen technically does not appear in the story. He's still very much present, and that's the whole point, really: these are three people who got stuck together by fate (in the form of a teashop, a gang of louts, and one very corrupt politician; sometimes fate chooses strange emissaries) and who cannot get unstuck no matter how much they try to fly apart. You kind of have to love that. At least, I do. Plus, I mean: Jin! Mugen! Fuu! Random gratuitous squirrel character whose narrative function I still have not entirely grasped! This is a recipe for happiness, people, and so you should see the canon. You should also read this story. It makes my heart go pitter-pat with sheer love for all of them, and that's before I come to the last four lines, which happen to be basically the most perfect last four lines ever found anywhere, and also the clearest, most wonderful expression of love and friendship that I have ever read. (Keep in mind who you're talking to, though: I'm the person who got into Highlander, and specifically Duncan/Methos, solely because Methos shoots Duncan in a sincerely loving and romantic way. This is the same kind of thing. Except no guns, no immortals, and no romance, so...not really even all that similar. But the last four lines of this story punch the same one of my buttons that Methos shooting Duncan did. And if I had to guess, I would say that that button is probably labeled something like, "Schmoopy bodily harm." No, really, I don't even want to know why. My depths disturb me.)

Best FF That Suggests That an Ancient Gene Is the Pegasus Galaxy's Version of a 'Kick Me' Sign Glued to Your Ass. The Pegasus Galaxy Presents: George Romero's Alice in Wonderland, by Domenika Marzione, aka [livejournal.com profile] miss_porcupine. Stargate: Atlantis. There are many reasons I love Domenika. For example, her LJ name, which always makes me think of a particularly excellent poem by Dorothy Parker (Parable for a Certain Virgin - um, no offense intended toward our Porcupine). And her titles - this is, after all, the person who wrote The Jenny Code, which left me pondering in some confusion for half the story, and then smiling blissfully for the last half, and I think you'll all agree that this title is also, um, let's go with 'gorgeously evocative.' But most of all, I love her for the authenticity she gives to the Stargate universe.

See, okay, our people? In the canon? Do not always act so much like, for example, military officers, or stern-willed diplomats (or actual medical doctors with actual medical ethics, but that, my friends, is a rant for a different day). Domenika takes those same characters, and without changing their personalities or their actions, makes them act like what we've been told they are. It is an amazing transformation, and, seriously, I'd read her stories for that alone. But she also throws in action and humor and actual plot, which means I'm pretty much riveted to my monitor. (And, uh. That phrase paints a somewhat disturbing picture, so how about we say I'm riveted to my chair instead? And, hey - new computer chair! Comfy! Sleek! Entirely unlikely to dump me on my ass on the floor at random intervals! And it is all thanks to you, f-list. I love you so.) And in this one, she gives some very believable Sheppard backstory - with nary a Ferris wheel in sight, no less! - and Sheppard doing paperwork, which just makes my heart burst with (only mildly malicious) joy.

Best FF That Teaches Us the Importance of Kindness to Others. Specifically, Extremely Weird Others of Indeterminant Gender and Alarmingly Good Intentions. Fellow Traveler, by [livejournal.com profile] ltlj. Stargate: Atlantis. I'm going to be recommending two SGA stories in most sets for - well, basically for as long as I feel compelled to. Which I do. This is not my fault, people! SGA appears to be courting some weird fandom version of singularity; the good fan fiction is doubling at an ever faster pace, and at some point soon I expect it to transcend the boundaries of the internet. After that, if Vinge and Kurzweil know what they're talking about, fandom should alter in ways we cannot possibly imagine, let alone anticipate. (Not to worry. This is fandom, so it has an inherent self-correcting mechanism - fannish attention span - and an external correction mechanism - in SGA's case, the stupidity of television executives.) My point is, I can't keep up. I mean, I can never keep up with the good FF in any fandom, or at least any fandom that doesn't qualify for Yuletide, but SGA is taking my recommendation gap to new and frightening levels. Two stories per set seems like the least I can do in return.

So, anyway, um. Getting back to the story (to save you the trouble of scrolling up: I'm talking about Fellow Traveler, here, or at least I'm supposed to be). See, this story has plot and action and all kinds of good things. (Like banter, and humor, and a hive-ship hoedown, and just - look, it's got good stuff in good quantities, okay?) But I kind of expect that from [livejournal.com profile] ltlj. What constantly surprises me about her writing is her original characters, which are just - well. Like take the original character in this one. He's a strangely lovable crossdressing alien misfit with memory problems, and really, I haven't even started with the adjectives I could use for him. You have to adore a writer who can make a character of that description work. And adore her I do. (And if it also makes me want to try creating a character from six random descriptives pulled out of a hat, well, that's my issue, and I'm working on it, okay? I have a sincere desire to change, anyway, and they tell me that's half the battle.)

And, finally, a poll. Influence the future! A very small part of it! Right here!

[Poll #673274]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Some of you may remember - or maybe not; a livejournal generation is only, like, eight days, so we're talking about ancient history, here - when I recommended fan fiction in this space. When I was knee-deep in vids, I swore to myself that those days would come again. It was very dramatic and meaningful, although the pervy LotR vid playing in the background might have detracted from the nobility of the moment slightly. Still, it was Oscar-worthy, and I think there was triumphal music (courtesy of the pervy vid), and you should all be very sorry you missed it.

So. Alternate universes. God, how I love these things.

Best FF That Almost Makes Me Grateful to the DC Folks for Their Persistent Attempts to Reboot Their Universe Until Our Memories Are Completely Wiped of Every Reason Why We Liked Their Comics in the First Place. Almost. Although I Still Reserve the Right to Punch Willingham in the Nose If I Ever Meet Him. Kids' Game, by [livejournal.com profile] __marcelo. DC Universe, gen or Jason Todd/Stephanie Brown. You know how the infinite universes theory says that everything happens? Every time you flip a coin, a new universe forms, all that? (Yes, that is an oversimplification. Yes, there's more than one theory about this. Don't even get me started, seriously.) Well, I have long suspected that the DC folks are trying to represent that in their books via reboots; every two years, we have one, and the universes rotate one place to the right. So it's inevitable that sooner or later we'll end up where [livejournal.com profile] __marcelo goes here. Only, totally not, but wouldn't it be cool if we did? No more of this deal where we add three years to this character and then subtract them from that character and then pretend a whole bunch of other characters never existed. I mean, there's a reason I don't read this stuff anymore: I can't handle all the change. I'm not smart enough to keep up. But if DC did do this with the Batverse characters? I would so, so read it. So what is this mysterious thing that the author has done? (I'm trying for suspense. Are you suspended, yet? Well, fine. I'll keep practicing.) He made them all the same age: Bruce, Dick, Tim, Jason, Steph. And it's just - this story pretty much had me from the opening (is there a universe in which opening with Tim is a bad move?), but it turned into this whole illicit, secret affair when I got to Jason and Steph. Because they work together so much better than Tim and Steph ever did, and also - no. I was about to go to the dolphin-noises place, and you don't need to be here for that. Go. Read. (Eeeeeeee!)

Best FF That Makes Me Add Holmes to the List of Tragic, Cracked Crimefighters. Please Do Not Mention Holmes/Batman or Holmes/Batman/Bond to Me. My Brain Will Explode. Thank You. Out of This Room, by Dorinda (does anyone know if she has an LJ name?). Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes/John Watson. AUs in rare fandoms are, well, rare; I suppose that if there are only a handful of stories in your fandom, there's not a huge temptation to explore, say, the universe where Holmes is the surgeon and Watson is the detective. But I still want to read that, and a million other ones besides, so I treasure the rare fandom AUs I find. And this one is three in one, so you can imagine all the embarrassing clinging and fawning I do to it. Or maybe you'd better not. This is - okay, it's a brilliant look at some of the possible outcomes of a single canon situation. And can I just say how much I love that? It's kind of a variation of the Five Things That Never Happened story type, and I have a shameful love for those, and also for eigenstate AUs. But combine them - and this story does; it's basically Three Eigenstates We Didn't Observe in This Universe - and you have hit me square in the possibility kink. (I want to see all possibilities fully elaborated. This is one of the reasons I love fan fiction so much; you can find stories featuring all the possibilities and many of the impossibilities, too.) Plus, this story persuades me. See, Holmes is one of those fandoms where I'm handicapped by knowing the canon and, worse, having formed opinions about it long before I ever knew of fan fiction. So it's hard for me to buy Holmes/Watson, because it's hard for me to picture Holmes ever doing anything as messy and human as that. Dorinda, though - she writes Holmes precisely as I have always believed him to be. And then she gives me a Watson I am happy to accept, and it's Watson who makes the happy ending here a real possibility. So my reaction to this story is basically many inarticulate variations on the theme of wow. To wit: wow.

Best FF That Makes Me Really, Really Want to Learn How to Make Paper. A Heart for Every Fate and Wild, by [livejournal.com profile] destina. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. Okay, you're all familiar with the broccoli test, right? Some of my favorite pairings pass it, some don't. Many would know broccoli was wanted, but flatly refuse to get it. (I like 'em prickly and difficult, apparently.) Jack and Daniel might pass, although I think the refusing to get it thing would come into play with them. (Jack, for example, would know Daniel wanted broccoli, but he'd pretend he didn't. He'd come back with something seriously lame and stupid, like a lawn chair and three boxes of tampons, and then sit back to appreciate Daniel's expression when he saw them.) In any case, my point is, in this story (Yay! We're back to talking about the story!), Jack and Daniel pass the desert island test, which is much more stringent. (Since I just made it up, I suppose it's unreasonable to expect you to know what the desert island test is, so - if two people can spend the rest of their lives trapped alone together with no entertainment or distractions or conveniences, and at the end of thirty years they're both alive and as sane as they ever were? They pass.) I've often said that lost-earth (either it's gone, or they can't get to it) stories are not sad endings in SG1, and, as Destina proves here, neither is the desert island scenario. The obvious ending for a story like this is, "Yay! They're improbably rescued shortly after they find true love and hot sex!" I in no way object to that, not at all. But I love Destina for doing the brave thing here, skipping the deus ex machina and showing that, really, for some pairings, the desert island is a happy ending. And for writing this so damn well. Don't miss the sequel, either, which is basically an elaboration of the happiness of the ending, perfect for those of us who need a lot of reassurance.

Best FF That Makes Me Wonder, for What Has to Be the 80th Time, What the Hell Ginger Tea Is, and Why Everyone Drinks It but Me. The Convenient Husband, part one and part two, by Brighid, aka [livejournal.com profile] brighidestone. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. I'm sure those of you who somehow managed to miss this story can still tell it's from the Harlequin challenge, just from the title. (Those of you who weren't in the fandom for the Harlequin challenge - uh, it's a romance novel type thingie, and also, you are in for some amazing reading.) And that's one of the things I love about this story: it's just, it feels perfectly in line with the challenge. Perfectly. (And, seriously, I tried to think of something to write for that challenge, and I totally failed. It's not as easy as it sounds. Of course, it didn't help that my first thought, on seeing it, was that some sick, deluded soul in the SGA fandom wanted a bunch of flash fiction about jesters in masks. I was flat terrified, and had to click away to preserve my remaining sanity. I only figured out the truth some little while later.) I also love this story because I realized, reading it, that John and Rodney are the most portable characters ever. It's hard to think of an AU where they wouldn't fit. King Arthur's court? They fit! The Tokugawa Shogunate? They fit! McCaffrey-esque telepathic soul-bonding dragons? They fit! (I suspect, though, that Rodney would be a dragon in that AU. John would be his rider, of course. Chaya would be a queen, and Rodney would never ever let John mate with her.) Citizen Kane? Unfortunately, they fit there, too. (There are limits. I mean, John might end up as the sled, and also, no.) I just - I love that, and I love it especially when John and Rodney are so perfectly themselves, no matter where they are. They're definitely themselves in Brighid's story. (Don't ask yourself how anyone could consider marriage to Rodney McKay convenient. We already know John has no instinct for self-preservation.)

Best FF That Suggests That Unfortunate Things Will Happen to Those of Us Who Don't Answer Our Telephones. But I Don't Care; Those Things Are Incarnations of the One True Evil, and No One Can Tell Me Different. Last Will and Testament, by Speranza, aka [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. This one is a bonus because, okay, look - if, by some chance, you don't know about it, go read it right now. All other commentary is going behind a cut tag, and please please please do not click on this cut tag until you've read it, okay? There's a spoiler that could possibly actually spoil the story for you, and that would be sad, but it's the only thing anyone ever wants to talk about with this story, so I'm putting it behind the cut. I mean it. Read it now. If you hate it, feel free to tell me that I suck. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
First, a tiny request for help. See, I am currently typing this while seated on a chair that - okay, no one is allowed to laugh - has a tendency to collapse in a way that dumps me on my butt on a hardwood floor. Like, this has happened more than once. This week. Also, it makes these very ominous noises when you sit in it, or move it, or look at it too closely. And parts keep coming off of it, and some of them are bound to be important.

So - anyone out there have recommendations for a good computer chair? Something comfy and, you know, ergonomically correct. That wouldn't just fall over from time to time. Ideally, something with rolly feet, although I don't insist on it. And, also - is there a decent online source for these things, or am I going to have to venture into the real world to buy one? Help me, people. I am on tenterhooks, here, and not because I'm excited, but because I'm very likely to fall over backwards at any moment. Makes it hard to recommend things, although I persevere nobly. (It is so noble. The recommender's calling cannot be defeated by mere chairs!)

Okay. Now. Vids.

This is the last damn post in the giant series of vid recommendations. I have recommended at least one vid for every fandom (except books and ones I haven't seen vids for) that topped 150 votes on the poll. I feel accomplished. If you managed to wade through these posts, you should, too.

And you know, I'm really looking forward to recommending some FF, for a change. I think the vids are getting to me. I've started to have vid fantasies for every song I hear. Elvis says, "a little less conversation, a little more action, please," and I immediately think of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Mike Doughty says, "It's your misfortune that sweetens my song," and I think about Brokeback Mountain, a movie I haven't even seen. (But I've read the story! And you could so vid the story to that song! If, you know, it was possible to vid something that had no visual source.) Nick Cave talks about a man with a red right hand, and I think of Yami no Matsuei, and the thing is, I don't even think you could vid Red Right Hand. I know damn well that I can't vid anything. And yet it's become the 24-hour fandom vid show in my brain. Clearly, I need to stop thinking about this for a while. Also maybe lie in a darkened room for a bit.

Will I be recommending more vids? Probably. It gives meaning to my compulsive vid-watching habits, for one thing. Plus, I'm starting to have the same reaction to really good vids that I do to really good fan fiction: I feel this overwhelming urge to share, to get everyone on earth to enjoy this. I'm like an Amway saleswoman, here, except that I still have some part of my soul.

So. On to the vids. No obligation to download! Try before you, um, don't buy!

Previous parts of this series: one, two, and three.

X-Files


I've never seen X-Files. I never will. I barely know who the main characters are (although I'm learning!), and all I knew about the show itself before this month is that it was long, complicated, and very popular. But I developed an inexplicable fascination with it while I was doing this project. I can pretty much trace it to the comments on my third post in this series, wherein [livejournal.com profile] runpunkrun and a number of what I can only assume are members of her evil cohort revealed to me that Scully is really cool and even shoots Mulder once. Punk is a bad, bad woman, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. So I've pretty much gone from "X-Files? Um. It was a TV show, right?" to actually persuading Best Beloved to watch it in the space of about two weeks. (And wow has this combined badly with my current 24-hour vid show deal; I keep saying things like, "Why can't I find a Scully vid to I Am a Scientist?" In other words, I am mentally vidding for a canon I have never seen and know nothing about. Fandom is a cruel mistress, people, and you only learn this after she's driven you crazy.)

The Vid That Suggests to Me That the Smart X-Files Character's Motto Is "Fear Everyone." Harder to Breathe, by Xandra Zander, aka [livejournal.com profile] xandra_ptv.

Availability: All the time, and that link will take you straight to the vid page.

So. I've seen this song used in vids in several fandoms; I almost picked one of those other ones to recommend in this Vid Recommending Extravaganza (perhaps I should call it the Rec-o-rama?). But when X-Files crossed the 150 mark (you people obviously have dark, dark things hidden in your pasts), I knew I'd have to pick this one. Now, here's the part that is either cool or pathetic (feel free to make the call). Remember, I don't know anything about this show. So I'm watching a vid about a character I'd never even heard of prior to seeing it. And Alex Krycek does not seem like my kind of character. In this vid, he seems, um, and I don't want to offend anyone who loves him, but - he seems scary as fuck. And yet - this vid made me sympathetic towards him anyway, and I don't know why. It's just, well, okay, obviously he's an evil little fucker, and he kills and betrays and, um, has really mutant eyes on occasion, but...I feel for him. I almost, um. Like him. I know this is probably very wrong, so, - am I allowed to blame the vidder? She used her talent to force me to like him! I was the innocent victim of nefarious vidding! It's not my fault! Except it probably really is - some kind of moral failing or something. But this vid definitely had something to do with it. It's well-edited and it tells a story. (And, based on that story, I have to say that Krycek's motto should probably be: "It's always darkest just before something really terrible happens. But that's fine. I like it dark.")

The One That Suggests That the Smart X-Files Character Will at All Times Keep His Eyes Peeled for an Iguana with a Fan Taped to His Back, Filmed in Extreme Close-up. Science Fiction Double Feature, by [livejournal.com profile] stellar_dust.

Availability: All the time. Scroll down until you see it.

Okay. It is time to introduce a theme that will be recurring throughout this post: I am just - I am totally the bitch of anything that can make me laugh. If it's funny - to me, I mean, and I think it should be made clear up front that my sense of humor has been described as everything from "sadly warped" to "completely absent" - I will serve it faithfully and also possibly perform indecent acts at its request. And, see, this makes me laugh. And it did this in a fandom where I always go into vids braced and wary, because I never really know if it will be about a sweet, repressed romance or a vicious eyeball-sucking squid. And then it - well, it has this ending. See, normally I'm kind of opposed to including sound clips from the source in the vid, but here the vidder uses it as an end-of-vid cookie kind of thing, and so that's all right. And this cookie - okay. It made me love Scully, because what she says? I said almost precisely that, just before she did, the first time I saw this vid. (Mulder clearly has issues, people. That's all I'm saying. Also, the boy needs to get out more, although, given what I've seen in the vids, I don't blame him for staying inside.) Um. And reading this over, I realize that I have once again managed to write a summary that doesn't summarize anything - I consider it a personal specialty at this point, actually - so, just to provide some actual information: this vid is The X-Files as a '50s SF B-movie. Complete with giant, um, unpleasant creatures (look away, is my advice on that one) and assorted oozes and dubious special effects and very interesting headwear. What could be better than that?

The One That Suggests That If You Can't Believe the Impossible, You Probably Shouldn't Be a Character on the X-Files. Not Only Human, by Killa, aka [livejournal.com profile] killabeez, and Laura Shapiro, aka [livejournal.com profile] laurashapiro.

Availability: All the time. You will need to request a password if you download it through Laura's site; you can also find it under "Other Fandoms" at Killa's site, which doesn't require a password. (I linked to the LJ entry because it's the easiest place to leave feedback. Hint.)

You know how you can love something so intensely that you can't really explain why? Like, it's obvious to me that everyone should love lettuce and reading and my dogs, and when people don't, I don't argue. I just kind of stare at them, wondering how I can have a planet in common with this person who is so different from me, because loving those things is pretty much like breathing oxygen in my mind. It's how things are. I love this vid that way. Which means I don't have much to say about it, because it's the kind of love I can't analyze. But I do watch the vid regularly, and I think everyone else should, too. (And if you don't like it, feel free to tell me. I won't dislike you, but I will ask you for details about your homeworld and your species. Just out of curiosity, really.) Given my policy of silent adoration of this, it's kind of hard to write a summary for it. I can say (See? I can always find something to say. It's my secret power!) that this is about Scully, although when I first saw it I thought her name was Molly. (Um. The X-Files turns out to be enough a part of popular culture that even the utterly clueless will know a few syllables of it. Given that this is me, though, and I bring cluelessness to the level of an art form, it's really no surprise I got those syllables wrong.) And there are two ways I can see the vid. Either it's about being a skeptic in the world where everything is true, or it's about asking the questions that don't have answers. Either way, it's about belief and knowledge, and the places in our lives where faith and proof intersect. And I - I have a great and inarticulate love for it. And if you breathe oxygen and are carbon-based, I think you will, too.

Stargate: SG-1


The Vid That Makes Me Think the Writers of SG-1 Will Never Need a Punching Bag as Long as They Have Daniel. Another Train, by [livejournal.com profile] barkley.

Availability: This will take you to the entry page, where you'll need to enter user name hiro and password protagonist in order to get to the vid listing. (I have Barkley's permission to give the password here, so please no letters informing me this is rude, wrong, or illegal. Seriously. I mean it.) Scroll down until you see it.

This vid is, okay. Sweet and sad and it makes me love Daniel a little more each time I see it. (And given how many times I have watched it in the course of picking vids and writing them up, well. Let's just say that my cup o' Daniel love o'erfloweth. Fortunately, I know the cure for this: OMG-poor-pwecious-widdle-Daniel fic should bring me back into balance.) Because Daniel's life (well, along with all the other members of SG1) is about getting up and trying one more time, about finding one more thing to try, and this vid shows that very clearly. (I've said it before and I'll say it again: he gets knocked down, but he gets up again. They're never gonna keep him down.) But I'm recommending this vid now, out of all the other SG1 vids I have and love, because it also makes my jaw drop open in astonishment each time I see it. (This is after the Daniel love increases. There's a strict order to this; it's not just some haphazard series of reactions, you know.) This is a vid to an a capella song, people. And it's slow, and percussion-less, and just generally the song that should not be vidded. But the vid works, and it's gorgeous. I don't even miss the cutting on the beat, because Barkley has found a way of making the editing and motion of this vid match the vocals. This is - this is the vid that proved to me that there's no such thing as an unviddable song in the hands of the right vidder. Just, wow.

(Side note: does anyone have a copy of this song? Does anyone even know who is singing it? Because there are several million versions of this song out there.) Got it, thanks!

The Vid That Makes Me Wonder What the Hell the Writers of SG-1 Can Possibly Do That They Haven't Already Done. Twice. Often by Giving Someone an Unfortunate Outfit or Haircut. Eight Years On, by Brihana25, aka [livejournal.com profile] brihana25.

Availability: All the time. Don't try to play this one in VLC.

Part of me feels bad for recommending this, because it's a context-dependent vid. In this series, I've been trying to pick vids that anyone can get, even someone unfamiliar with the source. But to understand this vid, you need to be familiar with most or all of the references in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire," and it would probably also help to be at least a little familiar with SG-1. (I myself am only marginally familiar with the canon; I've watched vids but I've never seen any eps of the show itself. But then, I'm probably missing a lot in this.) But I am damn well going to recommend this anyway, for two reasons. First, it makes me laugh. (Yes, there's that predominating theme again, but let's just say it's probably a good idea to have a peppy vid after "Another Train.") I mean, any vid that has a shot of angsty, he's-not-crazy-he's-just-seeing-things Daniel in the padded room matched to the lyric "Catcher in the Rye," that's a vid I'm going to keep and watch again and again. And, second, it makes me nostalgic. Which is impressive, since it's nostalgia for a place I've never been, or rather, a show I've never seen. But this is Brihana25's celebration of the first eight years of SG-1 (what you might call the "Classic Team" years), and it's just - I watch this, and I need to go read some nice solid team-centered fan fiction immediately. In short, this vid makes me love the source. And that's why I need to recommend it, and why you need to watch it. But, uh, only if you can tell Jack from Daniel and you know who Boris Pasternak was.

(I can't help you with the Jack from Daniel thing. But this site has links for all the references in the song. Warning for non-Opera users: the site is eye-breaking. Warning for Opera users: switch modes the second this loads, because otherwise ow ow ow. And if anyone has a better, less migraine-inducing site for this, let me know, okay?)

Some TV Shows Not Mentioned Above (Look, It Was a Category on the Poll, Wasn't It? And It Got More Than 150 Votes. Technically, It Counts.)


The Vid That Will Spring to Your Mind, No Matter How Much You Wish It Wouldn't, the Next Time You See a Member of the LAPD. Bawitdaba, by Melina, aka [livejournal.com profile] melina123. The Shield.

Availability: All the time. Scroll on down.

I once saw this vid described - and unfortunately I don't remember where - as the ultimate action vid. And it is, no doubt; if you want to see a strong action song with an even stronger action source (apparently; I mean, I make no promises about the actual source, but the clips Melina chose are sure, um, action-packed), watch this. But I actually like it for the contrasts and the narrative progression. I have no idea who the bald guy is (We'll just call him Baldie, shall we? Although he'd probably prefer Bald Eagle), but this vid is about him, and the weird contrasts in his life: his grim, dirty working life and his normal family, and his job, where he's supposed to be one of the good guys, but frankly it's sometimes pretty hard to tell the difference between Baldie and the people he arrests. (Aside from the badge, of course; that's always a helpful clue.) It's also - I know better than to say "the song choice is so perfect," because it's not all that persuasive, but I'm going to say it anyway, because it is. I mean, it just pretty much sums up the whole vid (and says some interesting things about the source, I would think) that Bawitdaba is so perfect for a cop show. It could've been written about this show, although possibly Kid Rock had other ideas. (I wouldn't know. Even if I could read minds, Kid Rock's is not one of the ones I'd choose. I have limits.) This is one of those vids that makes me want to know much, much more about the source.

The Vid That, Because of My Tragic Past, Brings Me Right to the Brink of Writing a 12-15 Page Paper (One Inch Margins, Double Spaced) Every Time I See It. Circles, by Laura Shapiro, aka [livejournal.com profile] laurashapiro. The West Wing.

Availability: All the time. You will need to email Laura for the password to her vids. (Seriously. You want the password for her vids.)

Laura's pretty much done Don Quixote one better, here; she's vidded the unviddable fandom. See, I've never seen The West Wing, but I've seen Sports Night, and I know that the strength of a Sorkin show (Or, you know, whatever. Show that was originally by Sorkin and still kind of bears his footprint even if he's moved on.) is the dialog. And you can't vid that. So any vids based on this show should pretty much look like actual footage from the White House: boring, repetitive, and slightly worrying. This vid? So very not. I don't even know these characters and I'm entranced by this. She's - see, okay. I'm struggling here, because in my dark and murky past I wrote not one but two papers about circle symbolism in Moby Dick, and that kind of thing marks a woman for life. So I'm really afraid that at any minute I'm going to stop talking about Laura's brilliant use of movement and the way the circles are literal and figurative - and, see there? I was about to do it - and start talking about how the concentric circles are metaphors for the progression of the...and of course you've already tuned me out, and you may well be having hideous flashbacks to freshman English. I'm sorry. Let me back away from my little issue here, and just say: you have to see this to understand what I mean. This vid could probably be used as a textbook on movement within clips and the matching of movement to music. You need to see this. And I need to stop talking about it, because I feel the Moby Dick madness coming on again.

The Vid That Is Just Like Billy the Singing Bass, Except That It's Actually Funny and Good to Have Around. Bright Future in Sales, by Gwyneth, aka [livejournal.com profile] gwyn_r, Jo, aka [livejournal.com profile] feochadn, and Christy, aka [livejournal.com profile] movies_michelle (Thanks, Killa!). Wonderfalls.

Availability: All the time. You will need to email Gwyn for a password to get into the site.

This is another vid that makes me deeply curious about the source. See, I picked this one in large part because it makes me laugh. It's a very funny vid, and not in the "OMG Aragorn and Legolas are the Princes of the Universe!" way. (Not that there is anything wrong with that. Not at all. I adore joke song vids; I have many and watch them regularly.) It takes a very deft hand (or, in this case three hands, or do I mean six?) to create a vid that showcases the humor of the source. Even if the source is like nitrous oxide in TV form (and I guess Wonderfalls could be, but it seems unlikely), that generally doesn't carry over to the vid. But in this one, the humor so totally comes through. I have no idea why or how, but I'm betting song and clip choice have something to do with it. This vid is 50% the perfect (by which I mean perfectly hysterical) reactions the main character has to her weird, weird life, and 50% singing animal statues, and I just don't know of a better recipe for joy anywhere. And when you have reactions to the singing animals? In a store? While the song is talking about a bright future in sales? It goes well beyond joy, into that sublime and perfect ecstasy that fic characters mostly experience during their One True Sex Scenes. But this vid, this is better than se - okay, no. I was about to go too far, there. But it's definitely funnier than almost all the sex I've ever had. And, face it: you need to watch a vid that has animal statues singing a song by the Fountains of Wayne. Don't even try to deny it.

Some Movies Not Mentioned Above (Likewise, and You'll Never Know How Sad I Was That Anime Didn't Also Make the 150 Mark)


You Know All Those Stories in Which a Male Character Is Described as a Thirteen-Year-Old Girl? This Is the Vid That Does the Same Thing. My Happy Ending, by Katheryn, aka [livejournal.com profile] tallulah71. Gladiator.

Availability: All the time. Scroll on down - it's near the bottom.

Yes, this is the Avril Lavigne song. Yes, I mean that Gladiator, the one with Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix. No, these two things should never, ever work together - but oh my god how they do. This vid pretty much had me from the second clip, because I was just - Avril says, "So much for my happy ending," and Maximus goes thonk on the ground and I laugh and laugh and laugh. It is absolutely perfect and the knowledge that it should be so very, very wrong just makes the whole thing sweeter. (I told you I had a thing for "Why Does This Work, God? Why? Why?" vids, right?) But I warn you: once you have seen Maximus as an angsty, love-sick teenaged girl, there is no going back. Oh, you can watch the movie seriously - I have, in fact - but at the back of your mind there will always be this little voice reminding you that Commodus is everything, everything that he wanted, and you will giggle just a tiny bit. Or maybe a lot.

(Side note and dire warning: Shortly after I first watched this vid, I visited my dentist, who has an extremely annoying in-house video thing, where they play a handful of movies, and always in the same order, so that if you make a series of appointments at the same time of day, you will always see precisely the same thing, which sucks because whoever selects the movies must do it by throwing darts at the IMDb. Anyway, on that visit, the movie I got to see was Gladiator. Really. No, I have no idea why they showed this in every room in a dentist's office - I mean, something a little less gory (and more PG-rated) would seem, you know, a bit more apposite. So I was sitting there having my teeth cleaned and trying not to give in to the impulse to run away now now now, and over the dentist's shoulder I saw Maximus going thonk, and suddenly I was giggling. Not a good idea when someone else's hand is in your mouth, for the record. Although my dentist took it pretty well, but then I'd already bitten him a few times. So it might be better not to watch this if you go to my dentist.)

The Vid That Will Destroy Your Entire Childhood in the Course of a Single Verse. Don't Worry, You'll Be Laughing Too Hard to Care. Frigging in the Rigging, by Skud, aka [livejournal.com profile] damned_colonial. Muppet Treasure Island.

Availability: All the time.

This is another recommendation that arises from my tragic love affair with highly inappropriate vid songs, except that this song is right. It's just also very, very wrong. Like, you can't really know the definition of wrong until you've seen this vid. The first time I saw this, I spent the first portion desperately trying to believe it was any other movie, and then the first shot of actual muppets showed up, and, and - okay. I can't speak of it. The trauma is still too real. But oh my god how this puts a whole different complexion on every damn shot in the vid, from Kermit looking noble and captainy at the wheel to Long John Silver chasing Jim. And I love the muppets, I really do - Beaker is one of my favorite characters anywhere, right up there on the list with Ein from Cowboy Bebop. (Um. Not that I have a preference for characters that don't speak an actual language or anything.) And I adore Kermit. And yet I love this vid, even though it strongly implies things about Kermit that I can't even bring myself to type. Oh, and this one has a cookie at the end that you absolutely must see, because it's a shot of Sam Eagle (Sam the Eagle?) doing exactly what you yourself will be doing by the time you're done watching. But don't let the wrongness dissuade you! There are muppets! Cheerfully singing about buttfucking! No, really, you have to see this. Don't let your kids anywhere near it, though, or you'll be answering hideous questions about Kermit's relationship with Fozzy forever.

The Vid That Makes Me Say, "Oh, James, You Tragic, Cracked Shell of a Crime-Fighter." (Which, of Course, Takes Me Immediately to a Very Unfortunate James Bond/Batman Place. But We'll All Pretend I'm Sane Anyway, Right?) This Is War, by [livejournal.com profile] lithium_doll. GoldenEye.

Availability: All the time. The link will take you to the vid page. But you might want to hurry and download this one, because the vidder wanted to take it offline, like, a year ago, and I asked her to leave it up so I could rec it. Now that I (finally) have, she might take it down.

See? I'm not only posting comedic vids with songs that should not work, because this is not funny and the song is absolutely damn perfect for this source. I love the way this vid is cut, and I love the clear narrative here, but most of all I love the way the combination of song and source juxtaposes (oh my god, listen to me, I sound like I think I know what I'm talking about) the personal and the - hmm. Professional? Which is something that this movie did better than any other Bond movie I've seen. And it's weird, because somehow giving Bond something to be genuinely conflicted and angsty about makes him look cold and dead and vaguely creepy. (And also kind of gay, but we aren't talking about that.) Or maybe it's just that when you subtract the shiny and put Bond up against some more realistic music, you get to see what he really is. Which is, um. Well, let's just say I finished this vid with a much greater understanding of why I found Alec Trevelyan more compelling and sympathetic than Bond himself. (And, no, it was not because Trevelyan was played by Sean Bean. Shut your mouth.) This was one of the vids I watched in the first month or so of compulsive downloading (TFV: fucking her bandwidth through the floor since April 2004), and I'm astonished at how much more I get out of it now; I still adore it, but I can see a lot more of why I love it. I can be taught! This is very exciting. In another four years or so, I might also understand cutting on the beat, and then there will be no stopping me.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. We've all finished our Yuletide stories. The archive isn't open yet. Most of us have had way too much candy. (Especially me. My Yuletide writing experience was almost entirely catered by [livejournal.com profile] maygra, who apparently just knew I would need pecans and sugar in mass quantities this year.) It's obviously time for a recs set. And I have chosen...

Bodyswap.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best FF That Leaves Me Wondering About the AU in Which They Didn't Separate, and the Entire Pegasus Galaxy Was Terrorized by the Real McShep: Two Guys, One Body, Thirty Thousand Times the Trouble. Double Occupancy, by [livejournal.com profile] isiscolo. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. This is yet another SGA story in the everyone's-read-them category, but I had to rec it. Because, okay, first, I have a sick affection for the trapped-together stories (you know: they can't let each other out of sight, or if they get more than three feet from each other they fall to the ground in fits, stuff like that) - sick because that is pretty much my idea of hell. I mean, I'm happily married, and have been so for a really long time, and we spend loads of time together. But if we couldn't get away from each other, not ever, not at all? I would be insane and frothing within an hour. Seriously. Best Beloved will totally back me up on this, probably with a lot of emphatic wincing and nodding. So, you know, this story hits that kink of mine, plus the bodyswapping kink, and obviously I'm going to love it. But I wanted to be sure I recommended this now because - people who were interested in the Style Post That Will Never Be? Read this story closely. You will totally see what I mean about prior fandoms affecting the way people write SGA; this is one of my top twenty examples of that. It doesn't make the story better or worse (which, I mean, the story is good enough on its own, for sure), just noticeably, fascinatingly different. And so there's a weird meta element to this for me; it's a story about experiencing life through a different lens, and it's written through a different lens, and I just...I love that. This story is a total writing kinkfest, TFV style. (Thank god it's not also a sexual kinkfest, TFV style; I mean, if I had a sex-in-front-of-a-mirror kink, I would probably die from reading this. Consider that your warning label, mirrorsex people.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Okay, first, a cry for help. A long time ago, some kind person emailed me a list of body swap stories, including "Being Benton Fraser" and a Farscape story with John in Aeryn's body and Aeryn in Rygel's body (possibly based on an episode). Not too long after, that email account did a spectacular flame-out, the kind fandom can only dream of emulating, and took down with it all my neatly-stored emails of that kind. I'm hoping someone out there can help me find a) the Farscape story - there was a root vegetable involved, as I recall - and b) the person who sent me the recs. I've been looking forever, and I officially give up. Anyone? Help? Please?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fortunately, at that point my inner drill sergeant showed up and made the point that I was damned well going to finish the story and everyone knew it, so I should suck it up, goddammit. Which I did, and it turned out that everything went the way I needed it to go after all, so my angst was for entertainment purposes only.) But, again: worth it! Wonderful, and so very worth it! Just keep a few tension sheets on hand for the dinner parties, is my advice.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. Yesterday evening as I was making dinner, Best Beloved said to me, in very firm tones: "No more whining about having a real life. Just post, you fucker."

Best Beloved does not normally talk like that. (In our house, I'm the one who uses profanity like salt.) So I got the message. (Which was, for the record: Post. You fucker.)

And, okay, fine. I have been informed that, in interests of accuracy, I should also share with you the conversation we were having immediately prior to that. See, I was being surprised because I found someone on my friends list complimenting me. In the past tense. (As in, "Yeah, TFV used to post great recs.") Compliments are always nice, of course, but I was whining that I was not dead and gone, and BB was making the point that for all most of you know, I could be.

I'm sure this insight into Life with TFV and Best Beloved has been fascinating and inspirational to you all. Never say I do not provide gripping content. Or, I mean, you can if you want, because, um. It's pretty much true.

And to illustrate that, let's move on to topic B of tonight. See, [livejournal.com profile] lcsbanana has this interesting post in which she invites authors to volunteer to be subjected to audience commentary. I found this an incredibly nifty concept, and I was even more enthralled after I realized how many authors I read and love are on that list. So I thought I would, you know, pony up with some commentary.

Unfortunately, I recently learned, in the course of attempting to do a DVD track type thing with [livejournal.com profile] makesmewannadie on our jointly-written tentacle porn, that I have no idea how to do commentary. Apparently I should've been taking notes or something when other people did theirs, because, wow. I always have something to say, true, but I suspect that for this kind of thing what I'm saying needs to be, you know. Coherent. Relevant. Basically, things that I am not. And if I have no idea how to do author commentary, I am doubly in the dark on the audience commentary thing.

So I thought I'd retreat to what I know, which is recommendations. But this is a set with a difference, in that it is unthemed and assembled entirely from stories (that I already had decided to rec) written by people from [livejournal.com profile] lcsbanana's list. Also, I will be taking a wild stab at actual thoughtful commentary here. This will not, of course, be a line-by-line thing, with quotes from the story and all. I could no more do that than I could soar with the eagles, people.

And if you haven't ticked [livejournal.com profile] lcsbanana's box (um...yeah, that didn't sound good, but I'm sure she'll take it well) and you'd enjoy seeing audience commentary on your work, really, don't let me discourage you. It's a wonderful concept, and I have to think that everyone else who participates in it (...and everyone else on the planet) will be better at it than me.

In fact, it might be best to tick now, before you get a look at what I did.

Yes. That would be for the best.

Also, I promise that I won't be doing story summaries this long again. It got all out of control on me.

(Secret message to all who sent me birthday gifts and wishes: LJ and I had some issues there for a while, mostly involving me not getting informed of comments. But now both LJ and I have our acts more or less together at nearly the same time, which is indeed rare, and you should be getting individual thanks from me shortly. In the meantime, know that you all - including all three of you lurkers - have made me a very happy woman. Thank you.)

Best FF That Will Make You Picture Tim Drake in a Padawan Braid. After Which You Will Never Be the Same, I'm Warning You Here and Now. Flamebird, by [livejournal.com profile] monkeycrackmary. Star Wars x DCU, gen. When I was 16, my then-boyfriend introduced me to comics. He was a Marvel guy, but he still had some affection for Batman, and he gave me a quick summary of the DCU. (I know. Quick summary = useless summary in any comics canon. I said he was a Marvel guy, right? He gave me so much detail about the X-Men that I'm still in therapy.) He explained about the Robins - or, as he called them, Real Robin and Not Robin. His description of Jason Todd, aka Not Robin, was, in toto: "A placeholder, and kind of a brat." That's pretty much the image I carried of Jason until I found FF, which changed me. (Yes, I know. It changes us all. But this was a change that was entirely g-rated, and that has to have some kind of rarity value.) Why do I tell you this? Because this story makes Jason so very real. It makes me hurt for Jason. Here, that's exactly what he (okay, Jay) is: a placeholder. This is a story, yes, and a great one, but for me it's also as a weird meta thing on how Jason was treated in the Batman series; as far as I can tell, to the extent I can look back past all the crises and reloads and everything, that was pretty much like Jay is treated here.

The other Robins are also here, being very much themselves; I doubt I need to express my joy at the perfection of Tim in this story, but I should mention (because I have no dignity left to lose) that I squeaked when I first read the words "Master Greyson." (I'm sorry. It's the DCU. It does that to me.) And there's someone else who isn't here, but is still everywhere in this story: Anakin Skywalker. (Secret message to George Lucas: This is how Anakin's story should have gone, and I don't forgive you just because you had to make the end of 3 match up to the start of 4 (which, also - you didn't). We manage to work around your screwy canon, so I have no sympathy for you at all if you can't.) I love the way I can see an actual character for Anakin around the edges of this, way more than I did in episodes one and two (I just wimped out on three; I couldn't face it at all). So. Anakin's here in spirit, with his story going right for a change. Jason's here in fact, no matter what his name is, with his story going on for a change. Plus there's Tim, which is just - I mean, Tim. And it's like Star Wars Episodes 1-3 never happened. Is this not the very model of a fan's paradise? It is, and you should read it.

Best FF That Could Quite Possibly Make You Enjoy Eating from a Mini-Bar. It Might Even Make You Enjoy Paying $5 for a Package of Peanuts. It Has That Kind of Power. Cherchez la Femme, by Victoria P., aka [livejournal.com profile] musesfool. Ocean's 11, Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan. A really good writer can make me agree with almost anything, and Victoria is just such a writer. This is a fascinating take on the Danny-Rusty dynamic; it is not my take, but this story totally makes me go there anyway. Hell, it makes me want to set up house there. And that's one of the reasons I love this. I also love the assorted original female characters in here - I mean, when I read this story, I always get distracted by Bachelorette #3 because I want to hear more about her. I want to know how she did what she did, and why, and also if she could maybe saunter into the lives of other favorite slash pairings of mine, because that would be so very excellent I might die. And then, by the end of her section, I'm totally invested in the Danny/Rusty story again, and I forget all about her. (Look. It is not my fault. I have, you know, focus issues. Also, she's way cool, but they are sleek and shiny and totally in love with each other. So it's no contest, really.)

The other thing I love about this story, the thing that made me pick it for the blather fest this post is turning out to be, is. Okay. I'm going to try my hand at actual analysis here, albeit at a very low level, and you all have to be very supportive and try not to laugh, because this is not my metier. See, when I look at the women Danny dates in this story, what I notice is how they all are complete characters, and yet they each represent just one facet of Rusty's personality, from the freewheeling indie to the con artist extraordinaire. Danny's dating women who remind him in some way of the guy he's already with. So Victoria, in other words, seems to me to be saying, "Check out Danny. He is such an idiot that he does not get that he's actually looking for Rusty." Except, of course, he's not an idiot. He figures it out in the end. Some people just need to be smacked in the face a few times before they can process this sort of thing, and I for one don't hold it against them.

Best FF That Always Makes Me Wonder How the Hell You'd Carve a Turnip. But Then, I've Never Carved a Pumpkin, Either, So Maybe I'm Just Not Picturing This Right. Wheel, by Brighid, aka [livejournal.com profile] brighidestone. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Sam Carter/Daniel Jackson. Warning: I can't warn you, but I can say it's all on the upswing after the first part. If you make it through that, you're good. But thost first few sections hurt, people. My basic summary of this story is: wow. I've been wanting to rec this for a long time, partly because it makes me happy, but mostly because it's brave. It is just such a fucking courageous story; in it, Brighid does two specific things (no, I am not going to tell you what they are, because you'll know if you read it, and also they're spoilers of a large and looming nature) that are unusual (especially when paired like this) in SG1 stories of this genre. (The genre is The World Ended or Maybe We Just Lost It. In this case, for the record, they just lost it; earth is doing fine, but it and SG1 are maintaining separate residences.) And she does them (Brighid does the things, I mean; I refuse to apologize for my dependence on parentheses. They are pretty and fun. So there.) so well, and neither one is a particularly popular choice.

Okay. Look, we can't go on this way. If I'm going to talk about this story, I have to talk about those two things. So, please, just go read it, and I'll stay here and spoil in privacy. This way for the not interesting and not entertaining babble. Or you could just, you know, move on to the next rec. I'm not giving any orders, mind you, but I know what I'd choose. )

Best FF That Makes IQ Tests Not Just Fun but Sexy. Take That, Wechsler! The Pegasus Society, by Sabine, aka [livejournal.com profile] iamsab. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay/Atlantis. And. Okay. I was saving this for last, because I actually had something substantive to say about the other stories. (I am, yes, well aware that I didn't actually manage to communicate that something. This is an imperfect medium, people, and there's bound to be some content loss between writer and reader, and also I zing from topic to topic like I'm in Brownian motion.) About this I have nothing to say but oh my god. (For the full effect, you'll need to read that part in italics out loud. Make it high and breathless, like a 14-year-old girl who has just touched a boy band...um, boy, I guess. What do you call the individual members of a boy band?) See, this story - it just hits all my shameful SGA kinks. There's super smart John pretending to be dumb, and Atlantis all over the place (seriously - Atlantis point of view, and it's a benevolent Atlantis, which is just - see, in my head, Atlantis is benevolent, but when I try to write it she ends up eeeeevil, so this is like a super-extra bonus for me), and Rodney bringing new meaning to the concept of multi-tasking. There's even intelligence tests in here. It starts with the whole sum of the squares thing, which for most of us is like encountering an old friend; I can only think of a handful of opening lines that have brought me into a story faster than this one, because I was right with Rodney when he yelled out the answer. I mean, I felt a bond! With Rodney! It's just...and also...and then...

And now you see what I mean about this story. I've got no content for this rec at all, just a lot of pathetic squeeing. You know how some people get about their canon? Like, how most people get about their canon? I really only get that way about fan fiction, and this story - this story made me react the way Smallville fans would if they found their way into an alternate universe where the series was written by someone who had a crush on Lex instead of Lana. And was an actual good writer. (No offense intended, Smallville people! You know I have love for you! It's just, the recent spate of SV-SGA comparisons has left me gape-mouthed with shock and horror. That, that is some very interesting canon you've been swimming against for five years. No wonder you're all so durable and steadfast.) So. This story brings me joy. Tragically, it also connects my i/o ports directly to my squee center, bypassing my brain completely, so this "commentary" (All together now: "There hasn't actually BEEN any commentary, TFV!") pretty much consists of the basic concept expressed by the word yay. Only, um. Spread over two paragraphs.

Next time: a return to your regular story summaries, which are just as contentless, but much, much shorter. It's something for us all to look forward to, yes?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Well. This has been a revelation.

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

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

It was weird.

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

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

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

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

Can I get a yay?

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

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

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

Best FF That Makes Me Go All Wistful and Goopy over Numbers. Apparently, in My Secret Heart of Hearts, I Think Prime Numbers Are Just Adorable. Small Primes and Square Roots, by [livejournal.com profile] liviapenn. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. I think I fell in love with this story before I read it. Seriously. The title alone did it. Except, you know how it is; you start out loving something - cookies, a fandom, your new socks - to the point where you would even confess to loving it in public ("Socks! I love you!"), and then later - maybe after you've eaten a few more or read some FF or actually put them on - you realize that what you felt before wasn't even love. That's what happened to me with this. Because the title is excellent, yes, but that's - whoa. I was going to say, "That's only the beginning," but fortunately I caught myself in time. My point is: this is an excellent story. It's kidfic - we all know of my love for kidfic, right? - and it's from the Harlequin challenge - and we all know of my love for those stories, right? - and, hell. I can't say anymore. I'm afraid of, you know, spoiling it. Oh! But I can say that Rodney is so incredibly Rodney in this it's surprising he doesn't climb out of the page and off the screen and stomp around your living room calling you an idiot for wasting your time on fiction when you could be learning something. And also, couldn't you find something better to be a fan of? Like Star Trek or Penrose tiling or Richard Feynman? But the answer is (sorry, Rodney) no, you could not, because anything that produces fan fiction this good, is by definition, the best thing ever. (Also - the kid in this? I love this kid. Why wasn't I this kid?)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
First, let me say that I am not responsible for any insanity that creeps into this post. A bird is. Specifically, the bird that lives somewhere near our back yard and has a message to share with the world. And that message runs as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Footnote-

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

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

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

Schadenfreude, here we come.

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

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

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

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

Does anyone out there still remember me? Is anyone actually reading this? Has all of fandom been destroyed by the Third Wank War, complete with nuclear flames and epic kerfluffles and weapons of mass defriending, so that all that's left is post-apocalyptic fandom, with a few tragic, scarred survivors cowering in their bunkers, posting about the irritations of radiation zombie attacks and the way you kind of get to like spam after the first eight months?

If that's what's going on, someone should please tell me. I've been hiding - emerging only in the dead of night to search for safe, friendly smut - for, like, ever, so if anything really good or really bad happened, I missed it.

There were many reasons for this whole hiding gig, including the dreaded Real Life Work Thing (felon Nazis must die!), but the only one of even marginal interest here is that I broke my due South mojo but good, and my friends list is so delightfully full of things dS-y that I couldn't go near it for weeks. Seriously, worst mojo breakage ever - I tried re-reading all of [livejournal.com profile] cesperanza's stories, and then [livejournal.com profile] resonant8 and [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel - the safest spots in all of dSdom! - and nothing helped. When you're at the point that even "About a Dog" can't fix you, you know it's time to retreat for a bit. So I've been re-acquainting myself with Jim and Blair (thank you, Sentinel ficathon, for posting stories just when I needed them) and mooching around SGA, hoping for plot and porn and as much McKay as possible, and I think it's helped; soon I may be able to return to the fond embrace of Ray and the Mountie. (For the record, they are engaging in the fond embrace; I am admiring the embrace and slipping assorted unhealthful snacks to Diefenbaker.) If anyone knows of some nice fresh dS with some humor and a happy ending and maybe some porn, that would probably cement my recovery.

Not that I am begging for links or anything, y'all. I'm stronger than that.

But I can't wait for dS to be fixed before I rec anything. I mean, there's a limit to the amount of time I can stay away and still stay sane. (Note: said limit may already have been exceeded. Just, you know, FYI.) So, without further ado, I give you: the first recs set I've written for a while. (I thought that sentence was going to end on a slightly higher note that that; sorry.) It's AUs, and it is totally dS-free, because of my tragic condition. But! There's SGA and DCU and, oh, lots of good stuff. So you maybe want to read on anyway.

Best FF That Highlights the Critical Role Sugar Plays in Scientific Progress. Have You Hugged Something with an -Ose Suffix Today? Hindsight, by [livejournal.com profile] rageprufrock. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay, John Sheppard/f. (ETA: I should probably note that there's some disturbing content in here, and there aren't any warnings on the story. It's a basically happy story, but if you're feeling sensitive, comment and I'll warn you in more detail.) So. We'll start with an easy one, because, you know, it's been a while. I don't want to sprain something. And this one is easy because 1) I'm pretty sure everyone in the known universe has already read this, 2) anyone who somehow missed it will have already stopped reading this and gone to read that, because just the author and the fandom is enough to persuade any reasonable fangirl that heaven is a place called Hindsight. Or something. (Hey. I said it had been a while. Don't get uppity with me.) Anyway, if you haven't read it - although, again, why are you still here? - this is just. Wow. I can rave, but I can't possibly rave enough. It's a pre-show AU that ends in, well, not quite the same place where the canon starts. But close. Close enough, anyway, that your imagination can take things from there, though I really hope Pru will take over on that point pretty damn soon. So my point is, this is an AU history, which is really not that easy, folks. And, and - I mean, this is perfectly John, with just one tiny (but important) difference, and also so totally Rodney that I was forced to make undignified noises when I first read it. (He's whining! And shouting! At FBI agents! After he defused the bomb in his own car! And also nearly got shot! And did I mention the whining and shouting?) I have so much love for this story that, seriously, my heart grew three sizes yesterday when I saw that Pru had finished this. (I have this McKay-type allergy to works in progress, so I had been waiting and hoping hoping hoping that it would be finished soon, and it was! It was totally a miracle in the Church of SGA, people. Pretty soon I'll find the outline of Sheppard's hair on a tortilla!)

Best FF That Highlights the Importance of Crack in Fictional Progress, and I Mean That in All Possible Senses of the Word "Crack." Never Mind the Magic, by [livejournal.com profile] hjcallipygian. Harry Potter, assorted pairings. Ish. You know how sometimes you'll be reading a story, and you'll figure out where it's going, and you'll realize that the author should have been confined for his safety some weeks ago? This story totally did that to me. I was saying, "Oh, my poor crack-ridden friend - fandom has finally broken you, and we will all be really really sad when we attend your funeral or commitment hearings or whatever" to the writer (not that he could hear me, what with my monitor not having any kind of voice broadcast capacity, and we should all thank god for that) by, like, the first paragraph. First sentence, pretty much. And then I read a little further, and I was totally cursing at said writer, because it made so much sense. And by the end, I wanted to marry him for his insane crack-ridden mind alone. Because, yes, band AUs have been done and done, but this, this is the perfect band AU, and also maybe the perfectest HP AU ever. Because - OMG. And also, oh my GOD, with sex and drugs and punk on top. I don't know why J. K. Rowling didn't think of doing this with these characters - wait, no, wait. I totally do. It's because she has enough money to pay for buckets of therapy. But this is the kind of AU that works because it's taking characters out of a place where they were meant to be and putting them into an entirely new place where, to the surprise of all, they fit even better. The plot here can be roughly summed up as "everything that ever happened in punk, plus Yoko Ono," but somehow that doesn't capture the magic. Also? Bonus: Joni. Fucking. Mitchell.

Best FF That Highlights the Importance of Mullets to Musical Progress. Or, No, Wait, I Tell a Lie - It's Mullet Shame That's So Important. Naqqadah, by [livejournal.com profile] radiotelescope. Stargate: SG-1, gen. Or, you know, OT4 music porn. Whatever. So. We had one band AU, and we're probably all still humming "Frigging in the Rigging" from that. (And, seriously, anyone who isn't - why the fuck not? Everyone in fandom needs to know that song by heart. All the versions of it. I'm really not kidding here.) And now I must link you to another band AU, because - because this one also works, in much the same gorgeous, insane way that makes you (or, OK, I'll be honest: it makes me) whine, "How come he, she, or it can get away with that? It's not faaaiiiiiiiir!" Which it isn't. But at least I get to read the results of it, so the universe is somewhat forgiven. This isn't precisely crack-ridden, mind you. Not exactly. It's just exactly what SG-1 would be if they were a band instead of, you know, a band of intrepid heroes and explorers. And you may be wondering how that concept could ever be other than completely crack-ridden, and you would be right to wonder, but I can only point you to the story and wave my hands around helplessly, because - look, just read it. The plot here is pretty much "There's these people that have this band, and they are so totally - like, dude," but, again, that doesn't capture it at all. Also? Bonus: Jack O'Neill with piercings. And I would so mention the mullet right here, except we're not allowed to talk about it, and who am I to taunt others for their unfortunate hair-related choices in the dim and distant past? (Jack and mullet, sitting in a tree, k-i...)

Best FF That Highlights the Importance of Illegal Drugs to Proper Socialization. Um. That Didn't Come out Right. Tell You What, How About I Get Back to You on This? Next Friend, by Sarah T., aka [livejournal.com profile] harriet_spy. D.C. Universe, Catspaw/Speedy. So. You're all reading [livejournal.com profile] cereta's Hanging Work series, yes? If not, start with Hanging Work, which is the foundation story, and also, I don't love you anymore. No, don't even try with the excuses. Won't work. Well, OK, except for you, and you, and also you - you three are excused. And anyone who just does not grok the DCU at all is likewise excused, although, seriously - you're missing out on the Big Buckets o' Gay in Tights, people, so please reconsider. But the rest of you, if you aren't reading this, well, you've lost all semblance of sanity. And I've lost that loving feeling. So, anyway, I spent some time trying to figure out which danged HW story to recommend; there's a bajillion, with more coming out from minute to minute, and they're all brilliant. That [livejournal.com profile] cereta, she has found her groove. Or got it. Or whatever it is one does to a groove these days; I can never keep up. Then I realized that there was another aspect of this AU that I wanted to highlight: it's open. People are apparently allowed to play in this sandbox, because Lucy is generous that way. So I decided I'd recommend Sarah's first (as far as I know) entry in this universe, because I have unhealthy amounts of love for it, and I want more people to take note of this lovely AU. And there's, like, drugs and stuff, and important life lessons are learned. And also, there's a fantastic Roy Harper, not that that should surprise anyone. And Catwoman. Have I mentioned how much I am in love with the Catwoman of this AU? Because I am, because she is just - you know what, go have a look-see for yourself, because I can't come close to summing up her wonderfulness.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm doing another travel and transportation set. This is partly, yes, because I have an awful day of accomplishing the impossible (and on a deadline, no less) ahead of me, so I wish I was, in fact, traveling ("Anywhere but here" is my current motto). And it's partly 'cause my head is filled with NASCAR trivia (Note for concerned readers: it's [livejournal.com profile] maygra's fault. She is to blame. I am an innocent victim, and am more to be pitied than censured, really.), so I'm all about the cars and the travel these days. But mostly it's because, well - great FF, here.

Best FF That Uses Carnival Terminology to Represent Terror, Which I Firmly Believe It Does and Should, Because Carnivals Are Just Not Right. Flying Blind, by [livejournal.com profile] minnow1212. Stargate: Atlantis, gen. I believe I have spoken to you of [livejournal.com profile] minnow1212 before. I believe my words were, "read her right now or else you are dead to me." Consider this another warning for those of you who have resisted her fan-fic-alicious wiles. (No, I did not just type the most hideous, unspeakable non-word ever, the veritable Cthulhu of language. If you see such a thing on your screen, it is a reflection of the darkness in your soul, so don't come shrieking to me.) Read her works, or the next time you're up late and you can't sleep and you're making sad little noises about not having anything good to read? Well, there will be mockery. Because none of us has any sympathy for people who ignore great stories like this. (You can relax now; the story summary is actually starting.) Basically, what we have here is an episode we'll never see, because no one who writes for SGA writes this well. (No disrespect to canon intended. This is better, is all.) Flying blind is what the residents of Atlantis do all the time - they head into the dangerous unknown every time they activate the gate or walk into a new part of the city or try to use their computers, for god's sake. And they don't even have any backup to speak of. One of the wonderful parts of the first season is watching how that changed the characters, how they dealt with that - and one of the great parts of the fiction for this fandom is seeing it happen all over again, in more detail than a TV show can provide, with sense and brilliance and just - every word right. As it is in this story.

Best FF That Reminds Us of All Trains Have to Offer, and I Am Most Definitely Thinking of That Jolting Rhythm, Here. The Train Job, by [livejournal.com profile] brooklinegirl. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. I recently had an unpleasant experience on a train, and let me tell you, there was no gay sex at all on that thing. So I had to turn to this story to remind me that, hey, trains aren't all bad - they're the only form of transportation that sometimes comes with a built-in bed. (Well, I mean, OK, RVs and some semis, but I can't think of any RV or semi-based sex in FF. Which is a massive, tragic oversight, people. Fix that, please, and I mean soon.) Trust Fraser to get Ray, the original "Why can't we just drive there?" guy, on a train, and trust Ray to make good use of all the amenities of said transportation. Given the massive amounts of trust we can have for these two, is it any wonder we all love due South? (No, really, we do. If you aren't an active dS fan, you're a latent dS fan; there's no such thing as someone who hates dS, or if there is, please don't tell me, because I'll lose all faith in humanity.) And if train sex isn't enough for you, can I draw your attention to the conversation that precedes the sex? Because it is golden. I love Ray's train memories. And I also love that he talks to Fraser to keep him awake, because - talk is Fraser's weapon, and here it is, turned against him! How could you not love this story?

Best FF That Proves That, Yes, There Really Is Something Ever-So-Slightly Dodgy About the Way Flying Superheroes Carry Other People Through the Air. U and Me, by Te, aka [livejournal.com profile] thete1. D. C. Universe, Kon-El/Tim Drake. Because, I mean, really. Even the most homophobic comic book artists - and if there are any homophobic comic book artists, have they seen their own work lately? - can't find an entirely innuendo-free way to draw one guy flying in a horizontal position while carrying another guy. (They've got their work cut out for them just keeping said flying guys from looking dorky. There may in fact be some excellent, coolness-related reasons why people don't fly, is what I'm saying here.) Trust Te, queen of all things filled with innuendo and spandex, to make that dodginess rather more, um, explicit. And, while she's at it (because, hey, why not multi-task?), she resolves one of those annoying little problems that crop up in comic books - namely, that no one ever resolves anything. But, hey, that's fine - they probably can't, because, come on; anything these people do is bound to involve gay gay sex, and there's only so much even today's editors will let artists and writers get away with. And I for one am grateful, because without that pesky editorial limitation, we wouldn't have stories like this one, in which the characters resolve their issues by having sex in mid-air. Ah, comic book fandoms, how I love thee.

Best FF That Is, Inevitably, Going to Lead to Me Saying to My Best Beloved, "I Brought You Here for Sex." Let's Hope It's Not in Church or Something. Home from Here, by Merry, aka [livejournal.com profile] merryish. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. Notice how I very cleverly separated the two Stargate universe stories, so that no one would notice how much I'm recommending them these days. Oh. You noticed anyway? Well, I am not at all sorry, and with stories like this, how could I be? Because, OK, first: best last line ever. I mean that. This story has a last line that made me happy for days the first time I read it, and that still brings me joy on every subsequent reading. And, trust me on this, there have been a lot of subsequent readings, which is especially impressive when you consider that this story was written for the 2005 J/D Ficathon, and thus has only been available for a month. So the real question is, how did we survive this long without it? This is the story of Jack's retirement as it should be - with camels and astronomy and blue jello and sex with Daniel. And if just reading this doesn't make you want to marry the author, or maybe just the story, well, seriously - have you considered getting treatment for your commitment phobia? Because how could you not want to wake up every morning with fiction this good? Or the writer of fiction this good? How could you not love a story in which the main characters break into helpless laughter while trying to have sex? I surely can't resist it, and I just can't imagine how anyone could. I mean: wow. And did I mention: best last line ever?
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Well, today pretty much sucked. But it could be worse. I could be trying to hide my secrets from the military. Or a man who uses dense conversation as a weapon. Or a telepath (eeeeeeee!). Or, worse, I could have no one left to hide my secrets from. Yes, it's time for another set that covers that fruitful, dense, emotionally-laden, ticking-timebomb topic known as secrets and lies.

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

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

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

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

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

Best FF That Demonstrates the Crying Need for Arch-Nemesis Training Programs in Today's Schools. It's Not a Skill That Comes Naturally, People. Nemesis, by Jojo, aka [livejournal.com profile] josephides. Smallville, Lex Luthor/Clark Kent. How wonderful it must be to have an arch-nemesis - to know you're always in another's thoughts and that someone will always care enough to drop by when you're planning to destroy the world or maybe just lonely, to have someone to share in those little secrets you just can't tell anyone else. Really, the hero-villain relationship is the closest thing the DCU has to therapy. Of course, it's even nicer to have that kind of relationship with someone who a) you can also have sex with and b) won't try to kill you, or any nearby civilizations, while you sleep. Which is why I think it's lovely that Clark has Lex and vice versa. Joker might be more threatening, yes, but sex between Batman and Joker is just not something I ever ever ever want to contemplate; I took a serious hit to my sanity points just from typing the phrase. But, seriously, I love this story because it emphasizes the importance of Lex and Clark in each other's lives; by the time of the Rift, they know so much about each other and rely on each other so much that they need some kind of connection. And this is probably why I adore post-Rift stories, even though massive tragic break-ups are not my usual thing; I love how entangled they've become by that point, how they'll never be apart whether or not they're together. (I probably, in all honesty, also love that Clark isn't a teenager anymore. I like my OTPs older. Is that so wrong?) And this story seriously brings the post-Rift goodness, and also the funny and the happy ending, meaning it might as well have been custom-made for me.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
In this post, [livejournal.com profile] greenet did an interaction meme (following the format "Comment and I'll tell you [insert item here] about you, thus saying something about both of us").* Normally, I can't do these when other people post them, although that doesn't stop me from trying; see, most of them require reciprocation ("post this in your journal"). I understand why; that's the meme-propagation step, and those of us who were paying attention in high school biology (which, OK, I wasn't, because all we ever did was watch documentaries, but I did read the textbook) will recall that the ability to reproduce is an essential component of life.

But meme reciprocation would violate many of this LJ's founding precepts. (Pretentious? Why, yes. Thank you for noticing. But, confession: I didn't articulate most of them until I'd been doing this a while, so really they're more like "summaries of what I've found works for me." It's just that using the other phrase makes me feel like my parents got value for my college education, so I'm staying with that.) So I was happy to see that [livejournal.com profile] greenet added "If you so wish" to the reciprocation step of this particular meme, which introduced a brand-new (well, novel, at any rate) concept in meme lifecycle: birth control. And I'm all for birth control.

It's generally a lot of fun for me to do memes of this kind; because I almost never can, they never get old. (Yet another argument in favor of meme birth control, let me note: fewer but better and more lovingly-reared memes.) Naturally, presented with one I could actually do, I wanted to do it well.

Unfortunately, I couldn't. Not really. One of the steps of the meme required the poster to tell me something she'd always wondered about me, and let's face it, if you've been reading this LJ for a while, you just don't have any burning questions left about me. I mean, you're all very, even painfully, aware that I love reading, babble incessantly, and grow reactionary and irrational when discussing English usage. What else is there to know?

Well, possibly, what I'm going to recommend next. Which is what [livejournal.com profile] greenet went with. Specifically, she said:

Your five newest favorite stories/fandoms/characters?**

I wanted to answer that. But, unfortunately, I just don't work like that, not exactly. The best I can do is offer her the five stories I most recently added to the Big Scary Master List (Unsorted). Some of them are actually fairly old. (And some of them I'd read long before I added them to the List; browser crashes and memory lapses play hell with my consistency on that one.) So today I'm posting a non-themed set. Or if there is a theme, it's that some of us still like memes, actually.

It's going behind a cut for two reasons.

First, this isn't going to be the greatest set ever. One of the reasons I take such a long time to recommend stories is that I need time to deal with them, to articulate what I think about them and why. (Seriously. Lots of time. Two nights ago, I finally figured out what was wrong with a science fiction short story I read years ago, before I'd read even one piece of FF. I've been thinking about that since I read it, considered the problem thousands of times before I solved it. "Slow but steady" is my motto. Sort of by default.)

Second, she did say five. That means this set is going to be longer than usual, and, let's face it, my entries are already way longer than the average post. Sheer mercy for your friends lists, then, argues for a cut tag.

And here is that very cut tag! Speak of the devil. )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I have a serious love of established-relationship stories, even in canons where that's maybe not the most obvious line for writers to take. (For example, I see nothing wrong with an established relationship between two people who never co-existed in the same time or space; early exposure to science fiction had something of a deleterious effect on my grasp of causality.) Don't get me wrong; I love first-time stories, too - well, obviously; I'm a fan fiction slut born and made - but after-the-happy-ending stories are peculiarly entrancing for me. Maybe it's because they have some direct relevance to my own life. I don't look for myself in stories, and I don't identify with any characters in 99.9% of them, but in established-relationship stories I do have something I can compare directly to my life; so much of it has been in the after-the-happily-ever-after part of it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Or-

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

-Footnote-

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

** I will require links, of course.

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

**** Warning: the "moving to Canada as dispute resolution" tactic is not recommended in every instance. It gets cold up there, for one thing. Also, not everyone likes moose.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I love animals. Not in, you know, the way that means you need therapy; I just care about them and admire them. And, I'll be honest with you, I like them a whole lot more than people. There are lots of canons with animals, but not a lot of FF featuring them, and a lot of what there is doesn't meet my standards for goodness to animals. These do. Of course, given my preference for animals over people, the animals triumph in some of these. But what I say is, I don't want to be in a fandom if the characters can't be thoroughly trounced by, say, a single angry deer during mating season. Takes all the fun out of it.

Best FF That Proves That Drilling for Emergencies Is Pointless Unless You Include the Penguin-Related Ones. Mating Rituals, by Karen McFadyyon, and is she on LJ? And does anyone know if I'm capitalizing her name correctly? Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. And some penguins. You know how you'll be reading along, and some sentence hits you just right and suddenly you're laughing and laughing and oh god you're never going to be able to breathe again and you really wish you could say something reassuring to the loved one now looking at you with concern but it's just so fucking funny that you can't? This happens to me sometimes. A disproportionate number of times have something to do with animals. While reading Connie Willis's Bellwether, for example, I broke up over a vomiting sheep, to a degree that Best Beloved was threatening to call an ambulance by the midpoint of the laughing fit. And in this one, it was a biting penguin that got me. (OK. Technically, the penguin got Ford, but I was the one who got to laugh when Ford complained about it.) I almost dropped my laptop from joy. And here's the thing - after an experience like that, I don't look for more from FF. The author could've finished this story with a 3,000 word discussion of the avian cloaca and I'd still want to recommend it. But in this case? Not a worry, because fifteen minutes after the Penguins 2, Whole Rest of SGA 0 scene, when I could finally focus again, I discovered that this story brings the funny and the touching in really excellent amounts. Frankly, I'm sort of stunned anyone could sell a story with this one's premise, but Karen McFadyyon does so with style. And then there's the excellent use of points of view, and the rocks, and...just the whole thing. 'S wonderful.

Best FF That Proves That the Essays You Wrote When You Were a Teenager Can Come Back to Haunt You. Probably Be Better for Everyone Not to Write Any, Really. Unaccommodated Man, by [livejournal.com profile] kindkit. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Rupert Giles/Daniel "Oz" Osborne, and I've had to be corrected on Oz's name every time I've used it, so go ahead and correct me here, too. I'm resigned. I'm even looking forward to it. This story took me by surprise in an entirely different way than "Mating Rituals." I didn't know the author at all, and this is one of those pairings I normally only read when written by people I trust, because when it's done right it's so very right, but when it's wrong it is oh, god, kill me now awful. But I looked at the title, thought, "Lear? Is that you?" and four seconds later I was hooked. This is an AU from the episode "Phases," which I personally have never seen on account of my tragic allergy to the hair + teeth + cheese formula TV makeup artists use to make werewolves. But all you need to know is that Oz almost bit Giles in that one. So what if he had? Well, Giles would be a werewolf, too. What then? Turns out what comes next is wolf-on-wolf action witnessed by Wesley in his original ultraprat incarnation, and that should so be scarring, and it is so not. (Mostly because you never actually see it.) And then the inevitable non-wolfy aftermath. I'm not the biggest fan of long, painful morning-after conversations, but this is perfect and perfectly in character and filled with wonderful bits and just...yeah. Wow. Again. And, hey, "lycanthropy made us do it" is a brand-new excuse applicable to a number of fandoms; authors take note!

Best FF That Demonstrates the Life-Saving Powers of Kink. Acquire a New Kink Today; the Life You Save Could Be Your Own! Elvis Has Left the Building*, by Salieri, aka [livejournal.com profile] troyswann. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. So, it's a fair night, and SG-1 are in the great outdoors, gathered around a campfire, to listen to Shakespearean sonnets and Jaffa love poetry, and then retire - Daniel to his slumbers, Teal'c to his appointed rounds, Sam to her quiet solitary giggling, and Jack to his astronomy and boot porn. So very lovely and romantic, no? And then a moose shows up and it all goes to hell. We learn that the Atlantis team may routinely to lose to penguins, yes, but it takes a big moose (though that's probably redundant; in one whole college class, the only useful thing I found to put in my notes was "Moose - big motherfuckers") to defeat SG-1 and the whole SGC. Bonus features include Daniel's mysterious aversion to Swedish, a moose's equally mysterious love for Swedish, and Jack's not at all mysterious love for the moose. Not to mention Hammond's attempts to be dignified even though he's in charge of a top-secret installation that has been brought to its knees (and the edge of its sanity) by a one-moose army. You have to admire that.

Best FF That Proves That All of Life's Most Important Events Really Do Happen at Table. Even if the "Table" Is Actually a Tundra. The Company of Wolves, by [livejournal.com profile] viridian5. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Sort of. I'm normally uninterested in AUs of this kind - you know, the kind where the two characters meet in past lives - because they tend to veer so far from the actual canon and they're often out of character or improbable. This, though, is seriously in character, and even in canon, in a strange way; I mean, you can't be totally in line with the canon when you turn the two main characters into, you know, wolves. But still. Strangely right. This is, really, a perfect translation (into wolf) of the way Fraser and Kowalski met each other. (But it's condensed, of course, because wolves get things done more quickly. No, really. When was the last time you saw a wolf tooling around in a flaming Buick Riviera?) And also why the two of them need each other. Plus, wolves. This story is strangely comforting to me, one of those ones I read when I'm down. (Or when I've just watched a really grim dS vid. There are happy moments in the canon, people! I've actually seen them. But not, for the most part, in the vids, which tend to fabulous but somewhat grim.) But I do need to warn those of you who are sensitive to animal unhappiness that this is, if not 100% realistic, at least honest about the lives of wolves. I can handle it because that's how they are, and also because I know things will be all better soon, but I thought I'd best warn you just the same.

-Footnote-

* Salieri, if you're reading this - the version of this story on your website has a sizable chunk of text missing, starting just after "Major Carter didn't laugh right out loud." That's why I linked to the LJ post.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. I do plan to reply to all the comments to my poll; I was thrilled to get them, and I actually have interesting things to say in response to most of them. Some of them. Okay, all of them, but we're operating by my definition of the word interesting, here, so those who commented should probably be on their guard.

In the meantime, though, drunkfics. Because a) you know I have love for them and b) no one can suspect any of these of being seriously flawed stories.

And it's interesting to reflect, with my new determination to recommend vids no matter how much I shouldn't*, just how much FF categories don't match vid categories. Drunkfic, for example, is one of the Grand Old Traditions of fan fiction, and yet I can think of only one drunkvid, Charmax's "Lily the Pink," (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ensemble, available under "BtVS Ensemble" at Bronze Ambition) and even then it isn't the same sort of thing, really.  It could be because intoxication is not all that visually interesting unless you're hoping to get into the pants of the intoxicated person in question. But I'm wondering if it's also because drunkfics focus on two things you can't show in vids: dialog - i.e., the intoxication frees someone to say something he otherwise wouldn't or couldn't - and sex - i.e., the intoxication frees someone to go down on someone he otherwise wouldn't.  

Of course, we could just not see many drunkvids because we don't see much canon drunkenness.  I don't know for sure how often people get down with the substances on TV shows, but I'm suspecting it's maybe not all that often, possibly because of those ever-present Impressionable Children. I do know you don't get a lot of full-out intoxication in movies, probably because, let's face it, when you only have two hours for the entire story, it's tough (though not impossible) to justify spending a half hour on something anyone who attended even one party in high school has seen too much of.

Whichever.  But, anyway, if you want a vid rec for this set, it's going to be "Lily the Pink," which is well worth a look, folks.  If the resultant giggle isn't enough of a reason, download it so you can admire the sheer quantity of drinking shots Charmax found. The Buffy folks apparently used their broadcast time wisely.

And now, speaking of wise uses of time, let's move on to the FF.

Best FF That Proves Definitely What I've Always Suspected: People With Mind-Reading, Mind-Changing, or Mind-Control Powers Are Deeply Wrong and Creeeeeeepy. Yes, Xavier, This Includes You. Memories, by [livejournal.com profile] rhyo. The Authority, and, honestly, I've no idea what to call this, but in my opinion it's gen. If you're not familiar with the comic book - and, really, if not, why not? - the problem with categorizing this story is that there's a gay relationship in the canon. But although said relationship is mentioned, this story is not about that. It's at least in part about Jenny Sparks, the butt-kickingest team leader ever to slug down a fifth of lab alcohol in seventeen seconds and then travel to another universe solely for the purpose of calling Batman an armor-dependent pussy and Robin a colorblind catamite and both of them sorry excuses for superheroes. Or, wait - just heroes, isn't it? As they aren't exactly super. That is not what happens in this story. But trust me, it could; she'd enjoy the pants right off of that. Here, though, we get to see her doing some things she really doesn't enjoy - to wit, trying to console a team member and get in touch with feelings. Her solution to that problem is get said team member, one Apollo, drunk off his ass. Unfortunately, that loosens his tongue, and Jenny ends up hearing way more than she wanted to. About Apollo. And his memories. And about the fact that, Marvel comics aside, there are very few people who can be trusted to rummage around in someone else's brain, and those few aren't the people who would allow themselves to do it.

Best Set of FFs That Proves That All Major Life Events Are Eased by Whacking Doses of Opiates. Or, OK, No. But Definitely All the Ones That Involve Arterial Bleeding Are. Rock, Toilet Paper, Scissors and Island Life** , by Tallulah Rasa, and does anyone know if she has a LJ? Stargate: SG-1, gen. Yes, more gen drunkfics. I don't know what the world is coming to. I do know, though, that these are actually drugfics; it's morphine, not alcohol, that is loosening the tongues of our good Colonel and his good civilian consultant. (And, yes, I have no problems describing Daniel as Jack's in the absence of slash; for one thing, who else does Jack have? And for another, who else could Daniel possibly belong to? And for a third, well, that's how they act a lot of the time.) Oh, and I should warn you; the author doesn't consider these stories sequels. I do, in the sense that when I read one, I have to read the other, and one of them mirrors the other, and also I consider one to resolve certain issues raised in the other, so I'm just going to rec them at the same time and save myself a lot of soul-searching. So. In both of them, a leg gets hurt. And there's morphine. And then there's talk. And what talk it is; "Rock, Toilet Paper, Scissors" sums up almost everything I love about this fandom. And "Island Life," well, it sums up why I'll probably never watch the canon. Because this didn't happen in it. And it should have. It should have. So I'll stick with my fan fiction, my denial, and my ignorance, I think. Anyway, even if you're not a big fan of denial or ignorance, these are brilliant stories, both of them, and I can't encourage you enough to go read them right now this minute.

Best FF That Proves That the Flowers Are Our Friends. At Least If We Want to See More Sex. And Who Doesn't? Blindsided, by Resonant, aka [livejournal.com profile] resonant8. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. All of you wondering what the hell was up with the meaningful-conversation drunkfics may now breathe easy; we have returned to the land where "fun with chemicals" also means "fun with body parts." And this one is a whole lot of fun, folks. One of the reasons I get such a kick out of recommending the two Stargate fandoms side by side is the voice of English teachers past in my head, saying "compare/contrast" over and over. (Yes, I am subject to these little auditory hallucinations. Really, it's a small price to pay for the many years of fun I had in classrooms across the land.) Because just as the former stories summed up my love for SG1, this one sums up most of my love for SGA. And I could write a really solid essay explaining that statement, with illustrative quotes and proper structure and everything. But I won't, because I love you too much for that. Instead I'll say: there's funny in this, and also snark, and spitting dandelions, and substance-induced hallucinations. McKay demonstrates why he needs no drug to loosen his tongue, and John demonstrates why he needs no drug to display his fundamental flexibility. (And also that he's just really, really easy, which may not be canon - I'm not sure - but is a peck of fun all the same.)

Best FF That Proves That the Phrase 'Alcohol May Intensify the Effect' Doesn't Just Apply to Medicines. Granted, by Kim, aka [livejournal.com profile] meadowlion. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. And here we have another pair of guys that never needed any chemical to loosen their tongues - it would probably take a substantial vat of something potent to stop these two from talking entirely - but who nonetheless benefit from some time spent amongst the intoxicants. What I really love about this one, though, is that Dan doesn't use alcohol to reduce his inhibitions. He uses his brain for that. The alcohol is for plausible deniability, and trust me when I tell you that is so Dan that it might as well appear in his official staff bio. ("Dan Rydell has been an anchor with Sports Night since its inception. Obviously, Dan has an abiding interest in all sports, except soccer, and also NASCAR if you define that as a sport, which Dan does not. He likes Casey McCall, spackle, New York City, Hilary Rodham Clinton, and poker. And he drinks, but mostly to watch other people get drunk; he himself prefers to use alcohol in moderation, except when plausible deniability is essential to his plans.") It's equally typical of Casey that he says exactly the right thing at the right time in this story; the man can be counted on to miss 99% of emotional cues, but the other 1% of the time he hits them so perfectly you sort of forget about his failures. Anyway, this story may be itty-bitty (500 words), but it is an excellent piece of interaction between the pairing often voted Most Meant to Be Together, If Only Because They've Excluded Everyone Else in the Universe.

-Footnotes-

* If you're wondering why I shouldn't, I could explain it to you. Or I could just point you to my own personal attempt at a meme. It is the movie meme that's been going around recently, and I think it pretty effectively says everything that needs to be said about why I should not be trusted when it comes to recommendations of visual media.

** I already did a theme vid rec for this, so I suppose what I'm doing now is wrong by some definition. Oh, that's right; it's my definition, and I can change it. So after you read "Island Life," go watch "Pretty Angry," by [livejournal.com profile] barkley, which can be found at her vid site. And, yes, there's a password thingy, but surely every person reading this has read Snow Crash, right? So no worries. (And if not, why not?) The point of watching the vid after reading the FF is that they deal with the same topic. Except that the story makes things the way they should have been, and the vid shows the way things really were. This, for me, is a fundamental difference between vids and FF. Although I imagine I will feel differently once I learn to understand the complex wonder of "created reality" vids, which right now for me translate, 99% of the time, into "random assemblage of clips" vids.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
You know you love somebody, be it in a friendly or romantic or familial way, when you can turn to that person and make a comment that appears to all others to be a random assemblage of words, and that person laughs or pats you sympathetically or nods sincerely and offers another random word array that makes total sense to you. At least, that's how I know; private language is perhaps the ultimate symbol of closeness in my world. (This may just be because I don't make much sense most of the time, so I'm really touched when someone actually gets me at all. I still maintain that it works on a more general level, though.)

These stories are all about private language, be it the language of two or the language of one or the language of people stuck in a pocket universe with only their own brilliance and absurdity for company. (And, you know, someday I want to see a story like that for every fandom. Except Sports Night, where I think that's pretty much already true in the canon.)

Words. They're all we have to go on. Given certain fairly inclusive definitions of 'words.'

Best FF That Contains a Reference to The Night of the Hunter. Which Makes Me Wonder if Ray Has Seen the Movie. Or Fraser Has. D R A W N, by [livejournal.com profile] serialkarma and [livejournal.com profile] lalejandra. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Isn't it lovely to see two people really communicating? Well, no, not when they're, say, the people behind you in a movie (the woman who repeated words at random from the dialog of Mission: Impossible to her husband with sinus problems, for example) or in line at the supermarket. ("I see where that boy is still on trial." "Isn't it Michael Jackson on trial?" "He's just after the money, you know." "Who?" "The boy. Michael Jackson wouldn't do that. He could do better." "Oh, I don't know. Maybe he did. What I say is, does it matter? They're all like that anyway." And meanwhile you're wondering a) is it contagious, b) will the checker understand if you abandon your half-unloaded groceries and flee the store, and c) why you don't carry a gun. Or at least, that's what you're wondering if you're me.) But it's pretty damn nice when it's Fraser and Kowalski, especially when they're communicating by means of drawing. On each other's skin. With ink. And how they do it is nice, too; Fraser telling a story using his own private, unspoken, unexplained language - because for a man who talks a lot he's not much with the communicating - and Ray keying into it intuitively - because for a detective he's not much with the logic. That's so them. A big part of the appeal of this pairing for me is that it involves two people no one has really listened to. And then they start listening to each other. And if that doesn't just make the tears of joy well up inside...well, you're probably not pre-menstrual, at any rate.

Best FF That Left Me Reaching for the Book on Animal Sounds in Other Languages That I Do in Fact Own. It's Like I Spent Years Preparing to Read This Story! Absurdity Theory, by [livejournal.com profile] julad. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/Radek Zalenka. So. If it quacks like a duck, but does not in fact look like a duck, what is it? In this case, two people paying a slightly higher-than-usual price for certain unkind comments. But, hey, if you know stuff, it doesn't matter that you can't talk to others; you can still entertain yourself with a Turing machine or the Theory of Universal Absurdity or lots of sex. This is why everyone needs science. (The sex. Though the entertainment is nice, too.) And everyone also needs this story, although you probably don't need it as much as I did when I first read it, because it was the perfect antidote to an unfortunate vid experience I had last week. Vidders, please: avoid the all talking heads, no action, no meaning blue-light-special vids. But if you're going to make one, for Christ's sake don't center and zoom in on those faces too far. Because you may find that dramatic, but all I see is nostrils. Gigantic, flagrant, unignorable nostrils. ("Nostrilriffic" is not a word I had previously been tempted to coin, but this vid - it needed adjectives as yet undiscovered in the English language.) And when a love song is wailing in the background but huge nostrils are flaring in the foreground, I am in an unhappy place. Or, actually, a seriously happy place and laughing myself sick, but that's probably not where the vid was supposed to take me. Worse, after I watched said vid, I couldn't read SGA without thinking mostly of nostrils, and it was inhibiting my new-fandom love. But then, fortunately, I found this story, which completely derailed the memory of hysterical nostrils via hysterical quacking, and also the honking, and also the Czech. So my love has returned. Healed by the magic of fan fiction!

Best FF That Reminds Us That No Matter How Strange and Illogical Our Own Culture's Marital Customs Are, It Could Always Be Worse. For Example, It Could Involve Parakeets. A Bird in the Hand Gets Tangled in the Sheets, by The Grrrl, aka [livejournal.com profile] thegrrrl2002. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. You know, for someone whose whole life has been about communication, Daniel's private language is remarkably singular; no one speaks fluent Daniel Jackson. I love this story in part because it proves that that doesn't matter. Jack speaks enough and is patient enough, and the rest of it...works out. (For Daniel and Jack. Probably not so much for the men who had to do whatever-it-was involving birds after they married, which in my opinion goes a long way toward explaining why that particular culture died out. Marriage and birds are not an OTP.) The other reason I love this FF may say more about me than it does about the story, but who am I to shy away from writing down potentially revealing personal information and posting it in a searchable, public medium? I mean, I'm on Livejournal, here; oversharing is the name of the game. So I will not hesitate (except, you know, for all the preliminary verbiage, which is more of an art than an avoidance thing, really) to tell you that this story contains the sweetest and best declaration of love of all time. Really. Actually, it contains two of them, because the response is just as good and sweet and true. This is one of those short pieces I read whenever I'm feeling especially out of touch with the world; it reminds me that it doesn't matter if the world gets me. It only matters if one person cares enough to try. And, lord, the treacle is practically coming out of my ears, now, so we'd best move on to the Batworld, where things just don't get that sweet.

Best FF That Proves That There Are Modes of Attack Even Tim Drake Hasn't Anticipated. I Know, I Know - It's Crazy. But True! Obsessive, by Derry, aka [livejournal.com profile] derryderrydown. D.C Universe, Batclan, Batgirl/Robin III. Yet another story I love intensely, and not just because it incorporates both of my favorite Batclan characters. (Nightwing is a close third, though.) What I love is this look at Cass, who I suspect was introduced to the DCU solely so that there'd be one inhabitant harder to understand and write than Batman. (Because, look. I love him as much as the next girl, provided I get to pick who the next girl is, but the man is about one cerebral misfire away from Arkham Asylum. If that.) Cass spent much of her life mute, and she still prefers not to speak. Also, she fights crime. So I don't have much in common with her (I never shut up, and the closest I come to fighting crime is giving dirty looks to vocal movie attendees), but I still relate to the language Cass is speaking in this story. Body language shouldn't be a private language - we all speak it, we all read it - but a lot of the time it seems like it is, because so many people do all their body communication unconsciously. Sadly, I'm not as fluent in it as Cass is (I mean, I can't manipulate anyone with it. Tragically. Because if I could, you can bet world leaders would make a lot more sense.), but I'm more comfortable with that language than any of the other non-verbal ones. And the thing is? Once you start watching it, it really is this easy to read. I love that Derry gets that, and even if her Cass doesn't read bodies the same way I do, I read this again and again because it makes so much sense. I don't know if it will to you, but I don't think it matters. Even if you can't picture the conversations described in here, you should still read it for a look at the world through Batgirl's eyes.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Today, I offer you weirdness. In pairs. Think of this sort of like a - fandom poker hand, I guess. (Assuming you can ever play four-card poker, because I don't actually know, and I won't unless some fandom comes along about these guys who, like, go to a lot of different places, and play poker, and have adventures, and they're really funny and so obviously doing it.) Anyway: two pair, people. And what a pair they are.

(You should be ashamed of yourself for laughing at that sentence.)

Best FF That Shows That What You Really Need, in Certain Circumstances, Is Money, Supportive Family, and a Really Big Engine. No, Make That All Circumstances. There in Nine Flat: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four, by [livejournal.com profile] khaleesian. The Fast and the Furious, Dominic Toretto/Brian O'Conner. When you've read this story, assuming you survive reading this story, you'll understand why it was amusing to me that I initially mistyped the fandom as "The Fat and the Furious." In the meantime, let me offer you something that is both a threat and a promise: while reading this story, I spoke out loud to the author via the famed communication medium of computer monitor, which I hardly ever do. (I am afraid the dogs will grow up traumatized. Or, you know, have me committed.) I said, "I hate you. I hate you for doing this to me. I hate you for doing this to me and making me like it." So my threat and promise is - you'll probably feel the same way about this at some point, because [livejournal.com profile] khaleesian does here something I truly never thought I'd see. Something I never wanted to see, and might in fact have paid actual American dollars not to see. And yet she did it so damn well that I read the whole thing, mouth open, totally enthralled. Totally enthralled with - this. And I'm afraid to tell you what it is for fear you won't read it, but - well, I figured it out pretty fast, and I kept reading, so - it's MPreg. It's realistic MPreg, to the extent that that statement can even be made without the sheer internal contradictions of it destroying the universe. And it is so in character and so well written and so fabulous and, OK, it's also MPreg, and nothing's going to change that. But give it a try, just for a couple of pages, OK? And, hey, if you like it, you can curse [livejournal.com profile] khaleesian and me.

Best FF That Demonstrates That Superheroes Should Come with a Warning Label Reading 'Does Not Handle Boredom Particularly Well. Unless You Like That Sort of Thing.' Mpreurgh, by Derry, aka [livejournal.com profile] derryderrydown and Propaganda, aka [livejournal.com profile] notpoetry. D. C. Universe, Batclan, Tim Drake/Bart Allen. And this has, like, the best cover ever, so you should go look at that immediately. The cover actually sums the story up way better than I ever could, although I'm still going to mention specific aspects. Like, for example, that this is, as the title suggests, crack-brained D.C. MPreg (albeit MPreg with a very special difference). And that Batman is the worst enraged father ever, and someone less impulsive (hee!) than Bart would've thought about that before having sex with Tim, and then done whatever was necessary to resist the temptation, up to and including moving to an alternate universe permanently. (And someone less brave than Bart would move to the alternate universe immediately after the sex, because again - Batman is an enraged father with explosives, surveillance equipment, and a seriously imbalanced outlook on life. So, basically, unless Tim goes independent a la Nightwing, he's going to need to pick partners pretty much from the super-powered or terminally brave segments of society. Of course, I'm pretty sure he's already figured that out.) Also, Alfred is the sweetest grandmother-to-be ever, although you don't want to think about that concept too closely, because it'll keep you up nights. Other things you'll probably want to avoid thinking about in any kind of depth: Tim in the throes of hormone-induced hysteria, the booties, and Batman keeping Bart on a leash. But read it anyway. It's wonderful, and it'll do you - well, if not good, then not a whole lot of harm.

Best FF That Shows Us the Real Problem with Hanging out with People Who Don't Care What Other People Think - Namely, That They Will Handle Public Sex Way Better Than You. Proof by Contradiction, by Shalott, aka [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. I think everyone should take a moment to be grateful to me here and now, because I realized while I was picking out this story that I have enough MPreg pieces to fill an entire set. And yet I chose to stop at two, and give you a pair of something else instead. This is restraint, and restraint should be rewarded, yes? So instead we have here that FF cliche that I so very much adore: aliens (or in this case, alien technology) make them do it. This particular plot device has been much on my mind lately. I've been searching out new ones and re-reading old ones and I've pretty much come to the conclusion that this is a golden cliche, a lovely cliche, a cliche that every author should write. A number of times, if at all possible. And I have enough aliens-make-them stories to fill at least two recs sets, and more if you count the ones in the comments for [livejournal.com profile] resonant8's recent post on the topic, which everyone should read immediately. So why did I pick this story for one of the aliens entries in this post? Because it starts after the aliens are finished with the main characters. You begin right off with the reaction, and it's just really fucking funny. Plus, you know how Shalott has this tragic habit of writing stories that suck people into new fandoms so fast there's a loud popping noise from the displaced mass? This is just such a story for SGA; no fandom knowledge required, and it's a perfect way to get to know these guys. And did I mention it's fantastic?

Best FF Featuring Daniel Making Yet Another Unfortunate Translation Error. Unfortunate for Him, Anyway. I Myself Am Strangely Comfortable with It. The Road Between the Walls, by [livejournal.com profile] keiko_kirin. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. So, here we have the other aliens-make-them-do-it story, and where one Stargate is, should not the other be? (Because, hey. If McKay and Sheppard are going to have embarrassing public sex, it's only justice that Jack and Daniel join them. And, um. No one should cry "plot bunny" right now, OK? No. Seriously. Stop that right now.) Here we have a story with all the trimmings, including a pitched battle, an incomprehensible alien culture, and a new and novel use for a stargate. (No. Not as a sex aid. Don't even think it; frankly, I'm sort of sorry I thought it. Also, immediately stop pondering the various bad puns one could make out of "wormhole.") Plus, of course, imperious and perverted aliens. Strange how many of those the universe has produced, but I suppose that's what infinity is all about. And I, for one, am not complaining. No, not even a smidgen, because it leads to brilliant stories like these. See, Keiko has many gifts, and one of them is her ability to turn fandom cliches inside out, shake them vigorously, and build them into something substantial and wondrous to behold, and if my metaphor sort of derailed there, I refuse to care, because it's true. That's just what she does. Here, she gives that treatment to several of them; in addition to the aliens-make-them thing, note her skillful and persuasive handling of the "I'm secretly gay" concept. But most importantly, she gets these characters. And then she gives them to us, on a platter. And an ox-cart. And aliens. And sex. I don't see how any fan could ask for more.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I realize I haven't updated in weeks, which in LJ time is equivalent to about four years. (Seriously. Many LJs were started, subjected to vicious flame-wars, and abandoned in a snit in the time between my last update and this one.) I had a reason. Actually, I had two. The first one, work, can be of no possible interest to anyone, so we'll skip that. The second one, though, was procrastination about my slashiest fandoms post. Why am I so afraid to write it? Well, because I think I know what the slashiest fandom is, and it's so small it only has three stories, all of them works in progress. The fandom in question is Shadow Hearts: Covenant. You can have your TV shows that don't make sense unless you assume the male main characters are in love (Smallville and due South, although in due South's case I suspect it was intentional), your movies that don't make sense unless you assume that the two male main characters want to fuck each other senseless (The Fast and the Furious), your cable-TV shows that feature actual male characters actually in love but mostly beating the shit out of each other anyway (Oz), your comic books featuring Spandex, teen-aged wards, apparent wet dreams about Superman, and a plethora of Dick jokes (D.C.), and of course anything written by Joss Whedon or Warren Ellis. These are all highly slashy fandoms, yes, but none of them features actual gay sex between a professional wrestler and his teacher, after which the professional wrestler gets a purple and pink mask that goes nicely with his special "Rose Bondage" armor designed to make the (male) wearer irresistibly attractive to other men.

Really. This is canonical.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Or-

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

* Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] oneminutemovies!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(For those of you who remember entry 100: there will also be a Slashiest Fandoms post coming up soon. But as it is now a) tragically large and in need of serious editing and b) evidence of an indecisive and possibly deranged mind, I thought I would forge ahead with the regular sets. It's too weird to get a number anyway.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Footnote-

* Louise is also, for the record, the same woman who induced in my Best Beloved a tragic and instantaneous addiction to a carmel-filled substance known as "Tunnocks," which was an act of much-appreciated cruelty, given that we can't get these things in Los Angeles. I mean, I liked them, yes, but for a while I thought Best Beloved was going to leave me for them. (Or, more likely, leave America for them, taking me along because I am cute and fairly handy around the house. Plus, I speak rudimentary British.) So curse those wily Glaswegians and their addicting sweetstuffs! But love on Louise. I'm pretty sure she keeps Aziraphale in her basement.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
You know, there are happy families, even in our fandoms. And there's happy family-related FF, too. But here I've elected to go with stories that feel real (which is pretty remarkable, given the predominance of aliens and undead and former queens of closet-based kingdoms in the story below). So these are brilliant stories, but some of them are slightly, you know, depressing. Not a lot! Really! No SSRIs required! Just - consider that the National Fan Fiction Tracking Service has issued a mild (really! mild!) Bummer Warning and expects it to be in effect for the next four recs.

I promise that the next set will feature mostly uplifting and cheerful stories, and also possibly some exceptionally perky baby vomit. (And now I never want to hear you complain that I don't give you things to look forward to.) I also promise that these are stunningly good stories that will repay reading even if you don't know the basics of their fandoms. (Except the third one, but everyone knows the basis of that fandom.)

Best FF That Proves That It's Basically Impossible to Make Small Talk with Daniel Jackson. Although, If You Ever Meet Him, I Still Suggest You Try; It's Bound to Be Entertaining. Almost a Statesman: Teal'c and the Jaffa of the Alpha Site, 2003-2004, by [livejournal.com profile] katie_m. Stargate SG-1, gen. This story is just - just amazing. Because, OK, I've hardly ever even found a story in Teal'c's voice, and the ones I do find are often so not right that even I can tell. (Which, given that for all I know Teal'c could talk like Shirley Temple on helium, means those things are pretty damn far out of character.) So a story that's narrated by, no, written by Teal'c's son? Brilliant or disastrous. There's no middle ground. So we're all very lucky that Katie M. has "brilliant" in her box of writing tools. (I'm guessing she keeps it somewhere between the nifty clicky eraser shaped like a pen and the cuneiform stylus - and, yes, I do plan to steal her writing toolbox if I ever get the chance.) But this story doesn't just have a fantastic Rya'c voice and a fantastic alternate future; it has a whole bunch of other wonderful aspects that are, frankly, going to make us all really tired of synonyms for 'fantastic' before we're done. (Hence my need to engage in toolbox theft.) Because, see, there's Teal'c, who in a lot of FF is more of a "This Spot Reserved for the Jaffa" placard than a character, but who is real and human here. And there's the rebel Jaffa culture, which is just fascinating. And there's Rya'c, who proves that certain things are definitely inherited. Most of all, though, there's a look at what it means to be both ahead of your time and the catalyst of change - in other words, different. I'm guessing you don't have a lot of personal experience with Goa'uld symbiotes and staff weapons, but you can probably key in to 'different' pretty well. I mean, you must be fairly different, right? You're reading a LJ devoted to media smut. And you're seriously considering reading gen. (Do it! You won't regret it!) That, yes, makes you a bit different. But not as much as Teal'c is. And because of the bummer warning up above, I have to point out that Teal'c, in this story, seems fairly happy to be the odd Jaffa out, and happy with his life in general. Possibly eighty years of slavery to a false god improves your perspective on certain aspects of life, which is something to keep in mind as conversation fodder for the next time you sit next to a really whiny chatterbox on an airplane. Plus, hey, Teal'c's got SG-1. And the false god is probably sorry he (Teal'c) was ever born. So, really, his life does not suck, and this story shows that, too.

Best FF That Will Make Your Family, No Matter How Dysfunctional and Non-Traditional and Humiliating to Visit Malls with, Look Staid and Nuclear by Comparison. Involuntary Bodies, by Anna S., aka [livejournal.com profile] eliade. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike/Xander Harris. I freely admit that this story is probably a lot cleverer and sleeker and more intricate than I could possibly know or appreciate, because it's probably an AU based on some specific episode or season or something that I haven't seen. But you know what? I appreciate this story a hell of a lot as it is. It's just - wow. Amazing, and I submit myself as evidence that you don't need to know anything (about, well, anything) to know that. This is set somewhere in the last three seasons of the show (as it features Dawn). And it's about life in Sunnydale after you subtract Buffy, Angel, Willow, and Giles (none of whom dies, for the record). What's left? Well, either the leftovers and the unwanted, as Xander thinks, or the heart and soul of the group, which is pretty much what this story proves, as they're sort of smushed into the world's least likely family. Because, hey, even if your parental figures are undead, robotic, or Xander, love is what makes a family. Or, no, wait - actually it's love and commitment. (First and foremost, commitment to not getting all above yourself. Or glowy.) And, yikes. I just wrote sentimental prose worthy of an off-brand greeting card and I don't even have it in me to be sorry. That's how amazingly good this story is; it leaves me sub-Hallmarkian and without a hint of shame. The author says in her notes that this could have been twice as long, and oh how I wish it was. This is one of those rare pieces of FF that leaves me wanting a whole series of novel-length stories, and even then I don't think I'd be satisfied. So, really, how can the greeting-card thing matter much? And, hey, silver lining: perhaps I can get a job at Hallmark. I think I'd be very good at producing schlock to commemorate events unique to modern lifestyles. Bonus: this is actually a damned happy story. Happy ending and everything. So read this, because, well, you might need it.

Best FF That Inspired Me to Write a Story Summary That Is Basically a Compressed and Not Even Remotely Funny Rant. I Therefore Advise Everyone to Go Directly to the Story, Which Is Excellent. And Totally Free of Suicide, I Promise. Growing Up, by [livejournal.com profile] sheldrake. The Chronicles of Narnia, gen. Someday I am going to write a list of a hundred (or so) things fandom has done for me, and somewhere in the top twenty will be this entry: "Turned my lingering discomfort with certain aspects of Narnia and my dismayed sense of betrayal at the ending of the series into a seething festering spewing ranting hatred of C. S. Lewis who I hope to god is even now coming face-to-face with his characters in Writer's Hell." And if you think that's strongly worded, well, you just haven't read the right FF yet; I'm sure I can get you all ranty and hostile with just five well-chosen recs. Possibly less. Probably less. Those who were traumatized by the last one will be pleased to note that this story involves no death of any kind - oh, well, except the deaths which happened in the canon, which as we all know involved every human character except one. And the funny part is that Lewis makes that character's survival sound like a bad thing. Yes, thank you, Professor; you managed to convince at least four generations of little girls that growing up was evil and lipstick and dating were unforgivable sins. Why this man isn't the subject of at least as many women's studies dissertations as Barbie I will never know. (Note, because this entry sounds so vituperative as to verge on insanity: I actually still quite like some of Lewis's writing for adults, and even certain of the Narnia books. I just think the warping of children via entertaining literature should've been left in the hands of Roald Dahl, who was seriously twisted, yes, but also kinky, which helps quite a lot.) We should all just be grateful that there's FF to make it up to the characters somewhat; as you may have guessed from the tenor of the hysteria above, this is a sympathetic view of a much older Susan, which makes it a rare collectible FF even before you get to the comparison between Susan and Lucy, then and (sort of) now.

Best FF That Suggests That a Scalp Squeegee Would Be a Thoughtful Gift for the Bald Man on Your List Next Holiday Season. If the Local Weather Is Inclement. And the Bald Guy Has a Sense of Humor, or at Any Rate Doesn't Own a Gun. Fathers, by [livejournal.com profile] katallison. Due South, gen, or maybe really mild Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski if you squint in the right place. And, OK, yeah. I know that some people react to the uttering of the name "Kat Allison" with a combination of instinctive flinching ("Those're the marks 'Executor' left on me. And right here? That's from 'The End of the Road,' back when I was a FF newbie. Can still feel it something wicked when it rains.") and signs of the cross ("Get thee behind me, you brilliant and depressing writer!"), but I love her. Which means, well, yes, I flinch - hey, I've read all her stuff and I'm not immune to classical conditioning - but then I dive right into whatever new thing she's written. She writes such real, perfect fiction that she routinely leaves me slack-jawed with astonishment and gasping in envy. And, yes, OK, sometimes hurting, but it's a good hurt, really. And it's from pain without angst, which is one of the toughest tricks out there, and most of the local supply of which can be found in Kat's toolbox. So, anyway, some people are already fleeing for the hills. I know that, and I don't blame them at all. But the rest of you really, really need to read this. Apart from anything else, it is honestly not that painful. (Yes, that's what comes after all that build-up. Believe me, it's better this way.) If someone is dying in this story, well, that's happening off-screen and anyway it's no one we know. And this isn't really about death; it's more about carrying on. Also, of course, about fathers, both the literal and the figurative, which makes perfect sense; the canon is just rife with daddy issues. (Well, can you think of another way to describe Fraser's relationship with his father?) And this is Kat's writing we're talking about, so stunningly good goes without saying.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I am afraid of series. I'm willing to admit it because a) I don't think a person should be ashamed of her fears and b) I have someone to blame this on. Namely, C.S. Lewis, who apparently wrote The Last Battle solely to ensure that his readers would never read the last part of anything ever again. Or the Book of Revelations (upon which Battle is loosely based).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite stories: Well, "Sway" was dedicated to me, so that has to come first. And then "The Price That You Pay" and "Unfinished Business" itself. And "Damage," which I didn't even link above, because it isn't finished yet. Hell, just read all of them.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
(Note: I know full well that I have evilly, evilly misquoted a deceased Great American strongly associated with the Jazz Age. You know what? I suffered agonies with certain of his works in middle school, so if he wants to come back from the dead to whine about my misuse of his noble words, well, he'll have to work pretty damn hard to get a word in edgewise, is all I'm saying. Never trust a man who uses his first initial and his middle name, that's my motto, even if he did write some excellent short stories.)

You know, it is wonderful to have internet access again. You can't imagine how much I missed y'all. Hello, fan fiction! Hello, LiveJournal! Hello, diverse and distributed community of like-minded perverts! And, yes, you'd better actually be a pervert if you read anything in this set, because I have here some fine, full-bodied kinkfic. (If you weren't here for the first kink set, you should know that I call it kink if the author does, because one person's perversion is another person's mandatory, basic part of any act more intimate than holding hands.)

Best FF in Which a Character Takes a Pop Quiz and Does Really, Really Well. But We'd Expect Nothing Else of Brian O'Conner, King of Fast Thinking on the Fly (and Yes, the Pun Was Entirely Intentional). Generally Psychotic Behavior, by [livejournal.com profile] khaleesian. The Fast and the Furious, Brian O'Conner/Dom Toretto. Any fandom with a character named 'Dom' gets extra kink-points right off the bat, but trust me, TFATF didn't even need those to break the curve on the perv-o-meter. Really. Those of us who love this fandom (And we are a small but select and tasteful bunch. Given certain definitions of 'tasteful.') love it in part for its kink-friendliness - nay, kink-required-ness. For some reason, these guys really want to be in stories about, oh, oxygen deprivation. Just as an example, and a highly cogent one, given that that is in fact what this story is all about. It's a cheery little PWP, and while it will help to have seen the movie - or, at any rate, one scene in the movie, one that involves motor oil, lube hose, eavesdropping, and men clad in leather (perhaps you're beginning to see why this movie cries out for kinky slash?) - but, really, the only absolute prerequisite for this one is a certain mental flexibility. Read. Enjoy. And if you really enjoy it, well, there's a movie I think you might wanna watch.

Best FF Featuring an Author Warning That Makes You Want to Pass a Law Against Puns. Or Maybe Embrace the Author Heartily. Me, I Go Both Ways on That, but Then, Don't I Always? On the QT, by The Spike, aka [livejournal.com profile] spike21. L.A. Confidential, Bud White/Ed Exley, sort of. Fan fiction: pushing boundaries. Including, inevitably, some that probably shouldn't be pushed. But you know what? I totally don't think this story falls under that heading. See, kink works best in FF when it's used to say something about the characters or the world they live in. (And, yes, for the record, I do know it doesn't work this way in real life; we don't all have poetically apt kinks. But this is one of those times when fiction doesn't mimic reality, folks, and we should all be happy about that, because if that was reality just imagine what kinks we'd have.) In this story, watersports* work perfectly as a metaphor - and, no, I'm not going to get all English-major-y, I swear - for the way Exley and White are at the beginning of the movie. In fact, I suspect that you could read this story without having seen said movie and get a very solid picture of both guys and their early relationship, such as it is. That's the reason I consider this the best w/s FF I've read to date. (Of course I've read others. This is fan fiction, people.)

Best FF to Use the Highly Disturbing Phrase "Kinky SoloFlex Commercials." And, No, That Isn't the Kink Here; Do You Think I'm Some Kind of Sicko? The Other Half, by Anna S., aka [livejournal.com profile] eliade. Stargate SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. Ah, slave kink. Traditional, tried-and-true - a kink classic, if you will. Take some submission, throw in a soupçon of dominance - or, hell, a whole handful - and accessorize. But, as always, Anna S. does way, way more than that; this is a fantastic story. I know a lot of people hate first-person narrative, but when it's well done, as it is here, I love it. Notice how many little one-liners we get, how much sarcasm she packs into this text. (It helps that she's using Jack's voice, of course. I imagine General Hammond's wouldn't be quite the same.) And first-person is the best way to get a single character's take on the events, provided the narrator is reliable, and I think the Jack we have here is, aside from the whole Daniel-as-U.S.-President-with-Added-Sodomy mental image thing. (No, really, and I'm pretty sure you won't mind that as much as you're currently imagining. Of course, I think most governmental processes could be improved with added sodomy, so maybe I'm not the best person to ask.) This story is so good that it can take a concept I normally can't handle - slavery, my friends, is not my own personal kink, not at all - and make me love it. Well, I'm used to Anna doing that to me. Hell, I wish she'd do more of it.

Best FF That Reminds Us That We Should All Be Grateful for Sundays, and Make Full and Excellent Use of Them. Of Course, That Use Doesn't Have to Involve a Mountie; the Choice Is Yours. Sharp-Dressed Man, by Zahra, aka [livejournal.com profile] hackthis. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. I have a lot of dS kink in my database, because I have a lot of dS everything in my database. (Because it is a wonderful fandom, wonderful, and also - oh joy! - a wonderful canon. Thanks again, [livejournal.com profile] nigeltde.) But after long consideration (And, in fact, a debate with Best Beloved that lasted for most of a meal; remember this the next time someone tells you the dinner conversation isn't scintillating at casa [livejournal.com profile] thefourthvine.), I went with this, because Mountie suit kink is, like, the core kink of this fandom. Or one of them; it's a big fandom, after all. You could fill a medium-sized convention center just with people who have kinks about various parts of Callum Keith Rennie's anatomy, and I'm talking here strictly about the bits of his anatomy that you can see on TV. But there's something essential about the Mountie suit fixation in dS, and there's sure as shit something essential about it in dS FF; you don't want to know what size convention center you could fill with people who know way more than they probably should about getting Mounties out of their full-dress uniforms in record time. (I imagine Mounties live in fear of encountering dS fans. "She's taking an extreme close-up picture of your lanyard, Dougie." "Yeah, but it's not that that worries me. It's that she's salivating.") So, dragging myself back to the story: Ray has a Mountie suit kink. Fraser is, as always, understanding, courteous, and helpful. I'm telling you, this story works as a metaphor for the dS fandom as a whole. Provided, that is, that you've been way overexposed to Mountie Red #6, or whatever they call that dye.

-Footnote-

* I think this is probably an unnecessary footnote. If you don't know what watersports are, I'm guessing you've only been reading FF, period, for about two weeks max, because after a few months, FF readers become more familiar with kinks than sex advice columnists. (After a few years, we're more familiar with most aspects of sex than the authors of The Joy of Gay Sex - way more, in fact, because we'd never consider including a chapter on bestiality in a book of that title. Consider yourself warned. Unless it's already too late for you.) So if you're new here, maybe you'll want to wait a bit on some of these stories. But if you're determined to read them now, today, know that watersports, aka golden showers, urophilia, and urolagnia, mix urine and sex to the pleasure of all participants. The reader's pleasure mileage will, of course, vary.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm going to be out of town for a few days, and I'm experiencing my usual pre-trip discombobulation as a result. (Actually, I'm mostly wondering why the hell I did this and what I was thinking and how I can avoid ever doing it again. I don't like traveling. Hell, in my ideal universe I wouldn't even have to leave my house.) I'm also doing the so-much-to-do-that-I-can't-do-any-of-it panic. What happens when you combine procrastination and panic and impending separation from the internet? Well, at least in these parts, recommendations sets. In this case, a crossover set, because I have a huge list of fantastic FF in this category that I've shamefully neglected lately. And also because slightly surreal stories are excellent preparation for this trip.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best FF That Proves That All You Need to Make a Story Is One Really Good Metaphor. Percentage Points, by [livejournal.com profile] gritkitty. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. Of course, it helps if this metaphor is funny, and this one is. And it also helps that Blair is who he is; I mean, there's maybe three characters I can imagine thinking like this, because there just aren't all that many people in the world who would equate groping with investing in war bonds, but Blair totally would. And, see, I'd describe more of this story, but a) you should just go read it, 'cause it's good and almost elementally jimblairy and b) I have this whole flight of fancy when I read this story that totally destroys my ability to talk about it sanely and calmly. Don't believe me? Well, see, I can't read this story without picturing the battle sequences in Lord of the Rings. Specifically, the one where Isildur took the One Ring. Which means I'm viewing Blair's sex drive as, say, a contingent of human swordsmen, his hunger as a bunch of orcish pikemen, and Blair's brain as, well, Mordor, I guess. Um. Yeah, that's probably mostly attributable to the massive doses of codeine I was on when I first read this, because upon reflection I don't think Grit Kitty intended for the reader to equate Jim with Isildur. Although this does suggest something very interesting about Blair's nipple ring that I am not, not, not thinking about ever ever again, because it is the living definition of crossover crackfic. And I'm finishing this recs set before I put any more of my insanity on parade.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Well. It's raining. And I know that now is when all of you who live in parts of the world where they have actual climactic variation fall over laughing, but the thing is, we here in Los Angeles are not accustomed to precipitation, or indeed weather of any kind. Our freeways aren't accustomed to it, and end up covered in mud and (this is true) squid. Our dogs aren't accustomed to it, and refuse to go out. Our ants aren't accustomed to it, and try to come in.

I'm kind of liking it, but only because a) I have some kind of disease that causes me to sleep fifteen hours a day and blink slowly most of the rest of the time, so the rain counts as high entertainment and b) I don't have to go out in it today. Tomorrow, I'll be on the freeway with the mud and the squid and the ants, and it won't be fun.

So. It's raining. I may or not have a fever, but I definitely don't have the energy to get the thermometer and find out. My dogs are staring miserably at the rain and then at me, wondering why I don't do something about all that water falling from the sky. Clearly the time has come for comfort fic, and what is more comfortable and familiar and sweet than a good first time story? Nothing, that's what.

Best FF That Introduces the Most Boring People in the Universe. Yes, More Boring Than Congresspeople, Economics Professors, and Golf Commentators Combined. Buoyancy, by [livejournal.com profile] keiko_kirin. Stargate SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. Keiko Kirin shows us the dullest civilization ever created by human beings here; they make an effective, if beige-colored, backdrop for Jack and Daniel and their explorations of gay bars, P4R-951, and, eventually, each other. Daniel proves he speaks the language of bar pickups as well as he speaks Goa'uld. Jack proves that he's still in touch with his inner adolescent. They both prove they love each other exactly as much as we all suspected (well, those of us who have never seen the canon, anyway.) For me, the second half is what makes the story - as I've pretty much proved by summarizing mostly the second half - but the whole thing is well worth reading. Keiko really showcases her skill at pacing, here; she sets a slow and deliberate pace and keeps it compelling. What she does - moving two plots at a chosen speed and paying attention to both of them - is not easy, and it's not something you see that often in fan fiction. Seriously, almost everything she's written since 2001 is worth reading as a lesson in pacing alone, and "Buoyancy" is no exception. Of course, you shouldn't let that distract you from the first-time sex. No, the first read should be all about the sex. And the Museum of Advances in Automated Accounting, which makes the semester I spent learning electrochemistry from the most monotonic man on the planet look fun.

Best FF in Which Danny and Casey Have a Close Encounter with the Antichrist, Which, Naturally, Causes Them to Have Sex. The First Move, by Sinead, aka [livejournal.com profile] smallbeer. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/OFC, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. Anyone who is looking for instructions on how to make an original female character who is perfect in every way and yet not a Mary Sue should definitely read this. She's not only perfect; she's a deus ex machina, she's dating Danny, and her linen dresses don't wrinkle, but somehow she is not a Mary Sue. This is impressive, folks. Of course, you aren't expected to like her, either. Casey sure doesn't, although that's mostly because he's undergoing that course of unexpected discovery that ends with two previously heterosexual men having sex on the floor of their office. (Or, in other fandoms, in the supply cabinet, the Captain's quarters, the Fortress of Solitude, a prison cell, the Astronomy Tower, etc.) So fear not the OFC: she isn't as bad as you think, and she gets them together in the end. What more can we ask of our women?

Best FF That Provides a Measurable Increase in the Reader's Sense of Comfort and Peace Even Though It Refers to (Yurk) the Elder Kents Having (Yeeurgh) Intimate Relations. Cover Us With Song, by [livejournal.com profile] weirdnessmagnet. D.C. Universe (Teen Titans), Kon-El (Superboy)/Tim Drake (Robin III, and, um, maybe V? I don't know. I haven't been able to face anything Robin-related since the events of a certain unnamed universe-altering crossover event). There's something so agreeably retro about this story. I can't even tell you what, exactly; I mean, I'm fairly sure the 1950s weren't full of stories about teenaged superheroes having explicit gay sex on the lawn. And yet the retroness (Retrocity? Retroism?) is definitely there. And there's something weirdly innocent about this story, even though, yeah, that's a word we don't usually see going hand-in-hand with the aforementioned explicit gay sex. But it's just - farm boys, and picnics, and studying trig. It's so sweet and retro that, reading this, I keep expecting Kon to give Tim his class ring and Tim to give Kon his letter jacket. And then go out for malts. (I'm thinking Kon would get vanilla because that's honestly his favorite flavor, and Tim would get chocolate because studies show that that is the favorite flavor of 64% of normal high school boys; his actual favorite flavor is raspberry-lime, but only as Alfred makes it.) Definitely comfort reading. Yay for fannish comfort.

Best FF That I Will Definitely Cite As a Reason Not to Have Cable (Assuming the Discovery Channel Is Cable) the Next Time They Try to Sell It to Me. No, Really, I Will. If It's a Telemarketer, I Might Even Read Him the First Part. First, by Ardent, aka [livejournal.com profile] ardent_muses. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. What, you thought I'd do a set of comfort fics and not include a dS story? Clearly, you're thinking of some other idiosyncratic multi-fandom recommender, because when I think comfort, I think about Mounties and Chicago cops engaging in sodomy. And this story - well, it's sweet, but that's what comfort fic is all about, right? Not an angst particle in sight. There's mention of reticulated giraffes, though, and some speculation that I hope is libel about where Fraser gets his sex instruction. And there's a first line that will make my "Top Ten Reasons I Love DS" list, should I ever write it, because there just aren't many fandoms in which a story could reasonably begin after the candy cane factory explosion, and there are hardly any in which the characters could spend the first section covered in candy cane syrup without any explanation whatsoever. Only in dS do we just let that sort of thing go right on by. Because, let's face it, weirder things happen all the time in the canon - no, they do, and I'm not going to tell you to watch said canon again. Or, actually, I am, but I'm not going to go on and on about it. Instead, I will say that this story rates unusually high on the comfortmeter even in this very comforting fandom. And then I will wave cheerfully and go off to take yet another nap. G'night, all!

[Super Secret Bonus for dS Fans! Limited Time Only!]
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I appear to have a lot of rec'ing stored up inside; if you started reading this LJ recently enough that two posts a month seems normal to you, rest assured that it isn't, and neither is two posts a day. I hope to rediscover my happy medium soon. In the meantime: look! Stories to read!

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

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

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

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

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

* Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] liviapenn!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I thought that since so many of us here in the States will be over-indulging on Thursday, now might be a good time to remind everyone about the dangers of excess consumption. To wit, that it can lead to gay sex.

And now we see why I will never get a job writing public service announcements.

But, no, really - the drunkfic is a classic of slash literature (I think calling it "slash literature" adds a certain je ne sais quois, don't you?), and this is a time of year for the classics. Turkey, for example. Apple pie. And, of course, alcohol-fueled gay, gay sex. Thank god for tradition, I say.

Best FF That Shows Us That Random Strangers in Parking Lots Have Many Lessons to Teach Us, Not That I Would Advise You to Let Them. Fifth Wheel, by Emily Brunson, aka [livejournal.com profile] janissa11. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. There's nothing more traditional than the Uncomfortable Drunken Conversation. We've all had them. We've all wished we could forget them. But that's because most of them don't end quite as well as this one does. (I hereby wish to apologize to the guy whose name begins with M that I laughed at after he took his pants off in Tracy's bedroom lo these many years ago, and to say that I wish I'd handled the subsequent Uncomfortable Drunken Coversation a bit better. Let me pass on to you an important thing I learned that night: alcohol lowers inhibitions. That doesn't just mean you'll have sex when you'd otherwise think twice. It means you'll laugh at really inappropriate times, too, so it's better not to get yourself in situations where you'll find a near-stranger's underwear amusing, and then be totally unable to come up with a convincing lie to cover for that.) I love this story because it gives us solid first season characterizations: Casey is the fucked up one, Danny is the almost stable and very protective one. Plus, you know, it's written by Em, so it's great. And for those of you who know Em's work well, let me just repeat one thing: it ends well.

Best FF That Shows Us That Bugs Bunny Has Many Lessons to Teach Us, Including Self-Confidence, Comfort with All Aspects of Ourselves, and, of Course, the Importance of Knowing Your Way Around Albuquerque. Samurai Jack'ed, by [livejournal.com profile] khaleesian. The Fast and the Furious, Dom Toretto/Brian O'Conner. A tradition even more embarrassing than the Uncomfortable Drunken Conversation is the Uncomfortable Morning After When Your Memory Is a Complete Blank and You Can't Find Your Clothes. And, really, Dom gets the full, deluxe, all-options version of this, from the friend who can remember what you did and teases you mercilessly to the discovery that you may have made an embarrassing confession last night to the sudden flashes of memory that you'd give a very large sum of money to go away forever. Fortunately, this ends well, too. Provided you consider a sudden discovery of not-so-latent mutual homosexuality "ending well." I love this story 'cause it's so very, very Dom and Brian - Dom controlled beyond all reason, Brian almost as calm as he wants to be, and both of them totally unable to resist fucking each other's brains out. Plus, we finally see what I think of as the "excessive bruising slash cliche" - because, really, sometimes I think all slash characters have platelet disorders or something - put to good use.

Best FF That Shows Us Our Friends Have Many Lessons to Teach Us, Including When and When Not to Make Sarcastic Comments About Masturbation. Reveille, Shalott, aka [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Stargate-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. If you thought waking up with no memory of the night before and a friend who has a sudden, unexpected knowledge of your tattoo count was bad, imagine waking up with no memory and a friend who has a sudden, unexpected knowledge of the inside of your brain. (Not to mention the inside of your thighs, although you'd think Jack and Daniel would expect that, considering the many times this has happened to them in FF.) What important lesson can we take home from this? Beware of aliens offering beverages. In fact, just in general, it's a good idea to stick to bottled water you brought with you when you're exploring strange lands. Waking up with a naked friend and another presence in your mind is one of the better things that can happen to you if you don't. And, in addition to all the other things I love about this story, I love that it does the impossible: it describes an episode of involuntary, uncontrollable telepathy that doesn't squick me. Those of you who know that telepathy is one of my greatest fears are the only ones who will be suitably impressed by this, so the rest of you just trust me: it's damn impressive. Go read this at once.

Best FF That Shows Us That Captain Jack Sparrow Has Many Lessons to Teach Us, and Every Last One of Them Is Illegal in at Least Nine States. But, Hey, Don't Let That Stand in Your Way. First Warning, by Rave, aka [livejournal.com profile] dorkorific* Pirates of the Caribbean, Jack Sparrow/Will Turner. So, if the last story taught us to be careful what we drink in the company of aliens, this story teaches us to be careful what we drink in the company of Captain Jack Sparrow. Though, really, if you needed to be taught that, you should probably have another look at the movie. Here, Jack proves to be, surprisingly, a gentleman. Of course, he's a gentleman who isn't above copping a cheap feel, but then most of them aren't. And Will proves to be, not at all surprisingly, adept at convenient unconsciousness. I bet that got him out of any number of uncomfortable situations growing up. And in addition to the lovely trope of drunken Will and entertained Jack, this story offers us bonus sea shanties! Sort of. Sea shanties sung the way I sing them, actually, which means with only 10% of the words accurate and in the right place. (I'm still convinced there's a song about "Camptown ladies five miles long" and "Camptown rangers" and "something something bay.")

*Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] goat003

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