thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I keep a list of vids I want to rec, divided into three main categories: Dark, Neutral, and Lighter. (There are also a lot of minor categories, like LOL Animation and OMG Pairings. This is why it takes me so long to rec things: I have to translate my notes into English. Anyway.) The idea behind this was to keep all the vids in a given set roughly the same level of cheerfulness.

And then I realized that that is totally stupid. After all, I don't watch them that way. When I watch an especially painful vid, I like to follow it up with something from the Lighter list. It's the vid version of hurt/comfort. So for this set, I'm doing hurt/comfort vid pairs. You can watch the hurty ones totally securely, knowing that your safety vid is the very next rec.

The One That Makes Me Wonder If There's a Rule on Supernatural That Everyone Has to Have That Black Eye Thing at Least Once. Rabbit-Hearted Girl (Raise It Up), by [livejournal.com profile] ancastar. Supernatural.

I have no idea who the first main character of this vid is. She could be basically anyone, since almost all the women of Supernatural that I've seen (in vids, naturally) have been skinny, blonde, and white; in fact, given that this is, you know, a supernatural story, with ghosts and the undead and so on, I wasn't 100% sure she wasn't Mary Winchester until I saw her making out with one of the guys. (I have to believe that if Supernatural had gone the undead intergenerational incest route, I would have seen some commentary on it from one of you. For the record: canonical undead intergenerational incest is something you should post about if you see it. It's a new fannish rule that I'm making.)

I don't know who the second main character is, either, but I am guessing she's the first one's mother. Which just makes the line about raising up the offering extra painful, and also extra appropriate.

But even though neither Best Beloved nor I could identify the women this vid is about, we cared about them; it turns out that three minutes is totally enough to get invested. (It probably didn't help that, given the blondeness and the badassness and the general atmosphere of, you know, supernatural stuff, I associated the younger one in my head with Buffy. This led to expectations that probably didn't help me deal all that well with the end of the vid.) We cared about them, we liked them, and we both ended the vid actually crying. That is a feat of vidding roughly equivalent to writing a complete story, including both a mystery and a romance, in 100 words - taking us from "who the hell is that?" to "OH MY GOD NOOOOOO" in one viewing of a single vid is impressive. And that's why I'm recommending it: it made me care. It made the life of these fictional women matter to me, even though I only knew them as two of the Anonymous Blondes of Supernatural.

The One That Proves That the Only Thing Kinkier Than Duct Tape Is a MythBuster. James Bondage, by [personal profile] thingswithwings. MythBusters.

I have a careful system of downloading vids that keeps me from associating any information about the vid with the filename. Also, just to increase the confusion, I don't watch things right after I download them. (I have some vids that have been waiting for years to be watched. This is the nature of The System, from which we do not deviate.) So I looked at the file name of this vid and thought, "She actually made a vid to James Bondage? This will be worth seeing." (Because I have long been amused by the song.)

And then I saw the intro, and I shrieked loudly enough to be heard in the kitchen, where Best Beloved was feeding the earthling. Apparently I made a lot of noise during the vid (mostly "OH MY GOD" and giggling, I suspect), because Best Beloved came into the computer room and said, "What are you watching?"

"You really need to see this," I told her. I sat her down in front of the computer and pushed play, and she made exactly the same noises. Even though she is the dignified one in this relationship. And I was not surprised.

See, we've actually watched several seasons of Mythbusters, which is not nearly as challenging for me as most TV - in fact, we loved them so much we brought them with us to labor and delivery, and I am terribly sad that season 6 and 7 are not on DVD yet - and one of the things we could not help but notice is that Adam and Jamie have a somewhat singular interaction style. Which is a management-speak way of saying that they don't just have subtext: they have kinky subtext. (We used to imagine the build team explaining things to new hires. "It's going to seem kind of kinky," we imagined Kari saying, "but don't worry. They only do it to each other." We figured Grant probably said, in response, "That's... good?" Tori probably said, "Dude, bummer. So who's going to hit me, then?") Even the announcer usually seems to be slashing Adam and Jamie.

But knowing that, all of that, did not prepare me for this vid - nothing could have. So I will say to you what I said to Best Beloved:

You really need to see this. (Even if you don't watch Mythbusters at all! Although you should try a few episodes. Experiments and explosions and bondage: it's like it was made for people like us.) This is all genuine footage, people! And somehow they still manage to show this on regular television.

The One Where, in Addition to All the Other Horrors, We See Someone Eat a Whole Maraschino Cherry. What? I Have Maraschino Cherry Issues. It Depends on What You Pay, by [livejournal.com profile] giandujakiss. Dollhouse.

Probably the subtitle of this one should be "You May Notice That Dollhouse Has Some Subtle Issues." Truly, this is one of the most horrifying vids I've ever seen that didn't involve either a serial killer or Key the Metal Idol. And unlike with the serial killers (and Key the Metal Idol), it isn't really the imagery that's horrifying; it's what's behind every scene. I don't think I'd even understand this vid if I didn't know a little bit about Dollhouse. But I do. Sort of. What I have gleaned through fannish osmosis is that Dollhouse is about people, mostly women, used as helpless puppets for many things, including sex, which for some reason is not considered rape.

So when I watch this vid, all I can think about is that probably none of these women are actually consenting, or even able to consent, to what's happening to them. (Okay, no. That's the main thing I think about. But I also spend some time wondering why Joss Whedon is so obsessed with sticking needles into women's heads, which is frankly something I didn't want to see in one canon, never mind two. Do men never need a needle to the brain? Or is that just a girl thing? And do girls really need them that often?) Because of that, the part of this that I find the absolute ookiest - the thing that makes me flinch and look away from the scene as though someone just pulled out a chainsaw while laughing maniacally - is near the end, when there's an unconscious woman, and a guy is moving her head around, sort of playing with her, making the whole puppet thing way too explicit. It makes my flesh try to crawl off my body and go hide under the bed.

And, hey, despite the whole Consent? What Consent? thing, this is also a gorgeous vid. And, for me, a really surprising one; I usually have a hard time with vids to music from musicals (um, there had to be a better way to phrase that), and I admit I kind of cringed when I saw the title page. (Three minutes later, it was entirely evident to me that I should have cringed, but not at all for the reason I did.) But this is a perfect song choice and a perfectly-done vid. The fact that it will make you want to go take a shower, possibly while still wearing all your clothes, is just a bonus.

The One That Will Leave Me Forever Wondering about Vampire Curling. Do They Sweep Faster Than Lightning? Kung Fu Fighting, by [livejournal.com profile] chamalla. Twilight.

I am not a Twilight fan. I've never read the books, I've never seen the movies, and my familiarity with the characters comes entirely from watching my twenty-month-old child stare soulfully at Edward posters. (True and embarrassing fact: I bought him some Twilight paper plates at Target last week. His whole face lit up when he saw them, so I let him hold them and hoped that maybe he'd forget about them by the time we got to the checkout and I could put them back, but he gripped them tightly all the way through the store; he wouldn't even let them go so the checker could scan them.) So maybe it is just because I live with the Littlest Robert Pattinson Fan, but this vid made me laugh my ass off.

I mean, okay, the song is - yeah. But I cannot think of a better song for what appears to be footage of vampire teenagers playing baseball using their secret vampire powers. (Said powers consisting, let me add, mostly of being attached to wires. I am surprised I couldn't see the wires in some of the leaping shots, really.) It's just - okay. When I think "epic vampire battle," I don't think in terms of baseball caps and those tight Capri-style pants. (Is there a name for those pants?) It just loses something when the worst possible result of a major vampire-on-vampire showdown is someone getting the third out.

But this vid. Oh, this vid loses nothing. Every time I watch it, I giggle harder and harder: vampire baseball! Wire-assisted leaps (spoiler: there are a lot of leaps)! Random floor explosions! The dramatic midair collisions! And, of course, the part where they break what appears to be every single window in Forks (it is Forks, right?), Washington.

I tell you what: there is nothing to provide comfort after some extremely hurty consent issues like vampire baseball.

(Also, important question I have after watching this vid: do Twilight vampires ever have, you know, expressions? Even I could tell that these people were somewhat flat of affect, and Best Beloved seemed actually disturbed by it.)
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Here are some things I felt like recommending! Seriously, that's the whole theme, here.

(Side note: If you wonder, as I sometimes do, why our entertainment products appear to be made by straight white men for straight white men, you might want to read this or, if you can, donate a little something to a woman filmmaker.)

The One That Makes Me Wonder Why No One Ever Covered Safe Mind-Melding in My Middle School and High School Sex Ed Classes. Did They Not Care About My Health and Safety? You'll Get There in the End (It Just Takes a While), by [livejournal.com profile] seperis. Star Trek Reboot, Jim Kirk/Spock. (Does Spock have a first name? A last name? And why is it Spock, when all other Vulcans seem to be named things like T'Pippi and T'Eppic and T'Pain and T'Eyla?)

So. These days, I do most of my fan fiction reading on my Kindle, which means a delay of anything up to five years (not really) between finding the story and getting it read. (People who write long stories and put them all on one page with no tables: I love you forever. Many times my will has just broken faced with twelve or fourteen separate posts to consolidate.) While this story was waiting to be converted to Kindle format, I went to an OTW committee meeting in which it was described as, "Everything you'd ever want from a pon farr story." (This is why OTW is more fun than any other non-profit in the world. You get recs along with your work. Also, we tend to end most meetings talking about tentacle porn; if we ever get committee mascots, ours will be a tentacle waving proudly, possibly clutched around a big shiny coin.)

Obviously, that booted the priority waaaaaay up. I mean, I don't even have any wants from a pon farr story, or I didn't - I only actually know what pon farr is because of a) Killa and T. Jonesy's vid and b) because people talk about, like, vid farr and fic farr and so I had to get a précis from Best Beloved a while back. But it doesn't matter, because that is so totally right: this is everything I never even knew I wanted from a pon farr story. And, having read it, I want several million more. I totally understand how this whole slash thing got started, now.

(Also, I don't know if this is canon or Reboot or just fanon, but I love how Spock is, in this story, all, I am totally the least emotional person on the planet la la la logic is my only guiding force, and he's actually totally faking it. Because you cannot tell me he's not making emotional decisions here. He's just, you know, putting a logical face on it. As far as I can tell, Vulcans aren't emotionless, they're just bringing new depth to the concept of repression. No wonder fandom loves them so much.)

The One That Makes Me Think We Should Institute a Program of Mandatory Homosexuality for Los Angeles Police Officers. Apparently It Makes Them Eaiser to Deal with, and God Knows That Would Be a Very Welcome Change. Son Is on a Midnight Run Like DeNiro, by [livejournal.com profile] hackthis. Southland, John Cooper/Ben Sherman.

(First, an important note. When I rule the universe, there will be a 25 year moratorium on naming fictional characters John or Jack, and anyone who tries to use either name will have his character named by me, instead, and I can tell you right now that the first one is going to be Gervase. I have had it with this. There are baby name books for a reason, television writers! How hard is it to find a name that doesn't already belong to a major character in every other time slot? Not hard at all. Just pick something that isn't John or Jack. Seriously: Evil Overlord TFV forbids fictional Johns and Jacks. Unless your main character is a girl, and then you can name her John J. Jackson III if you want to.)

Okay. I really needed to say that. But, aside from the John Issue (NO MORE JOHNS EVER I MEAN IT OR IT'S THE SALAD MINES FOR YOU), I kind of love this canon. I mean, I have no idea what it is - the lovely [livejournal.com profile] qe2 told me that it's about a canonically gay cop in LA, but that's where my knowledge ends. He could be a canonically gay robot cop in a post-apocalyptic LA populated mostly by centaurs and monkeys, for all I know.

Although in that case, this would be an AU. Because one of the many things I love about this story is - okay. I live in Los Angeles. And this is Los Angeles. I can picture these places! I have driven down that street! I would kill Ben Sherman and eat his corpse to own his house! (No, not really, but I can find you a thousand people who would.) I have no idea if [livejournal.com profile] hackthis lives here or if she does really awesome research (I suspect the latter, mostly because I have long suspected that she lives in a secret space habitat orbiting the earth, where she creates superplants and bends them to her will), but either way: oh my god, this is SO Los Angeles. And I love it.

And I love these characters even more. (Yes, even though one of them is named John. I am prepared to forgive even that. This time. Next time, though, it is Gervase for sure.) This is a classic slash epic, involving a main character who is broken (but getting better) and grouchy (but well-meaning) and hot totally despite himself, and I love that.

And I also love, let me add, that the younger, inexperienced partner here is totally the sexual aggressor, and does none of that virginal squeaking that we sometimes see. He's all: yes, I want to do this, now let's get some cocks in play, sir. I deeply, deeply love that. I can't tell you how much.

The One That Will, for the Next Ten Years or So, Make You Snicker Helplessly Anytime Anyone Suggests Purchasing a Shag Rug. And Then Argue That Sex Toys Should Not Come out of the House Maintenance Budget. Hi, I'm Captain Jack Harkness, by [livejournal.com profile] frostfire_17. Star Wars x Torchwood, Chewbacca/Jack Harkness.

I am going to sit back for a bit and let that pairing sink in. Now, after it has sunk in but before you run away screaming, I'm going to share with you my own thought process when I saw this:

Me: I, um. Wookiee [and why does my spellchecker know Chewbacca but not Wookiee?]/human sex? Um. I really don't think...
Me: But it's Frostfire, though. She can make me like any pairing. I mean, okay, she's never challenged my limits this much, but...
Me: And if anyone was going to do it, it'd be Captain Jack Harkness.
Me: Oh, who am I kidding? I'm going to read this.

And I did. And I was very, very glad I did. I mean, it would be worth reading just for the introduction, with its slightly frantic explanation of how she came to write this (and, even though she posted it for Kink Bingo, Kink Bingo is not to blame; she just sat down one day and decided to write this of her own free will, and I really had not believed I could love her more, but that did it), but it gets even better than that. It's Jack! And Chewbacca! And Jack so totally would do Chewbacca, and I can't even blame him (although the thought of all that hair touching me makes me want to claw my own skin off, but Jack does not have my issues, or, at this point in his canon, any actual issues that I can tell). And I totally have to congratulate Jack for having the good sense to pick out the best sentient being in the room.

But most of all, I love this story because it made me realize that Jack Harkness isn't kinky. Kinky, to me, requires that you have an unusual focus on one - or several - areas of sexual interest. (Fur! Bondage! Opera glasses and bouffant hairdos! Whatever.) Jack has no special focus whatsoever - he's equally interested in all fields of sexual endeavor. His preference is, basically, any way you want it. Which means that to me Jack Harkness is the definition of vanilla. Obviously I need to work on my terms a bit.

The One That Teaches Us That If You're Going to Do a Spurious Magical Ritual, You Should Do It Outside. Preferably While Armed with Electric Cattleprods, Just in Case. Accidents Will Happen, by [personal profile] holli. Supernatural, gen.

Oh, adolescence. A time of rebellion! A time of unfortunate fashion choices! A time when you accidentally bring the dead back to life in your parents' basement!

Okay, maybe that didn't happen to you. It didn't happen to me, either. But I did once spend four extremely boring hours listening to the angst of a guy who was absolutely convinced he was possessed by a ghost. I had mono, and I was in no mood, and I ended up faking an exorcism just to get him to shut up and let me sleep. (Seriously: I took my middle school Latin - yes, I did say "amo, amas, amat" at one point, so thank you for that, Mrs. Scher - and some candles and some assorted cooking herbs and spices and unpossessed him. And the lesson here is: don't get between a sick person and her bed.) If I'd been living in the world of Supernatural, probably I would have ended up desouling him or something.

I just love this story, and I love these characters - I think I used to know them, in fact - and most of all I love the perspective this provides on the Supernatural universe. Because, sure, there are badass demon hunters with magical guns and magical cocks (I may be wrong about the magical guns, but I can cite several million stories on the magical cocks thing), but there must also be lots of suburban girls with random superpowers. (Also, I bet fire insurance is a bitch to get in the SPN world. And every year good actuaries probably go mad, tearing at their hair and shrieking, "But my predictions should have been correct!")

And let me finish this with a helpful hint for any teenagers reading this: if you accidentally summon a big unconscious naked guy, for the love of god lock him up and call someone. Do not talk to him. Do not get him a blanket. Do not look directly at him unless you're absolutely sure he's out cold. That kind of situation is the definition of something you want to be someone else's problem.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I love vids. Even more, I love the twisty minds that vidders have. Okay, first, they must watch, like, a lot of source. A lot. Whenever I consider what it takes to be a vidder, the very first thing that stuns me is - holy shit, these people have to watch stuff all the time. I myself do not have the necessary brain power to watch that much, so it's kind of stunning.

But it's the way they watch stuff that is so especially wonderful. Your average ordinary viewer might watch 45 minutes of a TV show and be like, "Well, the plot was pretty good, but I could have lived forever without that upskirt shot, and I really wish we could have seen more Peregrine and Tucker." (Note: names not from an actual fandom as far as I know.) Whereas I imagine a vidder watching those same 45 minutes and, at about 21:13, sitting bolt upright, groping feverishly for the remote control, and shrieking: "ORGASM FACE ORGASM FACE ORGASM FACE YESSSSSSSS!" Or, "Oh my god, the backgrounds look exactly the same, and the motel beds look exactly the same - I can cut that so they look like they're lying in the SAME BED even though they're in different rooms." Or, "Did she seriously just lean in, smile, and then TURN HER HEAD? The gods smile upon me."

Vidders, in short, must be experts at taking things out of context. It's their gift! (One of many, actually.) And because they also sometimes have, well, ever-so-slightly dirty minds, very often what they do with their out of context shots is - well. As follows. (Note that you don't need to know the fandoms for any of these vids. You just need to know what two hot guys do when they're alone.)

The One That Will Likely Someday Win a Prize for Best Ever Use of Unicorn Horns out of Context. Reach out and Touch Me, by [livejournal.com profile] solanyxe. Merlin, Merlin/Arthur Pendragon. (And how.)

Sooooooo. I don't really know how to summarize this one. I mean, I could say, "Here we have Arthur setting his sights on Merlin, hunting him down like an exceptionally hot and tasty unicorn, and then fucking him into the ground." But that would be - hmmm. Accurate, actually.

And yet it all uses footage from a show that airs on regular television. Now, admittedly, it's British regular television, and probably they have mutant British-style rules. (Like, I don't know - maybe "It's totally acceptable to show two guys getting to third base in prime time if they're celebrating their country's victory in the World Cup." Could be anything, is my point. They're wild and crazy over there.) Still. I'm pretty sure that if they had actually shown footage of Merlin and Arthur having sex, someone would have told me. (And if that did happen and no one told me: really, people. I'm hurt.)

This vid, in short, is a masterpiece of taking shots that a number of people - actors, directors, editors, the guy who gets the coffee for any of the above - saw and thought were perfectly clean and PG-rated and suitable for showing to nuns and grandparents, and turning them into something you have to watch twice to be sure there's no actual penetration shown.

The One That Takes the Phrase "In My Pants" to a Whole New Level. One Where You Will Probably Hurt Yourself Laughing. Supernatural (In My Pants>, by [personal profile] deirdre_c. Supernatural, Dean Winchester/Sam Winchester (plus assorted inanimate objects and light breezes).

I have to wonder what the creative process was for this vid. I'm guessing it was, "You know, Sam and Dean make a lot of funny faces. I bet I could do something really evil with that." Where "really evil" means "likely to cause neighbors to call the police because of the prolonged hysterical laughter."

Because. Okay. We had to declare a moratorium on all Supernatural vids for about two weeks after Best Beloved and I watched this, because we'd be watching this very deep, moving exploration of Dean's anguish, and the camera would zoom in on his face and he would look tormented and then, inevitably, one of us would mutter, "in my pants." Or just hum a little. And then we'd both collapse into giggles. What I'm saying is, this vid destroyed my ability to take manpain seriously. I'm not sure if this means we should bottle [livejournal.com profile] deirdre_c and sell her, or if it means we should lock her up for the good of fandom. Maybe both.

This vid also has one of the best builds I've experienced in recent memory. At first, I was like, "Oh, yeah, Sam/Dean, I get you, but what is with this song choice? I seriously do not get why...okay, I see why, but that doesn't explain - okay, it kind of does, but...[COLLAPSES LAUGHING]." I suspect that will be your experience, too.

The One Where the Cars Are a Metaphor, but Not a Very Subtle One. Mmm Papi, by [livejournal.com profile] talitha78/[personal profile] talitha78. Whatever it is that we're calling The Fast and the Furious fandom these days, Brian O'Conner/Dom Toretto/a whole bunch of cars.

I admit it: I haven't seen Fast and Furious. I want to! I do! But I have an eleven-month-old earthling. The idea of getting two hours to watch a movie is far-fetched. The idea of going to a theater without the earthling and spending upwards of three hours there is - well. It's also entirely possible that sometime this month I might win a lottery, despite never buying a ticket. The odds are roughly the same.

But, nonetheless, I heard the squee - and suspiciously ecstatic moaning gasping noises - that shot around fandom when the movie came out. There were a lot of incoherent posts along the lines of, "I - I did not - did they seriously - OH MY GOD BEST MOVIE EVER!" I assume some day I will get to see why.

Except I already kind of have. Because, for one thing, I've seen the first movie, which should have been titled, The Fast and the Furious: It Makes Perfect Sense Provided You Assume They're Fucking. (I'm guessing the fourth one is secretly called Fast and Furious: Now Even We, the Filmmakers, Have to Assume They're Fucking.) For another - well. I've seen this vid.

I admit that Talitha78 didn't have to take things very far out of the context for this one, since 40% of the first movie consists of longing stares between Dom and Brian, and a further 20% consists of very loosely disguised metaphors for sex between Dom and Brian. (I can only hope the fourth one measures up.) But. Still. This vid takes the essence of the movies (Dom and Brian: so in love and so totally doing it) and makes them reality.

Plus, there is a sequence that makes it very clear that the whole thing with the cars is not so much repressed homoeroticism as it is a chance to do some explicit man-on-man action without the MPAA getting all het up.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
I'm going to Vividcon! And, in celebration, I have vid recs. But first, a VVC-related comment and poll:

VVC! )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(FIRST. VID. HOW? HOW?)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love this vid so much, which is a strange thing to say about something that's equal parts dead humans, robotic overlords, and various apocalypses. (Like a Jonathan Coulton album! Except not funny. Really not.) But it's gorgeous and so brilliantly edited and it does in three minutes what it took science fiction a childhood to do for me. Watch. Learn. And fear the future.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
It's the new year! And I don't know about you, but at this time every year I find myself kind of - not overloaded on fan fiction, no. I could never be that. But dithering helplessly, picking up first this amazingly awesome SGA story and then that incredible Oz story and then, oh my god, thousands of stories, many in fandoms so small that they weren't technically fandoms until December 25th. I mean, right now I have more than two hundred tabs open in my LJ window. (And that does not include Yuletide stories.) Any more and my computer is going to find a way to shock me every time I off-click on something.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steampunk Stargate. I mean, I kind of like the Vaguely Frank Lloyd Wright, Vaguely the Whim of the Producer's Nephew look they currently have going on, but this - well. Go! Look! Marvel!
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Not last time but the time before (although I am still totally on my deadline, so there), I signed up for Sweet Charity. The person who won me was [livejournal.com profile] adbaculum. Probably everyone who sells herself for charity has a moment of terror when she gets the request, but [livejournal.com profile] adbaculum's was actually pretty cool. Basically, she wanted me to rec some vids that might show her why vidding is cool, since she doesn't watch vids much.

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

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

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

Why vids? )
Which vids? )
What's worth watching in vids? )
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
So. Hi! I've been recovering from surgery for the past, um, two and a half weeks. (For the record: ouch. But my defective part is gone now, and I am supposed to be nearly as good as new, at least when the swelling goes away. In the meantime, I have drugs.)

Fandom looks entirely different filtered through pain and pain medication, though, let me tell you. (It all goes really really fast, for one thing. I kept thinking, all the first week after the surgery, "How do they type so much? I can't even stay awake to read it all!" As you will see, though, I have remembered how we all type so much. Yay?)

One thing I did manage to do - in fact, I did it right after the surgery, so there's only a 30% chance any of it makes sense - was the first round of [livejournal.com profile] strangefandom. I was determined not to miss that no matter how many people came at me with small sharp knives. Because, basically, the minute I saw the project, I thought, "Yes. This was designed for me." See, it's a project where you watch vids in fandoms you know nothing about. And you crazy kids with your "watching of the television," you don't do that all that often. But I pretty much always do.

(Let me pause for a true story: a man came around the other day to sell us a different cable provider, and I was home clutching my stomach and blinking at dust motes, so of course I answered the door. He said, "So, who provides your cable now?"

I said, "We don't have cable." He just stood there, every line of his body clearly saying, "What? Who doesn't have cable?" He quite obviously didn't believe me. I'm not sure if it was just panic or what that made me confess to him that we also don't get regular television, but after that, I could tell he was thinking: "Alien or liar? It must be one or the other, and if I can just figure out which, I'll know if it's safe to leave this porch."

It was awkward, and I wanted to sit down, so I said, in an overly bright and cheerful tone, "Well, we do have a DVD player!" I don't know why I said it. I'd blame the drugs, but the truth is I thought it might make him feel better; I had clearly challenged his whole worldview. A man does not expect this when he enters door-to-door cable sales.

He said, "So, what, you," and there was a pause while he considered what a person without cable or regular TV might do with her life, "go to Blockbuster a lot?"

And I said, "Um. No." And then I apologized, although I'm not sure for what.

We stood there for some long, long seconds, and then he backed away and went to talk to our neighbors, who, luckily, definitely do have cable. I hope it made him feel better.)

Anyway, my point is: vids are often my first exposure to a fandom. Sometimes that's not the case; sometimes I've read stories in the fandom, and then it's all happy discovery: "That's JACK'S CABIN!" I remember squeaking happily to Best Beloved during one vid. "It's REAL!" Sometimes, though, I don't even know what the fandom is. (And, seriously - vidders, you would be doing me a great favor if you put the fandom in the vid's credits. I don't care how obvious you think it is. Trust me. I am capable of missing things much more obvious than that.) In that case, it's all a lot of glorious hypothesizing. (Me: "I think that guy is a bad guy. I mean, do good guys wear hats like that?" BB: "Does anyone wear hats like that?" Me: "Well, obviously in the future they do." And then we fervently agree that it's probably a good thing we won't live to see that particular time, which will likely be called the Century of the Bad Hat.)

My point is, [livejournal.com profile] strangefandom was just like that, except I got to write my initial crazy ideas down. While I was on drugs. And I think today one of my synopses will be posted, so you should all go over and check it out, because a) did I mention the drugs? and b) oh my god, you have to see the vid. [livejournal.com profile] sdwolfpup had to promise to explain the fandom to me in small words after it's all over; it's all gay sex and naked men and bad special effects.

So, in celebration of strangers in strange fandoms, I give you vid recs for fandoms that are vid-only for me. In other words, I'm going to suggest you watch vids in which I have no idea what's going on. Trust me! Come on, trust me! (Or just go to [livejournal.com profile] strangefandom. The people there will probably be funnier.)

Vid recommendations this way. )
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)
So. Someone on my friends list linked to the YouTube clip about the T.S. Eliot Equation, and I realized it could be used to prove three things about me:
  1. I won't have any cats in my old age, because zero divided by anything is always zero. This is good, because I am tragically allergic to cats.

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

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

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

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

That said, shall we get right to the crossovers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope.

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

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

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

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

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

Not Actually a Bonus: I should never have brought up the Iliad in close conjunction with Hercules. I see this now, but it's too late. I'm already picturing Hercules and Iolaus encountering Achilles and Patroclus. (Which, huh, I guess they pretty much could have. Did they?) My head is ground zero of a very unfortunate crossover that involves a hell of a lot of pouting, people. Yikes.
thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Family has been on my mind a lot lately. Guess what that means? Family fan fiction, yup.

The One That Proves Conclusively That the DCU Is Where There's a Daddy Issue Under Every Rock, and Where Family Therapists Can Never, Ever Get Life Insurance. Reconcilable Differences, by Shalott, aka [livejournal.com profile] astolat. Fused and bastardized Smallville and DCU, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. See, now, one of the things I love about Smallville is the family stories - Clark and Lex and their assorted parents just give rise to so many glorious disasters, you know? But that raises the question: what would happen if they were parents? Well, in the DCU canon, they are. Of the same kid, one Kon-El, aka Connor Kent, who got a raw fucking deal from DCU, but we're not going to talk about that now. Because this, this is the story that makes it all better. (Okay, 70% better. I'm never going to forgive DC entirely. I am just not that big a person.) See, even before the Recent Events of Unforgivable Unfairness Kon kind of - I mean, he's got an evil genius for one parent, and a tights-wearing superdork for the other, and also he starts out in life 13, which is so unfair there aren't even words. And Clark always treated him like a kind of...well. Inconvenience.

In this story, Lex gets a chance to have his say, and a chance to show that just because someone is an evil genius doesn't necessarily mean he's a bad person. (I know, I know. Lex brings these little brain twisters into our lives, and, really, I'm grateful.) Tim (Drake, aka Robin 3 and 5, and, seriously, if you don't know about him: OMG TIIIIIIIM! Sorry, I get incoherent when I'm talking about the Timbat.) also gets a chance to be, well, the Tim he was always meant to be. (He pulls off a feat in this story that should go down in the record books. Actually, I suspect it is going down in at least two record books; it's just that Batman and Lex Luthor aren't likely to look on it as a positive accomplishment, which it so obviously is.) I loved this story basically from the third paragraph, but I managed to contain the noises of undignified glee until I got to the scene with the underage drinking. Best underage drinking scene ever. And no one even has sex! (In that specific scene, I mean.)

The One That, Considered in Comparison with the Previous Rec, Indicates That John Sheppard's Parents Were Worse Than Lex Luthor. I Hope They Feel Terrible. Lost in Waiting, by [livejournal.com profile] laceymcbain. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. See, now, I would have said that a story featuring a virgin John Sheppard would need to be a massive, massive AU - like [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone's Priest John AU, say. So what alarms me about this story is how AU it isn't. I mean, I won't say that this is canon John, exactly - but he's. Okay. Am I the only one who looks at the way John acts and compares it to what the writers seem to believe about him and thinks, those are not the same people? (If I am, then, well, prepare for me to sound like an idiot.) This story is about, not the John they write about, but the John I see on the screen.

And, whoa, what a fucked up John he is, too. (And, hello, no, I am not saying virginity makes you a fucked up person. You can be a virgin at 38 and be an absolutely level, balanced, sane, and stable person - and, even if you're not exactly balanced, well. I am hardly one to suggest that the people having loads of random sex with assorted other people whose names they don't know - or want to - are the truly healthy ones. Been there, done that, had the subsequent decade of therapy, people.) This is a guy who, on his Pegasus Galaxy Embarkation Form, presumably wrote "Personal Item: One DVD of an old football game, and three million massive, hairy issues, including two so large they will also be part-time staff members." And, you know, you have to wonder. The Ancients: a bunch of irresponsible, skeevy people with dominance issues. John Sheppard: Issues Boy. Jack O'Neill: Repression of Issues Boy. Maybe the ATA gene has side effects, is my point here. It'd explain a lot about the Ancients and their massively unfortunate science experiments.

The One That Shows That Even If You, Yourself, Are More or Less Free of Family Issues, They Can Still by God Reach out and Grab You. (Yes, They Are in Fact Like Monsters in the Closet. Only with More Fangs.) Family Portrait, by [livejournal.com profile] dsudis. Dead Zone, Walt Bannerman/Sarah Bannerman/Johnny Smith. (Although not so intently that gen fans could not read this. No, the people who should avoid this one are those who are liable to be upset by - well, can I just say disturbing content and let it go at that?) In the life sweepstakes, Johnny Smith has completely and totally lost. You know how, at the end of Season 2, the Buffy writers tried to take away her entire life? They didn't get nearly as cruel as the assorted Dead Zone writers and creators did. I guess that just proves the old axiom: when Stephen King sets out to destroy your life, boy howdy are you screwed. And if that's not an old axiom, it should be.

This story proves that nothing is normal, simple, or easy if you're Johnny Smith. And, okay, I know those of you with children would probably laugh at the idea of school supply shopping being easy. (In fact, I'd like to take a moment right here and now to apologize to my father for the year I would only accept folders not manufactured on the planet earth. Or that might as well have been my criterion, given how many I refused.) But at least you've never had a vision while school supply shopping. (And if you have, I trust and hope that you, at any rate, were simply standing too close to the permanent markers.) Because, really, a vision can ruin your whole day, as we learn here. Of course, we also learn that it can lead to a future of glorious threesomes. One of the many things I love about FF is that in it, Johnny's life doesn't always totally suck.

The One That Can Serve As Inspiration to Non-Traditional Families Everywhere. Well. Non-Traditional Families That Do a Heck of a Lot of Demon Slaying, Anyway. Family Comes First, by [livejournal.com profile] ethrosdemon. Supernatural, gen. (Or, if you prefer, non-explicit Sam Winchester/OFC.) I'd like to pause here to squeeze [livejournal.com profile] ethrosdemon until she damn near pops for writing a Supernatural story I can actually read. Oh, SPN: you have so many fabulous writers, and I want to read you so much, and yet you are denied to me (although, major points to [livejournal.com profile] maygra, who came up with a way that I could read at least some SPN - give that girl a prize, is my thinking on that one). I mean, apart from any personal problems of my own, so much SPN FF keeps me up at nights, insisting that the dogs patrol the house every five minutes and flinching away from shadows, noises, and my own hands. (Look. I am not good with horror. Seriously. You don't want to know about the night I read Misery after mandatory lights out in a psychiatric hospital, but suffice to say that it proved that I really, really, really am not destined to be cuddlebunnies with the horror genre. There's this scene in that book where - well, I won't go into it, but I still see spots and get dizzy when I think about it.)

I love this story because it shows that love isn't the only thing that makes a family. You also need, in nearly all cases, at least a few tablespoons of fucked-up-ness. Of course, given the background of the Winchester gang, that's more like "8 cups of fucked-up-ness, whipped to a light and pleasing froth and folded in," but this is not necessarily a bad thing. It just gives me all the more joy when they manage to make it work. For definitions of "work" that include "a non-traditional, multi-parent family that goes back to demon-slaying after the kid goes into first grade," but tradition is important, people. If your father was a demon-slayer, by god, you should be, too. Or, okay. You can try to avoid it, but the demons will probably come for you in the end anyway. (And, wow. That gives me an entirely new perspective on "They fuck you up, your mum and dad/They may not mean to, but they do." In the Winchester edition of Larkin's poems, I'm betting the next two lines are, "They curse you with the fiends they had/Then add some extra, just for you.")

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