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27 May 2004 @ 01:11 pm
Slashy Nominations 46: Death Is Not the Worst That Can Happen to Men  
Although there are times when we have to repeat that and repeat that and repeat that. Because it's a cold comfort to know, for example, that if Rowling had kept Sirius alive, she'd have kept on destroying him until we wished he was dead. So, today's theme: death in canon, and how FF authors react to it. Does this have any relationship to my recent exploration of the Buffyverse? What do you think?

Best FF That Leaves Me Liking Not One, but Two Characters I Never Much Liked in the Canon: Jason and Me, by David Hines, hradzka. Batman and Robin (or somewhere roughly similar), gen. Jason was Robin II. Jason died. Pretty horribly, in fact - just basically the Death You Would Not Wish on Anyone. So, how do subsequent Robins cope with that? Well, I suspect Tim coped by:
  1. Researching every circumstance and foible that led to Jason's death
  2. Ensuring that he was in no way vulnerable on any of those fronts
  3. Stealing a special Reanimation Tech from a secret government agency and keeping it on him at all times
  4. Reassuring himself that it could never, ever happen to him, because he'd Taken Steps to prevent it
  5. Updating his will and testament, just in case.
But that's Tim. (As I see him, at any rate.) How is Robin IV going to handle it? Well, David's got that covered.

Best Songfic That Is Touching and Right and Better at Addressing Certain Issues Than the Canon Will Ever Be. Yes, Songfic. God Help Us All.: Ghost, Descending, by wrack. Harry Potter, Sirius Black/Remus Lupin. And the prize for least necessary death-in-canon goes to: J.K. Rowling, for killing Sirius Black! Do I need to explain why? I mean, yes, I get that she didn't know what to do with him - the whole of Order of the Phoenix was pretty persuasive on that score. And, yes, I get that there had to be a sacrifice to get the death 'n' misery of the last two books started right, and some random red shirt student introduced in the same book he's killed in wasn't good enough no matter how nice he was. But, really - I'd ream a FF author who killed a major character so pointlessly and then so completely failed to resolve said death by the end of her story, even if the story was To Be Continued. I cannot fail to ream JKR even more. After all, I don't pay for FF, and I don't have to believe it. So, this FF is yet another in the long series of stories proving that FF authors are dealing with JKR's mess better than she could. And this is an extra-good one, at that - this author captures how it feels to keep reaching for someone who just. Isn't. There.

Best FF That Proves the Inherent Unkindness of Anti-Undead Precautions: Little Blue Bottles, by Kate Bolin, katemonkey*. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, gen. So. Kendra died. I hope this isn't a surprise to anyone. I didn't watch the episode where she bit it. The Best Beloved's summary, which featured the phrase "Mr. Pointy" rather too prominently, was more than enough to make me sad. (And this despite the fact that I haven't watched a single second of Kendra actually alive in the canon, either.) I was not made for the Jossverse, people - I don't like it when characters die in canon. (See also Sirius Black, above.) Especially ones that never really had much of a life at all (See also Robin II, above) and that apparently aren't having much of a death, either. (In the world o' Buffy, death doesn't stop a person from having fun - see also Spike, various. But Kendra just never gets any, does she?)

Best FF That Is So Full of Nifty Parallels It's Physically Painful Not to Catalog Them All: Promise, by Shirasade, shirasade_fic. Lord of the Rings, and this has a Tolkien-esque feel but appears to be based on the movies. So we'll call it LotR Blend and leave it at that. Legolas/Aragorn. Let's talk about a death that doesn't make me sad or bitter or resentful. Aragorn is meant to die. His death is right, and it comes at the right time, and he's lived well - and if there was ever a good way to die, lying down after a fantastic life and saying, "hey, now's my time" has to be it. And Aragorn is emblematic of an age, of an era - until he goes, Middle Earth can't move on. Which is why I love this story. Because this story shows us a person who can't move on until Aragorn dies. Somehow, for me, this nicely balances the person who can never move on at all. And I'm starting to scare myself with the lit-crit words that I keep having to delete as I write this, so, in the words of Auron: this ends now.

Best FF That Proves the Title of This Nominations Set Is Right: Empire of Dirt, by Gemma Files**. Once Upon a Time in Mexico, El Mariachi/Agent Sands. And, finally, an extra story. Because when your whole canon is about death and saturated in death, really, does it matter who lives and who dies? Well, yes, a bit. Apparently. I include this here because I think it's fairly conclusive proof that Plato knew whereof he spoke: death is, indeed, not the worst that can happen to men. I would submit that El and Sands would probably both, at least in this story, sort of rather be dead. (And, yes, there's a character death-in-canon mentioned in here. Actually, there's a bunch. If there's one thing this canon isn't short on, it's deaths.)

* Thanks for the confirmation, minervacat!
** Thanks for the link, ardent_muses!
penknife: bat (by Te)penknife on May 27th, 2004 02:16 pm (UTC)
Ooh, yes, "Jason and Me" was terrific, although it didn't actually leave me liking Steph. Mainly I think because Steph is so hard on Oracle in it, in ways that feel ... well, mean. But it's a great story.
tried to eat the safe banana: stitchbrathefourthvine on May 27th, 2004 03:50 pm (UTC)
Actually, Steph is not one of the two. Because I don't think there's any force on earth, not even David Hines, who could make me like her. I just...and...and she's so...and of course it doesn't help that I want Robin to be a boy.
David Hineshradzka on May 31st, 2004 01:14 am (UTC)
Now I'm curious: who're the two?

And thanks muchly for the rec!
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on May 31st, 2004 07:40 pm (UTC)
Jason and Oracle. I only knew Jason in retrospect - he'd died by the time I knew Batman from Superman. Mostly what I knew about him was his death, plus that he was a very screwed-up kid. But your story, while it didn't exactly cast him in a positive light, at least did show some of his strengths and good points, and made him more than just a body in a box, so to speak, just a dead kid. So I ended up liking him more.

And I've never had much use for Oracle; she's always seemed like an empty space to me. Lots of stuff has happened to her in the canon, but, at least for me, she's never really gelled as a person, never really become more than a pivot point for various plots. But she the way she reacts to Steph (and the way Steph reacts to her) - well, it's different, and once I thought about why that was, I liked Oracle a lot more.

There's a story set in the X-Men comicsverse by alestar called "Throw My Head Away." Something similar happens there; Bobby (Iceman) decides to change his code name and goes around asking all the other team members what they think. I smiled and nodded all the way through that one, because she so perfectly nails each person in just a little time - how they react, what they think, how they talk. You get as much character in 50 comic books as you do in that short story. And the story is way more coherent.

Same thing with "Jason and Me," except that I don't know the DCU as well as the Marvel one. (And I don't know either of them well at all.) So instead of thinking: "Yeah, that it's! That is exactly right! Oh, perfect!" I was thinking: "Interesting. Now, why...oh, I see...oh, that does make sense. I get it now!"
David Hines: cass groovyhradzka on May 31st, 2004 01:13 am (UTC)
Thank you! Yeah, Steph definitely has her bad points. Glad you liked the story anyway!
on sateda, i was an accountantminervacat on May 27th, 2004 02:17 pm (UTC)
Kate Bolin is, in fact, katemonkey.

And I wanted to say thanks. Your recs are fantastic, and it's frequently stuff I'd never find on my own. You rock. :)
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on May 27th, 2004 03:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I thought she was, but I couldn't find confirmation, and I was deeply worried I was wrong. Because attribution is, like, the critical thing in FF, is it not?

And I am really, really glad to hear you like my recs. It's always nice to hear, but especially this week, which has frankly sucked in many ways. Thanks for reading!
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tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on May 27th, 2004 03:53 pm (UTC)
I have to ask: who is that in your icon? Because, um, weird picture there.

And, yes, I rec'd you. Richly deserved, too, and I'm glad it made you happy. Out of curiosity - what stories of yours do you consider more typical of you?
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on May 29th, 2004 01:32 am (UTC)
Oh, god. I can't believe I didn't realize that was Pippin!

I do see it now, though. (And all the Tooks are weird, so I'm sure Pippin's used to people saying that kind of stuff about him, but I'll apologize anyway. You know, the next time I see him.)

Do you write hobbit gen? I really like hobbit gen. (And I'm sure I'd love hobbitslash, too, if it wasn't for the whole hang up where even typing the word makes me somewhat dizzy.)
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tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on May 29th, 2004 10:16 am (UTC)
Here's the sad part of my hobbitsexphobia (there has to be a better word for that): I totally buy the Mippin love and the Frodo-Sam love. I got that from the first time I read the books; long before I'd heard of slash or subtext, I was thinking, "So, so gay." (Well, I mean, I'd heard of subtext; I was 12. I just didn't think of looking for any certain kinds, or even imagine the fascinating games I would one day play with said kinds.) So I believe, no trouble at all, that they're deeply in love, and not the Platonic warrior bond kind of love that they tried to sell us in Troy (in conclusion: cousin), either.

I just can't stand to read about, or think about, actual hobbitsex. They're so little and cute that something just screams wrong wrong wrong WRONG if I so much as consider it.

Which is remarkably lame, on so many levels. (Although at least I'm not, you know, hobbithomophobic - I can't handle thinking of them having straight sex, either. Sam and Rosie? Eeeeeew.) So I really will have to apologize to Pippin the next time I see him.

And you're so right - I'll bring pie. Because everything is made better by pie. And I had a dream about making apple pie last night...
(Deleted comment)
Waiting at Crossroads: puppy-unen2gemismasinguede_mazaka on May 27th, 2004 02:51 pm (UTC)
'Little Blue Bottles.' Good God, that takes me back. And it's just as stunning as the first time I read it; thanks for the quick nostalgia trip.

OT, but I actually got heavily into BtVS for several months before I ever watched a single episode. So it's possible--though admittedly, that was before the weirdness that I hear happened after season five. Episode summaries are a godsend. So are parody fics--you've got to have run across Days of Our Unlives.
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on May 27th, 2004 04:00 pm (UTC)
I like to think I bring a lot of nostalgia to these pages. I'm out of the usual loops, and always have been, so to me it isn't a classic story or a current story, it's just a story. Sentinel slash from early 1999? Why, yes. Yuletide small fandom fic? That too. Angel stories published for the first time three days ago? Yup, although usually they're older than that before they actually make a full nom set.

And, yes, seasons 6 and 7 of Buffy are so weird that fanofall is currently making my head spin via email with her detailed descriptions of just what the hell went down in the later seasons. Every single question I ask requires a lengthy response, often including parenthetical remarks, always spanning several episodes and incorporating the Sweet Mysteries of Joss. I think she'd end up footnoting if she could. It's confusing, but it's all becoming clear to me, mostly because she rocks. She's an excellent guide through the hell that is the later seasons of Buffy, if you're looking for one. Although I think she might eventually collapse under the strain of guiding me.

(And may I ask, on behalf of the Best Beloved, currently reading over my shoulder: who is that in your icon?)
Waiting at Crossroadsguede_mazaka on May 27th, 2004 04:30 pm (UTC)
That would be the marvelous, funny, insane Antonio Banderas, who stupidly slicks his hair down in most of his movies, or cuts it short. He has naturally curly hair, and he does this. I don't get it.

The caption's an inside joke between me and tacks about one of my weirder AU/massive crossovers and the movie Assassins--definitely B-grade, but Banderas just makes the cutest psycho-neurotic assassin ever.
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on May 27th, 2004 08:16 pm (UTC)
May I very quietly whisper that I understand his impulse totally? I have hair just like that, see, and if I was a guy, I would cut it all off. In, like, a heartbeat.

Ah. I see by the gigantic scythe you have produced and are waving around in a scarily unpracticed manner that I may not even whisper that. Well, please regard it as unwhispered.
Waiting at Crossroads: miguel-mccreedyguede_mazaka on May 28th, 2004 03:39 am (UTC)
Dammit, why does no one understand the attraction of messy, curly hair? *mourns*
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on May 29th, 2004 01:18 am (UTC)
I'll admit that I don't. I grow my hair as long as possible so that it will straighten out some, and even then it still curls enough to look, well, messy.

I'm depressed now, though. Surely Antonio has had access to the best stylists and hair products money can buy. If even he can't tame the horror that is naturally curly hair, what hope is there for people like me?

Clearly we need a federally-funded study to look into this. And huge government grants to those oppressed by their hair.
Waiting at Crossroads: banderasmuse-ldhensonguede_mazaka on May 29th, 2004 06:13 am (UTC)
You ever feel like watching an amusing crapfest, pick up Assassins. In one scene, Banderas has his hair gelled flat with what looks like the entire factory production of hair product--and then he gets into a fight, and it slowly frizzes out.

*rumplesrumples* Well, I like it messy, anyway:)
Iphiginia Saberhagenfanofall on May 28th, 2004 08:07 pm (UTC)
Awww. *blushes*

Yes, I probably would incorporate footnotes, and endnotes, and outside references, if I thought it would help. But it won't. Because it's JOSS and he's INSANE.

See, if you just keep reminding yourself of that, that it's JOSS and he's INSANE, it won't matter whether it makes sense, because it's not supposed to, because (sing with me now) it's JOSS and he's INSANE.

But I'm glad I'm sort of helping. And I totally recommend Days of our Unlives for crazy long-ass serial goofiness. Starring Spike and Angel, and you don't want to poke your eyes out for either of them, so that's a bonus.
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on May 29th, 2004 12:34 am (UTC)
Joss. Insane.

Joss = Insane.


I'm working on getting that down. I sort of suspected it already, but it's good to know, because, hey, I so totally fail to get him at times that one of us must not be tracking properly. Nice to know it's him.

Have you considered starting a Fandom University? You could teach, you know:
BtVS 101: Basic Elements of Seasons 1 - 4
BtVS 212/Psych 236: Joss Whedon and the DSM-IV-TR - Diagnosing the Creator
BtVS 318/Psych 389: The Sixth and Seventh Seasons and Ways to Treat Psychiatric Disorders Arising from Same
BtVS 515/Ats 515: Seminar: The Jossverse - Can It Be Reconciled? (permission required from Campus Mental Health to enroll).

I hereby volunteer to teach, too, though I'm not sure what. Maybe a seminar on rare fandoms? I bet norah would co-teach that one with me. Or maybe I could do an interdisciplinary class in being multifandom - pros, cons, and suggested medication regimens.
Iphiginia Saberhagenfanofall on May 29th, 2004 10:31 am (UTC)
EXCellent! [/Mr.BurnsVoice]

I am completely on board with that. SOMEbody needs to be. And it's a wonderful, socially useful way to get ALL THE CRAP about this show OUT OF MY BRAIN.

Speaking of norah, have you accepted her proposal yet? I mean, we're LJ wives and all, but I don't see any reason you can't at least consider it... ;-)
(Deleted comment)
Iphiginia Saberhagenfanofall on June 3rd, 2004 09:04 pm (UTC)
YAY!!! Congratulations! *sniff* I'm so HAPPY.... *sob*

I love a happy ending.... le sigh...
I have tactile telecuntnesis.: peter/logan-so the OTP by karabouzeelee_penguin on May 27th, 2004 02:55 pm (UTC)
Oooh yes, Jason and Me was great! It was one of those stories that made me go, "Heeey, maybe DC fandom isn't *quite* as confusing, terrifying and impossible to understand as I first thought." Such an intriguing look into the Batfamily, and really helpful to a newbie fan.

Also, just wanted to thank you for your awesome recs. You've gotten me to read some awesome stories that I probably otherwise wouldn't find, and your descriptions always make me laugh.
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on May 27th, 2004 04:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes. "Jason and Me" could suck any number of unwary individuals into the DCU. That is part of my secret motive for linking it here. More people to join me in confusion! (Because, yes, once a really talented writer has detailed it, a tiny portion of the universe becomes clear. But the universe as a whole remains incredibly murky. Second only to the Marvelverses, which are so confusing that there are probably only eight people who understand all of them, and seven of them are confined for their own safety.)

Thanks for the ego boost. It's always good to hear, but this week particularly. And thanks for reading!
I have tactile telecuntnesis.: Ultimate Legos!!!zeelee_penguin on May 27th, 2004 04:56 pm (UTC)
Comics in general are just mindfucks (and *addictive* mindfucks at that). For some reason Marvelverse is a lot easier for me to understand, though that's probably just because I've been immersed in the crack for so long that it seems normal to me.
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on May 29th, 2004 01:41 am (UTC)
You are so right. They are total mindfucks, and totally addictive.

See, I was into the Marvelverse, and just comics in general, back in the dark ages. I have, like, four of those big long boxes full of god-knows-what-Marvel-books lurking in the spare room in their little plastic sleeves. (I dated a guy who was obsessive about Comics Preservation. The sleeves weren't my idea, OK?) And I know they once made sense. And yet the Marvelverse makes no sense to me at all now. And I think - if I spent all that money then, and that in no way gives me a foothold on the current Marvelverse, then what's the point? And I rejoice I quit cold turkey.

But I know if I started reading any major series again the madness would return. As it is, I've begun buying just the occasional book - you know, Planetary. The Authority, maybe. Just glancing into manga, perhaps. But it isn't an addiction! I can quit any time I want!
David Hineshradzka on May 31st, 2004 01:14 am (UTC)
Wow. Thank you.
Ardent: Shield Grrr!ardent_muses on May 27th, 2004 08:42 pm (UTC)
Hmm. Gemma writes the grittiest fiction of anyone I know. If you're at all inclined, her Oz stuff is legendary.

She has her original fiction at http://members.tripod.com/gemma_files/ (I couldn't find her fanfic there) and she has a personal diary at http://adage1.diaryland.com/

Personally? I don't read death stories. I may be missing great stuff, but that's a chance I'm willing to take. It hurts too much, and this is supposed to be the *fun* part of my life. *G*
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on May 29th, 2004 01:25 am (UTC)
I completely understand why you don't read death stories. (Best Beloved won't either, most of the time.) Especially when they're about the death of a character that doesn't die in the canon - there are some that are very well-written, yes, but it sometimes isn't worth it to hack through the Jungles of Sorrow just for that.

I do find, though, that FF can actually help, sometimes, when a character has died in canon. (Can hurt, too. I wasn't nearly so upset about the death of Sirius Black after just reading OotP as I was after I read some of the copingfic that came out afterward.)
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on May 29th, 2004 01:25 am (UTC)
Oh, and thanks for the Gemma links!
ex_stops845 on September 7th, 2005 06:04 pm (UTC)
And the prize for least necessary death-in-canon goes to: J.K. Rowling, for killing Sirius Black!

I completely understand -- so much Remus/Sirius turns out angsty for just that reason. Hell, my first written posted FF ended up being that way, because when I thought of their relationship the first word that comes to mind is "doomed." (Followed, in quick succession, by "JesusHChrist" ; )

I mean, Dumbledore's death does sort of prove that JKR's killing off all Harry's parent/father figures, because he needs to succeed on his own, but -- guh.