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06 March 2005 @ 10:30 pm
Slashy Nominations 111: O Thou Child of Many Fathers  
(For those of you who remember entry 100: there will also be a Slashiest Fandoms post coming up soon. But as it is now a) tragically large and in need of serious editing and b) evidence of an indecisive and possibly deranged mind, I thought I would forge ahead with the regular sets. It's too weird to get a number anyway.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Footnote-

* Louise is also, for the record, the same woman who induced in my Best Beloved a tragic and instantaneous addiction to a carmel-filled substance known as "Tunnocks," which was an act of much-appreciated cruelty, given that we can't get these things in Los Angeles. I mean, I liked them, yes, but for a while I thought Best Beloved was going to leave me for them. (Or, more likely, leave America for them, taking me along because I am cute and fairly handy around the house. Plus, I speak rudimentary British.) So curse those wily Glaswegians and their addicting sweetstuffs! But love on Louise. I'm pretty sure she keeps Aziraphale in her basement.
 
 
 
\o/true_enough on March 6th, 2005 10:51 pm (UTC)
The Dirt of Sowing and Reaping is just astonishingly good. It's filled with vivid and heartrending descriptions. It's the kind of story where I can't do anything real productive right after I've read it because I'm so pleasantly stunned. Great rec!
tried to eat the safe banana: Kiss methefourthvine on March 7th, 2005 10:13 am (UTC)
Yes. "The Dirt of Sowing and Reaping" just astonishes me. I started thinking, oh, I won't finish this. By the second page I was entranced, and I stuck with it even though there was a point when I was fairly sure she wouldn't be able to pull it all together. (Although I should not have doubted; boy, did she.)

*clasps story to her bosom*

Lovely, lovely stuff.
Iphiginia Saberhagenfanofall on March 7th, 2005 06:35 am (UTC)
Sunday's Child ranks right up there as one of my favorite fics. And WOOT! Kidfic!
tried to eat the safe banana: Bookthefourthvine on March 7th, 2005 10:11 am (UTC)
Pretty much my sentiments. Although I think we're not supposed to like kidfic so much; I get the feeling it's not the most popular genre out there. Or am I insane?
Iphiginia Saberhagenfanofall on March 7th, 2005 10:56 am (UTC)
I think the problem with kidfic is that it can quickly go the way of the Mary Sue; you know, the child is so precocious and intelligent and very Emperor's-New-Clothes that it overwhelms the actual characters in the actual story, which, in some cases (but NONE of the authors recommended here, I hasten to add), is not all that bad a thing, because you can't even recognize the fandom from the writing.

Anyway, kidfic done well is excellent; it's also realistic. (I mean, seriously: NO ONE EVER gets pregnant? Or feels the biological clock? Or anything?) Kidfic done badly is painful.

Thus spake the prophet. Heh.
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tried to eat the safe banana: I sleep with computers.thefourthvine on March 7th, 2005 10:10 am (UTC)
Whoops. I actually meant that he's in the Smallville *canon*, but I can't figure out how to change it so that that is clear.

*ponders*

Will return to this when brain is not complete jello from employee evaluations. Off-brand jello, even.

Which one haven't you read?
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Annie: Sleepy Samout_there on March 7th, 2005 10:27 am (UTC)
*happy sigh* There is something utterly adorable about kidfic, especially early in the morning. It's a great way to wake up. *snuggles fics*
louise luxlouiselux on March 7th, 2005 03:09 pm (UTC)
I had no idea of the power of Tunnocks over your best beloved! *plots to send more*

Aziraphale is alive and well, feasting on Tunnocks caramel wafers, and I'm not planning on letting him go anytime soon:-)

Thanks for the recs!
a.k.a. Katie: geekoutsoupytwist on March 8th, 2005 10:58 am (UTC)
I stayed up all night reading everything you've recced. You are a treasurehouse of geek, seriously; I have multiple posts on my LJ about how very much in love with fandom I am right this minute, and that is entirely thanks to you. Your recs are a joy to read in and of themselves, and the fic is all superb. You ever need help with British/American translation, just say the word. :)